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Title:
WEARABLE HEADWEAR ACCESSORY DEVICE FOR COMMUNICATING CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2010/080882
Kind Code:
A2
Abstract:
A headwear accessory device removably engages a portion of a baseball cap or other headwear to be worn on the headwear. A multiplicity of different headwear accessory devices are wearable on the headwear to communicate in various ways with surrounding environs and people. The devices may include electronic communicating devices, and lighted printed and shaped visual and auditory indicia.

Inventors:
THOMPSON, Roger, G. (11965 Danforth, Sterling Heights, MI, 48312, US)
Application Number:
US2010/020329
Publication Date:
July 15, 2010
Filing Date:
January 07, 2010
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
THOMPSON, Roger, G. (11965 Danforth, Sterling Heights, MI, 48312, US)
International Classes:
A42B1/24; A42B1/02
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MACKENZIE, Kevin, S. et al. (Gifford, Krass Sprinkle, Anderson & Citkowski, P.C,,2701 Troy Center Drive, Suite 330,Post Office Box 702, Troy MI, 48007-4721, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

What is claimed is:

1. An accessory device for attaching to a portion of an article of headwear, which accessory device may be instantly applied to a portion of the headwear and worn with the accessory device in place on the portion of the headwear and which accessory device provides means for communicating with surrounding environs and people, the device comprising: a headwear accessory device removably attached to a portion of an article of headwear, the headwear accessory device conforming to the shape of the portion of the headwear, the headwear accessory device comprising an elongated element having an exposed upperside and an underside contacting the portion of the headwear, and means for attaching the headwear accessory device to the portion of the headwear comprising at least one binding device for removably binding at least a portion of the headwear accessory device to the portion of the headwear so that the headwear accessory device is attachable thereto and removable therefrom, thereby enabling the headwear accessory device to be instantly applied to the portion of the headwear and enabling the headwear to be worn with the headwear accessory device in place on the portion of the headwear, the headwear accessory device comprising means for a wearer of the headwear to communicate with surrounding environs and people.

2. The device of claim 1 wherein the headwear accessory device comprises means for communicating visually with the surrounding environs and people.

3. The device of claim 2 wherein the headwear accessory device comprises means for visually recording elements of the surrounding environs and people.

4. The device of claim 2 wherein the headwear accessory device comprises means for visually displaying visual information to be viewed by the surrounding environs and people.

5. The device of claim 4 wherein the means for visually displaying visual information comprises at least one visual display means taken from the list of visual display means comprising an imprinted image, a shaped image, a lighted image, a moving image screen, an imprinted indicia, a powered indicia, an electrically powered indicia, a magnetically attachable indicia, a light emitting display, a light emitting indicia, a light pipe display, an electroluminescence display, a fiber optic display, a pinned indicia, a snapped on indicia.

6. The device of claim 2 wherein the headwear accessory device comprises means for viewing the surrounding environs and people.

7. The device of claim 1 wherein the accessory device comprises means for communicating aurally with the surrounding environs and people.

8. The device of claim 7 wherein the headwear accessory device comprises means for audibly recording elements of the surrounding environs and people.

9. The device of claim 7 wherein the headwear accessory device comprises means for audibly broadcasting to the surrounding environs and people.

10. The device of claim 7 wherein the headwear accessory device comprises means for listening to the surrounding environs and people.

11. The device of claim 10 wherein the headwear accessory device comprises an electronic acoustic receiver mounted on the upperside of the headwear accessory device for receiving and magnifying sounds emitted from the surrounding environs and people and at least one headphone mounted on a side of the headwear accessory device for a wearer to listen to the magnified sounds of the surrounding environs and people.

12. The device of claim 11 wherein the acoustic receiver is mounted by a pivot connection to the upperside of the headwear accessory device and the acoustic receiver is normally in a storage position on the headwear accessory device and is pivoted downwardly to a listening position adjacent to at least one ear of a wearer of the headwear.

13. The device of claim 1 wherein the headwear accessory device comprises means for communicating visually and aurally with the surrounding environs and people.

14. The device of claim 13 wherein the headwear accessory device comprises means for visually and audibly recording elements of the surrounding environs and people.

15. The device of claim 13 wherein the device comprises a means for visually and audibly broadcasting to the surrounding environs and people.

16. The device of claim 15 wherein the means for visually and audibly broadcasting comprises an active image producing screen and a speaker.

17. The device of claim 1 wherein the device comprises at least one device taken from the list of devices comprising an electronic device, a one-way radio, a two- way radio, an MP3 player, a video camera, a video camera recording video to a remote server, a video camera to transmit images to Liquid Crystal Diode glasses, a cellular phone, a global positioning satellite (GPS) device, a short wave radio, and at least one of the electronic accessories taken from the list of electronic accessories comprising a power source within the accessory device, a power source on the underside of the bill, electronic circuitry inside the accessory device, a remote control for the accessory device, a photovoltaic panel on top of the device for charging the power source, and an antenna, and at least one light excluding device taken from the list of light excluding devices including a rear sun shading device, a shaded eyewear device.

18. The device of claim 1 wherein the headwear accessory device extends to two opposing edges of a bill of the headwear from side-to-side and the binding device comprises at least one edge binding strip having a groove therein to bind the headwear accessory device to edge of the bill in the groove on each of the two opposing edges.

19. The device of claim 1 wherein binding device comprises at least one of a pair of connector elements on an upperside and an underside of a bill of the headwear to bind the headwear accessory device to the bill.

20. The device of claim 1 wherein the means for attaching the headwear accessory device comprises an attaching means taken from the list of attaching means comprising a sliding attachment, a built-in attachment, a snap attachment, a pin attachment, a clip attachment, a hinge attachment, an insertion attachment, a magnetic attachment, a mating hook and loop fastener, an adhesive strip, a friction fit, a swivel attachment, a mechanical fastener.

Description:
TITLE OF THE INVENTION

WEARABLE HEADWEAR ACCESSORY DEVICE FOR COMMUNICATING CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of and priority to prior filed co-pending U. S. Patent Application serial No. 10/770,137, filed on February 2, 2004, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference. This application is also a continuation-in-part of PCT Patent Application serial No. PCT/US04/18160, filed June 7, 2004, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference. This application claims the benefit of and priority to prior filed co-pending U. S. Patent Applications serial No. 11/404,977, filed on April 13, 2006 and serial No. 11/982,618, filed on November 3, 2007, the disclosures of which is incorporated herein by reference.

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

Not Applicable. THE NAMES OF THE PARTIES TO A JOINT RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

Not Applicable.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to headwear accessories and in particular to hat, visor, cap or other headwear accessories for removably engaging a portion of the headwear which may be a baseball cap or other hat or visor with a forward extending visor or bill, the headwear accessory providing means for communicating with the surrounding environment including the display of indicia that may bear information, images, messages or the like related to sports teams, advertising, or any communication desired and may comprise visual and auditory communication devices.

Description of Related Art Including Information Disclosed Under 37 CFR 1.97 and 1.98

Headwear including baseball caps, visors, and other hats usually with bills are big sellers. Many headwear manufacturers and buyers customize headwear with an embroidered symbol, message or the like. The background art does not provide a headwear accessory suitable for advertising by a promoter or self expression by a user by providing indicia on the headwear accessory or for electronic communication between the wearer and the surrounding environment. Many users desire to promote a specific team or product or show their support for a particular player, or dislike of a particular team or player, or have a custom message or expression that can be displayed on headwear including a hat, visor or cap or the bill thereof.

It is desirable to have the message or indicia on the headwear, including powered indicia and programmable indicia.

The indicia may also be interchangeable depending on the expression the user wishes to make.

Furthermore it is desirable to have headwear accessories attached to a portion of the headwear for communication, enhanced vision and hearing and entertainment. While there have been many headwear devices, none provide a removable headwear accessory device instantly wearable on the headwear for a wearer to communicate in a variety of ways with the surrounding environment and do not include devices for communication enhanced vision and hearing and entertainment.

U.S. Patent #6,044,495, issued 4/4/2000 to Ellman et al, provides a detachable visor cover (20) having the means for attachment built into the detachable visor cover (20) enabling the wearer of baseball/golf or like cap to slide on and slide off the detachable visor cover (20) by use of a slide/track system (30) that is affixed to the left side (30a) and the right side (30b) of the underside of the detachable visor cover (20).

U.S. Patent #5,634,575, issued 6/3/97 to Scharrenberg, concerns an apparatus and method for reforming a visor of a baseball type cap including a flexible member to be positioned adjacent the visor and having retention plates along the sides or center thereof that form visor receiving slots to position and retain the visor during reforming. Clips may be used in lieu of slots to retain the visor. Straps or similar elongated devices are affixed to the sides of the flexible member and are tensioned to draw said sides together thereby imparting an increased angular contour to the visor, wherein the straps stretch straight across the bill between the bent down sides, so that if the cap were worn with the device attached, the view of the wearer would be blocked by the straps. Latches on the straps hold the desired tension and visor contour until the visor has assumed the new contour set. The method may include moisturizing the visor and may be performed iteratively to permit various intermediate contours to be sampled or as required to provide the desired semi-permanent visor set.

U.S. Patent #5,991,927, issued 11/30/99 to Barbaccia, provides a shaping device wherein the bill of the cap fits into the shaping device such that the bill is shaped into the shape of the bill-shaping wall. The bill support wall preferably further includes indicia of team enthusiasm and loyalty and a transparent plastic cardholder for storing and displaying a baseball card. The device is not wearable on the head of a wearer and would immediately slip off in active use. U.S. Patent #6,315,175, issued 11/13/2001 to Berger, puts forth a device for reforming the brim of a cap having a flexible frame constructed of two flexible members and a third, hinged arcuate member, of rigid construction is provided. The two flexible members are attached to the top of the curved, rigid, bottom member and are maintained in a parallel relationship regardless of the degree of articulation of the bottom member around the hinge. This construction allows the user to insert a cap brim into the parallel slot and bend the device thereby imparting a variable degree of curvature to the brim of the cap. A ratchet device is connected to the bottom member to allow the device to be adjusted or set in a specific position to impart the desired curvature to the brim. In addition, the device has a mounting hook at one end for hanging so that it can be used as a storage or display device while the cap is retained therein. The cap is not wearable with the device in place.

U.S. Patent #5,908,146, issued 6/1/99 to Levin, discloses a device for bowing the brim of a cap and for storing, transporting, washing and/or displaying such cap having a body portion with first and second retention arms extending upwards at each end thereof forming first and second receipt areas at their junctions for receipt therein of the first side and second side of the cap brim, to form such brim into a desired curve. Notches can be disposed inward of each of the receipt areas for receipt of one side of the brim to form alternate brim receipt areas for different desired brim curvatures. The cap is not wearable with the device attached.

