10th Circuit Dish Network insurance case reinforces the need to read your policy closely……very closely.

Well-known patent troll Ron Katz sued Dish Network in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California alleging infringement of 23 patents by Dish Network’s customer service telephone system pay-per-view ordering features. Dish had five commercial insurance policies in place all of which provided for defense costs in lawsuits claiming “advertising Injury.” As is typical, the policies all defined “advertising Injury” as injury arising out, et alia, “misappropriation of advertising ideas or style of doing business.” Equating patent infringement to misappropriation, and noting that some of the claims of some of the patents covered a method of advertising, … Dish submitted insurance claims seeking defense coverage for its defense. Not surprisingly, these were denied. Dish sued its five insurers to uphold their “duty to defend.” The district court granted the insurers summary judgment on the basis that patent infringement per se does not fall within the “advertising injury” coverage of commercial general liability policies. Dish appealed to the Tenth Circuit and won a reversal and remand Monday. The Tenth Circuit held that a claim for patent infringement can indeed constitute “advertising injury” under the Dish (or other similar) policies “if the patent ‘involves any process or invention which could reasonably be considered an ‘advertising idea.’

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