The ECJ Elucidates the Database Right
Intellectual Property Quarterly, 2005
30 Pages Posted: 16 May 2014
Date Written: 2005
On 9 November 2004 the European Court of Justice (‘ECJ’) delivered preliminary rulings in four cases concerning the EU Database Directive. Although the Directive was adopted some eight years prior, these rulings are the first guidance from the ECJ on the scope of the database right.
The Court took a broad view of the meaning of ‘database’ under Article 3(1) and on what may constitute ‘extraction’ and ‘re-utilization’ of the contents of a database under Article 7(2). It took a comparatively narrow view, however, of when a database results from ‘substantial investment’ under Article 7(1); on what constitutes a ‘substantial part’ of the contents of a database for the purpose of infringement; and on infringement by virtue of repeated or systematic extraction or re-utilisation of insubstantial parts of the database contents under Article 7(5).
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