US20140220851A1 - Transformable objects and methods of making same - Google Patents

Transformable objects and methods of making same Download PDF

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US20140220851A1
US20140220851A1 US14/225,108 US201414225108A US2014220851A1 US 20140220851 A1 US20140220851 A1 US 20140220851A1 US 201414225108 A US201414225108 A US 201414225108A US 2014220851 A1 US2014220851 A1 US 2014220851A1
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figures
cavity
exposed
opening
adjacent
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US14/225,108
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Kimber Bennett
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Kimber Bennett
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Priority to PCT/US2012/058066 priority patent/WO2013049678A1/en
Application filed by Kimber Bennett filed Critical Kimber Bennett
Priority to US14/225,108 priority patent/US20140220851A1/en
Publication of US20140220851A1 publication Critical patent/US20140220851A1/en
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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63HTOYS, e.g. TOPS, DOLLS, HOOPS OR BUILDING BLOCKS
    • A63H33/00Other toys
    • A63H33/003Convertible toys, e.g. robots convertible into rockets or vehicles convertible into planes
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63HTOYS, e.g. TOPS, DOLLS, HOOPS OR BUILDING BLOCKS
    • A63H3/00Dolls
    • A63H3/02Dolls made of fabrics or stuffed
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63HTOYS, e.g. TOPS, DOLLS, HOOPS OR BUILDING BLOCKS
    • A63H33/00Other toys
    • A63H33/003Convertible toys, e.g. robots convertible into rockets or vehicles convertible into planes
    • A63H33/004Convertible toys, e.g. robots convertible into rockets or vehicles convertible into planes made of fabrics or stuffed

Abstract

This disclosure provides systems, methods and apparatus related to a transformable object. In some implementations, a device includes at least three figures, each figure disposed adjacent to two of the other at least three figures, each figure including a surface, and a cavity having an opening that allows access to the cavity, the cavity defined at least in part by the surface. The at least three figures can be attached such that the surface of each of the at least three figures is attached to the surface of its adjacent two figures. Each of the at least three figures can be configured such that any one of the at least three figures can be exposed and the cavity of the exposed figure can conceal the other of the at least three figures, and the concealed figures can be accessed through the opening of the exposed figure.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This application is a continuation of International Application No. PCT/US2012/058066, filed, Sep. 28, 2012, which claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/541,996, filed Sep. 30, 2011. The disclosures of all of the above-referenced applications are considered part of, and are incorporated by reference in their entirety herein, this disclosure.
  • TECHNICAL FIELD
  • This disclosure relates to transformable objects, including articles and plush figures, which can be manually manipulated to expose one or more of at least three configurations or figures.
  • DESCRIPTION OF RELATED TECHNOLOGY
  • Objects that have two exposable configurations have been used for several wearable items (for example, clothes that can be worn with either of two sides exposed, double-sided belts, reversible raincoats and hats), household articles (for example, table cloths and pillows) and toys (for example, transformable robots). In particular, transformable toys can hold a child's interest for many hours due to their ability to be manipulated to have different configurations. For example, Lego's® or Lincoln Logs® having an unlimited number of configurations, and dolls having changeable outfits or accessories. Such toys can be interesting and fun because they facilitate a child's imagination and particular desire to use the toy in the way he or she feels at the moment.
  • Known transformable objects are limited by the number configurations that are possible, the ease and utility of transforming from one configuration to another, and having multiple separate parts that can be misplaced.
  • SUMMARY
  • The devices and methods of the disclosure each have several innovative aspects, no single one of which is solely responsible for the desirable attributes disclosed herein.
  • In some implementations, a device comprises three or more different portions, the device being configured to expose, or make visible to a user or viewer, the three or more different portions of the device, such that each portion can be exposed while the other portions are hidden inside the exposed portion. Each portion of the device can depict a figure or be an object. Accordingly, in some implementations the device can include three or more figures, for example, a first figure, a second figure, a third figure and a fourth figure, each figure depicting a different animal, creature, or object. For example, in some implementations two or more portions may each depict an animal figure (e.g., a giraffe, a bear, a leopard, a pig, a dog, or a cat) and another portion of the device may be a backpack. In some implementations, each of the three or more portions may depict an animal, a creature (including a human), or an object. For clarity of description, a portion of the device that depicts an animal, a creature or an object may be referred to herein as a “figure.” Accordingly, each figure (or portion) may include a first surface on one side of a flexible material, and may also include items that depict a desired figure. For example, a figure depicting a cow can include a number of items connected to a first surface of a material, including but not limited to horns, eyes, ears, nose, mouth, legs, and a tail. The first surface itself may be selected to have a design or texture to at least partially depict a desired figure.
  • In some implementations, for example, where the device includes three figures, a first figure of a device can include a first material having a first surface and a first cavity having a first opening that allows access to the first cavity, the first cavity defined by said first material, a second figure including a second surface and a second cavity having a second opening that allows access to the second cavity, the second cavity defined by said second material, wherein the second surface is joined to the first surface forming a first/second surface coincident seam. Such a device can include a third figure including a third material having a third surface and a third cavity having a third opening that allows access to the third cavity, the third cavity defined by said third material, the third surface is joined to the first surface forming a first/third surface coincident seam and the third surface is further attached to the second surface forming a second/third surface coincident seam, thus resulting in a circular pattern or arrangement with one common opening location through which all transformations take place.
  • In addition, each of the figures (for example, the first, second and third figure) each can include a first seam and a second seam where the figure is joined to an adjacent figure. The joined figures are joined at one or more places along the seam. It can be advantageous to join the figures along a line at the seam to facilitate smoothly manipulating the transformation of one figure into another. For the implementation having three figures, the first figure's seam can be joined to the adjacent second figure's seam, the second figure's seam can be joined to the adjacent third figure's seam, and the third figure's seam can be joined to the adjacent first figure's seam such that pockets are formed. In such a configuration, when several figures are manipulated to be inside of an exposed figure, “pockets” defined by the seam or joined edge of two adjacent figures are formed, where the inside surface of each pocket is the surface of a figure that depicts the figure, and edges of the pocket (along the seam where one figure is attached to an adjacent figure) extend towards the opening of the exposed figure. For an implementation where the device has three figures, the first, second and third figure are configured such that the second and third figure can be placed through the first opening and into the first cavity exposing only the first surface of the first figure, the first and third figure can be placed through the second opening and into the second cavity of the second figure, and the first and second figure can be placed through the third opening and into the third cavity of the third figure allowing only one figure to be exposed and the other figures to be concealed inside the cavity of the exposed figure. It is also possible to join the figures as described above at a point other than a seam.
  • Implementations of the pocket configurations described herein keeps the material of the concealed figures orderly, grants easy access to a particular figure that one wants to expose, and facilitates the action of drawing in the outward figure while simultaneously exposing an inward figure when turning inside out. When one figure is exposed and the other figures are concealed inside the exposed figure, connected edges of the concealed figures are proximate to the opening, where on one side of each edge resides the surface of one figure and where on the other side of the edge resides the surface of another adjacent figure. The device can be configured such that when viewed through the opening, a user would see the proximate connected edges and be able to easily and quickly select a figure to expose and change to another figure in one step. In other words, through the single opening of any one exposed figure, any of the other figures can be selected directly such that the toy can be manipulated from one exposed figure to a configuration having any other figure exposed in one step, that is, without having to expose another intermediate figure (for example, placing the device in a configuration where another intermediate figure is not contained within one of the other figures while transforming the device from a configuration showing a first figure to a configuration showing a second figure.
  • In some implementations, one or more gussets can be sewn into the side seams of the figure (or elsewhere as desired) to add depth and increase the capacity of the toy to hold more internal figures. In some implementations, a gap filler can be used at a top area and a bottom area where all figures converge, the gap filler connected to each of the figures.
  • In some implementations, the first, second and third openings include a first and second edge, and wherein the device further includes at least one set of corresponding fasteners that are disposed on the first or the second edge of each of the first, second and third openings. A set of corresponding fasteners can include, for example, two parts of a fastening means which are connectable. In some implementations, at least one set of corresponding fasteners are disposed only on the first or the second edge of each of the openings. For example, when a figure is exposed, at least one exposed fastener can be disposed on one of the edges of the opening of the exposed figure such that the fastener is exposed (e.g., exposed when it is not connected to its corresponding fastener), and a second corresponding fastener can be disposed along another edge of the opening (e.g., on an inner surface of the opening) such that it is not exposed. In some implementations, when the corresponding fasteners are connected, neither of the connected fasteners is visible.
  • Fasteners in the at least one set of corresponding fasteners can include, but are not limited to, at least one of a button and a buttonhole, corresponding parts of a snap, Velcro, hooks and loops that are larger than those used on Velcro, corresponding magnets configured to connect to each other magnetically, corresponding sides of a zipper, and/or ties (for example, fabric, yarn, or string). One set of fasteners can be shared between two adjacent figures such that one half of the fastener set is on one figure and it attaches to its other half of the fastener set on the adjacent figure. The figures can be connected in a “circular” pattern; in other words, such that each figure is attached to an adjacent figure, and the “first” figure is attached to the “last” figure. In some implementations, a corresponding fastener is disposed along the one side of the openings of the first and second figures, on the first surface of the first figure and on the second surface of the second figure, such that the fastener on the first surface aligns with the fastener on the second surface.
  • In another aspect of some implementations, the first, second and third openings include a first and second edge, and wherein the device further includes a double-track zipper, or other fastening means that are disposed on the first or the second edge of each of the first, second and third openings, such that individual figures may be added or removed to create a custom grouping. For example, an inside zipper track may attach an individual figure to an adjacent figure, while the outside track may serve as the outer most zipper to close the outward figure thereby concealing the other figures inside. One of skill in the art will recognize that other ways exist to fasten and detach removable figures.
  • In addition, where the device includes removable figures, each of the figures (for example, the first, second and third figure) can include a first seam and a second seam and a fastening means, where one figure can be joined to an adjacent figure. For example, the adjacent figures can be joined or attached at an inside portion of the figures (for example, an inside seam) where such joining is not visible when the figures is exposed. In some implementations, where the device includes removable figures, an internal, or external, fastener is used to secure each figure to its adjacent figure to create the aforementioned pocket configurations. Such fasteners can include but are not limited to, at least one of a button and a buttonhole, corresponding parts of a snap, Velcro, hooks and loops that are larger than those used on Velcro, corresponding magnets configured to connect to each other magnetically, corresponding sides of a zipper, and/or ties (for example, fabric, yarn, or string). Such fasteners may be placed at seam (e.g., internal or external) or at a point other than a seam.
  • In another aspect of some implementations, the concealed figures can be accessed through the opening of an exposed figure. In some implementations, at least one of the figures comprises a backpack, and the backpack can include at least one carrying strap. In some implementations, the backpack includes at least one fastener for attaching an article to the backpack. In some implementations, the fastener includes one or more of a loop, a ring, a hook, a strap, and a clip. In some implementations, each of the figures can be configured with at least one additional cavity to allow manipulation of the figure as a puppet.
  • In some implementations, a device comprises at least three figures, each figure disposed adjacent to two of the other at least three figures, each figure including a surface, and a cavity having an opening that allows access to the cavity, the cavity defined at least in part by the surface. Accordingly, the device can include four, five, six, seven, or eight or more figures. The at least three figures can be attached to form a continuous chain of figures, such that the surface of each of the at least three figures is attached to the surface of its adjacent two figures to form at least one coincident seam with each of its two adjacent figures. Each of the at least three figures can be configured such that any one of the at least three figures can be exposed and the cavity of the exposed figure can conceal the other of the at least three figures, and any of the concealed figures can be accessed through the opening of the exposed one of the at least three figures. In some implementations, each of the at least three figures can be attached to the surface of its adjacent two figures to form at least two coincident seams with each of its two adjacent figures. The device can include at least one fastener disposed along each of the openings. The device can further include at least one fastener disposed on the surface of each figure along the openings of the at least three figures, wherein a fastener on a surface of a figure corresponds with a fastener on the surface of an adjacent figure such that the fasteners disposed on surfaces of adjacent figures can be connected. The device can further include various types of fastening means.
  • Another implementation includes a method of entertaining or teaching using a device having at least three figures, the method including manipulating a device to expose a first figure at a first time, each figure disposed adjacent to two of the other at least three figures, each figure including a surface and a cavity having an opening that allows access to the cavity, the cavity defined at least in part by the surface, wherein the three or more figures are attached to form a continuous chain of figures, such that the surface of each of the at least three figures is attached to the surface of its adjacent two figures to form at least one coincident seam with each of its two adjacent figures, and wherein each of the three or more figures are configured such that any one of the at least three figures can be exposed and the cavity of the exposed figure can conceal the other of the three or more figures, and any of the concealed figures can be accessed through the opening of the exposed one of the at least three figures; and manipulating the device to expose a second figure. The method can further include manipulating the device to expose a third figure. In some implementations of such methods, at least three figures are exposed at the same time. In some implementations of such methods at least two of the at least three figures are exposed at the same time. In some implementations of such methods, only one of the at least three figures is exposed at any one time. In some implementations of such methods, at least one of the at least three figures includes an accessible cavity that allows manipulation of the figure as a puppet. In some implementations of such methods, at least two of the at least three figures includes an accessible cavity that allows manipulation of at least two of the figures as a puppet. For example, a figure can be a depiction of an animal, and one or more of the animal's head, body, legs, or tail can include a cavity that is accessible through an opening such that the different portions of the animal can be manipulated as a puppet. In some implementations, all of the figures are configured with cavities to be operative as puppets.
  • In another innovation, a device includes at least three figures, each of the three figures connected to at least two other figures, the at least three figures including a first figure comprising a first material having a first surface which depicts characteristics of the first figure, and a second surface opposite the first surface, and a cavity formed when the first figure is configured such that that the second surface is inside of a volume defined by the first surface, the second surface facing towards the cavity and the first surface facing away from the cavity and being exposed to view, the first cavity having an opening that allows access to the first cavity, a second figure comprising a second material having a first surface which depicts characteristics of the second figure and a second surface opposite the first surface, a second cavity formed when the second figure is configured such that that the second surface of the second figure is inside of a volume defined by the first surface of the second figure, the second surface of the second figure facing towards the second cavity and the first surface of the second figure facing away from the second cavity and being exposed to view, the second cavity having an opening that allows access to the second cavity, a third figure including a third material having a first surface which depicts characteristics of the third figure and a second surface opposite the first surface, a third cavity formed when the third figure is configured such that that the second surface of the third figure is inside of a volume defined by the first surface of the third figure, the second surface of the third figure facing towards the third cavity and the first surface of the third figure facing away from the third cavity and being exposed to view, the third cavity having an opening that allows access to the third cavity.
  • The first surfaces of the at least three figures may be joined to two adjacent figures of the at least three figures resulting in a circular pattern with one common opening location through which transformations from one figure to another figure takes place. The device may be configured such that the one figure can be exposed and all of the other at least three figures can be placed into the cavity of the exposed figure to be concealed inside the cavity of the exposed figure through a single opening.
  • In another innovation a device includes at least three figures, each figure disposed adjacent to two of the other at least three figures, each figure including a surface, and a cavity having an opening that allows access to the cavity, the cavity defined at least in part by the surface. The at least three figures are attached to form a continuous, circular chain of figures, such that the surface of each of the at least three figures is attached to the surface of its adjacent two figures to form at least one coincident seam with each of its two adjacent figures, and the device is configured such that when figure is exposed and the other figures are inside of the exposed figure, edges where adjacent figures are joined together are oriented in the same direction and disposed proximate to the opening of the exposed figure such that any of the concealed figures can be accessed through the opening of the exposed one of the at least three figures.
  • Details of one or more implementations of the subject matter described in this specification are set forth in the accompanying drawings and the description below. Other features, aspects, and advantages will become apparent from the description, the drawings, and the claims. Note that the relative dimensions of the following figures may not be drawn to scale.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the external surface of a first figure.
  • FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the external surface of a second figure.
  • FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the external surface of a third figure.
  • FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the external surface of a fourth figure.
  • FIG. 4A illustrates the orientation of the openings and connected edges of figures that are inside of the exposed fourth figure.
  • FIG. 5 is a top down perspective view of the external surfaces of FIGS. 1, 2, 3 and 4 after the external surfaces have been sewn together mid-phase; illustrating the side seams on each surface, as well as a top gap filler.
  • FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the external surface of the second figure of the present invention illustrating two seams, one on each side, including a gusset.
  • FIG. 7 is a perspective view of the internal surfaces of FIGS. 1, 2, 3 and 4 prior to the internal surfaces being sewn or tacked together.
  • FIG. 8 is a perspective view of one of the pockets created during the latter phase of development after the inside seams or points are joined.
  • FIG. 9 is a transparent perspective view of FIG. 1 illustrating the 3 inside pockets containing each of the three different figures inside the first figure, FIGS. 2, 3, and 4, respectfully;
  • FIG. 10 is a perspective view of the fastening methodology wherein the one half of a corresponding fastener set is placed on the left side of each figure, and each secures to the other one half of the corresponding fastener set on the adjacent figure.
  • FIG. 11 is a perspective view further illustrating the fastening methodology.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE CERTAIN EMBODIMENTS
  • The following detailed description is directed to certain implementations for the purposes of describing the innovative aspects. However, the teachings herein can be applied in a multitude of different ways. The aspects of the implementations described herein can be incorporated in many devices, including, but not limited to, household articles, wearable items, and toys, for example, clothing, hats, bags and packs, toys, pillows, quilts, puppets, and plush figures. Thus, the teachings are not intended to be limited to the implementations depicted solely in the Figures, but instead have wide applicability as will be readily apparent to a person having ordinary skill in the art.
  • For clarity of the description, the words “Figures,” (having a capitalized “F” and in bold) “FIG.,” and “FIGS.” are used herein to describe one or more of the drawings (e.g., FIGS. 1-11) of this disclosure, while the words “figure” or “figures” having a lowercase “f” are used to describe a particular configuration of the transformable object (or device) that has a certain appearance, for example, a horse, a bear, or a giraffe. In addition, for clarity of the description, as used herein “figure” can also refer to an appearance or a configuration of an article, device, or object (all of which can be used in this disclosure interchangeably) for example, a transformable household item, article, toy, or clothing.
