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Publication numberUS20060160458 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/036,724
Publication dateJul 20, 2006
Filing dateJan 16, 2005
Priority dateJan 16, 2005
Publication number036724, 11036724, US 2006/0160458 A1, US 2006/160458 A1, US 20060160458 A1, US 20060160458A1, US 2006160458 A1, US 2006160458A1, US-A1-20060160458, US-A1-2006160458, US2006/0160458A1, US2006/160458A1, US20060160458 A1, US20060160458A1, US2006160458 A1, US2006160458A1
InventorsJason Peach
Original AssigneePeach Jason M
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Toy assembly having a quick-disconnect clip
US 20060160458 A1
Abstract
A toy assembly having a plush toy and a clip. A projecting member extends from the clip and cooperates with a portion of the plush toy to hold the plush toy to the clip. The clip is shaped to be selectively mounted to and quickly dismounted to an external object, such as a hospital bed rail.
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Claims(20)
1. A toy assembly comprising:
a toy having an outer surface; and
a clip having an outwardly extending appendage portion and attachment means, said attachment means is effective to removably couple said clip to an object;
wherein said toy is removably coupled to said clip by said appendage portion.
2. The toy assembly of claim 2 wherein said toy further includes a generally flat flap which is coupled to said outer surface whereby said flap cooperates with said outer surface to create a receptacle, said receptacle is sized to easily receive said appendage portion; and wherein said appendage portion is removably disposed within said receptacle to couple said clip to said toy.
3. The toy assembly of claim 2 wherein said outer surface is a generally soft material and wherein said flap is formed from the same generally soft material, effective to visually hide the appearance of said flap.
4. The toy assembly of claim 1 wherein said attachment means comprises:
a pair of L-shaped arms; and
a wall portion, wherein said arms are coupled to said wall portion to cooperatively form a C-shaped channel;
wherein a portion of said object is selectively placed within said channel to couple said clip to said object.
5. The toy assembly of claim 1 wherein said attachment means comprises:
a C-shaped housing;
a door portion having a retaining tab, said door portion is hingedly coupled to said C-shaped housing whereby said door portion may be placed in a first closed position wherein said attachment means is generally D-shaped, and in a second open position; and
a tab mating portion which is coupled to said C-shaped housing.
6. The toy assembly of claim 5 wherein said retaining tab and said tab mating portion cooperate to hold said attachment portion in said first closed position.
7. The toy assembly of claim 1 wherein said toy further includes a soft sleeve member which is fixedly coupled to said outer surface, wherein said sleeve member is sized to easily receive said appendage portion; and wherein said appendage portion is removably disposed within said sleeve member to couple said clip to said toy.
8. The toy assembly of claim 1 wherein said toy apparatus further comprises:
a covering which is shaped to cover a at least a portion of said outer surface, wherein said toy is operatively received within said covering;
wherein said appendage portion cooperates with said covering to couple said toy to said clip.
9. The toy assembly of claim 8 wherein said appendage portion is selectively and removably disposed between said covering and said outer surface.
10. The toy assembly of claim 8 wherein said covering comprises at least one piece of fabric which is shaped as clothing for said toy.
11. A toy assembly which may be coupled to a relatively narrow object, said toy assembly comprising:
a clip assembly comprising a relatively narrow and rigid appendage member and attachment means for selectively and removably coupling said clip assembly to said object; and
a plush toy having an outer surface which is formed from a certain soft material, said plush toy having coupling means to receive said appendage member, whereby said coupling means may be quickly and easily uncoupled from said object and said plush toy may be quickly and easily uncoupled from said appendage member.
12. The toy assembly of claim 11 wherein said appendage member has proximate and distal ends, said proximate end is coupled to said attachment means in a certain direction; wherein said distal end of said appendage member is approximately ninety degrees to said certain direction.
13. The toy assembly of claim 11 wherein the appendage member is coupled to attachment means by a rotatable ratchet assembly which permits said appendage member to be rotated relative to said attachment means about said certain axis.
14. The toy assembly of claim 11 wherein said clip assembly is formed from a single piece of plastic material, wherein said attachment means elastically deforms to couple said clip assembly to said object.
15. The toy assembly of claim 11 wherein said clip assembly is formed from a single piece of plastic material, wherein said attachment means has a C-shaped portion and a hinged door member.
16. The toy assembly of claim 11 wherein said attachment means is at least one cubic inch in size.
17. The toy assembly of claim 11 wherein said coupling means is formed from a soft and pliable material which easily receives said distal end of said appendage member, thereby allowing a user to quickly remove said plush toy from said clip assembly.
18. A toy assembly which may be connected to and quickly disconnected from a bed rail, said toy assembly comprising:
a toy character having a soft outer surface and receiving means which are coupled to said outer surface;
a plastic clip having a generally cylindrical appendage portion which is sized to easily slide between said receiving means and said outer surface, thereby coupling said toy character to said clip, said clip further having a bed rail reception member which is shaped to easily slide around said bed rail and being effective to hold said clip to said bed rail.
19. The toy assembly of claim 18 wherein said bed rail reception member is a generally C-shaped member which elastically deforms to receive and then hold said bed rail.
20. The toy assembly of claim 18 wherein said bed rail reception member receives said bed rail along a certain axis, and wherein said appendage portion projects from said reception member at a forty-five degree angle away from said certain axis.
Description
FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention generally relates to a toy assembly that may be easily coupled and de-coupled to an object. More particularly, to a toy assembly having a toy portion which may be quickly and easily removed from a clip portion that may also be quickly and easily removed from a bed's railing.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Toy assemblies and particularly stuffed or plush toys are well known as favorites of children and adults alike. These toys provide a source of enjoyment and comfort to their owners/users. Typically, the user of the toy is a child and the child may like to keep a particular toy with him or her at all times. For this reason, it is desirable to provide a means for selectively coupling a toy character to various objects within easy reach of the user (e.g., on a bed rail or an interior car door handle). It is further desirable to enable an individual (i.e., an adult) to quickly and easily move the attachment means from one location to another (e.g., from the car to the house).

