When Competition and Coverage Collide: Clarifications, Trends, and Forecasts of Coverage B for Trade Disparagement Claims

Meghan E. Ruesch

Courts are attuned to insureds’ attempts to transform certain common business disputes into disparagement claims, but they diverge on whether the attempts may still trigger a duty to defend.

Competition is the name of the game in the marketing world, and what better marketing strategy is there than to point out the superior quality of your product or service to your competitors? Who does it better? Coke or Pepsi? Google or Bing? Apple or Samsung? Market competitors are constantly trying to one-up the other, but sometimes a simple marketing strategy can cross the line of healthy and lawful competition to trade disparagement. But where is that “line”? What if the disparagement is not explicit but can be implied? And for insurers evaluating insurance coverage, when do these claims potentially trigger defense obligations?

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