  • Certain implementations include a self-containing, transformable plush toy incorporating a plurality of interconnected plush toy figures that can be selectively interchanged with one another to reveal one toy at a time while concealing the others from view. While this disclosure generally describes the invention in relation to a toy, the aspects of the invention described herein can be applied to a wide variety of articles, objects, and devices.
  • In some implementations, of particular significance is that the toy comprises three or more interconnected plush figures, and that number can be increased to four (4), five (5), or even more figures providing the ability to selectively choose one figure from among many. Therefore, there is not a one to one relationship (for example, only converting back and forth between two figures) but rather a one (1) to many relationship.
  • In some implementations, of particular significance is the process employed to configure the present toy providing a method and a configuration of joining (for example, sewing or gluing) three or more figures together in a circular and repeating pattern that connects all of the figures together. This configuration can allow the toy to mechanically function to bring out, or expose, one figure at a time while bringing inside of the exposed figure, or concealing, the other two or more figures.
  • Also of particular significance, in some implementations, is the toy's self-containing feature. It can have an outward figure, such as a backpack or treasure chest, which is connected to the inner plush toys in such a way that they cannot be separated, and each can be interchanged to reveal one toy at a time while concealing the others from view. In other words, the backpack or treasure chest functions as a container and can be interchanged with any of the selected plush toys inside, and can then be changed back again. In this way, the toys “put themselves away” into the backpack or treasure chest. Having an outward appearance of a backpack or treasure chest presents an element of fun by concealing what is inside, keeping them secret. Similarly, the outward figure can be a fishbowl, an aquarium, a barn, a house, or an egg containing related creatures inside, and is only limited by the designer's imagination. It should be noted that the outward figure containing the other figures may be comprised simply of three or more animal, human, or inanimate figures. For example, the toy can comprise a cow, horse, pig, and sheep. Many such product line ideas exist such as that for farm animals, zoo animals, ocean creatures, sports figures, bugs and insects, fantasy/monster, to name a few. The feature of the toy comprising three or more figures presents a child with an element of anticipation and surprise each time one figure is interchanged with another.
  • In some implementations, also of particular significance is the ability to attach accessories, such as a pouch or cup holder, to any or all of the figures for added functionality. For example, a pouch can be zippered onto the back of a figure to bring supplies to school, take along snacks on a trip, or certain personal effects. Another example of an accessory is a fastening device placed anywhere on a figure, such as a paw, which would allow a child to attach the toy to an existing object such as a stroller, bedrail, or existing backpack. This mechanism provides the ability to also attach non-functional accessories as well for added play value such as attaching a baby animal onto the back of an animal figure. In this manner, not only does the toy function as a container for the other toys as described above, the toy also serves as a vehicle onto which other things can attach, thereby creating additional functionality.
  • In some implementations, also of particular significance is the ability to add sound, light and/or motion functionality to any or all figures such that when a figure is selected and is exposed, for example, a sound, light and/or motion can play when an opening that provides access to the multiple figures is opened, or when an opening is closed. In some embodiments, each figure can be configured to produce a sound, light and/or motion whether or not it is exposed. In implementations where two or more figures can be exposed at one time, each of the exposed figures can emit a sound, light and/or motion. It is understood that sound, light and/or motion can also be added to any other part of the toy.
  • In certain implementations, a transformable toy including of three or more exposable figures provides for a means to teach about change or diversity. For example, a toy can comprise figures that are shaped, decorated and/or dressed to reflect different:
      • moods or emotions such as happy, sad, angry, or excited, so that a child can convey what he or she is feeling;
      • seasons of spring, summer, fall and winter;
      • times of day such as morning, afternoon or evening;
      • cultures and ethnicity;
      • activities such as going to school, going swimming, or going fishing;
      • events such as marriage, graduating;
      • professions such as a veterinarian, doctor, dentist;
      • stages of a lifecycle such as the metamorphosis of a caterpillar, cocoon, butterfly;
      • sports teams such as the Boston Red Sox or the San Diego Chargers, including a team's mascot;
      • plays of a sports game such as defense, offense and time-out which can be interchanged to support plays during a game;
      • religions, for example but not limited to Catholicism and Hinduism;
      • different parts of a trip, going by boat, car, plane, or train;
      • political affiliations such as democrats, republicans, tea party, or libertarians; and
      • extinct animals, growing the product line as animals become extinct.
  • In some implementations, a toy including three or more figures provides a means for engaging in storytelling whereby the figures can be interchanged to depict the figures in a story as it is being told. For example, Goldilocks and The Three Bears, Little Red Riding Hood, the big bad wolf, and grandma.
  • In some implementations, also of particular significance is the feature of the toy having an opening whereby it interchanges into another figure. This opening allows the figures to also exist as puppets and provides a means to put on a puppet show having only one toy.
  • It is important to note that embodiments of the present invention extends beyond plush toys into other areas such as therapeutics, cleaning, décor, and fashion.
  • Embodiments of interchanging multiple figures using the disclosed sewing method can be used for therapeutics such as hand rehabilitation as it employs a manual dexterity component. In some implementations, figures having different emotions displayed can also be used in psychotherapy sessions for a patient to express him or herself.
  • Implementations using the disclosed sewing method can be used for cleaning cloths for home, car, boat, or elsewhere. It provides many surfaces to be interchanged thus creating more clean surfaces for extended use and keeping hands cleaner longer. In other implementations, the disclosed fastening method for connecting the figures can be used for decorative pillows, pillow cases, or cushion covers. In other implementations, the disclosed fastening method for connecting the figures can be used for fashion such as for purses, hats and scarves, among other items. In yet other implementations, the disclosed fastening method for connecting the figure can be used for any such pliable item where one desires an economical way to interchange that item into another item to give a new look.
  • Referring now to an example of one embodiment in more detail, in FIGS. 1, 2, 3 and 4 there is shown the present interchangeable or transformable (device) toy 10 that includes three or more figures, in particular in this example four figures. FIG. 1 is a perspective view one implementation of a first figure 12 of the toy 10. In the illustrated implementation, the first figure 12 is in the form of a backpack. The toy 10 also includes a second figure 20 (illustrated in FIG. 2) in the form of (or depicting) a bear. The toy 10 also includes a third figure 30 (illustrated in FIG. 3) in the form of a giraffe. The toy 10 also includes a fourth figure 40 (illustrated in FIG. 4) in the form of a horse.
