New judge for patents court

Fysh’s appointment has been welcomed by lawyers who were concerned about the effectiveness of the Patents County Court, which saw almost a 400 per cent drop in the number of cases heard before it between 1992 and 1998. A source said it was widely feared that the court would “die off”.
A popular judge at the Patents County Court is likely to attract work initially referred to the High Court, of which it is a similar jurisdiction.
Fysh replaces Judge Ford, a Patents County Court judge who retired six months ago.
Judge Ford joined the court from the European Patents Court where he was more used to an inquisitorial, rather than a confrontational, system. Fysh is a deputy High Court judge.
Bird & Bird‘s head of IP Trevor Cook said that a large number of cases heard before Judge Ford were overturned at appeal. But Cook added: “This only relates to cases that were appealed, and certainly there were a lot of his decisions that were not appealed.”
The establishment of the Patents County Court in autumn 1990 emerged out of dissatisfaction with the Patents Court.
The latter underwent improvements after concerns about its survival and, consequently, it was “subject to Woolfian-type reforms before Woolf”, said Cook.
The number of Patents Court cases has remained steady, with recent judicial studies figures showing 87 in 1990, 86 in 1999, and 105 in 2000.
Mr Justices Robin Jacob, Hugh Laddie, and Nicholas Pumphrey currently rotate as Patents Court judges.