AALL Spectrum Blog


The AALL Spectrum® Blog is published by the American Association of Law Libraries. Submissions from AALL members and other members of the legal community are highly encouraged. Opinions and editorial views expressed are those of the authors and do not represent the official position of AALL. AALL does not assume any responsibility for statements advanced by contributors. The previous Spectrum Blog was located at aallspectrum.wordpress.com.
7/11/2013 9:47:19 AM

Book Review: The North Carolina State Constitution, Second Edition

John V. Orth & Paul Martin Newby, The North Carolina State Constitution, Second Edition (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013). 254 pages. ISBN: 9780199915149. $150.00 (Hardcover).

Since its initial publication in 1993, UNC Law Professor John V. Orth's The North Carolina State Constitution has served as a valuable resource for legal researchers interested in the constitutional development of the Tar Heel State.  Justice Paul Martin Newby of the Supreme Court of North Carolina joins Professor Orth as co-author of this second edition, part of The Oxford Commentaries on the State Constitutions of the United States series.  Drawing on their wealth of knowledge and experience, Professor Orth and Justice Newby create an informative and accessible account of the history, structure, and interpretation of the North Carolina Constitution.

Following the format of the first edition, the second consists of two parts: The History of the North Carolina Constitution and The North Carolina Constitution and Commentary.  The History of the North Carolina Constitution traces the evolution of the state's constitution over the past two centuries, beginning with the original 1776 document through the 1868 revisions necessitated by the Civil War and the current version adopted in 1971.  In addition to summarizing the key reforms instituted by each of the three constitutions, the authors offer an insightful explanation of the historical, political, and social factors that shaped the constitutional tradition of North Carolina.

The North Carolina Constitution and Commentary contains a section-by-section analysis of the complete state constitution, including nine amendments approved after the publication of the first edition.  Professor Orth and Justice Newby excel at explaining the language of the constitution in a manner understandable by both legal experts and novices.  Their detailed commentary also addresses the origins of each section, any changes made from prior constitutions, and judicial decisions that have interpreted the relevant provisions.  The references to court opinions can be particularly helpful to researchers, both as a means of understanding the North Carolina judiciary's views of the constitution and as as tool for finding additional cases that focus on similar issues.

Readers will find a bibliography at the end of the treatise that illustrates the depth of the authors' research and serves as a handy reference guide to the North Carolina Constitution.  A table of cases and topical index are also available to help locate desired information.

Effective research of the North Carolina Constitution requires an appreciation of the text of the document, its history, and its interpretation by the courts.  The North Carolina State Constitution, Second Edition provides a comprehensive, user-friendly examination of these topics.  This title will be a positive addition to any library's state constitutional law collection.

Timothy J. Gallina is Reference/Emerging Technologies Librarian and Clinical Assistant Professor of Law at the Kathrine R. Everett Law Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Posted By Timothy Gallina at 7/11/2013 9:47:19 AM  0 Comments
7/9/2013 3:26:35 PM

Book Review: Patenting Medical and Genetic Diagnostic Methods

Patenting Medical and Genetic Diagnostic Methods, by Eddy D. Ventose, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2013, 232 pages, $120, ISBN 978-1-78100-177-6.

Patenting Medical and Genetic Diagnostic Methods is a meticulous examination of patent protection for methods of medical treatment and genetic diagnostic methods in the United States.  It is recommended for patent attorneys and law students who plan to practice intellectual property law.   The book is an expansion of a chapter the author wrote in a previous book, Medical Patent Law: The Challenges of Medical Patents.  


Following the introduction in Chapter 1, Chapter 2 addresses early U.S. decisions on patentability of methods of medical treatment.  As the author explains, these decisions were often inconsistent.  In one 1883 decision, ex parte Brinkerhoff, it was held that “methods or modes of treatment of physicians of certain diseases are not patentable,” based on a judgment that medical processes could not reliably produce consistent results.  But medical and scientific knowledge evolved and Brinkerhoff  was overruled in 1954 by ex parte Scherer, which accepted that methods of treatment by surgery, therapy, and diagnostic methods were patentable.


Chapter 3 is a discussion of legislative efforts to exempt physicians and related health care entities from patent infringement lawsuits.  Chapter 4 is a detailed examination of leading cases on patent eligibility relevant to Section 101 of the Patent Act, the section that affords patentable protection to anyone who “invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof.”  Cases discussed in depth are Gottschalk v. Benson, Parker v. Flook, Diamond v. Diehr, and Bilski v. Kappos.  Ventose assesses whether any general principles emerged from these decisions that are applicable to patenting medical and genetic diagnostic methods.


Chapters 5 and 6 discuss cases considered by the Federal Circuit and the Supreme Court.  Among the cases receiving prominent treatment is Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories, which addressed attempts to patent laws of nature.  Unfortunately, this book was published before the recent and highly anticipated Supreme Court decision in Association for Molecular Pathology et al. v. Myriad Genetics, Inc., et al.  In Myriad the Court unanimously held that claims to isolated DNA sequences do not quality as patent-eligible subject matter.   No doubt an update on this case will appear in any subsequent editions of the book.


Interestingly, though this book is about U.S. law, author Eddy V. Ventose does not live or work nor was he raised in the United States.  He grew up on the island of St. Lucia, was educated at Oxford and Cambridge, and is a professor at the University of the West Indies in Barbados.  Ventose has made an important contribution to legal literature with Patenting Medical and Genetic Diagnostic Methods, an exhaustively researched and thoroughly documented work.  Although its extensive analysis makes it less suitable for general practitioners, it would be a valuable addition to law school libraries and for patent practitioners.  It is also suitable for readers interested in legal history or the evolution of medical patents.  Along with detailed legal analysis of cases the book contains a helpful table of cases, table of national and international legislation, bibliography and comprehensive index. 

Donna M. Fisher is the law librarian at Senniger Powers LLP, St. Louis MO.

Posted By Donna Fisher at 7/9/2013 3:26:35 PM  0 Comments
7/1/2013 12:28:01 PM

New Technical Services Law Librarian Newsletter Now Available

The June 2013 issue of Technical Services Law Librarian is now available.  As usual, it is full of interesting and relevant articles for all law librarians.  For example, Karen Wahl explains the process in which Library of Congress Subject Headings are updated and changed specifically for law.  Karen Selden updates us on the recent developments at OCLC, including the news that OCLC control numbers will soon expand. 
There are also lists of programs related to collection development and TS-SIS and OBS-SIS activities at the upcoming AALL annual meeting.  In her management column, Mary Lippold challenges those who complain that "the AALL meeting never has anything for me" and offers her suggestions for programs that are helpful to technical services librarians.    

Posted By Sara Sampson at 7/1/2013 12:28:01 PM  0 Comments