Damage Suits: Trying to Collect from the U.S.

Inventor Bert Adams demonstrated his new, nonrechargeable battery for the U.S. Army with understandable pride. Just as he claimed, it put out a steady current even in extreme heat or extreme cold. Worthless, said the military technicians. No, thank you.

Adams nonetheless patented his battery in 1943. Then ten years later, the Army got a patent of its own—without a word to Adams—and ordered more than a million batteries built to its own design. Sure that he had been bilked, Bert went to court. Six other men, who had backed the invention, joined the suit. Not until 1966 did the...

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