Patent Wars in the Cloud? – IBM Locks Up Cloud Processes With Patents

IBM has received 1,200 patents on cloud computing over the last 18 months. Here’s a sample of what Big Blue is patenting and why it’s a concern.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.informationweek.com

Are we at the beginning of the cloud patent wars? Let’s hope not.

But if you think it’s common knowledge that a cloud workload can be managed “elastically” to meet demand — scaled up to meet increasing traffic, then scaled down again — it may come as a surprise to you that IBM holds a patent on allowing a virtual machine to scale down again as high priority traffic diminishes. Over the past 18 months, IBM has secured 1,200 patents on cloud computing, including about 400 in the first half of 2015 alone.  –  One of those patents is about scaling down a virtual machine as its traffic recedes, another deploys sensitive data to a secure server, and a third creates snapshots of virtual machines for rapid recovery in the event of a failed workload.  Granted IBM, with its Bluemix developer platform-as-a-service or its Softlayer cloud data centers, might have specific inventions and innovations that IBM wishes to protect. But the nature of IBM’s patents cited doesn’t appear to be particular to Bluemix, Softlayer, or any other IBM-originated service.  Rather, they appear to be more general-purpose cloud processes or operations that many service providers already use or would implement if left free to do so. IBM’s patent library might therefore be used to demand royalty payments from other service providers or, perhaps equally likely, be used to ward off claims made against IBM by aggressive patent-holders among the service providers.    Whatever the intent, these patents illustrate how the cloud, even though it’s conceived of as a shared environment following public standards, may be subject to some of the same intellectual property disputes and patent trolling as earlier, more directly proprietary environments.

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