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Publication numberUS20110011416 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 12/502,964
Publication dateJan 20, 2011
Filing dateJul 14, 2009
Priority dateJul 14, 2009
Publication number12502964, 502964, US 2011/0011416 A1, US 2011/011416 A1, US 20110011416 A1, US 20110011416A1, US 2011011416 A1, US 2011011416A1, US-A1-20110011416, US-A1-2011011416, US2011/0011416A1, US2011/011416A1, US20110011416 A1, US20110011416A1, US2011011416 A1, US2011011416A1
InventorsStephenie Burns
Original AssigneeStephenie Burns
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Flexible artificial fingernail
US 20110011416 A1
Abstract
An artificial fingernail has an outer layer made of silicone allowing the nail to maintain its form when not in contact with objects but permitting the nail to flex upon contact with objects and bend back to its original shape after contact. Accordingly, the wearer can simultaneously look attractive and engage in vigorous exercise or other vigorous activities such as scrubbing, cleaning, cooking etc. The artificial fingernail may also be combined with jewelry and may be molded with cut-out designs.
Images(10)
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Claims(12)
We claim:
1. An artificial fingernail, comprising:
an inner adhering layer over at least a portion of a human fingernail,
an outer layer made of silicone in a thickness of between 6 mils and 50 mils and having an original shape, the outer layer containing an attached portion situated directly over the adhering layer and a free portion extending outward from the fingernail, the free portion being rigid enough to maintain its original shape when the artificial fingernail is moved through the air without contacting objects other than the air, the outer layer also being flexible enough to temporarily bend 90 degrees or more from bumping into an object and to thereafter resume its original shape.
2. An assembly of artificial fingernails, each artificial fingernail in accordance with claim 1, the artificial fingernail including an artificial fingernail fitted on each human fingernail of a human hand.
3. The artificial fingernail of claim 1, wherein the outer layer resumes its original shape within a few seconds of being bent upon bumping into an object.
4. The artificial fingernail of claim 1, wherein the outer layer has a decorative design carved out of the outer layer wherein the design runs through a complete thickness of the outer layer.
5. The artificial fingernail of claim 1, wherein the outer layer is pierced at a point and wherein the artificial fingernail further comprises a piece of jewelry dangling from the outer layer at the point.
6. The artificial fingernail of claim 1, wherein the outer layer has a finish that is glossy, neon, pearlescent, iridescent, metallic or glittery.
7. An artificial fingernail for coating human fingernails comprising:
a non-rigid preformed plastic fingernail extension overlapping a natural fingernail and at least one layer of an adhesive on the natural fingernail and on the preformed plastic fingernail extension that forms a permanent bond with the plastic,
the fingernail extension having a tensile strength of less than approximately 3500 psi and having a thickness which is between approximately 6 and 50 mils thick, the fingernail extension being flexible enough to temporarily bend 90 degrees or more upon being bumped into an object and to resume its original shape within seconds of removal of the force of the object.
8. The artificial fingernail of claim 7, wherein the thickness of the fingernail extension is between 10 and 30 mils.
9. The artificial fingernail of claim 7, further including the fingernail extension having a scalloped edge.
10. An artificial fingernail having an outer layer whose free portion has a preexisting form, the free portion adapted through the use of silicone or plastic having a thickness of between approximately 10 and 30 mils including a thickness of approximately 20 to 25 mils on a thickest part of the outer layer and a thickness of approximately 10 to 20 mils on a thinnest part of the outer layer to temporarily bend from its preexisting form up to at least 90 degrees when the free portion is struck by a forceful object and repeatedly resume its preexisting form automatically each time contact from the forceful object is removed.
11. The artificial fingernail of claim 10, wherein the thickness on the thinnest part of the outer layer is approximately 15-20 mils.
12. The artificial fingernail of claim 10, wherein the thickness on the thinnest part of the outer layer is approximately 10-15 mils.
Description
    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0001]
    The present invention generally relates to apparatus and methods for artificial fingernails and, more particularly, to apparatus and methods of artificial fingernails that can be worn while engaging in vigorous activities.
  • [0002]
    Artificial fingernails are used to beautify, correct, strengthen and protect natural fingernails. With regard to beauty, consumers want the appearance of long, smooth, nicely shaped fingernails. There are many people who simply cannot grow long beautiful nails, something they want very much to do.
