Dan Brown Claims Sears Stole Idea for His 'Bionic Wrench'

Retailer drops American version of tool for one manufactured in China.
3:00 | 11/15/12

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Transcript for Dan Brown Claims Sears Stole Idea for His 'Bionic Wrench'
turn to made in america, and david muir will be back, getting answers right now. As we know, every $64 spent on american-made goods can create 200,000 jobs. But could a corporate giant take your idea and have it made in china? One american inventor says it happened to him. Reporter: The small town of cabot, pennsylvania. Proudly flying their american flags. Last year was a great year. Reporter: Proudly making an american invention. You were determined to make it in america? Yes, that was my goal from day one. Reporter: Dan brown invented the bionic wrench. What he thought was a genius solution to that problem we've all had -- stripped bolts. Pliers and adjustable wrenches can strip the corners. But that won't stop the bionic. Reporter: His invention grabs onto the bolt from six sides at once. The bionic wrench engages all six flat sides of the bolt with symmetrical pressure. Reporter: This time last year -- the factory was buzzing. Sears had us stocked in all the stores. Reporter: The holiday ads were on tv. And sears was their biggest seller. For only $19.99 at sears. Reporter: Dan said sears was so into his invention, they asked him not to sell at some of their biggest competitors. Like home depot or lowe's. Yes. Reporter: So you said that's a deal. Yes. Reporter: Dan said they sold more than 200,000 wrenches with sears last christmas. They kept doing business this year. Then suddenly, he says, no deal for this christmas. They've had to lay off 30 workers. Did you wonder what was going on? Oh, of course we did. Reporter: But then dan heard from a customer who noticed something. Telling him there was now another wrench, with what appeared to be a similar mechanism on the shelf at sears, but this one, made in china. And sold under the sears brand, craftsman. In fact, side by side, listen to the old ad -- it grips on all six sides. Reporter: Now the one for the new wrench. The six locking jaws. Reporter: Or this part of the pitch. Before. It's 14 wrenches in one. Reporter: And now the new wrench. It replaces 14 wrenches with a single tool. Reporter: What did you think when you saw it? It's a knockoff. There's no question. If you take them apart and you look at these plates, they're virtually the same. Reporter: Dan's filed suit, claiming sears stole his idea. Tonight, sears arguing, not so fast. Saying they didn't steal anything. E-mailing us this statement. "The allegations made by mr. Brown similarly are untrue." They gone on, "despite some visual similarities, the craftsman axess locking wrench operates in a different way." What dot you say to sears, when they say this is not the same wrench? Ah, they're lying. That's what I say. They're lying. Reporter: Dan argues, small town american inventors rarely have the means to fight back. It can cost up to $50,000 just to get that original patent. Don sweeney on the assembly line, one of the few workers left, watching those 30 coworkers leave. All the jobs are gone. That's the way it is. It just tears me apart. What more can we do? If we don't stop this, we'll have no jobs left. Reporter: Our team did go out and buy both wrenches today, both the same price. The before and the new one here and while that american inventor argues the tools have the same mechanism, whether it's a rip-off or not is up to the courts to decide now. That inventor arguing american jobs are in the balance and sears telling us tonight, we have 264,000 workers, sears believes in america.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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