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Title:
PROTECTIVE PAD ASSEMBLY WITH ELASTIC BAND AND SECURING COMPONENTS FOR GARMENT
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/199980
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A protective pad assembly for releasably attaching to a garment. The protective pad assembly comprises an inner member adapted to be disposed inside the garment, two inner securing components mounted to the inner member and provided to be disposed inside the garment, an outer member provided to be disposed outside the garment, and two outer securing components mounted to the outer member and provided to be disposed outside the garment. The outer member includes an elastic band member attached to the two outer securing components. A distance between the outer securing components of the elastic band member in a relaxed state is less than a distance between the two inner securing components mounted to the inner member. The distance between the two outer securing components of the elastic band member in a stretched state is equal to the distance between the two inner securing components mounted to the inner member.

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Inventors:
PICONE, John A. (723 Sagamore Drive, Louisburg, North Carolina, 27549, US)
PARDILLO, Joseph M. (6501 Hammersmith Drive, Raleigh, North Carolina, 27613, US)
Application Number:
US2019/026800
Publication Date:
October 17, 2019
Filing Date:
April 10, 2019
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
JP VENTURES, LLC (6501 Hammersmith Drive, Raleigh, North Carolina, 27613, US)
International Classes:
A41D13/06; A41D13/015; A41D13/08; A41D31/18
Foreign References:
US20090083901A12009-04-02
US20060137071A12006-06-29
US20140033412A12014-02-06
US20170065007A12017-03-09
Other References:
MAGNEE: "Black Strapless Magnetic Attaching Knee Pads with Industrial Caps", HOMEDEPOT.COM, 26 March 2019 (2019-03-26), Retrieved from the Internet [retrieved on 20190604]
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BERENATO, III, Joseph W. (BERENATO & WHITE, LLC6550 Rock Spring Drive,Suite 24, Bethesda Maryland, 20817, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A protective pad assembly for releasably attaching to a garment worn by a user of the protective pad assembly for positioning substantially over one of an elbow and a knee of the user, the protective pad assembly comprising:

an inner member provided for engaging the one of the elbow and the knee of the user, the inner member adapted to be disposed inside the garment and aligned with the one of the elbow and the knee of the user;

two inner securing components mounted to the inner member and provided to be disposed inside the garment;

an outer member provided to be disposed outside the garment in alignment with the inner member; and

two outer securing components mounted to the outer member and provided to be disposed outside the garment;

the outer securing components and the inner securing components configured to be releasably attractable to each other;

the outer member including an outer elastic band member provided with the two outer securing components attached to the outer elastic band member;

the outer elastic band member being stretchable between a relaxed state and a stretched state.

2. The protective pad assembly as defined in claim 1, wherein each of the inner securing components is a magnetically attractive element, wherein each of the outer securing components is a magnetically attractive element, and wherein the outer magnetically attractive elements and the inner magnetically attractive elements are magnetically attractable to each other.

3. The protective pad assembly as defined in any of claims 1-2, wherein one of the inner magnetically attractive elements and the outer magnetically attractive elements include a magnet for magnetically attracting the inner and outer members together.

4. The protective pad assembly as defined in any of claims 1-3, wherein the other one of the inner magnetically attractive elements and the outer magnetically attractive elements also include a magnet.

5. The protective pad assembly as defined in any of claims 1-4, wherein the other one of the inner magnetically attractive elements and the outer magnetically attractive elements are ferromagnetic parts that are not magnets.

6. The protective pad assembly as defined in any of claims 1-5, wherein one of the inner securing components and the outer securing components are female members, wherein the other one of the inner securing components and the outer securing components are male members, wherein the outer securing components and the inner securing components are configured to be releasably mechanically mated to the male member with the garment worn by the user captured therebetween, and wherein each of the female members includes a socket, and each of the male members includes a plug configured to be inserted into the socket and releasably mechanically mated to the female member.

7. The protective pad assembly as defined in any of claims 1-6, wherein the plug of the male member and the socket of the female member are configured to releasably mechanically mate with one another to capture the garment therebetween to prevent slippage of the garment relative to the releasably mechanically mated male and female members.

8. The protective pad assembly as defined in any of claims 1-7, wherein the plug of the male member is attached to a corresponding plug plate, and wherein the socket of the female member is attached to a corresponding socket plate.

9. The protective pad assembly as defined in any of claims 6, 7 and 8, wherein the plug of the male member and the socket of the female member are configured to include a clearance therebetween when releasably mechanically mated with one another, the clearance being configured to receive and capture the garment.

10. The protective pad assembly as defined in any of the preceding claims, wherein the inner member is a flexible inner protective pad made of an impact absorbing, flexible cushioning material.

11. The protective pad assembly as defined in any of claims 1-10, wherein each of the inner securing components is secured directly to the inner protective pad.

12. The protective pad assembly as defined in any of claims 1-11, wherein the inner protective pad has two holes therethrough, wherein inner member includes two looped elastic bands each extending through one of the holes through the inner protective pad, and wherein each of the inner securing components is secured to one of the two looped elastic bands so that the outer magnetically attractive elements on the elastic band member are disposed adjacent to a convex outer surface of the inner protective pad.

13. The protective pad assembly as defined in any of claims 1-12, wherein the inner protective pad has two holes therethrough, wherein inner member includes an inner elastic band member extending through the two holes through the inner protective pad, and wherein each of the inner securing components is secured to the inner elastic band member so that the inner securing components on the inner elastic band member are disposed adjacent to a convex outer surface of the inner protective pad.

14. The protective pad assembly as defined in any of the preceding claims, wherein the outer member includes solely the outer elastic band member.

15. The protective pad assembly as defined in any of the preceding claims, wherein the outer member further includes an outer protective pad made of hard or semi-hard material, and wherein the outer elastic band member is mounted to the outer protective pad.

16. The protective pad assembly as defined in any of claims 1-15, wherein the outer protective pad has two holes therethrough, and wherein the outer elastic band member extends through each of the holes through the outer protective pad so that the two outer securing components on the elastic band member are disposed adjacent to a concave inner surface of the outer protective pad.

17. The protective pad assembly as defined in any of the preceding claims, wherein the outer member further includes an outer protective pad made of an impact absorbing, flexible cushioning material, and the outer elastic band member is mounted to the outer protective pad.

18. The protective pad assembly as defined in any of claims 1-17, wherein the outer protective pad has two holes therethrough, and wherein the outer elastic band member extends through each of the holes through the outer protective pad so that the two outer securing components on the outer elastic band member are disposed adjacent to a concave inner surface of the outer protective pad.

19. The protective pad assembly as defined in any of the preceding claims, wherein the two inner securing components are disposed adjacent to distal ends of the inner member, and wherein each of the two outer securing components are disposed adjacent to distal ends of the outer elastic band member.

20. The protective pad assembly as defined in any one of claims 2-5 and 10-19, wherein one of the inner magnetically attractive elements and the outer magnetically attractive elements includes a magnet for magnetically attracting the inner and outer members together, and wherein the magnet is secured to the outer elastic band member by a fastener through a ferromagnetic inner washer and an outer washer.

21. The protective pad assembly as defined in any of claims 1-20, wherein the other one of the inner magnetically attractive elements and the outer magnetically attractive elements includes a recessed cup forming a recessed cavity, and wherein the magnet is geometrically complementary to the recessed cavity of the recessed cup.