Prior art toys that have been made to be selectively coupled to an external object oftentimes include external fastening members that are generally formed from metals or hard plastics. These fasteners can be dangerous to children during play, as a child will not realize that the otherwise soft toy includes such potentially dangerous hardware. In the least, these fasteners may be uncomfortable to a child during play or rest (e.g., lying upon or next to the toy during naptime).

These prior art fastening members may also be dislodged from the toy they are attached to, thereby creating a potential choking hazard for small children. If larger (i.e., non-choking hazard) sized fasteners are used, they oftentimes undesirably overwhelm the aesthetics of the toy.

Further, prior art toy assemblies which enable an individual to couple the toy to an external object do not provide a quick disconnect feature for both the toy and the toy's attachment means (i.e., means to couple the toy to the object). Typically, the toy is made to separate from the attachment means, but the attachment means is not intended to be easily separated from the object it is coupled to.

There is therefore a need for a new and improved toy assembly which overcomes some or all of the previously delineated drawbacks of prior toy assemblies and, by the way of example and without limitation, allows a user to removably couple a toy character to a desired object while maintaining a aesthetic look to the toy and keeping the toy and its fastening means child safe.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention desirably provides a user with a very quick and easy means for connecting and disconnecting a toy character from an attachment means used to hold the toy character to an object. This “quick-disconnect” feature is further provided without the addition of unaesthetic and potentially dangerous hardware such as clasps, hooks, snaps, buttons, or ties upon the toy character.

Additionally, the toy character in the present invention provides means for coupling the toy character to an external clip without the addition of external fastening members that are generally formed from hard metals or plastics.

Another feature of the present invention is that it provides attachment means for a toy character to an object. These retention portions further provide an additional layer of quick-disconnect capability to the toy assembly in that the retention portions utilize simple clip means for attaching the retention portion (and subsequently the toy character) to a desired object without using complicated coupling means which include numerous components which may undesirably come apart, thereby creating potential choking hazards.

Another non-limiting feature to the present invention is that all of the means for coupling the toy character to the desired object are formed to substantially eliminate the possibility of a choking hazard. Particularly, the coupling means for attaching the toy character to the provided clip means are either sized to avoid a choking hazard, and/or securely coupled to, and/or are formed into the toy itself. Similarly, the clip means which actually couple to toy character to the object are sized to avoid choking hazards and are generally formed as a single piece, obviating the possibility of the clip coming apart into smaller pieces.

The above mentioned non-limiting child-safe features are particularly suited for use in places such as children's hospitals where all potential hazards must be kept to an absolute minimum. In such a setting, the quick-disconnect feature of both the toy from the clip and the clip from the object (e.g., a bed rail) is particularly important, as the toy assembly might need to be removed from the location it is attached to in a hurry. For example, a nurse or doctor might need to gain full access to the patient/child in an emergency situation.

According to a first non-limiting advantage of the present invention, a toy assembly is provided which overcomes at least some of the previously delineated disadvantages of prior toy assemblies.

According to a second non-limiting advantage of the present invention, a toy assembly is provided. The toy assembly includes a toy having a soft outer surface, such as a stuffed animal. Toy assembly also includes a plastic clip having an outwardly extending appendage and means for removably attaching the clip to an object, wherein the toy is removably coupled to the clip by the appendage portion.

According to a third non-limiting advantage of the present invention, a toy assembly is provided where the toy assembly may be coupled to a relatively narrow object, the toy assembly including a clip comprising a relatively narrow and rigid appendage member and attachment means for selectively and removably coupling the clip assembly to the object; and a plush toy having coupling means to receive the appendage member, whereby the coupling means may be quickly and easily uncoupled from the object and the plush toy may be quickly and easily uncoupled from the appendage member.

According to a fourth non-limiting advantage of the present invention, a toy assembly is provided which may be connected to and quickly disconnected from a bed rail. The toy assembly provides a toy character having a soft outer surface and a plastic clip having a generally cylindrical appendage. The toy character having means for receiving the appendage which is sized to easily slide between the receiving means and the outer surface, thereby coupling the toy character to the clip. The clip further having a reception member which is shaped to easily slide around a narrow object, such as a bed rail, and being effective to hold the clip to the object.

These and other aspects, features, and advantages of the present invention will become apparent by reading the following description in combination with the following drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective assembled view of a exemplary preferred embodiment of a toy assembly having a plush toy coupled to a clip according to the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a rear view of the plush toy portion of the toy assembly of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the clip of the toy assembly of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3A is a side view of the clip of the toy assembly of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a perspective of the toy assembly of FIG. 1 in combination with a bed's safety railing.

FIG. 5 is a perspective assembled view of an alternative preferred embodiment of the present invention, wherein the plush toy has an external sleeve member which cooperates with the clip to hold the clip to the plush toy.

FIG. 6 is a perspective assembled view of an alternative preferred embodiment of the present invention, wherein the plush toy is wearing clothing which cooperate with the clip to hold the clip to the plush toy.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of an alternative preferred embodiment of the clip of the present invention, wherein the clip has a hinged door member.

FIG. 8 is a partial perspective view of an alternative preferred embodiment of the clip of the present invention, wherein the projecting member of the clip is fixed at a certain angle.

FIG. 9 is a partial side view of an alternative preferred embodiment of the clip of the present invention, wherein the projecting member of the clip may be set at various angles.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT OF THE INVENTION

Referring now to FIGS. 1, 2, 3 and 3A, there is shown a toy assembly 10 that is made in accordance with the teachings of the preferred embodiment of the invention. The toy assembly 10 includes a three-dimensional stuffed character or plush toy 12 and a clip 14. Clip 14 includes an outwardly extending appendage or projecting member 30 which may be selectively placed within an opening 26 formed in the toy 12, effective to hold the toy 12 to the clip 14. Clip 14 further includes an attachment portion 40 which is shaped to operatively receive and retain a portion of an object within an opening 42 formed within the attachment portion 40. In this manner, as shown in FIG. 4, the toy 12 may be selectively held to an object, such as a railing 101 of a bed 100 by a user by placing a portion of railing 101 within the attachment portion 40 of clip 14.

