09 September 2005

Database Rights

I have just uploaded "Database Rights" pages to our chambers site (the site that provides information about NIPC and its members) and IP/it Update (our site with information about intellectual property and technology law).

For those outside Europe, database right is a new intellectual property right that protects investment obtaining, verifying and presenting the contents of a database as distinct from the intellectual effort of creating it. It avoids the sort of difficulties that occurred in the USA as a result of the US Supreme Court's judgment in Feist publications Inc. v Rural Telephone Service Co. 499 US 340 (1991).

The source of database rights law in Europe is Directive 96/9/EC ("The Database Directive") which we have implemented in the UK by The Copyright and Rights in Databases Regulations 1997. Last year, several references were made to the European Court of Justice on various points that rose from the directive. Links to those cases are available from our database rights information page. Shortly before the end of last year's law term, the decision of the European Court was applied by the Court of Appeal (see British Horseracing Board Ltd and others v William Hill Organization Ltd [2005] EWCA Civ 863 (13 July 2005)) Quite apart from intellectual property law, the British Horseracing transcripts are worth reading because they are an interesting example of the interplay between the national and Community jurisdictions.

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