Title:
Tie napkin
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A disposable tie napkin for temporarily protecting a tie or scarf includes:

(a) a main body including two longitudinal sides and a pair of elongated, flat, flexible sheet members: a top sheet member and a bottom sheet member, the top sheet member being longer than the bottom sheet member, the main body being open at its upper end and closed at its lower end; and

(b) an upper end portion of a flexible, malleable base material, including an adhesive portion along an upper edge of the top sheet member;

wherein the top sheet member is substantially identical to and aligned with the bottom sheet member, except for the upper end portion of the tie napkin; the top sheet member being superimposed on the bottom sheet member, except for the upper end portion.




Inventors:
Bourne, Lynette S. (Charleston, SC, US)
Application Number:
10/091617
Publication Date:
09/11/2003
Filing Date:
03/06/2002
Assignee:
BOURNE S. LYNETTE
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41D27/12; (IPC1-7): A41D27/12
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
HOEY, ALISSA L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Harleston Law Firm, LLC (Columbia, SC, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A disposable tie napkin for temporarily protecting a tie or scarf, comprising: (a) a main body comprising two longitudinal sides and a pair of elongated, substantially flat, flexible sheet members: a top sheet member and a bottom sheet member, the top sheet member being longer than the bottom sheet member, the main body being open at its upper end and closed at its lower end; and (b) an upper end portion of a flexible, malleable base material, comprising an adhesive portion along an upper edge of the top sheet member; wherein the top sheet member is substantially identical to and aligned with the bottom sheet member, except for the upper end portion of the tie napkin; the top sheet member being superimposed on the bottom sheet member, except for the upper end portion.

2. A tie napkin according to claim 1, wherein the longitudinal sides are either bonded to one another or creased to form a substantially flat main body.

3. A tie napkin according to claim 2, further comprising a V-shaped lower end portion.

4. A tie napkin according to claim 2, wherein the main body is substantially comprised of polyethylene or polypropylene.

5. A tie napkin according to claim 2, wherein the adhesive portion is covered by a removable paper strip.

6. A tie napkin according to claim 5, wherein the top sheet member extends between about 0.5 and 3 inches beyond the bottom sheet member.

7. A tie napkin according to claim 4, further comprising odorizing or colorizing means combined with the flexible base material.

8. A tie napkin according to claim 7, further comprising a second adhesive portion, and a second removable paper strip covering the second adhesive portion.

9. A tie napkin according to claim 1, wherein the upper end portion comprises winged sides, the winged sides extending laterally beyond the longitudinal edges of the main body, the adhesive portion being an adhesive strip extending across the upper inside edge of the top sheet member.

10. A tie napkin according to claim 9, wherein the edges of the winged sides are curved, and the adhesive strip extends along the upper inside edge of the upper end portion on the top sheet member, and down across both winged sides.

11. A tie napkin according to claim 10, wherein the upper edge of the bottom sheet member is reinforced and adhesive-free.

12. A tie napkin according to claim 11, further comprising a same-sized, thin removable coated paper strip covering the adhesive strip, the paper strip having substantially the same dimensions as the adhesive strip.

13. A tie napkin according to claim 9, wherein the flexible base material is polyethylene or polypropylene plastic with antistatic properties.

14. A tie napkin according to claim 13, wherein the base material further comprises odorizing or colorizing means.

15. A tie napkin according to claim 13, further comprising a breakable seal tab removably attaching the upper, adhesive-bearing edge to the main body of the tie napkin, the tie napkin being accordion folded into a packet form.

16. A tie napkin according to claim 2, a first adhesive strip on the upper inside edge of the top sheet member, and a second adhesive strip on the upper inside edge of the bottom sheet member; the tie napkin being rectangular in shape.

17. A tie napkin according to claim 2, wherein the longitudinal sides extend substantially beyond the edges of any tie in the tie napkin, the tie napkin having a generally six sided appearance, with a generally rounded upper end portion at the top center of the six sides.

