Nike Air Jordan Designers to Receive Design Patent No. 400,000 in National Press Club Ceremony

Press Release

Richard Maulsby

The Commerce Department's Patent and Trademark Office will issue the 400,000th design patent on October 27, 1998, for Nike Corporation's new Air Jordan athletic shoe design. Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks Bruce A. Lehman will present the patent grant to inventors Tinker L. Hatfield and Mark J. Smith at a National Press Club event.

Tinker Hatfield, Nike's vice president for special projects, has been designing athletic shoes for Nike since 1985, helping to design the first athletic cross training shoe-the Air Trainer. Tinker has earned wide-spread recognition for his work with basketball superstar Michael Jordan for the Air Jordan line. Mark J. Smith, senior designer in Nike's Special Projects Group, also works directly with Michael Jordan on his product line, as well as with other signature athletes including Peter Sampras, Picabo Street, and Michael Johnson.

Design patents are granted for new, original, ornamental designs for articles of manufacture. They are intended to give encouragement to the decorative arts and promote commerce by giving designers an incentive to make their products more aesthetically appealing to consumers. Design patents are granted for all technologies which manufacture tangible articles having ornamental appearances, including furniture, motor vehicles, computers, toys, jewelry, apparel, and much more.

Design patents provide exclusive rights to their owners for a term of 14 years from date of issuance. Over 10,000 design patents were granted in fiscal year 1997.

Event: Press Conference. 400,000th design patent grant

Date: Tuesday, October 27, 1998

Time: 9:30 a.m.

Place: National Press Club, 13th Floor West, Room 529, 14th St., N.W., Washington, D.C.