Canadian Patents Database / Patent 2495026 Summary

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(12) Patent: (11) CA 2495026
(54) English Title: TOOTHBRUSH
(54) French Title: BROSSE A DENT
(51) International Patent Classification (IPC):
  • A46B 9/04 (2006.01)
  • A46B 3/00 (2006.01)
  • A46B 3/20 (2006.01)
  • A46B 5/00 (2006.01)
  • A46B 5/02 (2006.01)
  • A61C 17/22 (2006.01)
  • B25G 1/00 (2006.01)
(72) Inventors :
  • MOSKOVICH, ROBERT (United States of America)
  • RUSSELL, BRUCE M. (United States of America)
  • STORZ, JOACHIM (Austria)
  • LANGGNER, TANJA (United Kingdom)
  • KUCHLER, THOMAS (Austria)
(73) Owners :
  • COLGATE-PALMOLIVE COMPANY (United States of America)
(71) Applicants :
  • COLGATE-PALMOLIVE COMPANY (United States of America)
(74) Agent: SMART & BIGGAR
(74) Associate agent:
(45) Issued: 2014-09-30
(86) PCT Filing Date: 2003-08-08
(87) Open to Public Inspection: 2004-02-19
Examination requested: 2008-06-30
(30) Availability of licence: N/A
(30) Language of filing: English

(30) Application Priority Data:
Application No. Country/Territory Date
60/402,162 United States of America 2002-08-09
60/402,170 United States of America 2002-08-09
60/402,670 United States of America 2002-08-12

English Abstract




A toothbrush (10) includes a head (14) having a bristle carrying surface
formed from a thin flexible dome shaped membrane (24). An air space (28) is
located between the base of the head and the membrane so that the membrane can
be capable of flexing to alter its shape during use and then resuming the
original shape. In a second embodiment, the head (114) and/or handle (112)
have elastomeric portions at least partially surrounding an open area. These
portions are readily deflectable under pressure during use to improve handling
of the toothrush and orientation of the cleaning elements (124). Alternatively
the toothbrush includes a resilient spring-like longitudinal hinge (222)
collinear with the longitudinal axis of the toothbrush head so as to separate
the head into a pair of side by side longitudinal sections having extending
cleaning elements (228) wherein the hinge urges the sections to return to
their original position after the hinge has been opened as a result of the
cleaning elements contacting teeth.


French Abstract

L'invention concerne une brosse à dents (10) comprenant une tête (14) dotée d'une surface porteuse de poils faite d'une membrane de forme arrondie flexible mince (24). Un espace libre (28) se trouve entre la base de la tête et le membrane de manière que la membrane puisse être capable de se courber afin de modifier sa forme au cours de l'utilisation et de reprendre sa forme initiale. Dans un deuxième mode de réalisation, la tête (114) et/ou le manche (112) présentent des parties élastomères entourant au moins en partie une zone ouverte. Ces parties peuvent rapidement se courber sous l'effet de la pression au cours de l'utilisation afin d'améliorer le maintien de la brosse à dents et l'orientation des éléments de nettoyage (124). Dans une alternative, la brosse à dents comprend un pivot longitudinal en forme de ressort élastique (222) qui est dans le même sens que l'axe longitudinal de la tête de la brosse à dents afin de séparer la tête en une paire de sections longitudinales côte à côte possédant des éléments de nettoyage d'extension (228), le pivot incitant les sections à adopter leur position initiale après l'ouverture du pivot déclenchée par le contact des éléments de nettoyage avec les dents.


Note: Claims are shown in the official language in which they were submitted.

CLAIMS:

1. A toothbrush comprising a handle, a head secured to said handle and
dimensioned for use in the oral cavity, said head being in the form of a base
having
an upstanding wall to create a peripheral frame around an outer edge of said
head,
a thin resilient membrane being an elastomeric material, the membrane
having a circumferential periphery conforming to a shape of the peripheral
frame, the
membrane being mounted directly to said frame by affixing the circumferential
periphery of the membrane to said frame to create an interior cavity between
said
membrane and said base and said wall,
the wall having a mounting surface for receiving and securing the
circumferential periphery of the membrane to an interior portion of the frame
and for
enclosing the cavity within the head,
said membrane having an initial condition of non-use, said membrane in
said initial condition being convex to have an original dome-like shape, at
least one
tooth cleaning element on said membrane extending away from the head, and said

membrane being capable of flexing to alter said original shape during use of
said
toothbrush and then recovering to said original shape randomly during use of
said
toothbrush;
wherein a section of the head of the toothbrush includes powered
cleaning elements and the powered cleaning elements are disposed at a tip end
of
the head and the membrane is disposed proximate to the handle,
wherein said at least one tooth cleaning element comprises bristles
secured to said membrane by in-molded technology.
2. The toothbrush of claim 1 wherein said head is oval shaped, and said
membrane is oval shaped.
27


