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Title:
Lanyard convertible to jewelry
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention relates to a lanyard convertible to jewelry. In one embodiment the lanyard includes a Y-shaped neckpiece having two opposing ends which can be detachably secured together to form a loop and a short segment having an end to which an ID badge holder, a jewelry pendant, or other centerpiece may optionally be attached. The lanyard includes a plurality of centerpieces for this purpose. One or more extension pieces having two opposing ends are also provided. The opposing ends of each extension piece can be detachably secured to one another to form bracelets, or they can be detachably inserted between the opposing ends of the neckpiece to facilitate enlarging the loop formed by the neckpiece. Alternatively, the lanyard may include a linear neckpiece instead of a Y-shaped neckpiece and a slide attachment which may be slidably connected to the linear neckpiece for attachment with the centerpieces.


Inventors:
Emberson, Shirley I. (Albuquerque, NM, US)
Runkles, Jane E. (Albuquerque, NM, US)
Application Number:
10/704681
Publication Date:
10/14/2004
Filing Date:
11/12/2003
Assignee:
EMBERSON SHIRLEY I.
RUNKLES JANE E.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A44C15/00; (IPC1-7): A44C25/00
View Patent Images:
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Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Litman Law, Offices Ltd Richard Litman C. (P.O. Box 15035, Arlington, VA, 22215, US)
Claims:

We claim:



1. A lanyard convertible to jewelry, comprising: a flexible, Y-shaped neckpiece having a first branch terminating in a first end, a second branch forming a junction with the first end and terminating in a second end, and a short segment extending from the junction of the first branch and the second branch and terminating in a third end; at least one detachable centerpiece having a lanyard attachment end; a plurality of reclosable fasteners, each of the ends of said neckpiece and the lanyard attachment end of the centerpiece having one of the fasteners affixed thereto; wherein the reclosable fasteners at the ends of the neckpiece and the centerpiece are interchangeably fastened to each other to form a lanyard convertible into jewelry.

2. The lanyard of claim 1, wherein said centerpiece is a hook attachment.

3. The lanyard of claim 1, wherein said centerpiece is a ring attachment.

4. The lanyard of claim 1, wherein said centerpiece is a drop down pendant.

5. The lanyard of claim 1, wherein said centerpiece is a pen attachment.

6. The lanyard of claim 1, wherein said at least one centerpiece comprises a plurality of centerpieces selected from the group consisting of a hook attachment, a ring attachment, a pen attachment, and a drop down pendant.

7. The lanyard according to claim 1, wherein said reclosable fastener comprises a magnetic catch.

8. The lanyard according to claim 1, further comprising at least one linear extension piece having first and second opposing ends, each of the ends of the extension piece having one of the fasteners affixed thereto.

9. The lanyard according to claim 1, wherein said Y-shaped neckpiece comprises a fixed length of flexible chain.

10. The lanyard according to claim 9, wherein said chain is made from metal.

11. The lanyard according to claim 9, wherein said chain is made from a metal alloy.

12. The lanyard according to claim 9, wherein said chain is made from plastic.

13. The lanyard according to claim 9, wherein said chain is made from fabric.

14. The lanyard according to claim 9, wherein said chain is made from leather.

15. A lanyard convertible to jewelry, comprising: a flexible, linear neckpiece having two opposing ends; at least one detachable centerpiece having a lanyard attachment end; a plurality of reclosable fasteners, each of the ends of said neckpiece and the lanyard attachment end of the centerpiece having one of the fasteners affixed thereto; a slide attachment, slidably connected with said neckpiece, said slide attachment having a reclosable fastener affixed thereto; wherein the reclosable fasteners at the ends of the neckpiece, the slide attachment, and the centerpiece are interchangeably fastened to each other to form a lanyard convertible into jewelry.