18. A tie napkin according to claim 17, wherein the six sides are approximately equal in length.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED DOCUMENT

[0001] This invention was described in Disclosure Document Number 488486, which was received by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office on Feb. 9, 2001.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] 1. Technical Field

[0003] The present device is a napkin for protecting a man's tie, or lady's scarf, from stains.

[0004] 2. Background Information

[0005] Good quality silk neckties and scarves are expensive and becoming more so. Unfortunately, a man's tie is directly in line with his mouth as he eats, and it is difficult to get through a lunch without spilling something on one's tie. Although some men tuck the ends of their ties into their shirt before eating, this action does not cover the upper portion of the tie. The same is true of ladies' scarves, which are normally draped around the neck and fashionably knotted. Even a small drop of an oil-based or other type of food stain can ruin a good quality necktie or scarf. Dry cleaning is not a panacea because many expensive neckties and scarves lose their shape when they are dry cleaned, and dry cleaning cannot remove certain types of stains.

[0006] Various types of tie protectors and bibs have been conceived of heretofore, but most currently available tie shields and bibs are bothersome to use, tend to come loose, are difficult to remove, or are simply unattractive for use at a high end restaurant. The tie napkin of the present invention is disposable, inexpensive, attractive, and easy to apply and remove, and it does not tend to come loose during the meal. It is preferably made of a lightweight, transparent material, so the tie can be seen through it and it does not draw attention. The tie napkin of the present invention is particularly useful in the upscale restaurant, where ties are more commonplace. Tie napkins according to the present invention are especially useful in seafood restaurants, where unattractive, childish lobster bibs have heretofore been utilized, and for barbecue lunches, where the wearer's hands are likely to become greasy.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0007] The present invention is a disposable tie napkin for temporarily protecting a necktie or scarf, comprising:

[0008] (a) a main body comprising two longitudinal sides and a pair of elongated, substantially flat, flexible sheet members: a top sheet member and a bottom sheet member, the top sheet member being longer than the bottom sheet member, the main body being open at its upper end and closed at its lower end; and

[0009] (b) an upper end portion of a flexible, malleable base material, comprising an adhesive portion along an upper edge of the top sheet member;

[0010] wherein the top sheet member is substantially identical to and aligned with the bottom sheet member, except for the upper end portion of the tie napkin; the top sheet member being superimposed on the bottom sheet member, except for the upper end portion.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

[0011] A more complete understanding of the invention and its advantages will be apparent from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein examples of the invention are shown, and wherein:

[0012] FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of a tie napkin according to the present invention, shown over a tie;

[0013] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a tie napkin according to the present invention, shown in use;

[0014] FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a tie napkin according to the present invention, shown in use;

[0015] FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a tie napkin according to the present invention, shown in use;

[0016] FIG. 5 is a front elevational view of a tie napkin according to the present invention, shown without a tie;

[0017] FIG. 6 is a left side view of a tie napkin according to FIG. 5;

[0018] FIG. 7 is a front perspective view of a second alternate embodiment of a tie napkin according to the present invention, shown over a tie;

[0019] FIG. 8 is a front elevational view of a third alternate embodiment of a tie napkin according to the present invention;

[0020] FIG. 9 is a front elevational view of a fourth, winged alternate embodiment of a tie napkin according to the present invention; and

[0021] FIG. 10 is a front elevational view of a fifth alternate embodiment of a tie napkin according to the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0022] In the following description, like reference characters designate like or corresponding parts throughout the several views. Also, in the following description, it is to be understood that such terms as “front,” “top,” “bottom,” and the like are words of convenience and are not to be construed as limiting terms. Referring in more detail to the drawings, the invention will now be described.

[0023] Turning first to FIG. 1, a tie napkin, generally referred to as 10, according to the present invention is shown in use by a wearer. The tie napkin 10 surrounds and protects a necktie 11, which is tied around the neck of a man's shirt 12. The tie napkin is wide enough to accommodate wide or narrow ties, according to the fashion. In use, the tie napkin and tie hang down over the button placket of the shirt 12. The tie napkin 10 is versatile and can also be used to protect a boy's clip-on or full necktie, or a ladies' scarf, blouse ties, or the like. The blouse ties or laces may be attached to the blouse, or they may be separate and arrayed over the neck of the blouse. To use the tie napkin, the wearer tucks the tails of her scarf into the tie napkin prior to eating, feeding a baby or infirm person, cleaning the house, etc. Although they are inexpensive enough to be disposed of in garbage bags along with the regular trash after a single use, soiled tie napkins can alternatively be wiped off with a wet cloth or sponge.

