The Patents County Court (PCC) has been abolished, but has been reborn as the new Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (IPEC). The IPEC will now be a specialist part of the High Court, Chancery Division, and all existing cases of the PCC have been transferred to the IPEC.
As a consequence of this change, the “specialist jurisdiction” of the PCC has been abolished, and all IP cases are now treated as being on an equal footing. The Court’s jurisdiction to grant search-and-seize orders, and third party disclosure orders, has therefore been extended to all IP cases.
The transfer of the IPEC to the High Court, as opposed to the PCC being part of the County Court, has had no effect on representation rights for patent attorneys, due to a change in the patent attorney litigator rights by IPREG. Finally, the limits on damages and costs recovery remain, but there have been revisions to the individual scale amounts relating to claims for costs.
It has also been announced that Richard Hacon is to be the first Judge of the IPEC, taking over from Mr Justice Birss, who was elevated to the High Court in May, after a highly-praised three-year stint in the PCC.