SOURCE: Wolf, Greenfield & Sacks

June 07, 2005 11:00 ET

Patenting New Financial Products a Fast-Growing Trend, Wolf Greenfield Lawyer Writes

BOSTON, MA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- June 7, 2005 -- PeopleSoft and Medco Health Solutions have something in common with AIG and Lincoln National Life: each has at least one US patent with the word "insurance" in at least one of its claims.

"Insurers, investment bankers and money managers are increasingly patenting aspects of policies and their administration, pricing and underwriting, as well as innovative financial products and services," Steven J. Henry, co-chair of the IP transactions group at Wolf, Greenfield & Sacks, P.C., writes in the June issue of Risk & Insurance magazine.

"The trend could ultimately change the insurance industry, which has traditionally been a follow-the-leader market.... Now, companies that don't innovate and patent their products may find themselves shut out of markets by those who do," he adds.

Automation, a landmark 1998 court decision, and the opportunity for profit are driving the trend toward patenting financial vehicles, Henry writes.

A few of the products and services financial companies have either recently patented or applied for a patent include an integrated system for the administration of an insurance company; a system for underwriting a combined joint life and long-term care insurance policy which is actuarially responsive to long-term care demands and life expectancies of the individual insureds; creating incentives and insurance offerings to encourage use of seat belts in vehicle; and an insured warranty system for covering loan repayments in the event of disability.

"The game has changed. The reward for being first with an innovation is potentially a lot greater. The approach of being a follower just became a lot riskier," Henry concludes.

The full article can be read at http://www.riskandinsurance.com/050601_riskreport_1.asp.

Founded in 1927, Wolf Greenfield is one of the most experienced law firms in the country specializing in intellectual property law, including patents, trademarks, licensing agreements, copyrights, trade secrets and related litigation. Web: www.wolfgreenfield.com.

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