At a time when there seems to be a tech startup to cover every human need, Lex Machina has found a new niche—law.
Unlike most Stanford start-ups that are founded by engineers or computer scientists, Lex Machina is focused on legal affairs—a natural target area for a Palo Alto upstart considering that it emerged from the Stanford Law School.
Similar to other startups that have used technology to predict who will win a baseball game or which stocks will plummet, Lex Machina “helps companies anticipate, manage, and win patent and other IP law suits” by comparing cases to a database of information from 128,000 IP cases, 134,000 attorney records, 1,400 judges, 63,000 law firms and 64,042 parties from throughout the last decade, according to a statement announcing the app last week.
“Lex Machina provides previously impossible insights into the IP landscape,” said Robert Siegel of X/Seed Capital, a venture fund that just led a $2 million funding round with Lex Machina. “They intimately know all the parties involved in patent litigation and licensing and help their customers draw valuable conclusions that inform winning IP business and legal strategies.”
The concept behind the company is that it will help companies understand their patents and save them time and money that would be lost in impossible-to-win court cases. Companies like Apple, Microsoft and Oracle as well as law firms like Fenwick & West are currently using the product. With $2 million in new funding, Lex Machina hopes to increase its clients and capitalize on the growing market of patent lawsuits.
“We are very excited to have the support of X/Seed and Costanoa Venture Capital as well as IP industry leaders who are personally investing,” said Lex Machina CEO Josh Becker. “This funding will enable us to improve our existing [product] and develop more IP analytics products.”
The technology behind Lex Machina compiles data and documents from court cases and converts them into searchable text files. Then, when a keyword, patent or party is searched for, data and documents are sent back out. It can give lawyers more information on specific judges, a client’s history and most importantly, information on what they can do to have a better chance at winning.
"From initial investigations through trials and appeals, Lex Machina's rich data and easy-to-use search functions fundamentally improve an IP litigator's chances of winning,” said Sasha Rao, a partner at law firm Ropes & Gray’s Palo Alto office.
Lex Machina has spent over a decade building a catalog of data that essentially can help predict trial outcomes. If the company continues on the path it is on, eventually, some cases could be resolved by simple formulas. Lex Machina may already be revolutionizing patent law, and with a new round of funding, they are poised to take that revolution into the mainstream.