“Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die, Too Long to Read ..."

The judge affirmed that artistic copyright vested in this
device, notwithstanding that Westwood might have
borrowed the slogan from a biker's jacket
The IPKat has mentioned from time to time (and PatLit has mentioned on a weekly basis) the fabled new regime for trying smaller, cheaper, more user-friendly IP actions in the refreshed Patents County Court for England and Wales.  While Judge Colin Birss QC is the judicial "new broom" that everyone has been so excited about, the new broom has been sweeping a load of old crumbs up till now, since the cases that have passed beneath his watchful countenance up till now were all "oldies", governed by the old procedural scheme which everyone has been so keen to modernise.  But today, his voice choking with unfeigned emotion (the Kats fondly imagine), in Dame Vivienne Westwood OBE v Anthony Edward Knight [2011] EWPCC 008, the judge was heard to utter the long-awaited words:
"This is the first trial in the Patents County Court conducted under the new procedural scheme applicable in this court which came into force in October 2010".
The judgment itself is a blockbuster, following on from the case management conference in late November (noted by the IPKat here).  Considering that there was only one day's hearing and that the defendant was self-represented, 240 paragraphs is a not inconsiderable output.  Despite the length and keen attention to detail, there is no evidence to suggest that real author was Mr Justice Arnold.  At the time of composing this note, the judgment had not yet been posted on BAILII, but the IPKat is happy to host it for you here.

In brief, Knight was helping himself to a basketful of  Dame Vivienne's IP (she of "Too fast to live, too young to die" fame. More on the dame here); she threw the book at him. There was no way he was going to win, or even draw: the only questions of interest were how badly he would lose, how long it would take, how much of a nuisance he was going to make of himself and whether the new procedures worked.

The IPKat is most impressed with the way the first case in the new streamlined PCC was dealt with. One thing is certain: the PCC has absolutely lived up to its aspirations of being a faster, cheaper way of getting expert justice in IP cases. The Court demonstrated a proactive and flexible approach which claimants will appreciate when they press for a fair outcome at an affordable cost. Some striking examples of this include the Court ordering a telephone hearing a few days before trial to address issues which may otherwise have taken up time at trial, and the Court being available at 12 minutes notice when that hearing had to be rescheduled. The Kat was also pleased to see the same judge stay with this matter throughout its course, particularly since there was some evidence that he had broken with tradition, if not precedent itself, by managing to pre-read all the materials in considerable detail, which saved all concerned a lot of time.

This process really does give IP owners a viable alternative to pricey High Court litigation. Litigants may begin to feel more confident that it is now possible to run a standard case through to trial in the PCC within the overall £50,000 costs cap.

The IPKat still awaits further guidance from the PCC as to how the PCC’s costs caps are to be applied. Naturally he will report back on this when he has any further news.

Well done everyone, says the IPKat, who particularly liked the bit about the judge having pre-read all the papers (Merpel says, What! Another great tradition dies -- and on the very day that the bench in Court Four of the Royal Courts of Justice is still warm from the recent departure of its illustrious former occupant).
“Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die, Too Long to Read ..." “Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die, Too Long to Read ..." Reviewed by Jeremy on Tuesday, March 22, 2011 Rating: 5


  1. Mr Knight is still passing off Vivienne Westwoods designs here www.artjunki.co.uk

  2. he's still at it



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