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Here's a Designer Video explaining it all:
Not sure if he got any royalties.
For the most part, I imagine TLG shuns all MOC submissions so that there is no concern should they convergently evolve a similar design. Does anyone know, though, if that also applies to building techniques?
Since then, 10212 is the only set I know of that was "largely based" on an existing MOC design. However, LEGO has had a few other examples where they've done similar things:
LEGO "hired" James Mathis (well known train builder) to design these sets, even though they weren't pre-existing MOCs:
LEGO worked with Chris Giddens and Mark Sandlin to design these sets (designed in the STYLE of existing MOCs, but not after explicit MOCs):
LEGO worked with Joe Meno, Stephan Sander, and Joe Evangelista to design this set (again, not a pre-existing MOC):
A whole bunch of hobbyists worked on 10183 Hobby Train, which included quite a few designs.
Eric Brok helped design the 2nd Modular Town compatible building, Market Street (sometimes arguably a Modular Town building in itself, since it was branded under "Factory"):
And then there were several other "Factory" sets which were actually designed in a contest that LEGO held-- LEGO let kids (and adults) design sets with a limited palette (I think it was the LDD palette), and then produced the winning entries in sets:
Oh, and there's even a Brick List for these (although I don't see the UCS shuttle in there, since I'm not sure how much LEGO publicized this one being based on an outside model...