Python API for Docket Alarm
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README.md

docketalarm-api / pacer-api

Docket Alarm is a legal research system that provides access to the United States court system. This Python API client provides access to all legal filings in Docket Alarm's database across the United States.

Docket Alarm's Court Coverage

As of May 2017, Docket Alarm covers the following jurisdictions:

  • Federal Courts / PACER cases (District Courts, Bankruptcies, Appellate, MDL)
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • The International Trade Commission (the ITC)
  • The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB)
  • The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB)
  • Trademark Prosecution History at the USPTO
  • Orange Book Filings and Related Correspondence with the FDA
  • State courts including California, Texas, Florida and New York.

A complete list of courts is maintained on the Docket Alarm website. If a court you are looking for is not on this list, let us know at admin@docketalarm.com, we're always adding more.

Docket Alarm provides access to all of the above courts. Because Docket Alarm's API is often used to download court cases from PACER, Docket Alarm serves as a PACER API. Note however, that while Docket Alarm does provide an API to PACER, it also provides an API to many other court systems as well.

Cost and Pricing

This API client is freely licensed under the Apache license. However to use it, you will need a Docket Alarm account, which is not free. Unfortunately, the U.S. court's docketing system, PACER charges access to all documents. As a result, Docket Alarm must pass on those charges in the form of user fees.

Saving Money on Court Fees

Every time Docket Alarm downloads a document from the court, it saves a copy of that document. If another user then attempts to access that document, rather than going to the court a second time, Docket Alarm returns its saved copy. This allows users to reduce their court fees because we do not pay a fee for the same document twice.

Test Mode

For development purposes, Docket Alarm provides a free test mode. This test mode allows you to see exactly what comes back from the API, but returns fake test data.

Getting Started

You will need a functioning Docket Alarm account. If you do not have one, you can sign up at Docket Alarm and enter a user name and password. You will need to enter your credit card information.

Downloading Source and Running the Test Program

Run the following commands to download the python client API and run the API test program:

  1. git clone https://github.com/speedplane/docketalarm-api.git
  2. cd docketalarm-api
  3. python api_test.py

The test program greets you with a number of prompts and instructs you on how to perform API calls to Docket Alarm and how to process the responses. It is a great way to get started with the API and learn about its functionality.

Learning More

To learn more about the API take a look at the official Docket Alarm API documentation at: https://www.docketalarm.com/api/v1/

You can also explore the API by reviewing the code in this repository:

  • api\client.py: This is the python API client. It has a function called api.call that provides access to Docket Alarm's RESTful API.
  • api_test.py: This is a small test program that uses client.py. It will log into Docket Alarm, search for a few documents, and download a docket. If you are creating your own python program, one way to start would be to edit this program.

Help and Support

Because Docket Alarm is a commercial SaaS product, it is fully supported. To get help with this python client or the Docket Alarm API in general, contact admin@docketalarm.com.