Court jurisdiction and intellectual property
Court jurisdiction and intellectual property

The following IP guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Court jurisdiction and intellectual property
  • General principles
  • The general European regime
  • Allocation of jurisdiction within the UK
  • In which English court should a claim for IP infringement be brought?
  • Patents
  • Trade marks
  • Counterclaims
  • Related actions
  • Copyright
  • more

As of exit day (31 January 2020) the UK is no longer an EU Member State. However, in accordance with the Withdrawal Agreement, the UK has entered an implementation period, during which it continues to be subject to EU law. This has an impact on this Practice Note. For further guidance, see Practice Note: Brexit—IP rights.

This Practice Note introduces concepts relating to jurisdiction only (not applicable law) and provides some information on the jurisdictional issues that relate to the enforcement of IP rights in the UK courts.

IP rights are protected on a national or regional territorial basis, but the nature of the subject matter underlying IP (eg inventions, written works, etc) allows in the internet age, almost instantaneous cross-border movement. Determining whether the English court has jurisdiction over an IP infringement action brought before it is therefore a complex issue.

General principles

IP infringement may involve considerations of tort and/or of contract law (eg the interpretation of a licence).

Where a contract governs the relationship between the IP owner and the other party, the jurisdiction of the English court may be established if, for example:

  1. there is an express choice of exclusive jurisdiction

  2. the contract was made within the jurisdiction

  3. the contract was made through an agent trading or residing within the jurisdiction

  4. the contract is governed by English law, or