Chicken loop: the founder of Ocean Rodeo and three friends say they invented the quick-release system in 2001

In 2001, the founder of Ocean Rodeo and three friends invented the "chicken loop." Now, they're suing a retired lawyer and his firm for a patent filing error made at the time.

The quartet tried to file a patent for a quick-release safety, but the process was never properly finalized, and they lost all credit for their development.

"Before we came along, people were killing themselves, and now it's very unusual to hear of a death in kiteboarding," Richard Myerscough, founder of Ocean Rodeo, told CBC News.

To make things worse, Myerscough says that a Hawaiian company - Nalu Kai - filed a patent for an identical product, a few years later, and then successfully sued Ocean Rodeo.

Now, the Vancouver Island kiteboarders want to prove in the Supreme Court of British Columbia that they were the first to introduce the "chicken loop," and that they lost millions of dollars in licensing fees and royalties.

Myerscough and his friends stress that the patent firm is responsible for the date error and the poor description of the invention that led to the failed process.

The "chicken loop" is a safety feature that allows kiteboarders to quickly depower and detach from a kite in case of emergency (tangled lines, a sudden increase in wind, or lost control of the kite).