Microsoft Sued for Azure Patent Infringement

On May 14, plaintiff paSafeShare LLC filed a patent infringement complaint against Microsoft, alleging that its Azure Rights Management (Azure RMS) software copied its content distribution method. The case is being held in the Western District of Texas before Judge Alan D. Albright. Azure is Microsoft’s cloud computing service.

The three patents in question are United States Patent No. 9,455,961 (the ’961 patent), 9,615,116 (the ’116 patent), and 10,095,848 (the ’848 patent). Each is entitled “System, Method and Apparatus for Securely Distributing Content,” and are related “to the persistent protection of content distributed within and across firewalls.” Between 2016 and 2018 the patents were issued to paSafeShare LLC, a company dedicated to addressing “the deficiencies in existing content distribution security.”

Microsoft’s Azure RMS is the cloud-based protection technology used by Azure Information Protection, a software “that helps an organization to classify and optionally, protect its documents and emails by applying labels.” Azure RMS “uses encryption, identity, and authorization policies to help secure…files and email.” In the complaint, paSafeShare alleges that Azure RMS’s specific method of secure content distribution infringes on its three patents.

paSafeShare was founded in 2010 by Drs. Madhav and Kedar Phadke, a father-son duo who have a combined 50 years of experience in software development and technical consulting. They started developing solutions for content distribution security after realizing “that while sensitive data could be protected in transmit by various security techniques (e.g., password-protected documents, access restricted web portals), there was no way to protect unwanted distribution by the recipient of the data.”

The plaintiffs seek an award of damages and claim they will continue suffering irreparable harm as a result of Microsoft’s alleged patent infringement.