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Title:
MAGNETIC CLASP
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/014727
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A magnetic clasp for connecting to items, such as straps, includes two clasp members and a magnetic connecting arrangement. One clasp member includes a recess and a slot while the other clasp member includes an insert for being received within the slot. The slot includes a pair of opposed lips. The magnetic connecting arrangement attracts the insert into the recess and through the slot into an engaged condition. When in the engaged condition, the two clasp members are positively secured against tension from the two items to be connected. An enclosing formation further encloses the lips of the slot to prevent the insert from being pulled out of the slot. An overhang further conceals one of the clasp members.

Inventors:
KYRIAKOU, Caroline (56 Shadforth Street, Mosman, New South Wales 2088, 2088, AU)
Application Number:
AU2018/050764
Publication Date:
January 24, 2019
Filing Date:
July 23, 2018
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
KYRIAKOU, Caroline (56 Shadforth Street, Mosman, New South Wales 2088, 2088, AU)
International Classes:
A44B11/25; A43B3/24; A44C5/18
Foreign References:
US20150074949A12015-03-19
US20160270491A12016-09-22
EP2984961A12016-02-17
US5367891A1994-11-29
US20060112596A12006-06-01
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BAXTER PATENT ATTORNEYS PTY LTD (Suite 2, Level 3A1 Bligh St, Sydney New South Wales 2000, 2000, AU)
Download PDF:
Claims:
C laims

The claims defining the invention are as follows:

1. A c las p for attac hing two or more items together, the clas p compris ing

a. a first clasp member a nd a second clas p member;

b. the first clasp member including an insert for insertion into the recess on the second clasp member; and

c. the second clasp member defining a recess, the recess including a mouth for receiving the insert, the recess further including a s lot extending from the mouth, the slot being configured to prevent the transition of the insert through the slot;

d. wherein the first clasp member a nd the second clasp member are removably engageable with each other, and movable between a n engaged condition in which the insert is at least partially received within the recess, and a disengaged condition in which the insert is not received within the recess; a nd e. wherein the clasp includes a magnetic connecting arrangement configured for attracting the first clasp member and the second clasp member into their engaged condition.

2. T he clasp as claimed in claim 1 , wherein the second clasp member includes one or more lip formations extending at least partially a long at least one side of the slot.

3. T he clasp as claimed in claim 2, wherein the second clas p member includes a lip formation extending along each side of the slot.

4. T he clasp as claimed in a ny one of claims 2 to 3, wherein the at least one or more lip formations defines a cross-sectional shape including a head and neck formation.

5. T he clasp as claimed in any one of claims 2 to 4, wherein the first clasp member includes a n enclosing formation configured for enclosing at least a pa rt of the at least one or more lip formations.

6. T he clas p as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 2, wherein one or both of the first clasp member and the second clasp member include a concealing formation for concealing at least part of one or more selected from the first clasp member a nd the second clasp member.

7. T he clasp as claimed in claim 6, wherein the concealing formation is an overhang.

8. T he clasp as claimed in a ny one of claims 6 to 7, wherein the concealing formation is the enclosing formation

9. T he clasp as claimed in any one of claims 5 to 8, wherein the enclosing formation a nd insert together enclose at least a part of the one or more lip formations preventing withdrawal of the lip formation from the region between the enclosing formation a nd the insert without plastic deformation of enclosed part of the at least one or more lip formations.

10. T he clasp as claimed in a ny one of claims 1 to 9, wherein the magnetic connecting a rrangement attracts the first clasp member and the second clasp member towards each other in a direction that is pa rallel to the slot.

1 1. T he clasp as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 10, wherein the magnetic connection a rrangement comprises at least one magnet associated with one or more selected from the insert and the second clasp member, and a complementary magnetically attractable portion in the other of the one or more selected from the insert and the second clasp member.

12. T he clasp as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 1 1 , wherein the second clasp member includes a magnet located towards the end of the recess, and at an end of the slot.

