All over the world, people have worked endless hours creating inventions like fidget spinners, vaccines, and even pens, hoping that their creations would make them millions of dollars, and for many, this plan worked. Improve an already established idea, or invent some state-of-the-art concept designed to make life easier, and you will never have to work again, right?

Unfortunately for these Inventors, their products made millions and even billions of dollars, but they did not receive any of the profits. Below are the Top 5 inventors who missed out on the money train...

5. Dr. Jonas Salk

On March 26, 1953, Salk released an official vaccine tested and proven to cure poliomyelitis or polio. At this time, polio had reached an insurmountable level, with 58,000 new cases throughout the United States in 1952. When asked by reporters who the patent belonged to, Salk said there was not a patent, and he supposed it belonged to the people. He went on to ask if we could "patent the sun?" His reasons for denying the patent are uncertain, but his vaccine basically eliminated polio, without making him a cent.

4. Shane Chen

In 2011, Chen, founder of Hovertrax, released the first-ever hoverboard.

He patented the idea for the "Back to the Future" styled invention and planned on selling them for a thousand dollars each. Sadly, tons of pop-up corporations began to mass produce imitations of Chen's invention, selling them for a fraction of the cost. Chen reports in an interview with, that the people responsible for stealing his concept apologized for "infringing on his patent," but adding insult to injury, they added that they understood there was nothing he could do to stop them.

As a result, Chen made a few thousand dollars from his hoverboard, while the knock-off companies made millions.

3. Douglas Engelbart

In 1961, the Stanford engineer invented one of the most popular and most common vices of the twenty-first century.

His invention would allow users to select various points on a screen, and it rolled around on two wheels and a wooden block. That's right. He invented the computer mouse. The patent was given to his employer at the time, Stanford Research Institution, but a scientist from Xerox modified Engelbart's invention, switching out the wheels for a ball. This allowed the scientist to file for a separate patent, cutting Engelbart out of the profits.

2. Laszlo Biro

Biro is an inventor from Budapest, and by 1932, he had become so frustrated with the slow-drying, messy ink in fountain pens, that he decided to come up with a concept.This inspired him to invent a pen with a rolling ball tip that had faster-drying, thinner pigment, known as the ballpoint pen.

He bought the patent for his invention, but later sold it for $2 million dollars due to financial hardships, to Marcel Bich, an Italian businessman who turned the invention into a billion dollar empire.

The No. 1 spot goes to this inventor who missed out on billions...

1. Catherine Hettinger

In 2017, Hettinger's "fidget spinner" invention took pop culture by storm. They have quickly become a household name, and their mass popularity has left many consumers assuming the inventor has profited greatly.

She patented her design but had to let it lapse in 2005 because she couldn't afford the $400 renewal fee. While companies are making billions off her idea, Hettinger is struggling to make ends meet. According to, she is currently having to downsize her living arrangements to a cheap condo, her telephone line has been disconnected, and she can't afford a decent car. Hettinger insists that she's not bitter over her luck; she said in an interview with the online magazine that she was happy that her invention had become so popular.