Legal Research Blog

 

Litigating Innovation

The Apple v. Samsung case wages on in court with both sides pulling out all the stops in what will surely be a landmark decision that changes how technology is innovated.  In a very simple explanation, Apple claims that Samsung violated at least 4 of their iPhone and iPad patents in its most recent round of mobile devices. Apple claims that not only do Samsung devices look like Apple ones, they also contain patented interactive software developed by the genius gremlins at Apple (they’re not really gremlins). To add a twist to this case “Apple is the largest customer for Samsung’s component divisions, which make chips and displays for smartphones and tablets.” Making the case a lot more juicy and with further implications for technology partnerships in the future.

The Washington Post asked the iPhone’s  Siri her opinion on the case and despite some self-adulation Siri remained fairly tight lipped about the case. In fairness, I asked my, affectionately named Android, “Andy” (albeit not on a Samsung tablet) his thoughts. Similarly, he was mum to the debate claiming to not understand/know what I was talking about.

We at Fastcase of course have love for all with our apps for iPhone, iPad, and Android, but what do you think?

Tweet @fastcase #sirivandy what you think the judgement will be and why. Best Tweet gets a “Kiss My App” shirt– we’ll let you decide what kind of App though…

Fastcase eBooks: Advance Sheets are a Glimpse Into the Future

Fastcase Advance Sheets are a series of eBooks available for on iPad, Kindle, Android, and Nook devices.

Fastcase Advance Sheets give lawyers a first look at judicial opinions from around the country in eBook format, replacing printed law books.  Advance sheets will be issued monthly for state and federal courts, including judicial opinions from courts of appeal and supreme courts.

Background

The term “advance sheet” has been used for more than a hundred years to describe the paperback drafts mailed to lawyers and libraries before the printing of paper books. Subscriptions to the advance sheets alone cost upwards of $850 per year, for each of nine or ten series of reporters – the final books cost even more.  Lawyers in years past would thumb through advance sheets from their jurisdiction, looking for decisions of interest in their field.

But with the proliferation of judicial opinions, nobody can carry around all the paper books, much less scan through them for important rulings.  Even though the volume of decisions has dramatically increased, nobody has really re-thought the way we publish caselaw reporters since the late 1800s, when John B. West created the regional reporter system that became West Publishing Company.

Nobody until now.  The companies that print paper books can’t or won’t re-invent the industry, but Fastcase can and will.

Fastcase Advance Sheets

Fastcase has replaced the heavy, voluminous, redundant caselaw reporter with modern eBooks that are slim, light, and beautiful.  Fastcase’s Advance Sheets are more comprehensive than traditional paper tomes, because they include all decided cases – even “unpublished” opinions that won’t be printed in the books (but which are precedential in many courts, and often contain persuasive authority).

And because the Fastcase collection is in eBook format, it will work on most e-readers, including iPad, Kindle, Nook, and Android tablets.  That also means that text can be highlighted, copied, shared, annotated, rotated, read on an airplane or train, or even on a beach.  And instead of reading an entire paper advance sheet, Fastcase eBooks can be searched for key terms, and they include introductory summaries highlighting the issues in each case.

Unlike their paper counterparts, Fastcase Advance Sheets will be free.

Because Fastcase already collects these opinions for its desktop legal research service, publishing them in eBook format is simple, and the marginal cost is low.  So Fastcase offers them for free, consistent with our mission of democratizing the law and building smarter tools for legal research.  Fastcase also will introduce a series of paid eBooks later in the year, with advanced features and highlighting particular subject areas – so lawyers can follow the latest cases in their chosen field.  But the Advance Sheets will continue as a free product, under a Creative Commons license.

Fastcase’s work on eBooks has drawn inspiration from paper advance sheets from West Publishing, as well as the pioneering work of Elmer Masters of CALI, who produced the first eBook reporters with the Free Law Reporter in 2011, using the RECOP data feed.

About Fastcase Advance Sheets for eBooks:

–          Each book publishes one month’s judicial opinions (designated as published and unpublished) for specific states or courts

–          Available for iPad, Kindle, Android, Nook, and other e-readers

–          40 volumes published this week, approximately 300 more by the end of the month

–          Advance sheets for each state, federal circuit, and U.S. Supreme Court

–          Volumes begin with summaries of opinions included

–          Fully searchable, with highlights, annotations, bookmarks, and other key features

–          Free, and licensed under Creative Commons BY-SA license.

Seamless Legal Research for the Holiday!

It’s almost the 4th of July and you’ve got some serious holiday plans! But you want to make sure you have access to legal research on your mobile device just in case. Fastcase has you covered with our completely FREE mobile apps for iPhone, iPad, and now Android!

But wait! Wouldn’t it be great if you could use your bar association, law firm, law school, or desktop accounts with the App? Well, you can with Mobile Sync.

Fastcase’s award-winning mobile legal research apps can be easily synchronized with your desktop account.  This means that you no longer need two separate accounts with your favorites and search history on the phone staying on the phone while  your desktop history stays on the desktop. With Mobile Sync, you can connect your accounts, bringing together favorites and usage history seamlessly.

