Update: Small Claims Track in the Patents County Court

05-04-2012 16:33

As regular readers of the blog will recall, we have previously discussed the proposed changes to the Patents County Court (“PCC”) and the suggestion, following the Hargreaves Review, that a small claims track is introduced in the PCC.

At the end of 2011, the Government issued a “call for evidence” to give interested associations and bodies a chance to comment on the proposals for the small claims track set out in the Hargreaves Review.  After considering the responses, the Government has made the following decisions:

  • The small claims track in the PCC will work in largely the same way as the small claims track in the general Court system.
  • It is envisaged that the track will deal with all the rights that are dealt with by the PCC (e.g. copyright, trade marks, registered and unregistered designs, database right, and others).  Although the Government believes that the majority of the cases dealt with on the small claims track will involve copyright, unregistered designs and trade marks as many patent disputes may not be suited to the new track. 
  • The initial limit on recovery of damages will be £5,000 which will be increased to £10,000 when the general small claims track is likely to increase in 2013.  A further increase to £15,000 may also be considered at a later date. 
  • Interim injunctions will not be available in the small claims track of the PCC.  The small claims track is meant to be used by litigants in person and interim injunctions in IP disputes are often complex and can incur a substantial amount of costs.   
  • Initially any hearings will take place in London but this will be reviewed as some of the responses questioned whether branches outside London would encourage more people to use the track. 
  • The name of the Patents County Court will be changed to reflect the fact that it deals with all kinds of Intellectual Property claims.

Would your business be interested in using the small claims track to enforce its Intellectual property rights?  We’d be interested in hearing from you.

To find read the full Government response and to find more information on the Hargreaves review in general, please visit the Intellectual Property Office’s website at www.ipo.gov.uk/types/hargreaves.htm.

If you have any queries on this, or on any related topics, please contact Emma Hayward.

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