Inventing Huckleberry Hiking
This is the story of Huckleberry Hiking. Or, at least one, very cool part of it.
LJ Wilde grew up Jackson, Wyoming. I can tell that LJ is an experiencer, not just from the fact that he grew up skiing, hiking, and river running. He married Jana, started a beautiful family, and continued the outdoor experience with the whole crew. LJ attended and graduated from Utah State University (USU). He apparently started in USU’s pilot program, but wound up with a master’s degree in mechanical engineering. After that, he worked as a product designer/engineer for Spartronics (formerly Inovar) and then later independently, helping others design and develop their inventions.
This is the cool part: the Wilde’s welcomed their third Wilde child—Luciana—in 2012. Luci has a rare genetic disorder called Hereditary Spastic Paraparesis. The condition prevents Luci from walking independently. LJ’s mindset? He began to wonder “how are we going to hike together?” So, in total dad-engineer fashion, he started designing a backpack frame-mounted vehicle to adventure Luci on through the wild.
LJ recently went out on his own and started a new company based on his idea for Luci. The name of LJ’s new company is Huckleberry Hiking. He has worked through several versions of his invention to arrive at a highly engineered vehicle that, not only gets Luci around like a mountain goat, but also has a range of other applications.
I get to be LJ’s patent and trademark attorney in this story. It has been so fun to witness the product development and hear of LJ and Luci’s awesome product testing adventures. Many strangers have taken notice and given LJ and Luci incredibly positive feedback, including on social media.
For our intellectual property strategy, I helped LJ conduct prior art and patentability searching and analysis, as well as prepare and file a Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) (international) patent application for his invention. The PCT patent application process gives inventors a uniform way to begin the patent application process in around 157 countries throughout the world.
The basis for seeking patent protection for LJ’s unique invention includes a number of really cool features and functionality. For example, the backpack frame is yoked to the main portion in a way that allows the “sherpa” (or puller), to control the vehicle over difficult terrain through subtle body movements. The seat has suspension for a more comfortable ride. Also, the frame disassembles into backpack, seat, and main portions; the main portion has a unique diamond-shaped stem and off-set hinge configuration that allows it to fold together in the same plane for easy stowing in a car trunk. Further, when the backpack, seat, and main portions are all connected, the entire vehicle can basically stand on attached trekking poles that act as a kickstand. LJ has even worked out an e-powered version. Load platforms for the vehicle are modular: you can swap out the seat for a saddle bag or rack configuration for hauling all kinds of things.
Huckleberry Hiking is still ramping up by taking pre-orders, marketing, and preparing for production. Even though it is in early stages, I have no doubt that this invention is a winner. The story behind it is already so amazing.