22. The protective pad assembly as defined in any of the preceding claims, wherein a distance between the two outer securing components of the outer elastic band member in the relaxed state is less than a distance between the two inner securing components mounted to the inner member, and wherein the distance between the two outer securing components of the outer elastic band member in the stretched state is equal to the distance between the two inner securing components mounted to the inner member.

Description:
PROTECTIVE PAD ASSEMBLY WITH ELASTIC BAND AND SECURING COMPONENTS

FOR GARMENT

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION AND CLAIM TO PRIORITY

[0001] This Application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 62/655,501 filed April 10, 2018 by Picone et al., which is hereby incorporated herein by reference in its entirety and to which priority is claimed

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The present invention relates to protective cushioning devices in general, and more particularly to a protective pad assembly with an elastic band and securing components attachable directly to a garment for protecting a user's knee and/or elbow joints, applications of the protective pad assembly, and methods of releasable attaching the protective pad assembly to a garment. DESCRIPTION OF THE PRIOR ART

[0003] Typically, protective pad, or cushioning, devices, such as knee pads, are attached to a body part of a user by various methods including belt straps, clips, wraps, elastic stretching, glues, tapes and adhesives. The common drawback of prior art methods of fastening is that they become uncomfortable to the user (wearer) during prolonged usage do to binding, burning and chaffing, which results in irritation to the skin and limb tingling and bruising which is brought on by constricting of the blood vessels. FIG. 1 A shows a common kneepad 1 fastened to a user's leg 6 utilizing straps 3a and 3b to attach the kneepad 1 to a knee area 7 of the leg 6. A strap 3a wraps around the back of a lower thigh portion 6a of the leg 6, and whereas a strap 3b wraps around an upper calf portion 6b of the leg 6. The straps 3a and 3b cause constriction of the blood vessels and eventually cut and chafe the thigh portion 6a and the calf portion 6b, respectively.

[0004] FIG. 1B of the prior disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 7,712,150 illustrates a sectional view of a kneepad assembly 10 attached to pants 11. The kneepad assembly 10 includes a flexible inner member 12 in the form of a base cushion made of an impact absorbing material disposed inside the pants 11, and an outer member 14 in the form of a protective cushion made of an impact absorbing material disposed outside the pants 11. Securing devices use magnetic attraction to attach the outer member 14 and the inner member 12 to each other and thus be sandwiched to the pants 11. Each securing device includes an inner magnetically attractive element 16 attached to the inner member 12, and an outer magnetically attractive element 18 attached to the outer member 14. The inner magnetically attractive element 16 and the outer magnetically attractive element 18 are complimentary to each other. A drawback to the use of magnetically attractive elements 16 and 18 is that the elements 16 and 18 potentially can slide relative to the garment during use. Other drawbacks are the high cost and decreasing availability of neodymium magnets preferably used as the magnetically attractive elements 16 and 18. Moreover, the securing devices of the prior art shown in Fig. 1B (U.S. Pat. No. 7,712,150) may be too rigid in construction and in some instances when the wearer bumps slightly into an object the outer pad may move or come off and detach itself too easily. The prior art relies solely on the strength of the magnetically attractive elements securing devices attached to the inner and outer pads to hold the inner and outer pads in place on the garment.

[0005] Other known protective pad assemblies have the drawbacks of requiring permanent alterations to the garment fabric and damaging the garment fabric, such as by requiring or creating holes in the garment fabric in order to attain proper attachment

[0006] Therefore, there is a need for a protective pad assembly that overcomes shortcomings of the prior art, enhances its performance and advances the art.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0007] The present invention is a protective pad assembly for releasably attaching to a garment worn by a user of the protective pad assembly for positioning substantially over one of an elbow and a knee of the user in order to protect the user's body joints, such as knee and/or elbow joints.

[0008] The protective pad assembly comprises an inner member provided for engaging the one of the elbow and the knee of the user and adapted to be disposed inside the garment and aligned with the one of the elbow and the knee of the user, two inner securing components mounted to the inner member and provided to be disposed inside the garment, an outer member provided to be disposed outside the garment in alignment with the inner member, and two outer securing components mounted to the outer member and provided to be disposed outside the garment. The outer securing components and the inner securing components are configured to be releasably attractable to each other. The outer member includes an outer elastic band member provided with the two outer securing components attached to the outer elastic band member.

The outer elastic band member is stretchable between a relaxed state and a stretched state. A distance between the two outer securing components of the outer elastic band member in the relaxed state is less than a distance between the two inner securing components mounted to the inner member. The distance between the two outer securing components of the outer elastic band member in the stretched state is equal to the distance between the two inner securing components mounted to the inner member.

[0009] The protective pad assembly in accordance with the present invention makes the wearing of protective pad assembly more comfortable and reduces, if not eliminates, the risk of blood clots and nerve damage due to the strangulation effect of straps tightly pulled around user's limb.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0010] The accompanying drawings are incorporated in and constitute a part of the specification. The drawings, together with the general description given above and the detailed description of the exemplary embodiments and methods given below, serve to explain the principles of the invention. The objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent from a study of the following specification when viewed in light of the accompanying drawings, in which like elements are given the same or analogous reference numerals. In these drawings: [0011] Fig. 1 A illustrates a knee pad assembly with straps of the prior art;

[0012] Fig. 1B is a sectional view of a knee pad assembly of the prior art with magnetically attractive elements;

[0013] Figs. 2A and 2B are front and side views of a protective pad assembly with an elastic band device in accordance with a first exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

[0014] Fig. 2C is a partial side view of the protective pad assembly in accordance with the first embodiment of the present invention;

[0015] Fig. 3 is a front view of an inner member in accordance with the first exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

[0016] Fig. 4 is a sectional view of the inner member in accordance with the first exemplary embodiment of the present invention taken along the lines 4-4 in Fig. 3;

[0017] Fig. 5 A is an exploded sectional view of the inner member and an inner magnetically attractive element in accordance with the first exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

[0018] Fig. 5B is a sectional view of the inner magnetically attractive element mounted to the inner member in accordance with the first exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

[0019] Fig. 6A is a front view of an elastic band member with an outer magnetically attractive element in accordance with the first exemplary embodiment of the present invention in a relaxed state;

[0020] Fig. 6B is a rear view of the elastic band member with the outer magnetically attractive element in accordance with the first exemplary embodiment of the present invention in the relaxed state; [0021] Fig. 6C is a rear view of the elastic band member with the outer magnetically attractive element in accordance with the first exemplary embodiment of the present invention in a stretched state;

[0022] Fig. 7A is a sectional view of the elastic band member with the outer magnetically attractive element in accordance with the first exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

[0023] Fig. 7B is an exploded sectional view of the outer magnetically attractive element in accordance with the first exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

[0024] Figs. 8A-8E illustrate consecutive steps of assembling the elastic band member with the outer magnetically attractive elements in accordance with the first exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

[0025] Fig. 9 is a partial sectional view of the inner magnetically attractive elements in accordance with the first exemplary embodiment of the present invention releasably attached to the outer magnetically attractive element solely by a magnetic attraction force;

[0026] Fig. 10 is a sectional side view of the protective pad assembly secured to a pants of a user taken along the lines 10-10 in Fig. 2A;

