A tale of two robberies

Windshield-Wipers-in-Rain Robbery #1.

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

and 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.

Read more here:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stacey-alcorn/i-want-to-be-a-failure-li_b_3175640.html











ps. My mastectomy surgery is TUESDAY. I’m trying to keep my mind occupied 🙂

Thanks for reading!

8 thoughts on “A tale of two robberies

  1. Thanks T. While I was researching, I came across those other articles, that I linked to. Those are SOOO much better written then my post, I almost didn’t hit “publish”. But some days are like that. Today was one of those days; I had to go for pre-op testing and it’s stressful. I hope you are doing well!!


  2. #1 I will be thinking good thoughts for you on Tuesday!
    #2 Interesting information…I think I had heard those stories before but isn’t it amazing how things come to be “invented”?
    #3 As a small child, I told my mother that I wished my dolls had hair that I could pull out to make longer….of course, years later, that became a feature of several dolls. Who knew? LOL.


    1. Thank you Terri for #1. 2) Yes, corporate greed wins the day again. 3) It sounds like you may have invented the pull out hair! Too bad you didn’t file a patent. 😉
      4) NO invention is dumb I think. The guy who invented the Pet Rock back in the 70’s is probably still living off the proceeds.


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