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New small claims track for intellectual property disputes

A new small claims track has been introduced to the Patents County Court, with the aim of speeding up the court process and making it easier for small and medium-sized businesses in England and Wales to protect their intellectual property (IP).

Under the new procedure, SMEs will be able to pursue low value IP disputes through an informal hearing, without legal representation. The move is expected to significantly reduce costs.

Claims relating to copyright, trademarks and unregistered designs that are dealt with via the small claims track will be subject to a cost restriction of £5,000 or less.

Business minister Michael Fallon commented, ‘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’.

The move follows other recent measures designed to simplify court procedures, including the introduction of a cap on damages, and a limit on legal costs.