[0027] Fig. 11 A is a sectional view of the protective pad assembly secured to the pants of the user in accordance with the first exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

[0028] Fig. 11B is an enlarged view of a fragment of the protective pad assembly shown in the circle“11B” of Fig. 11 A;

[0029] Fig. 11C is a sectional view of the protective pad assembly secured to the pants of the user taken along the lines 11C-11C in Fig. 2A;

[0030] Figs. 12A and 12B are front and side views of a protective pad assembly with an elastic band device in accordance with a second exemplary embodiment of the present invention; [0031] Fig. 12C is a partial side view of the protective pad assembly in accordance with the second exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

[0032] Fig. 13 is a front view of an outer protective pad of an outer member in accordance with the second exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

[0033] Fig. 14A is a sectional view of the protective pad assembly secured to the pants of the user in accordance with the second exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

[0034] Fig. 14B is an enlarged view of a fragment of the protective pad assembly shown in the circle“14B” of Fig. 14 A;

[0035] Fig. 14C is a sectional view of the protective pad assembly secured to the pants of the user taken along the lines 14C-14C in Fig. 12A;

[0036] Figs. 15A and 15B are front and side views of a protective pad assembly with an elastic band device in accordance with a third exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

[0037] Fig. 15C is a partial side view of the protective pad assembly in accordance with the third exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

[0038] Fig. 16 is a front view of an outer protective pad with an elastic band member of an outer member in accordance with the third exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

[0039] Fig. 17A is a sectional view of the protective pad assembly secured to the pants of the user in accordance with the third exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

[0040] Fig. 17B is an enlarged view of a fragment of the protective pad assembly shown in the circle“17B” of Fig. 17 A;

[0041] Fig. 17C is a sectional view of the protective pad assembly secured to the pants of the user taken along the lines 17C-17C in Fig. 15 A; [0042] Figs. 18A and 18B are front and side views of a protective pad assembly with an elastic band device in accordance with a fourth exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

[0043] Fig. 18C is a partial side view of the protective pad assembly in accordance with the fourth exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

[0044] Fig. 19A is a sectional view of an inner member of the protective pad assembly in accordance with the fourth exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

[0045] Fig. 19B is a sectional view of the protective pad assembly secured to the pants of the user in accordance with the fourth exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

[0046] Fig. 19C is an enlarged view of a fragment of the protective pad assembly shown in the circle“19C” of Fig. 19B;

[0047] Fig. 19D is a sectional view of the protective pad assembly secured to the pants of the user taken along the lines 19D-19D in Fig. 18 A;

[0048] Figs. 20A and 20C are front and side views of a protective pad assembly with an elastic band device in accordance with a fifth exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

[0049] Fig. 20B is a partial side view of the protective pad assembly in accordance with the fifth exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

[0050] Fig. 21 A is a sectional view of an inner member of the protective pad assembly in accordance with the fifth exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

[0051] Fig. 21B is a sectional view of the protective pad assembly secured to the pants of the user taken along the lines 21B-21B in Fig. 20A;

[0052] Fig. 21C is an enlarged view of a fragment of the protective pad assembly shown in the circle“21C” of Fig. 21B; [0053] Figs. 22 is a front view of a protective pad assembly with an elastic band device in accordance with a sixth exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

[0054] Fig. 23 is a front view of an inner member in accordance with the sixth exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

[0055] Fig. 24 is a sectional view of the inner member in accordance with the sixth exemplary embodiment of the present invention taken along the lines 24-24 in Fig. 23;

[0056] Fig. 25A is a front view of an elastic band member with outer male securing components in accordance with the sixth exemplary embodiment of the present invention in a relaxed state;

[0057] Fig. 25B is a rear view of the elastic band member with the outer male securing components in accordance with the sixth exemplary embodiment of the present invention in the relaxed state;

[0058] Fig. 25C is a rear view of the elastic band member with the outer male securing components in accordance with the sixth exemplary embodiment of the present invention in a stretched state;

[0059] Fig. 26 is a sectional side view of the protective pad assembly secured to a pants of a user taken along the lines 26-26 in Fig. 22; and

[0060] Fig. 27 is a sectional view of the protective pad assembly secured to the pants of the user taken along the lines 27-27 in Fig. 22.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0061] Reference will now be made in detail to exemplary embodiments and methods of the invention as illustrated in the accompanying drawings, in which like reference characters designate like or corresponding parts throughout the drawings. It should be noted, however, that the invention in its broader aspects is not limited to the specific details, representative devices and methods, and illustrative examples shown and described in connection with the exemplary embodiments and methods.

[0062] This description of exemplary embodiments is intended to be read in connection with the accompanying drawings, which are to be considered part of the entire written description. In the description, relative terms such as“inner” and“outer”,“inside” and“outside,” "horizontal" and "vertical," "front" and "rear," "upper" and "lower," "top" and "bottom" as well as derivatives thereof (e.g., "horizontally," "downwardly," "upwardly," etc.) should be construed to refer to the orientation as then described or as shown in the drawing figure under discussion and to the orientation relative to a vehicle body. These relative terms are for convenience of description and normally are not intended to require a particular orientation. Terms concerning attachments, coupling and the like, such as "connected" and "interconnected," refer to a relationship wherein structures are secured or attached to one another either directly or indirectly through intervening structures, as well as both movable or rigid attachments or relationships, unless expressly described otherwise. The term“operatively connected” is such an attachment, coupling or connection that allows the pertinent structures to operate as intended by virtue of that relationship. The term“integral” (or“unitary”) relates to a part made as a single part, or a part made of separate components fixedly (i.e., non-moveably) connected together. Additionally, the words“a” and/or“an” as used in the claims mean“at least one” and the word“two” as used in the claims means“at least two”. For the purpose of clarity, some technical material that is known in the related art has not been described in detail in order to avoid unnecessarily obscuring the disclosure.

[0063] FIGS. 2A-2C of the accompanying drawings illustrate a first exemplary embodiment of a protective pad assembly 20 of the present invention. The protective pad assembly 20 of the first exemplary embodiment of the present invention comprises an inner member 22, best shown in Figs. 3 and 4, provided to be disposed inside the pants 11 for being positioned over an elbow area or a knee area 7 of a user (or wearer) 2, and an outer member 24, best shown in Figs. 6A- 6C, in the form of an elastic band member provided to be disposed outside a garment in alignment with the inner member 22.

[0064] The protective pad assembly 20 of the first exemplary embodiment of the present invention is in the form of a knee pad assembly for releasably attaching to the garment, such as trousers (pants) 11. The knee pad assembly 20 further comprises two interior securing components, each in the form of an inner magnetically attractive element 28 attached directly to the inner member 22 and spaced from each other in the transverse direction perpendicular to the longitudinal direction of the inner member 22. It is known that the longitudinal axis is the axis considered length wise (the axis of length, i.e., greater of two dimensions of a body), while the transverse (or lateral) axis is perpendicular to the longitudinal axis. The inner member 22 according to the first embodiment of the present invention is in the form of a flexible inner pad preferably made of an impact absorbing material, more preferably of a flexible cushioning material, such as ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA). H e flexible inner pad 22 has a convex outer surface 23 o and a concave inner surface 23 i. [0065] As illustrated in Figs. 5A and 5B, each of the inner magnetically attractive elements 28 has a central axis 29 and includes a recessed cup 30 attached to the convex outer surface 23 o of the flexible inner pad 22, as best shown in Fig. 4. The recessed cup 30 of each of the inner magnetically attractive elements 28 is made of a ferromagnetic material, such as steel.

