Microsoft has launched a new solution for its cloud clients to protect them from patent infringement lawsuits.
The technology giant has rolled out a new programme called Azure IP Advantage, which will help its customers prevent intellectual property (IP) risks.
Microsoft said: “We’ve thought about our role in promoting digital opportunities more broadly for companies across the economy.
“We’ve decided that we will use Microsoft’s patent portfolio to help protect our cloud customers.”
As part of the programme, the company will make available its 10,000 patents to Azure customers, allowing them to defend themselves against patent lawsuits.
Currently, it is offering 7,500 patents under the programme, while 2,500 will be made available in the near future.
Microsoft president and chief legal officer Brad Smith said: “Our goal is to help foster a community that values and protects innovation and investments in the cloud.
“We want software developers to be able to focus on coding, and businesses and enterprises to be able to respond to the changing needs of their customers with agility without worrying about lawsuits.”
However, a customer should have an Azure usage of $1,000 per month over the past three months to be eligible for the patent pick availability.
The company, which already offers uncapped indemnification coverage to its cloud customers, will now cover any open source technology that powers Microsoft Azure services, such as Hadoop used for Azure HD Insight.
If there is transfer of a patent by Microsoft in the future to non-practicing entities, then that patent cannot be asserted against the customer.
It said: “While Microsoft doesn’t have a general practice of transferring our patents to NPEs, if it were ever to occur, we offer a springing license to all eligible Azure customers.”
A study by Boston Consulting Group showed a 22% increase in cloud-based IP lawsuits over the last five years in the US.
Earlier this week, Microsoft said that its Azure Backup and Site Recovery features are now available across all its cloud regions within the UK.
Its Azure Backup feature protects data on-premises and online, and the Site Recovery feature enables customers to replicate on-premises physical servers in the cloud.
In a blog post, the company also announced that it has made price reductions on several Azure Virtual Machine families and storage types.
The reason behind this is said to be to lower the barrier for customer entry and boost cloud transformation.