Sprengnetter group, advised by Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, prevails in dispute over database rights to construction cost data in the real estate sector

Business law firm Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek successfully represented several companies of Sprengnetter group (Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler), which is operating in the real estate valuation sector, in a multi-year legal dispute over copyrights, in particular database rights.
In the summer of 2016, several companies of Sprengnetter group had received warnings for the alleged infringement of third-party rights, in particular copyrights and rights of the database producer. The warning party argued that it was entitled to exclusive rights to “construction cost regional factors” and cost parameters, which it had published in the past. After a petition for a preliminary injunction had initially been successfully defended, the proceedings subsequently went through two instances to hear the case on its merits. In its hearing, Stuttgart Higher Regional Court (Case No. 4 U 112/18) affirmed the legal opinion of Stuttgart Regional Court (17 O 19/17), according to which the data at issue had not been significantly adopted in terms of their nature or extent and/or would not enjoy protection in accordance with the CJEU requirements relating to databases. As a result, the plaintiff withdrew the appeal.
“The right to protect databases is significantly influenced by the requirements of the Court of Justice of the European Union. The key to our success in this case was to pay close attention to these requirements and to present them to the court in a comprehensible manner,” said Dr. Ruben A. Hofmann, lead lawyer from Cologne. “Especially in view of the high amount in dispute in the appeal proceedings of 2 million euros, this is a major success for our clients,” said Hofmann.

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