Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data


Title:
IDENTITY PROTECTION DEVICE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2007/101291
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A device (20) that is suitable for concealing the identity of a wearer and which also at least partially prevents a wearer spitting on others. The device (20) comprises a body having a main body portion (27) positionable over a wearer's head to at least substantially enclose the wearer's head and having at least one panel member (25) positionable to substantially extend over the face of the wearer. The panel member (25) is configured such that when viewed from within the body the panel member (25) appears at least partially transparent so allowing the wearer to see through the panel member (25), while the panel member (25) appears substantially non-transparent when viewed from outside the body. The device (20) also has a retaining device in the form of straps (24) that are connectable to the body portion (27) and configured to extend about at least a portion of the wearer for retaining the device (20) in position over the wearer's head.

Inventors:
PORT, Tonia, Esther (60 Blake Street, Dover Heights, NSW 2030, AU)
PRICE, Peter, Sean (60 Blake Street, Dover Heights, NSW 2030, AU)
Application Number:
AU2006/001823
Publication Date:
September 13, 2007
Filing Date:
November 30, 2006
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
RAP INTERNATIONAL PTY LTD (Level 53 MLC Centre, 19 Martin Plac, Sydney New South Wales 2000, AU)
PORT, Tonia, Esther (60 Blake Street, Dover Heights, NSW 2030, AU)
PRICE, Peter, Sean (60 Blake Street, Dover Heights, NSW 2030, AU)
International Classes:
A41G7/00; A41D13/00; A42B1/00
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
F B RICE & CO (Level 23, 44 Market Street Sydney, NSW 2000, AU)
Download PDF:
Claims:

CLAIMS:

1. A device comprising: a body positionable over a wearer's head to at least substantially enclose the wearer's head and having at least one panel member positionable to substantially extend over the face of the wearer, said panel member being configured such that when viewed from within the body the panel member appears at least partially transparent so allowing the wearer to see through the panel member, while the panel member appears substantially non-transparent when viewed from outside the body; and a retaining device connectable to said body and configured to extend about at least a portion of the wearer for retaining the body in position over the wearer's head.

2. The device of claim 1 wherein the device is suitable for being worn by a single wearer.

3. The device of claim 1 wherein the panel member is positionable such that it extends longitudinally from at or proximate the forehead of the wearer to below the chin of the wearer and laterally between the ears of the wearer such that the vision of the wearer is substantially unimpeded.

4. The device of claim 1 wherein the body comprises a compliant, air permeable material.

5. ' The device of claim 1 wherein the panel member is made from a relatively dark material, including a mesh material.

6. The device of claim 1 wherein the panel member is made from a relatively elastic material having a denier sufficient to substantially permit the passage of air therethrough such that the wearer can breathe substantially unimpeded.

7 The device of claim 1 wherein the retaining device comprises one or more straps that are extendible at least partially about the wearer.

8. The device of claim 7 wherein the retaining device is extendible at least partially or wholly around the neck of the wearer.

9. The device of claim 8 wherein a fastener is employed to fasten the one or more straps in position about the wearer.

10. The device of claim 9 wherein the fastener is a hook and loop fastener, with the hook or loop component of the hook and loop fastener attached to a strap and the corresponding hook or loop component attached to the body to facilitate securing the strap in position about the wearer.

11. The device of claim 1 wherein the body and/or retaining device has indicia thereon to provide an indication to informed individuals of the classification of the wearer without revealing the identity of the wearer to said informed individuals.

12. The device of claim 11 wherein the classification indicates any special needs of the wearer or whether any caution needs to be taken in escorting or observing the wearer.

13. The device of claim 12 wherein the indicia is in the form of a colour code or pattern formed on the body of the device and/or the retaining device.

14. The device of claim 1 wherein the device is individually packaged for use by the wearer in a folded or compressed state.

15. A dispensing device for dispensing individually a plurality of the devices of claim 1 wherein the dispensing device is a box or sleeve having an opening formed therein which is accessed by a wearer to retrieve the device from the box or sleeve.

