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Archived updates for Monday, February 28, 2005

A Salute to Robert W. Kearns



U.S. Patent No. 4544870
"Intermittant Windshield Wiper Control System with Improved Motor Speed Control"

Robert W. Kearns, the inventor of intermittent windshield wipers, who won multimillion-dollar judgments against Ford and Chrysler, died on Feb. 9. "He was feisty, determined and he established the fact that he made a contribution to the auto industry that was unique," reportedly said Judge Avern Cohn of Federal District Court in Michigan, who presided over several of the pro se patent trials brought by the independent inventor.

Kearns felt so strongly that he had recouped only part what automakers had made from his inventions, that he left millions of dollars from Chrysler uncollected in a federal court account for years. "Everyone wants the David and Goliath story," said his surviving daughter Maureen Kearns. "The lesson, I guess, is to do the best you can do," she said. "He enjoyed his fight, but not the full breadth of life. The lesson was to make your life count."

Send your nomination of Robert Kearns to the National Inventors Hall of Fame in Akron Ohio here. Add his story to those of the over 200 other men and women whose patented inventions, life-saving tools, labor-saving devices, and technological innovations have become the basis of the American economy and society.
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8 Comments:

Anonymous Dennis Kearns said...

Thanks for including these comments about my dad. All he ever wanted was his 17 years of exclusivity, that's why he refused millions.

He was Pro se, because the law firm that STARTED THE SUITS on our behalf in 1978, Harness Dickey &Pierce, was ruled not to have a conflict in representing Chrysler AGAINST US?

The basic patent #3,351,836
They didn't even steal the good stuff, and haven't changed it on your car since he conceived it in 1963, the week Kennedy was killed

March 02, 2005 11:39 PM  
Blogger MaryLynn said...

The story of Robert W. Kearns is deeply moving and inspiring. He clearly yearned for justice and he knew full well that money is wonderful, but it doesn't restore one's dignity. He certainly paid dearly with the hours of his life and the relationships that he lost in the process. But he was one of those rare people who was willing to essentially give up his life for what he believed in. Every individual at every company should think about each and every choice that he or she makes and how that will ultimately impact someone's life. Individuals should no longer hide behind the seemingly nameless, faceless corporation. Corporations need to develop a soul and a conscience. We shouldn't expect anything less from a corporation than we expect from an individual -- and that is to interact with the world in an ethical and moral manner. May Dr. Robert Kearns rest in peace. He will be one of the people I will think about when I need strength and hope.

October 06, 2008 1:59 PM  
Anonymous Robert Waltrip said...

Just watched the movie "FLASH OF GENIUS, and had tears in my eyes when the verdict was read. Robert Kearns is a true American "HERO".

It is sad that justice in America still takes a back seat to corporate greed and corruption, where the little man has no choice but to struggle several times over that of the monetary elite, through seemingly endless disappointments, stress, agony and frustration, loss of family and much turmoil to fight these entities of evil. The end result was, he came out the victor!!! "David and Goliath"

MaryLynn said it better, and concur "...he was one of those rare people who was willing to essentially give up his life for what he believed in." Truly an inspiration when one is in need of reminding, Integrity and all that is good, is the salt of this earth, and without it, the earth has lost it's savor. God has surely prepared a high place for Robert W. Kearns in the Kingdom that is yet to come. May his Children and their families also be with him in that day.

Takes a true man to fight for what you believe in, and a perfect example of what it means to love his children, teaching that standing up for integrity regardless of the consequences or outcome, is far more valuable than all the worlds gold and silver combined.

May God Bless him and those that stood by him...........eternally.

February 18, 2009 4:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too just watched the movie 'Flash of Genius' with Greg Kinnear, a truly magnifant performance by Mr Kinnear....I too was very saddened that he had to spend nearly half of his life to get back what was taken and stolen from Him...The sadest part of all of this was Dr Kearn's wife, She bailed out on Him during his epic journey...Today, He has left a memory for all of us to understand and know...He repleid that no matter what you do in life, when your wronged your wronged and do something about it or our large groups of corporations will step on you in a New York Second...Job well done in the making of this movie, and yes! I'd watch it again...In any type of a relationship, whether it be wife, girl friend, etc....We need to stick by our inventor, and a bail out on your part, Mrs. Kearns, was totally out of line...I look forward to other movies like this one, to come along and tap our Hearts for a Hero, and in this case, Dr Robert Kearns is a totall Hero....and I still saddened that he is now gone from this life and knows that in the after life He does not have to worry about his winshield intermittent wiper blasde system is still ticking around the world...Dr M

March 12, 2009 12:37 AM  
Blogger MaryLynn said...

People need to find the courage to speak up or else there will never be any hope for change. Yes, it's tough, but none of us would be able to vote or have any freedom whatsover if our ancestors didn't take risks and stand up for what they believed in.

Another movie like this is in the making. I'm working on the screenplay now. It's based on my own experience. Stay tuned.

March 12, 2009 9:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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April 07, 2009 5:26 AM  
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