CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
- BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
This application is related to a co-pending application, filed on the same day, with the same inventor and assignee, titled Method, System, and Kit Package for Balloon Weights and Balloon Stompers.
There are a large number of patents that claim a variety of tethers. However, none of these inventions claim a tether as a part of a balloon game kit or a system for balloon weights or balloon stomp (or stompers), as described in the current invention, given below.
Some examples for those patents are: (US patent numbers)
- U.S. Pat. No. 3,227,398, Balloon tether cable, by Struble.
- U.S. Pat. No. 3,900,989, Balloon clamp, by Weisenthal.
- U.S. Pat. No. 4,826,161, Balloon game, by Rookmaaker.
- U.S. Pat. No. 5,011,447, Balloon holder, by Watanabe.
- U.S. Pat. No. 5,074,510, Balloon holders, by Metz.
- U.S. Pat. No. 5,104,160, Balloon tying device and method, by Cheng.
- U.S. Pat. No. 5,188,314, Balloon holding device, by Peters.
- U.S. Pat. No. 5,301,392, Multi-purpose balloon closure device, by Richman.
- U.S. Pat. No. 5,482,492, Balloons and balloon valves, by Becker.
- U.S. Pat. No. 5,595,521, Balloons and balloon valves, by Becker.
- U.S. Pat. No. 5,638,581, Balloon mooring system, by Burke.
- U.S. Pat. No. 5,769,683, Attachment for balloon tether, by Park.
- U.S. Pat. No. 6,076,752, Method and apparatus for inert gas purging/temperature control for pulverizing/grinding system, by Paradowski et al.
- U.S. Pat. No. 6,352,484, Apparatus for soccer training, by Killion.
- U.S. Pat. No. 6,422,914, Dual-function balloon weight, by Nelson et al.
- U.S. Pat. No. 6,582,272, Balloon weight and ribbon assembly, by Nelson et al.
- U.S. Pat. No. 6,666,405, Adjustable weight ballasts for weighing down differently sized lighter-than-air balloons, by Isaacs.
- U.S. Pat. No. 6,716,083, Balloon weight, by Castro.
- U.S. Pat. No. 6,899,538, Identification type instrument assembly, by Matoba.
- Des. 350314, Retainer for fastening balloon string to clothing, by Schweitzer.
- D 520078S, Weighted balloon tether, by Pollack.
- Appl. 2003/0148701 A1, Method and device for fastening a balloon, by Tuijanmaa.
- Appl. 2006/0081665 A1, Balloon keeper bracelet, by Nguyen et al.
- U.S. Pat. No. 3,783,551, Balloon and sealing means therefore, by Allison et al.
- U.S. Pat. No. 3,940,133, Ball retrieving apparatus, by Civita.
- U.S. Pat. No. 4,976,649, Decorative balloon structure, by Mandell.
- U.S. Pat. No. 5,035,391, Balloon anchor, by Steele et al.
- U.S. Pat. No. 5,094,462, Soccer training device, by Boyle et al.
- U.S. Pat. No. 5,154,430, Ring toss apparatus, by Cozzolino.
- U.S. Pat. No. 5,240,199, Balloon holding device, by Peters.
- U.S. Pat. No. 5,411,427, Balloon weight and latch assembly, by Nelson et al.
- U.S. Pat. No. 5,547,413, Heat-staked tether for toy balloons, by Murray.
- U.S. Pat. No. 5,628,091, Balloon closure device, by Mueller.
- U.S. Pat. No. 5,765,831, Tethering system for novelty balloon, by Huffhines.
- U.S. Pat. No. 5,853,339, Football practice aid, by Scerbo.
- U.S. Pat. No. 6,152,838, Apparatus for soccer training, by Killion.
- U.S. Pat. No. 6,358,110, weight for toy or decorative balloons, by Apsner.
- U.S. Pat. No. 6,540,578, Toy balloon, by Billon.
- U.S. Pat. No. 6,663,460, Balloon weight with selectable ballast, by Nelson.
- U.S. Pat. No. 6,685,582, Wrist toy, by Abel.
- U.S. Pat. No. 6,790,120, Balloon valve adapter, by Murray.
- U.S. Pat. No. 6,938,275, Wrist band construction for balloons, by Fried.
- Des. 401255, Balloon weight, by Burns.
- Appl. 2001/0034176 A1, Novelty apparatus, by Deliu.
- Appl. 2003/0173457 A1, Adjustable weight ballasts for weighing down differently sized lighter-than-air balloons, by Isaacs.
- Or U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,042,241, 6,540,576, 6,932,125, 6,364,733, 6,375,534, 4,943,225, 4,380,103, 5,666,709, 6,352,484, 6,277,452, 6,152,838, 5,886,839, 5,135,440, 4,003,572, 3,941,384, and 3,517,934.
One example of punch balloons is the one by Unique Industries Inc., from Philadelphia, Pa., 19148.
Other prior art can be found at: (for Professional Resources Catalog)
http ://www.qualatex.compages/pro resrce cat.php
Other examples are: balloontime.com, Conwin Inc./conwinonline.com, balloonplace.com, partypro.com, Klip N'Seal, Balloon Barb, and Quickie Clips.
- SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
However, they are all different from the current invention.
The invention covers a game kit, system, method, and device for the balloon games. A preferred embodiment is a game kit for the Balloon Stomper/popping game (or kicking, hitting, or bursting). The kit consists of a balloon, a tether for the balloon, and a means of attaching the balloon to a player. The game can be played many different ways: attaching to humans or objects, using different tools (such as broom or shoe) to hit or burst different objects, such as balloons or balls, using team or individual players, using different scoring systems or goals in the game. For example, in one embodiment, the game involves tying a balloon to the ankle of each player. Then the players try to stomp on each other's balloons, while protecting their own balloon. The winner is the last person or team with a balloon that has not been popped. One problem with the game is that preparing a large number of game set-ups is time consuming and labor intensive. Since this game is meant for children, the players cannot be relied upon to complete the preparation. Young children and people with disabilities may not be able to tie their own balloon knots. This invention is intended to make both set-up and clean-up of the balloon stomper game simpler.
A preferred embodiment uses a rubber band as the means to attach the tether to the player's limb. The preferred embodiment uses a ribbon as the tether because the ribbon is light enough to not interfere with the movement of the balloon. Rubber bands can be stretched to fit the limb of any sized player. This allows a player to easily put on and remove a balloon game device. Furthermore, both rubber bands and ribbon are both disposable and reusable. Thus a single game set-up can be refitted with a new balloon and the game played again or continued, until the player no longer wishes to play and the set-up is thrown out, or stored for the future.
Another preferred embodiment uses a loop as the means to attach the tether to the player's limb. In this embodiment, one end of the tether is tied so that it creates a loop. The knot used is a slip knot that can be tightened and loosened, when needed. The loop is fitted around a limb of the player and tightened so that it is attached to the player's limb. This allows a player to easily put on and remove a balloon game device. This preferred embodiment also uses a ribbon as the tether because the ribbon is light enough to not interfere with the movement of the balloon. Furthermore, the ribbon is disposable and reusable. Thus, a single game set-up can be refitted with a new balloon, and the game can be played again or continued, until the player no longer wishes to play and the set-up is thrown out, or stored for the future.
In one embodiment, the tether is tied to the balloon and to the attachment means. Other embodiments can include a tether with a balloon that has not been attached to the tether. The balloon can be pre-filled. Alternatively, the tether is lightly tied to the balloon so that the balloon can be filled and once the balloon is filled, the tether is tightened.
A preferred embodiment of the invention is a balloon attached to a tether by a slipknot, and the tether is attached to the limb of the person by a rubber band. This embodiment is the simplest to produce and package. This embodiment also has the advantage that the balloon can be packed deflated, but still attached to the tether. The preferred rubber band is a size #32 or #64 rubber band.
Another embodiment of the invention is a balloon attached to a tether by a slipknot and the tether is attached to the limb of the person by a slipknot. This embodiment is also simple to produce and package. This embodiment also has the advantage that the balloon can be packed deflated, but still attached to the tether. The slipknot is made by tying one end of the tether to itself.