Referring particularly to FIG. 2, the toy 12 is provided as a three-dimensional character or “stuffed animal” having a relative soft and pliable outer covering 20 which surrounds and contains a filler material. The covering 20 is preferably formed from a hypoallergenic fabric or artificial fur material. Toy 12 further includes a flap 22 which is fixedly coupled to the back or rear area 21 of toy 12. Flap 22 is also formed from the same material as covering 20, whereby the visual presence of flap 22 to a user is minimized. Flap 22 is secured to the back area 21 by a conventional method such as sewing. In the illustrated embodiment, flap 22 is generally rectangular in shape and is secured to the back area 21 along the two sides 22, 24 and the top edge 24 of flap 24. The bottom edge 27 of flap 22 is left unsecured to the back area 21, thereby forming an opening 26 between the flap 22 and outer covering 20. It should be realized that the size and shape of flap 22 may vary and is not limited by the embodiment depicted in the various Figures.

Referring particularly to FIG. 3 and FIG. 3A, the preferred non-limiting embodiment of clip 14 is shown. Particularly, clip 14 includes an outwardly extending member or appendage 30 and a retention portion 40. Retention portion 40 includes a plurality of wall members 35-39 which are arranged to cooperatively form a generally “C”-shaped retention clip. As shown, walls 36, 37 project orthogonally from opposite ends of wall 35 to form the C-shape. Further, wall 38 projects orthogonally from top wall 37 toward bottom wall 36, while wall 39 projects orthogonally from bottom wall 36 toward top wall 37. Collectively, walls 35-39 define an aperture 42 within retention portion 40. Further, walls 38, 39 are smaller in combined length than the length of wall 35, thereby defining a gap 41.

Appendage 30, in this preferred non-limiting embodiment, is generally narrow and cylindrically shaped, and which initially projects orthogonally from wall 35 at its proximate end portion 31 in the direction opposite to walls 36, 37. Projection portion 34 extends orthogonally from end portion 31, whereby projection portion 34 is substantially parallel to wall 35. The distal end 32 of appendage 30 is generally spherical in shape to provide a blunting effect and obviate the likelihood of appendage 30 snagging or catching. As shown, end portion 31 is disposed in close proximity to the bottom wall 36. This placement allows portion 34 to extend upward, thereby creating a generally hook shaped appendage. Further, distal end 32 does not project past the uppermost edge 33 of top wall 37 thereby further decreasing the likelihood of appendage 30 from snagging or catching.

In the preferred non-limiting embodiment, clip 14 is formed as a single piece from a relatively rigid, light-weight, non-toxic plastic material whereby walls 37, 38 may be elastically separated from walls 36, 39 to temporarily enlarge gap 41 to allow an object, such as railing 101, to pass through gap 41 into aperture 42. After the object passes through gap 41 the elastic characteristics of clip 14 causes walls 36-39 to return to approximately the same relative positions as before the object was inserted through gap 41.

FIG. 5 shows an alternate preferred embodiment of a toy 112. In FIG. 5, the toy 112 is substantially the same as toy 12 described above with the exception that the flap 22 provided in toy 12 is replaced with an externally mounted sleeve 122. Sleeve 122 is fixedly coupled to the exterior surface 120 of toy 112 upon its back area 121 in a conventional manner, such as sewing. Further, sleeve 122 is preferably formed from a soft and pliable material such as fabric or artificial fur and is preferably formed from the same material as the exterior surface 120. This material is arranged to form the sleeve 122 by folding the material upon itself and sewing along the length 129 of the material. In this manner, a portion of the material is enclosed upon itself to create a loop or aperture 126 running the length 129 of sleeve 122 and having openings at both the top and the bottom ends of sleeve 122. As shown, aperture 126 is sized to receive the appendage 30 of clip 14, thereby holding the toy 112 to the clip 14.

