Title:
Freestanding, reconfigurable, disposable character form and kit for making same
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A freestanding, reconfigurable character form and a kit for making the character form, the kit including a rigid support member, self-adhering materials removably affixed to the support member, and a base member capable of receiving a distal end portion of the support member, whereby the support member is freestanding when inserted into the base member. The self-adhering materials can be removably affixed to the support member before or after the support member is inserted into the base member, without requiring a permanent means of attaching the self-adhering materials to the support member, or a permanent means of attaching the support member to the base member.



Inventors:
Porter, Mary (Ashburn, VA, US)
Application Number:
11/060409
Publication Date:
09/15/2005
Filing Date:
02/18/2005
Assignee:
Beanhead Toys & Entertainment
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63H3/36; (IPC1-7): A63H3/36
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20030228827Spin dip-spin popDecember, 2003Coleman et al.
20050227582Composite model construction and methodOctober, 2005Kloos
20060105670Remote control electronic toy and teaching aidMay, 2006Seymour
20090047865Composite Game SystemFebruary, 2009Nakano
20050136790Ultrasonic toy for animalsJune, 2005Hall et al.
20050090179Portable multifunction interactive play/activity backpack houseApril, 2005Carruth
20050085156Tethered toy with safety disconnect and its associated method of operationApril, 2005Ng
20090045217Musical soap dispenserFebruary, 2009Bobrowski
20070173170PET EGG HAVING A PET BEING CAPABLE OF DEVELOPING AND BREAKING SHELLJuly, 2007Wu
20100062680TOUCH SENSITIVE TOY SYSTEMMarch, 2010Giraldez et al.
20070077853Swinging toy planeApril, 2007Datl



Primary Examiner:
SILBERMANN, JOANNE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Raymond Jones (Reston, VA, US)
Claims:
1. A character form, comprising: a rigid support member; self-adhering materials removably affixed to the support member; a base member capable of receiving a distal end portion of the support member, whereby the support member is freestanding when inserted into the base member, and wherein the self-adhering materials can be removably affixed to the support member before or after the support member is inserted into the base member, without requiring a permanent means of attaching the self-adhering materials to the support member, and without requiring a permanent means of attaching the support member to the base member.

2. The character form of claim 1, wherein the base member maintains the support member in a substantially vertical freestanding position.

3. The character form of claim 1, wherein the support member is plastic.

4. The character form of claim 1, wherein the self-adhering materials are removably affixed stickers.

5. The character form of claim 4, wherein the removably affixed stickers comprise individual and interchangeable facial features.

6. The character form of claim 4, wherein the removably affixed stickers comprise branded accessories.

7. The character form of claim 4, wherein the removably affixed stickers comprise human features and human clothing.

8. The character form of claim 4, wherein the removably affixed stickers comprise non-human features and non-human forms.

9. The character form of claim 1, wherein the base member is moldable.

10. The character form of claim 1, wherein the base member is moldable clay.

11. The character form of claim 1, wherein the base member is edible and having sufficient density to hold the support member in the freestanding position.

12. A self-contained kit for creating a character form, comprising: a portable packaging enclosure accommodating materials for creating a character form, the character form including, a rigid support member; self-adhering materials removably affixed to the support member; a base member capable of receiving a distal end portion of the support member, whereby the support member is freestanding when inserted into the base member, and wherein the self-adhering materials can be removably affixed to the support member before or after the support member is inserted into the base member, without requiring a permanent means of attaching the self-adhering materials to the support member, and without requiring a permanent means of attaching the support member to the base member.

13. The self-contained kit for creating a character form in claim 12, further comprising a plurality of rigid support members and a plurality of base members.

14. The self-contained kit for creating a character form in claim 12, wherein the base member maintains the support member in a substantially vertical freestanding position.

15. The self-contained kit for creating a character form in claim 12, further comprising a plurality of themed self-adhering materials.

16. The self-contained kit for creating a character form in claim 12, wherein the self-adhering materials are removably affixed stickers.

17. The self-contained kit for creating a character form in claim 16, wherein the removably affixed stickers comprise individual and interchangeable facial features.

18. The self-contained kit for creating a character form in claim 12, wherein the base member is moldable.

19. The self-contained kit for creating a character form in claim 12, wherein the base member is moldable clay.

20. The self-contained kit for creating a character form in claim 12, wherein the base member is edible and having sufficient density to hold the support member in the freestanding position.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority from U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/551,781 filed Mar. 11, 2004, which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to puppets, dolls or action figures, and more particularly, to a freestanding, easily reconfigurable character form to be used mainly by children for enjoyment and education, or by adults for marketing and other promotional purposes.

2. Description of the Related Art

Children like to role-play and tell stories for enjoyment and education. They especially like to create their own characters using dolls, action figures and puppets, and to change the look of their characters by using different facial features, hairstyles, and accessories. While doll and action figure characters often come with changeable hair and accessories, the facial features and overall personalities of these characters are pre-set. Although certain puppets allow children to completely change the puppet's appearance, such puppets lack the playability that upright dolls and action figures offer. Moreover, such puppets typically require glue, tape, markers or other means of permanently affixing certain features of the puppet's appearance.

Further, acquiring multiple characters for use simultaneously in acting out a theme or story requires a significant investment in toys and accessories. These toys and accessories then create clutter, because they are too expensive to throw away after just a few uses. Such toys and accessories also are ill-suited for travel, as they are cumbersome to pack and carry, and difficult to track.

Prior art that allows creation of inexpensive, disposable, personalized dolls, action figures or puppets either involves one-dimensional, flimsy paper dolls and accessories, or myriad small parts and messy glue used to permanently adhere features and accessories to a non-freestanding character figure.

Children and adults also enjoy creating whimsical characters that can represent certain allegiances, such as sports teams, schools and company brands; or particular events, such as family reunions, weddings or holidays. Yet there are no known processes for easily creating personalized, inexpensive, rigid, freestanding and easily reconfigurable character figures with branded clothing and accessories.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

To overcome these and other disadvantages of the prior art, it is an object of the present invention to create an inexpensive kit that allows the user to create freestanding, reconfigurable and disposable character figures that are sturdier than paper dolls.

It is further an object of this invention to create a kit that allows the user to create a wide range of characters through interchangeable, removable and disposable facial features, hair and accessories.

It is further an object of this invention to create an inexpensive kit that provides a theme and all of the characters and accessories necessary for the user to act out a story using that theme.

It is further an object of this invention to create a kit with disposable character accessories that can showcase particular names and brands.

It is further an object of this invention to create a portable, mess-free, all-inclusive kit that easily can be carried and used in transient settings.

Finally, it is an object of this invention to provide an outlet for creative entertainment and storytelling that is easy to use and cost-efficient to manufacture.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

The above objects and other advantages of the present invention will become more apparent by describing in detail the preferred embodiments thereof with reference to the attached drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a view of a preferred embodiment of the present invention depicting a comprehensive portable kit that includes materials for creating a freestanding, reconfigurable and disposable character form;

FIG. 2 is a view of a preferred embodiment of the present invention depicting an inexpensive, freestanding, rigid character form with detachable, interchangeable facial features, hair and accessories;

FIG. 3 is a view of a preferred embodiment of individual, interchangeable, disposable facial features, hair and accessories; and

FIG. 4 is a view of an embodiment of the branded, inexpensive character accessories.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The present invention will now be described more fully with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which preferred embodiments of the invention are shown. The invention may, however, be embodied in many different forms and should not be construed as being limited to the embodiments set forth herein; rather, these embodiments are provided so that this disclosure will be thorough and complete, and will fully convey the concept of the invention to those skilled in the art. Moreover, for simplicity, the present embodiment is described with reference to inexpensive materials and disposable figures. However, the invention may utilize any type of suitable material, including costlier materials, and the figures may be manufactured to be semi-permanent or permanent within the scope of the present invention.

Referring to FIG. 1, there is shown a view of an embodiment of the present invention depicting a portable kit comprised of inexpensive, disposable packaging 10; an inexpensive material to be used as a supporting member 20 for each of the character forms or figures; inexpensive, pre-made, self-adhering facial features 30 that are preferably made of a material other than plain paper; reusable, self-adhering hair 40 and accessories 42; and a base material 50 capable of holding a single character form substantially upright or any other freestanding position. The present embodiment contains materials for six disposable figures; other embodiments may offer more or less materials. In addition, the kits may contain less than all the features described above, especially where common household items can be used as substitutes as further described below.

