New Solution for a Professional Liability Insurance

Information from C. Quintelier, Chair of the epi WG on Professional Liability Insurance and P. R. Thomsen, Treasurer of epi


Imagine that a European Patent Attorney makes a mistake during his or her work for a client on a patent application that is expected to protect a key ground-breaking invention, e.g. missing a deadline where no further processing according to Art. 121 EPC is possible , and then any attempts to use re-establishment of rights under Art. 122 EPC fail so that the underlying patent application is finally lost.

In such a situation, the client may become rather unhappy with the concerned European Patent Attorney, but at least the applicant would most likely want to claim the financial damage caused by the lack of patent protection . Such damages can easily amount to hundred thousands of EUR, in some cases even millions of EUR, e.g. if the client can show that he likely suffers from the absence of protection for his invention. Such financial claims can be really threatening for the economic situation of the European Patent Attorney and therefore, it is important and good practice for any European Patent Attorney to have a professional liability insurance which would cover for such incidents.

In some EPC member states it is even mandatory to have a professional liability insurance for nationally qualified patent attorneys, who wants to offer their service to their clients. When the epi learned that epi members in some EPC countries have rather difficulties to find a suitable and/or affordable professional liability insurance, the epi Council supported upon a proposal of the epi Treasurer to install a Working Group to study the possibility for epi to facilitate that all members in all EPC countries have access to a good professional liability insurance that fits the specific needs of our profession.

Now, after around 15 months of work, the Working Group and Treasurer are happy to inform you that with the insurer Lloyds and the broker RMS, who are strong and reliable partners, we made that objective become a reality. epi has concluded a framework contract with RMS that enables RMS to offer to epi members in all 38 member states a suitable solution for a professional liability insurance issued by Lloyds. The insurance is mainly intended for epi members working in free profession, but may also be available to those working in industry, as far as it concerns external work they do which is not for their employer.

Under the framework agreement the individual epi member, or the European patent attorney's firm, can conclude such an insurance under standard terms negotiated by epi with RMS and Lloyds. The amount of the annual premium to be paid will depend on the selected maximum coverage, the deductible (amount you will have to pay from your pocket in case of a claim), the turnover and the number of epi members to be insured. The insurance product, called IPRISK, is covering all typical activities of a European Patent attorney and his/her support staff, including but not limited to drafting, prosecution and opposition work of European, but also national or PCT patent applications in EPC-countries. Upon request, and against an additional premium, there is a possibility to cover also trademark and design work.

If you are interested in such a professional liability insurance or would like to receive a concrete offer please contact RMS directly (RMS Risk Management Service Ltd, Attn. Giuseppe Antonuzzo, Phone: +49 911 5407 688, Email: contact@iprisk.management) or the epi secretariat under the email address insurance@patentepi.com. More detailed information about the new product IPRISK can also be found on the epi website http://www.patentepi.com/en/professional-liability-insurance and the RMS website http://www.iprisk.management/.