A new cap on damages in the Patents County Court has been introduced to encourage more businesses to protect their intellectual property and enforce their rights.
The Patents County Court (Financial Limits) Order (No.2) 2011, which came into force on 1st October, introduces £500,000 damages limit for a broad range of Intellectual Property claims, including copyright and trade mark claims, which may be heard in the Patents County Court.
The new cap means that small companies claiming damages up to that amount are less likely to face a potentially more expensive trip to the High Court. The change should encourage more businesses to protect their intellectual property and enforce their rights.
Previously, a business with a legal case worth less than £500,000 could face litigation in either court with unknown levels of financial risk, a factor that dissuaded small and medium sized firms from enforcing IP rights because of the fear of high court costs.
The change will mean that lower value, less complex cases, will automatically fall within the jurisdiction of the Patents County Court which has a less costly and more streamlined process. The risk of expensive disputes over where the case should be heard will therefore be reduced.
The effectiveness of the damages cap will be monitored with a formal review in 2014.
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