The law firm King & Spalding is announcing a massive court settlement to the man who invented the Super Soaker water gun, Lonnie Johnson. The award, according to AJC.com, is being paid to Johnson after he filed suit against the company back in February.
The legal dispute was over royalties earned by Johnson between the years 2007 – 2012, owed to him by Hasbro.
“In the arbitration we got everything we asked for,” said Atlantaattorney Leigh Baier. “The arbitrator ruled totally in Lonnie’s favor.”
The disagreements began back in 2001 over his line of Nerfline toys, namely the N-Strike and Dart Tag. Johnson also accused Hasbro of breaching a 1996 contract to pay him royalties on the Super Soaker equal to 2-percent for “three-dimensional products,” and 1 percent for “two-dimensional visual representations.”
The suit says that Hasbro got around paying the royalties by creating similar guns based upon the same technology. The suit also forced Hasbro to open its books to show sales.
Johnson is a nuclear engineer who got his PhD at Tuskegee. He is also a former NASA scientist who became an entrepreneur in 1989. He then licensed the Super Soaker, which had $200 million in sales just two years later. He holds more than 80 patents, with 20 pending. The sales of the Super Soaker have now passed the $1 billion mark.
By the way – Johnson also helped design the Cassini robot probe for NASA, which flew 740 million miles to Saturn. This is just one of his many achievements. Let’s hope he gives some of that money back to Tuskegee so they can produce an entire army of Lonnie Johnsons. This is what HBCUs are capable of creating.