Title:
Fabric sheet retaining device and method of use
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A fabric sheet retaining device and method for it is provided. The fabric sheet retaining device is coupled to a mattress or box spring for retaining the fabric sheet from sliding off the mattress or box spring. The invention comprises a main body having an exterior side and an interior side, an aperture for receiving a portion of a fabric sheet disposed therein and compressive means to compressively retain the disposed portion of the fabric sheet against the interior side of the main body.



Inventors:
Tapanes, Raymond J. (Templeton, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/012643
Publication Date:
06/16/2005
Filing Date:
12/14/2004
Assignee:
TAPANES RAYMOND J.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
5/504.1
International Classes:
A47C21/02; (IPC1-7): A47C21/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GROSZ, ALEXANDER
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LAW OFFICE OF PHILIP A STEINER (1212 MARSH STREET SUITE 3, SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA, 93401, US)
Claims:
1. A fabric sheet retaining device comprising: a main body including; an interior side; an exterior side; an aperture disposed therein and dimensioned to receive a limited portion of the fabric sheet inserted into the aperture from the exterior side; an interior rim circumferentially surrounding the aperture on the interior side, and means for compressively retaining the portion of the fabric sheet inserted into the aperture against the interior rim.

2. The device according to claim 1 wherein the means includes means for releasing the means from compressively retaining the fabric sheet.

3. The device according to claim 1 wherein the means includes a removable plug dimensioned to span the aperture from the exterior side to at least the interior side such that when the plug is disposed into the aperture a compressive surface means coupled to the plug compressively engages the portion of the fabric sheet inserted into the aperture against the compressive surface means and the interior rim.

4. The device according to claim 3 wherein at least a portion of the compressive surface means is generally oriented in opposition to the interior rim.

5. The device according to claim 3 wherein the removable plug further includes a twist lock means for reversibly maintaining the plug in the main body.

6. The device according to claim 1 further including affixing means for affixing the main body to a bedding article.

7. The device according to claim 1 wherein the means includes a plunger assembly having a depressible surface means disposed within the aperture and configured such that when the portion of the fabric sheet is inserted into the aperture, a counterforce means included in the plunger assembly compressively retains the fabric sheet against the interior rim and the depressible surface means.

8. The device according to claim 7 wherein the counterforce means includes a spring.

9. The device according to claim 7 wherein at least a portion of the depressible surface means is generally oriented in opposition to the interior rim.

10. The device according to claim 6 wherein the affixing means includes an inner support installed inside the bedding article and a plurality of fasteners which couple the main body to the inner support.

11. The device according to claim 6 wherein the affixing means includes a plurality of prongs coupled to the main body at periodic intervals such that when the main body is inserted into an opening created in the bedding article, the prongs grip the bedding article.

12. The device according to claim 6 wherein the affixing means includes a plurality of prongs coupled to the main body at periodic intervals such that when the main body is inserted into an opening in the bedding article dimensioned to receive the main body, the prongs grip the bedding article thereby coupling the main body to the bedding article.

13. The device according to claim 6 wherein the affixing means includes a frame adapted to receive and couple the main body to the bedding article.

16. The device according to claim 6 wherein the affixing means includes an adhesive adapted to couple the main body to the bedding article.

14. The device according to claim 6 wherein the affixing means includes a plurality of stitches adapted to couple the main body to the bedding article.

15. The device according to claim 6 wherein the bedding article is one of a mattress or a box spring.

16. A fabric sheet retaining device comprising: a main body including; an interior side; an exterior side; an aperture disposed therein and dimensioned to receive a limited portion of the fabric sheet inserted into the aperture from the exterior side; an interior rim circumferentially surrounding the aperture on the interior side, and means for compressively retaining the portion of the fabric sheet inserted into the aperture against the interior rim; wherein the means includes a removable plug dimensioned to span the aperture from the exterior side to at least the interior side such that when the plug is disposed into the aperture a compressive surface means coupled to the plug compressively engages the portion of the fabric sheet inserted into the aperture against the compressive surface means and the interior rim.

17. A fabric sheet retaining device comprising: a main body including; an interior side; an exterior side; an aperture disposed therein and dimensioned to receive a limited portion of the fabric sheet inserted into the aperture from the exterior side; an interior rim circumferentially surrounding the aperture on the interior side, and means for compressively retaining the portion of the fabric sheet inserted into the aperture against the interior rim; wherein the means includes a plunger assembly having a depressible surface means disposed within the aperture and configured such that when the portion of the fabric sheet is inserted into the aperture, a counterforce means included in the plunger assembly compressively retains the fabric sheet against the interior rim and the depressible surface means.

