The Patents County Court (PCC) was re-named the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (IPEC) in 2013 and became a specialist court operating within the Chancery Division of the High Court. Between 2010 and 2013 a number of reforms were implemented which included active case management, recoverable costs scale with a total cap of £50,000, a damages cap of £500,000 and the introduction of a small claims track.
The IPO recently commissioned a Report: “Evaluation of the Reforms of the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court 2010-2013”.
As the name suggests, the 53 page report examines the reforms and their impact. The report confirms that IPEC is a good place to litigate. It has increased access to justice for IP rights holders – especially SMEs and individuals - and there has been a significant increase in the number of claims issued in this court since the reforms were implemented.
The report concludes that an adverse costs cap of £50,000 (i.e. the maximum amount of costs you can be ordered to pay the winner – subject to conduct issues) and active case management to ensure a maximum two day trial length, are two of the main attractions to litigating in IPEC.
Sarah Cook has conducted a variety of cases in IPEC. She agrees that it provides an alternative to the High Court for IP rights holders which were, historically, dissuaded from taking action in the High Court due to high costs and extended time frames. From her experience, the cost cap enables clients to better understand their risk exposure before issuing a claim. The early Case Management Conference is an excellent way to focus disclosure on the key issues and limit the amount of witness evidence which helps to make the litigation experience less daunting for clients and keeps the costs associated with these aspects of litigation in check.
If you require assistance in connection with an IP matter, please contact: