Title:
Foosball figurine
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention is generally directed to a figurine for use in a game apparatus, wherein the figurine is capable of being customized to a particular arrangement. In one aspect, a foosball figurine for use with a foosball game is provided. The foosball figurine includes a body portion and a head portion connected to the body portion. The foosball figurine further includes a foot portion connected to the body portion by a releasable member, wherein the foot portion has a profile shape. In another aspect, a figurine for use with a game apparatus is provided. In yet another aspect, a method of using a foosball figurine in a foosball game is provided.



Inventors:
Simon, Steven Mark (Austin, TX, US)
Application Number:
11/202871
Publication Date:
02/15/2007
Filing Date:
08/12/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B67/14
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PASSANITI, SEBASTIANO
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Jeffrey M. Hersh, Attorney at Law (Austin, TX, US)
Claims:
1. A foosball figurine for use with a foosball game comprising: a body portion; a head portion connected to the body portion; and a foot portion connected to the body portion by a releasable member, wherein the foot portion has a profile shape.

2. The foosball figurine of claim 1, wherein the foot portion includes at least one profiled elongated member that mates with a corresponding recess formed in the body portion.

3. The foosball figurine of claim 2, wherein the foot portion includes at least one guide that mates with a corresponding profile formed in the body portion.

4. The foosball figurine of claim 1, wherein the head portion has a predetermined weight to counterbalance a weight of the foot portion to form a weight balanced figurine.

5. The foosball figurine of claim 1, wherein the head portion has a predetermined weight that is less then a weight of the foot portion to form a foot heavy figurine.

6. The foosball figurine of claim 1, wherein the head portion is connected to the body by a releasable member.

7. The foosball figurine of claim 6, wherein the head portion includes at least one profiled elongated member that mates with a corresponding recess formed in the body portion.

8. The foosball figurine of claim 1, wherein the releasable member is a quick disconnect.

9. The foosball figurine of claim 1, wherein the profile shape has at least one flat surface.

10. A figurine for use with a game apparatus comprising: a first member; a second member connected to an end of the first member by a first releasable member; and a third member connected to another end of the first member by a second releasable member, wherein the second member and the third member are configured to provide at least one definable characteristic of the figurine.

11. The figurine of claim 10, wherein the third member is heavier than the second member to provide an off-balanced foosball figurine.

12. The figurine of claim 10, wherein the second member is weighted to counter-balance the second member to provided a balanced foosball figurine.

13. The figurine of claim 10, wherein the third member is removable from the first member and replacable.

14. The figurine of claim 10, wherein the third member has a profile shaped that includes at least one flat surface.

15. The figurine of claim 10, wherein the third member includes at least one profiled elongated member that mates with a corresponding recess formed in the first member.

16. A method of using a foosball figurine in a foosball game, the method comprising: providing the foosball figurine, wherein the foosball figurine includes a body portion, a first head portion and a releasable first foot portion; utilizing the foosball figurine in the foosball game; releasing the first foot portion from the body portion; and attaching a second foot portion to the body portion.

17. The method of claim 16, wherein the first head portion is attached to the body portion by a releasable connection.

18. The method of claim 17, further including releasing the first head portion from the body portion and replacing with a second head portion.

19. The method of claim 16, wherein the foot portion and the first head portion define specific playing characteristics of the foosball figurine.

20. The method of claim 16, further including mating an elongated profile on a second foot portion with a corresponding recess formed in the body portion.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

Embodiments of the present invention generally relate to a game device. More particularly, embodiments of the present invention pertain to a playing figurine for use with a foosball game apparatus.

2. Description of the Related Art

There are many types of game devices that are used as miniaturized versions of various athletic games. For instance, U.S. Pat. No. 3,926,432 which issued on Dec. 16, 1975, to R. Furr discloses a miniature table game of soccer (foosball game). The table soccer game has a miniature soccer playing field where a plurality of foosball figurines (soccer player figurines) are moved into playing positions in respective zones. The figurines are mounted on a plurality of rods that are axially slidable and rotatable. Each foosball figurine includes a foot configured to move a ball on the miniature soccer playing field. Other soccer related examples are disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,046,378; 4,025,073; 4,382,598; 5,058,892; 5,071,137; 5,072,880; 5,333,864; 5,419,555; 5,496,031; and 5,641,163.

Generally, the ball is moved up and down the soccer playing field by controlling the plurality of foosball figurines. For instance, one foosball figurine may pass the ball to another foosball figurine to place the ball in line with the opponent's goal. This is typically accomplished by one foosball figurine's foot hitting the ball and then another foosball figurine's foot catching the ball in order to control the movement of the ball on the foosball playing field. Thereafter, the ball may be moved further on the foosball playing field by manipulating the plurality of foosball figurines.

There are a number of companies that manufacture foosball games (table soccer). Each company has their own design for their particular foosball game. For instance, one company may use a foosball figurine with a round foot, while another company may use a foosball figurine with a square foot. In other words, there is no standard foosball table game design that each company must follow.

Due to the lack of a standard foosball table design, a foosball player may be skilled in manipulating a foosball game manufactured by a first company while unable to transfer the same skill set to manipulate a foosball game manufactured by a second company. For instance, the foosball player may become skilled in manipulating the foosball game manufactured by the first company because the foosball player has become accustomed to a foosball figurine having a foot configured in a particular way while the same foosball player would have to develop a new skill set when the foosball player uses a foosball game manufactured by the second company that has a foosball figurine with a different configuration. This situation is particularly problematic in a foosball competition where a foosball player may be skilled in manipulating one company's foosball game yet required to compete on another company's foosball game that has a different configuration. This arrangement may provide an unfair advantage to one foosball player over another foosball player.

Therefore, there is a need for a foosball figurine that is capable of being customized with specific playing characteristics regardless of the company that manufactures the foosball game.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is generally directed to a figurine for use in a game apparatus, wherein the figurine is capable of being customized to a particular arrangement. In one aspect, a foosball figurine for use with a foosball game is provided. The foosball figurine includes a body portion and a head portion connected to the body portion. The foosball figurine further includes a foot portion connected to the body portion by a releasable member, wherein the foot portion has a profile shape.

In another aspect, a figurine for use with a game apparatus is provided. The figurine includes a first member and a second member connected to an end of the first member by a releasable member. The figurine further includes a third member connected to another end of the first member by a second releasable member, wherein the second member and the third member are configured to provide at least one definable characteristic of the figurine.

In yet another aspect, a method of using a foosball figurine in a foosball game is provided. The method includes providing the foosball figurine, wherein the foosball figurine includes a body portion, a head portion and a releasable foot portion. The method also includes utilizing the foosball figurine in the foosball game. The method further includes releasing the foot portion from the body portion and attaching a second foot portion to the body portion.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

So that the manner in which the above recited features of the present invention can be understood in detail, a more particular description of the invention, briefly summarized above, may be had by reference to embodiments, some of which are illustrated in the appended drawings. It is to be noted, however, that the appended drawings illustrate only typical embodiments of this invention and are therefore not to be considered limiting of its scope, for the invention may admit to other equally effective embodiments.

FIG. 1 is a view illustrating a foosball figurine in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a view illustrating the foosball figurine with a releasable foot disconnected from a body of the foosball figurine.

FIG. 3 is a view illustrating a foosball figurine with a releasable foot and a releasable head disconnected from the body of the foosball figurine.

FIG. 4 illustrates an embodiment of a releasable foot for use with a foosball figurine.

FIG. 5 illustrates another embodiment of a releasable foot for use with a foosball figurine.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The present invention is generally directed to a figurine for use in a game apparatus, wherein the figurine is capable of being customized to a particular arrangement. Various terms as used herein are defined below. To the extent a term used in a claim is not defined below, it should be given the broadest definition persons in the pertinent art have given that term, as reflected in printed publications and issued patents. In the description that follows, like parts are marked throughout the specification and drawings with the same reference numerals. The drawings may be, but are not necessarily, to scale and the proportions of certain parts have been exaggerated to better illustrate details and features described below. One of normal skill in the art of game devices will appreciate that the various embodiments of the invention can and may be used in all types of foosball (table soccer) games.

For ease of explanation, the invention will be described generally in relation to a foosball game. It is to be understood, however, that the invention may be employed in any number of table games without departing from principles of the present invention.

FIG. 1 is a view illustrating a foosball figurine 100 in accordance with the present invention. The figurine 100 generally includes three main portions: a head 110, a body 105, and a foot 125. In various embodiments described herein, the foot 125 and/or the head 110 are configured to be releasable from the body 105 to customize the playing characteristics of the foosball figurine 100 on a foosball game playing field (not shown). Typically, the body 105 is secured to a rod (not shown) by a connection member 115.

The foot 125 is an important part of the foosball figurine 100 because it is used to position and move a ball (not shown) on the foosball playing field. Typically, the foot 125 has a rounded and/or flat surface to facilitate the movement of the ball on the playing field. The foot 125 may also be configured to pass the ball from one foosball figurine to another foosball figurine as the ball is moved on the playing field. In some instances, the foot 125 may have a sloped angle profile or a rounded profile in order to manipulate or control the movement of the ball in a specific manner.

FIG. 2 is a view illustrating the foosball figurine 100 with a releasable foot 125 disconnected from the body 105. The capability of releasing and replacing the foot 125 on the figurine 100 allows a single figurine to be reconfigured in any number of configurations. For instance, the figurine 100 may have a foot with the profile shown in FIG. 2 or a profile shown in FIGS. 3, 4, and 5 in order to control the ball in a certain manner. In addition to the profile, the weight of the foot 125 may be controlled in order to manipulate the ball in a certain manner. Each different foot 125 configuration changes the characteristics of the figurine 100.

Referring back to FIG. 2, the foot 125 includes a stem 145 for use in connecting the foot 125 to the body 105. The stem 145 is generally a profiled elongated member that mates with a recess 155 formed in the body 105. Although the foot 125 in FIG. 2 shows one stem 145 attached thereto, any number of stems may be employed without departing from principles of the present invention.

The foot 125 also optionally includes a plurality of guides 120 which are used to center the foot 125 on the body 105. Each guide 120 mates with a corresponding profile 130 formed in the body 105. The foot 125 further includes a connection member 135 for use in securing the foot to the body 105. The connection member 135 is typically a releasable member capable of facilitating a quick connection and a subsequent removal of the foot 125 from the body 105, such as a screw, a quick disconnect, a clasp, or any type of releasable connection member known in the art.

In another embodiment, the foot may be rotated to change the profile of the foot on the body, thereby changing the playing characteristics of the figurine. For example, a foot having a flat surface on the front side and a rounded surface on the back side may be rotated such that the rounded surface is on the front side and the flat surface is on the back side, thus changing the playing characteristic of the figurine. In this embodiment, the foot does not necessarily have to be a releasable foot as described above. Rather, the foot could be fixed to the body with the capability of rotating relative to the body.

FIG. 3 is a view illustrating a foosball figurine 200 with a releasable foot 225 and a releasable head 210 disconnected from the body 105. For convenience, the components in the figurine 200 that are similar to the components in the figurine 100 will be labeled with the same number indicator.

The capability of releasing and replacing the foot 225 and the head 210 allows the figurine 200 to have defined characteristics that can be replicated for any foosball table design. In other words, the figurine 200 may be customized with specific playing characteristics that may be used with any foosball table. For instance, the foot 225 on the figurine 200 may have a profile as shown in FIG. 3 in order to control the ball in a certain manner and the head 210 may have a predetermined weight, thereby defining specific playing characteristics of the figurine 200. In one embodiment, the weight of the head 210 may be used to counterbalance the weight of the foot 225, thereby creating a weight balanced figurine 200. In another embodiment, the weight of the head 210 may be less then the weight of the foot, thereby creating a foot-heavy (out of balance) figurine 200. In a similar manner as previously discussed, either the weight of the head 210 and/or the profile of the foot 225 may be changed to customize the playing characteristics of the figurine 200. Therefore, the capability of having a releasable and a replaceable foot and head allows the figurine 200 to be configured with specific characteristics that may be used on any foosball table.

As shown in FIG. 3, the head 210 includes a stem 220 for use in connecting the head 210 to the body 105. The stem 220 is generally a profiled elongated member that mates with a recess 215 formed in the body 105. Although the head in FIG. 3 shows one stem 220 attached thereto, any number of stems may be employed without departing from principles of the present invention. The head 210 further includes a connection member 205 for use in securing the head 210 to the body 105. The connection member 205 is typically a releasable member capable of facilitating a quick connection and a subsequent removal of the head 210 from the body 105, such as a screw, a quick disconnect, a clasp, or any type of releasable connection member known in the art.

FIG. 4 illustrates an embodiment of a releasable foot 250 for use with a foosball figurine. As shown, the releasable foot 250 includes a first surface 255 that is angled relative to the vertical, a second surface 260 that is parallel to the vertical, and a pointed surface 265. Each surface 255, 260, and 265 allows the foot 250 to manipulate the ball in a particular manner.

FIG. 5 illustrates another embodiment of a releasable foot 275 for use with a foosball figurine. As shown, the releasable foot 275 includes a first surface 280 that is angled relative to the vertical, a second surface 290 that is parallel to the vertical, and a rounded surface 285. Each surface 280, 285, and 290 allows the foot 275 to manipulate the ball in a particular manner. FIGS. 4 and 5 illustrate different configurations of a releasable foot 250, 275. It should be understood, however, that the releasable foot may be configured in any manner, without departing from principles of the present invention.

While the foregoing is directed to embodiments of the present invention, other and further embodiments of the invention may be devised without departing from the basic scope thereof, and the scope thereof is determined by the claims that follow.