EDITOR'S COMMENT: The $100 million drop

Robert Hutchins

By Robert Hutchins

September 17th 2015 at 2:55PM
UPDATED September 17th 2015 at 3:07PM
EDITOR'S COMMENT: The $100 million drop

This week, a story about one toy inventor's battle for $100 million in copyright interests in a very popular action figure highlights the importance of the Inventors Workshop.

There’s a story doing the rounds that the man who claims to have invented the G.I. Joe action figure is battling for the return of the copyright.

Stanley A. Weston claims that in 1963 he created the idea for the male action figure that rocketed to cultural fame when Hasbro released the toy one year later.

According to various reports on the matter, Weston brought the idea of the action figure ‘wearing and carrying miniaturized versions of the uniforms, insignias, emblems and equipment of each of the different branches of the US armed forces,’ to the company, back when it was still known as Hassenfeld Bros., Inc.

Weston himself has told the media that by 1964, he had signed a contract with the toy giant, granting the company the copyright interests in the figures, but that the statutory period on the contract expires in 2020.

At this point, the copyrights for the figures that went on to become one of the biggest influencers in the evolution of the children’s action figure category, will return to Weston.

According to the inventor, the value of the copyright interests that he is currently seeking “exceeds $100 million”.

So it stands to reason that he is keen for a favourable conclusion to the ongoing proceedings.

However, and the gut-wrenching twist in this tale and real kick in the proverbials for Weston, is that he can’t find the original contract.

I have never stood to gain – or lose - $100million from a lost piece of paper before, but I do know the heart-pounding feeling of misplacing a set of keys.

I can therefore only imagine the upturned sofas, drawers strewn across the bedroom floor and cupboard contents scattered across the kitchen at the Weston residence in the hunt for what must currently be one of the highest-valued pieces of paper outside of Monopoly.

To try and save you from enduring your own near heart failure, next week’s (yes, we can hardly believe it’s that soon, too) Inventors Workshop will feature its own segment dedicated to offering you the basics in IP security.

If Weston’s case study is anything to go by, it may be well worth bringing a pen and paper, it may just make you millions.