Re: Suppressed inventions

Robert Schrader (
Tue, 29 Apr 1997 13:20:57 -0700 (PDT)

On Tue, 29 Apr 1997, Carl Feynman wrote:

> There are lots of urban legends out there about great inventions that have
> been suppressed by The Powers That Be...{snip}
> ...willing to believe that all such stories are bunk. However, there is
> another way to suppress an invention: licence the patent, and then don't
> manufacture it.
> {snip}
> I will now speculate recklessly.
You didn't disappoint us :)
> I estimate the device could be sold for $80 with a manufacturer's profit of
> $10. The average customer that buys this gizmo will save $300 per year on
> phone bills, which will cost AT&T about $70 per year. It is worth it for
> AT&T to pay the inventor any amount between $10 and $70 per unit to make
> this gizmo not be sold. If I had the patent, I'd probably take them up on
> it. Millions of dollars, for not working.
> Has this actually happened? I don't know. But it could.
> --CarlF

Were I in such a fortunate position, I would not accept the first offer.
Even presuming that ATT makes their best offer first ( which from a game
theory perspective is probably unlikely ), some other big company might
beat it. So it would be to my advantage to go public and solicit offers.

Also, why are we being so generous selling a device for $80 that saves
the buyer $300 per year? Does it only last for three months? It seems
if it has a mean lifespan of several years minimum like most appliances,
the minimum selling price should be upwards of $500.

I suspect that it hasn't happened.