The Telephone Gambit

Theft.  Bribery.  Altered documents.  Intrigue.  And … patent attorneys? 

It’s not often that you can include “patent attorneys” in a list like the one above, but after reading Seth Shulman’s “The Telephone Gambit:  Chasing Alexander Graham Bell’s Secret“, I wonder if the book could serve as inspiration for something like “CSI:  USPTO”.  The book investigates the question:  did Alexander Graham Bell really invent the telephone, or did he steal the concept from Elisha Gray?  While Shulman is not the first to explore this question, Shulman has discovered new evidence in Bell’s laboratory notes, and the book details how that evidence prompted an investigation that included an unpublished provisional patent application (then known as a “caveat”), a corrupt USPTO examiner, and a suspicious patent interference proceeding.  In a fast-paced, compelling narrative, Shulman takes the reader along on his journey and uncovers a good bit of USPTO history in the process. 

Although the book is geared to appeal to anyone with an interest in historical mystery, those of us who practice in the intellectual property field will find the book especially interesting.  After all, there aren’t many other mysteries in which the patent attorney may be the mastermind of the crime.

For more details about the book and the author, you can visit the author’s website here.

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