[0024] Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, the tie napkin 10 generally includes a main body 19 comprised of a pair of elongated, substantially flat, thin, flexible sheet members 13, 14. The main body 19 is open at its upper end and closed at its lower end. The top 13 and bottom 14 sheet members are aligned and almost fully imposed upon one another, though they are not fastened to one another except at their edges as described hereinbelow. The top sheet member is longer than the bottom sheet member. The sheet members 13, 14 have a pair of substantially identical longitudinal sides 15, 16. As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the lower end portion 18 of the tie napkin 10 is preferably V-shaped to accommodate the majority of conventional ties, which are V-shaped at the bottom 22.

[0025] As shown in FIGS. 1 through 4, the tie napkin 10 has an upper end portion 17 where it fits over a necktie knot 20 when it is in use, and a lower end portion 18, which covers the bottom 22 of the necktie when the tie napkin is in use. The upper end portion 17 of the tie napkin is open to allow insertion of the tie 11, and the lower end portion 18 is bonded or otherwise closed for better protection and a neat appearance. The tie napkin has a shape substantially corresponding to the shape of a fastened tie minus the tie's noose 21. The tie napkin 10 does not cover the noose 21, which is covered by the shirt collar 23.

[0026] The top sheet member 13 is substantially identical to and aligned with the bottom sheet member 14, except for the upper end portion 17 of the tie napkin 10 (see FIG. 2). In one embodiment, the top and bottom sheet members 13, 14 are bonded to one another along their longitudinal side edges. In an alternate embodiment, they are formed of one piece of material and are creased along their longitudinal side edges to form a substantially flat main body 19. This gives the tie napkin a neat, flat appearance, and keeps it out of the way of the wearer's arms. The two embodiments have a similar appearance (see FIGS. 1 and 2).

[0027] The top sheet member 13 is superimposed on the bottom sheet member 14, except for the upper end portion 17. As shown in FIG. 2, the top sheet member 13 extends slightly beyond the bottom sheet member 14 at the upper end portion 17.

[0028] The tie napkin 10 is formed of thin, flexible, lightweight, waterproof base material, preferably a plastic material. Polyethylene or polypropylene plastic with antistatic properties is particularly preferred to inhibit static clinging of the sheet members to one another and to the necktie. The necktie 11 can be seen through the transparent preferred material. The tie napkin is thus unobtrusive, and the man's neat appearance is preserved.

[0029] As shown in FIGS. 2 through 6, the upper end portion 17 of the tie napkin 10 comprises an adhesive portion positioned along an inside upper edge of the top sheet member 13. The upper edge of the top sheet member is not V-shaped; it is preferably straight and perpendicular to the longitudinal centerline of the tie napkin. The word “inside” here refers to the side of the top sheet member facing the user's shirt or necktie, and “outside” refers to the opposite side of the top sheet member, which is the side an observer sees when looking at the front of the user. When viewed from the front, the tie napkin is generally rectangular in shape, except for the V-shaped lower end. Its length is preferably between about four and five times its width. The adhesive portion is preferably a sticky adhesive strip 24 extending from one side 15 to the other 16 of the tie napkin 10. This first adhesive strip 24 is preferably covered by a same-sized, thin, first peelable strip 25 made of a coated paper or other suitable material. The removable paper strip 25 prevents the tie napkins from sticking to each other or other items prior to use. In order to use the tie napkin, the user inserts the lower end of his tie into the tie napkin, then peels off the paper strip 25 covering the first adhesive strip 24. Since it is on the inside upper edge, the first adhesive portion 24 now faces the necktie knot 20. A relatively weak, safe adhesive that is harmless to fabric and animals is employed so that the tie napkin, which is very lightweight, stays on the tie during use, yet is easily separated from the tie after less than an hour or two of use.

