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IP Insurance: All you need to know

Published: 21 Mar 2017

Are you working with images, brands, copy, scripts?

Creative digital and media businesses are wide open to allegations of plagiarism and copyright breach on a global basis.

                                                         

What if…
…You use an unlicensed image?
…You use unlicensed music?
…Someone else had your idea first?
…You look a lot like another company?
…Your content/design is too similar to someone else’s?

Do you have protection in place to fight that battle? The legal costs could be crippling – are you sure you have the right Intellectual Property (IP) Insurance? The average US IP suit can cost anywhere between $1M and $6M – ouch!

In the creative sector, intellectual property is the holy grail – everybody’s after the big new idea or the fresh new look. You may think your idea is completely original – but can you afford to prove it?

You could be sued from anywhere in the world; IP insurance is designed to cover the legal costs of defending yourself.

What kind of IP Insurance do you need?

1. Defence

This covers legal fees and expenses for defending yourself in court if you inadvertently infringe someone else’s IP (eg: plagiarism, passing off). A good IP solicitor may cost upwards of £500 per hour, and developments in communications technology such as the Internet mean that your infringement may be more easily identified. This cover is often included in a standard Professional Indemnity policy.

Example: you discover you’ve come up with the same sales slogan as Unilever, who have already registered; or that your new ad has already been written in the US.

2. Agreements

This covers the costs of pursuing or defending a case in which an existing IP exploitation agreement starts to go wrong.

Example: your record distributor or licensee breaches the contract.

If your involvement with IP is largely Internet-based, you can also buy protection in a Cyber-liability package. As well as data corruption/loss etc., this covers all your IP exposures online, including damage to your website, and infringement by you/employees of intellectual property or copyright material from the Internet.

Our advice is:

  • Make sure your intellectual property is covered – in the event of under-insurance, you simply won’t get a full claim settlement
  • Get a good Professional Indemnity policy to cover your various liabilities as a functioning business
  • Essential for internet-based organisations: buy IP cover as part of a Cyber Liability package
  • Optional: if you are heavily reliant on your brand or on generating income from licensing, get a full IP policy

Current Fair Use image copyright laws state that you’re financially liable for posting copyrighted images, even if:

  • You did it by accident
  • You immediately take down the picture after receiving a takedown notice
  • The picture is resized
  • If the picture is licensed to your web developer
  • You link back to the photo source and cite the photographer’s name
  • Your site isn’t commercial and you make no money from your blog
  • You have a disclaimer on the site
  • The picture is embedded instead of saved on your server
  • You found it on the Internet

If you’re not 100% sure you have the right IP Insurance in place, do get in touch – our advice is always free and without obligation.Talk to us about your Intellectual Property Insurance needs: 646 665 7737

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You can call us to talk more about your business on +44 (0)1223 200650 or +44 (0)20 3865 0149

Photo of Elaine Lamb

Elaine Lamb

DIRECTOR, LA PLAYA INTERNATIONAL

Direct Dial: 646 583 1574

Email: elaine.lamb@laplayainsurance.com

Twitter: @elamblaplaya