Claims Limit in the Patents County Court

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Following consultation with the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys on the issue of the value of damages or account of profit claims to be awarded to the Patents County Court, the recommended limit of 500,000 has been accepted by most respondents.

The Government has now laid out a statutory instrument (SI) to give effect to this limit. It is intended that the statutory instrument will come into force on June 14, 2011.

Previously, the Patents County Court has separated itself from the Patents Court (High Court) by placing a cost cap on the legal fees which can be awarded. The current cost cap is £50,000 for a decision of first instance, and a further £25,000 for a decision on quantum of relief, bringing the total amount that can be claimed by on party from another in respect of legal fees in the Patents County Court to £75,000.

Effectively this means that for an unsuccessful party in intellectual property litigation in the Patents County Court, the maximum monetary penalty awarded by the court can be £500,000 damages or accounts of profits, plus £75,000 in legal fees. Conversely, for successful parties in the Patents County Court, the maximum monetary relief which can be obtained is £500,000 plus an award for costs from the unsuccessful party amounting to no more than £75,000.

The Court can of course award injunctions to prevent infringement and award other relief such as orders to change ownership of patents, orders of revocation or amendment of patents and all the usual relief orders available in respect of patents, trade marks, designs and copyright.

Article Published May 11, 2011