This Article first appeared in the Agricultural Law Update, July 2008.
American agriculture defines progress through invention. In the 1830s, over 250 man hours were required to farm five acres of wheat. Today, through inventions, less than five man hours are required to produce wheat from the same acreage.
One of the most famous inventions in American agriculture is Eli Whitney’s cotton gin, which was patented in 1794. While this invention revolutionized the process of cotton production, legal battles with infringers kept Whitney and his partner in court during the first 10 years of the patent’s life. Whitney eventually sold his patent to the state of South Carolina. Ironically, Whitney did not become rich until he invented a musket manufacturing process.
Article authored by McAfee & Taft attorneys: John Kenney and Jeff Todd.
Please see full article for more information.
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