The first of the recommendations of the Intellectual Property Court Users’ Committee’s working group on the reform of the Patents County Court was to change the name of that court to the Intellectual Property County Court. As my recent posts on the new Patents County Court Rules, Alk-Abello
and Westwood v Knight have shown, that is exactly what the new court has become. Under its new judge and with its new rules the Patents County Court is now the appropriate forum for all types of intellectual property claims – and not just patent and registered designs cases – between small and medium enterprises with a value of less than £500,000. That covers nearly all the intellectual property claims that originate outside London.
Even before the reforms Chancery masters had begun to refer all but the most important intellectual property cases to the Patents County Court almost as a matter of course. So, too, did the district judges of the other county courts. The Court’s speedy procedures, the assurance of a trial by a specialist judge and the limits to the recoverable costs make it increasingly likely that claims issued in the District Registries and Chancery County Courts will be transferred there. As the Court has always been willing to sit outside London for the convenience of the parties and their witnesses, the case for transfer in most intellectual property claims will be unanswerable. If and in so far as there is a case for retaining an intellectual property case in say Leeds, Liverpool or Manchester there is nothing to stop the Vice-Chancellor and his deputies from adopting some or all of the practices of the Patents County Court to save time and costs. And knowing our local Chancery bench as I do, I think that in many cases they probably will.
So it is in the interests of all commercial and litigation solicitors, patent and trade mark attorneys and commercial and chancery counsel get to know and understand the new rules. To assist them, NIPC Training will hold the afternoon training session in Bradford mentioned in the panel to the right on 6 Jan 2011. For further information, visit our training website at www.nipc-training.co.uk or download the course brochure. If you want to be sure of your place you can book and pay online right now. Otherwise call us on 0800 862 0055 to reserve your place or request further information.