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Alan Day

How did other manufacturers wriggle around Wheatstones Patent

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... to emphasize the principle that patents commonly (though not always) include descriptions and illustrations of items that are not being claimed as new invention.

 

Such "inclusions" can have various puproses.....

There's a fatal flaw in all this logic, Jim. You are making conclusions from the point of view of current patent legalities, and I don't know that patents had the same effect 170 years ago.

...English-made concertinas with the German ("anglo") layout didn't appear until later...

That's something its not yet possible to establish. See Stephen's notes to Section 5, and item 15 in the Michaelstein article.

OOPS! Thanks for the link, Wes.

 

That does seem to show that at least one person manufactured at least one instrument that seems to share various features with "Wheatstone's patent concertina", though not the keyboard layout. I will refrain from claiming that this "proves" my point, since I don't know whether Wheatstone responded to this production, or even was aware of it. But I'm quite certain that it was in fact not a violation of Wheatstone's patent.

And the same applies here. As Stephen suggests in the notes, Eulenstein and Wheatstone were fairly well known to each other, and to expand this :

1. Eulenstein was involved with Wheatstone pre the 1829 patent in his role as a virtuoso player of the Jews harp.

2. Eulenstein wrote music for the Symphonion and Concertina that was published by Wheatstone in the mid 1830s.

So its quite possible that Wheatstone was fully aware of the instrument, and - as Stephen suggest as one possibility - could even have made it.

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What was "patent" about Lachenals?

 

Lachenal used McCann's duet system patent (Patent number 4752) to make their "patent" concertinas.

 

George Jones also patented a more complex anglo system (9314) which was alleged to play chromatically a friend owns one of these, though it has been sadly retuned to a more "conventional" system.

 

think these were both 1884 - both ae effectively fingering system patents I suppose.

Lachenal's workshops produced 'Wheatstone's Patent Concertina', based on the 1844 patent, for Wheatstone to sell through the late 1840s/early 1850s. The 14 year patent lifetime of this period is probably indicated by Lachenal beginning to produce concertinas under his own name in 1858.

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... to emphasize the principle that patents commonly (though not always) include descriptions and illustrations of items that are not being claimed as new invention.

 

Such "inclusions" can have various puproses.....

There's a fatal flaw in all this logic, Jim.

If there is, it's not what you claim (see next).

 

You are making conclusions from the point of view of current patent legalities,...

An assumption on your part, which happens to be false.

 

But my purpose is not to debate the history of British patent law, its interpretation or enforcement. With regard to the present discussion, I think the most important evidence is the text of Wheatstone's patent papers. I've already indicated where the 1844 patent carefully specifies that it is not attempting to claim any of the features of the concertina as it was known at that time. Similarly, the specification of the 1829 patent says (p. 8, lines 18 and following):

I do not mean or intend hereby to claim as my Invention any of the various parts of which these said instruments may be composed which are already known or in use. But I do hereby claim the employment of two parallel rows of finger studs on each end or side of the instruments...
[and it continues with further description of the claims].

The "already known" features would necessarily include any already incorporated into Demian's (or anyone else's) instruments at the time of the patent application.

 

As far as I can see, the only feature of "Wheatstone's patent concertina" that couldn't be legally copied was the keyboard design. Other English makers could have chosen to build and market concertina-like instruments with different keyboard layouts between 1829 and 1844, but it seems they didn't. (The Eulenstein example doesn't appear to have been a commercial venture.)

 

Edited to add: "between 1829 and 1844" and "Other English makers" (instead of just "Others").

Edited by JimLucas

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One can only guess that although Wheatstone tried to tie up the concertina patent so that only his company could make them at some time he or his company must have given up on the idea. Perhaps the slight keyboard fingering patterns got around the patent,or as has been suggested he just let the Patent lapse, because he possibly found he had more than enough work for his company with advance orders. I suppose a few private deals could have taken place .

I shall have a little chat with Mr Crabb at Bradfield on the QT and see if he knows anything about it.

Al

 

I wonder to what extent a successful application to patent a product is simply a way of claiming kudos for having invented something new, and putting on record that personal achievement, rather than any deliberate attempt to prevent anyone else immediately cashing in on the idea ?

