Archive for December, 2009

Google Law

December 7, 2009

As a part of its growing online search engine empire, Google has launched  new search tools as part of its  Google Scholar beta, which permits general legal searches, including U.S. patents.

The legal search feature includes access to both legal journals and court opinions with limitations by jurisdiction and years.  A quick search on the name of a particular entity was impressive.  The 10 pages of results, primarily case law, could then be narrowed by year, jurisdiction, and other criteria.  Another quick search on “law without a license” displayed a mixture of case law and journal articles.  Presumably because this is a beta edition, the pull-down menu results could only be narrowed to California for the state level jurisdiction.  However, by choosing “Advanced search” in the same pull-down menu, state jurisdictions are available as search criteria.

A search of a case citation, 192 F3d 608, with Federal cases selected as limiting criteria, correctly returned Martin v. City of Indianapolis at the top of the page, followed by somewhat random results.  That is, most of the results were composed of cases that happened to contain the same numerals, but not as the Martin citation. However a search of “192 F.3d 608” (with quotes) returned case law citing the Martin case.  Also, entering “17 usc 101” returned case law results for the statute.

Although the Google Scholar beta cannot replicate “shepardizing” or “keyciting” case law (yet), it’s an interesting tool that certainly improves and provides greater access to legal materials.  For those who do not have access to Westlaw and Lexis, this is a valuable (free) option.  However, it cannot, and does not reveal how one can use the law that one finds there…

U.S. patents can also be searched and downloaded directly at Google Patent.  Patents from 1790 to recent months are available.