Title:
Ornamental rivet apparatus especially for clothing or shoes
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A decorative fastener for use upon an item to be worn by the user; the item to be worn may be a shoe, an item of clothing (including shirts, hats and caps, or the like), or even a pet collar. The fastener features two parts that may be connected together on opposite sides of the item to be worn, with the item situated between the bottom part and the top part. The fastener also includes an ornament portion attachable temporarily to one side of the top part, there being decoration of any desired type or appearance on the ornament portion. Assortments of different ornament portions are interchangeable for temporary attachment to the top part. A variety of decorations accordingly may selectively be used in combination with the shoe or other item.



Inventors:
Wilcox, Rob (Broomfield, CO, US)
Lockwood, Scott (Boulder, CO, US)
Application Number:
11/373887
Publication Date:
04/19/2007
Filing Date:
03/10/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
24/662
International Classes:
A45F5/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20020026690Carpet securement strip and method of use thereofMarch, 2002Moore et al.
20090083947Elastic cord with adjustable loopApril, 2009Kubli
20090094811FRONT RELEASE BUCKLEApril, 2009Young
20020129471Wire lockSeptember, 2002Wang
20040040122Binder clip with enforcing ribsMarch, 2004Huang
20090114784FUEL TANK MOUNTING ARRANGEMENT AND METHOD OF MOUNTING A FUEL TANKMay, 2009Tam
20090199372Peg board display fastener and connectorAugust, 2009Anderson
20020153400Carrying case for a personal assistant deviceOctober, 2002Chase et al.
20080141499Hook forming methodJune, 2008Chung
20080250618Shoe with Directional Conditioning Device for Laces or the LikeOctober, 2008Stramare et al.
20100064489LOAD SECURING RATCHET WITH ANCHOR ATTACHMENT SYSTEMMarch, 2010Hanson



Primary Examiner:
BRITTAIN, JAMES R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LAW OFFICE OF ROD D. BAKER (Cedar Crest, NM, US)
Claims:
1. A decorative fastener apparatus comprising: a top portion; a bottom portion securely engageable to a first side of said top portion; and an ornament portion removably engageable to a second side of said top portion, there being a decoration upon said ornament portion.

2. An apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said bottom portion is screwably engageable with said top portion.

3. An apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said ornament portion is screwably engageable with said top portion.

4. An apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said top portion comprises: an intermediate body having a central aperture therein; and an upper socket extending from said body.

5. An apparatus according to claim 4 wherein said top portion further comprises: an intermediate body having a central aperture therein; and a lower socket extending from said body.

6. An apparatus according to claim 4 wherein said upper socket defines polygonal exterior radial cross section.

7. An apparatus according to claim 4 wherein said body further comprises an undersurface having an uneven texture to promote frictional engagement between said top portion and the item to which it is attached.

8. An apparatus according to claim 5 wherein each of said sockets defines an axial interior passage, said interior passages aligned mutually and with said central aperture, said passages also continuously threaded.

9. An apparatus according to claim 5 wherein said lower socket defines a cylindrical tube.

10. An apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said bottom portion comprises: a generally planar base; and a substantially tubular attachment stem extending from said base.

11. An apparatus according to claim 10 wherein said attachment stem defines therein a central interior tunnel, and said stem comprises screw threads on its exterior and on its interior.

12. An apparatus according to claim 10 wherein said base further comprises an upper surface having an uneven texture to promote frictional engagement between said bottom portion and the item to which it is attached.

13. An apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said ornament portion comprises: a cap; and a post extending from said cap.

14. An apparatus according to claim 13 wherein said post is exteriorly threaded.

15. A decorative fastener mountable upon an item to be worn, said fastener comprising: a top portion; a bottom portion engageable to a first side of said top portion with the item situate between said bottom portion and said top portion; and an ornament portion attachable temporarily to a second side of said top portion, there being decoration on said ornament portion.

16. An apparatus according to claim 15 wherein said bottom portion comprises: a base; and an attachment stem extending perpendicularly from said base.

17. An apparatus according to claim 16 wherein said base comprises a generally annular disk shape.

18. An apparatus according to claim 16 wherein said attachment stem comprises: a tubular cylinder disposed on a central axis of said base; a central tunnel defined in said cylinder; and screw threads defined on its exterior; wherein said exterior screw threads on said attachment stem are configured to permit said stem screwably to engage with said top portion.

