Title:
Replaceable advertising or promotional apparatus for urinals and sinks
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A replaceable advertising or promotional apparatus that cooperates with existing urinal screens and sink basins. The replaceable advertising apparatus provides a simple, inexpensive way to dynamically advertise and promote goods, services, etc. within a urinal or sink. This allows users of the apparatus to continually expand the range of services that they advertise, and respond quickly to perceived changes in the habits/requirements of visitors to a urinal or sink.



Inventors:
Simeone, Anthony (Bethesda, MD, US)
Linke, Scott (Ridgefield, CT, US)
Application Number:
11/145819
Publication Date:
12/29/2005
Filing Date:
06/06/2005
Assignee:
BlueLine95, Inc. (Bethesda, MD, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E03C1/264; E03D13/00; (IPC1-7): E03D13/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NGUYEN, TUAN N
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
POLSINELLI PC (HOUSTON, TX, US)
Claims:
1. A replaceable urinal advertising apparatus for use with a urinal screen provided in a urinal and having a center portion, the apparatus comprising: a body portion having a surface with advertising material provided thereon, said body portion having an opening provided therethrough that is sized to accommodate the outer periphery of the center portion of the urinal screen.

2. The replaceable urinal advertising apparatus as recited in claim 1, wherein the replaceable urinal advertising apparatus comprises a material selected from the group consisting of paper, metal, mesh, plastic, and vinyl.

3. The replaceable urinal advertising apparatus as recited in claim 1, wherein the center portion of the urinal screen is one of circular, triangular, square, rectangular, hexagonal, octagonal, elliptical, polygonal, oval, and rhomboid in shape.

4. The replaceable urinal advertising apparatus as recited in claim 1, wherein the opening of said body portion is one of circular, triangular, square, rectangular, hexagonal, octagonal, elliptical, polygonal, oval, and rhomboid in shape.

5. The replaceable urinal advertising apparatus as recited in claim 4, wherein said body portion is one of circular, triangular, square, rectangular, hexagonal, octagonal, elliptical, polygonal, oval, and rhomboid in shape.

6. The replaceable urinal advertising apparatus as recited in claim 1, wherein the opening of said body portion has at least a same size and shape as a size and shape of the center portion of the urinal screen.

7. The replaceable urinal advertising apparatus as recited claim 1, wherein the advertising material provided on said body portion comprises advertising targeted at people using the urinal.

8. The replaceable urinal advertising apparatus as recited claim 1, wherein said body portion has the same shape as the shape of the opening.

9. The replaceable urinal advertising apparatus as recited in claim 1, wherein said body portion has a different shape than the shape of the opening.

10. The replaceable urinal advertising apparatus as recited claim 1, wherein said body portion includes an elongated section that extends onto a rear wall of the urinal.

11. A sink advertising apparatus for use with a sink drain provided in a sink, the apparatus comprising: a body portion having a surface with advertising material provided thereon, said body portion having an opening provided therethrough that is sized to accommodate the outer periphery of the sink drain.

12. The sink advertising apparatus as recited in claim 11, wherein the sink apparatus is removable from the sink.

13. The sink advertising apparatus as recited in claim 11, wherein the sink apparatus comprises a material selected from the group consisting of paper, metal, mesh, plastic, and vinyl.

14. The sink advertising apparatus as recited in claim 11, wherein the opening of said body portion is one of circular, triangular, square, rectangular, hexagonal, octagonal, elliptical, polygonal, oval, and rhomboid in shape.

15. The sink advertising apparatus as recited in claim 11, wherein the periphery of said body portion is one of circular, triangular, square, rectangular, hexagonal, octagonal, elliptical, polygonal, oval, and rhomboid in shape.

16. The sink advertising apparatus as recited in claim 11, wherein the advertising material provided on said body portion comprises advertising targeted at people using the sink.

17. The sink advertising apparatus as recited in claim 11, wherein said body portion has the same shape as the shape of the opening.

18. The sink advertising apparatus as recited in claim 11, wherein said body portion has a different shape than the shape of the opening.

19. The sink advertising apparatus as recited in claim 11, further comprising an adhesive on a portion of the sink advertising apparatus facing the sink.

20. The sink advertising apparatus as recited in claim 11, wherein the opening is offset from the center of the body portion.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1.Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to bathroom fixtures, such as urinals and sinks and, more particularly, to a replaceable advertising or promotional apparatus for use in urinal and sink applications.

