Portability in Datasets under Intellectual Property, Competition Law, and Blockchain

32 Pages Posted: 6 Nov 2018 Last revised: 13 Nov 2018

See all articles by Bjorn Lundqvist

Bjorn Lundqvist

Stockholm University - Faculty of Law

Date Written: 2018


In the Internet of Things, data and the transfer of data (the porting of data) will be important for competition and, generally, for Internet of Things to work and create interoperability, new services, wealth for society etc. While porting data can be excessively difficult in the current data and cloud environment, there is a discussion that also firms should be empowered by a right to transfer data or port data. Firms should have the right to transfer “its” data from platform to platform, cloud to cloud, or in-house. A mandatory right to port data could have several benefits; one being that it promotes competition between platforms, clouds and e-ecosystem providers. Several platforms collect data on the behalf of businesses making use of their platform services. Moreover, many firms use and will use “the cloud” to collect and store data in the upcoming Internet of Things paradigm, and they will make use and purchase both cloud space and data analytics. A right to port data enables firms to change platforms and cloud providers when they are not happy with the service received. A mandatory right to port datasets would create competition, and prevent markets otherwise “tip” in the favour of one monopolistic firm. A right to port data could be included in secondary legislation. The draft Free Flow Data Regulation only contains a call for self-regulation of the possibilty to port non-personal data. However, a possibility is also to update, modernise and amend the database directive to reflect the Internet of Things era. A third solution could be to create guidelines under competition law regarding collection and transfer of data under vertical or horizontal agreements. Platforms or Clouds that ‘hoard data’ under these agreements, by stipulating covenants that they (exclusively) collect and utilize the data from its business users, may risk violating competition law should they, for example, restrict the possibility to transfer or port data. Such clause should be considered in its fair light to be equivalent to a non-compete clause. Finally, after discussing these legal solutions, the article addresses whether we have a technical solution to the problem, while the blockchain technology could be a technical mean to port data without the use of legal systems.

Keywords: Digital Economy, the Cloud, Interoperability, the Internet of Things, Industrial Internet, Standardization, Competition Law, Antitrust, Big Data, Open Data, Intellectual Property Law, Privacy, Data Protection, Platforms, Ecosystem

JEL Classification: K00, K20, K21, K31, K42, L11, L14, L22, L23, L24, L41, L42

Suggested Citation

Lundqvist, Bjorn, Portability in Datasets under Intellectual Property, Competition Law, and Blockchain (2018). Faculty of Law, Stockholm University Research Paper No. 62, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3278580 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3278580

Bjorn Lundqvist (Contact Author)

Stockholm University - Faculty of Law ( email )

S-106 91 Stockholm

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