[0030] The tie napkin 10 is easy to apply over the tie. A preferred method of applying the tie napkin 10 includes the following steps: 1) insert the bottom 22 of the tie 11 (which is in place around the user's neck) into the open upper end of the main body 19; 2) peel the paper strip 25 off the first adhesive strip 24 at the upper end portion 17 (see FIG. 2), as well as any second adhesive strip 28; 3) continue sliding the main body 19 up along the tie 11 until the upper end portion 17 covers the tie knot 20 and the bottom 22 of the tie reaches the lower end portion 18 of the tie napkin; and 4) squeeze the upper end portion 17 around the tie knot 20, preferably by grasping the upper end portion in the fist and squeezing, as shown in FIG. 3. This can be done with one hand, leaving the other hand free for other tasks. The tie napkin is now ready for use (see FIG. 4). At least the upper end portion 17, and preferably all of the main body 19, of the tie napkin 10 is made of a thin, flexible, malleable material. This material remains in place around the knot once it has been pressed around the front of the knot. It is not necessary for the user to look into a mirror to apply the tie napkin 10, nor is a second person needed to properly apply it.

[0031] This method of attachment is quick and secure, yet the tie napkin 10 can also be quickly and easily removed. To remove the tie napkin after use, the wearer simply grasps the dangling part of the tie napkin and tugs it. This causes the relatively weak adhesive in the first adhesive strip 24 to release from the knot, and the used tie napkin 10 will come off. The wearer then discards the tie napkin in the trash.

[0032] The tie napkin is effective regardless of whether the necktie knot is tight around the neck or loosely tied, or the top shirt button is secured. The tie napkin is preferably sized to receive any tie, thin or wide, regardless of the style. The tie or scarf need not extend to the bottom of the tie napkin.

[0033] The top and bottom sheet members 13, 14 at the upper end of the tie napkin separate from one another by rubbing the thumb against the forefinger with the tie napkin material between them, as is done with plastic bags often found on rolls in a grocery store produce section. The tie napkin can be supplied to restaurants on similar type rolls. In this case, the tie napkins are connected end to end with perforations at each end so that each one can be neatly separated from the roll. A plurality of tie napkins connected end to end can be wrapped around a central cylinder in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction, akin to a roll of toilet paper.

[0034] The tie napkin is preferably presented to the user by a waiter or maitre'd in a restaurant, for example, in packet form. The tie napkin packet is preferably several inches in length and several inches in width and resembles a small, relatively thick envelope. It is formed by accordion folding the tie napkin from the bottom up in three or four inch wide folds. When the tie napkin is accordion folded into this packet form, it preferably further includes a breakable seal tab removably attaching the upper, adhesive-bearing edge to the main body of the tie napkin. The upper, adhesive-bearing edge is sealed to the body of the folded tie napkin with the small, removable, breakable seal. When the user, who is ordinarily seated at a table in the restaurant, breaks the seal, the rest (lower part) of the tie napkin falls out by gravity and the tie napkin is instantly ready for use.

[0035] Once the tie napkin is in place on a necktie or scarf, the wearer need not attend to it. It can be forgotten about until the end of the meal, when it can be removed and discarded. The tie napkin is also useful where the wearer is not having a meal himself, but is assisting a small child or infirm older person who is having a meal, e.g., a father feeding a baby at home before work or in a fast food restaurant during lunch. The tie napkin protects his tie from food or drink spatters or grease from the table. The tie napkin is also useful during inclement weather, for example, to protect the tie from rain spots during a downpour on the way to a business meeting.

[0036] In FIG. 5, the tie napkin 10 is shown prior to application on a tie. The apex 26 of the “V” of the lower end portion 18 falls along the longitudinal centerline of the front of the tie napkin. The lower ends of the side creases, or bonded longitudinal edges, meet the tops 27 of each arm of the V. The angle formed by the V is preferably between about 45 and 55 degrees, although the angle varies according to the shape of the neckties or scarves in style at the time the tie napkins are manufactured.

