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Intermittent Wiper Inventor Dies

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by D from BC, Sep 25, 2007.

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  1. D from BC

    D from BC Guest

    Robert Kearns... rest in peace.
    http://www.canadiandriver.com/news/050228-9.htm

    Tough call...lead a normal life but feel ripped off... or go to war
    with the car companies.

    "His daughter Maureen Kearns concurred, saying that her father's home
    was filled with legal files. "His life was simply this battle," she
    said. "


    D from BC
     
  2. John Doe

    John Doe Guest

    Thanks for the link. That's one famous example of an inventor being
    ripped off and getting justice. That's probably the exception to the
    rule.
     
  3. nospam

    nospam Guest

    A famous example of how ridiculous the patent system is. Like anyone who
    has driven in light rain for more than 30 minutes didn't independently
    invent an intermittent wiper.

    --
     
  4. James Arthur

    James Arthur Guest

    That statement's a famous example of not understanding patents.

    Ideas aren't patentable, only the process or machine that implements
    them is. Then you have to teach the rest of the world how you did
    it. And you have to be the first.

    Best,
    James Arthur
     
  5. Leon

    Leon Guest

    I heard about a similar gadget around 1968 (it might have been
    inspired by the patent) and built one for my little Fiat 500D, using a
    UJT as an oscillator with an SCR driving the motor.

    Leon
     
  6. Barry Lennox

    Barry Lennox Guest

    Aha, that brings back memories, I recall reading about a similar
    device in a short news columm, IIRC, it might have been "Electronics
    Australia" in late 67 or 68. I did build one for my VW, using (IIRC)
    a pair of OC71s in a flip-flop, an OC74 driver and a relay. It worked
    well enough.
     
  7. nospam

    nospam Guest

    And this makes the patent system not ridiculous?

    --
     
  8. James Arthur

    James Arthur Guest

    Of course. Patents are so *not* ridiculous that the Founders provided
    for them in the US constitution. They're so not ridiculous--their
    value so widely recognized--that systems exist in Europe, Asia,
    Australia, and just about any country one can name.

    Patents provide an essential incentive for certain kinds of
    innovation. Like drugs. Without patents, we wouldn't have them, not
    the new ones, anyway.

    Patents stimulate progress and embolden risk-takers, leagues of
    inventors each striving to invent something new, and be first. They
    benefit everyone. Sure, there are some silly patents, but mostly,
    patents work. Try scanning the patent archives sometime--it's a
    public domain goldmine.

    If you don't see their value, you must not use antibiotics, ICs,
    computers, or a bunch of other cool stuff.

    Cheers,
    James Arthur
     
  9. John Doe

    John Doe Guest

    Well-designed patent law can drive people to devise useful things.

    In my opinion, many inventions are overlooked because they aren't
    necessarily profitable. But those holes (I see) might be as much of an
    indication of how well our patent system motivates people.

    Our patent system might tend to overcomplicate things. An extremely
    efficient design is painstaking and totally fascinating IMO, but
    some such designs might be more difficult to protect with a patent
    because trying to stop individuals from making and using their own
    things is impractical.
     

  10. Right... Sure... A.G. Bell STOLE the telephone from Meucci, and even
    manipulated the patent office to do it.

    http://www.italianhistorical.org/MeucciStory.htm
     
  11. Eeyore

    Eeyore Guest

    I don't like pots with intermittent wipers thank you.

    Graham
     
  12. nospam

    nospam Guest

    But not like intermittent wipers. The patent system didn't give us
    intermittent wipers, it likely delayed the introduction of intermittent
    wipers and made them cost more.

    --
     
  13. Nobody

    Nobody Guest

    And, in theory at least, it has to be non-obvious to a person of ordinary
    skill in the art.

    Unfortunately, this is one area where there's a big gap between theory and
    practice. The USPTO's preferred definition of non-obvious is simply that
    there is no pre-existing record, with the result that anything which is so
    obvious that no-one would even think of writing it down is considered
    patentable.
     
  14. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    Some years ago, I read an article somewhere that said that somebody
    had accidentally patented the wheelbarrow. All he really wanted to patent
    was a novel swivel handle arrangement, to make it easy to dump, but in
    his illustrations, his artist had drawn an ordinary wheelbarrow with
    the new handles; apparently there was no wheelbarrow in the prior art,
    because it's been obvious for thousands of years, but they granted
    the patent anyway.

    I think that in fact, the only ramifications were the newspaper article
    about the silly patent. ;-)

    Cheers!
    Rich
     
  15. John Doe

    John Doe Guest

    Yup. Another feature I find less obscure but amusing is the idea that
    a patent is rearward looking. Because you are granted a patent doesn't
    give you the right to the device, it just means no one else can have
    that right. I suppose that's to make clear that a patent can always be
    challenged like if the stuff was hiding in the public domain
    somewhere. (I'm not suggesting I understand patents, the one Nobody
    listed and the one I just described are IMO two notable issues.)
     
  16. John Doe

    John Doe Guest

    Having to pay for copying the design of intermittent wipers was
    because the car makers didn't come up with their own design. Again, to
    reiterate the same idea you continue denying, having to pay the
    originator is what motivates much invention in the first place. Your
    persistence sounds sound like Third World politics.
     
  17. James Arthur

    James Arthur Guest

    It's true that an inventor can ask too much for his invention, and
    if he's got a patent he can hold up the use of that invention.

    That's his choice, his reward for having invented and disclosed the
    thing, but it's obviously not in his best financial interest. The
    inventor profits only if the thing is made and sold, so that's what
    usually happens.

    Maybe this gent's mistake was trying to pitch his idea to Detroit, a
    recalcitrant dinosaur that even today resists innovation.

    Cheers,
    James Arthur
     
  18. James Arthur

    James Arthur Guest

    It's true that an inventor can ask too much for his invention, and
    if he's got a patent he can hold up the use of that invention.

    That's his choice, his reward for having invented and disclosed the
    thing, but it's obviously not in his best interest financially. The
    inventor profits only if the thing is made and sold. That's the
    incentive, and that's what usually happens.

    Maybe this gent's mistake was trying to pitch his idea to Detroit, a
    recalcitrant dinosaur that even today resists innovation.

    Cheers,
    James Arthur
     
  19. James Arthur

    James Arthur Guest

    No, that's 'novelty,' another requirement.
    'Obvious' is subjective, obviously, but there are a few guiding
    principles. One is that if an idea is so obvious and has commercial
    value, surely someone would be exploiting it.

    Obviousness is, though, not as clear-cut as novelty (being the first
    to describe something new).

    Cheers,
    James Arthur
     
  20. James Arthur

    James Arthur Guest

    Very unlikely, IMO, but possible that a clerical error could cause
    this.

    What most people don't understand is that the description of the
    invention (the Specification section) is NOT what is patented. Just
    because the thing starts off with an essay about wheelbarrows doesn't
    mean he's patented a wheelbarrow.

    What's patented is limited to the Claims, which would usually describe
    a very particular, specific type of or improvement to a wheelbarrow.
    That--and only that--is what's patented.

    As far as prior art, any patent instantly self-destructs if prior art
    can be proven--you can't patent anything pre-existing.

    Cheers,
    James Arthur
     
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