US20040219985A1 - System for preventing theft of sporting goods - Google Patents

System for preventing theft of sporting goods Download PDF

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Publication number
US20040219985A1
US20040219985A1 US10/428,579 US42857903A US2004219985A1 US 20040219985 A1 US20040219985 A1 US 20040219985A1 US 42857903 A US42857903 A US 42857903A US 2004219985 A1 US2004219985 A1 US 2004219985A1
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US
United States
Prior art keywords
control device
loss control
system
bowling
sporting good
Prior art date
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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US10/428,579
Inventor
Antonius van Dijk
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
Constellium France SAS
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Constellium France SAS
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Filing date
Publication date
Application filed by Constellium France SAS filed Critical Constellium France SAS
Priority to US10/428,579 priority Critical patent/US20040219985A1/en
Assigned to PECHINEY RHENALU reassignment PECHINEY RHENALU ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: MORERE, BRUCE
Publication of US20040219985A1 publication Critical patent/US20040219985A1/en
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B37/00Solid balls; Rigid hollow balls; Marbles
    • A63B37/0001Balls with finger holes, e.g. for bowling
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B2225/00Other characteristics of sports equipment
    • A63B2225/72Means preventing unauthorised use, e.g. by lowering a tennis net

Abstract

A loss control device is embedded within a sporting good such as a bowling ball or bowling shoe such that it does not interfere with the operation of the sporting good. The loss control device may be embedded within the sporting good in such a way that it is hidden from the user. A recreation center in which a number of sporting goods are rented or lent out may be outfitted with one or more sensor devices near one or more of its exits. At least some of the sporting goods provided for rental or lending include embedded loss control devices that are sensed by the sensor devices, such that attempted removal of the sporting goods from the sporting facility is detected by the sensor devices.

