Mark W. Publicover

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Mark W. Publicover
Cropped Mark Publicover 1997.png
1997 portrait of Mark W. Publicover in front of one of his trampoline enclosures
Los Gatos, California
Alma materUniversity of California, Davis
OccupationInventor, entrepreneur
Known forInventor of the first affordable trampoline safety net enclosure
TitleFounder and CEO of JumpSport, Inc.
Board member ofJumpSport, Inc.

Mark William Publicover (born 1958 in Los Gatos, California) is an American entrepreneur, inventor and co-founder-owner (with Valerie DePiazza Publicover) of JumpSport, Inc. in Silicon Valley. In 1996, Publicover designed the first trampoline safety net enclosure to become commercially successful. These enclosures protect trampoliners from falling off the trampoline.


Publicover is a fourth-generation inventor and entrepreneur born in 1958 in Los Gatos, California.[1] He went to school in San Jose, California, where he graduated from Blackford High School in 1977.[1][2]

Education and early career[edit]

Publicover attended the University of California at Davis where he majored in Economics.[1] He married Valerie A. DePiazza in August 1984.[3] In April 1988, he founded American Builders & Craftsman Inc., a professional homebuilding and commercial construction firm in Saratoga, California.[1][4][5]


In 1995 Publicover's children, along with friends, were jumping on his trampoline when a young neighbor fell off, hurting herself. After that he began building prototypes of his enclosure design.[1][5][6][7][8]

Publicover went on to design and patent a trampoline enclosure that is sold as standard equipment with millions of trampolines each year. By July 1997, Publicover's family-run company, JumpSport, had Hedstrom of Bedford, Pennsylvania, manufacturing their trampoline enclosures, but few sales were achieved during the winter holiday season. This was attributed to the enclosure costing slightly more than the trampoline together with the lack of retail distribution. After burning through most of their assets and remortgaging their home, they decided to make one final effort by attending the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association Super Show in Atlanta and taking out a full-page ad in Disney Magazine. At the Super Show, Costco agreed to test the product in 22 stores, where the product sold well. Costco took the product into all of its stores nationwide. Soon after JumpSport expanded to other retailers.[5][6][9][10][11]

In 1998 Publicover developed two more trampoline safety inventions. After Publicover suffered a minor leg break while testing another manufacturer's trampoline with his kids, he focused on improving the shock-absorption characteristics of the trampoline bed, patenting the StageBounce and DoubleBounce systems. Between 1998 and 2000 his company introduced four trampolines based on these safety features.[6][12] In 2000, Publicover raised capital from Silicon Valley's Band of Angels.[1]

As of May 2014, Publicover has been granted 24 patents.[13] He also has more published patent filings, some of which were still being prosecuted.[14]

Patent litigation[edit]

Publicover initially sold 200 units to Sam's Club for a market test. The sales led to a verbal order for 6,000 units that fell through.[9] Instead, Sam's Club switched to selling competitor Jump King trampoline enclosures that were later deemed unsafe by the Consumer Product Safety Commission in 2005.[15] Publicover says that more low-quality knock-offs quickly flooded the market. In 2001 Publicover sued Wal-Mart, Hedstrom, Jump King, and several other infringing companies.[16] Publicover ended up winning a seven-figure settlement from Hedstrom and JumpKing and while Wal-Mart was not found liable, they were banned from selling the copycat products. In 2007, JumpSport's 15-employee business had $13 million in sales and in 2008 Publicover claimed over $50 million of lost sales due to patent infringement.[5][7][9]


From 1998 to 2006, enclosures gained broad acceptance in the marketplace and were being sold together with more than 80% of all trampolines. In that same period, U.S. sales of trampolines doubled from around 550,000 to 1,200,000 while total annual reported trampoline injuries began to decline.[17][18][19][20][21][22][23]

Personal life[edit]

As of 2014, Publicover lives in Saratoga, California, with his wife, Valerie DePiazza Publicover. They have one son and two daughters.[24]


