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
    Mike Masnick (profile), 13 Aug 2009 @ 5:57pm

    Re: entitlemnt or greed?

    Interesting point. I'm not sure "greed" really explains it though. It's entitlement because these companies always seem to feel entitled to their old business models (any new innovations are somehow illegal) and entitled to be free from criticism.

    It's the sense of entitlement that no one is allowed to have any rights to express themselves if the companies don't like it that I find much more troubling than any sense of greed.

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