Title:
License plate frame assembly system and method
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A system, computer program and method for creating a user-customized license plate frame. The system and method incorporate a license plate frame, weather-resistant paper for displaying the user-customized message, laminate for positioning over the weather-resistant paper, as well as electronic and printed instructions showing the user how to use the provided electronic templates to create a user-customized message. A computer program causes the display of an electronic template configured to receive text and graphics that represent a user-customized message. This template is further configured to define a display area that represents an outer surface of the license plate frame. The template is also configured to receive input of the user-customized message; and format the user-customized message for printing onto the weather-resistant paper.



Inventors:
Watters, Lee (Los Angeles, CA, US)
Watters, Karen (Los Angeles, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/602125
Publication Date:
06/14/2007
Filing Date:
11/20/2006
Primary Class:
1/1
Other Classes:
340/468
International Classes:
E01F9/615
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
DAVIS, CASSANDRA HOPE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Daphne, Burton L. (Suite 1400, 2029 Century Park East, Los Angeles, CA, 90067, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. A system for creating a user-customized license plate frame, comprising: at least one license plate frame configured to be positioned on a license plate; a weather-resistant display mount configured to receive a printed user-customized message, wherein the weather-resistant display mount is configured to be attached to an outer surface of the license plate frame; and a computer-readable medium that contains program instructions configured to receive input of a user-customized message and format the user-customized message for printing onto the weather-resistant display mount.

2. The system of claim 1, wherein the computer readable medium that contains program instructions is further configured to cause the display of an electronic template configured to receive text and graphics that represent a user-customized message, and wherein the electronic template is further configured to define a display area that represents the outer surface of the license plate frame.

3. The system of claim 1, wherein the computer readable medium further contains displayable instructions for creating a user-customized message and printing the message onto the weather-resistant display mount.

4. The system of claim 1, further comprising: printed instructions for creating a user-customized message, printing the user-customized message onto the weather-resistant display mount, and attaching the weather-resistant display mount to the license plate frame.

5. The system of claim 1, wherein the at least one license plate frame is composed of plastic.

6. The system of claim 1, wherein the computer readable medium further contains program instructions that cause the printing of lines on the weather-resistant display mount, wherein the lines represent areas of the weather-resistant display mount to be detached before attaching the weather-resistant display mount to the license plate frame.

7. The system of claim 1, further comprising: laminate configured to overlay the weather-resistant display mount.

8. A user-customizable license plate frame assembly system, comprising: at least one substantially rectangular license plate frame configured to be fixedly positioned onto a license plate; at least one sheet of adhesive-backed weather-resistant paper configured to receive a printed user-customized message, wherein the weather-resistant paper is configured to be attached to an outer surface of the license plate frame; and an electronic template configured to receive text and graphics that represent a user-customized message, and wherein the electronic template is further configured to define a display area that represents at least a portion of an outer surface of a license plate frame.

9. The system of claim 8, wherein the computer readable medium further contains displayable instructions for creating a user-customized message and printing the message onto the weather-resistant paper.

10. The system of claim 8, further comprising: printed instructions for creating a user-customized message, printing the user-customized message onto the weather-resistant paper, and attaching the weather-resistant paper to the license plate frame.

11. The system of claim 8, wherein the at least one license plate frame is composed of plastic.

12. The system of claim 8, wherein each at least one license plate frame is a different color.

13. The system of claim 8, further comprising: laminate configured to overlay the weather-resistant paper.

14. A computer readable medium containing program instructions for creating a user-customized license plate frame which, when executed by a computer processor, cause the processor to perform the steps of: causing the display of an electronic template configured to receive text and graphics that represent a user-customized message, and wherein the electronic template is further configured to define a display area that represents an outer surface of the license plate frame; receiving input of the user-customized message; and formatting the user-customized message for printing onto a weather-resistant display mount that is configured to be positioned on the license plate frame.

15. A method for creating a user-customized license plate frame, comprising: providing at least one license plate frame that is configured to be positioned on a license plate; causing the display of an electronic template configured to receive text and graphics that represent a user-customized message, and wherein the electronic template is further configured to define a display area that represents an outer surface of the license plate frame; receiving electronic input of the user-customized message; providing a weather-resistant display mount that is configured to receive a printed user-customized message, wherein the weather-resistant display mount is configured to be attached to an outer surface of the license plate frame; and electronically formatting the user-customized message for printing onto the weather-resistant display mount.

16. The method of claim 15, wherein the weather-resistant display mount is paper having an adhesive backing.

17. The method of claim 15, further comprising: providing printed instructions for creating a user-customized message, printing the user-customized message onto the weather-resistant display mount, and printed instructions for attaching the weather-resistant display mount to the license plate frame.

18. The method of claim 15, wherein the at least one license plate frame is composed of plastic.

19. The method of claim 15, wherein each at least one license plate frame is a different color.

20. The method of claim 15, further comprising: providing laminate configured to overlay the weather-resistant display mount.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

Pursuant to 35 USC §119 (e), this application claims the benefit of priority to U.S. provisional application Ser. No. 60/738,950 filed on Nov. 22, 2005, in the names of inventors Karen and Lee Watters, and titled “License Plate Frame Assembly Kit and Method”.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of Invention

The present disclosure relates. to license plate frames and, more particularly, to a system, computer program and method for creating and assembling a user-customized license plate frame.

2. Description of Related Art

License plate frames have become expressive media. End users of license plate frames—including automobile owners or those having the owner's permission—may wish to display customized messages on their license plate frames. These customized messages may include text and graphics. The messages may relate to political expression, advertising and/or promotions.

At present, end users regularly rely on others, e.g., molding or engraving professionals, to assemble and prepare customized messages for license plate frames. The message may be molded onto the frame with raised text and/or graphics. However, these molded or engraved frames may be relatively expensive. Moreover, relying on professional(s) to create the messages gives the end users less control over the process. In addition, these frames are often pre-manufactured, and may not necessarily convey the message that the user desires.

Silk-screened license plate frames are also available. However, these frames often must be purchased in larger quantities. Moreover, as with the engraved license plate frames, professionals often must be relied upon to prepare and assemble the license plate frames.

In addition to the engraved or molded frames and the silk-screened frames, off-the-shelf press-on letters could be applied to a license plate frame. However, this combination of press-on letters and a frame do not give the user much control over the design or durability. The user's expression is limited to the press-on items and its corresponding text and graphics. Moreover, the manual application of the letters might result in greater layout errors and possibly ruining the aesthetics of the frame. This may cause the end user to waste time and money.

There is a need for a license plate frame assembly system and method that allows a user to customize the frame autonomously and at a low cost.

There is also a need for a license plate frame assembly system and method that permit a user to assemble the customized frame with a reduced possibility of layout errors.

Moreover, the user may wish to have a convenient way to change the display on his or her license plate frame. There is still further a need for a license plate frame assembly system and method that allows a user to easily change the message that is displayed.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF INVENTION

The present disclosure addresses the needs noted above by providing a user-customized license plate frame assembly system, computer program and method.

In accordance with one embodiment of the present disclosure, a system is provided for a user-customizable license plate frame. The system comprises at least one license plate frame configured to be positioned on a license plate. The system further comprises a weather-resistant display mount configured to receive a printed user-customized message, wherein the weather-resistant display mount is configured to be attached to an outer surface of the license plate frame. Moreover, the system comprises a computer-readable medium that contains program instructions configured to receive input of a user-customized message and format the user-customized message for printing onto the weather-resistant display mount.

In accordance with yet another embodiment of the present disclosure, a computer program containing program instructions for creating a user-customizable license plate. When executed by a computer processor, the program instructions cause the processor to perform the steps of: causing the display of an electronic template configured to receive text and graphics that represent a user-customized message, and wherein the electronic template is further configured to define a display area that represents an outer surface of the license plate frame; receiving input of the user-customized message; and formatting the user-customized message for printing onto a weather-resistant display mount that is configured to be positioned on the license plate frame.

In accordance with yet another embodiment of the present disclosure, a method is provided for creating a user-customized license plate frame. The method comprises: providing at least one license plate frame that is configured to be positioned on a license plate; and causing the display of an electronic template configured to receive text and graphics that represent a user-customized message. The electronic template is further configured to define a display area that represents an outer surface of the license plate frame. The computer program also contains program instructions for receiving electronic input of the user-customized message; providing a weather-resistant display mount that is configured to receive a printed user-customized message, wherein the weather-resistant display mount is configured to be attached to an outer surface of the license plate frame; and electronically formatting the user-customized message for printing onto the weather-resistant display mount.