U.S. Patent #5,012,531, issued 5/7/91 to Schoonover, claims a form retaining holder or case for a visored cap comprising an upper shell and a lower shell, both shell portions sized and adapted to accommodate a visored type cap, such as used in the game of baseball, when the back portion of the cap is folded forwardly into the interior of the front portion of the cap. In such a holder, the cap is interposed between the upper shell and lower shell so that the form of the cap is retained during carriage and storage, and some modicum of protection for the cap is provided. The upper shell and lower shell are connected by means of known fastening means and by a lip disposed on the lower surface of the visor portion of the upper shell, such lip adapted to engage the visor of lower shell therein. Ventilation holes may be provided both upper and lower shell portions, particularly in portions adjacent to the periphery of the crown portion of the cap where it closely accommodates the wearer's head. The device covers the entire front of the cap and would therefore cover the insignia on the cap and be undesirable for wearing. The presence of the device would alter the cap size and therefore also be undesirable for wearing.

U.S. Patent number 6,755,329, issued 6/29/2004 to the inventor of the present invention, the specification of which is hereby incorporated by reference, discloses a hat bill shaping device which can be worn on the hat. However, the communication and advertising opportunities available were not disclosed in the '329 patent nor the electronic devices. What is needed is a headwear accessory for engaging a portion of the headwear while wearing the headwear and providing means for communicating with the surrounding environment of the wearer including advertising and a means of self expression and attachment of devices for communication enhanced vision and hearing and entertainment.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An object of the present invention is to provide a headwear accessory for instantly engaging a portion of the headwear while wearing the headwear and providing means for communicating with the environment surrounding the wearer including indicia as a means for advertising and a means of self expression and attachment of electronic devices for communication enhanced vision and hearing and entertainment.

A headwear accessory for engaging a portion of an article of headwear comprises an exposed upperside for communicating and an underside for attaching, where the underside is adapted to contact and conform to a portion of the headwear. In one embodiment, a pair of retainer edge strips extend from opposing ends of a bill of the headwear, where each retainer edge is adapted to contact a side edge of a bill on the headwear. Each of a pair of tabs extends from one edge strip. The tabs are spaced from the bill to form a gap slightly smaller than the thickness of the headwear bill for securely gripping a side edge portion of the headwear bill, whereby the headwear accessory is selectively secured to the headwear bill by inserting the headwear bill into the headwear accessory where the tabs function to securely grip the headwear accessory to the bill. The headwear accessory conforms to the shape of the headwear bill or other potion of the headwear. At least one indicia located on the exposed upperside of the headwear accessory.

Additionally, the indicia may be powered, such as by electrical power. In one embodiment, the indicia is magnetically attachable to the headwear. The indicia may include a light emitting element, such as a light pipe or electroluminescence device or array.

In an alternative embodiment, a headwear accessory for engaging a headwear bill comprises a headwear accessory approximately equal in length to the width of the headwear bill, the headwear accessory comprising an exposed upperside for communicating and an underside conforming to the shape of the portion of the headwear to which it is attached.

An attachment assembly comprising an attachment strip about equal in length to the width of a headwear bill and a pair of retainer edge strips, each said edge strip extending from opposing ends of the attachment strip, where each retainer edges are adapted to contact a side edge of the headwear bill. A pair of headwear accessory retaining channels, the channels providing means to secure the headwear accessory to the attachment strip. A pair of tabs, each tab extending from each of said edge strips, said tabs being spaced from said attachment strip to form a gap slightly smaller than the thickness of a headwear bill for securely gripping a side edge portion of the headwear bill, whereby the hat accessory is selectively secured to the headwear bill by inserting the headwear bill into the headwear accessory. The tabs function to securely grip the headwear accessory to the headwear bill. The attachment assembly is formed of a semi- rigid material conforming to the portion of the headwear to which it is attached. At least one means for communicating is located on the exposed upperside of the headwear accessory. The headwear accessory may be formed of any suitable material known in the art. Further objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from analysis of the following written description, the accompanying drawings and the appended claims. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

These and other details of my invention will be described in connection with the accompanying drawings, which are furnished only by way of illustration and not in limitation of the invention, and in which drawings:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view showing the top of the headwear accessory of the present invention with an indicia displayed as the headwear accessory is installed on a cap bill; FIG. 2 is a perspective view showing the underside of the headwear accessory of

FIG. 1 installed on the cap bill;

FIG. 3 is a front elevational view of the headwear accessory of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view showing the top of the headwear accessory of the present invention with powered indicia displayed and a photovoltaic device included on the headwear accessory, as the headwear accessory is installed on the cap bill;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view showing the underside of the headwear accessory of FIG. 4 installed on the cap bill; FIG. 6 is a front elevational view of the headwear accessory of FIG. 4 having a powered indicia and a photovoltaic device disposed on the upper side of the headwear accessory and a electrochemical storage device disposed on the underside of the headwear accessory to provide power to the powered indicia disposed on the headwear accessory;

FIG. 7 is a perspective exploded view of an alternative embodiment of the headwear accessory of the present invention, with the headwear accessory as a separate component having an indicia displayed thereon and an attachment assembly installed on the cap bill having a power source disposed thereon; FIG. 8 is a front elevational view of an alternative embodiment of FIG. 7, revealing a power source on the attachment assembly and power electronics disposed on the underside of the headwear accessory;

FIG. 9 is a front elevational view of an alternative embodiment of the attachment assembly of FIG.8 installed on the cap bill, where the attachment strip is located above the bill;

FIG. 9A is a partial front elevational view of an alternative embodiment of the attachment assembly of FIG.9 installed on the cap bill, where the attachment strip is located above the bill and the channel for the headwear accessory is spaced from the headwear accessory; FIG. 9B is a partial front elevational view of an alternative embodiment of the attachment assembly of FIG.9 installed on the cap bill, where the headwear accessory is located below the bill and the channel for the headwear accessory is disposed adjacent to the bill;

