A-G v Edison Telephone Co of London Ltd

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Attorney General v Edison Telephone Co of London Ltd (1880–81) LR 6 QBD 244 is an interesting English law case on the application of the old Telegraph Act 1869. It held that the monopoly of the Post Office under the statute extended to telephone companies.



Stephen J and Pollock B gave judgment. They held the Act covered ‘communications by any wire and apparatus connected therewith used for telegraphic communication, or by any other apparatus for transmitting messages or other communications by means of electric signals’ (249) This meant that the telephone companies were subject to the licensing and monopoly provisions of the Act. It effectively allowed the Post Office to take over the businesses, which had acted without an authority.

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