51 thoughts on “Movie: Flash of Genius

  1. 49

    Because it happens to be a really interesting story Cheryl. As far as I can tell, neither of the women who filed patents on windshield wipers successfully licensed or fought for rights based on subsequent adoption by Ford. Had they done so, maybe someone would make a movie about it.

    There was a great movie about a pioneering woman called “Flawless.” OK, its not about women inventors, but its a great movie. Tell you what, I’ll plug in the DVD, you bring the popcorn.

  2. 48

    Why are they doing a movie on intermitten wipers & not about the LADY from BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA that actually invented wipers!! Still a MAN’s WORLD I guess!!!!!!!

  3. 47

    I wrote the New Yorker article the movie is based on. (Soon to be a minor motionless book called Flash of Genius). I must disagree with FlyingV. The movie is based pretty closely on the article. I’m not sure what the screenwriter (the late great Philip Railsback) took from Dennis but it wasn’t much that wasn’t in my piece, or in what I talked with Philip about.

  4. 46

    I also do movie scripts some of the biggest blockbusters of all times What should we call my story ‘Is there an attorney in the house’.All you patent attoneys might have to find new jobs of they stop issuing trash patents you know unmarkerable probably 98% of issues. I know start investing in my movie scripts you can make millions.To e6k july 21 1.34 you state Constructive reduction to practice wasent good enough back then.Does this mean that companies are free to steal ideas if they begin practiceing the inmvention first or would they have they had to steal it by backdating research or inter company memos. This system may be to crooked presently to bother even consider trying to patent something.

  5. 45

    Maybe we’ll see a patent litigation video game based on the “events” in the movie.

  6. 44

    I’m also an AWD alum who worked on the case in the late 1980s-90s, and this movie comes as no surprise. The Kearns kids talked up movie plans in our Detroit hotel at trial. I guess they could see more money coming from the movie than lawsuits. It was Dr Kearns own stunts that ultimately did him and his kids out of mega millions.

  7. 43

    For those still reading this thread and who are actually interested in the original topic (the Kearns movie) — this movie is apparently very loosely based on the true story, and borders on a work of fiction. The producers relied heavily on Kearns’ son, Dennis, for the “facts.” As I noted in my previous post, Dennis is not exactly a credible source. But I plan to see the movie anyway. How many movies are made about patent litigation? Plus, I can say that I personally benefitted from Kearns’ recovery (as an AWD attorney, I received a portion of the contingency fee proceeds).

  8. 42


    Best. Thread. Ever.

    I had to sign in just to say I’m glad I witnessed this thread.

  9. 39

    “Of coure thats why I am trying to change that with my patent reform act.”

    Details on this act, please! I would love to contact my congressmen to support it.

  10. 37

    Well I guess a case like it has never been tried before I would say. But the outcome depends on many factors like the unusability of the present system.Of coure thats why I am trying to change that with my patent reform act. is there an attorney in the house.

  11. 35

    I would much rather see a movie about Michael R. Thomas than Kearns, particularly if it’s a verite-style documentary and not some Hollywood rehash.

    That Flash of Genius movie looks like an Erin Brockovich remake, without the boobs.

  12. 34

    to MM what effect does unequitable conduct have on the reissuance concept such as accusations of fraud such as your incinuations and threats of all types as you can imagine and the fact that once revealed it is nearly impossible to prove who producede the original idea.Also most of those who claim invention of significance who are foreigners were in my home city just previous to there supposed invention.A few situations occured in phone conversations and finding the original filers or there emplayment or unrecorded assignments all make the task more difficult.

  13. 33

    If you were able to prove you invented it before the patentee, you could potentially invalidate their patent. You could not, however, obtain a patent yourself for that same invention if it has been more than one year since their patent was published (102(b) statutory bar). Such is the deal under the law – due diligence is required (i.e. you must timely pursue a patent from the time you invent if you want a patent; sitting on the invention and deciding later if you want a patent is not part of the deal). If less than a year has passed since the publication of their application, you can still get a patent by proving you invented before they did.

    So go ahead – prove you invented “everything of significance.” Prove that absolutely no innovation occurs anywhere in the world except in your own head. Prove that folks on the other side of the world who have never had any sort of contact with you or anyone who has had contact with you somehow stole their ideas from you. Even though you’ll only be able to get patents on inventions that were published less than a year ago, that alone should make you rich beyond your wildest dreams…

  14. 32

    what if you actually invented everything of significance but other persons filed claiming falsley they had invented it would you be intitled to a reissued patent if you were able to prove that.

