The movie Flash of Genius, which came out in 2008 represents some of the best reasons why we go to the movies and in this case the true and amazing story of how two major car companies Chrysler and Ford went out of their way to steal a great invention from a genius inventor is a great story that just had to be told.
Almost nobody has ever heard about Robert Kerns, he is the inventor of many things but most famous for the invention of the intermittent windshield wiper that was filed with the US Patent Office on December 1, 1964. The idea for this invention came to him because he was blind in one eye to to of all things a cork from a wine bottle. He thought while driving that wouldn’t it be great if a windshield wiper worked like the human eyelid. This invention came to him in 1964 and after Ford and Chrysler stole his idea which was patented it took until 1978 and 1982 before the patent infringement cases started in court! The fact that it took this long is both a tribute to his perseverance and the outrageous delays of the court process where a company can file continuances for years to avoid paying the penalty for stealing another persons idea right out from under them. After almost 20 long years of legal battles and delays, Kern’s finally won his lawsuit, eventually getting paid 30 million from Crysler and 10 million from Ford Motor company. Along the way, he alienated all his friends and was divorced from his wife due to the stress and pressure of all those years of fighting this incredible injustice. As far as other people telling a man like this to just “get over it” or “move on”, all I can say is – “walk a mile in my shoes”. I am one person who fully understands what Kern’s went through and also understands how nobody else can really understand what its like to live with injustice at this level for that many years. This movie also shows what companies can do to individuals because they have unlimited funds and they know the ordinary person filing the lawsuit does not.
Due to the many delays for almost half of Kern’s life he had several mental breakdowns, eventually dying of brain cancer which was caused complications with Alzheimer’s.
This movie is about a great story from history and should be seen.