Title:
BRUSH COVER AND METHOD
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A brush cover is provided with a retention mechanism for releasably securing a brush having a bristle portion on a distal end and an interconnected elongate handle proximal to the bristle portion. The brush cover includes an elongate sleeve having an outer surface, an inner surface, an open proximal end and an open distal end for receiving and withdrawing the brush relative to the elongated sleeve. The elongate sleeve of the brush cover also includes a retention mechanism. The retention mechanism is attached to the inner surface of the elongate sleeve and positioned within the elongate sleeve to intermittently contact an area of the elongate handle. The intermittent contact between the handle of the brush and the retention mechanism allows for the brush to be releasably secured within the elongate sleeve. The bristle portion of the brush is covered by the distal end of the elongate sleeve.



Inventors:
Gallegos, David (Norwalk, CA, US)
Application Number:
12/271721
Publication Date:
05/14/2009
Filing Date:
11/14/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A46B17/04
View Patent Images:
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20050210621Vacuum excavation suction hose attachmentSeptember, 2005Buckner
20040237243Apparatus for a cleaning carriageDecember, 2004Dahl
20100043170DUST SEPARATING DEVICE OF A CLEANERFebruary, 2010Ni
20060017314Manufacturing method for multi-color extruded acrylic cosmetic brushes and brush handlesJanuary, 2006Jang
20020054784Flushable toilet bowl cleaning brushMay, 2002Wolf
20060225235Tooth cleaning apparatusOctober, 2006Mortimer
20060260080Oral hygiene implementNovember, 2006Hsu
20090019654Compact servicing equipment and carrier combinationJanuary, 2009Lingren



Primary Examiner:
CHIN, RANDALL E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
STETINA BRUNDA GARRED & BRUCKER (ALISO VIEJO, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A brush cover for use with a brush, said brush including a bristle portion on a distal end of the brush and an elongate handle proximal to said bristle portion, said brush cover comprising: an elongate sleeve defined by an inner and outer surface, an open proximal end and an open distal end; the open distal end being sized and configured to receive the elongate handle of the brush within the elongate sleeve; and a retention mechanism attached to the inner surface of the elongate sleeve to intermittently contact an area of the elongate handle of the brush to releasably secure the brush within the sleeve at a position within the sleeve wherein the bristle portion is received within the distal end of the sleeve, and wherein at least a portion of the elongate handle extends through the open proximal end of said sleeve.

2. The brush cover of claim 1, wherein the elongate sleeve is formed of a rigid material.

3. The brush cover of claim 1, wherein the elongate sleeve has a circular cross-section.

4. The brush cover of claim 3, wherein said sleeve has a distal region having a continuous circular cross section;

5. The brush cover of claim 3, wherein said sleeve has a tapered proximal region having a decreasing circular cross section from said distal region to said proximal end.

6. The brush cover of claim 5 wherein said retention mechanism is positioned within said tapered proximal region.

7. The brush cover of claim 1 wherein the retention mechanism comprises at least one flexible member positioned against said sleeve inner surface.

8. The brush cover of claim 1 wherein the retention mechanism generates friction with the elongate handle of the brush at a plurality of non-continuous contact points.

9. The brush cover of claim 1 wherein the retention mechanism comprises at least two flexible members positioned axially against the sleeve inner surface to frictionally engage the brush handle when inserted into said sleeve.

10. the brush cover of claim 9 wherein the retention mechanism is positioned within the tapered proximal region.

11. A method for covering a brush with a brush cover, said brush including a bristle portion on a distal end of the brush and an elongate handle proximal to said bristle portion, said method comprising: inserting the elongate handle of said brush into an open distal end of an elongate sleeve, said elongate sleeve defined by an inner and outer surface, an open proximal end and an open distal end; passing the proximal end of the elongate handle through the open proximal end of said sleeve; frictionally retaining the brush handle with a retention mechanism attached to the inner surface of the elongate sleeve at a position within the sleeve wherein the bristle portion is received within the distal end of the sleeve, and wherein at least a portion of the elongate handle extends through the open proximal end of said sleeve.

