Skaters fawn over Rodney Mullen for figuring out how to pop skateboards into the air and flip them around without the aid of a ramp or handlebars or Velcro, but Mullen would be nowhere without Larry Stevenson. Mutt’s heaviest contribution to skateboarding, the flatground Ollie, could not be executed without the leverage gained from a kicktail, the “inclined lever that is sloped upwardly and rearwardly from the skateboard” that Stevenson patented.
Stevenson, the founder of Makaha skateboards, first filed for his skateboard design patent (#3,565,454) on June 12, 1969. It was approved on February 23, 1971.
As is often the case, patent enforcement eventually became necessary when skateboard manufacturers began making their own decks with kicktails and not paying Stevenson any royalties. In the late 70’s, he filed patent infringement complaints in an attempt to reap some benefit from the growing adoption of kicktails.
After more than five years of suits, the U.S. Supreme Court eventually found the kicktail to be “too ‘simple’ to merit patent protection,” and Stevenson didn’t get to ride a wave of cash that would eventually have doubled when skateboards were redesigned to have a kicked nose and tail.
But, as my childhood skating buddy Josh pointed out, the inventor of the popsicle stick probably isn’t profiting from modern skateboard design either.
This post was created by a user and has not been vetted or endorsed by BuzzFeed's editorial staff. BuzzFeed Community is a place where anyone can post awesome lists and creations. Learn more or post your buzz!
- Four people were killed in what officials are calling a terror attack after a car drove into pedestrians near Parliament in London. A suspect was also killed by police.
- Rep. Adam Schiff said there's "more than circumstantial evidence" that President Trump's campaign colluded with Russia during the election.
- Donald Trump said he feels "somewhat" vindicated after the Republican intelligence chairman in the House claimed Trump's team was surveilled.
- As if it wasn't easy enough to buy someone coffee, you'll now be able to send Starbucks gift cards via text on Apple's iMessage ☕️📲