Easy To Use Patents Search & Patent Lawyer Directory

At Patents you can conduct a Patent Search, File a Patent Application, find a Patent Attorney, or search available technology through our Patent Exchange. Patents are available using simple keyword or date criteria. If you are looking to hire a patent attorney, you've come to the right place. Protect your idea and hire a patent lawyer.


Search All Patents:



  This Patent May Be For Sale or Lease. Contact Us

  Is This Your Patent? Claim This Patent Now.



Register or Login To Download This Patent As A PDF




United States Patent Application 20180110274
Kind Code A1
LaRue; Lynell April 26, 2018

CUSHIONED PROTECTIVE GARMENT AND A METHOD FOR MAKING SUCH

Abstract

A protective garment has a wearable material that is shaped to cover a part of a wearer's body and a shock-absorbing material that is fused to the wearable material. In certain embodiments, the shock-absorbing material comprises a gelatinous elastomer blend containing a polymer material blended with a plasticizer (e.g., mineral oil). Applying coatings of a block co-polymer material and talcum powder enhance the properties of the garment.


Inventors: LaRue; Lynell; (Oceanside, CA)
Applicant:
Name City State Country Type

LaRue; Lynell

San Diego

CA

US
Family ID: 1000002972399
Appl. No.: 15/793824
Filed: October 25, 2017


Related U.S. Patent Documents

Application NumberFiling DatePatent Number
62413420Oct 26, 2016

Current U.S. Class: 1/1
Current CPC Class: A41D 31/005 20130101; A41D 13/0543 20130101; A41D 13/065 20130101; A41D 13/015 20130101; A41D 2400/22 20130101; A41D 2500/50 20130101; A41D 2600/10 20130101
International Class: A41D 31/00 20060101 A41D031/00; A41D 13/05 20060101 A41D013/05; A41D 13/06 20060101 A41D013/06; A41D 13/015 20060101 A41D013/015

Claims



1. A protective garment comprising: a wearable material shaped to cover a part of a wearer's body; and a shock-absorbing material fused to the wearable material.

2. The garment of claim 1, wherein the shock-absorbing material comprises a gelatinous elastomer blend.

3. The garment of claim 2, wherein the gelatinous elastomer blend comprises a polymer material blended with a plasticizer.

4. The garment of claim 3, wherein the plasticizer comprises mineral oil.

5. The garment of claim 1, wherein the shock-absorbing material has properties of breathability that cause heat to flow away from the wearer's body.

6. The garment of claim 1, wherein the shock-absorbing material has properties allowing it to conform to the contours of the wearer's body.

7. The garment of claim 1, wherein the shock-absorbing material has properties allowing it to grip the wearer's skin.

8. The garment of claim 1, wherein the shock-absorbing material has properties of thermal stability allowing it to retain malleability at temperatures below the freezing point of water.

9. The garment of claim 1, further comprising a layer of block co-polymer material applied atop the shock-absorbing material.

10. The garment of claim 1, further comprising a layer of talcum powder applied atop the shock-absorbing material.

11. A method of producing a protective garment comprising: heating a gelatinous elastomer blend to a temperature just below its flash point; placing a wearable material in contact with the heated gelatinous elastomer blend; and causing the gelatinous elastomer blend to cure and to fuse with the wearable material.

12. The method of claim 11, further comprising placing the heated gelatinous elastomer blend into a mold having a desired shape.

13. The method of claim 11, wherein placing the wearable material in contact with the heated gelatinous elastomer blend includes turning the wearable material inside-out and placing an interior surface of the material into contact with the heated gelatinous elastomer blend.

14. The method of claim 11, further comprising placing a rigid and heat-resistant form into contact with the wearable material before placing it in contact with the heated gelatinous elastomer blend.

15. The method of claim 11, further comprising applying a layer of block co-polymer material atop the gelatinous elastomer blend after the blend has cured.

16. The method of claim 11, further comprising applying a layer of talcum powder atop the gelatinous elastomer blend after the blend has cured.

17. A protective garment having a shock-absorbing material fused to a wearable material, the garment manufactured by the process of: heating a gelatinous elastomer blend to a temperature just below its flash point, placing a wearable material in contact with the heated gelatinous elastomer blend, and causing the gelatinous elastomer blend to cure and to fuse with the wearable material.

18. The garment of claim 17, wherein the process further comprises applying a layer of block co-polymer material atop the gelatinous elastomer blend after the blend has cured.

19. The garment of claim 17, wherein the process further comprises applying a layer of talcum powder atop the gelatinous elastomer blend after the blend has cured.
Description



CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

[0001] This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application 62/413,420, filed on Oct. 26, 2016.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] This application relates to a cushioned protective garment and a method for making such, allowing a wearer to protect an area from impact against hard unforgiving objects, reducing or eliminating injuries that happen in various sports and physical activities.

BACKGROUND

[0003] Protective garments for sports are well known. Such garments typically include foam, plastic, fiberglass, rubber, metal or polyurethane pads and have a hard shield-type quality, which require straps and pockets, to keep them secure and in place. The primary purpose of these pads is to disperse an impact over a larger area on the wearer's body. These protective garments can be uncomfortable, unbreathable, heavy, and rigid and provide varying degrees of protection. Due to the heaviness and rigidity of these protective garments, they can be uncomfortable to wear and even impair the user's movements.

[0004] These garments can also be difficult to keep in place, requiring the use of straps, and in most cases the material must be shaped in a specific mold that may not conform well to the specific area in need of protection due to the rigidity of the protective material. Further, due to the materials not being breathable, these garments can cause the user to perspire excessively underneath the garment, leading to the protective garment slipping out of place and failing to protect the user in the area needing protection.

[0005] To prevent slippage, some protective garments are made from a custom mold of the area the wearers would like to protect, such as their legs or arms. While this method of preventing slippage is sometimes effective when done properly, it is also costly and the material used is still heavy, rigid, and unbreathable.

[0006] These current protective garments can be bulky and often have thick padding that enlarge the wearers' physical profiles, causing the wearers to come into contact with objects that, without the added bulk, they otherwise would not have come into contact with.

[0007] Some protective garments, like bike shorts, include padding materials that are lightweight and conform reasonably well to the wearer's body but are intended, and thus are constructed, simply to provide cushion between a weight-bearing part of the body (such as the buttocks and crotch) and a structure against which the body part is pressed for very long periods of time (such as a bike seat). These garments do not provide sufficient (or even meaningful) protection against blunt-force shock, such as that caused by ramming a part of the body against a hard object.

SUMMARY

[0008] Described here is a protective garment having a wearable material that is shaped to cover a part of a wearer's body and a shock-absorbing material that is fused to the wearable material. In certain embodiments, the shock-absorbing material comprises a gelatinous elastomer blend containing a polymer material blended with a plasticizer (e.g., mineral oil). Shock-absorbing material of this kind is breathable, conforms to the contours of the wearer's body, grips the wearer's skin, and is thermally stable. Applying coatings of a block co-polymer material and talcum powder enhance the properties of the garment.

[0009] Also described is a method of producing a protective garment by heating a gelatinous elastomer blend to a temperature just below its flash point, placing a wearable material in contact with the heated gelatinous elastomer blend, and causing the gelatinous elastomer blend to cure and to fuse with the wearable material. In various embodiments, the heated gelatinous elastomer blend is placed into a mold having a desired shape; a rigid form is placed in the wearable material before placing it in contact with the heated gelatinous elastomer blend; an interior surface of the wearable material is placed in contact with the heated gelatinous elastomer blend; a block co-polymer material is applied atop the gelatinous elastomer blend; and a layer of talcum powder is applied atop the gelatinous elastomer blend.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

[0010] Embodiments of the invention will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying figures.

[0011] FIG. 1 illustrates a side view of an exemplary embodiment of a cushioned protective garment worn just below the knee.

[0012] FIG. 2 illustrates a front view of an exemplary embodiment of a cushioned protective garment worn just below the knee.