19. An apparatus according to claim 18, wherein said attachment stem further comprises interior screw threads defined in said central tunnel, and wherein further said interior screw threads are complementary to exterior threads defined on a post on said ornament portion, whereby said base may have screwed engagement with said ornament portion.

20. An apparatus according to claim 16 wherein said base further comprises an upper surface having an uneven texture to promote frictional engagement between said bottom portion and the item to which it is attached.

21. An apparatus according to claim 15 wherein said top portion comprises: an intermediate generally planar body defining a central aperture through which a post on said ornament portion may extend; an upper socket extending from one side of said body; and a lower socket extending from an opposite side of said body.

22. An apparatus according to claim 21 wherein said upper socket comprises a polygonal radial cross-section.

23. An apparatus according to claim 21 wherein said upper socket further comprises a threaded interior passage.

24. An apparatus according to claim 23 wherein said lower socket comprises a substantially cylindrical tube having an inner passage threaded to permit screwed engagement between said top portion and said bottom portion.

25. An apparatus according to claim 24 wherein said interior passage of said upper socket is threaded continuously with said inner passage of said lower socket, whereby said stem of said bottom portion is screwable into at least a portion of the length of said top portion.

26. An apparatus according to claim 25 wherein said attachment stem comprises an exterior threaded diameter corresponding and complementary to an interior threaded diameter of said lower socket, whereby said stem is screwably engageable with said lower socket until a distal end of said stem contacts said body of said top portion.

27. An apparatus according to claim 25 wherein said post on said ornament portion comprises an outside threaded diameter corresponding and complementary to an inside threaded diameter of said stem, whereby said post is screwably engageable with said stem.

28. An apparatus according to claim 21 wherein said body further comprises an undersurface having an uneven texture to promote frictional engagement between said top portion and the item to which it is attached.

29. An apparatus according to claim 15 wherein said ornament portion comprises: a cap; and a post extending from said cap.

30. An apparatus according to claim 29 wherein said post is exteriorly threaded for screwed engagement into a stem on said bottom portion.

31. An apparatus according to claim 29 further comprising an ornament disposed upon said cap.

32. A fastener apparatus permitting a variety of decorations to be used in combination with an item, said apparatus comprising: a top portion; a bottom portion engageable to a first side of said top portion with the item situate between said bottom portion and said top portion; and at least two interchangeable ornament portions with decorations thereon; wherein any selected one of said ornament portions is temporarily attachable to a second side of said top portion.

33. An apparatus according to claim 32 wherein said bottom portion comprises: a base; and an attachment stem extending perpendicularly from said base, said stem comprising: a tubular cylinder disposed on a central axis of said base; a central tunnel defined in said cylinder; and screw threads defined on its exterior; wherein said exterior screw threads on said attachment stem are configured to permit said stem screwably to engage with said top portion.

34. An apparatus according to claim 33, wherein said attachment stem further comprises interior screw threads defined in said central tunnel, and wherein further said interior screw threads are complementary to exterior threads defined on a post on said ornament portion, whereby said base may have screwed engagement with said ornament portion.

35. An apparatus according to claim 34 wherein said base further comprises an upper surface having an uneven texture to promote frictional engagement between said bottom portion and the item to which it is attached.

36. An apparatus according to claim 33 wherein said top portion comprises: an intermediate generally planar body defining a central aperture through which a post on said ornament portion may extend; an upper socket extending from one side of said body; and a lower socket extending from an opposite side of said body.

37. An apparatus according to claim 36 wherein said upper socket further comprises a threaded interior passage.

38. An apparatus according to claim 36 wherein said lower socket comprises a substantially cylindrical tube having an inner passage threaded to permit screwed engagement between said top portion and said bottom portion.

39. An apparatus according to claim 37 wherein said interior passage of said upper socket is threaded continuously with said inner passage of said lower socket, whereby said stem of said bottom portion is screwable into at least a portion of the length of said top portion.

40. An apparatus according to claim 39 wherein said attachment stem comprises an exterior threaded diameter corresponding and complementary to an interior threaded diameter of said lower socket, whereby said stem is screwably engageable with said lower socket until a distal end of said stem contacts said body of said top portion.

41. An apparatus according to claim 34 wherein said post on said ornament portion comprises an outside threaded diameter corresponding and complementary to an inside threaded diameter of said stem, whereby said post is screwably engageable with said stem.

42. An apparatus according to claim 35 wherein said body further comprises an undersurface having an uneven texture to promote frictional engagement between said top portion and the item to which it is attached, and further wherein the item may be clamped between said upper surface of said base and said undersurface of said body.

43. An apparatus according to claim 40 wherein said ornament portion comprises: a cap; and a post extending from said cap, said post being exteriorly threaded for screwed engagement into said stem on said bottom portion.

44. An apparatus according to claim 29 further comprising an ornament disposed upon said cap.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of the filing of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/728,192, entitled “Ornamental Rivet for Shoes,” filed on Oct. 18, 2005, and the specification thereof is incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention (Technical Field)

The present invention relates to fasteners, particularly to fasteners with decorative features, and more specifically to fastener apparatuses permitting the use of interchangeable ornaments on shoes, leather goods, or clothing.

2. Background of the Invention

People have attached ornaments to their clothing and footwear, including shoes, for centuries. The present invention was developed to provide for interchangeability of ornaments, especially on footwear and clothing.

Sandals and other types of open-toed and/or open-heeled shoes are rising in popularity among peoples of many countries, including the women and girls of the United States. One type of shoe recently very popular is a beach shoe or sandal offered under the trademark CROC. CROC brand footwear includes an open-heeled sandal manufactured from a lofted foam plastic material. Such sandals have a strap pivotally attached to the sandal upper by means of a recited connection. The present apparatus is ideally suited for use in combination with CROC brand beach sandals.

It is known to provide ornaments for use on items, including clothing and shoes. Some publications providing useful background reference, including some teaching interchangeable ornaments, include the following: U.S. Patent Publication No. 2005/0016028 to Safdeye; U.S. Patent Publication No. 2003/0221334 to McFee; U.S. Design Pat. No. D475,322 to Ouellette et al.; U.S. Pat. No. 6,412,151 to Rowland; U.S. Pat. No. 5,673,501 to Mathews; U.S. Pat. No. 4,724,628 to Schreiner; U.S. Pat. No. 4,712,319 to Goria; U.S. Pat. No. 3,343,230 to Darvie; and U.S. Pat. No. 1,689,000 to Wagner.

Further, it would be desirable to provide an fastener apparatus permitting interchangeability of decorative charms, emblems, or other ornaments that is useable not only on shoes, but upon other items of clothing, or even on other items (such as hats and caps) worn by people, or by (such as collars) pets.

SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE

There is disclosed a decorative fastener for use upon an item to be worn by the user; the item to be worn may be a shoe, an item of clothing (including shirts, hats and caps, or the like), a leather or synthetic bracelet, a leather or synthetic pet collar, leather or synthetic pet leashes, leather or synthetic cell phone straps, key chain holders, or the like. The fastener features two parts that may be connected together on opposite sides of the item to be worn, with the item situated between the bottom part and the top part. The fastener also includes an ornament portion attachable temporarily to one side of the top part, there being decoration of any desired type or appearance on the ornament portion. Assortments of different ornament portions are interchangeable for temporary attachment to the top part. A variety of decorations accordingly may selectively be used in combination with the shoe or other item.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated into and form a part of the specification, illustrate several embodiments of the apparatus disclosed hereby and, together with the description, serve to explain the principles of the apparatus and related methods. The drawings are only for the purpose of illustrating a preferred embodiment of an apparatus according to this disclosure, and are not to be construed as necessarily limiting the scope of the appended claims. In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is a top view of an apparatus according to the present invention, shown in relation to a shoe with which the apparatus may be used;

FIG. 2 is a side view of the apparatus, also illustrating the use of the apparatus in connection with a shoe;

FIG. 3 is an enlarged, sectional, exploded side view of one embodiment of the apparatus;

FIG. 4A is a bottom axial view of the bottom component of the apparatus shown in FIG. 3;

FIG. 4B is a top axial view of the component seen in FIG. 4A;

FIG. 5A is a bottom axial view of the component in the middle of FIG. 3;

FIG. 5B is a top axial view of the component seen in FIG. 5A;

FIG. 6 is an enlarged sectional top view of the apparatus of FIG. 3, shown installed through the strap and upper of a shoe;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view from above of a version of the uppermost, ornament portion of the apparatus;

FIG. 8 is an enlarged, sectional, exploded side view of an alternative embodiment of the apparatus;

FIG. 9 is a perspective top view of an alternative ornamental fastener apparatus according to this disclosure, temporarily attached to a shoe by the shoe lace;

FIG. 10A is a top plan view of the base portion of the fastener apparatus shown in FIG. 9;

FIG. 10B is a side or elevation view of the base portion component shown in FIG. 10A;

FIG. 10C is an exploded side view of the fastener apparatus shown in FIG. 9, the base portion thereof being depicted in a sectional view taken along section line C-C in FIG. 10A; and

FIG. 11 is an enlarged, exploded, perspective front view of the fastener apparatus shown in FIG. 9, depicted with a shoelace passed through holes in the base portion thereof.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Best Modes for Carrying Out the Invention

There is disclosed hereby a fastener for use on clothing or footwear, particularly on shoes. The fastener, sometimes called herein a “rivet” although not necessarily a true rivet, may be used in a shoe at the time the shoe is manufactured. It is contemplated, however, that the fastener of this disclosure be used by consumers to replace rivets installed by the shoe manufacturer. The present fastener apparatus, when installed upon a shoe or other item, permits a user to place an ornament upon the fastener to decorate the fastener, and thus the shoe or other item.

It shall be understood that while the prime contemplated use for the disclosed apparatus is upon shoes, such as CROCS® brand shoes, the fastener may find utility upon items of clothing, including headwear. Further, the fastener apparatus disclosed hereby may be adapted for suitable use in other contexts, such as upon dog or cat collars.

In this disclosure and in the claims, reference will be made to an “item” upon which, or in combination with which, the inventive apparatus may be used. Such an item particularly includes a shoe, but also may be an item of clothing or a hat to be worn by an individual person, or a flexible bracelet. An item may also be a leather or synthetic pet collar to be worn by pets such as dogs or cats, leather or synthetic pet leashes, or even leather or synthetic cell phone straps, or leather or synthetic key chain holders.

Advantageously, the fastener permits interchangeability of ornamentation, whereby the user—typically the end-user consumer—can remove and replace various different ornaments. Interchangeable ornaments provide variability of ornamentation from day-to-day, or to customize ornamentation to complement the user's attire, or to adapt ornaments to a function the user will be attending.

The apparatus of this disclosure potentially may be used with nearly any kind or type of clothing item or shoe. However, it is contemplated that the fastener be used with sandal-type shoes having a rivet which fastens a strap to an upper portion of the shoe. An item of footwear ideally suited for use in conjunction with the present apparatus is disclosed in U.S. Patent Publication No. 2004/0231190, to Seamans, published on Nov. 25, 2004. The Seamans footwear apparatus is a sandal or “clog” type of footwear, having an open heel and a semi-open upper toe portion connected to a sole having a low heel. A strap is pivotally connected to the upper by means of a pair of rivets.

Attention is invited to FIGS. 1 and 2. The fastener 20 according to this disclosure is removably attachable to an item, and preferably is used in cooperation with footwear such as a shoe 50, a sandal-type shoe being shown in the drawing figures. Typically, an original rivet 52 is installed to attach each end of the strap 54 to the upper 56. The inventive fastener 20 may in instances be used to replace the stock rivet 52 installed at the time of shoe manufacture to connect the strap 54 to the upper portion 56 of the shoe, as suggested by FIG. 1. Alternatively, as indicated in FIG. 2, the fastener according to the present disclosure also may be installed by the user at other positions upon the shoe 50, such as through a pre-existing hole 57 in the upper 56. Of course, a hole may be created by the user at some other location using a heavy-duty punch, leather awl, or the like, permitting the fastener 20 to be installed practically anywhere on the upper portion of a shoe.

In one mode of practicing the invention, therefore, the rivet 52 or other fastener installed by the shoe manufacturer is removed and replaced with the fastener 20 according to the present invention.

Generally, therefore, there is disclosed in FIGS. 1-2 a decorative fastener 20 mountable upon an item to be worn; the item to be worn by a user may be a shoe, an item of clothing (including shirts, hats and caps, or the like), or even a pet collar. The fastener 20 features a top portion 40 and a bottom portion 30 engageable to a first (perhaps lower) side of the top portion 40, with the item (such as shoe 50) situated between the bottom portion 30 and the top portion 40. The fastener 20 also includes an ornament portion 60 attachable temporarily to a second (perhaps upper) side of the top portion 40, there being decoration of any desired type or appearance on the ornament portion 60. A variety of decorations accordingly may be used in combination with the shoe or other item.

Typically, there will be offered at least two interchangeable ornament portions 60 with decorations thereon. The decoration on any particular ornament portion 60 typically will differ from the decoration on other ornament portions. Thus, the user can select which decoration to use upon the shoe or other item, because any selected one of the ornament portions 60 is temporarily attachable to the second side of the top portion 40.

Reference is made to FIG. 3, an exploded view of a preferred embodiment of the apparatus. It is seen that the apparatus 20 includes three principal components: a bottom portion 30, a top portion 40, and an ornament portion 60. The three principal components 30, 40, 60 are configured to be axially aligned and interconnected, and when interconnected comprise the basic apparatus. The base 30 and top portion 40 are disposed through a hole in a shoe or other item. Most of the components of the fastener 20 preferably are fabricated from durable plastic, e.g., injection-molded polypropylene or polyethylene, or other suitable plastics. It is readily understood, however, that the fastener may be crafted from other materials, such as inexpensive metal. For example, the components of the fastener may be fashioned from metal for use on a pet collar. If desired, a “high end” fastener 20 may even be crafted from a precious or semi-precious metal alloy.

The bottom portion 30 preferably is a single integral piece, and ideally is injection-molded plastic. Alternatively, the bottom portion 30 may be assembled from two or three separate parts connected by adhesive, soldering, or the like. The bottom portion 30 has a generally planar base 32 from which an attachment stem 34 perpendicularly extends. As seen in FIGS. 4A and 4B, the base 32 preferably, but not necessarily, is circular in shape within the horizontal plane of FIG. 3; base 32 preferably is generally annular and disk-shaped. The stem 34 preferably is cylindrical and is located on the central axis of the base 32. Combined reference to FIGS. 3, 5A and 5B also shows that the stem 34 is somewhat tubular in general configuration, having a central tunnel 38 therein which runs at least a substantial (or the entirety) of its length from the top downward.

The base stem 34 has screw threads on its exterior and on its interior. The stem's exterior threads 35 are configured to permit the stem 34 to have screwed engagement with the top portion 40 as shall be explained further. The inside surface of the stem 34 defining the tunnel 38 has interior threads 36 thereon. Interior threads 36 are complementary to the exterior threads 65 on the post 62 of ornament portion 60. The post 62 thus can be threadably screwed into the tunnel 38 of the stem 34. Thus the interior threads 36 are configured to permit the base 30 to have a screwed engagement with the ornament portion 60, also as further explained herein.

The upper surface of the base 32 is provided with an uneven texture, that is, a corrugated or roughened portion 37 that is unevenly raised from the base 32. This annular roughened portion 37 is devised to promote frictional engagement between the bottom portion 30 and the shoe 50 or other item to which it is attached, as the roughened portion “digs into” or grips the surface of the item.

Like the bottom portion, the top portion 40 preferably is an integral piece, and ideally is injection-molded plastic. Alternatively, the top portion may be assembled from two to four separate parts connected by adhesive, soldering, or the like. Top portion 40 features an intermediate, generally planar, body 42. Body 42 preferably is annular, having a circular exterior periphery, and a central aperture 43 through which the post 62 of the ornament portion 60 may extend. Extending upward from the body 30 is the upper socket 44. The upper socket 44 preferably features a hexagonal or other polygon-shaped exterior (i.e. radial cross-section when viewed axially from above, as seen in FIG. 5B), which permits a wrench or pliers tool to be used to rotate the top portion 40 to screwably tighten it to the bottom portion 30. Alternatively or additionally, and as will be immediately understood and appreciated by one of ordinary skill in the art, the socket 44 may be supplied with wings or tabs, essentially configuring the upper socket as a sort of “wing nut” which may be easily tightened or loosened by hand, without use of a tool.

The top portion 40 also has a lower socket 45 extending perpendicularly downward there from. The lower socket 45 preferably is a cylindrical tube in general shape. Its surface of its inner passage 46 is threaded to permit screwed engagement between the top portion 40 and the bottom portion 30. The interior passage of the upper socket 44 is identically and continuously threaded with the lower socket 45, such that the stem 34 of the bottom portion 30 can be screwed into the complete length of the top portion 40, all as suggested by FIG. 3.

The undersurface of the body 42, like the upper surface of the base 32, is provided with an uneven texture, that is, an annular, corrugated or roughened portion 47 that is unevenly raised from the body 42. This annular roughened portion 47 is devised to promote frictional engagement between the top portion 40 and the shoe 50 to which it is attached, as the roughened portion grips the surface of the shoe when the top portion 40 and bottom portion 30 are screwed together.

