Managing Partner / Patent Attorney of the Russian Federation / Eurasian Patent Attorney
The court recognized tags as protected elements of the database
According to the part 1 of Art. 1334 of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation , the manufacturer of a database, the creation of which requires significant financial, material, organizational or other costs, has the exclusive right to extract materials from the database and subsequently use them in any form and in any way (the exclusive right of the database manufacturer).
At the same time, this exclusive right does not depend on the uniqueness of the materials that make up the content of the database and on whether the manufacturer himself filled the database or involved third parties for this. The main thing is that the materials that make up independent information elements of the relevant database are systematized in such a way that they can be found and processed using a computer (part 2 of article 1260 of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation).
Thus, in case No. A56-5216/2020 , at the request of the database manufacturer to recover compensation for its illegal use, identical tags posted on the websites of the plaintiff and the defendant became the object of the dispute.
The plaintiff believed that the defendant had extracted and used tags on its website, which are independent information elements of the plaintiff's database. The defendant, in turn, argued that the disputed tags cannot be database objects within the meaning of Art. 1260 of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation, since they are simply elements posted on the site and are not unique.
The court found that the tags are used as a search aggregator of goods, since each of them in an alphanumeric element has a specific url page on the site in the alphanumeric element , which is indexed (searched) in search engines. Thus, the court came to the conclusion that the tags are independent materials, systematized in such a way that they could be found and processed using a computer, and, accordingly, recognized them as independent elements of the database.
According to the defendant's argument that tags lack such a quality as uniqueness, the court pointed out that the law does not require that the information elements that make up the content of the database be independent objects of intellectual property. Just as there is no requirement that the database manufacturer fill it exclusively himself: the creation of conditions for filling the database, the subsequent processing and arrangement of materials also qualifies as actions that form the legal status of the database manufacturer.
It is interesting to note that when recognizing the fact of illegal extraction (copying) of tags from the plaintiff's database, the court, among other things, took into account that the tags appeared on the defendant's website later than on the plaintiff's website, in large numbers and in a short period of time, as well as with multiple typos identical to the typos in the tags posted on the plaintiff's website.
Higher courts , including the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation , supported the conclusions and decision of the court of first instance to recover compensation from the defendant for violation of the exclusive rights to the plaintiff's database in the amount of 5,000,000 rubles.
1."Civil Code of the Russian Federation (Part Four)" dated 12/18/2006 N 230-FZ (as amended on 12/05/2022) // SPS "ConsultantPlus"
2.Decision of the Arbitration Court of the city of St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region dated April 2, 2021 in case N A56-5216 / 2020 // Consultant Plus SPS
3.Ruling of the Thirteenth Arbitration Court of Appeal dated September 28, 2021 N 13AP-18778/2021 in case N А56-5216/2020, Ruling of the Intellectual Property Rights Court dated March 10, 2022 N С01-2033/2021 in case N А56-5216/2020 // ATP "Consultant Plus"
4.Determination of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation of 01.07.2022 N 307-ES22-10221 in case N A56-5216 / 2020 // SPS "ConsultantPlus"