Title:
Souvenir Pennant Wristband
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The pennant wristband has a laminar flexible band having a tapered head, a neck, a tapered tail, and a buckle to be assembled on the band at the neck. The head has a large end tapering to a small end. Extending from the large end is the neck. The tail has a big end tapering to a little end away from the head. The big end extends from the neck. The buckle has Apertures through which the band is pulled so the neck rests on the buckle's center bar. The wristband is manufactured by printing images on a static cling layer, applying adhesive to that layer, embossing a separate lenticular layer with a lens pattern, laminating it to the static cling layer, and cutting the layers into desired shapes.



Inventors:
Greenwood, Kenneth (Dallas, TX, US)
Application Number:
12/145254
Publication Date:
12/25/2008
Filing Date:
06/24/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A45F5/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LAVINDER, JACK W
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FOLEY GARDERE (WASHINGTON, DC, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A wristband comprising: a flexible band having a head portion connected to a neck portion, which is connected to a tail portion; the head having a large end attached to the neck and an opposite small end, the width of the head tapering downward from the large end to the small end; the tail having a big end attached to the neck and an opposite little end, the width of the tail tapering downward from the big end to the little end; and a removable buckle locatable on the neck, the buckle having a pair of apertures.

2. The wristband of claim 1, the buckle further comprising: a generally rectangular frame having a pair of parallel sides and at least one center bar extending across the frame, the center bar being parallel to the sides and forming at least two apertures between the sides of the frame.

3. The wristband of claim 2, the buckle further comprising: a pair of generally triangular ends extending from the parallel sides; and the center bar extending between the triangular ends.

4. The wristband of claim 3, wherein the top surface of the center bar is recessed from the top surface of the parallel sides.

5. The wristband of claim 1, further comprising a pair of head stops connecting the head to the neck.

6. The wristband of claim 1, further comprising a pair of tail stops connecting the tail to the neck.

7. The wristband of claim 1, wherein the band is made of a static cling material.

8. The wristband of claim 1, wherein the band is imprinted with an image.

9. The wristband of claim 1, wherein the frame has a raised portion where the center bar meets the frame.

10. The wristband of claim 1, wherein the apertures are generally rectangular in shape.

11. The wristband of claim 1, wherein the removable buckle is of a shape selected from the group consisting of a rectangle, a circle, a diamond, an oval, a square, or a heart.

12. The wristband of claim 1, wherein the removable buckle further comprises a plurality of ridges on an underside of the sides of the frame.

13. The wristband of claim 1 further comprising a vertical slit through the tail at a position near to the large end of the slit having a slit width wider than the little end of the tail and being at a position near to the side of the frame when the buckle is positioned on the band.

14. The wristband of claim 12, wherein the slit has a depth at least equal to the thickness of the band.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/946,123, entitled “SOUVENIR PENNANT WRISTBAND,” filed on behalf of inventor Kenneth Greenwood, which is hereby incorporated by reference for all purposes.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Technical Field

The present invention relates to jewelry and more particularly to pennant wristbands. Specifically, the preferred embodiment discloses a wristband having a band having a tapered head, a neck, and a tapered tail, and a buckle to be positioned at the neck of the band.

2. Background Information

Wristbands have been used in many different applications, such as identification bands in hospitals and at entertainment events or as fashion bracelets. Prior wristbands have been affixed to the user's wrist by adhesive fasteners, snap fasteners, static cling material, or buckle arrangements.

While adhesive fasteners are relatively less expensive to manufacture, they do not provide continuous adjustability in wearing the wristband. For example, if the wristband was affixed adhesively and too tightly around the user's wrist, the user would feel discomfort and would not be able to readjust the wristband to eliminate the discomfort. Once the wristband is affixed, the fit cannot be changed. Also, with adhesive fasteners, the user cannot wear the wristband multiple times because it must be cut when removed from the wrist. With such wristbands, the user cannot keep the wristband in its original form as a souvenir. With a buckle arrangement, the user could easily adjust the fit of the band and would have no need to cut the band when removing it from the user's wrist.

While snap fasteners provide the adjustability the adhesive fasteners do not, snap fasteners are also difficult to remove. Like the adhesive-fastened wristbands, snap-fastened wristbands often must be cut, stretched, or deformed when removed from the user's wrist. As a result, the user is not able to re-wear the wristband nor keep the wristband in its original form as a souvenir. Wristbands with buckle arrangements allow for the adjustability of snap-fastened wristbands but also allow the user to wear the wristband multiple times and keep it in its original form as a souvenir.

There are wristbands known in the art that are affixed to a user's wrist by using bands made of static cling material. The static cling material sticks to itself when wrapped around the user's wrist, utilizing the static cling force to retain the wristband of the wearer. While this fastening method allows the user to adjust the fit of the wristband and keep the wristband as a souvenir in its original form, the wristband is not securely fastened around the wrist. If the band becomes wet or contaminated, the retaining force is dramatically reduced.

Wristbands with buckle arrangements provide a more secure fastening arrangement around the user's wrist. However, the buckle arrangements of the prior art have a complex construction and are expensive to manufacture. The primary cost of manufacturing these types of wristbands is the labor cost associated with attachment of the buckle to the wristband. Normally, the buckle is sewn on to the band. This operation is labor intensive. Sewn-on buckles are not removable.

Conventional buckled wristbands have band portions that are uniform in width. The ends of these bands typically have lips to allow easy movement through the buckle. The band is generally uniform in width between the lip portions. This allows full adjustment of the band through the buckle. However, allowing full adjustment of the band may result in over-tightening, and restricting blood circulation to the user's hand, causing discomfort. This is most likely to occur when older children place the bands on younger children.

More recently, it has become desirable to produce wristbands having images imprinted on them. In particular, it has recently become known to utilize lenticular images on wristbands. The known method of doing this was through the process of lenticular printing. The printed images show depth or motion as the viewing angle changes. The prior method of manufacturing these wristbands has included the steps of printing an image on a rigid embossed layer of PVC, APET (or APTE), or PETG, and laminating the embossed layer on to a static cling sheet, and then cutting the laminated layers into desired shapes. Because the embossed layer is rigid, when the layers are cut into wristbands, the resulting wristband is too rigid and too stiff to form a comfortable wristband loop.

Accordingly, there is a need for a wristband that costs less to manufacture and that provides a more secure fit, has better adjustability, has the ability to be reused multiple times, and can be displayed as a souvenir or message pennant when not being worn. There is also a need for a wristband of this description that includes a lenticular styled display, but which is still flexible and comfortable to wear.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Wristbands are a common article of both function and fashion, but never before has a wristband been shown with the novel features of the several embodiments of the present invention. In the exemplary embodiment of the pennant wristband, the wristband has a laminar flexible band and a removable buckle. The band has a tapered head, a tapered tail, and a neck between the head and tail.

The buckle has a frame with parallel sides and a center bar extending across the frame between, and parallel to, the sides. The center bar forms apertures between the frame's sides. When assembled with the band, the buckle is positioned at the neck such that the neck rests on the center bar of the buckle. In other embodiments, the buckle may have the shape of a rectangle, a square, a circle, a heart, a diamond or other similar shape.

In another embodiment, the band is lenticular imprinted with an image such as a logo, a drawing, a slogan, or other image. In another embodiment, the wristband is made of a static cling material such as vinyl or polish/polish vinyl adhered to a flexible lenticular. In the preferred embodiment, the wristband is less 30 mil thick. In the preferred embodiment the wristband is approximately 25 mil.

In yet another embodiment, the tail of the band has a slit positioned immediately adjacent to the buckle when the buckle is assembled to the band. The slit may be used to hide excess portions of the band, after the wristband has been wrapped around the user's wrist and adjusted for fit.

These aspects of the invention are not meant to be exclusive, and other features, aspects, and advantages of the present invention will be readily apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art when read in conjunction with the appended claims and accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

The drawings constitute a part of this specification and include exemplary embodiments to the invention, which may be embodied in various forms. It is to be understood that in some instances, various aspects of the invention may be shown exaggerated, enlarged, or otherwise spatially modified to facilitate an understanding of the invention.

A reference to and brief description of each Figure in the drawings as set forth in 37 CFR 1.74 are:

FIG. 1 is a top plan view of one embodiment of the pennant wristband;

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the neck of an embodiment of the pennant wristband;

FIG. 3 is a top plan view of a buckle of one embodiment of the pennant wristband;

FIG. 4 is a top plan view of one embodiment of the assembled pennant wristband;

FIG. 5 is a top plan view of various embodiments of the buckle for the pennant wristband;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the buckle for the pennant wristband;

FIG. 7A is a top plan view of an embodiment of the buckle for the pennant wristband;

FIG. 7B is a side end view of an embodiment of the buckle for the pennant wristband;

FIG. 8 is a bottom plan view of the underside of an embodiment of the buckle for a pennant wristband;

FIG. 9A is a top plan view of another embodiment of an assembled pennant wristband;

FIG. 9B is a top plan view of another embodiment of the pennant wristband;

FIG. 10 is an illustration of assembling the pennant wristband;

FIG. 11 is an illustration of another way of assembling the pennant wristband; and

FIG. 12 is an illustration of attaching the pennant wristband to a user's wrist.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 4, the pennant wristband includes a laminar flexible band 100 having a tapered head 104, a neck 106 extending from the head 104, a tapered tail 108 extending from the neck 104, and a buckle 200 to be positioned at neck 106 of band 100 when assembled.

In our exemplary embodiment, the laminar flexible band 100 of the pennant wristband may be made of a highly durable static cling material such as vinyl or polish/polish vinyl. When the wristband user decides to remove the wristband and keep it as a souvenir, the static cling material of band 100 allows the user to stick the wristband (with or without removable buckle 200) to a smooth and dry surface. The wristband may stick to surfaces such as refrigerator doors, windows, dry erase boards, computer screens, television screens, or other similar surfaces. The pennant wristband may also be made of a waterproof material, a hypoallergenic material, a chemical-proof material, or any combination thereof.

Referring to FIG. 1, flexible band 100 has a lengthwise central axis 102 and a thickness. The band 100 must be flexible enough to form a loop and wrap around a user's wrist. The head 104 of flexible band 100 has a large end with a large end width (A) and a small end with a small end width (G). The large and small ends are generally symmetric about the central axis 102. The head 104 may taper in width in a direction from the large end to the small end. The head 104 may also have a length. Extending from the large end of head 104 is neck 106.

Referring to FIG. 1, neck 106 may be of substantially uniform width (B) that is less than the large end width (A) of head 104. The neck 106 may also have a substantially uniform length (E). Extending from neck 106 is a tail 108.

Still referring to FIG. 1, tail 108 may have a big end with a big end width (C) and a little end with a little end width (F). The big end of tail 108 extends from neck 106. The big end and the little end are symmetric about central axis 102. The tail 108 may taper in width in a direction from the big end to the little end and away from head 104. The tail 108 also has a length. The length of tail 108 may be as long as necessary to wrap around the average user's wrist at least once. In one embodiment of the wristband, the length of tail 108 might be ten (10) inches.

Referring to FIG. 2, in another embodiment, head 104 may have head stops 112 at the large end of head 104. The stops 112 are orthogonal to the neck 106 and connect the large end of head 104 to neck 106. The stops 112 have opposing radii which relieve stress in head 104, as head 104 is pulled through removable buckle 200. Without such stress relief, buckle 200 might rip and tear band 100 as the user dons the wristband. The external radii also prevent neck 106 from slipping through buckle 200 and facilitate pulling head 104 through buckle 200 when assembling the wristband. The head stops 112 prevent undesirable sliding of neck 106 when buckle 200 is assembled to band 100.

Still referring to FIG. 2, in an alternative embodiment, tail 108 may have tail stops 114. These tail stops 114 are positioned orthogonal to the neck 106, connect the big end of tail 108 to neck 106. The tail stops 114 may face opposite head stops 112, if head 104 has head stops 112. The tail stops 114 have opposing radii that facilitate pulling tail 108 through buckle 200 when assembling the wristband. These opposing radii also keep buckle 200 positioned at neck 106 when assembled with band 100. Additionally, the radii relieve stress in tail 108 as the user dons the wristband. Without such stress relief, buckle 200 might rip and tear band 100. The tail stops 114 prevent undesirable sliding of neck 106 when buckle 200 is assembled to band 100.

Now referring to FIG. 3, the pennant wristband also includes a removable buckle 200, which may be made of a lightweight durable material, such as plastic. The removable buckle 200 allows the wristband user to affix and adjust the wristband around the user's wrist. The removable buckle 200 has a frame 206 having a pair of parallel sides 208, which may have at least two apertures 202 between parallel sides 208. At least one center bar 204 may extend from frame 206 and be parallel to the frame's sides 208. The center bar 204 may separate frame 206 to form apertures 202.

Still referring to FIG. 3, each aperture has a length (I) and a width (J). The width (J) is at least wide enough to allow head 104, neck 106, and tail 108 of band 100 to pass through aperture 202. In the exemplary embodiment, the width (J) of each aperture 202 is smaller than the big end width (C) of tail 108 and smaller than the large end width (A) of head 104, but is larger than the width (B) of neck 106, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 3. The lengths (I) of apertures 202 are such that when combined, they are at least equal to or larger than the length (E) of the neck 106. This is so buckle 200 may be securely positioned on band 100 and may not slide along the band 100. If buckle 200 were insecurely positioned on band 100, the wristband could not be securely worn by the user. If buckle 200 slides along band 100 or slips off of band 100, the wristband might also slip off the user's wrist.

In the exemplary embodiment of the wristband, apertures 202 are rectangular in shape and each have a width (J) of 0.25 inches and a length (I) of 0.625 inches. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that apertures 202 do not necessarily need to be of equal or uniform width or length, so long as head 104, neck 106, and tail 108 of the wristband are able to pass through them.

Referring to FIG. 5, in alternative embodiments, buckle 200 may be a circle having semi-circular apertures 202. The buckle 200 may also be in the shape of a heart, square, rectangle, oval, diamond, or other symmetrical geometric shape.

Referring to FIGS. 6, 7A, and 7B, in another alternative embodiment, buckle 200 may have a raised portion 300 of frame 206 where center bar 204 meets buckle frame 206. This raised portion 300 allows band 100 to easily slide through buckle 200 and secures neck 106 within buckle frame 206. The raised portion 300 may have an approximately triangular shape, as depicted in FIG. 7B. The top surface of center bar 204 may be recessed from the top surface of frame 206.

Referring to FIG. 8, in yet another alternative embodiment, buckle 200 may have a plurality of ridges 302 protruding from the underside of the parallel sides 208 of buckle frame 206. The ridges 302 are parallel to center bar 204 and to the parallel sides 208 and provide traction for band 100 as it is worn by the user. With these ridges 302, buckle 200 may not slip along the wristband when assembled or worn. The ridges 302 aid in maintaining a secure fit on the user's wrist.

An assembled wristband is shown in FIGS. 4 and 9A. To assemble the pennant wristband, band 100 may be pulled through buckle 200 such that buckle 200 is positioned at neck 106 and neck 106 rests on top of center bar 204. With this type of assembly, no additional physical labor, such as sewing, or additional manufacturing costs are needed to attach buckle 200 to the wristband.

Now referring to FIGS. 1 and 3, because of this type of assembly, the small end width (G) of head 104 should be at most as wide as the width (J) of apertures 202 of buckle 200. Otherwise, head 104 would not fit through buckle 200 and the wristband could not be assembled. The large end width (A) of head 104 needs to be at least as wide as the width (J) of apertures 202. If this were not so, buckle 200 would fit insecurely on band 100, and buckle 200 might slip off head 104, resulting in an unwearable wristband.

Similarly, the little end width (F) of tail 108 should be at most as wide as the width (J) of apertures 202. Otherwise, tail 108 would not fit through buckle 200 and the wristband might not be assembled. Also, if tail 108 were too big to fit in apertures 202, the wristband might be nonadjustable and incapable of securely fitting around the user's wrist. Additionally, the big end width (C) of tail 108 should be at least as wide as the width (J) of apertures 202. Otherwise, buckle 200 would fit insecurely on band 100, and buckle 200 might slip off tail 108, resulting in an unwearable wristband.

This type of wristband assembly also limits other parameters of the wristband, such as the dimensions of neck 106. The length (E) of neck 106 should be less than the combined lengths (I) of apertures 202. If the length (E) of neck 106 were larger than the lengths (I) of apertures 202, it would be difficult to assemble buckle 200 securely on band 100. The buckle 200 would slide along neck 104 because of this excess length. If the length (E) of neck 106 were less than the lengths (I) of apertures 202, it would be difficult to assemble buckle 200 on band 100 because buckle 200 would have to rest on part of the large end of head 104 and part of the big end of tail 108. This might cause twisting in these portions of head 104 and tail 108 and might cause the user discomfort.

FIG. 10 illustrates one way to assemble the wristband. Here, head 104 is pulled through apertures 202 of buckle 200 such that buckle 200 is positioned at neck 106 and neck 106 rests on center bar 204 of buckle 200.

FIG. 11 illustrates another way to assemble the wristband. Here, tail 108 is pulled through apertures 202 of buckle 200 such that buckle 200 is positioned at neck 106 and neck 106 rests on top of center bar 204.

In a further embodiment of the wristband, the surface of band 100 may be imprinted with an image, as shown in FIGS. 9A and 9B. Such images may include a picture with a 3-D effect, a logo, a slogan, or other similar image.

As seen in FIGS. 1, 2, 4, and 12, another embodiment of the pennant wristband might have a slit 110 through the big end of tail 108. The slit 110 may be used to insert any excess portion of tail 108 that sticks out when the wristband user has adjusted the fit of the wristband. The benefit of this feature will be further explained below. Slit 110 has a width (D). Because tail 108 is to pass through slit 110, the width (D) of slit 110 must be at least as wide as the little end width (F) of tail 108 but also sufficiently less than the big end width (C) of tail 108.

The slit 110 must also have a depth (H) that is as deep as the thickness of band 100, so that tail 108 can be inserted into slit 110. Because slit 110 is meant to accommodate the excess portions of tail 108 after the user secures the wristband to the user's wrist, slit 110 needs to be approximately adjacent to buckle 200 and parallel to parallel sides 208 of buckle 200. In our exemplary embodiment, slit 110 is approximately 0.25 inches from parallel side 208 of buckle 200 when buckle 200 is assembled to band 100.

In a further embodiment of a wristband having a slit 110 through tail 108, slit 110 may have reinforcers 116 at the ends of slit 110, as seen in FIGS. 1 and 2. The reinforcers 116 provide stress relief as band 100 is pulled through buckle 200 and as excess portions of tail 108 are pulled through slit 110. Without such stress relief, band 100 might rip and tear at slit 110 as band 100 is pulled. The reinforcers 116 also prevent against any ripping or tearing associated with pulling excess portions of tail 108 through slit 110.

FIG. 12 illustrates how a user would don an assembled wristband. In Step 1, the user wraps the wristband around the user's wrist. In Step 2, the user then pulls tail 108 up and through one of apertures 202 of buckle 200. The user continues pulling tail 108 through buckle 200, until the wristband is comfortable and secure around the user's wrist. Because of the tapered shape of tail 108, when the user pulls tail 108 through apertures 202 of buckle 200 beyond a reasonable distance, it becomes difficult to further, over-tighten, the wristband.

If tail 108 were not tapered and the user pulled tail 108 all the way through buckle 200, the user might over-tighten the wristband, thereby restricting circulation and causing discomfort. Also, if tail 108 were not tapered, it could easily slide through buckle 200. This sliding might result in the wristband becoming either too loose or too tight as the user wears it. If the wristband becomes too loose, it could easily fall off the user's wrist or could be so loose that it moves and becomes uncomfortable as the user wears it. If the wristband becomes too tight, it might become too uncomfortable to wear and may even cut off the user's blood circulation.

Still referring to FIG. 12, in Step 3, when the wristband is secure around the wrist, the user pulls tail 108 down and through the other aperture 202. The user then continues pulling tail 108 to further adjust the fit of the wristband, as shown in Step 4. For embodiments without a slit 110 in tail 108, the excess portions of tail 108 rest on top of band 100.

However, if the wristband is of an embodiment having a slit 110 in tail 108 of band 100, the user may insert any excess portions of tail 108 through slit 110, as shown in Steps 5 and 6. By inserting the excess portions of tail 108 through slit 110, the excess portions are hidden behind band 100 that is already wrapped around the user's wrist. As a result, any images or logos imprinted on band 100 are free from obstruction by such excess portions of tail 108.

A method of manufacturing a pennant wristband may include the steps of:

1. printing an image on a sheet of static cling material;

2. drying the image;

3. applying an adhesive layer over the printed side of the static cling sheet;

4. curing the adhesive;

5. pressure embossing a lens pattern onto a heated layer of vinyl material;

6. aligning the static cling material with the embossed vinyl material;

7. laminating the embossed vinyl onto the printed static cling layer;

8. cutting the laminated layers into a pennant wristband shape; and

9. removing the backing from the static cling material.

After cutting, the backing (8 mm paper liner) on the static cling material is removed. The purpose of the backing is to prevent the static cling sheets from sticking together during processing.

In the preferred embodiment, a sheet of static cling material, that is approximately 7.5 mm thick and still has its release liner, is printed with one or more images.

Printing may be done in a UV environment to immediately dry the ink. After printing, a heat activated adhesive is placed on the printed sheet, which may be done by running it through a roll-coater. The sheet is then cured in ambient environment. In the preferred embodiment, curing can be induced over an extended period of time, such as for twenty-four hours.

In addition to this printed sheet, a separate sheet of lenticular material may be embossed with a lens pattern by heat and pressure. This is preferably done in a machine of the type known as a stereo embossing machine. These types of machines were originally developed for the purpose of manufacturing lenticular post cards and the like. They can also be used to manufacture window decals having a lenticular material laminated to a PVC material.

The lenticular sheet is preferably made of PVC vinyl. In the preferred embodiment, the lenticular material is a vinyl of the type known as polished/polished vinyl.

Also, in the preferred embodiment, the sheet of PVC vinyl has a thickness of between approximately 14-17 mm.

This embossed layer is then laminated in register with the images located on the printed static cling layer. This can be done by pulling the printed static cling layer onto the embossed layer, via air jets, after the vinyl layer is embossed. In an exemplary method, the printed layer and the embossed layer are laminated together in register.

After the two layers have been laminated, they may be cut into desired shapes. This may be done using a die cutter. For example, the band may be die cut to have a tapered head, neck, and tapered tail.

In an alternative method, after the layers have been cut, a buckle or snap fastener may be placed on the layers to form a pennant wristband.

Yet another alternative method may include the step of imprinting lenticular image onto the static cling band. In this method, during the printing step, multiple images are sliced and printed together on the static cling sheet. Then, a separate vinyl sheet is embossed with a particular pattern that will decode the sliced images on the static cling sheet. The embossed layer is then laminated on to the printed static cling sheet and cut into a desired shape. The embossed layer decodes the images into a 3-D effect. So when you look at the band from one direction, you see one image, and when you look at the band from another direction, you see a different image.

While this invention has been described in connection with a preferred embodiment, it is not intended to limit the scope of the invention to the particular form set forth, but, on the contrary, it is intended to cover such alternatives, modifications, and equivalents as may be included within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.