16. The dispensing device of claim 15 wherein the devices may be provided to the box or sleeve in a folded or compressed state with each device provided in the box or sleeve linked such that removal of a device from the opening by a wearer advances a linked device to the opening for subsequent removal.

Description:

"Identity and spit protection device"

Cross-Reference to Related Applications

The present application claims priority from Australian Provisional Patent

Application No 2006901 153 filed on 7 March 2006, the content of which is incorporated herein by reference.

Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a device for concealing, or at least substantially concealing, the identity of a person. In particular, the present invention relates to a device to be worn about the head of a wearer to conceal, or substantially conceal, distinguishing facial features of a wearer. The device can also play a role in preventing a person wearing the device from spitting on another person, for example a custody officer, police officer, or military personnel.

Background of the Invention

The ability to capture and publicly display the identity and/or personal particulars of an individual is a controversial issue in modern society where the prevalence of cameras and other types of image recording devices is widespread.

One particular area of controversy has been the media reporting of judicial proceedings, and in particular the display and publication of the identity of individuals who are under trial or suspicion for a crime. Typically, it has been argued that the media reporting of such proceedings supports the principle that the administration of justice should be open to public scrutiny to safeguard against judicial arbitrariness and the maintenance of the public's confidence in the administration of justice.

Whilst it is lawful to publish the bare facts of most court proceedings, subject to various statutory exceptions or specific court orders, in many countries such as Australia, England and Canada, the common law rule of sub judice seeks to restrict the publication of material which has the tendency to interfere with the administration of justice by preventing the fair trial of any proceeding in a court of justice. In such jurisdictions, it is generally considered inappropriate to publicly comment on a case

under trial or being considered by a judge or court. This may include publication of the identity of the accused in criminal proceedings, which could amount to a contempt of court if the identity of the accused may be an issue in the proceedings. This is particularly the case with regard to under age offenders.

Therefore, a contempt may be committed by the publication of a photograph of the accused or by. a broadcast of footage of the accused. Further, the publication of a photograph of a potential witness at the trial, or the broadcast of footage of the potential witness, could also bring against the author/publisher/broadcaster a finding of contempt, particularly if it serves to bring inadmissible evidence, or evidence which while admissible is not admitted into evidence, to the notice of the jury, thereby completely compromising the judicial process. Whilst in countries such as the United , States of America, there are First Amendment concerns regarding stifling the right of free speech, there still exists protections for criminal defendants and those convicted in the atmosphere of a "media circus" to have their convictions overturned for a fairer trial.

Further, in prisons and other corrective service facilities, it may be necessary to prote.ct the identity of an inmate from other inmates held in the facility. This may be a particular issue where an individual is to be transported around a facility in the presence of other inmates, whereby the recognition of the identity of the individual may cause unrest or injury to the individual or others in the vicinity of the individual.

For this reason, there exists a need to provide a mechanism for protecting the identity of an individual, such as an accused or witness in a court proceeding, or an inmate in a correctional facility, or at least to provide an option for the individual to protect their own identity. Traditionally, this is done through makeshift measures, such as the individual covering their face with their hands/clothing/etc. In many instances, such as when the individual is being led by police or the like, or is handcuffed, the individual is unable to initiate such makeshift measures to protect their identity.

Any discussion of documents, acts, materials, devices, articles or the like which has been included in the present specification is solely for the purpose of providing a context for the present invention. It is not to be taken as an admission that any or all of these matters form part of the prior art base or were common general knowledge in the

field relevant to the present invention as it existed before the priority date of each claim of this application.

Summary of the Invention

Throughout this specification the word "comprise", or variations such as "comprises" or "comprising", will be understood to imply the inclusion of a stated element, integer or step, or group of elements, integers or steps, but not the exclusion of any other element, integer or step, or group of elements, integers or steps.

In a first aspect, the present invention is a device comprising: a body positionable over a wearer's head to at least substantially enclose the wearer's head and having at least one panel member positionable to substantially extend over the face of the wearer, said panel member being configured such that when viewed from within the body the panel member appears at least partially transparent so allowing the wearer to see through the panel member, while the panel member appears substantially non- transparent when viewed from outside the body; and a retaining device connectable to said body and configured to extend about at least a portion of the wearer for retaining the body in position over the wearer's head.

