A recent Italian decision clarifies when a database is protected under the Intellectual Property Code and under the Trademark and Patent Code

download (26)The Italian Intellectual Property Code (Law 633/1941) protects the rights of someone who makes a material investment to gather and organize the content of a database. Article 102bis and ter: Rights of a database developer – user’s rights and obligations.

An Italian Court recently held that in order for an investment in a database to receive protection, it needs not to entail a financial investment: it is sufficient that someone performs an organizational activity to collect data and enter that data into a database. “Investment” is also the continuous work of personnel to keep updated the content of the database.

The court held that a database having identical content to one that already exists, is also protected provided that the new database is built using autonomous resources and without extracting unauthorized content from the pre-existing database. It is not relevant if the data included in the new database could also be obtained from other accessible sources.

In conclusion, the court found a violation relevant under the Intellectual Property Code (article 102bis).

The plaintiffs had also sought protection under the Trademark and Patent Code (Legislative Decree 30/2005). Article 98 and 99 protect against the violation of confidential business information. However, the court rejected this claim. To enjoy protection under this law, the data must not be accessible to third parties and must be adequately protected. Failure to actually comply with these requirements and to effectively enforce security measures, results in lack of protection.  Because plaintiffs dit not protect their database, they could not obtain protection under the Trademark and Patent Code.

Sentenza n. 5793/2016 pubbl. il 10/05/2016 RG n. 49286/2012 Repert. n. 4636/2016 del 10/05/2016


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