Title:
Reconfigurable plush toys
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A plush toy includes a pliable, stuffed body portion and a plurality of appendage couplers. The body portion corresponds to a particular type of animal. The plush toy further includes a set of appendages that correspond to the same or a different type of animal as the body portion. The appendage couplers are configured to mate with the appendages to allow the user to create a new, imaginary animal.



Inventors:
Rothmiller, Michael (Huntington Beach, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/237993
Publication Date:
03/29/2007
Filing Date:
09/27/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
446/321, 446/97
International Classes:
A63H3/02; A63H3/16
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NGUYEN, KIEN T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KOESTNER PATENT LAW (Irvine, CA, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. A plush toy comprising: a pliable, stuffed body portion including a plurality of appendage couplers, wherein the body portion corresponds to a particular type of animal; and a set of appendages that correspond to the same or a different type of animal as the body portion, and the appendage couplers are configured to mate with the appendages.

2. The plush toy of claim 1, wherein at least a portion of the appendages are pliable.

3. The plush toy of claim 1, wherein the appendage couplers are configured to mate with a plurality of different types of appendages.

4. The plush toy of claim 1, wherein the appendages include at least one set of legs.

5. The plush toy of claim 1, wherein the appendages include at least one set of arms.

6. The plush toy of claim 1, wherein the appendages include a tail.

7. The plush toy of claim 1, wherein the appendages include a nose.

8. The plush toy of claim 1 wherein the appendages include a set of ears.

9. The plush toy of claim 1 wherein the appendages include a head.

10. The plush toy of claim 1 wherein at least one of the appendage couplers include a magnet.

11. The plush toy of claim 1, wherein at least one of the appendage couplers includes at least one of the group consisting of: a zipper, a button or buttonhole, VELCRO, a hook or an eye, a ball or a socket, a snap, a spring, and an adhesive surface.

12. The plush toy of claim 1 wherein the body portion is separable into at least two parts, and configured to mate with another type of body.

13. Articles of manufacture comprising: a first plush toy separable into at least two parts; and a second plush toy separable into at least two parts, wherein at least one of the parts from the first plush toy is configured to mate with the second plush toy, and at least one of the parts from the second plush toy is configured to mate with the first plush toy.

14. The articles of manufacture of claim 13, further comprising: a plurality of plush toys separable into at least two parts, wherein at least one of the parts from one of the plush toys is configured to be attachable to and removable from one of the other plush toys.

15. The articles of manufacture of claim 13, wherein the at least two parts of the plush toys are rejoinable to one another.

16. The articles of manufacture of claim 13, wherein the at least two parts of the plush toys are attachable to the same and different locations on one another.

17. The articles of manufacture of claim 13, wherein the parts of the first and second plush toys are stuffed with pliable material.

18. The articles of manufacture of claim 13, wherein at least one of the body parts is selected from the group consisting of: a leg, an arm, a tail, a nose, an ear, a head, an abdomen, a chest, a mouth, a tooth, a neck, a rear end, a back, a lower torso portion, an upper torso portion, a middle torso portion, a fin, a wing, a hand, a foot, a paw, eyeglasses, a beak, hair, fur, a trunk, and a hump.

19. The articles of manufacture of claim 13 wherein at least one of the body parts is attachable to and removable from another of the body parts using at least one of the group consisting of: a zipper, a button or buttonhole, a hook or an eye, a ball or a socket, a snap, an adhesive surface, and VELCRO.

20. The articles of manufacture of claim 13 further comprising a story guide configured to guide the user through a series of questions regarding a composite article that includes a mixture of the body parts from the first and second plush toys.

21. The articles of manufacture of claim 13 further comprising a media component configured to provide information regarding at least one of the first and second plush toys.

Description:

BACKGROUND

Stuffed animal toys, also referred to as “plush” toys, are generally fabricated with one or more pieces of outer material permanently joined together to form a shell. The outer material(s) can be fuzzy or smooth, and made from man-made or natural products. The shell is then filled with one or more various types of pliable material, such as fiberfill, cotton batting, plastic pellets, rice, beans, or other suitable stuffing to allow the shell to hold the shape of a particular animal. Bendable wires or tabs can be included in one or more sections of the toy to allow the user to position the toy in various poses.

An important aspect of a toy is the ability to help stimulate a child's imagination and creativity. One goal is to develop toys that stimulate thought and creativity by providing toys and tools that let users engage in activities to design, create and invent new things with the materials and media around them.

SUMMARY

In some embodiments, a plush toy includes a pliable, stuffed body portion and a plurality of appendage couplers. The body portion corresponds to a particular type of animal. The plush toy further includes a set of appendages that correspond to the same or a different type of animal as the body portion. The appendage couplers are configured to mate with the appendages to allow the user to create a new, imaginary animal.

In other embodiments, an article of manufacture includes a first and a second plush toy separable into at least two parts. At least one of the parts from the first plush toy is configured to mate with the second plush toy, and at least one of the parts from the second plush toy is configured to mate with the first plush toy.

In further aspects, the parts of the plush toys are rejoinable to one another, and are attachable to the same and different locations on one another. The parts of the first and second plush toys are typically stuffed with pliable material, and can be selected from a leg, an arm, a tail, a nose, an ear, a head, an abdomen, a chest, a mouth, a tooth, a neck, a rear end, a back, a lower torso portion, an upper torso portion, a middle torso portion, a fin, a wing, a hand, a foot, a paw, eyeglasses, a beak, hair, fur, a trunk, and a hump, among others. The body parts are attachable to and removable from another of the body parts using a zipper, a button or buttonhole, a hook or an eye, a ball or a socket, a snap, a magnet, an adhesive surface, and VELCRO, among others. A story guide can be included that is designed to guide the user through a series of questions regarding a composite imaginary animal that includes a mixture of the body parts from the first and second plush toys.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIGS. 1A-1C show illustrations embodiments of reconfigurable plush toys, including a bear, a tiger, and an elephant; and

FIG. 2 shows an embodiment of a reconfigured plush toy based on the bear and the elephant shown in FIGS. 1A and 1C; and

FIG. 3 shows another embodiment of a reconfigured plush toy based on the bear and the tiger shown in FIGS. 1A and 1B.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The following description is provided to enable any person skilled in the art to make and use various embodiments of the invention, and sets forth the best modes contemplated by the inventor of carrying out the various embodiments disclosed.

Referring to FIGS. 1A-1C, embodiments of plush toys are shown including a bear plush toy 102, a tiger plush toy 104, and an elephant plush toy 106. Plush toys 102-106 include a respective pliable, stuffed body portion 108-112, and one or more appendages 114-118 that can be removed from and re-attached to the same body portion 108-112, or the body portion 108-112 of a different animal. Plush toys 102-106 thus enable a user to create new plush toys using different combinations of parts from available plush toys.

Any desired type, color, and/or print can be used for the fabric. The body portions 108-112 and appendages 114-118 of plush toys 102-106 are typically made with printed or solid fabrics that mimic the appearance of the respective animal, such as solid, striped, and/or spotted fabrics in various colors. For example, the body portion 108 and appendages 114 of the bear 102 can be fabricated using a combination of solid brown and off-white fuzzy fabric. The body portion 110 and appendages 116 of the tiger 104 can be made from orange and brown striped fabric in combination with solid white or cream colored fabric. The elephant 106 can be made using gray and white fabrics. Leather and/or plastic can also be used for various components, for example, for the nose and pads on the paws, as well as for some or all of the body portion 108-112 and the appendages 114-118.

Body portions 108-112 can correspond to any desired type of animal, including a mammal, insect, reptile, bird, fish; and other members of the animal kingdom. One or more appendage couplers 120 are included on the body portions 108-112 and/or the appendages 114-118 to enable the appendages 114-118 to be attached to/removed from the body portions 108-112.

The appendage couplers 120 on the body portions 108-112 are configured to mate with the appendages 114-118. Appendage couplers 120 can be any suitable device or combination of devices for coupling, or attaching and removing, the appendages 114-118 to the body portion 108-112, such as a zipper, a button/buttonhole, a hook and eye, a magnet, a spring, a ball and socket, a snap, and/or an adhesive surface. For example, the appendage coupler 120 on the body portion 108 can include a magnet, while the appendages 114-118 can include a piece of metal of another magnet of opposite polarity that is attracted to and held in position by the magnet in the body portion 102, or vice versa. The strength and size of the magnet or other coupler 120 is such that the appendages 114-118 are retained on the body portions 108-112 until force or other motion(s) capable of being exerted by the user is applied to separate the appendage 114-118 from the body portion 108-112. The magnet (not shown) and other suitable couplers 120 can be sewn, glued, or otherwise fastened or implemented in the inside or on the outside of the body portion 108 and/or the appendages 114-118.

The appendages 114-118 coupled to the body portions 108-112 can correspond to the same or a different type of animal. Further, the appendage couplers 120 are configured to mate with a plurality of different types of appendages 114-118. For example, arms can be interchanged with legs, hands can be interchanged with feet, noses can be interchanged with ears, etc. FIG. 2 shows an example of the bear plush toy 102 with ears 202 and legs 204 from the elephant plush toy 106.

The body portions 108-112 and the appendages 114-118 are typically constructed from pliable materials, but a portion or all of the body portions 108-112 and/or appendages 114-118 may also be rigid. Bendable material can also be included that allows the appendages 114-118 to retain their position in a particular pose. The appendages 114-118 can include any suitable body part, other animal or portion of animal, and/or implement, such as a leg, an arm, a tail, a nose, an ear, a head, an abdomen, a chest, a mouth, a tooth, a neck, a rear end, a back, a lower torso portion, an upper torso portion, a middle torso portion, a fin, a wing, a hand, a foot, a paw, eyeglasses, a beak, hair, fur, a trunk, a head, a face, a hat, a ball, a tool, a hump and a baby animal, among others.

In some embodiments, two or more plush toys are separable into at least two parts. For example, the body portions 108-112 can be separable into at least two parts, and configured to mate with the same or another type of body portion 108-112 from the same or a different animal. FIG. 3 shows an embodiment of a plush toy 300 that combines the upper torso, head, and arms of the bear plush toy 102 with the upper torso, head, and arms of the tiger plush toy 104. Note that the body portions 108-112 and appendages 114-118 can be configured to separate vertically, horizontally, and across any desired portion of the plush toys 102-106. For example, two llama plush toys can be configured to be separated through the middle of the backs so that the two front torso, leg, and head portions can be joined facing opposite directions, similar to the PUSHMI-PULLYUS in “The Story of Dr. Dolittle” by Hugh Lofting.

Additionally, the appendages 114-118 of animals from different phyla, classes, groups, species, etc. can be mixed and matched. Parts from insects can be combined with parts from birds; parts from mammals can be combined with parts from reptiles, etc. While parts from different animals can be combined to create a make-believe animal, the parts may be rejoined to form the original plush toy 102-106.

In further embodiments, a story guide, such as a book, a card, or other type of media (including audio-visual and computer-readable media) can be provided with the plush toys 102-106. The story guide can include a series of questions and suggestions designed to engage the user's imagination and creativity regarding a plush toy that includes a mixture of the appendages 114-118 from two or more plush toys 102-106. The story guide can include any suitable information that facilitates use of the plush toys 102-106 such as a picture of the plush toy(s) 102-106, a picture of the corresponding animal in real life, a description of the animal's appendages 114-118, and information regarding the animals native habitat, diet, survival habits, etc. For example, the story guide can list the following questions:

What is its name?

Where does it live?

Who are its friends?

What does it eat?

What makes it laugh?

What makes it cry?

How fast can it run?

How high can it jump?

What games does it play?

What songs does it like?

What are its favorite colors?

Is it friendly?

Does it like to swim?

What sounds does it make?

Tell me a story it likes.

How would you play with them?

If he visited you, where would you take him?

Where does it sleep?

What kind of house does it live in?

What type of clothes does it like?

Does it like hats?

What makes it afraid?

What does it like to read?

How old is it?

Does it like the forest?

Does it like the ocean?

Does it like the desert?

What animals does it lie to play with?

Does it watch television?

Does it like to play outside?

Does it like to run and jump?

Does it wear glasses?

Does it visit the doctor?

When it's sick, does it take medicine?

Who are its parents?

What are its parent's names?

Does it have brothers or sisters?

What are its brother's and sister's names?

Does it have a grandmother and grandfather?

The story guide can further include songs, movies, television program segments, narrated stories, and other information related to the plush toys 102-106 and other aspects of a particular animal or members of the animal kingdom.

Those skilled in the art will appreciate that various adoptions and modifications of embodiments of the invention as described above can be configured without departing from the scope of the claims. Therefore, it is to be understood that within the scope of the appended claims, the invention may be practiced other than as specifically described herein.