In this aspect, the device can be suitable for at least substantially concealing or concealing the identity of a wearer. While the device is envisaged as mainly suitable for being worn by a single wearer, it will be appreciated that the device could be suitable for being worn by more than one wearer. Where so suitable, it will be appreciated that the body could have more than one panel member.

In one embodiment, the panel member is positionable such that it extends longitudinally from at or proximate the forehead of the wearer to below the chin of the wearer and laterally between the ears of the wearer, such that the vision of the wearer is substantially unimpeded. In a preferred form, the panel member is positionable such that it extends to cover the eyes, nose and mouth of the wearer without substantially impeding the vision of the wearer through the panel member.

In one embodiment of this aspect of the invention, the body comprises a compliant, air permeable material. The body can be formed from one layer of material or multiple layers, including a double layer. The material may be a non-woven

material such as a tissue laminate material. The material may also be treated to be substantially hydrophobic or may be a hydrophobic material. The material may be configured to substantially permit the passage of air and sound waves therethrough in a substantially unimpeded manner thereby providing the wearer with the ability to hear sounds external from the body of the device.

In another embodiment, at least the panel member may be made from a relatively dark or black material, including a mesh material. In another form, the material may be a woven material, such as a knitted fabric. In another form, the material may be a relatively elastic material having a denier sufficient to substantially, permit the passage of air therethrough such that the wearer can breathe substantially unimpeded.

The retaining device may be in the form of one or more straps adapted to extend at least partially about the wearer. In one embodiment, the retaining device can be adapted to extend at least partially or wholly around the neck of the wearer. A fastener may be employed to fasten the one or more straps in position about the wearer, including around the neck of the wearer. The fastener may be in the form of a hook and loop fastener. In the event that one strap is employed to extend about the neck of the wearer, the hook or loop component of the hook and loop fastener may be attached to the strap whilst the corresponding hook or loop component may be attached to the body to facilitate securing the strap in position about the neck of the wearer. In the event that two straps are employed to extend about the neck of the wearer, the hook or loop component may be attached to one strap and the corresponding hook or loop component may be attached to the other strap to facilitate securing the straps about the neck of the wearer.

The body may include indicia thereon to provide an indication to informed individuals of the classification of the wearer without revealing the identity of the wearer to said informed individuals. The classification may indicate to the individual any special needs of the wearer or whether any caution needs to be taken in escorting or observing the wearer. The indicia may be in the form of a colour code or pattern formed on the body of the device.

In one embodiment, the device may be individually packaged for use by the wearer. The device may be individually packaged in a folded or compressed state. The

device may be sterilised prior to packaging. In one embodiment, the device may be adapted for single-use. In another embodiment, the device may be reusable.

In another embodiment, one or more devices may be provided in a dispensing device for dispensing to a wearer. The dispensing device may be a box or sleeve, such as a plastic sleeve, having an opening formed therein which is accessed by a wearer to retrieve the device from the box or sleeve. The devices may be provided in the box or sleeve in a folded or compressed state to optimise packaging space within the box or sleeve. Each device provided in the box or sleeve may be linked such that removal of a device from the opening by a wearer advances a linked device to the opening for subsequent removal.

The present invention is a device that serves to protect the identity of a wearer that can be readily employed and accessed to perform this function.

Further, in some instances, where a wearer is led through a public area, such as on the way to a courtroom or police holding station either prior to or following a court proceeding, or in a prison or corrective services facility, it is possible that the wearer may perform anti-social acts against the waiting public or officers charged with their custody, including police officers. Such acts may be in the form of spitting or otherwise expelling saliva or other bodily fluids (such as blood) at the surrounding public or the custody officers, having the potential to transmit disease to the public that come in contact with the fluid. The present invention provides a device that can be applied to a wearer to at least partially, and possibly entirely, prevent the wearer from unacceptable contact with the public and/or potentially prevent the transmission of disease.

