September 15, 1909 – Henry Ford files appeal against George Selden and ALAM

It was on this day in 1909 that a court battle between George Selden and Henry Ford that started on October 22, 1903 came to an end, almost. In brief, George Selden held the 1895 US patent for gasoline automobile and was able to receive royalties from all automakers in the United States, without manufacturing vehicles himself. Alongside executives at Electric Vehicle Company (EVC) the Association of Licensed Automobile Manufacturers (ALAM) was founded in 1903, basically as an overlord of the American auto industry. This association basically set up a simple way for automakers to pay their royalties to Selden and the EVC. When Henry Ford set up Ford Motor Company in 1903 he tried to join ALAM, but was denied, likely because many of his former investors and other partners had already joined and were high in the ranks at ALAM. Ford went ahead and began producing automobiles anyway. He was quickly served with a lawsuit for breaching the Selden’s patent. Selden was about to find out that Henry Ford was determined to build automobiles. On this day in 1909 a court ruled in favor of ALAM, finding legitimacy in the Selden Patent. But that wasn’t the end. Ford filed an appeal, knowing his newly-released Model T was at stake. The case went to the US Circuit Court of Appeals. Ford fought one specific aspect of the patent, which was that the broad Selden Patent referenced a Brayton cycle engine, which can be found in jet engine operation today. Ford stated he used an Otto cycle engine, which is what is still widely used in internal combustion engines today. On this note, Ford won his appeal on January 11, 1911, and broke down the monopoly held by Selden and ALAM. Automakers now had the freedom to build without challenge.  Pics:An advertisement for ALAM from 1904A photo of Selden and Ford together in a Selden Automobile

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