Microsoft today announced a significant expansion of its Azure IP Advantage program that protects its Azure users from patent infringement. This program now also provides customers access to 10,000 patents to defend their intellectual property disputes by developing IoT solutions for connection to Azure.
Perhaps the most interesting thing is that Microsoft also donates 500 patents to startups in Germany the LOT network. This organization, which includes over 150 members such as Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Netflix, SAP, Epic Games, Ford, GM, Lyft, and Uber, aims to protect companies from patentability by granting access to a broad library patents of its member companies and other sources.
"The LOT Network is committed to 1
However, this new program goes far beyond basic patent protection, enabling qualified startups to join the LOT network Andresen emphasized that startups fully own them, and the LOT network can provide up to three patents from its collection to its startup members.
However, there is an additional one Requirement: To qualify for patents, these startups will also pay $ 1,000 a month in Azure spend. Andersen told me that they do not have to make any promises. The company will simply look at the last three Azure monthly bills of a startup.
"We want to help the LOT network expand its network of start-ups," said Andersen. "In order to create an incentive, we will provide them with these patents." He noted that startups are obviously interested in gaining access to patents as a foundation for their businesses, but also to raise capital and defend themselves against trolls.  The patents we are talking about cover a wide range of technologies and regions. Andersen pointed out that these are, for example, US patents and European and Chinese patents.
"The idea is that these startups come from different industries," he said. "The hope we have is that, when they contact LOT, they will be among the 500 patents that will be of interest to almost any company that may want a basic patent set for their business."
The Azure Advanced IP Advantage program. It is worth noting that any Azure customer who has spent more than $ 1,000 a month in the past three months and has not filed a patent infringement claim against another Azure customer in the last two years can automatically choose one of the patents in the Portfolio of the program to protect against frivolous patent lawsuits by trolls (and that's another library of patents than the one Microsoft donates to the LOT network as part of the startup program.)
Andresen noted that Team on how it could improve the IP program by focusing on a number of specific areas. Microsoft obviously invests a lot in the Internet of Things. Therefore, it makes sense to extend the program to this area. "In essence, if the customer uses IoT technology, whether it's Microsoft technology or not, and we're connected to Azure, we're offering this patent to help customers protect themselves against a patent Suits, "Andersen said.
In addition, Microsoft will provide compensation to those who choose to use Microsoft IoT technology throughout.
Recently, patent trolls have begun to acquire IoT patents, so chances are good to be prepared to use them and we will see some patent litigation in this area in the future. "The first signs that we see indicate that this is important to customers in the future," said Andersen.