Title:
Apparatus and Method for Advertising and Display of Mattress Coverings
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An apparatus for displaying bedding at the point of sale of a mattress includes a fitted covering for positioning on a mattress. The covering includes a surface having a plurality of different bedding materials applied to the surface for display purposes. The covering includes a top wall and a side wall, and a plurality of panels or layers of bedding material may be coupled to the top wall. A method for advertising and displaying bedding for a mattress includes the steps of providing a covering having two or more different types of bedding material for partially covering a mattress and applying the covering to a mattress at the point of sale such that the different types of bedding materials are visible to a consumer. The covering does not completely obscure the top surface of the mattress. The types of bedding materials are sheets, mattress pads, blankets, and comforters.



Inventors:
Wootten, Gerald (Cullman, AL, US)
Application Number:
11/872321
Publication Date:
04/17/2008
Filing Date:
10/15/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
5/496, 5/497
International Classes:
A47C31/00; A47G9/02; A47G9/04
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20090139029ADJUSTABLE BED FRAMEJune, 2009Rawls-meehan
20070199153Inflatable pad assembly with inflatable back padAugust, 2007Wu
20050039260Combined tote-bag, seat cushion, blanketFebruary, 2005Tyler
20050150050Novelty neck pillowJuly, 2005Wolf et al.
20070266498Infant changing padNovember, 2007John et al.
20070067915Shaped pillow systemMarch, 2007Pryor
20050120482Prayer aidJune, 2005Robie
20090235457Medical Table Foot and Leg Support SystemSeptember, 2009Harvey
20040261175Sundries caddy for furnitureDecember, 2004May
20020007513Blanket clipJanuary, 2002Wilson
20050076435Health beddingApril, 2005Kim et al.



Primary Examiner:
LIU, JONATHAN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PATENT GROUP 2N (CLEVELAND, OH, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An apparatus for application to a mattress having a top surface, a side surface, and a lower surface, said apparatus comprising: a top member having an outer edge and a size that is smaller than the size of a top surface of a mattress; a side member that is coupled to and extends downwardly from the top member along at least a portion of the outer edge of the top member, said side member having a size that allows the side member to extend at least partially over a side surface of a mattress; a band member coupled at its ends to at least one of the side member and the top member and having a length sufficient to extend under a lower surface of a mattress, wherein the apparatus has a size such that it partially covers a portion of a mattress and the top member and the side member are at least in part made of different materials.

2. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the top member is substantially rectangular, the outer edge includes four sides, and the side member extends downwardly from three of the four sides

3. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising an elastic band that is coupled to an exposed edge of the side member.

4. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the band member has a length such that it extends across a width of a mattress, and further comprising corner straps that are coupled to corners of the side member.

5. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the band member comprises one or more corner straps that are coupled to the corners of the side member.

6. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the band member is a continuous elastic strap that is coupled to the side member at either end of said strap.

7. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising an advertising strip positioned along at least part of the outer edge of the top member for displaying advertising indicia, wherein the advertising strip is a strip of elastic having a width wide enough to display advertising indicia.

8. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising a sheet coupled to the top member for covering at least part of the top member.

9. The apparatus of claim 8, wherein the sheet is one of transparent or opaque and is movable relative to the top member.

10. The apparatus of claim 9, wherein the sheet is vinyl and is coupled to the apparatus via fasteners, with the fasteners comprising one of buttons, snaps, rings, rivets, or hook and loop tape.

11. The apparatus of claim 2, wherein the side member comprises three panels, each of which extends downwardly from one of the four outer edges of the top member; the side member panels being sewn together at the corners of the top member; and further comprising an elastic strip coupled to at least part of the exposed edge of the side member, with the elastic providing a form-fitting quality to the apparatus when seated on a mattress.

12. The apparatus of claim 11, wherein a first section of the side member is at a first end, a second panel of the side member is at a second end, and a third panel of the side member is positioned between the first and second panels in the middle, and the panel in the middle comprises one or more of a first material and a different second material.

13. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the top member comprises a plurality of panels that comprise different materials from one another, said panels being sewn together to form the top member; and the side member comprises one or more panels that are joined together, with the joined panels being one of the same as or different materials from one another.

14. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the top member comprises a top wall and a plurality of layers of different bedding materials are positioned at least partially over the top wall, with the plurality of layers being arranged in a manner conducive to the display of the different bedding materials.

15. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the top member comprises a top wall and a plurality of panels are coupled to the top wall and positioned at least partially over the top wall, and the top wall of the top member comprises one or more panels and the panels are one of the same as or different materials from one another, and the plurality of panels all comprise materials that are different materials from one another; and the plurality of panels are coupled to the top wall around at least a portion of the outer edges thereof.

