Intellectual Property Enterprise Court

  (Redirected from Patents County Court)

In the legal system of Courts of England and Wales, the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (IPEC; previously the Patents County Court or PCC) in London is an alternative venue to the High Court for bringing legal actions involving intellectual property matters such as patents, registered designs, trade marks, unregistered design rights and copyright.[1] Hearings are usually conducted in the Thomas More Building at the Royal Courts of Justice site in the Strand,[2] or at the Rolls Building in Fetter Lane.[3]

Original establishmentEdit

Originally established in 1990 by an order made under Section 287 (1) of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988,[4] the intention was that the PCC should be a forum where simpler cases could be dealt with under a cheaper and more streamlined procedure than the High Court. In practice, following the Woolf Reforms of 1998, the streamlined procedure is now available in all courts. One remaining difference was that cases at the PCC can be argued by solicitors or patent attorneys, rather than having to be presented by separate qualified barristers.

2010 revitalisationEdit

In order to revitalise the court and provide some procedural distinction from the High Court, a new set of procedural rules were introduced in Autumn 2010, at the same time that (as he then was) His Honour Colin Birss was appointed as the judge of the PCC. These rules meant that much more detail was required in the particulars of claim (the document that sets out the claimant's case), the procedure as a whole was streamlined further (no disclosure, no examination in chief of expert witness, tight control by the Judge of the issues that go to trial) and financial limits were introduced to both the damages (at £500,000) and the legal costs (at £50,000, with an additional cap per stage) recoverable. Trials should last no more than two days.[5] The revitalised court has been generally viewed as a success.[6]

Move to the High CourtEdit

As of 1 October 2013, the PCC was reformulated as a specialist list of the High Court as the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (IPEC).[7][8] Whilst the IPEC is now part of the High Court, Patent and Trade Mark attorneys retain their rights of audience and litigation.[9]

Cases can be transferred from the IPEC list to be heard by the main High Court at the discretion of the IPEC; the High Court also routinely transfers cases from its list to the IPEC. As with the High Court, appeals from IPEC decisions (if leave to appeal is granted) are heard by the Court of Appeal.[10]


Cases are heard by the judge or an appointed deputy judge. Since the founding of the court, there have been four judges:


  1. ^ "CPR 63.1a".
  2. ^ "Take a case to the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court".
  3. ^ "Intellectual Property Enterprise Court".
  4. ^ The Patents County Court (Designation and Jurisdiction) Order 1990 SI No. 1496. This was subsequently revoked and replaced by The Patents County Court (Designation and Jurisdiction) Order 1994 SI No. 1609, which has in turn been amended by The High Court and County Courts Jurisdiction (Amendment) Order 2005 SI No. 587.
  5. ^ "The PCC Page, no.1: "All change at the Patents County Court"".
  6. ^ "Patents County Court proves its worth".
  7. ^ "Patents County Court to be renamed as Intellectual Property Enterprise Court".
  8. ^ "CPR 63.1g".
  9. ^ "Rights to conduct Litigation and Advocacy".
  10. ^ Civil Procedure Rules Practice Direction 52, paragraph 2A.2(2).

External linksEdit