Title:
Holding device for a foundation garment
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A holding device designed to retain a portion of an undergarment in underlying relation to a predetermined portion of an outer garment such as a blouse, tank-top, etc. More specifically, the holding device of the present invention includes a base having a hollow interior defined by an elongated channel extending along the length of the base and terminating in oppositely disposed open ends. An access opening is formed at any one of a plurality of locations in the base in communicating relation with the interior channel. Both the channel and the access opening are dimensioned and configured so as to allow the predetermined portions of the undergarment and overgarment to pass through the access opening and into the channel, wherein the garment portions are retained and where the undergarment portion can not be readily seen. The holding device is particularly applicable for maintaining the support strap of various foundation garments, such as a brassier, in underlying, covered engagement with a blouse, shirt, or in certain instances directly beneath the supporting strap of a tank-top, or similar garment.



Inventors:
Griffith, Cindy K. (Tampa, FL, US)
Application Number:
09/772198
Publication Date:
02/28/2002
Filing Date:
01/29/2001
Assignee:
GRIFFITH CINDY K.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41F15/02; (IPC1-7): A44B11/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
RODRIGUEZ, RUTH C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MALLOY & MALLOY, P.A. (Miami, FL, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A holding device designed to maintain relative positions of predetermined portions of adjacently disposed garments, said holding device comprising: a) a base having a substantially hollow interior extending along a length thereof, b) said hollow interior comprising an elongated panel terminating in oppositely disposed open ends, c) an access opening formed in said base in communicating relation to said channel, d) said channel being sufficiently dimensioned to receive the predetermined portion of the garments therein, and e) said base disposed in retaining engagement with the predetermined portions.

2. A holding device as recited in claim 1 wherein said access opening is dimensioned to allow the predetermined portions of the garments to at least independently pass therethrough into and out of said channel.

3. An assembly as recited in claim 2 wherein said access opening comprises an elongated slot disposed in separating relation to adjacent wall portions of said base along the length of said slot.

4. A holding device as recited in claim 3 wherein said slot extends along an entire length of said base and in communicating relation to said channel.

5. A holding as in claim 4 wherein said slot and said channel are substantially co-extensive along the length of said base.

6. A holding device as in claim 4 wherein said base, said slot and said channel have a substantially common longitudinal dimension.

7. A holding device as in claim 1 wherein said base comprises a first wall and a second wall oppositely disposed to one another, said channel extending between said first and second wall.

8. A holding device as recited in claim 7 wherein said access opening is formed in said first wall in separating relation to spaced apart wall segments thereof.

9. A holding device as recited in claim 8 wherein said access opening comprises an elongated slot extending along the length of said first wall and said channel and in communicating relation to said open ends.

10. A holding device as in claim 9 wherein said base comprises two side walls disposed in interconnecting relation between said first and second walls and extending along and at least partially defining opposite longitudinal sides of said channel.

11. A holding device as recited in claim 10 wherein said slot is disposed in substantially equally spaced relation between said two side walls along the length of said slot.

12. A holding device as in claim 1 wherein said base comprises a first wall and a second wall disposed in substantially opposing relation to one another and at least one side wall interconnected between said first and second walls and extending along the length thereof.

13. A holding device as recited in claim 12 wherein said access opening comprises an elongated slot disposed in opposing relation to said side walls and in separating relation to said first and second walls.

14. A holding device designed to maintain a relative position of predetermined portions of adjacently disposed garments, said holding device comprising: a) a base formed from a semi-rigid at least partially flexible material and including a hollow interior, b) said hollow interior comprising an elongated channel terminating in oppositely disposed open ends, c) an access opening comprising an elongated slot formed in said base in communicating relation to said channel along the length of said slot, d) said channel dimensioned and configured to receive the predetermined portion of the garments therein in at least partially overlapping engagement with one another, and e) said base disposed in surrounding retaining relation to the predetermined portions.

15. A holding device as recited in claim 14 wherein said slots is selectively disposable between a closed position and an open position upon flexing of a portion of said casing outwardly from said slot.

16. A holding device as recited in claim 15 wherein said slot is normally biased in said closed position and selectively disposed in said open position.

17. A holding device as recited in claim 16 wherein said base comprises a first wall and a second wall disposed in substantially opposing relation to one another and at least one side wall interconnected between said first and second walls and extending along the length thereof.

18. An assembly as recited in claim 17 wherein said access opening comprises an elongated slot disposed in opposing relation to said side wall and in separating relation to said first and second wall.

19. A holding device as recited in claim 18 wherein said open position is defined by at least one of said first and second walls flexed outwardly from the other thereby enlarging said slot along its length.

20. A holding device as recited in claim 15 wherein said slot is formed in said first wall in separating relation to spaced apart wall segments.

21. A holding device as recited in claim 20 wherein said wall segments are normally biased into said closed position, said open position defined by at least one of said two wall segments flexed out in a direction away from the other of said two wall segments, thereby enlarging said slot along its length.

Description:

CLAIM OF PRIORITY

[0001] The present application is based on and a claim to priority is made under 35 U.S.C. Section 119(e) to provisional patent application currently pending in the U.S. Pat. No. and Trademark Office having Ser. No. 60/178,719 and a filing date of Jan. 28, 2000.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] 1. Field of the Invention

[0003] The present invention relates to a holding device preferably formed from a semi-rigid, at least minimally flexible material and structured to removably retain the support strap of a bra or other undergarment in an out-of-site location beneath a predetermined portion of any of a variety of exterior garments, such as blouses, tank-tops, etc. and further serves to prevent the inadvertent displacement of the support strap from its intended, out-of-site location. At least one embodiment of the holding device is usable with sleeveless shirts, blouses, sweaters, etc. such that the support strap of the undergarment is disposed beneath and in immediately adjacent relation to the outer peripheral edge of an arm opening or other opening formed in the sleeveless blouse or like garment.

[0004] 2. DESCRIPTION OF THE RELATED ART

[0005] The wearing of certain types of undergarments or foundation garments which incorporate the use of support straps extending in overlying relation to the user's shoulder is universally accepted and practiced in many places throughout the world. Such undergarments include brassieres, camisoles, slips, etc. which are normally formed of a light weight, smooth material worn in overlying, engaging relation to a person's skin and in underlying relation to an exteriorly worn garment. However, one well recognized problem associated with the wearing of such undergarments and which frequently becomes a source of embarrassment to the wearer, is the inadvertent displacement of one or both of the support straps from an intended out-of-site location beneath a shirt, blouse or other exterior garment, to a location extending downwardly over the upper portion of the wearer's arm or other situation wherein one of the support straps becomes visible. The fact that the inadvertent displacement of a support strap or other occurrence wherein one or both of them become visible to others can be somewhat embarrassing is apparent in the observation that women frequently adjust their shirts or outer garments in an attempt to conceal the support strap or otherwise assure themselves that the support strap has not become inadvertently visible. However, regardless of the repeated efforts of wearers of such foundation garments, the aforementioned support straps have a habit of becoming continuously or repeatedly displaced and thereby frequently come into view, despite the efforts of the wearer to conceal them.

[0006] It is, of course, recognized that many types and styles of exterior garments including shirts or blouses have at least partially elongated sleeves and are less likely to present problems of the type set forth above, at least in terms of the displaced support strap being viewable by another person. However, displacement of the support strap of brassieres, slips camisoles and like garments are still of a source of discomfort to the wearer, even when a displaced support strap is not viewable. Further, when wearing an overgarment having elongated sleeves it may become even more difficult for the wearer to rearrange the support straps in an intended and preferred location over the shoulder of the wearer. Moreover though, there are some shirts and/or other outer garments with sleeves, such as those having “scooped” or “boat-like” necklines, which can at times permit one of bra or support straps to become visible to others, and wearers of these types of outer garments can often found frequently adjusting either the position of the collar and/or of the support strap, as well.

[0007] In an effort to overcome the disadvantages and problems associated with the wearing of foundation garments having support straps of the type set forth above, attempts have been made to engage the support straps and dispose them in an anchored position, such as by attachment to an adjacently positioned article of clothing. However, the majority, if not all of such known retaining devices possess other disadvantages primarily relating to complicated structural design, expense, difficulty of attachment, comfort, etc. By way of example only, certain known devices include the use of double sided adhesive material disposed to capture the support strap or attach it to an associated, adjacent garment. Other known devices frequently incorporate the use of hook and loop type fasteners for retaining the support strap and/or connecting it to an adjacently positioned garment. In the latter category of known devices, it is well recognized that hook and loop type fasteners are often not easily connected in a proper and intended fashion, frequently resulting in the various components of such a fastener to become inadvertently secured or “snag” a portion of the fabric of an adjacently disposed garment. Obviously, such snagging frequently results in damage to the garment and is therefore objectionable.

[0008] Based on the above, there is a long felt need in this field of art for an efficient, safe, easily attachable, durable and inexpensive holding device which is designed and structured to maintain the relative position between predetermined portions of adjacently disposed garments. If such an improved holding device were made, it should also be capable of removably but securely retaining a support strap of a brassier, camisole, slip etc. in a preferred, “hidden” position beneath the shoulder portion or other part of an outer garment. If any such improved holding device were made, it would preferably be of a one piece, unitary construction and formed of a material which may engage virtually any fabric of an adjacently disposed garment without fear of damaging the garment and at the same time, be comfortable to wear. Further, if any such improved holding device were made, it should also be reliable specifically in terms of maintaining the support strap of an undergarment structure in its preferred hidden, location thereby providing the wearer with assurances and substantially if not completely eliminating the possibility of embarrassing incidents resulting from the support strap or other predetermined portion of the undergarment becoming inadvertently displaced or otherwise visible to others.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0009] The present invention is directed towards solving these and other needs which remain in the art and relates to a holding device designed to maintain the relative position between predetermined portions of adjacently disposed garments. More specifically, the holding device is easily adapted for use in removably attaching or otherwise retaining a portion of one of a large number of different garments to an adjacently disposed garment. However, the holding device of the present invention is particularly structured for the removable retention of a support strap of a brassier, camisole, slip or other undergarment to an adjacently disposed exterior garment, such as a blouse, sweater, tank-top, etc. Alternatively, the holding device of the present invention is easily adaptable for connecting correspondingly disposed support straps of foundation garments to one another, such as when a slip and a brassier are worn at the same time.

[0010] The holding device of the present invention comprises a base having a hollow interior, which preferably, is defined by an elongated channel formed within the base and extending along its length. The channel elongated terminates in oppositely disposed open ends, wherein the open ends also define the opposite extremities of the base. An access opening is formed in the base at any one of a plurality of locations depending upon the particular application for which the holding device of the present invention is intended and the style or configuration of the adjacently disposed garments to which the support straps are to be attached. More specifically, the access opening comprises an elongated slot disposed in direct communication with the interior channel by extending through a portion of the wall of the outer casing. Further, the elongated slot extends along the length of the channel as well as the length of the wall portion of the base in which it is formed. The elongated slot defining the access opening is specifically disposed and dimensioned to allow the support strap and a predetermined, correspondingly disposed portion of the outer garment, such as the peripheral edge of the sleeve, to pass therethrough into the interior channel. Accordingly, the interior channel is dimensioned and configured to at least partially surround and dispose a portion of the outer garment in overlying, covering relation to the support strap of the bra, camisole, slip or like undergarment, which is intended to be disposed in an out-of-sight location. Depending upon the location of the access opening on the base and its orientation when anchoring or otherwise retaining the support strap of the undergarment to the exterior garment, the transverse dimension or width of the elongated slot may be such as to restrict passage of the support strap and predetermined portion of the exterior garment therethrough. Such a restricted passage assures the wearer that the support strap will not become inadvertently dislodged and fall down onto the upper arm of the wearer.

[0011] Other preferred features for the holding device of the present invention comprise the base being at least partially formed from a semi-rigid but at least minimally flexible material. The material from which the holding device is formed should be capable of demonstrating a sufficient resiliency or inherent bias to permit the wall portions surrounding the elongated slot to be flexed outwardly from one another and away from the slot. The transverse dimension of the slot can thereby be enlarged and facilitate the passage of the support strap and exterior garment therethrough, into the intended position within the channel. Once the retained portions of the adjacently disposed garments are disposed within the channel, the inherent bias or resiliency of the material from which the base is formed serves to automatically reduce the transverse dimension of the slot thereby restricting the passage of either the support strap or the overgarment therethrough without specific manipulation of the base by the wearer.

[0012] Therefore, the holding device of the present invention is formed from a light weight, durable material which is compatible with virtually all of the fabrics from which the exterior garments, engaged by the holding device, may be formed. The holding device of the present invention can be applied to safely and efficiently retain or anchor the support strap of a variety of different undergarments to a large variety of different styled exterior garments, including sleeveless blouses, sweaters, tank-tops, bathing suits, etc. Also, exposure of the holding device in a viewable position on the outside of the exteriorly worn garment can enhance the overall appearance of the one or more garments to which the holding device is attached. Finally, the holding device of the present invention can be easily but securely installed or attached by the wearer, thereby providing assurances that inadvertent displacement of a support strap of an undergarment will not occur.

[0013] These and other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become more clear when the drawings as well as the detailed description are taken into consideration.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0014] For a fuller understanding of the nature of the present invention, reference should be had to the following detailed description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings in which:

[0015] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of one embodiment of a holding device according to the present invention.

[0016] FIG. 2 is a top view of the embodiment of FIG. 1

[0017] FIG. 3 is a partial perspective view of the holding device shown in FIG. 1 removably engaging predetermined portions of an exterior garment and an undergarment in predetermined relative position to one another.

[0018] FIG. 4 is a perspective view of yet another embodiment of the holding device of the present invention.

[0019] FIG. 5 is an end view of the embodiment of FIG. 4 shown in an operative position relative to predetermined portions of adjacently disposed garments.

[0020] FIG. 6 is a perspective view of yet another embodiment of the holding device according to the present invention.

[0021] FIG. 7 is a perspective view of still another embodiment of the holding device according to the present invention.

[0022] FIG. 8 is an end view of the embodiment of FIG. 7.

[0023] FIG. 9 is a perspective view of yet another embodiment of the holding device according to the present invention.

[0024] FIG. 10 is an end view of the embodiment of FIG. 9.

[0025] FIG. 11 is a perspective view of yet another possible embodiment of the holding device of the present invention.

[0026] FIG. 12 is an end view of the embodiment of FIG. 11.

[0027] Like reference numerals refer to like parts throughout the several views of the drawings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0028] As set forth in the accompanying drawings, the present invention is directed to a holding device generally indicated as 10 in its various embodiments, wherein the holding device is designed to maintain the relative positions of predetermined portions of adjacently disposed garments or like objects. More specifically, the holding device 10 of the present invention is structured to removably retain a support strap 100, such as a bra strap, a camisole strap, or other predetermined portion of an undergarment or foundation garment in underlying relation and in an out-of-sight position relative to a corresponding portion 102 of any one of a large variety of exterior garments, such as a blouse, T-shirt, sleeveless shirt, tank-top, dress, etc.

[0029] More specifically, in the embodiment of FIGS. 1 through 3, the holding device 10 comprises a base 12 having a hollow interior defined by an elongated, interiorly disposed channel 14 extending along the length of the base 12 and terminating in oppositely disposed open ends 16 and 18. The open ends 16 and 18 also define the opposite ends or extremities of the base 12.

[0030] An access opening, generally indicated as 20, is formed in the base 12 and is more specifically defined by an elongated slot 22 disposed in communicating relation with the interior channel 14 by virtue of it passing through any one of a plurality of wall or wall portions defining the exterior of the base 12. In addition, and as will be explained in greater detail hereinafter, in the preferred embodiments of the holding device 10, the base 12, the interior channel 14 and the elongated slot 22 defining the access opening 20 have a common longitudinal dimension, corresponding to the overall length of the base 12.

