Digital White Papers

October 2013 Risks and Rewards

publication of the International Legal Technology Association

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CRACKING SOURCE CODE PRODUCTION: XXXX BASICS AND BEST PRACTICES by Jason Hetherington of Liquid Litigation Management, Inc. Computers, cars, smartphones, televisions… source code is everywhere and growing by leaps and bounds. Also on the rise: patent and copyright infringement cases. As the court-ordered demand for source code production increases, you should be informed of the basics and best practices. STARTING AT THE SOURCE Let's begin with a basic definition. Source code is the human-readable representation of a computer program. It can be written in hundreds of different scripting and programming languages. Source code is translated into operations the computer understands called "object code," which is not easily readable by humans. As a result, when the review of a program or product feature is required, object code is isolated, collected and translated back into its original language. The most common types of cases where this is necessary are patent infringement, copyright infringement and trade secret misappropriation. The goal of production is to examine the source code's construction and what it does when executed. Parties are required to produce source code to opposing counsel to determine whether alleged infringement or misappropriation claims are accurate.

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