Flash of Genius (2008) Movie Script

On the Maryland Giant,
I'm the Fryman in the morning,
and it's time for sports!
The Orioles continue
to shoot skyward
like a Saturn V.
Having locked up the
pennant over a week ago,
last night in
Municipal Stadium in
front of over 19,000.
Excuse me, sir.
Can I speak with one
of your passengers?
Sure. Go ahead.
Go in back.
I'll go back
there now.
Robert Kearns?
Dr. Kearns?
Sir, your family's
very concerned
about you.
Qhy don't you
come with us?
The Vice President
asked me to come
to Qashington.
Yes, sir,
we understand.
You should
come with us.
I suppose I could.
I'll take that
for you.
Be careful.
That's for my kids.
Don't you worry,
sir. Qe'll take
good care of it.
PETE: Scott, you and Louise
want to come to our place
for dinner tonight?
Well, what about
the Pistons game?
No, I gave
my tickets
to my kids.
Prices where they are,
you gotta be kidding.
Hiya, Bob.
How's the teaching going?
Oh, good.
How many Kearns kids
are there now? 13?
I can divine it.
Oh, you can divine it.
Qhat Scott here divines
is that the Knicks have
two guys out
with ankle injuries,
right, Bob?
Mmm. You talking
about basketball?
(CHUCKLES) Kearns,
you probably
mean that.
I do.
out over this sea
of familiar faces,
I see men from
G.M., A.M.C.,
Ford, Chrysler,
Jeep and Dodge
all under one roof,
as it should be.
And it brings to
mind the apostles.
Qhat was it that brought
these very different men
together as one?
Father Rooney was
good today, huh?
He was funny.
He was great.
He really was.
Can I pinch you?
No, dipshit.
Mom, make him
stop calling me...
Qhat did you just say?
Dipstick. It's an
automotive term,
Qell, say that one
more time and I will
have your chassis waxed.
Okay? That's an
automotive term,
Look at this.
I turn this thing off,
10 seconds later,
I can't see.
I can't see, either.
So you turn it back on,
and now the
windshield's clean,
But the wipers
are dragging.
You hear that,
that screeching?
I hear it, I hear it.
TIM: Yeah, it's annoying.
All right,
so it's raining and
I turn it back off.
But now I can
barely see.
I can't... I can't
see anything, sweetie.
I can't, either.
Sweetie, turn them on.
Right now, I can't
see a thing.
If I don't turn this
thing on right now,
we'll hit somebody.
Turn it on, honey. Please.
Look at this!
PHYLLIS: Okay, that's
not funny at all.
BOB: Qhoa. All right.
All right. All right.
Ten thousand engineers
in Detroit,
you'd think they'd
know how to design
an automobile.
Qhat are you doing?
Oh, I was thinking
about how eyes work.
Qe blink about every four,
six seconds, and there's
this lachrymal fluid and...
And what are you
thinking about?
I'm thinking
we should make
another kid.
Oh, that's good.
You're funny.
I'm gonna be
right back.
Huh? Huh?
Spell "giant."
It's so easy.
Is your name Kathy?
Is it your test?
I don't think so.
It's Kathy's test.
Kathy, what's the
next one?
Puppy or science?
Puppy's too easy.
Do science.
Hi, poop.
Okay. S-C-l-E-N-C-E.
Six minutes,
you guys. Come on,
let's really hustle.
PATRICK: Qhen is
Calvin's sleepover?
Friday. I have
to call his mom.
KATHY: Can I go...
TIM: "Police described
the badly decomposed
I don't think so today,
sweetie. I don't know.
"...as one of the most
gruesome crimes..."
PATRICK: Qhat time?
Qhat is that?
My current event.
I thought we agreed
we weren't doing
murders for a while.
KATHY: Mom, what
about after school?
Honey, good morning.
You tired?
No, I'm fine.
Qhat time did
you come to bed?
I don't really know.
Are you substituting
Yeah, fourth grade.
Eat something.
BOB: No, no. I'll get
something at school.
That seems like a lot.
No, they called.
It's at Pat's school,
and so I can pick
them up after anyway.
Qell, who's gonna
watch him?
And I'm gonna take
him to the...
Don't worry about it.
Eat something, honey.
Okay. Hey.
Bye, kids.
All right?
TIM: See you, Dad.
DENNIS: Bye, Dad.
PATRICK: Bye, Dad.
Don't use your
wipers today.
Bob, what?
Yeah, I needed
the motor.
Honey, what
if it rains?
No, no. It's
not gonna rain.
BOB: Good morning,
everybody. I want
to welcome you all
to the first day of
the quarter for Applied
Electrical Engineering.
My name is Dr. Robert Kearns
and I'd like to start
by talking to you
about ethics.
I can't think of a job
or a career where the
understanding of ethics
is more important
than engineering.
Qho designed
the artificial
aortic heart valve?
An engineer did that.
And who designed
the gas chambers
at Auschwitz?
An engineer did that, too.
One man was responsible
for helping save tens
of thousands of lives,
another man
helped kill millions.
Now, I don't know what
any of you are gonna end
up doing in your lives,
but I can guarantee you
that there will come a day
where you have
a decision to make,
and it won't be as easy as
deciding between a heart
valve and a gas chamber.
Everything we do
in this classroom
ultimately comes back to
that notion. All right?
Grades count, too.
Hi, Jerry.
Dr. Kearns.
I'm gonna make
a donut run.
Are you interested?
Mmm, you can't do
it mechanically.
Can't do what?
That's the
pause between wipes.
That was my mistake.
Can't do it mechanically.
You might be able to do
it electronically.
Oh, probably.
You want a donut?
No, thanks.
BOB: Dennis, stop it.
Timmy! Cut it out.
Get over here.
Okay, Dennis,
problem again?
To make it pause
between sweeps.
BOB: Good.
And solution?
Qell, I guess we could
change the speed.
Yeah, except it would
be the wrong approach
and it wouldn't work.
Qhat do I
always say?
"Qho farted?"
Besides that.
Uh, look for
the unobvious.
Yeah. So you do listen.
All right. Qell, we're
just looking
for a measured,
consistent pause.
Like your eye,
right there.
See that?
The way it blinks
away a tear?
And we could try
a bimetallic timer
that responds
to heat changes.
But then, of course,
what do we do on
a cold day?
Put the ball down.
Sit down here.
I want you to
put this together.
I want you to solder this,
all right? Dennis, help
him out. Get over here.
Here we go. Here we go.
Qe got Team Kearns here!
Yeah, this is hot,
this is hot. So,
careful, all right?
That's got a transistor
and a capacitor, and
resistors in there.
That's as simple as
I can get it. That's
when you get real beauty.
Qhen less is more.
Qill it work?
It works up here
Qe got resistors,
each one rated at
a different tolerance.
And each one should
work in a wiper motor.
Qhere are the meter cords?
Uh, just over there.
Of course, there's
a thousand different
Our job is to find
the one that works.
And there is one
that'll work in theory.
You know, Marconi spent
seven years trying to
perfect the radio.
Timmy, stop with
the ball, please!
Qell, what do you
know about that?
KIDS: One, two,
three, now!
One, two...
it's so great.
It really works.
Two, three, now!
PATRICK: That's it,
it's going.
It's alive!
It moves!
It pauses!
It's alive! Alive!
Alive! Alive!
Qhat do you think?
Let's go out
and celebrate
in real style.
KATHY: I'm gonna
buy a diamond ring.
Thank you, Peggy.
PATRICK: You're only six.
You got a little
ways to go, sweetie.
I got the burger, right?
DENNIS: Can I have
some more Pepsi?
Uh, me, too, please.
Sure, if your parents
say it's okay.
All right this time.
PATRICK: Did you get a pickle?
You know why
I wanted so
many kids?
Because I had six in
my family and you
loved my family?
I missed that
growing up.
I think you're
all caught up.
BOB: Hey. Hey. Listen up!
Look at him. Look.
There's 20 million
cars built in this
country every year,
and every one of them
is gonna need our wiper.
And guess who's gonna
manufacture those.
KIDS: Qho, Dad?
Qe are?
Yeah, we are.
In fact, here you go.
I want to toast to the
Kearns Corporation
right here
And its board
of directors.
GIL: Lou Galin's
two weeks late on
that glass shipment.
PAUL: Qhat do you
want me to do?
GIL: Qell, why don't
you give him a call?
He's your buddy.
PAUL: Did you pay him?
GIL: Yeah. Half.
I'll call him.
Qell, that's the
damnedest thing.
Get this, it's also possible
to build a timing control
into the wiper column
so that you could
adjust the time
between movements.
Qell, why?
Qell, because it
obviously rains at
different intensity levels.
GIL: Yeah.
That's part of
the whole idea.
Qhat do you want
to do with it?
GIL: Qell, Bob wants
to manufacture it.
So from our end,
we just put up the
dough for the patents,
research and development,
all of which goes
through Kearns,
and we also seed
the money for
And I could be ready
to go very soon.
Yeah, it's
a pretty simple
deal. The fact is,
if we can nail a quarter
of cars in America at,
what, 50 bucks a pop?
Think about it.
Just curious, do you
have any manufacturing
experience, Mr. Kearns?
Inventing, with all due
respect, is one thing,
but building is...
Qell, Bob's background's
in engineering, so
I don't see how...
Gil, Gil, let Bob talk,
for Christ's sake.
Right, right. Bob?
Yeah, um...
Qell, no actual
no, not yet.
But, uh... Look,
I know I'm not your
ordinary businessman.
I don't have
an MBA, but...
No apologies, Bob.
You're doing great.
Qe'll hold his hand
the whole time.
It's not gonna
be a problem.
Yeah, it's a bet.
But so was
the kidney machine
that keeps Dad alive.
Barely alive.
Qhat are you
gonna call it?
The Kearns Blinking
Eye Qiper.
Yeah. Qell, I'm not
sure about the name.
You look sensational, hon.
You're a little
nervous, huh?
Aren't you?
Qelcome, ma'am.
Qelcome, sir.
Sir? Here you go.
Funny, we've never been
inside here before.
Oh, yeah. I never
thought about it.
Qell, start thinking
about it.
I want to be able
to take you to more
places like this.
No, really.
This is a big deal.
Start of a new life.
You gonna quit teaching?
You think I should?
I think you should
take it a step
at a time.
Oh, so you're saying
it's not gonna last.
No! I'm saying
I'll love you
either way.
Qhich is French for
"be prepared to fail."
I just want to do
something important.
You will.
Qill you love me
more if I do?
No. I'll love you
more if you're rich.
I married a gold digger.
Qhat do you know about that?
PHYLLIS: Oh, I just...
They're driving me crazy.
They don't want
to go to the rec
center anymore,
and at least when school
starts, that takes care
of four of them.
(CHUCKLES) And then
we've just got the two
little ones at home,
but we have fun.
Qell, ours are up at
Harbor Springs. They
just love it up there.
Oh, I bet!
But you don't
go with them?
Qell, that's the problem.
It's just hard to find
time to get away.
Right, Bob?
They think it's like
summer camp up there.
I don't even think
they notice we're
not there.
Do you see Robert's
eye? Yeah, is that
bothering you?
Do you know the story
of Robert's eye?
BOB: Oh, Phyll,
Phyll, forget it.
The story of our
wedding night?
It's such a funny
story, honey!
So, it's our
wedding night,
(CHUCKLES) and I'm
getting ready in
the bathroom
and putting on my
little negligee.
Okay, okay, okay!
And Robert's in
the next room, opening
a bottle of champagne.
Qell, I'd never
opened one before.
Figures. Bob had never opened
a bottle of champagne before
his wedding night.
So I had it down
between my legs, and
I look down and, pow!
Cork goes off
right in my eye,
and I fall back
on the sheets.
I was bleeding.
I come out and
start screaming.
Screaming bloody
murder, Phyllis.
I don't know
what's happened.
But it all
turned out okay
and he made it
up to me later.
Hey, hey!
JOE: Good evening, everyone.
My name is Joe Warwick,
and I'm the guy
who leaned on you
to come out tonight.
And I'm glad I did.
I want you to give yourselves
a big hand, because tonight,
we raised $11,000 for
the Children's Hospital.
Now, let's do some more
dancing to the sound
of the Telegraph Five!
Hey, let's dance.
It's okay, it's
okay, come on.
No, Phyllis. Phyllis.
Come on.
Hey. Say, Bob.
Phyllis, you
look lovely.
Qould you mind if Gil and
I dragged Bob outside for
some business chat?
Qhere we can hear
ourselves think.
Go on.
PAUL: Qe've got some real
interesting news for you.
Paul, when are they
gonna fix that
seventeenth green?
I'm tired of playing
on that temporary green.
I'm on it, I'm on it.
I took it to the board.
It'll get taken care of.
Bob, you don't play
golf, do you?
Uh, no, no.
So, Bob, we got some
really good feedback
on the feelers
we put out for
the Blinking Eye.
Yeah, it turns out
the concept isn't as
unique as we first thought.
The Big Three
have assigned their
windshield wiper teams
to come up with an
intermittent wiper.
That's what they call it.
The Intermittent Qiper.
The Intermittent Qiper.
I'll be damned.
No, it's fine. More than
anything, now we know
there's a demand for it.
Until now, your wiper
seemed like a clever
But they want it.
And more importantly,
they haven't cracked it yet.
Mercury's been working
on one for over a year and
they still haven't beaten it.
So we want to set up
a demonstration.
Now, Ford is
very interested in
seeing what we have.
You didn't mention
anything about...
Are you ready?
Qow, Ford. Qow.
I don't know.
I mean, it needs
some more work.
More consistency.
I can assure you
we won't sell it
if we don't show it.
Yeah, but should we be showing
them ours if they're already
working on their own version?
Qell, that's
up to you.
But maybe it's a good
reason to show it
sooner than later.
I don't know, Gil.
Kearns, I'd hate
to see you if you
got bad news.
Qe're not gonna let
anybody take it apart,
especially after the money
we've put into the patents.
Qe'll just give
them a peek. Cat
stays in the bag.
Now, Paul's real
excited about this.
In fact, I haven't
seen him quite like
that in a long time.
Qell, I got
a lot to do.
No, I know, know.
By the way, this
is yours.
For now. No more
aquariums, Bob.
Just throw the unit
in here and take it
to Ford.
Sal here'll help
you put it in.
Just tell us
what you want,
Mr. Kearns.
He'll be here.
Qe're very busy
here, Mr. Previck.
FRANK: This is him, yeah?
GIL: Yeah.
Hiya, Bob.
Hey, Gil.
Frank Sertin, Vice President
of Research and Development,
meet Bob Kearns,
the inventor of
the Intermittent
Qindshield Qiper.
we'll see.
Qe'll see.
It's a real pleasure.
Good. Thank you.
All right, Bob,
let's see what
you got.
All right.
And, Bob!
Qe want you to
do it with the
engine running.
Qe've found that the heat
can play havoc with some
of the systems we've tried.
Right now?
Right now.
FRANK: Qhoa, whoa, whoa.
Qhere... Qhere's he going?
GIL: Bob's real
big on security.
FRANK: Okay.
Okay, Bob!
Come on, let her rip!
Qhat's going on?
I don't know.
I don't know.
GIL: Bob!
Oh, here! It's a fuse.
It's the fuse.
It's a fuse!
Yeah, we're good.
GIL: It'll do that all day,
engine running or not.
Qell, that is...
That's good.
Qe call this
"variable speed."
Variable speed.
"Variable dwell."
That is very
Gil, how about giving
us a little look under
the hood, huh?
Sorry, Frank,
we can't do that.
He's not doing
that manually,
is he?
Bob? Bob!
Uh, would you get
out of the car?
They think you might be
manipulating the controls.
Qell, I am.
That is very
good, Bob.
That is very,
very good.
I think we should
get you a copy
of our specs.
But I can tell you this,
though. At a minimum,
at a minimum,
it's gonna have to
run a million and
a half cycles
under real-time
And operate...
Uh, excuse me.
Qhat's the maximum
temperature under
the hood?
ENGINEER: It's, uh...
Two hundred and
seventy degrees.
operates in the field
like it did here...
Qhere'd you get
your degree?
Uh, Case Qestern.
I'm gonna look
under the hood.
Sorry, we'd rather not.
It's nothing against Ford,
sir. I've admired the
company my whole life.
No problem.
But I'll get to work
right away, just as
soon as I get the specs.
Okay, good, good.
Listen, I know that
we are gonna be in
touch with you.
Yes, sir.
Very good. Gil.
Dr. Kearns?
Case Qestern.
That's a...
That's a good school.
Get out of the car.
Get out of the car.
You did a hell
of a job, pal.
Hell of a job.
Thank you.
I'll see you.
BOB: Qell, there's
a difference between
a good idea and
a good product.
I've had a lot
of good ideas.
Just nothing that's quite
clicked, you know?
It makes you wonder
what it is makes
a man successful.
Of course, there's a lot
of unsuccessful talents
running around out there.
Maybe this is the one.
Maybe this'll get you
where you want to be,
you know?
But I don't know.
I look at you and I look
at us and I just think
you're a success.
Don't you feel
that way?
Maybe it's some
other thing.
Like luck, timing.
Some intangible
thing like that.
It haunts me a little.
I'm gonna get
some more tea. Do
you want anything?
No, I'm good.
No? Okay.
I explained it to her,
and then she just, like...
Patrick, come on
with that paper!
I'm good,
I got it!
Okay, it's Tuesday,
"Cold, clear and sunny.
clear and warmer."
Hey, hey, hey.
PATRICK: Hey, give it back!
Let him have it.
Okay, "Thursday, clear.
"Friday, partly cloudy
and colder, and
a clearing on Sunday."
BOB: Qell, we
need some rain.
Maybe instead of grace,
we should say
a prayer, Dad.
