Copying and using another company’s content in business proposals, manuals, and even proprietary proposal format has serious legal consequences, including steep fines and losing infringement-gained profits.
In a recent convoluted suit reported by Law.com, Graham Co. v. Haughey, a Philadelphia insurance brokerage firm brought copyright claims against one of its former employees and the firm he now works for. The plaintiff firm claimed that a former employee took copies of two company manuals when he left in 1991 to join USI Holdings Corp., and that USI Holdings ignored the copyright notices on the books and began using content and format in its own sales proposals.
At trial, the plaintiff’s lawyers set out to show that more than $31 million in USI’s revenue over a 13-year period was connected to sales proposals that included some of Graham’s copyrighted proposal content.
After a 4-year process of verdict and appeal, and massive legal fees, the $18.9 million verdict was affirmed. The court ruled it was illegal to use another company’s content or proposal format in sales proposals.
Proposal writing is challenging. A proposal requires a sharp focus on client needs, and evidence your company uniquely solves client problems. Language must be tight and format easily absorbed. These documents drive revenue for your business. Always use your own language, content, and even format.