Title:
Sports game with movable figures
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
This invention is a sports game which allows the user to compete and practice in various types of games inside or outside and with or without the participation of others. It provides a variety of three-dimensional amusement and sporting games which simulate sports figures interacting with the user by receiving a game ball thrown or otherwise projected by the user.



Inventors:
Lopez, Mario Antonio (Spring, TX, US)
Lopez, Nicole Denise (Spring, TX, US)
Application Number:
10/950968
Publication Date:
05/26/2005
Filing Date:
09/27/2004
Assignee:
LOPEZ MARIO A.
LOPEZ NICOLE D.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
273/359
International Classes:
A63B63/00; A63B63/06; A63B69/00; A63B69/34; A63B71/06; A63B71/02; (IPC1-7): A63B63/00; A63B69/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20060068949Advanced football gameMarch, 2006Autry
20060073913Low compression golf ballApril, 2006Castner
20080102991Athlete Reaction Training SystemMay, 2008Hawkins
20080188321GOLF PUTTER HEADS AND METHODS OF MAKING THEMAugust, 2008Feighery
20060073921Method and system for playing a table gameApril, 2006Gast et al.
20090181811SPORTS TRAINING AIDJuly, 2009Bard
20080230174GRIP HAVING A STABILIZED GRIPPING SURFACESeptember, 2008Huang
20090048044Sports electronic training system with sport ball, and applications thereofFebruary, 2009Oleson et al.
20020082111Metal and composite golf club shaftJune, 2002Hedrick et al.
20070026969Visual Effect on a Golf Ball Utilizing Overlapping Stamps on Different LayersFebruary, 2007Melanson et al.
20030139222Golf club set with optimal center of massJuly, 2003Vadersen



Primary Examiner:
ARYANPOUR, MITRA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
David, Henry G. (700 Texas Center, P.O. Box 1470, Waco, TX, 76703-1470, US)
Claims:
1. A sports game comprising: at least one figure attached to a sleeve post said sleeve post sliding over a support post; a base structure comprising at least one tunnel track securely attached; said tunnel track configured with an opening substantially centered in top; a motorized transport assembly positioned within said tunnel track; said support post attached to said motorized transport assembly and extending through said opening.

2. The sports game of claim 1 wherein said motorized transport assembly comprising a first powered rotation means with a first pinion gear and said sleeve post comprising a second pinion gear mated with said first pinion gear.

3. The sports game of claim 2 wherein said base structure comprising a plurality of said tunnel tracks securely attached.

4. The sports game of claim 3 wherein there is a plurality of said figures attached to a plurality of sleeve posts, said plurality of sleeve posts sliding over a plurality of said support posts which are attached to a plurality of said motorized transport assemblies and extending through a plurality of said openings.

5. The sports game of claim 1 wherein said figure resembles at least part of a conventional ball game sports figure.

6. The sports game of claim 4 wherein each of said plurality of said figures resemble at least part of a conventional ball game sports figure.

7. The sports game of claim 5 wherein said figure further comprising a ball retaining means reversibly attached.

8. The sports game of claim 6 wherein each of said plurality of said figures further comprising ball-retaining means reversibly attached.

9. The sports game of claim 7 wherein said figure further comprising at least one movable and rotatable arm.

10. The sports game of claim 8 wherein said plurality of said figures each further comprising at least one movable and rotatable arm.

11. The sports game of claim 10 wherein said movable and rotatable arm is attached to second powered rotation means.

12. The sports game of claim 11 further comprising a sub-level unit reversably attached to said base structure comprising: an inclined plane ending in a ball retrieval bin; a back wall reversibly attached substantially parallel to said figures; and an overhead canopy substantially perpendicular to said figures reversibly attached to said back wall.

13. The sports game of claim 11 further comprising a back wall substantially parallel to said figures reversibly attached to said base structure; and an overhead canopy substantially perpendicular to said figures reversibly attached to said back wall.

Description:

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/507,048, filed Sep. 29, 2003, from which priority is claimed pursuant to 35 U.S.C. 119(e). In addition, this application claims the benefit of Disclosure Document No. 537717, filed Sep. 2, 2003 which should be considered as part of the file of this patent application.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to the field of sports games which combine recreation with convenient sports training.

2. Background Information

Recreational sports are beloved by Americans and much time and money is spent every year in indulging this love. Although the most traditional way to play and practice sports is outside in the fresh air, sometimes that is not practical or desirable. There are times when an indoor venue is necessary and even preferable to playing outside. Also, there are times when a single player wants to practice his skills or compete against himself rather than gathering a group of friends for a sporting game. The present invention addresses these concerns and provides a convenient and practical way to compete or train in various sports in the comfort and convenience of the indoors as well as outdoors and with multiple participants.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In view of the foregoing, it is an object of the present invention to provide a safe and convenient way to play or practice various sports or sporting games.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a realistic manner in which players can practice typical sporting skills.

