The Patent Office is seeking responses to the Department for Constitution Affairs’ consultations on the creation of a single civil court for England and Wales. So far, the Department has conducted a consultation which has concluded as follows:
1. Ministers have concluded that reform to create single Civil and Family Courts with unified jurisdictions would be feasible and beneficial. So they have decided to adopt this as a long-term objective.Meanwhile, the DCA has launched another consulation, this time on focusing judicial resources. This recognises that no purpose would be served by changing the arrangements of the Patent Court, particularly because of the amount of investement that that court brings into Britain. The consulatation also forsees the senior judiciary considering extending the range on specialisms to include “intellectual property (including patents)”.
2. Establishing these unified courts will require primary legislation. So the objective must form part of a wider strategy. And it is a strategy that should start yielding benefits well before the goal of two single first instance courts is realised.
The IPKat says that “including patents” suggests not limited to patents, bringing the prospect of specialist judges in the other IP rights. This is to be welcomed.