The expansion of the UK Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (the “IPEC”) has continued with claims now able to be issued in seven new locations outside of London.
The IPEC is a specialist court for intellectual property disputes. It is a division of the High Court and deals with less complex and lower value claims (less than £500,000 in damages sought) and is designed to provide access to justice for small and medium sized enterprises or individuals. The IPEC also has a small claims track which hears the most straightforward intellectual property cases, where less than £10,000 is claimed.
The IPEC has also shown willingness to move outside of London for the parties’ convenience, as in April this year for the first time in the court’s history, an IPEC trial took place outside of London. APT Training and Consultancy Ltd. and another v Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health NHS Trust, a dispute on trade marks, being heard in Birmingham.
A (small) word of warning
IPEC small claims track cases will be heard by District Judges or by Deputy District Judges. There is a small risk that claims heard outside of London may be heard by District Judges without the intellectual property experience of their London colleagues.
Small Claims Track – a quick reminder
- The amount in dispute (not including costs) must be £10,000 or less, although the court can decide if higher value claims will be heard.
- Only suitable for claims that relate to copyright, UK and EU registered trade marks, passing off and UK and EU unregistered design rights.
- Hearings are short and informal where parties are frequently unrepresented and there is less pre-hearing preparation and fewer formalities of a traditional trial.
- The loser of the case seldom has to pay the winner’s costs and therefore there is less risk as to unknown costs.
- Remedies available include damages for infringement, an account of profits, delivery up or destruction of infringing items and/or a final injunction to prevent infringement in the future.
- Interim remedies e.g. interim injunctions or asset freezing orders are not available.
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