Patent application title: Custom Made Cuff LInks and Method for Making the Same
Mark Rodney Severyn (San Antonio, TX, US)
IPC8 Class: AA44B502FI
Class name: Button with fastener link releasably locked
Publication date: 2012-01-12
Patent application number: 20120005862
A custom cuff link structure and a method for making the same that allows
for the use of the cuff link with both shirts that have cuffs
specifically designed to receive cuff links and shirts that are designed
with simple button and buttonhole cuffs. The structure and method use
ordinary buttons or other toggles and clothing accessories that are
modified to incorporate looped strands of a clear polymer fiber to allow
the retention of the button like component on the cuff of the shirt. A
first embodiment allows the manufacture of customized cuff links
utilizing polymer based fibers or button like objects selected by the
maker. A second embodiment anticipates factory made cuff links that
incorporate the same basic design. Use of the cuff links may be in
conjunction with shirt cuffs not specifically intended for use with cuff
links, whereby a hidden button may be connected with the looped polymer
1. A cuff link for securing the sides of a shirt sleeve cuff together,
the cuff link comprising: a button like member having an outward
decorative face and an inward attachment face; a length of flexible,
resilient, filament line, the filament line secured at a point on the
inward attachment face of the button like member, the length of filament
line having a generally looped configuration.
2. A method for making a custom cuff link from an existing button or button like object, the method comprising the steps of: (a) selecting a button to be configured into a cuff link; (b) cutting a length of monofilament line of sufficient length to form a loop to engage and secure a button hole side of a cuff and a button side of a cuff of the sleeve of a shirt; (c) forming a loop from the cut length of a monofilament line; (d) securing a first end of the loop of monofilament line to a back face of the selected button; and (e) securing a second end of the loop of monofilament line to the back face of the selected button.
CROSS REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
 This application claims the benefit under Title 35 United States Code §119(e) of U.S. Provisional Application 61/363,156 filed Jul. 9, 2010, the full disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 1. Field of the Invention
 The present invention relates generally to clothing accessories, particularly for men. The present invention relates more specifically to devices for securing the cuffs of long-sleeved shirts in both a functional and decorative manner.
 2. Description of the Related Art
 Many efforts have been made in the past to provide both functional and decorative designs for cuff links and other methods for securing the cuffs of long-sleeved shirts, especially those worn by men. The standard cuff link is a generally solid object, typically in the form of a large button or the like, from which extends a short post, typically with a hinged member that may be inserted through button holes in the cuffs of a long-sleeved shirt. The hinged component may be rotated or turned so as to secure the post and the cuff link within the button holes.
 A wide variety of decorative cuff links have been developed in the past. A somewhat narrower variety of mechanisms for attaching decorative cuff links to the shirt cuffs have been developed. Most all current cuff links are limited to one of a few basic structural designs that extend a post through a button hole in a cuff (one that is designed to receive a cuff link) whereafter some mechanism for securing the post within the button hole is provided, such as a hinged bar or a threaded member securable on or to the cuff link post.
 A majority of shirt cuffs are not specifically configured to receive cuff links and must often be modified in order to appropriately receive and retain the same. Most shirt cuffs incorporate single button holes aligned with buttons that are sewn onto a matching part of the cuff. As indicated above, if it is desired to utilize cuff links in conjunction with such a shirt, the shirt must often be modified to adequately and appropriately receive such cuff links. In addition, there are few, if any, choices with regard to the manner of altering a cuff that has not been structured to receive a cuff link so as to easily and securely receive the cuff link without disrupting or destroying the design of the shirt.
 It would be desirable to have a cuff link design that could be used in conjunction with either a shirt cuff intended to be used with cuff links or a shirt cuff that is structured for a simple button in a button hole arrangement. It would be desirable if a simplified cuff link design represented a more practical approach to securing cuffs of a long-sleeved shirt in a manner that "dresses up" a shirt without the need to purchase expensive clothing accessories.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 The present invention provides a custom made cuff link structure and a method for making the same that allows for the use of a cuff link in conjunction with both shirts that have cuffs specifically designed to receive cuff links and shirts that are designed with simple button and button hole cuffs. The present invention describes the use of ordinary buttons or other toggles and clothing accessories that are modified to incorporate looped strands of a clear polymer fiber or fibers in a manner that allows the retention of the button like component on the cuff of the shirt through the process of looping the polymer fiber back over the button like object or over existing buttons positioned on the cuff. A first embodiment of the present invention allows the manufacture of customized cuff links utilizing polymer based fibers and button like objects selected by the maker. A second embodiment utilizes factory made cuff links that incorporate the same basic design as the custom made cuff links of the first embodiment. Use of the cuff links may be carried out in conjunction with standard cuffs designed for use with cuff links whereby two button holes may be used to secure the looped around polymer fiber, or more practically for use in conjunction with shirt cuffs not specifically intended for cuff links, whereby a hidden button may be used in conjunction with the looped polymer fiber.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the custom-made cuff links of the present invention.