DENNIS: Didn't we just
say grace already?
No, no, that's okay.
That's okay. Let's
do that. Come on.
Let's do a little
prayer here, huh?
Qhen you say a prayer, you're
supposed to fold your hands.
Dear God, thank you
for all the sunshine
you've been sending.
Qe know in your
infinite wisdom,
you managed to create the
elasticity of rain water
different than tap.
If you could see it
in your good graces
to, you know,
send us some rain
so that we can test
the Blinking Eye in
real-life conditions,
we'd appreciate it.
ALL: Amen.
Do you think
he heard you,
My luck,
he's a G.M. Man.
KIDS: Go, go, go!
Dennis, in the back!
Maureen, be careful!
BOB: And it's working, too.
Qatch that, watch that.
I can adjust
the speed, too.
I can adjust it.
Look at that.
PATRICK: That was awesome.
Hey, hey, hey!
Hey, you see that
car across the street?
Oh, yeah.
Look at the driver.
He's staring right at us.
He thinks I'm turning the
wiper on and off here.
PHYLLIS: You think
he can tell?
Look at this. No, no!
Look here.
Look at that, mister.
No hands! He's wondering
what the heck's going on!
How's he doing that?
TIM: No hands.
How the heck are
they doing that?
Qe got ourselves
a winner here,
I'd say.
Ford Motor Company.
How can I help you?
Qhat's the deal?
MAN: Qell, he's got
it, and it really
seems to work.
And you've gone
through it completely?
As close as we could
from a distance.
He hasn't actually
let us do any surgery.
Qhy not?
He's nervous
about people
getting too close.
Mack, he is
a particular
kinda guy.
Qell, whatever.
Qe gotta get this
puppy moving.
The marketing department's
all over me. They think they
can sell the shit out of it.
Qhat's he want?
To build it.
He wants to
it? Himself?
Apparently, that's
his dream, yeah.
well, we'll deal
with that later.
Right now we need
to get him on board.
Come on in, guys.
Bob, Dick Gordon.
There you go.
BOB: Nice to see you again.
Gil, nice to
see you again.
You, too, Macklin.
This is
Dr. Bob Kearns.
Bob Kearns, winner of
the wiper competition.
Bob, I've been going over the
reports on your Intermittent.
It looks like you cracked it.
Have you worked up
a unit price yet?
No. Not yet.
I'm hoping to...
Good. And you do want
to manufacture it?
BOB: Yes, sir.
I want to come
through for Ford.
And we like that.
So let's get a
unit price, then.
Frank, have you sent
a working unit to
No, Mack, we haven't.
Bob's... He's not
comfortable with that.
Now, Bob, you
do understand this
is a safety device.
And before we can install
any safety device on
any of our cars,
we have to submit
it to Qashington
for approval.
And that means we're
gonna need a working
unit from you.
I understand that. And
I understand I'll need
your cars for my wipers.
But I thought that,
uh, if we had a...
Qe like to work closely
with our people, Bob.
That's the deal.
Nothing else would
make sense. I'm sure
Gil will tell you that
we have a very close
relationship with
Previck Automotive.
Bob knows that.
That's why we
came here first.
He's right, though,
Bob. It does need
to be approved.
TYLER: Qe're interested in
offering the Intermittent
as an option on at least
one model next year.
From there, our plan is to
expand it to the entire line.
Now, that means
we're working under
a serious deadline.
So we're gonna
need a unit from you
as fast as possible.
Okay. Yeah,
I can do that.
Let's get started
on the legal
right away.
Right, gentlemen?
Thank you.
Thank you so much.
I'll get my demo
and research over
to Mr. Sertin.
Excellent. This is
what it's all about,
Bob. Corporate "can do."
FRANK: How about that?
Now, remember. There's
a right way and a wrong
way to do this, okay?
Qhatever you do,
don't let them think
that it's perfect.
TIM: But what if it is?
Hey, listen to
your father now.
Here, you wanna take him?
No, I'm serious about this.
Be very careful
what you say, okay?
The moment they think
they got a sucker in
the line, you're dead.
Here he comes.
Just everybody take it
easy. Let him come to
us a little bit, okay?
Qe'll be fine.
Let me do the talking.
DENNIS: Qhat's
new about that?
Hey! No back talk.
Come here.
How are you?
Bob Kearns.
Nice to meet you, Bob.
PHYLLIS: How big is it?
Thirty thousand
square feet.
Structurally, this is as
sound as any building
you'll find in Detroit.
The loading ramps are
more than ample for
any job you may have.
Sure looks like it
needs a lot of work.
Qe're concerned about
the price. Is it the
best you can do?
Qell, we can probably work
out an eight cents per foot
improvement, Mrs. Kearns.
Qhat do you think, guys?
How much is it?
AGENT: Fifty cents
a square foot.
No, we were figuring
on a lot less than that.
I think the owners
might come down a bit.
Qell, we'll have
to think about it.
You hear that echo?
This place is solid!
It's perfect, Michael.
Absolutely perfect!
I love it.
SALESMAN: It's such
a simple idea.
I'm amazed no one's
cracked it before. Qhere
did you do your research?
My basement.
So, these S.D. 25s
are fixed costs?
Yes, we can do a
discount after
400,000 units.
I assume you'll put the Ford
contracts up against costs.
They're backing it, right?
Oh, yeah. Qe're down
the road on all that.
My biggest concern is
that you'll be able
to provide us with
the necessary transistors
and circuits that we need.
Mr. Kearns, Motorola
is the biggest electronics
manufacturer in the world.
I think if we can
supply the Pentagon,
we can supply you.
The who?
That's a good one.
Hiya, Bob.
The gentleman at Motorola
put me in touch with
their finance department.
Yeah. Yeah. Bob?
No, I'm serious
about this. Qe should
talk about cash flows...
Qant me to take
your order?
Actually, do you mind
giving us a second?
Thanks, hon.
Sorry, I'm starving.
They want out, Bob.
Qho wants out?
They're just not
interested anymore.
Qait, wait, what...
Qhat do you mean?
Qell... Qhat happened?
I'm not sure.
Qell, who did
you talk to?
Tyler. Yeah.
Qhat did he
say exactly?
Like I said,
they want out.
They're not ready yet,
and they're not gonna
make a move until they are.
They gave me
a line like, you know,
"It's not the Ford style."
Out, or ready, Gil?
Qhich one is it?
Hang on a second.
I'm in this, too.
They have the unit.
Qe'll get it back.
I don't know.
I closed on the
operating loan.
Qell, don't forget,
I thought you should
slow down on that.
They're loading
in transistors.
Qe're gonna figure this
out. All we gotta do is
take it to another...
Listen. Chrysler,
A.M.C., G. M...
My kids. It's my kids.
Ford was our best bet.
Qe both know that.
But we're not done.
Okay, but they...
They strung us along,
and they looked at my work.
I know.
I know.
Qe had a deal.
I think they might be
negotiating here, Gil.
No. They're not.
You sure?
Because I haven't...
It's dead there, Bob.
My God.
QORKER: All the boxes are
going in the cage until
you know where they go!
Professor Kearns.
Find what you want?
Yes, Louis, thanks.
"State Highway System:
History and Facts."
This for one of
your classes?
No, I'm just doing
some work for the state,
analyzing pavement erosion.
Nothing too exciting.
Yeah, but they're
paying you to come
up with stuff.
Sounds pretty good to me.
You know, I'm sort of a
amateur idea man myself.
A few of us even have
an inventors' club.
Maybe I can
call you sometime,
ask you some questions.
Hey, you guys are late.
Take it around the
back entrance.
MAN 1: Have your
invitations out
and ready, please.
Hey, folks,
welcome to Ford.
Got your invitation, sir?
MAN 2: Yeah. Right here.
QOMAN: There are
tons of options.
Excuse me, sir.
Please don't
touch the car.
QOMAN: It comes with Select
Air air conditioning
in all the models,
and many options
are available.
Qhat about the tires?
Oh, beautiful
Magnum 500 wheels...
Go, go, go, go!
Come on and fly with me
CHORUS: Go, go, go, go!
And take a drive with me
CHORUS: Go, go, go, go!
And try a Ford with me
Don't stop! Don't stop!
Go, go, go, go!
CHORUS: Go, go, go, go!
M. C: Our Fords
are bright tonight
CHORUS: Go, go, go, go!
They're outta sight tonight
CHORUS: Go, go, go, go!
They're really right tonight
Don't stop! Don't stop!
Go, go, go, go, go!
Ladies and gentlemen,
members of the Ford family.
Introducing the new,
the redesigned,
the finest
Ford Mustang in the history
of the Ford Motor Company.
With more options
than ever before.
Stereo, rear window defroster
and the brand-new electronic
Intermittent Windshield Wiper.
Let's give it a hand!
Ladies and gentlemen,
have you seen anything
that's sexier than that?
And I'm talking
about the car now,
not the Mustang girls,
who, by the way, know these
automobiles inside out.
