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Amazon amends its user agreement to protect clients

Intellectual property rights have only become more complex in the digital age, especially as it relates to using online services. Amazon recently took steps to address a number of intellectual property concerns by removing a passage in the Amazon Web Services user agreement, hopefully encouraging more business customers to use their cloud service without fear of third-party legal conflicts.

The issue originates from a problematic clause in the user agreement that prohibits users from suing Amazon for patent infringement. While it is understandable that the service provider would want to protect itself against litigation, in doing so, it has driven customers into the arms of other cloud computing providers with less restrictive user agreements. For many companies, the prospect of storing their proprietary business secrets with Amazon and having no recourse to sue if something goes wrong was simply untenable.

The new user agreement now features language that not only removes that restriction, but also provides additional protection for Amazon customers, stating that the company will "defend [customers'] employees, officers, and directors against any third-party claim alleging that the services infringe or misappropriate that third party's intellectual property rights, and will pay the amount of any adverse final judgment or settlement." This abrupt about-face for the company is a step in the right direction, but it remains to be seen how it will help them stake out their space in a crowded field.

Defending your intellectual property is a very real concern in the 21st century. If you have concerns about the safety of your ideas, or if you believe that you've suffered intellectual property rights infringement, reach out to an experienced attorney who can help you create a strong strategy for defending your rights and ideas.

Source: Beta News, "AWS adds intellectual property protection to customer contracts," Anthony Spadafora, July 20, 2017

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