Further, it is another object of the present invention to provide a fun and entertaining three-dimensional amusement game resembling a conventional sports stadium having one or multiple movable sports figures which simulate offensive or defensive sports players running up or across a sports playing field with the objective of receiving a game ball thrown or otherwise projected from a user.

In satisfaction of these and other related objectives, Applicant's present invention provides a convenient, safe, consistent manner in which to practice various sporting skills under completely controlled conditions. In addition, the present invention provides a realistic, exciting three-dimensional amusement game for sports enthusiasts.

Applicant's approach to the problem described above is certainly simple, but it is equally unobvious. Applicant's Sports game permits, for the first time, an indoor alternative to typically outdoor sporting games. In addition, the Sports game permits athletes to practice their skills in a controlled environment rather than outside in the elements and without the necessity for other people to be present, and allows for game enthusiasts to indulge in sporting games even during inclement weather or, in the alternative, this game can be utilized in an outdoor venue still having the advantage of allowing the user to play or practice by himself without the aid or presence of team mates.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a cross-sectional view of the sport game invention in one preferred embodiment.

FIG. 2 is an enlarged frontal view of one embodiment of the sports figure.

FIG. 3 is an enlarged longitudinal cross-sectional view of one embodiment of the motorized transport assembly.

FIG. 4 is an enlarged cross-sectional view of the base structure and tunnel track.

FIG. 5 is an enlarged frontal view of one embodiment of a movable and rotatable arm.

FIG. 6 is a top perspective of the base structure showing the tunnel tracks.

FIG. 7 is a top perspective of the base structure showing overhead canopy.

FIG. 8 is a side perspective of one embodiment of the base structure and back wall.

FIG. 9 is a cross sectional view of a motor and gear drive assembly.

FIG. 10 is a top perspective of the motorized transport assembly.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

With reference to FIG. 1, the Sports game of the present invention is identified generally by the reference number 10. Referring primarily to FIG. 2, sports game 10 includes a figure 12. Figure 12 has various embodiments, all of which have been envisioned by the inventor and are included in this invention. Figure 12, in the embodiment shown, is a representation of a sport figure such as a football, baseball, basketball, or soccer player. Other useful embodiments are envisioned where figure 12 could also be a full, miniature, oversized, or juvenile representation. Figure 12, in whatever embodiment, is made of conventional materials, most likely plastic composite, heavy cardboard, or lightweight metal and is decorated in conventional manner. Figure 12 is attached to sleeve post 14, whereby sleeve post 14 may be incorporated into material of figure 12, or sleeve post 14 is attached to figure 12 through conventional means, such as nuts and bolts, or industrial glue.

Sleeve post 14 slides over support post 15, as shown in FIG. 2, to support figure 12. In view of the novelty of the present invention, figure 12 can easily be “changed out” with other FIGS. 12 in order to vary the game by simply sliding new figure 12—attached to new sleeve post 14—down over support post 15. Also shown in FIG. 1, in one preferred embodiment, there is a plurality of figures, here shown as figure 12 and FIG. 16.

Referring now to FIG. 3, a first pinion gear 44 is attached to first powered rotation means 46. This first powered rotation means 46 moves said first pinion gear 44. Referring now to FIG. 2, when sleeve post 14 is slid down support post 15, as seen by arrow, second pinion gear 17, which is attached to figure 12, is mated to said first pinion gear 44. These pinion gears 44 and 17 cause figure 12 to rotate clockwise or counter clockwise as follows: first powered rotation means 46 turns first pinion gear 44, first pinion gear 44 turns second pinion gear 17 and second pinion gear 17 turns figure 12.

Further referring to FIG. 3, motorized transport assembly 40 in the preferred embodiment includes at least one vertical side having at least one free-rolling wheel assembly 128 that guides motorized transport assembly 40 through tunnel track 24. In the preferred embodiment, motorized transport assembly 40 further comprising top side having at least one free-rolling wheel assembly 130 that guides motorized transport assembly 40 through tunnel track 24.

Further embodiments of figure 12, not shown, including lights and/or electronic sensors incorporated into the body and/or eyes for further game enjoyment. In at least one embodiment, best seen in FIG. 2, figure 12 includes a ball-retaining means 32. Ball-retaining means 32 is most likely made of a net or woven material and is reversibly attached by conventional means, such as nuts and bolts or velcro, to figure 12. Ball-retaining means 32 could also be made of a basket-like structure or any such means of retaining a ball as is known in the art. In the preferred embodiment, the game is played by the user throwing or otherwise depositing the game ball into the ball-retaining means 32.

