Wednesday 3 April 2013

Legal startup news (April 2013)

Wevorce, a Y Combinator (the non plus ultra of startup accelerators) alumn developing legal technology for divorces (WSJ). For what it’s worth, I believe it has possible to file for (amicable) divorce electronically in some states of Australia for several years now.

Modus Is Trying to Shake Up the Fat eDiscovery Industry (TechCrunch)

Start-Up Looks to Make Law Firm Billing More Transparent (NYT DealBook)

Legal Tech Start-up Showcase starring LegalForce and Wevorce held at Stanford CodeX Apr 3, video available on YouTube

Previous editions:

Wednesday 13 March 2013

Intelligent legal technology in Finnish courts by 2025?

In Finland, the select committee on judicial reform presented its report to the Minister of Justice today. (Press release in Finnish, Swedish.) The report, responding to the political pressure of making reducing judicial expenditures by 2025 while at the same time making trials more expedient (Finland has quite a track record from the ECHR in this respect), contains a fair share of controversially controversial recommendations and proposals, including the total elimination of lay judges and possibly even the two-track system of general and administrative courts throughout the system, but then there is also this:

In some types of cases the preparation processcould be more strongly computer-supported. For example, when the elements of certain crimes are met, the system could automatically offer relevant phrasings as motivations, which could ease up the burden of processing simple high-volume cases, such as drunk driving. This could reduce routine work while at the same time safeguarding the high quality of the decisions.

(Finnish original: Osassa asioita voidaan valmistelua tukea tietojärjestelmän avulla nykyistä voimakkaammin. Esimerkiksi tiettyjen tunnusmerkistöjen täyttyessä tietojärjestelmä voisi automaattisesti tarjota asiaan liittyviä fraasiperusteluja, mikä voisi keventää suuren volyymin yksinkertaisten juttujen, kuten rattijuopumukset, käsittelyä. Näin voitaisiin vähentää rutiiniluontoista työtä ja samalla kuitenkin varmistaa päätösten korkea laatu. (p. 18))

The general sad state of court ICT in Finland was also highlighted by the Minister in her reply and also raised earlier independently in a short interview with her in Hufvudstadsbladet a week or two ago. The Finnish intelligent legal technology lobby (ahem) is officially pleased.

(If this is your first encounter with the words “intelligent legal technology”, you may want to take a look at this article of mine from the latest IPRinfo magazine.)

Monday 4 March 2013

Legal startup news (March 2013)

Starting close to home: Onomatics products are now branded TrademarkNow, coinciding with the release of two new products: NameRank and NameCheck

A legal startup especially for startups: YC-backed Clerky Helps Startups Save Time And Money On Legal Incorporation, Stock Issuance Forms And More (TechCrunch)

How Alan Dershowitz And Two Entrepreneurs Will Disrupt Billable Hours (Fast Company)

Competitions, competitions... Law as an App at the University of Stockholm. (Maybe we’ll have one in Helsinki some day as well — maybe 2025...) Results and report

Is this the first legal startup in the world’s most prestigious accelerator? Lawdingo, The Startup That Lets You Talk To Lawyers Instantly, Joins Y Combinator (TechCrunch)

Ex-Googlers Launch Sift Science, A Fraud-Fighting System For Websites, Backed By $5.5M In Funding From Union Square, First Round, YC & Others (TechCrunch)

Iron Tech II coming up April 17 (Neota Logic)

I’ll try to keep up with these as a recurring feature with a new post for each month, updated over the course of the month. All pointers most welcome. Previous edition:

Wednesday 6 February 2013

Legal startup news (February 2013)

Online dispute resolution for real: Ebay Spinoff Modria Is Judge Judy For Cyber Shoppers (Fast Company)

Case factor analysis for real: Judicata Raises $2M From Peter Thiel, Keith Rabois And Others To Give Lawyers Better Research And Analytics Tools (TechCrunch)

How To Run A Law Firm Like A Startup (Business Insider via Computational Legal Studies)

LegalForce Store Offers Walk-in Lawyer Access in Palo Alto (eLawyering Blog) (BTW, there has been something a bit similar called the Legal Lounge for a while now here in Helsinki as well.)

Pitchpitchpitch! ReInvent Law are arranging a pitch competition next week. An excellent initiative and the first one specifically for legal startups I've heard about. As a cynical old person who has hung around young and innovative startupsters a lot last year at the Startup Sauna I would just like to warn that while pitching is fine and useful for early-stage companies, it is easy to overdo and just keep pitchpitchpitching instead of working on the product. (Oh, and Onomatics got seed funding without even presenting the pitch deck. Neener neener.)

Results of said competition @ReneeKnake: @ReInventLaw StartUP Competition winners! Best overall LoquiTab Runner up @Kat_Hennessy RiskADvantage Most creative @A_Ninhja p(AR)adigmLaw

Wednesday 16 January 2013

Translation Technology and Copyright

Translation technology (TT) has made significant technical advances over the past decade. Machine translation has become increasingly commonplace in everyday use through services such as Google Translate. At the same time, computer-aided translation systems are now an invaluable tool for the professional translator. Unlike the machine translation systems of yore, current systems are no longer based on explicit, formal models of language, but rather on machine learning and statistical methods using vast collections of multilingual documents with each language element aligned across language pairs. Because of this, entirely new questions of intellectual property become a crucial yet still poorly understood part of the enterprise. This article presents an introduction to translation technology and the legal questions potentially involved and then proceeds to the legal analysis of quantitative and qualitative requirements for copyright protection, the issue of potential (human and computer) authorship to translation technology output, and others.

Our article can be found here:

Sorry for the paywall. Our article has not undergone any language examination. According to the editors each text “shall be the voice of its author”.