2.Description of the Related Art

It is well known in the janitorial field that, in maintaining restroom urinals, two common problems are encountered. On the one hand, it is desirable for sanitary and ambiance purposes to provide a means for deodorizing and sanitizing the urinals and toilets. It is also desirable to prevent the plugging or blocking of the drains of fixtures, such as urinals and sinks, caused by the introduction of foreign objects.

In the past, there have been a number of efforts to achieve these goals in urinal applications. The most common approach is to simply deposit a block of a dissolvable chemical composition into the bottom of the urinal and rely upon its dissolvable characteristics to gradually release deodorizing and sanitizing chemicals and odors into the atmosphere and the urinal itself. Another related approach has been to suspend a similar block on the edge of the urinal by means of a wire or plastic hanger. Obviously, the simple use of blocks of this type, while hopefully effectively performing the deodorizing and sanitizing function, does not accomplish the screening function in any significant way and also, in the case of the wire or plastic hanger, requires personal handling by maintenance personnel when the block has dissolved and needs to be replaced.

Further developments have included the provision of plastic, rubber or metal urinal screens in various forms which are placed in the urinal so as to overlie the drain and complemented either with or without the addition of a dissolvable deodorant cake or block placed on top of or underneath the screen. To combat the offensive odors, deodorant cakes or blocks are placed in urinals which react with urine to release a masking aroma.

FIG. 1 shows a conventional urinal sanitary screen or urinal screen, designated generally as reference numeral 100, which may be used in a urinal (not shown). Urinal screen 100 overlies a deodorant disk or cake 102, and includes a circular center portion 104 integrally connected to an outer portion 106. As shown in FIG. 1, deodorant disk 102 is accommodated within circular center portion 104. Although center portion 104 of urinal screen 100 is depicted with a circular shape, it may have a variety of other geometric shapes, including but not limited to triangular, square, rectangular, hexagonal, octagonal, elliptical, polygonal, oval, rhomboid, and essentially any other desired shape.

Because of the captive audience, advertising or promoting goods, services, etc. at urinals and sinks offer a uniquely-focused and highly desirable marketing opportunity. Conventionally, this has been accomplished in many ways. One way to market at urinals was to provide permanent advertising (e.g., “ABC Company”) on the urinal screen either by permanently molding the advertisement into the urinal screen or by placing permanent stickers having the advertisement on the urinal screen. The problem with this form of advertising is that it is permanent and not dynamic, and may not be updated without replacing the entire urinal screen.

Dynamic forms of advertising at urinals have also been proposed in the form of message boards (e.g., scrolling message boards which are either computer generated or similar to stock ticker tapes) provided above a urinal, e.g., at the eye level of the person using the urinal. Although this form of advertising is useful and dynamic, it is a complex and costly way to advertise at urinals. Another form of dynamic advertising medium is set forth in U.S. Pat. No. 6,640,350, entitled USER INTERACTIVE MAT FOR URINAL. As set forth in this patent, when a gentleman steps forward to the urinal, a ring of flashing lights are triggered on a screen, drawing the gentleman's attention to an advertisement, safely protected in the middle of the screen by a waterproof casing. Unfortunately, this form of advertising is also a complex and costly way to advertise and promote at urinals. Furthermore, these forms of advertising are not generally applicable over a sink, which is typically provided with a mirror.

Thus, there is a need in the art for a simple, inexpensive way to dynamically advertise and promote goods, services, etc. within bathroom fixtures, such as urinals and sinks.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention solves the problems of the related art by providing a replaceable advertising apparatus that cooperates with existing urinal screens and sink basins. The replaceable advertising apparatus provides a simple, inexpensive way to dynamically advertise and promote goods, services, etc. As used herein, the term “dynamic advertising” means advertising that may be changed daily, weekly, monthly, event-based, etc. This allows users of the replaceable advertising apparatus of the present invention to continually expand the range of services that they advertise, and respond quickly to perceived changes in the habits/requirements of visitors to urinals and sinks.

