In this LegalTechNews article, “Microsoft's Cloud IP Protection: A Solution Without a 'Patent Troll' Problem?”, Richard S.J. Hung, co-chair of the firm’s IP Litigation Group, the cross-disciplinary Intellectual Property Group, and the Inter Partes Review and Post Grant Practice, was quoted regarding Microsoft's conversations with his customers which have led it to tackle an emerging risk through Azure IP Advantage, while others say the 'umbrella' program may not yet be legal necessity.
"The Azure IP Advantage Program obviously serves a valuable marketing purpose for Microsoft," said Richard Hung, partner and co-chair of the IP litigation group at Morrison & Foerster. But he added that "this shouldn't detract from the fact that Microsoft is agreeing to protect its customers."
Erich Andersen, vice president and deputy general counsel of Microsoft's IP group, highlighted a Boston Consulting Group study that showed "a 22 percent growth rate in cloud-based IP lawsuits over the last five years in the United States." He added that the study also reported "that nonpracticing entities (NPEs) increased their acquisition of cloud-related patents by 35 percent over the same period." How much of those increases can be attributed to the fact that cloud technology has become more widespread over the past five years, however, is unknown.
Hung noted that without the raw numbers, it is difficult to conclude whether the increases were significant or not, but he added IP litigation cases have been stabilizing and even slightly declining over that period as well.