The Patents County Court is Back in Fashion



Over the last few years the Patents County Court has

fallen from favour amongst IP practitioners. However, the case of Ciba

Vision UK Limited and another -v- Coopervision Limited suggests that

this may be about to change.


Ciba Vision UK Limited brought patent

infringement proceedings in the Patents County Court against the

defendant, Coopervision Limited. The patents related to contact lenses.

The defendant applied to transfer the action to the High Court.

Neuberger J refused to order the transfer from the Patents County Court

to the Patents Court. On the facts of the particular case he decided that

the case was suitable to be heard in the Patents County Court. Following

CPR 33.3(2), factors that the Judge took into account in deciding whether

it was appropriate to transfer the action from the Patents County Court to

the High Court included:-

The financial value of the claim;

Whether it was convenient or fair for the matter to be dealt with in

a particular court;

The availability of specialist judges;

The complexity of the matters in issue;

The significance of the outcome.

In making his decision, the Judge recognised that both parties were

substantial companies and that the claim was of significant value.

However, these factors did not preclude the Patents County Court from

hearing the action. The fact that expert evidence would be required or

that the trial might last three or four days were also not factors

preventing the case from proceeding in the Patents County Court.


The decision is a vote of confidence in the Patents

County Court. One of the most significant factors in the decision may have

been the availability of a specialist judge. Michael Fysh QC, previous

head of chambers at 8 New Square, was appointed as the new Judge of the


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