How to take someone to the Patents Court for using a patent or registered design without permission.
What cases you can bring to the court
You can use the Patents Court if you’re involved in an expensive or complex dispute about a patent or registered design.
For example, you may want to claim a right to a patent on an invention.
The court can order the other side to:
- pay you compensation
- pay you a share of the profits
- stop using your invention or design
The court can award more than £500,000 in profits or damages.
If your dispute involves a smaller sum you should normally use the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court.
Hearings normally take place in the Rolls Building in London but can be held in other courts around England and Wales.
Read the Patents Court guide for details of how to use the court.
Before you start
You could ask the other side to stop using your intellectual property or see if you could license use of your invention or design.
How to start a case
To start court action, fill in a claim form.
Take or send the form to:
7 Rolls Buildings
Court counter open: 10am to 4:30pm
Pay the claim fee
You will need to include a court fee to start the case.
The fee will be based on how much you want to claim in profits or damages.
|Claim amount up to…||Court fee|
|£200,000||5% of the amount|
If your case is worth more than £200,000 the fee is £10,000.
You can pay with cash, a credit/debit card, or a postal order or cheque (paid to ‘HM Courts and Tribunals Service’).
You may have to pay another fee for a court hearing later on.
Serve the form
The court will stamp a copy of your claim form. Give or send this copy to the person or company who will be defending the claim (known as the defendant).
You must also give them:
Send the court a certificate of service to confirm you’ve sent the documents.
You may also have to file the documents with the Intellectual Property Office if you need to make any changes to the Patent Office register.
After you serve the form
The defendant has 14 days to reply, but can ask for an extra 28 days by returning their form with an ‘acknowledgment of service’.
If they don’t respond or defend the claim you can ask the court to make a judgment in your favour.
If they defend the claim you should write to the court to ask for a ‘case management conference’ to discuss the next steps.
Case management conference
The conference is a meeting with the judge and the other side to agree on how the case will be handled.
For instance, you could discuss:
- if you need evidence from experts
- when to share documents
- how complex the case is
- if any experiments are needed
You can also discuss if you want a hearing in court or if the case can be decided using the documents.
Contact the court if you would like to use a streamlined procedure, which will be simpler and quicker than the normal process.
You can ask for this if you:
- give all evidence in writing
- don’t have to share documents with the other side
- don’t need to carry out any experiments
- only want to question one another on certain topics
You can also request an ‘expedited’ (fast) trial. You can do this at any time but should let the defendant know first.
Set a date for the hearing
You will need to make an appointment with the Chancery Listing Officer to set a date for the hearing:
Chancery Listing Officer
7 Rolls Buildings
Telephone: 020 7947 7717
Fax: 0870 739 5868
You will have to pay a £1,090 fee for the hearing.
Filing documents with the court
You must make sure you’ve give the court all the relevant documents at least 2 days before the hearing.
These will include both:
- a skeleton argument – a document giving a summary of the issues
- a trial bundle – bringing together all the witness statements, expert reports and other evidence
Your hearing will be attended by:
- a High Court judge – who will decide your case
- the defendant and their lawyer, if they have one
- you and your lawyer, if you have one
- any witnesses and experts
You and the defendant (or your lawyers) will take turns to present your cases to the judge.
Hearings may take several days and are normally held in a court that is open to the public.
In most cases you won’t find out the judge’s decision until after the hearing.
The court will usually send you a copy of the draft judgment, to check for typos or other textual errors.
The judge will then formally hand down the judgment.
If you disagree with the decision
If you disagree with the decision, you can ask the court for permission to appeal.
If you’re turned down you can still apply to the higher court for permission to appeal.
Find out more about using the Court of Appeal.
If you win your case you may be able to get the defendant to pay some of your costs.
The court will decide on costs based on how both sides behaved, and if you:
- tried to sort out the dispute before the claim was started
- followed the court’s instructions during the case
Legislation and rules
You will have to read and follow the detailed legal rules for using the court:
List of hearings
Upcoming court hearings are published in the Patents Court diary (PDF, 264KB).
You can read the court’s decisions on previous cases on the BAILII website.