Patents County Court
In the legal system of Courts of England and Wales, the Patents County Court (PCC) in London is an alternative venue to the Patents Court of the High Court for bringing legal cases involving certain matters concerning patents, registered designs and, more recently, trade marks, including Community trade marks and designs where the courts of England and Wales are competent, as well as other intellectual property cases where a normal county court may be competent (such as for many copyright matters).
Established in 1990 by an order made under Section 287 (1) of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, the intention was that the PCC should be a forum where simpler cases could be dealt with under a cheaper and more streamlined procedure than the High Court. In practice, following the Woolf Reforms of 1998, the streamlined procedure is now available in all courts. One remaining difference however is that cases at the PCC can be argued by solicitors or patent agents, rather than having to be presented by separate qualified barristers (though a patent agent also has right of audience in the Patents Court in appeals from the Patent Office; a patent agent holding a Litigator Certificate has right of audience in any case before the Patents Court and in the court of appeal in appeals from the Patents Court).
Formally, the PCC has the status of a county court; however there is no restriction on the complexity of cases it can hear, but from 14 June 2011 a limit of £500,000 (excluding interest, other than interest payable under an agreement, and costs) on the value of claims was introduced. Cases can be transferred from the PCC list to be heard by the High Court at the discretion of the PCC; the High Court also routinely transfers cases from its list to the PCC. As with the High Court, appeals from PCC decisions (if leave to appeal is granted) are heard by the Court of Appeal.
Judges of the Patents County Court 
Cases are heard by the judge or an appointed deputy judge. Since the founding of the court, there have been three judges:
- September 1990 – September 2000 : Peter Ford
- Autumn 2001 – Autumn 2010 : Judge Michael Fysh QC
- Since Autumn 2010: Colin Birss QC
- The Community Trade Mark (Designation of Community Trade Mark Courts) Regulations 2005 SI No. 440 and The Community Designs (Designation of Community Design Courts) Regulations 2005 SI No. 696.
- The Patents County Court (Designation and Jurisdiction) Order 1990 SI No. 1496. This was subsequently revoked and replaced by The Patents County Court (Designation and Jurisdiction) Order 1994 SI No. 1609, which has in turn been amended by The High Court and County Courts Jurisdiction (Amendment) Order 2005 SI No. 587.
- The Chartered Institute of Patent Agents Order 1999, made under Section 29(2) of the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990.
- The Patents County Court (Financial Limits) Order 2011 (SI 2011/1402).
- Section 289(1), Patents Act 1977
- Civil Procedure Rules Practice Direction 52, paragraph 2A.2(2).
- The Patents County Court on the Ministry of Justice's site
- The Work of the Patents County Court by Judge Michael Fysh QC, (Oxford Intellectual Property Research Centre (OIPRC) Working Paper Series No 3, February 2003).
- UK Patents County Court - Phoenix Risen? by Michael Burdon, partner at Olswang solicitors, (Patent World, July/August 2003).