Title:
Grooming component
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A nail grooming device suitable for incorporation in other products and comprising a support base is disclosed. A nail cleaning tip is defined on the base. A cuticle pusher is defined on the base. An abrasive member is secured to the base. An attachment member is also secured to the base.



Inventors:
Sherts, Charles (Westport, CT, US)
Application Number:
11/326945
Publication Date:
08/31/2006
Filing Date:
01/06/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A45D29/04; A45D29/18; A45D29/16; A45D29/17; A45D33/26; A45D40/18
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
DOAN, ROBYN KIEU
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BROWN RUDNICK LLP (BOSTON, MA, US)
Claims:
1. A method of manufacturing an item with a nail grooming component comprising making a grooming component by forming a support base with a nail cleaning tip defined on said base, with a cuticle pusher defined on said base, and with an abrasive member secured to said base, applying an attachment member secured to said base, said attachment member being configured to be integrated into a plurality of different products, storing said nail grooming components in inventory, distributing said nail grooming components from inventory to a plurality of manufacturing assembly operations manufacturing a plurality of products, incorporating said nail grooming component into said products.

2. A nail grooming method as in claim 1, wherein said support base is formed to mate with another object, wherein said attachment member is applied after distribution of said nail grooming components from inventory to a plurality of manufacturing assembly operations, said attachment member being applied in the course of each respective one of said manufacturing assembly operations, said manufacturing assembly operations being carried out at a plurality of manufacturing locations.

3. A separate nail grooming component for attachment to a device comprising: (a) a support base defining a support surface configured to be implemented on a plurality of products, (b) an implement selected from the group comprising a nail cleaning tip defined on said support base, and a cuticle pusher defined on said support base and configured to push a cuticle during finger grooming, (c) an adhesive member secured to said support base, and (d) an adhesive attachment member secured to said support surface of said support base to secure said nail grooming component to another device, said attachment member being configured to be integrated into a plurality of unrelated manufacturing operations.

4. A nail grooming component as in claim 3, comprising both said cuticle pusher and said nail cleaning tip wherein said cuticle pusher and said cleaning tip are defined at opposite ends of said support base.

5. A nail grooming component as in claim 4, wherein said support base is elongated and said abrasive member is disposed between said cuticle pusher and said cleaning tip.

6. A nail grooming component as in claim 5, wherein said support base is configured with a substantially cylindrical shape defined by a substantially cylindrical surface, said substantially cylindrical surface mating with a substantially cylindrical object, and wherein said adhesive attachment member is disposed on said substantially cylindrical surface to secured said substantially cylindrical surface and said support base to said substantially cylindrical object.

7. A nail grooming component as in claim 5, wherein said support base is configured with a substantially flat shape defined by a substantially flat surface, said substantially flat surface mating with a substantially flat object, and wherein said adhesive attachment member is disposed on said substantially flat surface to secure said substantially flat surface and said support base to said substantially flat object.

8. A nail grooming component as in claim 5, wherein said support base has an adhesive support surface configured with a shape which mates with another object, and said adhesive attachment member is disposed on said adhesive support surface.

9. An implement as in claim 6, further comprising a protective cover hinged on said support base.

10. An implement as in claim 6, wherein said adhesive attachment member comprises a space-defining member for supporting said support base spaced relationship to said device and a supporting member for supporting said adhesive attachment member and securing said space defining member to said device.

11. An implement as in claim 10, wherein said adhesive attachment member comprises a layer of an adhesive material.

12. An implement as in claim 11, wherein said device is a bottle cap.

13. A nail grooming component as in claim 4, wherein said support base is flat and said attachment member is a layer of adhesive.

14. An implement as in claim 10, further comprising a protective cover hinged on said support base and configured and dimensioned to fit over and protect said abrasive member.

15. A plurality of components as in claim 1, wherein said attachment members are circular clips of different diameters.

16. A nail grooming method as in claim 1, wherein three of said products are selected from the group consisting of writing pens, pencils, nail care implements, cosmetic pencils, cosmetic pens, cosmetic bottle caps, compacts, lip gloss, anti-chapping sticks, cuticle cream pencils, nail polish bottles, higher quality refillable office pens, tweezers, key rings, coffee cups, nail clippers, finger rings and lipstick housings.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED PATENT APPLICATIONS

This application is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/298,324, filed on Nov. 18, 2002 and entitled GROOMING COMPONENT.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to the field of grooming devices.

BACKGROUND

Multifunction and miniaturized grooming devices have been known for many years. Perhaps, the most popular of these devices is a compact combination nail clipper, nail file and cuticle pusher of the type including a rotatable lever arm that may be pulled up and rotated, from a compact storage position, to ready the device for the nail-clipping function, and a nail file which rotates into the use position. More general tools, of the type often referred to as a Swiss Army™ knife may also include numerous grooming accessories, such as a nail file, toothpick or the like.

The problem with these devices is that they are dedicated multifunction devices which have only relatively infrequent application. Accordingly, few men carry Swiss Army type knives about with them. Notwithstanding the fact that many women carry relatively large handbags or pocketbooks with them, one encounters almost no women packing a Swiss Army knife. Even in the case of a pocketbook, frequently used items tend to edge out marginal items such as nail grooming accessories. Thus, a woman who is concerned with limiting the weight of a handbag will, nevertheless, pack such items as a pen, a change purse, eyeshadow, face powder, lipstick, mirror, business cards, a cell phone and an electronic organizer. Such items as nail files, cuticle pushers and fingernail cleaning tools are comparatively unlikely to find a place in the handbag, where weight and space are at a premium. Moreover, even though fingernails are often damaged and scratched, particularly in the case of longer nails, the natural human tendency to discount and not face the reality of the likelihood of such an unpleasant experience results in items such as fingernail files being left behind. Moreover, such files often take the form of a relatively large “orangeboard” which can do damage to other items in the handbag, as well as be damaged itself and, consequently, fall apart creating a messy situation inside the handbag.

A multifunction tool which addresses many of the above problems is disclosed in my earlier U.S. Pat. No. 5,090,427 issued on Feb. 25, 1992 and entitled Finger Groomer Attachment for Writing Instruments. In that patent, a multifunction tool, which is incorporated into a pen cap, is disclosed. The advantage of that approach is that a cuticle pusher, nail file and fingernail cleaning implement are incorporated into a pen cap. The tip of the pen cap comprises a cuticle pusher. The pen cap includes a clip which allows the pen to be clipped into, for example, a shirt pocket. The tip of the clip comprises a fingernail cleaning implement. The side of the clip is provided with a fingernail file. Moreover, all of these features of the invention are provided with almost no added payload in space or weight.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

However, the above multifunction pen cap suffers from the disadvantage of requiring special tooling in order to implement a multifunctional space and weight saving pen. Moreover, pens come in a wide variety of styles and qualities and are sold by a wide range of retailers and wholesalers. Oftentimes, it is difficult to predict whether a particular pen being sold by a particular source incorporating grooming features will be popular. Thus, the commercial implementation of products incorporating grooming tools involves substantial investment and risk. In addition, determining consumer preferences in a wide range of possible embodiments of implementing such multifunction devices involves even more substantial investment and risk.

In accordance with the invention, the above-identified difficulties are effectively addressed in the context of a grooming device subsystem adapted for inclusion in numerous devices at minimal cost and with a high degree of customizable application. In addition, the present invention will accommodate a range of consumer preferences and has flexibility of implementation, while still maintaining the commercial efficiencies of the invention.

Further in accordance with present invention a multipurpose grooming tool is provided which is portable, small and easy carry in the smallest of purses. The same isto discrete and does not make the product with which it is associated look any different from other products of the type with which it is associated. Thus, the inventive component is difficult to notice. Moreover, the same is lightweight, being made of plastic in accordance with the preferred embodiment, and inexpensive.

In addition, the present invention allows such implementation in a wide array of devices, in many cases without the need for new tooling.

The inventive method of manufacturing an item with a nail grooming component comprises making a grooming component by forming a support base with a nail cleaning tip defined on the base. A cuticle pusher is defined on the base. An abrasive member is secured to the base. An attachment member is secured to the base. The attachment member is configured to be integrated into a plurality of different products. The nail grooming components are then stored in inventory, and distributed from inventory to a plurality of manufacturing assembly operations manufacturing a plurality of products for incorporation of said nail grooming component into said products.

The support base is preferably formed to substantially mate with another object. If desired, the attachment member is applied after distribution of the nail grooming components from inventory to a plurality of manufacturing assembly operations, the attachment member being applied in the course of each respective one of the manufacturing assembly operations.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The above and other objects and advantages of the invention will become an apparent from the following description, which illustrate only several embodiments of the invention, and in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a nail care component constructed in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a plan view of the nail care component illustrated in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view along lines 3-3 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view along lines 4-4;

FIG. 5 is a side view of an alternative embodiment of the present invention suitable for heat staking;

FIG. 6 is a plan view of an alternative embodiment of the present invention with a widened portion;

FIG. 7 is a plan view of an alternative widened embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 8 is an exploded perspective view of an alternative environment of the present invention particularly adapted to be associated with a pen cap having a metal pen clip;

FIG. 9 is a cross-sectional view along lines 9-9 of FIG. 8;

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the present invention with a hinged closure;

FIG. 11 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the invention with a concave cuticle pusher to match the curved surface of the nail;

FIG. 12 is a cross-sectional view along lines 12-12 of FIG. 11;

FIG. 13 is an exploded perspective of an alternative embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 14 is a plan view of the embodiment of the invention illustrated in FIG. 13;

FIG. 15 is a view along lines 15-15 of FIG. 14;

FIG. 16 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the inventive component adapted to be slipped over a pen cap or cosmetic cap;

FIG. 17 is a plan view of the component of FIG. 16;

FIG. 18 is a side plan view of the component of FIG. 16;

FIG. 19 is an end view of the component of FIG. 16 along lines 19-19 of FIG. 17;

FIG. 20 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the inventive component adapted to be clipped onto a pen cap or cosmetic cap;

FIG. 21 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the present invention with a hinged closure;

FIG. 22 is an end view of the component of FIG. 21 in the open position;

FIG. 23 is an end view of the component of FIG. 21 in the closed position; and

FIG. 24 is a perspective view of an inventive component adapted to be secured to a square object, such as a pen with a square cross-section.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring to FIGS. 1-4, a nail care component 10, constructed in accordance with the present invention, is illustrated. Nail care component 10 comprises a base 12. Base 12 defines a recessed cavity or trough 14 which is configured and dimensioned to receive an abrasive strip 16. Abrasive strip 16 may be made with a relatively abrasive material exposed on its top surface 18, thus allowing the inventive nail care component to function as a nail file. Alternatively, a relatively unaggressive abrasive may be exposed at surface 18 and the function fulfilled by abrasive strip 16 will be more in the realm of a nail buffer.

At one end of nail care component 10, base 12 defines an end portion of nail care component 10 which forms a cuticle pusher 20. In accordance with the preferred embodiments, cuticle pusher 20 has a round configuration, allowing the definition of smooth round shapes in the cuticle, as it is worked by the cuticle pusher 20.

At the opposite end of nail care component 10, base 12 defines an end portion of nail care component 10 which forms a nail cleaner 22. Nail cleaner 22 is relatively sharp compared to cuticle pusher 20 and thus functions effectively to remove dirt, debris, grease or other materials from underneath the fingernails. In addition, nail cleaner 22 may also be used to push back a small portion of a cuticle with precision in order to address relatively localized cosmetic or aesthetic concerns.

In accordance with the invention, it is contemplated that a wide variety of structures and materials may be used to adhere the inventive component 10 to another device. The same may simply take the form of a simple layer of adhesive 24. In FIGS. 3 and 4, the thickness of layer of adhesive 24 is greatly exaggerated for purposes of clarity of illustration. Also in accordance with the present invention, other structures and materials is for adhering the inventive component 10 to another device. For example, repositionable hook and loop systems, such as those sold under the trademark Velcro, may be used with, for example, the hook material adhered to the bottom of component 10 and the loop material adhered to the surface to which component 10 is to be secured.

