Fast Company runs an excerpt from The Knockoff Economy — this time on how innovators in football and fashion benefit from something that economists call “first-mover advantage” — and how this can keep innovation humming even without the law stepping in.
– Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has trademarked his hook shot. Really? Would another basketball player be sued by the former L.A. Laker superstar for using it in a game? Especially considering that Kareem didn’t invent it?
– Tennis great John McEnroe has trademarked the phrase “You cannot be serious!”, which is a substantially cleaned-up version of what he used to scream at referees. I propose that the scores if not hundreds of refs McEnroe abused should get a cut of royalties.
– And in perhaps the most insane entry in the list, boxing announcer Michael Buffer (who I’d never heard of before now even though I am a boxing fan) has trademarked the phrase “Let’s get ready to rumble!”, which is how he typically introduces a bout. And he’s apparently made over $400 million in licensing revenue from the trademark.
We are in the wrong business.
Another football-related post on Freakonomics, this time discussing New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick’s latest innovation.
From football to computer programming, Tweakers are everywhere! And they are a vital ingredient in innovation. We explain why in Freakonomics.
In the world of innovation, there are the Pioneers, and there are the Tweakers. Both are important! We explain why in Freakonomics.
You can’t copyright (or patent) a football play. And when football coaches see a play or formation they like, they copy it. And yet there’s lots of innovation in football. We explain why in Freakonomics.