Legal research challenger ROSS Intelligence is to shut down its operations as of 31 January in the wake of a lawsuit by Thomson Reuters alleging copyright infringement.
A statement out today says: “We have made the difficult decision to shut down operations at ROSS Intelligence. As of Monday of this week, we have no longer been accepting new customers. As of January 31, 2021, the ROSS platform will no longer be available. Between now and then, our priority is to help our current customers transition to other services.”
ROSS was founded six years ago by Andrew Arruda and Jimoh Ovbiagele and set about democratising legal research.
However, in the spring of this year, Thomson Reuters and Westlaw brought a law suit against ROSS alleging breach of copyright, a claim which ROSS has consistently denied.
The ROSS statement says: “When the news broke, we were grateful to receive so much community support. However, just as Westlaw devised it to be, this ongoing suit has been heavy for ROSS to bear. Litigation is expensive — no matter how speculative the claims against you nor how worthy your position. With our company ensnared by this legal battle, we have been unable to raise another round of funding to fuel our development and marketing efforts. Our bank account is running out, and we must cease operations in the New Year.”
ROSS will continue to be available as it is today until January 31, 2021. Each customer will be able to export their personal data, including all data from their saved folders, beginning in January. We will be working with our customers to transition them to other services — including platforms by our friends at Fastcase, vLex and Casetext.
Despite shutting down its operations, ROSS says that it will continue to fight Thomson Reuters’s claim, commenting: “Although we are out of funds for our operations, ROSS has insurance for our litigation costs. The company will continue as a going concern so that the facts at the heart of this lawsuit are brought to light and so that Westlaw’s tactics — using litigation as a weapon and stifling competition — do not succeed.”
Thomson Reuters has yet to return a request for comment.