Some sports equipment inventions can have a huge impact on safety. In one example, an inventor found a way to improve safety for a skateboard, and, with this new design, the inventor founded a growing and thriving business. Fortunately, he was wise enough to protect the design through timely filing of a patent application.
Sports gear is constantly being improved. Athletes and others, such as trainers, spend a considerable amount of time with equipment and are often the sources of new ideas and gear. But with the advent of smart phones, casual athletes can envision new services related to sports, and one of these ideas recently resulted in a granted patent.
We often hear about Tommy John surgery for baseball players, and it may be becoming more commonplace. For example, several pitchers for the New York Yankees have undergone the procedure in recent years. In general, Tommy John surgery is a medical procedure to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in the medial elbow. Before the procedure was developed, the injury was considered career-ending. These days, talented pitchers who undergo the surgery often become top flight pitchers once again.
As the surgery has become more commonplace, so too have patents and patent applications referencing the surgery or the injury it was designed to treat. Various types of businesses have been able to identify opportunities related to UCL tears and surgical repair of the injury, many of which are ancillary to the surgery.
Professional athletes spend considerable time working with sports equipment. Baseball players, for example, use different types of shoes, various protective equipment (such as helmets), devices to block the sun (such as bills of hats), and devices to otherwise improve performance (such as batting gloves to better grip a bat). In part because of the time they spend using such equipment, and the time they spend on a field or court in front of a large crowd, not to mention the impact equipment can have on their athletic careers, professional athletes can recognize the desire for improved equipment to meet a need and can envision such improvements. In at least a few situations, professional athletes have conceived of new ideas and have applied for and received patent protection for their inventions.
The Sports, Arts and Entertainment Group at Garvey Schubert Barer provides full service legal representation on sports, entertainment and business matters, including handling transactions related to brand management, licensing, joint ventures, venture capital, private equity, technology, the Internet and new media.