  • [0003]
    Artificial fingernails that are attractive generally comprise a synthetic material intended to convey attractive looking nails, like a real fingernail. Such artificial fingernails are rigid like a real fingernail. The problem is that women, besides wanting to look attractive, also understandably need to engage in a whole variety of vigorous activities that are not conducive to wearing long nails and particularly not artificial fingernails. These diverse roles are difficult to simultaneously maintain.
  • [0004]
    Many artificial nails are not durable. Other artificial fingernails that may last longer, such as U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,060,073, 5,770184 and 5,632,973 to Keller which utilize polyvinyl chloride, are still not specifically designed for and cannot reasonably be worn while engaged in vigorous activities such as vigorous exercise, sports such as volleyball, cleaning, scrubbing, etc and other very vigorous activities in which repetitive forceful contact with strong opposing forces occurs on a regular basis. This is because the artificial nail is prone to break or at least be marred.
  • [0005]
    Artificial fingernails are typically either preformed nails glued onto the natural nail or are formed on the natural fingernail by the application of a liquid solution or an adhesive composition to the natural fingernail. The prior art contains numerous examples of preformed artificial nails, such as those described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 2,633,139; 2,746,460; 2,764,166; 2,941,535,; 2,979,061; 3,037,514; 3,157,912; 3,277,900; 3,425,426; 3,483,289; 3,487,831; 3,552,401, 4,106,614, 6,060,073, 5,770184 and 5,632,973. Unfortunately, preformed nails of the prior art are rigid and cannot be used for vigorous activities. Accordingly, most beauty professionals use the kind of artificial nails that are formed in situ. Forming the nails in situ is not satisfactory for many people either because of the time, odor or other reasons. Moreover, artificial fingernails formed in situ are also not both rigid enough to be durable and also appropriate for vigorous physical activities
  • [0006]
    As can be seen, there is a need for a method and apparatus for artificial fingernails that can be worn during vigorous activities and simultaneous allow a woman to feel like she has long beautiful nails with all the attractiveness and charm that this entails while looking like natural nails. Such artificial fingernails should also be diverse enough to accommodate a variety of ornamental appearances to provide diversity of appearances for a woman seeking to look attractive.
  • SUMMARY OF THE PRESENT INVENTION
  • [0007]
    In one aspect of the present invention, there is presented an artificial fingernail, comprising an inner adhering layer over at least a portion of a human fingernail, an outer layer made of silicone in a thickness of between 6 mils and 50 mils and having an original shape, the outer layer containing an attached portion situated directly over the adhering layer and a free portion extending outward from the fingernail, the free portion being rigid enough to maintain its original shape when the artificial fingernail is moved through the air without contacting objects other than the air, the outer layer also being flexible enough to temporarily bend 90 degrees or more from bumping into an object and to thereafter resume its original shape.
  • [0008]
    In a further aspect of the present invention, there is presented an artificial fingernail for coating human fingernails comprising a non-rigid preformed plastic fingernail extension overlapping a natural fingernail and at least one layer of an adhesive on the natural fingernail and on the preformed plastic fingernail extension that forms a permanent bond with the plastic, the fingernail extension having a tensile strength of less than approximately 3500 psi and having a thickness which is between approximately 6 and 50 mils thick, the fingernail extension being flexible enough to temporarily bend 90 degrees or more upon being bumped into an object and to resume its original shape within seconds of removal of the force of the object.
  • [0009]
    In a still further aspect of the present invention, there is presented an artificial fingernail having an outer layer whose free portion has a preexisting form, the free portion adapted through the use of silicone or plastic having a thickness of between approximately 10 and 30 mils including a thickness of approximately 20 to 25 mils on a thickest part of the outer layer and a thickness of approximately 10 to 20 mils on a thinnest part of the outer layer to temporarily bend from its preexisting form up to at least 90 degrees when the free portion is struck by a forceful object and repeatedly resume its preexisting form automatically each time contact from the forceful object is removed.
