Title:
SNOOKER, POOL OR BILLIARDS BALL RACK
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention relates to a device such as a snooker, pool or billiards ball rack for setting such balls in a formation for play. The device comprises a frame for receiving said balls and positioning the balls in formation. A display member is also provided which has indicia provided thereon and which is mountable to the frame to display said indicia. The indicia is typically in the form of commercial advertising indicia and/or corporate trade marks and/or logos, but may also convey a variety of information to the players and/or spectators of the game of snooker, pool or billiards.



Inventors:
Crosbie, Robert Andrew (New South Wales, AU)
Application Number:
11/996316
Publication Date:
01/29/2009
Filing Date:
07/20/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63D15/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ARYANPOUR, MITRA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Brooks Kushman (1000 Town Center 22nd Floor, Southfield, MI, 48075, US)
Claims:
1. A device for arranging pool, snooker or billiard balls, the device comprising; a frame for receiving said balls; and a display member having indicia provided thereon and mountable to said frame to display said indicia.

2. A device according to claim 1, wherein the frame comprises at least one wall member arranged to form a cavity into which said balls are received.

3. A device according to claim 2, wherein the at least one wall member has at least an inner and an outer surface.

4. A device according to claim 3, wherein the display member is detachably mounted to the outer surface of the at least one wall member.

5. A device according to claim 4, wherein the display member is a body bearing commercial advertising indicia and/or corporate trade marks and/or logos.

6. A device according to claim 5, wherein the body is made from a flexible material adaptable to conform to the outer surface of the at least one wall member.

7. A device according to claim 6, wherein the flexible material extends around at least a part of the frame.

8. A device according to claim 6, wherein the flexible material is cardboard, paper or similar material upon which the indicia is applied.

9. A device according to claim 7, wherein a retainer element is provided to extend at least partially over the display member.

10. A device according to claim 9, wherein the retainer element retains the display member in position substantially against the outer surface of the at least one wall member.

11. A device according to claim 10, wherein the retainer element engages with the at least one wall member to retain the display member in position substantially against the outer surface of the at least one wall member.

12. A device according to claim 11, wherein the retainer element is disengagable from the at least one wall member to facilitate removal and/or replacement of the display member.

13. A device according to claim 9, wherein the retainer element is made from a clear plastic material such as polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA or Perspex®).

14. A device according to claim 1, wherein the display member is a clip element detachably mountable to at least a portion of the frame.

15. A device according to claim 14, wherein the clip element is configured to receive a body bearing indicia, such as commercial advertising indicia and/or corporate trade marks and/or logos.

16. A device according to claim 15, wherein the body is a strip of flexible material.

17. A device according to claim 16, wherein the flexible material is cardboard, paper or similar material upon which the indicia is applied.

18. A device according to claim 14, wherein the clip element is arranged such that said indicia is provided integral with the clip element.

19. A device for arranging pool, snooker or billiard balls, the device comprising; a frame for receiving said balls; and a cleaning member, said cleaning member being connectable to at least a portion of the frame.

20. A device according to claim 19, wherein the frame comprises at least one wall member arranged to form a cavity into which said balls are received.

21. A device according to claim 20, wherein the at least one wall member has at least an inner and an outer surface.

22. A device according to claim 21, wherein the cleaning member is connectable to the outer surface of the at least one wall member.

23. A device according to claim 19, wherein the cleaning member comprises a brush member

24. A device according to claim 19, wherein the cleaning member comprises a wiper member.

25. A device according to claim 19, wherein the cleaning member comprises a combination brush member and a wiper member.

26. A device according to claim 23, wherein the cleaning member is detachably connectable to said frame.

27. A device according to claim 26, wherein said frame comprises a receiving means to receive the cleaning member.

28. A device according to claim 27, wherein the receiving means includes one or more elongate runners configured to engage with one or more corresponding channels provided on said cleaning member.

29. A device according to claim 28, wherein the one or more corresponding channels are slidably received by the one or more elongate runners to connect the cleaning member to the frame.

30. A device according to claim 19, wherein the frame is a triangular frame and the cleaning member extends from a first end to a second end of one side of the triangular frame.

31. A device for arranging pool, snooker or billiard balls, the device comprising; a frame for receiving said balls; a display member mountable to a first portion of the frame to display indicia; and a cleaning member connected to a second portion of the frame.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application claims priority from Australian Provisional Patent Application No 2005903892 filed on 21 Jul. 2005, the content of which is incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a snooker, pool or billiards ball rack for setting such balls in a formation for play. In particular, the invention relates to a device for arranging and setting snooker, pool or billiard balls or the like in a formation for play that has the facility to function as an advertising vehicle for displaying information and/or has a cleaning member to enable a user to clean a surface of the gaming table.

BACKGROUND ART

In many entertainment venues such as halls, clubs, hotels, pubs and the like, ball games such as pool, billiards and snooker are popular and provide a means by which patrons and/or members can compete against each other in a controlled and organised manner. In many instances, such games can be organised into competitions or the like which may be sponsored or supported by individuals or companies, such as beverage suppliers or manufacturers or associated suppliers of products to hotels/clubs and other outlets that provide gaming facilities.

Prior to commencing a game of snooker, pool or billiards, the balls must first be arranged and set into an appropriate configuration, which typically depends upon the type of game being played. For most versions of the game of pool, fifteen balls are used and prior to commencing the game, the balls are arranged and set in a triangular configuration with the five balls forming the base of the triangle lined up parallel to the end of the pool table. For other games, such as 9-ball, the nine balls are arranged and set in a diamond shape. Typically the arrangement of the balls depends upon the number of balls being used and the specific rules of the game.

In order to arrange and set the balls in position prior to commencement of a game, the balls are placed within a rack which configures the balls into a shape and ensures that the balls form a tight arrangement, with all balls touching adjacent balls. The rack typically takes the desired shape of the balls prior to play, i.e., in games where the balls are to be arranged and set in a triangular configuration, the rack typically takes a triangular form.

In general, the rack is an important piece of equipment for any game of pool, billiards or snooker and the removal of the rack from the balls generally signifies the commencement of the game. As such, in most venues where such games are played, each gaming table typically has a rack provided therewith.

During a game of snooker, pool, billiards or the like, dust from the tip of a cue together with ash from cigarettes and general airborne dust, may accumulate on the surface of the table creating an unsightly and irregular surface which may affect the roll of the balls and the longevity of the surface. To ensure that the surface can be readily cleaned and prepared as required, brushes are typically provided to clean the table prior to, and at times, during the game. As games are typically played in public access venues, such as hotels, halls or clubs, brushes are often lost, stolen or generally misused, thereby preventing them from performing their function.

The present invention is directed towards providing a rack that can function at least as a ball arranging and setting means and which can also receive and host information and advertising material that can be readily changed as required, and/or which provides a means to clean the table.

Any discussion of documents, acts, materials, devices, articles or the like which has been included in the present specification is solely for the purpose of providing a context for the present invention. It is not to be taken as an admission that any or all of these matters form part of the prior art base or were common general knowledge in the field relevant to the present invention as it existed before the priority date of each claim of this application.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Throughout this specification the word “comprise”, or variations such as “comprises” or “comprising”, will be understood to imply the inclusion of a stated element, integer or step, or group of elements, integers or steps, but not the exclusion of any other element, integer or step, or group of elements, integers or steps.

According to a first aspect, the present invention is a device for arranging pool, snooker or billiard balls or the like, the device comprising;

a frame for receiving said balls; and

a display member having indicia provided thereon and mountable to said frame to display said indicia.

In one embodiment, the frame may be substantially triangular in shape. In this regard, the frame may comprise at least one wall member arranged to form a cavity for receiving the balls and arranging the balls in formation. In one form, the or each wall member has at least an inner and outer surface.

The display member may be in the form of a strip of flexible material bearing advertising markings, corporate trade marks, logos or the like. The flexible material may be cardboard, paper or similar material upon which the indicia is applied, by for example, printing.

The display member may be detachably mounted to said outer surface of the wall of the frame such that it conforms to the shape thereof. In one form, the display member is arranged to extend around some or the entire perimeter of the frame. In another form, the display member is arranged to extend along a side of the frame.

A cover may be provided to extend over the display member. The cover may be used to secure the display member against the upstanding portion of the frame. The cover may be arranged to engage with the wall of the frame. In this regard, a groove may be provided in a base of the frame for receiving an edge of the cover. The groove may be shaped and recessed to grip the edge of the cover when received therein, to provide a relatively secure attachment of the cover to the frame.

In another embodiment, an upper edge of the cover may be provided with a rim portion which is shaped to receive an upper edge of the upstanding wall of the frame. In this regard, the rim portion may be shaped to fit over the upper edge of the wall of the frame thereby retaining the cover in a desired position.

The cover may be made from a clear plastic material such as polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA or Perspex®). The cover may be readily disengagable from the frame to facilitate removal and replacement of the display member.

In yet another embodiment, the display member may be in the form of a clip. The clip may be arranged to mate with at least a portion of the frame to be secured thereto. In one form, the clip may be configured to receive a strip of flexible material bearing advertising markings, such as corporate trademarks, logos and the like. In another form, the clip may be arranged such that said advertising markings are formed integral therewith.

In another aspect, the present invention is a device for arranging pool, snooker or billiard balls, the device comprising;

a frame for receiving said balls; and

a cleaning member, said cleaning member being connectable to at least a portion of the frame.

In one embodiment of this aspect of the invention, the frame may be triangular in shape.

The cleaning member may comprise a brush member or a wiper member. The cleaning member is typically used to brush or wipe dust or dirt from a snooker or pool table.

The cleaning member may be detachably connected to said at least a portion of the triangular frame. In this embodiment, one side of the triangular frame may include a receiving means to receive the cleaning member.

The receiving means may include an elongate runner or a series of elongate runners spaced parallel relative one another. The runner(s) may engage with a corresponding channel of the cleaning member. The cleaning member may slide onto and along the runner(s) of the triangular member. Other means of connecting the cleaning member to the triangular frame are also envisaged.

Once the cleaning member is slid onto the runners of the triangular frame, said cleaning member may be locked in place by a locking means.

The cleaning member may be fixable to the triangular frame.

When affixed to the triangular flame, the cleaning member may extend from a first end to a second end of one side of the triangular frame.

Further, at least a portion of the cleaning member may extend beyond the first end and the second end of said one side of the triangular frame. In an embodiment wherein the cleaning member is a brush, bristles of the brush may extend beyond the first end and the second end and at an angle relative to the one side of the triangular frame. This embodiment may enable a user to brush waste from the edges of a snooker or pool table or from underneath rubber or other cushions at the sides of the table where dust, lint and other debris may accumulate.

The cleaning member may also comprise a wiper member wherein the wiper member may comprise a back portion that is connectable with the triangular frame. The wiper member may further comprise a skirt that extends from the back portion. The wiper member may be made from a suitable plastics material.

In one embodiment, the wiper member may be made from a relatively flexible material. Alternatively, the wiper member may be made from a relatively rigid material. The latter embodiment may be particularly useful when scraping difficult to remove waste from the table.

According to yet another aspect, the present invention is a device for arranging pool, snooker or billiard balls, the device comprising;

a frame for receiving said balls;

a display member mountable to a first portion of the frame to display indicia; and

a cleaning member connected to a second portion of the frame.

In one embodiment of this aspect, the frame may be triangular in shape. In this regard, the first and second portions of the frame may be one and/or two sides of the triangular frame.

In this aspect, the frame, display member and/or cleaning member can have the features of these integers as previously described with reference to the other aspects of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of an embodiment of the ball rack of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view of a portion of the ball rack of FIG. 1, showing the manner in which the insert is attached to the rack;

FIG. 3A is a front perspective view of an alternative embodiment of a ball rack of the present invention;

FIG. 3B is a sectional side view of the ball rack of FIG. 3A along section A-A;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the rack of the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of yet another embodiment of the rack of the present invention; and

FIG. 6 is an exploded perspective view of a section of the rack of FIG. 3.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF AN EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENT OF THE PRESENT INVENTION

The device of the present invention is generally shown in the accompanying drawings as 10. Whilst the present invention will be described in relation to a triangular rack 10, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the shape of the rack 10 could be any desired shape as required by the game in which it is to be used. For instance, should the rack 10 be used in a game of 9-ball, the rack could be a diamond shape.

