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A patent protects a product or process, with a very limited lifespan. Consider design right protection, or not telling anyone how your invention works.








Patents protect a product or service. The unreasonably high fees for international protection and the lack of state prosecution for those who violate granted rights, makes inventors wonder why it's worth the bother and expense of telling everyone how your invention works.


Not only that, but the very limited lifespan of just 20 years, means that by the time you have a product or process perfected for production, there is not much time left to recover your investment.


Then there is plagiarism. Once you have revealed how your system works, there is nothing to stop others from copying your work. Then you face years of painful litigation from high powered concerns like car and energy companies, who will do all they can to bury you with legal costs as the chosen weapon. As they walk off with your technology. There are many such true stories.






IP HERO - Regarded by many as a modern hero, for taking on the giants, even at great personal cost. He lost his family and very nearly his sanity. But, he will be remembered by every innovator who comes up against corporate big business, Since the caselaw he created is there for all to cite. Our advice though, is choose another way of earning a living. Let the morally unsound stew in their own juices.


Ford said they had not stolen Kearns’ idea. His patent was invalid on the grounds that it wasn’t “sufficiently inventive.” They said he'd used off the shelf parts. The Jury disagreed, the parts were used in an innovative way that was not obvious. Or, Ford would have thought of it before Bulldog Bob. Everything seems obvious, once you know the answer. Coming up with a solution first, is the inventive step. Ford and other auto makers did not have a clue as to how Robert's invention worked.






On a rainy day in 1962, Robert Kearns had one of those meandering thoughts that separate great inventors from mere mortals: What if a windshield wiper paused between each wipe, like a blinking eye? 

He constructed prototypes in his basement, filed a patent, and began to dream up a plan: He’d set up a pretty little factory in Detroit, become a major supplier of windshield wipers, and go down in history as one of the automobile industry’s great innovators.



Corporations will steal if they can. It's a sad fact of life. Why they don't just pay reasonable royalties is a mystery. And the public don't seem to care that someone was cheated. They keep buying Ford (and other) cars.


In 1969, Ford debuted a fancy, first-of-its-kind intermittent windshield wiper on its line of Mercury cars.

The wipers, which cost Ford $10 to make and sold for $37, were a hot commodity and were soon adopted by others in the auto industry: By the mid-1970s, Chrysler, General Motors, Saab, Honda, Volvo, Rolls-Royce, Mercedes and dozens of other big-name brands had a version of intermittent wipers on their cars.

All mimicked the exact configuration of Kearns’ device.

For nearly 30 years, Kearns waged an impossible legal battle against one of America’s most powerful companies. In the end, he won millions of dollars — but it cost him his sanity, his marriage, and the remaining years of his life.

Kearns’ story is remembered as one of history’s great David vs. Goliath lawsuits. But it’s also a reminder of the shortcomings of the US (all) patent system(s) for independent inventors.


In January of 1990, Robert W. Kearns, a former professor at Wayne State University in Detroit, won his patent infringement suit against Ford on Monday in federal court. He has filed similar suits against General Motors Corp., Chrysler Corp., Daimler-Benz, Honda, Toyota, Nissan and 21 other companies. The Ford case was the first to go to trial.

Kearns said in his 12-year-old lawsuit that his version of intermittent windshield wipers was unique because of a certain combination of parts. Ford denied that. An eight-member jury sided with Kearns after a week of deliberations. Chrysler was ordered to pay Kearns US$18.7 million with interest. Chrysler appealed the court decision, but the Federal Circuit let the judgment stand. The Supreme Court declined to hear the case. By 1995, after spending over US$10 million in legal fees, Kearns received approximately US$30 million in compensation for Chrysler's patent infringement.


As Kearns waged this slow, agonizing war, his case became less about financial compensation and more about calling out big corporations for stealing intellectual property from inventors.








PATENTS - This hand built prototype vehicle contains a lot of proprietary know-how that may never be revealed. Designs may also be registered, and copyright utilised to protect some elements of chassis layout, cartridge and loader design, etc., etc. As the 'Robert Kearns case amply demonstrates, the patent system is woefully inadequate for lone innovators. Students with no previous experience helped to build this custom car, now on display at a private museum in Sussex, England - though not yet open to the public. The students were not involved in the high-tech stuff. Just the basics of vehicle design, woodworking, shaping and welding. So preserving the IP for fairer times. Until then, vehicle and infrastructure development will limp along. Unless, you want to enter a JVH2 world hydrogen challenge, and help to change the world.







For struggling inventors, we'd suggest not telling anyone about your designs or processes. Not until someone is prepared to pay you for your time in development. In Europe, under their Horizon scheme, it might pay to engage in collaborative research, where patent fees in part may qualify for funding. But beware, decisions on funding are very political, and ideas could be plundered by unscrupulous examiners and passed on to other favored applicants - as the decision making process is conducted in complete secrecy - and there is no compensation scheme in existence. Examiners names are withheld, etc., and you have no access right to their files. Where corruption in the EU and other nations is not contained, nor is the decision making process, or results of applications transparent. As in who was awarded the monies you applied for. Why risk it?




The JVH2 is a challenge, or series of challenges, where your product or process is not revealed to any third party. You don't need a patent to enter, but your idea will receive press attentions, to help you market your invention or innovative designs. We operate a 100% transparent system, where you have access to your files. And the names of other competitors are made known as part of the PR drive.


We'd suggest not telling anyone how your idea works. Or, get a signed agreement in place, and only with persons who can be trusted. Obviously, not with your competition, or anyone who might suffer loss from disruptive technology.


JVH2 challenges are there to help inventors and entrepreneurs, without taking anything away from their achievement. Indeed, you will receive a trophy as if you had applied for patent protection and a Certificate. Plus, use of the appropriate trade names, as may be applicable. These being granted free.


Details of your solution will not be published. Whereas, carefully guarded videos, etc., will advertise your efforts.


The current patent legislation in the UK is the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. You can find out more about copyright legislation by visiting the Intellectual Property Offices (websites) in your country, or the WIPO, international World Intellectual Property Organization.


We are of the view that green patents should be free of fees, like copyright, and that the state should enforce against infringement. Or, that applications are free, with low cost infringement insurance guaranteed by the state. We have lobbied for change. So far being given the cold shoulder. Until such time as the law is updated to protect newcomers, be very careful not to reveal the spark that makes your idea work, where others have failed.



World Intellectual Property Organization logo WIPO








Headquarters: World Intellectual Property Organization - 34, chemin des Colombettes - CH-1211 Geneva 20, Switzerland. 

Tel: +41 22 338 9111






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