Claimants would do better to settle with solicitors

Astronomical court costs in recent cases have led law experts to advocate the use of solicitors as a cheaper way to sort out legal disputes.

After a judgment in April 2006 saw an entire settlement swallowed up in court fees, Lord Justice Longmore said: "It is a well-known and rather disturbing fact that it costs far more to resolve intellectual property disputes in England than in other parts of the EEA (European Economic Area)."

Recently, the European Patent Office disclosed that small to medium-sized copyright cases in Britain and Northern Ireland can cost between three and ten times as much as a similar claim in Germany or the Netherlands.

The Gowers Review in December revealed that corporate patent challenges could cost £750,000 to go through the courts, with that figure being doubled if the case was proven unsuccessful.

Although resolved patent trials reached 500 in Germany last year, England only saw 12 cases that reached judgment at first hearing

People in copyright cases would be financially better off if they sorted out grievances via solicitors rather than resorting to the courts, the Times suggests.

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