P. M. BRIEFING : Irate Inventor Stays Out of Court
The inventor who claims Ford Motor Co. and other auto makers stole his idea for an intermittent windshield wiper system did not return to court this morning after stalking out in a disagreement with a judge.
An official for U.S. District Judge Avern Cohn said Robert W. Kearns, 62, had still not reappeared in court at the resumption of the trial today to determine how much Ford should pay him in the damages phase of his 12-year-old patent infringement suit.
Kearns, a former Wayne State University professor, told the judge in an angry letter Thursday that he is “allowed only to tell half a story and not explain the other half. You have convinced me that . . . there is no real patent protection. There has been no attempt to even approximate justice in your courtroom.”
On Monday, Cohn ruled on a series of motions filed by Ford attorneys that would have limited the testimony of Robert Crandall, one of Kearns’s expert witnesses. While Cohn denied most of Ford’s motions, he did agree to restrict some of Crandall’s testimony.
Ford, which has tried unsuccessfully to settle out of court, said $1.5 million was an adequate amount. Kearn’s attorneys are demanding $141 million.