Brief Description of the Drawings

By way of example only, a preferred embodiment of the invention is now described with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

Figure 1 is a view of the device in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention being worn by a wearer to conceal the identity of the wearer;

Figure 2A is a front view of the device of Fig. 1 ;

Figure 2B is a side view of the device of Fig. 1 ;

Figure 2C is a view showing the manner in which the straps are provided to secure the device to the individual as is shown in Fig. 1 ; and

Figure 3 is a view of a dispensing arrangement for dispensing the device of Fig. 1.

Detailed Description of an Exemplary Embodiment of the Present Invention

Referring to Fig. 1, there is shown an identity concealing device 20 in accordance with, one embodiment of the present invention being employed to conceal the identity of an individual wearer 10. Whilst the device 20 will be discussed in relation to its application to conceal the identity of an accused wearer 10 being led to and/or from a court room for a judicial proceeding or place of arrest, it will be appreciated that the present invention could equally be employed by a variety of wearers in a variety of circumstances to conceal their identity from the media, the general public, or others in their immediate vicinity.

Referring to Fig. 1 , the device 20 is configured to be worn over the head of a wearer 10, such that the device 20 covers the head and at least part of the neck of the wearer 10. The embodiment of the device 20 as shown, is in the form of a domed hood having an open end 22 which receives the head of the wearer 10, allowing the device 20 to be pulled down over the head of the wearer, either by the wearer 10 or by an assistant, such as a police officer or warden accompanying the wearer.

As shown in Figs. 2A to 2C, a pair of straps 24 are provided adjacent the open end 22 to assist in securing the device 20 about the neck of the wearer 10. The straps 24 extend from the rear of the device 20 and are each provided with either a hook or loop component of a hook and loop fastening arrangement, such as Velcro®, such that the straps 24 can be arranged to overlap and connect to securely retain the device 20 in position, as is shown in Fig. 2C.

It will be appreciated that the device 20 is secured in a manner that prevents the device 20 from being inadvertently removed from the wearer's head, as may be the case

in the event of a gust of wind or contact of the wearer with a tree, awning or the like. Further, in the event that the wearer 10 becomes involved in an altercation or scuffle with the public or other persons, the device 20 is secured in a manner that provides considerable resistance to removal without detaching the straps 24. However, if the removal force becomes too great the straps detach to prevent asphyxiation of the wearer by the straps 24. In this regard, whilst the attachment of the straps 24 has been shown and described as a hook and loop fastening arrangement, other suitable forms of attachment, such as mechanical clips and the like, are also envisaged and fall within the spirit of the present invention.

In the embodiment as shown, the device 20 completely encloses the head of the wearer 10, including the wearer's face, hair and other distinguishing features. Whilst the head is fully enclosed by the device 20, the wearer 10 is able to breath, hear, talk and see, in a manner which is substantially unimpeded by the device 20.

As shown in Figs. 2A and 2B, the device 20 comprises a main body portion 27 and a panel member 25 that is arranged to extend over the face of the wearer 10 when positioned on the head of the wearer. The panel member 25 is securely attached to the main body portion 27 along a junction 26, which is typically in the form of reinforced stitching. In this arrangement, the device 20 is in the form of a single unit which is soft and compliant to receive a variety of head sizes and shapes.

The main body portion 27 is made from a comfortable light weight single-layer material that permits air flow therethrough, such that the wearer 10 can comfortably wear the device 20 in a variety of temperatures with a relative degree of comfort. The material, particularly in the region adjacent the ears of the wearer 10, is sufficiently air permeable to enable sound waves to pass therethrough such that the wearer can readily hear surrounding noises and communicate where necessary. In this regard, the material may be a nonwoven fabric laminate material, such as a tissue laminate, which may also be treated such that it is substantially hydrophobic in the event of the user coming into contact with liquid. Such a material has cloth like qualities of strength and low static electricity, which provides a degree of comfort to the wearer and confidence that the device 20 is durable enough to perform its desired function. It will be appreciated that the material could also be a woven material, such as a cotton or cloth.

