THE INVENTOR’S DILEMMA
Overcoming The Abuse of Independent Domestic Inventors and innovators:
GROUPS THAT CAN HELP INVENTORS:
Many independent inventors patent their inventions so that they have rights over them, and hope to earn income from selling or licensing them. Usually inventions made in the course of employment are ultimately owned by the employer; this is often specified in the terms of employment. Other inventors (independent or corporate) may create inventions hoped to be of use to anybody, and place them in the public domain.
- Robert Kearns, inventor of a type of intermittent windscreen wiper, who successfully sued Ford and Chrysler, and whose story was dramatized in the film Flash of Genius
- Jerome H. Lemelson, who claimed to have invented technology used in bar code readers, and eventually lost his patent rights as a result of pursuing a so-called submarine strategy for his patent applications
- Peter Roberts, inventor of a quick-release socket wrench, who sold his patent to Sears and then successfully claimed the company owed him more because they had misrepresented their market estimates in negotiations
- Ron Hickman of Jersey, inventor of a portable workbench turned down by several tool companies with comments such as that it would sell in the dozens rather than hundreds; he started selling it direct to professional builders. Several companies produced unlicensed imitations, as is normal to challenge a patent; Hickman successfully defended his patents in court. Black & Decker started producing the workbench in 1973 as the Black & Decker Workmate, paying Hickman a royalty; it had sold about 30 million worldwide by the time of Hickman’s death in 2011.
- Brazilian Alfredo Moser invented a way of illuminating a house during the day without electricity, using plastic bottles inserted through the roof, of benefit to people with few resources living in simple dwellings. The idea was taken up in about 15 countries, and it was expected that over a million would have been installed by the start of 2014. Moser was very happy that his lamp, which he did not patent, was taken up in such a big way.
- Architect and West Point alum Greg Henderson, inventor of the Hendo hoverboard and Magnetic Field Architecture (MFA), developed the SAFE Building System as a proactive solution for protecting buildings and communities in flood zones and at-risk coastal areas by floating buildings, roadways, and utilities in a few feet of water before disasters strike. The self-adjusting floating environment draws from existing technologies used to float concrete bridges and runways such as Washington’s SR 520 and Japan’s Mega-Float.
- Alliance for American Innovation
- Edward Robinson “They Saved Small Business When corporate America tried to seize the patent system from independent inventors, this Boston couple came to the rescue.” Fortune Small Business, April 1, 2000
- “In praise of… the Workmate”. The Guardian. 22 February 2011. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
- The Guardian newspaper: Alfredo Moser: Bottle light inventor proud to be poor, 13 August 2013
- Sean Buckley (2010-10-21). “We rode a $10,000 hoverboard, and you can too”. Engadget.
- Hendo Hover (2014-10-21). “Hendo Hoverboards – World’s first REAL hoverboard”. Kickstarter.
- Conor Dougherty (2014-10-21). “Hoverboard? Still in the Future”. The New York Times.
- McGauley, Joe. “These Ingenious Floating Houses Will Save Us From Rising Sea Levels”. Thrillist. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
- Wachs, Audrey. “This company is designing floating buildings to combat climate change disasters”. The Architect’s Newspaper. Retrieved 31 October 2016.
- Hawkins, Andrew. “This hoverboard startup wants to create floating cities to combat climate change”. The Verge. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
- Inventors Eye, the USPTO’s bimonthly publication for the “independent inventor community”
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