The real estate advertisements of the website leboncoin.fr are a protected data base
In a decision dated February 2, 2021, the Paris Court of Appeals confirmed that the leboncoin.fr website qualified as a database of which LBC, the operator, is the producer. The decision, handed down against its competitor, entreparticuliers.com, clarifies the French position on the sui generis regime for database producers.
At the origin of the litigation, the systematic extraction, by entreparticuliers.com, of the data contained in the real estate database of the website leboncoin.fr. Several users of this website complained about it.
In 2017, the LBC company thus summoned its competitor in order to put an end to these practices, on the basis of the sui generis right of database producers, contained in articles L. 341-1 and L. 342-2 of the French intellectual property code.
On 1st September 2017, the Paris High Court condemned entreparticuliers.com, retaining the qualification of database within the meaning of L. 112-3 of the French intellectual property code for the site leboncoin.fr. To do so, the court followed the traditional method which consists in qualifying as a database producer, here LBC, who makes substantial financial, material or human investments related to the constitution, verification and presentation of the contents of the database, in accordance with the aforementioned articles.
The High Court also found an infringement of LBC’s rights as the producer of the database, but considered that the data extracted and reused were not substantial, in that (i) they constituted only 10% of the totality of the advertisements on the applicant’s website, and (ii) LBC failed to demonstrate how these data could be considered as qualitatively substantial. On those grounds, entreparticuliers.com is sentenced to publication measures and to pay 20,000 euros to LBC in compensation for the damage its image.
The Court of Appeal, seized by entreparticuliers.com, confirmed the qualification of database of the site leboncoin.fr and the quality of producer of the company LBC. Likewise, the decision confirmed the reparation measures decided by the High Court.
On the other hand, the Court of Appeal held that the data extracted and reused was indeed substantial in quality, considering that the data was contained in a “sub-database” of the leboncoin.fr website, namely the real estate category, and on the basis of a large series of accounting and technical documents justifying financial, material and human investments, presented by the LBC company on appeal. The Court of Appeal thus sets the financial loss of the LBC company at 50,000 euros.
By the IP/IT team of UGGC law firm