Like many other associations and businesses, the Big “I” derives significant value and goodwill from its intellectual property, including logos, taglines, white papers and research. This intellectual property is reserved for the exclusive use of the Big “I,” state associations and member agencies, as well as others that have received explicit permission from the Big “I.”
Given the high quality of this intellectual property, unauthorized uses abound, which requires the Big “I” Office of General Counsel to regularly monitor for and take action against such uses.
Member agencies and state associations are important components of the Office of General Counsel’s comprehensive approach to stopping infringement of Big “I” intellectual property. In one recent example, following a tip from a member agency, a state association alerted the Office of General Counsel to infringement of the Big “I” eagle swoosh logo, which appears in the Trusted Choice® logo, by insurance-agencypro.com—a website that is not associated with or endorsed by the Big “I” or Trusted Choice. The Office of General Counsel immediately sent cease-and-desist notices to the website and its hosting provider, and the logo was removed in less than 48 hours. This would not have been possible without the vigilance of the member agency and state association.
The Office of General Counsel stops dozens of instances of infringement every year, often with support from state associations and member agencies. Other forms of infringement include:
- Non-members or former members using Big “I” logos and taglines
- Vendors stating or indicating they are endorsed by or affiliated with the Big “I” or Trusted Choice when they are not (note: Trusted Choice does not make any endorsements, although it occasionally works together with other organizations, such as Make-A-Wish®)
- Using Big “I” white papers, articles and research without prior authorization and proper attribution
These and other forms of infringement are unfair to member agencies whose dues support the creation of the intellectual property and whose membership allows them to use it.
The Office of General Counsel encourages state associations that have questions or suspect infringement to communicate their concerns to Scott Kneeland or Joseph Doherty. In the case of agents, please contact your state association directly.