Pharma Intranet Information AG v IMS Health GmbH and Co. OHG: 2005

(Oberlandesgericht Frankfurt) The court asked whether a database produced by the claimant for the pharmaceutical market containing figures for revenue and sales development for medicines sold in Germany, was protected by copyright. The data was divided into a large number of geographical segments.
Held: ‘The concrete partitioning into segments, selected by the claimant with the participation of the Working Group, conveys the sufficient impression of individuality by the author of the collected work. This is because the individuality differentiates the work protected in copyright law from the unprotected mass of everyday things, from purely physical labour, routine performance. A selection or organisation that anyone would undertake in a particular manner does not constitute individual creation. If the selection or organisation is determined by the nature of the thing or is predetermined by purposefulness or logic, then there is no room for individual creative work . . It is true that the organisation of the data into segments and those segments’ border mappings occur consonant with aspects of purposefulness, because the claimant’s customers want to receive information that is as specific and informative as possible. This fact, however, does not stand in the way of the assumption of a work that is protected in copyright law. What is determinant for the segment structure’s ability to be protected within the meaning of s.4 of the UrhG, is that various criteria be considered for individual decisions and, in turn, can be variously weighted, such as, for example, the geographic position of bridges and rivers or the number of pharmacies within a segment. In the individual case, the decision goes beyond that which is manual labour or schematic and the decision allows sufficient manoeuvering room for an individuality that, in any case, satisfies the requirement of the so-called ‘small coin of copyright law’.


[2005] ECC 12



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CitedFootball Dataco Ltd and Others v Brittens Pools Ltd (In Action 3222) and Others ChD 23-Apr-2010
The court considered what rights existed in the annual football fixture lists created by the claimants. The claimants said that the list was created only with a considerable effort applying certain rules. The defendants denied that any copyright . .
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Intellectual Property

Updated: 05 December 2022; Ref: scu.408857