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One can only guess that although Wheatstone tried to tie up the concertina patent so that only his company could make them at some time he or his company must have given up on the idea. Perhaps the slight keyboard fingering patterns got around the patent,or as has been suggested he just let the Patent lapse, because he possibly found he had more than enough work for his company with advance orders. I suppose a few private deals could have taken place .

I shall have a little chat with Mr Crabb at Bradfield on the QT and see if he knows anything about it.

Al

 

I wonder to what extent a successful application to patent a product is simply a way of claiming kudos for having invented something new, and putting on record that personal achievement, rather than any deliberate attempt to prevent anyone else immediately cashing in on the idea ?

Another twist on this Rod is that if you go up to the Patents Office like I did many years ago there are a number of people who spend time up there looking to pinch other peoples ideas.

An interesting thing about the Patent for the Variable Resistor (Rheostat )patented in 1843 which regulates the volume of Audio Equipment, Light Dimmers, varying the speed of electrical motors etc is that device came from an original design invented by British Mathematician Samuel Christie (1784 - 1865) and

was named The Wheatstone Bridge after Christie's compatriot Charles Wheatstone(1802-1875) who developed his idea and popularized it.

(1001 Inventions that changed the World)

Al

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I wonder to what extent a successful application to patent a product is simply a way of claiming kudos for having invented something new, and putting on record that personal achievement, rather than any deliberate attempt to prevent anyone else immediately cashing in on the idea ?

Hi Rod

 

I suspect not very. Considering the reason for patents in the first place. In the US, the reason is defined in our constitution in Article I Section 8 as strictly economic:

To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;

http://topics.law.cornell.edu/wex/Patent

Also the timing would be important since in the US it's timed from the date of invention. In some other parts of the world, it's timed from date of filing the patent. I couldn't find any information about the early 1800's.

 

Interesting subject guys, I'm enjoying it.

 

Thanks

Leo

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Interesting, Leo. I think someone has already made the point that unless a person who has successfully obtained a patent chooses to take someone else to task for supposedly infringing that patent the whole process becomes somewhat meaningless. On the other hand the inventor who holds the original patent has achieved the satisfaction of having their achievement acknowledged in an appropriately formal manner for posterity, and the 'strict economics' referred to in your 'Article 1 Section 8' may be of negligible concern to them. Officialdom has confirmed their claim to be the rightful original inventor and that may well be as much as they desire. In other words their motive for wishing to patent their product could have nothing to do with 'strict economics'. If they revealed this motive at the outset perhaps the powers-that-be would send them packing..... so why mention it !

 

'Patent' used to be a favourite word amongst advertising agents but seems to be in less evidence today ?

 

You will probably have guessed by now that I know nothing about the laws of patency...if that is indeed what they are called.

 

Rod

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The interesting thing about Inventors is that once they have a patent few know what to do with it. Which makes me wonder whether Samuel Christie realised that one of the many talents of Charles Wheatstone was that he was a good salesman, only guesswork though. The other interesting thing about inventors is that some have the ability of looking at a number of different subjects and using their knowledge to develop a new product/ invention. A Rheostat for example is as far removed from a concertina as you can get. Barnes Wallis who was famous for the bouncing bomb, was the first to design a "Safe" Airship before the War, but used his design principle of the Geodetic Structure (long time since I have written this word so may be wrong spelling) to create The Lancaster Bomber which although shot full of holes returned safely because of this design feature. He went on with Vickers to design Swing Wing Aircraft and was working on Supersonic Aircraft when he died. I recommend his biography one of the most interesting books I have read.

