Microsoft has stepped up its efforts in the fight against patent trolls with an expansion to its patent protection programme, Azure IP Advantage.
The Washington-based technology company announced it will also donate 500 patents to the LOT Network, a non-profit which works to counter litigation by non-practising entities or so-called ‘patent trolls’.
The news was announced last Thursday, March 28, ahead of the Hannover Messe industrial show taking place this month.
Microsoft launched Azure IP Advantage in February 2017. The programme, a derivative of its Azure cloud computing service, seeks to protect clients from patent litigation by providing them with access to a Microsoft patent portfolio that can be used to counter lawsuits.
The company has now extended the programme to Azure customers developing Internet of Things (IoT) devices connected to the Azure network.
The benefits will include access to 10,000 Microsoft patents for companies using the Azure network to power IoT devices. Start-ups on Azure will also be able to access Microsoft patents for free, the company said.
Microsoft said this would “help deter patent lawsuits against Azure customers”.
The company also announced that it would donate 500 patents to start-ups in the LOT Network.
The patents relate to fields including artificial intelligence, multimedia and security.