[D8954AAP], Letter from Richard Nott Dyer to Edward Hibberd Johnson, Edison Electric Light Co, February 6th, 1889


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[D8954AAP], Letter from Richard Nott Dyer to Edward Hibberd Johnson, Edison Electric Light Co, February 6th, 1889

Editor's Notes

[This is an enclosure from the previous entry, D8954AAO] :####New York, February 6th, 1889####Edward Johnson, Esq.####President Edison Electric Light Co.####16 and 18 Broad Street,####City####My Dear Mr. Johnson:####A matter has arisen within the last two days which contains the possibility of danger to the interests of the light Company and hence I desire to call it to your attention, and to place myself and Mr. Griffin, who is associated with me in the matter, upon record. You will recollect that the Consolidated Eletric Light Company after that company had passed into the control of the Westinghouse Company, brought a suit in Pittsburgh against the McKeesport Company upon the fibrous carbon patent of Sawyer & Man. Unlike the New York suit no mention was made of the interference proceedings in the bill of complaint and when the complainant took its testimony it made out a simple prima facie ccase, that is,--put in one of our lamps and put an expert on the stand who swore that the lamp was an infringement of the patent. On the cross-examination of the expert Mr. Tomlinson made him admit that the publication in the Herald of December 21st, 1879 was a full anticipation of the invention and was earlier in date than the application for the patent.####Mr. Tomlinson had one or more conversations with Mr. Thurston, who was retained in the matter, as to what his course should be. I find that Mr. Thurston's advice was also conveyed in a letter to Mr. Tomlinson dated May 28th, 1888 of which I enclose a copy. The advise was to put in no testimony excecpt the proof of the Herald article and to rest there. Mr. Tomlinson I find did this, and in addition took the deposition of Prof. George F. Barker to the effect that the Herald article was a full description of the invention. The complainant then went on taking, what its ounsel termed, testimony in reply, and on Monday last, after making out what we consider a very incomplete case, the counsel for the omplainant notified us that they had closed their testimony in reply and then gave us notice that they would on Saturday next move the court to fix a day for final hearing, thereby indicating to us that they would dispute our right to take any more testimony at all. We were then confronted with the condition of affairs that had been made for us by Mr. Tomlinson upon the advice of Mr. Thurston. Mr. Tomlinson had ccharge particularly of these fibrous carbon cases, and while he was taking the testimony and formulating the course of action in the Pittsburgh case I was at work upon the Trenton ccases. I do not mean to say that had I been more intimately connected with the case at the time the course was formulated it would have ocurred to me to dispute Mr. Thurston's advice since he is as eminent as anybody in the profession, but I refer to the fact that I had nothing to do actively with the case simply to show that I am in no way responsible for the policy pursued. I have for some days thought the position now taken by complainants ocunsel would be probably taken by them, and it has been a matter of very serious consideration by myself, and after Mr. Griffin came into the case, a matter of almost daily consultation between him, Mr. Rogers and myself. Mr. Seward whom we have consulted thinks that the course pursued under Mr. Thurston's advicce was an unusual one and fraught with danger to the defendant. Mr. Griffin has gone to Providence to see Mr. Thurston, and on Saturday we intend to ask the Court to set the matter over for a week so that we can prepare our own motion and make a full presentation of the case. There are severeal details of a technical character of which we can take advantage, and we feel that the Court in a matter of this importance would hardly shut out any material part of our case. It is a matter however entirely within the disccretion of the Court and the Court can do anyone of several things:####1. Prevent us entirely from taking any more testimony;####Make us confine any further testimony to particular lines;####3. Let us take any testimony we want, but make us do it in a very short time; and####4. Permit us to take any testimony we want and give us ample time to do it in.####The first and second positions would be very injurious to us; the third would be incconvenient but would not hurt our case materially, while the fourth would be everything we would want.####Mr. Edison has in the past asked me to keep him informed of any turn in affairs which might bring the fibrous carbon case to an early decision so that he could pursue experiments with a view of avoiding the patent. I saw him last night and explained the situation to him fully.####Yours very truly,####Rich N Dyer####[Richard Dyer, Thos Edison, Consolidated Electric Light Co, EH Johnson, Thurston, Tomlinson, Griffin, Steward, Sawyer & Man Co, McKeesport Company]




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