With the advent of a new small claims track in the Patents County Court, SMEs and individuals can now enforce their creative and Intellectual Property rights with less formality, cost and increased speed.
From 1 October 2012, the new small claims track came into being and is now available to any dispute relating to trademarks, passing off, copyright or unregistered designs, provided that the value of the claim does not exceed £5,000. Given the bar on the claim value, the procedure is not available to litigate patent or registered design rights. Interim injunctions are not available under the small claims track but final injunctions are.
Following the introduction of this track, SMEs and individuals are now more able to enforce their Intellectual Property Rights, having in the past, deterred from seeking legal redress because of deep concerns regarding exposure to significant costs and time. The new procedure reduces the strain placed on the aggrieved party by imparting a streamlined procedure, enabling minor complexities to be resolved with more speed, proportionate to the claim’s monetary value. In most cases, each party will pay its legal costs, whilst court fees, loss of earnings and travel expenses can be recovered by the winning party.
The recent proposals made by the government in the Jackson and Hargreaves review have been the focal point of the reforms. Parties who will benefit from the small claims track include copyright owners, photographers and artists who rely heavily on licenses as their sole means of income. In this highly technical and online age, these parties are suffering dilution of their creative rights as infringement becomes more commonplace, particularly on the Internet. Now, these parties can police and enforce their rights more proactively in order to recoup lost revenue and reputation.
Whether someone has exploited your Intellectual Property rights or you are faced with defending an infringement action, the team at Albright Patents LLP are here to help.