New court process for dealing with minor IP disputes
This time next year will see a new small claims process in place for intellectual property disputes at the Patents County Court.
The new small claims process, confirmed by the Government yesterday, will see a limit placed on fixed costs and allow damages of up to £5,000 to be awarded per case. The stated hope is that the new process will enable small and medium sized businesses to save money whilst still allowing them to protect their copyright, trade mark and design rights. The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) estimate that around 150 firms will benefit from the new service every year, providing an annual boost to UK business of £350,000 although it is unclear as to the basis of this very modest prediction. Indeed if the benefits are this modest I would question why bother?
However, the news in outline will be welcomed by many small and medium sized businesses who are often deterred from enforcing their intellectual property rights by the threat of high costs being incurred.
Whilst I await further details of the new process I would question just how effective it will really prove to be for smaller sized businesses as surely it can only be of use in very minor and straightforward cases where perhaps the Claimant can muddle along without legal representation e.g. where a photographer wishes to recover a reasonable fee for the unauthorised use of one of his or her photographs.
Hopefully all will become clear once the finer detail of the new procedure is announced.