AT&T and Busicom are among those that never truly cashed in on some remarkable inventions they once owned outright.
Owners, inventors don't always cash in
From left: John Bardeen, William Shockley (seated) and Walter Brattain. The three invented the transistor while working at AT&T's Bell Labs, and they later shared the Nobel Prize in physics for the breakthrough. AT&T, however, never really cashed in on the invention.
The Intel 4004, the world's first microprocessor, debuted in 1971. The rights to the chip initially belonged to a Japanese calculator maker called Busicom, which commissioned Intel to build it in 1969. By the time the chip came out, calculator prices had dropped, and Busicom wanted a discount. Intel agreed--on the condition that it could sell the 4004 outside the calculator market.