Title:
MULTIPURPOSE ATHLETIC UTILITY BAG
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A multipurpose utility bag for conveniently transporting and storing balls and necessary or optional equipment for participating in sporting or athletic activities. The bag can include selected interior and exterior enclosures and/or attachments for transporting and storing miscellaneous items, such as a cell phone or water bottle or shoes, whether or not associated with the specific sporting activity. The bag and attachments may be constructed or configured to resemble or function as an article, such as a net, used in the selected athletic activity.



Inventors:
Lampley, Cherrlyn (Akron, OH, US)
Application Number:
11/279314
Publication Date:
10/12/2006
Filing Date:
04/11/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
224/630, 224/647
International Classes:
B65D85/00; A45F3/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ACKUN, JACOB K
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HAHN LOESER & PARKS, LLP (Cleveland, OH, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An athletic bag for conveniently carrying and storing at least one athletic ball, said bag comprising: a bag enclosure having an exterior and an interior, the bag enclosure defining an interior space dimensioned to accommodate the at least one athletic ball, and having at least one opening through which articles are placed into the bag enclosure, the exterior of the bag enclosure being constructed of a materials or articles used in the athletic activity for which the at least one athletic ball is used, and a closure for the at least one opening to selectively close the opening of the bag enclosure.

2. The athletic bag of claim 1, wherein the at least one athletic ball is selected from the group that includes a basketball, football, tennis ball or golf ball.

3. The athletic bag of claim 1, wherein the exterior of the bag enclosure is formed from a basketball net.

4. The athletic bag of claim 3, wherein the bottom of basketball net is selectively closed to form the bag enclosure.

5. The athletic bag of claim 1, wherein the exterior of the bag enclosure is formed from netting as used in a tennis net.

6. The athletic bag of claim 1, further comprising a carrying strap connected to the bag enclosure.

7. The athletic bag of claim 1, further comprising a water bottle holder provided in association with the bag enclosure.

8. The athletic bag of claim 1, further comprising a removable inner lining selectively disposed within the bag enclosure.

9. A multipurpose carrier with a phone pocket configuration to conveniently carry accessories, such as a cell phone, comprising: (a) an open top end for inserting a phone or similarly sized article; (b) a bottom end forming said pocket to provide support; (c) a front surface; (d) a back surface; and (e) first and second side surfaces that attach to said front and back surfaces, wherein the top end is formed to provide the appearance of an athletic-activity jersey, such as those worn by professional basketball or football players, and wherein said carrier is selectively or permanently attached to an athletic bag by a suitable means.

10. A multipurpose carrier with a phone pocket configuration to conveniently carry accessories, such as a cell phone, comprising: (a) a specially designed back surface with selected cut-out portions; (b) a first upper front surface attached to top end of said back surface; (c) a second lower front surface attached to bottom end of back surface, wherein said carrier is configured essentially symmetrically, such that upon closing said carrier has the appearance of an athletic-activity jersey, such as those worn by professional athletes, and wherein said carrier is selectively or permanently attached to an athletic bag by a suitable means.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit of U.S. provisional patent application Ser. No. 60/669,988, filed Apr. 11, 2005, and hereby incorporated by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to an athletic utility bag, particularly designed to carry balls used in a sports activity, and an appearance corresponding to the sporting activity. More particularly, the present invention relates to an athletic utility bag that is designed using materials characterizing the sport activity, and accommodates one or more balls used in the sports activity.

BACKGROUND

Athletes commonly use bags for transporting equipment necessary for participation in a specific sport to and from athletic venue. Often, these bags are designed for general-purpose use and simply consist of a large central compartment for stowing of equipment, and are typically simply a fabric enclosure.

In order to participate in many sports activities, specific balls are required, as well as possibly other equipment. The balls used in the sports activities have certain characteristics, and one or more balls may be required. For example, a single basketball is required for playing the game, whereas tennis, golf and other sports typically use more than one ball to facilitate play. In preparing to play the sport activity, a participant is required to bring the balls necessary for play, as well as possibly other equipment and apparel. Carrying these items to and from the athletic event can be awkward, particularly for large balls such as basketballs, or a plurality of balls used in another sport. Athletic bags have been developed for assisting in carrying sports apparel and other gear, typically being a bag having a size to accommodate the desired apparel and/or equipment, such as a standard gym bag. In other instances, a participant may simply carry the balls necessary for the activity, such as to the local park or playground for example. In pick up basketball games for example, individuals typically play on playgrounds or the like, and are required to furnish their own basketball. Common gym bags are designed to carry standard sports apparel and equipment including uniforms, shoes, and a change of clothes to be worn after the athletic event has finished. These bags are typically too small to accommodate a basketball or other balls used in athletic events. Thus, as the typical gym bag is too small to accommodate a basketball, it is common to find individuals carrying the basketball in one of their hands or lodging the basketball to one side of their body with one of their arms. Particularly for younger participants, carrying the balls used in the sport activity may be cumbersome, especially if the participant uses a bicycle or the like to get to basketball or other court. It would therefore be worthwhile to provide a product for more simply carrying one or more balls used in a sport activity. Other carrying devices include those designed specifically for carrying baseball equipment, including bats, baseballs and helmets for example. A basketball is not designed to fit into these types of bags. Other sports that require a single ball, such as football and soccer, have similar issues associated therewith.

Furthermore, when playing or practicing sports such as tennis or golf, a player will typically desire a plurality of balls. These balls are typically placed in their pockets to facilitate their availability. Carrying such balls in a pocket is uncomfortable and cumbersome and may affect one's swing or stroke while practicing sports such as golf or tennis. It would be desirable to provide a more convenient way to carry a plurality of such balls, and in these instances to provide the ability to strap a ball carrier to the player's body. Such a device would allow the player to conveniently carry the plurality of tennis or golf balls while practicing.

It is also noted that typical gym bags or the like, do not provide an indication of the sport being played. Such bags usually appear generic. It would be desirable to provide a sports bag for carrying one or more balls having an appearance corresponding to the activity, which indicates the type of sporting activity, and which can be used in promotion of the activity. It may also be desirable to provide a sports bag that would be useful to assist in playing the activity. For example, many basketball-court goals, at playgrounds and the like, do not have nets. Therefore, participants are required to bring a net of their own. Many athletes/participants would welcome a sports bag that could be readily used is such situations.

In addition, athletes often carry or store miscellaneous items while playing or practicing a particular game or sport. Thus, carriers with the ability to carry, for example, water bottles, shoes, cell phones, or the like will be a great convenience. Moreover, it would be particularly desirable to provide carriers for such items that integrate with the sports or ball bag used to transport the ball(s) associated with the activity.

SUMMARY

Based upon the foregoing, the present invention is provided to overcome the problems or limitations of the prior art by providing a sports bag specifically designed to carry one or more balls associated with a sporting activity. The bag may have an appearance corresponding to the sporting activity, or may be formed of materials that are or emulate equipment associated with the sporting activity. The invention also provides in embodiments thereof, a promotional tool for communicating information about the sporting activity or equipment used therein, as well as advertisement relating to a particular sports team, company or the like. In another aspect, the bag may comprise equipment associated with the sporting activity. The invention contemplates an apparatus with carriers for other equipment, such as water bottles, cell phones, shoes or the like, that are selectively attachable to the utility bag noted above, and which may emulate certain aspects of the sporting activity. For example, a cell phone holder in a basketball-jersey form. The aforementioned novel features of the present invention are achieved by a multipurpose athletic utility bag as described in more detail below in conjunction with the drawings, and should be interpreted within the broad scope of the further appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an embodiment showing the bag according to an embodiment being used for holding a basketball.

FIG. 2 is an alternative perspective view of an embodiment showing the bag that is used for holding a basketball.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an embodiment showing the bag in a closed position holding a basketball.

FIG. 4 is a view of another embodiment showing an alternative holding strap, a water bottle holder and an alternative bag construction and closure at the top end thereof.

FIG. 4A is a view of the water bottle holder detached from the bag of FIG. 4.

FIG. 5 is a partial view of an alternate embodiment of a water bottle holder integrated into the carrying strap of the bag according to an embodiment.

FIG. 6 is a partial view of a bag according to an embodiment, showing a shoe holder provided therewith.

FIGS. 7A-7C show views of a phone holding system according to an embodiment.

FIGS. 8A and 8B show views of alternate phone holding systems according to an embodiment.

FIG. 9 shows an embodiment of the invention for carrying a plurality of golf balls.

FIG. 10 shows an alternate embodiment of the invention for carrying a plurality of golf balls.

FIG. 11 shows an embodiment of the invention for carrying a plurality of tennis balls.

FIG. 12 shows an embodiment of the invention for carrying a plurality of footballs.

DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring now to FIG. 1, there is illustrated a first embodiment of the present invention showing the bag 10 for carrying a basketball B for example, which allows an individual to easily transport the ball. As shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the bag 10 may have the appearance of a basketball net, or may be such a net in actual construction. Such a configuration forms a generally tapered flexible bag exterior housing 11, and forms an interior compartment by means of a closed bottom portion 14, wherein the bottom portion may be closed by a tie strap 12 or any other suitable closure, such as simply sewing the end closed. The tie strap 12 may be permanently attached or selectively detachable, by any suitable temporary closure mechanism. For example, the tie strap 12 or other closure device may have hook and loop fasteners for selectively tightening around the bottom portion 14 in a closed position. Opposite the closed bottom 14, an open top portion 16 provides an opening for receiving a basketball and/or other equipment. The top portion 16 may comprise a sleeve having a tightening mechanism such as a drawstring 18 for selectively closing the top portion of the bag 16. Other closures for the top portion 16 of the bag 10 are contemplated. These include hook and loop fasteners, zippers, clips or otherwise. The sleeve provided on the top portion 16 may also be selectively removable or configured to allow access to loops of the bag 10 for using bag 10 as an actual basketball hoop, as will be described further. To facilitate carrying articles of a size that may escape through the openings in the netting, an inner closed bag 21 may be provided, as shown in FIG. 3. The interior bag 21 is selectively positioned on the interior of the athletic bag 10. Alternatively, a pocket or pouch may be provided inside bag 10,

In this embodiment, the housing 11 is made of non-rigid netting of the type commonly used for basketball nets. The housing 11 may itself simply be a commercial basketball net adapted into the configuration of the present invention, or made to emulate this appearance. For example, instead of a closure 12 at the bottom end, the housing 11 may be itself closed at the bottom end thereof. The housing 11 may thus be of a similar size, diameter, and length, to typical basketball nets, so a basketball B can easily fit within the interior compartment of the bag 10, as shown in FIG. 3. Further, upon removing the basketball or other contents from the internal compartment of bag 10, the closure strap 12 may be removed to open the bottom portion 14. The top portion 16 may also be removed or repositioned to allow access to loops of the housing 11 at the top portion 16. These loops may be used to hang the housing 11 on a normal basketball rim for use as a hoop. If the housing 11 is formed of an actual hoop, it will automatically be configured to allow for use as a hoop, or suitable structures can be provided on the top portion 16 to allow for such use. In a selected embodiment, loops are provided at the top portion 16 and the top portion is configured to be of comparable diameter to the basketball rim.

To facilitate carrying the sack 10, a variety of straps or the like may be used. For example, a selectively removable shoulder strap 20 may be provided for ease of carrying. The strap 20 may have removable connectors 22, 24, such as hook clamps, at each end for connecting the strap ends to different portions of the housing 11, or it may be permanently attached thereto. The strap 20 may be adjustable in length if desired. One strap connector 22 may connect to the top portion 16 of the housing 11, while the other strap connector 24 can be attached to the strap 12 at the bottom portion 14 or directly to the bottom portion netting. The strap 20, housing 11, upper portion 16 and bottom loops 14, are all made of a non-rigid material for compacting for storage in a small space when the bag is not in use. Other strap configurations are also contemplated for simplified carrying thereof. For example, as shown in FIG. 4, a short strap 26 may be provided for attachment of the bag 10 to a bicycle for example, such as with a small looped strap. In such an embodiment, the looped strap may be used to hook over a bicycle handlebar or the like to facilitate carrying the bag 10 on a bike. Alternatively, the bag 10 may a have a body strap, with a clasp or other connector to allow the strap to be selectively secured around the waist or torso. Any suitable clasp or other connector is contemplated, and it is preferable that such a strap be adjustable for secure tightening around the waist or the like of a user. In general, the attachment device usable in the present invention can be adapted for a particular use, such as being carried by an individual, or for attachment to another object for transport.

As seen in FIG. 3, the bag 10 of this embodiment is adapted for securing a basketball. The top portion of the bag 16 is placed in a closed position by the closure mechanism 18, such as a drawstring. The bottom portion 14 is either permanently or selectively closed, such as by the strap 12, thus securing the basketball B in the bag. When an individual is ready to participate in a basketball game, the drawstring 8 is loosened thereby opening the top portion 16 and retrieving the basketball B from the bag. If the bag 10 is to be used as an actual net, the strap 20 can be removed by detaching the removable connectors 22 and 24 and the strap 20.

The bag 10 may also serve as a promotional tool, such as by a sports team, wherein the bag itself communicates to a person the nature of the underlying sporting activity. By forming the bag 10 to have an appearance of a basketball hoop, people will readily identify with this sport, with the bag 10 creating an affinity to those interested in the sport. For example, a basketball team may use the bag 10 as a promotional tool to draw people to attend games or to promote players on the team, or the team itself. The housing 11 can be configured to communicate promotional information in a variety of ways, such as by the use of graphic material (such as team name or sponsor information) printed or otherwise provided on the netting 11 or other areas of the bag 10. Alternatively, the netting with which housing 11 is made in this embodiment may be differently colored, and it may be symbolic or representative. For example, the netting of the housing 11 may be colored into patterns, such as red, white, and blue, or the team colors of a particular team. Other graphic information may also be provided if desired, such a player numbers, team names and/or logos and the like. The graphic information 26 could allow personalization of the bag 10 in a variety of ways.

The invention also relates to a variety of accessory carriers for use in carrying different objects typically used by athletes in practicing or playing a sporting activity and for convenience for carrying personal items. As seen in FIGS. 4 and 4A, the bag 10 may be provided with a water bottle holder 28, which may comprise a plurality of straps 29 surrounding and supporting the bottom of a water bottle placed therein. The straps 29 may be stretchable to accommodate different sized water bottles or may be configured to be tightened around a bottle as desired. The straps 29 may be attached via loops 29a to the bag 10, such as by strings 27 or the like attached thereto. The holder 28 may be permanently or removably attached to the bag 10. As also shown in FIG. 4, the bag 10 may have a plurality of supporting loops 30 attached to the top end 16 of bag 10, to support loops of the netting material forming housing 11. Turning to FIG. 5, a water bottle holder 28 may alternatively simply be formed as a flexible strap 31, attached to strap 20 or otherwise, which can frictionally engage the outside of a bottle or the like so as to be carried therewith. Other suitable configurations to hold or bottle or the like in this fashion would be apparent, and are contemplated by the invention.

Turning to FIG. 6, the bag 10 may be provided with a shoe carrier 32, which may be attached to the bag 10 or used independently. The shoe holder 32 may simply be a length of cord or string, selectively attached to the bag 10, to which shoes may be selectively secured for carrying via two loops formed in each end by a slip knot 33. The slip knot allows the size of the loop to be increased to position a shoe therein, and then tightened around the shoe for support thereof. The holder 32 may be simply placed over the shoulder for carrying or attached to bag 10 in any desired manner.

As shown in FIGS. 7A-7C and 8A-8B, there may also be provided a cell phone holder 35 for storage and transport of a user's phone in conjunction with bag 10. In FIGS. 7A-7C, a holder 35 is formed in the shape of a basketball jersey, corresponding to the type of sport associated with, for example, the embodiments of FIGS. 1-6. The holder 35 therefore has a pocket type of configuration, with an open top end 36 through which a phone may be inserted for storage. The top end may be formed with two straps 37, which may have the appearance of the straps of a basketball jersey. The bottom end 38 is closed, forming the pocket for support of the phone therein. Any graphic information may be provided on the front, back or side surfaces 39, such as to emulate the jersey of a particular team or the like. If desired, the straps 37 may be configured to be selectively opened for insertion of a phone therein, and subsequently tightened around the phone once it is placed in the holder 36. As an example, hook and loop attachments 40 may be used with each strap 37 for this purpose, but any suitable configuration is contemplated. For example, the material from which holder 35 is constructed may be flexible/stretchable to allow different sized phones to be accommodated and held in position as desired. The holder 35 may be selectively attached to the bag 10 by any suitable means to be carried therewith, or may be permanently attached if desired. For example, a clip 42 or any other suitable device may be used to selectively attach holder 35 to bag 10 at any desired location. An alternate embodiment is shown in FIG. 8A, for use with a flip type phone in common use. The holder 35 is shown covering the back surfaces of the phone, and has top and bottom pocket portions which cover and are secured to the top and bottom portions of the flip type phone, while still allowing it to be opened and used in the normal fashion. Each portion of the holder 35 of this embodiment has the appearance of a basketball jersey, and forms a pocket into which the top or bottom portion of the phone is positioned and retained. Upon closing the phone to the storage position, the holder 35 will have the appearance of a jersey, similar to the embodiment of FIG. 7. As seen in FIG. 8B, the phone holder 35 may also be integrated into the strap 20 associated with bag 10. The holder 35 in this embodiment may simply be provided as a pocket 44 formed in association with the strap 20, with a cover 46 extending over the top of pocket 44 to selectively close the open top end thereof. A suitable closure for cover 46, such as Velcro may be provided to secure the phone in the holder 35 as desired.

Turning to FIGS. 9 and 10, various embodiments of the invention relating to a bag for carrying a plurality of golf balls are shown. In FIG. 9, the bag 60 generally comprises a flexible, collapsible, fabric housing 62 having a volume to accept a plurality of golf balls. Although shown as a netting type of fabric, it is also contemplated that the housing 62 could be formed from a material and configuration to resemble a golf club head cover, with the open end adapted to receive the plurality of balls. Similar to prior embodiments, the appearance of the bag 60 would then emulate this equipment used in the game of golf. Other equipment could also be emulated, such as constructing the bag 60 to have the appearance of a large golf tee or the like. The bag 60 in this embodiment is also configured to be easily carried and used in playing or practicing the game of golf, wherein the bag 60 is capable of attachment around a user's waist and/or thigh. An adjustable belt 64 is configured to be secured around the waist for example, and may have a clasp or other suitable connector 66 associated therewith. The connector 66 shown in this embodiment may be a hook and loop fastener as merely an example. The belt 66 may be adjustable to facilitate tightening around any user. To further facilitate carrying the bag 60 while playing or practicing golf, it is desirable to avoid excessive movement of the bag relative to the user's body. A thigh strap 68 may therefore be provided at the opposing end of the bag 60 from the waist belt 64, to allow the bottom thereof to be secured to the thigh of the user. The strap 68 may be sized to be secured around the leg, and a hook and loop fastener 69 or other suitable fastener may be used. The strap 68 may also be adjustable. An opening is provided at the top of the bag 60, which may be secured in a closed position by a hook and loop fastener 65 or other suitable closure, such as snaps or buttons for example.

In use, the strap fastener system comprising adjustable belt 64 is positioned around one's waist, and the strap 68 is secured around the leg, such that the bag 60 is positioned adjacent the leg of the user below the hip. In this position, the balls contained with in bag 60 are easily accessible, and opening and closing of the bag 60 is easy. To further facilitate use for playing or practicing golf, the bag 60 may also have holders for other golf equipment, such as tee holders 63 for holding a plurality of golf tees 67. As shown in FIG. 10, the holders 63 may also be provided in association with the belt 64 if desired.

