Matthew Bender and HyperLaw v. West, Judge John Martin Text Opinion, SDNY 94-Civ. 0589, May 19, 1997, United States District Court


This most important decision determined that West could not claim copyright in its enhanced versions of decisions as included in its reporters.


Only HyperLaw was a party in this part of the case - and Matthew Bender was not involved in this decision. On April 28, 1998, it was announced that Matthew Bender was to be acquired by Reed Elsevier Reed Elsevier also owned Lexis, but even by July, 1996, Matthew Bender and Lexis were already linked, according to the New York Times. And, in September, 1997, Reed Elsevier filed an amicus brief opposing the West appeal of this decision.


The New York Times reported this decision - glossing over the lack of involvement of Matthew Bender in the decision:

West Publishing Loses a Decision On Copyright, David Cay Johnston, May 21, 1997.
"In a decision that experts said would drive down the price of legal research, a Federal judge has stripped away much of the copyright protection claimed by West Publishing, the nation's dominant publisher of court cases, for its law books."


Legal Times, covered the decision in an article (republished here by permission) by Thomas Scheffey, WEST LOSES ON KEY COPYRIGHT CLAIM - ITS DAVID OVER GOLIATH.