The following patents were granted to me and assigned to MACPOD Enterprises Ltd.
The first patent (US 4,534,122) is for an innovative in-boot fit system that Steve Podborski first used in the 1980-81 World Cup season and in subsequent World Cup seasons until he retired. Up until the point where I came up with this new way to restrain the foot I had been applying the traditional method of compressing the sides of the foot between the walls of the boot shell in an attempt to immobilize the joints of the foot with dismal results. I had eventually reached the conclusion that the concept was fundamentally flawed because it disrupted the flexion of what is commonly referred to as the ankle joint.
The patent clearly documents that my thinking was still very much aligned with the conventional ‘immobilize the joints of the foot’ paradigm. I was simply trying to achieve the same outcome but in a different way.
In order to immobilize the joints of the ankle, the fit system that wraps over the top of the foot had wings on each side that ran below the ankle bones. These wings are shown in the cover page of US Patent No. 4,534, 122 below. The wings loaded the joints of the ankle against the inside walls of the boot shell. This kept the foot from pronating which was exactly what I had intended. But there was one small problem; actually a big problem. When Podborski tried the system he immediately told me there was no way he could ski with wing pressing against the joint below the inside ankle bone. The wing that blocked the movement of the joint associated with pronation had to go. Although I cut the wing away the patent figures which were done by a patent draftsperson don’t reflect this. All the racers who used this system used the version with the inside wing removed.
The negative experience in blocking the joint associated with pronation provided the insight I needed to begin to understand that elite skiers were somehow setting up biomechanics that used the external forces to drive the mechanics of the outside ski of a turn into the turn. I knew enough at that point in time to know that elite skiers had to set up these mechanics when the new ski of a turn was flat on the snow and before significant forces were acting on it. The question was how did they do it. If they knew they were telling probably because they were unaware of what they were doing.
I spent the better part of the next 10 years studying biomechanics and videos of World Cup racing formulating a hypothetical model of the mechanics, biomechanics and physics of World Cup racing. The central theme of this hypothesis was that elite skiers engage the external forces to drive the forces acting on the outside ski of a turn into the turn while lesser skiers try to manage forces going out of the turn.
The successful testing and validation of my hypothetical model was the subject of the research conducted in the summer of 1991 on Whistler’s summer glacier. The patents that resulted from this research are for the most part concerned with effects learned from thee studies which were commissioned by a company I was a partner in called MACPOD Enterprises Ltd. (David MACPhail & Steve PODborski). When I wrote 5,265,350 and subsequent patents I had no expectation that the teachings contained in them would elicit any interest in the ski industry. My expectations proved correct.
All of the about listed patents have expired and are now in the public domain. This means that they are property of the entire world to use and enjoy.
The following patent application has been awarded in Canada and is pending in a number of other countries
WO 2013086632 A1 Footwear for use in specialized activities
Footwear for use during a specialized activity such as skiing, cycling, skating and many other sports or industrial uses, and provides a dorsal element engaging the dorsal aspect of the foot for enabling the user to control relative to the plantar aspect the maximum height of the arch of the foot at substantially all times during the activity regardless of the position or orientation of the foot. A pivotal arm is mounted on a frame attached to the planter aspect for pivotal movement about an axis transverse to the foot and is compressed by an adjustable element operable by the user.
For those who are interested, my patents are all available for viewing at the US Patent and Trademark Office web site as well as on Google Patents. From time to time, I will post discussions on the teachings disclosed in these patents.