[D8954ACI], Letter from Bircham & Co to George Edward Gouraud, June 4th, 1889


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[D8954ACI], Letter from Bircham & Co to George Edward Gouraud, June 4th, 1889

Editor's Notes

[This is an enclosure to D8954ACH] [Copy Letter from Messrs Bircham & Co to Colonel Gouraud] Dear Colonel Gouruad:-- We have carefully considered the papers before us and have come to a very clear and definite conclusion that the license to the Stereoscopic Company and everything else is at an end. We have not, however, seen our way to write the Comapany for the reasons following:--##We have before us 3 specimens of the represenations put forth by them,. And upon which we ask your attention to the following observations:--##First. The Bournemouth Hand-bill. The first observation upon this bill is that it does not purport to be put forth by the London Stereoscopic Company but by Mr F.J. Scott who is called Proprieter. The machine referred to is described as "Edison's Phonograph. The wonderful Talking and Singing machine as exhibited by the London Stereoscopic Company." Assuming as we do that the machine in question is that of the Company we think you can take exception. We observe that Mr Archivald in his letter to you refers to the quotation from the hand-bill which purports to be taken from "The Times," and consists of the following words:-- "The greatest marvel of Modern Science." We undestand Mr Archibald's suggestions to be that inasmuch as the Phonograph as at present Patented is an improvement upon the earlier one it is not accurate to describe the latter as the "Greatest Marvel." In this he may be literally accurate but I fear it does not affor any ground of action or complaint from a legal point of view.##Second. The advertisemens sent with your letter of the 24th inst. These adverstiements are three in number and in each case the opning words are "Edison's Loud Speaking and Singing Phonograph (2909 1877." There again the description is we must assume strictly accurate. At all events the representation made as to the Phonograph of the London Stereoscopic Company is that it is made in accordance with the 1877 Patent. It does not purport to be any other or better form of the instrument. We do not of course know whether the Extracts from the press containing these adverstisements relate to the earlier or later instruments as no dates are given, but we presume that really they are as applicable to the earlier as to the later instruments notwithstanding the supreme perfection of the latter. We can find no ground in these advertsements for a right of legal interference with their issue.##Third. The third document is a circular given away as we understand at an Exhibition in London, the name of which for the minute we have forgotten. This document contains the words "Sole Licensees" but they occur in this following connection:--##"Edison's original loud speaking and Singing Phonograph, for which or any improvement thereof the London Sterescopic and Phonograph Co, were on March 22, 1878 appointed sole Licensees, under the British Patent No 2909 - 1877.)"##Now this is a simple statement of fact. They were so appointed. It is true they are no longer Licensees seeing that the license has come to an edn. No doubt it is involved that the public should infer they are still sole Licensees, not only of the earlier instrument but of any improvement upon it but they do not as a matter of fact say that they are so. We agree it is "sailing very near the wind," but we think it is too feeble a basis upon which to ground proceedings at law. Under these circumstances we think you will agree with us that it would be a mistake to require a withdrawl by them of any of the prints before referred to.##If we were asked to point out what words in any of them infringed any rights of yours we could only quote such as we have set out above in no word of which is there a representation that the Company has rights in the latest form of Phonograph. Itseems to me therefore that the proper way to meet the tactics of the Company is through the medium of the press or other convenient channel to impress the public with the fact that the instrument in which the Stereoscopic Company claim to be interested is not the Phonograph of to day, and to show wherein the two instruments differ.##Under the circumstances we feel that ou may not think it necessary to take any opnion of Counsel at the present moment. As you will gather from what we have already stated we do not think there is any slander of title by the Company in anything which has come before us as having been put forward by them. We think therefore that you can safely go on with the formation of your Company entirely disregarding the Stereoscopic Company, but taking care in an y Prospectus or representation which you may make to the promoters of the Company or to the public, to inform them of the facts.##If upon receipt if this you think you would like to see us again we can be at your service at any convenient time on Thrusday.-- Yours faithfully Bircham & Co.





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