Intellectual property in the cloud

While market research firms consistently predict spectacular growth in year-on-year spend on cloud-based technology, intellectual property (IP) issues in the cloud continue to be one of the ‘cloudiest’ legal areas for customers and suppliers alike. What case law there is is relatively new and untested, leading David Jones, Microsoft’s associate general counsel for IP policy, to conclude at last year’s AIPPI Congress in Seoul that trying to decide how cloud IP issues will be resolved is much like ‘trying to read the tea leaves’.

Cloud computing in itself is not new. However, due to the global and often complex nature of the services, existing legal challenges may be amplified. This is particularly the case with intellectual property, where IP commentators have long suggested that IP policy is failing to keep pace with technological developments. In this article we identify some of the possible IP hot spots (with a particular focus on UK copyright issues), and offer suggestions to mitigate risk in what is a very rapidly evolving area of law…

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