Statements of Case
Statements of Case or pleadings are very important because they indicate the issues in dispute.
Rule 6 (1) of the NIPC Arbitration Rules requires the points of claim to set out succinctly the facts and matters upon which the Claimant relies and the relief that he or she seeks. Copies of any documents to which the Claimant may refer in his or her points of claim must be attached to the pleading. Unless the arbitrator directs otherwise, rule 6 (5) limits the particulars of claim to 1,000 words, including the title, signature, address for service, statement of truth and other formalities but excluding appendices. This 1,000 word limit is there for a purpose and it will be relaxed only in exceptional circumstances.
Setting out a case in 1,000 words or less requires some thought. Claimants will find guidance in CPR 16.4 and para 3 and sometimes subsequent paragraphs of PD-Part 16. They should also read CPR 63.5 and para 4 of PD-Part 63 if the claim relates to patents. Further guidance is given in paras 2.6 to 2.12 and Appendix 2 of the Chancery Guide and para 7 of The Patents Court and Patents County Court Guide. That is because rule 5 of the NIPC Arbitration Rules incorporates the CPR and the Chancery and Patents Court Guides by reference.
If you are a Defendant you have 28 days to respond to the points of claim. If you fail to do so without an extension of time agreed by the other party or parties or ordered by the arbitrator, the other side can ask for the relief that it has claimed in its points of claim to be awarded against you.
You may respond by serving a defence or defence and counterclaim on the Claimant. CPR 16.5, which is also incorporated into the NIPC Arbitration Rules by rule 5, requires you to state:
(1) which of the allegations of the points of claim you deny;
(2) which you are unable to admit or deny but require the Claimant to prove; and
(3) which you admit.
If you deny an allegation you must state your reasons for doing so. If you intend to put forward a different version from that given by the Claimant you must state your own version. You will find further guidance in para 10 of PD- Part 16 and the Chancery and Patents Court Guides.
Remember that the 1,000 word limit applies to defences and all subsequent statements of case. Remember also that you cannot counterclaim for revocation of a patent or invalidation of a trade mark or design registration in an arbitration though you can still challenge the validity of a grant. If you want to challenge the validity of a patent or design registration you must comply with para 4 of PD-Part 63.