Patent application title: FLAT IRON WITH CHANGEABLE HEAT PADS
Clifford Wright (San Diego, CA, US)
Clifford Wright (San Diego, CA, US)
IPC8 Class: AA45D102FI
Class name: Toilet hair device having hair shaping surface or form (e.g., crimper or curler)
Publication date: 2012-04-26
Patent application number: 20120097182
A portable hair care device comprises a first elongate arm, a second
elongate arm pivotably coupled to the second elongate arm and adapted to
be moved toward and away from the first elongate arm, and a grasping
region sized and shape to be grasped and held by the hand of a user such
that the user can carry the hair care product. A heating element is on
one of the first and second elongate arms, the heating element configured
to contact a person's hair so as to transfer heat to the hair. An overlay
pad is removably positioned on the heating element.
1. A portable hair care device, comprising: a first elongate arm; a
second elongate arm pivotably coupled to the second elongate arm and
adapted to be moved toward and away from the first elongate arm; a
grasping region sized and shape to be grasped and held by the hand of a
user such that the user can carry the hair care product; a heating
element on one of the first and second elongate arms, the heating element
configured to contact a person's hair so as to transfer heat to the hair;
and an overlay pad removably positioned on the heating element.
2. A device as in claim 1, wherein the overlay pad has a shape that conforms to a shape of the heating element.
3. A device as in claim 1, wherein the overlay pad is an antimicrobial pad.
4. A device as in claim 1, wherein the overlay pad is embedded with a scent.
5. A device as in claim 1, wherein the overlay pad is embedded with a vitamin.
6. A device as in claim 1, wherein the overlay pad is configured to receive a screen printed image.
7. A device as in claim 1, wherein the overlay pad comprises Agion silver or copper antimicrobial.
8. A device as in claim 1, wherein the overlay pad includes adhesive that secures the overlay pad to the heating element.
9. A device as in claim 1, further comprising a second overlay pad removably mounted on the grasping region.
10. A device as in claim 1, wherein the device is a flat iron.
REFERENCE TO PRIORITY DOCUMENT
 This application claims priority of co-pending U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/405,077, entitled FLAT IRON WITH CHANGEABLE HEAT PADS and filed on Oct. 20, 2010. The disclosure of the Provisional Patent Application is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.
 The present disclosure relates to beauty care products and more particularly relates to a portable hair care product.
 Flat irons are hand-held beauty care products that can be used to apply heat to a user's hair such as to straighten the user's hair. A flat iron typically includes a handle and a pair of heating elements. The user positions the heating elements flat against the user's hair and then slides the elements along the user's hair. The heating elements provide heat to the hair, which heat serves to straighten the hair.
 The quality of the flat iron is largely based on the quality of the heating elements. It is generally desirable to use heating elements that are made of a material that has high tolerance to heat and that does not wear down over time due to heat exposure. Also, it is desirable for the heating elements to have smooth surfaces that slide easily along the user's hair. If the heating elements have surface imperfections, then such imperfections can uncomfortably snag on the user's hair during use. Such imperfections can also cause uneven heating of the user's hair, which can result in the elements failing to straighten the hair or can require a longer time to straighten the hair.
 Due to wear and tear over time, the heating elements of a flat iron can undergo degradation. The surfaces of the heating elements can lose their smoothness due to repeated use. In addition, the heat can result in damage to the heating elements. Moreover, the heating elements can collect debris or bacteria, which can be unhealthy. Unfortunately, there is no simple way of replacing or maintaining the heating elements on current flat irons.
 In view of the foregoing, there is a need for an improved flat iron that permits easy maintenance or repair of the heating elements. In one aspect, there is disclosed a portable hair care device, comprising: a first elongate arm; a second elongate arm pivotably coupled to the second elongate arm and adapted to be moved toward and away from the first elongate arm; a grasping region sized and shape to be grasped and held by the hand of a user such that the user can carry the hair care product; a heating element one of the first and second elongate arms, the heating element configured to contact a person's hair so as to transfer heat to the hair; and an overlay pad removably positioned on the heating element.
 Various embodiments of the portable hair care device are described below. Other features and advantages will be apparent from the following description of various embodiments, which illustrate, by way of example, the principles of the disclosed devices and methods.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of an exemplary flat iron.
 FIG. 2 shows an exemplary tape material that can be used to form an overlay pad.
 FIG. 3 shows an overlay pad kit.
 Before the present subject matter is further described, it is to be understood that this subject matter described herein is not limited to particular embodiments described, as such may of course vary. It is also to be understood that the terminology used here in is for the purpose of describing particular embodiments only, and is not intended to be limiting. Unless defined otherwise, all technical terms used herein have the same meaning as commonly understood by one skilled in the art to which this subject matter belongs.
 As will be apparent to those of skill in the art upon reading this disclosure, each of the individual embodiments described and illustrated herein has discrete components and features which may be readily separated from or combined with the features of any of the other several embodiments without departing from the scope of the subject matter described herein. Any recited method can be carried out in the order of events recited or in any other order which is logically possible.
 FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of a portable hair care device comprised of a flat iron 105. Although described herein in the context of being a flat iron, it should be appreciated that the portable hair care device can be any of a variety of portable, hand held hair care devices including, for example, hair dryers, hair curlers, hair rods, tongs, etc. The heating element capabilities of the flat iron 105 could be adapted for other portable hair care products.
 The flat iron 105 has a size and shape that is configured such that a human user can grasp and hold the flat iron in his or her hand. In this regard, the flat iron 105 has a handle region 115 that is sized and shaped to be held by a user. The flat iron 105 further includes a pair of arms 120 that are pivotably connected to one another at a first end of the device. In this regard, the arms 120 can be pivoted toward or away from one another to grasp and release hair positioned between the arms 120. The handle region 115 may be formed of regions on the arms 120 that are configured to be gripped by a user's hand or hands.
 With reference still to FIG. 1, one or more heating elements 125 are positioned on the arms 120, such as on opposed, internal surfaces of the arms 120. When hair is positioned between the arms and the arms 120 are moved toward one another to contact the hair, the heating elements 125 heat and straighten the hair in a well-known manner. The flat iron 105 includes a power source that is configured to provide electrical power to the components of the flat iron. The power source can be an alternating current source or it may be a direct current source. The flat iron 105 can also include a removable or permanent battery.
 The heating elements 125 each form an outer surface that is configured to be positioned in juxtaposition with a user's hair such that the heating element 125 transfers heat to the user's hair in a well-known manner. In this regard, it is desirable that the outer surfaces of the heating element be smooth to facilitate sliding of the heating elements along the user's hair. Over time, the surface of one or more of the heating elements may deteriorate and lose its smoothness such due to repeated exposure to heat and/or repeated use. In accordance with one aspect of this disclosure, an overlay pad 150 is configured to be positioned over or on top of a heating element 125 such that the overlay pad 150 covers all or a portion of the outer surface of the heating element 125. The overlay pad 150 is configured to provide the heating element 120 with predetermined characteristics, such as smoothness, texture, scent, etc. Advantageously, a user can easily remove and replace the overlay pads 150 on the heating elements to vary or maintain the characteristics of the heating elements 120.
 The overlay pad 150 is sized and shaped to be positioned atop a heating element 125. In this regard, the overlay pad 150 may be sized to conform exactly to the shape of the outer surface of a heating element 150. For example, the overlay pad 150 may have a rectangular shape that corresponds to a rectangular heating element. Or, the overlay pad may be sized to cover a portion of the heating element 150 and a plurality of overlay pads 150 can collectively cover all or a portion of the heating element 125.
 The overlay pad 150 has physical characteristics that are adapted to enhance the physical characteristics of the heating element 125 on which it is placed. For example, the overlay pad 150 may have a certain level of smoothness and/or resistance to heat. When the overlay pad is positioned on a heating element, the smoothness and/or heat resistance of the overlay pad is used for the heating element. The overlay pad 150 may also be embedded or coated with additional materials that provide additional characteristics to the heating element. Such characteristics may include vitamin enrichments, antimicrobial enhancements, scents, textures, or any other characteristic that is desired to be applied to the heating element. Because the overlay pad is positioned atop the heating element, the overlay pad provides its own characteristics to the heating element without having to replace the entire heating element.
 Moreover, the overlay pad 150 is removably mounted on the heating element to permit a user to replace the overlay pads and therefore modify the characteristics of the heating elements whenever desired. This enables easy repair and maintenance of a heating element by simply changing the overlay pad that is positioned atop the heating element to be repaired or maintained. The overlay pad 150 may be removably secured to a heating element using any of a variety of securing means, including adhesive.
