This exceedingly sad case would seem incredible to most folk but it is sadly believable to anyone who has ever worked with private inventors. The brilliance of the bright idea and the lure of riches beyond the dreams of Croesus beguile to the extent that some become obsessed with their invention and a few even unhinged. Charles Dickens knew of this tendency and wrote about it in his novels and short stories. The conditions seems to begin with unfounded optimism: "I've checked round B & Q and can find nothing like it on their shelves" or "sales of trundle humpers amounted to umpteen billion pounds last year and I only have to sell 1% to make so many millions."
In the first few pages of "A Better Mousetrap, The Business of Invention" Peter Bissell and Graham Barker warn that the vast majority of patents are never worked, that most of those that are do little more than cover their costs and only a tiny percentage of the rest ever make serious money.