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Revolutionary New IP Insurance Product

For two years now I have been banging the drum for IP insurance. I  believe there is little point owning IP if you do not have the funds to enforce it. IP Insurance provides peace of mind to management, investors, lenders and licensees that these valuable assets can be protected, if necessary.

The IP Insurance market has developed rapidly. Premiums have fallen and a range of new products have come to market but today sees the launch of a revolutionary new policy. Designed specifically for  companies with a turnover of less than £5million this policy is the most comprehensive and affordable ever.

Cover includes (as standard) the costs of worldwide enforcement and defence actions, disputes under IP agreements, product recall costs and damages. All the insured’s IP is automatically covered and premiums are fixed (subject to industry and claims history) at the lowest levels ever:

£1m of cover (£500k of which can be used for any one enforcement action) costs just £5k plus 9.5% tax

£500k of cover (of which £250k can be used for any one enforcement action) costs just £3,500 plus 9.5% tax

Excesses are £10k for UK actions and £25k for US actions

Co-insurance is 5% for defence actions, 10% for US defence actions and 15% for enforcement actions.

Small businesses no longer have to fear the costs of IP litigation. For a small monthly payment you can buy comprehensive insurance cover which will make competitors think twice about infringing  rights and increase the likelihood of settlement.

Safeguard iP is delighted to have exclusive access to this product so call us today on 020 3036 0551 to protect your investment in IP . Quotes can be provided over the phone in minutes.

The value of IP insurance

I have just returned from an invigorating BIBA conference in Manchester. For those of you who do not know, the British Insurance Brokers Association’s annual conference is the largest gathering of insurance professionals in the UK.

I had the privilege of participating in a seminar on the importance of IP insurance and there is no doubt that awareness of these policies amongst brokers, IP professionals and  right holders themselves is on the rise. The seminar included a presentation by a Senior Policy Advisor at the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) who spoke passionately about how IP insurance is a vital element in the protection of UK innovation.

It is no secret that the UK lags well behind other industrialised nations in the number of patents  granted per head of population and the IPO believe that, in part, this is because SMEs fear the cost of having to enforce these rights.  IP Insurance  gives companies the fire power to stop infringements when they occur.

A perfect storm is brewing where IP is now a key driver business value but the risks to that value are greater than ever.  Smart directors and shareholders recognise this and, with our help  are taking steps to mitigate that risk and add real value to their IP assets.

Please get in touch if you would like to learn more.


The Law is an Ass

As an IP litigator I spent 15 years helping business enforce their IP so I know how difficult it is to predict the outcome of IP cases. From experience you cannot take anything for granted. However much you believe one party is in the right, the law may not see it that way.

And this was the case with the recent Trunki decision.  Now, I have not yet read the judgement and am guessing the Supreme Court got the law right, but this doesn’t make the decision any easier to take.

Here you have a great British success story. An idea that went from the drawing board to market and was a great success. And unlike many UK businesses, Trunki understood that protecting its IP was important. Nonetheless, when it came to stopping a company who had admitted copying their products they ended up spending 3 years and a significant amount of money for nothing. In fact, its worse than that, now every competitor knows exactly what they need to do in order to rip them off without being sued.

Its a bitter pill to swallow.

The lessons are many. From ensuring you get good legal advice about IP at an early stage to thinking twice about embarking on costly litigation, but this is little consolation to Rob Law and his team at Trunki.

They need to dust themselves down and get on with making great products. Something they have proved they are more than capable of doing.

The UK Government highlights the benefits of IP Insurance

I have been talking about the benefits of IP insurance for many years and I am delighted to say the UK government, through the intellectual Property Office, have now recognised the value it can add to SMEs. They have issued guidance on the benefits of IP insurance and it is worth a read here.

There is now a real belief amongst IP professionals that IP insurance provides vital protection against a number of growing risks.

If you would like to learn more, please do get in touch.

Yosemite National Park- A Cautionary Tale

A case in the US caught my eye this week. It involves the Yosemite National Park and a third party contractor who, for over 20 years, provided catering and other services to the park and its famous hotels and restaurants.

The contract went to tender last year and the incumbent lost and then promptly sued the park and the newly appointed service provider for trade mark infringement. The claimant argued that when it first won the contract it paid a significant premium to obtain various trade marks owned by park, including the name of the park itself.

