IP case law Court of Justice

Concept of extraction

3 preliminary rulings

Judgment of 29 Oct 2015, C-490/14 (Verlag Esterbauer)

Article 1(2) of Directive 96/9/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 1996 on the legal protection of databases must be interpreted as meaning that geographical information extracted from a topographic map by a third party so that that information may be used to produce and market another map retains, following its extraction, sufficient informative value to be classified as ‘independent materials’ of a ‘database’ within the meaning of that provision.

Judgment of 9 Oct 2008, C-304/07 (Directmedia Publishing)

The transfer of material from a protected database to another database following an on‑screen consultation of the first database and an individual assessment of the material contained in that first database is capable of constituting an ‘extraction’, within the meaning of Article 7 of Directive 96/9 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 1996 on the legal protection of databases, to the extent that – which it is for the referring court to ascertain – that operation amounts to the transfer of a substantial part, evaluated qualitatively or quantitatively, of the contents of the protected database, or to transfers of insubstantial parts which, by their repeated or systematic nature, would have resulted in the reconstruction of a substantial part of those contents.

Judgment of 9 Nov 2004, C-203/02 (British Horseracing)

The expression ‘investment in … the obtaining … of the contents’ of a database in Article 7(1) of Directive 96/9/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 1996 on the legal protection of databases must be understood to refer to the resources used to seek out existing independent materials and collect them in the database. It does not cover the resources used for the creation of materials which make up the contents of a database. The expression ‘investment in … the … verification … of the contents’ of a database in Article 7(1) of Directive 96/9 must be understood to refer to the resources used, with a view to ensuring the reliability of the information contained in that database, to monitor the accuracy of the materials collected when the database was created and during its operation. The resources used for verification during the stage of creation of materials which are subsequently collected in a database do not fall within that definition. The resources used to draw up a list of horses in a race and to carry out checks in that connection do not constitute investment in the obtaining and verification of the contents of the database in which that list appears.

The terms ‘extraction’ and ‘re-utilisation’ as defined in Article 7 of Directive 96/9 must be interpreted as referring to any unauthorised act of appropriation and distribution to the public of the whole or a part of the contents of a database. Those terms do not imply direct access to the database concerned. The fact that the contents of a database were made accessible to the public by its maker or with his consent does not affect the right of the maker to prevent acts of extraction and/or re-utilisation of the whole or a substantial part of the contents of a database.

The prohibition laid down by Article 7(5) of Directive 96/9 refers to unauthorised acts of extraction or re-utilisation the cumulative effect of which is to reconstitute and/or make available to the public, without the authorisation of the maker of the database, the whole or a substantial part of the contents of that database and thereby seriously prejudice the investment by the maker.


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