Home Depot had a problem: their employees kept sawing off their own extremities with the saws they used to cut lumber for customers. Michael Powell invented a gadget which fixed the problem, and offered to sell the device to the chain for $2,000 each. Then, the inventor’s lawsuit alleged, Home Depot simply stole the gadget’s design, made their own, and wouldn’t compensate him. “F*** Michael Powell. Let him sue us.” one executive said at the time. Now the chain must pay him a judgment of about $25 million.
Ronald Howes had an illustrious career as an inventor. While he did some defense work, what we care most about is his work at toy maker Kenner. There, he helped make Play-Doh less toxic, helped create the modern version of the Spirograph, and invented the Easy-Bake oven. He died last week at age 83.
A website that focuses on female entrepreneurs interviewed the creator of the Baby Einstein video line back in 2005. As Boing Boing pointed out yesterday, her explanation of how she developed the videos is pretty funny. Well, Boing Boing calls it “damning,” but it’s funny that everyone—Disney included—took the product line so seriously.