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Court ruling gives UpCodes upper hand in fight over building codes database

Battle over IP property claims by ICC and other codes bodies continues.

January 08, 2021 |

Courtesy Pixabay

A recent court decision gave start-up UpCodes a win in its fight with the International Codes Council over intellectual property rights regarding building codes.

Upcodes hosts a database of one million sections of building codes from across the U.S. online in locations across the US. The company’s machine learning technology can match search results to location and relevancy to a project, streamlining the process of ascertaining building compliance with codes.

While the building codes are enacted as state and local law, groups such as ICC that create them consider them to be their intellectual property, and often charge users to access them. ICC sued UpCodes on this basis, with existing legal precedents unclear.

Last month, a U.S. District Court ruled that UpCodes’ use of the copyrighted codes fell under fair use law. This decision will allow UpCodes to use the ICC’s codes without their permission, so long as they’re doing so in an educational or transformative context.

But the fight isn’t over. The ICC has launched another suit against UpCodes, alleging false advertising and unfair competition.

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