Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Is being nice to others that innovative? Or is it simply being human?

How the U.S. Constitution and legal immigration helped me see, and keep, things in perspective. As facilitated by people. Nice people.

If you read this you must have it pretty awesome already. A computer, electricity, Internet. You got things. You've been helped to get where you are. Others suffered for you too. And kept giving anyway.

Give back. How innovative can that be? Or is it simply the human thing to do?

The Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights. Great invention. Keep it safe for posterity. Others kept it for you. And for the world.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Litigation success and our way of life

What would you rather drive, a "Selden Automobile" or a Ford? or "the value of good litigation"...

Imagine the world without the success of this (mock) opening statement and the rest of the trial in a Court of Law one hundred and some years ago. Would you even be able to afford a vehicle?

(This below is an Assignment in the Creighton University School of Law Trial Practice course, by Adrian S. Petrescu, completed and delivered in front of a mock trial jury, on February 10, 2016)

In the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan

George Selden,                           )           CI_NNNNNN_--1904
       Petitioner,                            )
v.                                                 )           OPENING STATEMENT
                                                    )           OF RESPONDENT
Henry Ford,                                )
       Respondent.                         )

Mr. Henry Ford grew up on a farm. He had two brothers and a sister. His parents owned the farm and needed Mr. Ford's and his siblings' help on the farm ever since he (and they, or each of them) could stand and talk. It is the way farms have been run during those times in the 1870s. Mr. Ford took care of horses, and hooked up the ploughs and all other farm machinery to horses and as he grew up he worked the land. He would plough the land, seed it, and harvest it. Then he'll take the grain to the mill. The land of the Fords was large enough for them to build their own mill. Little by little Mr. Ford took a liking of all the machines he was working with. He started fixing them when they broke and he started improving on them to make them more resilient and more productive. When the first steam tractors came in, Mr. Ford's father acquired one right away. It was Mr. Ford who was in charge with the operating and maintenance of the family's Case steam tractor they acquired and used on the farm.

Little by little Mr. Ford got more and more interested in tweaking with machinery. In early 1894, at the age of 31, Mr. Ford was working as a mechanic in Mr. Thomas Edison's Edison Illuminating Company. He started in 1894 to build his quadra-cycle in his mother's summer kitchen. He was so excited about the prospect of his four-wheeled cycle working with a "gasolene powered engine" that he forgot to calculate in advance how was he going to get the quadri-cycle out of the kitchen once it was completed… Mr. Ford completed the quadri-cycle in 1896.

1896 Quadri-cycle completed, in Mr. Ford's mother's summer kitchen

He did have to take down the wall, but he did get the quadri-cycle out of the kitchen eventually.

1896 Quadri-cycle completed

Mr. Ford over time moved to improve significantly on his original quadri-cycle. He designed a vehicle that was more commercially feasible. He manufactured a prototype of that other vehicle. He further went to Cleveland and Chicago and studied thoroughly the most advanced hog slaughterhouses. He inferred from studying how they take a hog apart into pieces in the shortest period of time possible that he can do the same in reverse when building an automobile. That he can build an automobile just as a "reversed slaughterhouse," one that builds something, instead of dismantling something.

Mr. Ford started Ford Motor Company three times until it got to be successful. The company is successful because Mr. Ford employs skilled workers, trains them, and pays them twice as much as anyone else in the business of making automobiles. Because Mr. Ford makes automobiles on an assembly line, he can make many of them faster than anyone else in the business of making automobiles. And he can sell them cheaper, including to his own workers, who can afford them at the price Mr. Ford sells them and with the wages the workers are paid.

You heard from Mr. Selden's attorney, Mr. Smith, that Mr. Selden owns the U.S. patent no. 549,160 for a Road-Engine (the 160 patent).

U.S. Patent No. 549, 160, issued Nov. 5, 1895

Mr. Selden is an attorney. He went to Law School at Yale University. Mr. Selden's father was an attorney. While Mr. Ford was tinkering with machinery in his childhood, Mr. Selden was learning how to better use words.

At no time before Mr. Ford completed his quadri-cycle, or before he studied the hog slaughterhouses to apply that know-how to building automobiles, did Mr. Ford get to know Mr. Selden, or did Mr. Ford get to see or read Mr. Selden's 160 patent.

You heard that patent law is very similar with real estate law and the law of trespass. That infringing on a patent is the same as stepping onto someone else's land or entering into their house without the owner permission. You heard and you will hear that Mr. Ford trespassed onto Mr. Selden's property that is Mr. Selden's 160 patent.

At no time did Mr. Ford see an automobile that was built by Mr. Selden, either before Mr. Ford completed his quadri-cycle or before Mr. Ford designed and completed the Ford automobile that was assembled at the Mack Avenue plant in July 1903.

Mr. Ford didn't ever see an automobile built by Mr. Selden because there has never been any automobile ever built by Mr. Selden. Mr. Ford drove here today in an automobile that his company built.

Mr. Selden doesn't build automobiles. He doesn't employ workers to build automobiles. Nobody has ever driven in a Selden road-engine. Nobody has ever fed his family with money that Mr. Selden paid him for building a Selden automobile. Mr. Selden is an attorney. He is not an automobile maker. Mr. Selden sells the rights to his patent to others who build automobiles. Those others, who make and sell their own automobiles, licensed by Mr. Selden, make automobiles that cost up to three to four times more than Mr. Ford's automobiles.

You heard that Mr. Ford trespassed onto Mr. Selden't property by manufacturing and selling an automobile without a license from Mr. Selden.

In fact, Mr. Ford went to see Mr. Selden to ask if Mr. Ford could license the 160 patent from Mr. Selden for Mr. Ford's automobiles, even though Mr. Ford did not inspire himself in any way from Mr. Selden's piece of paper filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Mr. Selden refused to license the 160 patent to Mr. Ford. Seemingly, Mr. Selden may have feared that Mr. Ford was producing too many automobiles and selling them at too low of a price. Mr. Ford had tried his best to get Mr. Selden to license him the 160 patent and Mr. Selden refused to do so. Mr. Ford is not an attorney. He is a builder of automobiles. Mr. Ford certainly didn't want to break the law. But nor does Mr. Ford find that he broke the law at all. He invented his automobile without any inspiration from Mr. Selden. Meanwhile, Mr. Selden doesn't build automobiles but just wrote about them and then is selling the rights to said writing, the 160 patent, to unsuspecting automobile makers who build automobiles.

Mr. Ford stands tall on his own property. He built his property himself. He just forgot to go to Washington D.C. to ask for a slip recognizing his rights to his own built property. When he finally went to get that slip, Mr. Selden was already there saying that he, Mr. Selden, had all the slips taken from the government already, and there were no more slips available for, or to be had by, Mr. Ford. Mr. Ford doesn't trespass on anyone else's property. That is so because Mr. Selden does not own any property. He doesn't have the land, nor did he build a house on land that he doesn't have. All he got was a slip from the government that some or any land that others will own and use belongs to Mr. Selden.

Ladies and gentleman of the jury, Mr. Ford stands in front of you today and asks for your help to allow him to continue to do what he likes to do, to build automobiles and sell them at affordable prices to everyone, including and most importantly to his own workers. Supporting Mr. Ford here is going to send a strong message to people like Mr. Selden, and an even stronger message to people who will follow in Mr. Ford's shoes, those who build things and create jobs and make those jobs pay as much as business sense allows, so that the products made and sold improve the lives of all the workers who make them. We thank you for your time.

Ford Motor Car, 1903: Advertising
(note reference to assumption of responsibility regarding alleged infringement of the Selden patent)