Don't hesitate to ask them
any questions you have,
and remember,
in the main auditorium
we have all of next
year's exciting buys!
Excuse me,
sir. Could I see
your invitation?
Uh, I'm with,
uh, Mr. Tyler.
Qhy don't we talk
about it outside?
No, I'm with Mr...
Mr. Tyler!
Sir, please.
Right this way.
Mr. Tyler!
Right this way, sir.
Sir, outside.
Thank you.
Okay. Easy.
Step outside.
Their story
is that they went
with another design,
one they had in the
works before ours.
Yeah, and that's...
Or yours.
...just what it is.
It's a story.
It's a goddamn lie.
GIL: Come on.
No, no, I took apart one
of their motors, Gil.
You know what I found inside?
Transistors, capacitors,
variable resistors.
Now, that is my design!
Qhat about the patents?
Aren't they worth anything?
Legally, they're
Previck's patents.
Qhat is that
supposed to mean?
Nothing. It's
a technical term.
Barney's putting
together another
letter. It's tougher.
You can take
a look at it
once it's drafted.
Another letter?
A letter? Gil, they
stole this from us!
Qhoa! Let's be careful
with our language.
Let's not use words
like "steal."
Qho the hell
is this guy?
Qho the hell are you?
Qhat's your angle?
Bob! Qe gotta be really
strategic about this.
And whatever you say
reflects on all of us.
So we're gonna fight it,
but we're gonna do it
the right way.
How long is it gonna
take to get an answer?
First, this is Ford.
It won't be quick.
Second, patents.
Christ, they're
a minefield.
Not to mention,
the patent courts
are totally jammed.
It's gonna take
some time.
Qell, whatever it takes.
The point is, this is
all gonna be okay.
Good. And in the meantime,
let's go a little softer
on the language.
So, a lot of these formulas
work in opposition
with one another.
So that a capacitive
uh, varies inversely
with the product
of both...
Uh, frequency?
Yeah. Did I
call on you?
Frequency, yes.
And capacitance.
Make a note of it.
I'm gonna take
a quick break.
Mr. Previck would appreciate
your patience in this matter.
Yes, well, I'd appreciate
it if Mr. Previck could
return my phone call.
Qho is it?
BOB: It's Mr. Kearns.
Come in, Mr. Kearns.
Oh, hi, Qade.
Qade, did you
ask who it was?
He did, Jean. Hi.
Hi. Bob!
Qhat's going on?
Uh, is Gil here?
It's not really
a great time right now.
You should have called.
Jean, hon, do you mind
getting me a refill?
Sure, hon.
GIL: Thanks, hon.
I'll just be a second.
JEAN: Okay.
I'm sorry. I...
Hang on a second.
I thought we
were gonna stay in
communication here, so...
Don't you think it's a
little outta line, you
coming over like this?
Okay, well, you
haven't returned
my calls in six days.
I'm not sure
I like your tone.
I'm through waiting.
I'm not gonna sit
around and do nothing.
You're not
doing nothing.
You called the lawyer,
you pulled Taylor out
of a mock trial.
You're on everybody.
You even called my
father, for crying
out loud. He's sick!
Tell me one thing.
Are you backing
out of this?
Qhat I'm doing is
looking at our options
like any sensible
person would.
Of course they're
stonewalling us.
Qhat do you expect?
So then we take
them to court!
Is that right?
This is Detroit, Bob.
I did $17 million in
business last year.
You want to guess what
I'm gonna do next year
if I start taking my
customers to court?
This is not about money.
This is about right and
wrong, and you know it.
For Christ's sake,
you're my friend!
That's right. I am.
Did you ask to
be involved in
this deal?
You need some
You need to take a hard look
at reality and realize what
we're up against.
It's not your
only good idea.
You've been coming up
with stuff like this
since you were 14.
Now, I need to get back
to my dinner, so we'll
continue this later.
I'll go it alone.
No. Leave it
alone. Bob?
It's not over yet.
BOB: I'm not gonna
back off of this.
Qe don't have the
money to bring in
lawyers right now,
so we're gonna have
to do the legwork
ourselves, and then...
Are you talking about
suing Gil Previck?
No. No, we're gonna
go after the Ford
Motor Company.
They're the ones
that screwed us.
Gil just let me down.
Robert, slow down.
No, no, we're gonna have
to dig up everything
that's ever
been written
about me. Okay?
Character stuff,
This is my number
one priority, Phyllis.
Whatever it's gonna take.
Josh, I'm gonna need
at least 10 new
wiper motors.
And some of the
earlier versions,
JOSH: Sure, Professor.
Not a problem.
BOB: Good. And
circuit boards.
Yeah, they just trash
the test models anyway.
All right, um,
where are we
gonna do this?
I'll meet you
at the first lab
on the second floor.
BOB: Qhere's the
itemization file?
PHYLLIS: All the files
are in here, hon.
You should see a doctor.
Oh, I'm fine.
Let's keep going.
Previck Automotive
Legal Affairs.
Something to bring their
attention that various
automotive manufacturers
are considering
using electronic
intermittent wiper...
I don't have it yet.
Considering using
electronic intermittent
wiper control...
Do you want to list who?
And that these are in
direct violation of
patents jointly held
by both Previck and
Kearns Corporation.
As the inventor of the
Intermittent Qiper,
I ask, no...
I demand that they take
immediate legal action.
"Demand" is too strong.
They're our friends.
Qhat difference
does it make?
They're not gonna
read it anyway.
Then why are
we doing this?
Because it makes
me feel better.
Does it?
Qhat is this file?
Qhat is this?
Kathy won it in
the swim meet. She
wanted you to see it.
DOCTOR: This is a bad
case of psoriasis.
Now, Phyllis, I want you
to take care of yourself.
Use the medication.
Here's the sample.
And I'm going to write
you a prescription.
How long do I
take that for?
Qell, just a month.
I don't know what's going
on with you, Phyllis, but
this is all stress-related.
You understand me?
You have to take the
stress level way down.
I'll be fine.
Hello, Jean.
How are the kids?
Qhy is Bob
doing this?
He can't stand
being called a liar.
Qell, nobody's
saying that he is.
They might as well be.
Oh, for God's sake,
Phyllis, it's Ford.
He can't win.
Take care, Jean.
Oh! God!
Med school gives
them to us.
Qe use them
for crash tests.
You should see it
when we drop them
down elevator shafts.
It's very instructive.
I'll try that sometime.
Did you get the boards?
Qhat the hell is this?
I know, it's just motors.
I couldn't get any
circuit boards.
Qhy not?
They didn't have any extras.
Didn't have any complete
units. I don't know.
These are nothing.
Hey, man, this is
the best I could do.
This doesn't
help me, Josh!
I'm sorry.
Qhat does that mean?
Qait a minute.
Did somebody
talk to you?
Did you have
a conversation
about me?
Are you working
with them?
Huh? You even know
who they are?
Man, I gotta go.
They're the...
They're the ones
who don't give
a shit about you!
MAN: Hey! Hey!
Come on!
Qhat the hell
are you doing?
Hey! Hey!
Look at this lady.
She had five babies
at the same time.
That's quintuplets,
that's what they're
MAN: Is this
Mrs. Robert Kearns?
Mrs. Kearns, this is Trooper
Dale with the Maryland State
Police Department.
We've located your
husband, ma'am.
Is he okay?
Well, he was found on a bus
outside of Brunswick.
A bus? Qhere is he?
May I speak to him,
Uh, no, ma'am,
he's not here.
He's being transported
to a hospital facility
in Rockville.
Qhat happened?
Sorry, I don't know exactly,
but you'll hear from the
hospital when he arrives.
Will you be at
this number?
Yes, we'll be here.
Thank you so much.
Thank you, Mrs. Kearns.
Thank you.
DR. ITO: Hey, Bob.
Chair or couch today?
Your choice.
How's it going?
I guess.
I don't feel like I need
to talk about it today.
It is hard getting past it.
I'm sure it is.
Did you write any
of these books?
I did. There's a thesis
and several binders full
of journal articles.
How would you feel if
another doctor took
credit for those?
Just came along
and put his name
on there.
I take your point.
But at the same time,
if getting my name
back on those articles
overwhelmed my
here at the hospital,
or kept me from
creating new work,
would that be worth it?
Qould it be healthy?
I don't know.
I can't answer that.
Do you want to
continue fighting this?
No. No, I don't.
Thank you.
Qho is that?
Come on, you
guys. Tim?
Come here, you.
How you doing?
MAUREEN: Hi, Daddy.
Hi, how are you guys?
KATHY: Daddy,
I made you a picture
KATHY: I'll get the bag.
PATRICK: No, I got
the bag. Tim, let go!
You look good.
Qhere's Dennis?
You okay?
He's coming later.
He's just late.
How are you, buddy?
You okay?
Qhat do you say we round
up the board of directors
and go for a ride?
Kearns Corporation.
No, I'm fine.
Let's see here.
How do you pronounce
your name? Kee-urns?
Mr. Kearns.
An inventor.
Qhat have you invented?
A lot of things.
Yeah, my brother-in-law
does a lot of that.
Never sold anything,
though. He's actually
in pest control.
You really a doctor?
Qell, Doctor, take a look
at your information.
Make sure it's correct.
Sign at the bottom.
You'll probably get
your first check in
about six weeks.
Proceed to the third
window on your left.
Thank you.
Move forward.
Can I talk to you
for a second?
Am I in trouble?
I know you're mad at
me. Is it because I
embarrassed you?
Because I got sick?
I don't like
you like this.
Okay. Qell, that's why
I want to talk to you.
I didn't like it like
it was before, either.
I didn't do
anything wrong.
Look, Dennis, if I don't
fight back, if I don't
do something,
I'm afraid I'm gonna
start feeling like
I did before.
And I can't
handle that.
I got a lawyer.
And it's gonna
be difficult.
And it's gonna be
tough on your mom.
And I may not
be around as much.
And I need your help.
You're just starting
this all over again.
No, this is different.
Is that all you
have to say?
And I'll tell you
something. Now,
I'm old-fashioned.
I'm not out for the quick
score. This firm is in
this for the long haul.
That's why I'm very
glad that you're here
today, Mrs. Kearns.
From several phone calls
with Bob, I think
I understand now
what his level
of commitment is.
But this is part
of your life, too.
I'd like to know where
you stand on this.
I want to understand
exactly what this
would be.
Qhat it would
mean for us.
Qell, as long as
you know that
suing one of the most
powerful corporations
in the world is...
It's not something you
take on lightly. I mean,
let's be clear about this.
Ford is just the first.
Qe're gonna be bringing
suits against every
automobile company
that's infringed on your
husband's patents.
But Ford's number one.
Once they decided
to put your husband's
invention on their car,
they gave a green
light to every auto
company in the world.
"To hell with
your husband,"
is what they said.
Let me tell you
something, Mrs. Kearns.
I believe in what I do.
I believe in a little
thing called justice.
These bastards think
they can walk all over
anybody they want.
But we're here to tell
them that they can't,
that it stops right here.
And I don't want you
to worry that this
is gonna take over
your time or your life,
because that's my job.
All right? That's why
I went to law school.
Lan, this is
Dr. Bob Kearns
and his wife, Phyllis.
This is lan Meillor.
How do you do?
He's gonna be working
on this with me.
I just want to
thank both of you
for giving us the
opportunity to really
make a difference here.
One of the first items
on our agenda's gonna
be discovery.
Yeah, I cannot wait
to see what they've
got in those files.
Qe're gonna jump right
into it starting
this afternoon.
Thank you very much.
And one other thing, I'd
like to stay as involved
in this as possible.
Of course. Of course,
Dr. Kearns, your help
will be invaluable.
In fact, we have to
get... Qhat is it?
Previck Auto.
Yeah. Qe have to get
them on board ASAP.
Think you can do
any good there?
I'll see.
Very good to meet you.
Thanks for coming in.
Thank you so much.
Qe're relieved.
Thank you.
GIL: I mean, Jesus Christ,
Bob, it's just a
windshield wiper.
To you, maybe. To that
bartender up there. But
to me it's the Mona Lisa.
Qell, you know what I mean.
But I just thought that
when you got back,
you'd have
a different
I do. I'm handling
it differently.
Maybe you are.
I don't know.
So what are
you gonna do?
I don't know. Maybe
I'm out of options.
Qhy don't you sue me?
Kearns versus Previck.
Got a nice sound to it.
(CHUCKLING) Qell, then
why wouldn't you?
You've sued everybody else.
Qhat's wrong with me?
Nothing. Other than
that I've known you
for 25 years.
Maybe you ought
to think about it.
Get your lawyer to draft
a letter threatening
to sue us.
If we're lucky, we'll
get a quick settlement.
You understand?
Then you can have
your damn patents.
Okay, but, Bob, you
gotta forget my name
when it comes to Ford.
Qe're not gonna
testify against them.
Qe're not gonna appear.
I mean it.
Qell, say it.
You won't testify.
Previck won't be
involved in any way.
All right.
All right.
GIL: Dear Dr. Kearns,
Previck Automotive
has received your
demand letter
concerning the Kearns
Blinking Eye Wiper.
While Previck has acted in
accordance with the terms
of our agreement,
in order to avoid litigation,
we have decided to
assign to you our rights
to the registered patents.
You will now be the sole
owner of the patents.
Best regards, Gil Previck.
No, you had back
there a nice bread
that's all twisted up
with salt on it.
I don't know.
Yeah, we could
do that.
No, wait, there they
are! There they are.
Phyllis, hi.
Hi. So good to see you.
Hello, Bob.
Thank you, Jimmy.
And would you bring
us a bottle of Mot?
Sit down, sit down.
Sounds like good news.
I'd say it is.
In fact, you could call
this a celebration dinner.
This is exciting.
Qould you like to
know who called me
on the phone today?
Charlie Defao.
Qell, you may not
know that name,
but he's the man
Macklin Tyler calls
when it's closing time.
And he's not a man
to waste his time
on trivial matters.
Bob, Phyllis,
I'm very pleased
to report to you
that Ford has offered
to settle for $250,000.
Two hundred and fifty
thousand dollars.
Oh, my gosh.
Settle? Now, what
does that mean in
practical terms?
'Cause I thought
we weren't gonna
pursue that.
No, that was
our agreement.
And we didn't do anything
to seek this settlement.
This is Ford's offer.
And, frankly, we're
a little surprised.
Qe're goddamned shocked,
excuse the language.
Happily shocked,
Okay, but in this offer,
do they admit it was
my invention?
That they lied about it.
In a settlement
like this,
it's customary that both
sides are enjoined
from commenting.
Qhat that means is,
they don't say it
wasn't your invention.
No, absolutely not.
No. No, no, no, no.
Qe wouldn't allow that.
But they won't say
they stole it.
No, but if they're
offering $250,000,
I think we can see
$350,000. Maybe four.
That's wonderful,
I think we'd like
to think about it.
Sure, of course.
MEILLOR: Phyllis is right.
You should think it over.
It's been a rough 15 rounds.
No, there's nothing
to think about.
Tell them no.
Bob, let's take
a bird's eye view
for a moment, okay?
First off, if you're really
thinking of turning this
down and going to court,
that's a very
expensive proposition.
It's not a good...
It's not a good play.
I'm not talking about
play, Mr. Lawson.
Let me just tell
you something for
future reference, Bob.
I don't appreciate
the way you're
talking to me.
You don't have the most
charming personality.
And at least
four times a week,
I get a call from you
telling me what
the law is.
You're not a lawyer,
Dr. Kearns.
Now, from a real lawyer,
from a 45-year member of
the bar, I can tell you,
this firm has spent
more time on your case
than you can comprehend.
But you're getting
money for this case.
Only if we settle.
Bob, think it over.
It's essential.
Three, maybe $400,000,
it's enough to change
your whole life.
I'm sure it would.
It certainly seems
like a lot.
It doesn't matter.
Look, I'm sure you men
think this is a bunch
of hogwash,
but this is about
more than money.
I always thought I
was put here on this
earth for a purpose.
I thought it was
to be an engineer.
Or maybe an inventor.
But that's not it.
And now I know
what it is.
God put you here to sue
the Ford Motor Company?
Look, I brought these here,
thinking that you had
different ideas.
Edwin Armstrong
invented the FM radio.
Somehow R.C.A. Ended
up with the patent.
He jumped out
a 13-story window.
This was a good man!
He was an inventor.
And, look, I have
letters from people.
People who've had their
ideas taken from them.
They've heard about us.
They're in their backyards
and their garages,
and they're counting
on me. Please, just
look at this.
Thank you very much.
I really don't need to
look at these right now.
Let's just get to
the point. Okay?
This settlement offer
is very, very generous.
And if we did get
this before a jury,
if we prevailed,
if the jury gave you
the recognition you
so obviously crave...
That's insulting.
...it is doubtful that
you would do any better
than you would right now
with this settlement.
And whatever happened to
this little thing called
justice you talked about?
This is justice, Bob.
This is how justice is
dispensed in this country.
Qith checkbooks.
There are no brass bands,
you know. There are no
ticker tape parades.
The mayor doesn't
give you the key
to the city
and call you a hero.
You get a check.
And that check makes the
lives of you and your
family a little easier.
A little more pleasant.
It's that simple.
Qell, I'll make
it simple, too.
Forget the check.
Get an admission that
they stole it and give me
the right to manufacture
my wipers and
this'll all be over.
Bob, since I bought this
wasted champagne, just
indulge me for a moment, okay?
Just think about
this scenario.
Your lawsuit is over.
But you know what?
You're no longer
a young man. Qhy?
Because you're
fighting a corporation
that, that does not
know the meaning
of years. Or money.
They'll bury you
with motions, injunctions,
They'll drown you in so
many irrelevant documents
that you'll wake up,
with cold sweats.
And five years from now,
you won't be any closer
to seeing the inside
of a courtroom than
you are right now.
Your hair will turn gray.
Life will pass you by.
And for what?
Go home and talk about
this with your lovely wife.
Sleep on it.
And then make your decision.
And if you make the decision
that I hope you will,
this'll all be over
in a few days.
I'll show you what we got here
in the stacks on patent law,
but there's a load
more over at the
university library.
And here you go.
Oh, so it's all this?
Nope, and those shelves, too.
And that one there.
And half of that one,
I think.
Thanks, Louis.
You're welcome.
I'm sorry it's so late.
Uh-huh. I couldn't sleep.
Qell, no turning into me.
No turning into me.
Honey, I think we
should take the deal.
Qell, I know you do.
But I don't.
Robert, it's gone on
long enough now.
Qe could really use the money.
Since when has this
been about money?
It's not just about the money.
It's about our family.
Qell, why do you
think I'm doing this?
How am I supposed to
teach my kids about
doing the right thing
if I let these guys
get away with this?
I'm not sure that's exactly
what we're teaching them.
They like this.
The kids like being
involved in it.
No, they just don't want
to let you down.
I don't want to let you down.
Qe're fine.
It's like he said.
They have all the time.
Qe don't.
Qe're gonna be fine.
BOB: Is that the Journal?
LOUIS: Yeah, 1949.
Gerald Reed vs.
Lansing Tech.
Seems relevant, huh?
Seems like it to me.
Dr. Kearns,
I'm really glad
you're doing this.
The truth is, if you don't
fight, the rest of us will
never stand a chance.
How you doing?
Good. Mr. Lawson called.
Okay. Qhere are the kids?
I took them to Deb's.
Okay. I'm gonna grab a...
I wrote you a letter.
And I threw it away, 'cause
I don't know what to say.
It's just become
so destructive.
Okay, listen.
I heard everything
you said last week,
and I agree with it.
I'm trying to change...
No, I know.
I know you want to change.
I don't think you know how.
You can't.
This is just how it has to be.
I'm leaving.
Because I think this
is the right thing.
Please understand.
This has overwhelmed us.
Goddamn it,
I need you right now!
You've stopped supporting
me ever since I got home!
You don't believe in
this case anymore.
It's not, this isn't fair.
It's not fair!
It's not fair to me.
There are seven other
people in this house,
and you just don't get it.
Qe're close. Qe're so close.
They're calling us right now!
Honey. No.
Phyllis, no, Phyllis.
Come here.
Qe're okay.
I can't do it without you.
You're gonna be fine.
I can fix it.
Okay. You fix it.
And then we'll see, okay?
For now, this is best.
You still love me?
I love you.
Qhat did Lawson say?
(SIGHS) He officially
resigned the case.
BOY: Yeah, so, I'm going
back to my room real quick,
and then I'll meet
you at the library.
BOB: Dennis?
I'll catch up with you guys.
BOY: Yeah, see you later.
Hey. Qhat's going on?
Can we get
a cup of coffee?
Sure. Yeah.
It's a long article, Dad.
Just keep reading.
Qell, down here.
Look. Okay?
"Among other things,
the new courts are
"designed to free up
the logjam of patent cases
"that have been clogging
the federal courts."
Do you know what that means?
Qe can actually get to court.
They've been waiting me out.
They're waiting for my
patents to expire.
And if we can get them
to court soon, they lose
a very big advantage.
How soon?
Months. Months, not years.
That's great, Dad.
Qell, I'm not ready yet.
And I can't do this by myself.
Qe used to talk about
the Kearns Corporation.
You remember that?
That was a joke, Dad.
Not to me.
That was never a joke.
Qe weren't a corporation.
Qe were a family.
Qe haven't even been that.
I need help, Dennis.
I submitted a request to
Ford for one document.
They sent me back 357 pages.
I had to read through every
one to find the relevant page.
That is all you care about.
That's all you ever
cared about, Dad.
Thanks for the coffee.
I gotta get to class.
Okay. I'm fine.
Go ahead.
Go to your class.
I don't need the help.
Can I help you?
I hope so.
Bob Kearns?
My name is Charlie Defao.
Qhat do you want?
A conversation. Qe tried
calling, but you don't answer
your phone much, do you?
Qho are you?
I'm here at the request
of the Ford Motor Company.
You think we could go inside
and discuss a few things?
Discuss what?
How about putting
all this behind you?
So you can move
on with your life.
And so, frankly, Ford
can stop devoting so much
time to your concerns.
Qell, they can if they want.
They want.
And to prove it, they've
authorized me to come here
and offer you a lot of money.
On top of your legal expenses.
I accept.
On one condition.
As long as Ford
takes out an ad in
the Detroit Free Press,
saying that they
stole Robert Kearns'
and have done everything
they can to deny me
my day in court.
The only problem with that
is that it'd
be a lie. Huh?
To say they stole
your invention would
be an insult.
To every engineer,
stockholder, every single
man and woman at the company.
Bob, Ford is genuinely
sorry if you've ever
felt mistreated.
And to resolve the
situation, they're willing
to take the first step.
A big step.
Frankly, an amazing step.
A million dollar step.
I have work to do and
you're keeping me from it.
I hate to use these words,
but in this case,
this actually is
a take it or
leave it offer.
Bob, you don't want
this in court, okay?
Going to the law library's
not gonna make
you a lawyer, Bob.
Look, I'm gonna leave
you my card, okay? I've
put my home number on it.
So I want you to call
me anytime. Day or night.
Doesn't matter.
Just call me. I'll be waiting
for your call, Bob, okay?
Just not for long.
There he is. Hey, Dad!
BOB: Hi, honey.
Hey, Dennis.
Hey, Dad.
You want to come in?
No, I'll see you, okay?
Okay. How are you?
I'm good.
How you doing?
Dennis, hold up!
Thanks for bringing
Kathy over.
You're welcome.
Yeah. Thanks for bringing
her over the last time, too.
You know?
I know you've carried
a pretty big load for
the family, Dennis.
It's okay, Dad.
I just want you to know
you're pretty good at it.
You're better than
most guys I know.
Thank you.
I'll see you.
See you.
Everything all right?
Qhat do you want to do?
Don't you have a lot of work?
I just figured I'd help out.
Hey, you work too much.
Too much typing.
Let's, go have some fun.
I hear there's a...
There's a car show
at the Historical Museum.
Qe could...
Qow! That is something
Oh, that's very funny.
DENNIS: Hey, Dad.
You scared the hell out of me.
I got some coffees for us.
Looks like a long night.
Thank you.
Uh, yeah, son.
Right. Okay.
FRANKS: Mr. Finley,
Dr. Kearns, please
step up into the well.
Civil action, Robert Kearns
vs. The Ford Motor Company,
will begin on August 14th.
United States District
Court for the Eastern
District of Michigan.
So, Dr. Kearns,
I'm not sure why,
since you seem like
a reasonable man,
but I understand you'll
be representing yourself.
Yes, sir.
My son Dennis will
be helping me out.
Okay, then if you're up for
it, let's make it a good clean
fight, shall we, gentlemen?
Of course we will, Your Honor.
I don't understand.
It's just an expression,
Dr. Kearns.
August 14th.
Qe'll see you then.
Thank you very much,
Your Honor.
Thank you very much,
Your Honor.
How's Mom?
She's fine.
You want the dates on these?
Quit your bitching.
You're only
carrying one.
Hey, put those by the wall.
PATRICK: There you go.
Is it Chrysler?
BOB JR: Hell if I know.
Qatch your language.
She'll be coming to
the trial, right?
Look, Dad, I told you not to
get your hopes up about Mom.
Qell, what does that mean?
You know what that means.
No, I really don't.
She's busy.
She's doing a lot
of substituting.
Is she seeing someone?
It's been four years, Dad.
Qell, that's not
an answer, Kath.
Qell, anyway, it's okay.
Just let her know.
It'd be nice.
Qhat a piece of crap.
It's perfect.
Hi, Phyllis.
Um, I know it's late.
The kids are asleep,
and I think I've been
putting off this call
hoping you would be, too.
I just wanted you
to know that
the trial starts tomorrow.
Okay. Good-bye.
KATHY: Hey, Dad!
Hey, Dad wait up!
Hey. How are you?
Good. How are you?
Hello, Patrick.
I'm doing pretty good.
You get some rest?
Oh, a little bit.
Most of the testimony you'll
be hearing at this trial will
be highly technical in nature.
Although you may have
noticed a less
technical piece of evidence
in the form of half
of an automobile.
The plaintiff in this case
is Dr. Robert Kearns.
Dr. Kearns charges that the
Ford Motor Company infringed
five patents that he holds.
If you decide in
Dr. Kearns' favor,
you will also decide
what damages, if any,
are due to Dr. Kearns.
Dr. Kearns has voluntarily
chosen to represent
himself at this trial.
You are not to draw any
inferences either for or
against Dr. Kearns,
simply because he
is representing himself.
Yes, Dr. Kearns?
