27 Mar Government mediation service for small ip disputes is re-launched
The availability of the modernised and re-launched IPO Mediation Service and the new IP small claims court means that, for the first time, small businesses have a realistic prospect of protecting their intellectual property. It is starting to become genuinely worthwhile for small businesses to identify their IP and develop a policy for exploiting it.
IPO Mediation Service
The Intellectual Property Office has been offering a Mediation Service for quick, efficient and cost-effective resolution of IP disputes since 2006, but very few businesses have taken advantage of it.
The Hargreaves Review identified lack of affordable avenues to IP enforcement as one of the barriers to growth for small businesses, and also pointed to a need for improvements to the Mediation Service to make it a more attractive option for resolving IP disputes; as a result, the newly modernised service was announced last week.
IP disputes can be settled quickly and cheaply using mediation, and thus avoid the costs of going to court. The Mediation Service will offer various options ranging from short telephone conversations to the use of accredited mediators and reduced mediation fees.
Lord Younger, the Minister for Intellectual Property, said:
“For intellectual property disputes, going through the courts should be the last resort, not the first port of call. Mediation can help parties to reach agreements where a court cannot, .. [which] can help everybody maintain existing relationships …. by avoiding often messy and drawn-out litigation. These changes provide more options for businesses to protect their innovation, and increase their access to justice.”
Small claims IP court
The fast track system for small IP claims (where estimated damages are capped at £5,000) has been available through the Patents County Court since last October; it has proved to be very popular with individuals and small businesses, particularly so with respect to design right disputes. Such is the success of the new system, that the damages cap is going to be raised to £10,000 from next month.
If you would like some help in identifying the IP in your business and some advice on how best to protect it and make it work for you, please contact VLT LEGAL at VICTORIA@VLTLEGAL.CO.UK or 07887 810020