 In an embodiment, the overlay pad is made of a material that is smooth and that is configured to withstand high temperatures, such as temperatures in the range of 200 degrees F. to 2000 degrees F. The overlay pad may be made of, embedded with, or coated with a material that includes antimicrobial properties to resist unhealthy formation of microbes on the heating elements. In this regard, the overlay pad may be coated with a material such as Agion silver or copper antimicrobial. In embodiment, the overlay pad is coated with or embedded with an acrylic resin material mixed with Agion silver/copper antimicrobial, which is used to control bacterial growth as well as the growth of mold, mildew and algae on the heating element. Because it is an inorganic antimicrobial, the use of silver has been able to address many of the issues associated with its organic counterparts that have been developed over the years. These include thermal stability, environmental compatibility, effective life expectancy, and bacterial resistance. Silver inhibits reproduction, interrupts metabolism, and disrupts cell wall functions of many molds, yeasts, and bacteria.
 In another embodiment, or in addition to the use of an antimicrobial, the overlay pad may be embedded or enriched with a material that is configured to enhance the health of a user's hair. For example, the overlay pad may be embedded, enriched, or coated with a vitamin or other nutrient, such as Vitamin E or other suitable vitamin. When the user contacts the overlay pad with his or her hair, the Vitamin or other nutrient transfer to the user's hair. Different overlay pads may have different nutrient characteristics thereby permitting the user to tailor the nutrient characteristics by simply selecting and using an appropriate overlay pad.
 The overlay pad may also be embedded with or coated with a material that maintains a particular scent, such as a fruit scent. The type of scent may vary and may include any scent desired by a user. When the user contacts the overlay pad with his or her hair, the scent is transferred to the hair. This also permits the overlay pads to be used in aroma therapy such that certain aromas are released when heat is applied to the pad.
 The overlay pad can be made of any of a variety of materials configured to provide the characteristics described herein. In an embodiment, the overlay pad is made of a material that can be printed with a logo, graphic, or any alphanumeric image, such as by a screen-printing process. This permits a user or manufacturer to personalize the flat iron to particular needs, such as for advertisements or self-expression.
 The overlay pads are not limited to being positioned on the heating elements 125. For example, the overlay pads may be configured to be positioned on other regions of the flat iron, such as on the handle region 115, in addition to the heating elements. In such an embodiment, the overlay pad may have characteristics that are suited for whichever location the overlay pad is positioned. For example, when used for positioning on the handle region, the overlay pad may have characteristics that enhance gripping of the handle region 115 or the comfort level of gripping the handle region 115.
 In an embodiment, the overlay pads 150 are manufactured from a strip of material such as in a tape form 205, as shown in FIG. 2. The material is stretched out and cut (such as by a die cut process) into the desired shape of the overlay pad. With reference to FIG. 3, a plurality of overlay pads 150 may be stored together in a kit formed of a container 210 and a collection of pads 150. The kit may include a plurality of pre-cut overlay pads and/or material in tape form that permits the user to cut the overlay pad to a desired shape. A user may easily remove overlay pad 150 from the heater element of a flat iron and replace the previously-used overlay pad with a new pad.
 While this specification contains many specifics, these should not be construed as limitations on the scope of an invention that is claimed or of what may be claimed, but rather as descriptions of features specific to particular embodiments. Certain features that are described in this specification in the context of separate embodiments can also be implemented in combination in a single embodiment. Conversely, various features that are described in the context of a single embodiment can also be implemented in multiple embodiments separately or in any suitable sub-combination. Moreover, although features may be described above as acting in certain combinations and even initially claimed as such, one or more features from a claimed combination can in some cases be excised from the combination, and the claimed combination may be directed to a sub-combination or a variation of a sub-combination. Similarly, while operations are depicted in the drawings in a particular order, this should not be understood as requiring that such operations be performed in the particular order shown or in sequential order, or that all illustrated operations be performed, to achieve desirable results.
 Although embodiments of various methods and devices are described herein in detail with reference to certain versions, it should be appreciated that other versions, embodiments, methods of use, and combinations thereof are also possible. Therefore the spirit and scope of the appended claims should not be limited to the description of the embodiments contained herein.
Patent applications by Clifford Wright, San Diego, CA US
Patent applications in class Having hair shaping surface or form (e.g., crimper or curler)
Patent applications in all subclasses Having hair shaping surface or form (e.g., crimper or curler)