Warheit v Olympia Tools Ltd
Reference:  FSR 6
Court: Court of Appeal
Judge: Aldous, Laws & Jonathan Parker LJJ
Date of judgment: 9 Oct 2002
Summary: Patent - Infringement - Costs before Patents County Court - Whether excessive - Detailed Assessment on the basis of normal county court costs of a complex case.
Instructing Solicitors: Wragge & Co.
This was a routine patent infringement action. The decision is reported on the question of costs only. The Court of Appeal was of the view that the costs incurred in proceedings before the Patents County Court and on appeal were excessive and that the basis of the detailed assessment of the costs should be the sort of costs that would be recovered on a detailed assessment of other complex cases that start in the County Court.
Whether there should be a further interim payment and whether costs incurred by the claimant were excessive.
The whole basis of the agreement between the parties in the court below has been swept away. There will be no uplift. The defendants to pay the claimant’s costs here and below.
This was a two-day trial that took place in the Patents County Court. The Court of Appeal was surprised at the parties’ costs expenditure on a case proceeding in the Patents County Court, which when it was set up, was intended to apply procedures which were cheaper to enable medium-sized enterprises and individuals to litigate without being deterred by costs. The figures claimed by the patentee (who had been successful) were nearly £250,000 for a two day trial in the County Court and about £112,000 in the Court of Appeal. That exceeded the sort of costs that would be recovered on a detailed assessment of other complex cases that start in the County Court.