[D8849ABI], Letter from Thomas Alva Edison to George Edward Gouraud, August 20th, 1888


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[D8849ABI], Letter from Thomas Alva Edison to George Edward Gouraud, August 20th, 1888

Editor's Notes

"Messrs. Dyer & Seely have refered to me your letter under date 7th inst., in which you state that you fail to understand the object of your not applying for patents in short term countries in connection with phonograph improvements, and stating furthermore that you had made applications for patents in short term countries in the matter of cases 84 and 85. ### In reply to this letter I would say that there are several reasons why you should not make such applications, the object of which will appear later on. ### The first reason was contained in a letter dated November 23d 1887, written by Mr. Dyer, in which he told you that I had asked him to say to you that I did not wish you to apply for these short term patents. ### The second reason you will find in a letter which is doubtless in your files at the present time, written by Mr. Dyer and reiterating in substance the instructions contained in his letter of the 23d of Nov., the former being dated March 22d 1888. ### The third reason is the various conversations which you had with myself and Mr. Dyer on this same subject when you were last in America, and the fourth reason I find embodied in your proposed contract relating to foreign countries, the first provision of which reads as follows: ### "And the said Edison furthermore agrees, that if during the existance of this contract, any new or further inventions or improvements are made by him x x x x he will furnish to the said Gouraud such data, information and drawings as may be necessary to enable the said Gouraud to apply for and obtain x Letters Patent xx in each and every the countries aforesaid ### "Provided However, that the said Edison shall not be called upon to do anything which will prevent either the obtaining of Letters Patent upon such inventions or improvements in the Unitd States, or shorten the life of any such patents when obtained." ### You are sufficiently well versed in patent affairs to know that in the case of short term patents, the date which controls the date of application, and consequently if you apply for a short term patent before my United States patents in the same connection have been issued, you therefore limit the lives of my U.S. patents, and render them valid only so long as the short term patent is in force. ### In the matter of Cases 84 and 85 you have displayed an utter and selfish disregard for interests of mine which you must have known were of more value to me than the short grants which you have obtained in obscure countries. ### In addition to this you have acted in direct opposition to my expressed wishes, and have furthermore violated the very first provision of recorded agreement which you proposed entering with me. ### As my instructions to you in this connection were made so repeatedly, not only by letter, but orally by myself and through Mr. Dyer, and as I also considered the matter of sufficient importance to provide for it in my prpose written agreement with you, it is difficult for me to understand just in what way I can place my views before you, or express my wishes to you so as to insure a proper recognition of them on your part. I cabled you to-day expressing briefly my feelings as to your action in the matter of cases 84 and 85, and I endeavored to express myself in relation to caes 86 and 87 in a way that would admit of but one inprepreation." Yours truly, [unsigned]




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