If desired, adhesive 24 may be a self-adhesive member. Adhesive protective member 25, comprising paper with a surface 27 covered with a release agent, such as wax or a suitable synthetic material, may be used to protect the adhesive, allowing the inventive attachment to be manufactured, for example at one location and stored in inventory and/or shipped, for example to a plurality locations, for application to a variety of products, as detailed herein. So-called hotmelt or heat activated adhesives may also be used.

Still another alternative is the molding of ribs into the underside 26 in order to provide structure for melting to form a weld, or structure which can be used to engage a heat activated adhesive such as the type applied using a heated glue gun. Ribs may also be used to provide plastic ribs for ultrasonic welding in accordance with the present invention.

In accordance with the invention, the inventive component may take a number of forms which are illustrated by the alternative embodiments illustrated below. In these alternative embodiments, parts performing similar, like or otherwise similar or analogous functions, are numbered with numbers which are multiples of 100 different from corresponding parts in the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1.

Still another alternative is the provision of a component 110 (FIG. 5) incorporating posts 128 which extend through the outer shell 134 or housing of an object to which it is to be secured, allowing the tips 130 of posts 128 to be melted, compressed and radially expanded, thus acting like nail heads to secure the inventive component 110 in place.

As alluded to above, the present invention provides a self-contained, multipurpose nail care tool which can be implemented into any of thousands of products to give them added functionality and value. Moreover, this can be done without the need for special tooling specific to each product. However, in accordance with the present invention, it is contemplated that a small number of alternative embodiments of the present invention will suffice to accommodate a large variety of products. It is contemplated that these products will range from writing pens, pencils, nail care implements, cosmetic pencils, cosmetic pens, cosmetic bottle caps, compacts, lip gloss, anti-chapping sticks, cuticle cream pencils, nail polish bottles, higher quality refillable office pens, tweezers, key rings, coffee cups, nail clippers, finger rings and lipstick housings. While this list of products is only partial, it illustrates the wide variety of products with which the invention may be used. Moreover, while some of these products may not be popular with consumers, some unexpected ones may be popular, and the ability of the invention to be inexpensively adapted to a wide range of products renders exploration and fulfillment of such a wide range of prospective consumer needs and desires possible.

In accordance with the invention, it is also contemplated that the base 12 of the inventive component 10 will be made by injection molding plastic into a suitable mold. In accordance with the preferred embodiment, base 12 is made of polypropylene. Alternatively, conventional fabrication techniques may be used to manufacture a diecast metal body. In either case, in accordance with the preferred embodiments, a recessed cavity will be defined to hold and protect the nail file, although construction without this feature is possible particularly in the case of relatively robust nail file materials forming abrasive strip 16. Materials forming abrasive strip 16 may range from carbide abrasive paper, to sandpaper and metal engraved with a file surface.

While a wide range of abrasive materials will be used, in accordance with the preferred embodiment, silicon carbide abrasive nail file material, available in the market, is used. The same is adhered into the recessed cavity using an acrylic adhesive.

It is also contemplated by the present invention that the point of the nail cleaner 22 may be relatively sharp or rounded, depending upon the strength of the material of which base 12 is made and other concerns of a conventional nature.

While the inventive component 10 may be made in a wide range of sizes, it is contemplated that the component illustrated in FIG. 1 will be between 2.5 and 5 mm thick, have a length of 5 and 7.5 cm and a width of approximately 0.6 cm.

Further in accordance with the preferred embodiment, it is contemplated that a clip on cover 30 (FIG. 4) may be used to protect the abrasive from becoming fouled or damaged.

Referring to FIG. 6, an alternative embodiment of the inventive component 210 having a wide rear portion 236 is illustrated. In accordance with the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 6, added material at the wide rear portion 236 provides for extra adhesive power.

FIG. 7 illustrates an embodiment of the inventive component 310 in which the entire device is widened to provide additional surface area for adhering to another device.