16. The lanyard of claim 15, wherein said centerpiece is a hook attachment.

17. The lanyard of claim 15, wherein said centerpiece is a ring attachment.

18. The lanyard of claim 15, wherein said centerpiece is a drop down pendant.

19. The lanyard of claim 15, wherein said centerpiece is a pen attachment.

20. The lanyard according to claim 15, wherein said linear neckpiece comprises a fixed length of flexible chain.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

[0001] This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/461,939, filed Apr. 11, 2003.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] 1. Field of the Invention

[0003] The present invention relates to a lanyard which can be attached to an identification badge and worn around one's neck. More particularly, the present invention relates to a lanyard which is made from modular sections and which can be attached to an identification badge and worn around one's neck, or converted into jewelry.

[0004] 2. Description of Related Art

[0005] Medical personnel and many other employees worldwide are required to wear identification badges while on the job throughout their career. Clothespin type clamping devices or lanyards are generally used as devices for displaying an identification badge on one's person. Clothespin type clamping devices are often difficult to attach to some clothing. Medical personnel, for example, frequently wear hospital scrubs which do not have pockets or collars. Without pockets or collars, it is difficult to attach a clothespin type clamping device to an article of clothing in an appropriate manner.

[0006] Identification badges which are attached to a lanyard, however, can be worn and removed regardless of the type of garment worn. By simply placing the lanyard around a person's neck, the identification badge may be properly displayed. Conventional lanyards, however, are often closed chains which are not detachable. As such, the conventional lanyard can be harmful to the user if it is inadvertently snagged by an object while being worn around the user's neck. Additionally, the conventional chain presents some difficulty to employees who also wish to wear jewelry around their necks, since jewelry chains frequently become tangled with the identification badge lanyard. Consequently, employees who spend a significant amount of time in the work place and are required to wear an ID badge lanyard are rarely ever able to wear the desired jewelry around their necks.

[0007] A lanyard which is itself an item of jewelry would offer a solution to these problems. Until now, however, lanyards for identification badges have been primarily limited to the conventional chains as previously described. Additionally, while jewelry convertible to other uses is known, there is no jewelry item which can easily be converted into a lanyard for identification badges.

[0008] U.S. patent Publication No. 2002/0078707, published Jun. 27, 2002, discloses a method and system for providing a configurable jewelry closure to hold single or multi-strands of jewelry. The configurable jewelry closure comprises a series of common jewelry fasteners on links. The fasteners can be used to attach jewelry strands of varying color, number and length to provide the wearer with a customizable piece of jewelry.

[0009] U.S. patent Publication No. 2002/0148251, published Oct. 17, 2002, discloses a jewelry finding that enables a flexible bracelet to be worn as a necklace. Locket clasps are provided at the ends of the neck accessory to provide secure interconnection of the bracelet clasp ends with the neck accessory, while at the same time enclosing and obscuring from view the connection hardware.

[0010] U.S. Pat. No. 4,334,413, issued Jun. 15, 1982 to P. Gaston, discloses an adjustable necklace of a type in which a length of chain has first and second ends which are each anchored in one of a pair of adjustment elements with a segment adjacent the other end passing through the adjustment element to be resiliently held in position to effect a given adjustment.

[0011] Other related patents and published patent applications include U.S. patent Publication No. 2001/0010160, published Aug. 2, 2001 (adjustable jewelry assembly); U.S. patent Publication No. 2002/0059809, published May 23, 2002 (necklace); U.S. patent Publication No. 2002/0144514, published Oct. 10, 2002 (chain having ends with means to fasten the ends and close and secure the chain); U.S. Pat. No. 4,974,429, issued Dec. 4, 1990 to C. Ferrara (combined bracelet and pendant); U.S. Pat. No. 5,007,252, issued Apr. 16, 1991 to S. Mochizuki (combination necklace that can be assembled in different configurations from separate necklaces of different or equal lengths); U.S. Pat. No. 5,341,634, issued Aug. 30, 1994 to C. Straight (interlocking link chain); U.S. Pat. No. 5,722,260, issued Mar. 3, 1998 to J. Mangano (reversible jewelry clasp for necklaces and/or bracelets and interchangeable jewelry assembly employing same); U.S. Pat. No. 6,014,871 issued Jan. 18, 2000 to T. Romano (jewelry system); U.S. Pat. No. 6,055,802, issued May 2, 2000 to P. DiVietri (fishhook jewelry); U.S. Pat. No. 6,401,488 B1, issued Jun. 11, 2002 to M. Cousin et al. (pop beads having elongated necks); U.S. Pat. No. 6,446,466, issued Sep. 10, 2002 to T. Headley (interchangeable jewelry system with invisible coupling device); U.S. Pat. No. 6,470,708, issued Oct. 29, 2002 to S. Green (adjustable bracelet and method of adjustment); Japanese Patent No. 10-155529 published Jun. 16, 1998 (clasp tool for connection); European Patent No.1,038,463, published Sep. 27, 2000 (necklace convertible into a bracelet); and European Patent No. 1,116,453, published Jul. 18, 2001 (a device capable of regulating the length of the string of a necklace.