Description

    FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention relates generally to sporting goods, and more particularly to loss control for sporting goods. [0001]
  • BACKGROUND
  • Bowling, among other sports and games, enjoys increasing popularity around the world. Many bowlers do not own their own equipment, and instead rent bowling balls and/or bowling shoes from the bowling center at which they play. Such rentals are not only convenient for the player, but also are important for the bowling center. Rentals of bowling equipment generate revenue for the bowling center not only from rental fees but from lane rental charges and from secondary expenditures that may be made by the bowler. However, some players do not return their rented bowling balls or bowling shoes. Instead, they remove those items from the bowling center, either out of absentmindedness or a desire to steal them. For example, bowling shoes are fashionable in some circles, and theft of rented shoes is a convenient way for an unscrupulous person to obtain them. Thus, bowling centers may experience significant monetary losses due to the theft of bowling balls and bowling shoes rented out to bowlers. This problem is not limited to bowling centers, and extends to other recreation centers at which sporting goods are rented or lent out. [0002]
  • SUMMARY
  • In one aspect of the invention, a loss control device is embedded within a sporting good. For example, a loss control device may be embedded within a bowling ball, within a plug placed at the bottom of a finger opening in a bowling ball, or within the heel of a bowling shoe. The loss control device may be protected by a shock-absorbent substance or mechanism. By embedding the loss control device within a sporting good, it does not interfere with the operation of the sporting good. Further, the loss control device may be embedded within the sporting good in such a way that it is hidden from the user. [0003]
  • In another aspect of the invention, a recreation center in which a number of sporting goods are rented or lent out is outfitted with one or more sensor devices near one or more of its exits. At least some of the sporting goods provided for rental or lending include embedded loss control devices that are sensed by the sensor devices, such that attempted removal of the sporting goods from the sporting facility is detected by the sensor devices. Where the loss control devices are hidden within the sporting goods, not every item of sporting goods rented or lent out need be outfitted with a loss control device in order to reduce the loss of sporting goods from the sporting facility.[0004]
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is a cross-section view of a bowling ball according to an embodiment of the invention. [0005]
  • FIG. 2 is a cross-section view of a bowling ball according to another embodiment of the invention. [0006]
  • FIG. 3 is a cross-section view of a bowling ball according to another embodiment of the invention. [0007]
  • FIG. 4 is a cross-section view of an athletic shoe. [0008]
  • FIG. 5 is a schematic view of a bowling center outfitted according to an embodiment of the invention.[0009]
  • The use of the same reference symbols in different figures indicates similar or identical items. [0010]
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • Referring to FIG. 1, a loss control device [0011] 2 is embedded within a bowling ball 4. The bowling ball 4 may be constructed in two parts, where a core 10 is covered at least in part by a shell 12. Two-part construction of a bowling ball 4 is standard in the art, and details of the construction of an exemplary two-part bowling ball 4 may be found in U.S. Pat. No. 4,461,478, which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety. However, the bowling ball 4 may be constructed in a different manner, if desired. For example, the bowling ball 4 may be a unitary structure, or may have three or more parts. The bowling ball 4 may include a thin coating on its outer surface, which may be useful in increasing the coefficient of friction between the bowling ball 4 and a bowling lane. The composition of such a coating and its application onto a bowling ball 4 may be found in U.S. Pat. No. 4,309,377, which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety. Such a coating may be considered to be a shell 12 over a core 10.
  • The loss control device [0012] 2 is embedded in the core 10 of the bowling ball 4. The core 10 of the bowling ball 4 may be formed from rubber, resin or other substance. The loss control device 2 may be introduced into the core 10 of the bowling ball 4 as the core 10 is formed, while the core 10 is in a liquid, semi-liquid or softened state. Although the loss control device 2 is shown at the center of the core 10 of the bowling ball 4 in FIG. 1, the loss control device 2 may be located at any position within the core 10 of the bowling ball 4.
  • The loss control device [0013] 2 is standard in the art. Examples of loss control devices 2 are given in U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,413,254 and 4,736,207, both of which are herein incorporated by reference in their entirety. The loss control device 2 may be a device capable of receiving an electromagnetic signal and subsequently reradiating an electromagnetic signal to a receiver. The loss control device 2 may be passive, meaning that the loss control device 2 is unpowered and/or does not generate electromagnetic energy on its own. Alternately, the loss control device 2 may be active, meaning that it is powered and is capable of radiating electromagnetic energy of its own accord. If the loss control device 2 is active, then a battery or other energy storage device (not shown) is additionally present within the bowling ball 4 and connected to the loss control device 2. The energy storage device may be periodically recharged by any standard means, such as induction or direct connection to a power source.
  • The loss control device [0014] 2 is compatible with the process or processes used to manufacture the bowling ball 4. That is, the components of the loss control device 2, or an off-the-shelf loss control device 2, are selected such that the temperatures, pressures and chemicals utilized in manufacturing the bowling ball 4 do not destroy or substantially degrade the performance of the loss control device 2. Degradation of performance need not be measured in individual bowling balls 4, and instead may be measured statistically throughout the manufacturing process. That is, a percentage of loss control devices 2 may experienced degradation during manufacturing, where that percentage is not a substantial percentage of the number of bowling balls 4 produced.
  • Referring to FIG. 2, the loss control device [0015] 2 is embedded in the shell 12 of the bowling ball 4, rather than the core 10. The loss control device 2 and the shell 12 are configured such that the loss control device 2 does not protrude from the shell 12 or otherwise interfere with the substantially spherical shape of the bowling ball 4. Thus, the loss control device 2 may be curved, particularly if the shell 12 is thin. The loss control device 2 may be connected to the core 10 of the bowling ball 4, such as by adhesive or by one or more connectors, after which the shell 12 is formed over it. Alternately, the loss control device 2 is not connected to the core 10 of the bowling ball 4. More than one loss control device 2 may be placed in the shell 12, if desired. The use of additional loss control devices 2 may be beneficial to maintain the balance of the bowling ball 4.
  • Alternately, referring to FIG. 2, the core [0016] 10 may represent an existing bowling ball that does not contain a loss control device 2, and the shell 12 may represent a layer deposited on top of the existing bowling ball. In this way, the owner or operator of a bowling center may retrofit existing bowling balls 4 to include loss control devices 2.
  • Regardless of the number of individual components of the bowling ball [0017] 4, the loss control device 2 is embedded within one of those components. As used in this document, the word “embedded” means that the loss control device 2 is secured to a sporting good such that the loss control device 2 cannot be removed without destroying or damaging the sporting good. The loss control device 2 is advantageously positioned within the bowling ball 4 such that a user of the bowling ball 4 cannot see or otherwise notice its presence. More than one loss control device 2 may be embedded within the bowling ball 4, in order to provide for redundancy or balance, or for other reasons. For example, one loss control device 2 may be embedded in the core 10 of the bowling ball 4, and another loss control device 2 may be embedded in the shell 12 of the bowling ball 4.
