Getting the Right Fit: Tailoring Off-the-Rack Insurance to Cover IP Disputes

By Erica J. Van Loon and Justin Thiele

Published in Landslide Vol. 11 No.2, ©2018 by the American Bar Association. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association.

Intellectual property (IP) litigation is often complex, invoking overlapping areas of law. Accordingly, the insurance coverage offered for IP liability is equally as complicated. Attorneys who practice and counsel on these matters would be well served in gaining a greater understanding of the entire universe of insurance offerings in order to better serve their clients. Evaluating the client’s needs, recommending and securing coverage, and successfully tendering claims to the underwriter all require a strong knowledge of the relevant fits, cuts, and styles the variety of policies can take. But the picture becomes even thornier when clients whose businesses revolve around new media and innovative intellectual property seek ways to manage their risk. As we will discuss in this article, a basic understanding of the insurance landscape can give an IP practitioner invaluable foresight into how existing coverages will react when combined with novel IP claims—whether it be an off-the-rack general business liability policy or more couture IP coverage.

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