IP Insurance


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This was a presentation by Ian Wishart, an experienced patent attorney, who is also a director of an insurance company that specializes in insuring against the costs and consequences of intellectual property infringement litigation. Mr Wishart presented his paper to Ideas North West in Accrington on the same occasion that I gave my paper on IP enforcement without going bust. In this paper he discussed some of the policies that his company can arrange.

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IP Insurance

  1. 1. IP Insurance What it is and why it is relevant to my business Ian Wishart Chartered Patent Attorney European Trade Mark Attorney
  2. 2. • Normal business insurance excludes legal costs relating to Intellectual Property disputes • Some insurers are willing to cover various IP legal costs: • Defence costs if you are sued • Pursuit costs to pursue an infringer of your rights • A VERY few will even cover awards of damages against you
  3. 3. • It is essential to recognise that to benefit YOU MUST HAVE SOME FORM OF IP OF YOUR OWN otherwise the insurer will not provide cover • At the very least, this can be: • A patent, trademark or design application • Or rights in unregistered trademarks, designs, database rights, copyright, software copyright etc
  4. 4. • Another issue is the area of technology or business, as some are much more prone to disputes than others. (Therefore, insurers will charge more, or in very rare cases decline to offer cover.) • And ambitions to enter the North American market must be viewed cautiously. USA has a history of active litigation and very high legal costs (plus the possibility of exemplary damages, up to triple damages!) Patent trolls are also active in USA.
  5. 5. • Cobra Legal & IP is a specialist insurance broker located in the centre of London’s insurance district centred on Lloyd’s. • All employees have legal qualifications and two have extensive hands-on IP experience • Although we do have several large company clients, we specialise in helping British SME’s meet their insurance needs. Several of our recent clients have been start-ups with inventions with major world-wide potential. We have found that there is interest in getting IP insurance either as part of a financing process or to help in licensing. • As well as having access to Lloyd’s syndicates, we have developed three exclusive insurance policies in conjunction with major insurance companies:
  6. 6. • There are three main standard approaches, or tiers of insurance protection: • 1. Up to £25k for the provision of a barrister’s opinion • 2. Up to £100k for a case to pursue an infringer in IPEC – UK only • 3a. £100k, £250k (or upwards) for pursuit cover and/or defence cover in any court • 3b – damages cover can be added
  7. 7. • We can bespoke the protection because of our personal relationship with the insurers and underwriters – for example we have recently offered $10M cover for costs of being sued to an international rock band – the largest amount ever offered to a band
  8. 8. • Examples of technologies that we have covered or quoted for: • Cooking equipment • Trademarked human fertility equipment • Erosion prevention for offshore wind farms • Pipeline joints • Trademarked outdoor clothing • Coarse fishing equipment • Boxer’s training equipment • Staff management software • Orthopaedic chair
  9. 9. Other services • Cobra can arrange: • Litigation funding for cases with good prospects • “ATE” or “After the Event” insurance if you do not have normal “Before the Event” insurance, primarily to protect against having to pay the other side’s costs if you lose
  10. 10. Any questions? Take questions now or at: iwishart@cobralm.com See ip-insurance.com