Corliss Orville Burandt and the human tragedy of variable valve timing patents

Living on Earth's Harry Goldstein has an incredible audio report on Corliss Orville Burandt, a "certified crazy" inventor whose story could easily be turned into a dramatic feature. Burandt, who controls patents from the early '90s describing a variable valve timing system that made motors more efficient, tried to ride a wave of venture capital to Easy Street. Instead, he suffered greatly. Honda's Intelligent VTec engine uses technology awfully similar to what is described in one of Burandt's patents, but Burandt hasn't received a dime in royalties. As Burandt told Goldstein, "I mean, I lost everything. I lost my house, I lost all my cars. I lost everything. I was fricking homeless. I lived in that goddamn car for awhile. I mean, how many inventors live in their prototypes?"
The Living on Earth website provides both a transcript and an audio stream of the story, and I don't want to spoil too much of the story so you can be amazed when you check it out for yourself. Goldstein's original story on Burandt, from Spectrum magazine in 2005, is slightly different. You can read it here.

[Source: Living On Earth, h/t to Ann]

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