Published: August 10, 2021
WIT and Jason Grant, Ph.D., Consulting Expert

Litigation involving computing and computer science has come a long way since the landmark decision in Honeywell v. Sperry Rand that made the invention of the electronic digital computer available in the public domain. Today, computers are solving a lot more than systems of equations. In fact, they are ubiquitous. Pervasive computing devices have evolved to include smartphones, wearable devices, tablets, and a host of other sensors. Our cars, homes, businesses, and entertainment are centered around computing. 

Computer scientists are at the forefront of these technologies as software developers, system architects, reliability and test engineers, and program managers. They work in fields such as web and mobile app development, security, robotics, systems programming, graphics, bioinformatics, and human-computer interaction, to name a few. So much technology is embedded into our everyday lives already, and innovation in computing continues to thrive.

There are several emerging technologies in the field of computer science ripe for growth, competition, regulation, and litigation. Below are some thoughts on burgeoning technology and where it is headed. 

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) – One of the biggest buzzwords in technology today, AI uses statistical learning models to make predictions based upon input data. From fantasy sports statistics to face recognition, tech industries have made tremendous advances in the last five years thanks to AI. But at what cost? What trade-offs in privacy concerns will the applications of advanced machine learning take? And let’s not minimize the impact of the mass energy required to power such devices. Can AI go green? Scientists are currently exploring it.
  • Quantum Computing – Supercomputing is great for solving certain problems, large combinatorics not being one of them. Enter quantum computers, which can create vast multidimensional spaces to solve such problems. Such breakthroughs could radically change the healthcare industry, including accelerated diagnoses, personalized medicine, and optimized pricing. Early movers to research and adopt quantum computing could reap significant advantages, particularly when much of the early intellectual property in quantum computing is likely proprietary.
  • Digital Currency – Cryptocurrencies—like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs)—offer low-cost and fast transactions, thanks to its use of a decentralized peer-to-peer computing infrastructure known as blockchain. Among other benefits, this framework provides economic group opportunities in countries with limited numbers of financial institutions. However, this disruptive financial technology fuels litigation on multiple fronts, from regulatory agencies looking to place enforcement actions on early innovators to companies alleging breach of contract, IP infringement, trade secret misappropriation, and more.
  • Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR/VR) – Mobile games such as Pokémon Go brought AR to the general public, while Google Cardboard and Oculus Rift immersed us in virtual spaces. Imagine a world where turn-by-turn directions are overlaid on the sidewalk for pedestrians, and 85 inch flat screens are replaced by headsets a fraction of that size. That’s just the tip of the iceberg for AR/VR. Heavy innovation and competition will likely ensue.
  • Big Data – How big is big data? Computer scientists are still wrestling with that question, but typically it is vast enough that the dataset’s size is beyond the ability of traditional relational databases. (You may start to see now why it is so difficult to answer that question.) As society generates more and more data through the Internet of Things (IoT), wearables, mobile devices, medical data, and finance, companies are exploring tools to mine meaningful information from this data, creating opportunities for regulation and legal challenges involving privacy concerns.
  • Cloud Computing – Mobile phones today harness more computing power than the towers we placed under our desks ten years ago, yet individuals and corporations alike are turning to cloud computing resources. Why so? As powerful as our smartphones and personal computers are, they pale in comparison to the computing power of supercomputers. These centralized computers can provide enough computing resources for several users and localize maintenance and upgrades. And with more devices being powered by 5G, tiny computers can pack a big punch.

At WIT, we believe that these examples of emerging technologies and others will drive legal disputes in the near and distant future where a computer science expert would be of utmost value. We represent top computer scientists who can provide consulting and testifying services on:

  • the development and engineering of both legacy and emerging technologies;
  • industry best practices for the implementation and installation of software and hardware;
  • the failed development of computing applications and systems;
  • source code analysis, comparison, and review;
  • prior art searches and planning for and review of discovery; and
  • infringement, invalidity, and claim construction.

WIT affiliates with leading computer science experts around the intellectual property in tech patent cases, tech-related medical devices, energy consumption and climate change tech, and complex commercial litigation regarding emerging payment systems.

To learn more, contact us to discuss your expert witness needs. Follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter to stay up-to-date on our latest insights.

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