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the headwear accessory of the present invention installed on the cap bill, having a display strip provided to be disposed at the underside of the cap bill, the display strip having an indicia displayed thereon;

FIG. 11 is an exploded perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the headwear accessory of the present invention, with a headwear accessory as a separate piece, a display strip and a pair of channels as separate pieces; FIG. 1 Ia is a perspective view of one of the pair of channels of FIG. 11;

FIG. 12 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the headwear accessory of the present invention installed on the cap bill, including selectively engageable eyewear pivotally attached to each of a pair of tabs;

FIG. 12a is a partial cross sectional of the headwear accessory of FIG. 12, cut through a pivot point;

FIG. 13 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the headwear accessory of the present invention installed on the cap bill, having a speaker adjustably mounted thereon;

FIG. 14 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the headwear accessory of the present invention installed on the cap bill, having a pair of speakers mounted thereon; FIG. 15 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the headwear accessory of the present invention installed on the cap bill, having a video screen attached thereto;

FIG. 16 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the headwear accessory of the present invention installed on the cap bill, with the headwear accessory as a separate component having a powered indicia disposed thereon and a separate attachment strip disposed on the underside of the bill, and a plurality of conductive fasteners for connecting the headwear accessory to the attachment strip through the bill.

FIG. 16a is a partial cross sectional of the headwear accessory of FIG. 16, cut through a conductive fastener;

FIG. 17 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the headwear accessory of the present invention installed having a camera embedded therein;

FIG. 18 is a front elevational view of a wireless communications device provided to receive instructions to operate a headwear accessory; FIG. 19 is a perspective view of the headwear accessory device of the present invention having a sonic ear listening device pivotally mounted to a back of the bill of the headwear with the listening device pivoted up for use and pivotally attached headphones on the sides of the headwear accessory;

FIG. 20 is a perspective view of the headwear accessory device of FIG. 19 having the sonic ear listening device with the listening device pivoted down onto the accessory strip on the upperside of the bill; FIG. 21 is a front elevational view of the head wear accessory device of FIG. 19 having the sonic ear listening device pivoted up for use and pivotally attached headphones on the sides of the headwear accessory;

FIG. 22 is a perspective view of the headwear accessory device of the present invention having strips adhered or pinned to the upperside of the bill and the underside of the bill;

FIG. 23 is a perspective view of the headwear accessory device of the present invention having an elongated strip on the underside of the bill and multiple imprinted indicia elements on the upperside of the bill pinned to the elongated strip through holes in the bill, and showing a cross-sectional detail in A of the pin and pin clasp;

FIG. 24 is a perspective view of the headwear accessory device of the present invention having a top accessory strip having a hole therein to receive accessory devices snapped through the hole;

FIG. 25 is a perspective view of the headwear accessory device of the present invention showing a back sunshade element extending from the accessory strip shown aligned to slide onto the bill for mounting the device on the bill with the sun shade element in the back of the headwear to shade a neck of a wearer;

FIG. 26 is a perspective view of the headwear accessory device of the present invention showing a video recording device and antenna with a transmitter to send the images to a remote wireless device;

FIG. 27 is an exploded perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the headwear accessory of the present invention, having a magnetic element in the bill with top and bottom bill shapers having attached mating magnetic elements or being fabricated of mating magnetic elements;

FIG. 28 is an exploded perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the headwear accessory of the present invention, having a magnetic element in the bill of a visor with top and bottom bill shapers having attached mating magnetic elements or being fabricated of mating magnetic elements;

FIG. 29 is a perspective view of an alternate embodiment of the headwear accessory of the present invention having a chin strap attached to the headwear accessory.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION In FIGS. 1-29, a headwear accessory device 10 removably engages a portion of an article of headwear 16 which may include a bill 18 of a cap or hat 16 or visor 16A having the bill 18 extending forward over a forehead of a wearer and extending substantially from side-to-side across a forehead of a wearer. The headwear accessory device 10 may be instantly applied to the portion of the headwear conforming to the shape of the portion of the headwear and worn with the headwear accessory device 10 in place on the portion of the headwear and which headwear accessory device provides means for communicating with surrounding environs and people.

An accessory strip 20 may be removably attached to the bill 18 of the headwear

16 along a portion of the bill substantially in a side-to-side orientation. The accessory strip 20 comprisies an elongated element having an exposed upperside 21 and an underside 22 shaped to conform to a top surface of the bill 18. A means for attaching the accessory strip to the bill may comprise at least one binding device for removably binding at least a portion of the accessory strip 20 to the bill 18 so that the accessory strip is attachable thereto and removable therefrom, and so that at least a portion of the bill is drawn into contact with the underside of the accessory strip so the accessory strip conforms to the shape of the bill thereby enabling the device to be instantly applied to the bill of the headwear enabling the headwear to be worn with the headwear accessory device in place on the bill.

Any one or more of a plurality of communicating devices, described below, attaches to the accessory strip 20 to form the headwear accessory device 10. The accessory device 10 comprises means for a wearer to communicate with surrounding environs and people and means for attaching the communicating device to the accessory strip so that the headwear accessory device may be worn and used by the wearer with the headwear on the head of the wearer.

The headwear accessory device 10 comprises means for communicating in a variety of ways with the surrounding environs and people including visually by viewing and visually recording elements of the surrounding environs and people and by visually displaying a variety of visual elements and devices to the surrounding environs and people.

