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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