AutoUncle creates transparency by gathering and cleaning the jungle of adverts and valuates the market price of every car for sale. It is an independent guide to the best deals. The company´s guidance is based on huge amounts of empirical data and advanced statistics. Even though the data collected is publicly available, the startup lost their case against Ebay.
The actual dispute was over the data that AutoUncle uses to provide information of the car market to its consumers. Ebay claimed that the information available on the internet belonged to them.
“I must admit that I am shocked by the ruling. It’s about standard facts, and I did not expect that eBay would be able to convince the court that publicly available data belonged to them. I think it makes the market a strange place.” says Johan Frederik Schjødt Co-founder and CEO of AutoUncle in Trends Online
Johan further elaborates that the access of public information helps people for various purposes – homes, apartments, flights, etc. so why should the car market be any different? AutoUncle has repeatedly run into problems with Ebay and now in light of the new developments, is considering whether there is a future for their service in the Danish market or not.
“We have repeatedly offered AutoUncle cooperation. They have a legitimacy to the collected data, they just have to pay for it, just like all our other partners do. So despite the legal disputes, Ebay would like to resume dialogue with AutoUncle on the options for data deal” says Jan Lang, Journalist at eBay.
This lawsuit and its results may also have profound implications for future cases, where it is about rights to data that is already publicly available. The ruling means that information from the car dealers who use the model database must not be used by AutoUncle or others without an agreement with Ebay.
“We hope that this and similar cases may help to focus on the area where on the one side must respect the ownership of data, on the other hand ensure the availability to maintain continuous innovation for the benefit of all.” says General Director of FDIH Niels Ralund in FDIH News.
It is clear with this ruling that the accessibility and control of data is going to be an issue in the business world and may lead to a lot of repercussions for companies that operate with them.