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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
A SCOOP
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/159158
Kind Code:
A2
Abstract:
A scoop (1) for scooping a faeces (2) or other material from the ground into a bag (3) comprises a base (6) defining a forward edge (10) and extends rearwardly to a proximal end (8). A pair of side walls (15) extend rearwardly on respective opposite sides of the base (6) and rearwardly from the forward edge (10). A first coupler (24) adjacent the proximal end (8) of the scoop (1) is configured to releasably engage a second coupler (45) of a handle (25) for attaching the handle (25) to the scoop (1). Two pairs of receiving clips (27) are located on each side wall (15) adjacent a forward portion (19) thereof and define respective downwardly extending receiving slots (30) for receiving end engagement members (33) of a protective element (5) of cardboard material for protecting the bag (3) during scooping of a faeces from the ground. Initially, the scoop (1) is inserted into the bag (3) with the forward edge (10) thereof engaged in a closed end (70) of the bag (3). The protective element (5) is then secured to the scoop (1) on the underside of the base (6) adjacent a forward portion (19) thereof with a portion of the bag (3) located between the protective element (5) and the base (6). On the faeces (2) being scooped into the portion of the bag (3) lining a collecting portion (17) of the scoop (1), the bag (3) is removed from the scoop (1) by turning the bag inside-out during removal from the scoop (1), so that on removal from the scoop (1) the faeces (2) and the protective element (5) are located in the bag (3) for disposal with the bag (3).

Inventors:
MCGRATH, Brendan Edmond (88 Dublin Road, Sutton, Dublin 13, IE)
Application Number:
IE2019/000001
Publication Date:
August 22, 2019
Filing Date:
February 13, 2019
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
MCGRATH, Brendan Edmond (88 Dublin Road, Sutton, Dublin 13, IE)
International Classes:
E01H1/12
Other References:
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
F.F. GORMAN & CO. (15 Clanwilliam Square, Dublin 2, IE)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1. A scoop having a distal forward edge, an upwardly facing surface extending rearwardly from the forward edge, a downwardly facing surface extending rearwardly from the forward edge, and a receiving means configured to receive and retain a protective element for protecting a portion of a bag, in which at least a portion of the scoop is inserted, from being scuffed by the ground during scooping of an article or material from the ground.

2. A scoop as claimed in Claim 1 in which the receiving means is configured to retain the protective element adjacent the forward edge.

3. A scoop as claimed in Claim 1 or 2 in which the receiving means is configured for retaining the protective element extending forwardly beyond the forward edge.

4. A scoop as claimed in any preceding claim in which the receiving means is configured for releasably receiving and retaining the protective element therein.

5. A scoop as claimed in any preceding claim in which a positioning means is provided for positioning the protective element in the receiving means. 6. A scoop as claimed in any preceding claim in which a pair of receiving means are provided on respective opposite sides of the scoop for receiving and retaining the protective element extending across the scoop from one side thereof to the other.

7. A scoop as claimed in any preceding claim in which each receiving means defines with a portion of the scoop a receiving slot for receiving the protective element.

8. A scoop as claimed in any preceding claim in which each receiving slot extends downwardly terminating in a downwardly facing open mouth for receiving the protective element therethrough into the receiving slot.

9. A scoop as claimed in any preceding claim in which each receiving means comprises a receiving clip secured to a corresponding portion of the scoop, the receiving clip defining with the corresponding portion of the scoop the downwardly extending receiving slot.

10. A scoop as claimed in any preceding claim in which each receiving means comprises a pair of adjacent but spaced apart receiving clips.

11. A scoop as claimed in Claim 9 or 10 in which a rib extends downwardly along one of the receiving clip and a portion of the scoop adjacent the receiving clip, and cooperates with the other one of the receiving clip and the portion of the scoop for retaining the protective element therein.

12. A scoop as claimed in Claim 11 in which the rib extends from the scoop between an adjacent pair of the receiving clips.

13. A scoop as claimed in any preceding claim in which the scoop comprises a pair of spaced apart side walls extending from a location adjacent the forward edge on respective opposite sides of the upwardly facing surface.

14. A scoop as claimed in Claim 13 in which one of the receiving means is provided on each side wall.

15. A scoop as claimed in Claim 13 or 14 in which each side wall extends in a generally rearwardly direction towards a proximal end of the scoop.

16. A scoop as claimed in any preceding claim in which the scoop comprises a base element defining the forward edge and the upwardly facing surface and the downwardly facing surface.

17. A scoop as claimed in any preceding claim in which the scoop comprises the protective element.

18. A scoop as claimed in Claim 17 in which the protective element is releasably engageable in the receiving means.

19. A scoop as claimed in Claim 17 or 18 in which the protective element comprises an elongated protective panel extending across the downwardly facing surface of the scoop and defining with the downwardly facing surface a gap for accommodating a portion of the bag between the downwardly facing surface and the protective panel.

20. A scoop as claimed in any of Claims 17 to 19 in which the protective panel extends between a pair of spaced apart end engagement members for engaging the respective receiving means.

21. A scoop as claimed in Claim 20 in which the protective element is provided with a pair of spaced apart fold lines extending transversely relative to the protective element for defining the protective panel and the end engagement members.

22. A scoop as claimed in Claim 20 or 21 in which the end engagement members of the protective element extend at an angle of approximately 90” to the protective panel thereof.

23. A scoop as claimed in any of Claims 19 to 22 in which the protective panel defines a forwardly facing edge located forwardly of the forward edge of the scoop.

24. A scoop as claimed in any of Claims 17 to 23 in which the protective element comprises a biodegradable material.

25. A scoop as claimed in any of Claims 17 to 24 in which the protective element comprises a compostable material.

26. A scoop as claimed in any of Claims 17 to 25 in which the protective element comprises a semirigid material.

27. A scoop as claimed in any of Claims 17 to 26 in which the protective element comprises cardboard.

28. A scoop as claimed in any preceding claim in which a coupling means for coupling the scoop to a handle is provided.

29. A scoop as claimed in Claim 28 in which the coupling means comprises a releasable coupling means.

30. A scoop as claimed in Claim 28 or 29 in which the coupling means comprises one of a pair of first and second inter-engageable complementary formations located adjacent the proximal end of the scoop for engaging the other one of the pair of first and second inter-engageable complementary formations located on the handle.

31. A scoop as claimed in Claim 30 in which the one of the first and second inter-engageable complementary formations comprises one of a T-shaped member extending from the proximal end of the scoop and a T-shaped slot formed in the proximal end of the scoop.

32. A scoop as claimed in Claim 30 or 31 in which the one of the first and second inter-engageable complementary formations of the coupling means formed adjacent the proximal end of the scoop comprises a T-shaped slot.

33. A scoop as claimed in Claim 32 in which the T-shaped slot formed adjacent the proximal end of the scoop is defined by three elongated coupling members extending rearwardly from the proximal end of the scoop, a first one and a second one of the coupling members being configured to define a leg of the T-shaped slot, and the first one and the second one of the coupling members being configured to define with a third one of the coupling members a transversely extending slot of the T-shaped slot.

34. A scoop as claimed in Claim 33 in which the transverse slot of the T-shaped slot defined by the first, second and third ones of the coupling members is of arcuate shape.

35. A scoop as claimed in any of Claims 28 to 34 in which a retaining means is provided for releasably retaining the scoop coupled to the handle.