18. A method for using the fabric sheet retaining device of claim 1 comprising; a. placing a fabric sheet generally uniformly over a bedding article equipped with one or more fabric sheet retaining devices, b. securing one or more portions of the fabric sheet into the one or more fabric sheet retaining devices such that the fabric sheet is retained over the bedding article.

19. The method according to claim 18 wherein the securing is accomplished by capturing the one or more portions of the fabric sheet with one or more plugs adapted to compressively retain the portion of the fabric sheet inserted into the aperture against the interior rim.

20. The method according to claim 18 wherein the securing is accomplished by capturing the one or more portions of the fabric sheet with one or more plunger assemblies adapted to compressively retain the portion of the fabric sheet inserted into the aperture against the interior rim.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a non-provisional application claiming benefit and priority under 35 U.S.C. § 119(e) of U.S. provisional application No. 60/529,971 entitled “Bed Sheet Retaining Device and Method for Use,” filed on Dec. 15, 2003 and is herein incorporated by reference in its entirety.

FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

Not Applicable.

REFERENCE TO A MICROFICHE APPENDIX

Not Applicable.

FIELD OF INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to an accessory device installed on a bedding article, and more specifically to a device used to generally retain a fabric sheet over a mattress or box spring.

BACKGROUND

In the relevant art, fabric sheet retaining devices are largely comprised of elastic bands attached to the fabric sheets. The elastic bands loose much of their elasticity over time. Furthermore, fabric sheets equipped with the elastic bands are limited to standard sized mattresses and box springs which limit their usefulness for higher end mattresses and box springs which tend to be larger and/or provided with thicker padding than that of standard sized mattresses and box springs. Without a fabric sheet retaining mechanism, the consumer will have to continually reposition the fabric sheets after each use thus causing consumer frustration, product dissatisfaction, and wasting the consumer's time and effort.

SUMMARY

The invention addresses the limitations described above and provides a mechanism which retains a fabric sheet over a mattress or box spring so as to minimize or alleviate frequent repositioning of the bed sheet after installation. In one aspect of the invention a fabric sheet retaining device is provided. The fabric sheet retaining device comprises a main body including; an interior side, an exterior side, an aperture disposed therein and dimensioned to receive a limited portion of the fabric sheet inserted into the aperture from the exterior side, an interior rim circumferentially surrounding the aperture on the interior side, and means for compressively retaining the portion of the fabric sheet inserted into the aperture against the interior rim. In another aspect of the invention, the means includes means for releasing the means from compressively retaining the fabric sheet.

In another aspect of the invention, the means includes a removable plug dimensioned to span the aperture from the exterior side to at least the interior side such that when the plug is disposed into the aperture a compressive surface means coupled to the plug compressively engages the portion of the fabric sheet inserted into the aperture against the compressive surface means and the interior rim. In a related aspect of the invention, the removable plug further includes a twist lock means for reversibly maintaining the plug in the main body. In another related aspect of the invention, the at least a portion of the compressive surface means is generally oriented in opposition to the interior rim.

In another aspect of the invention, the means includes a plunger assembly having a depressible surface means disposed within the aperture and configured such that when the portion of the fabric sheet is inserted into the aperture, a counterforce means included in the plunger assembly compressively retains the fabric sheet against the interior rim and the depressible surface means. In a related aspect of the invention, the counterforce means includes a spring. In another related aspect of the invention, the at least a portion of the depressible surface means is generally oriented in opposition to the interior rim.

In another aspect of the invention, affixing means is provided for affixing the main body to a bedding article. In one related aspect of the invention, the affixing means includes an inner support installed inside the bedding article and a plurality of fasteners which couple the main body to the inner support.

In another related aspect of the invention, the affixing means includes a plurality of prongs coupled to the main body at periodic intervals such that when the main body is inserted into an opening created in the bedding article, the prongs grip the bedding article.

In yet another related aspect of the invention, the affixing means includes a plurality of prongs coupled to the main body at periodic intervals such that when the main body is inserted into an opening in the bedding article dimensioned to receive the main body, the prongs grip the bedding article thereby coupling the main body to the bedding article. In yet another related aspect of the invention, the affixing means includes a frame adapted to receive and couple the main body to the bedding article. In yet another related aspect of the invention, the affixing means includes an adhesive adapted to couple the main body to the bedding article. In yet another related aspect of the invention, affixing means includes a plurality of stitches adapted to couple the main body to the bedding article.

In another aspect of the invention a fabric sheet retaining device is provided. The fabric sheet retaining device comprises; a main body including an interior side, an exterior side, an aperture disposed therein and dimensioned to receive a limited portion of the fabric sheet inserted into the aperture from the exterior side, an interior rim circumferentially surrounding the aperture on the interior side, and means for compressively retaining the portion of the fabric sheet inserted into the aperture against the interior rim, where the means includes a removable plug dimensioned to span the aperture from the exterior side to at least the interior side such that when the plug is disposed into the aperture a compressive surface means coupled to the plug compressively engages the portion of the fabric sheet inserted into the aperture against the compressive surface means and the interior rim.

In yet another related aspect of the invention, a fabric sheet retaining device is provided. The fabric sheet retaining device comprises a main body including; an interior side, an exterior side, an aperture disposed therein and dimensioned to receive a limited portion of the fabric sheet inserted into the aperture from the exterior side, an interior rim circumferentially surrounding the aperture on the interior side, and means for compressively retaining the portion of the fabric sheet inserted into the aperture against the interior rim.

In this aspect of the invention, the means includes a plunger assembly having a depressible surface means disposed within the aperture and configured such that when the portion of the fabric sheet is inserted into the aperture, a counterforce means included in the plunger assembly compressively retains the fabric sheet against the interior rim and the depressible surface means.

In another aspect of the invention provides a method for using the fabric sheet retaining device. The method comprising; placing a fabric sheet generally uniformly over a bedding article equipped with one or more fabric sheet retaining devices and securing one or more portions of the fabric sheet into the one or more fabric sheet retaining devices such that the fabric sheet is retained over the bedding article. In one related aspect of the invention, the securing is accomplished by capturing the one or more portions of the fabric sheet with one or more plugs adapted to compressively retain the portion of the fabric sheet inserted into the aperture against the interior rim. In another related aspect of the invention, the securing is accomplished by capturing the one or more portions of the fabric sheet with one or more plunger assemblies adapted to compressively retain the portion of the fabric sheet inserted into the aperture against the interior rim.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

The features and advantages of the invention will become apparent from the following detailed description when considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawings. Where possible, the same reference numerals and characters are used to denote like features, elements, components or portions of the invention. Optional components are generally shown in dashed lines. It is intended that changes and modifications can be made to the described embodiment without departing from the true scope and spirit of the subject invention as defined in the claims.

FIGS. 1a-1e—depict a first embodiment of the invention.

FIGS. 2a-2d—depict a second embodiment of the invention.

FIGS. 3a-3d depict a third embodiment of the invention.

FIGS. 4a-4b depict methods of using the various embodiments of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

This present invention provides a mechanism to retain a fabric sheet in taut position over a mattress or box spring so as to minimize or alleviate repositioning of the bed sheet after a person has slept in a bed.

Referring to FIG. 1a, a first embodiment of the fabric sheet retention device is shown. The first embodiment of the invention comprises a main body 5 and a removable plug 25. The main body 5 is intended to be attached to a bedding article 70 such as mattress or box spring by placing a backing plate 45 behind the mattress covering and attaching the main body 5 to the backing plate 45 using fasteners 10a,10b,10c,10d such as screws, nails or rivets.

Other means of mounting the main body 5 to the bedding article 70 and backing plate 45 include the use of adhesives, Velcro or having the main body 5 sewn directly into the fabric of the bedding article 70. In typical installations, the main body 5 will be mounted in each of corner of the mattress or box spring to allow the consumer a variety of fabric sheet retention options.

In various embodiments of the invention, the portions of the main body 5 and/or the plug 25 include a somewhat curved surface to match the surface contour of the mattress or box spring in which the device is to be mounted. The curved surfaces help to reduce snagging of the fabric sheet and provide a more uniform surface contour when the invention is installed in a bedding article.

The removable plug 25 includes a lateral extension 20 having a clasp 30 mounted at the distal end of the lateral extension 20. A portion of the clasp 30 is generally aligned in opposition 15 to the interior side of the main body 5 when installed. The lateral extension 20 is dimensioned to allow the forward facing edge of the clasp 30 to extend just beyond the internal side of the main body 5 when inserted into an aperture 35 disposed in the main body 5. The clasp 30 is dimensioned to allow easy insertion of clasp 30 and lateral extension 20 through a long dimension of the aperture 35 but prevents removal when the plug is turned about a centerline axis of the lateral extension 20 thus forming a twist lock mechanism. Both the main body 5 and the plug are constructed of polymeric materials such as high impact plastic using an injection molding process. The plastic should preferably be made of polymers having fire retardant or slow burning characteristics.

