Regulating Access to Databases Through Antitrust Law: A Missing Perspective in the Database Debate
22 Pages Posted: 20 Jan 2007 Last revised: 10 Jul 2013
Date Written: 2006
This paper argues that antitrust law supplements endogenous means with intellectual property law in maintaining the 'access-incentive' balance in databases. It starts from the premise that a trend toward 'TRIPs-plus' rights in databases, whatever its form, is inevitable. The reason is a simple, but compelling one: business needs shape the law. Various endogenous means of database access regulation are explored and contrasted with antitrust law. This paper concludes that the latter offers an alternative better reflecting commercial expectations. However, regulators need to be aware of the limitations of applying antitrust law to a regime delicately tuned with pre-existing endogenous checks as well as the effects of their application on innovation by those spurred on the assurance of monopoly profits. In this regard, antitrust law must prove itself to be capable of sophisticated regulation if its interference in the database industry is to be justified.
Keywords: antitrust law, competition law, intellectual property law, database rights, singapore, australia, european union, feist, united states
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