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Patentsuche

  1. Erweiterte Patentsuche
VeröffentlichungsnummerUS20100306941 A1
PublikationstypAnmeldung
AnmeldenummerUS 12/651,738
Veröffentlichungsdatum9. Dez. 2010
Eingetragen4. Jan. 2010
Prioritätsdatum3. Juni 2009
Veröffentlichungsnummer12651738, 651738, US 2010/0306941 A1, US 2010/306941 A1, US 20100306941 A1, US 20100306941A1, US 2010306941 A1, US 2010306941A1, US-A1-20100306941, US-A1-2010306941, US2010/0306941A1, US2010/306941A1, US20100306941 A1, US20100306941A1, US2010306941 A1, US2010306941A1
ErfinderCraig Mathew Erskine-Smith, David Deacon
Ursprünglich BevollmächtigterHayco Manufacturing Limited
Zitat exportierenBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
Externe Links: USPTO, USPTO-Zuordnung, Espacenet
Toothbrush
US 20100306941 A1
Zusammenfassung
There is provided a toothbrush having an elongate body provided with a handle portion at a first end and a utility portion at a second end opposite to the first end, (a) wherein the utility portion is provided with a platform from which a plurality of tufts of cleaning bristles are extended, (b) wherein the cleaning media is provided with a front region, opposite side regions and a rear region which together forming a circumferential area surrounding a middle region of the cleaning bristles, (c) wherein the tufts of cleaning bristles located at the middle region are formed into at least two peaks configured for insertion into adjacent gaps between successive teeth, (d) wherein the tufts of cleaning media forming the peaks are substantially taller than the tufts of cleaning media along the side regions, and (e) wherein distal end of the two peaks are separated by a distance from 8.15 mm to 9.15 mm.
Bilder(32)
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Ansprüche(11)
1. A toothbrush comprising an elongate body provided with a handle portion at a first end and a utility portion at a second end opposite to said first end;
(a) wherein said utility portion is provided with a platform from which a plurality of tufts of cleaning media are extended;
(b) wherein said cleaning media is provided with a front region, opposite side regions and a rear region which together forming a circumferential area surrounding a middle region of said cleaning media;
(c) wherein said tufts of cleaning media located at the middle region are formed into at least two peaks configured for insertion into adjacent gaps between successive teeth;
(d) wherein said tufts of cleaning media forming said peaks are substantially taller than said tufts of cleaning media along the side regions; and
(e) wherein distal end of said two peaks are separated by a distance between 8.15 mm and 9.15 mm.
2. A toothbrush as claimed in claim 1, wherein the middle region is provided with three said peaks.
3. A toothbrush as claimed in claim 1, wherein one or more said peaks are conical in shape.
4. A toothbrush as claimed in claim 1, wherein said peaks define an external concave surface.
5. A toothbrush as claimed in claim 1, wherein said two peaks are separated by a distance of substantially 8.65 mm.
6. A toothbrush as claimed in claim 1, wherein said peaks are configured for insertion into adjacent triangular gap regions between successive teeth.
7. A toothbrush as claimed in claim 1, wherein said cleaning media defining said peaks at the middle region are stiffer than said cleaning media located at the side regions.
8. A toothbrush as claimed in claim 1, wherein said cleaning media are bristles.
9. A toothbrush as claimed in claim 8, wherein said cleaning media defining said peaks at the middle region has a larger width than said cleaning media located at the side regions.
10. A toothbrush as claimed in claim 1, wherein the front region of the cleaning media is formed into an asymmetrical peak defining a slope on one side and a generally vertical end on the opposite side.
11. A toothbrush as claimed in claim 10, wherein said asymmetrical peak is taller than said peaks arranged between the side regions of said cleaning media.
Beschreibung
    CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • [0001]
    This application is a continuation in part of design application Ser. Nos. 29/338,008 filed Jun. 3, 2009 and 29/338,009 filed Jun. 3, 2009.