These, as well as other objects, features and benefits will now become clear from a review of the following detailed description of illustrative embodiments and the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 illustrates a system for creating a user-customized license plate frame in accordance with one embodiment of the present disclosure.

FIG. 2 illustrates a detailed front view of a license plate frame in accordance with one embodiment of the present disclosure.

FIG. 3 illustrates a computer workstation that may be employed by a user to create a user-customized license plate frame from a template in accordance with one embodiment of the present disclosure.

FIG. 4 illustrates a screenshot of a template that may be used to generate a user-customized message in accordance with one embodiment of the present disclosure.

FIG. 5 is a brochure that illustrates some of the types of message that could be displayed in accordance with one embodiment of the present disclosure.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF ILLUSTRATIVE EMBODIMENTS

The present disclosure provides a system, computer program and method for creating and assembling a user-customized license plate frame. The present disclosure provides ways for end users to express themselves through messages that include text and/or graphics. The messages may be chosen by the users. The messages may relate to just about any topic, including but not limited to, topics related to political expression, advertising, promotions, organizations, or favorite sports teams.

Referring now to FIG. 1, illustrated is an assembly system for a user-customized license plate frame in accordance with one embodiment of the present disclosure. As shown, the system 200 may include a license plate frame 100 having an aperture 105 therethrough for viewing a license plate. The system also may include weather-resistant paper 220 and computer readable media, e.g., compact disk 230, containing electronic instructions and one or more templates for creating a user-customized message for positioning on a license plate frame. Printed instructions 240 also may be included with system 200.

Referring now to FIG. 2, illustrated is a detailed front view of a license plate frame in accordance with one embodiment of the present disclosure. The license plate frame 100 is generally rectangular in shape, having an aperture 105 therethrough.

The license plate frame 100 includes upper and lower horizontally extending portions 102 and 104. Additionally, the license plate frame 100 includes vertically disposed end portions 106 extending between and integrally connected to the opposite ends of the horizontally extending portions. Each of portions 102, 104, 106 is on the outer surface of the license plate frame 100.

As illustrated in FIG. 2, connector portions 108 extend below horizontally extending portion 102. A screw aperture 110 may be formed through each of the connector portions 108. A screw (not shown) may be placed through these screw apertures 110 for securedly or fixedly positioning the license plate frame onto a license plate and a vehicle.

The license plate frame 100 may be a custom-molded or off-the-shelf license plate frame that is manufactured using injection molding or any other process that would allow the creation of a license plate frame. The license plate frame may be composed of—or include in its make-up—plastic or any other material suitable for license plate frames. Because a license plate frame may be exposed to inclement weather, it may be desirable for its material to be relatively durable and weather-resistant resistant. The top portion 120 and bottom portion 130 of license plate frame 10—which are located on an outer surface of the frame when the frame is in use—may define a display area for a user-customized message. The vertically disposed end portions 106 of the license plate frame 100—which also are located on an outer surface of the frame when the frame is in use—may also define display areas for the user-customized message.

Software files may be supplied with the system to assist the user in creating a user-customized message. Referring back to FIG. 1, compact disk 230 may contain computer readable files or programs that cause the display of a template for use in generating text and/or graphics and formatting same for display on a license plate frame. Although a compact disk 230 is used in this example, it should be understood that any form of removable storage media may be used to store the software files.

The software may be used in conjunction with—or may be displayed in—a word processing program, e.g., MICROSOFT.™ WORD.™, MICROSOFT.™ WORKS.™, APPLEWORKS.™, WORDPERFECT.™ or any number of word processing programs. The software may also be used in conjunction with —or may be displayed in—a graphic design program, e.g., ADOBE.™ PHOTOSHOP.™, ADOBE.™ PHOTOSHOP.™ ELEMENTS.™ and/or MICROSOFT.™ PAINT.™. The software may format the message so that it fits onto the outer surface of a license plate frame. The message may be formatted to fit into any one or more of the top portion 120, the bottom portion 130, one of the two vertically disposed end portions 106, or other outward facing surface of the license plate frame 100.

One or more software files on compact disk 230 may be saved onto the hard drive of the user's personal computer.