3. The toothbrush of claim 2 wherein said membrane is convex in both its
transverse and longitudinal directions.
4. The toothbrush of claim 1, wherein the mounting surface of the wall is
inwardly inclined.
5. The toothbrush of claim 1, further including a plurality of elastomeric
tooth cleaning elements attached to the membrane.
6. A toothbrush comprising
a handle, a head secured to said handle and dimensioned for use in the
oral cavity,
the head comprising a base and an upstanding wall creating a
peripheral frame around an outer edge of the head,
a membrane being an elastomeric material, the membrane having a
circumferential periphery conforming to a shape of the peripheral frame, the
membrane being mounted to said frame by affixing the circumferential periphery
of
the membrane to said frame to create an enclosed interior cavity in the head,
the wall having a mounting surface facing the interior of the cavity, the
mounting surface extending from the base to a distal edge of the wall, the
mounting
surface having a lower vertical portion connected to an inclined portion being

adjacent to the distal edge, the membrane being mounted to the vertical
portion and
the inclined portion, the membrane having an initial condition of non-use, the

membrane in the initial condition being convex to have an original dome-like
shape,
at least one tooth cleaning element being bristles secured to the
membrane via in-molded technology, the at least one tooth cleaning element
extending away from the head, and the membrane being capable of flexing to
alter
the original shape during use of the toothbrush and then recovering to the
original
shape randomly during use of the toothbrush; and
28


including powered cleaning elements disposed at a distal end of the
head and wherein the membrane is disposed proximate to the handle.
7. The toothbrush of claim 6 wherein said head is oval shaped, and said
membrane is oval shaped.
8. The toothbrush of claim 6 wherein said membrane is convex in both its
transverse and longitudinal directions.
9. The toothbrush of claim 6, further including a plurality of elastomeric
tooth cleaning elements attached to the membrane.
10. The toothbrush of claim 6, wherein a thickness of the membrane at the
mounting surface is greater than a thickness of the membrane near a middle
portion
of the membrane.
11. A method of making a toothbrush comprising:
forming a head with a base portion having an upstanding wall to create
a peripheral frame including a peripheral mounting surface on the wall and a
handle
attached to the head;
directly mounting a bristle carrying surface to the frame to be attached
to the peripheral mounting surface, wherein the bristle carrying surface is a
dome
shaped membrane made from a flexible resilient elastomeric material and having
a
circumferential periphery conforming to a shape of the peripheral frame,
securing the
circumferential periphery of the dome shaped membrane to the peripheral
mounting
surface of the wall in such a manner than an open space is provided below the
membrane;
attaching bristles to the membrane by in-molded technology; and
providing powered cleaning elements on a tip end section of the head of
the toothbrush, the powered cleaning elements being disposed at the tip end of
the
head and the membrane being disposed proximate to the handle.
29


12. The method of claim 11 wherein the bristles are attached to the
membrane and the membrane is attached to the head before forming the handle.
13. The method of claim 11 wherein the bristles are attached to the
membrane and the membrane is attached to the head after forming the handle.
14. The method of claim 11 wherein the bristles are attached to the
membrane during formation of the handle.

Note: Descriptions are shown in the official language in which they were submitted.

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TOOTHBRUSH
Background of the Invention
The present invention is directed to a manu-
ally held and operated toothbrush or to a powered
toothbrush which includes a handle and a head. Cleaning
elements are mounted to the head such as tufts of bris-
. ties. When toothpaste is applied to the cleaning ele-
ments the user inserts the head into the mouth and
brushes the teeth in a known manner.
The head of a conventional toothbrush usually
has a flat or slightly altered surface to which cleaning
elements are attached.
Usually the cleaning elements
are strands of plastic material(s) formed into tufts or
other groupings. The strand groupings are attached to
the head either before or after forming the toothbrush
handle.
Various attempts have been made for providing
flexibility to the manner in which the bristles are at-
tached. Various approaches have also been taken wherein
the bristle carrying surface of the head is not flat.

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U.S. Patent No. 1,688,581, for example, discloses a
toothbrush having a bristle cariying member which is or-
dinarily bowed inwardly into the hollow head. The bris-
tle carrying member can be bowed outwardly by manipulat-
ing a wire mounted in the toothbrush.
U.S. Patent No. 5,483,722 discloses a
toothbrush with a resilient flexible bristle support
which spans spaced parallel handle extensions. Differ-
ent embodiments of the toothbrush include having the
support bowed inwardly or bowed outwardly.
U.S. Patent No. 5,325,560 relates to an ortho-
dontic toothbrush which includes various rows of bris-
tles including centrally located longitudinally arranged
sets of bristles mounted on a flexible member over an
air pocket.
U.S. Patent No. 5,799,354 discloses a
toothbrush of rocker formation wherein base sections are
joined together by hinges. The toothbrush also includes
a hollow space below the base sections.
U.S. Patent No. 5,454,133 discloses a
toothbrush having a closed system of passageways for a
non-compressible medium such as a compressed gas which
flows below the bristle carrying base members.
U.S. Patent No. 6,088,870 discloses a
toothbrush head with flexibly mounted bristles by util-
izing a flexibly resilient lattice network so that the
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bristles deflect during brushing to conform to various
arcuate surfaces of the teeth. -
U.S. Patent No. 2,003,243 issued May 28, 1935
to Campbell et al. discloses blocks containing groups of
bristles that are mounted on -a flexible wire attached to
a rigid toothbrush head (page 1, column 2, lines 45-55).
The flexibility of this mounting wire helps the bristles
to conform to the shape of teeth being cleaned.
Blakeman U.S. Patent No. 2,706,825 issued
April 26, 1955 discloses a demountable bristle holder
for a toothbrush which 'flexes up and down relative to
the longitudinal axis of the toothbrush body.
This
flexible member changes position. This plus the pres-
sure of the brush against teeth and movement of the
brush permits the brush to contact the teeth at various
degrees of conformation (column 2, lines 15-18).
Peters U.S. Patent No. 4,520,526 issued June
4, 1985 has a flexible section in the handle which per-
mits the head portion to move relative to the handle
portion of the toothbrush in one plane. This
patent
suggests that the flexibility avoids damaging delicate
tooth material and gum tissue (column 1, line 42-44).
Similar structures for imparting flexibility to the head
of a toothbrush and thereby reduce wear on tooth and gum
are disclosed in U.S. Patent No. 5,146,645.
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Other approaches to flexible mounting of
toothbrush cleaning elements ar& disclosed in U.S. Pat-
ent Nos. 3,355,546 and 5,839,149. In these patents, the
head of the toothbrush is placed under the biting sur-
face of the tooth in a plane perpendicularto the plane
of the tooth. The head of the brush when so oriented
has short bristles in the middle of the head which are
pushed against the biting surface which causes longer
outer bristles to rotate into engagement with the side
of the teeth and the gum line.
U.S. Patent No. 5,987,690 issued November 23,
1999 to Heuler discloses a toothbrush with linkages be-
tween handle and head that facilitate deflection of the
head so that the free bristle ends retain parallel
alignment with respect to the handle during use.
U.S. Patent No. 6,003,189 issued December 21,
1999 discloses a flexible section of a toothbrush be-
tween handle and head to absorb part of the force ap-
plied by the user of a toothbrush. An elastic shock ab-
sorbing means is inserted in this section to bias the
head into its inoperative position.
U.S. Patent No. 6,141,817 discloses a
toothbrush head with a central longitudinal axis that
underlies the middle of a resilient member containing
bristles. The central axis limits deformation of the
middle of the resilient member. The balance of the head
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on either side of the central axis is sloped to allow
greater movement of the flexible member, thereby causing
outer bristles to splay outward. The outward spraying
is believed to improve crevice intrusion of the bristles
(column 2, lines 40-46).
European Patent Publication 0 454 625 Al dated
October 30, 1991 discloses a cam in the handle of a
tooth-brush that can be used to change the angular ori-
entation of the head relative to the handle.
Other attempts made in the prior art to pro-
vide some form of movability of cleaning elements are
described in U.S. Patent No. 5,228,466 and WO 90/01281
which disclose a toothbrush wherein both the handle and
head are longitudinally hinged so as to provide dis-
placeable bristles which are straddled about a row of
teeth.
U.S, Patent No. 1,616,484 discloses a
toothbrush which is hinged along the length of the han-
dle so that two spaced head sections can be disposed
back to back with respect to each other. U.S. Patent
No. 1,616,484 discloses a hinged toothbrush that would
provide for brushing a tooth from three different direc-
tions.
U.S. Patent Nos. 5,528,782 and 5,269,083 dis-
close the bristles as being mounted in a rocking manner.
U.S. Patent No. 5,799,354 discloses the utilization of a
hollow space to provide for a hinging action. U.S. Pat-
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ent No. 1,924,152 discloses a toothbrush having rows of
_rubber bristles.
U.S. Patent No. 301,644 discloses a
toothbrush having rows of bristles mounted in rubber
tongues.
U.S. Patent No. Des.421,843 illustrates a
toothbrush wherein the bristle carrying surfaces appears
to be non-planar.
U.S. Patent No. 4,240,452 discloses an elastic
base toothbrush wherein a bristle carrying plate is
mounted over rubber tubes.
A number of patents disclose some tooth and/or
gum massage devices having non-planar surfaces. For ex-
ample, British Patent No. 524135 relates to a gum mas-
saging device having an air filled hollow rubber head to
provide an air cushion for the gum massaging members.
U.S. Patent No. 1,058,273 discloses a massaging device
having an interior air space. U.S. Patent No. 2,148,483
discloses a tooth and gum massager and exerciser which
includes a void filled with air.
U.S. Patent No.
2,176,309 also discloses a gum massager having air pock-
ets.
Hairbrushes are also disclosed in various pat-
ents having dome shaped outer surfaces.
Examples of
these patents include U.S. Patent Nos. 3,739,419,
4,500,939 and 5,581,840. Similarly
U.S. Patent No.
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Des. 892,299 sh6ws a toilet brush With a convex shaped
bristle carrying surface.
Summary of the Invention
Some aspects of this invention may provide a
toothbrush head having a dome shaped or a trampoline type
cleaning element carrying surface to provide increased
flexibility of the cleaning elements.
Some aspects of this invention may provide a
toothbrush wherein the head is hinged along a hinge axis
collinear with the longitudinal axis of the head.
Some aspects of this invention may provide such a
toothbrush which utilizes cleaning elements that can wrap
around the edge of the teeth for simultaneous contact with
both the front and top of the teeth.
Some aspects of this invention may provide
manufacturing techniques for making such a toothbrush.
In accordance with one aspect of this invention a
toothbrush includes a head in the form of a base having an
upstanding wall to create a peripheral frame. A thin
resilient membrane is mounted to the frame with an open
space between the membrane and the frame. In
=
=
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its initial condition, when the toothbrush is not being
used the membrane is convex so that its original shape
is dome-like. The membrane is capable of flexing to al-
ter the original shape during use when the cleaning ele-
_
ments carried by the membrane are brushed against the
teeth to recover to the original shape randomly during
such use.
Preferably, the cleaning elements are bristles
secured to the membrane by in-molded technology.
In a preferred practice of the invention the
toothbrush head is oval shaped and the membrane is also
oval shaped. The membrane is convex in both its longi-
tudinal'and transverse directions.
In accordance with another aspect, this inven-
tion provides a simplified and effective way to obtain
desired flexibility in head and handle. Like a trampo-
line, at least the portion of the head carrying bristles
is constructed to allow easy deformation of the bristles
when in use, which improves contact with, and cleaning
of, teeth. Pressure on the bristles against the teeth
causes the head to deflect along with the bristles but
the flexible head is designed to return to its original
position once the pressure on the bristle is relieved.
During the transition from heavy pressure to no pressure
on the handle, the bristle stays in constant contact
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with the tooth because of the flexibility built into the toothbrush head.
In accordance with yet another aspect of this invention, there is
provided a toothbrush comprising a handle, a head secured to said handle and
dimensioned for use in the oral cavity, said head being in the form of a base
having
an upstanding wall to create a peripheral frame around an outer edge of said
head, a
thin resilient membrane being an elastomeric material, the membrane having a
circumferential periphery conforming to a shape of the peripheral frame, the
membrane being mounted directly to said frame by affixing the circumferential
periphery of the membrane to said frame to create an interior cavity between
said
membrane and said base and said wall, the wall having a mounting surface for
receiving and securing the circumferential periphery of the membrane to an
interior
portion of the frame and for enclosing the cavity within the head, said
membrane
having an initial condition of non-use, said membrane in said initial
condition being
convex to have an original dome-like shape, at least one tooth cleaning
element on
said membrane extending away from the head, and said membrane being capable of
flexing to alter said original shape during use of said toothbrush and then
recovering
to said original shape randomly during use of said toothbrush; wherein a
section of
the head of the toothbrush includes powered cleaning elements and the powered
cleaning elements are disposed at a tip end of the head and the membrane is
disposed proximate to the handle, wherein said at least one tooth cleaning
element
comprises bristles secured to said membrane by in-molded technology.
In accordance with yet another aspect of this invention, there is
provided a toothbrush comprising a handle, a head secured to said handle and
dimensioned for use in the oral cavity, the head comprising a base and an
upstanding
wall creating a peripheral frame around an outer edge of the head, a membrane
being an elastomeric material, the membrane having a circumferential periphery

