Title:
Sanitary Clip Assembly
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Disclosed is a clip assembly for use in securing a folded portion of apparel to avoid a contact between the folded portion of the apparel and a contaminated floor of a public facility. The clip assembly includes at least one clip and a case for enclosing the at least one clip. Each clip of the at least one clip includes a pair of clip members and a coupling mechanism disposed between the pair of clip members. The coupling mechanism is configured to enable a clip to assume a close position and an open position. In the close position, the at least one clip is capable of securing the folded portion of the apparel.



Inventors:
Nashief, Souad (Houston, TX, US)
Asante, Effe (Houston, TX, US)
Application Number:
12/107240
Publication Date:
10/22/2009
Filing Date:
04/22/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A44B99/00
View Patent Images:
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20090116926LOAD ANCHORMay, 2009Armour
20080134477CABLE ROUTING CLIPJune, 2008Hart et al.
20010032376Tabbed binder clipsOctober, 2001Payne
20090243892SEAT BUCKLE CONFIGURED FOR SECURITY AND SAFETY AND ASSOCIATED METHODSOctober, 2009Cheung
20050055810Side-release buckle with security featureMarch, 2005Loughlin et al.
20080060172Magnetic jewelry clasp that is attachable and detachable to existing jewelry by the userMarch, 2008Moss
20070185469Napkin with an adhesive tabAugust, 2007Green



Primary Examiner:
SANDY, ROBERT JOHN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MICHAEL RIES (Peshtigo, WI, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A clip assembly, comprising: at least one clip, each clip of the at least one clip capable of securing a folded portion of apparel thereto, the each clip comprising a pair of clip members, each clip member of the pair of clip members having a first end portion and a second end portion opposite to the first end portion, and a coupling mechanism disposed between the pair of clip members, the coupling mechanism configured to enable first end portions of the pair of clip members to assume a close position of the pair of clip members, and enable the first end portions of the pair of clip members to assume an open position of the pair of clip members upon pressing second end portions of the pair of clip members, wherein the first end portions of the pair of clip members are adapted to secure the folded portion of the apparel thereto in the close position of the pair of clip members; and a case for enclosing the at least one clip therein.

2. The clip assembly of claim 1, wherein the coupling mechanism is a spring mechanism.

3. The clip assembly of claim 1, wherein the each clip member of the pair of clip members comprises a grip element disposed on the first end portion of the each clip member.

4. The clip assembly of claim 3, wherein the grip element is composed of a rubber material.

5. The clip assembly of claim 1, wherein the clip assembly further comprises an antimicrobial coating disposed on the case.

6. The clip assembly of claim 5, wherein the antimicrobial coating is composed of nano silver particles.

7. A clip for securing a folded portion of apparel thereto, the clip comprising: a pair of clip members, each clip member of the pair of clip members having a first end portion and a second end portion opposite to the first end portion; and a coupling mechanism disposed between the pair of clip members, the coupling mechanism configured to enable first end portions of the pair of clip members to assume a close position of the pair of clip members, and enable the first end portions of the pair of clip members to assume an open position of the pair of clip members upon pressing second end portions of the pair of clip members, wherein the first end portions of the pair of clip members are adapted to secure the folded portion of the apparel thereto in the close position of the pair of clip members.

8. The clip of claim 7, wherein the coupling mechanism is a spring mechanism.

9. The clip of claim 7, wherein the each clip member of the pair of clip members comprises a grip element disposed on the first end portion of the each clip member.

10. The clip of claim 9, wherein the grip element is composed of a rubber material.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention generally relates to hygiene articles, and, more particularly, to a hygiene article used for avoiding a contact of apparel of a person to a contaminated floor.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Use of public facilities, such as a toilet, a restroom and a lavatory, is a part of our daily life. In a majority of public facilities, the floors are the areas that may be contaminated with germs, such as microbes and bacteria. Any person using such a public facility should avoid a contact between his/her apparel and the floor of the facility, for hygienic and sanitary reasons. Specifically, a person wearing apparel, such as pants or a long skirt, should avoid such contacts to prevent his/her apparel from getting contaminated with the germs on the floor.

It has been customary that people generally hold their apparel in a raised position by their hands for avoiding the contact between the apparel and the floor. In some instances people even fold hem portions or cuff portions of the apparel for avoiding such contact. However, a folded portion of the apparel may unfold upon loosely folding the apparel, which may result in contaminating the apparel with the germs. Additionally, while using the public facility, holding the apparel by hands may be a cumbersome task.

