Leboncoin Case : Definitive Recognition as a database producer

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In a landmark decision on February 28, 2024, the French Court of Cassation put an end to a legal battle that has captured the attention of the legal community since 2021, regarding the recognition of the database producer status of the well-known Leboncoin. This case, which progressed through various levels of the judiciary, is of paramount importance for understanding and applying the rights of database producers and the presumption of copyright ownership.


Background and Stake of the Case


The dispute began in 2021, when Leboncoin initiated legal proceedings against a competing company for database counterfeiting. This case is unique because Leboncoin, besides its main site, also manages a specialized real estate database and the site “avendrealouer.fr,” thereby reinforcing its status as a leader in the online classifieds market.


The Appeal Court had acknowledged that Leboncoin holds the presumption of copyright ownership over these databases, thus enabling it to request a counterfeiting seizure before even starting a trial. However, this seizure was time-limited and could not target activities that occurred before Leboncoin’s establishment.


The Significance of the Court of Cassation’s Decision


On February 28, 2024, the French Court of Cassation, definitively upholds the appeal decision, underlining several crucial points for the rights of database producers.


The Court’s decision unequivocally recognized the creation and active management of a database — including specialized ones like Leboncoin’s real estate platform — as grounds for granting an entity the status of database producer, along with all related rights.


This recognition carries with it a presumption of copyright ownership, which is instrumental in fortifying the legal defenses against database counterfeiting and unauthorized usage.


Thus, the ability for a database producer to request a counterfeiting seizure before any trial is a powerful tool in combating data piracy. However, the time limitation imposed by the appeal court serves as a reminder of the legal framework within which these measures can be applied.



Conclusion and Future Implications


The Leboncoin case highlights the complexity and importance of database protection in the digital era. The Court of Cassation’s decision reinforces the rights of database producers in France, thus offering enhanced protection against counterfeiting.


Moreover, the decision is a call to action for database holders, encouraging them to leverage their rights proactively to shield their digital creations from infringement and misuse. This judgment is bound to have repercussions on how intellectual property rights are perceived and enforced in the digital space, marking a turning point in French jurisprudence regarding database protection.

Dreyfus Law Firm stands ready to guide and support stakeholders through these evolving challenges.

Dreyfus et associés has partnered with our network of Intellectual Property specialised lawyers.

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