  • It should be well understood that the backpack, bear, giraffe, and horse illustrated in the drawings are merely exemplary of a first figure (e.g., figure 12), a second figure (e.g., figure 20), a third figure (e.g., figure 30), and a fourth figure (e.g., figure 40), and that other figures can be readily envisioned. In addition, other implementations of a transformable device can include three figures, or more than four figures, for example, five, six, seven, eight, nine, or ten figures, or more than ten figures.
  • The features and appendages of each figure can be totally independent of the other so the nature of the figures is limited only by the designer's imagination.
  • Referring in more detail to FIGS. 1, 2, 3 and 4, the first figure 12 is shown including a material having a shaped first surface 13 that is an external surface of figure 12 when figure 12 is exposed (or not disposed within another figure such as to be in a hidden state). As discussed above, this external surface 13 can take substantially any configuration or shape desired. In the example shown, the first figure 12 includes straps 14, and a carrying handle 15. The first figure 12 includes an opening 16 in a portion of the first surface 13, and a right external surface edge 17 and a left external surface edge 18 which define the edges of the opening 16. Exposed first figure 12 also includes an internal cavity 19. The opening 16 is provided for access to the internal cavity 19, where the other figures can reside when first figure 12 is exposed. The cavity is formed within the first surface 13 such that a surface (not shown) on the opposite side of the material from the first surface 13 is disposed proximate to the cavity. In FIG. 1, a fastener may be disposed on the right and left surface edges 17 and 18 such that corresponding parts of the fastener are on opposite edges and can be used to close the opening 16.
  • One implementation of a second figure 20 is illustrated in FIG. 2. The second figure 20 includes a material having a shaped first surface 21 that is an external surface of the figure 20 when the second figure is exposed (in other words, not disposed inside of another figure). The first surface 21 may be provided in any desired shape, for example, to depict a creature or an object. In the example shown, the second figure 20 includes items attached to the first surface 21 to further depict a desired figure, for example, a bear having a head 22, a torso 23, and limbs 24. In this implementation, the figure 20 includes an opening 25 in a portion of the first surface 21 (here, the torso 23). The opening 25 in the first surface 21 includes a right (external) surface edge 26 and a left (external) surface edge 27. The exposed figure 20 also includes a cavity 28 which can be accessed through the opening 25. The cavity is formed within the first surface 21 such that a surface (not shown) on the opposite side of the material from the first surface 21 is disposed proximate to the cavity. In FIG. 2, a fastener is disposed on the right and left surface edges 26 and 27 such that corresponding parts of the fastener are on opposite edges and can be used to close the opening 25.
  • The third figure 30 is illustrated in FIG. 3. Figure 30 includes a material having a shaped first surface 31 that is an external surface of the figure 30 when the third figure is exposed (in other words, not disposed inside of another figure). The first surface 31 may be provided in any desired shape, for example, to depict a creature or an object. In the example shown, the third figure 30 includes items attached to the first surface 31 to further depict a desired figure, for example, a giraffe having a head 32, a torso 33, and limbs 34. In this implementation, the figure 30 includes an opening 35 in a portion of the first surface 31 (here, the torso 33). The opening 35 in the first surface 31 includes a right (external) surface edge 36 and a left (external) surface edge 37. The exposed figure 30 also includes a cavity 38 which can be accessed through the opening 35. The cavity is formed within the first surface 31 such that a surface (not shown) on the opposite side of the material from the first surface 31 is disposed proximate to the cavity. In FIG. 3, a fastener is disposed on the right and left surface edges 36 and 37 such that corresponding parts of the fastener are on opposite edges and can be used to close the opening 35.
  • The fourth figure 40 is illustrated in FIG. 4. Figure 40 includes a material having a shaped first surface 41 that is an external surface of the figure 40 when the fourth figure 40 is exposed (in other words, not disposed inside of another figure). The first surface 41 may be provided in any desired shape, for example, to depict a creature or an object. In the example shown, the fourth figure 40 includes items attached to the first surface 41 to further depict a desired figure, for example, a horse having a head 42, a torso 43, and limbs 44. In this implementation, the fourth figure 40 includes an opening 45 in a portion of the first surface 41 (here, the torso 43). The opening 45 in the first surface 41 includes a right (external) surface edge 46 and a left (external) surface edge 47. The exposed figure 40 also includes a cavity 48 which can be accessed through the opening 45. The cavity is formed within the first surface 41 such that a surface (not shown) on the opposite side of the material from the first surface 41 is disposed proximate to the cavity. In FIG. 3, a fastener is disposed on the right and left surface edges 46 and 47 such that corresponding parts of the fastener are on opposite edges and can be used to close the opening 45.
  • FIG. 4A illustrates an example implementation of the configuration and orientation of the openings and connected edges of figures that are inside of the exposed fourth figure. In more detail, still referring to FIGS. 1, 2, 3 and 4, and also to FIG. 4A, a device including figures 12, 20, 30 and 40 is configured such that figures 12, 20, 30 and 40 are joined together in such a manner that when one of the figures 12, 20, 30 and 40 is exposed and the other of the figures are disposed inside the exposed figures, the openings 16, 25, 35 and 45 are forward facing to each other and aligned such that the opening 16, 25, 35 and 45 all are oriented in the same direction. For example, in some implementations the opening 16, 25, 35 and 45 may be all facing outwards in the back of an exposed figure that depicts an animal, and in other implementations the opening 16, 25, 35 and 45 are all facing outwards from the front of the torso of an exposed figure depicting an animal (e.g., as illustrated in FIGS. 2, 3, and 4). Also, now referring to FIG. 4A, the fourth figure 40 is shown from a front view illustrating an opening 45 in the torso of the fourth figure 40 between the right surface edge 46 and the left surface edge 47. The first, second, and third figures 12, 20, and 30 are visible through the opening 45, each of the figures inside the exposed figure 40 being folded back into a pocket, the edges of the pockets 101, 103, 105 and 107 being oriented in the same direction and proximate to the surface of the exposed fourth figure 40. The fourth figure 40 is joined to the third figure 30 are joined at edge 101. The third figure 30 is joined to the second figure 20 at edge 103. The second figure 20 is joined to the first figure 12 at edge 105. The first figure 12 is joined to the fourth figure 40 at edge 107. As described herein, the figures may also be joined at other points as well. The right surface edge 46 and the left surface edge 47 can be fastened together to conceal figures 12, 20, and 30 inside the fourth figure 40. When the right and left surface edges 46 and 47 are not joined together (as illustrated in FIG. 4A) the edges 101, 103, 105, and 107 are oriented outward or distal from the center of the exposed figure 40. The device having such a configuration is advantageous because it allows easy access to any of the concealed figures such that one figure can be transformed to another figure without having to expose an intermediate figure.