  • FIELD OF THE PRESENT INVENTION
  • [0002]
    The present invention is concerned with a toothbrush.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE PRESENT INVENTION
  • [0003]
    There are a variety of oral cleaning devices and tools to assist oral cleaning. For example, conventional toothbrushes have been around for a long time. Most dentists often recommend brushing teeth with a toothbrush at least twice a day. Many dentists also recommend flossing in addition to brushing. Electric toothbrushes have also become popular in the past twenty five years. For patients with certain dental problems, cleaning with inter-dental brushes may also be required. Then there is also oral cleaning with mouth rinse. In recent years, some dentists also recommend using apparatus which can eject pressurized water stream to clean gaps between teeth. When more than one of these different devices or tools is used a higher level of oral hygiene can be achieved. However, it is rather inconvenient to use multiple devices and the cost of acquiring or maintaining such multiple devices can be rather high.
  • [0004]
    The present invention seeks to introduce a toothbrush which can achieve multiple oral cleaning functions or at least to provide an alternative to the general public.
  • SUMMARY OF THE PRESENT INVENTION
  • [0005]
    According to an aspect of the present invention, there is provided a toothbrush comprising an elongate body provided with a handle portion at a first end and a utility portion at a second end opposite to the first end, wherein the utility portion is provided with a platform from which a plurality of tufts of cleaning media are extended, wherein on the platform the cleaning media includes a front region, a left side region, a right side region and a rear region which together forming a circumferential area or a ring surrounding a middle region of the cleaning media, wherein the cleaning media tufts located at the middle region are formed into at least two peaks configured for insertion into adjacent gaps between successive teeth of a user, wherein the cleaning media tufts forming the peaks are substantially taller than the cleaning media tufts at the left and right side regions, and wherein distal end of the two peaks are separated by a distance between 8.15 mm and 9.15 mm.
  • [0006]
    Preferably, the middle region may be provided with three peaks.
  • [0007]
    In one embodiment, one or more of the peaks may be conical in shape. The peak(s) may define an external concave surface. When there are two peaks, the two peaks may be separated by a distance of substantially 8.65 mm. The peaks may be configured for insertion into adjacent triangular gap regions between successive teeth.
  • [0008]
    In another embodiment, the cleaning media defining the peaks at the middle region may be stiffer than the cleaning media located at the left and right side regions.
  • [0009]
    Preferably, the cleaning media may take the form of bristles. It may also take the form of elastomeric cleaning fingers or filaments or a combination of bristles and elastomeric cleaning finger or filaments.
  • [0010]
    When the cleaning media takes the form of bristles, the cleaning media defining the peaks at the middle region may have a larger width or diameter than the cleaning media located at the left and right side regions.
  • [0011]
    In another embodiment, the front region of the cleaning media may be formed into an asymmetrical peak defining a slope on one side and a generally vertical end on the opposite side. The asymmetrical peak may be taller than the peaks arranged between the left and right side regions of the cleaning media.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0012]
    Embodiments of the present invention will now be described by way of example, with reference to the accompanied figures, in which:
  • [0013]
    FIG. 1 shows a schematic perspective view of an embodiment of a utility portion of a toothbrush according to the present invention;
  • [0014]
    FIG. 2 is top view of the toothbrush of FIG. 1;
  • [0015]
    FIG. 3 is a side view of the toothbrush of FIG. 1;
  • [0016]
    FIG. 4 is an opposite side view of the toothbrush of FIG. 1;
  • [0017]
    FIGS. 5 and 6 are front view and rear view of the toothbrush of FIG. 1;
  • [0018]
    FIG. 7 corresponds to FIG. 1 but shown in solid lines;
  • [0019]
    FIG. 8 a shows a top view of a utility portion of the toothbrush of FIG. 1;
  • [0020]
    FIG. 8 b is a cross section view of the utility portion taken along line A-A in FIG. 8 a;
  • [0021]
    FIG. 8 c is a simplified schematic demonstration of a cleaning media profile of the toothbrush of FIG. 8 b;
  • [0022]
