Microsoft takes another step to fight patent trolls by joining the LOT Network

Microsoft is joining the 300-member LOT Network in a move meant to advance the company's campaign against patent trolls.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Last year, Microsoft created the Azure IP Advantage program, which was designed to defend and indemnify developers against claims of intellectual property infringement. On October 4 this year, Microsoft took another step toward combating patent trolls by joining the LOT Network.

Credit: LOT Network

The LOT Network is a nonprofit community working to fight trolls. The group has nearly 300 members, covering approximately 1.35 million patents, Microsoft officials said. Members include Amazon, Canon, Cisco, Lenovo, Red Hat Google, Lyft, Oracle, Salesforce, SAP and Tesla, to name a few.

Members are free to cross-license, assert, sell or do nothing with their patents. But if any member of the LOT Network sells a patent to a troll, all LOT members automatically get a free license to that patent.

According to the LOT Network officials, the average cost to defend a lawsuit against a "patent assertion entity" is $3.2 million. And more than 10,000 companies have been sued at least once by a patent troll.

When Microsoft created Azure IP Advantage, officials said Microsoft would make 10,000 of its patents available to Azure customers to help them defend themselves against patent lawsuits. The 10,000 patents Microsoft offered were a subset of the 60,000 patents Microsoft owned at that time. All Azure customers are automatically covered by Azure IP Advantage.

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