Selden Law, PC
Stefanie M. Selden – Attorney Profile
4410 Arapahoe Ave, Ste 105
Boulder, CO 80303
Stefanie Selden’s education and experience have made her an effective and compassionate professional. She was born in Rochester, New York, and as a teenager, her main interest at school was biology. She lived in East Africa for a year, where she pursued her science focus by volunteering in the pathology lab at a hospital in Uganda. She continued her education as a biology major in the first class of women at the University of Notre Dame, graduating cum laude in 1975. Stefanie put herself through law school, working first at a hospital and later as a law clerk. She graduated in 1979 from the University of Colorado Law School, and after passing her bar exam, started working 1980 with a small firm in Boulder.
In 1984, Stefanie began her own legal practice in general trial litigation. Within a few years, she focused her business primarily on personal injury and worker’s compensation issues, successfully handling hundreds of cases. In 1992 she took a hiatus from legal work to raise her two daughters with her husband in Boulder.
While caring for her children, Stefanie was active as a volunteer Girl Scout leader, served on the Board of the Boulder County Safehouse, and helped raise money for Boulder County school activities. Stefanie loves the outdoors and is an avid bicyclist, hiker, skier and runner. In 1995 she earned a Master Gardener certification through Colorado State University’s Cooperative Extension and her home garden was included in the Boulder garden tour.
With her children in school, Stefanie resumed her full-time law practice in 2000 with a renewed enthusiasm for legal work. Since then, she has continued to help clients injured in a variety of accidents, including truck accidents, wrongful death claims, car crashes, brain injuries, bicycle-car accident, and worker’s compensation claims. Her clients are typically individuals who have had their claims denied, reduced or inadequately processed or paid by an insurance company.
Stefanie Selden is a member of the Colorado and Boulder Bar Associates, and Colorado Trial Lawyers Association. She has attended the National Institute of Trial Advocacy and the Gerry Spence Trial Lawyers College
George B. Selden and the Invention of the Automobile
Stefanie’s great grand-farther, George Selden, was a pioneer in the invention of the automobile. The idea of a horseless carriage was in the air during George’s youth, but its practicality was uncertain. In 1859, his father, Judge Henry R. Selden, a prominent Republican attorney most noted for defending Susan B. Anthony, moved to Rochester, New York, where George briefly attended the University of Rochester before dropping out to enlist in the Sixth U.S. Cavalry, Union Army.
This was not to the liking of his father who after pulling some strings and having some earnest discussions with his son managed to have him released from duty and enrolled in Yale. George did not do well at Yale in his law studies, preferring the technical studies offered by the Sheffield Scientific School, but did manage to finish his course of study and pass the New York bar 1871 and joined his father’s practice.
He was married shortly thereafter to Clara Drake Woodruff, by whom he had 4 children. His eldest son, George Jr. was Stefanie’s grandfather. George Sr. continued his hobby of inventing in a workshop in his father’s basement, inventing a typewriter and a hoop making machine. For a time, Selden represented photography pioneer George Eastman in patent matters.
The Selden Patent
Inspired by the mammoth internal combustion engine invented by George Brayton displayed at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876, Selden began working on a smaller lighter version, succeeding by 1878, some eight years before the public introduction of the Benz Patent Motorwagen in Europe, in producing a one-cylinder, 400-pound version which featured an enclosed crankshaft with the help of Rochester machinist, Frank H. Clement, his assistant William Gomm, and his son. He filed for a patent on May 8, 1879. His application included not only the engine but its use in a 4 wheeled car. He then filed a series of amendments to his application which stretched out the legal process resulting in a delay of 16 years before the patent was granted on November 5, 1895.
The Selden Road-Engine
Shortly thereafter the fledgling American auto industry began its first efforts and George Selden, despite never having gone into production with a working model of an automobile, had a credible claim to have patented an automobile in 1895. In 1899 he sold his patent rights to William C. Whitney, who proposed manufacturing electric-powered taxicabs as the Electric Vehicle Company, EVC, for a royalty of $15 per car with a minimum annual payment of $5,000. Whitney and Selden then worked together to collect royalties from other budding automobile manufacturers. He was initially successful, negotiating a 0.75% royalty on all cars sold by the Association of Licensed Automobile Manufacturers, the ALAM. He began his own car company in Rochester under the name, Selden Motor Vehicle Company. However, Henry Ford, owner of the Ford Motor Company, founded in Detroit, Michigan in 1903, and four other car makers resolved to contest the patent infringement suit filed by Selden and EVC. The legal fight lasted eight years, generating a case record of 14,000 pages. The case was heavily publicized in the newspapers of the day, and ended in a victory for Selden. In his decision, the judge wrote that the patent covered any automobile propelled by an engine powered by gasoline vapor.
Posting a bond of $350,000, Ford appealed, and on January 10, 1911 won his case based on an argument that the engine used in automobiles was not based on George Brayton’s engine, the Brayton engine which Selden had improved, but on the Otto engine.
This stunning defeat, with only 1 year left to run on the patent, destroyed Selden’s income stream. He focused production of his car company on trucks, renaming his company the Selden Truck Sales Corporation. It survived in that form until 1930 when it was purchased by the Bethlehem Truck Company. Selden suffered a stroke in late 1921 and died at 75 on January 17, 1922. He was buried in Mount Hope Cemetery in Rochester.