[D8807ABO], Letter from Edwin M Fox to Thomas Alva Edison, July 17th, 1888


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[D8807ABO], Letter from Edwin M Fox to Thomas Alva Edison, July 17th, 1888

Editor's Notes

I had a conference today with Counselor Tomlinson relative to the long article which I am commissioned to write on the inadequacy of the protection afforded by the patent laws as at present administered, to original inventions as exemplified in your case and after our careful discussion of the matter he advanced some important reasons why at the present time such an article might result disadvantageously to your interests. As a lawyer (not as a journalist) I am so impressed with the soundness of his views in the promises that unless you request to the contrary, I will deny myself the pleasure and profit of illuminating the subject. # He very truly says that such an article, dealing as it would exclusively with your inventions, would be generally regarded even if not expressly signed by you, as embodying essentially your views, and would antagonize Courts, Patent officials and others with whom you are constantly brought into official contact. # Perhaps also an equally cogent reason for your continuing to suffer in silence the manifest injustice often worked upon you rather than expose the oftentimes ineffectual protection afforded by patents, is that many of your propeties depend upon patents as their only protection be the same adequate or otherwise and a vigorous diatribe revealing the imperfections of the patent laws might instead of deterring piracies rather tend to their encouragement as well as cause needless alarm on the part of many timid persons interested in your properties. # While these considerations if entertained by you will spoil a good article, yet I certainly would prefer to lose the article than to be the innocent means of indirectly effectuating results that might enure to your detriment. If on reflection you conclude it undesirable for me to write the article in question I will fix it all right with Brother Clarke by explaining to him that owing to certain pending law suits your lawyer opposes any expression of opinion on your part at the present time etc etc. TAE marg: "Say perhaps after all he better not write the article if give some hell when I stop inventing]









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Thomas A. Edison Papers, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University