The following IP guidance note Produced in partnership with Herbert Smith Freehills LLP provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:
Databases, especially electronic databases, have become important tools that drive economic transactions. In the 1990s, uniform and adequate protection for databases in the European internal market was considered necessary to:
harmonise differing levels of protection enjoyed by databases in Member States
drive innovation and investment in information products, especially online database goods and services, and
remedy the 'great imbalance' in the level of investment in the database industry as between Member States and the world's largest database-producing third countries, such as the United States
Moreover, after the standard of originality for copyright was harmonised across the EU, mere 'sweat of the brow' databases, which were not sufficiently creative enough to pass the higher originality threshold for copyright, would have remained unprotected. Such databases were nevertheless economically valuable and were usually put together using considerable effort and investment.
Impetus for the legal protection of such 'sweat of the brow', 'non-creative' databases through a sui generis database right in the EU came with the adoption of new legislation in 1996. There are now three main pieces of legislation relevant to the protection of databases in the UK:
the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA 1988)—the primary statutory source on the law of copyright which provides for the copyright protection of databases
Directive 96/9/EC on the legal protection of databases, 11
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