8th November 2021

Why choose the English courts for intellectual property disputes

By Matthew Pryke & Katie Pawlyn

Global businesses faced with multi-jurisdictional intellectual property disputes often have a choice as to where to bring the claim. We explain the benefits to businesses of taking and enforcing IP claims through the English courts.


The English courts have a long history of measured and impartial decision-making. The independent Judiciary is renowned for its impartiality and professional approach. This is especially important for non-UK based businesses as there will be no ‘home field’ advantage.

Specialised courts

The English courts offer several specific intellectual property courts with specialist judges including the Patents Court and the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court. These courts have developed procedures allowing them to hear claims on non-UK intellectual property rights. For example, in 2011, the Supreme Court heard a dispute over copyright ownership according to United States copyright law. Allowing claims to be heard by someone with knowledge and experience of intellectual property rights whilst receiving a judgement specific to the jurisdiction in which your business operates is essential.

Robust cost regime

The English courts are renowned for having a robust cost regime. Litigation can be expensive;  therefore, having a system which closely manages costs and has the ability to tailor costs to the size of the claim is essential. To pursue a claim through other court systems can be more expensive resulting in limited certainty on budgets.

Expedited hearings and injunctive relief

Expedited hearings offer businesses the opportunity to deal with most claims in just a few weeks. Interim injunctions are also often awarded in cases where damages can be proven to be an insufficient remedy. This is important for many businesses wishing to remove the offending products or services from the market quickly to limit the damage caused to their business and associated IP.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

English courts require businesses to consider alternative dispute resolution (ADR) before bringing the claim before court. ADR encourages the parties to find a solution outside of court and includes processes such as mediation. ADR can often be quicker, cheaper and provide more certainty than a full court case. Resolving issues through ADR often creates the potential to preserve a positive business relationship.

Robust enforcement regime

The English courts have a robust enforcement regime when compared to many other countries. For businesses outside the EU, the position is unchanged and whilst Brexit has raised concerns about enforceability, in practice little has changed. Within the EU, it remains to be seen exactly what changes will occur, however, the enforcement regime is unlikely to change significantly. Moreover, the UK has many international agreements in place to support robust enforcement.

If your business is considering bringing a multi-jurisdictional claim to enforce IP rights, please contact Matthew Pryke to find out why pursuing the claim through the English courts system is often the country of choice for so many businesses.

Why choose the English courts for intellectual property disputes

Have a question? Contact Matthew

Have a question? Contact Matthew


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