Generally, codes, source code, programs, and all related software are protected by copyright law. Not only the database structure but also its content must be thoroughly protected. The reason for this is the expenses spent on the financial, material, organizational, and other aspects. However, costs like these are assumed once the number of materials reaches ten thousand elements.
Defining a database
What is a database? Independent materials of various types can be collected and presented in one set that is designed to be systematized in a certain way. In order for a database to be useful, the materials must be available to search and be processed by a computer. People who create a database and collect, process, and situate all the elements are called database manufacturers.
Registering copyright in Hong Kong
There is no specific copyright registration regime stated in Hong Kong. Automatically, copyright is assigned to every original and tangibly recorded work. Holders of copyright have an exclusive right to create copies of their work and to distribute it publicly. Surprisingly, under the Copyright act in a special administrative region in China, software and databases belong to the category of literary works.
The protection of copyright basically consists of punishment for its infringement. Perpetrating copyright is considered a civil liability. Moreover, if someone unrightfully uses the work of the copyright holder for example for sale, they can even carry criminal liability.
Besides copyright protection, there are special regulations for protecting innovations by granting their creators with a patent. In Hong Kong, a patent can be registered for usage in the industrial domain and must not be a part of the excluded invention classes. Traditionally, patents are divided into short-term and standard. In a special administrative region of China it is necessary to apply for a patent registration at one of the offices:
- UK Patent Office
- EU Patent Office
- State IP Office of China.
When it comes to patenting software, the successful patent registration depends on whether:
- The software is new
- It has an inventive nature
- It solved a specific technical problem.
The final word
Thanks to this short post we have discovered how databases can be protected in Hong Kong. Firstly, it can be protected under copyright law since it falls under the category of literary works. Also, they can be protected by obtaining a patent under the condition that the software complies with the patent requirements.
For a more detailed consultation on copyright protection do not hesitate to contact COREDO. We are happy to provide you with a free consultation.