13. T he clas p as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 12, wherein the first clas p member includes a magnet located towards an end of the insert that is receivable within the recess in use.

14. An artic le of footwea r, the a rtic le of footwea r compris ing

a. a sole,

b. a n interchangeable upper portion;

c. wherein the sole and interchangea ble upper portion are remova bly connected or connectable by at least one clasp as described.

15. T he article of footwear as claimed in claim 14, wherein the clasp is configured to be released by movement of the enclosing formation in a lateral direction relative to the sole.

16. T he article of footwear as claimed in any one of claims 14 to 1 5, wherein the article of footwear includes a toe loop extending from the sole.

17. T he article of footwear as claimed in any one of claims 14 to 16, wherein the article of footwear includes at least one or more accessory loop extending from the sole.

18. T he article of footwear as claimed in any one of claims 14 to 17, wherein the interchangeable upper portion includes a buckle.

Description:
MAG NE TIC C LAS P

Field of the Invention

[1 ] T he invention relates to clasps a nd more particula rly to a clasp with a magnetic component.

[2] T he invention has been developed primarily for use in fashion accessories, a nd will be described hereinafter with reference to this a pplication. However, it will be a ppreciated that the invention is not limited to this particular field of use.

Background of the Invention

[3] A clasp is a mechanical device, usually with two pa rts, that is used to connect two things together. In the context of the present technology, a clasp is used to attach two straps or strands as might be found in a shoe, bracelet belt or other articles of clothing. In some a pplications, a clasp must be strong enough to withstand substa ntial tension. It is preferred that a clasp be easy to fasten and unfasten. Particularly in the area of clothing and footwear, it is preferred that a clasp be visually attractive a nd comforta ble. It is also preferred the clasps be simple in construction and easy to use.

[4] Particularly in the area of footwear, clasps may be used in left and right pairs, one for each shoe or sa ndal etc. When clasps are provided in left and right pairs it may be an advantage that the clasps be mirror images of one another (visually and mecha nically) for a ny one of a variety of purposes. It is also preferred that a clasp be more difficult to unfasten than to fasten. This provides a degree of security for the user and thwarts inadvertent decoupling.

[5] It is also sometimes an advantage that a clas p be adapted to be fastened to a strap or strand of the maximum practical width given the size of the clasp.

[6] It is to be understood that, if any prior art information is referred to herein, such reference does not constitute a n admission that the information forms part of the common general knowledge in the art, in Australia or any other country.

S ummary of the Invention

[7] T he technology provides a clasp having interlocking parts. The parts couple or engage one a nother by sliding together. A magnet keeps the parts in engagement. Once coupled, tension through the clasp is resisted by interfering parts.

[8] In preferred embodiments each pa rt of the clasp has an integra l loop that is a bout as wide as the clasp is wide. [9] In some embodiments of the technology, the clasp is provided in mirror image pairs. In further embodiments of the technology, particularly when used in proximity to the human body at least, an underside of the clasp may be curved. In particula r embodiment of the technology, when the pa rts of the clasp are engaged, the upper surface of the clasp is continuous and conceals the engagement between the pa rts.

[10] In some preferred embodiments, clasp made in accordance with the teachings of the present technology a re combined with sandals, preferably in mirror image pairs.

[1 1 ] In one as pect, the invention may be said to cons ist in a c las p for attac hing two or more items together, the c las p compris ing

a. a first clasp member a nd a second clas p member;

b. the first clasp member including an insert for insertion into the recess on the second clasp member; and

c. the second clasp member defining a recess, the recess defining a mouth for receiving the insert, the recess further defining a slot extending from the mouth, the slot being configured to prevent the transition of the insert through the slot;

d. wherein the first clasp member a nd the second clasp member are removably engageable with each other, and movable between a n engaged condition in which the insert is at least partially received within the recess, and a disengaged condition in which the insert is not received within the recess; e. a nd wherein the clasp includes a magnetic connecting arrangement configured for attracting the first clasp member a nd the second clasp member into their engaged condition.

