Patents in the Cloud: Cloud Solutions Vulnerable to Patent Claims

first_imgThere’s a race among cloud vendors Amazon, Microsoft, Google and IBM. But the race isn’t just about securing the most revenues from customers, there’s also a race for claiming territory by filing patents on intellectual property.In 2017, for example, IBM filed 9043 patents, the most they’ve ever filed, passing the milestone of 100,000 patents, and of those patents, 1900 were related to cloud computing.Similarly, Amazon also has thousands of cloud-related patents and filed another 500 in 2017.  The creation and securing of intellectual property with patents has been part of Amazon’s strategy since their launch of AWS. David Pratt, Managing Director at MCAM, said that “that strategy very much empowered their business to allow them to have a huge lead in cloud. In turn, it made it more complex and costly for competitors to stand up their cloud capability.”The increase use of the cloud and number of cloud patents in turn has led to an explosion in patent infringement litigation.  Cloud technology patent litigation is up 700 percent over the last four years.  A big reason for the increase is litigation arising from patent assertion entities (PAEs) which do not typically create intellectual property, but instead acquire it and then try to monetize the patents by suing companies that they say are infringing on their purchased patents.Tim Pohlmann, CEO at IPlytics, wrote that “cloud technologies are often believed to rely fundamentally on shared environments following public standards. However, the presented numbers show that cloud technologies are increasingly subject to patent litigation. This may in fact block the open use and commercialization of future cloud-based solutions. Cloud computing technologies are complex systems with millions of applications that are incorporated in various products or services. Broadly written patent claims may therefore touch an unforeseeable range of cloud-based solutions, creating unpredictable legal risks for every business using cloud technologies.”last_img