|Publication number||USRE40244 E1|
|Application number||US 11/127,018|
|Publication date||Apr 15, 2008|
|Filing date||May 11, 2005|
|Priority date||Mar 14, 1994|
|Also published as||US5714215, US6136392|
|Publication number||11127018, 127018, US RE40244 E1, US RE40244E1, US-E1-RE40244, USRE40244 E1, USRE40244E1|
|Inventors||Douglas M. Sheffield, Jr., Tamara K. Sheffield|
|Original Assignee||We-Flex, Llc|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (19), Classifications (36), Legal Events (8)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This is a continuation of application Ser. No. 08/212,150, filed on Mar. 14, 1994, now U.S. Pat. No. 5,714,215.
1. Field of Invention
This invention relates to display ornaments and, more specifically, to display ornaments which intimately adhere to surfaces, such as the glass surface of a bathroom mirror, through self-suction.
2. Brief Description of Prior Art
A multitude of adhesive display ornaments are provided to the general public for the purpose of advertising and promotion. Typically, an ornament to a convenient surface for future reference. However, once the ornament has been mounted several problems arise. The ornament itself may deteriorate or the message on the ornament becomes dated, creating the desired to remove the ornament. Removal of the ornament all too often leads to substrate damage from the adhesive used or an unsightly residue may remain.
In an effort to eliminate this problem, an alternative class of display ornaments, such as magnetic backed ornaments, has been created for temporary display of information without damaging the underlying substrate. For example, there ornaments enable one to temporarily display invaluable health-related information in a convenient location, such as the front panel of a refrigerator, for quick access during an emergency. However, such an ornament suffers the disadvantage of being limited to use on metal substrates. We believe that a customized display ornament which affords one the opportunity to temporarily display information from a variety of locations, such as a bathroom mirror, a ceramic shower surround or the front panel of a refrigerator, would be a welcomed advancement to the art.
The present invention comprises an improved display ornament which adheres to substrates such as metal, plastic or glass, through self-suction. Said ornaments have predetermined shapes and are formed from a unitary or one-piece sheet of flexible material, preferably resinous thermoplastic material. Said shaped and flexible materials have a convex exterior surface and a concave interior surface, both of which are suitable for affixing a printed message. The interior surface of said ornament forms a concave cavity of measurable depth. Said cavity enables said ornament to adhere to surfaces when said cavity is compressed against a surface, which in turn creates an adhesive force through vacuum suction when said ornament flexes as it attempts to return to its original shape. The wall thickness of said ornament can be uniform but, preferably, the wall thickness varies, with the general area containing the center of mass (M) of said ornament being about ⅛″ thick, and tapering to approximately 1/16″ thick along its periphery. The periphery of said ornaments is custom shaped to meet the specific decorative requirement of the manufacturer.
Referring first to
Interior concave cavity 3 of said ornament can be seen in
The shape of said display ornament is preferably molded from a flexible sheet of thermoplastic resinous material such as vinyls, e.g., polyvinyl chloride. The wall thickness of said ornament can be uniform, in the case of symmetrical shapes, but for non-symmetrical shapes, the wall thickness must vary with the general area containing the center of mass M of said ornament being, for example, about ⅛″ thick for polyvinyl chloride, and tapering to approximately 1/16″ thick along periphery 4 when the object has a surface area of about 5 square inches; that is, taper is 50%. Tapering the wall thickness is required when constructing irregular and/or unsymmetrically shaped display ornaments.
We have found that this problem can be overcome by molding the curved body of said ornament in a manner whereby the wall thickness of the central portion of said ornament tapers by 50% (for shapes having surface areas from 3 in2 to 25 in2). This forms a symmetrically shaped core about the general area encompassing center of mass M of said ornament as illustrated in
Preferably, said core is conical shaped. It is believed an unlimited combination of cavity dimensions exists, such as base width and cavity depth, which will enable said core to generate a flexural force capable of offsetting said irregular flexural forces. For example, we have found that the overall area of, and weight contained within, a conical shaped core can vary greatly depending on the material used to construct said ornament and the selected embodiment of the invention. For example, when using polyvinyl chloride to construct an ornament similar to the embodiment illustrated in
The periphery of the display ornament is custom shaped so as to provide the manufacturer with a degree of flexibility in meeting their design requirements. For example,
We have identified a number of manufacturing processes which can be utilized to mold the curved body of said display ornament. One useful method is injection molding. When injection molding said ornament, it is believed an extreme amount of pressure is applied to force a pelletized form of the material, such as vinyls, into a cavity heated to a specified temperature. Once the material has filled the cavity and the desired shape formed, the part is then ejected from the cavity, allowed to cool and the cycle repeated.
