An anonymous reader writes "There is a nice article about the history of the telephone at AmericanHeritage.com. Most of us know that Alexander Bell beat Elisha Gray to the patent office by mere hours to claim credit for the invention of the telephone, but did you know that two other inventors can also claim the invention, including Thomas Edison? Similar disputes about independent invention and patent ownership can be found regarding the television, the airplane, and the automobile. Maybe it really is true: the economic benefit of encouraging patents is like that of encouraging window breaking."
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