|Author Ham II Licence CC BY-SA 3.0 Source Wikipedia Cardiff Crown Court|
Suppose you are a photographer in Pwllheli and someone from Conwy copies one of your photos of Snowdon and posts it on his website without your permission. You ask him politely to take it down but he ignores your emails calculating that it would be more trouble than it is worth for you to sue him.
You are pretty incensed and consider your options. You google "IP", "enforcement", "wales" and find my article Enforcing Intellectual Property Rights 16 April 2019. You discover that you have two choices. You can issue proceedings against him out of the Caernarforn Justice Centre as it is one of the Chancery District Registries mentioned in para 16.2 of the Part 63 Practice Direction or you can bring a claim in the Small Claims Track of the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court ("IPEC").
If you issue out of Caernarfon costs are unlimited even in the County Court. The judges who hear your case may not be IP specialists. The trial could take place at a hearing centre miles away from Caernarfon. In the Small Claims Track, you would get a specialist judge and your liability for costs is limited to a few hundred pounds. But IPEC is in London. It has only tried a case outside the capital once in its history. You and your opponent both live in North Wales.
From October 2019 there will be an alternative, The government has announced plans in the new Intellectual Property Enterprise Court Guide to appoint district judges in Cardiff, Manchester and the other Business and Property Courts outside London to hear IP cases in the Small Claims Track (see The New IPEC Guide 4 July 2019). I have discussed how this will be done in Cardiff in Small Claims Track IP Litigation in Bristol and Cardiff on 10 July 2019 in NIPC Severn and in Manchester in Small Claims Track IP Litigation in Manchester also on 10 July 2019 in IP Northwest. For parties in North Wales, Manchester may be more convenient than Cardiff. Also, there is nothing to stop the district judge from hearing the action in Caernarfon or some other local trial centre if a court can be made available for him or her.
The key thing to remember whether you are a solicitor, patent or trade mark attorney litigator or litigant in person is to file through the CE-File System and choose Cardiff or Manchester. There is a useful video below from the Courts and Tribunal Service that shows how to do it:
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Anybody wanting to discuss this article or IP litigation generally can call me on 020 7404 5252 during office hours or send me a message through my contact form.