A Policy for Trade Secrets

Insurance for patents, trademarks, and copyrights.

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Insurance for patents, trademarks, and copyrights. What’s next? Now there’s a policy designed to protect against the theft of trade secrets. But some think you shouldn’t insure what can’t be quantified.

CNA Financial Corp. introduced a trade-secret policy last November because “potential clients had expressed interest in covering intangible assets and the industry didn’t respond, because valuation was a difficult thing to nail down,” says vice president Michael McCarthy.

The notion already has its critics. “Even though you can document trade-secret theft, there is still no way you can ever actually protect your company from it,” reports Rick Lawlor, a senior analyst at World Research Advisory. “No company right now can value the intangible of a trade secret, so how can an insurance company attempt to put down a policy?” he says.

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