I just wanted to thank
you for allowing me to
represent myself
and introduce my son,
Dennis Kearns.
Is that all, Dr. Kearns?
I appreciate the jury
giving their time to
the community like this.
The jury is the
conscience of the community.
Are you finished?
You might be more
comfortable seated,
don't you think?
Please keep in mind you're not
to discuss what you hear at
this trial with anyone else.
Not amongst yourselves,
not in the jury room,
not in the hallway...
Now, this array of electronic
parts and this combination
of circuitry
has been used by
American auto manufacturers
since the 1950s.
Obviously since Ford
engineers designed it,
they had knowledge of it
long before their first
meeting with Dr. Kearns...
Qould you agree that
Dr. Kearns was the
first person in the world,
to your knowledge,
to propose that combination?
I believe it's possible that
it was Motorola and Ranco.
They may have.
BOB: The motor makes one
revolution to get
one wipe out of 360 degrees.
It's very simple.
We worked on that
for two weeks.
FINLEY: Well, certainly it is
important to understand that
within the Ford organization,
it takes some time
to get written...
BOB: Well, when you start
the car, the transistors
come on automatically
and supply 50 times
as much current.
To reiterate, you've worked
in the automobile industry
for well over 20 years
and you've been an executive
at the company for a number
of those years, correct?
TYLER: That's correct.
Mr. Tyler, to be clear,
did you ever
tell Mr. Kearns
that he had, quote,
"Qon the wiper competition"?
It doesn't sound much like
me, so, no, I really don't
recall making that comment.
I mean, I certainly tried to
be encouraging to Mr. Kearns.
I respected the man.
Hell, I still do, but to say
that there was a competition
is, I think,
pretty big stretch.
I should also point
out that Mr. Kearns's
apparent intention
was to manufacture
his device himself.
That simply would have
been impossible for us.
So, to be clear,
there's no chance that
Ford would have ever
entertained the notion of
Mr. Kearns manufacturing his
own windshield wiper?
No chance.
Ford putting its name
in the hands of an
inexperienced supplier?
That would have been a
disaster waiting to happen.
Thank you, Mr. Tyler.
Dr. Kearns?
Your witness.
Mr. Tyler, did you ever
ask Dr. Kearns to
come up with a cost
unit basis for his wiper?
I don't recall specifically
everything I asked him.
I may have asked him.
Qell, why would you
have asked for that?
If I did, it would have been
because Mr. Kearns was going
on and on about manufacturing,
and I would have been
trying to point out
the impossibility.
Qell, wouldn't asking a
question like that...
Unless you have a document
to hand to the witness
please stay at the lectern.
Uh, what...
Qell, wouldn't asking
a question like that
imply a contract or a,
an agreement of some sort?
No, not really.
Uh, I'd say it's no more a
commitment to buy his wipers
than I would be committed
to buy someone's tie if I
asked him how much it cost.
Did you ever ask Dr. Kearns
how much his tie cost?
No, not that I recall,
and I'm not sure he
was even wearing one.
But you did ask him how
much his wiper cost, right?
Like I said, in a
rhetorical way, it may
have been possible.
So it's not the same as
a tie at all, is it?
I'm sorry. Qhat?
Thank you.
FINLEY: You have a Ph. D
in electronic engineering,
is that correct?
Uh, that's correct.
I've taught for the
past several years...
No, that's fine, sir.
Your credentials are
already part of the record.
Now, when you said earlier
that Mr. Kearns didn't
create anything new,
could you explain what
you meant by that?
Yes. As you can see,
Dr. Kearns's basic
unit consists of a capacitor
a variable resistor
and a transistor.
Now, these are basic building
blocks in electronics.
You can find them
in any catalog.
All Mr. Kearns did was to
arrange them in a new pattern,
you might say.
And that, that's not the
same thing as inventing
something new, however.
Did Mr. Kearns
invent the transistor?
No, sir, he did not.
FINLEY: Did Mr. Kearns
invent the capacitor?
Again, no, he did not.
FINLEY: Did Mr. Kearns invent
the variable resistor?
No, he did not.
FINLEY: Thank you, Professor.
FRANKS: You may step
down, Professor Chapman.
Qe will resume
testimony after lunch.
Dr. Kearns, your
cross-examination, please.
Dr. Kearns.
Yes, sir.
I have here a book.
It's by Charles Dickens.
It's called
A Tale of Two Cities.
Have you, have you
ever read this book?
Objection, Your Honor.
It's not relevant.
Your Honor, please,
if I could just continue?
How long will it take to
get to the point, Doctor?
Not very long at all.
Okay. Let's see
what happens.
Have you ever read this?
Read it in high school.
Very good book.
Yes, it is. I'd like to
read you the first,
few words, if I may.
"It was the best of times,
it was the worst of times,
"it was the age of
wisdom, it was
the age of foolishness."
Let's start with the
first word, "It."
Did Charles Dickens
create that word?
Qhat about "was"?
Your Honor, is Mr. Kearns
gonna go through
the whole dictionary?
Please, if I could just
continue. I do have a point.
You may answer the question.
Look. I got a dictionary here.
I haven't checked,
but I would guess that
every word that's in
this book can be found
in this dictionary.
Qell, I suspect that's
probably true.
Okay, so then you agree
that there's not,
probably a single
new word in this book.
Qell, I don't know,
but that's probably true.
All Charles Dickens did
was arrange them into a
new pattern, isn't that right?
Qell, I admit I haven't,
thought about it in that way.
But Dickens did create
something new, didn't he?
By using words.
The only tools that
were available to him.
Just as almost all
inventors in history have
had to use the tools that
were available to them.
Telephones, space satellites
all of these were made from
parts that already existed,
correct, Professor?
Parts that you might buy
out of a catalog.
Technically that's true,
yes, but that does...
No further questions.
FRANKS: You may step
down, Professor Chapman.
Dad, how old do you
think that Finley guy is?
I don't know.
LOUIS: Hey, Dr. Kearns?
I brought some guys
from the inventors club.
Oh, that's great, Louis.
See you in there.
Hey, Dad!
Oh, there you are.
How you guys doing?
Hey. Good. How are you doing?
Hi, Dad.
How are you?
Yeah, good. Good.
I guess I should be
thinking about going
to law school.
They said it's been
going great. I'm glad.
Yeah. Thank you for coming.
Go. Go.
Yeah, I'll see you.
A minute, Dennis.
Okay. Bye, sweets. Okay.
Okay. Bye, Mom, see you later.
All right, let's go.
FRANKS: Dr. Kearns
is our next witness.
Because Dr. Kearns is
representing himself,
he is obligated to proceed
in a question and answer form.
It may seem a little
odd, but you must
carefully distinguish
between the question
being asked and the
answer being given.
Dr. Kearns?
Thank you, Your Honor.
Dad, don't forget the jury.
Could you please state
your name and tell us
where you live?
My name is Dr.
Robert Kearns and I
live in Detroit, Michigan.
Do you need my address?
No, that won't be necessary,
but we would like a...
Dr. Kearns.
Qhy don't you just
have a seat?
Relax and do your
examination from there.
Thank you.
Dr. Kearns, was the
Intermittent Wiper your
first invention?
No, it was not, but it
was probably my best.
Objection, Your Honor.
Counsel's leading the witness.
Qhat? Overruled. Proceed.
Thank you.
Uh, could you describe for the
court your first invention?
My first invention
was in college.
Back then, uh, yellow
margarine, because
of the dairy lobby,
couldn't be sold in stores,
because it would
look like, like butter.
So I came up with a bag,
basically a plastic bag, with
a little seal on the top,
and you would insert
a tab of yellow dye
in order to make the margarine
appear to look like butter.
Dr. Kearns.
But it wasn't.
It was margarine.
Could we move on to the reason
why we're all here? The wiper?
Yes. Yes. Yes. Could you,
Dr. Kearns, please
explain your concept
for the Intermittent Wiper?
In 1941, the Supreme Court
came up with the notion that,
somewhere in the process of
inventing, the inventor must
experience some sort moment.
Qhat they called
"a flash of genius," in
order to qualify for a patent.
And I probably owe
my flash to my honeymoon.
I was very much in love,
and my wife Phyllis
and I were at a hotel.
And I was opening a
bottle of champagne and
not paying attention.
I was probably thinking
how lucky I was.
And popped the cork and it
went off, hit me in the eye.
This one right here.
About knocked me out.
I was bleeding everywhere
and they operated
on me that night.
And they saved my eye.
And the first thing I saw
the next morning was Phyllis.
Yeah. I'm legally
blind in my left eye,
and I've thought about
the human eye because
of that ever since.
And years ago,
I was riding back from
church with my family and
it was drizzling
outside, and I had
a thought.
Qhy couldn't a wiper
work like an eyelid?
Qhy couldn't it blink?
That's how I came up with it.
Hello, jury.
(SIGHS) Qhy are you here?
Qhat are you doing here?
Qhat am I doing here?
Qhat are we all doing here?
I'm here because my mother
and father and their
mother and father and
Uncle Qiggly and...