[0013] FIG. 3 illustrates a top view of an exemplary embodiment of a cushioned protective garment worn just below the knee.

[0014] FIG. 4 illustrates a side view of an exemplary embodiment of a cushioned protective garment worn above the knee.

[0015] FIG. 5 illustrates a front view of an exemplary embodiment of a cushioned protective garment worn above the knee.

[0016] FIG. 6 illustrates a top view of an exemplary embodiment of a cushioned protective garment worn above the knee.

[0017] FIG. 7 illustrates a side view of an exemplary embodiment of a cushioned protective garment worn as a cuff around the leg.

[0018] FIG. 8 illustrates a front view of an exemplary embodiment of a cushioned protective garment worn as a cuff around the leg.

[0019] FIG. 9 illustrates a top view of an exemplary embodiment of a cushioned protective garment worn as a cuff around the leg.

[0020] FIG. 10 illustrates a side view of an exemplary embodiment of a cushioned protective garment worn as a sleeve around the arm.

[0021] FIG. 11 illustrates a back view of an exemplary embodiment of a cushioned protective garment worn as a sleeve around the arm.

[0022] FIG. 12 illustrates a top perspective view of an exemplary embodiment of a cushioned protective garment worn as a sleeve around the arm.

[0023] FIG. 13 illustrates a front view of an exemplary embodiment of a cushioned protective garment worn as shorts.

[0024] FIG. 14 illustrates a back view of an exemplary embodiment of a cushioned protective garment worn as shorts.

[0025] FIG. 15 illustrates a top view of an exemplary embodiment of a cushioned protective garment worn as shorts.

[0026] FIG. 16 illustrates an exemplary method of producing cushioned protective garments like those described here.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0027] The following detailed description is merely exemplary in nature and is not intended to limit the invention or the application and uses of the invention. As used herein, the word "exemplary" means "serving as an example, instance, or illustration." Thus, any embodiment described herein as "exemplary" is not necessarily to be construed as preferred or advantageous over other embodiments. Furthermore, there is no intention to be bound by any expressed or implied theory presented in the preceding technical field, background, brief summary, or the following detailed description.

[0028] In this description, reference is made to the drawings, wherein like parts are designated with like reference numerals throughout. As used in the description herein and throughout, the meaning of "a," "an," and "said" includes plural reference unless the context clearly dictates otherwise. Also, as used in the description herein, the meaning of "in" includes "into" and "on" unless the context clearly dictates otherwise.

[0029] Described here is an apparatus in the form of a protective garment, in its many embodiments, and a method for making such, for protecting specific body parts, like shins and knees, of the wearer against blunt-force shock caused by hard objects against which the wearer's body is slammed in performing various sports and physical activities.

[0030] In an exemplary embodiment, the cushioned protective garment comprises a wearable material, such as a textile or fabric formed to fit a specific area of the body (e.g., in the form of a sock, a sleeve, shorts, or a cuff), coupled with a shock-absorbing gelatinous elastomer blend (coated with a block co-polymer and talcum powder) through a permanent bond that allows the shock-absorbing and wearable materials to function as a single article of protective clothing. The special shock-absorbing material is fused to the wearable material to form a cushioned protective garment that conforms precisely to the body contours of the person wearing the garment. Certain types of gelatinous elastomer blends are particularly suited for use in this environment because they yield a shock-absorbing material that is particularly lightweight and pliable, yet highly cushioning and protective. One way of making a gelatinous elastomer blend of this type is to mix a polymer with a preferred plasticizer, such as mineral oil, as is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 5,994,540 issued on Nov. 30, 1999, to Tony M. Pearce. The block co-polymer coating strengthens and adds elasticity to the gelatinous elastomer blend and minimizes migration of the mineral oil from the gelatinous elastomer blend into the wearable material. The talcum powder coating adds yet another layer of suppleness and eliminates tackiness against the wearer's skin and is useful in combating the effects of natural moisture that might form on the wearer's skin. When all of these elements are used (the gelatinous elastomer and the block co-polymer and talcum powder coatings), the garment is especially well-suited to provide maximum shock-absorbing protection in precisely the area where it is needed with extreme suppleness that is gentle, soft, breathable, and shape-conforming against the wearer's skin, allowing heat to escape in ways that other types of protective padding cannot and thus minimizing the garment's contribution of perspiration beyond that which the wearer's body naturally would produce.

