Intellectual Property Lawsuit? Enter the Wu-Tang.
“Pharma bro” Martin Shkreli, previous CEO of the companies Retrophin and Turing Pharmaceuticals, has been in the news lately for jacking up the price of an AIDS treatment by more than 5,000 percent. He has since been arrested for allegations of securities fraud related to his time as CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, Shkreli has now been tagged with an intellectual property lawsuit arising from his ownership of an ultra-rare Wu-Tang Clan album.
According to Reuters, Shkreli purchased the exclusive Wu-Tang Clan album “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin,” of which only one copy exists, for $2 million at auction. While boasting of his acquisition, stating that he bought it to “keep it from the people,” he allowed a magazine to publish images of the artwork that appeared in the album on the Internet.
According to the same article, the artist of the album artwork filed a complaint, saying he never agreed to his artwork being used for the album’s packaging. In addition to the band, the artist also blamed Shkreli for allowing the artwork to be published in an online article.
The result? Shkreli faces statutory damages up to $150,000 for intellectual property infringement, per work.
While it is difficult to sympathize with Shkreli, all businesses are potentially exposed to similar allegations of intellectual property infringement. Whenever a company distributes content created by a third party, they are exposed. This could be content used in their advertising or in delivery of their professional services. Examples include:
- A restaurant group that hires a firm to handle their social media presence
- A software firm using code provided by an independent contractor
- An anesthesiology group that employed a third party to design and build their website
- A fulfillment service distributing products of a third party
- Protection to the insured for content created by them or a third party that they then distribute
- Broad definition of “covered content”
- Coverage for media liabilities assumed under contract
- Content displayed on products (logos, images, etc.) is covered
- Full limits of intellectual property coverage up to $5 million
Please contact your Devon Park Specialty underwriter for more information or a quote.
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Contact Rob Ling
Executive Vice President, Chief Underwriting Officer | Devon Park Specialty Insurance | 888-523-5545 Ext. 2234
Written by Erik Tifft
March 3, 2016