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Fintech Market Overview

This article does not constitute legal advice.

Artificial intelligence in financial products

Fintech Software

AI is, of course, inextricably linked with the data it consumes and the financial services industry generates vast amounts of data. The data itself comes with a set of intellectual property protections – mostly confidentiality, sometimes copyright and, potentially, the sui generis database right. For example, look-up tables (databases accessed by software routines) are potentially protected by copyright in the structure of the database and by the sui generis database right protecting the extraction and reutilisation of the data contained in the database (provided the owner can show substantial investment in obtaining the data).1

The database right is a powerful right, and while the protection ostensibly lasts for 15 years, each time substantial investment is expended in obtaining, verifying or presenting the contents of the database, a new database is likely deemed created and thus a rolling protection obtained. There has been some debate as to whether aggregations of data – for example, sensor or machine-generated data – can fulfil the 'substantial investment in obtaining' requirement of the database right. The debate continues as to where the threshold of effort lies.1

Irrespective of whether or not the contents of a database are protected by confidentiality or database rights, both can provide limitless protection. Because big data is becoming such an integral part of any business dealings, there is a potential for markets to face potentially monopolistic effects due to vast datasets being controlled by relatively few market players. There has been intensifying regulatory oversight in this regard, with the UK's Competition and Markets Authority establishing a new Digital Markets Unit (DMU) in April 2021, aimed at tackling anticompetitive practices in the digital sphere, including on big data. It is anticipated that Parliament will further legislate on specific powers to be provided to the DMU to promote and uphold competitive markets.2

Data protection in the UK

Fintech in the UK

Fintech in other countries

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Notes
  1. https://thelawreviews.co.uk/title/the-financial-technology-law-review/spain
  2. http://www.gov.uk/government/collections/digital-markets-unit
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