Will Cloud Computing Lead To Patent Liability For End Users?

from the promoting-progress-left-and-right dept

With so much focus on “cloud computing” these days, companies looking to leap into the cloud and to embrace the agility and flexibility it provides are being warned that there may be a looming problem on the horizon: patent litigation. Seriously. As with pretty much any hot area of technology these days, there’s a pretty big patent thicket around cloud computing — even if the basic technology really isn’t all that different than what’s been around for ages. But, of course, that won’t stop opportunistic companies from claiming their patents cover new cloud services (or of having some players in the field attack competitors with patents). But where this becomes a bigger issue is that such patent lawsuits could bleed down to customers as well, meaning that they may take on more liability than they realize just in adopting a rather useful service:

“One model of enforcing patents says I can go after the manufacturer, but once I do I’m done because then all his sales are licensed,” Goldberg said. “But if I keep going after all his customers, I can keep going forever and the customer is really not in the best position to fight back. So it creates increased risk.”

Yes, this sounds ridiculous, but welcome to modern patent law. This is, clearly, a problem with patent law today. There are lots of really useful and valuable cloud services that provide much greater functionality than local offerings, but beyond questions concerning “outsourcing” certain important aspects of IT, the fact that it could also make companies liable for patent infringement is a big open question. Considering the threat, we’ll actually be discussing this topic a bit in our upcoming Security in the Cloud Webinar, which is taking place Tuesday May 11th at 9am PT/noon ET.

Filed Under: , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Will Cloud Computing Lead To Patent Liability For End Users?”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
14 Comments
Cynyr (profile) says:

wouldn't the customer be able to...

wouldn’t the customer be able to say “we bought it from XYZ, talk to them”? or be able to then turn around and sue the manufacturer for the costs+legal fees?

Would having a publicly available parts list help the case at all? “why are you sueing us, you knew we got it from XYZ, and we were assured that it was fine to use by XYZ, we’d like our legal fees now”?

Anonymous Coward says:

“and the customer is really not in the best position to fight back.”

but going after everyone is expensive and restricting everyone’s behavior to the point that a huge percentage of people become mindful of how their behavior is being restricted and how this harms them directly will get people to force the government to reform the patent system. The problem with our current system is that most people aren’t mindful of how much it harms the consumers, much of that gets hidden behind closed doors and consumers merely pay higher prices for products without knowing why, but when consumers become directly mindful of the problems then they will force the government to change things.

Dis Guys says:

Interesting

These Articles have little actual content, but continually link to an event of dubious importance. How is this connecting with fans, again?

The theme seems to be pushing for Cloud Computing, with glaring holes in the entire architecture throughout. Google Calendar has been down this morning, and yesterday. Their reaction was a shrug. Like them or not, Cloud vendors have to get over the idea that these outages are acceptable. I manage a few small-company networks, and for calendars to have an outage mid-day would be unacceptable to me, and I would be apologizing profusely.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Interesting

These Articles have little actual content, but continually link to an event of dubious importance. How is this connecting with fans, again?

Uh, given the large number of folks who have signed up for the webinar, it seems pretty important to them.

The theme seems to be pushing for Cloud Computing, with glaring holes in the entire architecture throughout.

Hmm. Pretty much all of these articles have been pointing to potential serious problems with cloud computing. Not sure how you call that “pushing for cloud computing.”

Their reaction was a shrug. Like them or not, Cloud vendors have to get over the idea that these outages are acceptable.

Indeed. That’s part of the point, and it’s part of what we’ll be discussing.

I manage a few small-company networks, and for calendars to have an outage mid-day would be unacceptable to me, and I would be apologizing profusely.

Indeed. But I’m not sure what that has to do with this post.

Jason Jersey (user link) says:

I disagree with the Writer!

I disagree that end-users would be effected legally. Just like Cynyr explained. XYZ is the vendor, so the vendor would be liable for all damages to the patent. Never in a million years would the cloud computing patent holder be able to file suet against every end user and can’t file suet against 1 without filing against all.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: I disagree with the Writer!

I disagree that end-users would be effected legally. Just like Cynyr explained. XYZ is the vendor, so the vendor would be liable for all damages to the paten

That’s not what the law says, actually.

Never in a million years would the cloud computing patent holder be able to file suet against every end user and can’t file suet against 1 without filing against all.

From a common sense standpoint, that sounds good. From a legal standpoint… not so much. Welcome to yet another problem with the patent system.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Loading...
Older Stuff
09:00 Awesome Stuff: Monitor Everything (5)
09:00 Awesome Stuff: Cool Components (1)
12:42 Tech Companies Ask European Commission Not To Wreck The Internet -- And You Can Too (4)
09:00 Awesome Stuff: Play & Listen (1)
09:00 Awesome Stuff: Beyond Chiptunes (12)
09:00 Awesome Stuff: Updated Classics (3)
09:00 Awesome Stuff: Celebrating Cities (1)
09:00 Awesome Stuff: Crafts Of All Kinds (5)
09:00 Awesome Stuff: One Great Knob (13)
09:00 Awesome Stuff: Simple Geeky Toys (2)
09:00 Awesome Stuff: Gadgets For The New Year (18)
09:00 Awesome Stuff: A Post-Holiday Grab Bag (0)
13:34 How Private-Sector Innovation Can Help Those Most In Need (21)
09:00 Awesome Stuff: Towards The Future Of Drones (17)
09:00 Awesome Stuff: Artisanal Handheld Games (5)
09:00 Awesome Stuff: A New Approach To Smartphone VR (5)
09:00 Awesome Stuff: Let's Bore The Censors (37)
09:00 Awesome Stuff: Open Source For Your Brain (2)
09:00 Awesome Stuff: The Final Piece Of The VR Puzzle? (6)
09:00 Awesome Stuff: The Internet... Who Needs It? (15)
09:00 Awesome Stuff: The Light Non-Switch (18)
09:00 Awesome Stuff: 3D Printing And Way, Way More (7)
13:00 Techdirt Reading List: Learning By Doing (5)
12:43 The Stagnation Of eBooks Due To Closed Platforms And DRM (89)
09:00 Awesome Stuff: A Modular Phone For Makers (5)
09:00 Awesome Stuff: Everything On One Display (4)
09:00 Awesome Stuff: Everything Is Still A Remix (13)
09:00 Awesome Stuff: Great Desk Toy, Or Greatest Desk Toy? (6)
09:00 Awesome Stuff: Sleep Hacking (12)
09:00 Awesome Stuff: A Voice-Operated Household Assistant (19)
More arrow