Title:
Nets for sporting equipment
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A device for use in a sport or activity includes a sporting net comprising a plurality of members, each member comprises a plurality of strands, wherein one strand of one of the members comprises a first core, and the one of the members includes an outer layer surrounding the first core. A method for making a sport equipment includes combining a first group of strands to form a first elongate member, one of the strands comprising a core, the first elongate member including an outer layer that surrounds the core, combining a second group of strands to form a second elongate member, and using the first and second elongate members to form a portion of a sporting net.



Inventors:
Matthew, Benjamin M. (Adams, MA, US)
Application Number:
11/129657
Publication Date:
01/11/2007
Filing Date:
05/13/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B59/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CHAMBERS, MICHAEL S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Bingham McCuthen, LLP (Suite 1800 Three Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA, 94111-4067, US)
Claims:
What is claimed:

1. A device for use in a sport or activity, the device comprising: a sporting net comprising a plurality of members, each member comprises a plurality of strands; wherein one strand of one of the members comprises a first core, and the one of the members includes an outer layer surrounding the first core.

2. The device of claim 1, wherein the core is made from a material selected from the group consisting of nylon, polymer, synthetic guts, polyester, aramide, and polyethylene.

3. The device of claim 1, wherein the core comprises one or more filaments.

4. The device of claim 1, wherein the outer layer is made from a material selected from the group consisting of polyurethane elastomer, polyester, vinyl, polyvinylidene fluoride, polypropylene, EVA, ionomer, thermoplastic urethane, and polyamide.

5. The device of claim 1, wherein the outer layer comprises a water-resistant material.

6. The device of claim 1, wherein the outer layer comprises an abrasion-resistant material.

7. The device of claim 1, wherein the each member has a flat profile.

8. The device of claim 1, wherein another strand of the one of the members comprises a core, and the one of the members surrounds the cores of the respective strands.

9. The device of claim 1, wherein another strand of the one of the members comprises a core that is located outside the outer layer.

10. The device of claim 1, the one of the members further comprising an intermediate layer disposed between the core and the outer layer.

11. The device of claim 1, wherein the outer layer is disposed directly on a surface of the core.

12. The device of claim 1, further comprising a lacrosse head to which the sporting net is secured.

13. The device of claim 1, further comprising a frame to which the sporting net is secured.

14. The device of claim 13, wherein the frame is selected from the group consisting of a frame of a fishing net frame, a hockey goal frame, a lacrosse goal frame, a basketball hoop, and a soccer goal frame.

15. The sport equipment of claim 1, wherein the sporting net comprises a tennis net, a badminton net, a volleyball net, or a basketball net.

16. A device for use in a sport or activity, the device comprising: a lacrosse head; and a plurality of strands combined to form an elongate member, the elongate member connected to the lacrosse head; wherein one of the strands includes a core, and the elongate member includes an outer layer surrounding the core.

17. The device of claim 16, wherein the core is made from a material selected from the group consisting of nylon, polymer, synthetic guts, polyester, aramide, and polyethylene.

18. The device of claim 16, wherein the core comprises one or more filaments.

19. The device of claim 16, wherein the outer layer is made from a material selected from the group consisting of polyurethane elastomer, polyester, vinyl, polyvinylidene fluoride, polypropylene, EVA, ionomer, thermoplastic urethane, and polyamide.

20. The device of claim 16, wherein the outer layer comprises a water-resistant material.

21. The device of claim 16, wherein the outer layer comprises an abrasion-resistant material.

22. The device of claim 16, wherein the elongate member has a flat profile.

23. The device of claim 16, wherein another one of the strands includes a core, and the outer layer is disposed around the cores of the respective strands.

24. The device of claim 16, wherein another one of the strands includes a core that is located outside the outer layer.

25. The device of claim 16, further comprising an intermediate layer between the core and the outer layer.

26. The device of claim 16, wherein the outer layer is disposed directly on a surface of the core.

27. A method for making a sport equipment, comprising: combining a first group of strands to form a first elongate member, one of the strands comprising a core, the first elongate member including an outer layer that surrounds the core; combining a second group of strands to form a second elongate member; and using the first and second elongate members to form a portion of a sporting net.

28. The method of claim 27, further comprising disposing the outer layer around the core before the step of combining the first group of strands.

29. The method of claim 28, wherein the outer layer is disposed directly on a surface of the core.

30. The method of claim 27, further comprising disposing one or more outer layers around the core after the step of combining the first group of strands.

31. The method of claim 27, further comprising securing the first elongate member and the second elongate member relative to a lacrosse head frame.

Description:

FIELD OF INVENTION

This invention relates to sporting equipment, and more specifically, to nets used for sporting equipment, such as lacrosse stick heads.

BACKGROUND

A lacrosse head generally includes a lacrosse head frame and a net connected to a perimeter of the head frame to thereby form a pocket into which the ball is received and from which the ball is thrown. Typically, the lacrosse head frame includes a series of holes along its entire periphery, and a string passing through the holes is used to connect the net to the lacrosse head frame. Sometimes, a lacrosse head further includes four or more adjustable leather thongs that extend between the scoop (top) and the base of the lacrosse head frame.

Currently, nets of lacrosse heads are made from nylon laces that are either interwoven with the thongs of lacrosse heads, or are interwoven to form integral pockets, which are then secured to the lacrosse head frames. Such lacrosse nets are not water-resistant, and therefore, may retain moisture when come in contact with fluid, such as rain, or a wet ball. As a result, the lacrosse nets may become heavier, and may not provide sufficient control of a lacrosse ball. Existing lacrosse nets are also not abrasion-resistant, and can deteriorate or be easily damaged due to contact with lacrosse balls and/or impact with other objects, such as other players' lacrosse sticks or the ground. The damaged net would adversely impact the performance of the lacrosse head. As such, existing lacrosse nets may need to be repaired or replaced periodically.

Existing lacrosse nets made from nylon are also quite soft, and deform easily (i.e., do not have good shape-retention characteristic) during use. As a result, a player may not have good control of a lacrosse ball while running and throwing the ball. In addition, while a lacrosse net made from nylon allows a player to spin the ball as the ball is thrown from the lacrosse net, the amount of spin created on the ball is usually limited.

SUMMARY

In accordance with some embodiments, a device for use in a sport or activity includes a sporting net comprising a plurality of members, each member comprises a plurality of strands, wherein one strand of one of the members comprises a first core, and the one of the members includes an outer layer surrounding the first core.

In accordance with other embodiments, a device for use in a sport or activity includes a lacrosse head, and a plurality of strands combined to form an elongate member, the elongate member connected to the lacrosse head, wherein one of the strands includes a core, and the elongate member includes an outer layer surrounding the core.

In accordance with other embodiments, a method for making a sport equipment includes combining a first group of strands to form a first elongate member, one of the strands comprising a core, the first elongate member including an outer layer that surrounds the core, combining a second group of strands to form a second elongate member, and using the first and second elongate members to form a portion of a sporting net.

Other aspects and features of the invention will be evident from reading the following description of the embodiments.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The drawings illustrate the design and utility of embodiments, in which similar elements are referred to by common reference numerals. In order to better appreciate how advantages and objects of the embodiments are obtained, a more particular description of the embodiments will be illustrated in the accompanying drawings.

FIG. 1 illustrates a front view of a lacrosse stick having a lacrosse head frame and a lacrosse net in accordance with some embodiments;

FIG. 2 illustrates a detailed isometric view of a portion of the net of FIG. 1 in accordance with some embodiments;

FIG. 3 illustrates a portion of a member of the net of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 illustrates a cross-sectional view of a strand of the member of FIG. 3 in accordance with some embodiments;

FIG. 5 illustrates a cross-sectional view of a strand of the member of FIG. 3 in accordance with alternative embodiments;

FIG. 6 illustrates a cross-sectional view of the member of the net of FIG. 2 in accordance with alternative embodiments;

FIG. 7 illustrates a variation of the lacrosse head frame of FIG. 1, particularly showing the lacrosse head frame having a plurality of leather strips;

FIG. 8 illustrates a variation of the lacrosse head frame of FIG. 1, particularly showing the lacrosse head frame having a pocket member;

FIG. 9 illustrates a hockey goal frame that includes a net in accordance with other embodiments;

FIG. 10 illustrates a lacrosse goal frame that includes a net in accordance with other embodiments;

FIG. 11 illustrates a soccer goal frame that includes a net in accordance with other embodiments;

FIG. 12 illustrates a fishing equipment that includes a net in accordance with other embodiments;

FIG. 13 illustrates a tennis net in accordance with other embodiments;

FIG. 14 illustrates a badminton net in accordance with other embodiments;

FIG. 15 illustrates a volleyball net in accordance with other embodiments; and

FIG. 16 illustrates a basketball net in accordance with other embodiments.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENTS

Various embodiments are described hereinafter with reference to the figures. It should be noted that the figures are not drawn to scale and elements of similar structures or functions are represented by like reference numerals throughout the figures. It should also be noted that the figures are only intended to facilitate the description of specific embodiments. They are not intended as an exhaustive description of the invention or as a limitation on the scope of the invention. In addition, an aspect described in conjunction with a particular embodiment is not necessarily limited to that embodiment and can be practiced in any other embodiments.

FIG. 1 illustrates a lacrosse stick 10 in accordance with some embodiments. The lacrosse stick 10 includes a head frame 12, a shaft 14 connected to the head frame 12, and a net 16. The head frame 12 includes a top portion (scoop) 18, side walls 20, 22, a bottom portion (ball stop) 24, which are integrally formed together (e.g., by a traditional molding technique). In the illustrated embodiments, the head frame 12 also includes a socket 26, which allows the shaft 14 to be fitted therein. It should be noted that the head frame 12 should not be limited to the shape and configuration illustrated in the figure, and that the head frame 12 can have other shapes and configurations in other embodiments. For example, in other embodiments, the head frame 12 can further include a pocket member (FIG. 8) that is secured to the top portion 18 of the head frame 12. Lacrosse heads having pocket members have been described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,506,132. Also, in other embodiments, the head frame 12 can further include one or more inserts (not shown) that are secured to the perimeter of the head frame 12.

FIG. 2 illustrates a portion of the net 16 of FIG. 1 in accordance with some embodiments. The net 16 includes a plurality of elongate members 50 that are connected to each other to form the net 16. As shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, each of the members 50 includes a plurality of strands 52, wherein each of the strands 52 includes a core 54 and an outer layer 58. The core 54 is made from a plurality of filaments 56. Alternatively, the core 54 can be made from a single filament. In the illustrated embodiments, the filament(s) 56 are made from a synthetic material, such as Nylon, a polymer, synthetic guts, polyester, aramide, polyethylene, and the like. In some embodiments, the filament(s) 56 are made from a liquid crystal polymer (LCP) (an example of a polymer), such as Vectran®, available from Celanese Acetate LLC, Charlotte, N.C. In the illustrated embodiments, the core 54 has a cross-sectional dimension that is between 0.01 inch and 0.03 inch. In other embodiments, the core 54 can have other cross-sectional dimensions (e.g., less than 0.01 inch or more than 0.03 inch).

In the illustrated embodiments, the outer layer 58 is made from a polyurethane elastomer. Using such material for the outer layer 58 is advantageous in that it provides water-resistance for the strand 52 (which in turn, prevents the net 16 from stretching or shrinking), and allows the strand 52 to better resist abrasion due to normal use of the net 16. Constructing the outer layer 58 using a polyurethane elastomer also provides more rigidity for the strand 52, thereby allowing the net 16 formed therefrom to have a better shape-retention characteristic. The increased hardness of the net 16 also allows a player to better control a lacrosse ball while running and throwing the ball. Furthermore, the outer layer 58 provides higher frictional contact with a lacrosse ball (when compared with traditional lacrosse nets). Such feature allows the net 16 to provide more spinning power as the net 16 is used to throw a lacrosse ball. In other embodiments, the outer layer 58 can be made from other materials, such as polyester, vinyl, polyvinylidene fluoride, polypropylene, EVA, ionomer, thermoplastic urethane, polyamide, etc. It should be noted that the material(s) used to construct the outer layer 58 should not be limited to the examples mentioned previously, and that other materials may also be used to construct the outer layer 58 in other embodiments. In addition, the material(s) used to construct the outer layer 58 needs not have any or all of the advantageous/characteristics discussed previously. For example, in some embodiments, the outer layer 58 can be constructed using a material such that it provides a certain desired structural characteristic(s) (e.g., a desired stiffness, a desired strength, or a desired cross-sectional property, etc.) for the strand 52. In such cases, the outer layer 58 may or may not provide water-resistance or abrasion-resistance for the strand 52 (depending on the material(s) used to construct the outer layer 58). In the illustrated embodiments, the outer layer 58 has a cross-sectional thickness that is between 0.005 inch and 0.01 inch. In other embodiments, the outer layer 58 can have other cross-sectional thicknesses (e.g., less than 0.005 inch or more than 0.01 inch).

Various techniques may be used to construct the strand 52. For example, in some embodiments, the strand 52 can be made by helically wrapping a linear member around the core 54, wherein the linear member becomes the outer layer 58 after the wrapping process. In other embodiments, the strand 52 can be made by an extrusion process, in which a semi-liquid material of the outer layer 58 is pulled through a dye, and the core 54 is pulled through the semi-liquid material in a coaxial arrangement. Such process is similar to that used for manufacturing electrical wires. Also, in other embodiments, the strand 52 can be made by a chemical impregnation process. In further embodiments, the strand 52 can be made by coating the core 54 using a hot-melt adhesive, which will become the outer layer 58 after the adhesive solidifies. It should be noted that the strand 52 should not be limited by the type of manufacturing process described, and that any of other known manufacturing techniques may also be used to construct the strand 52.

Returning to FIG. 2, each of the members 50 of the net 16 is formed by knitting a strand 52 into a desired configuration. Alternatively, each of the members 50 can be formed by knitting or interweaving a plurality of strands 52 (e.g., two or more). Each of the members 50 has a width 62 that is larger than its thickness 64 to thereby create a flat profile. Such configuration provides more contact surface area between the net 16 and a lacrosse ball, thereby allowing the net 16 to more efficiently spin the ball as the ball is thrown from the net 16. The members 50 are tied together (e.g. via a stitch or a strand) at junction regions 60 to thereby allow a plurality of openings 62 be formed for the net 16. In other embodiments, instead of connecting the members 50 after they are formed, the members 50 may be formed by the strands 52 in such a manner that allows the members 50 to be “connected” as they are formed. For example, the net 16 may be formed by interweaving strands 52 to form a net pattern having openings 62. It should be noted that the configuration of the net 16 should not be limited to that shown in the figure, and that the net 16 can have other configurations in other embodiments. For example, in other embodiments, the knitted or woven pattern of the strands 52 can be different from that shown in FIG. 3. In addition, in other embodiments, instead of connecting adjacent members 50 to form the net 16, members 50 can be crisscrossed and be connected at intersection points to form the net 16. Further, in other embodiments, instead of the diamond shape shown in the figure, the net openings 62 can have different shapes. For examples, the net openings 62 can each have a rectangular shape, a pentagon shape, a hexagonal shape, a triangular shape, an oval shape, or a customized shape.

It should be noted that the strands 52 of the net 16 should not be limited to the configuration illustrated previously, and that the strands 52 can have different configurations in other embodiments. For example, in alternative embodiments, instead of having the core 54 and the outer layer 58, the strand 52 can further include one or more intermediate layers 80 disposed between the core 54 and the outer layer 58 (FIG. 5). Any of the materials discussed with reference to the outer layer 58 may also be suitable for constructing the intermediate layer 80. In some embodiments, the intermediate layer 80 provides the strand 52 with a certain desired structural characteristic(s) (e.g., a desired stiffness, a desired strength, or a desired cross-sectional property, etc.). In other embodiments, instead of, or in addition to, providing structural characteristic(s), the intermediate layer 80 functions to adhere the outer layer 58 to the core 54. The intermediate layer 80 can be created by helically wrapping a linear member around the core 54. In other embodiments, the strand 52 can be made by an extrusion process, in which a semi-liquid material of the intermediate layer 80 is pulled through a dye, and the core 54 is pulled through the semi-liquid material in a coaxial arrangement. Also, in other embodiments, the intermediate layer 80 may be disposed on the core 54 by a chemical impregnation process. In further embodiments, the intermediate layer 80 may be coated on the core 54 as a hot-melt adhesive. After the intermediate layer 80 has been disposed on the core 54, the outer layer 58 is then disposed on the intermediate layer 80 using any of the techniques discussed previously. In other embodiments, the outer layer 58 may be formed as a tubular member. In such cases, the core 54 is disposed coaxially within the tubing of the outer layer 58, and a fluid or semi-fluid material (e.g., an adhesive) is used to fill the spacing between the core 54 and the outer layer 58. After the adhesive solidifies, it becomes the intermediate layer 80 of the strand 52, and secures the outer layer 58 to the core 54. It should be noted that the strand 52 of FIG. 5 should not be limited by the type of manufacturing process described, and that any of other known manufacturing techniques may also be used to construct the strand 52.

In the above embodiments, the outer layers 58 of the strands 52 are disposed around the respective cores 54 of the strands 52 before the strands 52 are used to form the member 50. Such technique is advantageous in that it provides better structural enforcement (e.g., better tensile strength) for the member 50 (as compared to coating the member 50 with the outer layer after the member 50 is formed). Also, such technique allows the member 50 to have a more even distribution of the outer layers 58, and allows the outer layers 58 to be better secured to the cores 54 (as compared to coating the member 50 with the outer layer after the member 50 is formed). This is because coating the member 50 with an outer layer after the member 50 is formed may result in the outer layer having an uneven thickness (e.g., with some areas being significantly thicker or thinner than others). The thicker portions may affect the manner in which the member 50 flexes. Also, in some cases, the thinner portions may wear off, thereby exposing the core. Applying the outer layers 58 before the strands 52 are used to form the member 50 is also advantageous in that the strands 52 (with the outer layer 58) of the member 50 can move (although very slightly) relative to each other, thereby allowing the member 50 to be more flexible (as compared to coating the member 50 with the outer layer after the member 50 is formed). This in turn, allows the resulting net 16 to deform as it is used to catch a ball.