[0012] None of the above inventions and patents, taken either singly or in combination, is seen to describe the instant invention as claimed.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0013] The present invention is a lanyard convertible into jewelry. In one embodiment the lanyard includes a flexible, Y-shaped neckpiece having two opposing ends which can be detachably secured together to form a loop and a short segment having an end to which an ID badge holder, a jewelry pendant, or other item may optionally be attached. The lanyard further includes a plurality of centerpieces, including, a hook attachment, a ring attachment, a drop down pendant, and a pen attachment for this purpose. The hook attachment and ring attachment each provide a support from which an identification badge can be hung when a user is required to display an identification badge. The lanyard may also be provided with one or more extension pieces having two opposing ends. The flexible neckpiece and the extension pieces are preferably jewelry components. The opposing ends of each extension piece can be detachably secured to one another to form bracelets, or they can be detachably inserted between the opposing ends of the neckpiece to facilitate enlarging the loop formed by the neckpiece. When a user is not required to display an identification badge, the lanyard may be easily converted into a necklace simply by replacing the hook, ring, or pen attachment with the detachable drop pendant.

[0014] In an alternative embodiment, the lanyard includes a flexible, linear neckpiece instead of a Y-shaped neckpiece. The linear neckpiece includes two opposing ends which can be detachably secured together to form a loop. A slide attachment is further provided, which may be hung from the linear neckpiece. The slide attachment has an end to which the centerpieces, described above, may optionally be attached.

[0015] In a preferred embodiment, the various segments of the lanyard are fastened together by magnetic catches. Magnetic catches are particularly advantageous as they can be easily engaged and disengaged when detaching the lanyard or converting the lanyard into an item of jewelry. Additionally, if the lanyard is snagged or entangled with another object while being worn around the user's neck, the lanyard will simply detach without causing significant harm to the user or to the lanyard itself. Another benefit of using magnetic catches as reclosable fasteners is that pairs of magnetic catches, even when fastened, can be held together by virtue of the combined magnetic forces of the fastened pairs. This tendency allows a user to configure the lanyard into an even greater number of creative styles. Furthermore, use of the magnetic closures may prove medically useful, as magnets are being increasingly used for medical therapy.

[0016] Accordingly, it is a principal object of the invention to provide a lanyard for displaying identification badges.

[0017] It is another object of the invention to provide a lanyard for displaying identification badges which can be easily converted into a necklace.

[0018] It is a further object of the invention to provide a lanyard for displaying identification badges which can easily by converted into a necklace and one or more bracelets.

[0019] Still another object of the invention is to provide a lanyard for displaying identification badges which is easily unfastened when pulled or snagged.

[0020] It is an object of the invention to provide improved elements and arrangements thereof in an apparatus for the purposes described which is inexpensive, dependable and fully effective in accomplishing its intended purposes.

[0021] These and other objects of the present invention will become readily apparent upon further review of the following specification and drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0022] FIG. 1 is an exploded view of a lanyard convertible to jewelry according to a first embodiment of the present invention, showing alternate configurations as lanyard, necklace, or pen holder.

[0023] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a lanyard convertible to jewelry according to a first embodiment of the present invention, showing the lanyard with a hook attachment secured to an identification badge.

[0024] FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a lanyard convertible to jewelry according to a first embodiment of the present invention, showing the lanyard with a ring attachment secured to an identification badge.

