h/t Jeff Tucker:
Well over a century ago, a salesman named King Gillette patented the design for his safety razor and went on to found the Gillette Safety Razor Company. His invention made him wealthy as American men rushed to buy his razor blades.
Update: See Mike Masnick’s post Do You Owe Your Crappy Shave To Patents?
See also my discussion, in Leveraging IP, of how manufacturers intentionally complicate products (such as laser printer or inkjet cartridges) just so that they can patent them so they can prevent competition; or Omega’s adding of a copyrighted logo to a watch back on purpose just to prevent import-arbitrage.