President John Adams signed only 163 patents, of which only 25 were co-signed by Marshall. However, only nine co-signed by other secretaries of state, and only one other co-signed by Marshall (at Dartmouth College) are presently known to survive.
The day after receiving his patent, inventor William Young sold all his rights in it to Thomas Overton. Within a few weeks, Overton sold the rights to the patent in Pennsylvania’s Lycoming and Northumberland counties to Robert Gray. On January 3, 1801, Overton sold rights to the patent in New Jersey and the rest of Pennsylvania to Philadelphia cabinetmaker Isaac Ashton for $7,000. On April 29, Overton also sold Ashton the rights in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont, for $8,000. On March 25, 1801, Ashton conveyed the patent rights for New Jersey to Stephen Sayre of Philadelphia. In March and June 1801, Ashton re-sold the rights to manufacture and sell the invention in Pennsylvania (except Lycoming and Northumberland counties), Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont to Frederick Lewis Goch of New York City for $10,500. Questions arose about Ashton’s authority to convey the patent rights. On April 14, 1804, Goch released Ashton from all liability, likely after the money was refunded.
Assigning patents for specific geographic regions (usually states or counties) was a common practice, though the documents doing so almost never are found with the original patents. By the end of the nineteenth century, when advances in manufacturing, transportation and communication allowed a more centralized approach, the practice became less common.
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