Microsoft announced earlier today that it will expand its Azure IP Advantage program, which protects its Azure users from patent trolls. It will also help connect customers who are building IoT solutions with 10,000 patents, helping to shield them from intellectual property lawsuits.
Microsoft will be expanding the current program and is donating 500 patents to startups in the LOT Network. This group contains companies like Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Epic Games, Ford, GM, Lyft, Uber and more than 150 others and was created to protect companies against patent trolls. All members receive access to a library of patents straight from the source.
Microsoft CVP and Deputy General Counsel Erich Andersen told Tech Crunch, “The LOT Network is really committed to helping address the proliferation of intellectual property losses, especially ones that are brought by non-practicing entities, or so-called trolls.”
Andersen further explained that once a qualified startup joins the LOT Network, the startup will own the Microsoft patents outright. The Network will give three patents from the library to each of its startup members.
The main requirement is that the startups will have to spend $1,000 per month on Azure. Andersen explained to Tech Crunch that they will look at the startups’ last three monthly Azure bills to verify this qualification.
Gaining access to these patents will help the startups not only raise capital and defend themselves against trolls but also serve as the foundation of the startup.
“We want to help the LOT Network grow its network of startups,” Andersen said. “To provide an incentive, we are going to provide these patents to them.”