If you haven’t heard of FIDGET SPINNERS . . . first of all, consider yourself lucky. Second, they’re these cheap, little toys that kids are obsessed with right now. Basically it’s just a “Y”-shaped plastic device you spin on your fingers.
And since they’re a trendy, cheap product . . . someone’s gotta be getting rich off them, right?
Wrong. It turns out the woman who invented them isn’t getting a dime.
62-year-old Catherine Hettinger from Orlando, Florida invented them back in the ’90s and got a patent in 1997. She pitched it to several companies, including Hasbro, but no one wanted to make them.
So she let the patent lapse in 2005 rather than pay the fee. And now, of course, they’ve randomly become a hit and EVERYONE’S making them without paying her any royalties . . . including Hasbro.
Catherine has a surprisingly zen attitude toward all of it, though.
She says, quote, “Several people have asked me: ‘Aren’t you really mad?’ But for me, I’m just pleased that something I designed is something people understand and really works for them.” (The Guardian / Time)