  • Referring to FIG. 3, in another embodiment, a loss control device [0018] 2 is embedded in a plug 6 of material within a finger opening 8 in the bowling ball 4. The finger opening 8 is defined by a surface 9. This embodiment may be used for manufacturing bowling balls 4, or for retrofitting existing bowling balls 4. For example, a finger opening 8 in an existing bowling ball 4 may be drilled deeper into a bowling ball 4 to accommodate a plug 6 without interfering with the space within the finger opening 8 utilized by a bowler's finger. Then, a plug 6 containing a loss control device 2 may be placed at the bottom of the finger opening 8. As one example, the loss control device 2 may be placed within the plug 6 at a location outside the finger opening 8, after which the plug 6 is secured to the surface 9 of the finger opening 8. Such securing may be performed with adhesive, with one or more connectors, or by other structures, mechanisms or methods. The plug 6 may include a threaded opening (not shown) corresponding to a threaded post (not shown) at the bottom of the finger opening 8, such that the plug 6 may be screwed onto the post. The post may instead be located on the plug, and the corresponding opening may be located at the bottom of the finger opening 8. As another example, the loss control device 2 may be connected to the surface 9 of the finger opening 8 by adhesive, with one or more connectors, or by other structures, mechanisms or methods. Then, the plug 6 is formed within the finger opening 8 by any appropriate method. For example, material in a liquid phase may be poured into the finger opening 8, then allowed to solidify to form the plug 6.
  • The loss control device [0019] 2 may itself be resistant to the shock and/or other forces experienced by the bowling ball 4 in use. Optionally, the loss control device 2 is protected at least in part from shock and/or other forces by at least one force mitigation element (not shown). The force mitigation element may be any structure or mechanism appropriate for reducing the forces experienced by the loss control device 2. As one example, the force mitigation element is a quantity of cushioning material that at least partially encases the loss control device 2. The cushioning material may be rubber or any other appropriate substance. As another example, the force mitigation element is a shock absorber or similar mechanism. The shock absorber may be active or passive. By utilizing a force mitigation element in order to reduce the forces experienced by the loss control device 2, the loss control device 2 itself need not be robust enough to withstand the forces experienced by the bowling ball itself
  • Referring to FIG. 4, a loss control device [0020] 2 is embedded within a bowling shoe 14. The loss control device 2 may be substantially as described above. It may be advantageous to utilize the same type of loss control device 2 in both the bowling shoe 14 and the bowling ball 4 in order to detect both with a single sensor device, as described in greater detail below. The loss control device 2 may be embedded within the heel 16 of the bowling shoe 14. Alternately, the loss control device 2 may be embedded within the sole 18 of the bowling shoe 14, or placed at a different location in the bowling shoe 14. Advantageously, the loss control device 2 is hidden, such that the renter or user of the bowling shoe 14 cannot determine its presence by casual inspection of the bowling shoe 14.
  • Referring also to FIG. 5, an exemplary recreation center [0021] 20 is shown. A typical recreation center 20 may be a bowling center. The bowling center 20 includes a number of exits 24, a rental counter 26, and a number of lanes 28. Patrons of the bowling center 20 rent bowling shoes 4 at the rental counter 26, if they are needed. Bowling balls 4 are typically provided without charge to patrons who need them, and are stored on racks 30 or other structures that may be located in proximity to the lanes 28. At least some of the bowling balls 4 and/or bowling shoes 14 used in the bowling center 20 include loss control devices 2 embedded therein, as described above.
  • One or more sensor devices [0022] 22 are placed in proximity to each exit 24 to the bowling center 20. The sensor devices 22 are configured to detect a loss control device 2. Sensor devices 22, and their use with corresponding loss control devices 2, are standard in the art. One exemplary sensor device is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,413,254. At least one sensor device 22 may be configured to transmit a signal instead of or in addition to receiving a signal. In this way, the loss control devices 2 utilized in conjunction with the sensor device or devices 22 may be passive rather than active devices. The sensor devices 22 optionally may be connected to a security system (not shown), an alarm, an alarm system, a security system, or any other type of structure, mechanism or system useful in providing security for the bowling center 20. When a patron moves an item containing a loss control device 2 into proximity with at least one of the sensor devices 22, at least one of those sensor devices 22 will detect the presence of the loss control device 2, and provide an alert such as an alarm and/or a signal to a central security system. As an example, one of the sensor devices 22 transmits a first RF signal. When that first signal is received by a loss control device 2, the loss control device modulates, re-radiates or otherwise alters that first signal to a known second signal. The same sensor device 22, and/or at least one other sensor device 22, receives that second signal. The second signal is known to indicate the presence of a loss control device 2 in a particular location relative to the sensor device 22. Upon detection of that second signal, the sensor device 22 provides a suitable alert. The form of the alert is not critical to the invention. The sensor device 22 may sound an alarm, emit a noise, flash a light, or perform another activity to warn the patron that he or she has attempted to remove at least one item containing a loss control device 2 from the bowling center 20.
  • In order to provide effective loss control in the bowling center [0023] 20, it is not necessary to outfit each and every bowling ball 2 and/or bowling shoe 14 with a loss control device 2. Rather, a loss control device 2 may be hidden within each of a selected number of bowling balls 2 and/or bowling shoes 14 that are to be rented or lent out, such that the presence of the loss control device 2 is not apparent to the user. Because the loss control devices 2 are hidden within the bowling balls 4 and/or bowling shoes 14, patrons will not know whether any particular bowling ball 4 or bowling shoe 14 contains a loss control device 2. Thus, a potential thief will be less willing to risk stealing sporting goods, as the thief will be unaware of the proportion of goods containing loss control devices 2, and thus unaware of the probability that his or her theft will be detected by at least one sensor device 22. Thus, the likelihood that the removal of any particular item from the bowling center 20 will be detected is related to the proportion of those items within which loss control devices 2 are hidden. Alternately, every bowling ball 4 and/or bowling shoe 14 within the bowling center 20 that is to be rented or lent out may be outfitted with a loss control device 2.
  • While the invention has been described in detail, it will be apparent to one skilled in the art that various changes and modifications can be made and equivalents employed, without departing from the present invention. For example, while bowling equipment and centers are described above with regard to exemplary embodiments of the invention, the present invention may be used to prevent theft of sporting goods used in other sports, particularly where that equipment is rented out or lent to participants. For example, the present system may be utilized to prevent the theft of putters from a miniature golf course, rented clubs, golf bags or carts from a golf course or driving range, roller skates from a roller rink, ice skates and hockey sticks from an ice rink, or bats from a batting cage. It is to be understood that the invention is not limited to the details of construction and/or the arrangements of components set forth in the above description or illustrated in the drawings. Therefore, the invention is not to be restricted or limited except in accordance with the following claims and their legal equivalents. [0024]

