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Inventor of the mouse never received any royalties

Though they had an inclining as to what it could be used for, they surely didn’t foresee the impact this small device would have on the computer industry.

Invention of the modern computer mouse

In was the 1960s. Douglas Engelbart working at the Augmentation Research Center (ARC) of Stanford Research Institute invented an “X-Y position indicator for a display system“.
That was the original name of what we now call the mouse.

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The first prototype was built by Bill English and had a wooden shell with metallic wheels. It wasn’t much to look at actually. A patent was subsequently filed and granted to SRI in 1970.

On 9th of December 1968, Engelbart gave what is now known as “The Mother of All Demos“. He demonstrated several aspects of the computer system of the future – Hypertext, graphical user interface, word processing, video conferencing, and of course, his own invention, the mouse.

How the mouse became popular?

Enter Steve Jobs. He was shown the mouse and a few other “things” at Xerox’s Palo Alto research Center. Jobs immediately saw their potential and incorporate most of these technologies in Apple computers.

Anyway, I digress, though only slightly.

Years later, in an interview, Engelbart remarked that his invention – the mouse – was licensed to Apple for about $40,000 and that he never received any royalties for it.

In the patent papers, the mouse was described as the “X-Y position indicator for a display system”. Mouse was just a nickname. And the onscreen cursor was “affectionately” called a “bug”.

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