New Bedford manufacturer receives patent for basketball backboard

Source: The Standard Times
By Brian Boyd
NEW BEDFORD — A city manufacturer has received a patent for a basketball backboard designed to create a more consistent bounce, the company announced this week.
TrueBounce Inc. received a patent for its perforated polycarbonate backboard earlier this month, nine years after the company originally applied, said Wayne D. Newton, the company’s president and co-founder.
The company had to appeal earlier denials to secure the patent, which now gives it protection for the next 20 years, Newton said.
“It’s such a premier backboard and it can ultimately really enhance basketball,” he said. “We really want to enhance the game.”
Newton, who comes from a design and construction background, founded the company with Eric S. Britto in 2002. Britto had played basketball for New Bedford High School and then Rhode Island College, and he had worked as referee for the NCAA and the NBA.
The holes are strategically drilled to release energy from the ball on impact, resulting in a “true” bounce off the backboard. The goal is to control the bounce, even on a long shot, so as the ball recoils, it stays within the area where players are traditionally taught to catch a ball on the rebound, Newton said.
With players increasingly taking three-point shots, the increased force of the long throw results in the ball traveling farther after it bounces. By releasing some of the energy, the ball stays within a 7-to-10-foot range instead 10 to 14 feet, he said.
“It falls consistently within the traditional rebound zone,” Newton said.
Several years ago, the UMass Dartmouth physics club tested the perforated backboard and determined it released 28 percent of the ball’s energy, according to the company.
The business, located on Conduit Street, has sold several thousand backboards already, with 300 installed at public courts in New York City and 100 installed at public courts in Boston, Newton said.
The company has three staff members and works with subcontractors and business partners. The backboards are made at the New Bedford location. The company produces other equipment, including gym wall padding and steel structures for backboards.
In the early years, the company focused on building a reputation for its signature product while the two founders maintained separate construction businesses. Buoyed by the patent, they are ramping up the backboard business.
“We’re looking to grow,” Newton said. “We’re bringing on sales reps across the country.”
May 17, 2012 12:00 AM
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