Claims for injunctions for infringement of copyrights, design rights and trade marks, passing off, breach of confidence and indeed all intellectual property claims except those involving patents, registered designs, registered Community designs, semiconductor topographies and plant breeders’ rights can now be brought in the small claims track of the Patents County Court provided that the claim for damages does not exceed £5,000.
Until recently most intellectual property claims were brought at great expense and ended inconclusively in the Chancery Division. There was the Patents County Court in London but that was almost as expensive as the High Court and for a long time its jurisdiction was confined to patents and designs. There were also the county courts in Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, Preston, Newcastle, Bristol, Birmingham, Cardiff, Mold and Caernarfon but cases in those courts had to take their place in very long queues to come on eventually before a judge or recorder who was unlikely to have done much intellectual property work either on the bench or in practice. As a result, intellectual property rights have been widely ignored because infringers calculate that the owners of those rights cannot afford to sue or that the cost of enforcement is greater than the value of the likely remedy.
Now those calculations will have…
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