[0037] A preferred embodiment of the tie napkin 10 is only slightly wider than a conventional tie, and protects the tie from food, drink or water stains. The tie napkin is most preferably between about 20 and 28 inches, most preferably about 24 inches, in length, and between about three and six inches, most preferably about 3 ½ inches, in width. Preferably, the tie napkin, with the two sheet members superimposed, has a thickness of between about 0.2 and 0.001 centimeters.

[0038] FIG. 5 shows a preferred embodiment of a tie napkin 10 from the front, and FIG. 6 is a view from one side of the napkin. An actual tie napkin is quite thin and flexible (rather than rigid). Since the tie napkin 10 is transparent, the upper edge of the bottom sheet member 14 is visible in FIGS. 2, 5 and 6 through the top sheet member 13. The top sheet member 13 overlaps the bottom sheet member 14, preferably by about an inch. Also, since the tie napkin 10 is transparent, its rear view is the same as its front view.

[0039] In the preferred embodiment shown in FIGS. 5 and 6, the upper edge of the bottom sheet member 14 includes a second adhesive strip 28 covered by a second removable paper strip 29. These are identical to the first adhesive strip 24 and first removable paper strip 25 on the top edge of the top sheet member 13. Both adhesive strips 24, 28 have adhesive (sticky) sides that face the user's shirt. The second strip 28 of adhesive further assures that the tie napkin 10 will stay on the tie until it is no longer needed. Also, the second strip of adhesive 28 preferably falls near the base of the tie knot 20 (on the back of the tie), while the first strip of adhesive 24 falls at the top of the knot (on the front of the tie), which gives further stability, and allows the plastic material of the upper end portion 17 to curve around the curved knot. However, the second paper strip 29 (see FIG. 6) should not be removed until the tie is inside the tie napkin; otherwise, the second adhesive strip 28 may stick in the wrong place (e.g., to the top sheet member 13). The second adhesive strip 28 is preferably included because it provides a contoured, attractive appearance when the tie napkin is in use. The same type of harmless adhesive is used on the first and second adhesive strips.

[0040] Second Embodiment

[0041] In an alternate embodiment shown in FIG. 7, the longitudinal sides of the tie napkin may extend well beyond the longitudinal side edges of the necktie for protecting both the tie and a large portion of the front surface of the shirt. In this case, the upper end portion 17 serves to anchor the tie bib napkin 30 in place. Even though this tie bib napkin 30 embodiment covers a larger area, it will remain in place because it is made of lightweight polyethylene or polypropylene plastic material. The upper end portion is as described hereinabove. The tie bib napkin preferably forms a roughly six-sided figure, with the upper end portion 17 of the tie bib napkin 30 at top center. Three sides 31 extend outward from the right, and three matching sides 32 extend outward from the left of the tie in FIG. 7. The right and left sides 31, 32 are preferably all equal in length. The lower end portion 33 of the tie bib napkin forms an open V-shape and accommodates the flaired bottom 22 of the necktie. The angles formed by the sides provide integrity so the tie bib napkin maintains its shape and area of protection when it is in use. Because the tie bib napkin 30 is symmetrical, the weight is even on both sides, the tie falls in the approximate center of the tie bib napkin 30, and the napkin 30 is generally centered over the wearer's chest and stomach. This embodiment is particularly meant for use during meals with foods that spatter, such as spaghetti, or foods eaten with the hands, such as lobster and chicken wings.

[0042] Unlike a conventional lobster-type plastic bib tied at the neck with strings, the wearer does not risk dirtying his collar when he removes the tie bib napkin 30 at the conclusion of the meal. To remove the tie bib napkin 30, the wearer merely grasps its loose bottom and pulls. This action frees the upper end portion 17 from the necktie knot 20, without damaging or loosening the necktie. He then crumples up the tie bib napkin 30 and it is ready to be discarded.

