November 2009

Westlaw, Lexis, Announce That They are Yielding to Google Scholar, Terminating Legal Search Service Effective Immediately

November 30, 2009

Just kidding, but Columbia Law School’s Altlaw, which I’ve used off and on, really is shutting down: Nov. 19, 2009.  Earlier this week, Google announced the addition of legal cases to Google Scholar. It’s good, very good. But you don’t have to take our word for it: try it out yourself. Everything we have done or planned to do with AltLaw, Google has does better. What else would you expect? Search is their core business; they have hundreds of brilliant engineers, a vast computing infrastructure, and billions of dollars invested in it. . . . Therefore, we are happy to announce that Project AltLaw (Phase One) is complete. We will continue to maintain the web site and search service for a few months, but we will not be adding new features or new content. AltLaw.org, in its current form, will shut down in early 2010.

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Judge Michel Announces Resignation, Lays it On the Line (and promises more to follow)

November 25, 2009

CAFC Chief Judge Paul Michel doesn’t pull punches when he states his views on problems with the U.S. patent system and the federal courts more generally, and he didn’t pull too many when he announced his upcoming retirement from the CAFC on on November 20, 2009.  A few notable quotes from his speech: On interlocutory appeals of claim construction rulings to the CAFC: A provision in a Senate patent reform bill would allow interlocutory appeals of Markman rulings.  Predictably, Judge Michel doesn’t like the idea.  He states that interlocutory appeals would double or triple the case load on the CAFC, and the court “can’t handle it.” The median time to adjudicate a patent case before the CAFC?  One year “from filing, to the opinion going up on the Internet.”  Interlocutory appeals would double this to two years. And, interlocutory appeals are unnecessary as a practical matter, he argues.  Some interesting statistics from Judge Michel:  “About 3,000 [patent cases] are filed a year, about 2,700 settled spontaneously. Of the remaining 300, about 200 are resolved on summary judgment, almost always based on claim construction. . . . The remaining 100 go to trial. . . . there almost are never second trials. There usually aren’t even first trials.” On Upcoming Retirements from the CAFC: The CAFC has 11 active judges and five senior judges. . . .  [t]he . . . …

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