As shown in FIG. 1, the device is used to arrange and set snooker, billiard or pool balls 2 into formation and comprises a triangular frame 11. The triangular frame 11 defines an open middle portion or cavity 3 into which the balls 2 are received, with the open middle portion or cavity 3 being enclosed by an upright wall member 4 having an internal surface 5 and an external surface 6. Whilst the frame 11 is shown as having a continuous wall member 4, it will be appreciated that in the embodiment of a triangular frame 11, the frame 11 may consist of three individual wall members 4 arranged in triangular formation. The internal surface 5 of the upright wall member 4 is provided to contact the adjacent balls 2 such that the balls are retained in a relatively tight configuration with each of the balls in contact with its adjacent balls. In this regard, the internal surface 5 is generally made from a smooth material such as a plastic or wood which enables sliding contact between the balls 2 and the internal surface 5 for easy removal of the rack 10.

A flange 7 extends from the base of the upright wall member 4, away from the external surface 6. The flange 7 is formed integral with the upright wall member 4, however it may also be formed separately and attached to the upright wall member 4 via a variety of attachment means, such as an adhesive or an interference fit. In this arrangement, the flange 7 acts to contact the surface of the table (not shown) upon which the game of pool, billiards or snooker is to be played, when the balls 2 are arranged and set in formation prior to commencement of the game.

As shown in FIG. 1, the external surface 6 of the rack 10 is provided to support a display member in the form of an insert 8 having a variety of indicia provided thereon, such as advertising material, information and the like, for presentation to the users or players of the game of pool, billiards or snooker. In the embodiment as shown, the insert 8 can be attached along the entire perimeter of the external surface 6 of the upright wall member 4, or can extend along a portion or side of the external surface 6, as desired.

As shown more clearly in FIG. 2, the insert is in the form of a thin, flexible material such as paper or a plastic, which can conform to the shape of the external surface 6 of the upright wall member 4. The indicia may be printed or otherwise attached to the outer surface of the insert 8 such that when the insert is positioned against the upright wall member 4, in the direction as shown by arrow A, the indicia is readily noticeable by the players or users of the rack 10. The insert 8 is removable such that the indicia can be readily replaced and changed where necessary.

In this regard, the indicia could be in the form of one or more company logos, such as brewery companies or the like, which may be advertising a product or range of products. Similarly, the indicia could represent a sponsor of a pool, snooker or billiards tournament which is being conducted on the associated tables, and as such the insert carrying the indicia could be readily removed and replaced to cater for a variety of different sponsors or the like. In any regard, the insert 8 provides a space upon which information can be displayed and readily viewed by players or observers of the game.

The manner in which the insert 8 is retained in position on the rack 10 can vary. In the embodiment as shown in FIG. 2, a retainer element or cover 9 is provided to be placed over the insert 8 to secure the insert in position against the external surface 6 of the upright wall member 4. In this regard, a groove 16 is provided in the upper surface of the flange 7 for receiving a base edge of the cover 9. The groove 16 is positioned a suitable distance from the external surface 6 of the upright wall member 4 to provide a space between the external surface 6 and the cover 9 into which the insert 8 is received.

The groove 16 is shaped and recessed to grip the base edge of the cover 9 when received therein, to provide a secure attachment of the cover 9 to the rack 10. To further secure the cover 9 in position, the upper edge of the cover 9 is provided with a rim portion 9A which is shaped to receive the upper edge of the upright wall member 4 of the rack 10. In this regard, the rim portion 9A is shaped to fit over the upper edge of the upright wall member 4 thereby retaining the cover 9 in position over the insert 8.

The cover 9 is made from a clear plastic material such as Perspex®, which enables easy viewing of the insert 8 through the cover 9. In this regard, the cover 9 not only acts to retain the insert 8 in position against the upright wall member 4 of the rack 10, but also protects the insert from damage during use of the rack 10.

As previously discussed, whilst FIG. 1 shows the insert 8 extending around the perimeter of the rack 10, it is envisaged that the insert may be applied to only a portion of the rack 10, such as one or more of the sides of the triangular frame 11. Similarly, it will be appreciated that the cover 9 could be secured to the upright wall member 4 of the rack 10 by way of a variety of means, as would be appreciated by those skilled in the art.

FIGS. 3A and 3B show an alternative arrangement of the rack 10 of FIG. 1. In this arrangement, the display member is in the form of a clip element 25, provided to be secured over a length of the upright wall member 4 of the frame 11, such that a tab 26 of the clip element 25 extends over at least some of the external surface of the upright wall member.