36. A scoop as claimed in any preceding claim in which the scoop comprises a handle, releasably coupleable with the scoop by the coupling means.

37. A scoop as claimed in Claim 36 in which the handle comprises an elongated handle having a handgrip portion thereof, and the handle terminates at a distal end thereof in one of the first and second inter-engageable complementary formations for engaging the other one of the first and second inter- engageable complementary formations of the coupling means.

38. A scoop as claimed in Claim 37 in which the one of the first and second inter-engageable complementary formation of the handle extends distally from the handle.

39. A scoop as claimed in Claim 37 or 38 in which the one of the first and second inter-engageable complementary formation of the handle comprises a T-shaped member extending distally from the distal end of the handle.

40. A scoop as claimed in Claim 39 in which the T-shaped member of the handle comprises a transversely extending arcuate cross-member.

41. A scoop as claimed in Claim 39 or 40 in which the T-shaped member of the handle is secured to the handle.

42. A scoop as claimed in any preceding claim in which the scoop is configured for coupling to one of a ball throwing implement and a handle of a ball throwing implement.

43. A scoop as claimed in Claim 42 in which the coupling means is configured for coupling the scoop to the one of the ball throwing implement and the handle of the ball throwing implement.

44. A scoop as claimed in any preceding claim in which the scoop comprises the bag.

45. A scoop as claimed in Claim 44 in which the bag comprises a bio-degradable material.

46. A scoop as claimed in Claim 44 or 45 in which the bag comprises a bio-degradable polymer material.

47. A scoop as claimed in any preceding claim in which the bag comprises a compostable material.

48. A scoop as claimed in any preceding claim in which the forward edge thereof extends transversely relative to the scoop.

49. A method for scooping an article or material on the ground into a bag, the method comprising inserting a scoop into the bag with a distal forward edge of the scoop within the bag, engaging a protective element in a receiving means in the scoop with the protective element adjacent the forward edge and a portion of the bag located between the protective element and a downwardly facing surface of the scoop adjacent the forward edge thereof, engaging the article or material with the protective element engaging the ground, and urging the forward edge of the scoop under the article or material until the article or material is located on a portion of the bag adjacent an upwardly facing surface of the scoop, and removing the bag from the scoop by turning the bag inside-out as the bag is being removed, so that on removal of the bag from the scoop, the article or material and the protective element are located within the bag.

50. A method as claimed in Claim 49 in which the protective element is engaged in the receiving means with a forward portion of the protective element extending forwardly beyond the forward edge of the scoop.

51. A method as claimed in Claim 49 or 50 in which the protective element is releasably engaged in the receiving means of the scoop.

52. A method as claimed in any of Claims 49 to 51 in which the protective element is secured to the scoop with the protective element extending across the downwardly facing surface of the scoop adjacent the forward edge thereof.

53. A method as claimed in any of Claims 49 to 52 in which the receiving means is configured to retain the protective element adjacent the forward edge of the scoop.

54. A method as claimed in any of Claims 49 to 53 in which the receiving means is configured for retaining the protective element extending forwardly beyond the forward edge.

55. A method as claimed in any of Claims 49 to 54 in which a positioning means is provided for positioning the protective element in the receiving means.

56. A method as claimed in Claim 55 in which the positioning means is configured for positioning the protective element with a forwardly facing edge of the protective element located forwardly of the forward edge of the scoop.

57. A method as claimed in any of Claims 49 to 56 in which the protective element comprises an elongated protective panel extending across the downwardly facing surface of the scoop and defining with the downwardly facing surface a gap within which the portion of the bag is located.

58. A method as claimed in Claim 57 in which the protective panel extends between a pair of end engagement members, and the end engagement members are engaged in the respective receiving means.

59. A method as claimed in Claim 58 in which the protective element is provided with a pair of spaced apart fold lines extending transversely relative to the protective element for defining the end engagement members.

60. A method as claimed in Claim 59 in which the end engagement members of the protective element are bent along the fold lines through an angle of approximately 90" relative to the protective panel prior to engaging the end engagement members in the corresponding receiving means.

61. A method as claimed in any of Claims 49 to 60 in which the protective element comprises a biodegradable material.

62. A method as claimed in any of Claims 49 to 61 in which the protective element comprises a compostable material.

63. A method as claimed in any of Claims 49 to 62 in which the protective element comprises a semi-rigid material.

64. A method as claimed in any of Claims 49 to 63 in which the protective element comprises cardboard.

65. A method as claimed in any of Claims 49 to 64 in which the scoop is coupled to a handle by coupling the coupling means adjacent the proximal end of the scoop.

66. A method as claimed in Claim 65 in which the coupling means comprises a releasable coupling means.

67. A method as claimed in Claim 65 or 66 in which the coupling means comprises one of a pair of first and second inter-engageable complementary formations located on the scoop for engaging the other one of the pair of first and second inter-engageable complementary formations located on the handle.

68. A method as claimed in any of Claims 65 to 67 in which the scoop is retained coupled to the handle by a retaining means.

69. A method as claimed in any of Claims 49 to 68 in which the scoop is configured for coupling to one of a ball throwing implement and a handle of a ball throwing implement.

70. A method as claimed in Claim 69 in which the coupling means is configured for coupling the scoop to the one of the ball throwing implement and the handle of the ball throwing implement.

71. A method as claimed in any preceding claim in which the forward edge of the scoop extends transversely relative to the scoop.

72. A method as claimed in any of Claims 49 to 71 in which the bag comprises a bio-degradable material.

73. A method as claimed in any of Claims 49 to 72 in which the bag comprises a bio-degradable polymer material.

74. A method as claimed in any of Claims 49 to 73 in which the bag comprises a compostable material.

75. A method as claimed in any of Claims 49 to 74 in which prior to inserting the scoop into the bag, the bag is turned inside-out and the scoop is inserted into the bag in the inside-out configuration, and during removal of the bag from the scoop the bag is turned from the inside-out configuration to the right- side-out configuration.

76. A method as claimed in any of Claims 49 to 75 in which on removal of the bag from the scoop, the bag with the article or material and the protective element is closed by one of tying the bag with a ligature or tying a knot on the bag.

77. A method as claimed in any of Claims 49 to 76 in which the article or material scooped from the ground into the bag comprises a faeces.

78. A method as claimed in any of Claims 49 to 77 in which the article or material scooped from the ground into the bag comprises an animal faeces.

79. A method as claimed in any of Claims 49 to 78 in which the article or material scooped from the ground into the bag comprises a faeces of a dog.

80. A combination of a ball throwing implement comprising an elongated shaft terminating at a distal end thereof in a ball accommodating element extending from the shaft, and a scoop as claimed in any of Claims 1 to 48 releasably and selectively coupleable to one or both of the ball accommodating element and the shaft.

81. A combination as claimed in Claim 80 in which the ball accommodating element comprises an elongated ball accommodating channel extending between a proximal end adjacent the shaft and a distal end, the shaft extending between a proximal end and a distal end, and the ball accommodating element extending from the distal end of the shaft.

82. A combination as claimed in Claim 81 in which the ball accommodating element is configured adjacent the distal end thereof for coupling the scoop thereto.

83. A combination as claimed in any of Claims 80 to 82 in which the ball accommodating element is curved from the proximal end thereof to the distal end along its longitudinal length.

84. A combination as claimed in any of Claims 80 to 83 in which the ball accommodating element is pivotally coupled to the shaft about a transversely extending pivot axis, and is pivotal relative to the shaft between a ball throwing state and a folded state in which the shaft is folded into the ball accommodating channel.

85. A combination as claimed in Claim 84 in which a latching means is provided for selectively releasably latching and securing the ball accommodating element in each of the ball throwing state and the folded state.

Description:
"A scoop”

The present invention relates to a scoop, and in particular, though not limited to a scoop for scooping a faeces, for example, a faeces of a dog from the ground into a bag.

With the ever increasing emphasis on hygiene, and in particular, environmental hygiene, it is important that faeces of dogs and other animals are picked up from the ground immediately after the faeces has been deposited by a dog or animal, and removed. It is known to provide bags, for example, bags of flexible plastics material which are sized to fit over the hand of a person so that the hand covered by the bag may be used for picking the faeces from the ground into the bag, and with the faeces held by hand through the bag, the bag can then be removed from the hand of the person by turning the bag inside-out so that the faeces is retained in the bag. The bag can then either be tied with a knot or tied with a ligature and disposed of. While this method for removing an animal faeces from the ground is partly satisfactory, nonetheless, it does require the person picking up the faeces to grab the faeces, although, through the bag. However, this can be a rather unpleasant task. As well as the unpleasantness of the task, there is always the risk of a bag puncturing or bursting during picking of the faeces from the ground, which can thus result in a very unhygienic situation. Indeed, there is a considerable risk of the bag being punctured during the picking up of the faeces from the ground as a result of the bag being scuffed by the ground as the faeces is being grabbed by the bagged hand.

There is therefore a need to address this problem.

The present invention is directed towards providing a scoop and a method which addresses the problem. According to the invention there is provided a scoop having a distal forward edge, an upwardly facing surface extending rearwardly from the forward edge, a downwardly facing surface extending rearwardly from the forward edge, and a receiving means configured to receive and retain a protective element for protecting a portion of a bag, in which at least a portion of the scoop is inserted, from being scuffed by the ground during scooping of an article or material from the ground.

In one embodiment of the invention the receiving means is configured to retain the protective element adjacent the forward edge. Preferably, the receiving means is configured for retaining the protective element extending forwardly beyond the forward edge. Advantageously, the receiving means is configured for releasably receiving and retaining the protective element therein.

In another embodiment of the invention a positioning means is provided for positioning the protective element in the receiving means.

Preferably, a pair of receiving means are provided on respective opposite sides of the scoop for receiving and retaining the protective element extending across the scoop from one side thereof to the other.

In another embodiment of the invention each receiving means defines with a portion of the scoop a receiving slot for receiving the protective element. Preferably, each receiving slot extends downwardly terminating in a downwardly facing open mouth for receiving the protective element therethrough into the receiving slot. Advantageously, each receiving means comprises a receiving clip secured to a corresponding portion of the scoop, the receiving clip defining with the corresponding portion of the scoop the downwardly extending receiving slot.

In another embodiment of the invention each receiving means comprises a pair of adjacent but spaced apart receiving clips.

Preferably, a rib extends downwardly along one of the receiving clip and a portion of the scoop adjacent the receiving clip, and cooperates with the other one of the receiving clip and the portion of the scoop for retaining the protective element therein.

Advantageously, the rib extends from the scoop between an adjacent pair of the receiving clips.

In another embodiment of the invention the scoop comprises a pair of spaced apart side walls extending from a location adjacent the forward edge on respective opposite sides of the upwardly facing surface. Preferably, one of the receiving means is provided on each side wall.

Advantageously, each side wall extends in a generally rearwardly direction towards a proximal end of the scoop.

In one aspect of the invention the scoop comprises a base element defining the forward edge and the upwardly facing surface and the downwardly facing surface. In one embodiment of the invention the scoop comprises the protective element. Preferably, the protective element is releasably engageable in the receiving means. Advantageously, the protective element comprises an elongated protective panel extending across the downwardly facing surface of the scoop and defining with the downwardly facing surface a gap for accommodating a portion of the bag between the downwardly facing surface and the protective panel. Ideally, the protective panel extends between a pair of spaced apart end engagement members for engaging the respective receiving means.

In another embodiment of the invention the protective element is provided with a pair of spaced apart fold lines extending transversely relative to the protective element for defining the protective panel and the end engagement members. Preferably, the end engagement members of the protective element extend at an angle of approximately 90 ° to the protective panel thereof.

In another embodiment of the invention the protective panel defines a forwardly facing edge located forwardly of the forward edge of the scoop.

In a further embodiment of the invention the protective element comprises a bio-degradable material. Ideally, the protective element comprises a compostable material.

Advantageously, the protective element comprises a semi-rigid material. Ideally, the protective element comprises cardboard.

In one aspect of the invention a coupling means for coupling the scoop to a handle is provided.

Preferably, the coupling means comprises a releasable coupling means. In one embodiment of the invention the coupling means comprises one of a pair of first and second inter- engageable complementary formations located adjacent the proximal end of the scoop for engaging the other one of the pair of first and second inter-engageable complementary formations located on the handle. In another embodiment of the invention the one of the first and second inter-engageable complementary formations comprises one of a T-shaped member extending from the proximal end of the scoop and a T- shaped slot formed in the proximal end of the scoop. In another embodiment of the invention the one of the first and second inter-engageable complementary formations of the coupling means formed adjacent the proximal end of the scoop comprises a T-shaped slot.

In another embodiment of the invention the T-shaped slot formed adjacent the proximal end of the scoop is defined by three elongated coupling members extending rearwardly from the proximal end of the scoop, a first one and a second one of the coupling members being configured to define a leg of the T-shaped slot, and the first one and the second one of the coupling members being configured to define with a third one of the coupling members a transversely extending slot of the T-shaped slot. Preferably, the transverse slot of the T-shaped slot defined by the first, second and third ones of the coupling members is of arcuate shape.

Preferably, a retaining means is provided for releasably retaining the scoop coupled to the handle.

In another embodiment of the invention the scoop comprises a handle, releasably coupleable with the scoop by the coupling means.

Preferably, the handle comprises an elongated handle having a handgrip portion thereof, and the handle terminates at a distal end thereof in one of the first and second inter-engageable complementary formations for engaging the other one of the first and second inter-engageable complementary formations of the coupling means.

Advantageously, the one of the first and second inter-engageable complementary formation of the handle extends distally from the handle.

Advantageously, the one of the first and second inter-engageable complementary formation of the handle comprises a T-shaped member extending distally from the distal end of the handle.

In one aspect of the invention the T-shaped member of the handle comprises a transversely extending arcuate cross-member. Preferably, the T-shaped member of the handle is secured to the handle.

In another embodiment of the invention the scoop is configured for coupling to one of a ball throwing implement and a handle of a ball throwing implement. Preferably, the coupling means is configured for coupling the scoop to the one of the ball throwing implement and the handle of the ball throwing implement.

In one embodiment of the invention the scoop comprises the bag. Preferably, the bag comprises a biodegradable material. Advantageously, the bag comprises a bio-degradable polymer material. Ideally, the bag comprises a compostable material.

Preferably, the forward edge thereof extends transversely relative to the scoop.

The invention also provides a method for scooping an article or material on the ground into a bag, the method comprising inserting a scoop into the bag with a distal forward edge of the scoop within the bag, engaging a protective element in a receiving means in the scoop with the protective element adjacent the forward edge and a portion of the bag located between the protective element and a downwardly facing surface of the scoop adjacent the forward edge thereof, engaging the article or material with the protective element engaging the ground, and urging the forward edge of the scoop under the article or material until the article or material is located on a portion of the bag adjacent an upwardly facing surface of the scoop, and removing the bag from the scoop by turning the bag inside-out as the bag is being removed, so that on removal of the bag from the scoop, the article or material and the protective element are located within the bag.

