Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?
Patents Your Rights Online

The Sewing Machine War 136

lousyd writes "Volokh has hosted a paper by George Mason University law professor Adam Mossoff on the patent fracas a century and a half ago surrounding the sewing machine. A Stitch in Time: The Rise and Fall of the Sewing Machine Patent Thicket challenges assumptions by courts and scholars today about the alleged efficiency-choking complexities of the modern patent system. Mossoff says that complementary inventions, extensive patent litigation, so-called 'patent trolls,' patent thickets, and privately formed patent pools have long been features of the American patent system reaching back to the antebellum era."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

The Sewing Machine War

Comments Filter:
  • The 'what' era? (Score:5, Informative)

    by fiannaFailMan ( 702447 ) on Thursday April 30, 2009 @02:20PM (#27776349) Journal

    From wiki:

    "Antebellum" is an expression derived from Latin that means "before war" (ante, "before," and bellum, "war").

    In United States history and historiography, "antebellum" is commonly used, in lieu of "pre-Civil War," in reference to the period of increasing sectionalism that led up to the American Civil War. In that sense, the Antebellum Period is often considered to have begun with the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, though it is sometimes stipulated to extend back as early as 1812. The period after the Civil War is called the Reconstruction era.

    You learn something new every day.

  • by Reorix ( 1184073 ) on Thursday April 30, 2009 @03:15PM (#27777209) Homepage

    Slashdot often discusses copyright as it applies to digital music, and it's interesting that the digital music industry began at a time in which there was heavy litigation over the copying of sheet music; this was in the late 1800's.

    Hmm, whoops, I guess I mispoke. I don't know about the digital music industry beginning in the late 1800's. What I meant was the recorded music industry.

    Either moderators were being kind and understanding (at Slashdot?!), or not only do slashdot members not RTFA, they don't RTFC either.

  • by rmcd ( 53236 ) * on Thursday April 30, 2009 @05:06PM (#27778929)

    See also Unlocking the Sky [] by Seth Shulman. It's a fascinating account of Glenn Curtiss, who in many ways did more to create the modern airplane than the Wright Brothers. For example, Curtiss invented ailerons; the Wrights by contrast had a difficult to control system that physically twisted the wings. But the Wright patents prevented Curtiss from selling his planes, and it was only military intervention that got the market moving.

    This book will reinforce any ill feelings you may have toward the patent system.

  • by omb ( 759389 ) on Thursday April 30, 2009 @05:54PM (#27779647)
    Pfaff ist aus Deutschland,
    aber Bernina wird in der Schweiz hergestellt!

It is not for me to attempt to fathom the inscrutable workings of Providence. -- The Earl of Birkenhead