The Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (IPEC) is designed to provide access to justice for small and medium sized enterprises (“SMEs”) and individuals involved in intellectual property disputes (mainly patents, trade marks and passing off, designs and copyright). It is intended for shorter, less complex, less valuable claims than those suited for the Patents Court and general Chancery Division. To achieve this the IPEC has distinctive procedures, financial limits and cost rules.
The IPEC has a multi-track and a small claims track. This means that there are two alternative procedures for making a claim in the IPEC. The IPEC multi-track has a limit on damages of up to £500,000. Costs orders will be made which are proportionate to the nature of the dispute and subject to a cap of no more than £50,000. The small claims track is for suitable claims in the IPEC with a value of up to £10,000. Costs orders on the small claims track are highly restricted.
Procedure in the IPEC is governed by CPR Part 63 (external link, opens in a new tab) and Practice Direction 63 (external link, opens in a new tab). The multi-track procedure is described in the IPEC Guide (opens in a new tab). The small claims track is described in the IPEC Small Claims Track Guide.