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Bezpecnostni Softwarova Asociace

[2011] ECJ 14

Case summary last updated at 29/01/2020 15:57 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case Bezpecnostni Softwarova Asociace

Czech organisation, C, wished to set up licencing scheme for computer software, which included right to transmit works by cable TV. Each computer programme had its own ‘graphical user interface’ (GUI). GUI was an interactive interface, i.e. the means by which users of the software actually made use of the software; involved users clicking on various icons on the screen in order to be able to use the relevant computer software.  Issue was whether copyright could subsist in GUI. Held:
 
Intellectual Creation
·        Infopaqtest affirmed.
·        Thus GUI can be protected by copyright under Infosoc Directiveif it is its author’s own intellectual creation.
 

Limited Expression

·        Where an idea is only capable of being expressed in a very limited number of technological or functional manners, the expression of that idea is not original.
·        Thus where the expression of an idea is dictated by that idea’s technical function, expression cannot be an “intellectual creation”
·        If this were not case, computer companies could get monopoly on basic concepts
 
·        On facts, majority of elements comprising the GUI have a functional purpose

Ø  i.e. are designed simply to facilitate the use of the computer programme in question
Ø  e.g. the drop-down menus, cursor icon on screen which moves when the mouse is moved.

·        Thus national court must exclude any elements of GUI that have functional purpose from their assessment of whether GUi as a whole is an intellectual creation.

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