Eppenauer Warns of Non-Assert Provision in Cloud Service Agreement

IAM Magazine has posted Shook Seattle Managing Partner Bart Eppenauer's concerns about the intellectual property non-assert clause in Amazon's AWS cloud service customer agreement. Eppenauer explains that the "exceedingly broad" provision prevents customers from asserting their IP rights against Amazon or other AWS customers or partners with regards to the use of AWS.

Four aspects of the provision are troublesome, Eppenauer writes. First, the clause indicates that the agreement remains in effect even after a customer stops using AWS. The provision is also broad in its application of who it affects, Eppenauer notes. The click-through nature of the agreement also appears problematic because "if a single employee agrees to it, for example, Amazon might argue that the intellectual property of the entire company that employs the user is implicated." Finally, the open source code of AWS could include viral OSS licenses, and Amazon could potentially assert its non-assert clause in "unforeseen and unpredictable ways," Eppenauer explains.

"The bottom line is that businesses are increasingly looking to the cloud as a place to innovate and differentiate from competitors. The cloud is the place where businesses are rapidly building and storing digital assets protectable by intellectual property rights. It’s likely that thousands of Amazon customers don’t realise they are giving away their valuable intellectual property rights just for the privilege of using AWS; but realise they should."