Referring to FIG. 1b, a perspective view is provided which illustrates the alignment of the plug 25 and clasp 30 to allow insertion of the plug 25 into the aperture 35 of the main body 5. The clasp 30, lateral extension 20 and aperture 35 form a twist lock arrangement 65 which retains the plug 25 in the main body 5.

In a related embodiment of the invention, the main body 5 includes a depression 55 having a forward facing offset. The depression 55 is provided to allow clearance between the outer surface of the bedding article 70 and the rearward facing edge 15 of the clasp 30. The offset 55 also limits the amount of stress placed on the portion of the fabric sheet inserted into the aperture 35 and retained by the plug 25.

Referring to FIG. 1c, a rear perspective view is provided which illustrates the plug 25 in a locked position within the main body 5 and a detail of the backing plate 45. A forward facing edge of the clasp 30 provides a compressive force against the inner rim side 50 of the main body 5 which retains a fabric sheet in inserted through the aperture 35 in place once the twist lock mechanism is engaged. In a related embodiment of the invention, guides 40a, 40b, 40c, 40d are provided to properly align the fasteners 10a, 10b, 10c, 10d (FIG. 1a) with the backing plate 45.

Referring to FIG. 1d, a front perspective view is provided which illustrates the plug 25 inserted into the main body 5 and the frontally displaced depression 55. Fasteners 10a, 10b, 10c, 10d are shown installed in the main body 5 in the guides 40a, 40b, 40c, 40d (FIG. 1c.) The fasteners are installed in wells 10a, 10b, 10c, 10d to avoid snagging or tearing the fabric sheet to be retained in the device.

Referring to FIG. 1e, a side view of the plug embodiment of the invention is provided which illustrates the interaction of the plug 25, fabric sheet 60 and main body 5. The sheet 60 is pushed into the aperture 35 by the consumer and the plug 25 is inserted into the aperture 35 then rotated 65 to compressively capture a portion of the fabric sheet 60 between the forward face of the clasp 30 and the inner rim 50 surrounding the aperture 35. A portion of the fabric sheet 60 may also be retained between the rearward facing portion of the plug 28 and the forward facing exterior side 32 of the main body 5.

Referring to FIG. 2a, a perspective cut away view of a plunger embodiment of the invention is provided. In this embodiment of the invention, a depressible plunger 215 having a counterforce provided by a spring 220 is enclosed in a main body 205. In this embodiment of the invention, the main body 205 comprises a hollow shell which houses and surrounds the plunger assembly. The plunger 215 lateral extension 225, counterforce spring 220 and travel slot 235 forms the plunger assembly which utilizes the rear internal shell 240 of the main body to allow the spring 220 to generate the counterforce.

The main body 205 includes mounting prongs 210a, 210b on two or more surfaces of the main body 205. The mounting prongs 210a, 210b are intended to capture a portion of the bedding article's construction when inserted into a pre-established receptacle 245 (FIG. 2b.) This embodiment of the invention is useful for bedding articles having a foam core construction. The main body 205, and depressible plunger 215 are constructed of plastic materials using an injection molding process. The plastic should preferably be made of polymers having fire retardant or slow burning characteristics. In addition, for durability, high impact plastics are preferred.

Referring to FIG. 2b, another perspective view of the plunger embodiment of the invention is provided illustrating the insertion of the fabric retention device into a pre-established receptacle 245 located in a corner of a foam core bedding article 70. In various embodiments of the invention the portions of the main body 205 include a somewhat curved surface 230 to match the surface contour of the bedding article 70 in which the device is to be mounted. The curved surface helps to reduce snagging of the fabric sheet and provides a more uniform surface contour when the device is installed in a bedding article 70.

Referring to FIG. 2c, another perspective view of the plunger embodiment of the invention is shown which illustrates the location of the depressible plunger 215. In an embodiment of the invention, the depressible plunger 215 is identified for consumer use by labeling the forward facing external side of the plunger assembly with, for example, “Push Here.” The labeling identifies to the consumer the location in which a portion of the fabric sheet is to be pushed into the main body 205 and held against the inner side of the main body by the plunger assembly.

Referring to FIG. 2d, another cutaway perspective view of the invention is shown which illustrates a consumer 275 pressing a portion of a fabric sheet 60 into the main body 205 from the exterior side to the interior side.

