You Can’t Patent Fun
Who likes snowboarding and thinks its fun? Yeah it’s fucking awesome isn’t it? Probably one of the greatest things in the world hence why so many of us wrap our minds around it even in the off season. Fun is just that fun, you can’t measure it, you definitely can’t put a dollar amount on it, and most certainly you can’t patent it. We’re all here to have fun and that’s what it’s all about but sadly on the business end of things you can patent fun and most certainly you can measure it with dollar amounts.
Immediately following the news there were two parties that the patent had gone through speculation began to surface as to what this would mean to the snowboard industry and most notably Mervin Manufacturing’s C2 Banana Technology. The pro Never Summer fanboys rallied for the cause while others were a bit more skeptical.
Mervin had this to say about Never Summer getting their patent over on Easy Loungin:
1. What is the status of Mervin’s patent?
Mervin has officially been given an “Allowance” for there reverse camber Banana patent! This is big news for the whole industry because there patent actually is relevant to many of the rocker combos on market. This is big!
2. Why did Never Summer get a patent first?
Never Summer applied for their patent almost 2 years after Mervin began our patent process. They lucked into an examiner that was much quicker than mervins and possibly less thorough in the examination process. This is not uncommon for different patent exams to extend over varied durations of time.
3. How does Never Summer’s patent affect Mervins C2 boards patent?
Not at all other than the quick dose of hysteria from people who don’t understand how patents work(and people shouldn’t understand how patents work). We all must do our part to proactively educate the dealers, public, media etc. of the facts.
4. What is Never Summer’s patent all about?
Patents are not fun to read and we don’t expect you to try to decipher them. They are full of the world’s longest run-on sentences. In summary, Never Summer has patented something that is very different than C2 or even their own rocker/camber boards.
Our best shot at interpreting their patent reveals a funny looking contraption that is popping a wheelie and might not slide so well.
5. So their patent isn’t really relevant to their own boards?
Not in our interpretation. For fun, hit the Google, and find their patent images. Them are some f’ugly snowboard drawings……………flat between the feet with croquet wickets on the ends.
7. Is Mervin’s patent relevant to NS and other brands with rocker between the feet?
!0. So when did Mervin actually start making boards with C2 rocker/camber combo?
Mervin actually put C2 boards in the mix from the beginning of Banana production in 2007. At there first Banana tradeshow, thry sold Skatebananas, TRS Bananas, and Cygnus Bananas. All of the TRS Bananas and many of the 159cm Skatebananas had C2. Mervin didn’t think the world was ready to comprehend different Banana blends yet, so Mervin planned to not market names for the different blends for several more years. At the time, we called C2 blends the “Pickled W.” This is where the Park Pickle name evolved from.
So in summary, Mervin’s “Pickled W C2″ was prior art of Never Summer’s patent application by 2 selling seasons!
13. So, is Never Summer going to follow their own patent images and start making boards that are flat between the bindings with croquet wickets on the ends?
We hope so! The world needs more ways to play croquet.
Mervin invented “Banana Tech and C2″ reverse camber and began the patent process almost 2 seasons before Never Summer applied for a patent. Werd!
Last night Never Summers owners released this statement to Snowboarding Forum:
On September 21, 2010 Never Summer Industries, Inc. was awarded a patent for its rocker and camber snowboard design. Our patent is the result of a Never Summer research and design team that spent countless hours trying to improve the performance and ride-ability of snowboards to enhance the snowboarding experience. We’re pleased to see not only the US Patent Office, but also the snowboarding public, recognize Never Summer’s innovative achievement.
It appears that Mervin Manufacturing is also about to receive their own patent for their banana. We’re happy for them and wish them success.
So it really is an exciting time for snowboarders. With all these patented improvements they’ll now have a choice between Never Summer’s high-performance rocker and camber design, countless camber and flat-camber designs, or a banana.
Never Summer Industries, Inc.
The interesting thing is that both companies took this to the realm of social media for the people to decide. All in all right now we’re at a stalemate with what’s going to happen but ultimately the general consensus from people is that patents are bad for snowboarding.
With all the talk about patents going on one of my friends shot over a link to a video from the TED site. In the video attached to the link Johanna Blakley talked about how the fashion industry doesn’t have intellectual property protection in the form of patents but they do have trademark protection to protect a logo. But the basic run down of it is the fashion is too utilitarian to patent the fundamentals of clothing ( i.e. collars, pockets, cuffs). Which got me thinking about the snowboard industry especially the design aspect if it, more importantly what would be the fundamentals of a snowboard?The basics would be inserts, metal edges, and of course camber or reverse camber. Think about that and see what you feel are the fundamentals. My guess is you’re coming up with the same things I’ve listed and possibly a few more.
Now imagine how not having intellectual protection might benefit the snowboard industry. While sure it would create a culture of copying much like what happens in the fashion industry with knock offs but it would also establish the originators and in that genre of copy-cats there would become a sub-genre of innovators tweaking what has already been established as working. It’s slightly trippy to think about because when you start to look at how many people want to be an originator and hold that idea to make their money you couldn’t conceive that they would knowingly want to be a part of this I.P. free for all. But think about it like this with no fear of law suits and reprisals wouldn’t companies function better knowing they could dump the legal department in favor of more research and design? Check out the video from TED for yourself.
And for more of my thoughts on this idea check out my interview from Buoloco.