Patent that made most money. Individual patent.

Which individual, one person, patent has made its inventor the most money.

Not interested in patents filed by big companies.

Interested in the backyard inventor who struck it lucky after the patent was filed.

This is not exactly what you want, but the Hughes tool company was built by Howard Robard Hughes, Sr. on a patent for an oil drill bit.

Later in the company another patent paid big: "In 1933 two Hughes engineers invented the tricone bit, which drilled holes straighter and faster, and for the seventeen years that the patent on it ran—1934 through 1951—Hughes’s market share approached 100 per cent. The bit found virtually all the oil discovered in the glory days of wildcatting, and Howard Junior got to be the richest man in the world. In 1972 he took the tool company public and made $150 million in cash the day it went on sale. The money from the drill bit made dozens of movies, took over Trans World Airways, and built a good chunk of Las Vegas, among other things. "

Not any of mine, dammit.
the biggest revenue patent-holders are likely to be corporations, and possibly some universities. The dream of the little lone inventor struggling to build a better mousetrap looks pretty unlikely next to dedicated research labs and teams of lawyers. Getting a patent requires a lot of legal work and submission (and money, for cryin’ out loud!) long after the hard work of inventing the thing has already taken place.

This site lists the top five individual patent holders, but doesn’t say which of the patents generated the most revenue:

Alexander Graham Bell’s patent on the telephone must be pretty high up in revenue.

Probably not. At that time, 1876, patents lasted for 14 years. So Bell’s patent was good until 1890. There were only 4 telephones per 1000 people in the US in 1893. So there were about a quarter million telephones in the US. But remember you didn’t buy your phone in those days. You subscribed to a service and the phone came along with it.

True, but the 14 year head start gave the Bell System quite an advantage in the phone business. In fact, it was pretty much a monopoly (and pretty close to one again today). They made, and continue to make, huge amounts of money , all starting from that patent.

George Selden’s patent on the automobile held up long enough to let him swim in gold coins like Scrooge McDuck.

Several hundred thousand dollars wasn’t being truly rich even in 1922. Ford certainly had a hundred times more than that.

Wouldn’t the original pacemakers created by the Medtronic company rank up there? The first ones had the components housed in a shoe polish can.

Medtronic is now a behemoth worth billions of dollars, but it wasn’t always that way.

I will put out one possibility, but I think it is far from the leader.

The “Hall Patent” effectively required a license for any company that was expressing recombinant proteins in yeast. The most common such example is insulin for diabetes treatments as well as many many vaccines. It scored the University of Washington well over a $1B in revenue before the patent lifetime ran out.

About $10M today–still pretty good for a “backyard inventor who struck it lucky.”