Global organisations are largely failing to understand the intellectual property (IP) risks facing their organisations and the value of their intangible assets, according to a worldwide report by Marsh and Liberty International Underwriters (LIU). In the 2011 Intellectual Property Survey Report, three-quarters of respondents were unable to quantify the proportion of their firms’ value that could be attributed to intangible assets or goodwill. This is despite almost 70% of firms identifying the protection of IP as a crucial incentive to innovation in their firms.

The majority of firms said that IP was not specifically included in their risk management programmes and only 16% of respondents bought insurance coverage for the main types of IP risks.

Fredrik Motzfeldt, Communications, Media and Technology Leader, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Marsh, commented: “Intellectual property is often the critical asset for firms to protect. Our survey shows there is a real need for organisations to take a more proactive risk management approach to the protection of vital assets.”

Matthew Hogg, Vice President, Strategic Assets, Liberty International Underwriters, added: “Failure to provide adequate protection for IP has the potential to threaten an organisation’s survival. The survey makes clear that firms in the US are taking this threat more seriously than their European counterparts; this could impact global competitiveness.”

The report also highlights several differences between the US and Europe:

  • Over 70% of respondents in the US stated that patents were of high or medium importance, compared to just 56% of European companies
  • 75% of European companies perceived the risk of patent invalidity proceedings to be low, against only 37% of U.S. companies
  • European respondents perceived the risk of IP litigation in the US to be higher than their actual U.S. counterparts, with 33.3% of Europeans seeing it as high risk, against only 15.8% of U.S. respondents.

The 2011 Intellectual Property Survey Report, created by Marsh and LIU, gauges the current understanding of intellectual property (IP) trends and risks among businesses globally.

About Liberty Mutual Group

“Helping people live safer, more secure lives” since 1912, Boston-based Liberty Mutual Group is a diversified global insurer and third largest property and casualty insurer in the U.S. based on A.M. Best Company’s report of 2010 net written premium.  The Group also ranks 82nd on the Fortune 100 list of largest corporations in the U.S. based on 2010 revenue.  As of December 31, 2010, Liberty Mutual Group had $112.4 billion in consolidated assets, $95.4 billion in consolidated liabilities, and $33.2 billion in annual consolidated revenue. Liberty Mutual Group ( employs over 45,000 people in more than 900 offices throughout the world. Liberty Mutual Insurance Europe Limited ( is a wholly owned subsidiary of global insurer Liberty Mutual Group writing both Commercial Lines, trading as Liberty Mutual Insurance, and Specialty Lines, trading as Liberty International Underwriters (LIU).

About Marsh

Marsh, the world’s leading insurance broker and risk advisor, teams with its clients to define, design, and deliver innovative industry-specific solutions that help them protect their future and thrive. It has over 24,000 colleagues who collaborate to provide advice and transactional capabilities to clients in over 100 countries. Marsh is a member of Marsh & McLennan Companies, a global professional services firm with 51,000 employees worldwide and annual revenue exceeding $10 billion, which is also the parent company of Guy Carpenter, the risk and reinsurance specialist; Mercer, the provider of HR and related financial advice and services; and Oliver Wyman, the management consultancy. Its stock (ticker symbol: MMC) is listed on the New York, Chicago and London stock exchanges. Follow Marsh on Twitter @Marsh_Inc.