Plus, when you save cases on the go, you can access them through your desktop where it’s easy to print and find expanded search information. So you can easily access that research you were doing late Tuesday afternoon at your boring nice neighbor’s BBQ- admit it, they do have some awesome fireworks!

Happy 4th of July from all of us at Fastcase!

To sync your accounts follow the instructions below:

Log into Fastcase through your bar association, law school, or law firm landing page.  Once logged in, scroll over the Options menu and select Mobile Sync.

Once on the Mobile Sync page, you will be prompted to enter an email address.  This will be your username for logging in using the mobile app.  When you’ve entered your email address, click Go.  We will send an email to this address to confirm that you own it.  The email will contain a link that you must click to complete the sync process.

Tip: If you already use Fastcase for the iPhone or Fastcase for the iPad and are syncing your accounts, please use the email address associated with your preexisting app account.

If you have already established a mobile app account, simply click the link in the email, and your two accounts will automatically link together.

If you are creating a new mobile app account, you will be prompted to enter a password and to confirm your first and last name.  After that, just click Finish, and your existing desktop account will be linked to your new mobile account.

Questions?  Call Fastcase at 1-866-773-2782 or email support@fastcase.com.

Curious about whether your bar association offers Fastcase? Check out a list of our partners here.

Announcing Fastcase for Android

Fastcase for Android DocumentAttention Android users!  Fastcase’s award-winning legal research app is now available for free on any Android device.  Like our apps for the iPhone and the iPad, the Android app incorporates Fastcase’s smarter search tools including powerful algorithms that rank best results first, citation analysis tools, and Mobile Sync with desktop subscriptions to Fastcase.

As with our iOS apps, a free registration is required, so we can save your favorites and search history across devices.

Early reviews are calling the Fastcase app a must-have for lawyers with Android devices:

“In my opinion, every attorney should have this app on his or her mobile device. . . . With this app, it is quick and easy to do legal research on the road. And at a cost of zero, you can’t beat the price.” (Bob Ambrogi, LawSites Blog)

“According to the American Bar Association (ABA) 2011 Technology Survey, the award-winning Fastcase mobile apps are the “most-often mentioned product names for downloaded legal-specific smart phone apps” and account for more users in the legal-specific mobile marketplace (25%) than industry leaders Lexis (9%) and Westlaw (11%) combined.” (Jean O’Grady, Dewey B Strategic Blog)

“Fastcase seeks to set the standard for mobile legal research, and their mobile app design will be something Lexis and Westlaw will have to work hard to match. We’re only halfway through 2012, and I can already tell you this will be a 2012 must have Android app for attorneys.” (Jeffrey Taylor, TheDroidLawyer.com)

“I have no doubts that any attorney or librarian who needs to do research on the fly would consider this app to be an important part of their research arsenal.” (Jenny Wondracek, RIPS Law Librarian Blog)

“It’s a tremendous resource.” (Matthew Hickey, The Sociable Lawyer)

“The fact that Fastcase makes these apps with access to 50 states’ statutes and case law available for free to subscribers and non-subscribers goes a long way toward access to the law for all people.” (Catherine Sanders Reach, Attorney At Work)

More and more research is mobile, with an increasing share being done on iPhones and Android devices.  That’s why Fastcase has pioneered apps for the mobile market — smarter tools that work the way you do: anywhere, anytime, and on any device.

For more information and for links to download the app at Google Play, visit us at http://www.fastcase.com/android/.

What an iPad Can and Cannot Do

What it Cannot Do

Fry an egg. As much as I would love for my iPad to allow me to cook my favorite breakfast food on-the-go. I have a feeling that we will not see this innovation until a much later iteration of the iPad. Until then, I guess we will just have to settle for smarter legal research.


We don’t endorse this video in any way, we just think it was funny.

What it Can Do

Smarter legal research. Our award-winning Fastcase mobile app brings smarter legal research to your iPhone and iPad.  A recent review of the app had this to say:

“This is a can’t-miss app–not only because it allows you to conduct legal research on the go using your iPad or iPhone–but because the app is free. And you don’t even need a subscription to Fastcase to use it.”

Say, however, you did decide to join the “cool kids” and get a subscription. Not only would you be able to print cases, but you could do something almost as awesome as frying an egg: Mobile Sync.

Mobile Sync allows you to sync your account so that you can move seamlessly from device to device. For example, you could start your day with coffee at your desktop searching through the Fastcase database; move to your iPad as you are on the go from court room to court room; and finish up by discreetly looking up that last case you forgot while at your kid’s recital (though we don’t condone this, we won’t tell). Your search will be saved each time and you can pick up where you left off- even creating a print queue for when you have access to a printer.

If you already have our apps and a subscription, you can click here to learn how to sync your devices.

Though only the future holds the joy of frying an egg with your iPad, for now the Fastcase app provides its own sense of accomplishment. We hope you will take some time to check it out it:

Learn more about the Fastcase App for iPad

Download Fastcase App

Besides, did anyone think about how messy frying an egg on an iPad would be?