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The History of the Automobile
Car Manufacturers George Selden - Henry Ford in a Patent Battle
George Selden Patent for a Road Vehicle
 History of the Car
Part I: Steam Cars
Part 2: Electric Cars
Part 3: Gas Cars
Part 4: Assembly Line
Related George Selden and Henry Ford   Resources
More Car History
The George Selden Patent
George Selden Automobile
More on the George Selden and Henry Ford Patent Battle
"Road Engine" George Selden
Henry Ford
Car Invention Trivia
By Mary Bellis

George Selden (1846-1922) was a patent attorney from Rochester, New York. In 1879, Selden filed a patent what he called a "road engine". Due to the patent laws of the era, the George Selden patent was pre-dated to 1877. Over the years, Selden expanded the claims of his patent and when it was finally granted in 1895, Selden had a patent for a three cylinder motor vehicle that allowed George Selden to collect royalties from all American car manufacturers. The car manufacturers were paying Selden's holding company (Association of Licensed Automotive Manufacturers or ALAM)  for the patent licensing rights to build cars.

The patent was questionable, George Selden had never built a car. One car manufacturer refused to pay any licensing fees to George Selden. Henry Ford refused to pay George Selden and Selden took Henry Ford to a long court battle. 

In 1904, the judge of the Selden vs Ford court case ordered an automobile built according to the George Selden patent. The Selden car was a failure and the Selden patent was overturned in 1911 that stopped Selden from collecting any more royalties and American car manufacturers were free to build cars at a lower cost.

Return > History of Cars

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