Cracking codes for court
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- For an expert witness to go through 400,000 plaintiff's documents and 6 million defendant's documents in a financial software lawsuit, it would have taken thousands of hours.
Bunseki Software Authority's newest technology took just three weeks -- not operating the entire time -- to review the millions of documents, according to the company's leader.
"How does an expert credibly go through 6 million documents and compare and have any real knowledge of what's going on? He can't," said Martin Greenman, president and chief executive officer of Bunseki. "We are able to attack this mountain of information all through our software proprietary tools and boil out the information that is meaningful and relevant."
The Fairmont-based company provides expert witness services and software analysis tools for the legal and software engineering professions. Bunseki is the only company in West Virginia to offer this kind of software, Greenman said.
Unlike an expert witness -- who provides a subjective analysis -- Bunseki's software offers an objective analysis, he said.
Expert witnesses -- law professors and people with much experience in particular fields -- make opinions of whether or not they think the software in question has been copied, Greenman said. They give interpretations.
They typically do not have time to go through each document and read every computer code line by line.
The lawyer or client also directs the expert witness to look at certain materials within the documents, Greenman said.
Documents include source code, emails, Microsoft Word documents, chat sessions, revision history comments, configuration files, test results, engineering documents and any kind of digital media.
But Bunseki's software gives absolute proof if someone is copying another company's software, Greenman said.
Expert witnesses are still involved in helping solve cases but they now come in after the software tools go through the codes, he said. They are more credible now too.
"So now the expert is not only writing his summary from factual accounts, it makes the expert much more effective in how he ends up testifying. It gives the lawyers a lot of information that would not have been identified for them by a manual human," Greenman said. "It's not that we don't have experts, we do, but we actually use our tools to uncover more things in the documents that humans wouldn't normally know about or see."
The idea for the new software grew out of a need by one of the company's first clients nearly one year ago, Greenman said.
The now ongoing client hired Bunseki for its expert witnesses in a financial software case. Another company was taking information they learned from the original company and using it as their own, Greenman explained.
"This particular company wanted to understand how things were infringed upon in much detail so we came to an agreement with them for writing tools, which is the software that we write," Greenman said. "We review the documents in a legal case and do a comparative analysis. That comparative analysis is used to dig up irrefutable evidence whether a party infringed upon another party's rights."
Bunseki's five clients are still involved in settlement negotiations or are at trial so Greenman could not provide any examples of who has used the software and what their specific situations have been.
Greenman did say that the company has been able to give lawyers the information it discovered "much sooner in the process and it has helped them to go and build up their cases quicker."
Because the software is automated, they can start comparing codes of the plaintiff and defendant's documents earlier in the court cases. The legal team has more time and the scheduling of depositions is useful for lawyers to have the information up front.
These types of cases can take years, Greenman said, and utilizing just an expert witness doesn't speed up the process.
Lawyers and clients can use the results the software generates to solve their copyright infringement cases, among many other lawsuits. Some other cases it analyzes are software licenses, trade secret and patent rights.
Bunseki's technologists -- who are contracted through the affiliated company CreateTank -- can create customized software to meet a client's need too, Greenman said.
"Maybe it's video that has information in it and they want us to get the words that people are saying out," Greenman said. "That would be a case we would have to customize to pull the words out of the video. We would engage with them to customize our tools to meet their need."
Bunseki's only competition right now is the old process, the old way, Greenman said.
He is confident the Marion County company's software is the new approach for solving cases quicker. It's just letting clients know it's available, he said.
"I'm proud of the software we put together at this point. The fact that we have expert witnesses and the software tools to provide them with makes us a strong entity for our client," Greenman said. "Our competition is getting the legal community to understand that our services exist so that they can be better at what they do by using our services."
Reach Megan Workman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-5113.