Insurance Company Sues Website Offering Claim Advice... Saying It's Infringing

from the entitlement-culture dept

Yet another example of "entitlement culture," as companies misuse intellectual property law to try to prop up questionable business models, comes in this latest story, sent in by Jesse. An insurance company in British Columbia, Canada, called ICBC, is suing a website that offers advice on how not to get your insurance claim denied. Obviously, for policy holders, this is useful information. But, to ICBC, it's copyright infringement. Well, at least that's what the article linked above says. I have a hard time seeing how there's a copyright claim here -- especially since the ICBC spokesperson states that they don't have a problem with the content, and that they just have to protect their trademark. So... let's give ICBC the benefit of the doubt and assume the newspaper reporter screwed up, and this is actually a trademark claim rather than a copyright claim (professional reporters for the win, again!). Even so, this would seem like a typical "gripes site" type discussion where, as long as it's clear that the site in question is not run by the company, there shouldn't be any problem. In fact, given that the site provides useful information for ICBC customers, it's difficult to see what the problem is, other than that the insurance company doesn't like its policy holders to learn how to stand up for their rights.
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Filed Under: gripes site, infringement, insurance, trademark
Companies: icbc


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  1. icon
    HolaJohnny (profile), 13 Aug 2009 @ 10:16pm

    I am not a lawyer and all this is just IMHO

    But even with icbc in the domain name I'm curious if that once a person reaches a site that its not abundantly clear they aren't the company or representing the company. And is that really infringing on their trademark? I used to be employed by what is known to some as the big orange box (think home improvement) and not long after quitting for a much much better job I visit a site that I don't remember the domain but was H*** D**** Sucks couldn't this be something along those lines? If a massive corporate entity such as that couldn't silence that site which was very much obviously a critic than how is this insurer hoping to shutdown this site thats not even critical but merely giving the consumer a tool to better handle the likely obstacle course of paperwork and bs that is most insurance companies? Can anyone in the know about this sort of thing give us more insight into how they think this will work (or if it will at all)?

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