[12] In one embodiment, the second clas p member includes one or more lip formations extending at least pa rtially a long at least one side of the slot.

[13] In one embodiment, the second clasp member includes a lip formation extending a long each side of the slot.

[14] In one embodiment, the at least one or more lip formations defines a cross-sectional sha pe including a head and neck formation.

[15] In one embodiment, the first clasp member includes an enclosing formation configured for enclosing at least a part of the at least one or more lip formations.

[16] In one embodiment, one or both of the first clasp member and the second clasp member include a concealing formation. [17] In one embodiment, the concea ling formation is the enclosing formation

[18] In one embodiment, the concea ling formation is an overha ng.

[19] In one embodiment, the enclosing formation is an overhang configured for at least partially concealing the second clasp member.

[20] In one embodiment, the enclosing formation a nd insert together enclose at least a part of the one or more lip formations.

[21 ] In one embodiment, the enclosing formation a nd insert together enclose at least a part of the one or more lip formations preventing withdrawal of the lip formation from the region between the enclosing formation and the insert without plastic deformation of enclosed part of the at least one or more lip formations.

[22] In one embodiment, the recess is a blind recess.

[23] In one embodiment, the slot is a blind slot.

[24] In one embodiment, the magnetic connecting arrangement attracts the first clasp member and the second clasp member towards each other in a direction that is para llel to the slot.

[25] In one embodiment, the direction of attachment of the items to be attached is substantially transverse to the direction of movement of the insert in the recess.

[26] In one embodiment, the cross-sectiona l shape of the insert defines a neck portion a nd a head portion.

[27] In one embodiment, the magnetic connection arra ngement comprises at least one magnet associated with one or more selected from the insert and the second clasp member.

[28] In one embodiment, the magnetic connection arra ngement comprises at least one magnet associated with one or more selected from the insert and the second clas p member, a nd a complementary magnetically attractable portion in the other of the one or more selected from the insert a nd the second clasp member.

[29] In one embodiment, the magnetic connection arrangement comprises a magnet in each of the insert and the second clasp member.

[30] In one embodiment, the second clasp member includes a magnet located towards the end of the recess, and at an end of the slot.

[31 ] In one embodiment, the first clasp member includes a magnet located towa rds an end of the insert that is receivable within the recess in use. [32] In one embodiment, either or both of the first clasp member and the second clasp member include one or more connecting formations for connection to the items to be attached.

[33] In one embodiment, the one or more connecting formations includes a n a perture.

[34] In one embodiment, the one or more connecting formations includes a buckle.

[35] In one embodiment, the clasp includes a chain or flexible elongate member extending between first clasp member and second clasp member. This advantageously a llows the clasp to be opened, for example when used in a bracelet, without the bracelet falling off a user s arm completely.

[36] In one embodiment, the second clasp member defines a C sha pe in cross-section.

[37] In a further as pect, the invention may be said to cons ist in a n a rticle of footwear, the artic le of footwear compris ing

a. a sole,

b. a n interchangeable upper portion;

c. wherein the sole and interchangea ble upper portion are remova bly connected or connectable by at least one clasp as described.

[38] In one embodiment, the clasp is configured to be released by movement of the enclosing formation in a lateral direction relative to the sole.

[39] In one embodiment, the interchangeable upper portion comprises webbing and/or at least one or more straps.

[40] In one embodiment, the intercha ngeable upper portion comprises a laminar portion.

[41 ] In one embodiment, the intercha ngeable upper portion is composed of textile.

[42] In one embodiment, the article of footwear includes a toe loop extending from the sole.

[43] In one embodiment, the article of footwear includes at least one or more accessory loop extending from the sole.

[44] In one embodiment, the interchangeable upper portion includes a buckle.

[45] In one embodiment, the article of footwear is a sandal.

