A review of the administration of civil justice in Ireland commenced in early 2017. A Review Group was established to review and reform the approach to civil justice in the State. A number of submissions were made to the Review Group as part of the public consultation exercise. In these submissions, various stakeholders stated that feedback received from many enterprises showed that a barrier faced by Irish SMEs in protecting their intellectual property rights is the cost of enforcing those rights through the courts.
A dedicated list
In taking this feedback into consideration, the Review Group, led by Mr Justice Peter Kelly, has recommended the establishment of a dedicated list, to hear and decide on intellectual property disputes and disputes concerning technology. “Disputes concerning technology” have not been defined by the Review Group and as such it remains to be seen what the scope of such a recommendation will be. The ‘Review of the Administration of Civil Justice Report’ has recommended that this list would be linked to the Commercial Court. In addition, the Review Group has suggested that appropriate resources be made available in order to ensure that the Irish Courts remain an attractive forum for any party seeking to resolve these disputes in a timely and cost-effective manner.
Detailed proposals for the establishment of the list were made by the Commercial Litigation Association of Ireland (CLAI). The CLAI submitted that if its proposal was accepted, the recommendations could be implemented through permitted amendments to the Rules of the Superior Courts which are already in existence.
Reduced cost and delay
There are a number of benefits which are likely to result from the introduction of a specialised intellectual property list. Reduction of both delays and costs of proceedings would no doubt arise. In addition, greater judicial expertise in the area would also likely emerge as the same judges would be hearing IP and technology disputes going forward.
As the recommendations set out in the Report are not binding, it remains to be seen whether this dedicated list will be set up in reality. However, as is suggested in the Report itself, the implementation of the recommendations may be done through permitted amendments to existing rules. As a result, this is by no means an impossible task. The incentives in doing so would be a reduction in the costs of litigation, more timely hearings of disputes and the development of greater expertise in the judiciary. This could in turn strengthen Ireland’s reputation as an attractive location for the protection of intellectual property rights.
The Report in full can be accessed here.
For more information on successfully defending your organisation’s intellectual property rights, please contact a member of our Intellectual Property team.
The content of this article is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal or other advice.