Monday, 26 November 2012

Designation of patent litigation in England and Wales: new practice

From the IP Court Users' Committee (England and Wales) comes the following announcement (it seem a bit alien to readers from outside the jurisdiction, but PatLit is pleased to have the opportunity to promulgate anything the IPCUC asks):

Designation of Claim Forms in the Patents Court from 1 January 2013. 

 With effect from January 2013, all Patents claims will be given a new designation HP.   So instead of e.g. the current HC 12 C01111 for Chancery claims, the claim number will be HP 13 C01111. 

 This will apply to all claims in the Patents Court (and so will include SPCs and sweep in a few registered designs etc). Those who issue proceedings in the Patents Court from 1 January are asked to make it clear to the counter staff on issue that it is a Patents Claim and therefore requires the new HP designation or, if issuing by post, then to emphasise the point in a covering note.  
In general the staff are very good about this and there should not be a problem as, of course, the claim will be headed Patents Court as at present, but it can only help if the point is drawn to the attention of the counter staff at the time of issue. Under s. 96 of the Patents Act 1977, CPR Part 63 and Practice Direction 63 High Court claims relating to patents and certain other Intellectual Property rights are commenced in the Patents Court and the claim form is required to be marked “Chancery Division Patents Court’” If and when the draft agreement on a Unified Patent Court (UPC) becomes effective, it will be necessary to establish how many patent cases are started in the UK in successive years. 
 This change will enable the relevant claims for the purposes of UPC counting to be extracted electronically. This will make the collection of accurate data about the number of “patent cases” significantly easier than at present, although it is expected that it will still be necessary (given that in some European jurisdictions cases may be counted on a different basis) to review the HP cases to establish 
·          how many patents were in issue, 
·          whether there is a revocation counterclaim or anything else that might be characterised as a “patent action” in other parts of Europe, 
·          whether other patents are added into the claim later, and 
·          whether any application for interim relief was made. 
  Philip Westmacott
Secretary IPCUCNovember 2012

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