[LB025427], Letter from Thomas Alva Edison to Allgemeine Elektricitats Gesellschaft, November 7th, 1888


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[LB025427], Letter from Thomas Alva Edison to Allgemeine Elektricitats Gesellschaft, November 7th, 1888

Editor's Notes

I have recently received from my agents in China and Japan, Messrs. Frazar and Company, a number of complaints to the effect that your company has been making quotations upon incandescent lamps for sale in the above mentioned countries, and as your action in this respect has resulted in very seriously retarding the work of Messrs. Frazar & Co., I take occasion to point out to you the injustice you are doing me, and which I am sure you will not continue after the matter has been placed before you.##For a number of years past, Messrs. Frazar & Co., acting as my agents, have been engaged in building up a business in Japan and China which as necessitated the expenditure of a large sum of money and a vast amount of time and energy on the part of those connected herewith.##The difficulties of pioneering a new enterprise in such remote parts of the world and under such peculiar conditions as there exist, are, as you can well imagine, much greater than in countries which progress more rapidly, and for this reason our investment in China and Japan is unusually heavy. The natural obstacles with which we meet in those countries, together with the competition of rival electric lighting companies, require all our energy to overcome, and it is a sources of embarrassment to have our work retarded by further competition which should not exist.##I would call your attention to the fact that, every Edison Company has a specified territory within which to carry on business under my patents, and each company respects the territory controlled by the other. Any other method would result in mutual disaster.##I have never parted with China and Japan, and while those countries afford no protection against the intestine piracy of my inventions - a state of affairs which we are endeavoring to correct - I feel that I am entitled to very consideration from who control my inventions in other countries and that the defective protection afforded by the laws of China and Japan should not be used as a pretext for my own companies to enter into competition with me there.##My claim to whatever profits may arise from the Chinese and Japanese trade is based upon that sense of justice which simply receives official recognition by my Government that grants a patent, a claim so well founded and so universally recognized as to require neither elaboration nor discussion, and those to whom I have delegated the active management of my electric lighting interests in China and Japan as is maintained between corporations operating under my patents in other countries.##I am satisfied that when you made your quotations before referred to, you were unfamiliar with existing circumstances, and I beg now to request you to withdraw these quotations and in future to refer to me or my agents, Messrs. Frazar & Co., New York City, and person who desires to purchase my electric lighting inventions for use in China and Japan.





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