Streamlined procedures are enjoying a new and rather vibrant lease of life on the English legal scene. The launch of simplified procedures in the Patents County Court (PCC) in 2010 made it possible for parties of all sizes and means to enforce and defend IP rights cost-effectively and with limited costs exposure. Now, the PCC is moving up the ladder to the High Court, and the UK-IPO is stepping in with its own fasttrack trademark opposition procedure.
The PCC’s promotion reflects its impressive success as a forum for resolving lower-value IP disputes since its new procedures were introduced in October 2010. On 1 October 2013 the PCC will be reconstituted as a new specialist list in the High Court with a new name, the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (IPEC), that more properly reflects its ability to hear all types of IP disputes.
This long-awaited change in status puts the court at last on an equal footing to the rest of the High Court and resolves minor jurisdictional problems that had arisen from its former status as a county court. The cost benefits and procedures that have made the PCC so attractive remain essentially unchanged, and the IPEC’s launch marks a welcome new phase in making the enforcement and defence of IP rights possible for smaller and mediumsized entities, in particular.