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One of the most interesting announcements of the new Intellectual Property Enterprise Court Guide is the decision to appoint from October 2019 district judges to hear small intellectual property claims in Birmingham (see The New IPEC Guide 4 July 2019 NIPC News).
The cases that those district judges will be entitled to hear pursuant to CPR 63.27 will be claims for £10,000 or less for the infringement of intellectual property rights other than patents, registered and registered Community designs, semiconductor topographies and plant varieties. In Small IP Claims, I gave examples of cases that might be suitable for the small claims track and of others that would not. The claimant must ask for the claim to be allocated to the small claims track in its particulars of claim and no objection should be raised by the defendant. However, even if a case falls within the jurisdiction of the small claims track and the parties want it to stay there, the court may transfer it to the multitrack if it is likely to take more than a day to try or there is a difficult point of law or factual issue to decide.
Proceedings in the small claims track are governed by CPR Part 27 and the Part 27 Practice Direction as modified by CPR 63.27 and CPR 63.28 and paragraph 63.32 of the Part 63 Practice Direction. Though successful claimants can obtain final injunctions and orders for delivery up of infringing materials as well as damages or accountable profits they cannot claim interim injunctions. Liability and the amount of any damages or other pecuniary relief to be awarded are decided at the same time. Directions are given automatically in accordance with Appendix B or C of the Part 27 Practice Direction after statements of case are exchanged and although the court has power under CPR 27.6 to hold preliminary hearings these are the exception rather than the rule. There is no provision for disclosure and the costs that may be recovered from an unsuccessful party are limited to court fees, £260 if an injunction is sought and a lawyer has been instructed, travelling expenses and loss of earnings up to £95 per witness and up to £750 in experts' fees.
The new IPEC guide indicates that those wishing to bring an IP case in the small claims track in Birmingham should use the electronic filing system.
Anyone wishing to discuss this article or small claims track IP litigation generally should call me on 020 7404 5252 or send me a message through my contact page.