FIG. 6 shows another alternate preferred embodiment of a toy 212. In FIG. 6, the toy 212 is substantially the same as toys 12, 112 described above with the exception that the flap 22 and sleeve 122 provided in toys 12, 112, respectively, are replaced with an outer covering 222, which is shaped to act as clothing for the character or animal 213 depicted by the toy 212. In the non-limiting embodiment shown in FIG. 6, covering 222 is represented as a shirt. Covering 222 is formed from a soft pliable material which will enable a user to pull the covering 222 on and off the character 213 in a conventional manner. As shown, the covering 222 provides a gap 226 between the rear area 221 of the outer surface 220 of the character 213 and the interior surface of the covering 222. In this manner, appendage 30 of clip 14 may be inserted under the bottom edge 228 of the covering 222 within the gap 226, thereby holding the toy 212 to the clip 14.

As shown, the outer covering 222 may include designs or indicia 229 to allow the toy 212 to be customized or personalized for a particular user. For example and without limitation, the design 229 may include a phrase such as “Get well soon!” or may have an individuals name, or the design 229 may include a logo, slogan, or symbol representing a well known institution (e.g., “GO SPARTANS”). In other non-limiting embodiments, the covering 222 may be fixedly coupled to the outer surface 220 of the character 213 to prevent removal of the covering 222.

FIG. 7 shows an alternate preferred embodiment of a clip 314 which is to be used in combination with a toy 12, 112, 212 to provide the toy assembly 10. In FIG. 7, the clip 314 is similar in size and shape as clip 14, but with the following changes. Particularly, clip 314 includes substantially the same appendage 330 as the appendage 30 of clip 14 and the walls 335, 336, 337 are the same as walls 35, 36, 37, but instead of the remaining walls 38, 39 a door member 352 is provided. In this non-limiting embodiment, the attachment portion 340 is formed from walls 335, 336, 337, and door 352. Door 352 is approximately the same size as wall 335 and is formed from the same material as the rest of clip 314. Further, door 352 is coupled to wall 336 by a flexible hinge 350 along the edge of wall 336 opposite to wall 335. Hinge 350 is preferable formed from a relatively thin section of the same plastic material which is used to form clip 314 and enables the door 352 to freely move from: a closed position in which the attachment means 340 of clip 314 is generally “D-shaped” where the walls 335-337 and door 352 circumscribe an opening 342; and to an open position which grants access to the generally “C-shaped” portion formed by the walls 335-337. A retaining tab 353 and a mating tab-receiving member 354 are coupled to the meeting edges of door 352 and 337, respectively. Tab 353 and member 354 are configured in a conventional manner wherein tab 353 may be received by member 354 and frictionally held by member 354 until an external force is applied to separate them. In operation, a user first moves the door 352 to the open position, places an object (i.e., a portion of the object the user desires to couple to toy assembly 10 to) within the opening 342, and lastly closes the door 352 by mating the tab 353 to the receiving member 344 to circumscribe the object, thereby coupling the clip 314 to the object. A toy 12, 112, 212 may then be place upon and removed from the appendage 30, 330 at the user's discretion to hold the toy 12, 112, 212 to the object.

FIG. 8 shows an alternate preferred embodiment of a clip 414 which is to be used in combination with a toy 12, 112, 212 to provide the toy assembly 10. In FIG. 8, the clip 414 is substantially the same as clip 14, but with the following changes. Particularly, the appendage 430 of clip 414 is the same as appendage 30 of clip 14, except that appendage 30 is formed at an angle 415 relative to the direction 417 of the object which would be inserted within the opening defined by the generally C-shaped configuration of walls 435-437. In the preferred alternate embodiment, the angle 415 is approximately 45 degrees, but other angles are not excluded. Further, the appendage 430 is still disposed proximate to the bottom wall 436, but it is also disposed toward the corner 491, thereby allowing for angle 415 while keeping distal end 432 from projecting past the planes defined by the top surface of top wall 437 and the edges of walls 435-437 (i.e., appendage 430 does not “stick out” past the outer edges of attachment portion 440). In this configuration, a user could couple the clip 414 to an object which is either horizontal or vertical in direction (e.g., see FIG. 4, railing 101 or support 102) while maintaining the appendage 430 in a generally upright direction, suitable to allow the user to couple or hang the toy 12, 112, 212 to the clip 414.