The ornament portion 60 may be an integral piece, or may be assembled from separate pieces. The ornament portion has a post 62 that extends down from a cap 63 to which the post is rigidly connected. The post 62 is exteriorly threaded for screwed engagement into the stem 34 of the bottom portion 30 as shall be explained further. The cap 63 is the portion of the fastener 20 which bears the ornament of the invention. The cap 63 may have on its upper or outside surface 64 an insignia or decorative design or imagery. The ornament may be molded into, or connected directly to the upper surface 64. Alternatively, the ornament portion 60 may have a snap or loop 66 (FIG. 7) which permits a decorative charm 70 or the like to be snapped or clipped onto the ornament portion 60.

It is noted that the exterior threaded diameter of the stem 34 on the bottom portion 30 corresponds to the interior threaded diameter of the lower socket 45 of the top, and that the threads of these two parts are complementary, such that the stem 34 can be screwed into the lower socket 45 until the distal end of the stem contacts the body 42 of the top portion 40. Furthermore, the outside threaded diameter of the post 62 on the ornament portion 60 corresponds generally to the inside threaded diameter of the stem 34, thus permitting the post 62 to be screwed into the stem 34.

The practice of the invention may now be described with combined reference to FIGS. 1, 3, and 6. In a typical usage of the invention, the consumer carefully removes the original shoe manufacturer's rivet 52 connecting the outside end of the strap 54 to the body of the shoe 50. This rivet 52 is replaced with the ornamental fastener 20. The user aligns the hole in the strap 58 with the rivet hole 59 in the shoe 50, and insert the stem 34 through the aligned holes from the inside of the shoe toward the outside (FIG. 1). The lower socket 45 of the top portion 40 is disposed around the stem 34 of the bottom portion 30 to place the threads of the stem and the lower socket into mutual engagement. The top portion 40 is rotated, for example with a pliers or small wrench applied to the hexagonal exterior of the upper socket 44. The rotation of the top portion 40 causes the top portion 40 to screwably descend the stem 34, thereby compressing the strap 54 and the shoe upper 56 between the base 32 and the body 42 of the fastener 20 (FIG. 6). The roughened portions 37, 47 of the base 32 and body 42, respectively, are pushed into the surfaces of the shoe (or other item) by the action of the screwed engagement of the stem 34 into the lower socket 45. The top portion 40 is tightened until the body 42 snuggly contacts the strap 54 and the base 32 firmly engages the inside of the shoe upper 56. This snug compression of the strap 54 and upper part of the shoe 50 preferably occurs just as the distal end of the stem 34 approaches contact with the body 42 of the top portion 40, and the axial length of the stem in the preferred embodiment is selected accordingly for a particular shoe 50.

Once the bottom portion 30 and top portion 40 are screwably connected together on opposite sides of the shoe as described above, the ornament portion 60 may be attached. This is accomplished by placing the post 62 of the ornament portion into axial registration with the upper socket 44 of the top portion 40. The threads of the post 62 are complementary with those on the inside of the stem 34 of the bottom portion 30. Accordingly, rotation of the ornament portion 60 while inserting the post 62 into the interior of the stem 34 causes the post to threadably engage with the stem 34. Rotation of the ornament portion 60 continues to screw the post 62 into the stem 24 until the underside of the cap 63 comes into snug contact with the top end of the upper socket 44.

When the fastener is fully and properly installed on the shoe 50 or other item, the component parts thereof are interconnected and positioned as illustrated in FIG. 6. The ornament portion 60 thus performs its decorative function on the outside of the shoe, or is ready to accept charms or other removably attachable decorative items thereon.

Notably, the ornamental portion 60 can easily and quickly be removed and replaced with another such portion bearing some other decorative insignia or imagery. Thus, the availability of a selection of interchangeable ornament portions 60 permits a user to remove and replace ornamental portions 60 on her shoes on a frequent basis, without having to remove the bottom portion 30 and top portion 40 portions of the fastener 20 from her shoe. The bottom portion 30 and top portion 40 remain on the shoe 50 to hold the strap 54 in place. But again, the various interchangeable ornament portions 60 can be serially removed and replaced, and removed again, to vary the decorative appearance of the fastener 20.

The top surface 64 of the ornament portion 60 may be painted or engraved, or have enamel covering that is painted or inked, or it may bear an engraved insignia, design, or image of nearly any variety or subject matter. It may be colored, or be metallic.

It is evident that in an optional alternative use, the fastener 20 may be applied with the top portion 40 omitted. The ornament portion 60 may be screwed directly into the bottom portion 30, with the shoe or other item there-between but without the intermediate top portion 40.

FIG. 8 depicts an alternative embodiment of the apparatus. This alternative embodiment functions in much the same manner, to the same ends and purposes, as the preferred embodiment described herein above. In the labeling of FIG. 8, parts like those of the previously described embodiment bear like reference numerals.

Referring to FIG. 8, it is seen that this embodiment is similar to the preferred embodiment previously described, except as to the mode and manner of attaching the ornament portion 60 to the rest of the apparatus. In the preferred embodiment of FIG. 3, the post 62 of the ornament portion 60 has a screwed engagement with the stem 34 of the bottom portion 30. In the alternative embodiment of FIG. 8, the ornament portion 60 has a peg-and-hole sort of snapped connection between these two components.

The ornament portion 60 has a peg 68 that extends perpendicularly from the underside of the cap 63. (The ornament portion 60 preferably is a molded integral item, but alternatively may be fabricated by connecting a peg 68 to a cap 63.) The peg 68 preferably but not necessarily is cylindrical. At the distal end of the peg 68 there is provided a knob 69 of comparatively greater diameter than the peg. The knob 69 may have the shape, for example, of a frustum (as shown) or may be substantially conical or even spherical, with a mean diameter about 50% greater that the diameter of the peg 68. The peg 68 and knob 69 are integrally molded from plastic, and are mildly elastically compressible.

The upper socket 44 of the top portion 40 is partially closed with an end panel through which is disposed a centrally located peg aperture 82, which may be round. The end panel 80 preferably is plastic, and manifests some elastic flexibility. The diameter of peg aperture 82 slightly exceeds the diameter of peg 68, but is less than the maximum diameter of the knob 69.

The upper end of the stem 34 of the bottom portion 30 is likewise is partially closed with an end panel 86 through which is disposed a centrally located bottom peg aperture 88, which may be round. The end panel 86 preferably is plastic, and manifests some elastic flexibility. The diameter of bottom peg aperture 88 corresponds generally in size and shape with the top peg aperture 82, and thus is slightly greater than the diameter of the peg 68, but is less than the maximum diameter of the knob 69.

As is apparent from the foregoing, the ornament portion is removably attached to the bottom portion 30 and top portion 40 by the insertion of the peg 68 into the peg apertures 82, 88.

The alternative embodiment is assembled by engaging the lower socket 45 around the stem 34. The interior threads of the lower socket 45 engage with the exterior threads 35 of the stem, so that rotation of the top portion 40 results in the stem 34 screwing into the lower socket 45. Thus, the threads of the stem 34 and lower socket 45 provide for the threaded connection between the top portion 40 and the bottom portion 30, as previously described for the preferred embodiment. The top portion 40 is rotated in relation to the bottom portion 30 thereby to squeeze the shoe upper and/or strap between them. With the top portion 40 and bottom portion 30 installed together, their respective end panels 80, 86 are generally parallel, but may be spaced apart somewhat, with the bottom end panel 86 situated within the inner passage 46 of the top portion 40. It is apparent that the peg 68 preferably is long enough to extend through both apertures 82 and 88 when the top portion 40 and bottom portion 30 are screwably interconnected and fully installed on a shoe; however, alternatively a relatively shorter peg 68 may extend through the top aperture 82 only.

Once the top portion 40 and bottom portion 30 are screwed together for installation upon a shoe 50 or other item, the ornament portion 60 is removably attached thereto by simply aligning the peg 68 with the co-registered apertures 82, 88, and inserting the peg through the apertures. The knob 69 and the end panels 80, 86 flexibly compress somewhat to permit the knob to pass through the apertures 82, 88. However, once the knob has cleared the end panels 80, 86, the knob 69 rebounds to its original, resting diameter. The knob 69 thus prevents the peg 68 from being inadvertently withdrawn from the top portion 40 and bottom portion 30. The ornament portion 60 thus is reliably attached to the top and bottom portions 40, 30 and thus to the shoe 50 on which the apparatus 20 is installed. However, the attachment of the ornament portion 60 is not permanent. The ornament portion 60 is removably attached. The user may remove the ornament portion 60 by the simple expedient of grasping it and gently pulling it to “pop” the knob 69 through the apertures 82, 88. The same or another ornament portion 60 may then be inserted and installed by resiliently snapping the knob 69 past the end panels 80, 86. This remove/replace process can be repeated countless times due to the resilient compressibility of the knob 69 and the end panels 80, 86, thus allowing a wide variety of interchangeable ornament portions 60 to be inserted, removed, and replaced on the apparatus 20 to permit variety of decoration.

Attention now is invited to FIGS. 9-11, which collectively disclose a further embodiment of an ornamental fastener especially for shoes. This alternative embodiment provides a means for providing interchangeable ornamentation that is attachable to the laces of a shoe.

This alternative apparatus 100 is devised for use in combination with a shoe 105 having any variety of flexible shoelace 107 as seen in FIG. 9. The shoelace 107 is disposed through the eyelets 109, 109′ (eyelets may be of any ordinary type known in the art) in a criss-cross manner generally according to convention. The decorative fastener 100 is removably attached to the shoe 105 by means of the lace 107; the respective ends of the lace are passed through a first pair 109, 109′ of eyelets, then through a pair of lace apertures in the fastener 100, and then through a second pair 111, 111′ of eyelets in a manner to be further described. It is contemplated that the fastener 100 in use is disposed between adjacent pairs of eyelets 109, 109′ and 111, 111′, as seen in FIG. 9. Also as seen in FIG. 9, the fastener 100 displays any desired logo or decorative ornament as previously described herein.

Collective reference to FIGS. 10A-10C shows that the laces fastener 100 includes two principal components, a base portion 112 and an ornament portion 114. These components may be fashioned from any substantially rigid material, preferably injection-molded plastic or metal alloy. The base portion 112 preferably is generally rectangular oblong in overall shape when viewed from above (FIG. 10A). In elevation or side view (FIG. 10B), the base portion 112 has the shape of a relatively thin chip with a slightly curved contour, the top 116 being slightly convex and the bottom 118 being slightly concave as suggested by FIGS. 10B and 10C. By way only of illustrative example, the base portion 112 may be about 19 mm long, 8 mm wide, and about 4 mm in profile height dimension.

The base portion 112 is completely penetrated centrally by a threaded attachment aperture 120. Flanking the attachment aperture 120 on opposite sides thereof are a pair of lace holes 122, 122′, which may be rectangular as seen in FIG. 10A, or any other shape provided the dimensions of each lace hole permit a shoelace to pass smoothly there-through. The lace holes 122, 122′ penetrate the base portion 112, as indicated by FIG. 10B.

The ornament portion 114 is similar in form and function to the ornament portion 60 of previously described embodiments. The cap 133 thereof has a threaded stem 132. The threads 135 of the stem are complementary to the threads of the attachment aperture 120, so that the stem 132 can be screwably engaged into and disengaged from the aperture 120. The ornament surface 134 of the cap 133 bears any desired type of decorative ornamentation, such as an embossed, painted, or printed emblem or logo, or a charm (see FIG. 7 above, for example). By means of the screwed connection provided by the threaded aperture 120 and stem 132, the ornament portion 114 can alternately and repeatedly attached to and detached from the base portion 112, permitting selective interchangeability between and among an assortment of different ornament portions.

The utility of the fastener 100 is apparent from the foregoing, but further disclosed by reference to FIG. 11. It is seen that the respective ends of a shoelace 107 already disposed through the lower eyelets of a shoe are passed up and through corresponding ones of the lace holes 122, 122′ of the base portion 112, and then to disposition through a next upper pair of eyelets. The each free end of the lace 107, being disposed through the lace holes 122, 122′ of the base portion, are passed through the next pair of adjacent eyelets in the shoe, ad the shoe then fully laced for use as seen in FIG. 9.

An advantage of this embodiment is that the ornament portion 114 is removably connected to the base portion 112 by simply inserting the stem 132 into the attachment aperture 120, and rotating the ornament portion to screw it onto the base portion 112. This connection is reversible be unscrewing the ornament portion 114 from the base portion 114 to detach them, as suggested by FIG. 11. The user accordingly may select from a variety of ornament portions 114 to suit his or her taste at a particular time, and place a specific chosen ornament portion (with the desired decorative element, emblem, charm or the like thereon) onto the base portion 112 without having to unlace the shoe and remove the base portion from its situation on the lace and between pairs of eyelets.

Although the invention has been described in detail with particular reference to these preferred embodiments, other embodiments can achieve the same results. Variations and modifications of the present invention will be obvious to those skilled in the art and it is intended to cover in the appended claims all such modifications and equivalents.