[0031] Further structural details of the holding device comprise the base 12 including a first wall 26 and a second wall 28 disposed in spaced, substantially opposing relation to one another and separated by the elongated channel 14. Further, the base 12 may include two spaced apart side walls 30 and 32 extending along the length of the base 12, adjacent opposite longitudinal sides of the channel 14. In the embodiments of FIGS. 1 and 2, the elongated slot 22 defining the access opening 20 is integrally formed in the first wall 26 and extends along a substantially central longitudinal access thereof, such that the elongated slot separates two wall segments 33 and 34. The width or transverse dimension of the slot 22 is such as to allow the passage of predetermined portions of adjacently positioned garments such as, but not limited to, the support strap 100 of an undergarment of a brassier, camisole, slip, etc. and the adjacent, correspondingly disposed portion 102, of a garment worn in overlying relation to the undergarment. It is again pointed out by way of example only, that a bra strap could be the relevant portion 100 of the undergarment with a camisole strap as the relevant portion 102 of the outer garment. Depending on the embodiment of the present invention, the transverse dimension of the slot 22 can be such as to allow the separate or independent passage of the strap 100 and/or the garment portion 102 therethrough or alternatively the slot 22 can have a sufficiently large width so as to allow both the strap 100 and garment portion 102 to pass therethrough together into the interior of the channel 14.

[0032] Once the strap 100 and the garment portion 102 are disposed within the slot, they protrude or extend outwardly from the opposite ends 16 and 18 thereof as clearly shown in FIG. 3. In addition, the dimension and configuration of the elongated channel is such as to dispose the strap 100 in underlying relation to a corresponding portion 102 of the adjacent garment, so as to be disposed in an out-of-site location as the strap 100 and the garment portion 102 extend outwardly from the opposite open ends 16 and 18 of the base 12. It is emphasized that regardless of the embodiment of the holding device 10, the base 12, and its associated components, including the interior channel 14 and the elongated slot 22, defining the access opening 20, can collectively be formed in different sizes, dependent upon their use, application or method of attachment and detachment, as discussed more fully hereinafter.

[0033] The holding device 10 of the present invention comprises an additional embodiment as shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, wherein a base 12′ includes elongated, interior channel 14′ and a first and second wall 26′ and 28′ spaced apart from one another by the channel 14′ and disposed in substantially opposing relation to one another. The first and second walls 26′ and 28′ are interconnected by at least one side wall 32′ which also extends along the length of the base 12′ and defines one longitudinal side of the channel 14′. The base 12′ includes an access opening generally indicated as 20′, which is defined by an elongated slot 22′, oppositely disposed to the side wall 32′ and extending in separating relation to the peripheral edges 27 and 29 of the first and second wall 26′ and 28′, respectively. As with the embodiment of FIGS. 1 through 3, the elongated slot 22′ has a transverse dimension sufficient to allow passage therethrough of the support strap 100 and a corresponding portion 102 of an adjacent garment, wherein the strap 100 and garment portion 102 may pass through the slot 22′ separately from one another or together as they are disposed in engaging, relation to one another, as best shown in FIG. 5. Also with reference to FIG. 5, the overall dimension and configuration of the channel 14′ may be such as to substantially clamp or otherwise snugly engage the support strap 100 and the garment portion 102, while positioned in their retaining relation to one another, so as to prohibit inadvertent removal of either the support strap 100 or the displacement of the base 12′. Such inadvertent displacement may be more prevalent with the embodiment of the holding device 10 as shown in FIGS. 4 and 5 in that the base 12′ thereof is specifically designed to retain the support strap 100 beneath the predetermined garment portion 102, which defines the outer peripheral edge of an opening formed in a sleeveless blouse, sweater, etc. To the contrary the embodiment of FIG. 1, is more specifically designed to hold or retain the support strap 100 of an undergarment beneath and in an out-of-site location relative to an exposed support strap of a tank-top, overlying foundation garment or other garment.

[0034] Yet another embodiment of the present invention is shown in FIG. 6, wherein the base 12″ has a somewhat enlarged side wall 32″ and angularly oriented first and second walls 26″ and 28″. In this embodiment the elongated slot 22″, defining the access opening 20″ is normally disposed in what may be referred to as a closed or at least partially closed position. The closed position is defined by the transverse dimension of the slot 22″, being sufficiently small to restrict passage therethrough of either the support strap 100 or garment portion 102 in order to prevent or significantly limit the ability of either the support strap 100 or garment portion 102 to inadvertently pass back through the elongated slot 22″, once they are disposed within the interior of the channel 14″, in their preferred overlying relation to one another. Because of the narrow transverse dimension of the slot 22″ in the embodiment of FIG. 6, the access opening 25 must be disposed into an open position. The open position is defined by the outward flexing of at least one or both of the first and second walls 26″ and 28″ or at least the outer most peripheral edges thereof as at 27′ and 29′ respectively, as schematically represented by the directional arrows 44. This outer flexing of the peripheral portions 27′ and 29′ can easily be accomplished by forming the base 12″ or any of the bases 12 or 12′ of the embodiments of FIGS. 1 through 6, from a semi-rigid, at least minimally flexible material.

