Professional and technical services vendors that develop custom software or technology to the specifications of their customers often face demands to indemnify and defend their customers from infringement claims of intellectual property rights. “If I’m sued because of your deliverable,” the customer's argument goes, “then you should step up and take responsibility for your failure to respect third party IP rights.”
This stance, though common, fails to appreciate the unique danger posed by “strict liability” IP rights for such vendors. These are IP rights that can be infringed regardless of whether the accused infringer knew of the existence of the protected subject matter, and regardless of any intention or knowledge. Utility patents, design patents, trademarks, trade dress, and, in the EU, design registrations, represent strict liability IP rights.