10 December 2018


Granary Wharf
Author Mtaylor848

Jane Lambert

TIPSY stands for The Intellectual Property Society of Yorkshire.  It is an initiative of my fellow St Andrean, Andrew Clay, who has recently set up the specialist intellectual property law firm, Andrew Clay Legal, in Harrogate.  Before setting up that firm Mr Clay practised from the Leeds office of Squire Patton Boggs.

To launch TIPSY, Mr Clay organized a dinner at the DoubleTree by Hilton at Granary Wharf in Leeds on 15 Nov 2018 for some 80 intellectual property specialists at law firms, patent and trade mark agencies and other institutions throughout Yorkshire. I was invited as a member of the Intellectual Property Bar. So far as I could see, I was the only practising barrister there.

The guest of honour was His Honour Judge Hacon who has been the presiding judge of the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court ("IPEC") since 3 Dec 2013.  He was invited to speak to us after dinner.  When he was introduced to us we learned that Judge Hacon had been educated in Leeds which I had not known.

Judge Hacon succeeded Sir Colin Birss as the presiding judge of IPEC shortly after it had been formed.  As I explained in What does the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court mean for Litigants in the North West? 12 Oct 2013 IP Northwest. IPEC was formed to replace the Patents County Court which was abolished by paragraph 30 (3) of Schedule 9 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013. Unlike the Patents County Court IPEC is a specialist list within the Chancery Division.

The judge explained that he was assisted by Judge Melissa Clarke who usually sits at Oxford and by a number of recorders. There were also several district judges who sit in the Small Claims Track (see Small IP Claims last updated 13 Jan 2018). He described the work of IPEC and how it had evolved in the last 5 years.  When he took up his appointment he had to impose time limits on cross-examinations and submissions frequently.  He found that he had to do that much less frequently nowadays. The court was taking on more complex cases.  In answer to a question from the floor, he could see no reason why it should not entertain an Unwired Planet type of case.  Surprisingly, he said that the two-day limit on trials could be extended in suitable cases so long as the case management disciplines were observed.  In answer to a question from me, he agreed that his caseload had dropped in recent years but explained that was because other courts were managing their cases in the same way as IPEC and that there had been an increasing rate of settlement adding that was no bad thing.

The judge reminded his audience that his court (including the Small Claims Track) had a nationwide jurisdiction. He added that district judges were likely to be appointed who could hear small IP claims outside London.

After the judge's speech, I exchanged a few words with Mr Clay.  I congratulated him on his initiative and asked him about his plans for the future.  He replied that our next guest will be Geoffrey Hobbs QC and that he is expected to visit us early in the New Year.