High Court guidance on duty of care owed by a patent attorney

In a case relating to claims of negligence by a patent attorney, the High Court, recently provided guidance on the scope of the duty of care owed by a patent attorney and to who the duty of care is owed.

The Court held that in addition to the duties already established by caselaw, a patent attorney was under the same duty as a solicitor to ensure that the advice they provide is tailored according to the specific client.

The Court also held that as in the case of Halifax Building Society v Urquart Dykes & Lord, although a patent attorney is not under a duty to give commercial advice, they are obliged to warn the client to consider commercial issues that may arise as a result of legal issues of which the patent attorney should be aware.

In this particular case, the Judge found that there had been one instance of negligent advice. However, the advice had not been relied on and that no duty of care was owed to an investor in the Claimant company as the patent attorney was not aware that the advice was being communicated to the investor.

Full case reference: Craig Baillie and others v Bromhead & Co [2014] ewhc 2149 (Ch)