Business To Benefit From Express Patents

The Government has confirmed a new small claims service at the patent court to help small and medium sized businesses protect their copyright, patents, trade marks and designs.

Currently small firms have to pay high costs and undergo lengthy procedures to bring claims against those who infringe their Intellectual Property (IP) rights. However, the Government said that the new process will limit fixed costs and allow damages of up to £5000 per case.

New figures produced today by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) estimate that around 150 firms will benefit from the service every year.

The recommendation for a small claims service was made in the Hargreaves Review of Intellectual Property and Growth. Since the Review was published in May 2011, the Government said it had been looking at building a business case for the service, which has now been completed.

Minister for Intellectual Property Baroness Wilcox said: “This is great news for small and medium sized businesses as it will give them the confidence to stand up and protect their intellectual property rights.

"A small claims process means businesses will not have to fight through lengthy court battles instead of concentrating on growing their business.

“Businesses know how important it is to protect their rights and have been calling for changes to be made to the system. The Government is acting on these concerns because a strong intellectual property system will enable innovative small companies to grow and support the UK economy. We hope to have the new system in place by this time next year.”

The recent Hargreaves Review, Digital Opportunity: A Review of Intellectual Property and Growth, found that around one in six (17%) of small and medium sized businesses had given up attempting to enforce their rights due to high court costs.

Justice Minister Jonathan Djanogly said: “It is clearly much better for the economy if businesses are spending their time and money on trading and growth, rather than on unnecessarily complicated legal processes. That is why we are modernising the justice system in order to provide simpler, quicker and more cost efficient ways to resolve disputes."


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