Further research project
Intellectual Property and Competition Law

Regulation of the Digital Economy

The aim of the Research Group "Regulation of the Digital Economy” is to first examine the legal and actual framework conditions that apply to the digital economy. This will then raise the question of possible regulatory adjustments to support data-driven innovation and the corresponding markets, realize their growth potential, and balance conflicting interests.

Last Update: 09.12.19

The research focuses on the following areas:

The Interface Between Artificial Intelligence and Intellectual Property Law

The object of investigation is the use of artificial intelligence (in particular machine learning) in the context of generating something new that could as such be patented or protected by copyright if created by humans. The question whether legal protection is also required here - be it for the new creation as such, for the tools used, or for the data needed to train the tool - depends to a large extent on the technical and economic circumstances. It has to be determined whether the applicable law meets the requirements or whether adaptations are necessary – in particular with regard to intellectual property law.


Rights in/to Data

The starting point is an analysis of the legal status quo and the applicable framework conditions, including the difference between personal and non-personal data. The central research question is whether new regulatory approaches are needed to promote data-driven innovation and the development of corresponding markets in such a way that the growth potential of the digital economy is optimally exploited.

The Research Group has already given a negative answer to the question raised by politicians as to whether data - especially non-personal data - should be assigned to certain legal entities. However, further questions need to be answered with regard to the main objective of facilitating a “free flow of data”: What are legitimate reasons for regulatory intervention (e.g. to facilitate access to data)? How should such interventions be designed in order not to unnecessarily impair innovation and competition?


  • Data Ownership and Access to Data (16. August 2016) – German / English
  • Public consultation on Building the European Data Economy (26. April 2017) – English / Chinese
  • Arguments against "data ownership": 10 questions and answers – German / English





Carolina Banda,
Francisco Beneke,
Luc Desaunettes-Barbero,
Dr. Michèle Finck, LL.M.,
Jure Globocnik,
Dr. Begoña Gonzalez Otero,
Jörg Hoffmann,
Daria Kim‎,
Shraddha Kulhari,
Michael Mertel, 
Heiko Richter,
Stefan Scheuerer,
Peter R. Slowinski,
Jannick Thonemann,
Klaus Wiedemann

Main Areas of Research

II.3 Data-driven economy