[0025] FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a lanyard convertible to jewelry according to a first embodiment of the present invention, showing the lanyard configured into a necklace.

[0026] FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a lanyard convertible to jewelry according to a first embodiment of the present invention, showing the lanyard with a drop down pendant configured into a necklace and the extension pieces configured into a choker.

[0027] FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a lanyard convertible to jewelry according to a first embodiment of the present invention, showing the lanyard configured into a necklace and the extension pieces configured into two bracelets.

[0028] FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a lanyard convertible to jewelry according to a first embodiment of the present invention, showing the lanyard configured into a necklace with an elongated neck loop using one extension piece and the other extension piece configured to form one bracelet.

[0029] FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a lanyard convertible to jewelry according to a second embodiment of the present invention, showing the linear neckpiece and linear extension pieces.

[0030] FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a lanyard convertible to jewelry according to a second embodiment of the present invention, showing alternate configurations as lanyard, necklace, or pen holder.

[0031] FIG. 10 is a perspective view of a lanyard convertible to jewelry according a second embodiment of the present invention, showing the slide attachment attached to one end of the neckpiece and passed through an opposing end of the neckpiece.

[0032] FIG. 11 is a perspective view of a lanyard convertible to jewelry according to a second embodiment of the present invention, showing linear extension pieces attached to opposing ends of the neckpiece and disposed in criss-cross fashion over one another.

[0033] FIG. 12 is a perspective view of a lanyard convertible to jewelry according to a second embodiment of the present invention, showing opposing ends of the neckpiece attached to drop down pendants.

[0034] Similar reference characters denote corresponding features consistently throughout the attached drawings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0035] The present invention is a lanyard convertible to jewelry. In one embodiment, depicted in FIG. 1, the lanyard 10 comprises a generally Y-shaped, flexible neckpiece 12 having a first end 14a, an opposing second end 14b, and a short segment terminating in a third end 14c. The lanyard has a reclosable fastener 16 disposed at each of the first, second, and third ends, 14a, 14b, and 14c. The lanyard 10 also includes first and second linear extension pieces, 18a and 18b, each having a reclosable fastener 16 at each opposing end. Any suitable reclosable fastener 16 may be used, including, but not limited to, magnetic catches, hooks and clasps. Magnetic catches are a preferred fastener, however and are depicted in the drawings.

[0036] As can be seen in the configuration shown in FIG. 1, first and second extension pieces 18a and 18b may be detachably connected to each other at one end, and to ends 14b and 14a, respectively, of the Y-shaped neckpiece 12 at each opposing end. The flexible neckpiece 12 and the extension pieces, 18a and 18b, are preferably a fixed length of flexible chain. The chain can be made from a variety of materials, including metals or metal alloys, e.g., gold, silver, and stainless steel, a synthetic composition, e.g. plastic, fabric, leather, or any other suitable resilient material. While a Y-shaped neckpiece 12 is shown in the drawings, the designs, dimensions, and textures of the neckpiece 12 may vary. As shown in the figures, the neckpiece 12 can be adorned with a wide variety of ornamental structures. The ornamental structures may be made from any suitable material including, but not limited to, turquoise, silver, lapis, glass beads, crystal beads, diamonds, rubies, or sapphires.

[0037] Also provided are a plurality of detachable centerpieces including, but not limited to, a hook attachment 20, a ring attachment 22, at least one drop down pendant 24, and a pen attachment 25. As is shown, more than one drop down pendant 24 may be provided. The hook attachment 20, the ring attachment 22, the drop down pendant 24, and the pen attachment 25 each have detachable fastening means 16 which may alternately be connected with the fastener 16 at the third end 14c of the neckpiece 12. The pen attachment 25 provides a stylish and convenient way to access a pen. The pen attachment 25 can include any suitable pen as long as the fastening means 16 can be appropriately affixed thereon. Preferably the “Pogo” minipen by Paper Mate®, having a ring and detachable fastening means 16 affixed thereto, is used.