The means for visually displaying may comprise at least one visual display means taken from the list of visual display means comprising an imprinted image, a shaped image, a lighted image, a moving image screen, an imprinted indicia, a powered indicia, an electrically powered indicia, a magnetically attachable indicia, a light emitting display, a light emitting indicia, a light pipe display, an electroluminescence display, a fiber optic display, a pinned indicia, a snapped on indicia.

The headwear accessory device 10 may comprise any of a variety of means for communicating aurally with the surrounding environs and people including listening to and audibly recording elements of the surrounding environs and people as well as audibly broadcasting to the surrounding environs and people.

The headwear accessory device 10 may comprise an electronic acoustic receiver mounted on the upperside of the accessory strip 20 for receiving and magnifying sounds emitted from the surrounding environs and people and at least one headphone mounted on a side of the curved accessory strip for a wearer to listen to the magnified sounds of the surrounding environs and people, wherein the acoustic receiver may be mounted by a pivot connection to the upperside of the accessory strip and the acoustic receiver is normally down in a storage position on the accessory strip and is pivoted up to a listening position. The accessory device may comprise any of a variety of means for communicating visually and aurally with the surrounding environs and people including visually and audibly recording elements of the surrounding environs and people and visually and audibly broadcasting to the surrounding environs and people, such as a means for visually and audibly broadcasting comprises an active image producing screen and a speaker. The accessory device may comprise at least one device taken from the list of devices comprising an electronic device, a one-way radio, a two-way radio, an MP3 player, a video camera, a video camera recording video to a remote server, a video camera to transmit images to Liquid Crystal Diode glasses, a cellular phone, a global positioning satellite (GPS) device, a short wave radio, and at least one of the electronic accessories taken from the list of electronic accessories comprising a power source within the accessory device, a power source on the underside of the bill, electronic circuitry inside the accessory device, a remote control for the accessory device, a photovoltaic panel on top of the device for charging the power source, and an antenna, and at least one light excluding device taken from the list of light excluding devices including a rear sun shading device, and a shaded eyewear device.

The accessory strip 20 may extend to two opposing edges of the bill from side-to- side and the binding device may comprise at least one edge binding strip having a groove therein to bind the accessory strip to edge of the bill in the groove on each of the two opposing edges.

Alternately, the binding device may comprise at least one of a pair of connector elements on the upperside and the underside of the bill to bind the accessory strip to the bill.

The means for attaching the headwear accessory device may comprise an attaching means taken from the list of attaching means comprising a sliding attachment, a built-in attachment, a snap attachment, a pin attachment, a clip attachment, a hinge attachment, an insertion attachment, a magnetic attachment, a mating hook and loop fastener, an adhesive strip, a friction fit, a swivel attachment, a mechanical fastener.

With specific reference to FIGS. 1-6, the headwear accessory 10 of the present invention with indicia 44 displayed as the headwear accessory 10 is installed on a cap bill 18 is shown. The headwear accessory 10, for engaging the bill 18 of a baseball type cap 16 or other cap having a front visor or bill 18, comprises a headwear accessory 20 slightly greater in length than a width of a cap bill 18. The headwear accessory 20 has an exposed upperside 21 and an underside 23 conforming to the shape of the bill. The upperside 21 may bear an indicia 44 imprinted, embossed, burned or otherwise applied to the upperside 21 of the bill attachment device and exposed to view. The underside 23 is adapted for contacting a top surface of a cap bill 18. In the embodiment of FIG. 4, the headwear accessory 20 has a forward extending portion 22 to provide additional surface area for the indicia 44. A pair of retainer edge strips 25 and 27 extend from an opposing end of the headwear accessory 20. A pair of tabs 15 extend from the retainer edge strips 25, 27. The tabs 15 are spaced from the headwear accessory 20 to form a gap 14 slightly smaller than the thickness of the cap bill 18. The retainer edge strips 25, 27 contact a side edge of the cap bill 18 wile the tabs 15 securely grip a side portion of the cap bill 18, whereby the headwear accessory 10 is selectively secured to a cap bill 18 by inserting the cap bill 18 into the headwear accessory 10 where the tabs 15 function to securely grip the headwear accessory 10 to the cap bill 18.

The headwear accessory 10 in the present embodiment may be a unitary device and may be fabricated of a semi-rigid material, such as a molded plastic or nylon or rubberized plastic or any other suitable material known in the art. The headwear accessory 10 may fabricated in one piece of a semi-rigid material conforming to the shape of the cap bill 18. In FIGS. 1-3 the exposed upperside 21 of the headwear accessory 20 is adapted for receiving indicia 44 applied thereto, such as sports related information or personal information or advertisements or any type of imprinted or otherwise applied words and images, including decals. The headwear accessory 10 is easily removable and replaceable with others bearing different indicia 44.

In FIGS. 4-6 alternative embodiments of the headwear accessory 10 of the present invention are shown where the indicia 44 is powered, such as by electrical power or light energy. A power source 42 is operatively coupled to a consumption location, such as powered indicia 44, by any means known in the art, for example, by optically or electrically conductive material. A microprocessor (not shown), memory storage (not shown) and may be provided. The indicia 44 may include one or more light emitting elements, such as a light pipe or an electroluminescence component, system or array. Additionally the indicia 44 may employ one or more LCDs (liquid crystal display), LEDs(light emitting diode), plasma or a fiber optics light emitting device. The indicia may be a novelty device, such as a "mood detector", a "truth detector" a display that communicates a static message or a user programmable message. Additionally, other items may be disposed on the headwear accessory 10, including a miniature train (not shown) or a toy barking dog (not shown), as examples.