FIG. 9 shows an alternate preferred embodiment of a clip 514 which is to be used in combination with a toy 12, 112, 212 to provide the toy assembly 10. In FIG. 9, the clip 514 is substantially the same as clip 14, 314, but with the following changes. Particularly, appendage 530 of clip 514 is not fixed to a certain position upon the attachment portion 540, but may be rotated. In the preferred alternate embodiment, clip 514 includes an intermeshing teeth or ratchet assembly 550 formed by appendage 530 having a disc 560 mounted upon its proximate end 531. Disc 560 includes a plurality of teeth 562 that extend radially from the centerline 570 of end 531. These teeth 562 are disposed upon disc 560 facing toward the end 564 of appendage 530. Disc 560 is preferably integrally formed with the appendage 530.

Attachment portion 540 is dissimilar from portions 40, 340 described above in that attachment portion 540 includes teeth 565 which are identical to teeth 562 and intermesh with teeth 562. Teeth 565 project away from wall 535 away from opening 542. A hole is formed through wall 535 which permits the end 564 of appendage 530 to pass into opening 542. End 542 includes means for fixing the appendage 530 to wall 535, while permitting appendage 530 and disc 560 to rotate about centerline 570 in the direction of arrow 569, and while enabling intermeshing teeth 562, 565 to hold appendage 530 in position after rotation. That is, end 564 biases the teeth 562, 565 against each other, but allows a user to rotate the appendage 530 with an application of external force. For example and without limitation, end 542 may include any of the following: an enlarged split head, a clevis/cotter pin arrangement, a threaded end and lock nut, or substantially any other conventional means which operate to fix an item in a first direction while allowing rotational movement. Similarly, the teeth 562, 565 may be biased against each other in substantially any method such as a spring or simply by the pitch of the teeth 562, 565 and the clearance provided in the means for fixing the end 542 to wall 535.

It should be realized that the present invention is not limited to a particular shape or configuration for toys 12, 112, 212. Rather, substantially any animal, character, famous personality, or shape (e.g., a star) may be used and selectively coupled to the clips 14, 314, 414, 514 to form toy assembly 10. Further, it should be appreciated that various configurations and arrangements of retention members 40, 340, 440, 540 are possible to define an opening such as aperture 42 which is sized and shaped to receive and to hold a portion of an object (e.g., a bed railing 101). The cylindrical shape of appendages 30, 330, 430, 530 was exemplary in nature and substantially any shape projection may be used. For example, the appendages 30, 330, 430, 530 may be relatively flat tabs which increase the surface area of the appendage 30, 330, 430, 530 which comes into contact with the toy 12, 112, 212. Further, as the most likely users of toy assembly 12 are children, attachment portions 40, 340, 440, 540 of clips 14, 314, 414, 514 are each at least 1 cubic inch in size to eliminate the chance of a possible choking hazard. Further still, to enhance a user's enjoyment and reduce the likelihood of injury, toys 12, 112, 212 are formed entirely from soft materials normally associated with conventional stuffed plush toys.

It is to be understood that the invention is not limited to the exact construction or method which has been illustrated and discussed above, but that various changes and modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and the scope of the invention as is more fully delineated in the following claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7886738 *Oct 28, 2004Feb 15, 2011Kelly WalkerApparatus for delivery of an aerosolized medication to an infant
Classifications
U.S. Classification446/72
International ClassificationA63H3/00
Cooperative ClassificationA63H3/02, A63H3/36
European ClassificationA63H3/36, A63H3/02