On 1 October 2012 a small claims track was introduced in the UK to supplement the existing services provided by the Patents County Court (PCC). The aim of the small claims track is to provide a quicker, cheaper and easier means for resolving the lowest value IP disputes – before 1 October 2012 all claims in the PCC would have been allocated to the multi-track where the possible costs liability is much higher.

The new small claims track is a step towards ensuring that individuals and small and medium sized enterprises are even better protected. It encompasses the same rights falling within the ordinary jurisdiction of the PCC, that is including (but not limited to) patents, designs (Community and UK, registered and unregistered), trade marks (Community and UK), passing off, copyright and database rights, and works on largely the same basis as the general small claims track in the High Court.

The initial limit on damages available in the IP small claims track is the same as the current general High Court limit of £5,000. In both the High Court and the PCC this is due to rise in 2013 to £10,000. This should be helpful for businesses since costs will be proportionate to what is at stake. Interim injunctions will not be available in the small claims track as they are available under the already streamlined procedure of the PCC (at cost).

For further information about the PCC small claims track please see the following links:

http://www.ipo.gov.uk/about/press/press-release/press-release-2012/press-release-20121001.htm

http://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/courts/patents-court/patents-court-small-claims.pdf