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They Could Have Been Billionaires


Sometimes just having a brilliant idea isn't enough to guarantee the financial windfall that should follow.

It's a tough world out there for inventors and creative minds. Sometimes just having a brilliant idea isn't enough to guarantee the financial windfall that should follow.

For instance, let's say you're the guy who dreamed up the notion of karaoke, and followed through by creating the necessary machine. If you were too busy crooning in nightclubs, not thinking about the moneymaking potential of your creation, you might miss the chance to cash in on a global sensation worth an estimated $110 million in royalties alone.

What if an ill-informed lawyer tells you that a method of injecting a toxin into facial muscles, reducing wrinkles, isn't patentable? You might watch someone else make billions from your anti-aging treatment Botox.

And what of the men who gave us pink bubble gum, potato chips, the oil drill, satellites, the ATM, even the World Wide Web. Not one ever took out legal patents. Not one amassed the wealth that would otherwise have been theirs.

Here, Minyanville looks at the personal stories of these inventors to find out who's held regrets, who had none, and who just wishes he could receive "a certificate or something."

No positions in stocks mentioned.

The information on this website solely reflects the analysis of or opinion about the performance of securities and financial markets by the writers whose articles appear on the site. The views expressed by the writers are not necessarily the views of Minyanville Media, Inc. or members of its management. Nothing contained on the website is intended to constitute a recommendation or advice addressed to an individual investor or category of investors to purchase, sell or hold any security, or to take any action with respect to the prospective movement of the securities markets or to solicit the purchase or sale of any security. Any investment decisions must be made by the reader either individually or in consultation with his or her investment professional. Minyanville writers and staff may trade or hold positions in securities that are discussed in articles appearing on the website. Writers of articles are required to disclose whether they have a position in any stock or fund discussed in an article, but are not permitted to disclose the size or direction of the position. Nothing on this website is intended to solicit business of any kind for a writer's business or fund. Minyanville management and staff as well as contributing writers will not respond to emails or other communications requesting investment advice.

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