conforming to a shape of the peripheral frame, the membrane being mounted to
said
frame by affixing the circumferential periphery of the membrane to said frame
to
create an enclosed interior cavity in the head, the wall having a mounting
surface
facing the interior of the cavity, the mounting surface extending from the
base to a
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distal edge of the wall, the mounting surface having a lower vertical portion
connected to an inclined portion being adjacent to the distal edge, the
membrane
being mounted to the vertical portion and the inclined portion, the membrane
having
an initial condition of non-use, the membrane in the initial condition being
convex to
have an original dome-like shape, at least one tooth cleaning element being
bristles
secured to the membrane via in-molded technology, the at least one tooth
cleaning
element extending away from the head, and the membrane being capable of
flexing
to alter the original shape during use of the toothbrush and then recovering
to the
original shape randomly during use of the toothbrush; and including powered
cleaning elements disposed at a distal end of the head and wherein the
membrane is
disposed proximate to the handle.
In accordance with yet another aspect of this invention, there is
provided a method of making a toothbrush comprising: forming a head with a
base
portion having an upstanding wall to create a peripheral frame including a
peripheral
mounting surface on the wall and a handle attached to the head; directly
mounting a
bristle carrying surface to the frame to be attached to the peripheral
mounting
surface, wherein the bristle carrying surface is a dome shaped membrane made
from
a flexible resilient elastomeric material and having a circumferential
periphery
conforming to a shape of the peripheral frame, securing the circumferential
periphery
of the dome shaped membrane to the peripheral mounting surface of the wall in
such
a manner than an open space is provided below the membrane; attaching bristles
to
the membrane by in-molded technology; and providing powered cleaning elements
on a tip end section of the head of the toothbrush, the powered cleaning
elements
being disposed at the tip end of the head and the membrane being disposed
proximate to the handle.
In accordance with yet another aspect of this invention, there is
provided a toothbrush comprising a handle and a head portion, said head
portion
containing an open area partially enclosed with elastomeric material, said
elastomeric
material having a portion extending from said open area into said head
portion, said
material being readily deflectable into the open area and in the extended
portion to
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alter its original orientation during use of said toothbrush and then
recovering to
assume its original orientation after use of said toothbrush; said head
portion having
cleaning elements on said elastomeric material in said open area and in said
extended portion, wherein a section of the head of the toothbrush includes
powered
cleaning elements and the powered cleaning elements are disposed at a tip end
of
the head and the open area of the head is disposed proximate to the handle,
wherein
the cleaning elements on said elastomeric material are secured to the
elastomeric
material by in-molded technology.
In accordance with yet another aspect of this invention, there is
provided a method of making a toothbrush comprising: forming a head and a
handle
attached to the head, wherein a portion of the head includes an open area
surrounded in part by elastomeric material, said elastomeric material having a
portion
extending from said open area into said head, said material being readily
deflectable
into the open area and in the extended portion; attaching cleaning elements to
the
elastomeric material in said open area and in the extended portion by in-
molded
technology; and providing powered cleaning elements on a tip end section of
the
head of the toothbrush, the powered cleaning elements being disposed at the
tip end
of the head and the open area of the head being disposed proximate to the
handle.
In accordance with still another aspect of this invention the head of the
toothbrush has a spine which extends collinear with the longitudinal axis of
the head
thereby dividing the head into a pair of side by side longitudinal sections
connected to
the spine. The spine forms a hinge axis made of resilient material which
serves as a
spring so as to permit the sections to move from and to an original position
in
response to contacting the teeth.
In a preferred practice of this aspect of the invention the side by side
sections may also include soft flexible material. Preferably, the cleaning
elements on
each section include an outer set of cleaning elements of longer length than
an inner
set. The outer cleaning elements could function as plaque removal bristles
which are
of sufficient length to extend partially along the tooth while the inner
cleaning
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elements brush against the tooth. The terminal surfaces of the inner sets of
cleaning
elements preferably form an obtuse angle from the two sets of inner cleaning
elements of the side by side sections to maximize contact with the teeth when
the
sections are in their original position. During use the brush head is pressed
against
the edge of
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the teeth thus causing the flexible hinge to open and
close during cleaning.
The Drawings:
Figure 1 is a perspective view of a toothbrush
in accordance with this invention;
Figure 2 is a side elevational view of the
toothbrush shown in Figure 1;
Figure 3 is a front elevational view of the
toothbrush shown in Figures 1-2;
Figure 4 is a cross-sectional view taken
through Figure 3 along the line 4-4;
Figure 5 is a front elevational view of a pow-
ered toothbrush in accordance with this invention;
Figure 6 is a perspective view of a toothbrush
having elastic areas in the head and handle to allow de-
flection of the brush, bristles and handle for better
teeth cleaning and control in accordance with a further
embodiment of this invention;
Figure 7 is a side elevational view of the
toothbrush shown in Figure 6;
Figure 8 is a top plan view of the toothbrush
shown in Figures 6-7;

