Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Getting closer to "Indiana Jones and the Inventor's Notebook of Destiny?"

It's about time that something came along to replace the Nutty Professor image of the inventor in popular culture.

This fall, Greg Kinnear will portray inventor Robert Kearns in "Flash of Genius." It looks like the movie is going to focus on the little-guy-versus-mega-corporation angle, so I doubt there will be much inventing in it.

Kearns' story is pretty interesting. In 1967, he patented several devices that make up intermittent windshield wipers, which have become more or less a standard feature on new cars. He shopped his invention to the Big Three and, though they never reached a licensing agreement, the wipers eventually began to appear on new cars. Kearns sued Ford and Chrysler for infringement and was awarded over $20 million in damages in the two cases. The New York Times ran a nice obituary when he passed away in 2005, available here.

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