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Microsoft Gets Serious About Customer Protection, Launches Microsoft Azure IP Advantage [VIDEO]

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Software giant Microsoft is expanding the patent-lawsuit protection it offers to its Azure cloud computing customers, which aims to keep IP litigation from curtailing the adoption of the company's cloud services, Microsoft Azure. The company made the announcement this week.

Microsoft Introduces Patent Protection For Azure Cloud Customers

According to Wall Street Journal, which got the full story about the latest Azure moves, the Redmond-based software company is launching a new program called the Microsoft Azure IP Advantage, which promised legal indemnification protections against all sort of intellectual property (IP) risks for using the company's Azure services.

The program, which the first of its kind according to Forrester Research, provides uncapped indemnification coverage, including payment for legal costs, to Azure customers that develop cloud applications using open-source technologies such as Hadoop, a framework used to manage big data.

Microsoft said the Azure IP Advantage program has three basic elements. The first one is the IP protections for the company's patented technologies, which also include open source technologies, that used in Azure cloud services.

The second one is the pool of patents for doing legal defensive purposes. Here, Microsoft's customers can pick one patent to use for countersuing purposes. Finally, Microsoft has introduced an arrangement called a "springing license" which involved patent transfers to non-practicing entities.

Currently, Microsoft lists over 7,500 patents available as part of the 'patent pick system', but the company plans to make 10,000 patents available to Azure customers who qualify for IP Advantage program. The goal is to help them defend themselves against baseless patent lawsuits.

Pricing And Availability

As mentioned by Microsoft on the Azure IP Advantage website, all Azure customers are said to be automatically covered by Azure IP Advantage. There will be no sign-up process and defense is already included in standard customer terms.

However, the patent pick system, which mentioned earlier, along with the springing license system have some requirements.

For the patent pick system, customers must have Azure usage of $1,000 per month over the past three months and don't have any records of a patent infringement lawsuit against another Azure customer for their Azure workloads in the last two years.

For the springing license, customers will need to have around $1,000 per month of Azure usage over the past three months.

Microsoft Azure customers such as Toyota and Mattel are already using this coverage for their own Azure-based services. Mattel is currently developing a child monitoring device called Aristotle that includes a voice-activated speaker and Mattel uses Azure for those services.

Users can read more about the IP Advantage program and other requirements at the Microsoft Azure IP Advantage web portal.

In addition to the IP Advantage portal, Microsoft has also made the entire Azure FAQ available online for getting additional information about the Azure services.

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