IPO guidance on intellectual property insurance

I often speak to clients about the importance of considering whether IP insurance might be appropriate for their business, particularly where registered IP rights form a fundamental part of the business in terms of maintaining a monopoly in the market, rather than generating licensing revenue. So I was interested to see that the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has published a guidance on issues relating to intellectual property (IP) and insurance.

The note begins by outlining the types of insurance products that are available, how IP legal expenses insurance works, and the reasons why IP insurance may be useful for a business. It also describes how insurance premiums are typically calculated. The note then goes on to discuss the claims process, including whether a business will be able to use its usual lawyer to resolve a dispute, or whether it will have to use one chosen by the insurer.

The guidance also covers the nature of the “reasonable prospect of success” test, and other implications arising from the wording of the policy for matters such as early settlement, payment of an excess, co-insurance and permission to incur costs.

Finally, the guidance note discusses alternative ways of investigating and resolving disputes such as obtaining a binding opinion from the IPO or using the IPO mediation service.

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