Another embodiment of the invention is a tether with a net attached. The net can hold a balloon. Thus, the net attaches a balloon to the tether.
Other embodiments could include a tether with a balloon disc, clip, or cup attached. Any balloon disc, clip, or cup could be used. The tether could also be integral and continuous with the balloon itself, so that the balloon and the tether are manufactured together.
The invention includes the use of any type of balloon. This includes latex balloons, water balloons, punch balloons, helium balloons, foil balloon, nylon balloons and Mylar balloons. This invention could also be used with balls, such as a punch ball or other objects, such as toys.
Another embodiment includes balloons manufactured with an attachment point for the tether. The attachment point could be a balloon disk manufactured around the neck of the balloon. Alternatively, the balloon could have a knob or loop manufactured into the balloon, creating an attachment point.
A preferred embodiment of the invention includes printed rules for balloon games and all equipment needed for each game. Other embodiments could include filled and unfilled balloons. Still other embodiments include storage bags for prepared balloon devices to be stored. Still other embodiment could include balloon pumps or balloon inflators.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
Another embodiment of the invention is the balloon weight setup and system, as described below.
FIG. 1 shows the balloon device, to be attached to a person's ankle or a body part, for example, for the balloon stomper game.
FIG. 2 shows another variation of FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 shows other variations of the components of FIG. 1.
FIG. 4 shows some examples for connecting two parts/components of FIG. 1.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
FIG. 5 shows an example of the balloon weight setup.
FIG. 1 shows the balloon device, to be attached to a person's ankle or a body part, for example, for the balloon stomper game. Item 101 is a balloon (or a toy). Item 102 is a tether or other means to tie the balloon, so that air stays in the balloon. Item 103 is a tether (e.g. string) to connect the balloon to the ankle of the user. Item 105 is the loop going around the ankle of the user. Item 104 connects item 105 and item 103 together.
The connection means 102 and 104 can be by any method, such as tied rope, ribbon, string, glued, hinge, metal joint, welded, sewed, solid, rigid, or flexible, and made of any material, such as rubber band, silk string, wool, metal chain, plastic chain, rigid, flexible, or soft material.
Note that tether's equivalent terms (or other connecting methods/devices) can also be used here, such as cord, chain, fastening device, rope, thread, fibrous material, confining device, string (cotton, nylon, or any other material), belt, tape, tie, attaching device, lace, Velcro fastener, hook-and-loop fastener, band, strap, snap, wire, cable, elastic, glued material, holder, disk, cup, clip, pull tabs, knot, adhesive, and connector. The tether can have multiple components, made of many parts, in series or in parallel configuration, such as chain of cotton and nylon strings tied together.
The balloons 101 can be of any kind of balloons in the market, such as water balloons, Helium balloons, or air balloons, made of any type of material, and closed off by any method, at the factory or by the user.
Tether 103 and loop 105 can also be made of any material, such as rubber band, string, wool, silk, solid, plastic, elastic, soft, rigid, flexible, adjustable size, fixed size, or multi-threaded material. For example, (flexible) rubber band 105 is useful for fitting the loop 105 for users of different sizes (e.g. fit a large ankle).
Item 102 can be a hook or a tie. The tie can be closed up by the user to close off the balloon, to keep air or water inside the balloon. In one embodiment, the loose tie is pre-manufactured at the factory to make it easier for the user to fill up, tie up (e.g. pull tabs of a slipknot), and set up the balloons. Item 102 can have multiple pieces, and can be made of any fastening method or technology. Item 102 can be an integral part of item 103, such as a slipknot configuration.
Items 103-105 can be 1-piece, 2-piece, or 3-piece setup. Some of those examples are shown in FIG. 3.
The rubber band (or loop 105) can be connected to a weight or a wine bottle, instead of a user's ankle.
FIG. 2 shows another variation of FIG. 1. Here, the balloon is tied up by a balloon tying device 201, which is connected to tether 103, using the connection means 202.
