Title:
Collapsible sports ball bag and method of use thereof
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A collapsible sports ball bag for storing one or more basketballs, wherein the bag can be removably fastened to a stationary or portable basketball goal pole to provide weather-resistant storage. The collapsible sports ball bag has a carrying handle and a storage section with a hingedly-fixed flap closure, wherein the flap closure is secured to the storage section via a zipper. A cover extends over the flap closure and zipper thereof to provide protection from weather elements. The flap closure holds accessories, such as a pump, needle and/or tube extension. Additionally, when not in use, the collapsible sports ball bag can be collapsed to a flat profile to reduce overall size, and, thus, storage space.



Inventors:
Williams, William G. (Tallapoosa, GA, US)
Application Number:
11/259658
Publication Date:
04/27/2006
Filing Date:
10/26/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
190/103, 206/315.1, 224/577, 224/578, 294/150
International Classes:
A45C7/00; A45C15/00; A45F4/00; A45F5/00; B65D85/00; B65D85/20
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
LALLI, MELISSA LYNN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BakerHostetler (Philadelphia, PA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A collapsible sports ball bag comprising: a storage section; a flap closure, wherein said flap closure selectively seals said storage section; and a cover.

2. The collapsible sports ball bag of claim 1, wherein said sports ball bag comprises a material selected from the group consisting of weather-resistant material and waterproof material.

3. The collapsible sports ball bag of claim 1, wherein said flap closure is secured to said storage section via a fastener.

4. The collapsible sports ball bag of claim 3, wherein said cover extends over said flap closure.

5. The collapsible sports ball bag of claim 3, wherein said cover covers said fastener.

6. The collapsible sports ball bag of claim 1, wherein said storage section and said cover comprise cooperatively-engaging fasteners.

7. The collapsible sports ball bag of claim 6, wherein said cooperatively engaging fasteners are selected from the group consisting of hook-and-loop fasteners, button/buttonhole combinations, snap fasteners, strap/buckle combinations, ties, and combinations thereof.

8. The collapsible sports ball bag of claim 1, wherein said storage section comprises a first side, a front side, a second side, a rear side and a bottom.

9. The collapsible sports ball bag of claim 8, wherein said storage section comprises fold lines.

10. The collapsible sports ball bag of claim 9, wherein said fold lines are disposed on said first side, said second side and said bottom.

11. The collapsible sports ball bag of claim 10, wherein said front side is disposed proximate said rear side when said collapsible sports ball bag is collapsed about said fold lines.

12. The collapsible sports ball bag of claim 1, further comprising means for securing said collapsible sports ball bag to an upright support structure.

13. The collapsible sports ball bag of claim 12, wherein said means for securing comprises straps comprising cooperatively-engaging fasteners.

14. The collapsible sports ball bag of claim 13, wherein said cooperatively engaging fasteners are selected from the group consisting of hook-and-loop fasteners, button/buttonhole combinations, snap fasteners, strap/buckle combinations, ties, and combinations thereof.

15. The collapsible sports ball bag of claim 1, wherein said collapsible sports ball bag is dimensioned to receive a sports ball therewithin and immobilize the sports ball.

16. A method of preventing damage and/or soiling of sports equipment from ambient weather conditions, said method comprising the steps of: a. sealing sports equipment within a bag via a sealing means; and b. covering said sealing means with a covering means, wherein said equipment is protected from seepage of ambient weather elements through said sealing means.

17. A collapsible sports ball bag comprising: a storage section comprising fold lines, wherein said collapsible sports ball bag can be collapsed to a flat profile about said fold lines.

18. The collapsible sports ball bag of claim 17, said collapsible sports ball bag further comprising a front side and a rear side.

19. The collapsible sports ball bag of claim 18, wherein said front side is disposed proximate said rear side when said collapsible sports ball bag is collapsed.

20. The collapsible sports ball bag of claim 19, further comprising a flap closure hingedly-fixed to said storage section.

Description:

PRIORITY CLAIM

To the fullest extent permitted by law, the present non-provisional patent application claims priority to, and the full benefit of, the provisional patent application entitled “Basketball Storage Container”, filed on Oct. 27, 2004, having assigned Ser. No. 60/522,688.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates generally to containers for sporting apparatuses, and more specifically to a collapsible sports ball bag and method of use thereof, wherein the collapsible sports ball bag is suited for transport and storage of basketballs or other sporting equipment, and for weather protection thereof.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Convenient storage of balls for playing sports, such as basketballs, and transport of same between playing fields or courts has long been an existing problem. Exposure to the elements, such as rain or sun, can damage or soil most sport balls and, thus, make them undesirable or inconvenient for play. Accordingly, sport balls are preferably stored where they can be conveniently accessed for use, off of the ground and out of sunlight to improve their life span. Additionally, retaining such balls together with their accessories, such as inflation pumps and needles, and positioning the balls where they can be readily retrieved, is generally desirable for convenience.

Previous devices have attempted to facilitate such ball storage. For instance, collapsible fabric bags have been utilized for transport of sports balls. However, such bags are not typically dimensioned for sports balls and, accordingly, often have significant additional space within their interior, permitting the sports ball to inconveniently migrate within the bag to different locations; thus, adversely impact transport by weight shifting and require the user to readjust the contents of the bag to reduce bodily strain attributable to such weight shifting. Additionally, once at a field or court, such bags lack a feature to permit securing of the bag off the ground; thereby, inconveniencing access to same. Further, as a result of the general structure or configuration, such bags do not form a flat profile when collapsed, as they bunch up into thin portions and thick portions.

Still other available storage devices are in the form of hard shell containers that may be attached to a sports goal pole and provide storage for sports balls. However, when not utilized, such containers, because of their hard-shell, are bulky and inconvenient to store, and further present a potential trip hazard to players during a game.

In addition to the foregoing disadvantages, available containers fail to provide weather protection around the access lid of the bag's main storage section, and poorly, if not entirely fail to, provide for retention of accessories in close association with the sports balls being stored.

Therefore, it is readily apparent that there is a need or a collapsible sports ball bag that can be collapsed to flat profile when not in use, that provides a secondary cover over the main storage section to prevent leakage of water into the storage section, and that further retains accessories necessary to the maintenance of the sports ball in close association therewith.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Briefly described, in a preferred embodiment, the present invention overcomes the above-mentioned disadvantages and meets the recognized need for such a device by providing a collapsible sports ball bag manufactured from a water-proofed fabric, and comprising a carrying handle and straps for removably securing the ball bag to an upright support structure, and for enabling ready access to balls contained within the bag. Suitable support structures include, without limitation, a sports goal pole, bleacher stands, a wall hook, a chain link fence, and trees. A flap closure, secured via a zipper or other suitable closure device, is utilized for closing and accessing the storage section of the bag. Additionally, a cover is disposed over the flap closure to prevent water ingress through the zipper; thereby, providing a weatherproof container for the sports balls.

According to its major aspects and broadly stated, the present invention is a collapsible sports ball bag comprising a storage section with flap closure, a cover over the flap closure to provide protection from the elements, a handle for carrying the bag, and straps for securing the bag to a basketball goal pole.

More specifically, the present invention in its preferred form is a collapsible sports ball bag formed, typically via sewing, into a prismatic shape comprising side walls and a bottom to form a storage section, wherein the storage section is dimensioned to contain, and substantially immobilize, one or more basketballs therewithin. The storage section comprises fold lines along the side walls and bottom thereof to permit collapsing of the bag into a flat profile when not in use. Straps disposed on the rear wall of the storage section are securable to a sports goal pole to keep the collapsible sports bag handy during play. A handle attached to the storage section facilitates transport of the bag or hanging the bag on a wall hook.

A flap closure at top of the storage section closes the storage section to retain the sports balls therewithin. The flap closure is secured to the storage section via a zipper and further provides for retention of selected accessories, such as, for exemplary purposes only, a pump, a needle and an extension tube, and retains these accessories in association with the balls for which they are utilized. A cover or suitable length of material extends over the flap closure to prevent water or other moisture from entering therethrough. Cooperatively engaging fasteners secure the cover to the front wall to provided added protection from weather.

The present invention further comprises a method for storing and/or transporting a sports ball, such as a basketball. The method comprises the steps of placing at least one ball within the bag, sealing the bag via a hingedly-fixed flap closure, and covering the flap closure to protect same from weather elements and/or entry of water therethrough. The method further comprises collapsing the bag into a flat profile about fold lines when not being utilized to transport sports balls therewithin, wherein the front and back of the bag are disposed proximate one when the bag is collapsed into a flat profile.

Accordingly, a feature and advantage of the present invention is its ability to securely maintain sports equipment.

Another feature and advantage of the present invention is its ability to be attached to a pole structure for easy access to the contents thereof.

Still another feature and advantage of the present invention is its ability to protect equipment from ambient weather elements.

Yet another feature and advantage of the present invention is its ability to be collapsed in a substantially flattened configuration for ease of storage.

Yet still another feature and advantage of the present invention is its ability to conveniently contain ball inflation accessories.

A further feature and advantage of the present invention is its portability.

These and other features and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent to one skilled in the art from the following description and claims when read in light of the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention will be better understood by reading the Detailed Description of the Preferred and Selected Alternate Embodiments with reference to the accompanying drawing figures, in which like reference numerals denote similar structure and refer to like elements throughout, and in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a collapsible sports ball bag according to the preferred embodiment of the present invention, shown with the top cover open;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a collapsible sports ball bag according to the preferred embodiment of the present invention, shown with the top cover closed; and,

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a collapsible sports ball bag according to the preferred embodiment of the present invention, shown partially collapsed with the interior flap closure open.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED AND SELECTED ALTERNATIVE EMBODIMENTS

In describing the preferred and selected alternate embodiments of the present invention, as illustrated in FIGS. 1-3, specific terminology is employed for the sake of clarity. The invention, however, is not intended to be limited to the specific terminology so selected, and it is to be understood that each specific element includes all technical equivalents that operate in a similar manner to accomplish similar functions.