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Figure 9 is a side elevational view of the
toothbrush of Figure 6 showing aeflection in the open
area under the bristles and the handle area;
Figure 10 is a top plan view of a powered
toothbrush in accordance with theembodiment of Figures
6-9 of this invention;
Figure 11 is a perspective view of a
toothbrush formed in accordance with still another em-
bodiment of this invention;
Figure 12 is a side elevational view of the
toothbrush shown in Figure 11;
Figure 13 is a top plan view of the toothbrush
shown in Figures 11-12;
Figure 14 is an end elevational view of the
toothbrush shown in Figures 11-13 in its original closed
position;
Figure 15 is a cross-sectional view taken
through Figure 13 along the line 15-15, but with the
brush head in its hinged open position and omitting some
of the cleaning elements; and
Figure 16 is a front elevational view of a
powered toothbrush in accordance with the embodiment of
Figures 11-15 of this invention.
Detailed Description
Figures 1-4 illustrate a toothbrush 10 in ac-
cordance with one embodiment of this invention. As
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shown therein toothbrush 10 includes a handle 12 and a
head 14. Handle 12 may include-a suitable grip pad 16
made of an elastomer material. The invention, however,
is primarily directed to the structure of head 14. As
shown in Figure 4 head 14 has a base portion 18 with an
upstanding wall 20 to create a peripheral frame extend-
ing outwardly above base portion 18. In accordance with
this invention a membrane 22 is attached to frame 20
completely along its periphery. Membrane 22 in its ml-
tial non-use condition is convex or bowed outwardly as
best shown in Figure 4. The convex bowing would be
preferably both in the longitudinal and transverse di-
rections thus presenting a dome-like outer surface 24 to
which cleaning elements 26 are connected.
The invention in all embodiments is particu-
larly suitable for cleaning elements in the form of
strands or bristles attached via in-molded technology
(IMT) methods that generally require small cross-
sections of material into which the strands are perma-
nently attached. The strands utilizing IMT methods are
preferably attached during formation of the toothbrush
handle or at least during formation of the head which is
the portion of the toothbrush to which the strands and
other materials are attached. A key feature of the in-
vention of Figures 1-4 and of Figure 5 is the use of
thin cross-sections of material for membrane 22. Men-
12

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62301-2462
brane 22 is flexible and resilient, The cross-section
shown, for example, in Figure 4-is formed like a moon
crescent thus representing a shape similar to the dome.
Because of the open space 28 between base por-
tion 18 and membrane 22 the Membrane would move from its
original dome-like shape to be distorted into other
shapes as the cleaning elements or bristles 26 contact
the teeth. Thus, the dome bas a thin membrane of ma-
terial or combinations of material that can flex to be-
come altered from its original shape and recover to its
original shape randomly during brushing. The bristles
26 are attached to the flexible dome and move accord-
ingly, creating a random topology and by doing so im-
prove the cleaning of the teeth. The moving bristle
strands haVe more degrees of motion than other
toothbrushes and thus represent a different and unique
tooth brushing device.
In the illustrated embodiment of this inven-
tion the head 14 is generally oval shape and the mein-
brane 22 has a corresponding oval shape. See Figure 3.
Any suitable form of cleaning elements may be
used as the cleaning elements 26 in the broad practice
of this invention. The term "cleaning elements" is in-
tended to be used in a generic sense which could include
conventional fiber bristles or massage elements or other
forms of cleaning elements such as elastomeric fingers
13 :

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or walls arranged in a circular cross-sectional shape or
any type of desired shape including straight portions or
sinusoidal portions. Where bristles are,sed, the bris-
tles could be mounted to tuft blocks or sections by ex-
_
tending through suitable openings in the tuft blocks so
that the base of the bristles is mounted within or below
the tuft block and below membrane 22.
It is to be understood that the specific il-
lustration of the cleaning elements is merely for exem-
plary purposes. The invention can be practiced with
various combinations of the same or different cleaning
element configurations (such as stapled or in-molded
technology bristles, anchor free technology (AFT), etc.)
and/or with the same bristle or cleaning element materi-
als (such as nylon bristles, spiral bristles, rubber
bristles, etc.) Similarly, while Figure 2 illustrates
the cleaning elements to be generally perpendicular to
the outer surface 24 membrane 22 or head 14 some or all
of the cleaning elements may be angled at various angles
with respect to the outer surface of head 14. It is
thereby possible to select the combination of cleaning
element configurations, materials and orientations to
achieve specific intended results to deliver additional
oral health benefits, like enhanced cleaning tooth pol-
ishing, tooth whitening and/or massaging of the gums.
14

