@JohnAskew: What would you rather have seen then?

That the guy made billions of dollars for the simple invention that you and I could come up with?Without actually making a car with intermittent windscreen wipers?

If you went on to protect every little idea that goes into making a product like a car, nobody would be able to afford to drive one. Competition is what is driving the cost of manifacturing a car down, to prevent it is to drive the cost up.

@evildictaitor: by that notion, we should halt all discussion and merely post links to papers.

This is moving the yardstick to Mars, as I can never fulfill this requirement.