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The Patents County Court has now introduced a small claims track for IP disputes, which will not only speed up the Court process, but it will make access to justice easier for smaller and medium sized businesses wishing to protect their intellectual property rights.

IP disputes including trade mark, unregistered design right and copyright claims will be heard through the new small claims track, if damages are likely to be awarded at £5,000 or less. The process is expected to be more streamlined and will allow claims to be heard on a more informal footing without legal representation.

Business Minister Michael Fallon said:

“Small firms, whose intellectual property have been infringed, will have today a simpler and easier way to take their cases forward, by writing direct to the judge and setting out the issues.

“Lower legal costs will make it easier for entrepreneurs to protect their creative ideas where they had previously struggled to access justice in what could often be an expensive progress. A smarter and cheaper process is good for business and helping businesses make the most of their intellectual property is good for the economy.”

This latest move by the Government is in keeping with a number of planned reforms for intellectual property disputes. Changes already introduced have been a cap on damages and limitations on legal costs. Both measures have reduced the length of IP disputes and the costs.

Comments for Businesses

This latest development demonstrates the need to streamline the legal process for resolving IP disputes, which are clearly on the increase.

The introduction of the small claims track makes it easier for smaller businesses to protect their intellectual property rights.

The Courts are also leaning more and more towards Alternative Dispute Resolution, so businesses should not be dissuaded from taking steps to protect their intellectual property rights, as it does not always need to be an expensive option.