 FIG. 2A is a side plan view of one of a pair of custom-made cuff links of the present invention of the type shown in FIG. 1.
 FIG. 2B is a side pan view of one of a pair of manufactured cuff links of the present invention.
 FIG. 3 is a top plan view (prior art) of a typical long sleeve shirt cuff in its unfolded condition.
 FIG. 4 is a side view of the long sleeve shirt cuff shown in FIG. 3 with the cuff portion turned back onto the sleeve in preparation for use of the custom-made cuff link of the present invention.
 FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view of the cuff shown in FIG. 4 drawn together by the placement of the custom-made cuff link of the present invention.
 FIG. 6A is a top plan view of the assembly of the cuff and cuff link shown in FIG. 5.
 FIG. 6B is a top plan view of an alternate method of using two assemblies of the cuff link device of the present invention as shown in FIG. 5.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
 Reference is made first to FIG. 1 which is a perspective view of the custom made cuff links of the present invention showing a completed pair of cuff links. Custom made cuff link pair 10 is shown to be configured from button like components 12a and 12b which may be any of a number of different buttons or other such objects selected by the maker of the cuff link pair. The present invention is intended to accommodate a wide variety of buttons and button like objects and to most easily accommodate buttons of the type that have an aperture through which the monofilament line component of the present invention may extend. In FIG. 1 monofilament line components 14a and 14b are shown to each extend from button attachment posts 16a and 16b. The monofilament line components 14a and 14b from monofilament line loop ends 18a and 18b which, in the preferred embodiment, may be a single closed loop of clear polymer fiber attached back on itself to form a loop. Alternately, components 14a and 14b may each be a fiber joined end to end to form a loop according to any of a number of mechanisms for securing the two ends of a small monofilament fiber to itself. The attachment of the fiber end to end need not be in line even though such would be the preference. The attachment may simply be a crimped connector whereby the ends are overlapped a short distance in a secure manner.
 Reference is next made to FIG. 2A which is a side plan view of one of the pair 10 of custom made cuff links of the present invention of the type shown in FIG. 1. In this side plan view, the manner of the attachment of the monofilament line component 14 to the button component 12 can be seen. In this case, button attachment post 16 is shown to position an aperture through which a monofilament line component 14 may be passed in order to be secured as monofilament line attachment point 20.
 FIG. 2B provides an alternate manner of attaching the monofilament line to the button like component of the device of the present invention. Whereas FIG. 2A discloses the manner in which a custom made cuff link may be constructed by the user, FIG. 2B provides a better example of the manner in which a cuff link according to the design of the present invention may be manufactured in larger quantities. In FIG. 2B button like component 13 is shown to comprise button attachment post 17 where monofilament line attachment 21 is made. Monofilament line component 15 in this case includes monofilament line loop end 19 and simply retains each end of the loop end within the button attachment post 17 at attachment point 21. In a preferred embodiment of the manufactured form of the present invention, simple thermal welding of the monofilament line 15 into a plastic or polymer attachment post 17 may be made. Alternately, the ends of monofilament line 15 may be secured within apertures positioned in button attachment post 17 by means of a chemical adhesive.
 Reference is now made to FIGS. 3 and 4 which show the structure of a typical long-sleeved shirt cuff in its extended (FIG. 3) and folded (FIG. 4) configurations. FIG. 3 shows the typical long-sleeve shirt 30 made up of long-sleeve fabric material 32 transitioning into cuff fabric material 34 so as to form the cuff of the shirt sleeve. The button hole side 36 of cuff of the long sleeve shirt 30 is in this view shown on the left whereas the button side 38 of cuff is shown on the right. A single button hole 40 is positioned on one side which aligns with and opposes either one or two buttons. In the typical design, a loose button 42 and a tight button 44 are provided to allow the wearer to select between a tight or loose fit to the secured cuff.
 FIG. 4 represents the manner in which most cuffs are configured in order to receive cuff links in general. In most cases, the cuff is folded back to "dress up" the shirt being worn. For the typical shirt that incorporates one or more buttons and a button hole, the folding back of the cuff hides the buttons between the cuff and the sleeve material. Therefore, FIG. 4 shows long sleeve shirt 30 having long sleeve fabric material 32 and cuff fabric material 34. The button hole side 36 of the cuff is folded back over the long sleeve fabric material 32 as is the button side 38 of the cuff. Button hole 40 remains positioned as shown on the button hole side 36 of the cuff. FIG. 4 therefore shows the configuration of the long sleeved shirt cuff as prepared for the use of the cuff link structure of the present invention.
 FIG. 5 provides a detailed cross-sectional view of the manner in which a cuff link of the present invention may be attached to and secured to a cuff such as that shown in FIG. 4. In FIG. 5, button component 12 is shown to retain button attachment post 16 from which extends monofilament line component 14. As positioned on the cuff of the shirt, monofilament line loop 18 passes through button hole 40 and then underneath the button hole side 36 of the cuff between the cuff and the fabric of the sleeve of the shirt. Monofilament line loop end 18 then extends over and around the "hidden" button 42 now positioned on the inside of the button side 38 of the cuff as shown. The button 42 is attached to the cuff by means of button attachment thread 43 as is known in the art. In this manner, any effort to pull the sides of the cuff apart will be met with a limitation based on the length of the monofilament line component 14. Button component 12 is sized so as to not pass through button hole 40, at least not when pulled directly by way of monofilament line component 14.
