Friday, March 28, 2008

Abraham Lincoln as patent litigator

There has been much discussion about Abraham Lincoln's patent, and of Lincoln's "fire of genius" speech, but less is said about his forays into patent litigation.

Lincoln had brief exposure in defending one John Manny against the McCormick reaper patent:

In 1855 Abraham Lincoln went to Cincinnati to act as co-counsel for John H. Manny. The other Manny Company attorneys – Peter H. Watson, George W. Harding and Edwin M. Stanton – froze him out of their work in the McCormick-Manny patent infringement case. (...) Historian Francis P. Weisenburger wrote: “Stanton was far from impressed by Lincoln’s personal appearance and has been credited with extremely biting comments regarding it....During the Cincinnati sojourn Lincoln stayed at the home of Judge and Mrs. William M. Dickson, the latter a cousin of Mary Todd LIncoln, and he visited many places of interest in the vicinity. Judge [John] McLean entertained at dinner for the counsel for both sides at his home at Clifton, near Cincinnati, but Lincoln apparently was not deemed important enough to merit an invitation.

Separately, note text at UTexas

In this essay of roughly 1250 words (i.e., five (5) traditional pages), you will evaluate an essay on intellectual property, copyrights, patents, or a related topic in terms of the effectiveness of its rhetorical appeals. Thus the essay is both a rhetorical analysis (see Good Reasons pp. 61-83) and an evaluative argument (see Good Reasons pp. 145-58). Your evaluation will need to address rhetorical appeals (e.g., ethos, logos, and pathos) as well as issues of audience, purpose, and setting: that is, it should include both textual and contextual analysis in some way.

::: Carbone, Nick. “, a Pedagogic Placebo for Plagiarism.” Bedford/St. Martin’s TechNotes 13 June 2001.
::: Ebert, Lawrence B. “Imagine: No More Indecision in Intellectual Property Cases.” Intellectual Property Today August 2005.


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