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The Litigation Series includes the printed records of civil court litigaiton, along with the records of Patent Office proceedings, which are similar in many respects to litigaiton. These records consist of pleadings, testimony, exhibits, attorneys' briefs and arguments, and decisions and opinions of the court of hearing examiner.
During the 1870s Edison was embroiled in civil litigation relating to his quadruplex and automatic telegraph patents. The Litigation Series reproduces the printed record of one of the lawsuits contesting the patent rights to Edison's quadruplex, as well as related Patent Office proceedings that preceded the civil litigation. Although the Edison National Historical Park (ENHP) archives has the printed record of only one of the suitsthe so-called Quadruplex Casethe exhibits in this record contain documents from other telegraph litigation filed about the same time. The exhibits also include technical drawings, agreements, patent applications and issued patents, and correspondence. Together with the testimony, they provide valuable information about the development of multiple telegraphy, Edison's role as an inventor and manufacturer of telegraph instruments, and the multifarious financial arrangements that supported his inventive and business activities.
A group of patent interferences constitutes another part of the Litigation Series. The patent examiner placed patent applications in interference when they embodied similar claims. The inventors were notified and allowed time to take testimony and collect evidence that would establish the priority of their own work. During the 1870s Edison was involved in numerous patent interferences concerning the telephone, telegraph, electric pen, and other inventions. However, the ENHP archives has the printed record only for those interferences relating to the invention of the telephone.
In 1878 several of Edison's telephone-related patent applications were declared to be in interference with those of Alexander Graham Bell, Elisha Gray, Amos E. Dolbear, and other inventors. Testimony, exhibits, and arguments supporting the priority of the various inventors make up the printed record. As in the telegraph litigation, the testimony of Edison and his associates, along with the technical drawings submitted as exhibits, provide extensive documentation of inventive activity at Edison's Newark and Menlo Park laboratories.
Documents relating to civil court and Patent Office litigation occasionally appear in the Document File and in other series in the digital edition.