  • [0010]
    These and other features, aspects and advantages of the present invention will become better understood with reference to the following drawings, descriptions and claims.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0011]
    FIG. 1A is an exploded view of the artificial fingernail of the present invention in reference to five fingers of a human hand;
  • [0012]
    FIG. 1B is a perspective view of the artificial fingernail of the present invention on five fingers of a human hand;
  • [0013]
    FIG. 2A is a sectional view of an artificial fingernail of the present invention taken along line 2A-2A of FIG. 1 B;
  • [0014]
    FIG. 2B is a sectional view of an artificial fingernail of the present invention taken along line 2B--2B of FIG. 1A;
  • [0015]
    FIG. 3A is a top view of the artificial fingernail of the present invention covering a human fingernail;
  • [0016]
    FIG. 3B is a bottom view showing the underside of the artificial fingernail of the present invention;
  • [0017]
    FIG. 4A is a perspective view of a hand wearing artificial fingernails of the present invention near a moving object;
  • [0018]
    FIG. 4B is a perspective view similar to FIG. 4A except the object has made contact with and begun to bend one of artificial fingernails of the present invention;
  • [0019]
    FIG. 4C is a perspective view similar to FIG. 4B except showing further bending by the object of one of the artificial fingernails of the present invention;
  • [0020]
    FIG. 4D is a perspective view similar to FIG. 4A showing the artificial fingernails of the present invention after the object has moved away from the artificial fingernail that, as shown in FIG. 4C, had been bent;
  • [0021]
    FIG. 5 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the present invention sowing a glossy finish;
  • [0022]
    FIG. 5A is a perspective view illustrating a silicone layer of an artificial fingernail of the present invention having been bent back almost 180 degrees from contact with an external object;
  • [0023]
    FIG. 5B is a perspective view illustrating a silicone layer of an artificial fingernail of the present invention having been bent back more than 90 degrees by contact with an external object;
  • [0024]
    FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the artificial fingernail in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention showing a design carved into the nail;
  • [0025]
    FIG. 7 is a perspective view of the artificial fingernail in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention showing a design carved into the nail;
  • [0026]
    FIG. 8 is a perspective view of the artificial fingernail in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention showing a piece of jewelry attached thereto;
  • [0027]
    FIG. 9 is a perspective view of the artificial fingernail in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention and similar to FIG. 8 except showing a different piece of jewelry attached thereto; and
  • [0028]
    FIG. 10 is a perspective view of the artificial fingernail in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention showing a design carved into the nail.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • [0029]
    The following detailed description is of the best currently contemplated modes of carrying out the invention. The description is not to be taken in a limiting sense, but is made merely for the purpose of illustrating the general principles of the invention, since the scope of the invention is best defined by the appended claims.
  • [0030]
    The present invention generally provides an artificial fingernail for covering a human fingernail that may be comprised of a silicone material that is rigid enough to hold its form and flexible enough to allow the wearer to engage in vigorous sports, cooking or any other activity. The finger nail flexes 90 degrees or more upon contact and springs back to its original form. The artificial fingernail may be attached via an adhesive layer.
  • [0031]
    In contrast to the prior art artificial fingernails, in which the artificial fingernail may break, crack or be damaged during any activity involving coming into contact with objects, the artificial fingernail of the present invention may be worn during cooking, sports, sleeping, volleyball, scrubbing pants, pulling laundry etc. because the nail flexes but bends back into shape when the force is removed. If the nail is caught in a car door handle it would not cut the nail because the nail would just bend back into shape. In further contrast to the prior art, in which the artificial fingernail would break if caught in a car door, the artificial fingernail of the present invention may be elastic yet durable enough to withstand such an occurrence and bounce back into shape. In further contrast to the prior art, in which the artificial fingernail may be flexible in respect to the part over the human nail and may be rigid in respect to the end that projects outward off the human nail, or may be rigid in both portions, the artificial fingernail of the present invention may have a non-rigid free end and yet may maintain its shape when stationary or moved through the air without contact. In further contrast to the prior art artificial fingernails which are either durable or flexible but not both, the artificial fingernail of the present invention may be both flexible and durable enough to withstand being temporarily crushed.
