A small but important change to UK law was made at the start of October: intellectual property (IP) cases can now use the small claims track, which should make it much easier to deal with people who infringe upon the IP of others.
Small claims cases in the UK are for claims valued at up to £5,000 (with this possibly changing to £10,000) at some point in the future. The idea is that relatively small cases can be fast-tracked. Until October 1st 2012, IP cases could not follow the small claims route, but authors (and others) whose work is wrongly appropriated now have another way of dealing with infringements. As well as allowing up to £5,000 in restitution, small claims cases can also lead to injunctions preventing further infringement.
For now such cases will only be heard by a single London-based Patents County Court (PCC), which might be inconvenient for those based outside the city. Nevertheless, small businesses and individuals should now find it much easier to seek restitution when their IP has been misappropriated.