Power electronics 48 may be employed to programmably control the powered indicia 44. The indicia 44 may receive a signal from a memory storage device (not shown) to provide instructions to play a message. As such, the indicia 44 may receive a signal to provide a flashing display, a non-flashing display, or a video clip, as examples. Although not shown, the headwear accessory 10 may also include an antenna for receiving a signal from a wireless source. Additionally, electronics for converting a signal to sound signals or video signals may be employed in the present embodiment. Other technology may be included, such as a photovoltaic device 31 to power the indicia 44 or power electronics 48, a power source 42, such as a electrochemical storage device may also be provided with the headwear accessory 10. The indicia 44 and accessories enhance the advertising and self expression features of the present invention.

Referring now to FIGS. 7-9B 5 a perspective exploded view of an alternative embodiment of the headwear accessory 10 of the present invention is shown, with the headwear accessory 20 as a separate component having an indicia 44 displayed. An attachment assembly 50 is installed on the cap bill 18 having a power source 42 disposed thereon. A pair of channels 15B are disposed adjacent to retainer edge strips 25 A and 27A at each end of an attachment strip 52. In the immediate embodiment, the attachment strip 52 is disposed below the cap bill 18. Tabs 2, spaced from the headwear accessory 20 slide into gaps 5 formed within channels 15B to secure the headwear accessory 20 to the attachment assembly 50. The tabs 2 or tabs 4 may be ribbed, for example, to assist in the maintenance of the position of the headwear accessory 20. The attachment assembly 50 and headwear accessory 20 may include conductive material (not shown), either optical or electrical, for example, to conduct energy from a power source to a consumption location, such as a powered indicia 44. For example, conductive material may be disposed in channels 1 and 15B to transmit energy. Referring now to FIG. 8, a front elevational view is shown of an alternative embodiment of FIG. 7, revealing a power source 42 on the attachment assembly 50 and power electronics 42 disposed on the underside of the headwear accessory 20 to drive, for example, a programmable indicia 44. The attachment strip 52 is about equal in length to the width of a cap bill 18 and a pair of retainer edge strips 27B, 25B, each of which extends from opposing ends of the attachment strip 52, are adapted to contact a side edge of the cap bill 18. A pair of headwear accessory retaining channels 15B provide means to secure the headwear accessory 20 to the attachment assembly 50 and the bill 18. A pair of tabs 4 spaced from the attachment strip 52 form a gap 5 to permit the tabs 2 to slide into the channels 15B. The attachment assembly 50 is formed of a semi-rigid material so that the attachment assembly 50 conforms to the shape of the cap bill 18. At least one indicia 44 is located on the exposed upperside 21 of the headwear accessory 20. The headwear accessory 20 may be formed of any suitable material known in the art. The headwear accessory 20 is preferably manufactured from a polymer, but could be manufactured from aluminum or thin steel.

Referring now to FIG. 9, a front elevational view of an alternative embodiment of the attachment assembly 50 of FIG.8 is shown installed on the cap bill 18, where the attachment strip 52 is located above the bill 18. Channels 15C are disposed at either end of the attachment strip 52. FIG. 9a is a partial front elevational view of an alternative embodiment of the attachment assembly 50 of FIG.9 installed on the cap bill 18, where the headwear accessory 20 is located above the bill and the channels 15D for the headwear accessory 20 is spaced from the attachment strip 52. FIG. 9b is a partial front elevational view of an alternative embodiment of the attachment assembly 50 of FIG.9 installed on the cap bill 18, where the headwear accessory 20 is located below the bill 18 and the channels 15E for the headwear accessory is disposed adjacent to the bill.

Referring now to FIG. 10 a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the headwear accessory 10 of the present invention is shown installed on a cap bill 18, including a display strip 60 provided to be disposed at the underside 19 of the cap bill 18. In use, edge portions 62, 64 of the display strip 60 are disposed between the tabs 15 of the headwear accessory 10 and a side portion of the cap bill 18. The gap 14 between the headwear accessory 20 and tabs 15 may be increased to accommodate the additional thickness that results from placing the display strip 60 and bill 18 into the gap 14. The display strip 60 has an indicia 44 displayed thereon. The present embodiment of the headwear accessory 10 permits indicia 44 to be disposed at the underside 19 of the cap bill 18.

Referring now to FIG. 11, an exploded perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the headwear accessory 10 of the present invention is shown. A pair of channels 17 secure a headwear accessory 20 and a display strip 60 to the bill 18. The channels 17 may include conductive material (not shown) for conducting electrical or optical signals or power between the headwear accessory 20 to the display strip 60. Referring now also to FIG. 1 Ia, a perspective view of one of the pair of channels 17 is shown. Each channel 17 includes a pair of tabs 6 extending from an edge 8 to form a gap 14. At least one finger 7 may be provided to assist in securing the channels 17 to the headwear accessory 20 and the display strip 60. In the preferred embodiment of the exemplary embodiment of FIG. 11a, there are four fingers 7, each disposed adjacent to an end portion of a tab 6.