  • Further describing this configuration, the device is configured such that the edges of an opening of an exposed figure are on opposite sides of the edges of the openings of the two or more figures that are disposed within the cavity of the exposed figure. For figures 12, 20, 30 and 40, the right external surface edges 17, 26, 36 and 46 and left external surface edges 18, 27, 37 and 47 of figures 12, 20, 30 and 40 are joined along the aligned openings by a seam 62 that extends along each aligned opening, and is denoted by a #, ˜, o, or x for illustration purposes. Specifically, the right external surface edge 17 (denoted ˜) of figure 12 is sewn to the left external surface edge 47 (denoted ˜) of figure 40. The right external surface edge 46 (denoted o) of figure 40 is sewn to the left external surface edge 37 (denoted o) of figure 30. The right external surface edge 36 (denoted #) of figure 30 is sewn to the left external surface edge 27 (denoted #) of figure 20. The right external surface edge 26 (denoted x) of figure 20 is sewn to the left external surface edge 18 (denoted x) of figure 12. In some implementations, the final figure may be sewn only to the point at which the device can be turned inside out, after which time the stitching can be completed. An important aspect is the ability to use the described above configuration of fasteners disposed on adjacent figures to continue the pattern to add additional figures to the device or toy.
  • In some implementations where there is an odd number of figures (e.g., three, five, seven, nine), an additional fastening means can be disposed on one edge of the “last” figure to connect with the fastening means disposed on one edge of the “first” figure, the “last” figure referring to the last figure that is being connected to an adjacent figure in a series of joined figures such that “last” figure connects to the “first” figure that was connected to an adjacent figure. One of skill in the art will appreciate that there are many other ways to connect the first and last figure in light of the above disclosure, including but not limited to using fastening means of different sizes, configurations, or types. For example, with an odd number of figures, an opening edge of the first figure can include a fastener that includes combination of Velcro hooks and loops, and an opening edge of the last figure can also include a fattener that includes a combination of Velcro hooks and loops such that when the fasteners are pushed together at least some of the Velcro hooks and loops of both fasteners are connected.
  • FIG. 5 illustrates figures 12, 20, 30 and 40 simultaneously exposed while at mid-phase. Seams 63 are illustrated on the periphery of each figure's torso, one seam on each side. The device can include a gap filler 65 disposed at a position where the figures converge, for example, the position can be at the top of the device where the heads of all the figures converge as illustrated in FIG. 5. The device can also include a bottom gap filler (not shown) that is disposed on the opposite side of the device also at a position where the figures of the device come together or converge. In some implementations, the figures are joined together as outward facing rather than inward facing. In some implementations, the positioning of the head, body or other parts can be arranged in any manner, head up, head down, sideways, forwards or backwards.
  • FIG. 6 illustrates an implementation of the seams 63 on torso 23 of figure 20, each of which will be joined internally, and/or externally, to an adjacent figure. In some implementations, the device includes an additional piece of material, for example, gusset 64, which is joined into the side seams of the toy body of figure 20 to add depth and increase the capacity of the figure to hold more figures within the cavity of figure 20. Each figure, while joined together, is then turned inside out and the seams of adjacent figures are joined as illustrated in FIG. 7. The straps 14, carrying handle 15, heads 22, 23 and 24, torsos 32, 33 and 34, and limbs 42, 43 and 44 of figures 12, 20, 30 and 40, respectively, are not shown for clarity purposes. Specifically, the right seam 49 of figure 12 adjacent to the left seam 50 of figure 20 are sewn together 51. The right seam 52 of figure 20 adjacent to the left seam 53 of figure 30 are sewn together 54. The right seam 55 of figure 30 adjacent to the left seam 56 of figure 40 are sewn together 57. The right seam 58 of figure 40 adjacent to the left seam 59 of figure 12 are sewn together 60. The figures are then turned right side out. This describes one method as to how the pockets can be formed. In some implementations, other points, internal or external, can be chosen to bind adjacent figures together to form a series of at least two pockets when one figure is exposed and the other figures are disposed within the exposed figure. For example, in addition to joining adjacent figures along an edge of the material that comprises each of the figures (for example, the external surface edges discussed hereinabove), in some implementations a first portion of material that forms the surface depicting of a figure can be joined to a second portion of material that forms the surface of an adjacent figure. In such implementations, the first and second portions can be joined at a single point, at several points, and/or along a line, in addition to being joined at one or more seams. The first and second portion of material can each be joined on a surface that is not depicting a figure, that is, the joined portions can be hidden from sight within the device between adjacently positioned figures. Such joining of material can be advantageous to facilitate the transformation of one figure to another because when the material of one figure moves the joined material also moves and the material of adjacent figures is correspondingly movable. In such implementations, a larger portion of the material of adjacent figures stays conformed to each other (for example, the material that is disposed along the openings of a figure) which can enhance the shape of the device and by adding connectivity between adjacent figures.
  • Accordingly, in some implementations, each figure has at least two seams where the figure is connected internally to its adjacent figures, for example two seams. These second seams define edges of pockets that are created when one figure is exposed and the other figures are concealed within the exposed figure, the pockets being the surface of each (inverted) concealed figure. This configuration keeps the material of the concealed figures orderly, and facilitates easy access to a particular figure that one wants to expose. For example, in such a configuration, when one figure is exposed and the other figures are concealed inside the exposed figure, the connected edges of the concealed figures are proximate to the opening, where on one side of each edge resides the surface of one figure and where on the other side of the edge resides the surface of another adjacent figure. When viewed through the opening, a user would see the proximate edges and be able to easily and quickly select a figure to expose and change to another figure in one step. In other words, through the single opening of any one exposed figure, any of the other figures can be selected directly such that the toy can be manipulated to go from one exposed figure to any other exposed figure in one step. Accordingly, one advantage of these implementations is that when any of the figures is exposed, the edges of the concealed figures that define their openings when each one is exposed is proximate to the opening of the exposed figure such that all of the openings are in the same location and accessible.