Item 201 can be of any shape and material, as long as it can keep or hold the water or air inside the balloon. Examples of material for item 201 are plastic, rubber, and metal pieces.
The connection means 202 can be of any shape and material, as well, such as the ones described above for item 104 or item 102.
FIG. 3 shows other variations of the components of FIG. 1, replacing components/ items 103-105 of FIG. 1. Any other logical combinations or variations of these are also meant to be covered under this patent disclosure.
Item 303 is a solid ring, for example, made of plastic. Item 307 and item 308 are made of magnetic material (magnets), coupled to each other, to connect loop 309 and tether 306.
Item 312 is a small loop with a strap (to hold the small loop closed), in order to attach tether 311 to item 313 (the big loop).
Item 305 is just an extension/tip of item 304 (tether). This is a flexible arrangement to adjust the size of loop (by sliding item 305 along tether 304). Note that using rubber band as the loop 105 serves the same purpose (adjusting the size of the loop).
Item 315 is a knot, which can be of any shape (or any type of knot).
Item 318 can be of any form, shape, or material, such as those described for items 312 and 315, above.
Item 320 closes the loop, or adjusts the size of the loop, and can be similar to item 312, described above.
FIG. 4 shows some examples for connecting two parts/components of FIG. 1. This is very generic, and can be applied to any situation and setup. Items 401-402 signify the chain connection. Items 406-409 show the connection by screwing one part into another (item 409 into item 408). Items 410-413 describe a belt-type connection, in which a hook into an opposite hole connects the two pieces (items 410 and 41 1). Items 440-442 show a snap-in connection, in which item 441 is pushed into item 440, and the flexible part 442 snaps/expands inside item 440, attaching the two parts 440 and 441. Any other variation of FIG. 4 (any fastening technology or method) can also be used here.
FIG. 5 shows an example of the balloon weight setup. Items 101-103 are similar to the counterparts in FIG. 1. Item 505 is an object/weight, connected to the tether 103 (and eventually to balloon 101) at the connection point 504. Item 504 is structured similar to item 104, or any combinations shown in FIG. 3.
The balloon may or may not be included in the setup described in FIG. 5, above. The loose tie (item 102) can be pre-fabricated at the factory, and the user can close it off (e.g. pull tabs of a slipknot) (after filling the balloon, using air or water). This makes it easier for the user to fill up and tie up many balloons in a short period of time.
Currently, people use balloon tying devices/cups at position 102 in FIG. 5, instead of our item 102 (tie, shown in FIG. 5). Balloon tying devices/cups are very awkward. Thus, our configuration (our item 102 (tie, shown in FIG. 5)) is advantageous over the prior art.
In one embodiment, one puts a string (or hook, ribbon, or any fastening tool or device) inside the lip (tip) of the balloon (at position 102 in FIG. 5) so that the user have an easier time to close off the balloon. This can be pre-manufactured at the factory.
In one embodiment, the balloon device with the balloon manufactured in such a way that it has an attachment point for ease of attachment or closing the balloon.
The weight 505 can be used as/for/together with/instead of an anchor, display, balloon bar, set-in-the-ground, attached-to-a-bag, pin, tent peg, spike, spike with a base (for sandy areas, to bury the flat base, for support of the spike), balloon barb, or decoration purposes.
Any parts of the setup explained above can be sold or packaged as a kit, so that the user can put them together, using an instruction manual. They can be all or partially in one package, with the adhesive material included, as an option.
The kits can also include (or not include) software, CD-ROM, DVD, VCR, tapes, or tape cassettes, in addition to (or not including) the booklets and other accessories. This system can be included in a retail packaging and/or retail displays (counter, floor, shelf, etc.). The kit or packaging includes various parts or components which can be put together by the user, which can be sold separately or altogether. It can include balloon markers and other accessories.
This software can offer setup, management, and cleanup tips, as well as multiple game and activity listings. Additionally, it can offer printable and/or E-mail versions, as well as a database to add user developed ideas and notes. It can also provide tools to manage events and setup crews, as well as tools and templates to design event layouts. It can even be integrated with existing recreation program, sports management, facilities management, or tournament scheduling programs. The software can also describe how to incorporate ideas into clowning or twisting businesses for profit or not-for-profit.