Further scope of applicability of the present invention will become apparent from the detailed description given hereinafter. However, it should be understood that the detailed description and specific examples, while indicating preferred embodiments of the invention, are given by way of illustration only, since various changes and modifications within the spirit and scope of the invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from this detailed description. It is to be understood that both the foregoing general description and the following detailed description are exemplary and explanatory only and are not restrictive of the invention, as claimed.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention will become more fully understood from the detailed description given hereinbelow and the accompanying drawings which are given by way of illustration only, and thus are not limitative of the present invention, and wherein:

FIG. 1 is a top plan view of a conventional urinal sanitary screen used in a urinal to cover a deodorant disk or cake;

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of a replaceable urinal advertising or promotional apparatus in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a top plan view of a replaceable urinal advertising or promotional apparatus in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a top plan view of the replaceable urinal advertising or promotional apparatus shown in FIG. 2 and shown in use with the conventional urinal sanitary screen shown in FIG. 1; and

FIG. 5 is a top plan view of a sink with a center-positioned drain and with replaceable sink advertising or promotional apparatus as shown in FIG. 2.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

The following detailed description of the invention refers to the accompanying drawings. The same reference numbers in different drawings identify the same or similar elements. Also, the following detailed description does not limit the invention. Instead, the scope of the invention is defined by the appended claims and equivalents thereof.

FIG. 2 shows one exemplary embodiment of the replaceable urinal advertising or promotional apparatus, designated generally with reference numeral 10. As shown in FIG. 2, urinal advertising apparatus 10 includes a body portion 12 that provides a surface for promotional or advertising material to be printed thereon. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 2, body portion 12 is shown as circular- or disk-shaped, but may be a variety of other geometric shapes, including but not limited to triangular, square, rectangular, hexagonal, octagonal, elliptical, polygonal, oval, rhomboid, and essentially any other desired shape.

Body portion 12 may include areas A and B which may be used for alpha-numeric promotional advertising, and areas Logo1, Logo2 which may be used for a company logo, company name, etc. Although body portion 12 shows areas A, B, Logo1, and Logo2 as being used for advertising or promotional materials, any area of the entire surface area of body portion 12 may be used for such advertising or promotional materials. The size of body portion 12 may also be increased, which will increase the surface area of body portion 12 available for advertising. The only limit on the size of body portion 12 is the size of the urinal where urinal advertising apparatus 10 is placed.

Various forms of advertising or promotional materials may be written on body portion 12 of urinal advertising apparatus 10. For example, the advertising may be sports related (e.g., “Go Navy, Beat Army”); announcement-driven or a holiday promotion (e.g., “Have you gotten a Valentine's gift yet?”); remembrance (e.g., “Finals begin in two weeks”); promotional (e.g., “Drink ABC Beer!”); or any other form of advertising which may be targeted at people using urinals.

Body portion 12 of urinal advertising apparatus 10 also includes an opening 14, provided therethrough, which is sized and shaped to accommodate and fit around the outer periphery of the center portion of a conventional urinal screen, which typically houses a deodorant cake. Opening 14 may be larger than (and possibly have a different shape than) the center portion of a urinal screen, as long as the center portion of the urinal screen fits within opening 14. For example, as shown in FIG. 4 and discussed more fully below, opening 14 could fit around the periphery of center portion 104 of the urinal screen 100 shown in FIG. 1. Opening 14 may have a variety of sizes or shapes, depending upon the size and shape of the center portion of the urinal screen. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 2, opening 14 is shown as circular-shaped, but may be a variety of other geometric shapes, including but not limited to triangular, square, rectangular, hexagonal, octagonal, elliptical, polygonal, oval, rhomboid, and essentially any other desired shape.

Advertising apparatus 10 may have a variety of thicknesses, including but not limited to the different types of card stock thicknesses, such as regular card stock (up to 20 point card stock thickness); thicker card stock (from 50 to 70 point card stock thickness); real thick card stock (from 110 to 120 point card stock thickness); super thick oversized card stock (up to 180 point card stock thickness), etc. Urinal advertising apparatus 10 may be made from a variety of materials, including but not limited to paper, mesh, plastic, metal or other suitable material. For example, apparatus 10 may be constructed of a vinyl material of between 0.008 and 0.014 inches.

FIG. 3 shows an alternative exemplary embodiment of the urinal advertising apparatus of the present invention, designated generally as reference numeral 16. Urinal advertising apparatus 16 is similar to the apparatus 10 shown in FIG. 2 in that it includes a circular section 18 with an opening 20 provided therethrough. The size and shape of opening 20 may be any of the variety of sizes and shapes discussed above for opening 14. Urinal advertising apparatus 16 also includes an elongated section 22 integrally formed with circular body section 18. Elongated section 22 and circular section 18 together form the body portion of urinal advertising apparatus 16. Elongated section 22 enables more advertising or promotional materials to be printed on the urinal advertising apparatus 16 because the surface area of apparatus 16 is greater than the surface area of apparatus 10 shown in FIG. 2 due to elongated section 22. Elongated section 22 may also extend onto the rear wall of the urinal. The size and shape of urinal advertising apparatus 16 may be a variety of geometric shapes, including but not limited to triangular, square, rectangular, hexagonal, octagonal, elliptical, polygonal, oval, rhomboid, and essentially any other desired shape. The thickness and materials of construction of urinal advertising apparatus 16 may preferably be the same as the thickness and materials of construction of urinal advertising apparatus 10, as discussed above.

