Summary: This is a sampling of helmet patents from the US Patent Office. We also give you a link to search the Patent Office database.
This is a sample list of helmet patents. We are not patent attorneys or even experienced searchers of the database, but this is an indication of the numerous patents that have been issued for helmet designs, and a place to start if you want to search. We don't understand why some of these patents were issued, since the "innovations" sometimes seem to us to be features we had seen years ago on other helmets.
Here is the link that will produce for you a more recent search list than the one we did to construct this page of samples. It links to you a search on helmets using the US Patent and Trademark Office website search engine. It produces hundreds of patents.
For additional references, see the links included in each patent to previous patents, or use the Patent Office search page link above.
The most recent patents we have checked on are listed first.
Note that to view the older patents, or the newer ones with their drawings or photos, you must download and install a special tiff file viewer that works with your Internet browser. Without the viewer you see only the text for newer patents, and nothing at all for the old ones. That may do for some purposes, but we find the drawings essential in most cases to understand the patents. Now you have to surf with Active-X enabled to see at least some of the illustrations.
Here is a link to Free Patents On Line. They have a decent search engine, but you have to log in to see .pdf's, and we did not.
United States Patent 8,966,670 - Cheng - March 3, 2015
A safety helmet having an outer shell formed from a polycarbonate crown and an acrylonitrile butadiene styrene skirt, and an inner shell formed from expanded polystyrene. The inner shell is co-moulded with the outer shell.
United States Patent 8,813,269 - Blogna, et al - August 26, 2014
Riddell's patent on a helmet with quick-release faceguard to facilitate emergency treatment.
- US Patent 7,222,374 - Musal, et al. - May 29, 2007 Bell's patent for a fitting system incorporating a one-finger adjustable occipital stabilizer. We have not seen one in person, so can't determine how it is unique.
United States Patent 7,857,479 - Marroquin - December 28, 2010
Patent for a lighted helmet with turn signals.
US Patent US 7739783 - Bell Sports (Gregg Jacobsen) - June 29, 2006
The patent for Bell's "roll cage" internal reinforcing connected to the retention strap.
US Patent 7,076,811 - Puchalski - July 18, 2006
Patent for a helmet with "impact absorbing crumple or shear zone." "The shell consists of three (or more) discrete panels that are physically and firmly coupled together providing rigid protection under most circumstances, but upon impact the panels move relative to one another, but not relative to the user's head, thereby permitting impact forces to be dissipated and/or redirected away from the cranium and brain within. Upon impact to the helmet, there are sequential stages of movement of the panels relative to each other, these movements initially being recoverable, but with sufficient vector forces the helmet undergoes structural changes in a pre-determined fashion, so that the recoverable and permanent movements cumulatively provide a protective `crumple zone` or `shear zone`."
US Patent 7,058,989 - Domingos - June 13, 2006
Patent for a sports (soccer) headband "that reduces the force of impact on the player's head and provides the player with better control in redirecting the ball."
United States Patent 7,010,813 - Ahn, et al. - March 14, 2006
A helmet with a fan to cool the wearer.
US Patent 6,978,487 - Abraham - December 27, 2005
Patent for a sweatband to be worn under a helmet to increase the impact protection.
US Patent 6,968,576 - McNeil, et al. - November 29, 2005
Patent for a hockey or football helmet and shoulder pads with shock absorbers linking the two in an effort to protect the cervical spine (neck).
US Patent 20050241049 Application - Ambuske, Aaron et al. - November 3, 2005
Helmet with ABS inmold shell and an inner polycarbonate shell.
US Patent Application 20050210567 - Rogers, David C. et al. - September 29, 2005
Self-adjusting retention system using an occipital stabilizer that tightens automatically when the chin strap is buckled.
US Patent 6,932,150 - Yeh, et al. - August 23, 2005
Patent for a helmet heat dissipation device, circulating cooling fluid to a vent with a radiator.
United States Patent 6,931,671 - Skiba - August 23, 2005
Patent for a thin-shelled helmet using long length, high strength fibers in the shell material.
US Patent Application 20040068779 - Duffy, Niall - April 15, 2004
Strap connecting rear of helmet and back of shorts to help bent-over cyclist hold head up.
United States Patent 6,904,618 - Musal - June 14, 2005
Sports helmet with adjustable ventilation. This is a Bell Sports patent for a helmet with a "shutter" under the shell to close off the vents when desired.
United States Patent 6,665,884 - Demps, et al. - December 23, 2003
Helmet with self-adjusting padding. Design for a baseball batter's helmet that self-adjusts to the head.
