Title:
Ball storage bag
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A novel storage bag for use with a sports ball and related equipment or clothing is disclosed, where the storage bag includes a storage portion for retaining the ball and a lower compartment portion for retaining shoes. The storage bag of the present invention has a defined footprint for the compatible insertion of the storage bag in a gym or school locker. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the footprint is approximately 14 inches in depth and approximately 9 inches in width.



Inventors:
Grant, Timothy M. (Bloomfield, NJ, US)
Application Number:
11/805881
Publication Date:
11/27/2008
Filing Date:
05/25/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B47/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
BUI, LUAN KIM
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CHRISTOPHER D. HARRINGTON (GRAND RAPIDS, MI, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A storage bag for storing sports related items, where the storage bag comprises: A bag portion with a top and a bottom, and with at least one set of straps for carrying said storage bag, and with access for the storage of items; A lower compartment portion with walls, a top and a bottom, where the top of the lower compartment portion is integrally connected to the bag floor, and where the lower compartment further includes a door for access to the interior of the lower compartment; and, Where the footprint of the storage bag is defined and is compatible with the placement of the storage bag in a gym or school locker.

2. The storage bag of claim Number 1, where the bag portion is compatibly sized to receive and retain a sports ball.

3. The storage bag of claim Number 1, where the bag portion further includes at least one side compartment.

4. The storage bag of claim Number 1, where the defined footprint of the storage bag is approximately 14 inches in depth and approximately 9 inches in width.

5. The storage bag of claim Number 1, where the walls, the top and the bottom of the lower compartment are comprised of a rigid plastic.

6. The storage bag of claim Number 5 where the lower compartment door is formed from a wall and includes a hinge point at one end and a flap at the opposite end, where the door is moveable between an open position and a closed position, and where the flap is capable of being fastened to an adjacent wall of the lower compartment.

7. The storage bag of claim Number 6, where the flap end of the door is fastened to the adjacent wall by a snap.

8. A storage bag for storing sports related items, where the storage bag comprises: A bag portion with a top and a bottom, and with at least one set of straps for carrying said storage bag, and with access for the storage of items; A lower compartment portion with walls, a top and a bottom, where the top of the lower compartment portion is integrally connected to the bag floor, and where the lower compartment further includes a door for access to the interior of the lower compartment and where the walls, the top and the bottom of the lower compartment are comprised of a rigid plastic; and, Where the footprint of the storage bag is defined and is compatible with the placement of the storage bag in a gym or school locker.

9. The storage bag of claim Number 8, where the bag portion is optimized for the retention of a sports ball.

10. The storage bag of claim Number 8, where the defined footprint of the storage bag is approximately 14 inches in depth and approximately 9 inches in width.

11. The storage bag of claim Number 8, where the bag portion further includes at least one side compartment.

12. The storage bag of claim Number 8, where the lower compartment door is formed from a wall and includes a hinge point at one end and a flap at the opposite end, where the door is moveable between an open position and a closed position, and where the flap is capable of being fastened to an adjacent wall of the lower compartment.

13. The storage bag of claim Number 12, where the flap end of the door is fastened to the adjacent wall by a snap.

14. A storage bag for storing sports related items, where the storage bag comprises: A bag portion with a top and a bottom, and with at least one set of straps for carrying said storage bag, and with access for the storage of items; A lower compartment portion with walls, a top and a bottom, where the top of the lower compartment portion is integrally connected to the bag floor, and where the lower compartment further includes a door for access to the interior of the lower compartment and where the walls, the top and the bottom of the lower compartment are comprised of a rigid plastic; and, Where the footprint of the storage bag is defined and is compatible with the placement of the storage bag in a gym or school locker and where the defined footprint of the storage bag is approximately 14 inches in depth and approximately 9 inches in width.

15. The storage bag of claim Number 14, where the bag portion includes at least one side compartment.

16. The storage bag of claim Number 14, where the lower compartment door is formed from a wall and includes a hinge point at one end and a flap at the opposite end, where the door is moveable between an open position and a closed position, and where the flap is capable of being fastened to an adjacent wall of the lower compartment.

17. The storage bag of claim Number 16, where the flap end of the door is fastened to the adjacent wall by a snap.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

Not applicable.

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

Not applicable.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a storage bag for sports balls and the like. More specifically, the present invention relates to a storage bag for retaining a sports ball and similar equipment in an organized fashion that is compatible with placement of the storage bag in a gym or school locker, or with the ability for it to stand on its own.

Many different sports that are played require the use of a ball of one sort or another. In many cases the balls can be of the same shape or size, such as basketballs, kick balls, soccer balls, or footballs to name a few. Even though the present invention is optimized for such balls, the storage bag may be used to hold and store other equipment as well.

