ROSS Intelligence Says Allegations of Copyright Theft Are False, Motivated by Fear of Competition

ROSS Intelligence
May 7, 2020


Andrew Arruda


ROSS Intelligence

(SAN FRANCISCO) – ROSS Intelligence fired back against the copyright infringement claims in a lawsuit filed May 5 by Westlaw, saying that, in fact, feeding Westlaw’s copyrighted editorial content into the machine learning process used by ROSS’s artificial intelligence system would be counterproductive.

“We never asked for or used proprietary data from Westlaw,” said ROSS Co-founder and CEO Andrew Arruda, adding that emails and other documents show that ROSS had no desire or need for that information.

In 2017, Arruda said, ROSS contracted with third-party LegalEase Solutions to gather case law to build datasets to train the ROSS artificial intelligence systems. As Arruda described it, ROSS engineers were teaching the AI system to distinguish between good and bad answers to legal questions.

In 2018, Westlaw filed suit against LegalEase, claiming that LegalEase gave ROSS proprietary data in the form of Westlaw case summaries and other editorial content.

But Arruda said such information would have been useless to ROSS: “Not only could we not map this proprietary data to the case law in our database, our technology does not attempt to generate editorialized answers. Instead, it aims to recognize and extract answers directly from the law using machine learning.”

“It has always been our view that the editorialized content approach, in addition to being fallible and difficult to quality check, produces work that is stale the moment it is published,” Arruda continued. “That is the old legal research playbook. We chose the AI way.”

Indeed, ROSS has copies of an email exchange between a ROSS engineer and his project lead, complaining that LegalEase might be mixing Westlaw content in with the allowable case law content – and that the Westlaw content was “added noise.” The engineer emailed “if it’s possible for them (LegalEase) to send us cases without that it would be much better as that is added noise.” The project lead then made clear in an email to LegalEase that cases should be sent “without that extra (Westlaw) info.”

Further, Arruda noted, as part of its original lawsuit against LegalEase, Westlaw subpoenaed ROSS communications, agreements and work product with LegalEase, including the statement of work. “Westlaw and their attorneys were unable to find any evidence that we solicited LegalEase to access Westlaw on our behalf or benefited from Westlaw’s data,” Arruda said.

Nevertheless, recently, Westlaw suddenly settled its suit with LegalEase and sued ROSS – its direct business rival.

Arruda said the lack of evidence of wrongdoing on ROSS’s part and the fact that ROSS had no need or desire for Westlaw’s material, lead to an obvious conclusion.

“We recognized that for decades the legal research market had been dominated by Westlaw, with its bloated, expensive and unintuitive products that provided bad results,” Arruda said. “We knew there was a better and more affordable way.

“By filing this lawsuit despite its lack of merit, Westlaw is interfering with our chances of securing more funding or merging with other companies, which we need to do in order to innovate and compete with Westlaw,” Arruda said. “This is not the first time Westlaw has used litigation as a weapon and this litigation epitomizes everything that is wrong with Westlaw’s business practices.”

The bottom line, Arruda said, is that the case law ROSS sought to build its innovative AI approach to providing legal services is not copyrightable. “We will fight for free access to the law,” he said, “and look forward to showing the world Westlaw’s true colors.”

About ROSS Intelligence - Founded in 2015, ROSS Intelligence is the industry-leading AI-driven legal research provider. ROSS’s legal research platform leverages proprietary AI technology to help lawyers conduct more thorough research in a fraction of the time. ROSS is funded by tier-one investors, including iNovia Capital, Comcast Ventures, and Y-Combinator, and was recognized by the American Bar Association as “an example of how artificial intelligence can be used to improve the delivery of legal services.” For additional Information on ROSS Intelligence, follow ROSS on Twitter at @ROSSIntel or visit

ROSS Intelligence

ROSS is an advanced legal research tool that harnesses the power of artificial intelligence to make the research process more efficient.