Turning to FIG. 1, a further embodiment of the invention relating to a bag for carrying a plurality of tennis balls are shown. In FIG. 11, the bag 70 may comprise a flexible, collapsible, fabric housing 72 having a volume to accept a plurality of tennis balls. Although shown as a netting type of fabric, it is also contemplated that the housing 72 could be formed from a material and configuration to resemble a tennis ball can, or with a shape emulating a tennis racquet. Similar to prior embodiments, the appearance of the bag 70 would then emulate this equipment used in the game of golf. The bag 70 in this embodiment is also configured to be easily carried and used in playing or practicing the game of tennis, wherein the bag 70 may again be capable of attachment around a user's waist and/or thigh. An adjustable belt 74 is configured to be secured around the waist for example, and may have a clasp or other suitable connector 76 associated therewith. The connector shown in this embodiment is a hook and loop fastener and is merely an example. The belt 76 may be adjustable to facilitate tightening around any user. To further facilitate carrying the bag 70 while playing or practicing tennis, it is again desirable to avoid excessive movement of the bag relative to the user's body. A thigh strap 78 may therefore be provided at the opposing end of the bag 70 from the waist belt 74, to allow the bottom thereof to be secured to the thigh of the user. The strap 78 may be sized to be secured around the leg, and a hook and loop fastener 79 or other suitable fastener may be used. The strap 78 could also be adjustable. An opening is provided at the top of the bag 70, which may be secured in a closed position by a hook and loop fastener 75 or other suitable closure, such as snaps or buttons. The bag 70 is used in a manner similar to the embodiments of FIGS. 9 and 10 previously described.

In each of the embodiments of the instant invention as described, the ball bag may include extra pockets in the housing or in association with the straps, for storing other items, such as money, keys or the like. Each of these embodiments may also include indicia on the outside surfaces for displaying any desired graphic or other information, such as a company logo, team logo, phrase or other marking.

Turning to FIG. 12, an embodiment for carrying footballs is shown, wherein the bag 80 may comprise one or more flexible, collapsible, fabric housings 82 having a configuration to accept a plurality of footballs 81, and/or possibly other equipment such as a kicking tee. The configuration of carrier 82 may include a plurality of pockets 84, each configured to accept a football therein. The pockets 84 could be formed with or from a material and configuration to resiliently retain the footballs in the pockets 84, and pockets 84 may be shaped similarly to a football for snug fit therein. Elastic may be provided about the opening 86 to facilitate retention of the football within the pocket 84. The pockets 84 may also be insulated or covered to provide a warming or drying of the football therein. The pockets 84 may be integrally formed in carrier 82 or independent of one another, and separately attached to a belt 88 for wearing or transport. Alternatively, openings 86 could be formed in a single bag housing. The pocket configuration forms a housing 82 having a shape emulating a football to be associated therewith, in a manner similar to previously described embodiments. The carrier 80 in this embodiment is also configured to be easily carried and used in practicing the game of football, such as by providing a plurality of balls for use in running multiple plays quickly, or allowing repeated passes to be made without having to retrieve the thrown ball. The carrier 80 may also have a pocket or retainer 88 for carrying talc or other powder used in drying the hands of the player. A towel holding area 90 for selectively retaining a towel 92 may also be provided. A strap 94 may be provided for attachment around a user's waist, and may be adjustable to be secured around the user, and may have a clasp or other suitable connector 96 associated therewith. The connector 96 may be of any suitable type.

The foregoing description of embodiments of the present invention has been provided for the purposes of illustration and description. It is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise forms disclosed. Obviously, many modifications and variations will be apparent to practitioners skilled in the art. The embodiments were chosen and described in order to best explain the principles of the invention and its practical applications, thereby enabling others skilled in the art to understand the invention for various embodiments and with the various modifications as are suited to the particular use contemplated. It is intended that the scope of the invention be defined by the following claims and their equivalents.