Anticipate This!™ | Patent and Trademark Law Blog

They Invented What? (No. 69)

Posted in They Invented What? by Jake Ward on October 16, 2007

U.S. Pat. No. 6,033,608:  Method for making foam rubber tree bark-configured articles having manmade textiles backings.

 rubberbark 

What is claimed is:

1. A method of forming a tree bark-configured rubber article having a manmade textile backing comprising the sequential steps of

(a) providing a rubber composition comprising
at least one rubber selected from the group consisting of acrylonitrile-butadiene rubber (NBR), styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR), and mixtures thereof;
at least one nitrogen-containing blowing agent;
optionally, an ozone-resistance agent being ethylene-propylene-diene (EPDM); and
optionally, at least one other additive selected from the group consisting of an antistatic agent, a perfume, a scent, a colorant, a dye, a pigment, and mixtures thereof;
(b) placing said rubber composition over a silicon-based mold, wherein said mold is a relief of at least a portion of the bark of a tree;
(c) placing at least one layer of a textile of sufficient size to cover at least a portion of said rubber composition, wherein
said textile is selected from the group consisting of 100% polyester and 100% nylon;
(d) vulcanizing the textile-covered rubber composition within the silicon-based mold under a pressure, at a temperature, and for a period of time sufficient to effectuate a closed cell structure within the resultant vulcanized foam rubber and to effectuate adhesion between the textile backing and the rubber composition;
(e) removing the resultant vulcanized, textile-backed article from the silicon-based mold; and
(f) optionally,
(i) contacting at least a portion of the rubber side of said resultant article with at least one additive selected from the group consisting of an antistatic agent, a perfume, a scent, a dye, a pigment, and mixtures thereof;
(ii) contacting at least a portion of the textile backing of said resultant article with at least one additive selected from the group consisting of a dye, a colorant, a pigment, an ultraviolet absorber, a softening agent, a soil release agent, and mixtures thereof; or
(iii) both (i) and (ii).

2. The method of claim 1 wherein the textile backing is 100% polyester.

3. The method of claim 1 wherein the textile backing is 100% nylon.

4. The method of claim 1 wherein the ozone-resistance agent within step (a) is present.

5. The method of claim 4 wherein the weight ratio of the rubber to EPDM is from about 1.2 to about 9.0.

6. The method of claim 5 wherein the weight ratio of the rubber to EPDM is from about 2.3 to about 9.0.

7. An article of clothing comprising an article produced by the method of claim 1.

8. An article of footwear comprising an article produced by the method of claim 1.

9. A shelter covering comprising an article produced by the method of claim 1.

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