The need for bags or duffels to store sports equipment comes about as a result of the nature of most sports programs. Many are part of physical education curriculum organized by schools, and other programs are organized by groups such as Little League organizations or youth football or soccer leagues. The participant is required to bring equipment in such cases and this may comprise shoes, articles of clothing, or actual equipment (such as balls) that may be used for practice or in a game. The problem has been how best to carry all of these items in an organized fashion. One answer that has been a solution of sorts, is to use a so-called gym bag which is typically nothing more than a duffle-shaped bag. The size may vary but the gym bag is soft-sided and somewhat tubular in overall shape. This type of bag is indeed useful and it will carry a fair amount of gear which can be stiffed into the bag in a random manner. The problem is that such bags are not easy to store in lockers and depending on how they are packed, they seldom will stand upright in a compact manner. Multiply this situation by the numbers of school kids that may be involved in a sports program and one can appreciate the size of the problem that is created. In fact, in many programs the proliferation of bags is so great that it can interfere with the particular sport, such as might happen in a basketball program. The gym bags are spread randomly and soon take up all the space at one end of the court or the other, not only causing a mess, but a potential tripping hazard as well.

Various types of sports bags have been developed for use in carrying sports equipment and clothes. One known bag is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,927,581 (Reddy, et al) which was a soft-sided bag optimized for carrying a couple of sports balls along with accessory items such as a water bottle. Similarly, in U.S. Pat. No. 5,992,623 (Myers, Jr.) teaches the use of a carrier for holding a sports ball, where the carrier can be fitted with handles or it can be placed within a larger sized duffle or bag. The carrier is designed to cushion the sports ball and to protect it from the elements. In U.S. Design Patent No. 404,198 (Eaton, et al) teaches the use of a design for a ball carrier that has a single shoulder strap and a bottle holder. The ball carrier appears to be soft-sided and is meant to hold just the ball.

The carrier in U.S. Pat. No. 6,286,674 (Richard, et al) has a detachable ball container that cosmetically is fashioned to represent a basketball hoop. The bag portion is similar to a bag pack and when the ball container is attached (by zipper) to the backpack, it allows a youth to transport his favorite ball to school or the gym. A similar dual approach for a backpack is also shown in U.S. Pat. No. 5,370,287 (Cormier) but the portion that resembles a ball is not necessarily meant to contain a ball. The teachings allow that sports related articles could be carried in the backpack of Cormier but it does not specifically provide for segregate spaces for a ball and other equipment.

The ball carrier in U.S. Pat. No. 6,095,390 (Bogle) has a very specific and unitary purpose for varying a sports balls, such as a basketball, on a person, in a way that allows the person to continue to engage in other activities such as riding a bike. The ball carrier is more or less a means to strap the ball onto the user's body. A ball bag that is analogous to Bogle is disclosed in U.S. Design Patent No. D437,482 (Rugg) and provides a means to carry a ball conveniently.

The ball storage carriers and bags of the prior art do not teach the benefits of a ball bag that can be stowed in an upright condition and in cooperation with other similar types of ball bags. Nor do any of the prior art bags or carriers specifically teach the use of a storage bag that is optimized for storage within a locker. These and other benefits of the present invention will be discussed in more detail below.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A ball storage bag in accordance with the present invention, includes a lower storage portion, a bag storage portion and carrying straps, where the ball storage bag has a defined footprint formed by walls that impart a measure of rigidity. The ball storage bag is configured and sized to optimally fit within the typically gym locker or school locker. The bag storage portion includes an interior compatible for housing a ball and it also includes a floor for supporting the ball therein. Below the bag storage portion is a lower compartment for storing additional items such as shoes.

The lower compartment of the present invention includes a door that forms one of the walls of the lower compartment and which operates between a closed position and an open position. When in the closed position, the door of the lower compartment can be reversibly fastened to an adjacent wall of the lower compartment in order to maintain the door in the closed position and to retain any items stored within.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an isometric view of the ball storage bag of the present invention with a sports ball (in phantom) shown being retained within the ball storage bag.

FIG. 2 is an isometric view of the ball storage bag of FIG. 1 without the sports ball, and with a partial cutaway view displaying the interior of the ball storage bag.

FIG. 3 is a side cross sectional view of the lower compartment of the ball storage bag of FIG. 1 taken along Section Lines 3-3.

FIG. 4 is a top cross sectional view of the ball storage bag of FIG. 1 showing the lower compartment and taken along Section Lines 4-4.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

A novel ball storage bag in accordance with the present invention is shown in the drawings and is discussed in detail herein. As displayed in FIGS. 1 and 2, the storage bag 10 generally comprises the bag portion 12, and the lower compartment 22. The storage bag 10 further includes shoulder straps 14, hand straps 16, the zipper 20, the snap 24, the flap 26, the side compartments 28, the bottom 30 and the top 32. The ball 18 is shown in phantom in FIG. 1.

As viewed in FIG. 2 the bag interior 40 can be seen, with the bag floor 42, the side compartment top(s) 44, the lower compartment interior 46. Turning to FIGS. 3 and 4, additional details relating to the lower compartment 22 can be seen in more detail, including the lower compartment top 50, the lower compartment floor 52, the lower compartment walls 54 and the foot pads 56. In FIG. 4 in particular, the door side 60 is shown with hinge point 62.

In use, the storage bag is used to enclose a sports ball of one kind or another. As indicated in FIG. 1, a spherical ball such as a basketball or a soccer ball may be kept within the bag interior. The bag portion does not have walls per se, but is a typical soft-sided type of bag construction that is oriented with a top and a bottom. The ball is inserted into the bag interior when the zipper is opened, thereby allowing access to the bag interior as the bag top is partially separated. The ball is then placed onto the bag floor where it will typically fit in between the two side compartments. The side compartments may help to keep the ball in position although this depends on the ball size and type. For instance, a football may be stored in the present invention and will generally be retained in the same fashion, however if a user stores a softball or a number of softballs the bag interior, the placement may be less organized.

The side compartments are walled structures that allow for the storage of additional gear. The user may use the side compartments to store gloves, socks or other articles of clothing, or sports gear may be stored in these spaces such as air pumps, sunglasses, or the like. All of the gear stored in the bag interior can be easily accessed by the user merely by opening the zipper.

In addition to the foregoing, the storage bag also provides space for housing a pair of shoes in the lower compartment. The lower compartment is separated from the bag interior by the bag floor and the lower compartment top, although it is integrally connected to the bag portion where the bag floor and the lower compartment top conjoin. Access to the lower compartment is through the door which is, in actuality, one of the walls of the lower compartment that is allowed to swing about the hinge point at one end and at the other end it has a fastener to secure it to the adjacent lower compartment wall. The hinge point is preferably a living hinge that is formed from the plastic material that is used to construct the walls. In the case of the preferred embodiment, the fastener is a common snap type which the user can open and close with ease. The storage of shoes in the lower compartment is strategic since these items are kept segregate from the bag interior. At times this may be desired owing to the fact that shoes can be soiled or can smell and this will allow them to be kept away from clothing or other items that are stored in the bag interior, keeping the free of soils or from absorbing any odors.

As may be appreciated from the drawings, the bag portion may be fabricated from a soft-sided material such as a canvas. The lower compartment is comprised generally of wall structures with a top and a bottom and these are fabricated from a more rigid material such as a plastic. The two portions, the bag portion and the lower compartment portion, are mated together which forms a storage bag with a defined footprint, one that is represented by the dimensions of the lower compartment, and also that has the soft-sided attributes for the bag portion.

The foot print of the storage bag of the present invention is an important consideration. The dimensions of the preferred embodiment are selected to be compatible with the placement of the storage bag in a locker. Whether this is a gym locker or a student locker, the general widths and depths are essentially the same. As one can appreciate, the confines of the locker are fixed and storage bags, backpacks, and other means of storing equipment, are not specifically configured to fit within the locker. This means that in some cases the user is forced to stuff his/her gear into the locker in any way possible, which can disrupt the organization of the stored items and possibly even cause damages to them. In addition it causes disruption to the user's locker as well where it is used to store other items, such a clothes or schoolwork and books. The footprint of the storage bag will preferentially have a size that is compatible with placement in a locker and these dimensions are approximately 14 inches in depth and 9 inches wide. The exact dimensions may vary in accordance with the engineering selections of one skilled in the art, but this basic footprint enables the storage bag of the present invention to be used in the manner desired. The height of the storage bag is another consideration and this may be selected to ensure that a sports ball of the type desired to be stored will fit in the bag portion while still allowing for enough height for the lower compartment to house the shoes of the user. Preferentially the height needed for the lower compartment is approximately 5 inches and the overall height of the storage bag would be 15 inches.

Another attribute of the storage bag of the present invention is the fact that the construction of the lower compartment forms a rigid enclosure. Rigid in this case doesn't mean that the structure is absolutely inflexible, however, the usage of plastic walls, floor and top, can be done in such a way to impart definition to the lower compartment that will allow it to be robust enough to act as a base for the storage bag and to generally retain its preferred dimensions. This results in a storage bag that conforms to a generally rectangular footprint and when used in conjunction with other storage bags they can be organized to be stored side-by-side to each other on a gym floor, or a shelf, or other flat surface. This allows the storage bags of this type to be kept organized and to take up a minimal amount of floor space. This function becomes more desired once one considers the impact of having several dozen gym bags strewn about the floor behind a basketball goal for instance. The random placement results in chaos that can not only take up floor space that may be needed for the sport activity, but it also represents a tripping hazard. With the use of the present invention it is contemplated that the storage bags can be placed in a row along the bas of a wall, or they can be arrayed side-by-side to minimize the impact on floor space and to efficiently organize the storage bags.

The type of ball that may be stored within the bag portion is not restricted to the round balls like a basketball or soccer ball. Smaller balls like softballs or baseballs can be stored, as can other types of sports equipment. The storage bag does optimally provide for the storage of a sports ball but the usage of the invention is not necessarily so limited.

The storage bag of the present invention can be varied without departing from the spirit and scope of the concept. Slight changes in the dimensions of the footprint, or in the materials used for the construction of the storage can be made by one skilled in the art without affecting the benefits and attributes taught herein.