Law firm Arthur Cox has welcomed changes in how the Irish courts deal with disputes relating to technology and intellectual property (IP).
The firm says that the changes aim to ensure that such disputes are dealt with as quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively as possible.
In an analysis on its website, Arthur Cox states that the measures “herald a new era” for the resolution of IP-and-technology disputes in Ireland.
Among the changes is a separate IP-and-technology list in the Commercial Court, with an expanded definition of the types of IP disputes that may fall within the definition of commercial proceedings.
These will include disputes about statutory IP rights, unregistered rights, passing off, unfair commercial practices, and right of confidence in information.
According to Arthur Cox, there will also be two ‘catch-alls’, where it is considered that the proceedings are sufficiently concerned or connected to IP proceedings, or involve issues of technological complexity.
The firm’s lawyers also note plans for additional pre-trial procedures – including a case-management conference after the close of pleadings.
Arthur Cox says that the new rules also give the court broader discretion to limit discovery obligations for parties, to ensure that discovery is ordered where it is necessary to resolve the actual technical issues in dispute, and where it is proportionate.
The firm’s lawyers argue that the new list will not only increase the overall efficiency of such proceedings, but will also allow for greater judicial expertise, with the appointment of a dedicated IP-and-technology judge to hear and manage these disputes.
The analysis also points out that Circuit Court rules have been amended to extend its jurisdiction to a range of IP disputes.
The Circuit Court’s jurisdiction is for claims up to €75,000, and Arthur Cox believes that the move addresses the concerns of smaller organisations, “who may have considered they were unable to enforce and defend their IP rights due to the expense of pursuing those disputes in the Commercial Court”.
The firm notes that a number of these changes implement recommendations made in the Review of the Administration of Civil Justice Report, published last year, and chaired by former President of the High Court Mr Justice Peter Kelly (pictured).
“The procedural changes, along with Ireland being the only remaining exclusively common-law jurisdiction in the EU, further cements this jurisdiction as an attractive forum to pursue and defend intellectual-property and technology rights,” the Arthur Cox lawyers conclude.