The complaint, filed today in U.S. District Court in Delaware, alleges that ROSS “intentionally and knowingly” induced the legal research and writing company LegalEase Solutions to use its Westlaw account to reproduce Westlaw data and deliver it to ROSS en masse.
ROSS did this after West denied it a license of its own on the basis that West does not give competitors access to its products, the complaint says.
“ROSS did so, 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,” the complaint alleges. “The net result is that Plaintiffs are now being put in the unfair position of having to compete with a product that they unknowingly helped create.”
The suit centers on ROSS allegedly striking a deal with LegalEase that included LegalEase using bots to scrap the West Key Numbers and Headnotes and then handing that data over to ROSS. The complaint is worth a read because it demonstrates that Thomson Reuters fully understands it has no claim of copyright in the actual court opinions. It mentions repeatedly that this suit is about TR’s proper copyrights in key numbers and headnotes. It will be interesting to see where this goes.