Claims (20)

What is claimed is:
1. A system for preventing theft from a recreation center, comprising:
a sporting good; and
at least one loss control device embedded within said sporting good.
2. The system of claim 1, wherein at least one said loss control device is hidden within said sporting good.
3. The system of claim 1, wherein said sporting good is a bowling ball.
4. The system of claim 3, wherein said bowling ball comprises a core and a shell substantially covering said core, and wherein said loss control device is embedded within said core of said bowling ball.
5. The system of claim 3, wherein said bowling ball comprises a core and a shell substantially covering said core, and wherein said loss control device is embedded within said shell of said bowling ball.
6. The system of claim 3, wherein said bowling ball includes at least one finger opening bounded by a surface, and wherein said loss control device is secured within said finger opening.
7. The system of claim 3, further comprising a plug within which said loss control device is embedded, wherein said plug is secured to said surface of said finger opening.
8. The system of claim 3, wherein said loss control device is secured to said surface of said finger opening, further comprising a plug additionally secured to said surface of said finger opening.
9. The system of claim 1, wherein said sporting good is a bowling shoe.
10. The system of claim 9, wherein said bowling shoe comprises a heel, and wherein said loss control device is embedded in said heel.
11. The system of claim 1, further comprising at least one sensor device positioned in association with at least one exit from the recreation center, said at least one sensor device configured to detect said loss control device.
12. The system of claim 1, further comprising a force mitigation element configured to protect said loss control device.
13. The system of claim 12, wherein said force mitigation element is a cushioning material.
14. The system of claim 12, wherein said force mitigation element is a shock absorber connected to said loss control device.
15. A method of controlling the loss of sporting goods from a recreation center having at least one exit, comprising:
providing at least one sporting good within the recreation center;
embedding at least one loss control device within at least one said sporting good; and
placing at least one sensor device in association with at least one exit from the recreation center, wherein said at least one sensor device is configured to detect at least one said loss control device.
16. The method of claim 15, wherein said embedding comprises hiding at least one said loss control device within at least one said sporting good.
17. The method of claim 15, further comprising connecting at least one sensor device to a security system.
18. A method of manufacturing a loss-resistant item, comprising:
providing a loss control device;
manufacturing a sporting good; and
embedding said loss control device within said sporting good.
19. The method of claim 18, wherein said sporting good is a bowling ball.
20. The method of claim 18, wherein said sporting good is a bowling shoe.
US10/428,579 2003-05-02 2003-05-02 System for preventing theft of sporting goods Abandoned US20040219985A1 (en)