  15. 31

    Well, just HOW does one give credit to a previous inventor? Let’s say you invent something, file with PTO, etc., then find out someone else came first, but legally does not qualify as prior art. Say they had not published it or sold it before your own date with PTO, but you found written lab notes showing they clearly had working models before you. Could you put these facts in your specification to tell the world that you got the patent (nani nani booboo) but in all fairness the other inventor came first?

  16. 30

    I am an Arnold White & Durkee alum and I can confirm the son seducing the paralegal story. The son also brought a gun to a deposition and just laid it on the table. Bizarre. I’m guessing that the movie will not do justice to the side of Mr. Kearns that we saw. One thing that Mr. Kearns sought (pro se by then) was an extension of his patent term and money so he could build his own factory and force the automakers to buy their intermittent wipers from him. Court said: Um, no…

  17. 29

    No I invented it with Dr. Fred Greiling in Port Huron Michigan in the mid 1960s.Just look in any phone book .
    thats non altered from the fifties and there is nothing.I also invented the psychiatric ward at Port Huron hospital.You need to realize that the entire system is crooked as a three dollar bill.persons who want to steel from inventors alter history to steal patents and defeat them.

  18. 28

    Dennis: what is the point of a moderated board if you let the discussion go so far afield?

    Bob Kearns and his story are very interesting to most of us here and it is great that a couple of people who were in the fray, or at least paying attention at the time, are willing to post meaningful insight into the story here. I just wish I didn’t have to wade through the poor attempts at humor to o find the nuggets. I think it discourages open discussion.

  19. 27

    I may recall that you “invented the psychiatrist?” Carl Jung, just to give one example, was a psychiatrist born in 1875 (you may recall you were born 78 years later)… Man, this is priceless…

  20. 26

    to MM da george Again I say without the original conception you have nothing.Research and development are added to produce finished product.Most All my inventions were sufficiently described so that one skilled in the art could construct them without further invention from myself although a few did and many used the original ideas in constructing more complex new ideas from previous art.Reguarding mental health care you may recall that I also invented the psychatrist just to show you the instant diversity of the magnitude of my capabilities.I have the feeling that your dont know witch end is up and your beligerance will not allow you any other change of opinion.

  21. 25

    I’m asking what you mean by the “original ideas,” since you have said that this does not include the development or assembly of the components, nor the method of operation…

    In order to have “invented” something, you have to have been the first to be able to make and use the invention. It’s more than just saying “ooh, wouldn’t it be great if something like this existed…”

    I already saw your website, and it’s what led me to the conclusion that you need mental health care.

  22. 24

    Joe Breimayer:

    I recall what you mentioned. I haven’t seen the movie but I guess I will. I knew Mr. Kearns. In my opinion, he wasn’t after money for his family or his invention. He was after recognition for his inventive contribution. It is my understanding that Ford offered to license or buy his patent for a not insubstantial amount. Mr. Kearns instead wanted Ford to fund a plant where Mr. Kearns would build and supply Ford with the intermittent windshield wipers — as a sole source deal. Ford declined, probably wisely, as sole source suppliers can create a production bottleneck if supply fails to meet demand (to put it politely). I don’t think Mr. Kearns had manufacturing experience. He was an engineer with the City of Detroit, I believe.

  23. 23

    What I am talking about is the original ideas what do you think I am talking about.I concieved every concept and part of the computer and the internet also every oher major and minor invention since 1953. They used every dirty trick in the book to get them from me,see my web site under patent reform.

  24. 22

    So… What ARE you talking about? What exactly did you do that caused the computer to exist? How did others get whatever your contribution was from you to make it exist?

  25. 21

    By invention I mean the original conception without witch the item would not exist. I am not talking about the development or assembly of the finished componants witch thousands of people can do.I am also not talking about tutoring reguarding the operation witch tens of thousands of people can do.

  26. 20

    …then why are you “just learning to run this computer” if you invented it? (since you apparently didn’t get that point of my rather rhetorical question)

  27. 19

    To MM yes I did invent the computer and every little part of it one invention at a timesince 1954.To Mary Prosecuter I am considering it because the mood may be changing in the office since I started assembling my invention clusters still no available security though and a patent board of I.P. thefters and a court system rejecting patentable subject matter.This mob wont appriciate this if I do file.

