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This material consists of correspondence, court documents, and other items relating to patent interference proceedings, infringement suits, and other legal actions involving motion pictures. Included are documents pertaining to infringements of the patents of other inventors, copyright infringements, the use of trade names, color photography, and the development of a waterproof coating for motion picture films. Also included are items from five patent interference cases involving automatic shutters used in film projectors for fire safety. In addition, there are case files for several suits brought against the Motion Picture Patents Co., the General Film Co., and their licensees by independent motion picture exhibitors and by the federal government. Most of the selected items cover the years 1899-1910, but some of the correspondence folders and case files extend into the 1910s.
Less than 10 percent of the documents have been selected. The selected items reflect Edison's personal involvement in legal matters, detail experimental work done by Edison or his assistants, or broadly pertain to matters of corporate organization and stratagems employed against competitors. The documents have been arranged in the following order: