Databases are commonly protected as a “compilation” under copyright law. Compilations are a collection of assembled pre-existing data, facts, materials, figures, reports, supplier lists, statistics, results, etc that are combined, selected, coordinated or arranged in such a way that the resulting work “as a whole” constitutes an original work of authorship. Depending on the local, a “sweat of the brow” collection may also be protected by copyright law.
Such pre-existing concerns by themselves may not be protectable by copyright, however, the compilation or grouping of such concerns may contain enough original expression to merit copyright protection. Once protected, your company will have a competitive advantage in having the right to prevent any unauthorised reproduction, distribution or display of your database. Database protection is best “layered” with NDAs, licenses, contracts and assignments.