Patents Court

15 May 2017, Updated 4 April 2019, 2 July 2020, 7 May 2022 and 18 July 2023
S.6 (1) (a) of the Senior Courts Act 1981 establishes a Patents Court as part of the Chancery Division. It consists of such judges of the High Court as the Lord Chancellor may appoint from time to time. As of 22 May 2022, the following judges were judges of the Patents Court:
  • Sir Julian Flaux, Chancellor of the High Court
  • Mrs Justice Bacon
  • Mr Justice Fancourt
  • Sir Anthony Mann (sitting in retirement)
  • Mr Justice Meade (Judge in charge of Intellectual Property)
  • Mr Justice Mellor
  • Mr Justice Roth
  • Mrs Justice Joanna Smith
  • Mr Justice Marcus Smith 
  • Mr Justice Zacaroli
Since Mr Justice Meade and Mr Justice Mellor practised at the patent bar before they became judges they take the cases of the greatest technical difficulty.  They are sometimes assisted by HH Judge Hacon.
S.62 (1) of the Act allocates to the Court “such proceedings relating to patents as are within the jurisdiction conferred on it by the Patents Act 1977, and such other proceedings relating to patents or other matters as may be prescribed.” CPR 63.2 (1) specifies those matters as any claim under the Patents Act 1977, the Registered Designs Act 1949 and the Defence Contracts Act 1958 and any claim relating to registered Community designs, semiconductor topography rights or plant varieties.
The Patents Court is based in the Rolls Building but its judges will sit elsewhere, if the parties so desire, for the purpose of saving time or costs.
Unlike the rest of the High Court case management is dealt with by judges rather than by masters. Masters may deal with only a limited number of matters such as applications for extension of time, permission to serve out of the jurisdiction and security for costs.
CPR Part 63 and the Part 63 Practice Direction set out the procedure and practice of the Patents Court. These are amplified by the Patents Court Guide.

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