[0043] Third Embodiment

[0044] In a third alternate embodiment 35, which is illustrated in FIG. 8, the upper end portion 36 includes winged sides 37 extending laterally beyond the longitudinal edges 15, 16 of the main body 19. A first adhesive strip 24 extends across the upper inside edge of the top sheet member 13. The first adhesive strip 24 is covered by a removable paper strip 25 when the tie napkin 35 is not in use. To apply the tie napkin 35 after the first paper strip 25 has been removed and the necktie has been inserted in the napkin 35, the wearer wraps the winged sides 37 around towards the back of the necktie knot 20 on either side of the knot. The wearer then clasps the upper end portion 36 with one hand, or several fingers, and squeezes. The bottom sheet member 14 has a straight upper edge 38 without adhesive. The wings may have straight edges, as shown in FIG. 8, or curved edges, as shown in FIG. 9.

[0045] Fourth Embodiment

[0046] In a fourth alternate embodiment 40 shown in FIG. 9, curved winged sides 42 of the upper end portion 41 also extend out to the right and left of the tie napkin 40. The edges of the winged sides 42 are curved, and a more extensive adhesive strip 43 extends along the upper inside edge of the upper end portion 17 on the top sheet member 13, and down across both winged sides 42. The adhesive strip 43 is covered by a similarly shaped removable strip of paper or other suitable material. The upper edge 44 of the bottom sheet member 14 is reinforced and adhesive-free. Here, the top sheet member 13 overlaps the bottom sheet member 14 by several inches. An alternate embodiment could include a second adhesive portion 28 on an inside face of the bottom sheet member 14, covered by a removable paper strip 29.

[0047] Fifth Embodiment

[0048] In a fifth alternate tie napkin embodiment 45 illustrated in FIG. 10, the lower end portion 46 is flat, forming approximately 90 degree angles with the longitudinal sides 15, 16 of the tie napkin 45. The tie napkin 45 accommodates a tie that is flat at the bottom rather than V-shaped. These ties are less commonly seen. The tie napkin 45 is also shorter than previous embodiments and is generally rectangular in shape. This embodiment can accommodate, for example, a child's necktie (clip-on or standard), scarf, blouse tie, neckerchief, bandanna, etc. The tie napkin 45 can be used over one or both tails of a scarf tied around a woman's neck, for example.

[0049] Restaurants, restaurant supply companies, child care facilities, baby food manufacturers, homes for the elderly or infirm, or other providers of the tie napkins may wish to print their company logos or trademark design on them before distributing them to their customers, parents, or residents. Also, sports insignias, seasonal decorations (such as Christmas trees or Halloween skeletons), or other designs can be printed on the tie napkins.

[0050] In an alternate embodiment, the tie napkin 10 further comprises odorizing and/or colorizing means. It can be odorized and tinted a complementary color/scent to appeal to the senses. For example, the plastic material of the tie napkin might be tinted purple and smell like grapes, or tinted blue and impregnated with a blueberry odor. This entertains any children and adult on-lookers at the table, and enhances enjoyment of the lunch or dinner experience. This would be particularly enjoyable at a theme park restaurant. An odorous material which emits a selected scent and a color tint selected to impart a visual perception corresponding to the selected scent can be combined with the plastic base material during the manufacturing process. Instead of a food scent, the odor imparted to the base material could be an after-shave or cologne-type perfume scent. The odor could be one which rubs off on the user's hand as he puts on the tie napkin.

[0051] From the foregoing, it can be realized that the described device of the present invention may be easily and conveniently utilized as a tie protector. While preferred embodiments of the invention have been described using specific terms, this description is for illustrative purposes only and is not meant to be limiting. It will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art that various modifications, substitutions, omissions, and changes may be made without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention, and that such are intended to be within the scope of the present invention as defined by the following claims. It is intended that the doctrine of equivalents be relied upon to determine the fair scope of these claims in connection with any other person's product which fall outside the literal wording of these claims, but which in reality do not materially depart from this invention.

[0052] Without further analysis, the foregoing will so fully reveal the gist of the present invention that others can, by applying current knowledge, readily adapt it for various applications without omitting features that, from the standpoint of prior art, fairly constitute essential characteristics of the generic or specific aspects of this invention.