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Preferably, however, cleaning elements 26 are
IMT bristles since IMT bristles require small cross-
sections of material into which the strands are attached
and the membrane 22 in the preferred practice of the in-
_
vention has a small cross-section.
Although Figures 1-3 illustrate the membrane
22 to occupy generally the entire head 14, the invention
may be practiced where the head 14 is of sufficient size
that it could include other bristle carrying surfaces
adjacent to the dome shape membrane 22.
Although Figures 1-4 illustrate a manually op-
erated toothbrush, the invention may also be practiced
where the head includes one or more power or electri-
cally operated movable sections carrying cleaning ele-
ments. Such movable section may oscillate in a rota-
tional manner or may oscillate linearly in a longitudi-
nal direction with respect to the longitudinal axis of
the head or may oscillate linearly in a lateral or
transverse direction with respect to the longitudinal
axis of the head. The movable section may oscillate in
and out in a direction toward and away from the outer
surface of the head. The movable section may rock back
and forth with respect to the outer surface of the head.
The movable section may rotate continuously in the same
direction, rather than oscillate. Any suitable drive
mechanism may be used for imparting the desired motion

CA 02495026 2011-05-31
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to the movable section. Where plural movable sections
are used, all of the movable sections may have the same
type and direction of movement, or combinations of dif-
ferent movements may be used.
Figure 5 illustrates a toothbrush 10A which
includes a power driven movable disc or section 30 hav-
ing cleaning elements. The movable section 30 could be
oscillated rotationally Such as by using the type of
drive mechanism shown in U.S. Patent No. 5,625,916, or
could move in and out using the type of drive mechanism
shown in U.S. Patent No. Re35,9A1.
Alternatively, the other types of drives re-
ferred to above could move section 30 in other manners
and directions. Although Figure 5 shows movable section
30 to be at the distal end of the head, the movable sec-
tion(s) could be located at any desired location on the
head.
Handle 12, base 18 and frame 20 are preferably
made of hard plastic materials which are used for manual
toothbrushes. As noted, however, a characteristic of
dome shape membrane 22 is that it is made of a flexible
resilient material such as an elastomer capable of being
moved from its original position and then returning to
that original position.
=
16
=
=

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Membrane 22 may be secured to frame 20 in any
suitable manner. Thus, for example, frame 20 includes
inwardly inclined surfaces for receiving membrane 22.
Other structural arrangements may be used within the
practice of this invention t6- mount membrane 22 on head
14. =
Figures 6-9 illustrate a manual toothbrush 110
in accordance with another embodiment of this invention.
This is a variation of the prior embodiment using a
trampoline type structure to achieve an up and down mo-
tion. As shown therein toothbrush 110 includes a handle
112 and a .head 114. Handle 112 may include a suitable
area 116 made of an elastomeric material. This elas-
tomeric portion of the handle is preferably molded with
an open area 118 which is readily deformable by the
user. The elastomeric material 116 on the top side of
the handle 112 (as viewed in Figures 6, 7 and 9) will
yield under pressure of the user's fingers to provide a
better grip on the handle while providing a more corn-
fortable feel to the handle. Figure 9 illustrates this
elastomeric portion 116 of the handle 112 in a depressed
state. The downward arrow in this Figure represents the
pressure applied by the toothbrush user. The open area
118 is thereby minimized. As soon as the user's pres- ' =
sure is released, the properties of the elastomeric por-
.
=
17
=

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tion 116 of the handle 112 return the elastomeric mate-
rial 116 to its original shape illustrated in Fig. 6.
A similar flexible, deformable open area 120
is created in the head by inclusion of an elastomeric
portion 122 in the head overlying open area 120. Clean-
ing elements 124 are arrayed in the elastomeric portion
of the head and fastened thereto by known methods in-
cluding in-molded technology (IMT). Bristle attachment
utilizing IMT methods preferably occurs during formation
of the toothbrush handle or at least during formation of
the elastomeric portion 122 of the head 114.
In use, the application of pressure by the
toothbrush user causes a like pressure of the teeth
against cleaning elements 124 as illustrated by the ar-
row in Figure 9. This causes deflection of the elas-
tomeric portion 122 of head 114 which in turn causes a
reorientation of cleaning elements relative to the teeth
being cleaned. As the user's pressure is reduced, the
open area 120 of head 114 opens up causing the cleaning
elements to follow the shape of the teeth being brushed
and thereby improving the cleaning of the teeth. When
all user pressure is released, the open area 120 returns
to its original shape.
The elastomeric portion 122 of head 114 should
be a material or combinations of material that can flex
to become altered from its original shape and recover to
18

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PCT/US2003/024878
its original shape randomly during brushing. The clean-
ing elements, for example, bristles, are attached to the
flexible membrane creating a flexible orientation of
cleaning elements 124 which improves the cleaning of the
teeth. The moving bristle strands have considerable de-
grees of motion and thus provide a unique tooth brushing
experience.
Any suitable form of cleaning elements may be
used as the cleaning elements 124 in the broad practice
of this invention, as discussed with the embodiments of
Figures 1-5.
It is to be understood that the specific
illustration of the cleaning elements is merely for ex-
emplary purposes. The invention can be practiced with
various combinations of the same or different cleaning
element configurations (such as stapled or in-molded
technology bristles, AFT, etc.) and/or with the same
bristle or cleaning element materials (such as nylon
bristles, spiral bristles, rubber bristles, etc.) Simi-
larly, while Figures 7 and 9 illustrates the cleaning
elements to be generally perpendicular to the elas-
tomeric portion 122 of head 114, some or all of the
cleaning elements may be angled at various angles. It
is thereby possible to select the combination of clean-
ing element configurations, materials and orientations
to achieve specific intended results to deliver addi-
tional oral health benefits, like enhanced cleaning,
=
19

