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The present application is a continuation-in-part of our co-pending design patent application Ser. No. 29/211,612, filed on Aug. 17, 2004 and entitled “Two-Dimensional Sheet Material”, issuing as U.S. Pat. No. Des. ______ on ______, which is a division of our earlier U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/239,359, filed Jan. 28, 1999 (now abandoned). Each of these prior applications is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
The present invention is broadly directed to articles of manufacture but is more particularly directed to articles of manufacture having a pattern thereon which provides the illusion of the dimpled surface of a golf ball. A preferred embodiment of the invention concerns a golfing accessory in the form of an umbrella having a canopy and other components which are constructed and arranged in accordance with a golfing theme.
The game of golf is widely popular throughout the world. From its origins in Scotland, golf has spread to numerous countries and has become the favored pastime of a large community of golfers. Numerous golf courses have been designed and built throughout the United States and other countries, and such courses are often heavily frequented.
The popularity of the game of golf has resulted in the spinoff of commercial products relating to, signifying, and endorsing the game. Those persons who enjoy the game often desire to wear items signifying or relating to golf. Further, persons who enjoy golf often desire utilitarian products which demonstrate signifiers relating to the game. Numerous utilitarian products and fashion items have been designed with the game of golf in mind. Hats, shirts, jackets, golf bags, umbrellas and towels are just a few of the many items which may be produced to include logos and references to golf-related signifiers.
One particular signifier of the game of golf is the dimple pattern of golf balls. Dimple patterns come in many shapes and sizes. Many are designed to improve a golf ball's flight characteristics when struck with a golf club during the game. Given the association of the dimpled pattern of a golf ball with the game of golf, it is desirable to create commercial items incorporating such a pattern thereon. However, because the dimple pattern appears on the three-dimensional surface of a golf ball, it is difficult to replicate such a pattern on a two-dimensional surface of an article of manufacture.
Further, it is difficult to replicate the manner in which light shining on a golf ball creates a shadow gradient in the dimples of a golf ball. It may be observed that those parts of the dimples of a golf ball which are unexposed to a light shining on the golf ball will display a shadow in the concavity of the dimple portion of the golf ball. That shadow will gradually fade away from that portion of the golf ball which is directly exposed to the source of the light, due to the spherical shape of the golf ball.
It is an object of the present invention to provide an article of manufacture displaying thereon the illusion of the dimpled pattern of the surface of a golf ball.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a golfing accessory, preferably an umbrella, which has structural components arranged in accordance with a golf theme to provide a logical correlation to the game of golf.
It is still a further object of the present invention to provide an article of manufacture having a pattern of the dimpled surface of a golf ball thereon which can be formed simply and efficiently by common manufacturing techniques.
It is another object of the present invention to provide commercial items which are aesthetically pleasing to those persons who enjoy the game of golf.
According to the present invention, a golfing accessory is provided. The accessory is preferably in the form of an umbrella. To this end the accessory includes an elongate, rigid shank, a handle disposed on a first end portion of the shank and an umbrella unit movably supported on a second end portion of the shank. The umbrella unit includes a canopy support frame and a flexible canopy. The support frame has a plurality of ribs and is movable between an umbrella closed position and an umbrella open position. The canopy is formed by a plurality of panels each mounted between adjacent ribs. The canopy includes a pattern formed thereon by a plurality of concentric image arrays. Each image array includes a plurality of similar images equiangularly distributed about the shank so that, when the canopy support frame is in the open position, the canopy is in a taut state wherein the pattern creates an illusion of a dimpled exterior of a golf ball.
Other components for the accessory also adhere to the golfing theme. For example, the accessory's handle in a preferred embodiment is configured as a grip for a golf club and the shank resembles the shaft of a golf club. Additionally, the golfing accessory includes a ferrule which forms a second end portion of the shank. This ferrule is preferably configured as an inverted golf tee. As such, when the golfing accessory is used as a walking aid with the ferrule pointed toward ground, there is a logical correlation, by virtue of the ordered arrangement of the golf-theme components, to a golfer addressing a golf ball prior to a golf swing. The same holds true when the canopy support frame is in the umbrella open position and the ferrule is pointed either toward ground or skyward. The illusion of the golf ball, as well as the logical correlation to a golfer addressing a golf ball, can be enhanced by making the shank selectively extendable and by having each image take on a polygonal or circular shape.
These and other objects of the present invention will become more readily appreciated and understood from a consideration of the following detailed description of the exemplary embodiment(s) when taken together with the accompanying drawings, in which.
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the golfing accessory according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 2a is a top plan view of the golfing accessory shown in FIG. 1 to illustrate the pattern disposed thereon;
FIG. 2b is an enlarged view of FIG. 2a, and provided with polygons intersecting the images to better illustrate the concentric nature of the patterns image arrays;
FIG. 3 is a side view in elevation of the golfing accessory of FIG. 1 and showing it in an umbrella closed position;
FIG. 4a is a side view in elevation of the golfing accessory in an umbrella open position;
FIG. 4b is a side view in elevation of the golfing accessory in the umbrella open position, pointing downward and
FIGS. 5-9 depict different articles of manufacture which can be made in accordance with the golf-theme pattern.
