Insurance Case Study -Copyright

with Webber Insurance

The Job

Designer was approached to design a house for a client. The client had a clear design vision and provided the designer with existing plans. The designer did a re-design using the plans provided and the house was constructed

The Allegations

The designer was contacted by a third party builder who have alleged a breach of copyright. They believe that the design closely resembles one of theirs and they’re seeking damages for this breach.

The Demand

The builder has asked for an unspecified amount of damages as well as details of any previous projects that may infringe their copyright.

The Case

During the design process, the designer did not;

  1. Query the origin of the plans they were presented
  2. Ask the client if they have approval to use the plans

The designer maintains that the breach was not intentional and stated that they had not considered copyright issues.

The Outcome

The designer’s claim was denied by the insurer on the basis that;

  1. The breach of copyright could not be seen as ‘unintentional’ as there was no attempt to avoid copyright
  2. Whilst the intent was not malicious, the courts hold professionals to a higher standard and precedent in copyright cases is very clear
  3. The conduct of the designer was reckless

The designer has appointed legal defense at their own cost and they are responding to the third party builder. The homeowner has also been served with a demand and will likely litigate the building designer for their costs and eventual damages Uninsured costs in these cases can easily reach six figures.


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Disclaimer: The scenarios here are based on real events, however, they have been simplified and dramatised for publishing. Nothing contained herein is intended as personal or legal advice and you should contact a qualified professional to obtain your own advice
Webber Insurance Services Pty Ltd | ACN: 153 793 090 | ABN: 88 648 036 929 | CAR: 413233 | AR: 434867
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