Since last weekend everyone has heard the news about Casey Ashley winning the Super Bowl of bass fishing, the Bassmaster Classic, on Lake Hartwell in South Carolina. Did you know that the lure he used on the last day of the Classic, to help him catch the 20 pound bag of bass, has a story all of its own?
Casey fished three long days on Lake Hartwell and steadily caught fish every day on and off with a homemade ponyhead/horsehead/fishhead/jigheaded spinner rigged thing and a Pearl White color, Zoom Super Fluke Jr. His father, Danny, made him about 20 of the lead headed type baits before the tournament. So what’s so special about that particular ponyhead/horsehead/fishhead/jigheaded spinner rigged thing? The story of the bait goes all the way back to its invention in 1959.
This particular bait was invented back in 1959 by Mr. Bert Hall. The lure is called a “Road Runner”. Mr. Hall was motivated to create this horse-head style lure after battling scores of line snarls when he used a typical jig-spinner rig with a vertical presentation. He devised another way to attach a spinner to a jig and simultaneously fashioned a lure that inveigled fish in the waters of the Ozark Region. Mr. Hall and a fishing buddy started manufacturing the lures in Branson, MO. In 2004, the Hall family sold the company, Blakemore Lures to TTI Companies forming TTI-Blakemore Fishing Group. Who still to this day own and manufacture “Road Runners” fishing lures. The lure “Mighty Casey” won with has been produced for years and now is known as the “Randy’s Swimn’ Runner”.
The “Randy’s Swimn’ Runner” was introduced to the fishing market in July 2014 at the ICAST show. The bait combines the sound, vibration, and slower retrieve of the original “Road Runner” with a swimbait that is a deadly combination. The Road Runner head features 3-D eyes, hologram paint, premium hooks, and a chrome over brass willow blade that spins on a ball bearing swivel. The head’s special hook position allows the head to be “rocked” by modern swimbait designs. The bait comes in both quarter and three-eighths ounce sizes, making it easy to cast on either spinning or casting gear. The current colors available include: (Head and body color) Lemon Shad-Alewife, Newborn Shad-Opening Night, Copper Shad-Arkansas Shiner, Smoke’n Fire-Salt and Pepper Phantom, Lemon Shad-Chartreuse Shad, Chrome Blue-Albino Shad, Bluegill-Bluegill. The Bassmaster Classic winning bait is already in production and can be seen on the shelves of many local tackle stores.
I guess the biggest question about the Classic winning bait has been why has no one ever tried to produce a bait similar to the “Road Runner” since the patent ran out years ago. That leads my article to the next step of explaining the 1990 Configuration Trademark that is held by TTI-Blakemore Fishing Group.
A conventional trademark such as names, words and logos, which are typically used on the product, labels and packaging, product configuration trademarks provide rights in the appearance of the product itself. In 2000 the U.S. Supreme Court drew a distinction between product design and product packaging, pointing out that, in contrast to the packaging for a product, the design of the product itself usually does not identify the source of the product, but rather is the result of functional or aesthetic considerations. According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, a Configuration Trademark design of a product must be iconic enough to deserve its own Trademark Registration for its unique shape. A unique product shape can be protected through design patents for a limited peroid, but if the product design is non-functional and distinctive, the power of a product configuration trademark can last forever. A few good examples would be the Coke® bottle shape or the Hershey divided chocolate candy bar. Now we all know the story of that famous winning lure from the 2015 Bassmaster Classic. It’s funny how each year the winning bait at the Bassmaster Classic affects sales for months. This year is going to be different because the “Road Runner” has affected sales for many years and will continue on that upward sales forecasts going into the future.
Web site: http://www.ttiblakemore.com/home/
Road Runner lures are protected under the Configuration Trademark #1577913. “Road Runner” is a registered trademark of TTI-Blakemore Fishing Group.
Thanks for reading…. Branch
About the Author:
Tom Branch, Jr. is a freelance outdoor writer. He retired as a Lieutenant/Paramedic/Firefighter with Gwinnett County Fire, GA after 29 years of service in 2013. He is currently a contracted employee with NAVICO/Lowrance working as the College Fishing Recruiter. He has been working in the Outdoor Industry for over 20 years and is sponsored by – Bass Pro Shops in Lawrenceville, GA, Lowrance, Wave Away, Seaguar, Strike King Lures & Costa Sunglasses. He and his beautiful wife, Kim live north of Atlanta near Braselton, GA with their lab Jake. They volunteer with Operation One Voice (501c3) helping Special OPS soldiers & their families. (www.operationonevoice.org)