 As seen in FIG. 5, the cuff link device of the present invention effectively extends the functional aspect of the cuff button 42 out from its hidden position in the turned back cuff to a point where it may be utilized in conjunction with the button hole 40 in a manner similar to the way the original button 42 might have been used had the cuff not been turned back. This allows for the more "dressed up" look of a turned back cuff without sacrificing the ability to retain the sides of the cuff together as if the cuff were not turned back.
 FIG. 6A shows in a top plan view the assembly of the cuff and cuff link as shown in FIG. 5. FIG. 6A includes button component 12a shown connected by way of button attachment post 16a to monofilament line component 14a. Monofilament line loop end 18a extends (as shown in dotted line form) underneath the turned back cuff components 36 and 38 around loose button 42a in a manner that secures the cuff in a closed or fixed distance position. Also shown in FIG. 6A is a typical arrangement whereby a tight button 44a provides an alternate point of attachment for mono filament line loop end 18a.
 FIG. 6B provides yet another alternate embodiment of the present invention configured for use in conjunction with a cuff that retains two cuff button positioned parallel to each other at the same distance from a pair of aligned button holes. In this example, two button components 12a and 12b are each shown to include monofilament line components 14a and 14b attached to the respective button attachment posts 16a and 16b and extending between the cuff parts 37 and 39. Monofilament line loop ends 18a and 18b respectively surround and are secured to first button 42a and second button 42b.
 FIGS. 6A and 6B therefore provide the two most common configurations associated with cuffs configured on long sleeved dress shirts for men. As can be seen from the manner of using the cuff link of the present invention, the structure of the cuff link in its various embodiments, may be either that of the custom made configuration shown in FIG. 2A or the manufactured configuration as shown in FIG. 2B.
 The materials from which the cuff link structure of the present invention may be made will vary according to the specific design requirements of the user. The monofilament line component of each of the embodiments of the present invention is intended to be as invisible as possible while being worn. In other words, it is desirable that the cuff link of the present invention, when attached to the cuff, might appear as a more expensive type cuff link, albeit that it utilizes a very simple and inexpensive mechanism. Monofilament line such as that utilized in conjunction with fishing line provides a preferable size and configuration for the attachment component of the present invention.
 As indicated above, the button like component of the present invention may preferably be any of a number of existing buttons that are intended to be sewn directly onto a shirt or other object of apparel. Two basic configurations are anticipated, a first as shown in the attached Drawings that provides a post which extends a short distance from the back face of a flat button like object, which post has an aperture through which the monofilament line may be passed. Such is a typical configuration for a button of the type that is sewn to an article of apparel by means of passing a number of loops of thread through the aperture(s) and then through the fabric material. The alternate type of button may be that shown as used in the existing cuff design of FIGS. 6A and 6B. This typical button has four apertures that extend directly through the disc shape of the button. Those skilled in the art will recognize that this structure also lends itself to the attachment of a monofilament line with only slight modifications to the manner of attachment by extending through one or more of the two or four button attachment apertures.
 Various mechanisms for attaching the monofilament line of the present invention to such button structures are anticipated. It may be desirable to create a loop of thread through the apertures in the button in a manner that imitates the attachment of the button directly to the fabric. The monofilament line may then be passed through the loops of thread that have been secured to the button so as to extend from the back of the button to form the monofilament line loop end as described above. In any case, the manner of attachment may be provided in a customized form by the user/maker or may be part of a manufacturing process whereby a large number of the cuff links of the present invention are constructed for sale without the need for customization.
 Although the present invention has been described in conjunction with a number of preferred embodiments, the variations described are not intended to be limitations on the scope of the invention. Those skilled in the art will recognize different materials that might substitute for the same structural components described above. For example, even though a clear monofilament line may be the preferred means for attaching the cuff link of the present invention to the cuff, a non-clear cord or filament may be substituted in its place. A gold or silver flexible or resilient wire, for example, may operate in the same manner as the resilient and flexible monofilament line. Although not providing the invisibility that may be desired in most cases, such wire like cords may add to the desirable design features of the cuff link. In a similar manner, a wide variety of button like objects may be utilized in conjunction with the device of the present invention. Although the preferred embodiment describes utilizing button like components that may pass through the button hole of the cuff, it is not necessary that this occur. In other words, the geometry of the button like component of the present invention may be such as to be too large to pass through an existing button hole as long as the monofilament line component can still pass through the button hole to be connected and secured as described. The geometry of the button like component, therefore, is not limited by the size of the standard button hole configured in most men's apparel. Various other modifications regarding the material from which the components of the present invention may be constructed and the manner they are attached to each other are anticipated.