Using New York State Laws
New York State Legislature
Beginning in 1787, the New York State Legislature enacted several laws “to promote and encourage ... ingenuity” in the development of steamboats and to lock in the Fulton-Livingston monopoly. (The U.S. Patent Office did not come into being until 1790.)
Chapter 57 of the Laws of 1787 gave "John Fitch, the sole right and advantage of making and employing for a limited time, the steam boat by him lately invented. Passed the 19th of March, 1787."
The passage of this New York State law ignited the first Battle of the Booklets.