US20030166373A1 - Toothbrush kit - Google Patents

Toothbrush kit Download PDF

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Publication number
US20030166373A1
US20030166373A1 US10/090,394 US9039402A US2003166373A1 US 20030166373 A1 US20030166373 A1 US 20030166373A1 US 9039402 A US9039402 A US 9039402A US 2003166373 A1 US2003166373 A1 US 2003166373A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
toothbrush
emblems
kit
plurality
toothbrush kit
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Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
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US10/090,394
Inventor
John Whitney
Lawrence Blaustein
Patrick Brown
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Procter and Gamble Co
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Procter and Gamble Co
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Publication date
Application filed by Procter and Gamble Co filed Critical Procter and Gamble Co
Priority to US10/090,394 priority Critical patent/US20030166373A1/en
Assigned to PROCTER & GAMBLE COMPANY, THE reassignment PROCTER & GAMBLE COMPANY, THE ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: BLAUSTEIN, LAWRENCE A., BROWN, PATRICK W., WHITNEY, JOHN ROY
Publication of US20030166373A1 publication Critical patent/US20030166373A1/en
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61CDENTISTRY; APPARATUS OR METHODS FOR ORAL OR DENTAL HYGIENE
    • A61C17/00Devices for cleaning, polishing, rinsing or drying teeth, teeth cavities or prostheses; Saliva removers; Dental appliances for receiving spittle
    • A61C17/16Power-driven cleaning or polishing devices
    • A61C17/22Power-driven cleaning or polishing devices with brushes, cushions, cups, or the like
    • A61C17/225Handles or details thereof
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61CDENTISTRY; APPARATUS OR METHODS FOR ORAL OR DENTAL HYGIENE
    • A61C17/00Devices for cleaning, polishing, rinsing or drying teeth, teeth cavities or prostheses; Saliva removers; Dental appliances for receiving spittle
    • A61C17/16Power-driven cleaning or polishing devices
    • A61C17/22Power-driven cleaning or polishing devices with brushes, cushions, cups, or the like
    • GPHYSICS
    • G09EDUCATION; CRYPTOGRAPHY; DISPLAY; ADVERTISING; SEALS
    • G09FDISPLAYING; ADVERTISING; SIGNS; LABELS OR NAME-PLATES; SEALS
    • G09F23/00Advertising on or in specific articles, e.g. ashtrays, letter-boxes
    • G09F23/0075Advertising on or in specific articles, e.g. ashtrays, letter-boxes on tooth brushes
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B29WORKING OF PLASTICS; WORKING OF SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE IN GENERAL
    • B29LINDEXING SCHEME ASSOCIATED WITH SUBCLASS B29C, RELATING TO PARTICULAR ARTICLES
    • B29L2031/00Other particular articles
    • B29L2031/42Brushes
    • B29L2031/425Toothbrush

Abstract

A toothbrush kit is disclosed comprising a package, a toothbrush, one or more removable end caps adapted for engaging an end of the toothbrush, and one or more emblems that may be adhesively attached to the toothbrush. Also disclosed are methods for selectively customizing a toothbrush by use and selection of components contained in the kit. Additionally disclosed are methods for manufacturing and packaging the components of the toothbrush kit. Furthermore, a strategy is disclosed for specifically tailoring the toothbrush kit for particular markets, geographic regions, or consumer groups.

Description

    FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention relates to the field of toothbrushes and more particularly, the invention relates to kits for customizing and personalizing toothbrushes. The present invention also relates to methods for customizing toothbrushes and related methods for manufacturing and packaging such kits and furthermore, to specifically tailoring such kits for particular markets. [0001]
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • Consumers sometimes prefer conformable toothbrushes because they may be personalized or customized to one's preferences. Some designs have been directed to toothbrush assemblies for small children and often contain interchangeable character handles. Examples of such assemblies are shown in U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,015,328; 6,141,815; and 5,774,921. [0002]
  • Most user configurable toothbrush assemblies require significant disassembly or modification of the toothbrush itself. For example, the toothbrush assembly of the previously noted '328 patent contains a relatively complex assembly of a toothbrush head and neck, an adapter component, and a character handle. Given the degree of force and movement applied to the handle during brushing, a relatively complex engagement mechanism is used to secure the toothbrush head and neck assembly to the character handle. Again, although the toothbrush assembly of the '328 patent is satisfactory in many respects, there is a need for a toothbrush assembly that may be customized by an end user in a relatively simple manner. [0003]
  • Other toothbrush bases or holders are known in the art. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 6,102,203 discloses a toothbrush cover and holding assembly. Although that assembly appears to be rather useful, it requires a relatively large space for its accommodation. Furthermore, most known toothbrush holders are designed for retaining multiple brushes and thus, have a relatively large footprint and occupy significant countertop space. As a result, it would be desirable to provide a toothbrush holder or base for a single toothbrush that was compact in size. [0004]
  • It is becoming increasingly important to market consumer products and particularly consumer healthcare products, to particular consumer groups. For instance, it is vastly preferred to tailor a product and its packaging for each region within which it is sold as opposed to try to distribute and sell the same product using the same packaging in the same fashion in all regions within which it is sold. However, configuring and packaging a product for each region within which it is sold generally increases the costs associated with packaging the product. Accordingly, it would be beneficial to provide a technique or strategy for uniquely tailoring a product for a particular consumer group or geographic region that would not significantly increase the costs associated with packaging the product. [0005]
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention provides in a first aspect, a toothbrush kit comprising a package, an electric toothbrush, and a group of decorative end caps. The toothbrush has an elongated hollow body, a head, and a neck disposed between the body and head. Each of the end caps is attachable to the body of the toothbrush and thus serve to customize the appearance of the toothbrush. Additionally, each of the end caps is distinct from other end caps in the group. [0006]
  • In another aspect, the present invention provides a toothbrush kit comprising a package, an electric toothbrush and a group of decorative emblems. The toothbrush has an elongated hollow body, a head, and a neck disposed between the body and head components. Each of the emblems in the group can be attached to the hollow body of the toothbrush to thereby customize the appearance of the toothbrush. Additionally, each of the emblems is distinct from other emblems in the group. [0007]
  • In an additional aspect, the present invention provides a toothbrush kit for use with an electric toothbrush. The kit comprises a package and a collection of decorative end caps, each of which is attachable to the toothbrush to thereby customize the appearance of the toothbrush. Additionally, each of the end caps is distinct from other end caps in the collection. [0008]
  • In yet another aspect, the present invention provides a toothbrush kit comprising an electric toothbrush, at least one end cap, at least one label assembly, and a package containing these components. The electric toothbrush includes a body having first and second ends, a brush head disposed next to one of the ends, and an interior battery chamber defined within the body that is accessible from the other end of the toothbrush body. Each of the end caps provided in the toothbrush kit has a relatively flat bottom surface and a generally arcuate outer surface extending from the bottom surface to an upper region of the end cap. Each of the end caps includes an interior receiving chamber which is accessible from an aperture extending along the upper region of the end cap. The receiving chamber and the aperture are adapted to receive and engage an end of the toothbrush. Concerning the label assembly, that assembly includes a decorative polymeric layer that is removably attached to a backing layer. The polymeric layer is adapted for selective placement and retention on the body of the toothbrush. [0009]
  • In a further aspect, the present invention provides a method for customizing the appearance of the toothbrush and base assembly. This method comprises the steps of providing a toothbrush kit having a collection of bases, each base being adapted to engage an end of the toothbrush, and each base containing markings or colorings different than the markings or colorings of other bases in the group of bases. The toothbrush kit further includes a collection of adhesive labels, each containing markings or colorings different than markings or colorings of other labels in the collection of labels. The method further includes a step of selecting a base having a particular marking or coloring from the group of bases. The method also includes a step of selecting a label having a particular marking or coloring from the group of labels. And the method includes a step of applying the selected label to the toothbrush. [0010]
  • In another aspect, the present invention includes a method for packaging and tailoring a toothbrush kit for a particular market. The method includes the steps of identifying a region in which the toothbrush kit will be sold, identifying the primary language of that region, and identifying at least one marketing characteristic of that region. The method also includes providing inventories or sources of components for subsequent incorporation into the kit. And, the method includes a step of selecting an end cap component of the kit and a group of emblems based upon one or more of the marketing characteristics of the region. The various components are then appropriately packaged together. [0011]
  • In still a further aspect, the present invention includes a method of manufacturing a group of toothbrush kits. The method comprises providing a packing station having a source of a collection of a first type of emblems, a collection of a second type of emblems, and a collection of a third type of emblems. One or more different type of toothbrush kits, preferably unassembled or not yet completed, are conveyed to the packing station. Next, one or more of the first type of emblems and one or more of the second type of emblems are then associated with one of the types of the toothbrush kit packages. Then, one of the types of the first emblems, the second emblems, and the third emblems are then associated with the second type of toothbrush kit package. [0012]
  • In still a further aspect, the present invention provides a method of producing a group of toothbrush kits. This method comprises steps of providing a source of toothbrushes, a source of sealable packages, a source of at least one end cap, and a source of a group of label sets. Each of the label sets are distinct from the other sets in the group. And, each label set includes at least one label that is removably adhered to a backing layer. The method additionally includes steps of selecting a toothbrush from the source of toothbrushes, selecting a package from the source of packages, selecting at least one end cap from the source of end caps, and selecting at least one label set from the source of label sets. The method also includes a step of incorporating the selected toothbrush, the selected one or more end caps, and the one or more label sets into the selected package. The label set is left loose in the selected package after its incorporation therein. Finally, the method involves a step of sealing the package. [0013]
  • The present invention also includes a method of configuring a toothbrush kit for a particular market. This method involves identifying a region in which the toothbrush kit will be sold. The method also involves a step of identifying a primary language of that identified region. Additionally, the method includes a step of identifying a marketing factor of that identified region. The method also includes a step of selecting components for the toothbrush kit that are associated with the identified marketing factor. [0014]
  • Still other advantages and benefits of the invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon a reading and understanding of the following detailed description.[0015]
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • The present invention may take physical form in certain parts and arrangements of parts, preferred embodiments of which will be described in detail in this specification and illustrated in the accompanying drawings which form a part hereof and wherein: [0016]
  • FIG. 1 is a photographic front elevational view of a preferred embodiment toothbrush kit in accordance with the present invention; [0017]
  • FIG. 2 is a photographic perspective view of a preferred embodiment toothbrush and end cap for use in the toothbrush kit of the present invention; [0018]
  • FIG. 3 is a photographic front elevational view of the preferred embodiment toothbrush and end cap shown in FIG. 2; [0019]
  • FIG. 4 is a photographic side elevational view of the preferred embodiment toothbrush and end cap shown in FIG. 2; [0020]
  • FIG. 5 is a photographic side elevational view, of a side opposite that shown in FIG. 4, of the toothbrush and end cap shown in FIG. 2; [0021]
  • FIG. 6 is a photographic rear elevational view of the preferred embodiment toothbrush and end cap shown in FIG. 2; [0022]
  • FIG. 7 is a photographic side detail view of a lower portion of another preferred embodiment toothbrush and end cap for use in the toothbrush kit of the present invention; [0023]
  • FIG. 8 is a photographic front detail view of the lower portion of the preferred embodiment toothbrush and end cap shown in FIG. 7; [0024]
  • FIG. 9 is a photographic side detail view, opposite the side shown in FIG. 7, of the lower portion of the preferred embodiment toothbrush and end cap shown in FIG. 7; [0025]
  • FIG. 10 is a photographic rear detail view of the lower portion of the preferred embodiment toothbrush and end cap shown in FIG. 7; [0026]
  • FIG. 11 is a photographic bottom view of the preferred embodiment toothbrush and end cap shown in FIG. 2; [0027]
  • FIG. 12 is a photographic detail of an open end of the preferred embodiment toothbrush shown in FIG. 2 and a receiving cavity defined in the preferred embodiment end cap shown in FIG. 2; [0028]
  • FIG. 13 is a perspective illustration of another preferred embodiment toothbrush for use in the toothbrush kit of the present invention; [0029]
  • FIG. 14 is a side elevational illustration of the preferred embodiment toothbrush depicted in FIG. 13; [0030]
  • FIG. 15 is a front elevational illustration of the preferred embodiment toothbrush depicted in FIG. 13; [0031]
  • FIG. 16 is a perspective illustration of another preferred embodiment toothbrush for use in the toothbrush kit of the present invention; [0032]
  • FIG. 17 is a side elevational illustration of the preferred embodiment toothbrush depicted in FIG. 16; [0033]
  • FIG. 18 is a front elevational illustration of the preferred embodiment toothbrush depicted in FIG. 16; [0034]
  • FIG. 19 is a perspective illustration of another preferred embodiment end cap for use in the toothbrush kit of the present invention; [0035]
  • FIG. 20 is a top view of the end cap illustrated in FIG. 19; [0036]
  • FIG. 21 is a perspective view showing the rear of the end cap illustrated in FIG. 19; [0037]
  • FIG. 22 is a bottom view of the end cap illustrated in FIG. 19; [0038]
  • FIG. 23 is a perspective illustration of a plurality of emblems on a planar backing sheet for use in the toothbrush kit of the present invention; [0039]
  • FIG. 24 is a perspective illustration of a plurality of emblems on a rolled backing strip for use in the toothbrush kit of the present invention; [0040]
  • FIG. 25 is a front elevational illustration of another preferred embodiment of the toothbrush kit of the present invention; [0041]
  • FIG. 26 is a side elevational illustration of the toothbrush kit depicted in FIG. 25; [0042]
  • FIG. 27 is a photographic perspective view of the preferred embodiment end cap shown in FIG. 2, showing a top region and an aperture; [0043]
  • FIG. 28 is a photographic perspective view of the preferred embodiment end cap shown in FIG. 2, showing a bottom region; [0044]
  • FIG. 29 is a photographic side elevational view of the preferred embodiment end cap shown in FIG. 2; [0045]
  • FIG. 30 is a photographic side elevational view, of a side opposite that shown in FIG. 29, of the preferred embodiment end cap shown in FIG. 2; [0046]
  • FIG. 31 is a photographic top view of the preferred embodiment end cap shown in FIG. 2; [0047]
  • FIG. 32 is a photographic bottom view of the preferred embodiment end cap shown in FIG. 2; [0048]
  • FIG. 33 is a photographic front elevational view of the preferred embodiment end cap shown in FIG. 2; [0049]
  • FIG. 34 is a photographic rear elevational view of the preferred embodiment end cap shown in FIG. 2; and [0050]
  • FIG. 35 is a photographic top view of the preferred embodiment toothbrush and end cap shown in FIG. 2.[0051]
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
  • The present invention provides a unique toothbrush kit that may be specifically configured to appeal to particular consumers or markets. The toothbrush kit enables a toothbrush contained in that kit to be selectively modified and personalized by an end user according to that user's specific preferences. The present invention also provides related methods for subsequent tailorization of a toothbrush contained in the kit. In addition, the present invention provides manufacturing and packaging techniques for producing a product specifically tailored to a particular region, market segment, or consumer group. These aspects are all described in greater detail herein. [0052]
  • In a first aspect, the present invention provides a toothbrush kit comprising a package, a toothbrush, one or more end caps, and one or more decorative emblems. As explained herein, the toothbrush kit may include (i) one end cap and one emblem, (ii) one end cap and a plurality of emblems, (iii) a plurality of end caps and one emblem, and (iv) a plurality of end caps and a plurality of emblems. The present invention encompasses all of these variations. [0053]
  • The toothbrush package is generally a relatively rigid packaging container for housing the toothbrush and other components of the kit. The package is adapted for retail display and so, preferably includes a transparent front cover that enables the contents of the package, i.e. the toothbrush, one or more end caps, and one or more emblems, to be viewed by consumers. Additionally, the package preferably includes a backing member having colorful markings, indicia, and/or designs printed thereon. It will be appreciated that the package is particularly adapted for display for retail sale. [0054]
  • A wide array of package types, construction, and designs may be utilized for the package of the preferred embodiment toothbrush kit of the present invention. Several particularly preferred packages are disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,189,693 and 6,311,837, both of which are herein incorporated by reference. Generally, the package includes a relatively rigid backing member and a transparent front cover. Preferred materials for the backing member include, but are not limited to, paperboard, cardboard or other cellulose-based material. The clear or transparent front cover component is preferably formed from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and related laminates thereof. Another preferred material for forming the transparent front cover of the preferred embodiment package is known in the industry as GAG, which is a copolymer film of PETG/APET/PETG. PETG is polyethylene terephthalate glycol and APET is amorphous polyethylene terephthalate glycol. [0055]
  • The toothbrush of the preferred embodiment kits may be nearly any type of toothbrush having the features characteristic of the kits described herein. The toothbrush may be either an electric toothbrush or a manual toothbrush as long as the toothbrush may be configured with the end caps and emblems as described herein. Specifically, the toothbrush may utilize any type of bristle pattern, be either of a replaceable head or non-replaceable head type, and if electric, may utilize nearly any type of drive train and bristle arrangement. It is preferred that the toothbrush be an electric toothbrush. [0056]
  • A wide array of electric toothbrushes may be utilized in the preferred embodiment kits described herein. Examples of suitable electric toothbrush designs include, but are not limited to, those disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,000,083; 6,189,693; 6,178,579; 5,617,601; and 5,625,916 all of which are hereby incorporated by reference. Specific examples of preferred embodiment electric toothbrushes are described in greater detail herein. A wide array of plastics or polymeric materials may be used for the various components of the toothbrushes described herein. Generally, it is preferred to form the toothbrush body from a relatively strong, durable, and rigid plastic. Details as to the construction, materials, and assembly of such toothbrushes are set forth in the previously noted patents. [0057]
  • The end cap of the preferred embodiment toothbrush kit is a component that is adapted to engage an end of the toothbrush and to further support the toothbrush when placed in a vertical position, such as on a bathroom countertop. In the event that the toothbrush used in the kit is an electric toothbrush, it is most preferred that the end cap is also adapted to serve as a battery cap. That is, in this version of the invention, an electric toothbrush is provided having an interior compartment defined within the body of the toothbrush for receiving one or more batteries. The compartment is accessible from an end of the toothbrush opposite the brush head end. Most preferably, the end cap is adapted to sealingly close the battery compartment and ideally, also include electrically conductive battery contacts for contacting exposed ends of one or more batteries disposed in the compartment of the toothbrush body. [0058]
  • The end cap is preferably generally hemispherical in shape, or at least partially or substantially so, and includes a flat planar bottom surface and an optional second flat planar rear surface. The flat planar bottom surface is provided so that the end cap may serve as a base and support a toothbrush engaged therewith in a generally vertical, upright position. The flat planar rear surface of the end cap is most preferably perpendicular to the bottom surface. The flat rear surface is provided so that the end cap may be positioned relatively close to a vertical wall or surface. This enables the end cap and toothbrush to be stored next to a bathroom wall or countertop back. However, it will be appreciated that the present invention toothbrush kits may also utilize end caps that do not contain this optional flat rear surface. The end cap also defines a receiving cavity that is adapted to receive and engage an end of a toothbrush as further explained herein. The receiving cavity is accessible from an aperture defined along a top surface or region of the end cap. [0059]
  • As previously noted, a feature of the present invention is that the end cap component of the toothbrush kit is relatively small in size and compact. Accordingly, when the toothbrush is in its stored vertically upright position, the overall size of the toothbrush and cap assembly is relatively small. [0060]
  • The terms “top,” “bottom,” “rear,” “front,” and “side” although relative in definition, are used herein to refer to the preferred embodiment toothbrush kit or components thereof, when oriented in an upright position as shown in FIG. 1. FIG. 1 is an elevational view of the front of a preferred embodiment toothbrush kit and shows the front of a preferred embodiment toothbrush and end cap. Accordingly, the meanings of the other terms will be understood. [0061]
  • It is contemplated that certain versions of the preferred embodiment toothbrush kit will include a group or plurality of different styles of end caps. That is, each of the end caps is preferably distinct from the other end caps in the group. For instance, it is envisioned that various sets of multiple end caps may be used and/or included in the toothbrush kits described herein. In this version, a set of end caps included in a kit contains a plurality of end caps, each of a different style. It is contemplated that any number of end caps could be included in the kit, however a preferred number is from about 2 to about 10. The incorporation of multiple end caps in a kit enables a consumer or end user to select a specific cap of the enclosed set for use with the toothbrush, as may be desired. Furthermore, the consumer may readily change which end cap is used with the toothbrush as frequently as he or she wishes. [0062]
  • Furthermore, in this version of the toothbrush kit, it is most preferred that the end caps comprising a set, although each being distinct from the others, generally be associated or theme related to one another. However, as noted, differences may exist between each of the caps within a particular set. For example, a set of caps may be provided having a sports theme. In this example, each of the caps resembles a different type of playing ball such as a soccer ball, a football, a baseball, a basketball, a tennis ball, a golf ball, and a bowling ball, . . . etc. Each of the end caps of a set is preferably shaped to resemble its intended playing ball, and most preferably contains decorative colorings and markings to further promote resemblance to the particular playing ball. For example, in the preferred embodiment set of caps having a sports theme, the caps resembling soccer balls, baseballs, basketballs, tennis balls, golf balls, and bowling balls are generally hemispherical in shape and contain colors, surface characteristics, and indicia representative of each of the respective balls. An end cap representing a football is shaped to resemble such and is colored brown and may further contain decorative stitching along its surface like that of a football. Furthermore, for sports theme end caps, it is preferred that the end caps be fashioned to resemble sports equipment rather than sports apparel. However, the present invention encompasses end caps resembling sports apparel or other ancillary sports related items. [0063]
  • The present invention toothbrush kit is not limited to the incorporation of a plurality of end caps in the kit. Instead, the kit may include a single end cap. This version of the preferred embodiment kit is beneficial since it is less costly to produce, assemble, and package than a kit comprising a plurality of end caps. Additionally, a kit using a single end cap but with a plurality of emblems still allows a user to select one or more emblems based upon the characteristics of the single end cap provided in the kit. Moreover, the package component of the preferred embodiment toothbrush kit enables the style and type of end cap to be visible from the exterior of the package. Accordingly, a consumer may purchase several toothbrush kits, each having end caps of a different style or appearance and subsequently use a toothbrush from one kit with an end cap from another kit. Additionally, the emblems from each of the kits may be mixed and used in combination with components of other kits. [0064]
  • The end caps are formed by conventional plastic molding procedures including for example injection molding, compression molding, and reaction injection molding. It is preferred that for each of the individual end caps, details associated with a particular cap are molded or otherwise formed directly into the surface of the cap. For example, surface characteristics of certain game balls may be molded or otherwise formed into the outer surface of the end cap. Examples of surface characteristics include stitching for footballs and baseballs and dimples for golf balls. Conventional printing and painting methods are utilized for providing decorative colorings and/or markings on the end cap. Printing and painting methods are described in greater detail herein. [0065]
  • The preferred embodiment toothbrush kit also comprises one or more emblems or labels that may be adhesively attached to the toothbrush and optionally, to one or more end caps. The terms “emblem” and “label” are used interchangeably herein. If a plurality or group of emblems or labels are provided as a set, it is generally preferred that the number of labels ranges from about 2 to about 10. In another embodiment, the toothbrush kit contains between 2 and 4 emblems or labels. However, the preferred embodiment label sets also include 1 or more than 10 labels. The emblems preferably contain decorative markings and indicia. If a group or plurality of labels are provided, it is preferred that each of the labels be distinct from other labels in the group. Preferably, the group or plurality of labels are related to one another even though each is distinct. This is explained in greater detail herein. Most preferably, the labels are also theme related to the one or more end caps included in the kit. For example, for a sports theme toothbrush kit, a plurality of sports emblems are provided. That is, the set of emblems in this preferred embodiment kit contain various sports related indicia, markings, logos, and/or designs. This feature of the preferred embodiment kits is described in greater detail herein. [0066]
  • The emblems are preferably in the form of preprinted labels that are releasably secured to a removable backing layer. The labels may be secured to a planar backing layer or backing layer in the form of a rolled sheet or a strip. Other configurations for the labels are contemplated. Preferably, the emblems or labels are formed from a material that is resistant to water and dentifrice slurry. An example of such a material is Mylar™, polyethylene, or any polymeric or wax coated substrate that imparts water repelling properties to the resulting emblem. Additional examples of polymeric materials that may be suitable for use as the label include, but are not limited to, polyethylene terephthalate (PET), and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). If PET is used, it is most preferred to use a transparent PET so that when applied to the body of a toothbrush, the label will not be readily apparent, only the printing, indicia, or markings on the label will be readily apparent. It is also contemplated to use coated paper for the label. A preferred label construction is a transparent PET film with various markings or indicia printed on it, and having a coating of transparent polyethylene to prevent or minimize degradation of the printed material or ink. [0067]
  • Regarding the adhesive for the label, nearly any type of adhesive is suitable so long as it is resistant to water and dentifrice slurry. A preferred adhesive is a pressure sensitive acrylic based adhesive. Other examples of adhesives that may be suitable for use in affixing the labels described herein to the toothbrush and/or end cap include the adhesives described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,382,762; 4,074,014; and 6,312,799 all of which are hereby incorporated by reference. [0068]
  • As noted, various markings, indicia, text, or designs may be printed upon one or more of the components of the present invention toothbrush kits. A wide array of printing techniques may be employed including, but not limited to, tempo printing, screen printing, transfer printing, ink jet printing, and laser techniques. These printing methods may be used to apply or form text, numbers, logos and/or designs upon any of the components described herein. An informative description of printing techniques and materials is provided in WO 00/56,609 and WO 99/08,935, both of which are hereby incorporated by reference. [0069]
  • The present invention also provides methods of customizing or tailoring a toothbrush according to a user's preferences. In a preferred technique according to the present invention, a toothbrush kit is provided that comprises a package, a toothbrush, one or more end caps as described herein, and one or more emblems as described herein. Upon obtaining the toothbrush kit and removing the contents from the package, the user selects (i) an end cap for use with the toothbrush (for embodiments in which more than one end cap is provided), and (ii) an emblem for placement on the toothbrush (for embodiments in which more than one emblem is provided). For embodiments in which multiple end caps and emblems are provided, preferably, the end cap and the emblem are selected together such that they match or pertain to a common theme, such as a sport or sports team. The user then affixes the emblem to the toothbrush. Preferably, the emblem is adhesively secured to the toothbrush. As described herein, the emblem is preferably secured to the toothbrush within a designated region. The method also includes a step of engaging the end of the toothbrush with the selected end cap. Preferably, the end of the toothbrush opposite the end at which the head is located, is positioned into a receiving cavity defined in the end cap. Upon engagement between the end cap and the toothbrush, the resulting assembly may be positioned upright and stored on a flat surface. [0070]
  • The preferred embodiment toothbrush kit may be particularly tailored depending upon the user's preferences. Depending upon the quantity of emblems and end caps provided in a kit, an extensive number of different combinations of colors, indicia, and markings may be associated with each toothbrush and end cap in a kit. [0071]
  • Referring now to the drawings wherein the various photographs and illustrations are for the purposes of describing the preferred embodiments of the invention only and not for purposes of limiting same, FIG. 1 shows a preferred embodiment toothbrush kit [0072] 100 according to the present invention. The preferred embodiment kit 100 comprises a toothbrush 200, one or more end caps 300, one or more emblems or labels 400, and a package 500. It will be appreciated that although the preferred embodiment kit 100 shown in FIG. 1 contains an emblem already adhered to the toothbrush, it is also preferred that the kit contain one or more emblems that have not yet been applied to the toothbrush. When such emblems or labels are supplied in that form, they are referred to herein as being supplied “loose.” Each of these components of the preferred kit and their arrangement with each other is described in greater detail below.
  • FIGS. [0073] 2-6, 11-12, and 27-35 are various views of a preferred embodiment electric toothbrush 210 and a preferred embodiment end cap 310 for use in the toothbrush kit of the present invention. Preferably, the toothbrush 210 and the end cap 310 are used in the kit 100 shown in FIG. 1. It will be appreciated that, although minor differences exist, the toothbrush 210 is substantially the same as the toothbrush 200 shown in FIG. 1.
  • Referring to FIGS. [0074] 2-6, the preferred embodiment toothbrush 210 includes a first end 212 at which is disposed a brush head 214 having a plurality of bristles 216, and a second end 218 opposite from the first end 212. The toothbrush 210 also includes sloping sides 220 and 222 that extend between a front surface 224 and a rear surface 226. The toothbrush 210 further includes a switch 230 for activating the drive train (not shown) enclosed within the toothbrush that operates at least a portion of the bristles 216. FIG. 35 illustrates the top of the toothbrush 210 and brush head 214.
  • It is preferred that the lower region of the front surface of the toothbrush body be relatively smooth and adapted for adhering an emblem or label thereto. In FIGS. [0075] 2-6, an emblem is already adhered to the toothbrush between the switch 230 and the end cap 310. It is also envisioned that one or more emblems or labels could be adhered to the side(s) or other regions of the toothbrush.
  • FIG. 11 is a detailed view of a bottom surface [0076] 312 of the end cap 310 shown in FIGS. 2-6. Preferably, the end cap 310 provides a raised footing 314 extending around the perimeter of the bottom surface 312. The raised footing 314 promotes stability of the end cap, particularly when a toothbrush is engaged therewith and placed in an upright vertical position.
  • FIG. 12 is a detailed view of an end of the toothbrush [0077] 210 and the top region of the end cap 310 shown in FIGS. 2-6. Specifically, the end 218 of the toothbrush 210 is shown as open and providing access into the interior of the toothbrush. This interior is adapted to retain batteries (not shown) used for powering the drivetrain and rotating bristles of the toothbrush 210. Disposed at the end 218 is an engagement member 232 that assists in securing the end cap 310 to the end 218 of the toothbrush 210. The end cap 310 defines an aperture 316 generally along a top region of the end cap. The end cap 310 further defines a receiving chamber 320 defined by an interior wall 318 extending within the interior of the end cap.
  • Upon engagement between the end [0078] 218 of the toothbrush 210 and the end cap 310, the member 232 extending from the end of the toothbrush 210 partially extends into the receiving chamber 320 of the end cap 310. Preferably, at least a portion of the member 232 contacts a portion of the interior wall 318 to further engage and secure the toothbrush 210 with the end cap 310.
  • FIGS. [0079] 27-34 show various additional aspects of the preferred embodiment end cap 310 shown in FIGS. 2-6. FIGS. 27-34 show the end cap 310 separate from the toothbrush 210 shown in FIGS. 2-6. Referring to FIGS. 27-34, the end cap 310 is generally hemispherical in shape, or at least partially so, and includes an arcuate surface 311 extending between a flat planar bottom surface 312 and a flat planar rear surface 317. Preferably, the bottom surface 312 is perpendicular to the rear surface 317. A footing member 314 is disposed along the bottom surface 317. Defined along a top region of the end cap 310 is an aperture 316 that provides access to an interior cavity or receiving chamber 320. Specifically, the receiving chamber 320 is defined by an interior wall 318. Preferably disposed at the bottom or lower region of the chamber 320 are battery contacts 319.
  • FIGS. 7 and 10 are various views of the preferred embodiment end cap [0080] 300 illustrated in the kit 100 shown in FIG. 1 engaging and supporting another preferred embodiment toothbrush 202, similar to the toothbrush 200 shown in FIG. 1. The end cap 300 includes an outer arcuate surface 302 that is generally hemispherical or at least substantially so, extending about the sides, front, and a portion of the top of the end cap 300. The end cap also includes a planar bottom surface (not shown) and a planar rear surface 304 (best shown in FIG. 10). The end cap 300 defines an aperture along its upwardly facing top region that provides access to a receiving chamber (not shown) defined within the interior of the end cap 300. As described herein, the receiving chamber facilitates engagement with a toothbrush.
  • FIGS. [0081] 13-15 illustrate another preferred embodiment toothbrush 250 for use in the present invention toothbrush kit. As shown in FIG. 13, the toothbrush 250 includes an elongated body portion 252, which has a first end 254 and a second end 256. A brush head 258 is attached to or otherwise formed along the first end 254 and a handle 260 is attached to or otherwise formed along the second end 256. The toothbrush 250 also includes a switch 253 for activating the drivetrain (not shown) and operating the moving bristles.
  • The head [0082] 258 has a traditional relatively large brush head shape which permits the user to brush his or her teeth in the typical manner of an up and down fashion. The design of the brush head 258 allows for inexpensive manufacture and assists in bringing effective motorized rotational toothbrushes within the financial reach of a large portion of the population.
  • Defined along the second end [0083] 256 of the toothbrush 250 is an aperture 257 that provides access to an interior battery compartment (not shown) defined within the body 252. The aperture 257 is defined by an outwardly extending member 259 that is adapted to engage an end cap as described herein.
  • Referring now to FIGS. [0084] 14-15, the head 258 further includes a longitudinal axis 262, a circular or moving portion 264 of brush head 258 and a static portion 266 of brush head 258. The static portion 266 is located on opposite sides of the circular portion 264. The circular portion 264 is located at the center of the brush head 258. The circular portion 264 rotates, swivels, oscillates or reciprocates about an axis approximately normal to the longitudinal axis 262 of the brush head 258. The circular portion 264 may rotate 360° or partially rotate or oscillate or reciprocate in a back and forth manner.
  • The circular portion [0085] 264 includes stiff bristles 268. The static portion 266 includes soft bristles 270. The stiff bristles 268 are slightly recessed with respect to the soft bristles 270. The stiff bristles 268 aid in the deep cleaning and plaque removal process, while the stationary soft bristles 270 are softer so as to not damage the gums.
  • Referring again to FIGS. 14 and 15, the elongated body portion [0086] 252 further includes an angled shaft 272, located between the head 258 and the handle 260. The angled shaft 272 provides an ergonomic benefit. The angle is well known for its ergonomic benefit in permitting easier access into the back recesses of the mouth while still contacting the tooth surface.
  • FIG. 15 also illustrates a region along the outer surface of the toothbrush [0087] 250 that is well suited for subsequent application of one or more emblems or labels. This region is generally defined between the switch 253 and the end 256. As previously noted, the emblems may be applied to other regions of the toothbrush 250 such as along the sides of the toothbrush.
  • Another preferred embodiment electric toothbrush [0088] 280 for use in the kit of the present invention is shown in FIGS. 16-18. The toothbrush 280 includes an elongated body portion 282 which has a first end 284 and a second end 286. A head 288 is attached to or otherwise formed along the first end 284 and a handle 290 is attached to or otherwise formed along the second end 286. The body 282 also provides an outwardly extending member 285 that provides access to a battery compartment defined within the body 282. As explained herein, the member 285 is adapted to engage an end cap (not shown).
  • The head [0089] 288 further includes a circular or moving portion 292 of brush head 288, and a static portion 294 of brush head 288. However, it is to be appreciated that the circular portion 292 and the static portion 294 can be arranged in different configurations. The circular portion 292 rotates, swivels, oscillates or reciprocates about an axis approximately normal to the longitudinal axis of the brush head 288.
  • Referring again to FIGS. [0090] 16-18, a switch 281 is provided to control operation of the electric toothbrush 280. The switch 281 includes a molded actuator button 283. The switch 281 is manually depressed by pressing the actuator button 283 down, which then completes an electrical circuit and provides momentary operation of the toothbrush. The switch 281 also allows continuous operation through a ramp design, sliding the button 283 forward toward the head 288 to provide for continuous operation. The toothbrush then continuously operates until the button 283 is slid back into an off position toward the handle 290.
  • The preferred embodiment toothbrush [0091] 280 also utilizes a battery (not shown). To install the battery into the interior of the toothbrush 280, the battery is inserted into an open end defined by the member 285 and an end cap as described herein is engaged over the open end.
  • If desired, raised grip areas [0092] 287 can be molded into or otherwise formed or applied to the housing as shown in FIG. 16 and FIG. 18. The raised portions 287 are used to support a user's thumb and forefinger or other fingers to facilitate use of the electric toothbrush. Raised portion 289 may also be molded into the toothbrush housing to aid in gripping.
  • All of the preferred embodiment electric toothbrushes [0093] 200, 202, 210, 250, and 280 can also be packaged in a package in which the consumer can depress the button through the packaging and see its operation while still inside the packaging, and then be able to operate it continuously once out of the packaging.
  • FIGS. [0094] 19-22 illustrate another preferred end cap 350 for use with the present invention toothbrush kit. The end cap 350 includes a planar bottom surface 352, a planar rear surface 354, and a generally arcuate surface 356 extending between the bottom and rear surfaces 352 and 354. The end cap 350 defines an aperture 360 generally along a top region of the cap, opposite from the bottom surface 352. The aperture 360 provides access to a receiving chamber 362 defined within the interior of the end cap. As explained herein, the receiving chamber is adapted, i.e. sized and shaped, to engage and receive an end of a toothbrush, and particularly to engage and receive an engagement member extending from an end of a toothbrush such as members 232 shown in FIG. 12, member 259 shown in FIGS. 13-15, and member 285 shown in FIGS. 16-18. In the event the end cap 350 is used as a battery cap for an electric toothbrush, it is most preferred that the end cap 350 contains one or more battery contacts (not shown) disposed in the receiving chamber 362.
  • FIGS. 23 and 24 illustrate additional preferred embodiments of emblems, and particularly a plurality of emblems or a set of emblems, for use in the present invention toothbrush kit. Specifically, FIG. 23 illustrates a preferred embodiment set [0095] 450 of emblems. The set 450 includes a plurality of emblems or labels 452, each releasably retained on a backing sheet 454. An adhesive is applied to the rear or contacting face of the labels 452 to aid in their retention on the backing sheet 454 and for their subsequent application to a toothbrush or end cap. As will be appreciated, each of the labels 452 disposed on the sheet 454 contains different markings, indicia, or coloring. As previously explained, an end user may select one or more labels 452 and place those labels on the outer surface of a toothbrush and/or end cap(s) provided in a toothbrush kit. FIG. 24 illustrates another preferred embodiment set 480 of emblems. In this embodiment, a plurality of emblems or labels 482 are provided on a rolled backing strip 484. It will be appreciated that although FIGS. 23 and 24 illustrate labels with various country flags exhibited thereon, the preferred embodiment labels may contain nearly any marking, indicia, design or text. Other emblems or labels can be used which share a common characteristic or theme with the end cap. For instance, the emblems or label might contain a sports figure, such as a soccer player, that coordinates with an end cap provided in the form of sports equipment, such as a soccer ball.
  • As explained herein, the present invention toothbrush kit may, instead of utilizing a plurality of emblems such as sets [0096] 450 or 480, utilize a single emblem or label releasably retained on a relatively small sized backing sheet. The single label assembly may be included in the toothbrush kit in a loose fashion, i.e. the label being free and unattached to the toothbrush or end cap. The use of a single emblem may be preferable since a single emblem is typically less expensive than a set of multiple emblems.
  • The present invention also includes embodiments in which a single emblem is applied to the toothbrush prior to packaging. And, furthermore, it is contemplated that such step of label application could be replaced by adopting a printing operation and directly printing the desired text or indicia on the outer body of the toothbrush. [0097]
  • FIGS. 25 and 26 illustrate another preferred embodiment toothbrush kit [0098] 150 comprising a package 510, a toothbrush, an end cap, and a label. Since details of the preferred toothbrush, end, cap, and label have been previously discussed herein, these components and their incorporation in the kit 150 are not specifically addressed here. Instead, details of a preferred package 510 are described as follows. The package 510 includes a relatively rigid backing member 512 and a contoured member 520 that is preferably transparent which engages the backing member 512 to sealingly enclose the interior and contents of the package 510. As will be understood by reference to FIGS. 25 and 26, the contoured member 520 is sized and shaped to efficiently enclose the contents of the package 510. Accordingly, when engaged with the backing member 512, the contoured member 520 closely follows the outer surface of the toothbrush and end cap as those components are stored within the package. The contoured member 520 may optionally include one or more strengthening ribs 522. The one or more emblems or labels, if supplied loose within the package 510 of the kit 150, are preferably placed alongside the backing member 512 so that they are viewable from the exterior of the package.