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PCT/US2003/024878
tooth polishing, tooth whitening and/or massaging of the
gums.
Portions of handle 112 and head 114, may be
made of hard plastic material which is used for manual
toothbrushes. As noted, however, a feature of this
toothbrush is use of elastomeric portions 116 of the
handle and/or elastomeric portion 122 of head 114, such
as an elastomer capable of being moved from its original
position and then returning to its original position.
This invention may also be practiced where the
head 114 includes one or more power or electrically op-
erated movable sections carrying cleaning elements:
Figure 10 illustrates a toothbrush 110A which
includes a power driven movable disc or section 150 hay-
ing cleaning elements. The movable section 150 could be
similar to section 30 of Figure 5. Although Figure 10
shows movable section 150 to be at the one end of the
head, as with Figure 5, the movable section(s) could be
located at any desired location on the head.
In another embodiment of this invention a
toothbrush includes a head longitudinally separated into
side by side areas by means of a flexible hinge struc-
ture that serves as a spring to return the brush head
materials and cleaning areas to their original position.
Figures 11-13 illustrate a toothbrush 210 which includes
an elongated handle 212 and a head 214. A portion of

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PCT/US2003/024878
handle 212 may be recessed at gripping area 216 between
shoulders 218 and 220. Shoulder 218 could extend out-
wardly a sufficient distance to act as a hook or ledge
to facilitate hanging the toothbrush in an inverted con-
dition.
Head 214 and handle 212 are elongated and have
a longitudinal axis. As shown in Figures 14 and 15 head
214 includes a spine 222 which extends collinear with
the longitudinal or major axis of the toothbrush handle
and head. As a result, head 214 is separated into two
side by side longitudinal sections 224,226 connected to
the spine 222. Spine 222 is made of a resilient mate-
rial such as an elastomer which is sufficiently flexible
as to be movable and yet return to its original posi-
tion. As a result, spine 222 functions as a hinge axis
whereby the side by side sections 224,226 may move or
pivot about the spine away from the original position
shown in Figure 14 to an open position such as shown in
Figure 15 when the cleaning elements on the sections
224,226 contact the teeth. Then sections 224,226 return
to their original position under the influence of the
resilient hinge or spine 222. Preferably hinge or spine
222 is confined to head 214.
As illustrated, each of the sections 224,226
includes sets of cleaning elements. For example, an
outer set of cleaning elements 228 is located at the
21

CA 02495026 2005-02-08
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PCT/US2003/024878
outer periphery of each section 224,226 while an inner
set of cleaning elements 230 is locatedcloser to the
spine 222. Preferably, the terminal surfaces 232 of the
inner cleaning elements 230 are tapered toward the hinge
axis 222 so that the adjacent terminal ends 232 of each
inner set of cleaning elements forms an obtuse angle as
indicated by the letter A in Figure 14 when the brush
head is in its original position.
The outer sets of cleaning elements 228 extend
outwardly a longer distance from the outer surface of
the sections than do the inner cleaning elements 230.
As a result, the combined cleaning elements are designed
to wrap around the edge of the teeth for simultaneous
possible contact with both the front and top of the
teeth. See Figure 14. During use the brush head is
pressed against the edge of the teeth causing the flexi-
ble hinge to open and close during cleaning.
As illustrated in Figures 11-13 in a preferred
practice of the invention the outer sets of cleaning
elements 228 are bristle bundles of plaque bristles.
The inner sets of cleaning elements 230 may be bristles
formed by in-molded technology (IMT) where sets of bris-
tles are fused together at one end and the fused end is
inserted in a mold cavity during the manufacture of the
head.
22

CA 02495026 2005-02-08
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Figure 15 shows the sections 224,226 in their
open position. Figure 15 omits some of the cleaning
elements so as to provide a better understanding of how
the cleaning elements are mounted. As shown therein,
the plaque bristles 228 are in the form of bristle bun-
dles or tufts inserted into individual holes 234 in
bristle container 236. The inner sets of cleaning ele-
ments 230 are IMT bristles mounted in IMT container 238.
The IMT containers 238 may be made of soft flexible
elastomer material integral with hinge axis 222, as
shown in Figure 15.
As shown in Figures 11-13 the bristle con-
tainer 236 does not extend completely to the distal end
of the head 214. Accordingly, side plates 240 are pro-
vided on each side of the head longitudinally abutting
against bristle containers 236 and disposed against con-
tainers 238 for the remaining length of containers 238
so that a smooth contour results along the side of the
head 214. Side plates 240 may also be made of a soft,
flexible elastomer material.
As best shown in Figures 11-12 each inner row
of IMT bristles 230 has its bristles spaced apart or
staggered so that the inclined IMT bristles of each sec-
tion may fit between the spacing of adjacent IMT bris-
ties of the other section.
23

CA 02495026 2005-02-08
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PCT/US2003/024878
Although Figures 11-15 illustrate a preferred
form of cleaning elements to bd the plaque bristles and
IMT bristles any suitable form of cleaning elements may
be used as the cleaning elements 228 and 230 as previ-
ously described. Thus the term "cleaning elements" is
intended to be used in a generic sense which could in-
clude conventional fiber bristles or massage elements or
other forms of cleaning elements such as elastomeric
fingers or walls arranged in a circular cross-sectional
shape or any type of desired shape including straight
portions or sinusoidal portions. Where bristles are
used, the bristles could be mounted to tuft blocks or
sections by extending through suitable openings in the
tuft blocks so that the base of the bristles is mounted
within or below the tuft block.
Similarly, it is to be understood that the
specific illustration of the cleaning elements is merely
for exemplary purposes. The invention can be practiced
with various combinations of the same or different
cleaning element configurations (such as stapled or IMT
bristles, AFT, etc.) and/or with the same bristle or
cleaning element materials (such as nylon bristles, spi-
ral bristles, rubber bristles, etc.) Similarly, while
Figure 12 illustrates the cleaning elements to be gener-
ally perpendicular to the outer surface of head 214 some
or all of the cleaning elements may be angled at various
24

