Some true stories sound like an Aesop fable, but this actually happened. The names and some facts have been omitted or altered to protect the innocent:
Once upon a time there was a builder who journeyed to a distant state where there was a trade show. At the show he saw the design plans to a beautiful home. He could have purchased the plans from the builder who owned them for a pittance, but he was afraid the rightful owner might not sell. So, he stole the plans and returned home where he started building spec homes based on the purloined design. They sold and sold well. And the builder was pleased. Soon, however, the builder began to think “I wonder how many more homes I could sell if I advertised?” So, he went to the local TV station and appeared on Cavalcade of Homes. Soon, orders for the beautiful homes poured in. The builder grew prosperous. He even won a prestigious award for “his” design. His picture and story appeared on TV. Our builder had arrived and was very happy.
Meanwhile, back in the distant state the builder who really owned the plans for the beautiful homes was watching TV one day. Suddenly, to his amazement, he saw the smiling face of the builder who had taken his plans accepting an award while standing in front of one of the beautiful homes. The builder who owned the plans became angry and vowed to get justice. He called a lawyer, who sued the builder who stole the plans. The builder was not worried. “I’ll just file a claim with my general liability company. I won’t loose a dime.” Unfortunately, for him his policy excluded coverage for infringement of copyright in his advertising.* He had to pay the true builder all the money he had made for all the homes he had sold based on the stolen plans; plans he could have bought for a pittance.
The moral of our story is insurance covers things that happen by accident – not by design.
*(Refers to CG WP 00 17, Exclusion – Infringement of Copyright, Patent, Trademark or Trade Secret. Standard in all RWC Insurance Advantage general liability policies.)