Issue 166 | March 3, 2004
Congress Proposes New Law to Prevent Misappropriation of Databases

The "Database and Collections of Information Misappropriation Act," HR3621, was reported to the full House by its Judiciary Committee on January 21, 2004. If enacted, this legislation will prohibit

. . . making available in commerce to others a quantitatively substantial part of the information in a database generated, gathered, or maintained by another person, knowing that such making available in commerce is without the authorization of that person (including a successor in interest) or that person's licensee, when acting within the scope of its license, shall be liable for the remedies set forth in section 7 if--
  1. the database was generated, gathered, or maintained through a substantial expenditure of financial resources or time;
  2. the unauthorized making available in commerce occurs in a time sensitive manner and inflicts injury on the database or a product or service offering access to multiple databases; and
  3. the ability of other parties to free ride on the efforts of the plaintiff would so reduce the incentive to produce the product or service that its existence or quality would be substantially threatened.

The draft also provides for oversight by the Federal Trade Commission and the Patent and Trademark Office with regard to remedial procedures that include awards of profits, actual damages, and double damages, impoundment, costs, and attorneys fees.

The Act was introduced by Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC) in October of 2003 after more than two and one-half years of legislative negotiations between the House Judiciary and House Energy and Commerce Committees. It is cosponsored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-Wis.), House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Billy Tauzin (R-La.), House Judiciary Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property Subcommittee Chairman Lamar S. Smith (R-Tex.), and others.

For more information, see the legislative history at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d108:h.r.03261: and the Judiciary Committee's press release at http://www.house.gov/judiciary/news012104.htm. A corresponding "Database Directive" has been in place in Europe since 1996 at http://europa.eu.int/smartapi/cgi/sga_doc?smartapi!celexapi!prod!

This issue of the "APLF Updates," was prepared by Bill Heinze (bill.heinze@tkhr.com), at Thomas, Kayden, Horstemeyer & Risley LLP in Atlanta, Georgia USA.

The information contained in this email is provided for informational purposes only and does not represent legal advice. Neither the APLF nor the author intends to create an attorney client relationship by providing this information to you through this message.

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