The components to make the character forms 60 are preferably contained in a single kit comprising sealable plastic packaging for portability and storage, but the packaging may include boxes, hard plastic containers, and other forms of conventional packaging.

FIG. 2 is a view of a preferred embodiment of the present invention depicting a rigid, reconfigurable character form 60; freely-standing in a base material 50; bearing self-adhering, detachable and interchangeable facial features 30, hair 40, accessories 42 and branded clothing 44 (see also FIG. 4). The disclosed embodiment features a plastic spoon as the supporting member 20 for the character form 60. Other embodiments may include other rigid inexpensive plastic utensils such forks, knives or chopsticks, or other custom-made, rigid forms made of inexpensive materials other than paper, such as foam, plastic or hard candy, or more expensive materials such as woods or metals.

The present embodiment features a base material 50 made of moldable clay for example. Other embodiments may include any variety of base materials 50, such as foam, which enable the character form 60 to be freestanding when a portion of the character form 60 is inserted in the base material 50. The base material 50 may also include edible materials, such as taffy or marshmallows, which have sufficient density to hold the supporting member 20 in a freestanding position. The base material 50 may also comprise non-moldable, pre-made individual stands. While the character form 60 inserted in the base material 50 illustrated in FIG. 2 is freestanding in a substantially vertical position, one of ordinary skill in the art would appreciate that the character form 60 may be freestanding at any angle, including a substantially horizontal position depending on the particular character form 60 being created.

Facial elements 30, hair 40 and accessories 42 may be made from self-adhering paper stickers/decals or any other self-adhering material, such as sticky candy or strips of dried fruit, shaped and colored to resemble facial features, hair and/or accessories.

While each sticker/decal may comprise a single complete face, FIG. 3 shows in greater detail a preferred embodiment of individual, interchangeable facial features 30 and hair 40. In this way, the individual sets of eyes from one face could be interchanged with a different nose from another face, or a different mouth from still another face, providing the maker of the character form 60 with a substantial number of options to create a unique character. The present embodiment shows a flat sheet 32 of forty (40) individual stickers/decals. Other embodiments of detachable facial features, hair and accessories may be in other forms and sizes, such as on a roll or in individual units.

The present embodiment also shows a particular artistic rendering of human facial features, hair and accessories. Other embodiments may include any combination or rendering, including photography, of both human and non-human facial and body elements, hair and accessories, including those of animals, aliens, cartoon characters, monsters, fairies, elves or other imaginary creatures.

FIG. 4 is a view of an embodiment of additional character accessories 42, and further including branded accessory stickers 44. The present embodiment shows six (6) branded t-shirts 44. Other embodiments may include any branded accessory or clothing item, such as hats, caps, jackets, scarves, bags, signs, books, sports equipment, flags and umbrellas.

In operation, the kit 10 is opened and the distal end 22 (see FIG. 1) of the supporting member 20, in this case the plastic spoon, is inserted into the base material 50, comprising for example, moldable clay included within the kit 10. The distal end 22 may be removably or permanently affixed into the base material 50. The individual facial elements 30, hair 40, accessories 42 and/or branded items 44 are then removably affixed to the supporting member 20 to create the character form 60. Afterwards, the character form 60 may be disposed of, given the inexpensive nature of the materials. On the other hand, the existing facial elements 30, hair 40, accessories 42 and/or branded items 44 may be removed and a new character form 60 may then be created by using different facial elements 30, hair 40, accessories 42 and/or branded items 44.

With present invention, the character forms 60 are created and re-created without the need for a permanent means, such as glue, tape or staples, to attached the various facial elements 30, hair 40, accessories 42 and/or branded items 44, and without the need for a permanent means to attach the support member 20 to the base material 50. Note that the individual facial elements 30, hair 40, accessories 42 and/or branded items 44 may be removably affixed to the supporting member 20 before or after the supporting member 20 is inserted into the base material 50.

While the present invention has been described in detail with reference to the preferred embodiments thereof, it should be understood to those skilled in the art that various changes, substitutions and alterations can be made hereto without departing from the scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.