United States Patent 6,647,556 - Grepper, et al. - November 18, 2003
Adjustable helmet. An adjustable helmet, particularly a cyclist's helmet having at least one longitudinal spar which is intended to be positioned above the parting, two end pieces one of which is intended to be positioned above the forehead and the other one above the back of the head. Guides between the end pieces and the longitudinal spar which are aligned approximately in parallel with the parting. Two lateral elements which are intended to be positioned above the temples, guides between the end pieces and the lateral elements which are aligned obliquely to the parting, and an adjusting and/or locating device for the relative position of the longitudinal spar, end pieces, and lateral elements.
United States Patent 6,591,428 - Halstead, et al. - July 15, 2003
Helmet fitting system. A fit system based on fluid in a bladder between head and lower portions of the helmet liner. The fluid can be jell, gas or liquid. It can be a curable liquid that sets into solid form, in effect producing a custom fitted helmet. This type of system has been in use in ski boots for at least three decades, but is just making it to helmets.
United States Patent 6,550,071 - Garneau - April 22, 2003
Cyclist helmet with reinforcing hoops. This is Louis Garneau's patent on his "u-bar" design.
United States Patent 6,532,602 - Watters, et al. - March 18, 2003
Insert-molded helmet. The patent for the Sportscope helmet, made up of articulated pieces of foam with small gaps between them. It includes a helmet that folds into a pouch, and seems very closely related to the next patent below.
United States Patent 6,442,765 - Fallon,et al. - September 3, 2002
A folding bicycle helmet in three linked pieces.
- United States Patent 6,434,755 - Halstead, Alexander, Ide - August 20, 2002
A patent for a football helmet with liner sections of different thicknesses and densities. The thicker, softer sections would handle less intense impacts, crushing down until the thinner, harder sections take over to prevent bottoming out. The same inventors have a previous design patent using a more complex arrangement of liner elements.
United States Patent 6,453,477 - Bainbridge, et al. - September 24, 2002. "Protective padding for sports gear."
A new foam composed of poly beads placed in a matrix of another, elastic, material for energy management. Unlike EPS it is breathable and passes moisture.
- United States Patent 6,418,564 - Sheridan - July 16, 2002
A helmet fitted with an airbag to extend its coverage that inflates when the vehicle is in motion and the wearer is separated from the vehicle by a certain distance.
United States Patent 6,425,142 - Sasaki,et al. - July 30, 2002
Specialized's patent on their spring-loaded occipital stabilizer design.
United States Patent 6,381,759 - Katz - May 7, 2002
A helmet liner with extended coverage for non-motorized sports.
United States Patent 6,378,140 - Abraham,Cross - April 30, 2002
This most unusual patent is for a helmet that uses springs instead of a crushable material to manage the energy of an impact. Normally springs are associated with rebound, and the energy stored by the spring is returned to the head. Avoiding that is the reason that non-rebounding crushable foam is normally used instead.
- United States Patent 6,752,510 - Appiah - June 22, 2004
This patent is for a helmet with lighting and possibly alpha character displays. We are surprised that it was granted, since there had been helmets on the market for years with lighting incorporated in them.
- United States Patent 6,301,718 - Rigal - October 16, 2001
A patent assigned to the helmet manufacturer Salomon for an indicator that shows when a helmet has been crashed.
- United States Patent 6,272,692 - Abraham - August 14, 2001
A patent for pads added to the outside of a helmet to provide additional impact protection.
United States Patent 6,241,926 - Cutler - June 5, 2001
A patent for a helmet molding method.
US Patent 6,244,721 - Rodriguez , et al. June 12, 2001
Helmet with illumination that turns on when you put the helmet on. Not to be confused with this Canadian inventor's patent for a helmet that lights up led's to give the wearer clues on fitting.
- United States Patent 5,956,777 - Popovich - September 28, 1999
"A helmet for protecting a head by laterally displacing impact forces, said helmet comprising: a rigid inner shell formed as a single unit; a resilient spacing layer disposed outside of and in contact with said inner shell; and
an articulated shell having a plurality of discrete rigid segments disposed outside of and in contact with said resilient spacing layer and a plurality of resilient members which couple adjacent ones of said rigid segments to one another."
United States Patent 5,416,675 - DeBeaux, May 16, 1995
Patent for a helmet that lights automatically as ambient light fades, and provides a moving display on the back.
United States Patent 6,159,324 - Watters,et al. - December 12, 2000
The process patent for the Sportscope helmet, made of articulated sections of foam joined by a mesh buried inside the segments. This patent also has a long list of previous patents in the field.
United States Patent 6,070,271 - Williams - June 6, 2000
This is a patent for a helmet with a dual-density foam liner. We reported on a helmet made by LT with a dual density liner in our Helmet Update for December, 1991.
United States Patent 6,128,786 - Maddux, Ide - October 10, 2000
A patent for a "one size fits all" helmet, similar to a 1970's Bailen Bike Bucket and many others.