It now values these rights at $51 million and is preventing any other party from using them until this sum is paid. Yosemite is strongly denying the claim. For fuller details see here

Unfortunately the legal outcome won’t be known for some time but it does raise the key issue of Intellectual Property ownership.

When advising clients on contracts with third parties the first question I always asked was ‘who will own the IP?’ It might seem obvious but as Yosemite’s problems highlight, confusion can reign.

Whether you are collaborating to create IP, partnering to promote it or sharing to monetise it, it is crucial the contract is crystal clear on who owns which rights and in what capacity.

Fighting over IP is an expensive business, so don’t get caught out.


Unhappy Birthday -Addendum

Following on from my earlier post and, as you may have read, Warner Chappell have lost their rights to the copyright in ‘Happy Birthday’. They can no longer extract a license fee for its public use and, in fact, could have to pay back millions of $ in royalties it has received over the years. A jolly good outcome for lovers of the song around the world.

Expect the famous refrain to pop up in numerous films and TV shows over the coming months…

How strategically do you think about your IP?

The Times has today published an extensive supplement on IP. It is well worth a read and can be found at

Safeguard IP’s contribution can be found on page 4, where we comment on what you need to do to maximise the value of your IP.


Unhappy Birthday

Happy Birthday’ is probably one of the best known songs in the world. Sung at parties for young and old, the familiar lyrics and catchy tune repeatedly ring out in homes around the world. But if you think about it, it is surprising how uncommon it is to hear the refrain included in films, TV programmes or on the radio.

The reason for this is simple to explain.

For decades, Warner/Chappell the huge music publishing house has been charging a licence fee to those wanting to perform the song publically. How can this be so, you might ask? Well, Warner/Chappell says it acquired the copyright in the song as part of a $25 million acquisition in 1988. This claim has allowed it to earn millions of dollars each year in royalty payments as a result.

However, their claim is finally being challenged in the US courts.

A film maker making a documentary about the song (I can imagine a lot of birthday parties being involved) was asked to pay Warner/Chappell a $1500 fee for using the song. Failure to do so would have led to a claim for copyright infringement. Believing that the song, the origins of which are over 100 years old, should be in the public domain, the film maker Jennifer Nelson took the brave decision to challenge Warner/Chappell rights.

The case, which is nearing its conclusion has not been kind to Warner/Chappell. Initially the legal debate centred around whether title had been passed correctly to Warner/Chappel but midway through case, its lawyers were forced to disclose a document it had previously ‘forgotten’ to disclose which appears to shoot a huge hole through its rights. The document, a songbook dating from 1927 (see extract below courtesy of TechDirt) shows the lyrics, melody and also a “special permission” notice that appears instead of the (c) notice that would be required to preserve the copyright:

This extract indicates that the original 1922 copyright in the song had already expired by 1927, which would mean that Warner/Chappells has no rights in the song.

This smoking gun has been put before the Judge who is considering whether to throw out Warner/Chappells defence. If it chooses to do so its gravy train is over and you can expect to hear the familiar song ring out in public ad nauseam.

Such a ruling would be welcome, but it does raise the serious question of whether it is right that a song which is almost 100 years old can be protected by copyright. Copyright Law is, in theory, about incentivising creativity but this case shines a light on how it can have the completely opposite effect.


Meet Safeguard iP at BIBA

Safeguard IP will be attending the annual BIBA conference and exhibition at Manchester Central on 13 & 14 May 2015.

Please come and visit us at stand D69.

We would be delighted to talk to you about our insurance solutions for broking intellectual property.

For further information, please contact David Bloom at

The benefits of IP insurance explained

Safeguard iP director, David Bloom will be speaking at a conference hosted by the UK Intellectual Property Office on IP Insurance and how it builds confidence to innovate. The conference which is for insurance industry professionals and IP specialists is taking place on 2nd July 2015 at the Association of British Insurers, 51 Gresham Street, London, EC2V 7HQ. If you would like to attend please email:

Content: the conference will help business representative organisations understand:

  • The various types of IP insurance available;
  • The low-cost alternative dispute resolution options that are available including Mediation and Expert Opinions;
  • The insurance claims process and;
  • How the various insurance products may help license rights, protect revenues and even improve access to finance


We look forward to seeing you there.