12. The method of claim 11, wherein the retention mechanism is attached to the inner surface of the elongate sleeve at a tapered portion of said sleeve.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

Not Applicable

STATEMENT RE: FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH/DEVELOPMENT

Not Applicable

BACKGROUND

1. Technical Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a brush cover and, more particularly, a brush cover configured to slidably receive a brush and releasably secure the brush while reducing the likelihood of damage to any bristle associated with the bristle portion of the brush. The invention additionally includes a method of protecting a brush with a cover.

2. Description of the Related Art

Nail brushes are used extensively in the cosmetic nail care industry by nail technicians to apply acrylic to fingernails. Although the nail brush may take different forms, the most common type of brush is shown in FIG. 1 with a handle portion 16 and a bristle portion 12. The technician dips the bristles into a solution, and then into a powder to form an acrylic to be applied to the nails. Due to the skilled and detailed nature of the task, it is important for the technician to keep the bristles of the brush in proper shape so that the brush may be used multiple times. Quality nail brushes are expensive and it is important to be able to reuse the brush for as long as possible.

Nail technicians and salon owners invest in premium nail brushes to aid them in their trade and as such, brush covers are used to protect the nail brushes. The bristle portion 12 as shown in FIG. 1 of the brush is particularly susceptible to damage without proper maintenance or protection. A typical brush cover may be cylindrical in shape and sized to fit over the bristle portion of the brush and a portion of the brush handle. In this regard, the brush cover may prevent the bristles from being exposed and thus inadvertently damaged through unwanted contact with other surfaces. The open end of the brush cover is sized and configured to fit over the bristle portion 12 and complimentary to the elongate handle 16.

Although brush covers are regularly used to protect the bristles of the nail brush, the brush covers themselves may also be a source of damage to the bristles. Although the diameter of the brush covers are sized to receive the bristles into the cover, if the brush cover is placed over the bristles at an off angle, or if the bristles are slightly flayed, the cover can damage the bristles. For example, referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, a prior art brush cover 18 is shown where it contacts the bristles 12 causing a flaying to the bristles 12. This design may increase the likelihood that a bristle or a plurality of bristles may contact the brush cover as the brush cover is fitted over the bristle portion to protect the brush. Contact with the bristle portion may cause unwanted splaying of individual bristles or a group of bristles. The bending or splaying of the bristles may cause permanent damage and minimize the effectiveness and longevity of the brush.

Accordingly, there exists a need in the art for an improved brush cover which addresses one or more of the above or related deficiencies.

BRIEF SUMMARY

The present invention is a brush cover to be used with a brush, where the brush has bristles and a handle. The brush cover is an elongate sleeve with open ends on both sides. One of the ends is tapered, and the non-tapered end is sized to receive the brush handle. Instead of the brush cover being placed over the bristles as shown in the prior art, the handle is drawn into sleeve at the non-tapered end in the direction of the brush handle, with the brush coming to rest at the tapered end of the sleeve in a position that allows the bristles to be covered by the non-tapered end of the sleeve, and the bottom of brush handle protruding from the open tapered end. As such, the bristles are protected without subjecting the bristles to the lip edge of a brush cover which can damage the bristles.

The elongate sleeve has an outer and an inner surface. The elongate sleeve of the brush cover also has an open proximal end and an open distal end for receiving and withdrawing the brush. The open distal end of the elongate sleeve may be sized and configured to receive the elongate handle of the brush. As the elongate handle of the brush is placed adjacent the inner surface of the elongate sleeve, the brush may be slidably received therein so that the bristle portion of the brush may also be received by the open distal end. The elongate sleeve of the brush cover also includes a retention mechanism. The retention mechanism is attached to the inner surface of the elongate sleeve. The position of the retention mechanism within the elongate sleeve allows for the retention mechanism to intermittently contact an area of the elongate handle of the brush. The intermittent contact between the handle of the brush and the retention mechanism allows for the brush to be releasably secure within the elongate sleeve. The bristle portion of the brush is covered by the distal end of the elongate sleeve. A portion of the elongate handle extends through the open proximal end of the elongate sleeve.

The elongate sleeve is rigid cylindrical structure having a distal circular cross-section and a proximal tapered region having a decreasing circular cross section. The sleeve has an open distal end and an open proximal end. A brush is received into the open distal end by the brush handle, coming to rest with a portion of the handle stopping at the tapered region, with the bristles of the brush nested fully within the distal end of the sleeve.

A retention mechanism is arranged within the tapered end of the cover configured to generate friction with the elongate handle of the brush at a plurality of non-continuous contact points. As the elongate handle is slidably received within the elongate sleeve via the open distal end, the retention mechanism contacts the elongate handle at the various non-continuous contact points to provide a releasably secure grip. The retention mechanism includes flexion members positioned axially within the sleeve between two rings in contact with the inner surface of the sleeve. The flexion members are configured to separate the elongate handle of the brush from the inner surface of the elongate sleeve to prevent sticking of the handle within the sleeve cover.

The elongate sleeve is defined by a first region and a second region. The first region includes a cross-section having a constant cross-section. The second tapered region of the elongate sleeve has a cross-section with decreasing circular cross-section. In this regard, the second region of the elongate sleeve is tapered. The second tapered region of the elongate sleeve has a cross-sectional diameter that decreases toward the open proximal end.

In addition, a method for covering a brush with a brush cover is provided. The brush to be covered includes a bristle portion on a distal end of the brush and an interconnected elongate handle proximate to the bristle portion. The method begins with receiving the elongate handle of the brush via an open distal end of an elongate sleeve. The method continues with the step of receivably sliding a portion of the elongate handle of the brush through an open proximal end of the elongate sleeve. The method also provides for contacting an area of the handle of the by a retention mechanism attached to the inner surface of the elongate sleeve. The retention mechanism may be positioned within the elongate sleeve to releasably secure the brush within the elongate sleeve so that the bristle portion of the brush is covered by the elongate sleeve. The method further comprises releasing the elongate handle of the brush from the brush cover. This may be accomplished by translating the elongate sleeve away from the bristle portion of the brush. The retention mechanism is attached to the inner surface of the elongate sleeve at a tapered portion so that the elongate handle of the brush is releasably secure at the tapered portion of the elongate sleeve.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

These and other features and advantages of the various embodiments disclosed herein will be better understood with respect to the following description and drawings, in which like numbers refer to like parts throughout, and in which:

FIG. 1 is a front view of a prior art brush cover and a brush;

FIG. 2 is a front view of the prior art brush cover and the brush from FIG. 1, depicting the brush cover sliding over a bristle portion of the brush;

FIG. 3 is a front view of the brush cover in accordance with the present invention showing a cut away view of the retention mechanism and also showing a brush;

FIG. 4 is a cross sectional view of brush cover of the present invention with a brush releasably secured within the brush cover;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a retention mechanism; and

FIG. 6 is a partial cross-sectional view of the brush cover of the present invention showing the retention mechanism positioned within brush cover.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

With reference to FIGS. 3 and 4, a brush cover 24 of the present invention is shown. The brush cover 24 includes an elongate sleeve 25 having an open distal end 26 and an open proximal end 28. The elongate sleeve 25 is preferably formed of aluminum; however, the sleeve may be formed of plastic, metal, or any other suitable material with sufficient rigidity to protect the bristles 12 of the brush 10 having an elongate handle 16. The open distal end 26 of the elongate sleeve 25 is sized and configured to receive the elongate handle 16 of the brush 10. The brush cover 24 is configured to receive the elongate handle 16 of the brush 10 before the bristle portion 12 is received. In this regard, the elongate sleeve 25 is designed so that the proximal end of the elongate handle 16 is received via the open distal end 26 prior to the bristle portion 12 being received via the open distal end 26. Receiving the bristles 12 into the sleeve 25 by first inserting the handle 16, allows the bristles 12 to covered by the sleeve 25 without facing the problems associated with covering the bristles 12 from the distal end of brush 10 as shown in FIG. 2. In this regard, the bristles 12 are not flayed or deformed by the walls of the sleeve 25.

It is important for the bristles comprising the bristle portion 12 of the brush 10 to not be splayed or deformed. Bending or splaying may occur when the lip of a brush cover is inadvertently pushed against the bristle portion 12, as shown in FIG. 2, for example. Therefore, receiving the proximal end of the elongate handle 16 via the open distal end 26 avoids splaying or deforming of the bristle portion 12 because he lip distal opening 26 does not contact the bristles 12.

When the brush 10 is received by the elongate sleeve 25, the proximal end of the elongate handle 16 extends through the open proximal end 28 of the elongate sleeve 25. The elongate handle 16 may extend through the open proximal end 28 of the elongate sleeve 25 until the brush 10 is releasably secured by retention mechanism 32 the brush cover 24. The elongate handle 16 of the brush 10 extends through the open proximal end 28 of the elongate sleeve 25 so that the bristle portion 12 may be maintained within the elongate sleeve 25. In this regard, the bristle portion 12 of the brush does not extend through the open distal end 26 of the elongate sleeve 25 when the brush 10 is releasably secured by the elongate sleeve 25. When the brush 10 is releasably secured to the brush cover 24, the brush 10 will not be separated from the brush cover 24 unless an external force is applied. The brush 10 may withstand minor forces and other movements without being released from the brush cover 24. To release the brush 10 from the brush cover 24, a force is applied to the sleeve 25 in the proximal direction or a force is applied to the handle 16 in the distal direction or a combination of both of the aforementioned forces causing the bristle portion 12 to extend through the open distal end 26 of the elongate sleeve 25 and the brush removed from the sleeve 25.

The elongate sleeve 25 is defined by an outer surface 34 and an inner surface 36. The elongate sleeve 25 also includes a tapered portion 30. The tapered portion 30 allows the brush cover 24 to grip the elongate handle 16 of the brush 10. Many brushes have a thicker cross section along a center portion of the elongate handle 16 that may be gripped by the user of the brush 10. The other portions of the brush 10 may have a thinner cross-section. As a result, the elongate sleeve 25 has a cross-section that is sized so that the elongate handle 16 of the brush 10 may be slidably received within the sleeve 25. However, without the tapered portion 30, the brush 10 may slide through the elongate sleeve 25 without being secured. The tapered portion 30 may ensure that a portion of the elongate handle 16 cannot extend through the open proximal end 28. Although a tapered portion 30 is shown, it is contemplated by the present invention that the sleeve may be a uniform cross section along the entire length of the sleeve, and that a retention mechanism included within the sleeve would act to retain the brush 10 within the sleeve.

Referring more particularly to FIGS. 5 and 6, a retention mechanism 32 is provided. The retention mechanism 32 is attached to the inner surface 36 of the elongate sleeve 25. The retention mechanism 32 is used to releasably secure the brush 10 within the elongate sleeve 25. The retention mechanism 32 may be attached to the inner surface 36 of the elongate sleeve 25 using an adhesive or any other known method. A portion of the elongate handle 16 that is received by the retention mechanism 32 is prevented from directly contacting the inner surface 36 of the elongate sleeve 25. In other words, the retention mechanism 32 may create a space or distance between the inner surface 36 and the elongate handle 16 as the brush 10 is slidably received by the brush cover 24 and releasably secured therein. The space between the inner surface 36 and a portion of the elongate handle 16 is preferred because it may prevent friction between the inner surface 36 and the elongate handle 16. If friction between the inner surface 36 and the elongate handle 16 is allowed along a substantial portion of the elongate sleeve 25, the brush 10 may be frictionally retained within the tapered portion 30 of the brush cover 24, making it difficult to release.

The retention mechanism 32 includes opposed ring portions 38 and 39 attached to the inner surface 36 of the elongate sleeve 25. In the embodiment of the present invention, the ring 38 has a larger circumference than the ring 39 as the tapered portion 30 has a greater cross section where the ring 38 is placed and as smaller cross section where the ring 39 is placed. Although the rings 38 and 39 are shown to have circular cross-sections, the retention mechanism 32 may be configured to emulate the cross-section of the elongate sleeve 25 for better attachment thereto. The rings 38 and 39 provide a substantial contact points to the surface 36 to secure the retention mechanism 36 to the device 25. Although the rings 38 and 39 are shown as being non-continuous, it is contemplated by the present invention that the rings may be closed to form continuous rings. Extending between the rings 38 and 39 are a series of four (4) flexion members 40. Although four (4) flexion members are shown it is contemplated that there can be any number of flexion members, including, but not limited to a single flexion member. The flexion members 40 also include convex portions 42. In operation, as a portion of the elongate handle 16 contacts the flexion member 40, the convex portion may bend slightly to accommodate the elongate handle 16. The flexion member 40 and the convex portion 42 prevent the elongate handle 16 from frictionally attaching to the inner surface 36 of the elongate sleeve 25. The intermittent contact points of the flexion members 40 reduce or prevent the likelihood of the brush 10 becoming permanently fixed or strongly lodged within the elongated sleeve 25, while at the same time adequately and releasably securing the brush 10 within the sleeve 25. Although two rings are shown it is also contemplated by the present invention that retention member may include only one ring with one or more flexion members attached. Further, it is contemplated that retention mechanisms such as a leaf spring, coil spring or other like device may be used to releasably secure the brush 10 within the brush cover 25. Any contemplated retention mechanism should prevent substantial frictional contact between the elongate handle 16 and the inner surface 36 while at the same time releasbley securing the handle 16 within the sleeve 25

As shown, the retention mechanism 32 may be attached to the inner surface 36 of the elongate sleeve 25 at the tapered portion 30 adjacent the open proximal end 28. A significant portion of the elongate handle 16 to be slidably received within the brush cover 24 so that the bristle portion 12 does not extend past the open distal end 26 of the elongate sleeve 25 when the brush 10 is releasably secure therein.

The elongate sleeve 25 defines a first region and a second region. The first region may include a cross-section having a constant diameter. In this regard, the diameter is constant along the first region of the elongate sleeve 25. The second region includes a decreasing circular cross-section. The second region of the elongate sleeve 25 corresponds to the tapered portion 30. The tapered portion 30 has a cross-section that decreases as the tapered portion 30 or the second region extends toward the open proximal end 28. The first region may correspond to the length of the elongate sleeve 25 without the second region or tapered portion 30. The first region may be used primarily to slidably receive the brush 10. The second region may be used to releasably secure the brush 10 within the brush cover 24. As the elongate handle 16 of the brush 10 is slidably received by the elongate sleeve 25, the elongate handle 16 extends through the open proximal end 28 until a portion of the elongate handle 16 contacts the retention mechanism 32 attached to the inner surface 36 of the tapered portion 30. After the brush 10 is releasably secured to the brush cover 25 by means of the retention mechanism 32, the brush 10 will not slide out either the open proximal end 28 or the open distal end 26 independent of whether the brush cover is held upright or overturned. Although the description discusses a brush for use in acrylic fingernail application, it is understood that the brush cover could be used with any other similarly shaped bush including, but not limited to a paint brushes, artist brushes, dust brushes, fingerprint brushes and/or cosmetic brushes.

The above description is given by way of example, and not limitation. Given the above disclosure, one skilled in the art could devise variations that are within the scope and spirit of the invention disclosed herein, including various ways of releasably securing a brush with a brush cover having a retention mechanism. Further, the various features of the embodiments disclosed herein can be used alone, or in varying combinations with each other and are not intended to be limited to the specific combination described herein. Thus, the scope of the claims is not to be limited by the illustrated embodiments.