Originally Posted by comprex
I call it "the recycling of old ideas that finally hit the right combination of publicity and supporting circumstances to spark a trend".
If boot development hadn't been far enough along to catch the end of the Spatulas' production life, they would have spiraled into oblivion like Nishizawa or Gauer to name two brands sharing those design features. (And having patents to show for it).
You may be more steeped in some of these designs than I am. But having read a couple of the patents mentioned + the spat application, I disagree with you. The Nishizawa and Gauer patents share some of the Spatula's characteristics, but they were aimed in a different direction. In my quick read, I did not see where either addressed edge vs surface based skiing in soft snow or the relationship of camber to behavior in powder that the spat application did (does). Hence they were conceptually limited in ways which the spat application was not. And it was the extraordinary handling of the spat in powder, slush, etc. that has been driving more recent hybridized designs. I do not think either of those other skis could have ever evolved in the directions where descendants of the spat will go. If you think otherwise, I'd be genuinely interested in knowing why.
To top it off, both the Nishizawa and Gauer patents were drafted in unusually obtuse language. And some of the claims struck me as oddly cluttered - even for the land of patents.
So, as much as the others are interesting historical footnotes, I'm sticking with the spat as the ski that moved the needle.
The discussion of "timing" in innovation is an interesting one though...