  • [0032]
    As can be seen from FIG. 2A and FIG. 2B, artificial fingernail 10 for coating human fingernails may be comprised of a non-rigid preformed silicone fingernail extension 30 overlapping a natural fingernail 15 and at least one layer 20 of an adhesive on the natural fingernail and on the preformed silicone fingernail extension that forms a permanent bond with the silicone. Accordingly, artificial fingernail 10 may be comprised of an inner adhering layer 20 over at least a portion of a human fingernail 15 on finger 13 and may include an outer layer 30 that may be made of silicone. Outer layer 30 may utilize a thermoset silicone material such as that manufactured by any of a variety of well known manufacturers. In certain embodiments, outer layer 20 may be made from a special flexible plastic such as an elastomer or thermoplastic that may have the characteristics described. An example of such plastic is the plastic sold under the brand name Dynaflex. Outer layer 30 may have an original form or shape that outer layer 30 may maintain under normal circumstances when stationary or when moving the air without contacting or bumping into objects.
  • [0033]
    Fingernail extension 30, which is outer layer 30, may have a thickness of between approximately 6 and 50 mils and in a preferred embodiment between approximately 10 and 30 mils (i.e. thousandths of an inch). This may allow outer layer 30 to flex and bend back without breaking and yet be durable as well as rigid enough to hold its own form when moved through the air without being in contact with an object.
  • [0034]
    As seen from FIG. 2A, outer layer 30 may contain an attached portion 32 situated directly over adhering layer 20 and a free portion 34 that extends outward from the finger and from natural fingernail 15 (which for purposes of this discussion is assumed to not be long) and may normally not be in direct contact with another structure. At least free portion 34 of outer layer 30 (and in some cases all of outer layer 30) may have the elasticity possessed by a contact lens for the eyes that is a little thicker than an ordinary contact lens would be. At least free portion 34 of outer layer 30 (and in some cases all of outer layer 30), although flexible, may not be so flexible in that free portion of outer layer 30 may have “memory” so that it can bounce back to its original position after being bent out of shape by contact with an external object. Specifically, outer layer 30 may be flexible enough to temporarily bend a significant degree as a result of a bump or having been contacted by an object and may be able to immediately thereafter, or within a short time (i.e. a second, a few seconds or at worst a few minutes) thereafter, resume its original shape when the source of the original force has been removed.
  • [0035]
    The thickness of outer layer 30 may vary within outer layer 30. For example, the thickness may be approximately 20 to 25 mils on the thickest part of the outer layer 30 of the nail and approximately 15 to 20 mils on the thinnest part of the outer layer 30 of the nail. In another example, the thickness may be approximately 20 to 25 mils on the thickest part of the outer layer 30 of the nail and approximately 10 to 15 mils on the thinnest part of the outer layer 30 of the nail. The center of the outer layer 30 may be its thickest part and the perimeter of the outer layer 30 may be its thinnest part, particularly the free portion 34 of outer layer 30, i.e. the part of the outer layer 30 projecting out past the finger.
  • [0036]
    As seen from FIG. 3A, the most forward edge 99 of artificial fingernail 10 is the edge that will be exposed to the impact or bump from a moving or forceful object. In a preferred embodiment, outer layer 30 may be able to bend 90 degrees or more (for example up to 180 degrees) in response to being bumped, as shown in FIG. 5A and FIG. 5B. Outer layer 30 may also be able to bend in either direction. When fingernail 10 bends backward from contact with an object such as a ball 50, as shown in FIG. 5B, free portion 34 may fold in on itself along a crease 37. Alternatively, as shown in FIG. 5A, nail 10 may bend in a more straightforward manner. In either case, artificial fingernail 10 may be able to snap back into position after contact with the external force of the object has been removed.
  • [0037]
    FIG. 3B shows the underside 32 of outer layer 30. The exaggerated curved shape of FIG. 3B is merely illustrative of an underside of an artificial fingernail 10 of the present invention and is not intended to represent any required shape of the artificial fingernail of the present invention.
  • [0038]
    FIG. 4B shows the free portion 34 of outer layer 30 artificial fingernail 10 beginning to be bent backwards due to contact with the moving object 50, i.e. ball that it contacted during vigorous activities of the wearer of the nail 10. Furthermore, as shown in the series of FIGS. 4A through 4D, outer layer 30 and in particular free portion 34 thereof may be durable enough to not be “injured” by contact with a relatively strong force such as being hit by a fast moving ball or being squeezed by a car door closing on it.
