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Patents County Court


For most SME's, having a practical, cost-effective plan for translating their company's innovations into revenue is of paramount importance. Yet, not as many recognise the value locked-up in their Intellectual Property (patents, designs, trade marks, copyright and know-how). Although this is only a part of the bigger picture, a good strategy for generating, capturing and protecting IPRs will ensure that even SME's do not miss out on opportunities that have a potential to create additional / supplementary revenue streams using. This may be achieved in a number of ways such licensing use of an IP right, but also through careful marking of products. But at times, there may be a need to send out warnings to competitors who may appear to be misusing / infringing IPRs, including use of the court system / dispute resolution.

In the United Kingdom, a company has a number of options regarding resolving IP related disputes, including:-

(1) Low-cost non-binding Patent Office opinions.
(2) Independent dispute resolution tribunals.
(3) High Court actions.

However, under new rules that came into effect on 1 October 2010, the Patents County Court (PCC) will become a forum for lower value and much more streamlined IPR dispute resolution, a move aimed at providing access to justice for individual inventors and SMEs.

In addition to being able to award the full range of relief including injunctions and damages, costs awarded against the losing party will be capped at £50,000, which in itself is expected to lower the overall costs incurred during litigation.