US Patent 6,113,244 - Baumgartner, September 5, 2000
Patent for a helmet lighted by fiber optics.
- United States Patent 5,713,082 - Bassette, et al. - February 3, 1998
A patent for a helmet with the energy management material on the outside, to avoid injuring other players in a sporting event.
- United States Patent 5,815,846 - Calonge - October 6, 1998
"An impact resistant helmet assembly having a first material layer coupled to a second material layer so as to define a gas chamber therebetween which contains a quantity that provides impact dampening upon an impact force being applied to the helmet assembly. The helmet assembly further includes a containment layer disposed over the second material layer and structured to define a fluid chamber in which a quantity of fluid is disposed. The fluid includes a generally viscous gel structured to provide some resistance against disbursement from an impacted region of the fluid chamber to non-impacted regions of the fluid chamber, thereby further enhance the impact distribution and dampening of the impact force provided by the helmet assembly."
- United States Patent 5,687,426 - Sperber - November 18, 1997
"A bicycle helmet including a pair of spaced synthetic plastic shells and contains an opening having an annular wall surface connecting the shells, the annular wall being successively axially convergent and divergent, thereby to reinforce the helmet, and to afford circulation of air to the user's head."
United States Patent 5,699,561 - Broersma - December 23, 1997
Les Broersma obtained this patent for Troxel covering a hollow helmet with inner and outer shell, designed so that the cavity can be filled with foam.
United States Patent 5,263,203 - Kraemer, et al. for Riddell - November 23, 1993
Integrated pump mechanism and inflatable liner for protective
helmets. "In accordance with one aspect of the present invention is a specific, illustrative embodiment of an integrated pump and inflatable liner assembly which comprises a hollow inflatable member for the reception and storage of fluid, the inflatable member having a selected configuration so as to line the protective headgear and partially encircle a user's head; the inflatable member housing at least one resilient member for protection of the user's head; and a pump formed integrally with the inflatable member for moving fluid therein. When the member is positioned inside a helmet, the pump is exposable for adjustment by the user. A bleed valve in the hollow member controls the passage of fluid from the hollow member."
United States Patent 5,083,320 - Halstead - January 28, 1992
Protective helmet with self-contained air pump. "A protective helmet having an outer shell and an inner liner is disclosed. The liner includes a plurality of air compartments interconnected by a number of air channels. A self-contained, tactile actuatable air pump is mounted to the helmet so as to be carried thereby even when the helmet is in use."
United States Patent D303,851
Gentes October 3, 1989
The design patent for the first Giro helmet, the first adult helmet with vents and no hard shell.
United States Patent 4,667,348 - Sundahl for Bell Helmets - May 26, 1987
Cyclist's helmet and face mask. "A motorcyclist or bicyclist helmet has dome shaped top wall structure, side wall structures, a front opening for forward viewing, a shield covering said opening, a lower front wall structure, and rear wall structure. It also includes: (a) frontward facing air inlet defined by the front wall structure, and (b) a face mask carried by the helmet to extend in upright relation inwardly of the lower front wall structure and configured to deflect air received through the air inlet for flow upwardly at the inner side of the shield, and to deflect the helmet wearer's breath away from the shield."
- United States Patent D272,769 - Sundahl, Broersma for Bell Helmets - February 28, 1984
A design patent that appears to be for the Bell Tourlite helmet.
- 3,447,163 - Bothwell, et al - 1967
"A safety helmet comprising an outer shell formed as a double skin member joined around the periphery and containing an impact energy absorbing material. The helmet is provided with a chin strap having a plug-in type fastener receivable in a recess in the interspace between the skins of the shell."
- United States Patent 3,245,087 - Marchello - April 12, 1966
United States Patent 2,923,941 - Roth, Lombard - February 9, 1960 (Image only)
A second Roth/Lombard patent for a helmet with crushable foam and a suspension system holding it off the head with straps, for motorcycle riders and others.
- United States Patent 2,923,941 - Roth, Lombard - January 20, 1953 (Image only)
The first patent for a flyer's crash helmet with impact management liner. The basic patent for a helmet with a crushable foam liner. The patent was to Herman Roth and Charles Lombard. A milestone in the development of impact protection that continues to shape the helmets in use today.
- 2,758,304 - McGowan - 1956
A football helmet with visor.
- 2,296,335 - Brady - 1942 (Image only)
A football-style helmet with outer shell and inner foam or sponge rubber.
- United States Patent 1,347,046 - McDonough - July 20, 1920
A miner's cap with vents and a shield built in to protect the wearer against falling coal and rock.
- United States Patent 1,080,690 - Hipkiss - December 9, 1913
A football helmet made of leather, with a felt liner.