An International Guide to
Patent Case Management for Judges

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9.9.5 Early case management and preliminary measures Interim applications

All interim remedies available in the Patents Court (interim injunctions, search and seizure and asset-freezing orders, security for costs etc.) are available in IPEC.

An application to the court, including an application for judgment in default, is made according to the procedure set out in CPR 63.25.182 Once served with an application, the respondent must file and serve its response on all relevant parties within five working days.183 If the parties cannot resolve the application by agreement, having seen the respondent’s response, the applicant will contact the court and arrange a hearing.

If five working days elapse and the respondent has done nothing, the applicant is entitled to ask the court to make the order sought without further delay.

Applications for urgent relief (including interim injunctions) should be made by filing an application notice in the usual way. Once served, the applicant should contact the judge’s clerk, who will find a date for the hearing that is appropriate to the urgency of the matter and, if possible, is convenient to all parties. In cases of extreme urgency, an application may be made without an application notice. This is done by contacting the clerk to IPEC. No such application will be entertained unless the judge is given very good reason why the matter is extremely urgent.

The court will always fix a date and time for hearings appropriate to the urgency of the application, which may mean that the application will be heard by a judge other than the presiding judge. The convenience of the parties and their advisers will be taken into account but will not be of paramount importance. As explained above in Section, post-COVID-19, the default position will be that all applications will be heard by videoconference unless there are good reasons why an in-person hearing is necessary.

Costs of applications are subject to a stage cap and assessed at the end of the trial unless a party has behaved unreasonably, in which case the costs can be assessed at the conclusion of the hearing184 and will not count to the overall cap.185 Expression of a preliminary, nonbinding opinion on the merits

In appropriate circumstances, and where all parties agree, IPEC can express a preliminary and nonbinding opinion on the merits of the case (an “early neutral evaluation”). A request for such an opinion should be made in advance of the CMC so that the court may consider whether it is appropriate. Case management

The CMC is an important hearing at which the court will determine how to progress the matter to trial in an efficient and proportionate manner. The court will identify the issues of law and fact to be resolved at the trial186 and the extent to which disclosure (including the provision of a product and process description), experiments, evidence (factual and expert), cross-examination and written submissions are necessary for the fair determination of the dispute.187 Any order permitting one or more of these steps will only be made in relation to specific and identified issues188 and only where the court is satisfied that the benefit of the step (in terms of its value in resolving the relevant issue) appears likely to justify the cost of producing and dealing with it.189