Patent application title: HEIGHT ADJUSTABLE ENCASEMENT
Shi Hoo Fan (Kowloon, HK)
IPC8 Class: AA47G900FI
Class name: Beds bedclothing adapted to contact mattress
Publication date: 2014-12-25
Patent application number: 20140373276
The present invention is directed to a bedding article which provides a
variable mattress encasement. In one particular embodiment of the present
invention, the described mattress encasement provides an expansion
portion that allows the mattress to expand from an initial height to an
expanded height so as to incorporate a larger mattress volume.
1. A bedding article comprising; a top material sheet, a bottom material
sheet, and an expansion portion joining the top sheet and the bottom
sheet so as to produce an enclosure that is sized to enclose a first
bedding structure, wherein the expansion portion comprises gusseted
elastic panels and a plurality of closure devices arranged along the a
length of the expansion portion between the top and bottom sheets and
allows the bedding article to expand from an initial dimension to an
expanded dimension so as to enclose a second bedding structure.
2. The bedding article of claim 1, wherein the expansion portion incorporates a plurality of joining devices.
4. The bedding article of claim 2, wherein the plurality of joining devices are configured to allow the expansion portion to expand to one of a plurality of pre-determined enclosure sizes.
5. The bedding article of claim 4 where the expansion portion comprises: side panels running the length of the article with at least two strips of excess materials; end panels running the width of the article with at least two strips of excess materials that match and are contiguous with the strips of the side panels; and closure devices that join together opposite edges of each of the at least two strips of material to form smooth surfaces, wherein when all of the closure devices are closed the article has a minimum height, when one of the closure devices is open the article has a second fixed height greater than the minimum height, and when two of the closure devices are open the article has a third fixed height greater than the second height.
6. The bedding article of claim 5 wherein at least one closure device is a zipper.
7. The bedding article of claim 5 wherein at least one closure device is a Velcro strip.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
 The present invention is directed to the construction of a bedding article that is applicable to a wide variety of bedding types. More particularly, the present invention is directed to a bedding article using an expandable section to allow for the customization of the bed covering relative to the mattress size.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 Traditional bedding encasements are customized for a particular mattress of a given size or shape. In most instances, bedding encasements, such as those used to prevent bed bug infestations, are matched for a given mattress make and model. Failure to use the proper encasement with the matched mattress results in an encasement that is either insufficient to cover the mattress or is too loose. For example, a mattress of a given thickness must be matched to a bedding encasement having the necessary volume to encompass it. In circumstances when the encasement is moved to new bedding or bedding material, care must be taken to ensure that the proper model is used.
 Thus, what is needed in the art is a mattress encasement that provides a variable dimension so as to incorporate mattress types of various sizes. For example, what is needed in the art is a mattress encasement that expands to enclose a number of different mattress heights.
 There have been some attempts in the art to provide for an expandable bedding apparatus to allow for its modification to fit different mattress or bedding volumes. For example, Published U.S. Patent Application 2012/0060281, herein incorporated by reference, describes a bedding skirt for the use with a standard mattress that provides a more stable placement between the mattress and a box spring without needing to first remove the mattress. In this arrangement the article has elastic sewn into its side surfaces to provide drop height adjustment. The drop sides with the elastic are placed between the mattress and the box spring, and expansion is performed by a pulling force. However, this cited prior art fails to provide an adaptable encasement for use with mattresses of different heights.
 Therefore, what is needed in the art is a bedding article designed to provide a variable encasement for the inclusion of different mattress sizes and configurations. Furthermore, what is needed is a mattress encasement that is adaptable to more than one mattress type.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 It is an object of the present invention to provide a bedding article that provides a variable mattress encasement. In one particular embodiment of the present invention, the mattress encasement provides a structure that allows the mattress to expand from an initial height to an expanded height so as to incorporate a larger mattress volume. This is achieved by having a continuous encircling gusset or excess material which is drawn together by a fastening mechanism to achieve one height and is opened to achieve a second greater height. In another configuration the present invention is configured with a series of attachment devices that allow the encasement to expand to a number of predetermined heights relative to the mattress it is encasing.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 The foregoing and other features of the present invention will be more readily apparent from the following detailed description and drawings of an exemplary arrangement of the elements of the device described in which:
 FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of a particular embodiment of the bedding article of the present invention with the expansion device deactivated;
 FIG. 2 illustrates an alternative embodiment of the bedding device of the present invention of FIG. 1 with the expansion device activated;
 FIG. 3 illustrates a close up, side view of an alternative embodiment of the bedding article of the present invention as provided in FIG. 2.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
 By way of overview and introduction, the present invention is directed to a bedding article configurable to a variety of different mattress or filler heights. In a specific arrangement of the present invention, the bedding article is equipped with a binder and gusseting designed to allow for the expansion of the height of the encasement so as to enclose a mattress of a specific bedding type having a larger than average height. Furthermore, the present invention is directed to a variable height encasement that allows for the re-use of the described encasement for a different bedding type.
 Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the present bedding article can be applied to various forms such as comforters, sheets, pillows, cushions and the like, as well as the mattress so described.
 As seen in FIG. 1, a bedding article 100 is provided. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the depicted article is an encasement configured to enclose a mattress or other bedding platform or structure.
 In the present illustration, the bedding article 100 is formed of a top material portion 102 and a bottom material portion 104. Each of the top portion and bottom portion have side portions (A, B respectively) in the form of gusseting or strips of excess materials. In the envisioned configuration, the two material portions are joined by a fastening device 106 so that the excess material is within the article and the outer surface is relatively smooth. For example, in the illustrated embodiment the fastening device 106 is a zipper. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that other fastening devices, such as clasps, buttons, Velcro® and the like are applicable for the given function of joining the two portions of the bedding article.
 Those skilled in the art will also appreciate that both the top and bottom or end portions are configured such that they are able to be joined to enclose a structure. For example, as show in FIG. 1, the top and bottom portions include a top and bottom material covering as well as side and foot coverings. As shown in FIG. 2, the excess material strip extends to the top and bottom (end) surfaces of the article so that the gusset continuously encircles the article. Furthermore, in one embodiment a head covering of the top sheet is permanently joined to a bottom portion. In the alternative, the bottom portion and the top portion are separate pieces of material that are joined by the joining devices.
 As seen in FIG. 1, the fastener 106 is engaged so as to fully enclose the mattress. In this configuration, the mattress encasement is in a contracted configuration so as to easily encapsulate the mattress, without excess material on the outer surface. However, the excess material or gusseting is enclosed on the inside of the article.
 FIG. 2 shows the fastener 106 disengaged. In this configuration, the gusseting (not shown) is expanded such that a larger sized mattress can be inserted within the encasement. In this configuration, the securing mechanism is not engaged if the size of the mattress is close to the fully expanded encasement. In one arrangement the gusseting is a structured fabric material. In an alternative arrangement, the gusseting is an elastic material designed to expand to incorporate the additional height or volume of the mattress.
 As seen in FIG. 3, the gusseting is equipped with a plurality of zipper or fastener connections 308, 306, 312. In this arrangement, a number of pre-determined sizes are provided with a number of zipper tracks. For example, the zipper track 308 is selected by a user for a given mattress height. Alternatively, if a larger mattress is encountered, then a secondary zipper track 312 is engaged. In this way, there are a range of zipper tracks conforming to a given set of mattress heights. The top portion 302 and the bottom 304 are connected by gusseting 310, such that there is no slack in the encasement. In a further embodiment, the zipper tracks are equipped with a track cover or skirt (not shown) that obscures the view of the unused zipper tracks from a user.
 Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the top and bottom sheet material are formed of any of the following or combination of the following materials, wool, cotton, silk, batting, microfiber, synthetic and natural fibers, wadding and similar standard filling materials. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the recited materials can include variations and variants that have been specially modified or constructed for the purposes of improved comfort or functionality. For instance, with the inclusion of, but not limited to, memory foam, visco-elastic materials, natural feathering and products as well, and similar textile materials.
 It should be understood that various combinations, alternatives and modifications of the present invention could be devised by those skilled in the art. The present invention is intended to embrace all such alternatives, modifications and variances that fall within the scope of the appended claims.
 While the invention has been particularly shown and described with reference to a preferred embodiment thereof, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes in form and details may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.
Patent applications by Shi Hoo Fan, Kowloon HK
Patent applications in class Adapted to contact mattress
Patent applications in all subclasses Adapted to contact mattress