Referring now to FIG. 12, a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the headwear accessory 10 of the present invention having selectively engageable eyewear 30 is shown. The headwear accessory 10 of the present embodiment is shown installed on the cap bill 18, permitting the user to engage the eyewear in front of the users eyes and when not desired, to pivot the eyewear up toward the bill 18 of the ball cap 16. The eyewear 30 includes at least one lens 32 which is attached to the tabs 15D of the headwear accessory 10. The eyewear 30 is pivotally attached to the tabs 15D of the headwear accessory 10 via mounts 33. The mounts 33 are slidably supported in slots 11 disposed within the tabs 15. The eyewear 30 may include a frame 34 to provide additional rigidity and support to the lens 32. The lens 32 is employed by pivoting the lens 32 about the mounts 33 and slidably positioning the lens 32 by sliding the mounts 33 within the slots 11. When not in use, a user may pivot the lens 32 out of the way so that the lens 32 is about parallel to the bill 18.

Referring now also to FIG. 12a, a partial cross sectional of the headwear accessory of FIG. 12 having selectively engageable eyewear 30 is shown, cut through a pivot point. A pair of retainer edge strips 25 and 27 extend from opposing ends of the headwear accessory 20. The tabs 15D extend from the retainer edge strips 25, 27. Each tab 15D has a slot 11 disposed generally along the edge strips 25, 27 to permit the mount 33 to translate within the slot 11. In the present embodiment, each mount 33 is trapped within the slot 11. Referring now to FIG. 13, a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the headwear accessory 10 of the present invention having a media player 70 is shown. The immediate embodiment of the headwear accessory 10 of the present invention comprises an adjustable boom 74 securely attached to the headwear accessory 20 at a first end. A speaker 72 is adjustably attached to boom 74 at a second end. In the preferred embodiment, the boom 74 is a comprised of multiple segmented members 75, 76, 77, that are pivotally attached to one another. Electronics (not shown) for converting a signal or data to sound signals or video signals are employed in the present embodiment. The speaker 72, is operatively coupled to the electronics by any means known in the art, including, electrical signals, optical signals or radio signals. The electronics may be disposed within the boom 74, or above or below the headwear accessory 20 of the headwear accessory 10. The electronics may receive data from memory storage (not shown) or signals from a radio source, and produce a signal to be conducted to the speaker 72. Although not shown, in one embodiment of the present invention, an antenna is provided for receiving a signal from a wireless source. Other technology may be included, such as a photovoltaic device (not shown) or electrochemical storage device (not shown) to power the electronics and speaker 72.

Referring now also to FIG. 14, a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the headwear accessory 10 of the present invention of FIG. 13 is shown. In the immediate embodiment, a pair of supports 78, 79 extend from the headwear accessory 20 adjacent to edge strips 25, 27. A pair of speakers 72, 73 are detachably mounted to the supports 78, 79. The pair of speakers 72, 73 is operatively coupled to a signal source by any suitable means known in the art to permit a user to deploy the speakers into the ears of a user, if so desired.

Referring now to FIG. 15, a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the headwear accessory 10 of the present invention is shown having a display system 80 attached thereto. The system 80 includes a screen 82 pivotaliy attached to first end 83 of a selectively extendable boom 84. The boom 84 is pivotaliy attached at a second end 85 to an attachment strip 52, as shown in FIG. 7 or a display strip 60, as shown in FIG. 10. Video signals and power to illuminate the screen 82 may be provided to the screen 82 by any means known in the art, including electrical and optical conductors. In the preferred embodiment, power and video signals are conducted to the screen 82 through the boom 84, which is preferably a telescope design, in that one segment fits into another to extend or retract the screen 82. In the preferred embodiment, the screen 82 is structured to conform to the shape of the bill 18 when the headwear accessory 10 is installed thereon. The screen 82 is extendably adjustable via boom 84 to the users preference or comfort. Additionally, the boom 84 may pivot about a z-axis 2 to permit a user to position the screen. When not in use, the user may dispose the screen from sight by retracting the boom 84 and rotating the screen 82 about the x-axis 4 to position the screen 82 against the bill 18.

Referring now to FIG. 16, a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the headwear accessory 10 of the present invention installed on the cap bill 18, with the headwear accessory 90 as a separate component having a powered indicia 44 disposed thereon and an attachment strip 92 disposed on the underside of the bill 18. A plurality of conductive fasteners 94 connect the headwear accessory 90 to the attachment strip 92 through the bill 18. The conductive fasteners 94 connect the headwear accessory 90 to the attachment strip 92 by any suitable fastener known in the art, including a spring clip type retainer and threaded fastener. In the preferred embodiment, the conductive fastener is selectively removable.

Referring now also to FIG. 16a, a partial cross sectional of the headwear accessory of FIG. 16 is shown, cut through a conductive fastener 94. The conductive fastener 94 contains one of an optically or electrically conductive element 95, which in the preferred embodiment is a layer disposed on the outside of the conductive fastener 94 to permit signals or power to be transferred between the headwear accessory 90 and attachment strip 92. The conductive fastener 94 is disposed to permit electrically or optically conductive material disposed in the headwear accessory 90 and attachment strip 92 to contact the conductive element 95. As set forth above, various electronic elements and power supply sources may be disposed on either the headwear accessory 90 or attachment strip 92.