The present invention is directed to an article of manufacture, preferably in the form of a golfing accessory, having a pattern thereon which creates the illusion of the dimpled exterior of a golf ball. In a preferred embodiment, the golfing accessory is in the form of an umbrella such as introduced in FIG. 1. Umbrella 10 has a conventional construction in that it includes an elongate, rigid shank 12, a handle 14 disposed on a first end portion of shank 12 and an umbrella unit 16 supported on a second end portion of the shank.
Umbrella unit 16 includes a canopy support frame 18 having a plurality of ribs, generally 20. Canopy support frame is movable between an umbrella closed position (FIG. 3) and an umbrella open position (FIG. 1). Umbrella unit 16 also includes a flexible canopy 22. Canopy 22 is formed by a plurality of panels 24(1)-24(8), as best shown in FIG. 2a. Each panel is mounted between adjacent ones of the ribs 20; so, for example, panel 24(1) is mounted between ribs 20(1) and 20(8).
Referring to FIG. 2b, it may be seen that canopy 22 includes a pattern, generally 26, formed thereon. Pattern 26 is formed by a plurality of concentric image arrays. For purposes of explanation, a plurality of octagons have been added in FIG. 2b to illustrate the concentric nature of the image arrays. Here, it can be seen, for representative purposes only, that seven such concentric image arrays are disposed on pattern 26. Moving radially outward from the apex 21, it may be seen that the second, fourth and sixth of these image arrays are intersected, respectively, by octagons 26(2), 26(4) &26(6). Each of these image arrays includes a plurality of similar images, generally 28. These images are not shown or described in detail in the present figures, but can be any of those images described or depicted in my prior application Ser. No. 09/239,359 with references to the various FIGS. 1-10 thereof. It should be understood, as well, that similar images of different sizes, such as different diameter circles or differently sized polygons, are contemplated for a pattern which could create the dimpled golf ball illusion. Indeed, known golf ball dimple patterns incorporate circular dimples of different sizes.
Preferably, and as shown in the various figures of the present application, these images 28 are equiangularly distributed about the shank 12 of the golfing accessory 10. As such, when the canopy support frame is in the umbrella open position as best shown in FIGS. 1, 4a and 4b, the canopy 22 is in a taut state and the pattern 26 creates an illusion of a dimpled exterior of a golf ball. To further enhance this visual effect and provide a logical correlation to the game of golf, the accessory incorporates other golf-theme components. For example, handle 14 is preferably configured as a grip for a golf club and the shank 12 preferably resembles the shaft of a golf club. Additionally, as best appreciated with reference to FIGS. 3, 4a and 4b, a ferrule 30 in the form of an inverted golf tee forms a second end portion for shank 12. As with conventional umbrellas, the shank 12 can be selectively extendable so that it is movable between a retracted and an extended state. When in the extended state, and with the umbrella in the open position, it may be appreciated that the ordered arrangement of the various golf-theme components for accessory 10 present a logical correlation to a golfer addressing a golf ball prior to a golf swing. This correlation, understandably, would be further enhanced were a user to hold accessory 10 in the umbrella open position with the ferrule pointed toward the ground, as illustrated in FIG. 4b. This is not an uncommon pose for a golfer who might be waiting in attendance or, perhaps, using the umbrella as a walking aid. Furthermore, the logical correlation is still in effect if the umbrella is used in its closed position (FIG. 3) as a walking aid.
With the above discussion in mind, the remaining figures of the application illustrate other items, some of which are golf accessories and some of which are not, which can benefit from incorporation of the dimpled golf ball pattern. For example, FIG. 5 illustrates a hot air balloon 50 which resembles the dimpled exterior surface of a golf ball when inflated as shown. It is this inflation effect when filled with a medium, or the curvature provided by an open umbrella effect, that enhances visual illusion. For an inflatable balloon, for example, it can go from a deflated state in which it does not resemble a dimpled golf ball to an inflated state in which it does. As for a canopy with a semi-circular domed roof or the like, it can assume a collapsed configuration in which it does not resemble a golf ball to an expanded configuration in which it more closely does.
Other golfing accessories are illustrated in FIGS. 6a-6c to be in the form of hats. Two of these hats, namely 61 and 62, have the requisite curvature to provide the visual illusion, while a third hat 63 has less of an effect. Other items which can benefit from the dimpled pattern include a pillow 70 (FIG. 7), a chair 80 (FIG. 8) and a plate 90 (FIG. 9). Other possible applications for the utilization of the pattern which are not specifically illustrated could include carpeting for golf pro shops or recreation rooms, wallpaper, sheets and pillowcases, linens and tablecloths, upholstery fabric, towels and washcloths, medicine balls, etched glass doors and windows, dinnerware, picnic plates, drink coasters, packaging, backdrops or display banners for convention booths, awnings and canopies, patio cushions, luggage and bags, blankets and throws, party balloons, stationary, or other types of clothing items (e.g. shirts, sweaters, etc).
Accordingly, the present invention has been described with some degree of particularity directed to the exemplary embodiments of the present invention. It should be appreciated, though, that the present invention is defined by the following claims construed in light of the prior art so that modifications or changes may be made to the exemplary embodiment of the present invention without departing from the inventive concepts contained herein.