Title:
Double sided erasable booklet for games and the like
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A fanfold booklet containing pages that are permanently marked on one or both sides with mono- or polychromatic indicia and can be temporarily and repeatedly marked. This booklet can be used for example during the course of a game of bingo to provide the proprietor of a bingo hall with reusable bingo cards that can be tracked in order to verify the legitimacy of a patron's use of such a card.



Inventors:
Khaladkar, Vikas (Regina, CA)
Application Number:
11/515998
Publication Date:
01/17/2008
Filing Date:
09/05/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B71/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MENDIRATTA, VISHU K
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LAW OFFICES OF ALBERT WAI-KIT CHAN, PLLC (WHITESTONE, NY, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A fanfold booklet of markable pages, the booklet comprising: a plurality of pages joined to each other such that a left edge of a page inside the booklet is joined to a right edge of a first adjacent page along a seam and a right edge of the page inside the booklet is joined to a left edge of a second adjacent page along a seam, and wherein the pages are foldable along the seam; each page comprising a sheet with indicia present on both sides thereof, and a transparent coating over both sides of the sheet wherein the transparent coating, can be erasably marked with an appropriate marker.

2. A booklet according to claim 1 wherein the indicia on at least one page includes a bar code and wherein the indicia on each page comprises one of: a cover page, a single bingo playing card; a plurality of bingo playing cards; a plurality of bar codes; a single bingo playing card and plurality of bar codes; a plurality of bingo playing cards and a plurality of bar codes; and a sheet of questions with multiple available answers to each question.

3. A fanfold booklet of markable bingo sheets, the booklet comprising: a plurality of pages joined to each other such that a left edge of a page inside the booklet is joined to a right edge of a first adjacent page along a seam and a right edge of the page inside the booklet is joined to a left edge of a second adjacent page along a seam, and wherein the pages are foldable along the seam; each inside page comprising a sheet with bingo indicia present on both sides thereof, and a transparent coating over both sides of the sheet wherein the transparent coating, can be erasably marked with an appropriate marker; wherein indicia on at least one page includes a bar code.

4. A booklet according to claim 3 comprising a cover page with indicia indicating that the booklet contains bingo cards.

5. A booklet according to claim 3 wherein indicia on each inside page comprises a single bingo playing card.

6. A booklet according to claim 4 wherein indicia on each inside page comprises a single bingo playing card.

7. A booklet according to claim 3 wherein indicia on each inside page comprises a plurality of bingo playing cards.

8. A booklet according to claim 4 wherein indicia on each inside page comprises a plurality of bingo playing cards.

9. A booklet according to claim 3 wherein indicia on each inside page comprises at least one bar code.

10. A booklet according to claim 4 wherein indicia on each inside page comprises at least one bar code.

11. A booklet according to claim 5 wherein indicia on each inside page comprises at least one bar code.

12. A booklet according to claim 6 wherein indicia on each inside page comprises at least one bar code.

13. A booklet according to claim 7 wherein indicia on each inside page comprises at least one bar code.

14. A booklet according to claim 8 wherein indicia on each inside page comprises at least one bar code.

Description:
This invention is in the field of printed material, and in particular markable printed pages such as are marked by a player during a game, such as bingo cards.

BACKGROUND

Many activities involve marking pages that have indicia present on them prior to marking wherein such pages, once marked, need not be kept for future reference. In the course of such activities, it may be more convenient, more cost-effective, or less harmful to the environment to use reusable pages that have permanent indicia on them but can be temporarily marked and erased many times. The permanent indicia present on the pages can be for a variety of purposes, for example to provide an outline or a context for the temporary marks to be made or to identify and trace individual pages or booklets of pages among other similar but not identical pages or booklets of pages.

One example of the type of activities described in the foregoing paragraph is participation in the game of bingo. When playing bingo, participants each have one or more playing cards showing a matrix of semi-random numbers, typically but not always a twenty five number grid, with each column of numbers corresponding to one of the letters in the word “bingo.” In certain European forms of bingo, there are 90 numbers; other details of the game vary regionally as well. Central to the concept of bingo is that during the course of a game of bingo, numbers within an appropriate range are randomly generated and called out by the caller. The players mark the numbers on their cards that have been called until a sufficient number of the numbers have been marked by one player at which point the player has won the round. The number of numbers that must be marked vary with the specific type of bingo being played and is often based on a pattern within the matrix. The construction of the cards and the method used to mark numbers that have been called vary to some extent, but in general, disposable one-use cards are used in conjunction with ink-based “bingo dabbers” which are essentially ink markers.

Given that many bingo players typically play concurrent and consecutive games of bingo, each player often has several playing cards in play at once and/or at the table with them for subsequent games. The plurality of playing cards causes problems. Since the cards are often single-use, there is a large amount of waste paper generated in the course of playing bingo. It is also often difficult for the proprietor of a bingo hall to prevent players from reusing cards or from using cards which were not paid for. The plurality of cards can become disorganized and difficult for players to keep track of. Another problem unrelated to the number of cards being used by each patron but common in bingo halls where food and drink are consumed concurrently with the game is that the cards can become soiled or rendered unusable in the course of spilling food or drink.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,483,538 to Koppen et al discloses a reusable bingo card wherein small plastic doors are available for indicating which numbers have been called. The invention described is only partially reusable, being that the numbers remain printed on a removable and disposable piece of paper,. In addition, the '538 patent fails to address the concerns in relation to multiple cards being used by a patron. Further, such reusable cards would easily be damaged or destroyed if food or drink were spilled on them.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,877,253 to Arens discloses a reusable bingo card wherein the bingo playing cards are printed directly onto an opaque microporous layer that is in turn backed by a liquid-impervious sheet. This sheet can be temporarily marked with transparent fluids, such as ammonia or C11-C15 isoalkane mixtures, with the markings disappearing with evaporation. Similarly to the '538 patent, the '253 patent provides a bingo card which can be reused, and, unlike the invention described by the '538 patent, the cards described by the '253 patent can be organized into booklets, although the double-layered nature of the card would make it difficult to have bingo cards on both sides of a page. As with the '538 card, no provision is made as to controlling the dishonest reuse of such cards by patrons, and additional chemical coatings were needed in order to render the invention resistant to food or drink spills.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,762,339 to Olson discloses a reusable bingo card made out of transparent acetate or other plastic material, with the bingo playing cards being reverse-printed on the rear surface of the card and visible through the front surface, on which marks are made with a bingo dabber and can be erased for reuse. In the '339 patent, provision is made for inclusion of a bar code on the reusable card, for inventory control purposes, and these bingo playing cards can be organized into booklets, although due to the nature of the invention, the cards cannot be printed on both faces of each page. These bingo playing cards are expected to be spill-proof, but they are limited to being organized into booklets with bingo playing cards on one side of each page.

The reusable card can more readily be fraudulently reused by a dishonest patron, and so must be traceable by the proprietor of the bingo hall. Thus, the inclusion of bar codes or other methods to objectively register purchased playing cards or booklets of playing cards and to distinguish individual playing cards or booklets of playing cards allows reusable playing cards or booklets of playing cards to be offered for use by a bingo hall without facilitating dishonest practices among players such as reusing cards without paying to play the subsequent games of bingo. A system for using bar code-bearing bingo cards in order to control inventory is disclosed by Canadian patent 2,175,605 to the present applicant Khaladkar. Such a system could be used in conjunction with any bar code-marked bingo playing card in order to regulate which cards on the floor are in play.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to provide a booklet of reusable marked sheets or pages for games or like uses that overcome problems in the prior art.

In a first embodiment, the invention provides a fanfold booklet of markable pages. The booklet comprises a plurality of pages joined to each other such that a left edge of a page inside the booklet is joined to a right edge of a first adjacent page along a seam and a right edge of the page inside the booklet is joined to a left edge of a second adjacent page along a seam, and wherein the pages are foldable along the seam;. Each page comprises a sheet with indicia present on both sides thereof, and a transparent coating over both sides of the sheet wherein the transparent coating, can be erasably marked with an appropriate marker.

In a second embodiment, the invention provides a fanfold booklet of markable bingo sheets. The booklet comprises a plurality of pages joined to each other such that a left edge of a page inside the booklet is joined to a right edge of a first adjacent page along a seam and a right edge of the page inside the booklet is joined to a left edge of a second adjacent page along a seam, and wherein the pages are foldable along the seam. Each inside page comprises a sheet with bingo indicia present on both sides thereof, and a transparent coating over both sides of the sheet wherein the transparent coating, can be erasably marked with an appropriate marker. Indicia on at least one page includes a bar code.

The reusable fanfold booklet is composed of individual pages each of which contains a sheet with indicia printed on both sides thereof. This sheet is in turn covered on both sides with a transparent coating allowing the indicia on both sides of the page to be viewed while at the same time allowing for erasable marking over the indicia. Since many commonly-used methods for creation of permanent mono- or polychromatic indicia on one or both sides of a sheet exist, such coating can be performed on the sheets and the sheets can be joined into fanfold booklets during or after the coating process. The erasable marking can be done with conventional inks, for example those present in bingo dabbers. Coating the sheets not only facilitates erasable marking of the pages, but also renders them more resistant to unintentional discoloration or staining following accidental exposure to food and drinks that would cause such damage to sheets that are not laminated. The pages are joined together by the lamination along their edges into a fanfold arrangement. The fanfold arrangement of the booklet allows the pages to be continuously turned through the entire booklet, with the last page leading back to the first. Further, if such activities require multiple pages that can be used either sequentially or concurrently, then containment of said multiple pages within a fanfold booklet will facilitate either type of use while conserving space and maintaining order. The fanfold arrangement of a booklet also allows simultaneous viewing of as much of the material present on one side of the booklet as is permitted by the available space on the table or like surface on which the booklet is placed.

The booklet can be applied to use in the game of bingo, providing a reusable, traceable, convenient, and spill-proof fanfold booklet of bingo playing cards by permanently marking the pages with indicia constituting bingo playing cards. The presence of bar codes among the permanent indicia on the cover or other pages of the fanfold booklet allows individual booklets and individual pages to be easily tracked and accounted for in conjunction with bar code scanning devices in order to mitigate the use and/or reuse of individual booklets and/or individual pages the use of which was not paid for during a given playing session.

In addition, this invention would be useful not only in playing bingo or similar games, but also has potential applications in education or other activities wherein a reusable fanfold booklet would be useful.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

While the invention is claimed in the concluding portions hereof, preferred embodiments are provided in the accompanying detailed description which may be best understood in conjunction with the accompanying diagrams where like parts in each of the several diagrams are labeled with like numbers, and where:

FIG. 1 is an example of a cover page for the fanfold booklet.

FIG. 2 is an example of a page with several bingo playing cards marked as indica.

FIG. 3 is a schematic perspective view demonstrating the fanfold connection between pages joined along their long edges.

FIG. 4 is a schematic perspective view demonstrating the fanfold connection between pages joined along their short edges.

FIG. 5 is a schematic cross-sectional view of adjacent pages showing the layers therein; the scale is exaggerated for illustrative purposes;

FIG. 6 illustrates a typical bingo playing card;

FIG. 7 illustrates a booklet page with multiple-choice questions and answers.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE ILLUSTRATED EMBODIMENTS

FIGS. 1-2 illustrate potential indicia that can be printed on the sheets making up the pages of the booklet. FIG. 1 illustrates an example of a cover page with space 100 for indicia such an illustration or for information about the game and a bar code 110. The bar code 110 can be used for verification of sales to prevent dishonest use of a stolen booklet. FIG. 2 shows a page from the body of a booklet configured for playing bingo, with indicia comprising a plurality of bingo playing cards 200 and a plurality of bar codes 210 corresponding to each column of three cards. The bar codes 210 could be used for selectively registering participants in some games but not others, allowing players to use the same booklet regardless of the number of games they purchase cards for, or the number of cards that are played in each game.

A single bar code 110 could be used to identify the entire booklet, or separate bar codes can be used to identify sections of the booklet.

FIGS. 3-4 illustrate the fanfold nature of the booklet. FIG. 3 shows a six-page booklet assembled with the pages joined at a seam 300 along their long edges by the coating or like means known in the art. There are two sections in the booklet, with the first section having a cover page 310, a first page 320 printed on the reverse side of cover page 310, intermediate pages 330, and a last page 340. The second section has a cover page 350, printed on the reverse side of last page 340, and so on through a first page 360, intermediate pages 370, to a last page 380. The fanfold nature of the booklet allows one to continuously turn pages from the cover page 310 of the first section through pages 320-340 of the first section, the cover page 350 of the second section, the first and intermediate pages 360-370 of the second section, and to finish on the last page 380 of the second section. At this point, the booklet can be restarted at the cover page 310 of the first section by turning the page again.

FIG. 4 shows a six-page booklet assembled with the pages joined at a seam 400 along their short edges. Here there are is only one section in the booklet, having a cover page 410, a first page 420 printed on the reverse side of cover page 410, intermediate pages 430, and a last page 440. The fanfold nature of the booklet allows one to continuously turn pages from the cover page 410 through first page 420 and intermediate pages 430, to finish on the last page 440. At this point, the booklet is finished or can be restarted at the cover page 410 of the first section by turning the page again.

A booklet can be made with any combination of features from FIGS. 3-4. The booklet can be made with pages joined along their long edges or short edges, and have various sections and markings as desired. The booklets are amenable to turning the pages right to left as in FIG. 3 or bottom to top as in FIG. 4.

FIG. 5 shows a schematic cross sectional view of adjacent pages comprising the booklet. FIG. 5 shows adjacent pages with layers of coating 500 on either face of a single sheet 510. Indicia would be printed on both sides 520 of the sheet 510, and the indicia would be visible through the coating 500. The thickness of the coating layers 500 and of the sheet 510 have been exaggerated for illustrative purposes. The pages are joined to one another by the coating extending beyond the pages and joined at seam 530 along which the booklets are folded. The coating 500 would be amenable to repeated marking and erasing by an appropriate marker, for example a bingo dabber. The coating 500 would also protect the sheets 510 from damage caused by exposure to water or other fluids and by exposure to grease. For example, the illustrated embodiment is made waterproof by the presence of the coating 500.

FIG. 6 illustrates a typical bingo playing card such as would be portrayed by the bingo indicia on a sheet. Each of the letters of the word “bingo” 600 with the exception of “n” 610 corresponds to a column 620 of five distinct numbers 630; the letter “n” 610 corresponds to a column 640 of four numbers 630 and a free square 650. Although in a typical bingo game involves the use of numbers 630, the same positions 630 on the card can be occupied by any group of distinct symbols as long as the symbols are all differentiable from each other.

Although the description above relates to bingo cards it is contemplated that a reusable fanfold booklet of the invention could be utilized in other activities, such as educational exercise booklets where the bar code is identified with a student, and wherein the indicia are questions, for example educational questions with multiple available answers to each question. The student could use the erasable marker to indicate answers on the pages, which would then be erased and reused. FIG. 7 for example illustrates a typical multiple-choice question format. The question 700 is posed followed by a selection of possible answers 710, one or more of which may be correct. The person answering the question then selects one or more answer(s) 710 and indicates their selection with an appropriate mark.

The foregoing is considered as illustrative only of the principles of the invention. Further, since numerous changes and modifications will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation shown and described, and accordingly, all such suitable changes or modifications in structure or operation which may be resorted to are intended to fall within the scope of the claimed invention.