As shown, the clip element 25 has an arm 27 which is movable relative to the body of the clip element 25 to enable attachment of the clip element 25 to the upright wall member 4. In this regard, the arm 27 is pivotally movable so as to receive the upper edge of the upright wall member 4, and in doing so exerts a force against the internal surface 5 of the upright wall member 4, thereby securely attaching the clip element 25 to the upright wall member 4. The arm 27 has a shorter length than the tab 26 such that it does not interfere with the balls 2 when positioned within the rack 10.

One or both ends of the tab 26 of the clip element 25 may be open, to enable an insert 8, as described above, to be received therein. The insert 8, may be slid into position within the tab 26 prior to fixing the clip element 25 to the frame 11, and when replacement of the insert 8 is required, it can be readily removed and replaced in the same manner. In this regard, the body of the tab 26 of the clip element 25 is made from a clear plastic material, such as Perspex®, to enable the indicia provided on the insert 8 to be readily viewed when positioned for use.

Such an arrangement provides ready removal and attachment of the clip element 25 when necessary. To further facilitate attachment of the clip element 25, the internal surface 5 of the upright wall member 4, may have a recess or groove (not shown) provided therein to receive a portion of the arm 27 to retain the clip element 25 in position.

Whilst the insert 8 has been shown as being removable from the clip element 25, it will also be appreciated that the insert 8 could be permanently attached to the clip element 25, or formed integral with the clip element 25 in the form of a printed surface of the tab 26. In such arrangements, in order to change the indicia the entire clip element 25 is removed from the frame 11 and replaced with a suitable clip element 25 which contains the desired indicia.

As shown in FIGS. 4-6, the rack 10 may also be configured to incorporate a cleaning member 12, to assist in cleaning and preparing the surface of the game table. In this regard, the insert 8 or clip element 25 may be provided to extend along one or two sides of the triangular frame 11, with the cleaning member 12 being connected to the remaining side(s).

The cleaning member may comprise a brush 13 as depicted in FIG. 4. Alternatively, the cleaning member may comprise a wiper or scraper 20 as shown in FIG. 5. The purpose of the cleaning member 12 being to brush or wipe dust or dirt from the game table.

The cleaning member 12 may be detachably connected to one side 14 of the triangular frame 11.

As shown in FIG. 6, the one side 14 of the triangular frame 11 has two runners 15 that extend from a first-end 17 of said one side 14 to a second end 18. The cleaning member 12 (in FIG. 6 shown as a brush) has a base plate 19 from which the bristles 21 extend. The base plate 19 extends from a proximal end 22 to a distal end 23 and roughly corresponds in length to the length of the one side 14 of the triangular member 11. The base plate 19 comprises two elongate channels 24 that align with the runners 15 of the one side 14 when the brush 13 is brought into engagement with said one end 14. As shown by the arrow in FIG. 6 the brush may slide onto the runners 15.

When connected to the triangular frame 11, the cleaning member 12 may extend from and along the entire length of the one side 14 of the triangular frame 11.

Further, at least a portion of the cleaning member 12 may extend beyond the ends 17, 18 of said one side 15 of the triangular frame. As shown in FIG. 6, the bristles 21 of the brush 13 may extend beyond the ends 17, 18 of the one side 14 at an angle relative to the one side 14 of the triangular frame 11. This embodiment may enable a user to brush waste from the edges of a snooker or pool table.

The cleaning member may also comprise a wiper member 20 as shown in FIG. 5. The wiper member 20 has a back portion 30 that is connectable with the triangular frame 11. The wiper member 20 also comprises a skirt 31 that extends from the back portion 30. The wiper member 20 may be made from a suitable plastics material and may be made from a relatively flexible material. Alternatively, the wiper member 20 may be made from a relatively rigid material.

Whilst the cleaning member 12 and the frame 11 have been shown as being manufactured to cooperate together in a mated arrangement, it is envisaged that either the frame 11 or the cleaning member 12 could be sourced from “off-the-shelf”, with either the frame 11 or the cleaning member 12 adapted to mate with the “off-the-shelf” item.

It will be appreciated by persons skilled in the art that numerous variations and/or modifications may be made to the invention as shown in the specific embodiments without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention as broadly described. The present embodiments are, therefore, to be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive.

It will be appreciated by persons skilled in the art that numerous variations and/or modifications may be made to the invention as shown in the specific embodiments without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention as broadly described. The present embodiments are, therefore, to be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive.





 
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