As best shown in FIG. 5, figure 12 can also include at least one movable and rotatable arm (arm) 36. Arm 36 is attached by conventional means known in the art and can be adjusted either manually through the use of screws or by use of a second powered rotation means 37 as seen in FIG. 5. As shown in FIG. 2, if ball-retaining means 32 is attached to arm 36, mostly likely substantially between arms and torso, the effective area of the field of play can be adjusted, as shown by arrow in FIG. 2, by manually or through motorized means, adjusting the arm 36 to make the ball-retaining means 32 larger or smaller. This allows a user to customize the game according to his or her skill level.

Referring now to FIG. 5, by use of a first gear 39, second gear 38 attached to arm 36, and second powered rotation means 37, arm 36 can be rotated mechanically during the play of the game, changing the size of ball-retaining means 32 while user is attempting to hit the target, greatly increasing the difficulty of play. Second powered rotation means 37 turns first gear 39, first gear 39 turns second gear 38, and second gear 38 turns arms 36. Second powered rotation means 37 is electrically wired to a circuit board as is conventional in the art.

Another embodiment allows for ball-retaining means 32 to be only partially attached to figure 12, for example at arm 36 and at the equivalent of the hand area at arm 39, and to be unattached along the rest of the bottom edge of ball-retaining means 32. This leaves open or unattached the lower part of the net and allows the ball, which hits the target, to exit downward through the opening.

In FIG. 6, a top view of base structure 22 shows a substantially unbridged top with perforations 50 to allow such game balls to fall through to sub-level 23, best seen in FIG. 1, roll down inclined plane 26, and end up in a resting position in ball retrieval bin 28 for easy retrieval by a user. This would greatly enhance the enjoyment and ease of use of the game by a user. Sub-level unit 23, as well as inclined plane 26 and ball retrieval bin 28 can be made of wood, plastic, heavy cardboard, or light weight metal using means conventional in the art.

Another aspect of a preferred embodiment of sports game 10 is shown in FIGS. 1, 7 and 8, and has to do with the aesthetic aspects of the game. A back wall 20 and overhead canopy 18 can be attached to sub-level unit 23, as shown in FIG. 1. Another embodiment, shown in FIG. 8, has back wall 20 attached to base structure 22 and base structure 22 is elevated by leg posts 29. Back wall 20 and overhead canopy 18 will most likely be made of wood, plastic, heavy cardboard, or light weight metal using means conventional in the art. Back wall 20 will most likely include a tube support frame including first and second vertical end posts 106, 108, and first and second horizontal side posts 110, 112. First vertical end post 106 is mounted to one back side end of base structure 22. Second vertical end post 108 is mounted to opposite back side end of same. First horizontal side post 110 is connected between first and second vertical end posts 106, 108, above base structure 22. Second horizontal side post 112 is connected between first and second vertical end posts 106, 108 at the top most points. A soft or hard plastic composite sheet, or other material, is attached to frame posts. The length of back wall 20 is equal to base structure 22.

Referring to FIG. 7, overhead canopy 18 includes a tube support frame including first and second vertical end posts 114, 116 and one horizontal canopy post 118. First vertical end post 114 is mounted to front side end of base structure 22. Second vertical end post 116 is mounted to opposite front side end of same. Horizontal canopy post 118 is connected between first and second vertical end posts 114, 116 at the top most points. A soft or hard plastic composite sheet, or other material, is attached between horizontal canopy post 118 and back wall 20. Length of canopy is equal to length of back wall.

Back wall 20 and overhead canopy 18 can be decorated to resemble a sports stadium or other sports locale through the use of artificial grass, field markers, boundary markers, base marker plates, hash marks, simulated audience attendance, scoreboards, etc., in order to enhance the user's enjoyment of the game. These decorations are not shown, but are well known in the art. In addition, lights can be attached to back wall 20 and/or overhead canopy 18, not shown, to simulate night-time sports games. The inventor also foresees audio equipment used to simulate crowd sounds and typical sports games noises, such as music, to enhance the aesthetic aspects of the game.

As best shown in FIG. 4, but also shown in FIG. 1, base structure 22 is configured and produced for the purpose of securely maintaining one or more tunnel tracks within its retaining walls. Base structure 22 is a case within which tunnel track 24 is securely attached. It is most likely substantially rectangular in shape and of a substantial length. Referring to FIG. 4, first and second retaining walls 120, 122 are designated for maintenance of a first tunnel track. Third and fourth retaining walls 124, 126 for maintenance of a second tunnel track. Leg posts 29 can be connected to bottom side of base structure 22 to achieve an elevated position, as shown in FIG. 8.

In one embodiment, shown in FIGS. 1 and 4, a plurality of tunnel tracks 24 are set into base structure 22. Tunnel track 24 is set into and is securely attached to base structure 22 by conventional means. Tunnel track 24 and base structure 22 can be made of wood, plastic composite, heavy cardboard, or light weight metal using means conventional in the art. Base structure 22 and tunnel track 24 can be produced in sections which assemble together to achieve variable lengths and to allow flexibility in construction and portability.