In one embodiment of the invention the protective element is engaged in the receiving means with a forward portion of the protective element extending forwardly beyond the forward edge of the scoop. Preferably, the protective element is releasably engaged in the receiving means of the scoop.

Advantageously, the protective element is secured to the scoop with the protective element extending across the downwardly facing surface of the scoop adjacent the forward edge thereof.

In one embodiment of the invention the receiving means is configured to retain the protective element adjacent the forward edge of the scoop. Preferably, the receiving means is configured for retaining the protective element extending forwardly beyond the forward edge.

In another aspect of the invention a positioning means is provided for positioning the protective element in the receiving means. Preferably, the positioning means is configured for positioning the protective element with a forwardly facing edge of the protective element located forwardly of the forward edge of the scoop. In one embodiment of the invention the protective element comprises an elongated protective panel extending across the downwardly facing surface of the scoop and defining with the downwardly facing surface a gap within which the portion of the bag is located. Preferably, the protective panel extends between a pair of end engagement members, and the end engagement members are engaged in the respective receiving means.

In another embodiment of the invention the protective element is provided with a pair of spaced apart fold lines extending transversely relative to the protective element for defining the end engagement members. Advantageously, the end engagement members of the protective element are bent along the fold lines through an angle of approximately 90" relative to the protective panel prior to engaging the end engagement members in the corresponding receiving means.

In one aspect of the invention the protective element comprises a bio-degradable material.

Preferably, the protective element comprises a compostable material.

In another aspect of the invention the protective element comprises a semi-rigid material. Preferably, the protective element comprises cardboard.

In another embodiment of the invention the scoop is coupled to a handle by coupling the coupling means adjacent the proximal end of the scoop. Preferably, the coupling means comprises a releasable coupling means.

In one embodiment of the invention the coupling means comprises one of a pair of first and second inter- engageable complementary formations located on the scoop for engaging the other one of the pair of first and second inter-engageable complementary formations located on the handle. Preferably, the scoop is retained coupled to the handle by a retaining means.

In another embodiment of the invention the scoop is configured for coupling to one of a ball throwing implement and a handle of a ball throwing implement. Preferably, the coupling means is configured for coupling the scoop to the one of the ball throwing implement and the handle of the ball throwing implement. Advantageously, the forward edge of the scoop extends transversely relative to the scoop.

In one embodiment of the invention the bag comprises a bio-degradable material. Preferably, the bag comprises a bio-degradable polymer material. Ideally, the bag comprises a compostable material.

In another embodiment of the invention prior to inserting the scoop into the bag, the bag is turned inside- out and the scoop is inserted into the bag in the inside-out configuration, and during removal of the bag from the scoop the bag is turned from the inside-out configuration to the right-side-out configuration. In a further embodiment of the invention on removal of the bag from the scoop, the bag with the article or material and the protective element is closed by one of tying the bag with a ligature or tying a knot on the bag.

In one aspect of the invention the article or material scooped from the ground into the bag comprises a faeces.

In another aspect of the invention the article or material scooped from the ground into the bag comprises an animal faeces. In a further aspect of the invention the article or material scooped from the ground into the bag comprises a faeces of a dog.

Further the invention provides a combination of a ball throwing implement comprising an elongated shaft terminating at a distal end thereof in a ball accommodating element extending from the shaft, and a scoop according to the invention releasably and selectively coupleable to one or both of the ball accommodating element and the shaft.

In one embodiment of the invention the ball accommodating element comprises an elongated ball accommodating channel extending between a proximal end adjacent the shaft and a distal end, the shaft extending between a proximal end and a distal end, and the ball accommodating element extending from the distal end of the shaft. Preferably, the ball accommodating element is configured adjacent the distal end thereof for coupling the scoop thereto. In one embodiment of the invention the ball accommodating element is curved from the proximal end thereof to the distal end along its longitudinal length.

Preferably, the ball accommodating element is pivotally coupled to the shaft about a transversely extending pivot axis, and is pivotal relative to the shaft between a ball throwing state and a folded state in which the shaft is folded into the ball accommodating channel.

Preferably, a latching means is provided for selectively releasably latching and securing the ball accommodating element in each of the ball throwing state and the folded state.

The advantages of the invention are many. A particularly important advantage of the invention is that it permits a faeces to be picked up from the ground into a bag, which may be of a flexible plastics material, and preferably, of a bio-degradable plastics, polymer material or a compostable material without a person who is picking the faeces from the ground having to touch or indirectly feel the faeces through the bag. By virtue of the fact that the scoop is inserted into the bag into which the faeces is to be placed, there is no need for a person having any contact whatsoever either directly with the faeces or indirectly with the faeces through the bag. Furthermore, by providing the protective element there is no danger of the bag being scuffed which could arise in the case of a faeces being picked up from rough ground, since the protective element prevents any contact between the ground and the bag, and therefore there is no danger of the bag being damaged or punctured during the scooping of the faeces or other article or material from the ground. Thus, when the faeces and the protective element have been safely sealed in the bag, the bag with the faeces and the protective element may be disposed of in a suitable manner without a person having to feel or touch the faeces either directly or indirectly through the bag.

Additionally, by virtue of the fact that the scoop is inserted into the bag and the faeces is picked up onto the bag within which the scoop is inserted, the scoop also never comes in contact with the faeces. These and other advantages of the invention will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art from the description of a non-limiting preferred embodiment of the invention.

The invention will be more clearly understood from the following description of some non-limiting examples of preferred embodiments thereof which are given by way of example only with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

Fig. 1 is a perspective view of a scoop according to the invention, Fig. 2 is a top plan view of the scoop of Fig. 1 ,

Fig. 3 is an exploded top plan view of the scoop of Fig. 1,

Fig. 4 is a perspective view of a portion of the scoop of Fig. 1 ,

Fig. 5 is another perspective view of the portion of Fig. 4 of the scoop of Fig. 1 ,

Fig. 6 is a top plan view of the portion of Fig. 4 of the scoop of Fig. 1 ,

Fig. 7 is an underneath plan view of the portion of Fig. 4 of the scoop of Fig. 1,

Fig. 8 is a side elevational view of the portion of Fig. 4 of the scoop of Fig. 1 ,

Fig. 9 is a front end elevational view of the portion of Fig. 4 of the scoop of Fig. 1 , Fig. 10 is a rear end elevational view of the portion of Fig. 4 of the scoop of Fig. 1 , Fig. 11 is an enlarged side elevational view of a detail of the scoop of Fig. 1 ,

Fig. 12 is a perspective view of another portion of the scoop of Fig. 1,

Fig. 13 is another perspective view of the portion of Fig. 12 of the scoop of Fig. 1, Fig. 14 is a further perspective view of the portion of Fig. 12 of the scoop of Fig. 1, Fig. 15 is a front end elevational view of the portion of Fig. 12 of the scoop of Fig. 1 , Fig. 16 is a side elevational view of the portion of Fig. 12 of the scoop of Fig. 1 ,