[0035] The material from which the various embodiments are formed may include a variety of materials, but preferably, will be a plastic or plastic based material or other applicable material. In the preferred embodiments, the plastic material used will be capable of demonstrating sufficient rigidity to retain the support strap 100 and the garment portion 102 in the preferred retained orientation relative to one another, and will be resistant to slippage along the garments disposed therein, while allowing a certain amount of flexibility of the device itself. While an ABS plastic can be used, or even urethane materials, ideally a clear resin known as “K Resin” produced by the Phillips company will be used, so as to offer a flexible holding device which is comfortable to wear and which will not be readily observable on an outer garment. The flexibility aspect of the material is preferred for other reasons as well, such as to permit outwardly directed flexing of the peripheral portions 27′ and 29′ in the embodiment shown in FIG. 6 so as to insert or remove the support strap 100 and garment portions 102, as set forth above. The embodiments of FIGS. 1 through 5 can also demonstrate such resiliency, particularly wherein the transverse dimension of the elongated slot 22 or 22′ is minimally dimensioned in order to restrict the passage of the support strap 100 or garment portion 102 therethrough, as set forth above. In addition, the flexible nature of the material from which the holding device 10 is formed should also be capable of including a certain amount of “inherent bias” which causes an automatic return of the slot 22, 22′ and 22″ to its original size.

[0036] The holding device 10 of the present invention can also comprise still other embodiments as shown in FIGS. 7 through 12. For example, and as mentioned previously herein, the holding device of the present invention can be made in an assortment of sizes as shown in FIGS. 7 through 10, such as but not limited to ¼″, ½″ and ¾″, which sizes correspond to the widths of most bra straps, camisole straps, full slips and/or those found on some evening gowns, tank tops, and even on some dresses or tops with spaghetti straps, as well as bathing suits with tank top cover ups, etc. Alternatively, the holding device could be made to have a larger dimension, such as generally of about 1 inch or more to accommodate larger and/or other support strap sizes. Also an option and/or in addition, the depth of the channel 14 of the holding device, which preferably will be generally about ¼″ or so, could be modified so as to be larger in order to accommodate a bra strap or other support strap which has been doubled up, a feature commonly found on younger girls' bras or persons of smaller stature.

[0037] In the embodiments shown in FIGS. 7 through 10, the holding device 10 will preferably include a gripping structure 50 disposed at least partially along the wall segments 33″ and 34″ adjacent the access opening 20″. The gripping structure is preferably integrally formed with the holding device 10 and is structured to prevent slippage of the device along the support strap 100, such as a bra strap, and outer garment contained therein, whether that be another strap such as a camisole strap, evening gown strap, etc. or another.

[0038] The holding device of the present invention is shown in yet another embodiment in FIGS. 11 and 12. In this embodiment, the base includes a first wall 26″ and an elongated second wall 28″, with a single side wall 32″ extending along the length of the base adjacent the channel 14″. A gripping structure 50′ is preferably included on at least part of the inwardly facing portions of wall 26″ and second wall 28″ as shown in FIGS. 11 and 12. It is contemplated that this embodiment will be used to engage a support strap along second wall 28″ with the outer garment disposed on top of the support strap and the first wall 26″ engaging and/or capturing a portion of the outer garment thereunder. In this way, the first wall 26″, which is appropriately sized at generally about ¼″ or so, will not be readily observable to others, but will accommodate a portion of an other garments, such as part of the collar of a shirt having a low scoop neck, or part of sleeveless shirt, half back shirt and any other type of shirts where the bra strap might come out from underneath the clothing.

[0039] Since many modifications, variations and changes in detail can be made to the described preferred embodiment of the invention, it is intended that all matters in the foregoing description and shown in the accompanying drawings be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense. Thus, the scope of the invention should be determined by the appended claims and their legal equivalents.

[0040] Now that the invention has been described,