This smells like bulls…Hey. I got a carb that runs on water…GM bought the patent and buried it…right…[/quote]
Smells more like bull than having someone whacked?
How about a less simplistic scenario than the one you implied, such as, I have a carburetor that no one knows about that runs on water, the big advantage to my carb, same gas milelage, ZERO emissions. If I built the car independently they would I would profit $5000 each but they would be $10000 more each than the average GM vehicle. GM could build them for $5000 less than me, but in order to compete with their current product line (and Ford’s) profit-wise, the vehicle would have to sell for $5000 more than the car they’re selling now and that’s to break even. Also, the cost to switch every GM vehicle platform and production facility is on the is a paltry sum of $10M and that’s IF someone were producing the carbs at a rate that GM would consume them. If I’m GM, the way I see it, I can offer you $10M plus whatever amount I thought I’d lose until it became PROFITABLE to sell your vehicle (if ever). Just sign this non-disclosure agreement and this power-of-attourney on the dotted line.
You start your company on venture capital (assuming you aren’t already independently wealthy). Those capitalists are gambling on a payoff from your company (and usually several others). GM waltzes in and says to them, we’ll buy the company IP and all for $10M. Unless your VCs see your technology being worth more than that and don’t have any other outstanding financial obligations, congratulations, you just sold your company to GM for whatever share of $10M you were entitled.
Also, getting “whacked” for inventing something is such an easy thing to both avoid and circumvent. If whacking someone were that easy, Ford would be whacking GM inventors (and vice versa) left, right, and center. There’d be dead inventors all over the place. People like Shuji Nakamura* would get several ounces of lead instead of 800M yen. It’d be like a badge of honor, you know you’re a good inventor when you get a bounty on your head. Also, just about any lawyer and/or bank will hold onto a letter “in case of my demise”. That kind of short circuits whacking someone especially if it’s a dozen letters to a dozen news outlets.
BTW-Don’t be naive, patents cost money to generate, defend, and enforce (that’s why trade secrets, which are much less “secure” but much more profitable, exist). $10M to take a patent off your hands is, in a great number of cases, a blessing.