Fig. 17 is a top plan view of the portion of Fig. 12 of the scoop of Fig. 1 ,

Fig. 18 is an underneath plan view of the portion of Fig. 12 of the scoop of Fig. 1 , Fig. 19 is a side elevational view of a detail of the scoop of Fig. 1 ,

Fig. 20 is an end elevational view of the detail of Fig. 19 of the scoop of Fig. 1 ,

Fig. 21 is a top plan view of the detail of Fig. 19 of the scoop of Fig. 1 ,

Fig. 22 is an underneath plan view of the detail of Fig. 19 of the scoop of Fig. 1 ,

Fig. 23 is a perspective view of a bag for the scoop of Fig. 1 ,

Fig. 24 is a perspective view of a protective element for the scoop of Fig. 1,

Fig. 25 is a top plan view of the protective element of Fig. 24,

Fig. 26 is a perspective view of the scoop of Fig. 1 inserted into the bag of Fig. 23,

Fig. 27 is a perspective view of the scoop of Fig. 1 being assembled with the bag of Fig. 23 and the protective element of Fig. 24,

Fig. 28 is a further perspective view of the scoop of Fig. 1 being assembled with the bag of Fig. 23 and the protective element of Fig. 24,

Fig. 29 is a cross-sectional end elevational view of a detail of the scoop of Fig. 1 assembled with the bag of Fig. 23 and the protective element of Fig. 24,

Fig. 30 is an end elevational view of a detail of the scoop of Fig. 1 assembled with the bag of Fig. 23 and the protective element of Fig. 24,

Fig. 31 is a top plan view of a detail of the scoop of Fig. 1 assembled with the bag of Fig. 23 and the protective element of Fig. 24,

Fig. 32 is a perspective view of the scoop assembled with the bag of Fig. 23 and the protective element of Fig. 24 in use, Fig. 33 is a view similar to Fig. 32 illustrating the scoop further in use,

Fig. 34 is a perspective view of the bag of Fig. 23 in use, Fig. 35 is a perspective view of a combination according to the invention of the scoop of Fig. 1 and a ball throwing implement,

Fig. 36 is an exploded perspective view of the scoop of Fig. 1 and the ball throwing implement of Fig. 35,

Fig. 37 is another perspective view of the ball throwing implement of Fig. 35, and

Fig. 38 is a perspective view of the ball throwing implement of Fig. 35 in a different state to that of Fig. 37.

Referring to the drawings there is illustrated a scoop according to the invention indicated generally by the reference numeral 1 which is particularly suitable for scooping an animal faeces 2 from the ground into a bag 3, although, the scoop 1 according to the invention may be used for any other purpose for scooping any article or material from the ground or elsewhere. Before describing the scoop in detail, the relationship between the scoop 1 and the bag 3 will first be briefly described. In order to pick up a faeces 2 from the ground with the scoop 1 into the bag 3, the scoop 1 is inserted into the bag 3 as illustrated in Fig. 26. With the scoop 1 inserted into the bag 3, a protective element 5, which is described in more detail below, is secured to the scoop 1 through the bag 3 with the portion of the bag 3 on the underside of the scoop 1 adjacent a forward end 4 of the scoop 1, as illustrated in Figs. 28, 32 and 33 protected by the protective element 5 from scuffing by the ground. With the scoop 1 inserted in the bag 3, and the bag 3 protected from scuffing by the protective element 5, the faeces 2 is scooped from the ground by the scoop 1 with the faeces 2 being scooped directly onto the bag 3. The bag 3 is then removed from the scoop 1 along with the faeces 2 and the protective element 5 by turning the bag 3 inside-out as it is being removed from the scoop 1 as illustrated in Fig. 33. Once removed from the scoop 1 , the bag 3 is tied with a knot or by a suitable ligature.

- T urning now to the scoop 1 , the scoop 1 comprises a base element, namely, a base 6 extending between a proximal end 8 and a distal end 9. The distal end 9 terminates in a transversely extending forward edge 10 of the scoop 1. The base 6 defines an upwardly facing surface 12 and a downwardly facing surface 14, both of which extend rearwardly from the forward edge 10 to the proximal end 8. A pair of spaced apart side walls 15 extend upwardly from the base 6 adjacent respective opposite sides 16 thereof, and the side walls 15 extend from the base 6 adjacent the forward edge 10 rearwardly to the proximal end 8 of the scoop 1. The side walls 15 define with the base 6 a material collecting region 17 of the scoop 1.

In this embodiment of the invention forward portions 19 of the respective side walls 15 extend parallel to each other, and the remainder 20 of the side walls 15 converge rearwardly towards the proximal end 8 along with the base 6. The forward portions 19 of the side walls 15 are stepped inwardly from the remainder 20 of the side walls 15 at 21 and are joined to the remainder 20 of the corresponding side walls 15 by intermediate walls 22 which extend outwardly from the forward portions 19 to the remainder 20 of the respective side walls 15. Additionally, in order to facilitate scooping of faeces from the ground into the bag 3, a forward portion 23 of the base 6 extending between the forward portions 19 of the side walls 15 is of substantially rectangular shape, while the remainder of the base 6 converges proximally and inclines upwardly from the forward portion 23.

The proximal end 8 of the scoop 1 terminates in a coupling means, namely, a first releasable coupler 24 for coupling the scoop 1 to a handle 25 as will be described below.

A receiving means for releasably receiving and retaining the protective element 5 on the scoop 1, as will be described in detail below, in this embodiment of the invention, comprises pairs of spaced apart receiving clips 27 provided on the outer side 28 of the respective forward portions 19 of the side walls 15. Each receiving clip 27 is connected to the corresponding forward portion 19 of the side wall 15 by an upper bridging piece 29, and extends downwardly from the upper bridging piece 29 substantially parallel to and spaced apart from the forward portion 19 of the corresponding side wall 15. Each receiving clip 27 defines with the adjacent forward portion 19 of the side wall 15 a downwardly extending receiving slot 30 which terminates in a downwardly facing open mouth 32 for accommodating end engagement members 33 of the protective element 5 into the corresponding receiving slot 30, as will be described below. A downwardly extending rib 35 extends from the outer side 28 of the forward portion 19 of each side wall 15 between and spaced apart from the corresponding pair of receiving clips 27 for engaging the corresponding end engagement member 33 of the protective element 5 for releasably securing and retaining the end engagement member 33 in the receiving slots 30 of the receiving clips 27. In this embodiment of the invention the scoop 1 is of a suitable plastics material, and is formed by injection moulding. However, it will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art that the scoop may be constructed of any other suitable material, for example, wood, metal, sheet metal or any other suitable plastics or polymer material, and may be formed by any suitable process, for example, by machining, pressing, press moulding or the like.

Turning now to the protective element 5, and referring to Figs. 24, 25 and 27 to 33, the protective element 5 will now be described. The protective element 5 is disposable and in this embodiment of the invention comprises an elongated panel member 37 which comprises a central protective panel 38 which terminates at its respective opposite ends 39 in the end engagement members 33. In this embodiment of the invention the panel member 37 of the protective element 5 comprises a single piece of a semi-rigid material, in this embodiment of the invention, a bio-degradable compostable cardboard material. The protective panel 38 and the end engagement members 33 are defined by a pair of spaced apart fold lines 40 between the protective panel 38 and the end engagement members 33. The fold lines 40 facilitate folding the end engagement members 33 upwardly relative to the protective panel 38 at an angle of approximately 90" for engaging the receiving slots 30 of the corresponding receiving clips 27.

The panel member 37 forming the protective element 5 is of constant width along its length between the respective free ends 41 of the end engagement members 33, and the width w of the panel member 37 is such that when the end engagement members 33 are engaged with the receiving clips 27 with rear edges 42 of the end engagement members 33 engaging the corresponding intermediate walls 22, which act as a positioning means for positioning the end engagement members 33 in the receiving slots 30 of the receiving clips 27, a forwardly facing edge 44 of the protective panel 38 extends forwardly beyond the forward edge 10 of the scoop 1 for protecting the bag 3 from being scuffed by the ground as a faeces 2 or other material is being scooped from the ground onto the bag 3 when the scoop 1 is located in the bag 3.

In this embodiment of the invention the width w of the protective element 5 is such that when the rear edges 42 of the end engagement members 33 are engaged against the intermediate walls 22, the forwardly facing edge 44 of the protective panel 38 extends forwardly of the forward edge 10 of the scoop 1 by a distance d of approximately 10mm. Although the distance d may range from 3mm to 15mm, and typically would range from 5mm to 10mm.

The receiving clips 27 are spaced apart sufficiently from the forward portions 19 of the respective side walls 15 so that the receiving slots 30 accommodate the corresponding end engagement member 33 and the material of the bag 3 on the double, see Figs. 29 and 30. In this embodiment of the invention the spacing between the receiving clips 27 and the forward portion 19 of the adjacent side wall 15 is such to define the receiving slots 30 to be of width of approximately 2mm from the corresponding receiving clip 27 to the adjacent forward portion 19 of the corresponding side wall 15. When the scoop 1 is inserted into the bag 3 and the engagement end members 33 are engaged in the receiving slots 30, portions of the bag 3 are located between each end engagement member 33 and the adjacent receiving clip 27, and between each end engagement member 33 and the forward portion 19 of the adjacent side wall 15. The downwardly extending ribs 35 extend outwardly from the forward portions 19 of the side walls 15, such that the depth of each rib 35 from the forward portion 19 of the corresponding side wall 15 is approximately similar to the width of each receiving slot 30 between the corresponding receiving clip 27 and the adjacent forward portion 19 of the corresponding side wall 15. The spacing between the receiving clips 27 of each pair is approximately 8mm. It has been found that these dimensions of the width of the receiving slots 30 and the spacing between the receiving dips of each pair thereof is sufficient that the interaction between each downwardly extending rib 35 and the corresponding pair of receiving clips 27 is sufficient for retaining the corresponding end engagement member 33 of the protective element 5 along with the portions of the bag 3 on the double in the receiving slots 30 for in turn securely retaining the protective element 5 attached to the scoop 1.

Turning now to the coupling of the scoop 1 to the handle 25, in this embodiment of the invention the handle 25 is of wood, and the coupling means for coupling the handle 25 to the scoop 1 comprises a second releasable coupler 45 secured to the handle 25 for releasably engaging the first coupler 24 of the scoop 1. In this embodiment of the invention the second coupler comprises a receiver 46 having a handle receiving recess 47 formed therein for engaging a distal end 48 of the handle 25. In this embodiment of the invention the handle 25 being of wood is bonded into the handle receiving recess 47 in the receiver 46 by a suitable adhesive. The second coupler 45 is illustrated in Figs. 12 to 18.

The first coupler 24 at the proximal end 8 of the scoop 1 and the second coupler 45 of the handle 25 are provided with first and second inter-engageable complementary formations 50 and 51, respectively. In this embodiment of the invention the first inter-engageable complementary formation 50 of the first coupler 24 comprises three members, namely, first, second and third elongated members 53, 54 and 55 which extend rearwardly from the proximal end 8 of the scoop 1. The first and second members 53 and 54 define a leg slot 57 of a T-shaped engagement slot 58, while the first and second members 53 and 54 define with the third member 55 a cross-slot 59 of the T-shaped engagement slot 58. The second inter-engageable complementary formation 51 of the second coupler 45 defines a T-shaped engagement member 60 for engaging the T-shaped engagement slot 58 of the first coupler 24. The second one of the inter-engageable complementary formations 51 of the second coupler 45 is provided by the T-shaped engagement member 60 which comprises a leg 61 and an upper cross-member 62. The upper cross-member 62 and the leg 61 of the T-shaped member 60 engage the cross-slot 59 and the leg slot 57 of the T-shaped slot 58 of the first coupler 24. A lower cross-member 63 of the second coupler 45 extends across the lower end of the leg 61 for engaging the first and second members 53 and 54 of the first coupler 24 for ensuring a positive and secure releasable engagement of the second coupler 45 with the first coupler 24. In this embodiment of the invention the leg 61 of the T-shaped member 60 is formed by a plurality of ribs 64 extending outwardly from a leg 67 between the upper cross-member 62 and the lower cross member 63 of the second coupler 45.

However, it will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art that the first and second couplers 24 and 45 may comprise any other suitable first and second inter-engageable complementary formations, besides those described. Indeed, it is envisaged that the first coupler 24 may comprise the second inter- engageable complementary formations 51, while the second coupler 45 would comprise the first inter- engageable complementary formations 50.

A releasable retaining means for releasably retaining the first coupler 24 coupled to the second coupler 45 in this embodiment of the invention comprises an engagement projection 65 extending downwardly from the third member 55 of the first coupler 24, see Fig. 5, for engaging a corresponding engagement recess 66, see Figs. 12 and 14, in the upper cross member 62 of the T-shaped engagement member 60 with a releasable snap-fit action. The third member 55 of the second coupler 24 is of sufficient resilience to facilitate the snap-fit engagement of the engagement projection 65 with the engagement recess 66 in the second coupler 45 and also for facilitating relatively easy disengagement of the engagement projection 65 with the engagement recess 66 for disengaging the handle 25 from the scoop 1.

In this embodiment of the invention the wood of the handle 25 is of ash wood, and is formed by machining. However, it will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art that the handle 25 may be of any other suitable material, be it wood, a plastics material, a metal material or any other suitable polymer material, which may be formed by any suitable process, for example, machining, pressing, injection moulding, press moulding, blow moulding and the like. The second coupler 45 is of a plastics material and formed by injection moulding. However, it will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art that the second coupler 45 may be of any other suitable material, be it wood, metal or any other suitable polymer material, and may be formed by any suitable process, for example, press moulding, blow moulding, machining and the like. Indeed, it is envisaged that the second coupler 45 may be integrally formed with the handle 25, and both may be formed of the same material.

Turning now to the bag 3, in this embodiment of the invention the bag 3 is a disposable bag 3 of a light weight flexible compostable bio-degradable polymer material. However, it will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art that the bag 3 may be of any other suitable compostable, bio-degradable, or indeed non-biodegradable material. It is envisaged that in some embodiments of the invention the bag may be of a dissolvable material which would dissolve over time. The bag 3 defines a hollow interior region 68 for accommodating the scoop 1 therein, and is closed at one end 70 by heat sealing, and terminates at the other end in an open mouth 69 to the hollow interior region 68, for accommodating the scoop 1 into the hollow interior region 68.

The bag 3 is of size to accommodate the scoop 1 into the hollow interior region 68 with the forward edge 10 of the scoop 1 engaging the closed end 70 of the bag 3. The bag 3 should preferably be sized between the closed end 70 and the open mouth 69 to allow the bag 3 to extend at least up to the first and second couplers 24 and 45, and ideally, should be of length between the closed end 70 and the open mouth 69 greater than the spacing between the forward edge 10 of the scoop 1 and the first and second couplers 24 and 45, so that the bag 3 towards the first and second couplers 24 and 45 can be gathered adjacent the first and second couplers 24 and 45 in order to leave adequate bag material to facilitate removal of the bag from the scoop 1 as will be described below. The circumferential dimension of the bag 3 should be sufficiently great to allow for two portions of the bag material to be engaged between the respective end engagement members 33 of the protective element 5 between the receiving clips 27 and the forward portions 19 of the corresponding side walls 15. Additionally, the circumferential dimension of the bag 3 should be such as to provide a reasonably generous amount of bag material, so that when the end engagement members 33 of the protective element 5 and the portions of the bag 3 are engaged in the receiving slots 30, the bag is still relatively loose on the scoop 1 with a portion 71 of the bag 3 which lines the collecting portion 17 of the scoop 1 substantially conforming to the shape of the collecting portion 17.

It is envisaged that initially the scoop 1 will be supplied with a number of disposable bags 3 and a corresponding number of disposable protective elements 5. Thereafter, it is envisaged that batches of bags 3 and protective elements 5 will be supplied in combination for use with the scoop 1.

In use, with the handle 25 secured to the scoop 1 by the first and second couplers 24 and 45, respectively, the scoop 1 is inserted into the hollow interior region 68 of the bag 3 until the forward edge 10 of the scoop 1 engages adjacent the closed end 70 of the bag 3, see Fig. 26. The protective element 5 is then bent along the two fold lines 40 so that the end engagement members 33 extend at an angle of approximately 90° to the protective panel 38, see Fig. 24. The two end engagement members 33 of the protective element 5 are then engaged with the material of the bag 3 in the receiving slots 30 of the receiving clips 27, see Figs. 27 to 29. When entering the end engagement members 33 into the receiving slots 30, the rear edges 42 of the end engagement members 33 are urged against the intermediate walls 22 which act to position the end engagement members 33 in the receiving slots 30, so that the forwardly facing edge 44 of the protective panel 38 of the protective element 5 extends a suitable distance beyond the forward edge 10 of the scoop 1, which in general is approximately 10mm, see Fig. 32. In this manner the protective panel 38 of the protective element 5 protects the material of the bag 3 adjacent the forward edge 10 of the scoop 1 and the material of the bag 3 adjacent the downwardly facing surface 14 of the base 6 of the scoop 1 adjacent the forward portion 23 of the base 6 from scuffing by the ground as the scoop 1 within the bag 3 is urged along the ground for scooping the faeces 2 or other material from the ground.

When the scoop 1 is inserted in the bag 3 and the end engagement members 33 are fully engaged in the receiving slots 30 with the rear edges 42 thereof abutting the intermediate walls 22 of the side walls 15 of the scoop 1, the scoop 1 is ready to scoop the faeces 2 or other material from the ground. With the scoop 1 held by the handle 25, the scoop 1 is urged with the protective panel 38 of the protective element 5 engaging the ground under the faeces 2 or other material to be scooped so that the faeces 2 or other material to be scooped is initially engaged by the forwardly facing edge 44 of the protective panel 38, see Fig. 32. The scoop 1 is then further urged beneath the faeces 2 or material to be scooped from the ground until the faeces or material has been scooped into the collecting portion 17 of the scoop 1 and is supported on the portion 71 of the bag 3 lining the collecting portion 17 of the scoop 1, see Fig. 33. With the faeces 2 or other material so located on the portion 71 of the bag 3 lining the collecting portion 17 of the scoop 1, the bag 3 is gripped at the open end 69 thereof and is removed from the scoop 1. As the bag 3 is being removed from the scoop 1, the bag 3 is turned inside-out, see Fig. 33, so that when the bag 3 is completely removed from the scoop 1, the faeces 2 and the protective element 5 are located within the bag 3, see Fig. 34. The bag 3 can then be sealed by tying a knot on the bag 3 or tying the bag 3 with a ligature as illustrated in Fig. 34.

Referring now to Figs. 35 to 38 there is illustrated a combination also according to the invention indicated generally by the reference numeral 75 of the scoop 1 described with reference to Figs. 1 to 34 and a ball throwing implement indicated generally by the reference numeral 76. The ball throwing implement 76 comprises an elongated ball accommodating element 78 of channel shape construction defining a ball accommodating channel 77 for accommodating a ball therein during throwing of the ball, and an elongated shaft 79 extending from a proximal end 80 of the ball accommodating element 78. The ball accommodating element 78 at its proximal end 80 is pivotally coupled to the shaft 79 at a distal end 82 thereof about a transversely extending pivot axis 83. The shaft 79 is pivotal relative to the ball accommodating element 78 about the pivot axis 83 from a ball throwing state illustrated in Fig. 37 extending substantially longitudinally from the ball accommodating element 78 and a folded state illustrated in Fig. 38 whereby the shaft 79 and the ball accommodating element 78 extend substantially parallel to each other with a portion of the shaft 79 located within the channel 77.

The ball accommodating element 78 is formed in two parts 85 of injection moulded plastics material, which are secured together by rivets 86 through lips 87 of the parts 85 and define the ball accommodating channel 77 of arcuate transverse cross-section of diameter just greater than the diameter of a standard tennis ball, so that the ball throwing implement 76 is suitable for throwing a tennis ball, for example, for throwing a tennis ball for a dog to chase. The arcuate transverse cross-section of the ball accommodating channel 77 is greater than 180° for retaining a tennis ball within the channel 77. Additionally, the parts 85 forming the ball accommodating channel 77 are configured in order to form the ball accommodating channel 77 to be slightly curved along the longitudinal length of the ball accommodating element 78 from the proximal end 80 thereof to a distal end 88 thereof. However, it will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art that the ball accommodating element 78 may be formed by any other suitable construction and in some embodiments of the invention the ball accommodating element 78 may be formed as a single one piece unit as opposed to being formed in two parts 85. Furthermore, the ball accommodating element may be of any other suitable material besides plastics material, for example, wood, metal, sheet metal, a metal alloy or any other suitable material, and needless to say, the ball accommodating element 78 may be formed by any other suitable forming technique besides injection moulding, for example, the ball accommodating element 78 may be formed by press moulding, machining, pressing, blow moulding and the like. The shaft 79 extends from the distal end 82 to a proximal end 89, and a portion 90 of the shaft 79 adjacent the proximal end 89 thereof is shaped to form a handgrip. A pivot mechanism (not shown) is located in housings 93 formed in the parts 85 of the ball accommodating element 78 adjacent the proximal end thereof for pivotally coupling the shaft 79 to the ball accommodating element 78 about the pivot axis 83. The pivot mechanism (not shown) is of the type which facilitates pivoting of the shaft 79 relative to the ball accommodating element 78 about the pivot axis 83 between the ball throwing state and the folded state, and also includes a latching means, in this embodiment of the invention, a latching mechanism (not shown) for positively latching the shaft 79 in the ball throwing state and the folded state, respectively, automatically once the shaft 79 has been urged into either one of the two states relative to the ball accommodating element 78. A release mechanism (not shown) is also located in the housings 93 for releasing the latching mechanism (not shown) for in turn releasing the shaft 79 from the relevant latched states. Push buttons 95 slideably mounted in the parts 85 of the ball accommodating element 78 are operably coupled to the release mechanism (not shown), so that when the push buttons 95 are urged inwardly into the housings 93 in the parts 85 of the ball accommodating element 78 the latching mechanism (not shown) is released for permitting pivoting of the shaft 79 from the latched state.

The ball accommodating element 78 terminates at its distal end 88 in a second coupler 97 which is located on the underside of the ball accommodating element 78 for engaging the first coupler 24, for in turn coupling the scoop 1 to the distal end 88 of the ball accommodating element 78 for scooping a faeces or other material from the ground. The second coupler 97 is formed by a T-shaped member 96 of substantially similar construction to the T-shaped member 60 of the second coupler 45 of the handle 25 of the scoop 1, and comprises an upper cross-member 98 of arcuate cross-section which is defined by the parts 85 adjacent the distal end 88 thereof forming the ball accommodating element 78. The upper crossmember 98 formed by the distal end 88 of the ball accommodating element 78 is engageable with the cross-slot 59 defined between the first and second members 53 and 54 and the third member 55 of the first coupler 24 of the scoop 1. A leg 99 of the T-shaped member 96 of the second coupler 97 extends downwardly from the upper cross-member 98 of the second coupler 97 and is formed by the lips 87 of the parts 85 of the ball accommodating element 78. The leg 99 of the T-shaped member 96 of the second coupler 97 is engageable in the leg slot 58 of the first coupler 24 defined between the first and second members 53 and 54 thereof. A lower cross-member 100 extends from the leg 99 of the T-shaped member 96 of the second coupler 97 for engaging beneath the first and second members 53 and 54 of the first coupler 24 for stabilising the scoop 1 when the first coupler 24 thereof is engaged with the second coupler 97 of the ball throwing implement 76. In this embodiment of the invention the shaft 79 comprises a plastics material and is formed by injection moulding. However, it will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art that the shaft may be of any other suitable material, for example, a metal material, wood, for example, ash wood or other suitable woods, or indeed a light metal alloy material, and it will of course be appreciated that the shaft 79 may be formed by any other suitable forming technique, for example, machining, pressing, press moulding, blow moulding or any other suitable and appropriate forming technique.

Use of the combination 75 of the ball throwing element 76 and the scoop 1 is substantially similar to that already described in connection with use of the scoop 1 which has been described with reference to Figs.

1 to 34. The scoop 1 may be coupled to the ball throwing implement 96 before or after the scoop 1 is inserted into the bag 3 and after the protective element 5 has been secured to the scoop 1. If the scoop 1 is inserted into the bag 3 and if the protective element 5 is secured to the scoop 1 prior to securing the scoop 1 to the ball throwing implement 76, once the scoop 1, the bag 3 and the protective element 5 have been assembled, with the shaft 79 in the ball throwing state, the first coupler 24 of the scoop 1 is engaged with the second coupler 97 of the ball throwing implement 76. The combination 75 of the scoop 1 and the ball throwing implement 76 is then ready for use.

By holding the ball throwing implement 76 by the shaft 79 typically, adjacent the handgrip portion 90, the scoop 1 is engaged beneath the faeces with the protective element 5 bearing on the ground and engaging the faeces. Further urging of the scoop 1 beneath the faeces or other material to be picked up, urges the faeces or other material onto the portion of the bag 3 lining in the collecting portion 17 of the scoop 1 Thereafter, use of the combination 75 of the scoop 1 and the ball throwing implement 76 is similar to that already described with reference to the scoop 1. The bag 3 is removed from the scoop 1 and as the bag 3 is being removed from the scoop 1 it is turned inside-out, so that when removed from the scoop 1, the faeces and the protective element 5 are located within the bag, which may then be knotted or tied.

Alternatively, if the scoop 1 is secured to the ball throwing implement 76 prior to inserting the scoop 1 into the bag 3, once the scoop 1 has been secured to the ball throwing implement 76 by the first and second couplers 24 and 97, respectively, the scoop 1 is then inserted into the bag 3, and the protective element 5 is then engaged in the receiving slots 30 defined by the receiving clips 27 as already described with reference to the use of the scoop 1.

While the receiving means of the scoop 1 for receiving the protective element 5 have been described as comprising a pair of receiving clips located on respective opposite sides of the scoop, any other suitable receiving means may be provided. Indeed, in some embodiments of the invention a single receiving clip on each side of the scoop may be sufficient. It will also of course be appreciated that the downwardly extending rib 35 may be omitted, or alternatively, the downwardly extending rib 35 may be located within the receiving slot, and may extend from either the clip inwardly towards the side wall, or from the side wall outwardly towards the clip.

Needless to say, any other suitable shape and configuration of scoop may be provided, and while it is advantageous, it is not essential that the base element of the scoop should incline rearwardly upwardly from the forward portion thereof. It will also be appreciated that while it is desirable it is not essential that the side wall of the scoop should continue beyond the forward portions of the side wall. Needless to say, any other suitable coupling means besides those described may be provided for coupling the scoop to the handle or to the ball throwing implement as the case may be. It will also of course be appreciated that the second coupler provided on the handle or on the ball throwing implement as the case may be, may be of any other suitable construction, once it is compatible with the first coupler.

While the ball throwing implement has been described for throwing a standard size tennis ball, it will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art that the ball accommodating element of the ball throwing implement may be of any other suitable or desired transverse cross-section, and the transverse cross- section of the ball accommodating element will largely be determined by the diameter of the ball to be thrown by the ball throwing implement. Indeed, it is envisaged that the transverse cross-section of the ball accommodating element may be such as to facilitate throwing of a sliotar by the ball throwing implement.

While the shaft of the ball throwing implement has been described as being pivotally coupled to the ball throwing implement, it is envisaged that in some embodiments of the invention the shaft may be configured for releasable engagement with the ball throwing implement. Indeed, it is envisaged that the shaft and the ball throwing implement may be coupleable together by releasable coupling means. Such coupling means may be similar to the first and second couplers already described. For example, the ball throwing implement may be provided with a coupler similar to the first coupler of the scoop 1 , and the shaft 79 may terminate at its distal end in a coupler similar to the second coupler of the handle 25 of the scoop 1. In which case, it is envisaged that the shaft 79 of the ball throwing implement 76 may be used for attaching to the ball accommodating element 78 and directly to the scoop 1. The advantage of providing for attaching of the scoop 1 to the ball throwing implement 76 is that the extra length provided by the ball throwing implement 76, including the ball accommodating element 78 and the shaft 79 permits a faeces or other material to be scooped up from the ground into the bag 3 without the need for the person bending down, as would be the case when the scoop 1 is used in conjunction with the hand 24. A similar advantage would be achieved in cases where the shaft 79 is provided with a coupler similar to the second coupler of the handle 25, in that once the shaft 79 is coupled to the scoop 1, again the faeces or other material may be scooped up from the ground into the bag without the need for a person to bend down. While the handle 25 of the scoop has been described as being of wood, the handle 25 may be of any suitable material, for example, a plastics material, and in which case, the second coupler would typically be integrally formed with the handle, for example, during an injection moulding process, or any other suitable plastics forming process. It is also envisaged that the handle may be rigidly coupled to the scoop, and in which case, the coupling means would be omitted. Indeed, in cases where the handle is rigidly coupled to the scoop, it is envisaged that the handle and scoop may be integrally formed in one piece, for example, by an injection moulding process or any other suitable forming process. While the protective element has been described as being of cardboard, the protective element may be of any other suitable material, but typically, would be of a disposable material, which ideally, would be biodegradable, compostable or the like.