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Yo! He Owns That Move
Edited by Jack McCallum and Richard O'Brien
May 27, 1996
In the May 20 National Law Journal, attorneys at a Manhattan firm specializing in intellectual-property law argue that athletes may have the right to patent or copyright unique moves they use in competition. Patented moves, at least in theory, could not be used by other players. If athletes of the past had known this, here's how some patent applications through the years might have read.
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May 27, 1996

Yo! He Owns That Move

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In the May 20 National Law Journal, attorneys at a Manhattan firm specializing in intellectual-property law argue that athletes may have the right to patent or copyright unique moves they use in competition. Patented moves, at least in theory, could not be used by other players. If athletes of the past had known this, here's how some patent applications through the years might have read.

Willie Mays
Basket Catch
The inventor, a practitioner of baseball, seeks to protect a defensive maneuver in which he places his glove and bare hand against his midsection, thus forming, in effect, a receptacle for airborne balls, one that could be expected to evoke in the minds of reasonable observers a container of interwoven vegetable matter.

Bob Cousy
Behind-The-Back Pass
The inventor, a fully accredited basketball professional, seeks to protect a form of offensive chicanery in which he manually maneuvers a basketball behind his back, sometimes accompanying this maneuver with deceptive movements of his head and/or eyes, and rapidly discharges said ball so as to reassign possession of it to a teammate.

Muhammad Ali
Rope-A-Dope
The inventor, a master of the pugilistic arts, seeks to protect a strategy of feigned indolence, in which he reclines against the elastic restraints that surround the combat space and allows his opponent to assault him with punches consisting of, but not limited to, left and right hooks to the body, in order to enervate said opponent.

Chris Evert
Two-Handed Backhand
The inventor, a prominent racquet woman, seeks to protect a gross motor movement, in which, to generate more precise placement of a backhand shot, she effects a grip comprising no more and no fewer than two hands placed upon the racket and maintains said grip for the duration of the stroke.

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