Title:
EXPANDABLE AND/OR FOLDABLE HANGER
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An expandable clothing/accessories hanger using a telescope like function from each end of a center tube to expand from its smallest size to the size of a full length hanger. In specific embodiments, the hanger is constructed with one or more swivel points between hanging portion and hook portion.



Inventors:
Elder, Lori Ann (San Francisco, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/618729
Publication Date:
08/23/2007
Filing Date:
12/29/2006
Assignee:
Left Field Enterprises, LLC a Corporation of the State of California
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41D27/22
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
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20090224010Pants HangerSeptember, 2009Bonner
20080073387Flat Presentation Hanger for Ankle Socks and SimilarMarch, 2008Godfrin
20080156837Automobile garment hanging deviceJuly, 2008Brightman
20040211796Indicator of size, etc., to be attached to clothes hanger and clothes hanger with indicator of size, etc.October, 2004Misumi
20030192923Shower hangerOctober, 2003Butzer
20060278669Device for smoothing out clothesDecember, 2006Redlin
20080000934Bow-making Assist Device with StorageJanuary, 2008Schorr
20090266851HOLDERS FOR BRASSIERE SHAPE RETENTIONOctober, 2009Perlman et al.



Primary Examiner:
DURHAM, NATHAN E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
QIPLG (San Leandro, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed:

1. A hanger, comprising: an expandable hanging means, having two expanding parts at opposite ends; a hook means for attaching said hanging means to a bar or other support; wherein said hook means is roughly perpendicular to said hanging means in at least one configuration.

2. The hanger according to claim 1 wherein: said expandable hanging means has at least two stable expanded positions.

3. The hanger according to claim 1 further comprising: a swivel connector connecting said hanging means and said hook means, allowing said hanging means to be rotated up to 360 degrees.

4. The hanger according to claim 1 further comprising: at least one swivel connector connecting said hanging means and said hook means, allowing said hanging means to be positioned in at least a folded up and a folded down position.

5. The hanger according to claim 1 wherein said hanging means and/or said hook means are constructed from a metal material.

6. The hanger according to claim 1 wherein said hanging means and/or said hook means are constructed from a plastic material.

7. The hanger according to claim 1 wherein said hanging means and/or said hook means are constructed from a wood material.

8. The hanger according to claim 1 wherein said hanging means and/or said hook means are constructed from a composite material.

9. The hanger according to claim 1 further comprising: an end-cap at each of two ends of said hanging means.

10. A hanger in any one of the configurations illustrated herein.

11. A hanger in any one of the configurations textually described herein.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority from provisional patent application 60/755,239, filed 30 Dec. 2005 and incorporated herein by reference. Pursuant to 37 C.F.R. 1.71(e), Applicants note that a portion of this disclosure contains material that is subject to and for which is claimed copyright protection (such as, but not limited to, drawings and/or design elements). The copyright owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent document or patent disclosure, as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office patent file or records. All other rights are reserved, and all other reproduction, distribution, creation of derivative works based on the contents, public display, and public performance of the application or any part thereof are prohibited by applicable copyright law.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to new designs methods, and packaging for hangers, such as clothing hangers or other material or utility hangers. Hangers according to specific embodiments of the invention have unique construction allowing compression into smaller spaces and expansion into one or more than one expanded configurations for one or more uses.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

While a number of different hanger designs have been proposed, many of these designs result in inclusion of aspects that can detract from the aesthetic appeal of the hangers and/or diminished size.

SUMMARY

The invention involves an expandable clothing/clothing accessory hanger which according to specific embodiments of the invention can be understood as a collapsible or folding hanger. The invention is overall characterized by simplicity in construction, function and appearance. In specific embodiments, the invention can be constructed of plastics, metals, metal alloys, wood, or any other material firm enough to support the desired clothing or accessory.

In specific embodiments, the hanger when expanded has a shape roughly resembling an ordinary clothes hanger, with a hanging hook or other hanging means situated near the center. The extendable portions of the hanger can be retracted as shown in the accompanying figures. According to specific embodiments of the invention, the collapsed hanging portion can be further turned or swiveled to minimize the space needed for storage of the collapsed hanger.

In alternative embodiments, the hanger can be associated with a decorative or promotional packaging device or can have a promotional message or name attached to the hanger itself.

Thus, the invention provides a new and improved clothing or clothing accessory hanger and methods for the same that has a simplicity in construction and that also provides promotional or marketing opportunities.

Other Features & Benefits

The invention and various specific aspects and embodiments will be better understood with reference to the following drawings and detailed descriptions. In some of the drawings and detailed descriptions below, the present invention is described in terms of the important independent embodiment of specific hangers of specific design and construction and dimensions, in some cases including specific materials. This should not be taken to limit the invention, which, using the teachings provided herein, can encompass a variety of different materials of construction and a variety of different design elements. It is therefore intended that the invention not be limited except as provided in the attached claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front elevation view of a hanger according to specific embodiments of the invention showing a collapsed and a fully expanded position.

FIG. 2 is schematic illustration of a hanger according to specific embodiments of the invention indicating a swivel point allowing the hanging portion to swivel 360 degrees around a pin attaching from the hook means.

FIG. 3 is schematic illustration of a hanger according to specific embodiments of the invention showing the internal a collapsed portions of the hanging means.

FIG. 4 is a front elevation view of a hanger according to specific embodiments of is the invention showing placement of a product name or promotional message on the hanging means and an optional translucent packaging allowing viewing of the message while the hanger is packaged.

FIG. 4B is a top elevation view of a hanger according to alternative specific embodiments of the invention.

FIG. 5 is a back elevation view of a hanger according to specific embodiments of the invention showing placement of a product name, owner's name, or promotional message on an optional packaging.

FIG. 6A-D are various views of a hanger design according to specific embodiments of the invention having separately foldable hanging portions showing various positions of each hanging portion.

FIG. 7 is a front view of a hanger according to specific embodiments of the invention in a clam-shell type case.

FIG. 8 is a back view of multiple hangers according to specific embodiments of the invention in a clam-shell type case.

FIG. 9 is a photographic image showing an example prototype hanger with hanging portions in a folded down position at three different extensions according to specific embodiments of the invention.

FIG. 10 is a photographic image showing an example prototype hanger with hanging portions in a folded up position according to specific embodiments of the invention.

FIG. 11 is a is photographic image showing an example prototype hanger with optional clips according to specific embodiments of the invention.

DESCRIPTION OF SPECIFIC EMBODIMENTS

FIG. 1 is a front elevation view of a hanger according to specific embodiments of the invention showing a collapsed and a fully expanded position. These hangers can vary in the overall shapes of the extendible parts (such as nearly round cross-sections, oval cross-sections, rounded rectangular cross-sections, squared cross-sections, etc.) and the shape of the hanging part (a traditional hook, a knob for fitting into a hanging receptacle, etc.) but otherwise operate similarly. Thus, according to specific embodiments of the invention, the hangers can be understood to comprise a hook means, and an expandable hanging means. The dimensions shown in all figures are examples only and hangers of a wide range of sizes can be constructed according to specific embodiments of the present invention.

According to specific embodiments of the invention, the hanging body can be designed to expand to different lengths while used as a hanger. Thus, for example, the hanger may be expanded only part-way (for example 50-80% of its full length) in one use (such holding hanging clothes in a travel bag or valise) and expanded fully in another use, such as hanging clothes in a closet. These are just examples, and various configurations of expansion are possible.

According to specific embodiments of the invention, unpackaged, the collapsed size of the hanger can be about 2″ to 5″ wide by about 3′ to 6″ in length. In specific embodiments, the hanger can expand from either end to about 12″ to 18″ in length.

FIG. 2 is schematic illustration of a hanger according to specific embodiments of the invention indicating a swivel point allowing the hanging portion to swivel 360 degrees around a pin attaching from the hook means. It will be understood that this swivel action can be used to allow a garment to be swiveled from the front, back or sideways, for example for hanging the garment over a door while traveling.

In use, the hanger can be fully expanded for handing common clothing items for adults, but can also be expanded to shorter lengths for handing baby clothes, kids clothes, or accessories. In the closed state, it can be used to hanging such things as neckties, belts, or scarves.

FIG. 3 is schematic illustration of a hanger according to specific embodiments of the invention showing the internal a collapsed portions of the hanging means. In specific embodiments, the hanger is manufactured in a material such as plastic with no springs. The telescoping operation is similar to that of a television antenna, with each part as it is pulled out stopping at about 1″ to 2″ intervals to create the desired length.

FIG. 4 is a front elevation view of a hanger according to specific embodiments of the invention showing placement of a product name or promotional message on the hanging means and an optional translucent packaging allowing viewing of the message while the hanger is packaged. The optional packaging can be provided with a zipper or zip-locking mechanism that starts and stops about ½ way around the hanger. The packaging is preferable made of a soft plastic clear material.

FIG. 5 is a back elevation view of a hanger according to specific embodiments of the invention showing placement of a product name, owner's name, or promotional message on an optional packaging. The back side of the packaging can be fitted with a card or insert providing instructions as to how to use the hanger or providing a place for further promotional messages or a place for a user to write their name and contact information.

FIGS. 6A-D are various views of a hanger design according to specific embodiments of the invention having separately foldable hanging portions showing various positions of each hanging portion. As can be observed from the figures, in this embodiment, a hanger according to the invention can be constructed with two hanging portions that can each be folded up to provide a more compact shape for the hanger when not is use.

FIG. 7 is a front view of a hanger according to specific embodiments of the invention in a clam-shell type case. FIG. 8 is a back view of multiple hangers according to specific embodiments of the invention in a clam-shell type case. While these cases when used to package hangers according to specific embodiments of the invention have novel features, they are optional and in some embodiments, hangers of the invention can be provided without any case or housing.

FIG. 9 is a photographic image showing an example prototype hanger with hanging portions in a folded down position at three different extensions according to specific embodiments of the invention. FIG. 10 is a photographic image showing an example prototype hanger with hanging portions in a folded up position according to specific embodiments of the invention. These images together illustrate aspects of the hanger construction and use according to specific example embodiments.

FIG. 11 is a is photographic image showing an example prototype hanger with optional clips according to specific embodiments of the invention.

For sales purposes, a hanger according to specific embodiments of the invention can be sold in multiple packages, or in packages of 6. In specific embodiments, the hanger may be referred to by a trademark name such as The Fanger™, Fangerz™, or The Expandable Hanger™.

It is understood that the examples and embodiments described herein are for illustrative purposes and that various modifications or changes in light thereof will be suggested by the teachings herein to persons skilled in the art and are to be included within the spirit and purview of this application and scope of the claims.

In specific embodiments, believe the main bottom tube under the hook is about 4″. In other embodiments, about 2″ total length is possible. The preferred length may in part depend on the materials used and the other dimensions of the parts of hanger. When closed, in specific embodiments, the hanger can be used for belts, scarves, ties and the like. The hanger can thus, in various embodiments be expanded from function from very small to a standard or plus size clothes hanger.

All publications, patents, and patent applications cited herein or filed with this application, including any references filed as part of an Information Disclosure Statement, are incorporated by reference in their entirety.