ECJ defines database right

Judgment on Database Directive throws light on novel right

The European Court of Justice has given judgment in the case of British Horseracing Board v William Hill, explaining many of the terms in the Database Directive for the first time.

The British Horseracing Board (‘BHB’) and others brought proceedings against William Hill for the bookmaker’s online use of data obtained indirectly from the BHB database.  The ECJ held that William Hill had not infringed BHB’s database right.  The Court found that the right under the Database Directive protects investment in seeking out and collecting existing independent materials and collecting them in a database, but not investment expended in creating the data itself. 

The decision greatly clarifies the hitherto uncertain scope of the right, and is made all the more remarkable by the ECJ’s almost wholesale refutation of the Opinon of Advocate General Stix-Hackl, who had given a much wider interpretation to the right.

Click here for a full case report and link to the judgment.