Selling or licensing a database
Produced in partnership with Henry Edwards of 8 New Square

The following IP practice note produced in partnership with Henry Edwards of 8 New Square provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Selling or licensing a database
  • Assignment
  • Format
  • Wording
  • Key points to consider in the assignment
  • Licensing
  • Format and wording
  • Key points to consider in a licence

Selling or licensing a database

This is the effect of regulation 23 of the Copyright and Rights in Databases Regulations 1997 (CRD 1997). CRD 1997 were originally enacted to implement the EU Database Directive, Directive 96/9/EC. At present there has been no change to this provision or generally the law on dealings with database rights following 31 December 2020 and the end of the Brexit transition/implementation period: CRD 1997 are retained as Retained EU-derived domestic legislation. However, there are changes to the kinds of databases in which database rights may arise in the UK. For further guidance, see Practice Note: What does IP completion day mean for intellectual property?

The provisions of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA 1988) apply in relation to dealing with database rights and databases as they do to copyright and copyright works, so that database rights may be transmissible by assignment, by testamentary disposition or by operation of law, as personal or moveable property.

An assignment of database rights:

  1. must be in writing

  2. must be signed by or on behalf of the assignor

  3. may be total or partial

  4. may include prospective rights which will or may come into existence in the future, either on the creation of a future work or class of works or on the occurrence of a future event

A licence of database rights need not be in

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