Title:
MOUNT FOR SECURING AN IMAGE TO FABRIC
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A mount for securing an image to fabric and fabric items including said mount. The mount is designed to secure, protect, enclose and display an image when attached to a fabric which can have significantly higher elasticity than the image. Portions of the mount may have an elasticity intermediate the elasticity of the fabric and the image. The mount may include reinforcing materials. The mount may be sewn, glued or otherwise bonded to fabric. The fabric may comprise an item of apparel, for example a wrist band, head band.



Inventors:
Rodarmel, Troy (Laguna Niguel, CA, US)
Application Number:
13/031065
Publication Date:
08/23/2012
Filing Date:
02/18/2011
Assignee:
POWER BALANCE, LLC (LAGUNA NIGUEL, CA, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
40/725, 40/768, 2/246
International Classes:
A41D27/08; A47G1/06
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
COLLIER, JAMESON D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
TUCKER ELLIS LLP (SAN FRANCISCO, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A mount adapted to enclose an image, the mount comprising: a base comprising a base silicone; a housing comprising a housing silicone; a lens comprising a transparent silicone; the housing having a back-plate secured to the base; the housing having a rim disposed around the periphery of the back-plate; the rim defining a shallow cavity configured to receive the image; and the lens positioned in the shallow cavity and attached to the rim and thereby configured to secure an image between the lens and the back-plate.

2. The mount of claim 1, wherein the base silicone is more elastic than the housing silicone.

3. The mount of claim 1, wherein the base comprises a peripheral sewing channel.

4. The mount of claim 1, wherein the base comprises a reinforcing fabric.

5. The mount of claim 1, wherein the base and the housing are circular.

6. The mount of claim 1, wherein: the base is a shape selected from, round, triangular, oval, square, star-shaped, diamond-shaped, and hexagonal; and the housing is a shape selected from, round, triangular, oval, square, star-shaped, diamond-shaped, and hexagonal.

7. The mount of claim 1, wherein: the base is a shape selected from, round, triangular, oval, square, star-shaped, diamond-shaped, and hexagonal; and the housing is the same shape as the base.

8. The mount of claim 1, in combination with an item of apparel made of a fabric wherein the base is sewn to the fabric of the item of apparel.

9. The mount of claim 1, in combination with an item of apparel made of a fabric wherein the base is bonded to the fabric of the item of apparel.

10. The mount of claim 1, in combination with an item of apparel made of a fabric wherein the base is sewn to the fabric of the item of apparel and wherein the item of apparel is one of a wristband and a headband.

11. An item of apparel comprising: a fabric surface; a mount adapted to enclose an image, the mount including, a base; a housing having a back-plate secured to the base; the housing having a rim disposed around the periphery of the back-plate; the rim defining a shallow cavity configured to receive the image, a transparent lens positioned in the shallow cavity and attached to the rim and thereby configured to secure an image between the lens and the back-plate; and wherein the base of the mount is secured to the fabric surface.

12. The item of apparel of claim 11, wherein the base is made of a base material and the housing is made of a housing material and wherein the base material has an elasticity intermediate an elasticity of the housing material and the fabric surface.

13. The item of apparel of claim 11, wherein the base comprises a peripheral sewing channel and wherein the base is sewn to the fabric surface with stitching which passes through the peripheral sewing channel and the fabric surface.

14. The item of apparel of claim 11, wherein the base comprises a reinforcing fabric.

15. The item of apparel of claim 11, wherein the base and the housing are circular.

16. The item of apparel of claim 11, wherein: the base is a shape selected from, round, triangular, oval, square, star-shaped, diamond-shaped, and hexagonal; and the housing is a shape selected from, round, triangular, oval, square, star-shaped, diamond-shaped, and hexagonal.

17. The item of apparel of claim 11, wherein: the base is a shape selected from, round, triangular, oval, square, star-shaped, diamond-shaped, and hexagonal; and the housing is the same shape as the base.

18. The item of apparel of claim 11, wherein the base is sewn to the fabric of the item of apparel.

19. The item of apparel of claim 11, wherein the base is bonded to the fabric of the item of apparel.

20. The item of apparel of claim 11, wherein the item of apparel is an item selected from: a wristband; a headband; pants, hats, belts, shoes, jackets, headbands, swimwear, socks, underwear, caps, beanies, fedoras, gloves, sports equipment, sports clothing, protective gear, climbing gear, ski wear, performance apparel, goggles, eyeglasses, sunglasses, pads, shoelaces, jewelry, traction pads, leashes, wetsuits, knee braces, wrist braces, back braces, compression wear, and watches.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is related to U.S. Design patent application 29/385,773 entitled “CLOTH BAND” filed Feb. 18, 2011 (ATTY. DKT. POWER-01001US0) which is incorporated herein by reference.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a mount for securing an image to a fabric item. The mount can be utilized to secure an image to fabric incorporated in an item to be worn on the body. In particular, the mount is suitable for securing an image to fabric incorporated in an item to be snugly fit one the body. The fabric in such items is typically elastic/stretchable in order to achieve a tight fit thus benefiting from a mount which, in part accommodates the elasticity of the fabric, and in part protects the image/image enclosure from stretching which would damage or eject the image. The mount is suitable for securing and protecting images printed on an image medium. The image can be, for example, a pictorial, photographic, and/or holographic image.

In accordance with one embodiment, the present invention provides a mount suitable for securing an image to fabric.

In accordance with another embodiment, the present invention provides method for manufacturing a mount suitable for securing an image to fabric.

In accordance with another embodiment, the present invention provides a method for securing an image to fabric.

In accordance with another embodiment, the present invention provides a fabric item incorporating a mount suitable for securing an image to fabric.

In accordance with one embodiment, the present invention provides an item of apparel incorporating a mount suitable for securing an image to fabric.

In accordance with one embodiment, the present invention provides an image sealed in a mount suitable for securing the image to fabric.

Thus, components, finished items, and methods are provided in accordance with various aspects of the present invention. Other objects, features and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the drawings and from the detailed description.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The above and further features, advantages and benefits of the present invention will be apparent upon consideration of the present description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

FIG. 1A shows a perspective view of a wristband including a mount according to the present invention.

FIG. 1B shows a side elevational view of the wristband of FIG. 1A.

FIG. 1C shows an end elevational view of the wristband of FIG. 1A.

FIG. 1D shows a sectional view through the mount and one side of the wristband of FIG. 1A.

FIG. 1E shows an exploded view of components of the mount of FIG. 1A.

FIG. 2A shows a perspective view of a wristband including an alternative mount according to the present invention.

FIG. 2B shows a perspective view of a wristband including an alternative mount according to the present invention.

FIG. 2C shows a perspective view of a wristband including an alternative mount according to the present invention.

FIG. 2D shows a perspective view of a wristband including an alternative mount according to the present invention.

FIG. 2E shows a perspective view of a wristband including an alternative mount according to the present invention.

FIG. 2F shows a perspective view of a wristband including an alternative mount according to the present invention.

FIG. 2G shows a perspective view of a headband including an alternative mount according to the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The following description is of the best modes presently contemplated for practicing various embodiments of the present invention. The description is not to be taken in a limiting sense, but is made merely for the purpose of describing the general principles of the invention. It is to be understood that features described in reference to particular embodiments may be combined with features of other particular embodiments. The scope of the invention should be ascertained with reference to the claims. In the description of the invention that follows, like numerals or reference designators will be used to refer to like parts or elements throughout. In addition, the first digit of a reference number identifies the series of drawings in which the reference number first appears.

The present invention is illustrated by reference to an embodiment of the invention in which a mount is utilized to secure an image to fabric incorporated in an item to be worn on the body. The image is a text, pictorial, photographic and/or holographic image reproduced on a thin sheet of a suitable medium. In the particular embodiment described, the mount is designed to secure an image to fabric incorporated in an item to be snugly fit one the body. As illustrated in FIGS. 1A-1D, the item of apparel is a wristband designed to be stretched over the hand and worn snugly about the wrist. The fabric of the wristband is elastic/stretchable in order to achieve a tight fit thus benefiting from a mount which, in part accommodates the elasticity of the fabric, and in part protects the image/image enclosure from stretching which would damage and/or eject the image.

FIG. 1A shows a perspective view of a wristband including a mount according to the present invention. FIG. 1B shows a side elevational view of the wristband of FIG. 1A. FIG. 1C shows an end elevational view of the wristband of FIG. 1A. FIG. 1D shows a sectional view through the mount and one side of the wristband of FIG. 1A. FIG. 1E shows an exploded view of components of the mount of FIG. 1A.

Referring first to FIGS. 1A-1C, the wristband 100 comprises a tube of fabric 120, and the mount 140. The tube of fabric 120 has an opening 121 such that tube of fabric 120 can pass over the hand of a person to be worn around the wrist of the person. An image 160 is displayed on the outer surface 122 of the tube of fabric 120 and is secured in place by mount 140. Mount 140 includes a dimensionally-stable enclosure for image 160. Mount 140 is secured to the tube of fabric 120 by stitching 124 which passes through the periphery of mount 140 and through a portion of the tube of fabric 120.

Mount 140 includes a transparent lens 142, a base 144, and a housing 150. Image 160 is positioned inside a peripheral rim 152 of housing 150 and under transparent lens 142. Base 144 is in this embodiment the same shape as housing 150 (circular) and somewhat larger in size than housing 150. Base 144 therefore protrudes from beneath housing 150 in the form of a bezel. Transparent lens 142 is in some embodiments, curved on the outward facing surface. In alternative embodiments, transparent lens 142 is a flat disc. Image 160 is visible through the transparent lens 142. Transparent lens 142 is bonded to peripheral rim 152 thereby sealing image 160 into housing 150. Transparent lens 142 and housing 150 together form a dimensionally-stable enclosure for image 160 thereby protecting image 160 from damage and/or ejection from the housing 150.

The image 160 is text, pictorial, photographic and/or holographic image reproduced on a thin sheet of a suitable medium. In particular embodiments, the image functions as a user ID, provides health information, or is ornamental. The image 160 is reproduced on a paper medium, polymer medium and or metal/metalized medium suitable for reproduction of the particular image. The image 160 can be bonded to housing 150 or can be free-floating between housing 150 and lens 142.

FIG. 1D shows a sectional view through one side of wristband 100 along the axis D-D shown in FIG. 1A. As shown in FIG. 1D, Housing 150 includes a back-plate 154 and rim 152. Rim 152 runs around the periphery of back-plate 154 thereby defining a shallow cavity 156. Shallow cavity 156 is preferably the same size and shape as image 160. The depth of shallow cavity 160 is sufficient to receive image 160 and transparent lens 142.

As shown in FIG. 1D, image 160 is received in shallow cavity 156. Transparent lens 142 covers image 160 and is bonded to rim 152 thereby securing and protecting image 160 within shallow cavity 156. Transparent lens 142 and housing 150 together form a sealed enclosure for image 160 thereby protecting image 160 from damage and/or ejection from the housing 150. In a preferred embodiment, housing 150 is made of a relative inelastic polymer so as to resist dimensional changes in shallow cavity 156 due the stretching of housing 150. In a preferred embodiment, rim 152 and back-plate 154 are formed in one piece from a polymer. For example, rim 152 and back-plate 154 can be made from silicone using a suitably shaped mold. Back-plate 154 can optionally include a fabric/fiber reinforcing material (not shown).

Referring again to FIG. 1D, base 144 is a continuous planar structure which extends beneath housing 150. Housing 150 is bonded or glued to base 144 over the entire area of contact between housing 150 and base 144. In the embodiment shown, base 144 includes a sewing channel 146 around the periphery of base 144. Sewing channel 146 serves as a guide for stitching 124 which passes through base 144 and outer layer 126 of fabric tube 120. Alternative embodiments need not include sewing channel 146, for example, where base 144 is to be bonded or glued to a fabric base rather than sewn.

In a preferred embodiment, base 144 is formed in one piece from a polymer. For example, base 144 is, in a preferred embodiment, made from silicone using a suitably shaped mold. In a preferred embodiment, base 144 is made of a polymer having more elasticity than housing 150. For example, base 144 is, in a preferred embodiment, made from a silicone of lower durometer than the silicone used to manufacture the housing 150. Base 144 can also optionally include a fabric/fiber reinforcing material.

Referring again to FIG. 1D, reinforcing stitching 128 is shown in outer layer 126 of fabric tube 120 beneath base 144. Reinforcing stitching 128 is designed to reduce the elasticity of outer layer 126 of fabric tube 120 in the region beneath base 144 to strengthen the attachment of base 144 to outer layer 126 of fabric tube 120 by stitching 124. In alternative embodiments, a layer of interface material can be stitched to either or both sides of outer layer 126 to further reduce stretch in the region beneath base 144. As shown in FIG. 1D, fabric tube 120 comprises an outer layer 126 and an inner layer 127. After attachment of base 144 the ends of inner layer 127 are folded together and joined by seam 129. Thus stitching 124 and reinforcing stitching 128 is not visible on the reverse side of outer layer 126 after completion of wristband 100.

In a preferred embodiment, the stock material of fabric tube 120 is woven in a tube shape of the correct diameter for the application. The fabric of fabric tube 120 is in some embodiments elasticized woven cotton. The cotton is elasticized by the addition of, for example latex, spandex or the like. However, other stretchable fabrics, as described herein, can also be used depending on the application to which the item will be put.

FIG. 1E shows an exploded partial sectional view of the components of mount 140. As illustrated in FIG. 1E, housing 150 includes back-plate 154 and rim 152 around the periphery of back-plate 154. Rim 152 is sufficiently deep to define shallow cavity 156 which can accommodate image 160 and transparent lens 142 (see FIG. 1A). Housing 150 is formed and then image 160 is placed within shallow cavity 156. Shallow cavity 156 and image 160 are preferably designed to have congruent shapes such that image 160 spans the entirety of shallow cavity 156. After image 160 is placed in shallow cavity 156, image 160 is secured in place by transparent lens 142. As illustrated in FIG. 1E, transparent lens 142 can be formed in situ using a transparent liquid polymer 143 to fill shallow cavity 156 above image 160.

The physical and chemical properties of transparent liquid polymer 143 are selected to prevent damage to image 160. In a preferred embodiment where housing 150 is made of silicone, a clear silicone is utilized to fill shallow cavity 156 above image 160 to form transparent lens 142. In this embodiment, the clear silicone of transparent lens 142 bonds spontaneously with the silicone of rim 152 of housing 150 without the need for additional agents or techniques. In alternative embodiments, transparent lens 142 is formed as a separate component and subsequently bonded/adhered to rim 152 after placement of image 160 in shallow cavity 156.

As shown in FIG. 1E, base 144 includes a sewing channel 146 around the periphery of base 144. Sewing channel 146 serves as a guide for stitching 124 (see FIG. 1D which passes through base 144 and outer layer 126 of fabric tube 120 (see FIG. 1D). In a preferred embodiment, base 144 is formed separate from housing 150. Housing 150 is then mounted to the center of base 144 using an adhesive or bonding technology. For example, a silicone adhesive or liquid silicone can be utilized to bond housing 150 to base 144 before or after installation of image 160 and/or transparent lens 142.

In a preferred embodiment, the mount—including the lens, housing and base are made of silicone. The housing and base are made of a black, white or colored silicone and the lens is made from a transparent silicone. In alternative embodiments, the housing and base can also be made of a transparent silicone. As previously discussed, it is preferred that the elasticity of the base is higher than that of the housing so as to better accommodate stretch in the fabric to which the base is secured. The mount can alternatively be made from and/or include a wide range of materials including, but not limited to: natural and synthetic rubbers; Butadiene rubbers; Chloroprene rubbers; Butyl rubbers; Styrene-Butadiene rubbers; Nitrile rubbers; Ethylene-propylene rubber; Ethylene-propylene-diene rubber; Epichlorohydrin rubber; Polysulfide rubber; Polyacrylic rubber; Silicone rubber; Fluorosilicone Rubber; Fluoroelastomers; Perfluoroelastomers Polyether block amides; Chlorosulfonated polyethylene; Ethylene-vinyl acetate; resilin; elastin; and thermoplastic elastomers. The material of the mount is selected to have the mechanical properties necessary to protect the selected image and secure it to the selected fabric. The material of the lens is selected to protect the selected image and allow viewing of the selected image, i.e. the material should be transparent and/or translucent.

The mount of the present invention can be made in a variety of shapes, sizes and configurations. For example, the base can be made in a circular, triangular, oval, square, star-shaped, diamond-shaped, hexagonal or other polygon-shaped configuration. Likewise, the housing can be made in a, circular, triangular, oval, square, star-shaped, diamond-shaped, hexagonal or other polygon-shaped configuration. The base and the housing can have the same shape or different shapes. FIGS. 2A-2G illustrate some of the many possible variations and configurations.

FIG. 2A, shows a perspective view of wristband 200a according to an embodiment of the invention. Wristband 200a comprises a tube of fabric 220a, and a circular mount 240a including a circular housing 250a for holding a circular image 260a protected by a circular transparent lens 242a. Circular housing 250a is mounted on a circular base 244a. In this embodiment, mount 240a is not secured to the tube of fabric 220a by stitching but is instead secured using an adhesive or other bonding technique.

FIG. 2B shows a perspective view of wristband 200b according to an embodiment of the invention. Wristband 200b comprises a tube of fabric 220b, and a square mount 240b including a square housing 250b for holding a square image 260b protected by a square transparent lens 242b. Square housing 250b is mounted on a square base 244b. In this embodiment, mount 240b is not secured to the tube of fabric 220b by stitching but is instead secured using an adhesive or other bonding technique.

FIG. 2C shows a perspective view of wristband 200c according to an embodiment of the invention. Wristband 200c comprises a tube of fabric 220c, and an oval mount 240c including an oval housing 250c for holding an oval image 260c protected by an oval transparent lens 242c. Oval housing 250c is mounted on an oval base 244c. In this embodiment, oval mount 240c is not secured to the tube of fabric 220c by stitching but is instead secured using an adhesive or other bonding technique.

FIG. 2D shows a perspective view of wristband 200d according to an embodiment of the invention. Wristband 200d comprises a tube of fabric 220d, and a hexagonal mount 240d including a hexagonal housing 250d for holding a hexagonal image 260d protected by a hexagonal transparent lens 242d. Hexagonal housing 250d is mounted on a hexagonal base 244d. In this embodiment, mount 240d is not secured to the tube of fabric 220d by stitching but is instead secured using an adhesive or other bonding technique.

FIG. 2E shows a perspective view of wristband 200e according to an embodiment of the invention. Wristband 200e comprises a tube of fabric 220e, and a star-shaped mount 240e including a star-shaped housing 250e for holding a star-shaped image 260e protected by a star-shaped transparent lens 242e. Star-shaped housing 250e is mounted on a star-shaped base 244e. In this embodiment, mount 240e is not secured to the tube of fabric 220e by stitching but is instead secured using an adhesive or other bonding technique.

FIG. 2F shows a perspective view of wristband 200f according to an embodiment of the invention. Wristband 200f comprises a tube of fabric 220f, and a diamond-shaped mount 240f including a diamond-shaped housing 250f for holding a diamond-shaped image 260f protected by a diamond-shaped transparent lens 242f. Diamond-shaped housing 250f is mounted on a diamond-shaped base 244f. In this embodiment, mount 240f is not secured to the tube of fabric 220f by stitching but is instead secured using an adhesive or other bonding technique.

The mount of the present invention can be used to secure an image to a wide variety of fabric items. For example, FIG. 2G shows a perspective view of headband 200g according to an embodiment of the invention. Headband 200g comprises a tube of fabric 220g, and a square mount 240g including a circular housing 250g for holding a circular image 260g protected by a circular transparent lens 242g. Circular housing 250g is mounted on a square base 244g. In this embodiment, mount 240g is secured to the tube of fabric 220g by stitching 224g. As shown, the base and the housing can be different shapes.

The mount of the present invention can be utilized to secure an image to fabric incorporated in an item to be worn on the body. In particular, the mount is suitable for securing an image to fabric incorporated in an item to be snugly fit on the body. The fabric in such items is typically elastic/stretchable in order to achieve a tight fit thus benefiting from a mount which in part accommodates the elasticity of the fabric and in part protects the image/image enclosure from stretching which would damage or eject the image. The mount is particularly suitable for attachment of an image to stretchable fabrics including, for example, wovens, knits, one-way stretch fabrics, two-way stretch fabrics, four-way stretch fabrics, cotton-wrapped elastics, stretchable natural fabrics, wools, cottons, silks, neoprene, spandex, elastane, LYCRA™, rayon, polyester, and nylons.

Although illustrated in conjunction with wristbands and headbands, the mount is suitable for securing an image to fabric incorporated in a wide range of items to be worn on the body. In particular embodiments, the mount is used to secure the image to fabric items including, for example: pants, hats, belts, shoes, jackets, headbands, swimwear, socks, underwear, caps, beanies, fedoras, gloves, sports equipment, sports clothing, protective gear, climbing gear, ski wear, performance apparel, goggles, eyeglasses, sunglasses, pads, shoelaces, jewelry, traction pads (surfing), leashes (surfing), wetsuits, knee braces, wrist braces, back braces, compression wear, and watches.

The foregoing description of preferred embodiments of the present invention has been provided for the purposes of illustration and description. It is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise forms disclosed. Many embodiments were chosen and described in order to best explain the principles of the invention and its practical application, thereby enabling others skilled in the art to understand the invention for various embodiments and with various modifications that are suited to the particular use contemplated. It is intended that the scope of the invention be defined by the claims and their equivalents.