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Judge Wonders Aloud Whether Complaint Is Pure Speculation

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November 13, 2020

Thomson Reuters is suing legal research startup ROSS Intelligence for copyright infringement, alleging that it stole content from Westlaw to build its own competing legal research product. According to the complaint, ROSS did so by “intentionally and knowingly” inducing the legal research and writing company LegalEase Solutions to use its Westlaw account to deliver Westlaw data to ROSS, “not for the purposes of legal research, but to rush out a competing product without having to spend the resources, creative energy, and time to create it itself.” ROSS denies the allegation and contends that the complaint fails to allege any facts to the contrary. Delaware U.S. District Chief Judge Leonard P. Stark, who is hearing the case, seemed doubtful as well.“Why shouldn’t I understand what you are telling me to be — hey, we’re just completely speculating here that the defendant actually used some of our protected material, we really don’t know, we just suspect they could not have developed their product so quickly if they didn’t.”

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