  28. 18

    Mr. Thomas:

    I did check out your website earlier. I again urge you to immediately file a provisional application as soon as you conceive of a new invention.

  29. 16

    Hutz and Wasnt me Obviously your prejudicial also and dangeriously so Threat of the mind numing medicines that your refuring constitutes torture and a potential conspiracy to to reduce the worlds only inventor of significance to a vegatable witch I would say is a dimented plan because it gets rid of problem witch is that the top 10000 patents are in the wrong name.As for the triple post sorry about that just learning to run this computer a simple change in lable function and language is all thats nessary to fix this, if you intend to judge a persons inventing abilities by computer operating expertise then you are prejudicial to.

  30. 15

    I was hoping he would at least play along. Now that you’ve exposed the game, there will be diminishment.

  31. 14

    I assume Mr. Thomas fancies himself a kaufmanesque prankster.

    If I thought for a second he was serious, I would say someone needs to get him back on his meds before he hurts himself or others.

  32. 12

    I cant blame you for your comments because your ignorant of the actual facts coupled with your prejudicial judgement without any desire to attempt to verify my claims and change the patent system to verify the claims means your blowing hot air.The only thing that is sic is the greed of these thieves and the defiencies that allow them to purporate there crimes.And the dimented who attempt to retard progress by not bringing change for the better.

  33. 11

    I find it amusing that folks still give serious replies to “the worlds (sic) only inventor of signifence (sic).” If you visit his website (or just look at his other posts here) you’ll find he claims to have invented EVERYTHING, and that everyone else is stealing from him. His website reveals that he actually believes that he is the only human being of this generation capable of inventive thought, that only his ancestors were capable of invention in their generations, and that this is due to some sort of royal breeding.

    Oh, but of course his PTO filings number exactly zero, because if he filed his ideas they’d just be stolen (and then they’re stolen anyway, apparently).

  34. 10

    To mary Prosecutor You dont understand how this huge mob works check out my website especially patent reform at http://www.inventingconsultantcreator.net Each patent creates its own group of intimidators who want the money and various groups to accuse every dirty trick in the book.

  35. 9

    Mr. Thomas:

    As soon as you conceive a new invention, immediately get a provisional application on file for it.

  36. 8

    What I need is a small army of attorneys and a more army like pto to collect on thiefs and infringers.The only way to determine correctly who invented it is through invention held within the secrecy of your own mind and huge clusters of invention and shuting the flow of marketable invention.Without security the worlds only inventor cannot use our system its to dangerious and corrupt.

  37. 7

    “Bob Kearns had a lot of patience and self-restraint. I admire that. I wish I had it. If the same thing happened to me, with all my fatal faults, the movie would be called “there definitely will be blood!””

    Ha te to say it but that seems to be what was needed. I don’t see why he didn’t just hire a couple of guys to off a couple of higher ups to “smooth out the bumps”. Probably wouldn’t take more than one.

    I also am afraid I don’t quite understand why Ford etc. didn’t just file a patent on the intermittent wiper as soon as they recognized the need. Constructive reduction to practice wasn’t good enough back then?

  38. 6

    I wonder if the movie includes the turmoil between Kearns and his lawyers (five firms including Arnold White & Durkee?) that cause him to represent himself. There also was the dustup caused when his (son-in-law?) investigator reportedly seduced a paralegal in the opposing firm and obtained withheld documents. Anyone recall this and seen the movie? See his obit at link to washingtonpost.com.

  39. 5

    I heard you, MTR.

    You might invented the stuff, but, I tell you, it is the fighter and inventor who gets the glory not the inventor alone.

  40. 4

    I was the one who actually invented that at wayne state university. Aparently he developed it. I invented all automotive inventions of significance since 1953 is there an attorney in the house!

  41. 3

    I was the one who actually invented it at wayne state university. He aperantly developed it.I invented it along with all other automotive improvements of significance since my birth in 1953.

  42. 2

    I was the one who actually invented it at wayne state university. He aperantly developed it.I invented it along with all other automotive improvements of significance since my birth in 1953.

  43. 1

    Bob Kearns had a lot of patience and self-restraint. I admire that. I wish I had it. If the same thing happened to me, with all my fatal faults, the movie would be called “there definitely will be blood!”

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