[0038] If a user attaches the detachable hook attachment 20 or ring attachment 22 to the third end 14c of the neckpiece 12, the lanyard may be used to display a conventional identification badge A, as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, respectively. The hook attachment 20 can be used for identification badges having an aperture or other opening through which the hook attachment 20 may be inserted, as shown in FIG. 2. The ring attachment 22 can be used as a support from which to hang an identification badge A which has a clothespin type clamping device, as depicted in FIG. 3.

[0039] If a user attaches the drop down pendant 24 to the short segment terminating in the third end 14c of the neckpiece 12, as shown in FIG. 4, the lanyard 10 may be configured into a necklace. The configuration depicted in FIG. 5 is identical to that described for FIG. 4 except that the extension pieces 18a and 18b are removed from the lanyard and detachably connected together by reclosable fasteners 16 to form a choker 26. The configuration depicted in FIG. 6 is identical to that depicted in FIG. 5 except that each extension piece 18a and 18b has its ends fastened together by fasteners 16 to form two bracelets 28a and 28b. The configuration depicted in FIG. 7 is identical to the configuration depicted in FIG. 6 except that the first extension piece 18a is connected at its opposing ends to first and second ends 14a and 14b of the neck piece to form an elongated neckpiece loop. The second extension piece 18b forms a bracelet 20 as described above.

[0040] FIG. 8 depicts an alternate embodiment of the lanyard, generally designated as 30 in the drawings. The lanyard 30 is identical to the lanyard 10, except that the lanyard 10 has a linear neckpiece 32, instead of a Y-shaped neckpiece 12, and a slide attachment 34 through which the neckpiece 32 may pass. As in the neckpiece 12, the neckpiece 32 has opposing ends 14a and 14b to which reclosable fasteners 16 are attached. As such, the ends 14a and 14b can attach to one another and to first and second linear extension pieces, 18a and 18b, as previously described. The slide attachment 34 can be a necklace slide bail, or any other suitable structure having a central aperture through which the neckpiece 32 may easily pass. The slide attachment 34 also includes a reclosable fastener 16 that is affixed thereto for attachment with a desired centerpiece. Thus, once the neckpiece 32 is passed through the slide attachment 34, the reclosable fastener 16 on the slide attachment 34 can be joined with the reclosable fastener on the hook attachment 20, ring attachment 22, drop down pendant 24, or pen attachment 25, as depicted in FIG. 9.

[0041] In an alternative configuration, depicted in FIG. 10, the slide attachment 34 is attached to one end 14b of the neckpiece 32. The opposing end 14a of the neckpiece 32 is passed through the slide attachment 34 and then attached to the drop down pendant 24. When assembled in this configuration, the slide 34 may be used to receive the temple piece of a pair of eyeglasses (not shown) and thereby also serve as an eyeglass holder.

[0042] In yet another configuration, depicted in FIG. 11, the neckpiece 32 is formed into a loop and opposing ends 14a and 14b respectively of the neckpiece 32 are attached to linear attachment pieces 18a and 18b. As is evident in this configuration, when the opposing ends 14a and 14b are attached to linear attachment pieces 18a and 18b, they are still drawn together when they are brought into close proximity with one another. This magnetic pull helps gather the fastener pairs together and maintain linear attachment pieces 18a and 18b in place. The free ends of each attachment piece 18a and 18b are attached to drop down pendants 24, as is shown.

[0043] In another configuration, depicted in FIG. 12, the neckpiece 32 is attached at opposing ends 14a and 14b to two drop down pendants 24. As can be seen, the ends 14a and 14b are brought into close proximity with one another and are held in place by magnetic attraction.

[0044] The configurations described above are only exemplary, as the lanyard 32 and extension pieces 18a and 18b, can be joined in a variety of ways to assume an infinite number of additional styles. For example, the lanyard 32 and extension pieces 18a and 18b can be twisted together to form a twisted choker, knotted together in at least one position to create a knotted necklace, attached at opposing ends to create a belt for wearing around the wearer's waist, and wrapped around one's ankle to create an anklet.

[0045] It is to be understood that the present invention is not limited to the sole embodiments described above, but encompasses any and all embodiments within the scope of the following claims.