As a result of being entangled in a patent infringement lawsuit with former NFL sponsored Riddell, Missouri-based sporting goods manufacture, Rawlings, has halted its line of football helmets and shoulder pads.
The statement explained that five models of Rawlings helmets – Tachyon, Quantum, Force, Momentum and Impulse – were a copy cat of Riddell’s “concussion reduction” technology.
Last year, both the Quantum of Tachyon models received recognition – and a 5-star safety inspection – by Virginia Tech’s Biomedical Engineering and Service department. The Tachyon not only won over approval by the university, but also accepted the Bronze Edison Award, a 15-category annual event tailored towards leading innovations and their innovators.
According to the Virginia Tech press release, “the process used for evaluating the head protector involves performing 120 impacts on each helmet model at multiple locations and impact energies.”
Rawlings football helmets feature two technologies – Active Impact Absorption and Zoombang – that are aimed to minimize the scale of impacts and decrease the accounts of head-related injuries.
Active impact absorption (“AIA”) comprise of “communication channels” and dual airbags for stability and comfort, while the nylon spacer material is targeted for material durability.
On the other hand, Zoombang applies vicoelastics (a portmanteau of “viscous” and “elasticity”) in its football helmets to spread out shock initiated by an impact. Specialized molecules within the polymer tighten up when activated – almost like when someone Charlie horses you and, as a result, muscles spasm.
Along with baseball bat and glove production, Rawlings engraved itself in baseball player safety standards by introducing their S100 baseball helmet, which employs technology to withstand pitch speeds of 100 mph.
Back in 2010, Riddell attacked another rival, Schutt Sports, for the same reason. Regardless of staking a patent with Riddell, the lawsuit indicted Schutt’s designs for their Ion and DNA football helmets. The District Court would eventually award $30 million to Riddell.
Rawlings would try to bid for Schutt in 2010, but after an 11-hour bidding war, Platinum Equity in Los Angeles would emerge victor, acquiring Schutt for $33.1 million. Since the acquisition, Schutt relished a partnership with Sports Video Innovations and manufactured the first camera-mounted football helmet.
Despite the litigation, Rawlings will continue to produce football uniforms and gloves.