  • As previously noted, other aspects of the present invention include manufacturing and packaging techniques for producing a product, i.e. the toothbrush kit, that is specifically tailored to a particular region, market segment, or consumer group. As explained below, this is accomplished by producing certain components of the toothbrush kit to have one or more common themes or characteristics. And further, by organizing or matching these theme-based components with one another, a toothbrush kit is produced that has particular features to appeal to a desired region, market segment, or consumer group. Furthermore, manufacturing and/or packaging costs associated in producing these highly market specific and uniquely tailored toothbrush kits are less than what would be expected since some degree of tailorization or customization is left for the end user to perform, if desired. [0099]
  • In a most preferred embodiment, the emblems if provided in a set or group, are related to or associated with one another by a theme or common characteristic. An example of an associative characteristic is language. For instance, labels having different country flags representing countries in which English is a language, or even a primary or first language, could be grouped together and included in a toothbrush kit. More preferably, such a set of labels would be incorporated in a toothbrush kit containing instructions or text in English also. Thus, a label set would be provided containing labels having flags of the United Kingdom, United States, Canada . . . etc. printed thereon. Continuing with this example, labels having country flags representing countries in which German is a language, or even a primary or first language, could be grouped together and included in a toothbrush kit in which any accompanying instructions or text is in German also. Therefore, a label set would be provided containing labels of the flags of Germany, Austria . . . etc. [0100]
  • As previously noted, it is also contemplated to include single labels within a package as part of the present invention toothbrush kit. For language-based packaging themes, as described above, a single label containing the flag of Italy could be provided for a package containing text or instructions in Italian. Similarly, a single label containing the flag of France could be provided for a package containing text or instructions in French. Of course, if desired, a set of multiple labels could be included in which other labels would contain flags of other French speaking countries or jurisdictions. [0101]
  • Instead of providing toothbrush kits or label sets having a language-based theme, such kits could be geography-based. In this version of the invention, a plurality of labels are provided that contain related or associated indicia or markings indicative of geographical regions. For instance, the labels could contain flags of certain countries of particular regions. For example, a set of labels could be provided that contain flags of countries within a particular region. For instance a set of labels for Europe could be provided on a common backing sheet, the labels containing the flags of the U.K., Germany, France, Italy . . . etc. Another example of a set of labels having a geographical theme, would be that for North America in which a set of labels would be provided containing the flags of Canada, United States, and Mexico. Furthermore, a set of labels containing the flags of the states of the United States is contemplated. Other possible geographic regions include Latin America, Central America, the Middle East, . . . etc. Another geographic based theme could be countries that share a common border. [0102]
  • Instead of providing toothbrush kits or label sets having a language-based theme, or a geography-based theme, the associative characteristic for a set of labels could be based upon a business's distribution network or area. For example, if a business distributed the present invention toothbrush kits in two different regions, a first label set containing flags of countries in one region could be used for toothbrush kits intended to be sold and/or distributed in that region, and a second label set containing flags of countries in the other region could be used for toothbrush kits intended for sale or distribution in that other region. Thus, the theme might be a common distribution center or warehouse that services a particular region or set of countries. [0103]
  • This feature in which multiple emblems or labels are related to one another is also preferably further related with the type of end cap(s) that is provided in the toothbrush kit. For instance, if the end cap is suggestive of a particular type of sport, the accompanying set of emblems or labels could include logos, designs or text indicative of various teams associated with that sport. An example of this configuration is if the end cap represented a soccer ball, the associated emblems would relate to various soccer teams. Another example is if the end cap represented a football, the associated emblems would relate to various football teams. [0104]
  • This feature of matching a set of labels to one or more end caps of a particular toothbrush kit may further be extended to also relate to the markings, designs, logos and/or language of text used in printing the package of the kit. An example of this feature would be (i) the identification of an intended region in which the toothbrush kit will be distributed and sold, (ii) the identification of a common language, or even the primary language of that region, and (iii) the identification of a marketing factor such as a popular sport within that region. In this scenario, an example would be a toothbrush kit provided for distribution and sale in the United States, containing text in English, relating to American-style football. Alternatively, the toothbrush kit could be configured for distribution and sale in Germany and Austria and so, would contain text in German, and might further relate to soccer. [0105]
  • A method for packaging and tailoring a toothbrush kit for a particular market is as follows. Identification analyses are performed to determine the region in which the kit will be sold, and one or more marketing characteristics or theme(s) associated with that region. Inventories or sources for the components of the kit are provided. Next, at least one of the end cap components and emblem sets are selected based upon the marketing characteristic(s) of that region. The selected components and all remaining components of the kit are then packaged in a suitable packaging container as described herein, preferably containing text a common language, or even the primary language, of that region. The marketing characteristics may for example include one or more popular sports of that region, the common or primary language of that region, the geographical proximity of countries or states within that region, or a business's distribution network within that region. Other common themes or factors associated with or common within the region can be utilized. These can be utilized alone or in combination. And, the identification analyses may be performed in any order. [0106]
  • A preferred manufacturing and packaging process for producing a toothbrush kit that is specifically tailored for a certain market is as follows. An inventory or source of toothbrushes is provided. Also, an inventory or source of either a single type or multiple types of end caps is provided. The type or types of end caps that are provided depends upon the identification analyses, e.g. the determination of a characteristic or marketing factor of the planned sales region. From these sources, a toothbrush and one or more end caps are matched with a suitable package or component thereof such as a transparent front cover. The language of any text or indicia that is either preprinted or that may be subsequently printed on the package depends upon the identification analyses, e.g. the determination of the primary language of the planned sales region. The resulting package assembly is directed to one or more packing stations at which one or more emblems are placed into the package. The type or types of labels, or rather the nature of the theme or common characteristic of the labels, depends upon the identification analyses, e.g. the determination of a characteristic or marketing factor of the planned sales region. In addition, consideration is also given to the theme or characteristic(s) of the one or more end caps provided in the kit, and the language of text that may be provided on the package. Depending upon the type of theme or characteristic to be followed for the toothbrush kit, either a single label or a set of a plurality of labels is placed in the package assembly. It is contemplated that in some versions of the toothbrush kit, it may be desired to include a plurality of labels, each on a separate backing layer. After deposit of one or more labels within the package assembly, the remaining backing member of the package, i.e. the cardboard member, is then applied and engaged with the transparent front cover and the package is sealed. [0107]
  • In manufacturing or assembly of the preferred embodiment toothbrush kits described herein, the assembly techniques are based upon selective matching of certain components of the kit with other components. Preferably, matched combinations of components are selectively further matched with particular packages so that numerous styles of toothbrush kits may be produced from only a few and most preferably from a single assembly line. For example, at least two types or styles of a package for a preferred embodiment toothbrush kit are conveyed to a packing station. The kits may share a common marketing characteristic or theme(s) such as sports. However, the kits are different in that they utilize different marketing characteristics such as language, geography, or distribution aspects. Provided at that packing station are an inventory or source of different various types or styles of label sets. One or more of these label sets are then matched or associated with one of the toothbrush kit packages. These labels preferably reflect the marketing characteristic by which the kits differ. Additional components of the kit may also be incorporated therein. Examples of other components include electric toothbrushes and one or more end caps as described herein. Most preferably, the matching of labels to toothbrush kit packages could be based upon the intended distribution center or warehouse, area, language, geography or region in which the toothbrush kit will be sold or otherwise commercialized. [0108]
  • Another significant feature of the preferred embodiment toothbrush kit is that the kit and/or its components may be used in conjunction with other compatible toothbrushes. It is contemplated that a consumer might use more than one end cap, such as with a second toothbrush. Additionally, after selecting one or more emblems for use with the toothbrush contained in the kit, any remaining emblems could be used in conjunction with a second, third, or more similar toothbrushes. Therefore, although the preferred embodiment kit is generally self-contained and designed for use with the toothbrush contained in that kit, the end cap and emblem components of the kit may be used in conjunction with other toothbrushes similar to the toothbrush supplied in the kit. [0109]
  • It is also contemplated that the toothbrush kit may additionally include two or more toothbrushes for use with the various end caps and emblems. Hence, in this embodiment, the package component would be adapted to retain the plurality of toothbrushes. [0110]
  • It will be understood that any and all of the features of each preferred embodiment may be combined or used in conjunction with each of the preferred embodiments described herein. [0111]
  • The invention has been described with reference to the preferred embodiments. Obviously, modifications and alterations will occur to others upon a reading and understanding of this specification. It is intended to include all such modifications and alterations insofar as they come within the scope of the appended claims or the equivalents thereof. [0112]