The panel member 25 is made from a material which is transparent or semi- transparent and configured to transmit certain light energies having certain directions of propagation whilst reflecting, absorbing or modifying light energies from other directions. In this regard, the light energies travelling through the panel member 25 from inside the device 20 to outside the device 20 are permitted thereby allowing the wearer the ability to at least partially see through the panel member 25, whilst light energies passing through the panel member 25 from outside the device are prevented thereby concealing the wearer's face and identity from public scrutiny. The panel member 25 may be made from a relatively dark mesh material and/or woven material having sufficient air permeability such that the individual can breathe through the panel member 25 and the wearer's voice can travel through the panel member 25 to enable the individual to communicate with those around them. The panel member 25 may be made from a black material or other suitable colour, including "military" green. In this regard, the panel member 25 may be made from an elastic material, such as LYCRA® or nylon having sufficient denier to function as a one way viewing window for the wearer. The material may also be a woven or knitted material where appropriate.

Further, as the device 20 is configured such that it encloses the wearer's head with the panel member 25 covering the face of the individual, the device also provides a degree of protection to the public and/or persons in the vicinity of the wearer, from contact with any saliva or other bodily fluids, such as blood, which may be expelled from the wearer. This is a particular problem where the wearer is infected with any of a number of communicable diseases which may be transmitted through contact with bodily fluids such as saliva. In this regard, the internal surface of the panel member 25 may be treated to absorb fluid, such as saliva and/or blood expelled from the wearer, thereby at least partially preventing passage of saliva and/or blood through the panel member 25.

As shown in Figs. 2A and 2B, the device may include indicia 21 that indicates to the accompanying police or attendants the classification or type of wearer being transported or escorted. The indicia 21 may be in the form of colour codes or a pattern formed On the surface of the device 20 which may indicate' whether the wearer is a witness, suspect, convicted criminal, and/or whether the wearer has a violent disposition or medical condition, such that the accompanying personnel can take the required precautions without exposing the identity of the wearer. In the embodiment as shown the straps 24 are provided with the indicia 21, which extends about the neck of

the individual when worn, such that the escorting personnel can readily establish the type of wearer being escorted in their presence.

The device 20 may be disposable after use,- and as such the material may be selected to enable ready disposal and decomposition following use. It is also envisaged that the device 20 may be reusable, and hence the material may be selected so as to enable washing and sterilisation following use,

As the device 20 is made from light weight and compliant material, the device 20 can be stored in a folded or rolled state thereby taking up minimal storage space. In this regard, the device 20 can be carried by the wearer or accompanying police officer or the like in their pocket and removed and donned when required.

In one embodiment, the device 20 may be packaged in an individual sealed package, such as a cardboard package or plastic sleeve, which can be opened for use. Prior to packaging the device 20, the device may be treated for sterilisation to ensure that the device 20 is in a hypoallergenic and sterile state for applying to the head of the wearer. In this regard, a wearer can be readily assured of the integrity of the device by breaking the seal of the package to access the device 20.

In another embodiment as is shown in Fig. 3, multiple devices 20 may be pre- sterilised and packaged in a folded state in a dispensing box 30. In this regard, the box 30 may be situated in a transport vehicle, such as a police car or the like, which transports the wearer to and from a court. In such an arrangement, prior, to exiting the vehicle the wearer can merely withdraw a device 20 from the box 30 as shown to protect their identity from the public.

It will be appreciated that the present invention provides a dedicated device for use by a wearer for concealing their identity, other than using a piece of clothing or makeshift device which may have a rather limited capacity to conceal the wearer's identity. The device is light weight and readily carried by a person for ease of use, and can be employed without compromising the wearer's ability to see/hear/communicate with their environment, which is typically not possible when makeshift measures are employed.

Such a device thereby prevents the need for media outlets, such as television stations, newspapers and the like to employ time consuming editing methods, such as pixilation and blocking methods, to conceal the identity of the wearer in television footage and/or photographs in order to address contempt of court issues. This allows them to merely display the footage/photograph in the state at which it was taken to satisfy the public need for media coverage of such matters.

It will be appreciated by persons skilled in the art that numerous variations and/or modifications may be made to the invention as shown in the specific embodiments without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention as broadly described. The present embodiments are, therefore, to be considered in all respects as. illustrative and not restrictive.




 
Previous Patent: CONSTRUCTION SYSTEM

Next Patent: BOLT PROTECTOR