Charlie Sheen has intellectual property (your joke goes here).

So did Eddie Van Halen and Steve McQueen. So does Paula Abdul. Gary Burghoff. Jamie Lee Curtis. All these celebrities are or were patent holders.

Patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets are an increasing fact of everyday life for all of us—which is why Inventor’s Digest’s primary mission is to educate you about them. And it’s only natural that a celeb-obsessed public is more interested in Taylor Swift’s trademark war chest than Your Company’s Name Goes Here.

Along these lines, I often go to my favorite search engine just to make sure that a public figure does or doesn’t have intellectual property. So when I Binged “Willie Mays trademark,” I was surprised and not surprised with the result.

The basket catch was Mays’ trademark, catching fly balls at his waist instead of over his head.

As mentioned in this space before, invention and innovation do not have to be intellectual property to have relevance. Mays’ basket catch personified easy grace and having fun—inviting us to express ourselves and be comfortable in our own skin.

The basket catch was not demonstrative or excessively showy. It was simply Willie Mays.

Mays’ June 18 death at 93 marks more than the passing of probably the greatest all-around baseball player who ever lived. It’s a reminder of a distinct style and how we should always celebrate this.

Willie had other trademarks. One of my favorites was how his voice would climb into a squeaky pitch when he was kidding others or expressing indignation, whether mock or otherwise.

You’ve got trademarks, whether or not you ever spend a dime on intellectual property. We all have them. It should be a comfort to know they will never expire.


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