Friday, 14 August 2009

Patents County Court: Users' Committee final report

The Working Group of the Intellectual Property Court Users' Committee has published its final report on proposals for reform of the Patents County Court (PCC) in England and Wales, two weeks to the day after PatLit published this piece on the Working Group's consultation paper on the same subject.

These proposals have been drawn up in record time so that they can be submitted to the Jackson Review of civil litigation costs (see earlier PatLit article here).

The report reflects some shifts in stance, presumably in the light of comments received (a list of respondents appears at p.18). In brief, recommendations include the following:
* the financial limit to the value of claims made before the court should be £500,000(twice the ceiling originally proposed);
* the maximum costs award should be £50,000 for any type of claim (ie not differentiating between patent litigation and other IP litigation), though a £25,000 cap should be placed on the cost of inquiries into damages and accounts of profits;
* an Intellectual Property County Court Guide should be prepared, making available guidance to the content of statements of case, the sorts of cases which are suitable for the court and the criteria for transfer between the court and its big sister, the High Court;
* Patents Court judges should be able to hear PCC cases;
* The court should sit outside London in appropriate cases.
If you are printing this document and are worried about the world's precious resources, please note: the report is 21 sides long. However, pages 2, 4, 19 and 20 are entirely plain, while p.21 -- which is also blank -- will squander an entire side's worth of red toner cartridge.

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