I was reading about Jagdish Chandra Bose. He was a biologist, physicist, and botanist. He had so many discoveries. But was disinterested in patenting and commercializing. Therefore Mr. Bose never patented any of his discoveries.
I then remembered a very sad story. Here it is.
Robert William Kearns (1927 to 2005). He invented the intermittent wiper systems (popularly known as delayed wiper) for automobiles. He filed for patent in December 1964.
Mr. Kearns approached the Big Three automakers, General Motors, Ford and Chrysler for licensing his technology. All 3 rejected his proposal. Yet, they started to install this delayed wiper system in their automobiles beginning 1969.
He filed a lawsuit against these 3 companies. He was a poor man with no money to pay lawyers. So, he acted as his own attorney. Automobile companies had big name attorneys. They dragged this case for many years.
Case against Ford Motor company lasted from 1978 to 1990. He asked for $395 million. Court awarded him $10.2 million. Chrysler case lasted from 1982 to 1992. Court awarded him $18.7 million.
Kearns filed lawsuits against Ford, Porsche, Volkswagen, Ferrari, Volvo, Alfa Romeo, Lotus, Isuzu, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Peugeot, Renault, Rolls Royce Motors, Saab, Toyota, General Motors, Mercedes-Benz. Several cases were dismissed after Kearns missed deadlines in other filing papers.
In fighting these cases, almost all his money was spent on legal fees.
Kearns died in 2005 as a poor man living in a one bed room flat.
His life was made into a movie Flash of Genius.
Let us assume if these automobile manufacturers were honest and paid him at least $1.00 per wiper. Think for a minute how many cars were sold in this world from 1969 to date. At an average of 50 million cars in a year, he would have earned $2.6 Billion.