Sunday, 20 June 2010

Movies With an IP (ish) theme - Updated

I have always been a movie buff! It always get excited when importance of patents and IP are emphasized in events of any movie. In this series I am trying to list movies in which patents were central theme or important in the overall movie plot.

The First movie comes to my mind is "Flash of Genius"
Tagline: Corporations have time, money, and power on their side. All Bob Kearns had was the truth. They had the power. He had the truth.
Plot: Based on the true story of college professor and part-time inventor Robert Kearns' long battle with the U.S. automobile industry, Flash of Genius tells the tale of one man whose fight to receive recognition for his ingenuity would come at a heavy price. But this determined engineer refused to be silenced, and he took on the corporate titans in a battle that nobody thought he could win.

A must watch movie for all "Patent - Guys &Gals". An interesting related post on Patent Baristas

Next is
"The Man in the White Suit"
This is a 1951 movie in which Boffin Alec Guinness threatens the future of manufacturing by inventing an indestructible material.

Another one
The Water Engine

An inventor comes up with the solution to human energy needs but encounters ruthless opposition from vested business interest.
Plot: In the 1930s, Charles Lang invents an engine that runs using water for fuel. But when he tries to get it patented, he is first offered a ridiculously low amount. When he refuses, he is suddenly several people are pressuring him to sell. The big oil companies don't want the competition. Now he has to try and keep them from getting his idea, and somehow get it published.

Some more:

The Patent Clerk
After a long, arduous shift in the Swiss Patent Office, a young clerk with dreams beyond his workaday drudgery makes his way home and discovers that when you look closely, nothing is as it seems and everything truly is relative.

This movie seems to be inspired from life of the great Einstein.

Dark Mind
Paul, an optimistic inventor, turns into a recluse after facing a brutal betrayal. Convinced that Russians are spying on him, he struggles to protect his greatest invention: The Cube. When an accident thrusts him into the spotlight, his sense of reality is threatened and his world becomes twisted beyond recognition.

This movie was originally titled as Intellectual Property.

The Rag Man

In "New York, a world within a city, where anything might happen," Irish Catholic lower East Side kid Jackie Coogan (as Timothy Kelly) survives a fire at St. John's Orphanage fire, and takes to the streets. Ten-year-old Coogan meets Jewish junk dealer Max Davidson (as Max Ginsberg); and, after Coogan returns Mr. Davidson's dropped wallet, he moves in with the rheumatic old man. The two become business partners "Ginsberg and Kelly", after Coogan proves his "Rag Man" mettle by filling Davidson's junk truck with four dollars worth of merchandise. Along the way, Coogan helps right and old wrong; he tracks down thieving Robert Edeson (as Mr. Bernard aka Mr. Bishop), who robbed Davidson of a patent fortune.

The last which comes to my mind is
Men In Back

Yes seriously!
Isn't the movie is about Will smith and Tommy lee jones who are alien chasers, working for a secretive and immensely wealthy NGO ?
But, the organisation gets its money from patents for microwave ovens, Velcro and liposuction machines, which Jones reveals were confiscated from extraterrestrial invaders. :-)

I hope you have enjoyed this post and now go to look for these movies. (probably use torrents and do a copyright violation :-))

Following movies are shared by the readers:

Shared by Mr. John Cooper
The Man Who Fell to Earth
David Bowie's character - the alien, Newton - makes a fortune by patenting and licensing alien technologies, to fund his efforts to return to and save his home planet

Twin Peaks: A minor sub-plot in which a character tries to patent an improved curtain rail to eliminate that annoying swishing sound.

Shared by Mr. Satyendra Singh

Young Einstein  (Looks interesting, Its a Comedy!)
Plot: Albert Einstein is the son of a Tasmanian apple farmer, who discovers the secret of splitting the beer atom to put the bubbles back into beer. When Albert travels to Sydney to patent his invention he meets beatuiful French scientist Marie Curie, as well as several unscrupulous types who try to take advantage of the naive genius and his invention

The Great Spy Chase (Another Comedy!)
Plot:A cold-war spy parody. After the death of an armaments manufacturer, an international group of spies is drawn into a high-stakes battle of wits to obtain the valuable military patents which have been inherited by the lovely widow.

The Great Moment

Plot: The story flashes back 20 years to find Morton being wildly acclaimed by medical students as the man whose discovery of "letheon" had forever ended pain as, before that day, even amputations were performed with the patient fully conscious. "Letheron", unknown to everybody but Morton and Elizabeth, is simply highly rectified sulfuric ether - cleaning fluid - easily obtainable at a pharmacy. By keeping the secret, Dr. Morton could be rich, but he had rather be poor than see a girl strapped to an operating table under the knife of Dr. Warren, and he reveals his secret to a group of surgeons in the hospital operating theatre. With his secret out, and all hope of personal reward gone, with the possible exception of proceeds from his glass inhaler, he gets the news that Congress has voted him a reward of $100,000, and also learns that the patent on his inhaler has been infringed. 

