(INSIDE EDITION) — The fidget spinner is the hot new toy sweeping the nation, and while they’re selling like hot cakes, the woman who first introduced the boredom-batlling gadget has not collected any cash from the idea.
Kids are clamoring for them and they are flying off store shelves.
The fidget spinner comes in a myriad of colors and styles and ranges in price from $2 to $900 for gold plated one.
One must assume that the person who invented this nifty gadget has to be making millions.
The sad truth is the inventor isn’t making a dime off the gadget she invented.
Catherine Hettinger, a chemical engineer from Florida, invented the original fidget spinner 20 years ago.
“She put a ridiculous amount of time and energy into trying to get it out there,” Sara Hettinger, the inventor’s daughter, told Inside Edition.
After struggling for years to get someone to make her toy, her daughter says the inventor had money problems and couldn’t afford the $400 fee to renew her patent and was forced to let it expire.
Now anyone can make fidget spinners, and they don’t have pay Hettinger a dime.
“I’ve seen this story, this heartbreaking story a hundred times,” Shark Tank judge Kevin O’Leary told Inside Edition. “If you’ve got a patent you have to manage it… you’ve got to renew it. It costs next to nothing; you’ve got to protect what you’ve got. It really is a tough story.”
Sadly, there is nothing the woman who crafted and created the original toy can do.
“Let everybody learn from this lesson — when you have a great idea, get it to market anyway you can,” O’Leary said.
Surprisingly, Hettinger’s daughter says she is not bitter about what happened.
“She doesn’t care about the money,” the daughter said. “[She is] just happy people are enjoying it.”