Tunnel track 24 has, in substantially the top center, an opening 34. Support post 15 fits through opening 34 and is removably attached to sleeve post 14 at the distal end as previously described, and attached to motorized transport assembly 40, best shown in FIG. 3, at the proximal end, supported in support post receptacle 88, best seen in FIG. 10.

Tunnel track 24 is configured and produced to a size and shape necessary to accommodate motorized transport assembly 40, horizontally movable within confines of tunnel track 24. Tunnel track 24 is most likely substantially rectangular in shape and of a substantial length. Tunnel track 24 comprises first and second vertical side walls, a bottom side and a top side.

Motorized transport assembly 40 is designed and configured to be horizontally movable within the confines of tunnel track 24. Motorized transport assembly 40 is most likely made of wood, plastic composite, heavy cardboard, or light weight metal using means conventional in the art. It would most likely be substantially rectangular in shape and comprised of first and second vertical sides, first and second vertical ends, one bottom side and one top side.

As can be seen in FIG. 10, incorporated into bottom side of motorized transport assembly 40 are first, second, third, and fourth axle housings 52, 54, 56 &58. First, second, third, and fourth drive axles 60, 62, 64, &66 are connected respectively to first, second, third, and fourth axle housings 52, 54, 56, &58. One each of drive wheels 68, 70, 72, &74 is positioned parallel to tunnel track and is connected to each of first, second, third, and fourth drive axles 60, 62, 64, &66, respectively. First and second motor and gear drive assemblies 76, 78 are mounted to bottom side of transport. As shown in FIG. 9, each motor and gear drive assembly 76, 78 is contained within a casing 92 configured to maintain position alignment of working components: a motor 94, a gear shaft 96, a first gear 98, a second gear 100, and a drive shaft 102.

First motor and gear drive assembly 76 is positioned between first and second drive axles 60, 62. First and second universal joints 80, 82 are connected to first and second drive axles 60, 62 respectively. Second motor and gear drive assembly 78 is positioned between third and fourth drive axles 64, 66. Third and fourth universal joints 84, 86 are connected to third and fourth drive axles 64, 66 respectively. In addition, as is conventional in the field but not shown in the drawings, universal joints 80, 82, 84, and 86 are connected to their respective drive shafts 102 of gear assembly 76 or 78, respectively.

First and second motor and gear drive assemblies 76, 78 are electrically wired to power circuit board 103. One rechargeable battery 90 is attached to bottom side of transport, adjacent to first vertical side. Battery is electrically wired to power circuit board 103. An optional second rechargeable battery could be attached to same, adjacent to second vertical side. In another embodiment, first motor and gear drive assembly 76 or second motor and gear drive assembly 78 could be gas-powered (not shown).

Support post receptacle 88 is incorporated into bottom side of motorized transport assembly 40 and positioned substantially in the center. Support post 15 is securely but reversibly attached to support post receptacle 88 and extends vertically and substantially upward through opening 34, best seen in FIG. 3. First powered rotation means 46 is mounted to support post 15 above top side of transport as shown in FIG. 3. A first pinion gear 44 is connected to first powered rotation means 46. First powered rotation means 46 is electrically wired to power circuit board 103.

Motorized transport assembly 40 is powered, in the preferred embodiment, by at least one rechargeable battery 90 seen in FIG. 10, as are conventional in the field and as would be known to those skilled in the art. This power source would be connected to at least one wheel, with any unconnected wheels free-rolling.

In at least one embodiment, a signal receiving means, comprising circuit board 103 and perhaps an antenna 105, for receiving signals from at least one remote control transmitter to the motorized transport assembly 40 would be connected to the power source. These remote control transmitters, not shown, would include functions for start, stop, forward, reverse, and variable speeds and would control operations of all motorized functions of this invention. These remote controls are well known in the art and would be outfitted according to conventional means.

As seen in FIG. 3, in one embodiment, the ends of motorized transport assembly 40 would be fitted with multi-pronged contact stop switch 42 to allow instant shut off when end of tunnel track 24 is reached. The purpose of this switch 42 is to disengage the electric motor upon contact with any obstruction. This multi-pronged contact stop switch 42 is electrically wired to power circuit board 103 and rechargeable battery 90. In order to provide a shock absorbing/cushion effect, the end-most sections of tunnel track 24 are fitted with shock-absorbing material such as is conventionally found, for example foam, rubber, or any sort of soft material or composite.

Although the invention has been described with reference to specific embodiments, this description is not meant to be construed in a limited sense. Various modifications of the disclosed embodiments, as well as alternative embodiments of the inventions will become apparent to persons skilled in the art upon reference to the description of the invention. It is, therefore, contemplated that the appended claims will cover such modifications that fall within the scope of the invention.