The Law Society Gazette reported earlier today that use of the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (IPEC) is on the increase.
In terms of number of cases filed, 2016 saw an increase to 339 cases compared to 202 in 2015. What makes this interesting, says the Gazette, is that this increase is in despite of a viable alternative in the high court which accommodates for shorter/flexible trials (shorter trials of two-days is a key feature of the IPEC). The shorter/flexible trial pilot scheme, launched in Oct 2015, was intended to be an option for parties in the high court that do not require extensive document disclosure, evidence exchange or length of trial, but without the costs and damages recovery caps of the IPEC. Some have gone as far as to say the shorter trial scheme is “IPEC-like procedure”, but brought to the high court.
In our view, this reported increase in cases only provides further evidence that the IPEC has been an incredible success with its intended users; those being individuals and SMEs who are seeking to protect their IP, but on a cost-effective and efficient basis. Further, the staged maximum costs (£50K) and damages (£500K) caps allow users to calculate their litigation risk with more certainty than in the high court, which provides no such staged costs or caps. The shorter/flexible trial scheme undoubtedly is a benefit to those that can take advantage of it, but to the vast majority of individuals and SMEs, the benefits of the IPEC far outweighs any alternative in the high court.
If you need further information on using the IPEC to start (or defend) a claim, contact your usual Briffa legal advisor.