[46] To those skilled in the art to which the invention relates, many cha nges in construction and widely differing embodiments and a pplications of the invention will suggest themselves without departing from the scope of the invention as defined in the appended claims. The disclosures and the descriptions herein are purely illustrative and are not intended to be in any sense limiting.

[47] Other aspects of the invention are also disclosed.

Brief Description of the Drawings

[48] Notwithstanding any other forms which may fall within the scope of the present invention, a preferred embodiment of the invention will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

[49] Figure 1 is a perspective view of a clasp having two parts;

[50] Figure 2 is an inverted perspective view of the device shown in Figure 1;

[51] Figure 3 is a side elevation of the right side of the device shown in Figures 1 and 2;

[52] Figure 4 is a cross-sectional view through lines 4-4 of Figure 3;

[53] Figure 5 is a perspective view of an assembled or coupled clasp; and

[54] Figure 6 is a schematic perspective view of two sandals, each having a clasp.

Description of E mbodiments

[55] It should be noted in the following description that like or the same reference numerals in different embodiments denote the same or similar features.

[56] In a first aspect, a clasp 100 is provided for attaching two or more items together. As shown in Figure 1, the clasp 100 has two different parts in the form of a first clasp member 101 and a second clasp member102, also referenced as the first part hundred and 1 and second part 102. The first clasp member 101 and second clasp member 102 are removably engageable with each other. Each part is provided with an integral bracket or other loop 103, 104 so that each part may be affixed to a strand, strap, fixture or other point of attachment. The first clasp member or first part 101 has a slot 105 on a face 106 generally opposite the face to which the loop 103 is attached or affixed. The slot 105 lead to a recess or transverse channel 107. In this example, the slot 105 is bounded by an upper lip formation or upper lip 108 and a lower lip formation or lower lip 109. The upper left 108 and the lower lip 109 and along each side of the slot 105.

[57] One side edge 110 of the first part 101 has a generally _ shaped opening 111 that leads into the channel 107. Neither the channel 107 nor the slot 105 extended as far as the side 112 of the first part 101 that is opposite the side 110 with the opening 107. This is said to form a blind channel 107 and blind slot 105.

[58] Figure 1 also illustrates that the second clasp member or second part 102 has an insert in the form of a key or male component 115 that extends away from one face 116 of the second part by a longitudinal neck 1 17. The cross-sectional shape of the key 1 15 and 1 17 defines a head portion and a neck portion. The neck 1 17 is intended to travel in the slot 105 and the key 1 1 5 travels in the channel 107. There is preferably little or no friction as the key 1 15 moves in the channel 107. T he first clasp member 101 and second clas p member 102 are also movable between a n engaged condition in which the key 1 15 is received within the channel 107, and a disengaged condition in which the key 1 15 is removed from the cha nnel 107.

[59] As s hown in Figu re 2, the length of the key 1 15 and the length of the channel 107 a re equa l. The upper surface 200 of the second part forms an enclosing formation or overhang 201. The overhang 201 functions as a concealing formation, and in the embodiment shown, the overha ng 201 extends past the key 1 15 in both the longitudinal direction 202 and the transverse direction 203. It is envisaged that in alternative embodiments, a concealing formation could be provided on either or both of the first clasp member and the second clasp member.

[60] As ca n be seen in Figu re 2, the overhang 201 occupies the full transverse width of the second part while the key 1 15 only occupies a partia l width. In this way, the overhang 200 is capable of concea ling at least part of the joint between the two clasp parts. P referably, the overha ng conceals the entire first clasp member 101. In this way, the first clasp member can be made of less expensive material, while the second clasp member presents the overhang 201 as an outer face that is aesthetically pleasing. In a preferred embodiment, the lip formation 108, 109 will preferably extend snugly between the overhang a nd the key. Further, the lip formation 108, 109 that extends between the overhang and the key defines cross-sectional shape including a head and neck formation. In this way, the enclosing formation in the form of the overhang, together with the key will enclose the lip formation, and the lip formation will not be able to be pulled out from between the overha ng a nd the lip formation in the longitudinal direction 202 without undergoing plastic deformation.

[61 ] F igure 2 also illustrates that each part may have a pocket 204 with a curved interior wall 205 that cooperates with the loop 103 when a strap is being fed through the loop.

[62] As s hown in Figure 3, the two pa rts 101 , 102 are interlocked by engaging the key 1 15 with the channel 107. This action creates mechanical de-coupling interference between the upper and lower lip 108, 109 and the key 1 15. This interference prevents the parts from becoming disengaged or decoupled along a longitudinal axis 300.

[63] As also s hown in Figure 3, the overhang 201 is preferably integra l with the second part 102, forming a continuous surface that extends the full length and full width of the upper surface 301 of the clasp 100. Viewed from above, the only visible components of the clasp a re the continuous upper surface 301 a nd the loops 103, 104 viewed from one side, the junction between the key 1 15 and the channel 107 can be seen. Because the channel and key terminate before the opposite wall is reached, neither the cha nnel nor the key are visible from the opposite side of the clasp. The underside of the clasp reveals only the join 302 that traverses the clasp as approximately its longitudinal midline. It will be understood that the smooth and continuous upper surface 301 may be truncated, curved, distorted or ornamented for visual effect. This surface generally forms the major viewable aesthetic surface presented by the clasp.

[64] As s hown i n Figure 4, a magnetic connecting arrangement in the form of a pair of attractors 400 is be used to maintain the clasps in their engaged condition, or in a closed or coupled orientation. T he attractors 400 may be in the form of a magnet 401 embedded in a n interior end wall 402 of the key 1 1 5. The other attractant may be a steel target 403 embedded flush within the interior end wa ll 404 of the channel 107. It will be understood that a pair of magnets may be used and the relative position of the magnet and the steel target may be reversed. In the embodiment s hown in figu re 4, the first clas p member includes a magnet is located towards an end of the key 1 15 that is receivable within the channel 107. The magnetic connecting arra ngement attracts the first clasp member and the second clasp member towards each other in a direction that is para llel to the slot, and also preferably pulls the key 1 15 into the channel 107. It will be appa rent to a person skilled in the art that the direction of attachment of the items to be attached is substa ntially tra nsverse to the direction of movement of the key 1 15 in the channel 107. Resistance to tension in the clasp by the pulling apart of the items that are attached by the clasp is resisted in a mecha nically positive way by the key 1 15 acting on the lip formations, and the magnetic connection arrangement is not used to directly oppose this tension. In this way, the clasp is provided that is very strong intention, but can be easily unclasped.

[65] As s hown in F igure 5, the side 501 of the clasp 100 visually revea ls only the latera l seam 502 between the first and second parts 101 , 102 and the seam 503 or join between the overha ng 200 and the first part 101. F igure 5 also suggests that the length of the overhang is immaterial to the interworking between the key 1 15 and the channel 107. F rom F igu re 5 it ca n also be appreciated that the entire underside 504 (see Figure 3) can be curved, for example, to conform to part of the human body or the shape of a garment, shoe or boot. An ornamenta l bracelet a nd anklet ca n be made by interconnecting the two loops 103, 104 with a stra nd, band or strap.

[66] In one embodiment (not s hown), the clasp includes a chain or flexible elongate member extending between first clasp member and second clasp member. This advantageously allows the clasp to be opened, for example when used in a bracelet, without the bracelet fa lling off a user s arm completely.

[67] In a further as pect, a nd as s hown i n F igu re 6, an a rticle of footwear is provided in the form of a sandal. T he sanda l 600 has a sole 601 including is an upper surface 602. The sandal 600 further includes an interchangeable upper portion 630. The sole 601 and the interchangeable upper portion 630 are removably connectable using a clas p as described a bove. An optiona l toe loop 603 preferably extends from the upper surface. Additionally a plurality of or more preferably textile accessory loops 604, 605, 606 extend from the sole. In this example, the forwa rd accessory loop 604 carries a clasp 608 made in accorda nce with the teachings of the present technology. An accessory strap 609 attaches or is attachable to a clasp loop 104 a nd has its own clasp or buckle 610 so that the accessory stra p 609 can be joined to itself near or behind the user s heel. The accessory stra p 609 passes through both of the rear accessory loops 605, 606.

[68] In preferred embodiments, sandals are provided in left and right pairs 600, 620. J ust as there a re a left sandal 621 and a right sandal 622 in a mirror image pair, the clasps 608, 623 for each sandal may also be provided in left and right mirror image pairs. This allows the left clasp to be opened by sliding the upper surface 300 laterally left 630, optionally allowed the right clasp 623 to be opened by sliding the right upper surface 300 laterally to the right 631.

[69] T he use of a clasp 100 as described above in the sa nda l 600 is adva ntageous in that the clasp 100 is pa rticularly strong intention in the longitudinal direction, and cannot be unclasped by moving the first clasp member and the second clasp member relative to each other in one of the two transverse directions. By providing a clas p that can only be opened by relative movement of the upper portion in a lateral direction, Applicant believes that it will be unlikely that the clasp will be inadvertently opened.

[70] Although the invention has been described with reference to specific examples, it will be a ppreciated by those skilled in the art that the invention may be embodied in many other forms.

[71 ] As used herein, unless otherwise specified, the use of the ordinal adjectives "first", "second", "third", etc., to describe a common object, merely indicate that different instances of like objects are being referred to, and are not intended to imply that the objects so described must be in a given sequence, either temporally, spatially, in ranking, or in a ny other manner. R eference throughout this specification to one embodiment , or an embodiment , or example , mea ns that a particular feature, structure or characteristic described in connection with the embodiment is included in at least one embodiment of the present invention. T hus, appearances of the phrases In one embodiment , or In an example , in va rious places throughout this specification are not necessarily all referring to the same embodiment or example, but may. F urthermore, the particula r features, structures or characteristics may be combined in any suitable manner, as would be apparent to one of ordina ry skill in the art from this disclosure, in one or more embodiments. S imilarly it should be a ppreciated that in the a bove description of exemplary embodiments of the invention, various features of the invention are sometimes grouped together in a single embodiment, figure, or description thereof for the purpose of streamlining the disclosure a nd aiding in the understanding of one or more of the various inventive aspects. This method of disclosure, however, is not to be interpreted as reflecting a n intention that the claimed invention requires more features than are expressly recited in each claim. Rather, as the following claims reflect, inventive aspects lie in less tha n all features of a single foregoing disclosed embodiment. Any claims following the Detailed Description are hereby expressly incorporated into this Detailed Description, with each claim sta nding on its own as a separate embodiment of this invention. F urthermore, while some embodiments described herein include some but not other features included in other embodiments, combinations of features of different embodiments a re meant to be within the scope of the invention, and form different embodiments, as would be understood by those in the art. For example, in the following claims, a ny of the claimed embodiments can be used in any combination Thus, while there has been described what are believed to be the preferred embodiments of the invention, those skilled in the a rt will recognize that other and further modifications may be made thereto without departing from the scope of the invention, and it is intended to claim all such changes and modifications as fall within the scope of the invention. While the present invention has been disclosed with reference to pa rticula r details of construction, these should be understood as having been provided by way of example a nd not as limitations to the scope of the invention.

Interpretation

Markush G roups

[73] In addition, where features or as pects of the invention are described in terms of Markush groups, those s killed in the art will recognise that the invention is a lso thereby described in terms of a ny individua l member or subgroup of members of the Markush group.

E mbodiments:

[74] Reference throughout this specification to one embodiment , or a n embodiment , mea ns that a particular feature, structure or characteristic described in connection with the embodiment is included in at least one embodiment of the present invention. T hus, a ppea rances of the phrases In one embodiment , or In an embodiment , in va rious places throughout this specification are not necessarily a ll referring to the same embodiment, but may. F urthermore, the pa rticular features, structures or characteristics may be combined in a ny suitable manner, as would be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art from this disclosure, in one or more embodiments.

[75] S imilarly it should be appreciated that in the above description of example embodiments of the invention, various features of the invention are sometimes grouped together in a single embodiment, figure, or description thereof for the purpose of streamlining the disclosure and aiding in the understa nding of one or more of the va rious inventive aspects. This method of disclosure, however, is not to be interpreted as reflecting an intention that the claimed invention requires more features tha n are expressly recited in each claim. Rather, as the following claims reflect, inventive aspects lie in less than a ll features of a single foregoing disclosed embodiment. Thus, the claims following the Detailed Description of S pecific E mbodiments are hereby expressly incorporated into this Detailed Description of S pecific E mbodiments, with each claim standing on its own as a sepa rate embodiment of this invention.

[76] F urthermore, while some embodiments described herein include some but not other features included in other embodiments, combinations of features of different embodiments a re meant to be within the scope of the invention, a nd form different embodiments, as would be understood by those in the art. For example, in the following claims, any of the claimed embodiments can be used in any combination.

Different Instances of Objects

[77] As used herein, unless otherwise specified the use of the ordinal adjectives Tirst., second., ' third., etc., to describe a common object, merely indicate that different instances of like objects are being referred to, and are not intended to imply that the objects so described must be in a given sequence, either temporally, spatially, in ranking, or in a ny other manner.

S pecific Details

[78] In the description provided herein, numerous specific details are set forth. However, it is understood that embodiments of the invention may be practiced without these specific details. In other instances, well-known methods, structures a nd techniques have not been shown in detail in order not to obscure an understanding of this description.

Terminology

[79] In describing the preferred embodiment of the invention illustrated in the drawings, specific terminology will be resorted to for the sake of cla rity. However, the invention is not intended to be limited to the s pecific terms so selected, and it is to be understood that each specific term includes all technical equiva lents which operate in a similar manner to accomplis h a simila r technical purpose. Terms such as "forward", "rearward", "radially", "peripherally", "upwa rdly", "downwardly", and the like are used as words of convenience to provide reference points a nd are not to be construed as limiting terms.

[80] For the purposes of this specification, the term ' plastic , sha ll be construed to mean a general term for a wide range of synthetic or semisynthetic polymerization products, and generally consisting of a hydroca rbon-based polymer.

[81 ] As used herein the term and/or. means and . or or., or both.

[82] As used herein ' (s) . following a noun means the plural and/or singula r forms of the noun.

C omprising and Including

[83] In the claims which follow and in the preceding description of the invention, except where the context requires otherwise due to express language or necessary implication, the word comprise , or variations such as comprises , or comprising , are used in an inclusive sense, i.e. to specify the presence of the stated features but not to preclude the presence or addition of further features in various embodiments of the invention.

[84] Any one of the terms: including or which includes or that includes as used herein is a lso an open term that also means including at least the elements/features that follow the term, but not excluding others. Thus, including is synonymous with and mea ns comprising.

S cope of Invention

[85] T hus, while there has been described what are believed to be the preferred embodiments of the invention, those skilled in the a rt will recognize that other and further modifications may be made thereto without departing from the spirit of the invention, and it is intended to claim all such changes and modifications as fa ll within the scope of the invention. For example, any formulas given above are merely representative of procedures that may be used. Functionality may be added or deleted from the block diagrams and operations may be interchanged among functiona l blocks. S teps may be added or deleted to methods described within the scope of the present invention.

[86] Although the invention has been described with reference to specific examples, it will be a ppreciated by those skilled in the art that the invention may be embodied in many other forms.

Industrial Applicability

[87] It is apparent from the above, that the arrangements described are applicable to the fas hion a nd /or garment manufacturing industries.