[0031] In certain embodiments the shock-absorbing and wearable materials are fused together (with one technique for fusing described below) to form a single unit--a highly shock-absorbing protective garment that conforms to the contours of the wearer's body. The garments are typically constructed for use in a specific area or region of the body that needs heightened protection against impact during a variety of physical activities.

[0032] FIGS. 1-3 depict an exemplary embodiment of a cushioned protective garment 100 that includes a wearable material 101 (such as a textile material suitable especially for athletic activities) and a gelatinous elastomer material 102 that have been fused together. The garment 100 in this embodiment is depicted as a knee high sock.

[0033] FIGS. 4-6 depict an exemplary embodiment of a cushioned protective garment 200 that includes a wearable material 201 (such as a textile material suitable especially for athletic activities) and a gelatinous elastomer material 202 that have been fused together. The garment 200 in this embodiment is depicted as an over-the-knee sock.

[0034] FIGS. 7-9 depict an exemplary embodiment of a cushioned protective garment 300 that includes a wearable material 301 (such as a textile material suitable especially for athletic activities) and a gelatinous elastomer material 302 that have been fused together. The garment 300 in this embodiment is depicted as a leg cuff.

[0035] FIGS. 10-12 depict an exemplary embodiment of a cushioned protective garment 400 that includes a wearable material 401 (such as a textile material suitable especially for athletic activities) and a gelatinous elastomer material 402 that have been fused together. The garment 400 in this embodiment is depicted as an arm sleeve.

[0036] FIGS. 13-15 depict an exemplary embodiment of a cushioned protective garment 500 that includes a wearable material 501 (such as a textile material suitable especially for athletic activities) and a gelatinous elastomer material 502 that have been fused together. The garment 500 in this embodiment is depicted as a garment for protecting several body parts in the pelvic region, such as the thighs, hips, tailbone, buttocks, and crotch areas.

[0037] Fusing the shock-absorbing material to the fabric (or affixing it in a manner sufficiently permanent to resist deterioration of the bond over time in a way that adhesives and other attachment means cannot) is important because it ensures that the shock-absorbing protection remains where it needs to be, even in the face of extreme physical trauma to the garment, such as is typically the case for the shins and knees of a barrel-racing professional on the rodeo circuit. Fusing the two materials also allows the shock-absorbing material and the fabric to act in concert as a single wearable article of clothing that will assume the contours of the wearer's body. This alleviates the problem of having to add a separate piece of padding under the clothing which is prone to slip around and itself requires some sort of intrusive and uncomfortable attachment solution.

[0038] The cushioned protective garment shields the user from impact against hard, unforgiving objects, which lessens the injuries that can occur in various sports and physical activities. One prime example is a rodeo barrel racer. A barrel racer runs a horse at full speed and then guides the horse to turn as tightly as possible around steel barrels. The rims of the barrels are sharp and hard and frequently leave cuts, scars, and more serious injuries when the legs impact the barrels. Due to the soft conforming protection of the garment described here, the vast majority of the shock is taken out of the impact, and the leg is protected from being cut when the leg comes into contact with the barrel. The garment provides this heightened protection without giving the rider additional "bulk," as other protective padding does, that enlarges the rider's profile and makes the rider much more likely to hit the barrel, thereby negatively affect the rider's race performance. Further, since barrel racing is an outdoor and mainly summertime sport, the garment described here gives added comfort to the wearer since the gelatinous elastomer material it uses provides breathable, heat-and-moisture-wicking protection that does not compound the wearer's natural tendency to sweat, unlike the currently available protective gear, which is unbreathable and causes the user to sweat profusely underneath the gear. The cushioned protective garment solves these problems presented by the bulky, uncomfortable foam and hard plastic guards available on the market today.