16. An apparatus for displaying bedding at the point of sale of a mattress comprising: a fitted covering for positioning on a mattress, said covering including a surface having a plurality of different bedding materials applied to the surface for display purposes.

17. The apparatus of claim 16, wherein the fitted covering is an enclosure that at least partially encloses a mattress; and the different bedding materials represent one or more of sheets, mattress pads, blankets, and comforters.

18. The apparatus of claim 16, wherein the surface comprises a top wall that is configured for seating on an upper surface of a mattress, said top wall having coupled thereto the plurality of bedding materials; further comprising a side wall coupled to the top wall, wherein the side wall displays one or more different types of bedding materials; and wherein the plurality of bedding materials are arranged on the surface such that each different type of bedding is at least in part visible.

19. The apparatus of claim 16, wherein the plurality of bedding materials are fixedly arranged on the surface such that some of the different bedding materials are partially obscured by other bedding materials, with some of the bedding materials being movable relative to other bedding materials in order to more easily view larger sections of the respective bedding materials; and wherein the different bedding materials are one of removably affixed or permanently affixed to the top wall, and the removably affixed materials are affixed via a removable fastener.

20. The apparatus of claim 16, further comprising a protective cover member positioned over the surface.

21. The apparatus of claim 20, wherein the protective cover member is removable and transparent; the protective cover member includes a plurality of button holes; and further comprising a plurality of rings that are coupled to the surface and to the button holes such that the protective cover member is rotatable around the rings.

22. A method for advertising and displaying bedding for a mattress comprising: providing a covering for partially covering a mattress, said covering comprising at least two different types of bedding materials; and applying the covering to a mattress at the point of sale for the mattress such that the different types of bedding materials are visible to a consumer on the mattress, but the covering does not completely obscure the top surface of the mattress, wherein the types of bedding materials are one or more of sheets, mattress pads, blankets, and comforters.

23. The method of claim 22, wherein the bedding materials include two or more of an anti-allergen mattress pad, a waterproof mattress pad, a breathable mattress pad, a first sheet having a first thread count, a second sheet having a second thread count, a third sheet having a third thread count, a fourth sheet having a fourth thread count, a blanket, and a comforter.

24. The method of claim 29, wherein the covering further comprises advertising indicia associated therewith, a pocket coupled to the covering for holding removable advertising materials, and a transparent member for covering at least a portion of said covering, with the transparent member being made of a vinyl material and being movable relative to the covering; and the method further comprises stocking advertising material in the pocket.

25. The method of claim 29, wherein the covering further comprises advertising indicia associated with the covering and a side display coupled to the covering, wherein advertising indicia is associated with the side display to describe the various bedding materials being displayed.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/829,512, filed Oct. 13, 2006.

FIELD

This technology relates to an apparatus and a method for advertising and displaying mattress coverings at the point of sale of a mattress. In particular, the technology concerns an apparatus and method for advertising and displaying bedding in a mattress store.

BACKGROUND

Mattress stores are a prime location for the advertising of bedding, such as mattress pads, sheets, comforters, blankets, and the like. It is desirable to be able to display bedding on a mattress in a mattress store so that a user can observe the feel and fit of the bedding on the mattress. However, mattress sales person are remiss to allow a bedding company to do anything that would entirely cover a mattress from view, believing any such display would detract from potential sales of the underlying mattress.

Examples of fitted sheet designs are described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,983,500, U.S. Pat. No. 6,799,341, and U.S. Pat. No. 5,513,403, all to Gerald Wootten, the disclosures of which are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety.

SUMMARY

In accordance with the teachings described herein, an apparatus for application to a mattress, an apparatus for displaying bedding on a mattress, and a method for advertising and displaying bedding for a mattress are described.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIGURES

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an example covering for a mattress installed on a mattress;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of an alternative example covering for a mattress;

FIG. 3 is an expanded perspective view of the example covering shown in FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a top perspective view of the example covering depicted in FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is a bottom perspective view of the covering in FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is an expanded perspective view of the covering in FIG. 4;

FIG. 7 is another expanded perspective view of the covering in FIG. 4;

FIG. 8 is an alternative example covering for a mattress;

FIG. 9 is another alternative example covering for a mattress;

FIG. 10 is an expanded perspective view of an alternative covering for a mattress;

FIG. 11 is an alternative example covering shown installed on a side of a mattress;

FIG. 12 is an alternative example covering shown installed at the head 22 of a mattress;