Preferably, as illustrated in FIGS. 5A and 5B, the recessed cup 30 is a relatively thin, annular piece (or part) of magnet or ferromagnetic material. The recessed cup 30 forms a recessed cavity 32 delimited by an annular flange 31 flush with the outer surface 23o of the flexible inner pad 22, as further illustrated in FIGS. 5 A and 5B.

[0066] The recessed cup 30 is secured to the inner member 22 by a flat head screw 36 extending through a countersunk hole 33 through the recessed cup 30, an aperture 23h through the flexible inner pad 22, and threadedly fastened to a threaded retaining cap 34 along the central axis 29 of the inner magnetically attractive elements 28, as best shown in Fig. 5B. The retaining cap 34 includes a cylindrical shaft portion 35s formed with inner threads 35t, and an annular flange portion 35f. The retaining cap 34 is mounted to the inner surface 23i of the inner member 22 by the screw 36 threadedly engaging the inner threads 35t of the shaft portion 35s of the retaining cap 34 so that the annular flange portion 35f of the retaining cap 34 is flush with the inner surface 23i of the inner member 22, as further illustrated in FIGS. 5A and 5B. A distance Lp between the two inner magnetically attractive elements 28 of the inner pad 22 is determined as a distance between the central axes 29 of the two inner magnetically attractive elements 28, as shown in Fig. 4.

[0067] The inner pad 22 may optionally include a felt lining attached to the inner surface 23i of the inner pad 22 to insulate the flexible inner pad 22 and create a barrier on the inner surface 23i of the inner member 22 where the felt lining makes contact with the skin of the user at a knee area 7 as best shown in FIGS. 2A-2C. Furthermore, the felt lining promotes cushioning and comfort to the knee area 7 and also acts to wick away moisture from the skin of the user.

Alternatively, an optional backing is attached to the inner surface 23i of the inner member 22 so that, in use, the backing faces the knee of the user. An adhesive, fasteners, or a combination of adhesive and fasteners may be used to secure the backing to the inner surface 23i of the inner member 22. The backing is desirably a material that provides soft cushioning on the skin, particularly when the outer surface 23o of the flexible inner pad 22 is impacted. The backing may be made of, for example, natural fabric, synthetic fabric, or a combination of natural and synthetic fabrics. The backing material may possess moisture wicking properties. Fleece and/or plush fabric materials are particularly useful.

[0068] The outer member 24 includes a rectangular elastic band member 25. In turn, the elastic band member 25 includes a rectangular, stretchable elastic band 40. Those skilled in the art will understand that elasticity, in physics, is the property of a solid material to resist a distorting influence and to return to its original shape and size after a force deforming it has been removed. The rectangular elastic band member 25 has a longitudinally first distal end 27i and a

longitudinally second distal end 27 2 , as best shown in Figs. 6A and 6C. Two outer securing components, each in the form of an outer magnetically attractive element 42, are attached directly to the rectangular elastic band member 25 and spaced from each other in the longitudinal direction of the elastic band member 25 perpendicular to the transverse direction of the rectangular elastic band member 25. According to the first exemplary embodiment of the present invention, one of the outer magnetically attractive elements 42 is disposed adjacent to the first distal end 27i, while another outer magnetically attractive element 42 is disposed adjacent to the longitudinally second distal end 27 2. [0069] As illustrated in Figs. 7A and 7B, each of the outer magnetically attractive elements 42 has a central axis 43 and includes a cylindrical magnet 44 secured to the elastic band member 25 through an inner washer 46 made of a ferromagnetic material, such as steel. As best shown in Fig. 7B, the cylindrical magnet 44 is secured to an inner surface 26i of the elastic band member 25. The outer magnetically attractive element 42 further includes an outer washer 48 mounted to an outer surface 26o of the outer elastic band member 25, opposite to the ferromagnetic washer 46. The outer washer 48 is preferably made of plastic material. The magnet 44 is secured to the outer elastic band member 25 by a flat head screw 50 extending through a countersunk hole 49 through the outer washer 48, an aperture through the outer elastic band member 25, through the inner washer 46 and threadedly fastened to a countersunk retaining nut 52 disposed in a central countersunk hole 45 through the magnet 44 along the central axis 43.

[0070] Alternatively, a position of the magnetically attractive element 42 including the magnet 44 and the magnetically attractive element 28 including the ferromagnetic recessed cup 30 may be inverted. Specifically, the inner member 22 may be provided with an inner magnetically attractive element including a magnet, similar to the magnetically attractive element 42, while the outer elastic band member 25 may be provided with an outer magnetically attractive element including a ferromagnetic recessed cup, similar to the magnetically attractive element 28.

[0071] The elastic band member is stretchable between a relaxed state (best shown in Figs. 6A and 6B), when no external stretching force Fs is applied to the elastic band member 25, and a stretched state (best shown in Fig. 6C), when an external stretching force Fs is applied to the elastic band member 25. For the purpose of the present invention, the external stretching force Fs (shown in Fig. 6C) is a force applied outwardly to longitudinally opposite ends 271 and 272 of the elastic band member 25 in order to longitudinally stretch the elastic band member 25 so as to increase a distance between the magnetically attractive elements 42. As illustrated in Figs. 6A- 6C, a distance LBR between the two outer magnetically attractive elements 42 of the elastic band member 25 in the relaxed state is less than a distance LBS between the two outer magnetically attractive elements 42 of the elastic band member 25 in the stretched state. Moreover, the distance LBR between the two outer magnetically attractive elements 42 of the elastic band member 25 in the relaxed state is less than the distance Lp between the two inner magnetically attractive elements 28 of the inner pad 22. The distances LBR and LBS between the two outer magnetically attractive elements 42 of the elastic band member 25 are determined as distances between the central axes 43 of the two outer magnetically attractive elements 42.

[0072] According to the first exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the distance LBR between the two outer magnetically attractive elements 42 of the elastic band member 25 in the relaxed state is approximately 3”-3.5”, while the distance LBS between the two outer

magnetically attractive elements 42 of the elastic band member 25 in the stretched state is approximately 5”-6”. Moreover, the external stretching force Fs stretching the elastic band member 25 to the distance LBS is approximately 4-5 lbs. Accordingly, a coefficient of linear elasticity of the elastic band member 25 is 1.3 - 3.5 lbs/inch. As long as not stretched beyond its elastic limit, the coefficient of linear elasticity of an elastic body is defined as a ratio of an external stretching force applied to the elastic body to a linear displacement of the elastic body. The coefficient of linear elasticity is a constant that depends on a material and construction of the elastic body.

