IPR Intellectual Property Rights on Data

Jul 27 2018

Intellectual property rights relate to the legal protection offered to innovative and creative materials. Given that if we speak about Open Data the IPR issue on data is in conflict with the openness we are tending to.

In the research data IPR aspects is one side of the same medal. On the other side we have all others issue as privacy, security and safety … IPR is only a first step. IPR should be distinguished from the safety and security issues, although strictly correlated. Control over access to data enclosed the physical security issues on the workspaces should ensuring security and safety to data sets. Such issues request clear definition of possible threats and vulnerabilities but these processes are different from IPR issues.

More similar to IPR matters, at the management level, are the privacy data that request great attention to sensitive data in certain research areas, as clinical data and so on. More different again are data concerning research may have National Security implications that require additional levels of access control and that it is not IPR concern. So we would differentiate between

  • IPR issue
  • Privacy (personal data and sensitive data)
  • National Security data
  • Guarantee security and safety to data, protecting the data storage, controlling the access to the authorized users and mainly ensuring protection to threats and vulnerabilities


In the EOSC framework will be allow to users to search all datasets simultaneously. This aspect should not pose IPR conflicts, since metadata is typically open One central question is whether data itself could be copyrighted. But this question seems to stem from the undefined boundary between publications and data. The copyright protections, which cover published scientific publications, concern the text as well as the data that it contains. In fact, the major copyright in the Countries laws only protect original creations, which in a scientific publication is limited to the text and images. Summarizing the data itself cannot be copyrighted, since it is not an original creation.  However, the access of the data is dependent among other things, such as data protection restrictions on the existing IPR models. Another matter concerning the type of license that should be attached to datasets, since it would define, to a great extent, the usability of the data. Data should be open enough to guarantee access and use of data to researchers, while being flexible enough to account for exceptions such as datasets with privacy issues. To consider that some datasets contain sensitive information and cannot be shared without restrictions.

Furthermore, some databases can involve original work, such as when innovating in the way the data is organized or in the way it can be retrieved. This in Europe because to the Directive on Database. The database right, which provides copyright protection for databases, regardless of their originality, was created to stimulate investments in the database industry. However, in the context of Open Science, its use was identified as a major obstacle to the unrestricted access to data.

AIB suggests that this special protection should be revised to promote more open access of data, in particular because Data Base Directive is born in different years before UE Recommendations on Open Access and Open Data and now it is no more adeguate in a EOSC context. In any case the EOSC should define – in order to a Data Base Directive revision - a short list of licenses that would meet the needs of both researchers and managers of databases. For instance, the licenses should facilitate text and data mining and ensure the legal interoperability of the data