  • FIG. 8 is a perspective view of one of the pockets created during the latter phase of development after the inside seams are joined. The above described sewing method has created a pocket 61 for each figure wherein each figure is folded into the adjacent figure's pocket as illustrated in FIG. 8, wherein the inside seam 63 is shown. Specifically, the right side of first figure 12 (not visible) is folded into the left side of figure 40 creating a pocket, leaving the left side of figure 12 exposed. Any of the figures can have at least one appendage, however, such examples of appendages of figures 12, 20, 30 and 40 are not shown for clarity purposes.) Similarly, the right side of figure 40 (not visible) is folded into the left side of figure 30, the right side of figure 30 (not visible) is folded into the left side of figure 20, and the right side of figure 20 (not visible) is folded into the left side of first figure 12. The remaining ¼ of the fabric of each figure is sewn closed.
  • FIG. 9 is a transparent perspective view of FIG. 1 illustrating the 3 inside pockets containing each of the three different figures inside the first figure, FIGS. 2, 3, and 4, respectfully. Once assembled, figure 12 can be selected as the outward figure containing figures 20, 30 and 40 inside. To select figure 12 as the outward figure, the pocket of figure 20 is turned inside out into the right side of figure 12. The pocket of figure 30 is turned inside out and placed into the right side of figure 12. The pocket of figure 40 is placed into the left side of figure 12. This method allows the toy to be arranged in its proper form.
  • To select any other figure, the left-hand thumb and right-hand thumb are placed into cavities 28, 38 or 48 of figure 20, 30 or 40, respectively and the figure is inverted outward through the opening. In doing so, figure 20, 30 or 40 is pushed through the opening, causing the outward figure to be drawn inside.
  • FIG. 10 is a perspective view of the fastening methodology wherein the one half of a corresponding fastener set is placed on the left side of each figure, and each secures to the other one half of the corresponding fastener set on the adjacent figure. In this example, only two fasteners are needed for the four figures because one figure shares the two parts of a fastener set with the adjacent figure. For example, if fastener 1A is a hook(s), fastener 1B can be a loop(s), fastener 2A can be a hook(s), and fastener 2B can be a loop(s). FIG. 10 also illustrates that each of the three of more figures 12, 20, 40, and 30 are joined to an adjacent figures, and the “last” figure (e.g., figure 30) is joined to the “first” figure (e.g., figure 12) to form a circular configuration.
  • FIG. 11 is a perspective view further illustrating the fastening methodology. Fastener 1A of figure 12 is fastened to fastener 1B of figure 40; fastener 1B of figure 40 is fastened to fastener 2A of figure 30; fastener 2A of figure 30 is fastened to 2B of figure 20; fastener 2B of figure 20 is fastened to fastener 1A of figure 12.
  • The figures need only be similar enough in size, or appropriate material used, to allow all of the figures to be contained in the outward (exposed) figure. For example, in the illustrations given, the torso of each animal need only be large enough in size to accommodate the appendages of all figures inside. In this instance, the shape is roughly that of a sphere and follows the formula V=4/3πr3 such that the appendages and surfaces of the figures inside an outward exposed figure fill a certain volume and this volume can be divided by the number of figures inside to approximate the size requirement of the surfaces/appendages based on the radius of the outward figure. It is understood that any shape is possible.
  • It will be understood that the figures of the interchangeable plush toy may represent animal, human or inanimate objects of various shapes, colors, textures, forms and configurations, all of which are referred to herein as “figures.”
  • It is further understood that plush toy refers to a toy assembled from cloth, plush or other textiles, and is also known as a stuffed toy, soft toy, or cuddly toy.
  • The figures of the present invention may be made of other materials such as soft plastics, rubber-like materials, or any other materials. The only limitation is that the material be pliable.
  • The term toy is used loosely in that the toy may also be used for educational or therapeutic purposes in addition to play or entertainment.
  • Figures inside the toy are not limited to orientation and can be oriented head to head, head to tail, or in any other manner.
  • Manual manipulation allows the figures to be interchanged back and forth, or to any other figure contained therein (not necessarily sequentially).
  • The figures can share a common bond at any point on the figure (e.g., top, bottom, stomach, back, or elsewhere).
  • The features of each figure can be totally independent of the other so the nature of the figures is limited only by the designer's imagination.
  • While the foregoing written description of the invention enables one of ordinary skill to make and use what is considered presently to be the best mode thereof, those of ordinary skill will understand and appreciate the existence of variations, combinations, and equivalents of the specific embodiment, method, and examples herein. The invention should therefore not be limited by the above described embodiment, method, and examples, but by all embodiments and methods within the scope and spirit of the invention.

Claims (18)

What is claimed is:
1. A device, comprising:
at least three figures, each of the three figures connected to at least two other figures, the at least three figures including
a first figure comprising
a first material having a first surface which depicts characteristics of the first figure, and a second surface opposite the first surface,
a cavity formed when the first figure is configured such that the second surface is inside of a volume defined by the first surface, the second surface facing towards the cavity and the first surface facing away from the cavity and being exposed to view, the first cavity having an opening that allows access to the first cavity;
a second figure comprising
a second material having a first surface which depicts characteristics of the second figure and a second surface opposite the first surface,
a second cavity formed when the second figure is configured such that that the second surface of the second figure is inside of a volume defined by the first surface of the second figure, the second surface of the second figure facing towards the second cavity and the first surface of the second figure facing away from the second cavity and being exposed to view, the second cavity having an opening that allows access to the second cavity;
a third figure comprising
a third material having a first surface which depicts characteristics of the third figure and a second surface opposite the first surface,
a third cavity formed when the third figure is configured such that that the second surface of the third figure is inside of a volume defined by the first surface of the third figure, the second surface of the third figure facing towards the third cavity and the first surface of the third figure facing away from the third cavity and being exposed to view, the third cavity having an opening that allows access to the third cavity;
wherein the first surfaces of the at least three figures are joined to two adjacent figures of the at least three figures resulting in a circular pattern with one common opening location through which transformations from one figure to another figure takes place,
wherein the device is configured such that the one figure can be exposed and all of the other at least three figures can be placed into the cavity of the exposed figure to be concealed inside the cavity of the exposed figure through a single opening.
