I have a friend who several years ago told me about a simple invention. Easy to market, mass appeal and easy to prototype and produce. One of those once in a lifetime type inventions that could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars over a period of a few years.
I call him every few months and durring our conversations I always ask if he has done anything with his invention. Answer is always that he just has not found time. I offered him 25% of the company if he would just give me the ok to go forward with it on my own. He was highly insulted?? Did I do something wrong here, I felt I was being fair. I have never betrayed his trust and discussed this with anyone. This guy is a bit of a drinker and a dreamer and I know he won't follow through on this. I did the basic patent searches and can't find anything even remotely close to it.
Fast forward to present, I find out it is not really his idea but someone elses who asked him to build a prototype. The guy with the original idea is also a drinker and dreamer and getting along in age and in bad health. I have no idea how many people he has told about this.
At what point would it be ethical to go forward with something like this? My gut tells me not until someone croaks but it seems like such a shame.