    FIG. 9 a shows a top view of a utility portion of the toothbrush of FIG. 1;
  • [0023]
    FIG. 9 b is a cross section view of the utility portion taken along line B-B in FIG. 9 a;
  • [0024]
    FIG. 9 c is a simplified schematic demonstration of a cleaning media profile of the toothbrush of FIG. 9 b;
  • [0025]
    FIG. 10 a schematically shows teeth in a lower jaw and a toothbrush of FIG. 1 positioned adjacent the teeth;
  • [0026]
    FIG. 10 b schematically shows interaction of the teeth and the toothbrush in FIG. 10 a;
  • [0027]
    FIG. 11 a schematically shows different teeth in a lower jaw and a toothbrush of FIG. 1 positioned adjacent the teeth;
  • [0028]
    FIG. 11 b schematically shows interaction of the teeth and the toothbrush in FIG. 11 a;
  • [0029]
    FIG. 12 a schematically shows different teeth in a lower jaw and a toothbrush of FIG. 1 positioned adjacent the tooth;
  • [0030]
    FIG. 12 b schematically shows interaction of the teeth and the toothbrush in FIG. 12 a;
  • [0031]
    FIGS. 13 a and 13 b schematically show teeth of a user;
  • [0032]
    FIG. 14 a is a cross section view taken along line C-C in FIG. 13 showing interaction of the teeth and a toothbrush of FIG. 1;
  • [0033]
    FIG. 14 b is a cross section view taken along line D-D in FIG. 13 showing interaction of the teeth and a toothbrush of FIG. 1;
  • [0034]
    FIG. 14 c is a cross section view taken along line E-E in FIG. 13 showing interaction of the teeth and a toothbrush of FIG. 1;
  • [0035]
    FIGS. 15 to 28 c correspond to FIGS. 1 to 14 c although a different embodiment of a toothbrush according to the present invention is shown;
  • [0036]
    FIG. 29 is a schematic top view showing another embodiment of a toothbrush according to the present invention;
  • [0037]
    FIGS. 30, 31 and 33 illustrate how an embodiment of a toothbrush according to the present invention interacts with teeth during a cleaning exercise; and
  • [0038]
    FIG. 32 illustrates the interaction of the toothbrush shown in FIG. 30 by way of comparison with a conventional toothbrush.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS OF THE PRESENT INVENTION
  • [0039]
    FIGS. 1 to 9 c illustrate a first embodiment of a toothbrush according to the present invention. The toothbrush is generally designated 2. The toothbrush 2 comprises an elongate body indicated by the arrows 4 having a handle portion (not shown) at one end and a utility portion 6 at the opposite end. The utility portion 6 provides an upwardly facing surface 8. The surface is generally planar and roughly has an oval shape.
  • [0040]
    A number of tufts of cleaning media are provided at the utility portion 6 extending from the surface 8. In this embodiment, some of the cleaning media tufts are arranged in a configuration of circular column while some are not. It is shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 that there is provided a cleaning media tuft 10 which has a configuration of a circular column while there is provided another cleaning media tuft 12 which does not have a configuration of a circular column. Specifically, the cleaning media tuft 10 has an elongate configuration when viewed from above.
  • [0041]
    As shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the cleaning media tufts at the utility portion 6 or extended from the surface 8 can be divided into a front region 14, a rear region 16, a left side region 18, and a right side region 20 which together define a peripheral area or an roughly oval ring area surrounding a middle region 24 of the cleaning media tufts. The different regions are shown in dotted lines in FIG. 2. In this embodiment, the cleaning media tufts in the middle region 24 are configured to define three peaks of equal height 26, 28, 30. Each of these peaks 26, 28, 30 are formed of one central cleaning media tuft 32, a smaller inner ring 34 made up of four cleaning media tufts 34 a, 34 b, 34 c, 34 d with each of these tufts in the form of an arc when viewed from above, and a larger outer ring 36 also made up of four cleaning media tufts 36 a, 36 b, 36 c, 36 d with each of these tufts in the form of a longer arc when viewed from above. The central cleaning media tuft 32 is longest compared to the tufts forming the surrounding arcs 34 a-d, 36 a-d or rings. The cleaning media tufts 34 making up the inner ring are shorter and the cleaning media tufts 36 making up the outer ring are even shorter. Due to the longest length of the central cleaning media tufts 32, the distal end of the central cleaning media tufts form and define the top of the peaks 26, 28, 30, with the rings made of the successive shorter tufts 34 a-d, 36 a-d forming and defining the slope of the peaks 26, 28, 30.
