Reminder: meeting for sole and small IP practitioners
There's a meeting this Wednesday, 7 June, for the informal Sole and Small IP Practitioners group. Details of the programme and of how to get there can be accessed here. If you'd like to come - and you'll certainly be welcome - just email Shireen Smith and let her know.
Small claims processes to cross European borders
Last Friday the UK's Department for Constitutional Affairs issued a statement concerning small claims actions where a consumer in one EU country buys faulty goods in another. Ministers meeting in Luxembourg have agreed a formula for making cross-border claims quicker and cheaper. According to Baroness Cathy Ashton, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Constitutional Affairs:
"This is excellent news for anyone who needs to bring a small claim in another EU country. It will help travellers, tourists, workers and businesses alike. The processes will be simple and effective and give people confidence that they can bring their case without a cumbersome procedure". Under the agreed text, claims valued at less than E2,000 and involving cross border issues will be subject to the procedure. Claim and defence forms will be the same in all official European languages and courts will be encouraged to decide claims on paper where possible, with use made of telephone and video conference communications if oral hearings are felt necessary. Parties need not be legally represented if they do not wish to be, and the process for enforcing judgements in other EU states will be made easier".The IPKat notes how useful this will be for people who buy cheap counterfeits and don't discover that they've been duped till they get home. Ah, says Merpel, but first you have to identify your defendant ...