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Publication numberUS20060099874 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/122,676
Publication dateMay 11, 2006
Filing dateMay 5, 2005
Priority dateNov 9, 2004
Publication number11122676, 122676, US 2006/0099874 A1, US 2006/099874 A1, US 20060099874 A1, US 20060099874A1, US 2006099874 A1, US 2006099874A1, US-A1-20060099874, US-A1-2006099874, US2006/0099874A1, US2006/099874A1, US20060099874 A1, US20060099874A1, US2006099874 A1, US2006099874A1
InventorsPeter Cartlidge, Tim Rowe, Lucas Tyler
Original AssigneeEvolve Npd Ltd.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Toy apparatus
US 20060099874 A1
Abstract
Toy apparatus is provided including a playbase movable between a first closed position and a second open position. The playbase includes one or more members and these members are provided in a substantially flattened condition when the playbase is in a first closed position, and movable with the playbase to a partial or substantially erect condition when the playbase is in a second open position. At least one of the members is provided in at least one recess in the playbase in the first closed condition.
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Claims(33)
1. Toy apparatus, said toy apparatus including a playbase movable between a first closed position and a second open position, said playbase including one or more members and said members provided in a substantially flattened condition with said playbase in said first closed position and movable with said playbase to a partial or substantially erect condition with said playbase in said second open position and wherein at least one of said one or more members is provided in at least one recess in said playbase in said first closed condition.
2. Toy apparatus according to claim 1 wherein in the flattened condition, an upper surface of the one or more members can be substantially flush with a surface of the playbase, adjacent to and substantially parallel with a surface of the playbase and/or recessed with respect to a surface of the playbase.
3. Toy apparatus according to claim 1 wherein in the erect condition, the one or more members protrude outwardly of a playbase surface.
4. Toy apparatus according to claim 1 wherein in the erect condition, the one or more members protrude substantially perpendicularly from a playbase surface.
5. Toy apparatus according to claim 1 wherein the one or more members are substantially rigid in form.
6. Toy apparatus according to claim 1 wherein the one or more members are substantially flexible in form.
7. Toy apparatus according to claim 1 wherein the one or more recesses are of a substantially similar shape and/or dimensions to the one or more members located therein in the flattened condition.
8. Toy apparatus according to claim 1 wherein the one or more recesses are a different shape to the one or more members located therein in the flattened condition.
9. Toy apparatus according to claim 1 wherein the one or more members are formed by cutting the same from a surface of the playbase.
10. Toy apparatus according to claim 1 wherein the one or more members are formed from a source other than the playbase and, when formed, are attached to the playbase in use.
11. Toy apparatus according to claim 1 wherein two or more members are located in a recess on said playbase.
12. Toy apparatus according to claim 11 wherein the two or more members are located side by side in the recess.
13. Toy apparatus according to claim 11 wherein the two or more members are located in the recess in an overlapping arrangement to form a stack.
14. Toy apparatus according to claim 1 wherein two or more members provided on the playbase are moved to form a structure and/or article when the playbase is moved from the flattened condition to the erect condition.
15. Toy apparatus according to claim 14 wherein the two or more members are separate to each other when the playbase is in the flattened condition and are brought into engagement or contact with each other when the playbase is moved to an erect condition.
16. Toy apparatus according to claim 15 wherein the two or more members contact each other or are joined together in both the flattened and erect conditions.
17. Toy apparatus according to claim 16 wherein the two or more members are hingedly, rotatably and/or pivotably connected to each other.
18. Toy apparatus according to claim 1 wherein the one or more members are hingedly, pivotally and/or rotatably mounted to at least one surface of the playbase.
19. Toy apparatus according to claim 1 wherein the one or more members are resiliently biased to the erect condition via resilient biasing means.
20. Toy apparatus according to claim 1 wherein the playbase and/or the one or more members are provided with printed matter, graphics, texture, colour, photographs, text or images thereon.
21. Toy apparatus according to claim 1 wherein the playbase includes at least front and rear walls which are substantially parallel to and adjacent each other in said first closed position, the front and rear walls being moved to a substantially planar or flat configuration in the second open position.
22. Toy apparatus according to claim 21 wherein hinge or pivot means connect the front and rear walls of the playbase together.
23. Toy apparatus according to claim 21 wherein at least one member is provided in association with the front wall and at least one further member is provided in association with the rear wall, the members being joined together along at least a part of an edge or surface, such that when the front and rear walls of the playbase are moved to an open position, the engagement between the members causes the members to move from a flattened condition to an erect condition.
24. Toy apparatus according to claim 23 wherein the join or connection between the members is located substantially centrally of the connection between the front and rear walls of the playbase.
25. Toy apparatus according to claim 21 wherein the front and rear walls of the playbase each have an outer surface and an in inner surface, the inner surface of the playbase having the one or more members associated therewith.
26. Toy apparatus according to claim 25 wherein at least a part of the outer surface of said playbase is substantially planar or flat in form.
27. Toy apparatus according to claim 25 wherein the front and rear walls of the playbase forms a case or container when in the closed condition.
28. Toy apparatus according to claim 27 wherein one or more handle are provided on the apparatus.
29. Toy apparatus according to claim 1 wherein the playbase is movable between one or more intermediate positions between said open and closed positions.
30. Toy apparatus according to claim 29 wherein one or more of the intermediate positions have play value associated therewith.
31. Toy apparatus according to claim 1 wherein the one or more members have one or more portions attached thereto and said portions can move relative to said one or more members.
32. Toy apparatus according to claim 1 wherein locking means are provided to maintain the playbase in a closed and/or open position.
33. Toy apparatus according to claim 1 wherein the one or more members are substantially flat or planar in form.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims priority under the Paris Convention to Great Britain Patent Application Serial No. 0424690.6 filed on Nov. 9, 2004 entitled “Toy Apparatus” by inventors Peter Cartlidge, Tim Rowe and Lucas Tyler.

FIELD OF INVENTION

The present invention relates to toy apparatus

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

It is known to provide toy apparatus which needs to be assembled prior to use. For example, such toy apparatus may include a plurality of members which need to be interconnected together to form a pre-determined structure and a user typically moves one or more toy members, such as a toy doll, toy animal or toy vehicle about said structure during use. The advantages of such toy apparatus is that the members of the apparatus can be separated from each other and packed away in a box or similar container in a more compact form when not being used, such that the apparatus takes up less space in an out of use storage condition than in an in use erect condition. However, a problem with the abovementioned prior art apparatus is that it is time consuming for a user to have to erect the apparatus each time they wish to use the same. In addition, it is often the case that parts or members of the apparatus get separated from the container they are being stored in and become lost, thereby rendering the toy apparatus useless or at least reducing the enjoyment of the toy to a user.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is therefore an aim of the present invention to provide toy apparatus which does not require time consuming assembly of the same when moved from a stored condition to an in use condition.

It is a further aim of the present invention to provide a method of construction of toy apparatus.

According to a first aspect of the present invention there is provided toy apparatus, said apparatus including a playbase movable between a first closed position and a second open position, said playbase including one or more members and said members provided in a substantially flattened condition with said playbase in said first closed position and movable with said playbase to a partial or substantially erect condition with said playbase in said second open position and wherein at least one of said one or more members is provided in at least one recess in said playbase in said first closed condition.

In the flattened condition, an upper or outer surface of the members can be substantially flush with a surface of the playbase, the members can be substantially parallel to and adjacent the playbase surface and/or recessed in the surfaces of the playbase. In the erect condition, the members typically protrude outwardly of the surface of the playbase. In one embodiment, with the playbase in the open position, the members can protrude substantially perpendicularly to the playbase surface. Thus, the present invention provides a pop-up toy apparatus which removes the requirement for a user to manually erect and/or dismantle interconnecting portions of the apparatus in use. As such, the toy can be used quickly and easily and can also be moved to a closed position both quickly and easily.

The first closed position typically corresponds to an out of use storage position and the second open position typically corresponds to an in use position.

In one embodiment the members of the apparatus are typically substantially rigid members. In addition, or as an alternative, one or more of the members can be substantially flexible.

Preferably the one or more recesses are of a substantially similar shape and/or dimension to the one or more members which are located therein. Alternatively, one or more of said recesses are of a different shape or size with respect to said one or more members located therein.

The members can be formed by cutting the same from the surface of the playbase and/or the members can be formed from a different source and attached to a surface of the playbase. The different source can include the same or a different material.

Preferably the playbase includes a plurality of members arid each of said members is provided with a correspondingly shaped recess therefor. Alternatively, two or more members can be located in a recess. The two or more members can be located side by side in the recess or can be located in an overlapping relationship to form, for example, a stack of members in the recess of the playbase in a closed position. In the stack, each member is typically provided in overlapping arrangement with one member located above or below a further member. The recess can be provided with different levels associated therewith to accommodate different sized or shaped members.

In one embodiment two or more members form a structure, article and/or the like when moved to an erect condition. Thus, for example, a member can be separate to another member in the flattened condition and can engage with, abut against and/or is associated with at least one further member when moved to an erect condition, such that the combination of members forms a pre-defined shape and/or object. Alternatively, the members can be connected in the flattened condition and are moved to form a structure, article and/or the like.

Preferably one or more of said members are hingedly, rotatably and/or pivotally mounted to at least one surface of said playbase.

Preferably one or more of said members are resiliently biased to an erect condition via resilient biasing means.

In one embodiment the resilient biasing means can be associated with the hinge means or can be separate thereto. Thus, for example, sprung hinges or sprung metal can be used to attach the one or more members to a surface of the playbase.

In one embodiment one or more members are connected to an adjacent member by moveable connection means, such as via pivotal, rotational and/or hinge means and any number of members can be connected together as required. Thus, one or more members can follow the movement of one or more other members when being moved from a collapsed to an erect condition via said moveable connection means.

The surfaces of the playbase and/or members are typically provided with printed matter, graphics, texture, colour, photographs, text, one or more characters, images and/or the like which together create a scene or toy and/or the like.

Preferably the playbase includes at least front and rear walls which are substantially parallel and adjacent to each other in said first closed position. The front and rear walls are typically movable to a substantially planar or flat configuration in said second open position.

Preferably hinge or pivot means are provided between said at least front and rear walls to join the same together and to allow the same to be moved between said open and closed positions. Thus, the playbase includes at least two parts movable between said open and closed positions.

In a preferred embodiment two or more members are provided on said playbase. At least one member is provided on or in association with an inner surface on one part or front wall of the playbase and at least one further member is provided on or in association with an inner surface of another part or rear wall of the playbase when in said closed position. The two members are joined together along a whole or at least part of an edge or surface, such that when the parts of the playbase are moved to an open position, the engagement between the members causes the members to move from a flattened condition to an erect condition. This engagement in one example is via hinge means. The hinge means or engagement means are preferably located substantially centrally between the members over the join or hinge between the playbase parts. Thus, in this embodiment, resilient biasing means are not required.

Members which are not provided over or associated with the hinge or join between the parts of the playbase typically require to be moved from a flattened condition to an erect condition by resilient biasing means, manually and/or via other mechanical means.

The at least front and rear walls of the playbase have inner and outer surfaces and at least the outer surfaces thereof typically have at least one substantially flat or planar surface such that said playbase can be easily balanced or supported on the outer surfaces of said front and rear walls with the playbase in a second open position.

The apparatus typically forms a flat case or container in said first closed position. The walls of the playbase can form one or more walls of the case or container or the playbase can be located in a case or container as required. The exterior surfaces of said case or container in one embodiment could be non-planar in form.

In one embodiment one or more handle means are provided on said apparatus to allow a user to easily transport the apparatus in said first closed condition.

According to a second aspect of the present invention there is provided a method of manufacture of toy apparatus.

According to a further aspect of the present invention there is provided toy apparatus, said apparatus including a playbase movable between a first closed position and a second open position, said playbase including one or more members and said members provided in a substantially flattened condition with said playbase in said first closed position and movable with said playbase to a substantially erect condition with said playbase in said second open position and wherein said playbase is in the form of a case or container in said first closed position.

The toy apparatus of the present invention differs from a conventional pop-up type book in that the pages of a book do not form a playbase surface on which one or more further toy members can be provided as in the present invention. The pop up members in books do not generally sit in recesses in the book when in a closed condition as in the present invention and therefore adjacent pages of a book cannot normally be moved to a directly abutting or flat position. As such, the pages of a pop-up book cannot normally be brought into contact with each other as in the present invention. Thus, the present invention provides a substantially flat apparatus wherein the surfaces of the playbase can be brought into abutting and overlapping relationship with each other in said closed position. Pop-up members are attached to pop-up books by adhesive which is not the case in the present invention. The weight of the playbase in the present invention can be sufficient to maintain the playbase in an open condition and/or locking means can be used. No such features are available in conventional pop-up books.

It is to be noted that although in one embodiment the “in-use” position or play position provides the surfaces of the playbase in a flat substantially planar arrangement, such that any intermediate position between said open and closed positions has no play value to a user, one or more intermediate positions could be provided to have play value associated therewith. For example, with two or more parts of the play base located in an intermediate position, the parts could be approximately 90 degrees to each other and the members on the playbase could be in an erect or partially erect condition which has some play value, thereby allowing the toy to be used in said partially open position or intermediate position. The parts could have play value associated therewith at other angles, such as 180 degrees, 270 degrees, 360 degrees or any angle therebetween.

Different levels of play could be obtained with the parts of the playbase being separated at different angles. The different levels of play could relate to different members being erect, different structures being formed and/or the like.

Embodiments of the present invention will now be described with reference to the accompanying figures, wherein:

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

The foregoing summary as well as the following detailed description of the preferred embodiment of the invention will be better understood when read in conjunction with the appended drawings. It should be understood, however, that the invention is not limited to the precise arrangements and instrumentalities shown herein. The components in the drawings are not necessarily to scale, emphasis instead being placed upon clearly illustrating the principles of the present invention. Moreover, in the drawings, like reference numerals designate corresponding parts throughout the several views.

The invention may take physical form in certain parts and arrangement of parts. For a more complete understanding of the present invention, and the advantages thereof, reference is now made to the following descriptions taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIGS. 1 a-1 c illustrate the steps involved in moving toy apparatus according to an embodiment of the present invention between a first closed position, an intermediate position and a second open position respectively;

FIGS. 2 a and 2 b illustrate a plan view and perspective view respectively of a part of a playbase according to an embodiment of the present invention in a closed position;

FIGS. 3 a-3 c illustrate the stages of moving one or more members on the playbase in FIGS. 2 a and 2 b from a flattened condition to an erect condition.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring to FIGS. 1 a-1 c, there is illustrated toy apparatus in the form of a case 2. The case 2 includes a front surface 4 which is hingedly connected via hinge 6 to a rear surface 8. Hinge 6 is provided along an edge 10 of case 2 and handle portions 12, 14 are provided along an opposite edge 16, 18 of each of front surface 4 and rear surface 8.

The front and rear surfaces 4, 8 have a raised or protruding portion 20 which is substantially flat and planar. A peripheral border 22 slopes towards the edges of said surfaces. With the case in an open position, as shown in FIG. 1 c, the apparatus balances on a suitable surface on portions 20 of the front and rear surfaces 4, 8.

Case 2 is movable between a first closed position, as shown in FIG. 1 a, to an intermediate position, shown in FIG. 1 b, to a second open position, as shown in FIG. 1 c.

The opposite and inner surfaces 24, 26 to front and rear surfaces 4, 8 respectively form a playbase in the second open position.

A plurality of shaped recesses 28, 30 are defined in surfaces 24, 26 and said recesses house correspondingly shaped members 32, 34 when case 2 is in said first closed position. Members 32, 34 are hingedly connected to surfaces 24, 26 via hinges provided along base edges 36 thereof. These hinges, together with hinge 48 provided along side edges of the members 32, 34 connect the same together and allow members 32, 34 to move to an erect upright condition, wherein the members are designed and shaped to be in the form of buildings. Graphics, texture, colour, printed matter and/or the like can be provided on the surface of the recesses and playbase to create a scene, which in the example illustrated is of a building site.

Other members can be provided on the playbase, such as a water cooling tower 38, crane 40 and/or the like. These members can be hingedly connected to surfaces 24, 26 via sprung hinges, such that the members move to an erect position when panels 24, 26 are separated. Alternatively, these members can be manually lifted or can be moved to an erect condition by other mechanical means.

Some of the members, such as crane portions 42, 44 and members 32, 34 are hingedly connected to each other via an edge other than a base edge, such as side edge 46, 48. In the illustrated embodiment this hinge is provided centrally of the members and the hinges 46, 48 are substantially perpendicular to hinge 6 provided between surfaces 24, 26. It is these hinges or connecting edges 46, 48 which allow automatic erection of the crane and other structures when the playbase is opened. The portions or members which are hingedly connected together can be substantially symmetrical in form or can be asymmetrical in form. Crane 40 can also be provided with an arm portion 52, 52′ which can be moved between a folded condition when the case is in first closed position and an erect condition when the case is in the second open position. Portions 52, 52′ can be hingedly connected together via a sprung hinge so that the arm portion moves from the folded condition to the erect condition automatically on opening of the case. Alternatively, portions 52, 52′ are manually movable by a user between said folded and erect conditions. Portions 52, 52′ are slidably mounted on hinge or edge 46 and can be moved by movement of a string or cord 53 provided between end 55 and the base of the crane. Thus, one or more of the members have one or more further portions movable relative thereto.

Additional toys can be placed on the playbase in use, such as trucks 50 and/or the like.

Locking means can be provided on case 2 to lock the same in the first closed position and/or the second open position. For example, one or more clips, friction fit, latch and/or the like can be provided on front and/or rear surfaces 4, 8 to allow the case to be maintained in the first closed position.

Referring FIGS. 2 a-3 c, there is illustrated a partial view of a case showing a simplified playbase 102 with the outer casing of the toy apparatus removed and only the playbase surfaces viewable.

The playbase 102 includes two substantially flat and planar panels 104, 106. Each panel 104, 106 has a front surface 108, 110 and a rear surface 112, 114 respectively. Panels 104, 106 are joined together along edge 116 via a hinge 118.

A plurality of members 120, 122, 124 are cut out of panel 104 and similarly shaped and sized plurality of members 126, 128, 130 are cut out of panel 106.

Member 124 is connected to panel 104 via hinge 132. Member 122 is connected to member 124 along edge 134 via a sprung hinge and is not connected to panel 104; and member 120 is connected to member 122 along edge 136 via a sprung hinge and is also not connected to panel 104.

Member 128 is connected to panel 106 via a sprung hinge 138. Member 126 is connected to member 128 along edge 140 via a sprung hinge, and member 130 is connected to member 128 along edge 142 via a sprung hinge.

Member 126 on panel 106 is hingedly connected to member 122 on panel 104 along edge 150 and member 124 on panel 104 is hingedly connected to member 128 on panel 106 along edge 152. It will be appreciated that any arrangement of member connections can be provided.

Thus, each panel has similarly shaped members but the members are hingedly connected together in a different manner, such that on separation of the panels to an open configuration, as shown in FIGS. 3 b and 3 c, the members move relative to each other to abut against each other to form a building 144. In moving the members from a flat condition, as shown in FIGS. 2 a and 2 b, to an erect condition, as shown in FIGS. 3 b, 3 c, recesses or cut out portions 146, 148 are defined in panels 104, 106 respectively.

The hinges can be sprung hinges, such that the members are bias to an erect condition. Alternatively, or in addition, the hinges need not be sprung. Movement of the panels from an adjacent parallel position to a separated planar position can be sufficient to allow the members to move from a flattened condition to an erect condition. In FIG. 3 b, it can be seen that member 130 is required to be manually moved to complete building 144 in its final erect condition, as shown in FIG. 3 c. A sliding hinge could be used so that no manual movement is required. When formed, a structure on the playbase could be opened or moved to allow a user to gain access to the same. In one example, this is undertaken by allowing one or more hinges or attachment means between members to be removable or detachable.

The panels 104, 106 can be located with a casing as required to form toy apparatus similar to that shown in FIGS. 1 a-1 c. The rear surface of the panels could also form the outer casing surface in one embodiment if required.

The members can be typically formed from sheet material which is typically substantially flat and planar in form, a plurality of members interacting to form a non-planar or three dimensional structure when the apparatus is moved to an open position. The members and the apparatus can be formed from any suitable material but is typically formed from a substantially rigid material or flexible material, such as plastic, metallised plastic material and/or metal. Paper, cardboard and/or wood, rubber or fabric could also be used.

Thus, the present invention provides a pop-up toy apparatus, the apparatus being in a substantially flat condition when in a closed position and movable to a substantially erect condition when in an open position. As such, the toy can be easily transported and takes up only a small amount of space when not being used in the closed position, yet provides a three-dimensional toy which takes up a larger amount of space when in an open in use position.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7927176 *Jun 2, 2008Apr 19, 2011Mattel Inc.Pop-up play set
US8328596Apr 13, 2011Dec 11, 2012Mattel, Inc.Pop-up play set
Classifications
U.S. Classification446/75, 446/82
International ClassificationA63H33/38, A63H33/42
Cooperative ClassificationA63H33/42, A63H33/38
European ClassificationA63H33/38, A63H33/42
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jul 5, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: EVOLVE NPD LTD., UNITED KINGDOM
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:CARTLIDGE, PETER;ROWE, TIM;TYLER, LUCAS;REEL/FRAME:016755/0972;SIGNING DATES FROM 20050516 TO 20050517