The Null Device
Leo Stoller, self-styled "intellectual property entrepreneur", revolutionised the monetisation of trademarks a few years ago. He did this by registering a large number of words, including "Stealth", "Sentra", and (perhaps appropriately) "Chutzpah", as trademarks and then aggressively going after anyone in any field using them, often extracting substantial settlements. Unfortunately for him, the bonanza came to an end when defendants began fighting back and losing lawsuits, and judges started invalidating his patents. Even worse for him, when he tried to declare bankruptcy, a judge ordered the liquidation of all his assets, and found that his personal and corporate assets were one and the same. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy...
(via Boing Boing)