[0073] Figs. 8A-8E illustrate consecutive steps of assembling the elastic band member 25 with the outer magnetically attractive elements 42. FIG. 8A shows a rectangular, stretchable elastic band 40 of elastic material of the elastic band member 25. First, the elastic band 40 is provided with two pairs of through holes (or apertures) 42 and 43 therethrough. Second, a longitudinally first distal end 411 of the elastic band 40 is folded over so that the holes 42 coincide with each other (as shown in Fig. 8B). Third, one of the magnetically attractive elements 42 is secured (or fixed) to the longitudinally first distal end 411 of the elastic band 40 (as shown in Fig. 8C and 8D). Specifically, the magnet 44, the inner washer 46 and the outer washer 48 are aligned with the apertures 42 through the elastic band 40, then the flat head screw 50 extends through the apertures 42 through the elastic band 40 of the elastic band member 25 and threadedly fastened to the retaining nut 52. Fourth, a longitudinally second distal end 4 b of the elastic band 40 is folded over so that the holes 43 coincide with each other (as shown in Fig. 8E). Fifth, another of the magnetically attractive elements 42 is secured (or fixed) to the longitudinally second distal end 4b of the elastic band 40, as shown in Figs. 6A and 6B, thus forming the elastic band member 25 with the outer magnetically attractive elements 42 in accordance with the first exemplary embodiment of the present invention. It should be appreciated that the folded over longitudinally first and second distal ends 411 and 4b of the elastic band 40 create looped pull tabs used to attach (by stretching) or release the removable elastic band member 25 from the inner member 22 and the pants 11.

[0074] The exterior securing component 42 and the interior securing component 28 collectively establish a securing device configured to releasably attach the inner member 22 to the pants 11 by capturing a thickness of the pants 11 material between the outer magnetically attractive elements 42 of the outer member 24 and the inner magnetically attractive elements 28 of the inner member 22. Fig. 9 illustrates the inner magnetically attractive elements 28 releasably attached to the outer magnetically attractive element 42 solely by a magnetic attraction force between the inner and outer magnetically attractive elements 28 and 42, respectively. Moreover, as illustrated in Fig. 9, the magnet 44 of the outer magnetically attractive element 42 is geometrically complementary to releasably mechanically mate in the recessed cavity 32 of the recessed cup 30 of the inner magnetically attractive elements 28.

[0075] It will be appreciated that spacing and positioning of the inner magnetically attractive element 28 may be selected so as to control the tension and compression needed to keep the inner pad 22 and the elastic band member 25 in place on the garment 11. Specifically, by increasing the distance LBR between the two outer magnetically attractive elements 42 of the elastic band member 25 in the relaxed state, less tension is produced when the elastic band member 25 is stretched to engage the inner magnetically attractive elements 28 of the inner pad 22 under the garment 11 and the inner pad 22. By shortening the distance LBR between the two outer magnetically attractive elements 42 of the elastic band member 25 in the relaxed state, more tension is produced when the elastic band member 25 is stretched to engage the inner magnetically attractive elements 28 of the inner pad 22 under the garment 11 and the inner pad 22

[0076] In operation, as illustrated in Figs. 2A-2C, 10 and 11 A-l 1C, the inner member (flexible inner pad) 22 is placed inside the garment (or undergarment) 11 in the area of the body that needs protection, such as a knee area 7 shown in Figs. 2A-2C, while the elastic band member 25 of the outer member 24 is placed on the outside of the garment 11 directly over the flexible inner pad 22. It will be appreciated that the location of the inner magnetically attractive elements 28 on the inner pad 22 is not complementary to the location of the outer magnetically attractive elements 42 on the elastic band member 25 in the relaxed state.

[0077] Then, one of the two outer magnetically attractive elements 42 on the elastic band member 25 in the relaxed state is oriented complementary to one of the inner magnetically attractive elements 28 on the inner pad 22 and magnetically attached to the complementary one of the inner magnetically attractive elements 28 through the garment 11.

[0078] Next, the elastic band member 25 is stretched by the user 2 so that another of the two outer magnetically attractive elements 42 on the elastic band member 25 is complementary to another of the inner magnetically attractive elements 28 on the inner pad 22 and magnetically attached to the complementary inner magnetically attractive element 28 through the garment 11. Therefore, in an assembled condition of the protective pad assembly 20, the location of the inner magnetically attractive elements 28 on the inner member 22 is complementary to the location of the outer magnetically attractive elements 42 on the outer member 24.

[0079] Accordingly, as illustrated in Figs. 2A, 2B, 10 and 11C, the inner magnetically attractive elements 28 of the inner member 22 and the outer magnetically attractive elements 42 of the outer member 24 of the protective pad assembly 20 are releasably held in place on the garment 11 solely by magnetic attraction therebetween. In other words, the outer member 24 is releasably attached to the inner member 22 solely by the magnetic attraction force between the outer magnetically attractive elements 48 and the inner magnetically attractive elements 28.

[0080] With the arrangement of the magnetic securing device of the present invention, the user can easily disengage the outer member 24 from the garment 11, and reattach the outer member 24. More specifically, when the knee 7 of the user 2 is flexed, the protective pad assembly 20 will stay with the garment 11 and give full coverage. When the user 2 is in a standing position, the protective pad assembly 20 will hang on the garment 11, away from the user's leg 6, and allow airflow. The present invention allows the user 2 to comfortably wear the protective pad assembly 20 and reduces, if not eliminates, the risk of blood clots and nerve damage due to the strangulation effect of straps of the conventional kneepads tightly pulled around user's leg 6. When the job is done, the protective pad assembly 20 is easily disengaged from the pants 11 and the protective pad assembly 20 can be used the same way on another garment.

[0081] It will be appreciated that both the inner member 22 with the inner magnetically attractive elements 28 and the outer member 24 with the outer magnetically attractive elements 42 are not restricted or limited to any one design and/or form, and can be fabricated in various

arrangements, pull strengths, sizes, thicknesses and shapes.

[0082] Various modifications, changes, and alterations may be practiced with the above- described embodiment, including but not limited to the additional embodiments shown in Figs. 12A-26. In the interest of brevity, reference characters in Figs. 12A-26 that are discussed above in connection with the first exemplary embodiment of in Figs. 2A-26 are not further elaborated upon below, except to the extent necessary or useful to explain the additional embodiments of Figs. 12A-26. Modified components and parts are indicated by the addition of a hundred digits to the reference numerals of the components or parts.

[0083] In a protective pad assembly 120 of a second exemplary embodiment illustrated in Figs. 12A-14C, the outer member 24 is replaced by an outer member 124. The protective pad assembly 120 of Figs. 12A-14C corresponds substantially to the protective pad assembly 20 of Figs. 2A-11C, and only the outer member 124, which differs, will therefore be explained in detail below.

[0084] The outer member 124, as best shown in Figs. 12B-14C, includes an elastic band member 25 provided with two outer securing components, each in the form of an outer magnetically attractive element 42, and an outer protective pad 160 made of hard or semi-hard material, such as thermoplastic rubber (TPR). As best shown in Figs. 12A-12C, the outer protective pad 160 is adapted to be placed outside the pants 11. Moreover, as best shown in Fig. 13, the outer protective pad 160 includes two through rectangular holes 162 geometrically complementary to the elastic band member 25 and the outer magnetically attractive element 42. In other words, shape and size of each of the holes 162 through the outer protective pad 160 are such as to allow the elastic band member 25 with the outer magnetically attractive element 42 to be inserted and extend through each of the rectangular holes 162. Furthermore, the outer protective pad 160 has a convex outer surface 161o and a concave inner surface l6li.

