Brinkhof secures victory for business intelligence providers: no sui generis database right on Dutch companies register

23 December 2021

On 22 december 2021, the Midden-Nederland district court ruled in merits proceedings that the Dutch companies register is not protected by a sui generis database right. The judgment is a big win for an association of 5 business intelligence providers who were represented by Dorien Verhulst and Remy Chavannes.

The court held that the Dutch companies register qualifies as a ‘database’ in the sense of the Database Directive (2009/96/EC), in which ‘substantial investments’ are made. Acoording to the court, the Chamber of Commerce does not qualify as a right holder however. There is no element of ‘risk’ in investments made: ultimatly all costs of the companies register are borne by the central government on the basis of Dutch law. Central to the court’s judgment is the economic (incentive) ratio of the sui generis database right. The court stressed that the statutory task of the Chamber of Commerce results the creation, and existence, of the companies register. No incentive to invest in the companies register as a database is required. In this situation, there is no economic justification for a sui generis IP right.

The judgment is published (in Dutch) here.