The intermittent windshield wiper was patented in December 1964. The man who created this invention presented it to the “Big Three” auto companies, General Motors, Ford and Chrysler. He tried to get the auto companies to license the use of his invention, and although they rejected his proposal, they began installing intermittent wipers in their cars in 1969, without paying him a dime.
He spent the better part of his life fighting the American “Big Three” and foreign automakers for patent infringement. By 1995, he received $30 million from Chrysler, but had spent $10 million on his own defense.
Ford Motor Company claimed that the patent was invalid because the intermittent wiper system had no new components, but the inventor noted that his invention was a novel and non-obvious combination of parts.
He spent decades of his life fighting for the recognition that he was the inventor of this product. He lost his family in the process because he was so obsessed.
This man’s name was Robert William Kearns; his name is hardly a household word.
You can read more here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A54564-2005Feb25.html
Robbery # 2:
Oswald the Rabbit was invented by a cartoon artist who was receiving 20% of the profits. The producer of the cartoon negotiated with the animation crew who worked on this project, and stole Oswald, and let the cartoon artist go.
Most of us would have reacted like the guy in Robbery #1: lawsuits and fights.
But he didn’t. Instead he invented Mickey Mouse–and we know how that turned out.
His name was Walt Disney, and he is a household name.
ps. My mastectomy surgery is TUESDAY. I’m trying to keep my mind occupied 🙂
Thanks for reading!