George B. Selden of Rochester NY was awarded a patent for the automobile in 1895. It was later turned down by the United States Circuit Court Of Appeals as evidenced by this article that appeared in the Hawaiian Star in 1911. This opened up the car industry to makers of other automobiles, namely Henry Ford.
The Hawaiian Star 1911 – One of the most important court decisions, from a commercial standpoint, ever handed down by tho United States Circuit Court of Appeals, was announced yesterday, when the court reversed former decisions upholding the Selden patent on automobiles, which has been fought in the courts for years.
This is a sweeping victory for the independent automobile manufacturers, and it upheld in the united States Supreme Court, to which it will undoubtedly be carried will mean throwing the automobile industry wide open to all manufacturers.
Romantic Legal Story
The story of the Selden patent Is one of the most remarkable records of such cases. George B. Selden of Rochester, in 1879, filed with the patent office in Washington an application for a patent on a road locomotive very similar in design to that of the present day gasoline automobile. His claim lay in the office until 1803, more than sixteen years, when It became the center of the great legal fight which has been waged ever since.
A number of automobile manufacturers acknowledged the validity of the Selden patent and formed an association which paid a royalty on the autos turned out. But other firms fought the case to the United States district court, southern district of New York, where Judge Hough sustained tho validity of the patent.
Give Up Fight – Half a dozen big firms then gave up tho fight and joined with the licensed dealers in paying the royalty. But Henry Ford of the Ford Motor Company of Detroit continued the fight, and now wins In a decision which affects this great industry from one end of the country to the other, and which, if finally sustained … will have much to do to make all automobiles much cheaper than at present.