Title:
Ergonomic golf club putter grip
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A golf putter grip is disclosed allowing parallel hand, thumb and thumb pad positioning on the grip and promoting a geometrically correct triangular formation of the shoulders, arms and hands which facilitates a one piece pendulum movement during a putting stroke. A lower surface of the grip may include paintfill lines to allow quick, easy and repeatable positioning of a golfer's hands on the grip.



Inventors:
Goldfader, Louis Noah (Aliso Viejo, CA, US)
Application Number:
10/949036
Publication Date:
03/30/2006
Filing Date:
09/24/2004
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
473/300
International Classes:
A63B53/14
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
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20020160850Stance helperOctober, 2002Halonen
20070010359Game apparatus for encouraging children to become more active and exerciseJanuary, 2007Arrington
20030153395Golf practice deviceAugust, 2003Lobeck
20020049103Baseball training deviceApril, 2002Treihart
20090305806PUTTER WITH AIMING ARMSDecember, 2009Campadore et al.
20080015057FOOTBALL PLACE KICKING TRAINING DEVICEJanuary, 2008Hayes
20040038749Golf putter with polished tungsten insertFebruary, 2004De La
20070037629Configurable single platform mini golf courseFebruary, 2007Neal et al.
20020183127Hanging netDecember, 2002Cho
20090075751IRON-TYPE GOLF CLUBMarch, 2009Gilbert et al.



Primary Examiner:
PIERCE, WILLIAM M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MUNSCH, HARDT, KOPF & HARR, P.C. (DALLAS, TX, US)
Claims:
What is claimed:

1. A golf club grip for a golf club used in a putting stroke, the golf club grip comprising: a first substantially flat surface facing upwards when the golf club is held during the putting stroke, the first surface having a length and a width perpendicular to the length; and second and third substantially flat surfaces extending from the first surface and having a substantially vertical orientation when the golf club is held during the putting stroke, the second and third surfaces each having the length of the first surface and a depth perpendicular to the length; a fourth surface between the second and third surfaces, the forth surface including paintfill lines to align fingers of a golfer's back hand on the fourth surface; wherein said first surface has a surface area capable of supporting a golfer's thumbs and thumb pads in an aligned, parallel relation to each other.

2. A golf club grip as recited in claim 1, the length of the first and second surfaces ranging between 5 and 10 inches long.

3. A golf club grip as recited in claim 1, the length of the first and second surfaces being approximately 7 inches long.

4. A golf club grip as recited in claim 1, the width of the first surface ranging between 1 inch and 1.6 inches.

5. A golf club grip as recited in claim 1, the width of the first surface being approximately 1.5 inches.

6. A golf club grip as recited in claim 1, the depth of the second surface ranging between 0.5 inches and 1 inch.

7. A golf club grip as recited in claim 1, the grip including a proximal end at an end of the golf club, and a distal end distal from the end of the golf club, the grip including width of the first surface ranging between 1 inch and 1.6 inches, and a depth of the second surface ranging between 0.5 and 1 inch.

8. A golf club grip as recited in claim 7, wherein the first and second surfaces are generally perpendicular, and √{square root over (w2+d2)}≦1.75 inches, where w is the width of the first surface and d is the depth of the second surface.

9. A golf club grip as recited in claim 1, the grip having a substantially rectangular profile from a cross-section taken in a plane perpendicular to the length of the grip.

10. A golf club grip as recited in claim 1, the grip including a proximal end at an end of the golf club, and a distal end distal from the end of the golf club, the width dimension tapering from the proximal to the distal end of the grip.

11. A golf club grip as recited in claim 1, the grip including a proximal end at an end of the golf club, and a distal end distal from the end of the golf club, the depth dimension tapering from the proximal to the distal end of the grip.

12. A golf club grip as recited in claim 1, the paintfill lines indicating a proper positioning of a portion of a golfer's palm on the fourth surface.

13. A golf club grip as recited in claim 1, the paintfill lines indicating a proper positioning of a golfer's finger creases on the fourth surface.

14. A golf club grip for a golf club used in a putting stroke, the golf club grip comprising: a first substantially flat surface facing upwards when the golf club is held during the putting stroke, the first surface having a length and a width perpendicular to the length; second and third substantially flat surfaces adjacent the first surface and extending substantially perpendicularly from the first surface, the second and third surfaces each having the length of the first surface and a depth perpendicular to the length; a fourth surface adjacent the second and third surfaces and extending between the second and third surfaces, the fourth surface including paintfill lines for indicating the proper positioning of a portion of the golfer's hand on the lower surface, the location of the paintfill lines being customized to a particular shape and/or size of a golfer's hand; wherein said first surface has a surface area capable of supporting a golfer's thumbs and thumb pads in an aligned, parallel relation to each other so that the golfer's arms and shoulders form a substantially isosceles triangle.

15. A golf club grip as recited in claim 14, the length of the first and second surfaces ranging between 5 and 10 inches long.

16. A golf club grip as recited in claim 14, the length of the first, second and third surfaces being approximately 7 inches long.

17. A golf club grip as recited in claim 14, the width of the first surface ranging between 1 inch and 1.6 inches.

18. A golf club grip as recited in claim 14, the width of the first surface being approximately 1.5 inches.

19. A golf club grip as recited in claim 14, the depth of the second and third surfaces ranging between 0.5 inches and 1 inch.

20. A golf club grip as recited in claim 14, the grip including a proximal end at an end of the golf club, and a distal end distal from the end of the golf club, the grip including width of the first surface ranging between 1 inch and 1.6 inches, and a depth of the second surface ranging between 0.5 and 1 inch.

21. A golf club grip as recited in claim 20, wherein √{square root over (w2+d2)}≦1.75 inches, where w is the width of the first surface and d is the depth of the second and third surfaces.

22. A golf club grip as recited in claim 14, the grip including a proximal end at an end of the golf club, and a distal end distal from the end of the golf club, the width dimension tapering from the proximal to the distal end of the grip.

23. A golf club grip as recited in claim 14, the grip including a proximal end at an end of the golf club, and a distal end distal from the end of the golf club, the depth dimension tapering from the proximal to the distal end of the grip.

24. A golf club grip as recited in claim 14, the paintfill lines indicating a proper positioning of a portion of a golfer's palm on the fourth surface.

25. A golf club grip as recited in claim 14, the paintfill lines indicating a proper positioning of a golfer's finger creases on the fourth surface.

26. A golf club grip for a golf club used in a putting stroke, the golf club grip comprising: a first substantially flat surface facing upwards when the golf club is held during the putting stroke, the first surface having a length and a width perpendicular to the length; second and third substantially flat surfaces adjacent the first surface and extending substantially perpendicularly from the first surface, the second and third surfaces each having the length of the first surface and a depth perpendicular to the length; a fourth substantially convex surface adjacent and extending between the second and third surfaces, the fourth surface including paintfill lines for indicating the proper positioning of a portion of the golfer's hand on the lower surface, the location of the paintfill lines being customized to a particular shape and/or size of a golfer's hand; wherein said first surface has a surface area capable of supporting a golfer's thumbs in an aligned, parallel relation to each other and at least a portion of the palms of the golfer's two hands so that the golfer's arms and shoulders form a substantially isosceles triangle.

27. A golf club grip as recited in claim 26, the grip including a proximal end at an end of the golf club, and a distal end distal from the end of the golf club, the grip including width of the first surface ranging between 1 inch and 1.6 inches, and a depth of the second surface ranging between 0.5 and 1 inch.

28. A golf club grip as recited in claim 27, wherein √{square root over (w2+d2)}≦1.75 inches, where w is the width of the first surface and d is the depth of the second and third surfaces.

29. A golf club grip as recited in claim 26, the grip including a proximal end at an end of the golf club, and a distal end distal from the end of the golf club, the width dimension tapering from the proximal to the distal end of the grip.

30. A golf club grip as recited in claim 26, the grip including a proximal end at an end of the golf club, and a distal end distal from the end of the golf club, the depth dimension tapering from the proximal to the distal end of the grip.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to the field of golf clubs and putters, and in particular to a putter grip allowing parallel hand and thumb positioning on the grip and promoting a unified, one piece pendulum movement of the shoulders, arms, hands and putter.

2. Description of the Related Art

The game of golf is hundreds of years old and there is a profusion of patents covering various technical advances aimed at improving one's golf game and lowering one's scores. Relative to most golf strokes intended to get the ball to the putting surface, once the ball is on or around the putting surface, the golf stroke is somewhat different. Putting requires rolling a golf ball along a closely mown grass surface called the green. The green may have flat, sloped undulating and/or tiered contours. Once on or near the green, the putting stroke differs from strokes intended to advance the ball longer distances in that, during the putting stroke, the hands, wrists and elbows stay relatively still.

A very significant factor affecting the putting stroke is the manner in which the hands are placed on the putter grip. Ideally, the shoulders and arms control the putting stroke however the hands and fingers are the only parts touching the grip. The hands and fingers often control the speed and path of the putting stroke. The hands and fingers also have a tendency to open or close the face of the putter imparting sidespin on the golf ball thus rolling it away from the intended target line. In a proper putting stroke, the face of the putter strikes the golf ball such that the golf ball rolls straight ahead along the target line, with an end-over-end spin.

A conventional putter grip includes either a strip of material, such as leather, helically wrapped around the handle portion of the golf shaft, or a rubber extrusion fit over the end of the shaft. These conventional golf grips often include knurling, ridges and/or cord to allow the golfer a more comfortable and secure feel of the putter grip. However, they do not facilitate the convergence and coordination of the individual moving parts associated with a putting stroke i.e. shoulder/arm movement, lateral/rotational hand movement, wrist bend, etc.

The most popular, most conventional and widely taught method of placing one's hands on a putter grip is known as the reverse overlap method. With this method, the top or forward hand (i.e., the left hand for right-handed golfers and the right hand for left-handed golfers) initially grasps the top of the grip. The bottom hand then grasps the club below the forward hand. There is usually an overlap of the top hand index finger over the pinkie, ring and middle finger of the bottom hand. As well as both thumbs placed vertically down the middle of the grip.

Moreover in recent years, the “cross-hand or left-hand low” grip method has increased very much in popularity. In this method, a right-handed golfer initially places his or her right hand on the top of the grip and the left hand is below the right hand on the grip. In any event, conventional grips involve a first hand gripping the club below the second.

FIG. 1 prior art illustrates the reverse overlap method with the result being that one shoulder is above the other shoulder. The arms and shoulders form a triangle while gripping the club, with one vertex above the other. In FIG. 1, the bottom arm hangs lower and slightly further away from the body due to its hand positioning on the putter. This opens the shoulders, pointing them left of the target line which makes it much more difficult to maintain a putting stroke that stays parallel to the intended target line. In addition, the reverse overlap hand positioning makes it difficult to produce 1.) a level/horizontal shoulder plane, 2.) a vertical axis of the putter meeting the shoulder plane at 90 degrees, 3.) two congruent/equal legs of the substantially isosceles triangle formed by the arms and shoulder line, and 4.) the vertex angle of the isosceles triangle legs (both arms) meeting in the vertical axis midline of the putter grip/putter shaft.

While it may be possible to adjust another aspect of the putting stroke to compensate for the hand-over-hand alignment shown in FIG. 1, it is difficult to develop a consistent and easily repeatable one-piece putting stroke controlled by the shoulders and arms instead of the hands and fingers.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is therefore an advantage of the present invention to provide a putter grip where both hands may rest on the grip along side each other in a parallel relationship thus allowing the arms and shoulders to form an isosceles triangle.

It is a further advantage of the present invention to provide a large, substantially flat surface area on the top portion of the grip when the putter is being held in which a golfer's thumbs and thumb pads may rest.

These and other advantages are provided by the present invention, which in embodiments relates to a putter comprising an ergonomically designed putter grip providing a geometrically correct positioning of the hands forming a substantially isosceles triangle with the shoulder line as the base. In embodiments of the invention, the grip includes a first substantially flat surface facing upwards when the golf club is held during the putting stroke, the first surface having a length and a width perpendicular to the length, second and third substantially flat surfaces adjacent the first surface and extending substantially perpendicularly from the first surface, the second and third surfaces each having the length of the first surface and a depth perpendicular to the length, a fourth substantially flat surface adjacent the second and third surfaces and extending substantially perpendicularly between the second and third surfaces, the first, second, third and forth surfaces having a substantially rectangular profile in a plane perpendicular to the length of the first, second and third surfaces.

The first surface has a surface area capable of supporting a golfer's thumbs and thumb pads in an aligned, parallel relation to each other so that the golfer's arms and shoulders form a substantially isosceles triangle.

In another feature of the present invention, the bottom surface of the grip may include paintfill lines which are customized to each golfer's hands. The paintfill allow easy, quick and proper alignment of the hands on the club for each golf swing.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention will now be described with reference to the drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a prior art front perspective view of a golfer holding a putter;

FIG. 2 is a front perspective view of a golf club including a grip according to the present invention in the hands of a golfer;

FIG. 3 is a side perspective view of the golf club grip according to the present invention in the hands of a golfer;

FIG. 4 is an enlarged perspective view of a putter grip according to the present invention in the hands of a golfer;

FIG. 5 is an enlarged perspective view of a putting grip according to the present invention;

FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view through line 6-6 in FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view through line 7-7 in FIG. 5;

FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional view taken from the same perspective as FIG. 5, showing an alternative embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 9 is an end view of the embodiment shown in FIG. 8;

FIG. 10 is a cross-sectional view taken from the same perspective as FIG. 5, showing a further alternative embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 11 is a cross-sectional view taken from the same perspective as FIG. 5, showing a further alternative embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 12 is a cross-sectional view taken from the same perspective as FIG. 5, showing a further alternative embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 12A is a cross-sectional view taken from the same perspective as FIG. 5, showing a further alternative embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 13 is a bottom view of an embodiment of the present invention showing customized paintfill lines for positioning of a golfer's hands on the grip;

FIG. 14 is a bottom view as in FIG. 13, with a golfer's hand aligned along the paintfill lines; and

FIG. 15 is a bottom view as in FIG. 13, with both of a golfer's hands aligned on the grip.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The present invention will now be described with reference to FIGS. 2 through 15 with embodiments of the present invention relate to a putter grip allowing parallel hand positioning on the grip and promoting a connected, unified, one piece pendulum movement of the shoulders, arms and hands and putter. The present 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 invention to those skilled in the art. Indeed, the invention is intended to cover alternatives, modifications and equivalents of these embodiments, which are included within the scope and spirit of the invention as defined by the appended claims. Furthermore, in the following detailed description of the present invention, numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of the present invention. However, it will be clear to those of ordinary skill in the art that the present invention may be practiced without such specific details.

Referring now to FIGS. 1 and 2, there is a shown a golf club 20 in the hands of a golfer. In embodiments in the present invention, club 20 comprises a putter for use on a putting green. The club 20 includes a shaft 24 having a distal and proximal end. At the distal end of shaft 24 is a putter head 26 including a club face 28. At the proximal end of shaft 24 is a grip 30 in accordance with the present invention as explained hereinafter.

The head 26 is not critical to the present invention and may be any of various shapes and configurations. Similarly, other than supporting the grip as explained hereinafter, the club shaft 24 is not critical to the present invention and may be any of various lengths and materials, including metal, graphite or various composites. As used herein, the term “golf club” is used to refer to clubs intended for use during a round of golf as well as devices directed to improving one's golf swing.

As shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, with the face 28 of the golf club head 26 square (i.e., “perpendicular”) to the target line of a golf ball, the shaft 24 lies in a vertical X-Y reference plane. In particular, the X-dimension of the reference plane runs along the axis of shaft 24, and the Y-dimension of the reference plane runs vertically.

FIG. 4 is an enlarged perspective view of a putting grip 30 according to the present invention shown gripped in the hands of a golfer as during a putting stroke. In embodiments of the present invention, grip 30 includes a generally flat upper surface 32, a generally rounded lower surface 34, a generally flat first vertical edge 36 and a generally flat second vertical edge 38 having a similar shape as vertical edge 36. It is understood that the terms “upper,” “lower,” and “vertical” in referring to services 32 through 38 refer to the orientation of those surfaces while gripped in a golfer's hand during a putting stroke. However, it is understood that upper service 30 need not face upward, lower surface 34 need not face downward, and vertical edges 36 and 38 need not be vertical while a club 20 is not being used in a golf swing. Grip 30 further includes a distal face 40 having a hole formed at least partially there through for receiving golf club shaft 24.

As seen in FIG. 4, the grip 30 according to the present invention allows a golfer to grip the club 20 with hands in a parallel relation. That is, both hands may lie along side each other on the grip 30 with a golfer's thumbs and thumb pads aligned next to each other on the top surface 32 of grip 30. The golfer's remaining fingers may wrap around the grip along first and second vertical edges 36 and 38 and onto lower surface 34. With the hands arranged on club 30 as shown in FIG. 4, the golfer's arms and shoulders may form an isosceles triangle as indicated on FIG. 2, thus providing a geometrically correct and triangular form.

Referring now to FIGS. 5 through 7, grip 30 includes a length, l, running generally along the X-axis, a width, w, across upper and lower services 32 and 34 perpendicular to the X-axis, and a depth, d, across vertical surfaces 36 and 38 similarly perpendicular to the X-axis.

As indicated by FIGS. 6 and 7, grip 30 may have a generally rectangular cross-sectional shape with a rounded bottom surface.

As explained in greater detail hereinafter, a grip 30 according to the present invention may be customized to an individual golfer's hands. In embodiments of the invention, the distal end of the grip may taper to the shape of and just larger than the diameter of the shaft protruding from the distal end of the grip. In embodiments where the grip is customized to a golfer's hands, the taper may begin approximately ½ inch past the ends of the golfer's thumbs when positioned on the grip. In embodiments where the grip is not customized, the taper may begin 6 inches from the distal end of the grip. It is understood that the grip may have no taper in alternative embodiments.

The length of grip 30 may be between 5 and 10 inches and approximately 7 inches in embodiments of the invention. In the embodiment of FIG. 5, the lower surface 34 is convex. However, it is understood that the lower surface may be flat in alternative embodiments, such as that shown in FIG. 8. Referring to FIGS. 8 and 9, the width, w, of upper and lower surfaces 32 and 34 may range between 1 inch and 1.6 inches and may be approximately 1.5 inches in embodiments of the present invention. The depth, d, of grip 30 may be between 0.5 inches and 1 inch and approximately 0.6 inches in embodiments of the present invention. It is further understood that the ratio between the width and the depth of grip 30 may vary in alternative embodiments with the restriction in preferred embodiments that the width is greater than or equal to the depth, and that the length of a diagonal from one corner to an opposite corner of the grip not exceed 1.75 inches. It is understood that the dimensions for the width, depth and diagonal given above may vary outside of the stated dimensions in alternative embodiments of the present invention. For example, the diagonal may exceed 1.75 inches in alternative embodiments.

As shown, lower surfaces and the vertical edges are rounded. It is understood that the degree to which the edges are rounded may vary in alternative embodiments. Moreover, it is understood that the edges between the upper and lower surfaces and the vertical edges may not be rounded in alternative embodiments.

It is understood that any or all of the lower surface 34, vertical edge 36, and vertical edge 38 may be rounded in alternative embodiments. For example, FIG. 11 is a further embodiment where the upper surface 32 remains unchanged but the vertical edges 36, 38 are made wider and the lower surface 34 is made thinner so that the cross-sectional shape of the grip is generally that of a trapezoid. FIG. 12 is a further embodiment similar to FIG. 11, but the vertical edges 36, 38 are made even wider and the lower surface 34 even thinner so that the cross-sectional shape of the grip is generally that of a triangle. FIG. 12A is similar to FIG. 12, but the bottom corner of the triangle has a larger radius as compared to the remaining two corners. The size of the radius may vary in alternative embodiments.

The grip 30 as described above may be formed of conventional materials for golf grips, such as for example rubber and rubber compositions in a conventional molding process. Grip 30 may also include known striations, knurling and/or cord molded into the outer surface of the grip to improve gripping of the club.

