IT Group is often involved in disputes relating to intellectual property rights for software and technology. Our instructions can range from providing opinion on software copyright infringement in the form of stolen source code to disputing the infringement or validity of a technology patent.

IT Group has been instrumental in securing settlement in cases where a clear presentation of the extent of copying or reverse engineering has enabled a party to consider ending the litigation. We are regularly asked to support lawyers, barristers and their clients at mediations and in other alternative dispute resolution situations.

Software IPR

The most common issue we deal with in this regard is copyright infringement. The case is often that source code has been copied by a competitor or taken by an ex-employee, which will require our experts to sift through code from the original work as well as the alleged copy. The process involves a mixture of forensic IT examination to preserve the evidence and then to search for signs of copying. Our experts then conduct a thorough analysis of the source code, presenting our findings in a concise manner which will provide a clear understanding to whoever has instructed us.

Trade Secrets

IT Group has been instructed on a number of cases relating to trade secrets. This could involve one of the scenarios as mentioned earlier and additionally, it may be the theft of a formula, recipe, practice, process or compilation of information (such as employees’ records or client databases). Typically, in a case like this we would be instructed as computer expert witnesses who would be tasked with the collection of computer evidence through forensic investigation of various forms of storage – e.g. PCs, laptops, mobile phones, servers, hard drives, USBs and more.

Patent Infringement / Validity

We are often instructed on cases relating to technology patents. This will typically involve us looking at a product involving electronics. The claim may be that the patent has been infringed, and one of the parties wishes to claim damages or file for an injunction. We will be asked to assess matters like the cost of development or the validity of the patent, which will most often require us to determine whether the patented product constitutes an inventive step within the field. This will involve the analysis of the patent itself along with complex technical drawings, designs or other documents relating to its development. The integers of the Patent need to be identified and analysed from the viewpoint of a man “skilled in the art” at the priority date. Prior art needs to be ascertained and checked to establish whether the inventive step – the test for obviousness, is maintained.

Past experience

  • Analysis of retail EPOS systems functionality and programming source code
  • Analysis of broadband router and mobile phone cell site programming source code
  • Analysis of oil refinery process programming source code
  • Analysis of insurance premium algorithm software
  • Analysis of web portal application code
  • Analysis of geophysics software source code
  • Analysis of application code utilised in RAM
  • Analysis of In-car satellite navigation source code


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