It should be noted that the net 16 needs not have any of all of the advantageous described previously, and that in alternative embodiments, instead of applying the outer layers 58 before the member 50 is formed, the strands 52 without the outer layers 58 can be used to form the member 50, and the member 50 is then coated with an outer layer. FIG. 6 illustrates a cross-sectional view of the member 50 of the net 16 in accordance with other embodiments. As shown in the figure, the member 50 is formed by first interweaving the strands 52 (which include the cores 54, but do not include the outer layer 58), and then disposing the outer layer 58 around the interwoven strands 52. In such cases, instead of having a plurality of outer layers 58 surrounding respective cores 54, a single outer layer 58 surrounds the cores 54 of the strands 52.

In some embodiments, the entire net 16 is constructed as a single unit, and is then attached to the lacrosse head frame 12. In other embodiments, the net 16 is formed from a plurality of net portions, which are constructed separately. The net portions are then connected together to form the net 16. For examples, the net portions may be connected together using an adhesive, or by tying some of the strands 52 of one net portion to the strands 52 of another net portion. After the net 16 has been constructed, the net 16 can be secured to the lacrosse head frame 12 via a string 64 (shown in FIG. 1). In other embodiments, connectors such as snaps, buttons, clips, or other connection devices known in the art of lacrosse head construction, may be used to secure the net 16 to the lacrosse head frame 12. In further embodiments, the net 16 can be secured directly to the head frame 12 (e.g., by tying the members 50, or at least some of the strands 52 of the members 50, directly to the head frame 12).

In other embodiments, the lacrosse head frame 12 further includes a plurality (e.g., four) of leather thongs 100 that are connected between the top portion 18 and the bottom portion 24 of the lacrosse head frame 12 (FIG. 7). In such cases, portions (e.g., some of the members 50, or some of the strands 52) of the net 16 can interweave with the leather strips 100.

In other embodiments, the lacrosse head frame 12 can further include a pocket member 110 that is secured to the top portion 18 of the lacrosse head frame 12 (FIG. 8). The pocket member 110 has a partial outline shape that conforms to the inside of head frame scoop 18 and the portions of the sidewalls 20 and 22 proximate the scoop 18. The pocket member 110 may be permanently or removably secured to the lacrosse head frame 12. In such cases, the net 16 is sized to span between the pocket member 110 and the base portion 24 of the lacrosse head frame 12. In the illustrated embodiments, the pocket member 110 includes a plurality of holes 112 for allowing the net 16 to be connected to the pocket member 110. For example, portion(s) of the net 16 may be tied directly to the holes 112. Alternatively, portion(s) of the net 16 may be secured to the holes 112 indirectly using a string/lace or connector(s).

Although the embodiments of the net 16 have been described with reference to a lacrosse head, the scope of the invention should not be so limited. In other embodiments, any of the embodiments of the nets 16 described herein can be sized and shaped accordingly for use with other sporting equipment, such as a hockey goal frame 200 (FIG. 9), a lacrosse goal frame 202 (FIG. 10), a soccer goal frame 204 (FIG. 11), a frame 206 of a fishing net frame (FIG. 12), a basketball hoop (FIG. 16), or any of other frames used in sports. Also, in other embodiments, any of the embodiments of the nets 16 described herein can be used to form a tennis net 208 (FIG. 13), a badminton net 210 (FIG. 14), a volleyball net 212 (FIG. 15), a basketball net 214 (FIG. 16), or any of other sporting nets not described herein. As used herein, the term “sporting net” refers to a net that is used, or appropriate for use, in a sport. For example, the net 16 can be combined with another net 16 to form the sporting net, or alternatively, be constructed as an integral piece to form the sporting net. As such, the net 16 may have different sizes, shapes, and configurations in different embodiments, depending on the particular application.

Although particular embodiments have been shown and described, it will be understood that the present inventions are not limited to the illustrated embodiments, and it will be obvious to those skilled in the art that various changes and modifications may be made. The specification and drawings are, accordingly, to be regarded in an illustrative rather than restrictive sense.