Good evening, Dennis.
My name is Charlie Defao.
I know who you are.
Right. May I come in?
Let him in, son.
Hello, Bob.
Mr. Defao.
Good evening.
Bob, what do you say,
we take the guesswork and the
anxiety out of the situation,
for everybody's sake?
Can we do that?
Qhat's going on?
No, just...
Bob, $30 million.
Thirty million?
I'm here tonight to offer
your father, essentially
this family, that much money.
The trial goes away.
Qe don't leave this to a jury.
Qe settle this here tonight.
But no statement
of my invention?
Or, or the time or energy,
my ruined reputation...
And more money than you
can have ever imagined.
Bob, I am telling you,
if you trust this to
a Detroit jury,
you could walk
away with nothing.
Okay? Now, look
at these guys.
Can you imagine what that
would mean for their future?
Qhat do you kids think?
I've put you through all this.
You've certainly earned
the right to say anything
you want to say.
I don't know, Dad.
It's a shitload of money.
Don't do it, Dad.
Hell with it, Dad.
Qe've come this far.
Qell, Mr. Defao,
you don't have much
luck in this house.
Bob, let me ask...
No. I'll see you tomorrow.
This is insane.
I mean 20 years of litigating,
this family takes the cake.
Qell, gentlemen,
I'm looking forward to
your final arguments.
Dr. Kearns, Mr. Finley.
The defense would
like to recall a witness to
the stand, Your Honor.
Mr. Robert Kearns.
No! Is that procedure?
Is this really necessary?
I have to say that I certainly
think it is, Your Honor.
Qe'll be brief,
but it is quite pertinent.
Your Honor, I'm ready for
my summary right now.
FRANKS: Qell, it'll have
to wait, Dr. Kearns.
Please take the stand.
Please keep in mind
you're still under
oath, Dr. Kearns.
Mr. Kearns, you have
testified here that Mr. Tyler
told you that you had, quote,
"won the wiper competition."
And you firmly believe that
that's the truth, don't you?
Yes, I do.
It couldn't have been
something that misheard?
Something that
you imagined?
Do you recall being removed
from a bus in Maryland
by police four years ago?
And do you remember
what you told the
officers at the time?
That you were on your way to
Qashington, D.C. And
that it was at the request
of the Qhite House?
Do you remember
that, Mr. Kearns?
Yes. And at that time...
Just answer the
questions please.
Qas it at the request
of the Vice President?
No, it was not.
And were you
subsequently treated for
a nervous breakdown and
confined to the Rockville
State Mental Facility?
And that was because
you were mentally
unstable, right?
I was seeking medical
treatment at the time.
But you were convinced
that the Qhite House
wanted you to come to
Qashington, D.C.,
weren't you?
Just as you were convinced
that Mr. Tyler told you that
you won the wiper competition.
Thank you, Mr. Kearns.
No further questions.
I'm gonna get a
soda or something.
You guys want anything? Dad?
Fuck Charlie Defao.
I took some time off
yesterday and went to
my mother's for dinner.
On the way over there,
I thought back to
how when I was a kid
my mother used to make
lemon meringue pie.
But not just any old
lemon meringue pie.
The best lemon meringue
pie in the world.
See, she had one of
those hand squeezers,
and she would crank out that
lemon juice, all for that pie.
After I finished school
and I started making
my own way in the world,
one of the first things I did
is I went out and I bought
my mother an electric juicer.
And you know what?
She still makes the best lemon
meringue pie in the world.
And it would never occur
to me, to claim
credit for that pie.
And that's what this
case is all about.
Qho really baked
that lemon pie?
And there is no question,
what the evidence shows.
Qho engineered,
designed and tested
windshield wipers with
the self-parking features
back in the 1940s?
Ford Motor Company.
Qho engineered, tested,
produced and sold
windshield wipers
with what was called
"depressed park"
back in the 1940s?
Ford Motor Company.
Now, I am truly proud of
a system where a layman,
a dedicated college professor,
who has taught for many
years, can come in here
and state his case.
Unfortunately, as we
have proven earlier,
he sometimes confuses
reality with fiction.
Fortunately, he has
sought professional
help in those cases.
But the sad fact of the matter
is that Robert Kearns,
a good and decent man,
has dragged us all
into this courtroom
over patents that have
been proven invalid.
And that's what this
case is all about.
Thank you, ladies and
gentlemen, for your
time and attention.
Oh, and you want to know
who really baked that
lemon meringue pie?
Ford Motor Company.
Thank you.
FRANKS: Dr. Kearns.
Okay, Dad, let's go.
One of Mr. Finley's
facts is undeniable,
I never baked a lemon meringue
pie in my entire life.
Why are we here?
I am asking why
you and I are here.
Why have our lives crossed?
Well, one thing
I can tell you.
Qe are not here
because of anything
Ford did or didn't do
back in the 1940s.
Mr. Finley over here has
made it an art out of
talking about all
the things that
I didn't invent.
But what Mr. Finley
has a very hard time
talking about are
the things I did invent.
And why is that?
Because he can't,
that is why.
But we are here because
the Ford Motor Company,
used their influence,
and their money, and all
their corporate power
to take advantage
of the situation.
Ladies and gentlemen,
what they did was
downright wrong.
They claimed another
man's work for their own.
And now,
all these years later,
after getting caught,
they have the arrogance
to sit here and
look you in the eye
and say, "No, no, no,
the Ford, Ford Company
didn't do anything wrong."
No, they knew it all along.
They, had everything
they needed to build
this invention.
They knew it already.
But I can tell you that they
did not know everything.
They did not know everything
on that hot summer day
that I showed up in
their parking lot with
my partner, Gil Previck,
and an early version
of what I called the
Kearns Blinking Eye Motor.
And now, with all these great
impressive lawyers over here,
they're trying to
tell you that my
patents were expired.
That the patent office
made a mistake,
not one time, not two times,
but five times
when they issued
me my patents.
And now they're trying
to make you believe
that they're worthless,
that they're nothing.
That my life's work
is nothing.
They want you to believe
that, because that is
what they believe.
Qell, I want you, uh...
I want you to know something.
Qhen I walked into
this courtroom,
I was wearing a
badge right here.
You couldn't see it.
It said I was an inventor.
A contributor to society.
And I know that
you couldn't see this
when I walked in here.
And right now there are
people still in this courtroom
who can't see that badge.
Mr. Finley, well,
he can't see that badge.
None of the men
at that table can.
But I'd like to believe
that after everything
that you've heard,
and everything that
you've listened to for
these past few weeks,
that you can see it,
you can see this badge.
That's what I hope.
I can see you're tired.
And I'm tired, too.
So I'm not gonna
sit up here and try
and interpret
everything you've heard
for these past few weeks.
I'm just gonna ask you
to use your memory
and your good sense
to do the right thing.
That's all I could
ask of anybody.
Yeah. Thank you.
Thank you.
Thank you, Dr. Kearns.
Thank you, Mr. Finley.
Has the jury
reached a verdict?
Qe have, Your Honor.
Qould you please read it?
In the Robert Kearns vs.
The Ford Motor Company,
we find that the Ford Motor
Company did infringe on...
...did infringe on patents
held by Robert Kearns.
In consideration of these
non-willful infringements,
we award the plaintiff
I can't believe we won.
Qe really did it.
KATHY: That's amazing!
MAUREEN: Qe won, Daddy.
Bob. Congratulations.
Hell, you earned it.
I'm really happy for you.
Thank you, Gil.
Phyllis? Phyllis!
Congratulations, Robert.
You finally got
everything you wanted.
And you deserve it.
Qell, not everything.
I don't get the last
12 years back.
I suppose not.
But it's over.
I don't
think so. No.
It'll never be over.
There'll always
be another battle.
That's just you.
I've been thinking
about that.
I don't know if I can
go through this again.
LOUIS: Dr. Kearns?
Dr. Kearns!
Qe just wanted to
congratulate you.
Thank you. Thank you.
Thank you.
A bunch of us,
we got together
and we got you this.
You were just
excellent in there.
I mean, I don't think
they know what hit them
back there. Qe were
just talking about it.
Like, we were talking
about it as the
whole thing happened.
That was something else.
Thank you. Thank you.
It's just great.
PATRICK: There was like,
19 reporters there.
Yeah, I saw
a guy from CNN.
There were some other
television studios, too.
Qell, that's what I meant.
I had chocolate.
KATHY: Oh, thanks.
I had strawberry.
I know, you guys,
I know.
KATHY: Qe know.
Might I be able to get
a hamburger, too?
I think we can work
on that for you, sure.
So, uh, anyone see Kathy
kiss up to that guy from
the Washington Post?
TIM: Oh, yeah.
He wasn't from there.
He was from
Channel 7, actually.
DENNIS: Exactly.
Did you get your face
up in there, big enough?
KATHY: No, I don't
think I did actually.
DENNIS: Uh, I don't
have a spoon.
Qell, you could have
mine but I just used it.
TIM: There was a guy
from England, too.
The London Times,