In today’s highly competitive world, there has been a rise in the consumer-friendly nature of legal environment across India. It makes it necessary for the people working in different areas to pay utmost care towards the manner in which they are discharging their duties otherwise they could be sued.

In the recent times, it is not only medical professionals who face such issues where they have been sued by other parties as other professionals like engineers, auditors, interior decorators, etc.; are also facing the similar problem.

To protect such professionals, there is an errors and omission insurance policy, which offers financial coverage in case these professionals are being sued by other party. It is also called professional liability insurance policy and professional indemnity insurance.

There is an IPR infringement clause in errors and omission insurance which offers coverage in case there is a violation of intellectual property. An intellectual property infringement is the infringement or violation of the intellectual property right (IPR).

There are various kinds of intellectual property rights like a trademark, copyright, patents, etc.; and use of any such rights without the permission from its original creator can lead to infringement. Like the use of images, slogan, design work, etc., without the authorisation or taking permission from its creator, can lead to a violation of intellectual property rights.

Just because, some images are widely available in the internet world, doesn’t mean that they are someone’s public property and can be used freely. It’s likely that someone or a company will own it, and that person or company will want to be paid in return for you to use ‘their things’.

Read More: Why is Errors & Omissions Insurance Important?

In case you go ahead with their ‘things’ without taking their permission, it could lead to a violation of copyright act. If such a case arises, the other party can file a case against you, and here, your errors and omission insurance can help you.

Under IPR infringement, you can approach your error & omission insurance company who would come forward to cover your expenses that you would have to incur towards defending yourself in the court. It includes compensation as well that you would have to pay to the third party.

Note, errors & omission insurance company would pay coverage only if there Is an unintentional infringement of intellectual property rights. In case it is found that the policyholder infringes on an intentional basis, the insurance company can reject to settle your claim.

Case:

An ace photographer, Ravi Bhatia filed a case against the other photographer, Suresh Mahajan. Ravi clicked some pictures of an old couple and sold it for use in greeting cards and similar products. The photos were a major hit and helped Ravi in earning lakhs.

However, the other photographer, Suresh used the same photograph for creating a set of statutes based on the similar image. Suresh sold several of these structures and also made a significant profit.

Upon discovering this, Ravi filed a case against Suresh for using pictures without his permission under infringement of the copyright act.

Read More: Who Should Buy Errors & Omissions Insurance?

Outcome

When the case reached the court, Suresh argued that he made a fair use of parody only. However, the court found huge similarities between both the images and rejected Suresh’s claim. Though it was concluded that Suresh used images unintentionally, the court asked Suresh to pay monetary compensation to Ravi on account of the infringement of the copyright issue.

Here, Suresh had errors & omission insurance policy, and he had already informed the insurer as soon as the case was filed against him by Ravi. After analysing the situation, the insurer found that this claim fell under the IPR infringement clause of professional indemnity insurance and therefore, agreed to offer the coverage.

The insurer awarded not only monetary compensation to Ravi on behalf of Suresh but also covered legal costs incurred by Suresh in defending himself in the court. In case, infringement was intentionally; the professional liability insurance could have rejected the claim as well.

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