Copyright, IP protection to become cheaper for SMEs

A new small claims service will be introduced at the Patents County Court next year to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) protect their copyright, trade marks and designs, the government has announced.

The new service, which Professor Ian Hargreaves recommended in his report on intellectual property (IP) and growth, Digital Opportunity, published in May, will limit fixed costs and allow damages of up to £5,000 each case.

SMEs are currently often put off enforcing their intellectual property (IP) rights by high costs. The report found one in six (17 per cent) of SMEs had given up attempting to enforce their rights because of the high court costs. According to research from the Intellectual Property Office, the new rules are estimated to benefit about 150 businesses every year, providing an annual boost to UK business of £350,000.

Intellectual property minister Baroness Wilcox comments, ‘This is great news for small and medium-sized businesses as it will give them the confidence to stand up and protect their intellectual property rights. A small claims process means businesses will not have to fight through lengthy court battles instead of concentrating on growing their business.

‘Businesses know how important it is to protect their rights and have been calling for changes to be made to the system. The government is acting on these concerns because a strong intellectual property system will enable innovative small companies to grow and support the UK economy. We hope to have the new system in place by this time next year.’

Todd Cardy

Todd Cardy

Todd was Editor of between 2010 and 2011 as well as being responsible for publishing our digital and printed magazines focusing on private equity and venture capital.

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Intellectual Property