In one embodiment, the balloon is held using a net. The net can be any type net. The net can be made out of cloth, fabric, string, plastic, wire, or any type of material suitable for net. The size of net is any size that can hold a balloon. The net needs to be only as large as the desired balloon.
The balloon fastener can be any kind of balloon fastener. Possible balloon fasteners include slipknots, knots, a net, a balloon disc, a balloon clip, a balloon cup, or an attachment point on a balloon. Alternatively, balloon fastener could be integral and continuous with the balloon and tether, for example, when balloon and tether are manufactured together. Possible attachment point versions of balloon fastener include a projection or loop that is integral and continuous with the balloon, that the tether can be tied to. These projections or loop would be manufactured as part of balloon. The slipknot version of balloon fastener could include zero, one, or two (or even more than 2) pull tabs.
In one embodiment/example, the distal fastener could be a rubber band. The tether is tied to the rubber band distal fastener. The rubber band is fitted around a player's limb. The rubber band can be fitted around any size limb (or object) by threading the rubber band through itself and looping it around the limb (or object) enough times to create a tight fit. This process is easy to do and can be done by players of any age. Furthermore, the rubber band is durable and can be reused, so that the same rubber band can be used to play multiple rounds of a balloon game. The preferred rubber band size is #32 or #64.
In one embodiment/example, the distal fastener could be a loop. The loop distal fastener is created by tying the distal end of the tether to itself. The player then fits a limb through the loop to attach the balloon game kit to the player. The preferred loop distal fastener is made using a slipknot. The slipknot can be tightened to fit the player's limb. Alternatively, the loop could be threaded through itself and looped around the limb until the loop fits the limb. In this version, the loop would be formed by threading the distal end of the tether through a hole in the tether. The loop is durable and can be reused for multiple rounds of a balloon game.
The distal fastener can be adjustable. The distal fastener can be attached to tether by a knot or a grommet (or metal eyelet or rope). The tether can be made of any flexible material. The preferred embodiment teaches a tether made of ribbon. Other embodiments could use string, cord, elastic, fabric, or wire.
The balloon can be attached or separate from the tether. The balloon can be filled or unfilled. In one embodiment, the balloon is unfilled and not attached to the tether. A person using the device would fill the balloon and then attach the balloon to the tether using the balloon fastener. The balloon fastener can also seal the balloon. In another embodiment, the balloon is filled and is not attached to the tether. The person using the balloon game kit would attach the balloon to the tether using the balloon fastener. In another embodiment, the balloon is unfilled, but is attached to the tether. In this case, the person using the balloon game device would fill the balloon and then seal the balloon using the balloon fastener. In one embodiment, the balloon is both filled and attached to the tether.
The disk and cup can be used for attaching a string (or ribbon or similar connecting or attaching means) to a balloon. In one embodiment, the balloon has a hole prefabricated in its elastic enclosure, through which a string or rope can go, for the purpose of attaching another object to a balloon. The strap for the attachment to the balloon may be adjustable. Multiple balloons (sometimes, with different material/ content (different gas/liquid contents) or different shapes) may be attached to one or both ankles (or other body parts, or still/moving objects), through one or more connections or strings.
The weight/closure/an object can be connected to a balloon/second object, for example, using tape, ribbon, staples, or clip (with (or through) a hole, for example). The objects can be inflatable toys, stuffed animal toys, dolls, or objects-glowing-in-dark.
The balloon stomping or bursting can be done by any other object or parts of human body, such as broom, tooth pick, or finger nail. The attachment can be done to the wrist of a human or to the leg(s) of a table, as well, for example. The balloons can be full of water, Helium, or any other mixture of gas, liquid, and/or powder/solid, with balloons being made of any fabric or material, such as latex or Aluminum.
The system can be used for decoration or display. In one embodiment, one or more components of the system can be stored in a cavity inside the weight object, or stored/attached on the weight/anchor object.
Any other variations of the teachings above are also meant to be covered and be protected under this patent disclosure.