[0085] In operation, as illustrated in Figs. 12A-12C and 14A-14C, the inner member (flexible inner pad) 22 is placed inside the garment (or undergarment) 11 in the area of the body that needs protection, such as a knee area 7 shown in Figs. 12A-12C, while the outer protective pad 160 and the elastic band member 25 of the outer member 124 is placed on the outside of the garment 11 directly over the flexible inner pad 22. It will be appreciated that the location of the inner magnetically attractive elements 28 on the inner pad 22 is not complementary to the location of the outer magnetically attractive elements 42 on the elastic band member 25 in the relaxed state.

[0086] The elastic band member 25 is mounted to the outer protective pad 160 by inserting into and extending the longitudinally distal ends 27i and 212 of the elastic band member 25 through the rectangular holes 162 of the outer protective pad 160 so that the outer magnetically attractive elements 42 on the elastic band member 25 are disposed adjacent to the concave inner surface l6li of the outer protective pad 160, while a central portion of the elastic band member 25 is disposed adjacent to the convex outer surface 161 o of the outer protective pad 160, as shown in Figs. 12A, 12B and 14C. In this position, the elastic band member 25 in in the relaxed state.

[0087] Next, the elastic band member 25 is stretched by the user 2 so that another of the two outer magnetically attractive elements 42 on the elastic band member 25 is complementary to another of the inner magnetically attractive elements 28 on the inner pad 22 and magnetically attached to the complementary inner magnetically attractive element 28 through the garment 11. Therefore, in an assembled condition of the protective pad assembly 120, the location of the inner magnetically attractive elements 28 on the inner member 22 is complementary to the location of the outer magnetically attractive elements 42 on the outer member 124.

[0088] Accordingly, as illustrated in Figs. 12A, 12B and 14C, the inner magnetically attractive elements 28 of the inner member 22 and the outer magnetically attractive elements 42 of the outer member 124 of the protective pad assembly 120 are releasably held in place on the garment 11 solely by magnetic attraction therebetween. In other words, the outer member 124 is releasably attached to the inner member 22 solely by the magnetic attraction force between the outer magnetically attractive elements 48 and the inner magnetically attractive elements 28.

[0089] In a protective pad assembly 220 of a third exemplary embodiment illustrated in Figs. 15A-17C, the outer member 124 of the second exemplary embodiment illustrated in Figs. 12A- 14C is replaced by an outer member 224. The protective pad assembly 220 of Figs. 15A-17C corresponds substantially to the protective pad assembly 120 of Figs. 12A-14C, and only the outer member 224, which differs, will therefore be explained in detail below.

[0090] The outer member 224, as best shown in Figs. 15A-17C, includes an elastic band member 25 provided with two outer securing components, each in the form of an outer magnetically attractive element 42, and an outer protective pad 260. The outer protective pad 260 according to the third embodiment of the present invention is in the form of a flexible outer pad preferably made of an impact absorbing material, more preferably of a flexible cushioning material, such as ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA). Hie flexible outer pad 260 has a convex outer surface 26 lo and a concave inner surface 26 li. [0091] As best shown in Figs. 15A-15C and 17A-17C, the outer protective pad 260 is adapted to be placed outside the pants 11. Moreover, as best shown in Fig. 16, the outer protective pad 260 includes two through rectangular holes 262 geometrically complementary to the elastic band member 25. In other words, shape and size of each of the holes 262 through the outer protective pad 260 are such as to allow the elastic band member 25 with the outer magnetically attractive element 42 to be inserted and extend through each of the rectangular holes 262.

[0092] Operation of the protective pad assembly 220 of the third exemplary embodiment is substantially similar to the operation the protective pad assembly 120 according to the second exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

[0093] In a protective pad assembly 320 of a fourth exemplary embodiment illustrated in Figs. 18A-19D, the inner member 22 of the third exemplary embodiments illustrated in Figs. 15A-17C is replaced by an inner member 322. The protective pad assembly 320 of Figs. 18A- 19D corresponds substantially to the protective pad assembly 220 of Figs. 15A-17C, and only the inner member 322, which differs, will therefore be explained in detail below.

[0094] The protective pad assembly 320 of the fourth exemplary embodiment comprises an inner member 322 provided to be disposed inside the pants 11 for positioning over an elbow area or the knee area 7 of the user (or wearer) 2, and an outer member 224. The protective pad assembly 320 further comprises two interior securing components, each in the form of an inner magnetically attractive element 28 mounted to the inner member 322 and spaced from each other in the transverse direction perpendicular to the longitudinal direction of the inner member 322. Specifically, the inner member 322 includes an inner protective pad 366 having a convex outer surface 367o and a concave inner surface 367i, and two looped elastic bands 370. Furthermore, each of the inner magnetically attractive elements 28 is attached to one of the looped elastic bands 370, including a ferromagnetic cup 30 mounted to each of the looped elastic bands 370, as best shown Fig. 19A. Each of the inner magnetically attractive elements 28 attached to one of the looped elastic bands 370 defines one of the inner securing components.

[0095] Each of the looped elastic bands 370 with the inner magnetically attractive elements 28 is non-removably secured to the inner protective pad 366. Specifically, the inner protective pad 366 includes two through rectangular holes (or slots) 368 geometrically complementary to the elastic band 370. In other words, shape and size of each of the holes 368 through the inner protective pad 366 are such as to allow the elastic band 370 to be inserted and extend through each of the rectangular holes 368.

[0096] During the manufacturing of the inner member 322, the inner elastic band 370 is fed thru each of the rectangular holes 368 starting from the convex outer surface 367o of the inner protective pad 366 to the concave inner surface 367i thereof, then end portions of the elastic band 370 are sewn or otherwise fastened together so that the inner magnetically attractive element 28 are disposed on the convex outer surface 367o of the inner protective pad 366, as best shown in Figs. 19A-19D. As further illustrated in Fig. 19A, a distance Lp between the two inner magnetically attractive elements 28 of the inner member 322 is determined as a distance between the central axes 29 of the two inner magnetically attractive elements 28.

[0097] In operation, as illustrated in Figs. 18A-18C and 19A-19D, the inner member 322 (or the flexible inner protective pad 366) is placed inside the garment (or undergarment) 11 in the area of the body that needs protection, such as a knee area 7 shown in Figs. 18A-18C, while the outer protective pad 260 and the elastic band member 25 of the outer member 224 is placed on the outside of the garment 11 directly over the flexible inner protective pad 366. It will be appreciated that the location of the inner magnetically attractive elements 28 on the inner pad 322 is not complementary to the location of the outer magnetically attractive elements 42 on the elastic band member 25 in the relaxed state.

[0098] The elastic band member 25 is mounted to the outer protective pad 260 by inserting into and extending the longitudinally distal ends 27i and 212 of the elastic band member 25 through the rectangular holes 262 of the outer protective pad 260 so that the outer magnetically attractive elements 42 on the elastic band member 25 are disposed adjacent to the concave inner surface 26 li of the outer protective pad 260, while a central portion of the elastic band member 25 is disposed adjacent to the convex outer surface 26 lo of the outer protective pad 260, as shown in Fig. 19B. In this position, the elastic band member 25 in in the relaxed state.

[0099] Next, the elastic band member 25 is stretched by the user 2 so that another of the two outer magnetically attractive elements 42 on the elastic band member 25 is complementary to another of the inner magnetically attractive elements 28 on the inner member 322 and magnetically attached to the complementary inner magnetically attractive element 28 through the garment 11. Therefore, in an assembled condition of the protective pad assembly 320, the location of the inner magnetically attractive elements 28 on the inner member 322 is

complementary to the location of the outer magnetically attractive elements 42 on the outer member 224.

[00100] Accordingly, as illustrated in Figs. 18A-18C and 19B-19D, the inner magnetically attractive elements 28 of the inner member3 22 and the outer magnetically attractive elements 42 of the outer member 224 of the protective pad assembly 320 are releasably held in place on the garment 11 solely by magnetic attraction therebetween. In other words, the outer member 224 is releasably attached to the inner member 322 solely by the magnetic attraction force between the outer magnetically attractive elements 48 and the inner magnetically attractive elements 28.

[00101] Alternatively, the outer member 224 of the protective pad assembly 320 of the fourth exemplary embodiment may be identical to the outer member 24 according to the first exemplary embodiment or the outer member 124 according to the second exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

[00102] In a protective pad assembly 420 of a fifth exemplary embodiment illustrated in Figs. 20A-21C, the inner member 322 of the third exemplary embodiments illustrated in Figs. 18A- 19D is replaced by an inner member 422. The protective pad assembly 420 of Figs. 20A-21C corresponds substantially to the protective pad assembly 220 of Figs. 18A-19D, and only the inner member 422, which differs, will therefore be explained in detail below.

[00103] The protective pad assembly 420 of the fifth exemplary embodiment comprises an inner member 422 provided to be disposed inside the pants 11 for positioning over an elbow area or the knee area 7 of the user (or wearer) 2, and an outer member 224. The protective pad assembly 420 further comprises two interior securing components each in the form of an inner magnetically attractive element 28 mounted to the inner member 422 and spaced from each other in the transverse direction perpendicular to the longitudinal direction of the inner member 422. Specifically, the inner member 422 includes an inner protective pad 366 having a convex outer surface 367o and a concave inner surface 367i, and an inner elastic band member 470 mounted to the inner protective pad 366. Furthermore, each of the inner magnetically attractive elements 28 is attached to the inner elastic band member 470, as best shown Fig. 21 A. Each of the inner magnetically attractive elements 28 attached to the inner elastic band member 470 defines one of the inner securing components. [00104] The inner elastic band member 470 with the inner magnetically attractive elements 28 is removably secured to the inner protective pad 366. Specifically, the inner protective pad 366 includes two through rectangular holes (or slots) 368 geometrically complementary to the inner elastic band member 470. In other words, shape and size of each of the holes 368 through the inner protective pad 366 are such as to allow the inner elastic band member 470 to be inserted and extend through each of the rectangular holes 368.

[00105] The inner elastic band member 470 is mounted to the inner protective pad 366 by inserting into and extending the longitudinally distal ends of the inner elastic band member 470 through the rectangular holes 368 of the inner protective pad 366 so that the inner magnetically attractive elements 28 on the inner elastic band member 470 are disposed adjacent to the convex outer surface 367o of the inner protective pad 366, while a central portion of the inner elastic band member 470 is disposed adjacent to the concave inner surface 367i of the inner elastic band member 470, as shown in Fig. 21 A. In this position, the inner elastic band member 470 in in the relaxed state. As further illustrated in Fig. 21 A, a distance Lp between the two inner

magnetically attractive elements 28 of the inner member 422 is determined as a distance between the central axes 29 of the two inner magnetically attractive elements 28.

[00106] Operation of the protective pad assembly 420 of the fifth exemplary embodiment is substantially similar to the operation the protective pad assembly 320 according to the fourth exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

[00107] Alternatively, the outer member 224 of the protective pad assembly 420 of the fifth exemplary embodiment may be identical to the outer member 24 according to the first exemplary embodiment or the outer member 124 according to the second exemplary embodiment of the present invention. [00108] In a protective pad assembly 520 of a sixth exemplary embodiment illustrated in Figs. 22-27, the inner member 322 of the third exemplary embodiments illustrated in Figs. 18A-19D is replaced by an inner member 422. The protective pad assembly 520 of Figs. 22-27 corresponds substantially to the protective pad assembly 20 according to the first exemplary embodiment of Figs. 2A-11C, and only the inner member 522 and the outer member 524, which differ, will therefore be explained in detail below.

[00109] The protective pad assembly 520 of the sixth exemplary embodiment comprises an inner member 522 provided to be disposed inside the pants 11 for positioning over an elbow area or the knee area 7 of the user (or wearer) 2 and configured to protect the body part of the user from impact, and an outer member 524. The inner member 522 according to the sixth embodiment of the present invention is in the form of a flexible inner pad preferably made of an impact absorbing material, more preferably of a flexible cushioning material, such as ethylene- vinyl acetate (EVA). The flexible inner pad 522 has a convex outer surface 523o and a concave inner surface 523i. The outer member 524 includes a rectangular elastic band member 25.

[00110] The protective pad assembly 520 further comprises two inner securing components 528 attached to the inner member 522, and two outer securing components 542 attached to the rectangular elastic band member 25 of the outer member 524.

[00111] The two interior securing components 528 are spaced from each other in the transverse direction perpendicular to the longitudinal direction of the inner member 522, as best shown in Figs. 23 and 24. Each of the inner securing components 528 is embodied as a catch (a female member), while each of the outer securing components 542 is embodied as a strike (a male member). Specifically, each of the inner securing components 528 includes a female member 530 and a socket plate 534 fixedly joined to one another, such as by welding, fasteners, adhesive, or as a unitary/integral piece. The socket plate 534 and the female member 530 can be made of, for example, wood, plastic, metal, or a combination of two or more materials. The socket plate 534 is flat and round in the illustrated embodiment of FIGS. 23 and 24 to avoid sharp edges that might dig into or tear the flexible inner pad 522. However, the socket plate 534 may have other shapes and may have a non-uniform thickness. The female member 530 may have other configurations capable of mechanically mating with a male member (discussed below) of the outer securing components 542. The female member 530 includes a socket 532 (or catch). Each of the female members 530 illustrated in connection with the sixth exemplary embodiment includes legs 533 forming the socket 532 of the female member 530. The female members 530 are made of flexible material, such as polyoxymethylene (POM), also known as poly acetal.

[00112] The outer securing components 542 are mounted to the rectangular elastic band member 25 and spaced from each other in the longitudinal direction of the elastic band member 25 perpendicular to the transverse direction of the rectangular elastic band member 25.

According to the sixth exemplary embodiment of the present invention, one of the outer securing components 542 is disposed adjacent to the first distal end 27i, while another outer securing component 542 is disposed adjacent to the longitudinally second distal end 272 of the elastic band member 25.

[00113] Each of the outer securing components 542 includes a male member 544 and a plug plate 546 fixedly joined to one another, such as by welding, fasteners, adhesive, or as a unitary/integral piece. The male member 544 is in the form of a plug (or strike) extending from the plug plate 546 and configured to be inserted into the socket 532 and releasably mechanically mated to the female member 530 of the inner securing components 528. The plug plate 546 and the male member 544 can be made of, for example, wood, plastic, metal, or a combination of two or more materials. According to the sixth exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the male member 544 is made of polyamide or Nylon. The plug plate 546 is flat and round in the illustrated embodiment to avoid any sharp edges that might dig into the user’s skin. However, the plug plate 546 may have other shapes and may have a non-uniform thickness. Similarly, the male member 544 may undertake other configurations capable of mechanically mating with the female member 543 of the interior securing component 528.

[00114] The legs 533 of the female members 530, made, for example, of polyacetal, are sufficiently flexible to flare apart from one another to receive the male members 544 inserted for mating, yet sufficiently resilient to return substantially to their original configuration when mated to the male members 544, thereby mechanically retaining the male members 544 in mated relationship until a predetermined force pulls the securing components 528 and 542 apart from one another. Generally, the predetermined force required to separate the mated securing components 528 and 542 should be greater than typical forces acting on the securing components 528 and 542 during intended use of the protective pad assembly 520 by the wearer.

[00115] The mechanically mating male member 544 of the outer securing component 542 and the female member 530 of the interior securing component 528 are configured to include a clearance or space therebetween. The clearance/space substantially corresponds to and compensates for the garment material thickness, that is, so that the garment 11 may be received between the mechanically mating portions of the outer and inner securing components 542 and 528 without creating any holes, tears, or the like in the garment 11. Thus, the outer and inner securing components 542 and 528 firmly capture, grip, and secure the fabric of the garment 11 to provide increased holding strength of the protective pad assembly 520 onto the pants leg of the garment 11 without permitting sliding of the garment 11 relative to the mechanically mated outer and inner securing components 542 and 528.

[00116] Alternatively, a position of the male securing components 542 and the female securing components 528 may be inverted. Specifically, the inner member 522 may be provided with inner male securing components, similar to the male securing components 542, while the elastic band member 25 may be provided with outer female securing components, similar to the female securing components 528.

[00117] It will be appreciated that both the female members 530 and the male members 544 are not restricted or limited to any one design and/or form, and can be fabricated in various arrangements, pull strengths, sizes, thicknesses and shapes such as speared shaped, round, rectangular, square, and oval. For example, according to further variations of the first and other exemplary embodiments disclosed herein, the securing devices with male and female members that releasably mechanically mate with one another may be embodied as an adjustable tension catch device, a knuckle catch device, a roller catch device, a spring button catch device, a combination thereof, and other releasably mechanically mating members of securing devices, disclosed, for example, in U.S. Patent Publication. No. 2017/0065007, hereby incorporated in its entirety by reference herein. In other words, the securing components described in the sixth exemplary embodiment are configured to mechanically mate.

[00118] A distance Lp between the two inner securing components 528 of the inner pad 522 is the distance between central axes 529 of the two inner securing components 528, as shown in Fig. 24. As illustrated in Figs. 25A-25C, a distance LBR between the two outer securing components 542 of the elastic band member 25 in the relaxed state is less than a distance LBS between the two outer securing components 542 of the elastic band member 25 in the stretched state. Moreover, the distance LBR between the two outer securing components 542 of the elastic band member 25 in the relaxed state is less than the distance Lp between the two inner securing components 528 of the inner pad 522. The distances LBR and LBS between the two outer securing components 542 of the elastic band member 25 are determined as distances between the central axes 543 of the two outer securing components 542.

[00119] According to the sixth exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the distance LBR between the two outer securing components 542 of the elastic band member 25 in the relaxed state is approximately 3”-3.5”, while the distance LBS between the two outer securing components 542 of the elastic band member 25 in the stretched state is approximately 5”-6”. Moreover, the external stretching force Fs stretching the elastic band member 25 to the distance LBS is approximately 4-5 lbs. Accordingly, a coefficient of linear elasticity of the elastic band member 25 is 1.3 - 3.5 lbs/inch.

[00120] In operation, as illustrated in Figs. 22, 25 and 27, the inner member (flexible inner pad) 522 is placed inside the garment (or undergarment) 11 in the area of the body that needs protection, such as a knee area 7 shown in Figs. 22, while the elastic band member 25 of the outer member 524 is placed on the outside of the garment 11 directly over the flexible inner pad 522 (as best shown in Figs. 22, 25 and 27). It will be appreciated that the location of the inner securing components 528 on the inner pad 522 is not complementary to the location of the o outer securing components 542 on the elastic band member 25 in the relaxed state.

[00121] Then, one of the two outer securing components 542 on the elastic band member 25 in the relaxed state is oriented complementary to one of the inner securing components 528 on the inner pad 522 and mechanically attached to the complementary one of the inner securing components 528 through the garment 11. [00122] Next, the elastic band member 25 is stretched by the user 2 so that another of the two outer securing components 542 on the elastic band member 25 is complementary to another of the inner securing components 528 on the inner pad 522 and mechanically attached to the complementary inner securing component 528 through the garment 11. Therefore, in an assembled condition of the protective pad assembly 520, the location of the in inner securing components 528 on the inner member 522 is complementary to the location of the outer securing components 542 on the outer member 524.

[00123] Accordingly, as illustrated in Figs. 22, 25 and 27, the inner securing components 528 of the inner member 522 and the outer securing components 542 of the outer member 524 of the protective pad assembly 520 are releasably hold in place on the garment 11 solely by mechanical engagement therebetween. In other words, the outer member 524 is releasably attached to the inner member 522 solely by the mechanical engagement between the outer securing components 542 and the inner securing components 528.

[00124] With the arrangement of the mechanical securing device of the sixth exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the user can easily disengage the outer member 524 from the garment 11, and reattach the outer member 524. More specifically, when the knee 7 of the user 2 is flexed, the protective pad assembly 520 will stay with the garment 11 and give full coverage. When the user 2 is in a standing position, the protective pad assembly 520 will hang on the garment 11, away from the user's leg 6, and allow airflow. The present invention allows the user 2 to comfortably wear the protective pad assembly 520 and reduces, if not eliminates, the risk of blood clots and nerve damage due to the strangulation effect of straps of the conventional kneepads tightly pulled around user's leg 6. When the job is done the protective pad assembly 520 is easily disengaged from the paints 11 and the protective pad assembly 520 can be used the same way on another garment.

[00125] Therefore, the protective pad assembly in accordance with the present invention makes the wearing of protective pad assembly more comfortable and minimizes the risk of blood clots and nerve damage due to the strangulation effect of straps tightly pulled around user's limb.

[00126] While the exemplary embodiments of the present invention are described with the reference to the knee pad assembly, it will be appreciated that the present invention is equally applicable to other variations and alternative embodiments of the present invention, such as an elbow pad assembly for releasably attaching to a garment, such as shirt or jacket (not shown).

The materials used in construction of the protective pad assembly according to the present invention may include a variety of compositions consistent with the function of the invention.

[00127] The foregoing description of the exemplary embodiment(s) of the present invention has been presented for the purpose of illustration in accordance with the provisions of the Patent Statutes. It is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise forms disclosed. The embodiments disclosed hereinabove were chosen in order to best illustrate the principles of the present invention and its practical application to thereby enable those of ordinary skill in the art to best utilize the invention in various embodiments and with various modifications as suited to the particular use contemplated, as long as the principles described herein are followed. This application is therefore intended to cover any variations, uses, or adaptations of the invention using its general principles. Further, this application is intended to cover such departures from the present disclosure as come within known or customary practice in the art to which this invention pertains. Thus, changes can be made in the above-described invention without departing from the intent and scope thereof. It is also intended that the scope of the present invention be defined by the claims appended thereto.




 
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