Title:
Mattress comfort topper
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A mattress comfort topper for affixing to the top of a mattress for extending the useful life of the mattress. The combination of the mattress comfort topper and the mattress substantially recovers the original resiliency and the original appearance of the mattress.



Inventors:
Warshaver, Charles M. (Natick, MA, US)
Application Number:
11/399273
Publication Date:
10/11/2007
Filing Date:
04/06/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
5/731
International Classes:
A47C27/15; A47C27/14
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CUOMO, PETER M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
TROUTMAN PEPPER HAMILTON SANDERS LLP (PITTSBURGH, PA, US)
Claims:
1. A mattress comfort topper, the mattress comfort topper comprising: a support; a boxtop, said boxtop enclosing said support; a skirt; and lower binding tape, wherein said lower binding tape couples said skirt to said boxtop.

2. The mattress comfort topper of claim 1, wherein said boxtop comprises: a top; a bottom; and a border.

3. The mattress comfort topper of claim 2, wherein said boxtop further comprises: an upper binding tape, said upper binding tape coupling said top to said border

4. (canceled)

5. The mattress comfort topper of claim 2, wherein said top includes a quilted portion, wherein said quilted portion includes an upper and a lower layer, coupled together to form an interior pocket space, said pocket space, may contain at least one fill layer.

6. The mattress comfort topper of claim 2, wherein a surface of said top is liquid repellant.

7. The mattress comfort topper of claim 2, wherein said bottom is resistant to skidding on said mattress.

8. The mattress comfort topper of claim 2, wherein said border is quilted.

9. The mattress comfort topper of claim 2, wherein said border is substantially rigid.

10. The mattress comfort topper of claim 1, wherein said boxtop is substantially rectangular.

11. The mattress comfort topper of claim 1, wherein said support is resiliently deformable.

12. The mattress comfort topper of claim 11, wherein said support comprises a convoluted foam.

13. The mattress comfort topper of claim 11, wherein said support comprises a contoured foam.

14. The mattress comfort topper of claim 1, wherein said support comprises a viscoelastic foam.

15. The mattress comfort topper of claim 14, wherein said viscoelastic foam comprises a surface modification technology material.

16. The mattress comfort topper of claim 1, wherein said support comprises a latex foam.

17. The mattress comfort topper of claim 1, wherein said skirt is resiliently deformable.

18. The mattress comfort topper of claim 17, wherein said skirt comprises an elastic material.

19. The mattress comfort topper of claim 18, wherein said elastic material is spandex.

20. The mattress comfort topper of claim 17, wherein said skirt is selectively disengagably couplable to a mattress.

21. The mattress comfort topper of claim 2, wherein said top is selectively disengagably couplable to said border.

22. The mattress comfort topper of claim 21, wherein said top is completely disengagable from said border.

23. The mattress comfort topper of claim 21, wherein said top is partially disengagable from said border.

24. The mattress comfort topper of claim 21, the boxtop mattress coupler further comprising: means for selectively disengagably coupling said top to said border.

25. The mattress comfort topper of claim 24, wherein said means for selectively disengagably coupling said top to said border includes a zipper, said zipper comprising a side coupled to the top and another side coupled to the border.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to the field of mattresses, and, more particularly, to mattress toppers.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

An unfortunate aspect of mattresses is their limited lifespan. The ability of a mattress to provide adequate support for a back and for other flexible regions of a body degrades continuously, beginning with the first use of a mattress. Initial resiliency and planarity may be lost due to use or to degradation of the materials comprising the mattress.

Although use of a mattress may be prolonged at the price of increasing discomfort for a user, at some point, degradation of mattress support for the user becomes sufficiently severe for replacement of the mattress to be necessary. Further incentive for replacement is accumulation of stains on the mattress top. Acting as a disincentive for replacement is the cost of a replacement mattress, which may be several hundreds of dollars.

One approach to extend the usable life of a mattress is to employ a mattress topper, a piece of foam having the same lateral dimensions as the mattress and enclosed in a fabric bag. The corners of the mattress topper may be attached to the corners of the mattress to hold the mattress topper in place.

