The General Court of the EU affirms copyright of harmonized standards


On 14 July 2021, the General Court of the EU ruled in the Public.Resource.Org, Inc. and Right to Know CLG v European Commission case (T-185/19) that the European Commission is right to deny free access without charge to harmonized standards (hENs).


The Court indicated that harmonized standards (hENs) bear sufficient creativity to deserve copyright protection and that this protection would be undermined if the contents of hENs were to be disclosed as the applicants requested. The Court recognized that the sale of standards is a vital part of the commercial interests of CEN and national standardization bodies and added that freely available access to hENs would trigger significant risks for the production of further standards. The Court stated that the fact that hENs have legal effect under EU law does not establish an overriding public interest which would prevail over commercial interests and force their disclosure.


The ruling is not yet final and could be appealed before the European Court of Justice. The text of the judgement is available here.


Pierre-Yves LE BORGN'


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