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Cited By (2)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US20070200298A1 (en) * 2004-04-08 2007-08-30 Antony Course Electronic Ball Game
FR2913789A1 (en) * 2007-03-07 2008-09-19 Alain Jean Pierre Jacot Device for tracking bowling shoes on rent

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US5735742A (en) * 1995-09-20 1998-04-07 Chip Track International Gaming table tracking system and method
US5874896A (en) * 1996-08-26 1999-02-23 Palomar Technologies Corporation Electronic anti-shoplifting system employing an RFID tag
US5949335A (en) * 1998-04-14 1999-09-07 Sensormatic Electronics Corporation RFID tagging system for network assets
US6232870B1 (en) * 1998-08-14 2001-05-15 3M Innovative Properties Company Applications for radio frequency identification systems
US6349881B1 (en) * 1999-06-30 2002-02-26 Richard Bruce Wilkey Identification system for personal property
US6366205B1 (en) * 2000-08-25 2002-04-02 Club Keeper International, Inc. System for detecting missing golf clubs
US6427504B1 (en) * 1993-08-26 2002-08-06 Strattec Security Corporation Key assembly for vehicle ignition locks
US20040074966A1 (en) * 2002-10-15 2004-04-22 Atomic Austria Gmbh Electronic tracking system for a combination of sporting articles consisting of more than one sporting article and the use of same
US20040150524A1 (en) * 2001-05-03 2004-08-05 Ferruccio Bonato Anti-theft device particularly for point of sale displays
US20050017501A1 (en) * 2003-07-22 2005-01-27 Adrian Gluck Sports items with hidden memorabilia

Patent Citations (10)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US6427504B1 (en) * 1993-08-26 2002-08-06 Strattec Security Corporation Key assembly for vehicle ignition locks
US5735742A (en) * 1995-09-20 1998-04-07 Chip Track International Gaming table tracking system and method
US5874896A (en) * 1996-08-26 1999-02-23 Palomar Technologies Corporation Electronic anti-shoplifting system employing an RFID tag
US5949335A (en) * 1998-04-14 1999-09-07 Sensormatic Electronics Corporation RFID tagging system for network assets
US6232870B1 (en) * 1998-08-14 2001-05-15 3M Innovative Properties Company Applications for radio frequency identification systems
US6349881B1 (en) * 1999-06-30 2002-02-26 Richard Bruce Wilkey Identification system for personal property
US6366205B1 (en) * 2000-08-25 2002-04-02 Club Keeper International, Inc. System for detecting missing golf clubs
US20040150524A1 (en) * 2001-05-03 2004-08-05 Ferruccio Bonato Anti-theft device particularly for point of sale displays
US20040074966A1 (en) * 2002-10-15 2004-04-22 Atomic Austria Gmbh Electronic tracking system for a combination of sporting articles consisting of more than one sporting article and the use of same
US20050017501A1 (en) * 2003-07-22 2005-01-27 Adrian Gluck Sports items with hidden memorabilia

Cited By (4)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US20070200298A1 (en) * 2004-04-08 2007-08-30 Antony Course Electronic Ball Game
FR2913789A1 (en) * 2007-03-07 2008-09-19 Alain Jean Pierre Jacot Device for tracking bowling shoes on rent
WO2008132316A2 (en) * 2007-03-07 2008-11-06 Alain Jean-Pierre Jacot Device for tracking bowling shoes identified by means of rfid
WO2008132316A3 (en) * 2007-03-07 2009-05-28 Alain Jean-Pierre Jacot Device for tracking bowling shoes identified by means of rfid

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Owner name: PECHINEY RHENALU, FRANCE

Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:MORERE, BRUCE;REEL/FRAME:014557/0160

Effective date: 20040116

STCB Information on status: application discontinuation

Free format text: ABANDONED -- FAILURE TO RESPOND TO AN OFFICE ACTION