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This material consists of correspondence, court documents, and other items relating to patent interference proceedings and infringement suits, contract disputes, and other legal actions involving Edison's phonograph. Included are items pertaining to the protracted litigation over phonograph sales rights. Also included are documents dealing with musical copyright, corporate organization, embezzlement, and the unlicenced use of Edison's name. Most of the selected items cover the years 1899-1910, but a few case files begin during the mid-1890s and some continue into the 1910s. Approximately half of the cases relate to litigation involving the National Phonograph Co. or other Edison interests and the American Graphophone Co. or its associated sales company, the Columbia Phonograph Co., General. Other cases deal with the disposition of litigation between Edison and the New York Phonograph Co.; the supply of Edison phonographs to Europe; patent infringement by Pathé Frères in France; and Mexican copyright law. In addition, there is a case file containing information concerning price maintenance litigation pursued by the National Phonograph Co. and its affiliates.
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: