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Publication numberUS20060123575 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/011,404
Publication dateJun 15, 2006
Filing dateDec 14, 2004
Priority dateDec 14, 2004
Publication number011404, 11011404, US 2006/0123575 A1, US 2006/123575 A1, US 20060123575 A1, US 20060123575A1, US 2006123575 A1, US 2006123575A1, US-A1-20060123575, US-A1-2006123575, US2006/0123575A1, US2006/123575A1, US20060123575 A1, US20060123575A1, US2006123575 A1, US2006123575A1
InventorsMichael Maloney, Kevin Askling, Lawrence Fenske, Gregory Falendysz
Original AssigneeMaloney Michael J, Askling Kevin L, Fenske Lawrence J, Gregory Falendysz
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Adjustable holder for cleaning implement
US 20060123575 A1
Abstract
A dusting device is disclosed. There is a telescoping handle, a shank mountable to the handle, and a supporting fork mounted to the shank for relative rotation with respect thereto. A cleaning sleeve is replaceably mountable on the fork for single use dusting purposes. The angle of the fork with respect to the telescoping handle can be releasably fixed by a catch mechanism. While the catch is sufficiently strong to resist angle adjustment during normal dusting, it permits the angle to be adjusted by firmly pressing the end of the fork (with or without the sleeve thereon) against a wall while holding the distal end of the telescoping handle. This converts the duster from a wall duster, to a duster capable of cleaning the tops of ceiling fan blades, without the need for a consumer to touch a portion of the device near the duster head. In another aspect the device has two such adjustable forks for holding two such sleeves which can be used simultaneously.
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Claims(19)
1. An adjustable holder for a cleaning implement, the holder comprising:
a support head having one end suitable to mount a replaceable cleaning implement thereon and another end that has a connector portion;
a shank having a handle portion at one end and another end that has a connection portion; and
wherein the connector and connection portions can be assembled to connect the support head to the shank such that the support head can rotate on an axis that is transverse to the shank;
wherein the connector and connection portions, when assembled in this fashion, constitute a system that essentially prevents rotation of the support head on the transverse axis when the support head is exposed to no torque or a torque below a selected level of torque, and permits rotation of the support head on the transverse axis when the support head is exposed to above a selected level of torque;
wherein said rotation of the support head on the transverse axis can be initiated by applying a force to said one end of the support head that is suitable to mount the replaceable cleaning implement thereon when that force results in a torque above the selected level, without the need for a user of the holder to contact the connector or connection portions; and
wherein the selected level is at least 0.25 Newton meters of torque.
2. The adjustable holder of claim 1, wherein the selected level is at least 0.3 Newton meters of torque.
3. The adjustable holder of claim 1, wherein the selected level is at least 0.7 Newton meters of torque.
4. The adjustable holder of claim 1, wherein one of said connector and connecting portions has a lug with a plurality of recesses and the other of said connector and connecting portions has a resilient catch extendible into such a recess.
5. An adjustable holder for a cleaning implement, the holder comprising:
a support head having one end suitable to mount a replaceable cleaning implement thereon and another end having a lug with a plurality of recesses;
a shank having a handle portion at one end and a mount at another end, the support head being mountable to the mount for rotation on an axis that is transverse to the shank; and
a resilient catch located on the mount and extendible into such a recess;
wherein the catch can inhibit rotation of the support head on the transverse axis when in such a recess in an interfering position, and can permit rotation of the support head on the transverse axis if not in such an interfering position; and
wherein the parts are configured and juxtaposed such that even when the catch is in such a recess a torque above 0.3 Newton meters applied to the support head can drive the catch from the interfering position to permit such rotation without destroying the holder, and without the need for a consumer to otherwise facilitate rotation of the support head relative to the transverse axis.
6. The adjustable holder of claim 5, wherein the lug is in the form of a wheel and the recesses are radially open recesses.
7. The adjustable holder of claim 6, in which the recesses are essentially dished in shape.
8. The adjustable holder of claim 5, wherein the end of the support head that is suitable to mount the cleaning implement is in the form of a fork.
9. The adjustable holder of claim 5, further comprising a telescoping handle linked to the handle portion of the shank.
10. The adjustable holder of claim 9, wherein the telescoping handle is configured so that it can be temporarily fixed at varying lengths.
11. The adjustable holder of claim 10, wherein the support head can be releasably fixed by the catch at a specified angle relative to a longitudinal axis of the telescoping handle, and with the catch so initially positioned and while holding the telescoping handle, a user of the holder can adjust the angle of the support head relative to the telescoping handle merely by contacting the support head against a wall with a torque exceeding 0.7 Newton meters.
12. The adjustable holder of claim 5, wherein the catch is in the form of a tooth that is resiliently biased towards the wheel by a resilient arm.
13. The adjustable holder of claim 5, wherein the lug is in the form of a wheel that is generally sprocket-shaped along the majority of its radial periphery.
14. The adjustable holder of claim 5, in which the shank mounts two such support heads.
15. The adjustable holder of claim 5, wherein such a cleaning implement is mounted on the support head and has a sleeve portion for receiving at least one tine of the support head.
16. An adjustable holder for a cleaning implement, the holder comprising:
a shank having a handle portion at one end and a mount at another end;
two support heads rotationally mounted to the shank; and
means associated with the mount for restricting the rotational position of each of the support heads.
17. The adjustable holder of claim 16, wherein said restricting means comprises at least one resilient catch located on the mount.
18. The adjustable holder of claim 16, wherein notwithstanding the restricting means a torque applied to the support head exceeding 0.3 Newton meters can rotate the support head relative to the shank, whereas such a torque not exceeding 0.3 Newton meters will not cause the support head to rotate relative to the shank.
19. A method of adjusting a holder for a cleaning implement, comprising:
obtaining a cleaning implement having:
a support head having one end suitable to mount a replaceable cleaning implement thereon and another end having a lug with a plurality of recesses;
a shank having a handle portion at one end and a mount at another end, the support head being mountable to the mount for rotation on an axis that is transverse to the shank; and
a resilient catch located on the mount and extendible into such a recess;
wherein the catch can inhibit rotation of the support head on the transverse axis when in such a recess, and can permit rotation of the support head on the transverse axis if not in such a recess; and
wherein even when the catch is in such a recess a torque in the range of between 0.3 and 1.4 Newton meters applied to the support head can drive the catch from a recess to permit such rotation; and
while holding the handle portion, pressing the support head against an object to cause rotation of the support head relative to the handle portion by applying such a torque in such a range to the support head.
Description
    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • [0001]
    Not applicable.
  • STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH/DEVELOPMENT
  • [0002]
    Not applicable.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0003]
    The present invention relates to cleaning devices such as hand dusters and dust mops. More particularly, it relates to devices of this type having a replaceable cleaning implement, preferably a telescoping handle, and an adjustable support head for mounting the cleaning implement relative to the handle at various angles.
  • [0004]
    It is well known to clean dust and dirt from floors, furniture, or other room surfaces by rubbing a dust rag against the surface, such that the dust and dirt adhere to the cloth. Sometimes this cleaning is facilitated by wetting the rag with water, a polish or other liquid. Such cloths or strips thereof have on occasion also been mounted on a head of a cleaning implement, which in turn is affixed to an elongated handle, to thereby create a floor dust mop. See e.g. U.S. Pat. No. 2,898,619. Alternatively, the handle has been formed somewhat shorter so that the resulting structure functions as a hand duster (e.g. one used to clean dust from Venetian blinds and other structures that are closer to the person cleaning them). See e.g. WO 02/102221 and WO 02/34101.
  • [0005]
    There have also been efforts to make dusting heads that are used with such handles of a material that retains dust even without being wetted with a polish or other liquid, where the head is nevertheless still so inexpensive that it can be used for a short period of time until soiled and then disposed of. See e.g. WO 02/065887. This is in some applications an improvement over having materials having such great structural integrity (and therefore often cost) that they are used for prolonged purposes or washed between uses.
  • [0006]
    In other developments, to render a single dusting device more suitable for both floor/ceiling dusting and close-in furniture dusting, some such dusting devices have been designed with a telescoping handle which can be shortened when furniture dusting is desired, and can be elongated when floor or ceiling dusting is desired. See WO 2004/017806.
  • [0007]
    Recently, there has also been an attempt to provide adjustability between the angle of the duster head relative to the angle of the handle axis. See WO 2004/008935. However, this prior design used a strong locking device as part of the angle adjuster, such that adjustment of the handle angle typically required two hands to achieve, with the consumer's hand needing to come near to the portion of the device where the soiled dusting heads were positioned when an adjustment was to be made.
  • [0008]
    Thus, a need still exists for improved adjustable holders for cleaning implements.
  • BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0009]
    In a first embodiment the invention provides an adjustable holder for a cleaning implement. The holder has a support head having one end suitable to mount a replaceable cleaning implement thereon and another end that has a connector portion. There is also a shank having a handle portion at one end and another end that has a connection portion. The connector and connection portions can be assembled to connect the support head to the shank such that the support head can rotate on an axis that is transverse to the shank.
  • [0010]
    The connector and connection portions, when assembled in this fashion, constitute a threshold type holding system that essentially prevents rotation of the support head on the transverse axis when the support head is exposed to no torque, or a torque below a selected level of torque. However, it permits rotation of the support head on the transverse axis when the support head is exposed to above that selected level of torque. The term “essentially” is used in this context to recognize that the support head may have an inherent material flexibility such that lower levels of torque will cause the material to flex.
  • [0011]
    In accordance with this aspect of the invention, rotation of the support head on the transverse axis can be initiated by applying a force to said one end of the support head that is suitable to mount the replaceable cleaning implement thereon when that force results in a torque above the selected level. The rotation can be achieved without the need for a user of the holder to contact the connector or connection portions.
  • [0012]
    To avoid undesired rotation of the support head when it is exposed to torques typically experienced during normal dusting, the selected level should be above 0.25 Newton meters of torque, preferably between 0.3 and 1.4 Newton meters of torque, and even more preferably between 0.7 and 0.9 Newton meters of torque. Note that if the threshold is set above 1.4 Newton meters of torque some consumers may have difficulty adjusting the positions of the holder, and there may be some instances of material breakage as some consumers apply too much force when trying to cause the adjustment.
  • [0013]
    While a wide variety of threshold type connector assemblies are envisioned to achieve this result, we prefer that one of the connector and connecting portions have a lug with a plurality of recesses and the other of the connector and connecting portions have a resilient catch extendible into such a recess. The holder can have a support head having one end suitable to mount a replaceable cleaning implement thereon and another end having a lug (preferably a wheel) with a plurality of recesses; a shank having a handle portion at one end and a mount at another end, the support head being mountable to the mount for rotation on an axis that is transverse to the shank; and a resilient catch located on the mount and extendible into such a recess.
  • [0014]
    The catch can inhibit rotation of the support head on the transverse axis when in such a recess, and can permit rotation of the support head on the transverse axis if not in that interfering position. When the catch is in such a recess in an interfering position a torque of at least 0.25 Newton meters (preferably 0.3-1.4 Newton meters, even more preferably 0.7-0.9 Newton meters) applied to the support head can nevertheless drive the catch from a recess to permit such rotation. The catch may be in the form of a tooth that is resiliently biased towards the wheel by a resilient arm/root, and the wheel/lug may be generally sprocket-shaped along the majority of its radial periphery.
  • [0015]
    The wheel recesses can be radially open recesses, preferably those which are essentially dished in shape, the end of the support head can be in the form of a fork, a telescoping handle can be linked to the handle portion of the shank so that it can be fixed at varying lengths, and the support head can be releasably fixed by the catch at a specified angle relative to the telescoping handle. Importantly, in accordance with a highly preferred feature of the present invention, notwithstanding that the catch begins in such an interfering position, a user of the device can adjust the specified angle of the support head relative to the telescoping handle merely by contacting the support head against a wall, provided that a torque exceeding the selected level is applied.
  • [0016]
    In yet other forms a single shank can mount two such support heads, and/or the cleaning implement can be in the form of a sleeve of dusting cloth capable of surrounding one or more tines of the support head. Where two support heads rotationally mounted to the shank, means associated with the mount are provided for restricting the rotational position of each of the support heads. The restricting means can be a resilient catch located on the mount. In any event, notwithstanding the restricting means a torque applied to the support head of at least 0.25 Newton meters (preferably 0.3-1.4 Newton meters, even more preferably 0.7-0.9 Newton meters) can rotate the support head relative to the shank.
  • [0017]
    Because the support heads can be positioned/temporarily fixed at varying angles with respect to each other, they provide the opportunity for increased cleaning effectiveness. For example, the top of a dresser can be dusted at the same time that a side of the dresser is being dusted when such a device is provided.
  • [0018]
    In yet another aspect the invention provides a method of adjusting such a holder. One first obtains the holder. While holding the handle portion (and preferably no other portion of the device), one presses the support head against an object (e.g. a wall or a floor) to cause rotation of the support head relative to the handle portion.
  • [0019]
    When the device is used, it is preferred that a sleeve-like cleaning mitt be mounted over a forked portion of the support head so that all tines of the fork are within the sleeve. The support head tines are, in this configuration, thus capable of being fully enclosed by the mitt, avoiding the possibility of the fork scratching delicate furniture or other items being contacted.
  • [0020]
    Embodiments of the present invention therefore achieve many of the desired functionalities found in existing dusters (e.g. capability of replacing the cleaning head after a single use; a single product which can dust mop a floor or furniture; a dust mop capable of angular adjustment relative to the main handle; relatively low production and assembly costs). However, they also achieve other desirable functionalities in various embodiments.
  • [0021]
    For example, in a particularly preferred embodiment the angular adjustment can be achieved while the consumer is only holding a portion of the telescoping handle very remote from the duster. A consumer can merely press the head end against a wall or floor without having to bring the head towards the consumer or re-orient the head using a complex locking mechanism adjacent or at the connector/connecting portions. Not only is this a quicker adjustment that is achieved with low cost parts, for consumers having allergies or asthma this will be perceived to be of importance. In any event, the consumer will be able to have a very wide variety of adjustment position settings, corresponding to the number of recesses in the wheel.
  • [0022]
    The foregoing and other advantages of the invention will become apparent from the following description. In the following description reference is made to the accompanying drawings which form a part thereof, and in which there is shown by way of illustration preferred embodiments of the invention. Such embodiments do not represent the full scope of the invention. Reference should therefore be made to the claims herein for interpreting the scope of the invention.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0023]
    FIG. 1 is a right, upper, rear, perspective view of an assembled cleaning implement holder, of the present invention, shown in an elongated configuration;
  • [0024]
    FIG. 2 is a view similar to FIG. 1, but with parts exploded from each other, and with an associated cleaning mitt shown adjacent thereto;
  • [0025]
    FIG. 3 is a partial vertical cross sectional view taken along the FIG. 1 longitudinal axis, albeit when the support head has already been repositioned to about the 2 o'clock position, rather than the 9 o'clock position shown in FIG. 1;
  • [0026]
    FIG. 4 is an elevational view taken along plane 4-4 of FIG. 3;
  • [0027]
    FIG. 5 is a sectional view taken along line 5-5 of FIG. 4;
  • [0028]
    FIG. 6 is an enlarged perspective view of a catch in accordance with the present invention;
  • [0029]
    FIG. 7 is a schematic view of how the support head can be positioned to dust a floor;
  • [0030]
    FIG. 8 is a schematic view of how the support head can be repositioned to dust the top of a cabinet; and
  • [0031]
    FIG. 9 is an alternative embodiment in which two such support heads are mounted for rotation.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
  • [0032]
    As best seen in FIGS. 1 and 2, there is shown a holder 10 designed to be used with a cleaning implement/replaceable dusting sleeve/cleaning mitt 11. The holder has a grip 12, telescoping handle extension pieces 13 and 14, shank 15 and support head 16. There is also a resilient catch 20.
  • [0033]
    In this preferred form various radially extending bumps 19 are formed on some of these parts which fit into corresponding catch holes 17 on adjacent parts. While not shown in detail, these bumps 19 are preferred to be positioned on flexible tabs which can deflect radially inwardly as the tubular parts are assembled to one another, and then flex radially outwardly into the holes 17 to temporarily fix the tubular parts in the FIG. 1 position.
  • [0034]
    One can then press the bump 19 of extension part 13 radially inward to permit extension part 13 to telescope into a hollow of handle grip 12. Similarly, the bump 19 on the rear end of extension part 14 can be pressed radially inward to permit extension part 14 to telescope into a hollow of tubular extension part 13. Another possibility is for bump 19 at the forward end of extension part 14 to be pressed radially inward to permit extension part 14 to alternatively telescope into a hollow of shank 15.
  • [0035]
    This creates a handle out of parts 12, 13, 14 and 15 which can be at its greatest length as shown in FIG. 1, or can be configured in a smaller length for use in closer in applications, or perhaps shipment or storage. Of course, the present invention can preferably be practiced regardless of whether the handle can telescope at all, or what the particular linkage is between the parts of the handle, or whether the handle is formed from multiple parts or one part.
  • [0036]
    As best seen in FIG. 2, the support head 16 has a forked end 22 with tines 23 supported by a linking section 24, which connects to a lug/wheel 25. The catch 20 is best appreciated by reviewing FIG. 6. It has a base 30 on which is mounted an interfering projection 31 linked by a flexible arm/root 32 to the base 30. Pressure on the projection 31 will cause it to deflect rearwardly. In the absence of pressure it will flex back to its FIG. 6 position.
  • [0037]
    As best seen in FIGS. 2 and 4, the shank 15 has an upper handle section 41 and a forward mount 40 having two spaced ears 42.
  • [0038]
    The wheel 25 preferably has outer integral axels 26 on its opposed lateral sides. The ears 42 of the shank 15 can flex outward from each other when the wheel 25 is pushed there between. The ears have corresponding holes 27 into which the axels 26 then snap, thereby creating a pivot joint. This permits about 300 degrees of rotational movement of the support 16 relative to the longitudinal axis of the handle 12/13/14/15.
  • [0039]
    As best seen in FIG. 3 the catch 20 can be mounted in a recess 50 in the forward end of the shank 15. Walls 34 rest on corresponding ledges 54 inside the recess 50. When the support head 16 has its wheel 25 assembled into the ears 42 as shown in FIG. 1, FIG. 3 shows how the resulting internal assembly will operate. It should be noted that the wheel 25 has a series of shallow dished pockets 29, of a generally parabolic nature, arrayed around its periphery, to create an almost sprocket-like appearance. The projection 31 has a corresponding shape which fits into a selected one of the pockets at a time.
  • [0040]
    As torque is applied to the support head 16, it starts to rotate on the axis formed by axels 26. The radially outward sections 28 on the wheel 25 abut against the projection 31, causing it to deflect rearward, removing the interference of the projection, and permitting rotation to the next pocket 29. The pockets 29 and projection 31, as well as the tension on the biasing means/resilient arm/root 32, are such that if a consumer holds the handle grip 12 and pushes the support head 16 with an intention to adjust the support head angle relative to the handle longitudinal axis, the angle will be repositioned to another stable fixed position, without the need for the consumer to place a hand on or near the support head 16. Yet, the typical torque experienced during dusting or drying a surface will not be sufficient to cause the angular adjustment.
  • [0041]
    In highly preferred forms, the catch 20 is molded from a flexible plastic such as acetyl or nylon, and the support head 16 is molded from a more rigid plastic such as ABS or a polycarbonate/ABS blend. The flexibility of the biased projection 31 is such that a torque of at least 0.25 Newton meters (preferably 0.3-1.4 Newton meters, even more preferably 0.7-0.9 Newton meters) applied to the support head in a plane parallel to the handle 12/13/14/15 will not cause angular adjustment of the support head 16 relative to the longitudinal axis of the handle 12/13/14/15, although additional torque will, without causing a destruction of a portion of the device.
  • [0042]
    Hence, when the device is held by the handle grip 12 as shown in FIG. 7, and begins in the FIG. 1 position, pressing the forward end of a tine or multiple tines 23 of the support head 16 against a vertical wall with sufficient force can cause the device to adjust to the FIG. 7 stable position. However, lighter force, such as would typically be applied during dusting, will not cause the angular position to be adjusted.
  • [0043]
    Thereafter, the angular position can be re-adjusted in a similar manner, depending on the object being cleaned. For example, the angle can be adjusted to that shown in FIG. 8 to permit dusting of the top of a tall furniture cabinet 60, or other items such as the top of ceiling fan blades (not shown).
  • [0044]
    Once dusting of an area has been completed, one can remove the replaceable dusting sleeve 11 and replace it with another. In between uses the device can be compactly stored as the support head 16 can be rotated to the FIG. 3 position, and the handle parts can be telescoped together. For purposes of shipment the device can be shipped in a compact package in disassembled form, yet can be quickly assembled by a consumer without complex instructions. However, it is preferred that the shank 15, catch 20, and support head 16 be pre-assembled at the factory prior to shipment.
  • [0045]
    FIG. 9 shows an alternative embodiment in which the telescoping handle parts are the same except for a modification to the forward end of the shank 15A as described below, and except for the use of two similar support heads 16A with a slightly different axel feature as described below. The support heads 16A do not have integral axels 26. Instead, when their wheels are aligned side to side inside the shunt mount, they each have a through hole where the axel would be.
  • [0046]
    In this embodiment the catch 20A (not shown) would have a wide enough projection 31 so that a single projection can interfere with rotation of both support heads 16A. Alternatively, there could be two such catches mounted in the end of the shank 15A. In any event, the resilient catch or catches interfit with the wheels of the support heads 16A to provide similar resistive force permitting dusting without adjustment, yet allowing torque over a certain threshold to permit adjustment.
  • [0047]
    While a resilient catch/recess system, with the recesses on the support head and the catch on the shank are the preferred controlling system, the recesses could instead be positioned on the shank with the catch on the support head. Alternatively, fluidic or other threshold damping systems could be applied to achieve the desired function.
  • [0048]
    Also, it is not necessary that the support head have a forked end, as distinguished from a single unitary mounting slab. Further, it is not necessary that the catch 20 be a single piece. Various other types of resilient catching means can be provided which drives a blocker into a temporary interference with the lug recesses 29 (e.g. a spring under a catch member). It is, however, desirable that the force needed to remove the blocking member from the recess be such as to restrict support head rotation during normal dusting, yet permit support head rotation when adjustment is truly intended.
  • [0049]
    While preferred embodiments of the present invention have been described and otherwise disclosed herein, alternative embodiments are also intended to be within the scope of the claims. Thus, the invention is not to be judged solely by the preferred embodiments. Rather, the claims should be looked to in order to judge the full scope of the invention.
  • INDUSTRIAL APPLICABILITY
  • [0050]
    The present invention provides a holder for a duster head or other cleaning implement, where the support head for the duster sleeve is angularly adjustable relative to a handle in a remote fashion.
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Referenced by
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US7600287 *Jan 26, 2005Oct 13, 2009Camco Manufacturing, Inc.Collapsible broom and dustpan
US7921505May 11, 2010Apr 12, 2011Camco Manufacturing, Inc.Collapsible broom and dustpan
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US8657515 *May 25, 2011Feb 25, 2014S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc.Cleaning kit including duster and spray
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Classifications
U.S. Classification15/144.1, 15/228, 15/144.4, 15/229.8
International ClassificationA47L13/20
Cooperative ClassificationA47L13/24, A47L13/42
European ClassificationA47L13/24, A47L13/42
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Feb 18, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: BIT 7, INC., WISCONSIN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:MALONEY, MICHAEL;ASKLING, KEVIN L.;FENSKE, LAWRENCE J.;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:015746/0714
Effective date: 20041217
Owner name: S.C. JOHNSON & SON, INC., WISCONSIN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:BIT7, INC.;REEL/FRAME:015746/0753
Effective date: 20041217
May 23, 2006ASAssignment