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Intellectual Property

Happy World IP Day!

Join Us on World IP Day!

World IP Day, hosted by the World Intellectual Property Organization, is celebrated on Friday, April 26. The theme for this year is Reach for Gold: IP and Sports.

World IP Day offers an opportunity to highlight the role that IP plays in supporting innovation and creativity around the world. The IP system allows inventors and creators to be recognized for their work and ensures that society benefits from it.

This year’s theme will explore how innovation, creativity and intellectual property support and protect the development of sports around the world.

The National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF) honors Inductees and other inventors who have impacted the sports industry! Let’s look at a few of them:

Howard Head, Laminate Ski; Oversized Tennis Racket

U.S. Patent No. 2,694,580; 3,999,756

2017 NIHF Inductee Howard Head impacted the performance and economics of two major sports industries.  Frustration with using long, heavy wooden skis inspired Head — then an aircraft engineer — to incorporate aluminum and other aircraft materials to create an improved ski. He later turned his attention to tennis, designing a wider racket and swapping traditional wooden frames for aluminum. Within four years of its launch, over 700,000 players were using his racket.

Riley Csernica, Meredith Donaldson, Chelsea Ex-Lubeskie and Kaitlin Grove, Hi-Impact Shoulder Stabilization

The 2012 Undergraduate Bronze Winners of the Collegiate Inventors Competition® — Riley Csernica, Meredith Donaldson, Chelsea Ex-Lubeskie and Kaitlin Grove from Clemson University — invented a Hi-Impact Shoulder Stabilization Brace. This self-applicable, low-profile brace is designed for athletes who have experienced an anterior shoulder dislocation.

While traditional braces have used neoprene, their innovation uses a new material providing compressive support to the glenohumeral joint during activity, aiding in the prevention of secondary dislocations while still allowing athletes to perform at a high level. The group applied for a patent for their invention in 2013.

Bill Bowerman, Modern Athletic Shoe

U.S. Patent No. 3,793,750

We all know the brand NIKE®, but did you know the waffle trainer sole was invented by 2014 NIHF Inductee Bill Bowerman? His first prototype was made using his wife’s waffle maker! Bowerman spent 24 years as the head track coach at the University of Oregon, where a main priority of his was making a lighter, faster track shoe to benefit his athletes. The waffle pattern design provided traction without metal spikes and could be used on a variety of surfaces. In 1964, Bowerman co-founded Blue Ribbon Sports with Phil Knight, one of his former athletes. They later changed the company’s name to NIKE® and began mass-producing Bowerman’s designs. Within a decade, NIKE® was a household name.

Use #WorldIPDay to share your favorite sports innovations and join the social conversation on Friday, April 26!

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