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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Microsoft gives 500 patents to startups

Microsoft today announced a major expansion of its Azure IP Advantage program, which provides its Azure users with protection against patent trolls. This program now also provides customers who are building IoT solutions that connect to Azure with access to 10,000 patents to defend themselves against intellectual property lawsuits.

What’s maybe most interesting here, though, is that Microsoft is also donating 500 patents to startups in the LOT Network. This organization, which counts companies like Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Netflix, SAP, Epic Games, Ford, GM, Lyft and Uber among its well over 150 members, is designed to protect companies against patent trolls by giving them access to a wide library of patents from its member companies and other sources.

“The LOT Network is really committed to helping address the proliferation of intellectual property losses, especially ones that are brought by non-practicing entities, or so-called trolls,” Microsoft  CVP and Deputy General Counsel Erich Andersen told me. 

This new program goes well beyond basic protection from patent trolls, though. Qualified startups who join the LOT Network can acquire Microsoft patents as part of their free membership and as Andresen stressed, the startups will own them outright. The LOT network will be able to provide its startup members with up to three patents from this collection.

There’s one additional requirement here, though: to qualify for getting the patents, these startups also have to meet a $1,000 per month Azure spend. As Andersen told me, though, they don’t have to make any kind of forward pledge. The company will simply look at a startup’s last three monthly Azure bills.

“We want to help the LOT Network grow its network of startups,” Andersen said. “To provide an incentive, we are going to provide these patents to them.” He noted that startups are obviously interested in getting access to patents as a foundation of their companies, but also to raise capital and to defend themselves against trolls.

The patents we’re talking about here cover a wide range of technologies as well as geographies. Andersen noted that we’re talking about U.S. patents as well as European and Chinese patents, for example.

“The idea is that these startups come from a diverse set of industry sectors,” he said. “The hope we have is that when they approach LOT, they’ll find patents among those 500 that are going to be interesting to basically almost any company that might want a foundational set of patents for their business.”

As for the extended Azure IP Advantage program, it’s worth noting that every Azure customer who spends more than $1,000 per month over the past three months and hasn’t filed a patent infringement lawsuit against another Azure customers in the last two years can automatically pick one of the patents in the program’s portfolio to protect itself against frivolous patent lawsuits from trolls (and that’s a different library of patents from the one Microsoft is donating to the LOT Network as part of the startup program).

As Andresen noted, the team looked at how it could enhance the IP program by focusing on a number of specific areas. Microsoft is obviously investing a lot into IoT, so extending the program to this area makes sense. “What we’re basically saying is that if the customer is using IoT technology — regardless of whether it’s Microsoft technology or not — and it’s connected to Azure, then we’re going to provide this patent pick right to help customers defend themselves against patent suits,” Andersen said.

In addition, for those who do choose to use Microsoft IoT technology across the board, Microsoft will provide indemnification, too.

Patent trolls have lately started acquiring IoT patents, so chances are they are getting ready to making use of them and that we’ll see quite a bit of patent litigation in this space in the future. “The early signs we’re seeing indicate that this is something that customers are going to care about in the future,” said Andersen.


Source: TechCrunch

HTTPS Isn't Always As Secure As It Seems

A surprising number of high-traffic sites have TLS vulnerabilities that are subtle enough for the green padlock to still appear.
Source: Wired

Dakar Network Angels begins startup investments in francophone Africa

The Dakar Network Angels group launched this month, making its first investment in francophone Africa to cleantech venture Coliba. The Ivorian startup—that uses a mobile app to coordinate waste recycling—will receive mentorship and a minimum of $25K in seed funds.

The deal is part of Dakar Network Angels’ mission of convening experts and capital to bridge the resource gap for startups in French speaking Africa—or 24 of the continent’s 54 countries.

The organization—which goes by DNA for short—will offer seed fund investments of between $25K to $100K to early stage ventures with high growth potential. These rounds will come with the entrepreneurial guidance of DNA’s angel network.

Launched in Senegal, the organization’s founder is Marieme Diop, a VC investor at Orange Digital Ventures.

Speaking to TechCrunch, Diop underscored VC disparities between francophone and non-francophone Africa as the primary driver for launching DNA. She pointed to funding data by Partech indicating that 76 percent of investment to African startups goes to three English speaking countries—Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa.

Of the $1.1 billion in equity funding to African tech ventures in 2019, only $54 million—or .05 percent—went to startups in French speaking countries, per Partech’s latest report.

“With DNA we want to develop first an ecosystem of resources…for the francophone Africa region…that entrepreneurs can tap into for scaling. We also want to position DNA as the first investment academy that will educate…on…methods for investing, mentoring, conducting due diligence, and creating more value across that ecosystem,” said Diop, who was a judge at last year’s Startup Battlefield Africa.

To gain consideration for DNA investment, startups must gain referral by a member. DNA will take a minority stake (less than 10 percent) in ventures that receive seed funds and provide program mentorship until exits, according to Diop.

To become an angel, members must commit to investing a minimum of $10K a year (for those coming on as individuals), $20K (for corporates), and be on hand to support the portfolio startups, according to DNA’s Corporate Membership Charter.

The investor network is registered as commercial non-profit in Senegal and held its first meeting in Dakar this month. The inaugural 31 members include Facebook Network Investor Lead Ibrahim Ba, former AfriLabs head Tayo Akinyemi, and Timbuktu Capital Management investor Ousmane Diagne. Moustapha Ndiaye and Ibrahima Niang co-founded DNA with Diop. 

DNA aims to expand in investment size and scope in coming years. After building the angel network and its experience, DNA will look to invest in more mature companies. On a future fund size, “We’ve discussed $5 million as our first target,” said Diop.

Over the last decade, Africa’s tech ecosystem has seen a doubling and tripling of Africa focused VCs and investment to a growing cadre of startups across sectors spanning fintech, blockchain, agtech, and logistics.

This month e-commerce unicorn Jumia filed for an IPO on the New York Stock exchange, Africa’s first startup listing on a major exchange. The Pan-African e-commerce company operates multiple internet service verticals in 24 African countries, including 7 that are French speaking. Orange, the parent of Orange Digital Ventures (where DNA founder Marieme Diop is an associate), is an investor in Jumia.

Per its charter goals, acquisitions and IPOs are listed among the performance events Dakar Angels Network looks create around African startups in French speaking countries.

 


Source: TechCrunch

Facebook extends its Dating service to Mexico, Argentina – CNET

Matchmaking service will soon get a feature that will let friends keep an eye on you during dates.
Source: CNET

Huawei Mate 30 Pro in testing, launching 'September or October' – CNET

That’s according to Huawei Product Manager Bruce Lee.
Source: CNET

Apple Card: Sign-up info, launch date and privacy deets for Apple's new credit card – CNET

Everything we know about the Apple Card in one place.
Source: CNET

Ice drifting in Porsche's all-electric Taycan video – Roadshow

Porsche’s first production EV is nearly ready, so join us for an exclusive ride in a preproduction Taycan on the frozen lakes of Sweden.
Source: CNET

The Twilight Zone updates for 2019, and it's as creepy as ever – CNET

Jordan Peele takes us into the dimension of the imagination in this cinematic and atmospheric reboot on CBS All Access.
Source: CNET

Here's another look at Xiaomi's crazy double-fold phone – CNET

Samsung, eat your heart out.
Source: CNET

Grindr's Chinese ownership a national security risk, US government reportedly says – CNET

The California-based app is owned by Chinese gaming company Beijing Kunlun. The US government wants that to change.
Source: CNET

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