When the director of a small business faced a claim in the IPEC, she turned to IP Pro Bono for expert assistance.
IP Pro Bono was able to help the business owner to reach a settlement agreement with the claimant, an outcome that would have been unlikely without expert guidance.
Once the case passed the scheme’s strict criteria test it was referred to Bird and Bird, and associate William Warne picked up the work. This provided William experience of proceedings in the IPEC and a chance to take on some advocacy, both outside of his day-to-day practice. Most of the litigation William is involved with is in the High Court.
The case related to a claim that products which had been sold by the client's company infringed a number of unregistered UK and Community design rights, with the claim being brought against both the client and the client's company. However, by the time the client had contacted the scheme, default judgment had been awarded against both the company and the client personally – it was a serious matter and the client wanted help to try and set aside the default judgment.
As soon as the case was been passed to William, it was clear that immediate action was needed and that the client needed help navigating the litigation process.
“Like many small business owners, the client had no experience of litigation, while the claimant was professionally represented – they were not on an equal footing. We helped the client to understand and get on top of the litigation process and with the preparation of an application to set aside the default judgment. I then also carried out the advocacy for the client at the subsequent hearing,” recalled William.
The application to set aside the default judgment was successful.
“Following the application hearing, I attended a meeting with the client and the claimant's legal representatives, during which a settlement was agreed.”
William led the case, with appropriate partner sign-off along the way. His role in helping the client to prepare evidence and present the arguments in a compelling way was vital to the outcome of the case.
The final step was assisting with the formalities relating to the settlement.
About the IP Pro Bono scheme, William Warne said: “The sort of individuals and SMEs who apply to the IP Pro Bono scheme will generally be legally unsophisticated – this is great experience for explaining complicated legal concepts in simple ways. It is also great to feel you can help someone who, without legal representation, might have found it difficult to deal with the litigation process.
“This can be great experience for associates who may not be involved in the day to day running of a case, either because they are more junior or because they tend to be involved in large scale litigation.”