2. The device of claim 1, wherein each opening of the first, second and third figures includes a first edge and second edge disposed along at least a portion of the opening, and wherein the device further includes at least one set of corresponding fasteners that are disposed on the first and second edges of the openings.
3. The device of claim 2, wherein the corresponding fasteners comprise one of: a button and a buttonhole, a snap, hooks and loops, magnets, a tie and a zipper.
4. The device of claim 2, wherein a corresponding fastener of the at least one set of corresponding fasteners is disposed on one side of the openings of the first and second figures on the first surface of the first figure and on the second surface of the second figure, such that the fastener on the first surface aligns with the fastener on the second surface.
5. The device of claim 1, wherein any of the concealed figures can be accessed through the opening of an exposed figure.
6. The device of claim 1, wherein at least one of the at least three or more figures comprises a backpack having a carrying strap and at least one fastener for attaching an article to the backpack.
7. The device of claim 6, wherein the at least one fastener comprises one or more of a loop, a ring, a hook, a strap, and a clip.
8. The device of claim 1, further comprising one or more gussets disposed in at least one of the figures.
9. A device, comprising:
at least three figures, each figure disposed adjacent to two of the other at least three figures, each figure including
a surface, and
a cavity having an opening that allows access to the cavity, the cavity defined at least in part by the surface;
wherein the at least three figures are attached to form a continuous, circular chain of figures, such that the surface of each of the at least three figures is attached to the surface of its adjacent two figures to form at least one coincident seam with each of its two adjacent figures, and
wherein the device is configured such that when figure is exposed and the other figures are inside of the exposed figure, edges where adjacent figures are joined together are oriented in the same direction and disposed proximate to the opening of the exposed figure such that any of the concealed figures can be accessed through the opening of the exposed one of the at least three figures.
10. The device of claim 9, wherein each of the at least three figures is attached to the surface of its adjacent two figures to form at least two coincident seams with each of its two adjacent figures.
11. The device of claim 9, further comprising at least one fastener disposed along each of the openings.
12. The device of claim 9, further comprising at least one fastener disposed on the surface of each figure along the openings of the at least three figures, wherein a fastener on a surface of a figure corresponds with a fastener on the surface of an adjacent figure such that the fasteners disposed on surfaces of adjacent figures can be connected.
13. A method of entertaining or teaching, the method comprising:
manipulating a device to expose a first figure at a first time, the device including at least three figures, each figure disposed adjacent to two of the other three or more figures, each figure including a surface and a cavity having an opening that allows access to the cavity, the cavity defined at least in part by the surface, wherein the at least three figures are attached to form a continuous chain of figures, such that the surface of each of the at least three figures is attached to the surface of its adjacent two figures to form at least one coincident seam with each of its two adjacent figures, and wherein each of the at least three figures are configured such that any one of the at least three figures can be exposed and the cavity of the exposed figure can conceal the other of the at least three figures, and any of the concealed figures can be accessed through the opening of the exposed one of the at least three figures; and manipulating the device to expose a second figure.
14. The method of claim 13, further comprising manipulating the device to expose a third figure.
15. The method of claim 13 wherein the at least three figures are exposed at the same time.
16. The method of claim 13, wherein at least two of the at least three figures are exposed at the same time.
17. The method of claim 13, wherein only one of the at least three figures is exposed at any one time.
18. A device, comprising:
a first figure including a first surface and a first cavity having a first opening that allows access to the first cavity, the first cavity defined by said first surface;
a second figure including a second surface and a second cavity having a second opening that allows access to the second cavity, the second cavity defined by said second surface, wherein the second surface is attached to the first surface forming a first/second surface coincident seam;
a third figure including a third surface and a third cavity having a third opening that allows access to the third cavity, the third cavity defined by said third surface, wherein the third surface is attached to the first surface forming a first/third surface coincident seam and the third surface is further attached to the second surface forming a second/third surface coincident seam, resulting in a circular pattern with one common opening location through which all transformations of manipulating the device to expose a first figure while concealing all of the other figures within the one figure and exposing a second figure while concealing all of the other figures within the second figure take place,
wherein the first, second and third figure are configured such that the second and third figure can be placed through the first opening and into the first cavity exposing only the first surface of the first figure, the first and third figure can be placed through the second opening and into the second cavity of the second figure, and the first and second figure can be placed through the third opening and into the third cavity of the third figure allowing only one figure to be exposed and the other figures to be concealed inside the cavity of the exposed figure.
US14/225,108 2011-09-30 2014-03-25 Transformable objects and methods of making same Abandoned US20140220851A1 (en)

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US9925474B1 (en) 2017-03-20 2018-03-27 Jay At Play International Hong Kong Limited Toy with changeable features
US9975053B1 (en) 2017-04-28 2018-05-22 Jay At Play International Hong Kong Limited Transformable toy with reversible head
US10201762B2 (en) 2017-04-28 2019-02-12 Jay At Play International Hong Kong Limited Transformable toy with reversible head and integrated book
US10272351B2 (en) 2017-04-03 2019-04-30 Jay At Play International Hong Kong Limited Transformable toy
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US20140157477A1 (en) * 2012-12-11 2014-06-12 Diane Baumann Novel Hand Muff and Purse
US9925474B1 (en) 2017-03-20 2018-03-27 Jay At Play International Hong Kong Limited Toy with changeable features
US10272351B2 (en) 2017-04-03 2019-04-30 Jay At Play International Hong Kong Limited Transformable toy
US9975053B1 (en) 2017-04-28 2018-05-22 Jay At Play International Hong Kong Limited Transformable toy with reversible head
US10201762B2 (en) 2017-04-28 2019-02-12 Jay At Play International Hong Kong Limited Transformable toy with reversible head and integrated book
USD860337S1 (en) 2017-12-20 2019-09-17 Tee Turtle, LLC Reversible plush toy

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