The above tag has a bit of historical perspective... the Selden company patented the automobile. He collected on every car made... 0.75%
Selden was a patent attorney. His dad was a judge, and a prominent Republican attorney most noted for defending Susan B Anthony.
Yeah, it obviously didn't stand up very long, but for a time, they had the patent on the automobile, and if you wanted to sell a car in America, you either paid a licensing fee or fought them in court.
Henry Ford fought them in court and won... he was obviously better prepared to make a success and a fortune that he'd share with the US Govt by way of taxes, so the right people were persuaded to take the patent of the automobile, and make it go away... the reason given was that the Ford and other cars were using an engine based on a different engine than Selden had patented. http://justacarguy.blogspot.com/2007/05/spooky-no-traction-sliding-on-ice-as.html
Above is the tiller steering and the hand crank top start it