Such a prior art mattress topper lacks the performance of the mattress that it covers. The mattress topper may move with respect to the underlying mattress during use. The mattress topper may not restore the combination mattress topper-mattress to the performance of the mattress in its initial state. Stained areas may still be visible. Further, the combination may not have the fit and feel of a new mattress. The edge may not maintain its shape if sat upon by the user.

For the above reasons, there is need to provide means to extend the useful life of a mattress and to restore performance to pre-use levels.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The needs of the invention set forth above as well as further and other needs and advantages of the present invention are achieved by the embodiments of the invention described herein below.

According to one aspect of the present invention, a mattress comfort topper includes a support, a boxtop enclosing the support, and a skirt coupled to the boxtop. In some embodiments of the present invention, the boxtop may include a top, a bottom, a border, an upper binding tape coupling the top to the border, and a lower binding tape coupling the border to the bottom and to the skirt. The top and the bottom may be quilted. A surface of the top may be liquid repellant, and the bottom may be resistant to skidding on the mattress. The border may be substantially rigid and the boxtop substantially rectangular.

In other embodiments of the present invention, the support may be resiliently deformable and may include a convoluted foam or a contoured foam. In still other embodiments of the present invention, the support may include a viscoelastic foam and/or a latex foam. The viscoelastic foam may include a surface modification technology material.

In certain embodiments of the present invention, the skirt may be resiliently deformable and may include an elastic material such as spandex. The skirt may be selectively disengagably couplable to the mattress.

In some embodiments of the present invention, the mattress comfort topper may be selectively disengagably couplable to the border. The top may be completely disengagable from the border or may be partially disengagable from the border. The boxtop mattress coupler may further include a means for selectively disengagably coupling the top to the border, including a zipper having a side coupled to the top and another side coupled to the border.

For a better understanding of the present invention, together with other and further objects thereof, reference is made to the accompanying drawings and detailed description and its scope will be pointed out in the appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1A is a schematic illustration of a prior art inner spring mattress mounted on a box-spring support;

FIG. 1B is a schematic illustration of a prior art foam mattress mounted on a platform bed;

FIG. 2A is a schematic illustration of a prior art mattress topper mounted on a inner spring mattress;

FIG. 2B is a cross-sectional schematic illustration of a prior art mattress topper;

FIG. 3A is a schematic illustration of a mattress comfort topper embodiment according to the present invention mounted on an inner spring mattress;

FIG. 3B is a cross-sectional schematic illustration of a mattress comfort topper embodiment according to the present invention;

FIG. 4A is a cross-sectional schematic illustration of a top of an embodiment of a mattress comfort topper according to the present invention where a pocket includes a single fill layer;

FIG. 4B is a cross-sectional schematic illustration of a top of an embodiment of a mattress comfort topper according to the present invention where the pocket includes three fill layers;

FIG. 5A is a cross-sectional schematic illustration of an upper binding tape coupling to a top and to a border according to an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 5B is a cross-sectional schematic illustration of a lower binding tape coupling to a border, to a bottom, and to a skirt according to an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 6A is a perspective schematic illustration of a prior art viscoelastic foam made according to surface modification technology;

FIG. 6B is a plan view of a mattress incorporating a prior art viscoelastic foam made according to surface modification technology;

FIG. 7A is a schematic illustration of a mattress comfort topper according to an embodiment of the present invention with a completely detachable top;

FIG. 7B is a schematic illustration of a mattress comfort topper according to an embodiment of the present invention with a partially detachable top; and

FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional schematic illustration of a mattress comfort topper according to an embodiment of the present invention including a zipper selectively disengagably coupling the top to the border.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Resiliency, the ability to return to an original shape with removal of a distorting force, is an important property of a mattress, determining to a substantial degree the extent to which the mattress provides comfort to a user. The resiliency of current mattresses has a limited life, determined in part by the extent of mattress use and by the age of the mattress. In a conventional spring bed 100 where an inner spring mattress 105 is mounted on a box spring support 110 (FIG. 1A), use of the inner spring mattress 105 over a long period may result in distortion of the supporting springs 115. In a platform bed 102 where a foam mattress 120 is mounted on a platform 125 having slats 130, foam cells 135 may be permanently compressed or the foam embrittled. A user 230 (FIG. 2A) of the mattress may become aware of these changes after about three to five years.

Some prior attempts to extend the life of the mattress have involved placing a mattress topper on the mattress. To better understand the concepts and advantages of the various embodiments of the present invention, set forth below is a description of an example of a prior art mattress topper 200 shown in FIG. 2A and FIG. 2B.

FIG. 2A illustrates the prior art mattress topper 200 placed on the top 118 of an inner spring mattress 105. The topper 200 includes a piece of foam 205 coextensive with the top 118 of the inner spring mattress 105, held within a fabric enclosure 210, and affixed to corners 122 of the inner spring mattress 105 or corners 122 of the box spring support 110 by straps 215 (FIG. 2B).

The mattress topper 200 presented in FIG. 2A and FIG. 2B may have several deficiencies. The mattress topper 200 may not have the same feel to a user 230 as had the inner spring mattress 105 when the inner spring mattress 105 was new. For example, since the edge 220 of the mattress topper 200 may not be firm, the edge 220 may not effectively resist compression by the user 230 moving in his or her sleep or sitting on the edge 220. From an appearance point of view, the mattress topper 200 may not have the appearance of an inner spring mattress 105, looking instead like a rather inexpensive solution to a problem. Consequently, the prior art mattress topper 200 may not have restored the underlying inner spring mattress 105 to its former condition and performance.

Reference is now made to various embodiments of the present invention. These embodiments may return a used mattress, such as a used inner spring mattress 105 or a used foam mattress 120, substantially to the initial performance of the mattress.

FIG. 3A illustrates an embodiment according to present invention, a mattress comfort topper 300, mounted on the top 118 of an inner spring mattress 105 and secured by a skirt 315. FIG. 3B illustrates a cross-sectional view of the boxtop topper 300. A boxtop 310 is coupled to the skirt 315 with a lower binding tape 340. The boxtop 310 comprises a top 320, a bottom 325, and a border or side panel 330. The lower binding tape 340 couples the border 330 and the bottom 325 to the skirt 315. An upper binding tape 335 couples the border 330 to the top 320. The combination of the top 320, the border 330, and the bottom 325 encloses a space 345. Within the 345 is a support 305. The space 345 and the support 305 may be substantially rectangular. Other shapes for the space 345 and the support 305, such as circular, are also possible.

The top 320 and the border 330 may be quilted, containing at least one layer 348 between an upper layer 350 and a lower layer 355. The upper layer 350 and the lower layer 355 may be coupled together, as by stitching, at various locations across the top 320 and the border 330 to form pillows or pockets 360, where the upper layer 350 may be a tick cover layer and the lower layer 355 may be a fabric layer. The pockets 360 may give stiffness to the top 320 and to the border 330, tending to maintain the shape of the space 345 even when a force is applied to the top 320 of the mattress comfort topper 300.

FIG. 4A and FIG. 4B illustrate embodiments of the pocket 360. The pocket 360 may contain a single fill layer 462 (FIG. 4A) or several fill layers, for example, fill layers 464, 466, and 468 (FIG. 4B), between the upper layer 350 and the lower layer 355. For example, fill layer 462 in FIG. 4A and fill layer 466 in FIG. 4B may be foam layers and fill layer 464 and fill layer 468 in FIG. 4B may be fiber fill layers.

FIG. 5A illustrates an installation of the upper binding tape 335 according to an embodiment of the present invention and FIG. 5B illustrates the installation of the lower binding tape 340 according to an embodiment of the present invention. The upper binding tape 335, coupling the border 330 to the top 320, and the lower binding tape 340, coupling the border 330 to the bottom 325 and to the skirt 315, are installed after the support 305 has been placed within the space 345.

The upper binding tape 335 may acquire a rounded profile as a result of attachment, giving the mattress comfort topper 300 the appearance and finish of a mattress 105. The lower binding tape 340 may attach the skirt 315 to the bottom 325 and to the border 330, permitting the skirt 315 to draped so as to encircle the mattress 105 upon installation of the mattress comfort topper 300 on the mattress 105. The form and rigidity of the attached upper binding tape 335 and of the attached lower binding tape 340 contribute to the stiffness of the mattress comfort topper 300.

Enclosed within the boxtop 310 and substantially filling the space 345 is the support 305. For a substantially rectangular space 345, the support 305 may also be substantially rectangular in shape. The support 305 may be made of a foam that may be a resilient foam, such as a latex foam, or a viscoelastic foam, also known as a memory foam, or a combination of these.

A resilient foam springs back to its original shape upon the withdrawal of a compressive force. A resilient foam may be convoluted, where the foam has a non-planar shape, as, for example, in “egg crate” foams, or contoured, where slits may be cut into the foam. Cutting and/or removing material from a foam blank may provide different amounts of support at different locations on the top 320 of the mattress comfort topper 300. For example, convoluting may allow hips 235 (FIG. 2A) to receive more support than a head 238 of the user 230.

The support 305 may also be made of memory foam modified by Surface Modification Technology (SMT)™ of Foamex LP (Linwood, Pa.) to provide variation of support across the top 320 of the mattress comfort topper 300. Instead of removal of material, different regions of a foam blank receive different amounts of compression, producing different amounts of resiliency. FIG. 6A shows a perspective view of a section 605 of viscoelastic foam processed by SMT, and FIG. 6B shows a top view of a support 305 where different areas over the top 320 of the mattress comfort topper 300 are associated with the different parts of the user 230, including a head zone 610, a shoulder zone 615, a lumbar zone 620, a hip zone 625, and a foot zone 630. Support of the different areas is adjusted by varying the relative height and area of the raised positions, such as raised position 622 in the lumbar zone 620.

The top 320 and the bottom 325 may have additional capabilities to enhance performance of the mattress comfort topper 300, according to embodiments of the present invention. The bottom 325 may include a skid resistant layer 365 (FIG. 3B), such as velour, to maintain the mattress comfort topper 300 in a centered position relative to the mattress 105. The top 320 may include a stain resistant material 370 (FIG. 3B), such as one subjected to treatment with Nano-Pel™ of Nano-Tex LLC (Emeryville, Calif.), which results in liquids beading up.

The top 320 of the boxtop 310 may be coupled to the border 330 by a selectively disengagable means 705, such as a zipper, Velcro™, buttons, or snaps. FIG. 7A shows mattress comfort topper 300 where the top 320 is completely disengagable from the border 330. FIG. 7B shows an alternative embodiment where the top 320 is partially disengagable from the border 330. FIG. 8 shows a cross-sectional view of the mattress comfort topper 300 further including, as a selectively disengagable coupling means 705, a zipper 810 with an inner side 815 attached to the top 320 and an outer side 820 attached to the border 330. A cover 805 attached to the top 320 conceals the zipper 810 and presents a rounded, finished appearance to the user 230 when the selectively disengagable coupling means 705 is engaged and the boxtop 310 encloses the support 305.

The mattress comfort topper 300 may be compatible both with inner spring mattresses 105 and with foam mattresses 120 and may augment performance of a used inner spring mattress 105 and a used foam mattress 120 so as to restore performance to substantially initial levels. As a consequence, useful life of the inner spring mattress 105 and of the foam mattress 120 may be extended at a cost that may be substantially less than the cost of replacing the inner spring mattress 105 or of replacing the foam mattress 120.

Although the invention has been described with respect to various embodiments, it should be realized that this invention is also capable of a wide variety of further and other embodiments within the spirit and the scope of the appended claims.