Referring now to FIGS. 1-3, the present invention in a preferred embodiment is collapsible sports ball bag 10, wherein bag 10 preferably comprises storage section 12, cover 14, handle 16 and straps 22, and wherein storage section 12 is dimensioned to contain, and substantially immobilize, one or more sports balls, such as, for exemplary purposes only basketballs 26. Storage section 12 preferably comprises flap closure 30, first side wall 32, front wall 34, bottom 36, second side wall 38 and back wall 40, wherein flap closure 30 is hingedly fixed to back wall 40, and wherein flap closure 30 seals storage section 12 to prevent egress of the sports balls contained therewithin. First side wall 32, bottom 36 and second side wall 38 each preferably comprise fold lines 42, wherein front wall 34 and back wall 40 can be brought proximate one another via folding collapsible sports ball bag 10 along fold lines 42; thereby, preferably collapsing collapsible sports ball bag 10 into a flat profile (best shown in FIG. 3).

Additionally, collapsible sports ball bag 10 is soft-sided and comprises a weather-resistant or waterproof fabric material, such as nylon, polypropylene, or the like, wherein the material selected for collapsible sports ball bag 10 is further preferably opaque to the transmission of sunlight. Other selected fabric material may alternately be treated to impart waterproofing qualities thereto for use in the ultimate manufacture of bag 10.

Front wall 34 and cover 14 each preferably comprise fasteners 20, wherein cover 14 is preferably removably secured to front wall 34 via cooperative engagement of fasteners 20; thereby, cover 14 preferably extends over flap closure 30, protecting same from ambient weather conditions. It will be recognized by those skilled in the art that cover 14 could be secured to front wall 34 via any suitable fastener, such as for exemplary purposes only, hook-and-loop fasteners, button/buttonhole combinations, snap fasteners, strap/buckle combinations, ties, or the like, to provide ease of opening of cover 14 for access to zipper 18 of flap closure 30.

Flap closure 30 preferably comprises first portion 17 of zipper 18 preferably disposed around first edge 50, front edge 52, and second edge 54 of flap closure 30, wherein second portion 19 of zipper 18 is preferably disposed around perimeter 44 of first side 32, front wall 34 and second side 38 of storage section 12. Engagement of first portion 17 of zipper 18 with second portion 19 thereof preferably secures flap closure 30 over storage section 12, retaining the contents therein.

Flap closure 30 further preferably comprises underside 31, wherein underside 31 preferably comprises stitched loops 60 for securely retaining accessories 62 therewithin, wherein accessories 62 may include, without limitation, pump 64, needle 66 and extension tube 68. It will be recognized by those skilled in the art that any selected accessory 62 may be secured via stitched loops 60.

To utilize collapsible sports ball bag 10, cover 14 is preferably opened, revealing flap closure 30 thereunder. Zipper 18 of flap closure 30 is preferably subsequently opened, permitting access to storage section 12, wherein basketballs 26 are inserted into storage section 12. Once basketballs 26 have been inserted, flap closure 30 is preferably secured via zipper 18 and cover 14 secured thereover; thereby, sealing basketballs 26, and any associated accessories 62, within collapsible sports ball bag 10, and protecting same from weather elements. When not filled with equipment, collapsible sports ball bag 10 may be collapsed about fold lines 42 into a flat profile for convenient storage.

Straps 22 preferably comprise fasteners 20, wherein fasteners 20 preferably comprise hook-and-loop fasteners, button/buttonhole combinations, snap fasteners, strap/buckle combinations, ties, or the like, to provide ease of fastening collapsible sports ball bag to pole 24 at a playing field. In such use, straps 22 are preferably passed around pole 24 and secured together via fasteners 20; thereby, removably retaining collapsible sports ball bag 10 near the field of play for ready access. Collapsible sports ball bag 10 may be carried via handle 16 during transport of basketballs 26.

In an alternate embodiment of the present invention, storage section 12 may be dimensionally enhanced to receive any number of basketballs. Additionally, bag 10 can receive any type of ball/equipment and be configured accordingly.

The foregoing description and drawings comprise illustrative embodiments of the present invention. Having thus described exemplary embodiments of the present invention, it should be noted by those skilled in the art that the within disclosures are exemplary only, and that various other alternatives, adaptations, and modifications may be made within the scope of the present invention. Merely listing or numbering the steps of a method in a certain order does not constitute any limitation on the order of the steps of that method. Many modifications and other embodiments of the invention will come to mind to one skilled in the art to which this invention pertains having the benefit of the teachings presented in the foregoing descriptions and the associated drawings. Although specific terms may be employed herein, they are used in a generic and descriptive sense only and not for purposes of limitation. Accordingly, the present invention is not limited to the specific embodiments illustrated herein, but is limited only by the following claims.