Referring now also to FIG. 17, a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the headwear accessory 10 of the present invention is shown, having a camera 100 embedded therein. The camera 100 includes a lens 102 and a sensor array (not shown). In the present embodiment, the present invention 10 may also include a microphone 110 for receiving a sound and a transmitter (not shown) for transmitting a signal. In the preferred embodiment, the camera 100 is be embedded in the headwear accessory 10 of the present invention. Electronics (not shown) may be included to control the camera 100. Referring now also to FIG. 18, a front view of a wireless communications device 120 is shown. In the present embodiment, the device 120 is a cellular phone. The wireless device 120 has electronics (not shown) and memory storage (not shown) enclosed within a housing 121. Wireless signals are sent and received via an antenna 122. The device 120 includes an input device such as a keypad 125 and a screen 123. Memory storage permits the device 120 to store a program containing instructions to control the camera 100 and display an image 124 on the screen 123. Although in the immediate embodiment, electronics generate a signal to control the camera 100 to transmit an image to the device 120 to be viewed on the screen 123, the device 120 may be adapted to control a number of devices included in the accessory 10. The device 120 is intended to include any suitable wireless communication device known in the art, including a cell phone or two way radio, as examples. The electronics may provide a signal to command the camera 100 to capture an image. The device 120 may receive the program through a port 126 or through the antenna 122, as examples. The program includes a code segment to provide instructions to display an image 124 on the wireless device screen 123 and to command the camera 100 to capture an image based on a user input.

Referring now to FIGS. 19-21, the headwear accessory device of the present invention comprises a sonic ear listening device 130 pivotally mounted, preferably by a living hinge, to a back of the curved accessory strip 134 removably mounted on the bill 18 of the headwear 16 with the listening device 132 on the movable portion 131 pivoted up in FIGS. 19 and 21 for use and with the listening device pivoted down onto the accessory strip on the upperside of the bill for storage on the bill in FIG. 20, and pivotally attached headphone set 70 with headphones 72 and linked adjustable arm 75, 76, and 77 on the sides of the headwear accessory device.

Referring now to FIG. 22, the headwear accessory device 10 of the present invention comprises top shaped strips 170A adhered or pinned to the upperside of the bill 18 an the headwear 16 and bottom shaped strips 170B adhered or pinned to the underside of the bill.

Referring now to FIG. 23, the headwear accessory device 10 of the present invention comprises an elongated shaped strip 170B having receiving holes 177 on the underside of the bill 18 on the headwear 16 and multiple shaped and imprinted indicia elements 175 on the upperside of the bill pinned by attached pins 176 or removable pins 174, in section view A, to the elongated shaped strip 170 B through holes 191 in the bill 18 with the pin 174 and 176 secured by a pin lock or clasp 178, sandwiching the bill 18 therebetween. The pins may take any desired form including indicia, designs, characters, jewels, or other type of pin. Referring now to FIG. 24, the headwear accessory device 10 of the present invention comprises a shaped top accessory strip 20 having a hole 185 therein to receive accessory devices snapped through the hole 185 by a shaped snap top 181 and bottom 182 or a flat snap top 183 and bottom 184.

Referring now to FIG. 25, the headwear accessory device 10 of the present invention comprises a back sunshade element 190 extending from the accessory strip 20 shown aligned to slide onto the bill 18 for mounting the device on the bill with the sun shade element 190 in the back of the headwear to shade a neck of a wearer and optionally having interconnecting means such as an accessory connector element 195 A interconnecting with a mating headwear connector element 195B.

Referring now to FIG. 26, the headwear accessory device 10 of the present invention comprises a video recording device 189 with lights 188 and antenna 191 with a transmitter to send the images to a remote wireless device 200 having an LCD or other screen 198 for viewing and control buttons 197 and an antenna 199.

Referring now to FIG. 27, the headwear accessory device 10 of the present invention comprises an alternative embodiment of the headwear accessory of the present invention, having a magnetic element 210 in the bill 18 with a top bill shaper 20 and an optional additional bottom bill shaper 60 each having attached mating magnetic elements 211 or alternately each being fabricated of mating magnetic elements to that of the magnetic element 210 so that the bill shapers 20 and 60 are attached to the bill 18 by magnetic attraction. The bill of the article of headwear can be manufactured so a magnet is applied to the top of the bill of an article of headwear before it is covered. Or the bill of the article of headwear could be magnetized for the application of magnetic objects. A curved or flat magnet 210 could be manufactured into the bill with the magnet invisible inside the bill. The bill shaper 20 and 60 itself could be made of magnetic material or metal to mate magnetically with the magnet 210 in the bill 18. The magnetic material 2210 may cover all or any part of the bill and can it be smaller than the length of the bill. Referring now to FIG. 28, the headwear accessory device 10 of the present invention comprises a visor 16A bearing the headwear accessory of the present invention, which as in FIG. 27 has a magnetic element 210 in the bill 18 with a top bill shaper 20 and an optional additional bottom bill shaper 60 each having attached mating magnetic elements 211 or alternately each being fabricated of mating magnetic elements to that of the magnetic element 210 so that the bill shapers 20 and 60 are attached to the bill 18 by magnetic attraction. It is understood that all of the other headwear accessories of the present invention could by applied to a bill of a visor or any other type of headwear as well as to the hats or caps shown and described in the previous embodiments.

Referring now to FIG. 29, the headwear accessory device 10 has an attached chin strap 220 which may be built into the headwear accessory device or removably attached by any of several attaching means 221 including snaps, buckles, mating hook and loop fasteners, or other releasable fasteners. The chin strap may have illumination elements 222 built into or attached to the strap and visible on the outside of the strap, which might be fiber optics, L.E.D.s or other illumination means which may be decorative or contain a message including a logo, advertisement, or other communication.

The headwear or cap accessory strips and communicating devices combined to form the headwear accessory devices 10 are preferably fabricated as far as possible using molded synthetics or light-weight fabricated metal to keep the load on the portion of the headwear or cap as light as possible.

The foregoing discussion discloses and describes the preferred structure and control system for the present invention. However, one skilled in the art will readily recognize from such discussion, and from the accompanying drawings and claims, that various changes, modifications and variations can be made therein without departing from the true spirit and fair scope of the invention as defined in the following claims.




 
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