10 December 2015

Practice Statement: Listing of Cases for Trial in the Patents Court

The Patent Court aim to bring patent cases to trial within 12 months of the claim being issued. Arnold J, Judge in Charge of the Patents Court, has issued the Practice Statement outlined below. 

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1. The parties will be expected (a) to start to consider potential trial dates as soon as is reasonable practicable after the service of the proceedings and (b) to discuss and attempt to agree trial dates with each other when seeking to agree directions for trial.

2. The starting point for listing trials is the current applicable Trial Window advertised by the Chancery List Office. Patent cases will be listed on the basis that the Trial Windows are divided as follows: estimated hearing time (excluding pre-reading and preparation of closing submissions) up to 5 days; estimated hearing time (excluding pre-reading and preparation of closing submissions) 6 to 10 days; and estimated hearing (excluding pre-reading and preparation of closing submissions) over 10 days.

3. Where it will enable a case to be tried within 12 months, or shortly thereafter, the Court may list a trial up to one month earlier than the applicable Trial Window without the need for any application for expedition.

4. The Court will use its case management powers in a more active manner than hitherto, with a view to dealing with cases justly and at proportionate cost in accordance with CPR rule 1.1. This may have the effect of setting limits on hearing times that enable cases to be listed promptly. For example, the Court may direct that a case estimated at 6 days will be heard in 5 days, and may allocate time between the parties in a manner which enables that to be achieved.

5. Where it makes a significant difference to the time which cases must wait to be listed for trial and it will not cause significant prejudice to any party, cases may be listed without reference to the availability of counsel instructed by the parties.

These steps do not exclude the possibility of cases being expedited where expedition is warranted. Nor do they exclude the possibility of the parties opting to use the streamlined procedure or the Shorter Trial pilot scheme or the Flexible Trial pilot scheme.