[0039] The cushioned protective garment is useful in nearly all sporting and physical activity areas where the wearer may come into contact with a hard objects, such as rodeo, rough stock, and barrel racing events, soccer, lacrosse, volleyball, weight lifting, roller derby, baseball, football, inline skating, wrestling, etc.

[0040] In one exemplary embodiment, a below-knee sock version protects the shin of the user from impact. In another exemplary embodiment, an over-the-knee style garment protects the wearer from the bottom-of-the-knee area to above the knee. In the construction of this style, the gelatinous elastomer is affixed to the top of an extra-long, thigh-high sock. By varying the size of the protective area and the length of the sock, a variety of youth and adult knee-high sock styles can be made.

[0041] In another exemplary embodiment, a bike-short-style garment can be made with the shock-absorbing material covering the several body parts in the pelvic region, such as the thighs, hips, tailbone, buttocks, and crotch areas. This shorts-style garment is also useful in a wide variety of physical activities and sporting events, such as in rodeo and rough stock events, where the garment will protect the cowboy, e.g., from hitting against the chutes while exiting from the chutes into the arena at the start of a ride. These cowboys need additional protection for their tailbone areas because of the boney backbone of the horse or from the saddle while the rider is leaning back to ride the animal. Other exemplary embodiments include a full-arm sleeve, with the shock-absorbing material running along the entire length of the arm, and a leg cuff for placement in various locations along the leg where protection is needed.

[0042] FIG. 16 shows one technique for making a cushioned protective garment like those shown here. A gelatinous elastomer blend is heated to a temperature just below the flash point (step 1610). The hot material is then poured into an open top mold, filling to the desired thickness needed for the type of garment under production (step 1620). The wearable material (e.g., textile/fabric) is turned inside out (step 1630), and a rigid and heat-resistant (e.g., metal) barrier/form is inserted to prepare the wearable material for application of the heated gelatinous elastomer blend (step 1640). The barrier/form serves both to flatten the wearable material so it mates properly with the elastomer blend and to prevent the molten elastomer from seeping through to the opposite side of the garment. The wearable material is then laid over the heated elastomer in the mold and allowed to cool and cure (step 1650). Once cured, the wearable material, with the gelatinous elastomers attached, is removed from the mold, and the cured elastomer material is sprayed with a block co-polymer coating and left to dry (step 1660). Once dry, a coating of talcum powder is applied for a soft, smooth finish (step 1670).

[0043] The garment is then turned right-side-out and put into packaging. This process makes the shock-absorbing material and wearable material function as a single, wearable garment whose components are not separable.

[0044] The elasticity and general make-up of the shock-absorbing material provides a different and special kind of protection. Once combined with the wearable material, the shock-absorbing material serves to reflect (or return) a significant portion of the shock of impact back to the impacting object instead of simply dispersing the shock over a wider portion of the wearer's body, as traditional protective padding does. This allows the protective garment to absorb shock and blunt forces and resist the kind of "bottoming out" that occurs when other padding materials compress fully during contact with a hard object. This feature provides extreme protection with a thinner, more comfortable, malleable, protective area, which greatly improves the user's protection when slamming against hard surfaces.

[0045] Additionally, the gelatinous elastomer material used in the cushioned protective garment has the ability to maintain thermal stability, which allows the user to place the garment in a freezer, refrigerator, cooler, or other cooling device and then use the garment as a cold compress. Even when brought to freezing temperatures, the garment still maintains its malleability, thereby allowing the user to treat injuries while still maintaining the ability to conform to the user's body and prevent slippage.

[0046] When the cushioned protective garment is put to use, most impacts that would previously have resulted cuts or more serious injuries instead result in much less significant harm or no harm at all. Thus, this garment fills a wide gap in the marketplace of protective garments.

* * * * *

File A Patent Application

  • Protect your idea -- Don't let someone else file first. Learn more.

  • 3 Easy Steps -- Complete Form, application Review, and File. See our process.

  • Attorney Review -- Have your application reviewed by a Patent Attorney. See what's included.