Ethical Dilemma in Engineering, Essay Sample at No Charge

Published: 2022-02-14 22:36:50
556 words
3 pages
5 min to read
Type of paper: 
Case study

An ethical dilemma is a situation in which the decision-making process amongst two possible courses of action is complicated, and neither of the available options is acceptable from a moral and ethical perspective.

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Ethical dilemmas do not offer a straightforward solution; they are quite challenging to solve. Ford motor company infringed Robert Kearns's patented invention of the wiper, and they had two unethical options of engaging in legal battles with the inventor or offering compensation out of court settlement and under their terms.

"On a rainy day in 1962, Robert Kearns had one of those meandering thoughts that separate great inventors from mere mortals: What if a windshield wiper paused between each wipe, like a blinking eye?"(Crockett, 2019). It was the original idea behind the invention of the wiper that Robert later on patented. During those times, the automotive business capitalized on upgrades as their primary marketing and advertisement strategy, and it was making bulk profits for the companies. It meant that the new wiper idea was costly and widely sought after. Robert got to meet with Ford's engineers anticipating to market his approach. He planned to interest the company's engineering team with a brilliant idea, make a legal agreement to secure his invention, and open a wiper factory that supplied the whole automobile industry. The meeting was successful, and the engineers were amazed and interested in how the wipers worked. Quality assurance tests ran, found the wipers safe and recommendable for use. Robert, later on, went ahead and acquired a patent for the wipers. "After many presentations and meetings with the company's engineers, finally he was offered a deal" (Crockett, 2019). Ford Company's engineers claimed that due to safety concerns, Robert had to disclose how his invention worked before signing the contract. He trusted the engineers, revealed how the wipers worked, and signed the contract. Some months later, Ford's engineers stole and added Robert's wiper idea to their line of fancy cars claiming it was their original invention. Ford Company made huge profits from his idea, yet its engineers discarded and never acknowledged using his design. On discovering that Ford Company had infringed on his patented design, Robert sought legal help and filed an infringement suit against the company. Ford Company's engineers replied by denying the claims on the basis that the wiper idea was not sufficiently inventive, and the patent was not valid. Robert reiterated by filing a legal suit against Ford Company demanding a three hundred and fifty million dollars compensation. Ford opted for stealing the patented idea and neither compensating Robert nor licensing and acknowledging it was his idea. Ford Company's engineer chose the cheaper option of facing the legal suit with the hope that Robert would lose faith in the case or financially run out since they knew small investors lacked the financial power to hire and run affairs through the court.

In conclusion, Ford Company's engineers were unethical in their dealings and experienced an unethical dilemma. They once offered Robert a thirty million dollars compensation out of court settlement, yet they had the option to acknowledge the wiper idea as Robert's. It is critical to set policies and regulations that find solutions and prevent ethical dilemmas.


Crockett, Z., 2019.The epic, decades-long battle between ford and a small time inventor. Available at https :< // > [Accessed 10 October.2019]

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