  • [0042]
    In this embodiment and as shown in FIG. 3, the distance “d” between the top of each adjacent pair of peaks is about 8.65 mm although studies have found that the distance may range from 8.15 mm to 9.05 mm and a satisfactory cleaning result can still be achieved. It is however to be noted as described above the peaks 26, 28, 30 are spaced apart but substantially 8.65 mm. This configuration is not arbitrary but was arrived at after lengthy research studies during the course of the present invention. The studies have identified when the peaks are spaced by this distance, such a toothbrush can suit a large percentage of people in the population.
  • [0043]
    As shown in FIGS. 1 and 4, there is provided a cleaning media tuft 38 between two adjacent peaks (26, 28 or 28, 30). This cleaning media tuft 38 is shorter than any other cleaning media tufts forming the peaks 26, 28, 30. Further, the cleaning media tufts (e.g. 12, 40) immediately surrounding the peaks 26, 28, 30 are substantially shorter the cleaning media tufts 32, 34 a-d, 36 a-d forming the peaks 26, 28, 30.
  • [0044]
    Referring to FIGS. 4, 5, 6 and 7, it is shown that the front region 8 of the utility portion 6 is provided with a further peak 42. This further peak 42 is different from the peaks 26, 28, 30 in that one side 44 thereof is generally vertical and the other side 46 thereof is sloped. In this embodiment, this further peak 42 is taller than any of the other three other peaks 26, 28, 30.
  • [0045]
    FIG. 7 shows the profile of the cleaning media tufts in a different illustration. As shown in this figure, the toothbrush 2 provides a generally planar platform defining the surface 8 or a plane from which the various cleaning media tufts extend. In this embodiment, the cleaning media tufts extend generally vertically from the surface and they define a vertical axis Y-Y′. The toothbrush 2 defines a longitudinal axis X-X′ which is parallel to the surface 8 or the plane and is perpendicular to the Y-Y′ axis. A further axis Z-Z′ arranged transversely to the X-X′ and Y-Y′ axes is also defined by the toothbrush 2. It is to be understood that ends of all the cleaning media tufts define a three-dimensional surface. It is also to be understood that the profile of the peaks is such that each of the peaks is made of three layers of the cleaning media tufts in which the outer tufts are successively shorter.
  • [0046]
    FIGS. 8 to 9 show the profile of the cleaning media tufts in yet a different illustration. Turning to FIGS. 8 a to 8 c, FIG. 8 b is a cross section view taking along A-A′ of FIG. 8 a. In this cross section there is shown the three peaks 26, 28, 30 and a further half peak 48 at the front region 8 of the utility portion 6. It is also shown that the horizontal distance “d” between the top of two adjacent peaks is substantially 8.65 mm. In this cross section there is shown the peaks 26, 28, 30 having a higher top region defined by their central cleaning media tufts and the shorter cleaning media tufts. FIG. 8 c illustrates the general profile of the toothbrush 2 across the cross section A-A′. Then turning to FIGS. 9 a to 9 c, FIG. 9 b is a cross section view taking along B-B′ of FIG. 9 a. In this cross section there is likewise shown the peak 28 having a higher top region defined by the central cleaning media tuft and shorter cleaning media tufts. It can thus be understood that the peaks and the half peak defined by the cleaning media tufts of the utility portion 6 have a three-dimensional profile. The three peaks generally have a conical shape. FIG. 9 c illustrates the general profile of the toothbrush 2 across the cross section B-B′.
  • [0047]
    The cleaning media tufts in this embodiment are made of bristles although other type of cleaning media tufts may be used. For example, a combination of bristles and elastomeric fingers or filaments may be used.
  • [0048]
    In order to appreciate the technical advantages produced from using a toothbrush such as the above embodiment of toothbrush, problems encountered in cleaning teeth in the past but unidentified or not identified adequately are first explained by way of background in layman terms. Conventional toothbrushes have been around for a long time and they are effective to the extent that they can clean the front and rear sides of the teeth with little problem because these sides are exposed and are easily accessible. However, cleaning between teeth had all along been a challenge.
  • [0049]
    Also, since the front and the rear surfaces of teeth have a relatively large area while the surfaces at the gaps between teeth have a smaller area and are relatively inaccessible, conventional toothbrushes are often able to clean the front and rear surfaces but not at the gaps.
  • [0050]
    Further, different users have different tooth size and the distances between gaps of successive teeth, or the mesio-distal width, of different people are different. Even for the same user, the distance between gaps of successive incisors and the distance between gaps of successive molars can be different. It follows that a toothbrush design which could work well in cleaning the teeth of one user likely would not work equally well in cleaning the teeth of another user due to the difference in tooth size. For that matter, a toothbrush design which could work well in cleaning certain teeth of a user might not work equally well in cleaning other teeth of the same user. One could imagine that one or more custom made toothbrushes could be made to each individual but this would not be possible realistically because toothbrushes are low cost items and it would not be possible economically.
  • [0051]
    Further, the configuration of the gaps between teeth is unique in that they are often not in an elongate shape or in the form of an elongate slit. Rather, they are relatively small and are roughly in the form having a triangular shaped cavity. Conventional toothbrushes with a relatively flat trim or a planar top surface profile would not be able to enter such small or triangular cavity.
  • [0052]
    FIG. 10 a shows the toothbrush 2 at different positions next to average sized teeth. FIG. 10 b shows the toothbrush 2 also at the different positions but engaged with the teeth. Specifically, it is indicated that due to the conical shape of the successive peaks 26, 28, 30 (spaced apart by a certain distance) of the toothbrush 2 and the lack of interference by the surroundings of the peaks 26, 28, 30, the peaks 26, 28, 30 are able to enter into the gaps. More specifically, the peaks 26, 28, 30, 42, of the toothbrush 2 can engage and enter into four adjacent gaps between successive molars, premolars and canine of the teeth. The peaks 26, 28, 30, 42 of the toothbrush can also engage and enter into the gaps between incisors and canine of the teeth.
  • [0053]
    FIGS. 11 a and 11 b correspond to FIGS. 10 a and 10 b. One difference is that teeth in FIGS. 11 a and 11 b are smaller than that in FIGS. 10 a and 10 b. However, the same toothbrush 2 can still perform its cleaning function satisfactorily. Referring to FIG. 11 b, it is shown that the peaks can still penetrate into the gaps although the central cleaning media tufts do flex inwardly.
  • [0054]
    FIGS. 12 a and 12 b correspond to FIGS. 10 a and 10 b. One difference is that teeth in FIGS. 11 a and 11 b are larger than that in FIGS. 10 a and 10 b. The same toothbrush 2 however can still perform its cleaning function satisfactorily. Referring to FIG. 12 b, it is shown that the peaks can still penetrate into the gaps although the central cleaning media tufts do flex outwardly.
  • [0055]
    It can thus be understood that the configuration of the toothbrush 2 can be mass produced to suit a wide population.
  • [0056]
    FIGS. 13 to 14 further illustrate the interaction of the toothbrush 2 and the teeth during a cleaning exercise. FIGS. 13 a and 13 b show a set of adult teeth with noticeable triangular shaped gaps between successive teeth. FIG. 14 a is a cross section view taken along line C-C in FIG. 13 a. It is shown that the central cleaning media tufts can penetrate into the successive gaps. FIG. 14 b is a cross section view taken along line D-D in FIG. 13 a. It is shown that the central cleaning media tufts can penetrate into the successive gaps. FIG. 14 c is a cross section view taken along line E-E in FIG. 13 a. It is shown that the central cleaning media tufts can penetrate into the successive gaps. It can be seen that one characteristic of the toothbrush is the provision of the three-dimensional peaks spaced apart by an engineered distance. This characteristic is further aided by the provision of an interference-free surrounding environment. It is to be noted that the cleaning media tufts surrounding the peaks are substantially shorter then the cleaning media tufts defining the peaks. From FIG. 14, it can be envisaged that the during a cleaning motion, while the front and rear surface of the teeth are cleaned by the shorter cleaning bristle tufts the surfaces of the teeth at the gaps are cleaned by the longer cleaning bristles tufts defining the peaks.
