Protecting your big ideas with intellectual property insurance

For today’s innovators and entrepreneurs, a great idea can be a fast track to a great fortune. This could mean an inadvertently successful glitter-mailing business or being part of a multi-billion dollar acquisition by Facebook.

Still, whether your idea requires a tub of shiny sprinkles or the hottest new messaging app, they all started out as a concept. For various start-up and high-tech companies, a lot of their book value is represented by intangible assets in the form of intellectual property.

But, while people don’t think twice about protecting their physical assets, these ‘creations of the mind’ could be exceptionally valuable and underpin future growth and financial success. So what can you do to protect them?

The answer is simple; Intellectual Property (IP) Insurance. This is a specialist form of cover that protects your business from the legal costs associated with either defending or pursuing an allegation of IP-related infringement.

Enforcing and defending your IP

“Anyone who has been involved in IP litigation will testify that it can be a long, drawn-out and extremely costly process,” says James Adler, Account Executive at Jelf Manson. “With the added threat of injunctions and lost revenue, including whilst it is ongoing – the damage can be irreparable.”

Not only can IP insurance offer protection against legal additional costs or losses, as well as provide cover for various loss mitigation measures, (like counter claims or mitigating damage to your reputation), it can also provide you with the financial backing to bring a legal action against a party who has infringed your IP.

“While some professional indemnity policies will include Intellectual Property infringement, this would only ever be from a defence perspective. They certainly won’t assist with enforcement of your own IP,” explains James.

The extent of IP cover (within a PI policy) always depends on your activities; for technology-biased businesses, the IP risks are heightened and it is feasible that any IP cover would be withdrawn. Conversely, an accountant with professional indemnity insurance, for example, may well be provided with some IP cover, but the risks associated are relatively low.”

Taking the next steps

If your business is working on a new innovation, James suggests that you should take action now to ensure you are properly protected: “It’s time businesses are fully aware of their rights. We live in a day and age where there are more claims being made than ever.”

The media is littered with examples of IP disputes, with one such recent case being highlighted between Nokia and a small UK start up technology firm ‘Lowdownapp’. In a real David vs Goliath situation, Nokia has taken the smaller firm to task over its use of the word ‘HERE’ on its ‘check in’ location app, stating that it is infringing upon their own HERE brand name for apps and software relating to mapping and navigation.

Cases like these only serve to show why IP insurance is so important in today’s business environment.

For further advice please contact James Adler on 07841 781670 or e-mail james.adler@jelfgroup.com

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