click
back
to FedCirBlog
So You Want to Search, eh?

First
, check out the search capabilities at the Fed.Cir. website:

Second, they suck, right? Why don't they allow full-text searches? [more on this.] Even more egregiously, why do they prevent other search engines from performing full-text searches of the cases that are publicly available at their site? [more on this]

Third, what's FedCirBlog.tidge.com gonna do about it? I am considering many things, including using Google's search function with whatever Fed.Cir. case PDFs I have uploaded to this site. We'll see.

FedCirBlog.tidge.com has no idea, but the Feds only enable searches by:
  - the names of the parties;
  - the Fed.Cir. docket number;
  - the exact date;
  - the "origin" type (i.e., district court, PTO, CFC, etc.); and
  - one of several pre-set date ranges (i.e., last 7 days, last month, last 3 months, last 6 months, last year, older).

Other Circuit Courts of Appeal enable full-text searches, the Feds could easily do so, but instead, the Feds go so far as to prevent other search engines from searching their website (see more about how the Feds block searches below). See, e.g., Finding and Citing the “Unimportant” Decisions of the U.S. Courts of Appeals.


Added: 2012-09-21  |  Last revised: n/a

FedCirBlog.tidge.com has no idea, but the Feds are serious about preventing freely available search tools from searching public information, viz., Federal Circuit decisions. So a freely available search engine like Google can't be used to search through the slip opinions that are freely available at the Fed. Cir. website. It used to be possible, see this 2007 article: Finding and Citing the “Unimportant” Decisions of the U.S. Courts of Appeals.

But now the very search cited in that 2007 article gets no results: see for yourself, type in:
          site:www.cafc.uscourts.gov patent obviousness "is nonprecedential"
into the Google search page. You'll get nothing.

HOW the Feds make it so difficult for people to search the case law available on their site is clear: their robots.txt file disallows it (see http://www.cafc.uscourts.gov/robots.txt). WHY? Case law is free, uncopyrightable by definition and based on hundreds of years of tradition, so why?


Added: 2012-09-21  |  Last revised: n/a