by Dennis Crouch
Few patent litigators would file a lawsuit if the potential payout is less than $1,000,000 — that amount ordinarily does not cover the expected cost of litigation and risk of loss. Except in the most simple cases, copyright litigation can be similarly expensive. What this means is that it can be difficult to earn a regular ‘living’ independently creating and licensing intellectual property.
A bipartisan group of legislatures are working on a small claims solution and have proposed the CASE Act: Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act of 2019.
The basics: The statute calls for creation of a “Copyright Claims Board” empowered to decide infringement cases with a limit of $30,000 damage award per case and no injunction (except to enforce a settlement agreement) and no attorney fees (except for bad faith conduct). Although the Board will be based in DC, hearings will be via the internet with very limited procedural requirements.
I like it in theory, but need to consider implementation aspects. Small claims IP court in the UK has received a good amount of positive response — three tiers: Small Claims (<£10,000); Smallish Claims (<£500,000); and Everything Else.