IP Insurance puts your patents to work & defends your from competitors
Don't risk losing your company to a competitor or a troll.
With intellectual property insurance, you can protect your intellectual property and your business.
Intellectual property is a company's most valuable asset. You invested money, time, and innovation. Make sure that investment is protected.
Could you survive a patent lawsuit?
Even "minor" patent lawsuits cost companies like yours several hundred thousand dollars - and big lawsuits have legal costs into the millions.
What will you do when a competitor starts copying you?
You have spent countless hours of work on your idea, and have invested thousands in securing your patent to protect it. But could you challenge a bigger competitor when they start copying your patented product?
Patent enforcement insurance gives you the strength to assert your hard-won patent assets.
If you don't defend yourself - your IP is worthless. No matter how much you paid for it.
Our Patent Insurance Services
Patent Enforcement Insurance:
Pre-paid legal fees to go after anyone who copies your patented invention.
Keep control of your enforcement lawsuit by avoiding "contingency fee" law firms.
Make your your IP rights are not worthless by having the strength to fight when you need to.
Patent Defense Insurance:
Protection from inbound lawsuits from competitors or patent trolls who want you to pay a license - or run you out of business.
This intellectual property insurance pays all settlement costs, licensing royalties, or other expenses from lawsuits.
BlueIron, LLC is a boutique insurance agency focusing exclusively on Intellectual Property insurance and services.
Patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets are our only focus. We insure against infringement/theft/copying of intellectual property, giving you the resources to enforce your IP against competitors, former employees, or other actors. We insure against inbound lawsuits from patent trolls, competitors, or other litigants who accuse you of infringing their IP assets.
- We find the best insurance policies that meet your company's needs.
- We'll facilitate the underwriting and policy process.
- You'll have a team of experts (and the financial capital) to put your patents to work.
Why get patent insurance?
Since there is so much at stake, IP litigation is particularly expensive. Patent enforcement and defense insurance are pre-paid expenses for fighting those costly legal battles.
While startups who go unprotected can be run out of business in these scenarios, insurance means you don't have to worry.
Patent enforcement insurance makes sure you have all the money necessary to enforce your patent, including attorney's fees and related expenses. You do not have to use contingency fee attorneys and pay them 40%. Instead, you pay a small annual fee (typically 1-1.5% of coverage) and have the freedom to use your own attorneys, with full control over litigation and settlements.
A Success Story
Octane Fitness purchased patent defense insurance as they began to develop their exercise machines. When a patent troll came knocking on their door, Octane had the option to fight, rather than roll over and pay, like their competitors did.
Their lawsuit went to the Supreme Court – they lived through it – and they were acquired by Nautilus Fitness for $115M.
Octane Fitness would have been wiped out by a patent troll, but because they had patent defense insurance, they were able to fight. And win.
You can, too.
Frequently Asked Questions
Trademark enforcement as part of your IP.Insure intellectual property insurance policy gets you the ability to go after people who ride on your branding coattails.
This includes sending letters to infringers, Amazon/eBay/Etsy take down actions, DMCA take down notices, and appropriate lawsuits in state and/or federal court.
Many times, small companies have a trademark on their product but larger companies will merely start using it without doing a clearance search. For example, the Cleveland Indians baseball team changed their name to the “Guardians” – only to recognize afterward that the Guardians already existed as a local roller derby team.
IP enforcement insurance gives you the financial horsepower to go after infringers and preserve your investment in your brand.
Registered trademarks are far more powerful to enforce than unregistered trademarks, and we encourage you to register your trademarks whenever possible.
The registration process guarantees that you have the full rights to your branding. In addition, the laws are very powerful for owners of registered trademarks to enforce their rights.
Trademarks represent your investment in your business. Your reputation takes a long time to build, and your logos, marketing phrases, color palette, font choices, graphics, packaging, and other elements represent your company’s ‘look and feel’ as well as the instantly-recognized elements of your brand.
Your brand takes a tremendous amount of work to create and maintain, and being able to keep other companies from copying you preserves your investment.
IP enforcement insurance for your trademarks will give you the power to keep others from copying you – and preserve that investment you have in your reputation.
One way to know if you might infringe someone else’s patent is through a “Freedom to Operate” search, which is sometimes called a “clearance search” or “right to use search.”
An FTO search is performed for each of your *products* (not your patents) and searches for existing patents that might be used to sue you.
A defensive intellectual property insurance policy will use a freedom to operate search as part of the underwriting. If you have an attorney do a clearance search or freedom to operate search, the insurance underwriters will use that search to help them identify the risk.
Freedom to operate searches are done on each of your products or each product family, and once you have an initial search done, periodic updates to the search should be done whenever you modify or update your product/product family.
No. The standard forms for General Business Liability were changed in the late 1990’s to *remove* any coverage for intellectual property damages.
This means that trademark infringement (where another company starts using your brand’s likeness) is not covered.
This means that patent infringement (where another company copies your patented product) is not covered.
This means that copyright infringement (where someone copies your images, your website, your blog, your content) is not covered.
