In 1977 Ed Headrick patented this basket-target for disc (Frisbee) golf. (U.S. Patent 4,039,189) (PDF). After the patent had expired, Headrick’s company (DGA) sued Champion Disc for trade dress infringement. The district court threw out the case, finding that the patented design was functional and thus could not retain trade dress protection. The holding was affirmed by Disc Golf Assoc., Inc. v. Champion Discs, Inc., 158 F.3d 1002 (9th Cir. 1998).
In addition to this patent, “Steady” Ed invented the modern Frisbee and the game of disc golf! Before he died in 2002, he made this remark.
“I felt the Frisbee had some kind of a spirit involved. It’s not just like playing catch with a ball. It’s the beautiful flight.”
Find courses in your area. (Unfortunately for me, there are no courses in the city of Chicago).