By way of example only and not limitation of the present invention, opening 14, 20 may have a diameter of about three (3) or more inches, which is the diameter of the center portion of most conventional urinal screens. It is anticipated that in typical applications, the body portion 12 (shown in FIG. 2) may have an outside diameter of about seven (7) or more inches.

In use and as shown in FIG. 4, the replaceable urinal advertising or promotional apparatus 10 of the present invention may be placed around the center portion 104 of urinal screen 100 provided in a urinal (not shown). Urinal advertising apparatus 10 will have advertising or promotional materials provided thereon that will be visible to a user of the urinal. Urinal advertising apparatus 10 may be quickly and easily replaced daily, weekly, monthly, etc., depending upon the promotion or advertisement provided thereon, by removing and replacing urinal advertising apparatus 10 with an apparatus having different advertising or promotional materials provided thereon. Thus, the useful life of the urinal advertising apparatus is short term, such as based upon event, promotion, holiday, etc. The replaceable urinal advertising apparatus of the present invention provides a simple, inexpensive way to dynamically advertise and promote goods, services, etc. within a urinal. This allows users of the replaceable urinal advertising apparatus of the present invention to continually expand the range of services that they advertise, and respond quickly to perceived changes in the habits/requirements of visitors to a urinal.

The replaceable advertising or promotional apparatus 10 can also be placed in a sink environment. As shown in FIG. 5, advertising apparatus 10 may be placed in a basin, such as sink 24, particularly a commercial bathroom sink. Apparatus 10 may be provided with an opening 20 that may be arranged around a drain 26. Apparatus 10 may be designed and/or arranged to be directly beneath faucet 28 so that water cascades onto a particular point of interest or to achieve a desired aesthetic effect.

The shape of apparatus 10 and/or opening 20 can be any of those as described above with reference to an apparatus for use in a urinal. For example, the size and shape of apparatus 10 and opening 20 may be a variety of geometric shapes, including but not limited to triangular, square, rectangular, hexagonal, octagonal, elliptical, polygonal, oval, rhomboid, and essentially any other desired shape. Apparatus 10 and opening 20 may have the same or similar shape or may each have a different shape.

Opening 20 may be arranged or offset to optimize the advertising aspect and/or accommodate the shape of any sink basin or drain configuration. For example, FIG. 5 shows a center-positioned drain, though other drain configurations, such as closer to faucet 28 or proximate to the sloping sink portions common in bathroom sinks (not shown), are anticipated. To accommodate different drain configurations opening 20 may be offset from the center of the apparatus 10, as shown, for example, in FIG. 3 with respect to apparatus 16. FIG. 3, however, is exemplary only and the opening can be offset in any manner to accommodate various sink and drain configurations.

Sink advertising apparatus 10 may be constructed from a variety of materials, including but not limited to paper, mesh, plastic, metal or other suitable material. The thickness and materials of construction of apparatus 10 may preferably be the same as the thickness and materials of construction of the urinal advertising apparatus discussed above. For example, apparatus 10 may be constructed of a vinyl material of between 0.008 and 0.014 inches. A light or aggressive adhesive, tape or glue may be used to fix apparatus 10 to a particular location in sink 24.

It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various modifications and variations can be made in the replaceable advertising or promotional apparatus for a urinal or sink of the present invention and in construction of the apparatus without departing from the scope or spirit of the invention, some examples of which have been previously provided above. Furthermore, the replaceable advertising or promotional apparatus of the present invention may still be used with or without a screen mechanism by aligning the opening (14, 20) of the apparatus with the drain. That is, the apparatus will surround the drain rather than the center portion 104 of the screen 100. Alternatively, a center portion (similar to center portion 104 of urinal screen 100) may be connected to the replaceable advertising or promotional apparatus of the present invention, wherein the connected center portion is placed over the drain to prevent debris from entering the drain of the sink or urinal.

Other embodiments of the invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art from consideration of the specification and practice of the invention disclosed herein. It is intended that the specification and examples be considered as exemplary only, with a true scope and spirit of the invention being indicated by the following claims.