Peter Roberts (inventor)
Peter 'Pete' Roberts invented the quick release socket wrench. He sold his patent to US retail store chain Sears for $10,000 who said that they did not think the invention was worth very much. When he learned that Sears had done a market study which revealed a huge market and that they had sold 26 million of his wrenches for a profit of $44 million within a year, he sued them for fraud. In 1976, a US Federal jury agreed with him and awarded him $1 million in damages. Sears appealed the decision all the way to the US Supreme Court but lost.
On further appeals he was granted $5 million in damages, however the lawsuit continued, and in 1989 it was reported that he had finally settled with Sears for $8.9 million.
Roberts went on to found Link Tools, which manufactures a system of interlocking quick-release ratchets, sockets, and accessories.
- "Wrenching Sears" Time Magazine October 23, 1978
- "Wrench inventor settles 20-year-old lawsuit with Sears". The Register-Guard. Eugene, Oregon. Associated Press. 1989-09-17. Retrieved 2018-01-03.
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