IP case law Court of Justice

Concept of 'expression of a computer '

Article 1.2. Protection in accordance with this Directive shall apply to the expression in any form of a computer program. Ideas and principles which underlie any element of a computer program, including those which underlie its interfaces, are not protected by copyright under this Directive.

1 pending referral

Referral C-313/18 (Dacom, 9 May 2018)


2 preliminary rulings

Judgment of 2 May 2012, C-406/10 (SAS Institute)

Article 1(2) of Council Directive 91/250/EEC of 14 May 1991 on the legal protection of computer programs must be interpreted as meaning that neither the functionality of a computer program nor the programming language and the format of data files used in a computer program in order to exploit certain of its functions constitute a form of expression of that program and, as such, are not protected by copyright in computer programs for the purposes of that directive.

Judgment of 22 Dec 2010, C-393/09 (BSA)

A graphic user interface is not a form of expression of a computer program within the meaning of Article 1(2) of Council Directive 91/250/EEC of 14 May 1991 on the legal protection of computer programs and cannot be protected by copyright as a computer program under that directive. Nevertheless, such an interface can be protected by copyright as a work by Directive 2001/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001 on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society if that interface is its author’s own intellectual creation.


Disclaimer