Referring to FIGS. 8 and 9, an embodiment of the invention particularly well adapted to be associated with a pen cap of the type found on rolling ball or razor point felt tip type markers is illustrated. More particularly, in accordance with the invention, multipurpose grooming component 410 comprises a cuticle pusher 420 and a nail cleaning tip 422. The same includes a pair of tracks 438 and 440, which are adapted to engage a metal pen clip 442 on a pen cap 444. Component 410 further comprises a stud 446 which snaps into a hole 448 on pen clip 442, locking component 410 in place on pen clip 442.

Referring to FIG. 10, an alternative embodiment of an inventive grooming component 510 is illustrated in perspective. Component 510 includes cuticle pusher 520 and nail cleaner tip 522. A nail file 518 is glued within a recess 514. In this embodiment, a nail buffer 550 is secured to a lid 530 by a living hinge portion 552. In this embodiment, component 510 is made of a flexible plastic material which allows hinge 552 to flex, allowing lid 532 to rotate about living hinge 552 in the direction generally indicated by arrow 554. It is noted that, alternatively, only either a buffer or an abrasive file may be provided in the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 10, as an alternative to both of them being provided as illustrated in FIG. 10. Moreover, either of these tools may be provided in either the recess 514 or the lid 530.

It is noted that the inventive grooming component 510 illustrated in FIG. 10 includes a surface 556, which has the form of a portion of the cylinder, and thus is adapted to mate with cylindrical surfaces, such as the cap of a pen or nail polish bottle or a nail polish bottle cap.

Still another embodiment of the present invention is illustrated in FIGS. 11 and 12. Grooming component 610 includes a nail file 616, a cuticle pusher 620 and a nail cleaning tip 622. Cuticle pusher 620 includes a concave surface 656 adapted to match the convex surface of a nail. Grooming component 610 also has a cylindrical surface 656 adapted to be securely adhered to a cylindrical surface such as a pen cap or lipstick case.

If desired, additional functionality can be built into the device while promoting ease-of-use by having a relatively high profile configuration which is illustrated by grooming component 710 in FIGS. 13 through 15. This embodiment is particularly useful for providing some space between the device being attached to the inventive tool and the operative surfaces of the cuticle pusher 720, nail cleaner 722 and abrasive strip 716.

Referring to FIGS. 16-19, grooming component 810 includes a nail file 816 made of engraved metal, a cuticle pusher 820 and a nail tip cleaning tool 822. Grooming component 810 is typically adapted to be slipped over a pen cap, nail polish cap, lipstick cap or other cylindrical object, by the use of a pair of hoops 838 and 840 which snugly fit around and grip a cylindrical object 844. Grooming component 810 may be secured in place by adhesive, or other artifice known in the art, such as the techniques used to secure similarly structured pen clips to pen caps.

FIG. 20 illustrates an embodiment of the inventive grooming component 910 which includes a nail file 916 made of engraved metal, a cuticle pusher 920 and a nail tip cleaning tool 922. Grooming component 910 is typically adapted to be clipped onto a pen cap, nail polish cap, lipstick cap or other cylindrical object, by the use of a pair of open hoops 938 and 940 which snugly fit around and grip a cylindrical object. Grooming component 910 may be secured in place by adhesive, or other artifice known in the art.

FIGS. 21-23 illustrates an embodiment of the inventive grooming component 1010 similar to that of FIG. 10 with the exception that hinge takes the form of a pair of hinge elements 1052, and the inclusion of a pair of hoops 1038 and 1040, similar to the hoops in the embodiment of FIGS. 16-19. FIG. 22 shows the cap 1030 in the open position. FIG. 23 shows the cap 1030 in the closed position.

FIG. 24 illustrates an embodiment of the inventive grooming device 1110 including a pair of square hoops 1138 and 1140.

In accordance with the present invention, it is contemplated that the inventive component may be available in a small number of standard adhesive receiving, or alternatively self-adhesive and protective member bearing surfaces. These surfaces are of standardized shapes which allow them to be integrated into various manufacturing operations involving products having cylindrical, flat or similar standardized surfaces to which the inventive component would be attached.

While an illustrative embodiment of the invention has been described, it is, of course, understood that various modifications will be obvious to those ordinary skill in the art. Such modifications are within the spirit and scope of the invention which is limited and defined only by the appended claims.