The Patents County Court

 

The England and Wales Patents County Court (PCC) - since October 2013 known as the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court - is a specialist County Court dealing with intellectual property (IP) claims. It has jurisdiction to resolve a wide range of IP issues, including:

  • Patents
  • Trade marks
  • Designs
  • Copyright

Cases are presided over by a specialist IP judge.

The PCC hears less complex and lower value IP values. Most cases are brought to the PCC by small and medium businesses.

Reform of the PCC

There has been ongoing reform of the PCC to make it more accessible for smaller claimants. Simpler, more streamlined procedures have been introduced. Importantly, the costs which can be ordered to be paid by the losing party are now capped at £50,000.

Additionally, a limit has been placed on the amount of damages that can be claimed, limited to a maximum of £500,000. At the moment this limit only applies to patent and design cases, but it is expected that it will be extended to apply to copyright and trade mark cases. This limit separates the cases that are to be heard in the PCC versus those more complex claims to be heard in the High Court.

Small claims service

In 2012, a new small claims service was introduced. Cases in the small claims service are subject to a limit on fixed costs and damages to a maximum of £5,000.

More complex or high value claims can still be heard in the High Court. The Chancery Division of the High Court deals with IP cases. There are nominated judges of the Patents Court in the High Court Chancery Division.

Some Chancery Registry County Courts have jurisdiction over limited types of IP cases, such as copyright and some trade mark issues. However, usually cases are transferred to the PCC for specialist attention.

Scotland and Northern Ireland

In Scotland, the Court of Session deals with IP cases. In Northern Ireland, the Chancery Division of the High Court of Northern Ireland hears some IP cases.

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