Tucked away in the minutes of meeting of 5 Sept 2005 of the RPWG (Registration Practice Working Group) on Designs published today is a reference to a proposal to abolish the Registered Designs Appeal Tribunal. The Tribunal was set up at the same time as the Patents Appeal Tribunal and was run on similar lines. Its jurisdiction actually increased after 1 Aug 1989 to hear appeals from the comptroller under s.249 of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988.
The proposal to abolish the Tribunal apparently results from a review by Lord Justice Carnwath which is published on the ITMA website. The plan is for appeal to lie to the Patents County Court (that is to say, the Central London County Court). David Musker is reported to have expressed concern at the costs and I would agree with him. The appointed person has worked pretty well for trade marks and it would seem sensible to extend his jurisdiction to designs and indeed to patents.