The price of success in the Patents County Court — especially on a CFA

The very recent patent infringement case of Scopema SARL v Scot Seat Direct Ltd has demonstrated just how ruthless the costs-capping regime can be in the Patents County Court (PCC).

The claimant brought a claim for patent infringement against the defendant. The end result at trial, which lasted only half a day, was that the defendant succeeded in defending the claim by persuading the court that its product did not infringe the claimant’s patent. It had based its defence on three main non-infringement arguments. It only really succeeded in relation to one of those threads of argument — although of course this was sufficient for a finding of non-infringement. 

The proceedings then moved to the consideration of costs and there was a separate hearing on the point. The claimant admitted that the defendant was the winner overall, and so in the usual course of things the claimant would have to pay the defendant’s reasonable costs. However, this was the PCC, so the recovery of costs was always going to be subject to the £50,000 cap. In addition, given that a couple of the defendant’s arguments had failed to persuade the trial judge, the claimant sought a reduction on the amount of costs it would have to pay to the defendant…

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