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    10.15.14 New Book by Professor Christopher Beauchamp Examines Bell's Fight for the Telephone Patent
    Invented By Law

    Alexander Graham Bell’s invention of the telephone in 1876 stands as one of the great touchstones of American technological achievement. Bringing a new perspective to this history, Invented by Law, (Harvard University Press 2014), a new book by Professor Christopher Beauchamp, examines the legal battles that raged over Bell’s telephone patent, likely the most consequential patent right ever granted.

    Beauchamp, who teaches and writes in the areas of intellectual property and legal history at the Law School, reconstructs the world of nineteenth-century patent law, replete with inventors, capitalists, and charlatans, where rival claimants and political maneuvering loomed large in the contests that erupted over new technologies. He challenges the popular myth of Bell as the telephone’s sole inventor, exposing that story’s origins in the arguments advanced by Bell’s lawyers. More than anyone else, it was the courts that anointed Bell father of the telephone, granting him a patent monopoly that decisively shaped the American telecommunications industry for a century to come. Beauchamp investigates the sources of Bell’s legal primacy in the United States, and looks across the Atlantic, to Britain, to consider how another legal system handled the same technology in very different ways.

    Exploring complex questions of ownership and legal power raised by the invention of important new technologies, Invented by Law recovers a forgotten history with wide relevance for today’s patent crisis.

    Beauchamp joined Brooklyn Law School in 2011 from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he was a Sharswood Fellow in Law and History and a Lecturer in Law. Prior to teaching, he was a Microsoft/LAPA Fellow at Princeton University’s Law and Public Affairs Program and a Samuel I. Golieb Fellow in Legal History at New York University School of Law. He earned his Ph.D. in History from Cambridge University.

    His work has received numerous awards, including the Cromwell Dissertation Prize of the American Society for Legal History, the Yorke Prize of the Cambridge University Faculty of Law, and the Levinson Prize of the Society for the History of Technology. Beauchamp is also working on a history of patent law and litigation in the United States, entitled Technology's Trials.

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