There is a strong connection between Intellectual Property (IP) rights and professional indemnity insurance, as professional indemnity insurance is the policy that can cover you in case of intellectual property infringement’s accusation. But your insurance policy in Singapore may not cover automatically infringement of IP rights, and if they do, it may not cover all risks. Looking at the different types of IP rights in Singapore will help you understand what is covered and may not be.
A patent is, by definition, a government authority or licence conferring a right or title for a set period, especially the sole right to exclude others from making, using, or selling an invention. So without the patent owner’s permission, no one is allowed to use it for the next 20 years. Unintentional breach of patent is usually excluded from professional indemnity insurance but it can be covered by an extension clause, which will lead to an increase in premium. Make sure you review your own policy to avoid being at risk of patent infringement.
Copyright is another intellectual property that can be protected. Any original work, be it a written work, visual art, photography or performance work is copyrighted, and it does not require any actions from the author: copyright is automatic and will cover all original creators right to their piece of work. You will need to get authorisation from the owner to use, reproduce or share that content. Risk of copyright infringement is much more common but it is luckily fully covered for unintentional breach under Professional Indemnity insurance .
3/ Design rights
Any design will need to be registered in order to covered, and it will give its owner an exclusive rights during 15 years maximum if renewed every 5 years. Professional indemnity will cover all accidental infringements of design rights without restriction, contrary to patent which may be optional.
Trademark will refer to your company identity, a logo, trading name or tag line. All of this must be registered to give the full rights over them. And once it is registered, any one using them can be sued. When running your business, you may by accident someone else trademark and be liable to pay legal fees and fine. This could be covered by your professional indemnity insurance under the same condition as previous ones.
In today’s media-saturated digital age, risk of IP infringement by mistake is high. It is therefore very important that you make sure that your professional indemnity insurance will cover you in such an event.