Nike Patents Golf Shirt Design That Could Double as Coach; The clothing will have tighter material in areas key to a repetitive movement, like a golf swing. The snugger fit increases muscle stimulation, giving a better feel that will improve form, help a coach normally would provide by watching the golfer perform

Nike Patents Golf Shirt Design That Could Double as Coach

Nike Inc. (NKE) says it can make a golf shirt that could replicate what a coach does. The world’s largest maker of sporting goods obtained about a dozen patents on Aug. 27, including one invention with the potential to irk golf pros. “A coach or trainer can greatly improve an athlete’s form or body positioning, which can result in improved athletic performances,” Nike said in a patent filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. “For most people, however, a coach or trainer is not always available” and there isn’t an easy way to check positioning on your own, Nike said. Enter what the sponsor of Tiger Woods describes as “articles of apparel providing enhanced body position feedback.” The clothing will have tighter material in areas key to a repetitive movement, like a golf swing. The snugger fit increases muscle stimulation, giving a better feel that will improve form, help a coach normally would provide by watching the golfer perform, the document said. Nike has prospered even in hard times with a sustained focus on innovation, from air-pocket sneaker soles in the 1980s to last year’s Flyknit shoe, whose upper is woven like a sock. While these aren’t always the company’s best-sellers, they give its brand credibility — as does paying the world’s most famous athletes to wear them on television.That helps Nike charge a premium for its gear and allowed it to boost sales 8.5 percent to $25.3 billion in the fiscal year ended May 31. Through yesterday, Nike shares had advanced 23 percent this year, compared with a 15 percent for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

Elastic Material

Obtaining a patent doesn’t mean for certain that the invention will be used in a product. Companies are granted millions of patents a year and many never become a reality.

In the golf patent, Nike describes thin elastic material embedded into the part of the garment that covers the lower back to heighten sensation. That part of the body is essential to a swinging motion and is impossible to see and difficult to feel while performing, which is why a coach is needed to give feedback, the document said.

Besides boosting performance, the shirt also could lower injury risk by keeping athletes in proper form as they swing a golf club or a baseball bat over and over again, Nike said.

Mary Remuzzi, a company spokeswoman, declined to comment on the patent and when such products might go on sale.

Nike has been much more active in securing U.S. patents than competitors. It’s obtained more than 650 since the beginning of 2012, according to patent office data. Adidas, the second-largest sporting-goods maker with revenue of 14.7 billion euro ($19.4 billion) in the past four quarters, has 30 U.S. patents in the same period. Under Armour Inc. (UA), which is a much smaller company, had 24. By comparison, tech giant Apple Inc. (AAPL) was awarded almost 500 in the past three months.

Wearable Technology

Many of Nike’s latest patents integrate digital technology into sports equipment so users can measure and improve results. Last year the company introduced the FuelBand bracelet. It tracks daily activity while sensor-equipped shoes record data such as how high a basketball player jumps during a dunk.

One of the patents obtained this week falls into that category. It’s a USB device embedded into a bracelet that uses a shoe sensor to determine how far the wearer has run. The device plugs into a computer to transfer and analyze data.

Golf is a major focus as the company tries to maintain last year’s 9 percent sales growth at its Nike Golf brand. It has filed about 70 golf-related patents this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Matt Townsend in New York at mtownsend9@bloomberg.net

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: