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Creativity and Innovation

Intellectual Property Litigation in Leeds

posted 23 Aug 2010, 17:11 by Jane Lambert   [ updated 23 Aug 2010, 19:01 ]

You can issue any intellectual property claim out of the Leeds District Registry or the Leeds County
Court except one under the Patents Act 1977 or the Registered Designs Act 1949 or a claim relating to registered Community designs, semiconductor topographies or plant varieties.

That is because Leeds is one of only 10 cities and towns in England and Wales with a Chancery District Registry. CPR 63.13 provides that trade mark actions and those relating to the remaining intellectual property rights must be brought in the Chancery Division, the Patents County Court or, with exceptions, a county court where there is also a Chancery District Registry.

It is worth noting that although you have to issue a claim relating to patents, registered or registered Community designs, semiconductor topographies or plant varieties out of the Patents Court or the Patents County Court in London, you may still ask for a trial in Leeds. 

Paragraph 5 of the Patents and Patents County Court Guide provides:

"If the parties so desire, for the purpose of saving time or costs, the Patents Court and Patents 
County Court will sit out of London. Before any approach is made to the Chancery Listing 
Officer, the parties should discuss between themselves the desirability of such a course. If 
there is a dispute as to venue, the court will resolve the matter on an application. Where there 
is no dispute, the Chancery Listing Officer should be contacted as soon as possible so that 
arrangements can be put in place well before the date of the proposed hearing."

That has happened at least once.   Mr. Justice Neuberger sat in Birmingham in Hadley Industries Plc v. Metal Sections Limited, Metsec (UK) Limited [1998] EWHC Patents 284 (13th November, 1998). In my experience the difficulty lies not so much in persuading a Patents judge to journey outside London as in finding a court for him at a convenient time.

Returning to claims that do not have to be issued out of the Patents or Patents County Court, the practice in Leeds generally follows that of London, but there are several significant differences:-
  • There is usually only one Chancery High Court judge for the whole of the North of England - namely the Vice-Chancellor of the County Palatine of Lancaster - though he is assisted in Leeds by Judge Behrens, Judge Langan and Judge Kaye who are authorized to sit in the High Court under s.9 of the Senior Courts Act 1981.
  • There are no masters outside London. Chancery cases are therefore heard by district judges who may also sit in the Queen's Bench Division and County Court.
  • There are only a handful of days in the month in which an application for an injunction or other interim relief may be made to a judge. These are known as "applications days" and the Chancery list is often heard at the same time as the Mercantile list in Leeds.
  • A special appointment has to be made for an application for summary judgment.
  • A claim may be issued out of one city but an application may be heard in another.
Should anyone require advice on intellectual property proceedings in Leeds, call me on (0)113 320 3232, contact me direct or through our contact form.

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