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Robert Kearns takes on the Detroit automakers who he claims stole his idea for the intermittent windshield wiper.

It's the early 1960s Detroit. Dr. Robert W. Kearns is a husband, father, engineering professor, and sometimes inventor. Out for a drive during a rainstorm, Bob, who suffered an eye injury during his honeymoon years earlier, wonders why his car's windshield wipers couldn't function more like the human eyelid in clearing away excess liquid whenever required so as to be able to see clearly at all times. As such, he goes about inventing windshield wipers that can operate at variable speeds for whatever the appropriate rain condition. He and his longtime friend, Gil Previck, who works in the automotive industry, patent his design. Protective of his intellectual property, Bob wants to manufacture and sell the product to the big auto makers. They learn that all the big players have been working on the idea for years - what the industry has coined the intermittent wiper - but that none of the auto makers has yet come close to a workable design. Macklin Tyler, an executive at Ford, shows interest in Bob's product. Getting what he believes is verbal contract from Tyler to proceed, Bob both provides a prototype to Ford and begins the process of finding a factory location. However, Bob and Gil later officially learn, after one non-returned phone call after another, that Ford decides not to proceed with them, but unofficially learn it's because they have stolen Bob's design and have manufactured the wiper themselves. Bob and Gil have different approaches in how to deal with Ford. Gil wants to move slowly in not alienating the industry, his customers. Bob, on the other hand, wants recognition that Ford stole his idea. Bob will find that most people who he looks to for help take an approach closer to Gil's, believing that Ford wields the power in time and money. As such, Bob is often alone in his fight against Ford. As Bob goes on his mission for what he considers justice, he will have to decide too how much is enough in the toll of what he's doing on his relationships with his wife Phyllis and his children, and by association their collective welfare, as well as his own health and mental well being.


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