Killing Cars

Plot: In a complex story of automotive intrigue, oil barons, corporate finance, and international villainy, the inventor of an environmentally friendly car powered by energy cells becomes the target of killers. After Ralph Korda has given his patented worldcar to a German automaker for testing, he is confronted by ominous men, eager to get their hands on his patent. Evil Arab petroleum lords also want to stop this threat to the gasoline market any way they can.

Mr. Dodd Takes the Air

Plot: an electrician from a tiny town impresses a New York radio sponsor with his booming baritone singing voice. He immediately contracts the worker to come to the Big Apple. Unfortunately, he suffers from bronchitis that changes him into a tenor. He still goes on the air, but everyone calls him a fake. Fortunately, the audience loved him. His manager then forbids him to appear publicly so he spends his spare time inventing a gadget that restores old radio sets. When it looks as though his clever invention will be stolen a beautiful woman gets it patented and then marries him.

Life Triumphs

Plot: In his fight for innovation in a industrial plant, professor Olteanu discovers through lab research a new technique that can be very helpful in turning the iron ore into better steel and other metal products. His experiments don't always give the best results especially when he is "helped" in his endeavors by a conspirator. His wife and his collaborator help to unmask the conspirator and convince the professor to continue his work. In the end the conspirators face harsh punishment and his techniques are given patents and turned into successful industrial processes.

Three Pests in a Mess (Comedy!)

Plot: The stooges are three inventors trying to a get a patent on their preposterous fly catching invention. When they learn they'll have to catch 100,000 flies to earn enough to get a patent, some crooks overhear and think the boys are the $100,000 sweepstakes winners. When the crooks give chase, the stooges hide in a sporting goods store where Curly shoots a dummy, which they mistake for a real person. The boys decide to bury the "body" in a pet cemetery, but the cemetery owner arrives from a costume party with his partners, all dressed as spooks, and they proceed to scare the devil out of the stooges.

Mr.Kirk Damman

The Spanish Prisoner
Premise of the movie is needing to protect an unpublished patent application from theft.

Plot:Joe Ross is a rising star. He's designed a process that will make his company millions. He wants a bonus for this work, but fears his boss will stiff him. He meets a wealthy stranger, Jimmy Dell, and they strike up an off-kilter friendship. When the boss seems to set Ross up to get nothing, he seeks Dell's help. Then he learns Dell is not what he seems, so he contacts an FBI agent through his tightly-wound assistant, Susan Ricci. The FBI asks him to help entrap Dell. He accepts, a sting is arranged, but suddenly it's he who's been conned out of the process and framed for murder. Bewildered and desperate, he enlists Susan's aid to prove his innocence.

The movie is entirely based on theft of trade secrets.
Plot: Ray works for MI6, Claire for the CIA. She burns him in Dubai. Jump ahead five years: he sees her in Grand Central and confronts her. Both now work in industrial security for corporate giants whose CEOs hate each other. Flashbacks fill us in: is it coincidence that he sees her in Grand Central? In about a week, one of the firms is going to announce a revolutionary product. Under the guise of helping that corporation's rival, can Ray and Claire work their own theft and find an independent buyer? To work together, using the corporate rivalry to their advantage, they would have to trust one another - difficult, if not impossible. Or, is one playing the other?

Mr.Jonathan Jensen

Extraordinary Measures
Plot: A Portland couple have two children with Pompe disease, a genetic anomaly that kills before a child's tenth birthday. The husband, John, who's in advertising, contacts Robert Stonehill, a researcher who has a theory on an enzyme treatment. He has little money to pursue his research, and a thorny personality that drives away colleagues and funders. John and his wife Aileen raise money for to get Stonehill going, then John takes on the task full time, working with venture capitalists and then a rival team of researchers. Time is passing, Stonehill's antics get in the way, and the profit motive may upend John's hopes. Can the researchers succeed in time for the Crowley's. 

Other Movies and videos shared by readers:
A British children's weekly comic "The Beano" was used as a novelty citation by a UKIPO examiner when someone filed a patent application relating to a cat flap which opened only when a cat wearing a specified cat collar with ir sensor or similar was in the vicinity of the cat flap.
Apparently, there was one edition of "The Beano" where a cartoon character "Dennis the Menace" developed a similar cat flap for a cat, the edition of the Beano having been prior published.

Mr.Manish Kumar
3Idiots: A hit hindi  movie. The lead character (Amir khan) had 400 patents. 

Mr. Ron Vaisbort

Not a movie, but the "Flaming Moe's" episode of The Simpsons (3rd season, 10th episode) is a classic where Homer has his proprietary cocktail recipe ripped off by his bartender friend. 
Ron shared that he used show this to his clients to teach about non-disclosure agreements. In his view this is one of the best Simpsons ever and this episode features Aerosmith.

Please keep sharing more movies in comments. 

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