Questions to Ask Clients about IP Insurance

As an independent broker, your success is tied to the value you bring to your clients. By asking the right questions, uncovering a business’s risks, and having the right insurance policies available, you are helping companies prepare – and survive – their worst moments.

Intellectual property risks are sophisticated, highly nuanced, and badly-understood part of business. Even the most successful CEOs have difficultly dealing with IP-related matters.

At the same time, IP risks are almost always “bet the company” litigation that can be brutally expensive and devasting for the participants.

Here are a few questions to help identify the clients who have very high IP risks:

  • How much do you spend on research and development?
  • How much do you invest in patents or IP protection?
  • Do you have inhouse patent counsel?
  • Have you done a “freedom to operate” or “clearance” search on your products?
  • Have you, your customers, or anyone in your industry been a target of patent trolls?

Here are another set of questions to ask – what would you do if…

  • you received a cease and desist letter from a patent owner?
  • you find out a big competitor was copying your product?
  • you saw lots of small competitors flooding Amazon with knock-offs of your product?
  • your key engineer left to go to a competitor?

All of these issues are covered by IP-related insurance.

When a company’s competitive advantage is their technology, their IP is essential to their business.

Don’t confuse companies in the technology field with companies who have a technology edge. What may seem like tired, old-school businesses may be using designs, processes, or other features that give them an advantage. These advantages can be eroded by a competitor copying their designs.

IP insurance gives a company the power to enforce their IP against competitors, as well as gives them the resources to survive a multi-million dollar patent-related lawsuit.