The Picard Maneuver was a battle tactic invented by Starfleet Captain Jean-Luc Picard. In 2355, Picard was in command of the USS Stargazer when it was attacked by an unknown alien vessel, later determined to be of Ferengi origin. The subsequent engagement and destruction of the Ferengi ship was sometimes called the Battle of Maxia by some Ferengi.
Development and Execution
The Picard Maneuver was born out of desperation during the battle. The Stargazer, which was damaged, suddenly accelerated into high warp directly towards the Ferengi ship. By doing so the Stargazer appeared to ship's sensors, for an instant, to be in two places at once. When data from the newly-moved ship reached the Ferengi ship's sensors, data from its previous position was still arriving, so the Ferengi effectively "saw" two Stargazers in different locations.
The conflicting and rapidly shifting data caused the Ferengi to target and fire on the wrong vessel, and since the Stargazer opened fire as soon as it dropped out of warp, the Ferengi ship had no time to maneuver out of the way before the phasers and photon torpedoes hit. The Ferengi ship was destroyed. This technique was so successful that it was named after Picard, and there was no known defense against it until 2364. (TNG: "The Battle")
In 2364, Lieutenant Commander Data calculated a defense to the Picard Maneuver. He theorized that since even deep space contains trace gases, active scanning close by for gaseous compression could serve as an indicator for the actual location of a ship that had just used the Picard Maneuver. This defense was first successfully used when Picard attempted to use the Picard Maneuver against the USS Enterprise-D while under the control of a thought maker deployed by DaiMon Bok. This allowed the Galaxy-class starship to use its powerful tractor beam to safely halt the older Constellation-class, limiting its field of fire and without having to fire on it themselves.
Doctor Agnes Jurati had heard of the maneuver. During a battle between Picard and a Romulan fleet over Coppelius in 2399, she joked that any plan good enough to save them might get named after him, before realizing the "Picard Maneuver" already existed, though she mis-remembered it as taking place aboard the Enterprise. Picard noted the maneuver would be useless against a large fleet, but devised a similar strategy to multiply and disperse the Romulans' sensor image of La Sirena using a fundamental field replicator to create the illusion of many Sirenas. The tactic stalled the Romulan fleet long enough for reinforcements to arrive. (PIC: "Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2")
Behind the scenes, it became common practice to refer to Patrick Stewart's habit of tugging his uniform shirt down when standing up as the "Picard Maneuver" (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion (2nd ed., p. 41)). In "Gambit, Part II", Data, as acting captain, concludes a reprimand of Worf, as acting first officer, by tugging his uniform down, imitating the captain.
Wil Wheaton shared with Patrick Stewart and Alison Pill during the TRR: "Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2" that he was once reprimanded for using the "Picard Maneuver" on his costume during the filming of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Stewart gave him full permission to do so moving forward.
An alternate version of the certificate for Picard was made for Star Trek Generations; however, this version was not seen in the film.
The Picard Maneuver was immortalized in the game Star Trek Online with the release of the Heavy Cruiser Refit, which included the Constellation-class as a new set of skins. The device, the Warp Burst Capacitor, replicates the move, launching a player five kilometers away and renders them unable to be targeted.
The Picard Maneuver is also present in the Star Trek: The Next Generation pinball table. It's accomplished by shooting the left loop then the warp ramp.