The grip 30 in accordance with the present invention allows the club to be more ergonomically held as it allows the hands to lie next to each other in a parallel relationship. This parallel relationship allows the arms and shoulders to align with each other without one arm and shoulder being above the other arm and shoulder. This arrangement is geometrically correct and unifies and connects the shoulders, arms and hands. This setup position promotes a one piece pendulum movement. Namely, the parallel relationship of the hands, arms and shoulders promote a backstroke and forward stroke which keeps the face of the putter head perpendicular, or square, to the intended target line at impact with the golf ball.

As golfers' hands have a wide variety of sizes and shapes, it is contemplated in a further aspect of the present invention that the grip 30 be custom fitted to the contour of a particular golfer's hands. Specifically, by taking hand measurements such as the overall size of the hand, the size of the palm, length of the fingers and the relative length of the palm to the fingers, the relative width and depth dimensions of grip 30 may be optimized for each-golfer to ensure maximum comfort and ergonomic fit.

Referring to FIG. 13, once a golfer's hand measurements are taken, paintfill lines 50 may be printed on the lower surface 34. Paintfill lines 50 may include hatched lines 52 showing where the golfer's palm rests on the lower surface 34. Paintfill lines further include finger crease lines 54 showing where the crease lines of a golfer's respective fingers lie on the lower surface 34. In particular, in putting, a golfer's back hand is first to grip the club (for right-handed golfers, this is the right hand). Each finger of a golfer's back hand has crease lines at each finger joint. For each finger, the finger joint nearest the palm is referred to as the metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joint; the finger joint in the middle of the finger is referred to as the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint; and the joint nearest the end of the finger is referred to as the distal interphalangeal (DIP) joint. In the average person's hand, there are crease lines in the skin of a golfer's hand at each of the three joints for each finger.

In the customization process, the location on the grip of each crease line for each joint for each finger of the back hand when the golfer's hand is properly positioned on the lower surface 34 of grip 30 is identified. These are points 56 on FIG. 13. Points 56 may be visible on paintfill lines 54 or they may be omitted in alternative embodiments. The location of points 56 may be identified by taking measurements of a golfer's back hand, and/or by having a golfer grip a club properly during the customization process and seeing where each of these points lie on the lower surface. Once the location of points 56 are identified for a particular golfer during the customization process, then the points for each crease line of the respective fingers are joined with a line to form the three paintfill lines 54. That is, the points 56 corresponding to the MCP joint crease lines for each of the four fingers are connected with paintfill line 54a; the points 56 corresponding to the PIP joint crease lines for each of the four fingers are connected with paintfill line 54b; and the points 56 corresponding to the DIP joint crease lines for each of the four fingers are connected with paintfill line 54c.

Once the customized paintfill lines 52 and 54 are provided on the lower surface 34, a golfer may quickly and easily align his/her fingers along the paintfill lines to ensure proper and repeatable gripping of the club by the golfer's back hand, as shown in FIG. 14.

Once gripped by the back hand, the forward hand (i.e., the left hand for right handed golfers) may then be placed on the grip 30. The thumb of the golfer's forward hand may be aligned along side the thumb of the golfer's back hand on the upper surface 32, and the fingers of the forward hand may be placed over the fingers of the back hand on the lower surface 34 to complete the grip on the club. In embodiments of the invention, the fingers of the forward hand may be placed over the fingers of the back hand so that the forward hand fingers lie between the back hand fingers. In this embodiment, the forward hand index finger may rest above (i.e., closer to the proximal end) the back hand index finger, the forward hand middle finger may rest between the back hand index and middle fingers, and so on as shown on FIG. 15. It is understood that the fingers of the forward hand may be shifted downward on the grip so that the forward hand index finger may rest between the back hand index and middle fingers, and so on, in an alternative embodiment. In a still further embodiment, the fingers of the forward hand may lie directly over the fingers of the back hand on the grip.

Although the invention has been described in detail herein, it should be understood that the invention is not limited to the embodiments herein disclosed. Various changes, substitutions and modifications may be made to the disclosure by those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention as described and defined by the appended claims.