Patents—United Kingdom—Q&A guide
Patents—United Kingdom—Q&A guide

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

  • Patents—United Kingdom—Q&A guide
  • 1. What legal or administrative proceedings are available for enforcing patent rights against an infringer? Are there specialised courts in which a patent infringement lawsuit can or must be brought?
  • 2. What is the format of a patent infringement trial?
  • 3. What are the burdens of proof for establishing infringement, invalidity and unenforceability of a patent?
  • 4. Who may sue for patent infringement? Under what conditions can an accused infringer bring a lawsuit to obtain a judicial ruling or declaration on the accusation?
  • 5. To what extent can someone be liable for inducing or contributing to patent infringement? Can multiple parties be jointly liable for infringement if each practises only some of the elements of a patent claim, but together they practise all the elements?
  • 6. Can multiple parties be joined as defendants in the same lawsuit? If so, what are the requirements? Must all of the defendants be accused of infringing all of the same patents?
  • 7. To what extent can activities that take place outside the jurisdiction support a charge of patent infringement?
  • 8. To what extent can ‘equivalents’ of the claimed subject matter be shown to infringe?
  • 9. What mechanisms are available for obtaining evidence from an opponent, from third parties or from outside the country for proving infringement, damages or invalidity?
  • More...

This Practice Note contains a jurisdiction-specific Q&A guide to patents in United Kingdom published as part of the Lexology Getting the Deal Through series by Law Business Research (published: February 2021).

Authors: Powell Gilbert LLP—Siddharth Kusumakar; Peter FitzPatrick

1. What legal or administrative proceedings are available for enforcing patent rights against an infringer? Are there specialised courts in which a patent infringement lawsuit can or must be brought?

Patent rights in the United Kingdom are generally enforced against an infringer by bringing a lawsuit in an appropriate court.

In England and Wales (the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom in which most patents lawsuits are brought) both the Patents Court (part of the High Court) and the IP Enterprise Court hear claims for patent infringement. The IP Enterprise Court provides a streamlined and more cost-effective forum to hear lower-value and less complex IP claims than the Patents Court.

Claims exceeding £500,000 or those requiring complex evidence are normally heard in the Patents Court. If either party in a Patents Court or IP Enterprise Court case believes that the other court is a more appropriate forum, it can apply for the dispute to be transferred (although the case will be transferred only if it is appropriate in the circumstances).

2. What is the format of a patent infringement trial?

The IP Enterprise Court and Patents Court are overseen by specialist IP judges who

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