In EdgeCast’s news release yesterday about multiple operators and service providers exchanging production traffic via a federated model, the company also very briefly mentioned they had been granted “several patents” pertaining to CDN interconnection. While I haven’t had a chance to spend a great deal of time reviewing the patents, I did notice something worth looking at.
EdgeCast was granted two patents, Systems and Methods for Invoking Commands Across a Federation (8,117,276 B1) and Systems and Methods to Uniquely Identify Assets in a Federation (8,166,108 B1). The first patent in particular is pretty interesting as there are a couple of key claims that are the foundation of how CDNs can federate. If I’m reading it correctly, the patent looks to be around the concept of loading to the edge and purging content from the edge. This covers the most basic fundamental part of how any CDN works and how they interconnect, so it seems like a pretty good patent to be awarded that is specific to the federated CDN model.
While EdgeCast won’t comment on what they plan to do with the patents, it’s not as if they can claim infringement of their patents today, as no one else is offering a federated CDN platform. There are many vendors offering managed and licensed CDN platforms, but not federated. I can’t speak on behalf of EdgeCast on what their intellectual property plans are, but I don’t think lawsuits are their plan. These patents might make others think twice before they enter the market with a similar solution to EdgeCast’s and at the very least, it makes EdgeCast more valuable to a potential acquirer.
I’ve already been asked by others if I think EdgeCast will go after Akamai with their patents, since Akamai recently announced their managed and licensed CDN platform, but that’s not relevant. Akamai isn’t doing any federation, rather they are building out private CDNs inside operator’s networks, which is a segment of the Akamai network. If an operator wants to go out and federate Akamai won’t stop them, but Akamai’s managed and licensed CDN platform is not the technology that would be making that federation work.
The patents make for some interesting reading as they are the first ones, that I can recall, that have been granted specific to the federated CDN model. (Related: www.cdnpatents.com)