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Copyright GSG, 1996-2008


General Systems Group (GSG) was established to pursue a number of programs in the Software Engineering discipline, including providing expert testimony in software intellectual property disputes.

GSG has extensive and sophisticated technical expertise in analyzing and developing software, especially systems in the C, C++ and Java languages based on Windows and Unix families of operating systems.

GSG staff of software designer/implementors enjoys extensive experience in practical software engineering and formal training in computer sciences. The firm's manager is Ugo O. Gagliardi, Gordon McKay Professor of the Practice of Computer Engineering (Ret.), Harvard University.

GSG's resources, experience, and expertise have won the firm a sterling reputation for integrity and competence. These resources have been used in assisting in a number of legal disputes regarding software intellectual property as well as in other software-related litigation.


Expert Opinion

The results of the analyses performed by GSG in support of legal disputes concerning computer software are delivered in two modes:

  • As briefs to the client litigation team to help: the discovery process, determination of basis for suit, support of deposition process, in trial interrogatories.
  • As expert deposition by the founder of GSG Prof. Ugo O. Gagliardi, who is an international authority in Software Engineering with over 30 years of active participation and leadership in the development of complex software systems

Source Code Analysis

GSG analyses always go straight to the source. They are always performed directly on the source code for the software in dispute.

Source code is like a musical score. If a composer claims another has stolen his song, examining and comparing the two musical scores is certainly a definitive way to dispose of the claim of intellectual or artistic property infringement. Analogously, examining and comparing source codes is a definitive way to settle intellectual property issues for software. Any other representations of the software such as functional specifications, user manuals, design documentation, and marketing brochures are only proxies.

In IP cases we believe in working from the source code because the only TRUE representations of the software are either the source code (the instructions expressed in the programming language) or the corresponding object code (the same instructions translated into machine language that the computer "understands" and executes).

While, on a given operating system and computer, these two types of code are equivalent representations of the software, source code is infinitely more readable by people than is object code. Thus source code is the only authoritative expression of the ideas embodied in the software which can actually be analyzed by people.

Our Special Advantage

Source code examination, however, if not properly aided by computerized means, can be horrendously expensive. The cost of developing a single line of (correct) source code can be as high as $65. Unaided analysis of source code can easily cost in the range of 5 percent to 10 percent of such a figure, or as much as $3.25 to $6.50 per line. Moderately complex software packages (such as the many that exist for the Windows based personal computers) typically have from 10,000 to 50,000 lines of code. A complex software package such as a supply chain system can easily have in excess of a million lines of source code. Therefore unaided examination of source code is out of the question, except in truly large intellectual property claims since the cost of such analysis can easily reach six figures and, if complex enough, seven.

GSG solves this dilemma by utilizing the immense power of the computer to make a lot of simple analyses very rapidly, so that the analyst can concentrate on the exceptions flagged by the computer. Relying on this partnership between the analyst and the computer allows GSG to reduce the cost of direct source code analysis to a few cents per source line (as opposed to a few dollars), rendering the approach practical for use in litigation.

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