IPEC only hears cases relating to intellectual property. This includes disputes, such as contractual claims, that involve matters other than intellectual property, but only if associated with an intellectual property claim. Trials in IPEC should last no more than two days (or, at the most, three days).
In IPEC, any claim for damages (or an account of profits) cannot exceed GBP 500,000,165 although this limit can be waived by agreement between the parties.166 As explained in more detail below in Section 9.9.12, proceedings in IPEC are subject to a costs cap of GBP 60,000 (with very limited exceptions).
All the remedies (including interim remedies) available in the Patents Court are available in IPEC. As in the Patents Court, procedure in IPEC is governed by the CPR. Part 63(V) and Practice Direction 63 relate to all proceedings started in (or transferred into) IPEC. The costs provisions are set out in Part 45(IV) and Practice Direction 45.
As noted earlier, IPEC has its own dedicated court guide, the IPEC Guide, which, as with the Patents Court Guide, is to be read in conjunction with the Chancery Guide.167
The majority of cases in IPEC are managed and heard by the presiding judge of IPEC. This de facto docketing of cases facilitates the active case management of the proceedings by the court.
18.104.22.168 Location and type of hearing
IPEC is located in the Rolls Building, London. IPEC trials can be heard outside London, particularly where this would save costs and is agreed between the parties. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, all other hearings (including CMCs) would not be heard outside London, as this would typically have been impractical for a short hearing. However, following feedback from IPEC users in respect of the use of videoconferences for all hearings (including trials) during the pandemic, it is anticipated that the default position will be for all hearings (other than trials) to take place by videoconference and for trials to take place as in-person hearings.
Solicitors and patent attorneys are entitled to represent clients in IPEC. They can do this themselves or additionally instruct barristers to help prepare and argue the case in court. Parties may also appear as litigants in person.