A good old friend of mine Len (I will not name him totally as he was still seeking claims on his inventions when I last spoke with him). Len is the sort of Inventor we all think of ,working in his garden shed,but Len is/ was a bit more than that. He developed the first Sugar Blood Testing Counter, He designed a Micro Chip Manufacturing Machine and many other gadgets. He was one of the members of the War "Think Tank" on new devices and ideas. His most spectacular device was that which he designed for the removal of Oil Spillage on sea water. He managed to talk BP into doing a test for him at their Laboratory in Surrey. He called it his "Doughnut" because it looked like one. It worked on the principle that once you set fire to the oil in the centre of the doughnut it created a vacuum that could only be replaced by the oil floating on the water that surrounded it, dragging the oil in from far and wide. Poor Len, I asked him how it went and were they impressed and his reply was that it worked too well and nearly burnt down the Laboratory. If anyone can find a solution to cheap energy it will be Len. He was working on that when I last spoke with him.

Al

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The interesting thing about Inventors is that once they have a patent few know what to do with it. Which makes me wonder whether Samuel Christie realised that one of the many talents of Charles Wheatstone was that he was a good salesman, only guesswork though. The other interesting thing about inventors is that some have the ability of looking at a number of different subjects and using their knowledge to develop a new product/ invention. A Rheostat for example is as far removed from a concertina as you can get. Barnes Wallis who was famous for the bouncing bomb, was the first to design a "Safe" Airship before the War, but used his design principle of the Geodetic Structure (long time since I have written this word so may be wrong spelling) to create The Lancaster Bomber which although shot full of holes returned safely because of this design feature. He went on with Vickers to design Swing Wing Aircraft and was working on Supersonic Aircraft when he died. I recommend his biography one of the most interesting books I have read.

A good old friend of mine Len (I will not name him totally as he was still seeking claims on his inventions when I last spoke with him). Len is the sort of Inventor we all think of ,working in his garden shed,but Len is/ was a bit more than that. He developed the first Sugar Blood Testing Counter, He designed a Micro Chip Manufacturing Machine and many other gadgets. He was one of the members of the War "Think Tank" on new devices and ideas. His most spectacular device was that which he designed for the removal of Oil Spillage on sea water. He managed to talk BP into doing a test for him at their Laboratory in Surrey. He called it his "Doughnut" because it looked like one. It worked on the principle that once you set fire to the oil in the centre of the doughnut it created a vacuum that could only be replaced by the oil floating on the water that surrounded it, dragging the oil in from far and wide. Poor Len, I asked him how it went and were they impressed and his reply was that it worked too well and nearly burnt down the Laboratory. If anyone can find a solution to cheap energy it will be Len. He was working on that when I last spoke with him.

Al

 

 

I guess that there are umpteen ways in which a crafty operator can circumvent a patent by introducing enough subtle modifications in order to be able to claim, with justification, that their product is in fact significantly different to that which has been previously patented. I would think there is endless scope when dealing with a product as complex as a Concertina ? Much will depend upon the precise wording of the original patent. In much the same way, the laws of copyright can surely be circumvented easily enough by anyone who is not so crass as to opt for straight word-for-word plagiarism ? The end product is something remarkably similar to the original but, at the same time, significantly different. Am I talking nonsense ? It wouldn't be the first time.

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I guess that there are umpteen ways in which a crafty operator can circumvent a patent by introducing enough subtle modifications in order to be able to claim, with justification, that their product is in fact significantly different to that which has been previously patented. I would think there is endless scope when dealing with a product as complex as a Concertina ? Much will depend upon the precise wording of the original patent. In much the same way, the laws of copyright can surely be circumvented easily enough by anyone who is not so crass as to opt for straight word-for-word plagiarism ? The end product is something remarkably similar to the original but, at the same time, significantly different.

That word "significantly" can be a serious sticking point... because it's the patent examiners (or perhaps the courts, if the patentability is challenged) who decide what differences are significant, and all too often (at least in the US) they are not sufficiently expert to be good judges of the matter. An even more difficult criterion is a requirement (again, at least in the US) that the product or process being patented be not obvious to others in the relevant field.

 

Am I talking nonsense ? It wouldn't be the first time.

Prior use, eh?

Then I guess you can't patent it.
:D

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I agree. It is possible that a Patent may be raised to cover details which are not able to be patented. A clever Patent Engineer can find these loopholes and many a brilliant idea can or has been lost purely due to incorrect wording.

You may have been one of these Patent Engineers Jim in a previous life. :rolleyes:

Al

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