The counterforce provided by the spring 220 being compressed against the rear internal cavity 240 of the main body 205 is sufficient to allow the insertion of fabric sheet 60 but will provide a compressive force against the fabric sheet 60 and the interior rim 250 of the main body 205 when the plunger 215 is released by the consumer 215.

Referring to FIG. 3a, a second plunger embodiment of the invention is provided. In this embodiment of the invention, the main body 305 utilizes a generally open construction having a laterally oriented U-shaped frame which perpendicularly engages the face 230 of the main body 305. This embodiment of the invention is nearly identical to the embodiments described in FIG. 2 with exception of the generally open construction.

This embodiment of the invention is useful for traditional coil and spring and/or other non-foam core constructed bedding articles 70. This embodiment of the invention provides a metal frame 360 which is attached 325a, 325b to the internal frame of the bedding article 70 during manufacturing. The metal frame 360 includes one or more openings 320a, 320b dimensioned to receive the main body 304. Once the bedding articles are completely assembled, the openings 320a, 320b for installing the device(s) are cut into the padding and the fabric sheet retaining device inventions are inserted into the openings 320a, 320b and metal frame 360. The number of retaining devices used per corner of the bedding article 70 may be one or two depending on the thickness of the bedding article.

Referring to FIG. 3b, an example usage is shown where a consumer 275 pushes a portion of the fabric sheet 60 into the device by depressing the plunger 215. This action causes the depressible plunger 215 to move backwards sufficiently to allow a portion of the fabric sheet 60 to become captured between the front of the plunger 215 and the interior rim 340 (FIG. 3c) of the main body 305.

Referring to FIG. 3c, a rear prospective view of the invention is shown which illustrates the internal frame housing the depressible plunger 215, the counterforce spring 220, internal rim 340 and travel slot 235. The main body 305, including the internal frame housing and depressible plunger 215 is constructed of plastic materials using an injection molding process. The plastic should preferably be made of polymers having fire retardant or slow burning characteristics. In addition, for durability, high impact plastics are preferred.

Referring to FIG. 3d, another rear prospective view of the invention is shown which illustrates the interaction of the fabric sheet 60 is inserted into the aperture 335 from the exterior side to the interior side. The aperture 335 is formed between the plunger 215 and internal rim 340 when the plunger 215 is depressed.

The counterforce spring 220 provides the necessary counterforce to compressively retain the fabric sheet 60 against the internal rim 340 once the consumer 275 (FIG. 3b) releases the plunger 215. In an embodiment of the invention, the lateral extension 225 extends through the travel slot 235 provided when the plunger 215 is depressed. One skilled in the art will appreciate that other compressive arrangements which do not require the travel slot 235 may be used as well.

Referring to FIG. 4a, an example implementation of the plug embodiment of the invention is shown installed on a bedding article 70. A consumer 275 (FIG. 3b) inserts 400A a portion of the fabric sheet 60 from the exterior side of the main body 5 to the interior side into the aperture 35 of the main body 5, places the plug 25 into the aperture 35 such that the clasp 30 is aligned with the long dimension of the aperture 35, and then twists 65 the plug 25 to engage the twist lock feature. The twist lock feature compresses the retained portion of the fabric sheet 60 against the forward face of the clasp 30 and the inner rim 50 of the main body 5. Removal of the fabric sheet 60 is accomplished simply by reversing the twist lock feature and pulling the fabric sheet 60 free of the main body 5.

Referring to FIG. 4b, an example implementation of the plunger embodiment of the invention is shown. In this embodiment of the invention, a consumer 275 (FIG. 3b) inserts 400b a portion of the fabric sheet 60 from the exterior side of the main body 305 to the interior side into the aperture 335 (FIG. 3d) of the main body 305 while concurrently depressing the plunger 215. Once a sufficient portion of the fabric sheet 60 has been placed into the aperture 335 (FIG. 3d), the consumer 275 (FIG. 3b) releases the depressible plunger 215, which allows the spring 220 (FIG. 3d) counterforce to compressively retain the fabric sheet 60 against the inner rim 340 (FIG. 3d) of the main body 305 and the forward face of the plunger 215. Removal of the sheet is accomplished simply by pushing in on the depressible plunger 215 and pulling the fabric sheet 60 free of the main body 215.

The foregoing described embodiments of the invention are provided as illustrations and descriptions. They are not intended to limit the invention to precise form described. In particular, it is contemplated that functional implementation of the invention described herein may be constructed in various shapes and of different materials. No specific limitation is intended to a particular shape or construction material. Other variations and embodiments are possible in light of above teachings, and it is not intended that this Detailed Description limit the scope of invention, but rather by the claims following herein.