  • [0057]
    It is envisaged that the three-dimensional topography of the cleaning media tufts can clean not only the front and rear surfaces of the teeth but also at the gaps.
  • [0058]
    FIGS. 15 to 28 correspond to FIGS. 1 to 14 and illustrate a second embodiment of a toothbrush. This toothbrush is actually similar to the toothbrush although there are differences. For sake of brevity, only some of the differences are described as follows.
  • [0059]
    One difference is that all cleaning media tufts of the toothbrush of the second embodiment are in the form of a circular column. Another difference is that the contour of peaks defined by the cleaning media tufts is sharper in that the side of the peaks is more concave. Due to the shaper peaks this embodiment of toothbrush may be more appropriate for cleaning teeth with smaller gaps.
  • [0060]
    FIG. 29 shows a top region of a third embodiment of a toothbrush according to the present invention. Utility portion of this toothbrush is designated 50 and is generally similar to the toothbrush 2. One difference is that the width of diameter of bristles across the utility portion 50 of the toothbrush varies. A key is provided at the lower left hand corner in FIG. 29 showing the width and length of the bristles in different regions of the utility portion 50. Specifically, the bristles 52 defining central cleaning media tufts of peaks have a diameter of 7 mil; the bristles 54 defining inner ring of the cleaning media tufts also have a diameter of 7 mil; the bristles 56 defining outer ring of the cleaning media tufts have a smaller diameter of 6 mil; and the bristles 58 surrounding the peaks have a diameter of 5 mil. Since the bristles are made of the same material, when the diameter is smaller the bristles at outer region are actually softer and can flex better as compared to the bristles at inner region. The characteristic further contributes to the minimization of interference of the peaks by the surroundings when they penetrate into the gaps. In this embodiment, the length of the bristles at the front cleaning media tuft is 13 mm; the length of the bristles 52 at the central bristle tufts is 12 mm; the length of the bristles 54 at the inner rings are 10 mm; the length of the bristles 56 at the outer rings is 8 mm; and the length of the bristles 58 at the surroundings is 5 mm. FIGS. 30 and 31 illustrate that bristle peaks of the toothbrush can flex inwardly and outwardly to reach into the gaps between teeth in cleaning exercises. FIGS. 32 and 33 illustrate by way of comparison the interaction of the toothbrush with the teeth and the interaction of a conventional flat trim toothbrush with the teeth. It is shown that with the use of the conventional toothbrush due to lack of the peaks and/or the presence of interference no bristles can reach into gaps between the teeth while with the use of the toothbrush both outer surfaces of the teeth and the surfaces at the gaps can be reached and cleaned.
  • [0061]
    It can be envisaged that a toothbrush made according to the present invention can also serve as an inter-dental toothbrush.
Patentzitate
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Klassifizierungen
US-Klassifikation15/167.1
Internationale KlassifikationA46B9/04
UnternehmensklassifikationA46B9/026, A46B9/028, A46B2200/108
Europäische KlassifikationA46B9/02E, A46B9/02D
Juristische Ereignisse
DatumCodeEreignisBeschreibung
22. Juni 2010ASAssignment
Owner name: HAYCO MANUFACTURING LIMITED, HONG KONG
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:ERSKINE-SMITH, CRAIG MATHEW;REEL/FRAME:024571/0978
Effective date: 20100620
Owner name: HAYCO MANUFACTURING LIMITED, HONG KONG
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:DEACON, DAVID;REEL/FRAME:024571/0960
Effective date: 20100430