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Johann Philipp Reis (January 7, 1834 – January 14, 1874) was a self-taught German scientist and inventor. In 1861, he constructed the first make-and-break telephone, today called the Reis telephone.
Credit for the invention of the electric telephone is frequently disputed, and new controversies over the issue have arisen from time to time. As with other influential inventions such as radio, television, the light bulb, and the computer, [color=limegreen]there were several inventors who did pioneering experimental work on voice transmission over a wire and improved on each other's ideas. Innocenzo Manzetti, Antonio Meucci, Johann Philipp Reis, Elisha Gray, Alexander Graham Bell, and Thomas Edison, among others, have all been credited with pioneering work on the telephone. An undisputed fact is that Alexander Graham Bell was the first to be awarded a patent for the electric telephone by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in March 1876. That first patent by Bell was the master patent of the telephone, from which all other patents for electric telephone devices and features flowed.
The early history of the telephone became and still remains a confusing morass of claims and counterclaims, which were not clarified by the large number of lawsuits that hoped to resolve the patent claims of many individuals and commercial competitors. The Bell and Edison patents, however, were forensically victorious and commercially decisive.
A Hungarian engineer, Tivadar Puskás, quickly invented the telephone switchboard in 1876, which allowed for the formation of telephone exchanges, and eventually networks. 
Originally posted by technologicalsingularity
reply to post by Maxmars
you'll hate me for saying this, but " how american" , first you must look intrinsicaly at your own culture, to understand why this now exists. it's called future proofing for the benifit of american's on the global invention market, so you'll be first every time. i love america, but sometime's your angle on things anger me........
[Congressional Record Volume 157, Number 44 (Wednesday, March 30, 2011)]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
By Mr. SMITH of Texas:
Congress has the power to enact this legislation pursuant
to the following:
Clause 8 of section 8 of Article I of the Constitution.
To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;
Originally posted by mig691000
reply to post by SickeningTruths
Choose wisely?!?! Really, does our vote really make a difference? The government already knows who the next guy is going to be....this whole voting thing is a game! Basically to keep us sheep entertained....and make us feel like with can do something. In reality, they are all just laughing at us, b/c they control it all!!!
Originally posted by ExPostFacto
reply to post by totoway
This is why the patent laws were only supposed to be protected for a short period of time. If they passed this law that first to patent was the rightful inventor and limited the amount of time the inventor could lock down their invention, this law would pose less of a problem. Our constitution is clear that protection of inventions is not supposed to last forever, and people should be allowed to bring to market another person's idea at cheaper rates. An inventor should get maybe 10 years protection, but after that, the patent should belong to the people to use as they are able. Or to bring to market an invention that has not been in demand for a while.