In some businesses, the value of the intangible assets represents over 80% of the value of the company. If you think about it; when you take away a key brand, innovative technology or unique design from a business – then in most cases you’ve actually ripped the heart out of the business!
So, just as with a key person or tangible asset (such as critical pieces of equipment for manufacturing) it makes sense to insure them against loss. If that’s the case, then why not insure your key intangible assets, such as your patents and trade marks against theft or damage?
In the past, we’ve acted for a number of clients who’ve used IP legal expenses insurance to both defend and pursue IP claims and thereby ring fence their commercial advantage. However, it is really important to check the small print of any policy; think the level of excess on your own car insurance!
Some insurance policies historically contain clauses that narrow the cover so much so that they are of very limited use. By way of example, we’ve seen some IP insurance policies that only cover the defence of a claim but won’t cover a counter claim for invalidity of a patent or trade mark. This means that a key way of strategically attacking the validity of another person’s IP is not covered by the insurance and thus any defence can be weakened. As a result, legal expenses insurance has received bad press and many professionals have said the cover is of limited value.
Another big problem for SME’s has always been the cost of the cover, with many policies having prohibitively expensive premiums or excesses which make them unworkable. The result has often been that many companies have been unable to afford proper cover, leaving them to fund a war chest from existing revenues as and when their key intellectual property assets are under grave threat from competitors.
Thankfully, times are changing and with some new players in the insurance market there is some very affordable cover available, especially for companies with a turn over of less than £5 million. This means that finally IP legal expenses insurance is now affordable for many SMEs.
If you want to protect your own key IP assets in the same way as you do your own car then please get in touch with Liz by email on email@example.com and we can point you in the right direction.
Please note that these policies only cover before the event cover – they won’t cover you for existing claims whether issued or threatened.
The IP Training Academy
The IP Academy offers loads of on-line videos tutorials, cheat sheets, checklists and help lines for members on a whole variety of IP legal topics.
If you want to know more email me directly firstname.lastname@example.org with Training Academy in the subject box and I’ll ping you straight back with further information. As part of our elite mailing list, I’ll also be offering 50% off all the courses if you book and pay by 31 January 2017! So book soon!