Title:
Ball holder
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention provides a ball holder and a kit for a ball holder where the ball holder has one or more bristles on an inner surface so that a ball contained in the ball holder has a reduced pressure applied to it due to the contact with the bristles. The bristles may be in a variety of arrays, and they may be placed upon the inner surface through a bristle element attached to the inner surface. The ball holder and kit may have two detachable portions, and one portion may nest within a second portion. The kit may include a pole and a hoop.



Inventors:
Demange, Francis Petit (Carver, MA, US)
Application Number:
11/796189
Publication Date:
10/30/2008
Filing Date:
04/27/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B47/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
VOLZ, ELIZABETH J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CHRISTOPHER & WEISBERG, P.A. (Plantation, FL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A ball holder having: a top end, a bottom end distal from the top end, a first side, a second side opposite the first side, an exterior surface, an inner surface enclosing a volume having one or more bristles adapted to retain one or more balls within the volume between the top end and the bottom end of the ball holder; and a pole attachment element located on the first side.

2. The ball holder of claim 1, wherein the bristles comprise one or more arrays of a plurality of bristles extending substantially from the top end to the distal bottom end.

3. The ball holder of claim 2, wherein the bristles further comprise one or more arrays of a plurality of bristles extending around a circumference of the inner surface.

4. The ball holder of claim 1, wherein the bristles comprise one or more non-contiguous arrays of a plurality of bristles.

5. The ball holder of claim 1, wherein the ball holder is substantially cylindrical.

6. The ball holder of claim 1, wherein the ball holder further comprises a void on the second side.

7. The ball holder of claim 6, wherein the void extends from the top end to the bottom end of the ball holder.

8. The ball holder of claim 1, further comprising a pole having a top portion and a bottom portion, attachable to the pole attachment element.

9. The ball holder of claim 8, further comprising a hoop located at the top portion of the pole.

10. The ball holder of claim 1, further comprising a lid attachable to the top end of the ball holder.

11. A ball holder comprising: a substantially cylindrical body having a first portion and a second portion detachable from the first portion, a bottom end distal from the top end, an exterior surface, and an inner surface having one or more bristles adapted to retain one or more balls between the top end and the bottom end of the ball holder.

12. The ball holder of claim 11, wherein the first portion comprises a first concavity and the second portion is adaptable to nest within the first concavity.

13. The ball holder of claim 11, wherein the second portion comprises a second concavity.

14. A kit for a ball holder, comprising a ball holder having a first portion and a second portion detachable from the first portion, a bottom end distal from the top end, a first side, a second side opposite the first side, an exterior surface, and an inner surface having one or more bristles adapted to retain one or more balls between the top end and the bottom end of the ball holder, wherein the first portion is adapted to nest within the second portion.

15. The kit of claim 14, further comprising a pole attachment element for attachment to the first side.

16. The kit of claim 15, further comprising a lid for attachment to the top end.

17. A kit for a ball holder, comprising a ball holder having a first portion and a second portion detachable from the first portion, a bottom end distal from the top end, a first side, a second side opposite the first side, an exterior surface, and an inner surface for receiving an adhesive; and a bristled element having a top side and a bottom side comprising one or more bristles located on the top side of the bristle element adapted to retain one or more balls between the top end and the bottom end of the ball holder, and an adhesive located on the bottom side of the bristled element.

18. The kit of claim 17, wherein the first portion is adapted to nest within the second portion.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

n/a

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

n/a

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to an apparatus and a kit for an apparatus for holding one or more balls, and more particularly to an apparatus for holding balls that may be attached to a pole used in a game with the balls so balls may be stored near the location the game is to be played.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Typically, balls are stored in locations far from the place where a game is played, whether for security reasons or for protection from the elements. Balls, which are generally spherical, can roll away from a playing court or field if left on the ground loose and unattended. Also, if left on the ground outdoors the elements can degrade the surface of the ball and reduce the playing life of the ball. Furthermore, where there is a court or surface that would allow two or more games to be played near each other, the problem of ball storage is multiplied.

Some ball holders presently have interiors which, when holding multiple balls, cause the balls to press on each other, causing unnatural stresses to occur on the balls for long periods of time. Other ball holders have rigid metal bars on the sides and bottom which press into the balls and cause damaging pressure against the surface of the balls. Other ball holders cannot come apart in two portions so that they may be sold in a convenient kit or be easily transported to the location where they would be installed. Other ball holder kits do not have one or more bristle elements which can be attached to the interior surface of the ball holder.

In view of the above limitations, it would be desirable to create a ball holder that does not put damaging pressure on a contained ball, whether from another ball or from the ball holder itself. It would also be desirable to create a ball holder kit that also can be easily transported to the location where it will be installed. More specifically, it would be desirable to create a ball holder that uses one or more flexible bristles to minimize contact points on a ball, thereby extending the ball life. It would also be desirable to provide bristles which can remove dirt when the ball contacts the bristles as it passes through the ball holder. In addition, it would be desirable to provide a ball holder that has two detachable portions whereby one portion can nest within the other, creating a compact profile for easy transportation. The compact profile is also advantageous in the manufacture and distribution of kits. Kits are generally sold in a retail environment, where the reduced profile will be more attractive to a purchaser that has to transport the kit from the retailer.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention advantageously provides an apparatus and a kit for holding balls to provide an environment for balls that does not put damaging pressure on held balls. Known ball holders cause compression on balls, whether between balls, with the floor of the ball holder or by other means. In an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, one or more bristles attached to the inner surface of a ball holder provide frictional contact with a ball to hold it within the interior of a ball holder. The contact with the bristles minimizes damaging pressure on the surface of the ball. In another embodiment, the ball holder includes two detachable portions so that the ball holder may be easily transported to the location where it is to be installed.

In yet another embodiment, one detachable portion may nest within another detachable portion, thereby providing a reduced profile for transportation or the construction of kits for the creation of the ball holder. In still another embodiment, a bristle element having bristles on one side and an adhesive on the other side is provided to attach the bristle element to the inner surface of the ball holder. In still another embodiment, a pole is provided with the kit for a ball holder.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

A more complete understanding of the present invention, and the attendant advantages and features thereof, will be more readily understood by reference to the following detailed description when considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the ball holder of the present invention having a lid;

FIG. 2A is a plan view of a cross section of the ball holder of the present invention;

FIG. 2B is a plan view of a cross section of the ball holder of the present invention containing balls;

FIG. 3 is a top view of the ball holder of the present invention;

FIG. 4A is a top view of a bristled element of the present invention;

FIG. 4B is a side view of a bristled element of the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a plan view of a cross section of a configuration of the ball holder of the invention having an interior surface comprising bristles;

FIG. 6 is a plan view of a cross section of a configuration of the ball holder of the invention having non-contiguous arrays of bristles;

FIG. 7 is a plan view of a cross section of a configuration of the ball holder of the invention having a vertical array of bristles;

FIG. 8 is a plan view of a cross section of a configuration of the ball holder of the present invention having a circumferential array of bristles;

FIG. 9 is a plan view of a cross section of a cross section of a configuration of the ball holder of the present invention having a vertical array and a circumferential array of bristles;

FIG. 10 is a plan view of a cross section of a configuration of the ball holder of the present invention having a single bristle;

FIG. 11 is a perspective view of a configuration of the ball holder of the present invention having a void on one side;

FIG. 12 is a perspective view of a configuration of the ball holder of the present invention having a pole and a hoop;

FIG. 13 is a top view of a configuration of the ball holder of the present invention having a body with two portions; and

FIG. 14 is an end view of a cross section of a configuration of the ball holder of the present invention having a body with two portions in a nesting configuration.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is a ball holder and a kit for the assembly of a ball holder. FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a ball holder in accordance with the present invention. The ball holder uses one or more bristles to contact one or more balls to retain balls within a volume.

The ball holder includes a body 10. The body 10 has a top end 12 and a bottom end 14 distal from the top end 12. The body 10 also has a first side 16 and a second side 18 opposite the first side 16. The body 10 also has an exterior surface 20 and an inner surface 22. The inner surface 22 has one or more bristles 24. The bristles are short protrusions which may be made of natural or artificial materials, including metal and plastic. The bristles 24, as shown in FIGS. 2A, 2B and 3, are adapted to retain one or more balls 26 within a volume 28 between the top end 12 and the bottom end 14 of the body 10.

The bristles 24 may be rigid enough to provide sufficient frictional contact with a ball so that it is retained between the top end and the bottom end, and flexible enough to allow the ball to pass through the top end 12 or the bottom end 14 of the body 10 if a ball is subjected to sufficient vertical force. The bristles 24 may also be rigid enough to retain the ball within the volume 28 due to slight compression of the ball. The bristles 24 may also be of sufficient rigidity to remove dirt from the surface of the ball.

The body 10 may be substantially cylindrical, as shown in FIG. 1. However, other shapes suitable for retaining a ball within the inner surface are also contemplated. For example, the cross-section of the body 10 may be round or oval.

A pole attachment element located on the first side 16 of the body 10. The pole attachment element may be fixed to the body 10 or may be detachable from it. The pole attachment element may be a self-adjusting clamp 30 as shown in FIGS. 1 and 3, a tie, suction cup, or the like.

The bristles 24 may be formed on the inner surface 22 of the body 10, or alternatively they may be attached to a bristled element 32 having bristles 24 on one side 34. The bristled element 32 may then attach to the inner surface 22 with an adhesive 36 on a side of the bristled element opposite the bristles 36. A backing 40 made of a material such as paper or plastic may cover and protect the adhesive 36 until it is ready for use.

The bristles 24 may be in a number of patterns. As shown in FIGS. 5 through 10. Within the inner surface 22, the bristles 24 may extend from the top end 12 to the bottom end 14 of the body 10, as shown in FIG. 5. The bristles 24 may be in one or more arrays 42 of a plurality of bristles 24 extending around a circumference of the inner surface 22, as shown in FIG. 6. The arrays 42 may be contiguous or non-contiguous, as shown in FIG. 5. The bristles 24 may also be in one or more vertical arrays 44 as shown in FIG. 7 or horizontal arrays 46 as shown in FIG. 8. The bristles can be in a combination of horizontal and vertical arrays, as shown in FIG. 8. Other similar arrays of bristles 24 are also contemplated.

Furthermore, the inner surface of the body 10 may only have a single bristle 48, as shown in FIG. 10. The single bristle 48 would provide sufficient frictional contact with a ball so that it is retained between the bristle 48 and the inner surface 22 between the top end 12 and the bottom end 14, and flexible enough to allow the ball to pass through the top end 12 or the bottom end 14 of the body 10 if a ball is subjected to sufficient vertical force.

In one embodiment, the body 10 further comprises a void 50 on the second side. As shown in FIG. 11, the void 50 may extend from the top end 12 to the bottom end 14 of the body 10.

In addition, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 11, the body 10 may include a closable lid 52 attachable to the top end 12 of the body 10. The lid 52 may be flexible or rigid. The lid may be permeable or impermeable. Also, the lid 42 may be detachable from the body 10.

As shown in FIG. 12, the ball holder may further include a pole 54 having a top portion 56 and a bottom portion 58, attached to the pole attachment element 30. In addition, the ball holder may include a hoop 50 located at the top portion 56 of the pole 54.

The ball holder 10 may also have two detachable portions 62, 64 as shown in FIGS. 13 and 14. The two detachable portions 62, 64 may be attachable by means such as complementary protrusions and concavities, as shown in FIG. 13. As shown, a protrusion 66 on an edge 68 of a first detachable portion 62 fit in a concavity 70 on an edge 70 of a second detachable portion 64, and vice versa. The two detachable portions 62, 64 may be attachable alternatively by snaps, bolts, Velcro, tongue-and-groove connection and the like.

Also, the two detachable portions 62, 64 may fit in a nesting configuration as shown in FIG. 14. As shown, the second detachable portion 64 fits within a concavity 74 of the first detachable portion 62. The second detachable portion 64 may also have a concavity.

In the alternative, the present invention includes kit for a ball holder having a first portion and a second portion detachable from the first portion. The ball holder of the kit has a bottom end distal from the top end, a first side, a second side opposite the first side, an exterior surface, and an inner surface having one or more bristles adapted to retain one or more balls between the top end and the bottom end of the ball holder, wherein the first portion is adapted to nest within the second portion. The kit may also include a pole attachment element for attachment to the first side. Also, the kit may have a lid for attachment to the top end. The bristles may alternatively be formed on a bristled element. The bristled element may have a top side and a bottom side. The top side includes one or more bristles adapted to retain one or more balls between the top end and the bottom end of the ball holder. The bottom side may include an adhesive for attachment to the inner surface. Also, in the kit the first portion may be adapted to nest within the second portion.

It will be appreciated by persons skilled in the art that the present invention is not limited to what has been particularly shown and described herein above. In addition, unless mention was made above to the contrary, it should be noted that all of the accompanying drawings are not to scale. A variety of modifications and variations are possible in light of the above teachings without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention, which is limited only by the following claims.