FIG. 13 is an alternative example covering showing an alternative way to educate a consumer about the different bedding materials being displayed; and

FIG. 14 is an alternative example covering showing different features that are coupled to the covering for describing the bedding materials or for otherwise advertising the bedding material.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The example mattress covering 10 depicted and described herein is intended for use in advertising and displaying different types and qualities of bedding in a mattress store setting. Mattress store owners and salespersons hesitate to install sheets, blankets, and other bedding over mattresses 12 that are for sale in their showrooms for fear that the overlying covering will obscure the view of the mattress 12, and, thus, limit or reduce their level of sales. In order to meet the concerns of the mattress store owners and salespersons, the example covering 10 was designed to provide advertising and display of bedding, but in a manner where the display does not completely cover the mattress 12. As shown in FIGS. 1, 11, and 12, an example covering 10 may be fitted on a mattress 12 in a manner that provides a significant amount of uncovered space 14 on the mattress, while allowing the bedding materials 16 to be displayed to a consumer.

FIG. 1 shows an example covering 10 that is fitted around the foot end 18 of a mattress 12. FIG. 11 shows an example covering 10 that is fitted around a side edge 20 of a mattress 12, and FIG. 12 depicts an example covering 10 that is fitted around a head end 22 of a mattress 12. The head end 22 of the mattress 12 is typically the area where a consumer's head will rest. The foot end 18 of a mattress 12 is typically the area of the mattress 12 where the consumer's feet will rest. Although not shown, other positions for the example covering 10 are also possible for the covering 10. For example, the covering 10 could be L-shaped and take up a larger area of the mattress 12. The covering 10 could be triangular, spanning a corner of the mattress 12. Any shape envisioned by those of skill in the art would be covered by the present disclosure.

FIGS. 2 and 3 depict a first example covering 10, FIGS. 1, 4, and 5-9 depict a second example covering 10, FIG. 10 depicts a third example covering 10, FIG. 11 depicts a fourth example covering 10, FIG. 12 depicts a fifth example covering 10, FIG. 13 depicts a sixth example covering 10, and FIG. 14 depicts a seventh example covering 10. For reference purposes, the front 24 of the covering 10 is the end that is open and into which the mattress 12 seats. The bottom 26 of the covering 10 is the portion opposite the front 24, and the sides of the covering 10 are each positioned between the front and the rear of the covering 10. The bottom 26 of the covering 10 is that portion of the covering 10 that will seat against the mattress 12 when the covering 10 is installed on a mattress 12.

Each covering 10 includes a top surface or top wall 28 made of one or more types of bedding material 16 and a side surface or side wall 30 that is coupled to the top wall 28 via stitching or some other means of coupling. The top wall 28 may be a single type of material or multiple types of materials. Where multiple materials are used on the top wall 28, they may be formed as panels 32 that are stitched together to form the top wall 28. The top wall 28 has associated therewith a plurality of different bedding materials 16. The bedding materials 16 are positioned over at least part of the top wall 28 and may be formed as layers 34 that are layered or positioned over the top wall 28 of the covering 10. The top wall 28 may include an exposed portion 36, with a portion hidden under the layers of bedding materials 16. Alternatively, the top wall 28 may be obscured by the layers 34 of bedding materials 16, as shown in FIGS. 11 and 12.

The side surface or side wall 30 may be continuous or formed from several different panels. The side wall 30 may be formed as sections 38 that are sewn together along seams. The seams may be aligned with corners of the top wall 28, or may be positioned at other locations. The side wall 30 is coupled to the top wall 28 in any know manner, such as by sewing. In the embodiments shown, the side wall 30 forms a continuous side boundary for the covering 10, with the side wall 30 being positioned directly against the mattress 12. The side wall 30 may be a stretchy, elastic material, such as fabric typically associated with the side wall of a mattress pad. The stretchy side walls 30 allow the covering 10 to be positioned on any number of thicknesses of mattresses 12 and help to maintain the covering 10 on the mattress 12.

A strip of elastic 40, such as a one inch thick folded over elastic may be positioned around the free, exposed edge 42 of the side wall 30. Other types and applications of elastic may alternatively be utilized in different widths. The elastic strip 40 is sewn to the edge of the side wall 30 along the entire periphery of the exposed edge 42 of the side wall 30. Alternatively, the elastic may be positioned at spaced locations along the length of the exposed edge, such as only at the corners, if desired. The elastic 40 doesn't have to be folded over the side wall 30 and could simply be positioned on one side of the wall 30. Thinner, thicker, narrower, or wider types of elastic could also be utilized. The exposed edge 42 of the side wall 30 of the covering 10 will typically be along the bottom edge of the side wall 30 and the exposed sides 44 at the front of the side wall 30. The elastic edging 40 may be coupled to the edge of the side wall 30 in any known manner.

A band 46 may be coupled to the bottom edge of the covering 10 at opposite side walls 30. In one example, the band 46 is connected at the front end 24 of the covering 10 via stitching and extends under a mattress 12 when the covering 10 is installed on a mattress 12. This band 46 may be a 1 inch wide elastic. Alternatively or in addition thereof elastic bands 48 may be formed at corners on the lower side of the covering 10. The bands 46 are coupled to opposite sections 38 of the side walls 30 at the base thereof and span a corner of the covering 10. The bands 46 at the corners could be used in place of a band 36 that extends across the covering 10, or in addition to such a band 36 in order to provide a closer fit. In addition, an elastic edge 50 may be sewn to the front edge of the top surface. This elastic edge 50 is for decorative purposes and may also be utilized for displaying advertising indicia, such as the manufacturer or brand name. All of the elastic may be used for advertising purposes. In addition, the side walls 30 and top wall 28 could also be configured to allow a user to display advertising material, such as wording or pictures, on these parts of the covering 10. The elastic and stretchy side walls 30 help to provide a fitted covering 10 that is easily maintained on a mattress 12, with little maintenance, such as rearranging, required by the sales staff.

The different types of bedding materials 16 that may be displayed on the covering 10 include mattress pads 52, sheets 54, blankets 56 and comforters 58, among other types of bedding. The side walls 30 of the covering 10 may also be used to display bedding. For instance, an elastic, stretchy material from a mattress pad 52 may be utilized to form the side walls 30 of the covering 10. The elastic strips 48 may be the same type of elastic that is utilized in the manufacture of sheets, mattress pads and other bedding. All the parts of the covering 10 may be selected from actual bedding products. Alternatively, the various parts of the covering 10 may not be indicative of actual bedding products.

Referring in greater detail to the example covering 10 of FIGS. 2 and 3, a fitted covering 10 for a mattress 12 is depicted as including a top wall 28 that includes two different bedding materials 16 that comprise a first mattress pad 52 and a second mattress pad 60. The top wall 28 is rectangular or substantially rectangular. A substantially rectangular top wall 28 may, for example, have slightly rounded corners at the bottom of the covering 10. The top wall 28 has an outer periphery defining an outer edge 62. Because the depicted example is rectangular, the outer edge 62 include four sides.

The covering 10 includes three side sections 38 that together make up the side wall 30. Each side section 38 has a length that is substantially equal to the length of the side edge 62 it is coupled to. Each side section 38 is coupled to the top wall 28 along the corresponding side edge 62 and is sewn to the top wall 28, with the seam facing inwardly. In addition, each side section 38 is sewn to the adjacent side section 38 along a seam that extends inwardly. The seams of the side sections 38 are formed at the corners of the top wall 28 and extend downwardly from the corners of the top wall 28 to define a box-like shape. In the example coverings 10 depicted in FIGS. 2 and 3, the side sections 38 are all made of the same material, such as an elastic fabric that is typically utilized on the side walls 30 of mattress pads 52. Because the material of the side walls 30 is stretchy, it can easily be pulled around the sides 20 of the mattress 12 and under the mattress 12 in order to more readily hold the covering 10 in position on the mattress 12. In addition, the stretchy material allows the covering 10 to be positioned on any number of thicknesses of mattresses 12.

As discussed above, an edging in the form of a piece of elastic 40 that is folded over the exposed edge 42 is utilized around the side wall 30, as is an elastic band 46 that extends under the mattress 12, and corner straps 48 that extend under the mattress 12 in the corners. The elastic band 46 assists in holding the covering 10 in position on the mattress 12. The elastic band 46 is oriented such that it is parallel to the front edge 24 of the covering 10. In addition, a top elastic strip 50 is shown coupled to the front edge 24 of the top wall 28 and serves as trim along the front edge 24 of the covering 10. As shown, the elastic strip 50 at the front edge 24 of the top wall 28 includes advertising indicia, such as a brand or manufacturer's name. It could also include product identifying information or other information. The elastic strip 50 at the front edge 24 could be wider if more advertising indicia is needed, or could be made of a different material, if desired. The strip 50 could also be smaller and narrower.

As is shown best in FIG. 3, a plurality of additional different bedding materials 16 in the form of panels 32 are coupled to the top wall 28 of the covering 10. The panels 32 are sewn to the covering 10 along the seam 64 between the side walls 30 and the top wall 28, with the seam facing inwardly. The additional bedding materials 16 overlap one another and the top wall 28, with a front section 36 of the top wall 28 being visible and the additional bedding materials 16 being positioned such that they do not entirely obscure the top wall 28 from view. Since the panels 32 are only sewn on three of their four sides, the panels 32 are movable to reveal underlying materials and may be lifted up relative to the other panels in order to view greater portions of the bedding material 16. In addition, the mattress pad materials 52, 60 that underlie the additional bedding materials 16 also are made more visible by pulling back the overlying bedding materials 16.

As shown in FIG. 3, when the covering 10 is installed on a mattress 12, a portion of the side wall 30 wraps around the bottom of the mattress 12. This helps to maintain the covering 10 on the mattress 12. In addition, corner straps 48 are shown provided in the corners of the side walls 30 and span the corners of the covering 10 near the bottom end 26. The corner straps 48 couple adjacent side wall sections 38 to one another and also assist in retaining the covering 10 on the mattress 12. One type of corner strap 48 that may be utilized is discussed in greater detail in U.S. Pat. No. 5,513,403. Other types of corner straps 48 may alternatively be utilized. The corner straps 48 may be larger or smaller and may span a greater area of the underside of the covering 10. It is envisioned that the corner straps 48 may be made so large that opposing straps 48 could overlap one another.

FIG. 1 depicts another example covering 10 positioned at the foot end 18 of a mattress 12. The mattress 12 has a top surface 14 and a continuous side surface 20. Advertising material in the form of a standing display card 66 for the mattress 12 is depicted sitting on the top surface 14 of the mattress 12. The example covering 10 is unobtrusive and does not detract from the overall appearance of the mattress 12. In addition, a large amount of unexposed surface area 14 remains on top of the mattress 12 for advertising materials for the mattress 12 itself or for consumers to lie on the mattress 12. The covering 10 depicted in FIG. 1 has a side wall 30 that completely covers the respective side surfaces 20 of the mattress 12. However, it should be understood that side walls 30 may be designed that only partially cover the sides 20 of a mattress 12 or that comprise several straps for holding the top wall 28 of the covering 10 in place (not shown). Thus, the disclosure is not limited to a covering 10 having solid side walls 30 or solid top walls 28.

FIGS. 4-7 depict the covering 10 of FIG. 1 in greater detail. The covering 10 in this second example is similar to that of the first example, except for the side wall 30 of the covering 10 is formed from two sections 38 that are stitched together at approximately the center of the bottom wall 26 of the covering 10. FIG. 5 depicts the underside of the mattress 12 when the covering 10 is installed on the mattress 12. As is evident, the combination of the band 46, the elastic 40 around the exposed edges 42 of the side panels 32 and the corner elastic straps 48 provides for a snug fit of the covering 10 on the mattress 12. This is advantageous because a consumer should not be able to easily remove the covering 10 by casual contact, such as by testing out the mattress 12.

FIGS. 8 and 9 depict a variation of the second example covering 10, shown in FIGS. 1 and 4-7. The covering 10 in FIGS. 8 and 9 include a removable vinyl or plastic sheet 68 or protective covering that is transparent. The vinyl sheet 68 is intended to protect the different bedding materials 16 that are associated with the top wall 28 of the cover 10. A sheet of vinyl 68 that only extends over the top surface is the only example of the sheet depicted in the figures. However, the vinyl 68 could have any size and shape. It could have side panels that fold down over the sides and bottom side of the cover 10, if desired. The edges of the vinyl 68 may be reinforced in a known manner, if desired. Transparent materials other than vinyl may also be used. Non-transparent materials could also be used if desired. The sheet 68 could include advertising indicia (not shown), whether transparent or not, or vinyl or not. The advertising indicia could be applied by transfers, stickers, writing, or otherwise, as known by those of skill in the art.

In the example of FIG. 8, vinyl sheet 68 has grommets 70 and rings 72 for coupling the vinyl sheet to the covering 10. The rings 72 are like rings you would typically see on a ring binder notebook, for example. Any type of rings may be utilized. The rings 72 are coupled to the covering 10 in any known manner and are positioned inside the grommets 70 that are positioned on the vinyl sheet 68. The grommets 68 and rings 72 are positioned at spaced locations along the width of the covering 10. In operation of this example, the vinyl sheet 68 can be rotated upwardly in the manner of flipping a flip chart in order to reveal the underlying bedding materials 16. Instead of grommets 70, button holes 74 could be stitched into the vinyl sheet layer 68, with the rings 72 being inserted through the button holes 74. In addition to being movable, the vinyl sheet 68 could be removed by opening the rings 72.

FIG. 9 depicts a variation of the vinyl sheet 68 of FIG. 8 where the vinyl sheet 68 has button holes 74 stitched at spaced locations along its front edge. Buttons 76 are sewn to the top wall 28 of the covering 10 for association with the button holes 74. In this example, the vinyl sheet 68 is easily removed from the top wall 28 by unbuttoning the buttons 76. The vinyl sheet 68 is movable in a manner discussed above in connection with FIG. 8. The vinyl sheet 68 may be folded up and over itself to reveal the underlying bedding materials 16.

FIG. 10 depicts a third example alternative cover 10 similar to those previously discussed, but, in this example, a greater number of bedding materials 16 are presented. In this example, the top wall 28 of the cover 10 includes three panels of different mattress pad materials 52, 60, 78. The side wall 30 includes three different sections 38 of material. Layers 34 of bedding materials 16 overlie the top wall 28 and include a larger panel 80 made up of three different sheets 54 or other bedding 16, a smaller panel 82 of a different bedding material 16, such as a comforter 58 or blanket 56, and a protective vinyl sheet 68 having button holes 74 for affixing to buttons 76 on the top wall 28, or to rings 72 coupled to the top wall 28. The bedding material of the top wall 28 includes three panels 32 that are stitched together. The bedding material of the side wall 30 includes three sections 38 that are stitched together. The lower panel 80 that covers the top wall 28 includes three panels of sheets 54 that are stitched together. The upper panel 82 that covers the lower panel 80 is depicted as a single material, but could be multiple materials. Additional panels could also be added. The side walls 30 and upper and lower panels 82, 80 are sewn to the top wall 28 by stitching, with the seam facing inwardly. The vinyl sheet 68 is positioned over the top wall 28 to provide protection from dirt and wear. As is evident from this and the prior examples, any number of combinations or arrangements of bedding material 16 may easily be displayed on the cover 10.

FIG. 11 depicts an fourth example covering 10 where the covering 10 is positioned longitudinally on a mattress 12, with the front edge 24 of the covering 10 being the wider edge. This example may be advantageous in that a user who lies on the mattress 12 may feel the different bedding materials 16 under part of his or her body, which hopefully sparks an interest on the part of the consumer in the bedding. FIG. 12 is similar to FIG. 11 except for the covering 10 is shown positioned at the head 22 of the bed in an orientation that is transverse to the longitudinal axis of the mattress 12.

FIG. 13 shows a sixth alternative example covering 10 positioned at the foot 18 of a mattress 12. In this example, a side wall 30 is coupled to a top wall 28 having three different bedding material panels 32 that are stitched together to form a rectangular shape for the top wall 28. The three different bedding materials 16 of the top wall 28 may be mattress pads 52, 60, 78 or other bedding materials 16. Four other bedding materials 16 are coupled to the top wall 28 as individual overlapping layers or panels 34 and are stitched to the cover 10 along two outer edges of the top wall 28. The bedding materials 16 in this example may be folded back to reveal a larger portion of the adjacent or underlying bedding material 16.

FIG. 14 depicts a seventh alternative example covering 10 where the covering 10 is positioned at the foot 18 of a mattress 12. A hang tag or patch 84 is positioned on the left side of the side wall 30 of the covering 10 and includes indicia 86 identifying each type of bedding present on the top wall 28. The information provided on this tag or patch 84 may include type of material, thread count, material composition, as well as other things. FIG. 14 also includes a hang tag 88 positioned at the foot 18 of the mattress 12. The hang tag 88 includes an opening or pocket 90 for housing brochures 92 that can be used to advertise the bedding material 16. The pocket 90 is shown as being sewn into the seam between the side wall 30 and the top wall 28. Alternatively, the hanging pocket 88 could be coupled with hook and loop tape, snaps, buttons, or by any other known means of attachment. The pocket 90 could be positioned at any location around the side walls 30 of the covering 10. Multiple pockets could be provided and may be removable and replaceable or permanent.

Examples of bedding materials 16 that may be utilized with the covering 10 include sheets 54, mattress pads 52, 60, 78, blankets 56, and comforters 58. Example sheets that may be utilized, by way of example, include 100% Egyptian Cotton with a thread count of 420 (TC420) including a ⅜ inch woven stripe; 100% Pima Cotton Sateen having a thread count of 310 (TC310); 100% combed cotton sateen having a thread count of 250 (TC250); a 50/50 poly/cotton blend having a thread count of 250 (TC250); and a 50/50 poly/cotton blend with a thread count of 200 (TC200). Other thread counts and material contents may also be utilized, such as TC300, TC400, TC500, TC600, TC800, and TC1000. Other types of materials may be used including cottons, polyesters, knits, and the like. The bedding materials 16 may be mattress pads 52, 60, 78, such as the HealthGuard™ Pad by HomTex, Inc., which is an anti-allergen, anti-microbial, waterproof quilted pad; an All Seasons Pad™, by HomTex, Inc., which is a reversible, anti-allergen pad with a cooler side and a warmer side; or an Essential Mattress Protector™, also by HomTex, Inc., which is a waterproof terry cloth pad. Other types of materials may be utilized, including different sheets, different mattress pads, blankets, comforters, and the like, the disclosure not being limited to particular types or kinds of materials. Each of these materials 16 may be utilized on a cover 10 on the top wall 28 or as panels or layers 34 that are positioned over the top wall 28. In addition, the side walls 30 may be formed from a material that is found on the side walls of mattress pads, fitted sheets, or the like in order to hold the covering 10 firmly in place on the mattress 12. As previously discussed, any type of elastic may be used, including wider, thinner, stronger, or weaker elastics. Each of the seams may be reinforced, if desired, to avoid fraying of the materials.

The terms “enclosure” and “cover” or “covering,” as used herein are meant to refer to anything that partially surrounds a mattress 12. The enclosure or covering 10 may have one or more solid sides, or may have no solid sides. Straps could be used to enclose a mattress 12, with materials attached to the straps such that the underlying mattress 12 may or may not be partially visible at points through the enclosure or covering 10. The terms enclosure and covering 10 are not limited to apparatus that completely enclose or wrap around a part, and are used in the context herein to mean that the covering 10 at least partially surrounds a mattress 12. The enclosure or covering 10 does not necessarily have to hem or shut in the mattress 12 because portions of the mattress 12 may be exposed through the enclosure, if desired. In the depicted examples, the underside of the mattress 12 is visible through the enclosure when the enclosure is seated around the mattress 12, while parts of the side and top surfaces are fully enclosed. However, the examples described herein may also have portions of the top and sides that are visible through the enclosure, if desired. The examples discussed herein should not be interpreted to limit the apparatus to a device that has solid surfaces.

While the band 46 was discussed as being elastic, it should be understood that the band 46 could be something other than elastic. For example, two straps could be coupled to opposing side walls 30, with hook and loop tape positioned at the ends of the straps such that when the covering 10 is slid onto a mattress 12, the user may reach under the mattress 12 to couple the ends of the straps together. Another alternative involves using a cord or rope that extends from opposing sides of the side wall. The cord can be tied together under the mattress 12. Other examples are also possible, as known to those of skill in the art.

The seams of the covering 10 may be reinforced, if desired. The elastic trim around the side wall exposed edges may be one long continuous edge or may be individual sections of elastic that are sewn and tacked to the edge of the side wall. The bands and straps may be tacked to their respective connection points in a reinforced manner.

An apparatus for application to a mattress having a top surface, a side surface, and a lower surface comprises a top member, a side member, and a band member. The top member has an outer edge and a size that is smaller than the size of a top surface of a mattress. The side member is coupled to and extends downwardly from the top member along at least a portion of the outer edge of the top member. The side member has a size that allows the side member to extend at least partially over a side surface of a mattress. The band member is coupled at its ends to at least one of the side member and the top member and has a length sufficient to extend under a lower surface of a mattress. The apparatus has a size such that it partially covers a portion of a mattress and the top member and the side member are at least in part made of different materials.

The top member may be substantially rectangular. The outer edge of the top member may include four sides. The side member may extend downwardly from three of the four sides. The apparatus may further comprise an elastic band that is coupled to an exposed edge of the side member.

The band member may have a length such that it extends across a width of a mattress. The apparatus may further comprise corner straps that are coupled to corners of the side surfaces. The band member may comprise one or more corner straps that are coupled to the corners of the side surfaces. The band member may be a continuous elastic strap that is coupled to the side member at either end of said strap.

The apparatus may further comprise an advertising strip positioned along at least part of the outer edge of the top member for displaying advertising indicia. The advertising strip may be a strip of elastic having a width wide enough to display advertising indicia.

The apparatus may further comprise a sheet coupled to the top member for covering at least part of the top member. The sheet may be one of transparent or opaque and is movable relative to the top member. The sheet may be vinyl and may be coupled to the apparatus via fasteners, with the fasteners comprising one of buttons, snaps, rings, rivets, or hook and loop tape.

The side member may comprise three sections, each of which extends downwardly from one of the four outer edges of the top member. The side member sections may be sewn together at the corners of the top member and may further comprise an elastic strip coupled to at least part of the exposed edge of the side member, with the elastic providing a form-fitting quality to the apparatus when seated on a mattress.

A first section of the side member may be positioned at a first end. A second section of the side member may be positioned at a second end. A third section of the side member may be positioned between the first and second panels in the middle. The section in the middle comprises one or more of a first material and a different second material.

The top member may comprise a plurality of panels that comprise different materials from one another. The panels may be sewn together to form the top member. The side member may comprise one or more sections that are joined together, with the joined sections being one of the same as or different materials from one another.

The top member may comprise a top wall. A plurality of layers of different bedding materials may be positioned at least partially over the top wall, with the plurality of layers being arranged in a manner conducive to display of the different bedding materials. The top member may comprise a top wall and a plurality of panels are coupled to the top wall, with the pants being positioned at least partially over the top wall.

The top wall of the top member may comprise one or more panels and the panels are one of the same as or different materials from one another. The plurality of panels may all comprise materials that are different materials from one another. The plurality of panels may be coupled to the top wall around at least a portion of the outer edges thereof.

In another example, an apparatus for displaying bedding at the point of sale of a mattress comprises a fitted covering for positioning on a mattress. The covering includes a surface having a plurality of different bedding materials applied to the surface for display purposes. The fitted covering may be an enclosure that at least partially encloses a mattress. The different bedding materials may represent one or more of sheets, mattress pads, blankets, and comforters. The surface may comprise a top wall that is configured for seating on an upper surface of a mattress. The top wall may have coupled thereto the plurality of bedding materials. The apparatus may further comprise a side wall coupled to the top wall, with the side wall displaying one or more different types of bedding materials. The plurality of bedding materials may be are arranged on the surface such that each different type of bedding is at least in part visible.

The plurality of bedding materials may be fixedly arranged on the surface such that some of the different bedding materials are partially obscured by other bedding materials, with some of the bedding materials being movable relative to other bedding materials in order to more easily view larger sections of the respective bedding materials. The different bedding materials may be one of removably affixed or permanently affixed to the top wall, and the removably affixed materials may be affixed via a removable fastener.

The apparatus may further comprise a protective cover member positioned over the surface. The protective cover member may be removable and transparent and may include a plurality of button holes. The apparatus may further comprise a plurality of rings that are coupled to the surface and to the button holes such that the protective cover member is rotatable around the rings.

According to another aspect of the disclosure, a method for advertising and displaying bedding for a mattress comprises the steps of providing a covering for a mattress and applying the covering to a mattress at the point of sale for the mattress. The covering is for partially covering the mattress and comprises at least two different types of bedding materials. The covering is applied such that the different types of bedding materials are visible to a consumer on the mattress, but the covering does not completely obscure the top surface of the mattress. The types of bedding materials are one or more of sheets, mattress pads, blankets, and comforters.

The bedding materials may include two or more of an anti-allergen mattress pad, a waterproof mattress pad, a breathable mattress pad, a first sheet having a first thread count, a second sheet having a second thread count, a third sheet having a third thread count, a fourth sheet having a fourth thread count, a blanket, and a comforter. The covering may further comprise advertising indicia associated therewith, a pocket coupled to the covering for holding removable advertising materials, and a transparent member for covering at least a portion of the covering. The transparent member may be made of a vinyl material and be movable relative to the covering. The method may further comprise stocking advertising material in the pocket. The covering may further comprise advertising indicia associated with the covering and a side display coupled to the covering. The advertising indicia may be associated with the side display to describe the various bedding materials being displayed.

While not shown, an alternative covering could entirely cover the mattress. In this embodiment, the covering could fit on the mattress like a fitted sheet or fitted mattress pad. Alternatively, it could fit like a blanket and be tucked under the mattress for securement. The various layers of different bedding could be attached to the top sheet of the covering, as discussed above.

The term “substantially,” as used herein, is a term of estimation.

While various features of the claimed examples are presented above, it should be understood that the features may be used singly or in any combination thereof. Therefore, the claimed examples are not to be limited to only the specific examples depicted herein.

Further, it should be understood that variations and modifications may occur to those skilled in the art to which the claimed examples pertain. The examples described herein are exemplary. The disclosure may enable those skilled in the art to make and use alternative designs having alternative elements that likewise correspond to the elements recited in the claims. The intended scope may thus include other examples that do not differ or that insubstantially differ from the literal language of the claims. The scope of the disclosure is accordingly defined as set forth in the appended claims.