Microsoft this week announced that it is joining the LOT Network, a non-profit group with members from across the tech community and beyond, focused on tackling the problem of patent trolls.

By joining the LOT Network, Microsoft pledges that it will provide licenses for patents for free to other members when it sells them to companies that are in the business of asserting patents. Likewise, Microsoft will benefit from the same protections when other members transfer patents to other companies. Currently, the LOT community is made up of nearly 300 members, ranging from tech giants like Google and Amazon to retailers and automakers like Target and GM.

From Microsoft:

Patents and intellectual property still play an important role in our industry because they protect breakthrough innovations and allow companies large and small to recoup research and development investments in areas like artificial intelligence, mixed reality, network security, and database management. However, these benefits are undermined when the system is abused by opportunists pursuing needless litigation. We all need to work together to prevent patent litigation abuse.

While the LOT Network has been around for years, Microsoft has already been taking steps in this direction for the past several months. Namely, the Azure IP Advantage program, which began in 2017, Microsoft committed to guaranteeing its Azure customers a free license for a patent if it was ever transferred to a patent troll.

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