The curved body of said injection molded ornament can be utilized to conveniently display information. For example, information can be displayed by directly printing, such as silk-screening, pad printing, etc., on the surface of said ornament. Another method would be to affix a label to the curved body of said ornament. A label can be affixed to said body by using an adhesive, or some other mechanism, such as heat. Preferably, heat is applied to affix said label to said body by using a process commonly referred to as In Mold Labeling. In Mold Labeling is a process whereby a label is mechanically inserted into the cavity of an injection molding tool at some point during the injection molding phase of said ornament. Said inserted label is therefore directly molded into the body of said ornament. It is believed that In Mold Labeling is a cost efficient method of affixing information to said ornament because it allows one to both mold and affix information to said ornament in one step.
Another method of molding the curved body of said ornament is to die cut said ornament from a flat, flexible sheet of material, and then molding the die cut piece into the desired conical shaped ornament. It is believed said method entails the preprinting of a specified number of the desired shape and related information onto a flat sheet of flexible material. Preferably, each shape is then die cut from the flat sheet by using two heated surfaces which mate. One of the mated surfaces should serve to impart a convex shape to the exterior portion of said ornament, while the other imparts a concave shape to the interior surface of said ornament. The primary function of the heated surfaces is to facilitate molding of the flat, die cut pieces into the desired conical shape. Secondly, it is preferred said surface or surfaces provide a means for cutting said pieces from said flat sheet of flexible material when said surfaces press against said flat material.
It is believed some type of mechanical means, such as an air actuated mechanism, should be utilized to hold the flat, die cut pieces in place between said mated surfaces. Said air actuated feature would ensure said pieces are properly oriented and firmly held in place against said surfaces until the applied heat has molded said pieces into the desired conical shaped ornament.
It is believed this method of molding said ornament is more valuable than injection molding, because it dramatically reduces the time required to print on said ornament. Secondly, this method makes it possible for a manufacturer to conveniently store numerous flat sheets of said printed ornaments until said ornaments are to be molded into finished, conical shaped ornaments. This, in turn, reduces the inventory space required to store said premolded pieces until the subsequent molding process is utilized to convert said flat sheets into finished, molded ornaments.
We have identified some additional beneficial characteristics of the material utilized to mold the curved body of said ornament. Preferably, said flexible material has a degree of tackiness. Said feature is believed to enhance the vacuum adhesive properties of said ornament by improving the vacuum seal formed along said periphery. Secondly, it is desired that said material has a degree of friction generating capabilities. It is believed said property is useful because it will impede the tendency of said compressed ornament to flex out of said shape and slide over a surface of attachment. Therefore, the purpose of said frictional property is to increase the energy barrier required to overcome the adhesive suction force generated when said ornament is compressed.
Although the present invention has been described in conjunction with preferred embodiments, it is to be understood that modifications and variations may be resorted to without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as those skilled in the art will readily understand. Such modifications and variations are considered to be within the purview and scope of the invention and the appended claims.
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|US5714215||Mar 14, 1994||Feb 3, 1998||Sheffield; Douglas||Unitary flexible information presentation board having self-suction|
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|U.S. Classification||428/34.1, 280/1, 40/604, 296/97.7, 40/603, 428/337, 248/901, 428/332, 296/95.1, 280/727, 40/593, 248/205.5, 40/591, 428/913, 248/309.3, 40/618, 293/117, 428/192, 428/195.1, 428/31, 248/467, 40/597|
|International Classification||G09F7/12, G09F21/04, A47G1/17, B32B1/00|
|Cooperative Classification||Y10T428/266, Y10T428/13, Y10T428/26, Y10T428/24777, Y10T428/24802, Y10S248/901, G09F7/12, G09F21/04|
|European Classification||G09F7/12, G09F21/04|
|Jan 17, 2008||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: WE-FLEX, LLC, MISSOURI
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:SHEFFIELD, DOUGLAS M., JR.;SHEFFIELD, TAMARA K.;REEL/FRAME:020376/0449
Effective date: 20080115
|May 5, 2008||REMI||Maintenance fee reminder mailed|
|Jun 3, 2008||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8
|Jun 3, 2008||SULP||Surcharge for late payment|
Year of fee payment: 7
|Mar 24, 2009||CC||Certificate of correction|
|Jun 4, 2012||REMI||Maintenance fee reminder mailed|
|Oct 23, 2012||SULP||Surcharge for late payment|
Year of fee payment: 11
|Oct 23, 2012||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 12