It also means that inbound lawsuits (when someone accuses *you* of infringing) is not covered.
The only way to get coverage for IP-related risks is through IP-specific insurance policies.
In the same way you cannot buy fire insurance while your house is burning, most insurers will not cover you for IP infringement that you know about – or should have known about.
Underwriters will often do patent searches, litigation searches, and competitive analysis to uncover the risks of your IP – either the risk that you will need to enforce your IP or the risk that you might be sued by someone else. Some industries are more litigious than others, and so insurance costs more.
Some insurance policies may have a delay, such as 90 days, where they will not pay a claim for litigation. They make that up by extending the policy period for 90 days on the back end.
The pre-existing conditions limitation is an incentive for you to get insurance early – well before you run into trouble. Not only can you sleep better, you will have the resources there when you need it.
Each patent insurance company has its own suite of services. In general, insurance companies want to minimize their risk exposure, so it makes sense for them to help you in many different ways.
Some companies will – for free, as part of your enforcement policy – send letters to possible infringers. These letters are from the insurance company, which signals that you have muscle behind you. Patent infringement lawsuits are often a big game of “chicken” where both sides threaten to “go the distance.” Once the infringer knows you are protected by insurance and your expenses are already covered, they are much more likely to settle sooner.
Many insurance companies will reimburse your attorney’s fees, but they want to make sure the attorneys have experience. They will not reimburse for any attorney who is willing to take your case, but will reimburse for experienced attorneys with former first-chair experience in Federal Court for your type of litigation. The insurance companies want you to win.
BlueIron will always help you with patent strategy and with evaluating the IP you already have. We invest in IP, so we look at your IP from the standpoint of value. We are always here to help you get the best value out of your IP.
An independent insurance broker does not work for any insurance company.
We work for you.
Our job is to negotiate a policy that fits your needs, not sell you a policy that benefits the insurance company.
Each of the dozen or so providers for IP-related insurance has a particular interest. Some companies like semiconductor IP, while other companies prefer medical devices. (Nobody seems to like pharmaceutical patents, by the way.)
Also, each policy has different sets of triggers which pay for your loss, different amounts they will pay in certain circumstances, and so forth. Our job – as independent brokers – is to negotiate with the underwriters to address your specific needs.
For very simple situations, there are policies that are, more or less “off the rack.” These policies have standardized pricing and can be issued very quickly.
Other times, your risk exposure might not fit a cookie-cutter approach, so there is room to tailor the coverage.
Note that custom-designed insurance policies do *not* mean expensive. In many cases, a broker can tailor-make your policy so that you eliminate coverage for things you don’t need.
Yes! BlueIron is a licensed insurance agent, and acts as an insurance wholesaler for many brokers and agents. Please have your insurance agent contact us.
If you do not have an agent, you can purchase insurance directly through BlueIron.
BlueIron does not provide any other insurance other than Intellectual Property related insurance.
We offer IP-related insurance from over a dozen different insurance companies. One of the benefits of being an independent broker is that we can pick from many providers so you get the coverage that works best for you.
For example in patent insurance, some carriers prefer troll-only insurance, while other carriers prefer competitor-only insurance without troll coverage. Each carrier has a different sweet spot of the risks they want to insure – and the risks they want to avoid insuring.
BlueIron has relationships with over a dozen different providers, and we know which insurance company would be the best fit for you. When we quote a policy, we can have several different insurers competing for your business.
In general, IP insurance is a specialty insurance where several different companies compete. The underlying insurance carrier is usually a group of Lloyd’s of London syndicates that focus on intellectual property insurance.
Absolutely. We know you have good relationships with your attorneys, and we are happy that you want to use them.
Our only requirement is that the attorneys have prior first-chair experience in intellectual property litigation in federal court. If your attorney does not have this experience, we are happy to recommend attorneys who do.
We do offer a discount if you use attorneys who we have previously vetted, but you are not required to use them.
With our patent enforcement insurance policies YOU control all aspects of how to enforce your patent.
Sometimes you may wish to strongly enforce their patent to prevent a specific competitor from operating in your space. Other times, you may want to obtain a license agreement from a competitor. Still other times, you may want to cross license your patent for a technology a competitor may have.
In every case, YOU control how the enforcement proceeds.
This is why patent insurance is so important.
Without insurance, you have to use contingency fee attorneys. Contingency fee attorneys usually get the power to settle the lawsuit, so they determine when to quit, not you. In so many cases, a contingency fee attorney might settle for exactly what their fees were – and you get nothing.
Patent insurance comes in two basic forms: patent enforcement and patent defense. Enforcement is where someone infringes your patent and you need to enforce your rights. Defense is when someone else accuses you of infringing their patents. This can be a competitor or a patent troll.
Enforcement insurance typically costs about 1-1.5% per year of the total amount of insurance. For example, $1,000,000 of patent enforcement insurance will cost about $10,000/year.
Defense insurance typically costs about 1.5% per year. $1,000,000 of patent defense insurance will cost about $15,000/year.
These amounts are guidelines, and your actual premiums will only be determined after due diligence and underwriting.