Summary of existing legislation concerning intellectual property in non-original databases, prepared by the WIPO Secretariat

September 23, 2002

Geneva, 20 Sep 2002

Full text
Prepared by the WIPO Secretariat for the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (Eighth Session) (Geneva, November 4 - 8, 2002)

[...] 3. Since copyright protection of databases that constitute intellectual creations by reason of the selection and arrangements of their contents is well established and harmonized through international treaties to that effect, such as the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (Berne Convention), the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) and the WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT), the present document concentrates on protection of non-original databases that do not qualify for copyright protection.

4. This document examines laws that provide for explicit protection of databases, that are not sufficiently original to be protected under copyright, based on criteria such as the underlying investment or the volume of information contained therein. It is to be noted, however, that the threshold of originality that is required to qualify for copyright protection differs from country to country. While a particular kind of database might be protected under copyright in some countries, a similar database might not qualify for copyright protection in other countries.

5. The present document does not cover the protection of non-original databases through legislation on unfair competition or misappropriation. The protection under unfair competition law, however, may be useful in a number of cases relating to unauthorized use of non-original databases. The reason for which this document does not offer a description of protection through unfair competition rules is that those rules are very complex and they extend to a large body of legislation (in many countries, mainly through case law) which goes much beyond the field where non-original databases may be concerned. A detailed description of issues concerning unfair competition may be found in WIPO publication No. 725 (E, R, F, S) entitled "Protection against Unfair Competition. Analysis of the Present World Situation."

6. This document reviews legislation that extends protection to non-original databases in terms of
(a) legal type of protection;
(b) object of protection and criteria;
(c) ownership of rights;
(d) rights granted;
(e) rights and obligations of lawful users;
(f) exceptions and limitations;
(g) terms of protection;
(h) relation to copyright protection and other rights;
(i) enforcement;
(j) beneficiaries of protection; and
(k) other features.

World Intellectual Property Organisation

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