CA 02495026 2011-05-31
62301-2462
angles with respect to the outer surface of head 214.
It is thereby possible to selecà the combination of
cleaning element configurations, materials and orienta-
tions to achieve specific intended results to deliver
additional oral health benefits, like enhanced cleaning
tooth polishing; tooth whitening and/or massaging of the
gums.
Handle 212 could be made of a conventional
hard plastic material which could, however, include a
soft elastomer section 242 near the head 214. Bristle
containers 236 could also be made of a hard plastic
material while side plates 240 and IMT containers 238
are made of a soft elastomer material. By having the
bristle containers 236 mounted against the IMT contain-
ers 238, the bristle containers 236 and their cleaning
elements 228 move along with the movement of the IMT
containers 238 in response to the IMT bristles 230 con-
tacting the teeth. If desired,, the bristle containers
236 may also be made of a soft elastomer material.
Although Figures 11-13 illustrate a manually
operated toothbrush, the invention may also be practiced
where the head includes one or more power or electri-
cally operated movable sections carrying cleaning ele-
ments. Figure 16 illustrates a toothbrush 210A which in-
cludes a power driven movable disc or section 250 having

CA 02495026 2005-02-08
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PCT/US2003/024878
_
cleaning elements, similar to the movable sections of
toothbrushes 10A and 110A.
26

A single figure which represents the drawing illustrating the invention.

For a clearer understanding of the status of the application/patent presented on this page, the site Disclaimer , as well as the definitions for Patent , Administrative Status , Maintenance Fee  and Payment History  should be consulted.

Admin Status

Title Date
Forecasted Issue Date 2014-09-30
(86) PCT Filing Date 2003-08-08
(87) PCT Publication Date 2004-02-19
(85) National Entry 2005-02-08
Examination Requested 2008-06-30
(45) Issued 2014-09-30
Lapsed 2018-08-08

Abandonment History

There is no abandonment history.

Payment History

Fee Type Anniversary Year Due Date Amount Paid Paid Date
Filing $400.00 2005-02-08
Registration of Documents $100.00 2005-04-05
Registration of Documents $100.00 2005-04-05
Registration of Documents $100.00 2005-04-05
Registration of Documents $100.00 2005-04-05
Registration of Documents $100.00 2005-04-05
Registration of Documents $100.00 2005-04-05
Registration of Documents $100.00 2005-04-05
Registration of Documents $100.00 2005-04-05
Registration of Documents $100.00 2005-04-05
Maintenance Fee - Application - New Act 2 2005-08-08 $100.00 2005-07-15
Maintenance Fee - Application - New Act 3 2006-08-08 $100.00 2006-06-14
Maintenance Fee - Application - New Act 4 2007-08-08 $100.00 2007-06-19
Maintenance Fee - Application - New Act 5 2008-08-08 $200.00 2008-06-17
Request for Examination $800.00 2008-06-30
Maintenance Fee - Application - New Act 6 2009-08-10 $200.00 2009-06-18
Maintenance Fee - Application - New Act 7 2010-08-09 $200.00 2010-06-17
Maintenance Fee - Application - New Act 8 2011-08-08 $200.00 2011-06-23
Maintenance Fee - Application - New Act 9 2012-08-08 $200.00 2012-07-25
Maintenance Fee - Application - New Act 10 2013-08-08 $250.00 2013-07-22
Final Fee $300.00 2014-07-14
Maintenance Fee - Application - New Act 11 2014-08-08 $250.00 2014-07-17
Maintenance Fee - Patent - New Act 12 2015-08-10 $250.00 2015-08-03
Maintenance Fee - Patent - New Act 13 2016-08-08 $250.00 2016-08-01
Current owners on record shown in alphabetical order.
Current Owners on Record
COLGATE-PALMOLIVE COMPANY
Past owners on record shown in alphabetical order.
Past Owners on Record
DESIGN A STORZ GMBH
KUCHLER, THOMAS
LANGGNER, TANJA
MOSKOVICH, ROBERT
RUSSELL, BRUCE M.
STORZ, JOACHIM
Past Owners that do not appear in the "Owners on Record" listing will appear in other documentation within the application.

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Abstract 2005-02-08 2 79
Claims 2005-02-08 7 214
Drawings 2005-02-08 6 144
Description 2005-02-08 26 972
Representative Drawing 2005-02-08 1 11
Cover Page 2005-04-18 1 50
Description 2005-04-05 28 1,068
Claims 2005-04-05 5 216
Claims 2011-05-31 5 184
Description 2011-05-31 29 1,092
Drawings 2011-05-31 6 140
Description 2012-02-14 28 1,090
Claims 2012-02-14 5 181
Description 2012-11-02 29 1,103
Claims 2012-11-02 5 182
Claims 2013-09-25 4 131
Cover Page 2014-09-02 1 52
Representative Drawing 2014-09-17 1 12
PCT 2005-02-08 5 150
Assignment 2005-02-08 2 90
PCT 2005-02-08 6 332
Correspondence 2005-04-14 1 25
Assignment 2005-04-05 26 1,251
Prosecution-Amendment 2005-04-05 11 431
Prosecution-Amendment 2008-06-30 1 43
Prosecution-Amendment 2008-09-09 1 32
Prosecution-Amendment 2010-12-02 2 80
Prosecution-Amendment 2011-05-31 19 694
Prosecution-Amendment 2011-08-19 3 94
Prosecution-Amendment 2012-02-14 16 673
Prosecution-Amendment 2012-05-02 3 147
Prosecution-Amendment 2012-11-02 20 857
Prosecution-Amendment 2013-03-25 2 69
Prosecution-Amendment 2013-09-25 3 110
Prosecution-Amendment 2014-01-13 1 29
Correspondence 2014-07-14 2 74