Accordingly, there exists a need for a suitable mechanism, which should be capable of avoiding a contact between apparel and a floor of a public facility.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In view of foregoing disadvantage inherent in the prior art, the general purpose of the present invention is to provide a suitable mechanism, to include all the advantages of the prior art, and overcome the drawbacks inherent therein.

An object of the present invention is to provide a suitable mechanism for use in securing a folded portion of apparel thereto to avoid a contact between the apparel and a floor of a public facility.

In light of the above object, in one aspect, the present invention provides the suitable mechanism, such as a clip assembly. The clip assembly includes at least one clip and a case for enclosing the at least one clip therein. Each clip of the at least one clip is capable of securing a folded portion of apparel thereto. Each clip includes a pair of clip members and a coupling mechanism disposed between the pair of clip members. Each clip member of the pair of clip members has a first end portion and a second end portion opposite to the first end portion. The coupling mechanism is configured to enable first end portions of the pair of clip members to assume a close position and open position of the pair of clip members. The open position of the pair of clip members is assumed upon pressing second end portions of the pair of clip members. The first end portions of the pair of clip members are adapted to secure the folded portion of the apparel thereto in the close position of the pair of clip members.

In another aspect of the present invention, a clip for securing a folded portion of apparel thereto is disclosed. The clip includes a pair of clip members and a coupling mechanism disposed between the pair of clip members. Each clip member of the pair of clip members has a first end portion and a second end portion opposite to the first end portion. The coupling mechanism is configured to enable first end portions of the pair of clip members to assume a close position of the pair of clip member. The coupling mechanism is further configured to enable the first end portions of the pair of clip members to assume an open position of the pair of clip members upon pressing second end portions of the pair of clip members. The first end portions of the pair of clip members are adapted to secure the folded portion of the apparel thereto in the close position of the pair of clip members.

These together with other aspects of the present invention, along with the various features of novelty that characterize the present invention, are pointed out with particularity in the claims annexed hereto and form a part of this present invention. For a better understanding of the present invention, its operating advantages, and the specific objects attained by its uses, reference should be made to the accompanying drawings and descriptive matter in which there are illustrated exemplary embodiments of the present invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The advantages and features of the present invention will become better understood with reference to the following detailed description and claims taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein like elements are identified with like symbols, and in which:

FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of a clip assembly, in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 illustrates a perspective view of a clip in an open position, in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 3 illustrates a perspective view of an application of the clip, in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

Like reference numerals refer to like parts throughout the description of several views of the drawings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The exemplary embodiments described herein detail for illustrative purposes and are subject to many variations in structure and design. It should be emphasized, however, that the present invention is not limited to a clip assembly, as shown and described. It is understood that various omissions and substitutions of equivalents are contemplated as circumstances may suggest or render expedient, but these are intended to cover the application or implementation without departing from the spirit or scope of the claims of the present invention. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology used herein is for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting.

The terms “a” and “an” herein do not denote a limitation of quantity, but rather denote the presence of at least one of the referenced item. The terms “first,” “second,” and the like, herein do not denote any order, quantity, or importance, but rather are used to distinguish one element from another.

The present invention provides a clip assembly for use as a hygiene article. The clip assembly is configured to secure a folded portion of apparel, such as a pant leg or a long skirt, thereto for avoiding a contact between the apparel and a floor of a public facility, such as a toilet, a restroom and a lavatory. The floor of the public facility may be contaminated with germs and accordingly, the floor will be hereinafter referred to as ‘contaminated floor’ in the description that follows. More specifically, a folded cuff portion or a folded hem portion of the apparel is secured by the clip assembly, such that the folded cuff portion or the folded hem portion of the apparel is avoided from getting spoiled by the contaminated floor of the public facility.

Referring to FIG. 1, illustrated is a perspective view of a clip assembly 100, in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention. The clip assembly 100 includes at least one clip, such as a clip 110a and a clip 110b, and a case 150 for enclosing the clips 110a and 110b. The case 150 includes a pair of compartments, such as a compartment 152a and a compartment 152b for enclosing the clip 110a and the clip 110b therein, respectively.

The clip 110a includes a pair of clip members, such as a clip member 112a and a clip member 114a, and a coupling mechanism 130a. The coupling mechanism 130a is disposed between the clip member 112a and the clip member 114a. The clip member 112a includes a first end portion 116a and a second end portion 118a, which is opposite to the first end portion 116a. Similarly, the clip member 114a includes a first end portion 120a and a second end portion 122a, opposite to the first end portion 120a.

The coupling mechanism 130a is configured to functionally couple the clip member 112a and the clip member 114a, such that the clip members 112a and 114a may move pivotally about the coupling mechanism 130a. Moreover, the coupling mechanism 130a is configured to enable the first end portions 116a and 120a of the clip members 112a and 114a, respectively, to assume a close position. In one embodiment of the present invention, the coupling mechanism 130a includes extended arms (not shown) extending from ends of the coupling mechanism 130a, such that the extended arms are coupled to the clip members 112a and 114a. The extended arms of the coupling mechanism 130a exerts a force of compression on the clip members 112a and 114a, such that clip members 112a and 114a tend to come into contact about the first end portions 116a and 120a. Herein, such a positioning of the clip members 112a and 114a may be referred to as a ‘close position’. The close position of the clip members 112a and the 114a is illustrated in the FIG. 1.

The coupling mechanism 130a is further configured to enable the first end portions 116a and 120a to assume an open position. More specifically, the first end portions 116a and 120a tend to move away from each other and attain the open position, upon pressing the second end portions 118a and 122a of the clip members 112a and 114a, respectively. In one embodiment of the present invention, in the open position of the clip members 112a and 114a, the extended arms of the coupling mechanism 130a may expand due a force applied on the second end portions 118a and 122a, thereby causing the first end portions 116a and 120a to move apart for attaining the open position. The open position of the clip members 112a and 114a will be explained further in conjunction with FIG. 2.

In one embodiment of the present invention, the coupling mechanism 130a is a spring mechanism. However, it will be apparent to person skilled in the art that the coupling mechanism 130a may be any mechanical arrangement capable of enabling the pivotal movement of the clip members 112a and 114a about the coupling mechanism 130a, such that the clip members 112a and 114a may attain the close position or the open position.

In one embodiment of the present invention, the clip members 112a and 114a further includes a grip element 124a and a grip element 126a, respectively. The grip element 124a and 126a are disposed on the first end portions 116a and 120a of the clip members 112a and 114a, respectively as depicted in FIG. 2. The grip elements 124a and 126a are disposed on an inner surface of the first end portions 116a and 120a, respectively, such that grip elements 124a and 126a may come into contact in the close position of the clip members 112a and 114a. The grip elements 124a and 126a further assist in holding an object between the first end portions 116a and 120a. The grip elements 124a and 126a may be composed of a rubber material. However, the grip elements 124a and 126a may also be composed of other materials, such as plastic, and the like.

As disclosed herein, the clip assembly 100 further includes the clip 110b. The components of the clip 110b are structurally and functionally similar to the corresponding components of the clip 110a. For example, the clip 110b includes a pair of clip members, such as a clip member 112b and a clip member 114b similar in configuration to the clip members 112a and 114a of the clip 110a, and a coupling mechanism 130b similar in configuration to the coupling mechanism 130a of the clip 110a. Similarly, the clip member 112b includes a first end portion 116b and a second end portion 118b and the clip member 114b includes a first end portion 120b and a second end portion 122b. Furthermore, the clip members 112b and 114b include grip elements (not shown) similar to the grip elements 124a and 126a of the clip members 112a and 114a, respectively. The clips 110a and 110b is accommodated in the compartments 152a and 152b of the case 150. The representation of the case 150 in FIG. 1 is for the exemplary purposes only and it will be apparent to those ordinary skilled in the art that the case 150 may be designed in other configurations and shapes known in the art.

Referring specifically to FIG. 2, a perspective view of the clip 110a is illustrated, in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention. Herein, the clip 110a is represented in an open position, i.e., the clip members 112a and 114a are in the open position. As explained in conjunction with FIG. 1, the clip members 112a and 114a of the clip 110a is capable of attaining the open position upon pressing the second end portions 118a and 122a of the clip members 112a and 114a, respectively. As represented in FIG. 2, a force F and a force F′ is applied on the second end portions 118a and 122a, respectively, for attaining the open position of the clip 110a. Upon applying the forces F and F′ on the second end portions 118a and 122a, respectively, the coupling mechanism 130a tends to expand, which in turn, tends the clip members 112a and 114a to move pivotally apart from each other about the coupling mechanism 130a until the second end portions 118a and 122a comes in contacts. Once the second end portions 118a and 122a are in contact, the first end portions 116a and 120a are distant apart for configuring the open position of the clip 110a. Further, upon removing the forces F and F′ from the second end portions 118a and 122a, respectively, the clip members 112a and 114a attain the close position, which is also the close position of the clip 110a.

The close position of the clip 110a is capable of being used for securing a folded portion of apparel thereto. It will be evident to a person skilled in the art that the term “close position of the clip 110a” used herein does not necessarily refer to only cases when the first end portions 116a and 120a are in close contact. However, ‘the close position’ of the clip 110a also refers to a position of the clip 110a, where the clip 110a is partially opened to accommodate the folded portion of the apparel therebetween, such that the first end portions 116a and 120a of the clip members 112a and 114a are in contact with the folded portion of the apparel, which is shown in FIG. 3. Further, the first end portions 116a and 120a are configured with the grip elements 124a and 126a composed of the rubber material, as explained in conjunction with FIG. 1. The rubber material of the grip elements 124a and 126a enables in avoiding wrinkles to be formed on the folded portion of the apparel and providing a firm grip to the folded portion upon securing the folded portion with the clip 110a.

Referring to FIG. 3, an application of a clip such as the clip 110a is illustrated, in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention. The clip 110a and the clip 110b (not shown in FIG. 3) may be utilized by a person using a public convenience place, such as a toilet, a restroom and a lavatory. More specifically, the person before entering the public facility may fold a cuff portion or a hem portion of the apparel and secures the clip 110a thereto. FIG. 3 illustrates the clip 110a securing a folded portion 202 of apparel, such as a trouser 204, thereto. Therefore, the folded portion 202 of the apparel is positioned well above a contaminated floor 206 of the public facility, such that the folded portion 202 is avoided from contacting the contaminated floor 206. Accordingly, the use of clip 110a may be hygienic for the person using the public facility. Further, it will be evident to a person skilled in the art that both of the clips 110a and 110b of the clip assembly 100 will be used for securing the folded portion of the trouser 204, i.e., one for each leg of the trouser 204.

Once the use of the clips 110a and 110b is over, the clips 110a and 110b may be enclosed in the case 150. As explained in conjunction with FIG. 1, the case 150 includes the pair of compartments 152a and 152b for enclosing the clips 110a and 110b. Accordingly, the case 150 facilitates an easy portability of the clips 110a and 110b by storing the clips 110a and 110b, therein. In an embodiment of the present invention, the case 150 further includes an antimicrobial coating disposed on the case 150. The antimicrobial coating disposed on the case 150 may be utilized for the hygiene purposes for the person using the clip assembly 100. The antimicrobial coating may be composed of nano silver particles. Hence the clip assembly 100 may also be referred to as sanitary clips assembly, as the use of the clip assembly 100 by a person in the public facility facilitates in taking precautions for the hygiene purposes. Further, in another embodiment of the present invention, clips similar to the clips 110a and 110b may be used and carried by the user without the requirement of a case, such as the case 150

The clip assembly, explained in conjunction with FIGS. 1 through 3, may be advantageously used to prevent apparel from getting spoiled while using the public facility. The clip assembly of the present invention may be configured to have variety of sizes and designs, such that the clip assembly is aesthetically pleasing and may be used by people of all age groups. In one embodiment of the present invention, a clip of the clip assembly is configured having preferred dimensions such as a length of about 1.5 inches (in), a width of about 1 in and a height of about 0.5 in. Further, in one embodiment of the present invention, the clip members of the clip are composed of a plastic material and the coupling mechanism is composed of a metal. Additionally, the clip assembly of the present invention may be mass manufactured in a cost effective manner.

The foregoing descriptions of specific embodiments of the present invention have been presented for purposes of illustration and description. They are not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the present invention to the precise forms disclosed, and obviously many modifications and variations are possible in light of the above teaching. The embodiments were chosen and described in order to best explain the principles of the present invention and its practical application, and to thereby enable others skilled in the art to best utilize the present invention and various embodiments with various modifications as are suited to the particular use contemplated. It is understood that various omissions and substitutions of equivalents are contemplated as circumstances may suggest or render expedient, but these are intended to cover the application or implementation without departing from the spirit or scope of the claims of the present invention.





 
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