As the 2022 Winter Olympics come to a close next week on February 20, 2022, Lerner David highlights some of the patents that have contributed to these sports as we know them.
Snowboard (U.S. Pat. No. 3900204)
Snowboarding is one of the newest sports in the games—many point to this patent for a "mono-ski," awarded to Robert Weber in 1973, as the first registered board. The original patent simply claimed “mono-ski” of at least equal length to the user’s boots with releasable boot bindings and a slightly upturned front. But as the sport became more competitive and fast paced, the equipment was sure to follow. Modern snowboards may feature magne-traction, which is simply a wavy edged board made for increased control on the slopes.
Hockey (U.S. Pat. No. 1549971)
The first hockey sticks, of course, were made by hand. But in the early 1900s, things were changing. The Hespeler stick company, of Ontario, was credited with inventing the two-piece stick, which was far easier to make in mass quantities. Their patent application, from 1924, claimed turning factory wood scraps into durable and uniformly finished hockey sticks.
Skis (U.S. Pat. No. 5292148)
Skis have existed in cold climates since we first figured out how to tie bark to our feet to move over deep snowpacks. But our modern idea of skiing as a sport emerged in the late 19th century. Skis themselves are the subjects of huge amounts of engineering these days. Contemporary skis were pioneered by Frank Meatto, who started designing skis with a “deep side cut” in 1990. Several years later, the term “parabolic” was trademarked by the Ski manufacturer, Elan, who cornered this budding market. These “[s]haped skis marked a dramatic shift that made it possible for every type of skier to carve.”