A new small claims track has been introduced to the Patents County Court. This is designed to speed up the court process and make it cheaper and easier, particularly for small and medium sized businesses, to protect their intellectual property (IP) rights.
The small claims track will provide to copyright, trade mark and unregistered design holders the option of pursuing basic IP disputes through an informal hearing, without legal representation, which is expected to make it much cheaper to pursue IP infringement cases.
Claims allocated to the small claims track will be subject to damages limits of £5,000 or less to ensure they are proportionate to what is at stake.
Business Minister Michael Fallon said: “Small firms whose intellectual property has been infringed will have a simpler and easier way to take their cases forward, by writing direct to the judge and setting out the issues.
“Lower legal costs will make it easier for entrepreneurs to protect their creative ideas. A smarter and cheaper process is good for business.”
The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) offers a range of other alternatives to court action for resolving IP disputes, including hearings before an IPO tribunal, or using the IPO’s mediation services. It recommends that legal action is only taken as a last resort.