The Intellectual Property Enterprise Court — another busy year

The change of name to the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court makes sense. This court deals with intellectual property cases of all kinds, not simply patent cases, provided the value of the claim is not worth more than £500,000. By limiting the length of trial — often to just one day – and the amount of work done pre-trial, such as disclosure of documents and exchange of witness statements, costs of litigation in the court are considerably less than they would be in the High Court.

The cap of £50,000 on the amount of costs that the losing party can be ordered to pay to the winner also substantially reduces the risk in relation to costs, when compared with litigation in the High Court. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in particular have been deterred by the costs of going to court to defend their intellectual property rights, so the reduced risk of exposure on costs in the court is a welcome shot in the arm for these businesses, who are no longer priced out of intellectual property litigation. However, the court is not the exclusive preserve of smaller businesses — multinationals too may find that there are cases in which it makes economic sense to bring proceedings in the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court rather than in the High Court.

Since October 2012, the court has operated a small-claims track for cases worth up to £10,000. This covers trademark, passing off, copyright and unregistered design right cases and uses an even simpler and more informal procedure. Generally, no costs will be awarded in small-claims cases…

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