Successful reliance on the right expert witness to refute a software copyright infringement claim is well illustrated in the case of CCP vs. Samsung. Barr Group co-founder and software expert witness Michael Barr's testimony was instrumental in helping Samsung fend off a copyright infringement allegation by German software company CCP Systems.
Years prior to their litigation, Samsung entered into a cooperative business relationship to include a CCP software library in a range of multi-function officer printers. Later, after Samsung's business plans had changed and the contract had been terminated, CCP alleged that Samsung continued to rely on fragments of its copyrighted software source code in its products.
Software Copyright Expert Witness
The role of the software expert witness in this case was to perform a thorough software source code review across dozens of different Samsung office printer models to compare specific lines of code used in these products to the fragments of its source code that CCP alleged Samsung continued to use in the post-contract period.
Mr. Barr led Samsung's software copyright expert witness team. Due to the large number of printer models and software versions as well as the quantity of source code in each printer, Barr and his team created and used automated tools to scan and compare source code across thousands of electronic files, mostly in the C programming language.
After completing his analysis of the source code, Mr. Barr concluded in his expert report that the allegedly infringing lines of source code constituted an Application Programming Interface (API), which is not an aspect of software that is eligible for copyright protection under U.S. law. Mr. Barr also demonstrated that this particular API was an adaptation of other APIs widely used across networked computers rather than an invention of CCP.
In an expedited process, this litigation was resolved via a special master hearing before a retired judge. Following the testimony of a Princeton University computer science professor for the plaintiff, Mr. Barr testified as the expert witness for the defense. Though the two experts agreed on certain aspects of the software at issue, Barr's rebuttals on other issues were key to the judge's decision that Samsung's printers did not infringe any copyright of the plaintiff.
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