Finance and Insurance

The financial and insurance industries developed their business models long before there were IP rights in service marks, business methods or financial instruments. Furthermore, the transformation of the industries from serving mainly business clients to providing broader services to the general public has changed the role that traditional IP rights play in their business plans. While companies operating in these fields today recognize these changes, optimizing the use of their IP rights is sometimes elusive, especially since there is significant variation around the world as to the availability of and means for enforcing such rights. Ladas & Parry’s long experience in dealing with such issues assists in such optimization.

Our attorneys adapt to the needs of our financial and insurance clients by taking the time to understand the extent of involvement and attention that they can devote to matters we are handling for them, keeping them informed as much or as little as desired, and orienting and focusing them on matters we understand to be of greater importance to their companies.

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+ Brand, Logo, Slogan, and Trademark Development and Protection

Perhaps more so than companies in other industries, financial and insurance companies struggle to develop distinctive brands. They are sometimes more accustomed to simple acronyms, names, slogans, and logo designs that may describe what they do but otherwise do not necessarily distinguish them from their competitors. As a result, they can overextend their legal budget in the trademark area both by more frequently requesting clearance searches that may only have limited utility for the less distinctive marks in which they are interested or by encountering conflicts with competitors and third parties that are more likely to adopt similar marks. While we are pleased to follow our clients’ instructions, some prefer to consider our preliminary advice on the relative cost and benefit of the service they are requesting and alternative options before we proceed. In this way, we can guide our clients to spend their legal budget more wisely on more protectable elements of the brands they wish to adopt.

+ Investments and Secured Transactions involving IP Assets

Financial and insurance companies are often involved in mergers and acquisitions or investments in which intellectual property assets will change hands or serve as collateral. Whether a client is divesting IP rights or acquiring new assets, our transactional IP experts counsel and shepherd them through the M&A process from the auditing and due diligence stage through contract drafting stages, and closing and post-closing issues, including chain of title recordal programs in which we prepare documentation in-house that conforms to the law and practice in every jurisdiction throughout the world.

+ Collaboration Agreements and Strategic Alliances

Financial and insurance companies often collaborate with other companies and share and develop intellectual property as part of a strategic alliance. Ladas & Parry’s transactional team is frequently engaged to counsel clients with respect to the proper licensing and protection of IP that is central to these arrangements. From carefully crafting Collaboration Agreements to advising clients regarding confidentiality, trade secrets, know-how and critical commercial considerations germane to these arrangements, our lawyers possess the legal, technological and commercial expertise to guide our clients through these complex transactions.

+ Development of Products by Outside Contractors

Companies operating in the financial and insurance industries frequently employ outside contractors to develop products and services that integrate with the company’s own expertise. Examples include software platforms and mobile apps. Because such companies are sometimes unaccustomed as to how these relationships can result in the creation of protectable rights not automatically owned by them, they rely on Ladas & Parry to ensure that they retain ownership and control of externally created and externally managed assets.

+ Domain Names

Financial and insurance companies do not always manage their domain names in a manner conforming with their business needs and their trademark portfolios. They also may not have taken steps to reserve their trademarks and other key terms on new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) that relate to their industries, such as .bank, .finance, .financial, .insurance, .foundation, .partners, .properties, .trade, where permissible. We provide our clients with domain name registration services through our affiliated brand monitoring and ICANN-accredited domain name registrar subsidiary, Principium Strategies. Principium Strategies also provides watch services to monitor third-party attempts to register domain names of terms similar and identical to our clients’ trademarks on any top level domain. Our vast experience handling domain name conflicts through negotiation, dispute resolution, and litigation throughout the world enables us to support financial and insurance companies by protecting their rights in the digital world.

+ Financial Business Method Patents

The laws relating to patent protection for business methods and financial instruments vary significantly around the world. In jurisdictions such as China and the European Union, for example, protection is possible only if some “technical problem” is solved. In countries such as Australia and Japan, protection is available if there is something physical or technical about the invention (even if no technical problem is solved). In the United States, protection is in principle available as long as the invention is more than an abstract idea, although this is subject to varying interpretations by the courts as to exactly what is abstract. Our experience in the field enables us to focus attempts to secure protection on what is protectable in a given jurisdiction, thereby ensuring a cost effective approach to protection of inventions in this field.