Title:
Brandable thumbstick cover for game controllers
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A brandable thumbstick cover for video game controllers includes a thumbstick cap and an adapter ring meant to cover the thumbstick on the game controller. The thumbstick cap is the primary location for branding or inclusion of video game related images and text, which may appear on any surface of the thumbstick cap. The adapter ring is used to provide removable attachment between the thumbstick cap and the thumbstick itself and allows for a single sized thumbstick cap to be used across differently sized thumbsticks. The bottom cavity portion of the adapter ring is sized appropriately so as to receive the upper portion of the thumbstick and snap into place or be held by friction and/or pressure. The upper portion of the adapter ring provides a mechanism for attachment of the thumbstick cap. Alternative embodiments include the elimination of the adapter ring and the direct attachment of the thumbstick cap to the thumbstick. The thumbstick cap may have images and text applied directly, or it may contain a recessed top area that allows for branding in the form of a printed domed label. The domed label consists of a printed substrate material covered with a clear epoxy-type substance so that the printed graphics are shown through the dome, and an adhesive on the bottom of the substrate that is used to adhere to the thumbstick cap.



Inventors:
Minuto, Michael (Wellington, FL, US)
Visco, Tammy (Wellington, FL, US)
Application Number:
12/317912
Publication Date:
09/24/2009
Filing Date:
12/30/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F11/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
WITHERS, GRANT S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Michael Minuto (Wellington, FL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A cover device for a video game controller thumbstick that has an upper portion with a top surface and a peripheral side edge, said cover device comprising: a cap that is sized, structured and disposed for removeable attachment on the video game controller thumbstick in a manner that covers the top surface of the thumbstick, and said cap having a thumb engaging surface to allow manipulation of the thumbstick, and said cap further including at least one area for placement of an image and text.

2. The cover device as recited in claim 1 wherein said at least one area for placement of the image and text is on a top of said cap.

3. The cover device as recited in claim 2 wherein the top of said cap includes a recess.

4. The cover device as recited in claim 3 further comprising: a domed label sized, structured and disposed for attached receipt within said recess on the top of said cap, and said domed label defining said at least one area for placement of the image and text.

5. The cover device as recited in claim 2 further comprising: an adapter ring including an open bottom surrounded by a rim and communicating with a cavity that is sized, structured and disposed for snug receipt of the upper portion of the thumbstick therein, and said adapter ring further including a top portion for removeable attachment of said cap thereto.

6. The cover device as recited in claim 5 wherein said adapter ring includes a slip resistant surface surrounding said cavity for promoting firm gripped attachment of said adapter ring to the upper portion of the thumbstick.

7. The cover device as recited in claim 5 wherein said rim surrounding said open bottom of said adapter ring extends radially inward relative to said open bottom and said cavity, and said rim being structured and disposed for retaining said adapter ring on the upper portion of the thumbstick while maneuvering the thumbstick by applying directional pressure on the cover device.

8. The cover device as recited in claim 5 wherein said top portion of said adapter ring and said cap include cooperating screw threads for removeably attaching said cap to said adapter ring.

9. The cover device as recited in claim 5 wherein said cap magnetically attaches to the top portion of said adapter ring.

10. The cover device as recited in claim 5 wherein said adapter ring and said cap are provided with a plurality of cooperating pegs and peg receptors for removeably attaching said cap to said adapter ring.

11. The cover device as recited in claim 5 wherein said adapter ring further comprises a V-shaped groove communicating with said open bottom and said cavity, and said V-shaped groove being sized, structured and disposed for horizontal sliding receipt of the upper portion of the thumbstick within said cavity of said adapter ring.

Description:

This non-provisional patent application is based on provisional patent application Ser. No. 61/009,794 filed on Dec. 31, 2007 and we hereby claim the benefit under Title 35, United States Code section 119(e).

BACKGROUND OF INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to game controllers, and more specifically to the thumbstick portions of game controllers and decorative, branded accessories that may be used for them.

Video games are catching up to movies as a primary form of entertainment, and the characters depicted in video games are becoming well-known franchises. Hence an opportunity for merchandising of character branded products (ie, lunchboxes bearing the likenesses of Star Wars characters, Pokemon trading cards, etc) in the video game space is increasing.

The majority of video game consoles sold today include various methods for the game player to control and provide input to the game. The most frequently used style of game controller contains at least one and usually two thumbsticks, which are the mushroom-shaped protrusions at the top of the game controller, and which are meant to be manipulated via the game player's thumbs.

While there are many existing products which allow the game player to customize or decorate the appearance of their video game hardware using a video game branded product (for example covers for full game consoles or covers for an entire game controller), no existing product provides for a video game branded accessory that can attach and detach easily to/from the thumbstick on the game controller.

The present invention is meant to serve several functions. The thumbstick cap is meant to be a decorative cover for the thumbstick, where detailed images from popular video games may be displayed. It is also meant to be used as a collectible item, where the rarity of certain pieces may have more collectible value and can be bought or traded just as baseball cards or collector coins would. Finally, the many sections available to contain special markings on the thumbstick cap itself could allow it to be used as a piece in a trading or board game; the piece could contain markings indicating hit points, shield points, attack points, etc.

2. Discussion of Related Art

Although similar in usage, the present invention (the brandable thumbstick cover) has several major differences and advantages over a prior art joystick cover device disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 7,167,159 to Bailey.

ADVANTAGES OF INVENTION

The design of the present invention allows for thumbstick caps to be adapted to any size thumbstick, whereas the prior art is limited to a fixed size and can only accommodate thumbsticks that are very similar in size.

The present invention also allows for a size sufficient enough to display detailed images from video games, whereas the prior art has a very small area that is much less sufficient for displaying detailed images.

The present invention is meant to be collectible in nature, where sales of the product would be stimulated by providing a constant stream of newly branded, limited run thumbstick caps as new video games are released, whereas the prior art does not provide enough differentiation aside from colors to stimulate repeat sales.

The present invention, particularly the thumbstick cap portion, is not limited to being constructed from elastomer materials, as is the case in the prior art. The present invention may be constructed of many different types of material in order to add to the collectible value of the piece.

The present invention is designed for easy manufacturing and stocking of generic pieces which may be assembled in different ways to produce a different product; ie. A domed label specific to the Halo ™ video game would attach to a generically sized thumbstick cap, which would then be attached to a thumbstick adapter ring sized specifically for an XBOX 360™ controller.

SUMMARY

A cover device for a video game controller thumbstick that has an upper portion with a top surface and a peripheral side edge, said cover device comprising: an adapter ring and cap that is sized, structured and disposed for removable attachment on the video game controller thumbstick in a manner that covers the top surface of the thumbstick, and said cap having a thumb engaging surface to allow manipulation of the thumbstick, and said cap further including at least one area for placement of an image and text.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows a side view of the domed label (1), thumbstick cap (2), adapter ring (3), and the top of the thumbstick itself (4).

FIG. 2 shows a closer view of the adapter ring, angled slightly from the bottom (thumbstick side) so as to show the radial inward extension (3a) along the inner circumference of the adapter ring.

FIG. 3 shows a closer view of the thumbstick cap, angled slightly from the bottom (adapter ring side) so as to show the threading on the underside of the cap which is intended to receive the threaded male portion of the adapter ring.

FIG. 4 shows another side view of the domed label (1), thumbstick cap (2), adapter ring (3), and the top of the thumbstick itself (4), with proper shading.

DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION—PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The preferred embodiment of the present invention is shown in FIG. 1 and FIG. 4. It consists of 3 main pieces: the domed label 1, the thumbstick cap 2 (including recess), and the adapter ring 3, as shown in FIG. 1.

As thumbsticks for various game systems are all different sizes, and since it is desirable to maintain a consistent size of thumbstick cap for ease of manufacturing and portability from one type of game controller to another, the use of an adapter ring is recommended, as is the use of a domed label 1 and a thumbstick cap 2 that includes a recess.

The adapter ring is a small plastic piece in the shape of a ring, or any shape as appropriate to fit the top portion of a particular thumbstick. The center of the adapter ring may be hollow (ring shaped) or may be filled in. The purpose of the adapter ring is to adapt different sized thumbsticks such that a single sized thumbstick cap 2 may be used for any sized thumbstick 4. Cooperating screw threads on the top portion of the adapter ring 3 and the bottom portion of thumbstick cap 2 are used for attachment. A detailed view of the adapter ring 3 with threads is shown in FIG. 2. A detailed view of the thumbstick cap 2 with threads is shown in FIG. 3.

To facilitate the use of a domed label 1, the top of the thumbstick cap 2 should include a recess that is sized sufficiently to receive and self-center the domed label 1.

The domed label 1 consists of a printed substrate material covered by a clear epoxy-type layer, with an adhesive on the underside to allow for secure attachment to the thumbstick cap 2. The domed label 1 may be a preformed piece that is manufactured separately and attached to the thumbstick cap 2 in a separate process, or the manufacturing may happen simultaneously, where the printed substrate material is attached with adhesive to the top of the thumbstick cap within the recess, and then the epoxy-like covering is applied to the top of the thumbstick cap 2 within the provided recess and allowed to dry.

Alternative Embodiment 1

An alternative embodiment provides for the direct attachment of thumbstick cap 2 to thumbstick 4 without the use of an adapter ring 3. The underside of the thumbstick cap 2 would be sized and structured for removable attachment to the thumbstick 4. Possible attachment methods as outlined in alternative embodiments 3, 4, or 5 could be used.

Alternative Embodiment 2

An alternative embodiment provides for a thumbstick cap 2 without a top recess or usage of a domed label 1, where the placement of images and text would occur directly as opposed to through the usage of the domed label method. Placement of the images and text could occur in a variety of ways depending on the materials used, for example, Tampo printing, laser etching, molded inscriptions, etc.

Alternative Embodiment 3

An alternative embodiment provides for an adapter ring 3 that includes a slip resistant surface lining some or all of the bottom cavity of the adapter ring 3, which would allow for a firmer grip to the upper portion of the thumbstick.

Alternative Embodiment 4

An alternative embodiment provides for an adapter ring 3 which extends radially inward, either in whole or in part, so as to provide a more snug fit or a snap-on/snap-off type function. FIG. 2, portion 3a shows one embodiment of a partial inward extension along the entire inner radius of the adapter ring 3 cavity.

Alternative Embodiment 5

An alternative embodiment provides for an adapter ring 3 that has a V-shaped groove at its bottom. The groove is sized and structured in such a way so as to allow the adapter ring 3 to slide horizontally onto the thumbstick 4, and would ensure that the adapter ring 3 would not slide off or pop off except in the direction it was originally installed, and only at the specific intent and effort of the user. This could allow for an even more generic adapter ring to be constructed and be compatible with many differently-sized thumbsticks.

Alternative Embodiment 6

An alternative embodiment provides for a magnetic attachment between the adapter ring 3 and the thumbstick cap 2. The bottom portion of the thumbstick cap 2 and the top portion of the adapter ring 3 would be sized and structured in such a way as to allow magnets of opposite polarity on either piece to provide snug yet removable attachment of the two pieces.

Alternative Embodiment 7

An alternative embodiment provides for the attachment of the adapter ring 3 to the thumbstick cap 2 via a peg and peg receptor type system. The adapter ring 3 could contain one or more pegs protruding from the top of the ring, the pegs ideally being placed equidistantly from each other. The pegs could have a mushroom type shape to them, where the head of the peg was wider than its base. The thumbstick cap 2 would contain appropriately shaped peg receptors on its bottom so as to receive the pegs on the adapter ring 3, allowing the cover to snap or slide into place.