Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Ultimate Patent Troll: George Selden, the Patent Attorney Who Claimed to Have Invented the Automobile

The fix in which modern technology finds itself today as the result of our ill-conceived and smothering patent laws is unfortunately nothing new, but was a battle fought more than a century ago over patent rights to the invention of the automobile.

Thankfully for the future development of the automobile industry, legal common sense only prevailed due to the tenacity of Henry Ford, who prevailed over "virtual" inventor George B. Selden upon appeal, in a story in which the otherwise unknown Selden is the main character.

George Selden was a very smart patent attorney in New York in the days when the automobile was being invented, and he saw where the future was going.
Being a bit of a scientific dabbler himself and thus understanding the vector of technology in his day, he applied for a patent to the USPTO, which unblinkingly granted U.S. Patent No. 549,160 for George B. Selden's "Road-Engine", a "car" which of course was never built and which was a mere patented "idea" and nothing more.

That idea served however under the patent law prevailing then -- and similarly prevailing now --to establish Selden's "patent rights".
Selden thereafter attempted to enforce his USPTO-created patent monopoly on automobile manufacturers wherever he could find them. Below is a drawing of his invention. If you can draw, patents are very near.

Selden 1895 Image via Wikipedia
The Selden "Road-Engine"
Selden demanded licensing fees from automobile manufacturers, but some, like Henry Ford, refused to pay, and, after a legal battle lasting 8 years, Ford finally prevailed. The Selden patent had nothing to do with the actual manufacture of cars as they were being built then, or now. The entire story of the greedy would-be inventor who never actually built one single automobile can be read at the Wikipedia.

George who?
also has a readable account of the Selden story, the man who claimed to have invented the automobile but never built a single car.

Suffice it to say that the entire Selden patent story shows the same sad unresolved weaknesses in patent law interpretation and application that confound industry today and which permit patent trolls who have never manufactured a single product themselves to extort licensing fees from companies who HAVE figured out how to manufacture something and to make a profit doing so, where the alleged "inventor" was unable to do so.

Eolas and NTP could be considered as examples of the many trolling George Seldens dotting the patent landscape today, existing as parasites on the backs of those who actually make the economy run.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Friday, August 27, 2010

125 Years Ago on August 29: The Gottlieb Daimler "Riding Car" Patent Was Filed and the Dawn of the Automobile Era Began

(Note, I thought I had scheduled this to be published on August 29, but it somehow sneaked out a few days early.)

In any case, Daimler filed for his patent on the Reitwagen (literally, "riding wagon" but normally translated as "riding car" -- it is actually more like a motorcycle) on August 29, 1885, as you can read at the Daimler website -- a patent issued as DRP Nr. 36 423 on August 11, 1886.

First motorcycle called Image via Wikipedia
Chuck Squatriglia of Autopia at Wired in The Dawn of the Automobile Era informs us, together with great photographs, that:
"The age of the automobile started exactly 125 years ago when Gottlieb Daimler filed a patent for his revolutionary “riding car,” a two-wheeled machine driven by an internal combustion engine."
As written at the Daimler website, that was preceded by Gottlieb Daimler's April 3, 1885 patent for  a light, heavy-duty 4-stroke combustion engine, and followed in 1886 by the 3-wheel "Patent Car" of Carl Benz and the 4-wheel "car" of Gottlieb Daimler, a "motor carriage".

Benz Patent Motorwagen which is widely regarde...Image via Wikipedia
Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt Werkstatt Gottlieb Dai...Image via Wikipedia
See also
Enhanced by Zemanta

The world’s most expensive cars revealed « BOTB News

The world’s most expensive cars revealed « BOTB News: "- Sent using Google Toolbar"

New Images of Bugatti Veyron Supersport released « BOTB News

New Images of Bugatti Veyron Supersport released « BOTB News: "- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Our Websites and Blogs

3D Printing and More 99 is not 100 Aabecis AK Photo Blog Ancient Egypt Weblog Ancient Signs (the book) Ancient World Blog Anthropomorphic Design Archaeology Travel Photos (blog) Archaeology Travel Photos (Flickr) Archaeo Pundit Arts Pundit Astrology and Birth Baltic Coachman Bible Pundit Biotechnology Pundit Book Pundit Chronology of the Ancient World Computer Pundit DVD Pundit Easter Island Script Echolat Einstein’s Voice Energy Environment and Climate Blog Etruscan Bronze Liver of Piacenza EU Laws EU Legal EU Pundit FaceBook Pundit Gadget Pundit Garden Pundit Golf Pundit Google Pundit Gourmet Pundit Hand Proof HousePundit Human Migrations Idea Pundit Illyrian Language Indus Valley Script Infinity One : The Secret of the First Disk (the game) Jostandis Journal Pundit Kaulins Genealogy Blog Kaulinsium Kiel & Kieler Latvian Blog Law Pundit Blog LexiLine Group Lexiline Journal Library Pundit Lingwhizt LinkedIn Literary Pundit Magnifichess Make it Music Maps and Cartography Megalithic World Megaliths Blog Minoan Culture Mutatis Mutandis Nanotech Pundit Nostratic Languages Official Pundit Phaistos Disc Pharaonic Hieroglyphs Photo Blog of the World Pinterest Prehistoric Art Pundit Private Wealth Blog PunditMania Quanticalian Quick to Travel Quill Pundit Road Pundit Shelfari Sky Earth Drones Sky Earth Native America SlideShare (akaulins) Sport Pundit Star Pundit Stars Stones and Scholars (blog) Stars Stones and Scholars (book) Stonehenge Pundit The Enchanted Glass Twitter Pundit UbiquitousPundit Vision of Change VoicePundit WatchPundit Wearable Technology Wizard WeTechWi Wine Pundit Word Pundit xistmz YahooPundit zistmz