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The number included in the barcode in the database is not in itself an IP protection object

Managing Partner / Patent Attorney of the Russian Federation / Eurasian Patent Attorney

According to the part 1 of Art. 1334 of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation [1] 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, the database manufacturer cannot prohibit the use of individual materials, although they are contained in the database, but legally obtained by the person using them from sources other than this database (part 4 of article 1335.1 of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation).

In case No. A47-19504/2019 [2], at the request of the database manufacturer to recover compensation for infringement of an exclusive right, the object of the dispute was bar codes in the range of the intervals of the first three numbers used to register and account for enterprises, goods and services.

According to the plaintiff, the defendant did not have the right to independently produce and use barcodes that match the numerical values of the barcodes included in the plaintiff's registered electronic database. He motivated by the fact that the possession of intellectual property rights to the database gives him the exclusive right to assign bar codes with the corresponding first digits.

The court found that the defendant (customer) at one time received certain barcodes from the plaintiff (executor) on the basis of a service agreement and assumed the obligation not to independently produce barcodes inside the digital cipher assigned by the plaintiff. At the same time, after the termination of this agreement, the defendant, in order to speed up the process of obtaining and registering bar codes, turned to the association, which is authorized to assign bar codes to products manufactured by Russian enterprises. Thus, the defendant had the right to independently produce bar codes using software developed by the association. Plaintiff has not shown that the disputed barcodes used by Defendant were retrieved from its database and not from the database of the Automatic Identification Association.

At the same time, the court pointed out that the existence of exclusive rights to the database of digital values of bar codes does not indicate that the manufacturer of the database has received rights to the individual bar codes of organizations themselves and does not mean the impossibility of using individual bar codes assigned to organizations. The number of the enterprise included in the barcode in the database is not an independent object of protection, since, as a rule, it denotes the serial number or identification number of the enterprise in the system.

The appellate instance [3] and the IP Court collegium [4] agreed with the court's decision to refuse to recover compensation for violation of the exclusive right to use the object of related rights (database).


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 Orenburg Region dated 10/06/2020 in case N A47-19504 / 2019 // SPS "ConsultantPlus"

3.Resolution of the Eighteenth Arbitration Court of Appeal dated February 1, 2021 N 18AP-14438/2020 in case N A47-19504/2019 // ConsultantPlus ATP

4.Ruling of the Court for Intellectual Property Rights dated May 21, 2021 N C01-725/2021 in case N A47-19504/2019 // SPS "ConsultantPlus"

Managing Partner / Patent Attorney of the Russian Federation / Eurasian Patent Attorney