Referring now to FIG. 3, illustrated is a computer workstation that may be employed by a user to create a user-customized license plate frame from a template in accordance with one embodiment of the present disclosure. The computer workstation 300 includes, within console 365, a central processing unit (processor), random access memory (RAM) and read-only memory (ROM), a display 310 e.g., a monitor, a keyboard 320 for input into the workstation, and a mouse 330 also for input into the workstation. Compact disk slot 340 may be used for removable storage media such as the compact disk having templates and instructions. The computer may also have other permanent storage such as a hard drive for saving the electronic file containing templates on the user's computer.

Apart from the computer workstation, scissors 370 are also shown. The scissors 370 may be used to cut the weather-resistant paper 360 along lines generated by the software. The lines represent portions of the weather-resistant paper that may be detached so that the weather-resistant paper is the size of, or smaller than, the license plate frame. Using this technique, by detaching portions of the weather-resistant paper, the paper is sized to fit and/or adhere to the license plate frame.

The software files may include electronic templates that serve as guides for inputting the desired user-customized message. The template may be used to format the message. In this connection, the template may provide a field for inputting a message to be placed within the top portion of a license plate frame. Likewise, the template may provide a field for user input of a message to be placed within the bottom portion of a license plate frame. The template may provide for user input of a message suitable for placement onto other portions of the license plate frame.

As shown in FIG. 4, a screenshot 400 is provided for a template for use in creating a user-customized message. Several distinct fields 410, 420, 430, 440, 450, 460, 470, 480 may be provided on the screen. The user may simply input the desired text and/or graphics into the distinct fields. In accordance with this example, pairs of fields may be used to represent the top and bottom portions, respectively, of the license plate frame. For example, fields 410 may represent a place for a message to be positioned at the top portion of a license plate frame, while field 420 may represent a place for a message to be positioned at the bottom portion of a license plate frame. It should be noted that the template also may be configured to create a message(s) suitable for placement in one or both vertically disposed end portions of a license plate frame or other outward facing surface of the license plate frame.

The screenshot illustrates that messages may be created for use with multiple license plate frames, and the messages may be printed on a single sheet of 8-½″ ×11″ weather-resistant paper.

The user may create the message by inputting keystrokes that represent characters. User input also may be images for display on a license plate frame.

The weather-resistant paper may be used to semi-permanently mount the paper onto the license plate frame.

Referring back to FIG. 3, the weather-resistant paper 360 may be, for example, vinyl ink jet laser paper having an adhesive backing. One example of such weather-resistant or label paper is commercially available from ONLINE LABELS, INC. The adhesive backing for the weather-resistant paper may include, but is not limited to: glue, paste, epoxy resin, bonding agents or other attachment agents that may be used to attach the paper to the license plate frame. Moreover, the attachment agent also may be designed to be removed readily when the user pulls the weather-resistant paper away from the frame. In this manner, the user may remove the message and more easily display a new customized message when the user sees fit. The user could also paste the new message over the prior message.

The user may print the message using a color inkjet printer, cut the weather-resistant paper along the prescribed lines, and attach the message onto the frame using the adhesive backing.

Alternatively, the electronic printing and template may be skipped altogether and the message may be written onto the weather-resistant paper with a marker, crayon or other writing apparatus configured to write onto the weather-resistant paper 360.

The user-customized message can be just about anything the user wishes it to be. However, factors such as the size of font and colors may factor into the end user's decision. Such factors may affect the visibility of the message that the user wishes to convey.

For added protection from the elements, laminate (not shown) may be provided to overlay the weather-resistant paper. The laminate may have additional weather-resistant properties, including but not limited to, protection against the following: UV rays, the effects of heat at higher temperatures; the effects of lower temperatures; wind; precipitation and/or debris. Such laminate is commercially available as DRYTAC.™ WEATHERSHIELD.™ LUSTRE UV 100 μ film and DRYTAC.™ WEATHERSHIELD.™ EMERYTEX.™ UV 125 μ film. The user-customized license plate frame may be fixedly attached to the license plate frame via hardware, including but not limited to, screws, or nuts and bolts. A spray-on laminate could also be sprayed onto the weather-resistant paper after the paper is applied to the license plate frame.

Referring now to FIG. 5, illustrated is a brochure that shows some types of messages that could be displayed in accordance with one embodiment of the present disclosure. As illustrated, the user-customized message may relate to just about any topic that is of interest to the user, e.g., the user's favorite sports team, a band or other organization, a political message, or an advertisement, just to name a few.

While the specification describes particular embodiments of the present invention, those of ordinary skill can devise variations of the present invention without departing from the inventive concept.