Could NBA Player's Signature Moves Become Patented?

By Brendon Fitzsimons
Tony Taormina- USA TODAY Sports

I chose a picture of Tony Parker for this article because any fan of the game can recognize his famous teardrop lay-up and his finger role lay-up. These two plays as well as a list of others that I will touch open the floor up for discussion on whether or not player’s “moves” should be patented.

Now the idea of it may sound far-fetched, but some don’t think so. Think about all the memorable moves players have created. There is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s famous “Sky hook,” there is Kobe Bryant’s and Dirk Nowitzki’s fade-away jumpers as well as Tim Duncan’s bank shot. The list can go on to include Allen Iverson’s crossover and Julius Erving’s famous dunks. All of these go-to moves are special and in a sense expected from players. I think of these moves much like a player’s dunks. There is Vince Carter’s between the legs dunk, LeBron Jame’s hammer dunk and so on.

We call these plays “patented,” and there are attorneys in New York who believe that these moves can actually BE patented. Attorney F. Scott Kieff says that, “What we find remarkable is that this is viewed as remarkable,” He said this when talking about Jabbar’s Sky hook and asks why he shouldn’t be able to protect his famous move. The answer is because it would ruin the game. Even in theory this is a dumb idea. The thought that  NBA players could be forced to pay royalties when they throw up a hook shot or shoot up a floater in the lane is ridiculous. Not only is it unfathomable but also it is unenforceable.

Players want to be remembered for their “patented,” moves, but this is taking it to far. When we think of great players we think of the things they were known for but actually filing a patent on them is preposterous. While it may offer the athlete with the patent the opportunity to live his life knowing that nobody will be able to copy his move it would call for a whole new ensemble of people attending and watching games looking for patent violations. While it would require players to become more creative in the ways they look to score it would also create countless controversies on whether or not the move they did was actually patented or if it was a variation of it. And what if the athlete passed away? Would he still get paid every time someone executed his move?

“Patented,” moves are great to watch, they make fans cheer louder and opponents wither away from the moment. The thought that their are people out there who would want look to exploit this is scary as well as sad. It would destroy the sport and suck the fun out of competition. We can all see the effects of such a thing becoming reality; daily updates on which player is suing which in regards to a patent violation and who owes who money and not only would it cause unwanted commotion throughout the league it would eventually become a cornerstone for which the games would be played.

Luckily there are more level headed minds like mine and this idea doesn’t look to become a reality but the fact that this thought even existed in the first place shows how money can be funneled from every situation in any facet of life and recreation. For the time being, NBA players are safe and their ability to perform whatever move is necessary to score is as well.



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