Claims (66)

We claim:
1. A toothbrush kit, comprising:
a package;
an electric toothbrush having an elongated hollow body, a head, and a neck disposed therebetween; and
a plurality of decorative end caps, each of which is attachable to said hollow body to thereby customize the appearance of said electric toothbrush, wherein each of said end caps is distinct from other end caps of said plurality.
2. The toothbrush kit of claim 1, wherein said plurality of end caps includes from about 2 end caps to about 10 end caps.
3. The toothbrush kit of claim 1, wherein said hollow body of said electric toothbrush further defines an internal compartment adapted for receiving a battery, said body further defining an opening providing access into said internal compartment, and wherein each of said plurality of decorative caps are adapted to close said opening.
4. The toothbrush kit of claim 3, wherein said opening is defined opposite said head.
5. The toothbrush kit of claim 1, wherein each of said end caps is provided in the shape of an item of sports equipment.
6. The toothbrush kit of claim 5, wherein said sports equipment is non-apparel sports equipment.
7. The toothbrush kit of claim 6, wherein said non-apparel sports equipment is a ball.
8. The toothbrush kit of claim 7, wherein said ball is selected from the group consisting of a football, a baseball, a basketball, a bowling ball, a tennis ball, a golf ball, a soccer ball, and combinations thereof.
9. The toothbrush kit of claim 1, further comprising a plurality of emblems, wherein each emblem is distinct from other emblems of said plurality.
10. The toothbrush kit of claim 9, wherein each emblem represents a country.
11. The toothbrush kit of claim 9, wherein each emblem represents an athletic team.
12. The toothbrush kit of claim 9, wherein said plurality of emblems further include an adhesive for attaching said emblems to said electric toothbrush.
13. The toothbrush kit of claim 12, wherein said elongated hollow body has an outer a portion adapted for receiving at least one of said emblems.
14. A toothbrush kit, comprising:
a package;
an electric toothbrush having an elongated hollow body, a head, and a neck disposed therebetween; and
a plurality of decorative emblems which can be attached to said hollow body to customize the appearance of said electric toothbrush, wherein each of said emblems is distinct from emblems of said plurality.
15. The toothbrush kit of claim 14, wherein each emblem represents an athletic team.
16. The toothbrush kit of claim 14, wherein said kit comprises between about 2 and about 10 emblems.
17. The toothbrush kit of claim 14, wherein said emblems further include an adhesive for attaching said emblems to said electric toothbrush.
18. The toothbrush kit of claim 17, wherein said elongated hollow body has an outer portion adapted for receiving at least one of said emblems.
19. The toothbrush kit of claim 14 further comprising a plurality of decorative end caps, each of which is attachable to said hollow body to thereby customize the appearance of said electric toothbrush, wherein each of said end caps is distinct from other end caps of said plurality of end caps.
20. The toothbrush kit of claim 19, wherein each of said end caps is provided in the shape of an item of sports equipment.
21. The toothbrush kit of claim 20, wherein said sports equipment is a ball.
22. The toothbrush kit of claim 21, wherein said ball is selected from the group consisting of a football, a baseball, a basketball, a bowling ball, a tennis ball, a golf ball, a soccer ball, and combinations thereof.
23. A toothbrush kit for use with an electric toothbrush having a hollow body, said kit comprising:
a package; and
a plurality of decorative end caps, each of which is attachable to said hollow body to customize the appearance of the electric toothbrush, wherein each of said end caps is distinct from other end caps of said plurality.
24. The toothbrush kit of claim 23, wherein each of said end caps is provided in the shape of an item of sports equipment.
25. The toothbrush kit of claim 24, wherein said sports equipment is non-apparel sports equipment.
26. The toothbrush kit of claim 25, wherein said non-apparel sports equipment is a ball.
27. The toothbrush kit of claim 26, wherein said ball is selected from the group consisting of a football, a baseball, a basketball, a bowling ball, a tennis ball, a golf ball, a soccer ball, and combinations thereof.
28. The toothbrush kit of claim 23, further comprising a plurality of emblems, wherein each emblem is distinct from other emblems of said plurality.
29. The toothbrush kit of claim 28, wherein each emblem represents an athletic team.
30. The toothbrush kit of claim 28, wherein said plurality of emblems comprises between about 2 emblems and about 10 emblems.
31. The toothbrush kit of claim 28, wherein said plurality of emblems further include an adhesive for attaching said emblems to said electric toothbrush.
32. The toothbrush kit of claim 28, wherein each emblem represents a country.
33. The toothbrush kit of claim 32, wherein each emblem contains a flag.
34. The toothbrush kit of claim 28, wherein said plurality of emblems are provided on a common substrate.
35. The toothbrush kit of claim 34, wherein said substrate is provided in the form of a roll.
36. The toothbrush kit of claim 28, wherein each of said emblems of said plurality of emblems is provided on separate substrate.
37. The toothbrush kit of claim 28, wherein each of said emblems of said plurality of emblems share a common characteristic with other emblems of said plurality of emblems.
38. The toothbrush kit of claim 37, wherein said common characteristic is a distribution region.
39. The toothbrush kit of claim 37, wherein said common characteristic is a language associated with said emblems.
40. The toothbrush kit of claim 37, wherein said common characteristic is a geographical region associated with said emblems.
41. A toothbrush kit comprising:
an electric toothbrush including a body having a first end and a second end opposite from said first end, and a brush head disposed proximate said first end, said body defining an interior battery chamber accessible at said second end;
at least one end cap, said end cap having a planar bottom surface and a generally arcuate outer surface extending from said bottom surface to an upper region of said end cap, said end cap defining an interior receiving chamber and an aperture along said upper region of said end cap, said receiving chamber and said aperture adapted to receive and engage said second end of said toothbrush;
at least one label assembly including a decorative polymeric layer removably attached to a backing layer, said polymeric layer being adapted for selective placement and retention on said body of said toothbrush; and
a package containing said toothbrush, said at least one end cap, and at least one label.
42. The toothbrush kit of claim 41 wherein said at least one end cap includes a cap representative of a sports playing ball, said at least one label assembly includes a label containing a country flag.
43. The toothbrush kit of claim 42 wherein said package includes English language text.
44. The toothbrush kit of claim 42 wherein said end cap is representative of a soccer ball.
45. The toothbrush kit of claim 41 wherein said end cap contains a planar rear wall.
46. The toothbrush kit of claim 41 wherein said at least one label assembly is loose in said package.
47. A method for customizing the appearance of a toothbrush and base assembly, said method comprising the steps of:
providing a toothbrush kit including a toothbrush, a plurality of bases each adapted to engage an end of said toothbrush and each containing markings or colorings different than the markings or colorings of other bases of said plurality of bases, and a plurality of adhesive labels each containing markings or colorings different than the markings or colorings of other labels of said plurality of labels;
selecting a base having a particular marking or coloring from said plurality of bases;
selecting a label having a particular marking or coloring from said plurality of labels; and
applying said selected label to said toothbrush.
48. The method of claim 47 further comprising a step of:
engaging an end of said toothbrush with said selected base.
49. A method for packaging and tailoring a toothbrush kit comprising a toothbrush, one or more end caps, one or more emblems, and a package, for a particular market, said method comprising:
identifying a region in which said toothbrush kit is intended to be sold;
identifying a primary language of said region;
identifying at least one marketing characteristic of said region;
providing a source of toothbrushes;
providing a source of end caps;
providing a package having text in said primary language of said region;
providing a source of emblems;
selecting said one or more end caps and said one or more emblems based upon said at least one marketing characteristic of said region;
obtaining a toothbrush from said source of toothbrushes;
placing said obtained toothbrush with said selected one or more end caps and one or more emblems in said package, wherein said one or more emblems are loose within said package; and
sealing said package.
50. The method of claim 49 wherein said marketing characteristic of said region is sports and said source of end caps includes end caps representing sports playing balls.
51. The method of claim 50 wherein said sports playing balls are selected from the group consisting of a football, a baseball, a basketball, a bowling ball, a tennis ball, a golf ball, a soccer ball, and combinations thereof.
52. The method of claim 49 wherein said region includes a group of countries, said marketing characteristic of said region is said primary language of said region, and said source of emblems includes emblems representing countries having their primary language the same as said primary language.
53. The method of claim 52 wherein said emblems represent said countries by containing a flag of a respective country.
54. The method of claim 49 wherein said region includes a group of countries, said marketing characteristic of said region is geographical proximity of said group of countries, and said source of emblems includes emblems representing countries within said region.
55. The method of claim 54 wherein said emblems represent said countries by containing a flag of a respective country.
56. The method of claim 49 wherein said region is a group of countries, said marketing characteristic of said region is a distribution network, and said source of emblems includes emblems representing countries within said region.
57. The method of claim 56 wherein said emblems represent said countries by containing a flag of a respective country.
58. A method of manufacturing a plurality of toothbrush kits, said method comprising:
providing a packing station having a source of a plurality of first emblems, a plurality of second emblems, and a plurality of third emblems;
conveying at least a first toothbrush kit package and at least a second toothbrush kit package to said packing station;
associating one of said plurality of first emblems and one of said plurality of second emblems with said first toothbrush kit package; and
associating only one of said plurality of first emblems, said plurality of second emblems, and said plurality of third emblems with said second toothbrush kit package.
59. The method of claim 58 further comprising a step of incorporating an electric toothbrush in said first toothbrush kit.
60. The method of claim 59 further comprising a step of incorporating an electric toothbrush in said second toothbrush kit.
61. The method of claim 58 further comprising a step of shipping said first toothbrush kit to a first distribution center.
62. The method of claim 61 further comprising a step of shipping said second toothbrush kit to a second distribution center.
63. The method of claim 62 wherein said first distribution center services a first country associated with said plurality of first emblems and a second country associated with said plurality of second emblems.
64. The method of claim 63 wherein said second distribution center services a third country associated with said plurality of third emblems.
65. A method of producing a plurality of toothbrush kits comprising:
providing a source of toothbrushes;
providing a source of sealable packages;
providing a source of at least one end cap; and
providing a source of a plurality of label sets, each set being distinct from other sets in said plurality of label sets, each label set including at least one label removably adhered to a backing layer;
selecting a toothbrush from said source of toothbrushes;
selecting at least one end cap from said source of end caps;
selecting at least one label set from said source of label sets;
incorporating said selected toothbrush, said selected at least one end cap, and said selected at least one label set into said selected package, wherein said selected label set is incorporated loosely in said selected package; and
sealing said package.
66. A method of configuring a toothbrush kit for a particular market, said method comprising:
identifying a region in which said toothbrush kit will be sold;
identifying a primary language of said identified region;
identifying a marketing factor of said identified region; and
selecting components of said toothbrush kit associated with said identified marketing factor.
US10/090,394 2002-03-04 2002-03-04 Toothbrush kit Abandoned US20030166373A1 (en)

