News story

New intellectual property court process will boost UK business

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Currently small firms are often put off enforcing their Intellectual Property (IP) rights by high costs. The new process will limit fixed costs…

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Currently small firms are often put off enforcing their Intellectual Property (IP) rights by high costs. The new process will limit fixed costs and allow damages of up to £5,000 per case. New figures produced today by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) estimate that around 150 firms will benefit from the service every year, providing an annual boost to UK business of £350,000.

The recommendation for a small claims service was made in the _Hargreaves Review of Intellectual Property and Growth. _Since the review was published in May 2011 the Government has been looking at building a business case for the service, which has now been completed meaning it will become a reality.

Minister for Intellectual Property Baroness Wilcox said:

“This is great news for small and medium sized businesses as it will give them the confidence to stand up and protect their intellectual property rights. A small claims process means businesses will not have to fight through lengthy court battles instead of concentrating on growing their business.

“Businesses know how important it is to protect their rights and have been calling for changes to be made to the system. The Government is acting on these concerns because a strong intellectual property system will enable innovative small companies to grow and support the UK economy. We hope to have the new system in place by this time next year.”

Justice Minister Jonathan Djanogly said:

“It is clearly much better for the economy if businesses are spending their time and money on trading and growth, rather than on unnecessarily complicated legal processes. That is why we are modernising the justice system in order to provide simpler, quicker and more cost efficient ways to resolve disputes.”

Evidence presented to the recent Hargreaves Review_, Digital Opportunity: A Review of Intellectual Property and Growth, _indicated that around one in six (17 per cent) of small and medium sized businesses had given up attempting to enforce their rights due to high court costs.

Notes to editors

  1. The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is an executive agency of the Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills (BIS) and is responsible for the national framework of Intellectual Property rights, comprising patents, designs, trade marks and copyright.

  2. Its role is to help manage an IP system that encourages innovation and creativity, balances the needs of consumers and users, promotes strong and competitive markets and is the foundation of the knowledge-based economy.

  3. It operates in a national and an international environment and its work is governed by national and international law, including various international treaties relating to Intellectual Property (IP) to which the United Kingdom is a party.

  4. Changes to the legal system for IP cases since June 2010 have included new limits on costs (£50,000) and damages (£500,000) in the Patents County Court.

  5. The limits were implemented following a report by Lord Justice Jackson in his review of Civil Litigation Costs on 14 January 2010.

  6. Although recent reforms have improved the cost of taking smaller IP cases to court, a business with a legal case worth less than £5,000 could still face costs of up to £50,000 to get a judgement against an infringer.

  7. In the past some companies were put off protecting their rights due to the cost. Supporting evidence to the _Hargreaves Review of Intellectual Property and Growth _highlighted that around 1 in 6 (17 per cent) of small and medium sized businesses had given up attempting to enforce their rights.

  8. The Central London County Court is designated as a Patents County Court.

  9. The Hargreaves Review of Intellectual Property and Growth, and the Government’s response can be found at www.ipo.gov.uk/types/hargreaves.

  10. Supporting documents highlighting enforcement issues of IP can be found at www.ipo.gov.uk/ipreview.

  11. For further information on the Patents County Court, please visit the IPO website www.ipo.gov.uk.

  12. For further information, please contact Dan Palmer on 0207 215 5303 or e-mail comunications@ipo.gov.uk.

Notes to Editors

Contact Information

Name BIS Press Office Job Title

Division COI Phone

Fax

Mobile

Email NDS.BIS@coi.gsi.gov.uk

Name Dan Palmer Job Title

Division Department for Business, Innovation and Skills Phone 020 7215 5303 Fax

Mobile

Email dan.palmer@bis.gsi.gov.uk

Published 15 November 2011