A Patents County Court for the North

"If you build it, they will come." Those words were attributed to the phantom of a US baseball star called Shoeless Joe Jackson in the film "Field of Dreams". Joe was talking about a baseball stadium whereas I am talking about an Order in Council, We already have our buildings: the new Civil Justice Centres in Manchester and Liverpool and the Courthouse in Leeds. All we need is a 4 clause statutory instrument, just like the Patents County Court (Designation and Jurisdiction) Order 1994.

Why do we Need it?
Because the North of England accounted for 4,543 patent applications between 2008 and 2009 according to the IPO's Facts and Figures. That is nearly a third of the national output. By contrast London accounted for 2,752 applications and the rest of the South East another 2,777. The region is home to some of the nation's leading research universities, the Daresbury Laboratory, the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, Media City and the Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield City regions. They need an accessible and inexpensive local forum for the resolution of their intellectual property disputes,

Why Now?
Because new rules and practices have been made for the Patents County Courts that simplify its procedure and reduce its costs. I have discussed these in IP/IT Update blog in "New Patents County Court Rules" 31 Oct 2010. These rule changes should greatly increase the courts' appeal to business. Also, there has never been a better opportunity to press for an intellectual property court in the North. Professor Ian Hargreaves has just been appointed to undertake an independent review of the IP system and his terms of reference include an investigation into the cost and complexity of enforcement.

What Next
Over the next few months we shall be canvassing local law firms, patent and trade mark attorneys, businesses, district and county councils and MPs to campaign for a Patents County Court in the North. If you want to support that campaign, give us a ring on 0161 850 0080 or use this contact form.