  • [0039]
    Although outer layer 30 may be as soft as a contact lens, outer layer 30 may still be rigid enough to maintain its original shape when the artificial fingernail is moved through the air without contacting objects.
  • [0040]
    The length of the artificial fingernail 10 of the present invention may depend on how long a woman wants her nails to look. As a result of the variation in the length, the thickness of the material used for the outer layer 30 may also vary since a longer nails needs to be thicker to maintain its shape. Outer layer 30 may cover all or a portion of the natural fingernail 15. The length of outer layer 30 may vary depending on a number of factors including the size of the user's fingernails and how long the user wants the nails to look. In one case, for example, outer layer 30 may be approximately 15 millimeters long.
  • [0041]
    The artificial fingernail 10 of the present invention may be a synthetic artificial fingernail made of silicon or made of silicone and plastic and having the characteristic that it is rigid enough to hold its shape but elastic enough to bend upon impact and bend back after impact. Outer payer 30 may have a tensile strength of considerably less than 3500 psi to be sufficiently elastic and flexible.
  • [0042]
    As seen from FIG. 5C, an edge 33 of outer layer 30 may be scalloped to increase decorativeness.
  • [0043]
    As an alternative method of application, instead of adhering layer 20 which comprises a layer of adhesive appropriate for artificial fingernails, the fingernail extension 30 may be peeled off a thin plastic substrate and adhered onto the natural nail. In this case there is also an adhering layer 20 although the adhering layer 20 in this case may be thinner.
  • [0044]
    Added to the above basic idea of the present invention is one or more of the following variations. The artificial fingernail, being made of silicone and/or flexible plastic, may contain through-and-through patterns, i.e. spaces, which may be carved into at least most or all of outer layer 30 of artificial nail 10. An example of various patterns of such carved spaces 137, which may include a “lace style” pattern, a butterfly, a fleur de lis or a plaid pattern, may be found in FIGS. 6, 7, 8, 11. These patterns may be accomplished by molding the original silicone nail with carved out spaces during manufacture. As shown in FIGS, 9 and 10, moreover, artificial fingernail 10 may be adjoined with piercings having ornaments 31 (tiny golden ring or hoop) dangling therefrom Gemstones, crystals or other decorative ornaments 39 may also be affixed to outer the artificial fingernail 10 at outer layer 30.
  • [0045]
    In addition, or alternatively, as seen from FIG. 11, outer layer 30 may include surface texture 36 that may feature decorative designs on its outer surface. As seen in FIG. 5, which depicts a glossy or shiny finish 88, outer layer 30 may also have variations in the finish including a neon, pearlescent, glossy, powdery or iridescent finish.
  • [0046]
    The present invention may also be characterized as an assembly 11 of artificial fingernails 10 covering each finger of a human hand where each artificial fingernail 10 may include an inner adhering layer 20 over at least a portion of a human fingernail 15, and an outer layer 30 made of silicone and having an original shape, the outer layer 30 containing an attached portion situated directly over the adhering layer 20 and a free portion 34 extending outward from the fingernail 15, the free portion 34 being rigid enough to maintain its original shape when the artificial fingernail is moved through the air without contacting objects other than the air, the outer layer also being flexible enough to temporarily bend significantly from bumping into an object and thereafter resume its original shape.
  • [0047]
    It should be understood, of course, that the foregoing relates to exemplary embodiments of the invention and that modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as set forth in the following claims.
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US20120132220 *May 31, 2012Sung Yong ChangArtificial nail with three-dimensional ornament and manufacturing method thereof
US20140041677 *Apr 2, 2012Feb 13, 2014Sharp Kabushiki KaishaArtificial nail
CN103458727A *Apr 2, 2012Dec 18, 2013夏普株式会社Artificial nail and nail polish
EP2693912A1 *Apr 2, 2012Feb 12, 2014Sharp Kabushiki KaishaArtificial nail and nail polish
Classifications
U.S. Classification132/73, 63/42
International ClassificationA44C25/00, A45D29/00
Cooperative ClassificationA44C15/008, A45D31/00
European ClassificationA45D31/00