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US10/090,394 US20030166373A1 (en) 2002-03-04 2002-03-04 Toothbrush kit
AT03711280T AT507798T (en) 2002-03-04 2003-02-27 Brush set
DK03711280.2T DK1480578T3 (en) 2002-03-04 2003-02-27 toothbrush
DE60336985A DE60336985D1 (en) 2002-03-04 2003-02-27 Brush set
CA002477320A CA2477320C (en) 2002-03-04 2003-02-27 Toothbrush kit
AU2003213599A AU2003213599A1 (en) 2002-03-04 2003-02-27 Toothbrush kit
PCT/US2003/005981 WO2003075786A1 (en) 2002-03-04 2003-02-27 Toothbrush kit
CNA038051176A CN1638702A (en) 2002-03-04 2003-02-27 Toothbrush kit
EP03711280A EP1480578B1 (en) 2002-03-04 2003-02-27 Toothbrush kit

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US29/161,471 Division USD517324S1 (en) 2002-03-04 2002-05-30 Toothbrush

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Family

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US (1) US20030166373A1 (en)
EP (1) EP1480578B1 (en)
CN (1) CN1638702A (en)
AT (1) AT507798T (en)
AU (1) AU2003213599A1 (en)
CA (1) CA2477320C (en)
DE (1) DE60336985D1 (en)
DK (1) DK1480578T3 (en)
WO (1) WO2003075786A1 (en)

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US20170112272A1 (en) * 2015-10-22 2017-04-27 Colgate-Palmolive Company Oral care implement with audio channel

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DK1480578T3 (en) 2011-08-01
AU2003213599A1 (en) 2003-09-22
CN1638702A (en) 2005-07-13
WO2003075786A1 (en) 2003-09-18
CA2477320A1 (en) 2003-09-18
DE60336985D1 (en) 2011-06-16
EP1480578A1 (en) 2004-12-01
AT507798T (en) 2011-05-15
CA2477320C (en) 2009-12-08
EP1480578B1 (en) 2011-05-04

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