  1. ^ a b c d e f M. Regan (October 15, 1999). "October IA Meeting Offers Dynamic Speaker". Inventors' Alliance. Archived from the original on June 1, 2014. Retrieved May 31, 2014. Mark Publicover is a fourth-generation inventor and entrepreneur. His early business experience included founding American Builders & Craftsman Inc., a successful professional homebuilding and commercial construction firm. As an innovator, Publicover has numerous pending patents ranging from low tech consumer products to high tech distribution and E-commerce systems.
  2. ^ "Blackford High School Senior Class Members Saga '77 Yearbook". Retrieved May 31, 2014.
  3. ^ "Marriage Records for Valerie DePiazza". PeopleFinders. Retrieved May 31, 2014. Mark W Publicover, Valerie A DePiazza, 08/04/1984, Sacramento, CA
  4. ^ "Mark Publicover Profiles in Saratoga California". Retrieved May 31, 2014.
  5. ^ a b c d Lawrence J. Udell. "Going From Idea to Inc – Turning an Invention Into a Business". California Invention Center. Retrieved May 31, 2014.
  6. ^ a b c "Trampoline Safety – Our Story at JumpSport". JumpSport. Retrieved May 31, 2014.
  7. ^ a b J. Michael Kennedy (October 1, 2002). "Besides a Great Idea, an Inventor Can Use a Patent on Patience". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 31, 2014.
  8. ^ US A fence surrounds a trampoline and extends above the rebounding surface, reducing the risk of injury. Shock absorption is aided in the preferred embodiment by a support system of independent poles, linked at their tops by a flexible strap or line. An impact anywhere on the fence causes the posts to flex inwardly, absorbing the force. Much of this impact injury is stored in system components and is subsequently returned, helping propel an errant jumper back onto the rebounding surface. Numerous other embodiments and accessories are also detailed. Similar arrangements are suitable for use with above ground pools. 6053845, Publicover, Mark W., "Trampoline or the like with enclosure", issued April 25, 2000 
  9. ^ a b c Mina Kimes (April 28, 2008). "Is your idea safe?". Fortune. Retrieved May 31, 2014. Today nearly all of the 1.2 million trampolines sold in the U.S. each year are outfitted with enclosures that prevent children from flying off like stray Ping-Pong balls. Publicover is proud of his invention, but his San Jose-based business, JumpSport, commands less than 1% of the market for enclosures - a market he says was stolen from him by competitors. Publicover is not alone. According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, applications for new patents rose 5% in 2007. At the same time, more inventors are seeing their ideas ripped off. A study by IP Law360, a newswire for intellectual-property lawyers, says the number of patent-related lawsuits rose 6% last year. Publicover waged a five-year lawsuit against copycat manufacturers.
  10. ^ Marty Nemko, PhD (2011). Cool Careers For Dummies. John Wiley & Sons. p. 137. ISBN 9781118051306. Sixty thousand kids a year are treated in hospitals for trampoline-related injuries. So Mark Publicover invented JumpSport (, which provides 360-degree protection around standard-sized trampolines. JumpSport is now sold in thousands of outlets.
  11. ^ "Valerie Publicover: Executive Profile & Biography – Businessweek". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved May 31, 2014. Valerie Publicover is a Co-Founder of JumpSport Inc.
  12. ^ US 6840891, Publicover, Mark W., "Trampoline system with systematically phased spring elements", issued January 11, 2005 
  13. ^ "ininventor:"Mark W. Publicover" grant – Google Search". Retrieved May 31, 2014.
  14. ^ "ininventor:"Mark W. Publicover" – Google Search". Retrieved May 31, 2014.
  15. ^ "CPSC, Jumpking Inc.® Announce Recall of Trampolines, Enclosures" (Press release). Consumer Product Safety Commission. January 25, 2005. Retrieved May 31, 2014. Jumpking Inc.® of Mesquite, Texas, is voluntarily recalling about 1 million trampolines and about 296,000 "FunRing" enclosures sold separately and with Jumpking trampolines. Welds on the frame of these trampolines can break during use, resulting in falls and possible injuries. Additionally, the mounting brackets of the FunRing enclosures have sharp edges, which can cause lacerations.
  16. ^ Jumpsport, Inc. v. Jumpking, Inc. et al (N.D. Cal. March 18, 2004) ("It is ordered, adjudged and decreed that judgment be entered in favor of plaintiff in the amount of $196,000 against defendant Jumpking and $13,750 against defendant Hedstrom, and equitable relief as outlined in the court's order of 3/18/04. Parties to bear their own costs of suit. Signed by Judge Hamilton on 3/18/04. (fb, Court Staff) (Filed on 3/18/2004) (Entered: 03/23/2004)"). Text
