New intellectual property court process will boost UK business
Submit Articles Back to Articles
15 November 2011 - BIS
The Government today confirmed that a new small claims service will be
introduced at the Patents County Court (PCC), helping small and medium
sized businesses protect their copyright, trade marks and designs.
Currently small firms are
often put off enforcing their Intellectual Property (IP) rights by high
costs. The new process will limit fixed costs and allow damages of up
to £5,000 per case. New figures produced today by the Intellectual
Property Office (IPO) estimate that around 150 firms will benefit from
the service every year, providing an annual boost to UK business of
The recommendation for a
small claims service was made in the Hargreaves Review of
Intellectual Property and Growth. Since the review was
published in May 2011 the Government has been looking at building a
business case for the service, which has now been completed meaning it
will become a reality.
Minister for Intellectual
Property Baroness Wilcox said:
“This is great news for
small and medium sized businesses as it will give them the confidence
to stand up and protect their intellectual property rights. A small
claims process means businesses will not have to fight through lengthy
court battles instead of concentrating on growing their business.
“Businesses know how
important it is to protect their rights and have been calling for
changes to be made to the system. The Government is acting on these
concerns because a strong intellectual property system will enable
innovative small companies to grow and support the UK economy. We hope
to have the new system in place by this time next year.”
Justice Minister Jonathan
“It is clearly much better
for the economy if businesses are spending their time and money on
trading and growth, rather than on unnecessarily complicated legal
processes. That is why we are modernising the justice system in order
to provide simpler, quicker and more cost efficient ways to resolve
Evidence presented to the
recent Hargreaves Review, Digital Opportunity: A Review of
Intellectual Property and Growth, indicated that around one
in six (17 per cent) of small and medium sized businesses had given up
attempting to enforce their rights due to high court costs.
1. The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is an executive
agency of the Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills (BIS) and
is responsible for the national framework of Intellectual Property
rights, comprising patents, designs, trade marks and copyright.
2. Its role is to help manage an IP system that encourages
innovation and creativity, balances the needs of consumers and users,
promotes strong and competitive markets and is the foundation of the
3. It operates in a national and an international environment
and its work is governed by national and international law, including
various international treaties relating to Intellectual Property (IP)
to which the United Kingdom is a party.
4. Changes to the legal system for IP cases since June 2010
have included new limits on costs (£50,000) and damages (£500,000) in
the Patents County Court.
5. The limits were implemented following a report by Lord
Justice Jackson in his review of Civil Litigation Costs on 14 January
6. Although recent reforms have improved the cost of taking
smaller IP cases to court, a business with a legal case worth less than
£5,000 could still face costs of up to £50,000 to get a judgement
against an infringer.
7. In the past some companies were put off protecting their
rights due to the cost. Supporting evidence to the Hargreaves
Review of Intellectual Property and Growth highlighted that
around 1 in 6 (17 per cent) of small and medium sized businesses had
given up attempting to enforce their rights.
8. The Central London County Court is designated as a Patents
9. The Hargreaves Review of Intellectual Property and Growth,
and the Government’s response can be found at www.ipo.gov.uk/types/hargreaves.
10. Supporting documents highlighting enforcement issues of IP
can be found at www.ipo.gov.uk/ipreview.
11. For further information on the Patents County Court,
please visit the IPO website www.ipo.gov.uk.
About the Author
© Crown Copyright. Material taken from the BIS Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Reproduced under the terms and conditions of the Click-Use Licence.
Follow us @Scopulus_News
Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2011-11-15 17:18:45 in Legal Articles