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Old 10-27-2015, 12:55 PM
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Default Leopard history

I just bought a couple of factory-second Leopards from the factory store. They have the patent # on them instead of the website. Does that date them to a particular time? Have there ever been any changes to the design?

And what niche did they fill when they were first introduced? i.e., Were they always a beginner-friendly disc, or were they ever cutting edge?

Any Leopard trivia you've got, lay it on me!
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Old 10-27-2015, 01:23 PM
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I believe the Leopard has always been considered an understable driver, although maybe not always a "beginner disc." It was released in 1999, the same year as the Teebird and Eagle which are both more stable (source: http://discgolfwarehouse.com/Disc%20...golf_discs.htm). There are still professional disc golfers who use the Leopard so it's not only for beginners. Barry Shultz, 2x world champion, 3x US champion, who now plays mostly in Master's Division, is a prime example; his name is stamped on all the stock Champion Leopards sold.

The patent numbers do mean that you got some older stock Leopards. I'm not really sure what year they took the patent numbers off all the molds, but I think it roughly coincides when they started stamping flight numbers on all the stamps (maybe around 2009 - 2010? someone correct me here). Thus you see a lot of discs for sale on collector pages that are listed as "Pre Flight Numbers (PFN)" and those usually also have patent numbers on the underside. The older Star plastic tended to be a little less soft and a little more stiff than the current Star plastic, which is why many disc golfers collect and throw these discs.

EDIT: According to Reddit, the patent numbers got removed in 2011: https://www.reddit.com/r/discgolf/co...patent_number/

Last edited by hugheshilton; 10-27-2015 at 01:25 PM.
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Old 10-27-2015, 02:09 PM
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Patent numbers were removed (from all manufacturers, not just Innova) once Innova's patent on "golf disc" expired. That is when all of the other manufacturers started coming onto the scene as well. Circa 2011.
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Old 10-27-2015, 02:28 PM
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Cool--thanks! Both (DX) discs had a half-dime-sized fleck of foil on them, so I'm picturing a big batch that all had the same cosmetic glitch and are taking a long time to get rid of. The plastic is perfect as far as I can tell, and I dig the low-key "F2" stamp. Not bad for ($6 - 20% bulk discount + CA tax) = ~$5.19.
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Old 10-27-2015, 02:40 PM
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Um, pick up a brand new Roc. Flip it over.

Pat. No. 4,568,297.
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Old 10-27-2015, 02:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidrboy View Post
Um, pick up a brand new Roc. Flip it over.

Pat. No. 4,568, 297.
So I believe the story goes that there was some legislation passed making it illegal to stamp a product with an expired patent (Innova's patent was already expired in 2011) and giving lawyers incentive to sue companies for doing so. Innova and Discraft both got sued (not sure how the suits ended) and thus they removed the patent numbers. However, that legislation got reversed within a year or two, so it's possible that Innova still has some of the older mold pieces they hadn't changed and after the reversal, they started using those mold pieces again.
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Old 10-27-2015, 02:46 PM
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Leopard = best beginner driver known to mankind
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Old 10-27-2015, 02:50 PM
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I am unaware of ANY Rancho Roc that doesn't have Patent #s. But I'd sure love to see one.

Also, Hughes, that is largely accurate.
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Old 10-27-2015, 02:51 PM
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Here is a link to the Innova patent. It is a design patent I believe, so it lasted for 14 years from the date it was granted (February 4, 1986) with no option for renewal, which means it expired in 2000. So basically any disc company could have been started from 2000 onward without paying Innova royalties with no legal repercussions from the Innova patent. I think the reason lots of disc companies have popped up in the last 5 years is due to growth in the sport rather than any patent related issues.
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Old 10-27-2015, 02:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidrboy View Post
I am unaware of ANY Rancho Roc that doesn't have Patent #s. But I'd sure love to see one.

Also, Hughes, that is largely accurate.
Me too! I am actually curious about this. If anyone has any USDGC Rocs from 2011 or 2012, maybe they could check them for patent numbers? That would be around the right time frame for the removal if there ever was one.
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