  17. ^ Jamie Sotonoff (July 5, 2009). "Suburban doctors, parents weigh in on the trampoline debate". Daily Herald. Paddock Publications, Inc. Retrieved January 21, 2016. Trampoline sales peaked in 2004, when 1.1 million were sold in the U.S., said Mark Publicover, the CEO of JumpSport, a California-based trampoline company and the inventor of several trampoline safety devices, including the safety net. In 2008, despite the recession, about 900,000 trampolines were sold nationwide. Publicover, a father of three who once broke his leg on a trampoline, said there are safe and unsafe ways to play on everything. It helps when parents invest in a good-quality products and keep them well-maintained. 'Trampolines get bad publicity,' Publicover said. 'People look at trampolines differently because there was such negative press years and years ago when they first came out. Swingsets cause 15 deaths a year, and kids play on trampolines far more hours than they play on swingsets.'
  18. ^ George Rutherford, M.S.; Natalie Marcy, B.S.; Alberta Mills, B.A. (April 2004). "Hazard Screening Report – Outdoor Activities and Equipment Generally Considered Children's Products, but also used by Adults" (PDF). Consumer Product Safety Commission. p. 18. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 28, 2013. A third product, trampolines, has been the subject of work by CPSC’s Office of Compliance and CPSC staff has worked with industry and others to strengthen the voluntary standard for these products to reduce the hazards. The injury frequency associated with trampolines increased significantly from 1997 to 2000, but the two years since have shown enough of a decline that the change from 1997 to 2002 is not significant.
  19. ^ James G. Linakis, PhD, MD; Michael J. Mello, MD, MPH; Jason Machan, PhD; Siraj Amanullah, MD, MPH; Lynne M. Palmisciano, MD (2007). "Emergency Department Visits for Pediatric Trampoline-related Injuries: An Update". Academic Emergency Medicine. 14 (6): 539–544. doi:10.1197/j.aem.2007.01.018. PMID 17449791. There has been a continued growth in sales of trampolines from 1989 to 2004, with a 15% annual growth from 2001 to 2004 and 1.2 million new trampoline sales in 2004.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  20. ^ "Summer Safety: Trampoline Dangers". ABC News. July 24, 2007. Some estimates say 6 million homes have trampolines. ...trampolines remain very popular, and the industry estimates about 23 million people use them in the United States. ... The industry suggested the increase in injuries resulted after a boom in sales. Ironically, trampoline foes agree with the sales trends, ...
  21. ^ Anne Harding (July 12, 2007). "Dramatic jump seen in trampoline-related injuries". Reuters. New York. There were just over half a million such visits in the U.S. in 2000-2005, compared to a quarter-million in 1990-1995, ... The "dramatic" increase was likely due to the increased availability of home trampolines, Linakis and his colleagues say.
  22. ^ Trampoline Injury Analysis, Exponent, Inc., Risk of Hospitalized Injury – Injuries per Million Hours: Football 12.4, Bicycling 7.5, Passenger Cars 3.0, Trampolines 2.5, Swimming 1.9. A manufacturer of backyard trampolines asked us to analyze the risk of injury associated with the use of their product, compare it to the risks of other recreational activities, and develop appropriate warnings and other safety information. Safety messages were developed to warn about the accident patterns and user behaviors that were related to injuries as determined from our analysis of the accident data and scientific literature. We refined the words and pictures used in the warnings based on responses from potential and actual trampoline users.
  23. ^ Ronald A. Furnival, MD; Kellee A. Street, MD; Jeff E. Schunk, MD (May 1, 1999). "Too Many Pediatric Trampoline Injuries". Pediatrics. 103 (5): e57. doi:10.1542/peds.103.5.e57. PMID 10224201. S2CID 17544772. A minority of pediatric trampoline injuries (28.2%) occurred from falls off of the trampoline. ... Recommendations in several recent reports regarding recreational trampoline use have included increased supervision, increased use of spotters, placing the trampoline at ground level, placing padding around the outside of the trampoline, enclosing the trampoline within a fence, and the avoidance of complex maneuvers.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  24. ^ Eileen White (April 28, 1998). "Backyard Adventurers Can Try Some of This Hip Equipment". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved May 31, 2014. Then its inventor, a home builder and father of three, discovered it could be helpful for adults who wanted to vary their exercise programs. 'You could use it to get in shape for skiing,' says inventor Mark Publicover of Saratoga, Calif.

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