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Publication numberUS20090236019 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 12/410,966
Publication dateSep 24, 2009
Filing dateMar 25, 2009
Priority dateJun 7, 2006
Publication number12410966, 410966, US 2009/0236019 A1, US 2009/236019 A1, US 20090236019 A1, US 20090236019A1, US 2009236019 A1, US 2009236019A1, US-A1-20090236019, US-A1-2009236019, US2009/0236019A1, US2009/236019A1, US20090236019 A1, US20090236019A1, US2009236019 A1, US2009236019A1
InventorsWalter Fiore Maruzzo
Original AssigneeJlm Accessories Ltd.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Cover assemblies for covering objects
US 20090236019 A1
Abstract
A cover assembly comprises a covering member having an object-covering shape, and a container for containing the covering member. The container has a containment configuration and a deployment configuration, and has a defined orientation relative to a notional object to be covered. The container also has an anchor for non-invasively maintaining the container in position on the notional object to be covered. The covering member is secured to the container at a predetermined position of the covering member and in alignment with the defined orientation of the container. Placement of the container at a predetermined position of the notional object to be covered corresponding to the predetermined position of the covering member, with the defined orientation of the container matching the orientation of the notional object to be covered, aligns the object-covering shape of the covering member with a shape of the notional object to be covered.
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Claims(25)
1. An object-specific cover assembly for covering an object, comprising:
a container having:
a defined orientation relative to a notional object to be covered; and
an anchor for non-invasively maintaining the container in position on the notional object to be covered;
the container being movable between a closed configuration and an open configuration; and
a covering member having a size and shape corresponding generally to a shape of the notional object to be covered, the covering member including an upper portion corresponding to a predetermined position on an upper surface of the notional object to be covered;
the covering member being containable within the container when the container is in the closed configuration and being exposed for deployment when the container is in the open configuration;
the upper portion of the covering member cover being secured to the container in cooperation with the defined orientation of the container to, when the cover assembly is positioned at the predetermined position on the upper surface of the notional object to be covered with the defined orientation of the container co-oriented with the shape of the notional object to be covered, align the shape of the covering member with the notional object to be covered to, when the container is in the open configuration, permit deployment of the covering member to cover the notional object to be covered.
2. A cover assembly according to claim 1, wherein the anchor comprises a high-friction material disposed on an underside of the container.
3 . A cover assembly according to claim 2 wherein the high friction material is PVC-coated polyester scrim.
4. A cover assembly according to claim 2 wherein the high friction material has approximately a 90 degree coefficient of friction.
5. A cover assembly according to claim 1, wherein the predetermined position on the notional object to be covered includes at least a portion comprising magnetically attractive metal and the anchor comprises at least one magnet on the container.
6. A cover assembly according to claim 5, wherein the at least one magnet is disposed inwardly of a layer of material.
7. A cover assembly according to claim 1, wherein the anchor comprises at least one suction cup on the container.
8. A cover assembly according to claim 1, wherein the anchor comprises straps secured to the container.
9. A cover assembly according to claim 1, wherein the container is a box comprising a base and a plurality of wall sections secured to the base and moveable between an erected configuration defining the closed configuration and an outwardly collapsed configuration defining the open configuration, the wall sections being securable in the erected configuration.
10. A cover assembly according to claim 1, wherein the container is a bag.
11. A cover assembly according to claim 10, wherein the container is a clamshell container comprising:
a first clamshell portion and a second clamshell portion pivotingly secured to one another at respective edges thereof, and
at least one fastener for securing the first and second clamshell portions in facing relation to one another;
wherein the closed configuration is defined by the first and second clamshell portions being in facing relation to one another and wherein the anchor is disposed on at least one of the first and second clamshell portions.
12. A cover assembly, comprising:
a covering member having an object-covering shape;
a container for containing the covering member, the container:
being configurable between a containment configuration for containing the covering member and a deployment configuration for deploying the covering member;
having a defined orientation relative to a notional object to be covered; and
having an anchor for non-invasively maintaining the container in position on the notional object to be covered; and
the covering member being secured to the container at a predetermined position of the covering member and in alignment with the defined orientation of the container;
whereby placement of the container at a predetermined position of the notional object to be covered corresponding to the predetermined position of the covering member with the defined orientation of the container matching an orientation of the notional object to be covered aligns the object-covering shape of the covering member with a shape of the notional object to be covered.
13. A cover assembly according to claim 12, wherein the anchor comprises a high-friction material disposed on an underside of the container.
14. A cover assembly according to claim 12, wherein the predetermined position on the notional object to be covered includes at least a portion comprising magnetically attractive metal and the anchor comprises at least one magnet on the container.
15. A cover assembly according to claim 14, wherein the at least one magnet is disposed inwardly of a layer of material.
16. A cover assembly according to claim 12, wherein the anchor comprises at least one suction cup on the container.
17. A cover assembly according to claim 12, wherein the anchor comprises straps secured to the container.
18. A cover assembly according to claim 12, wherein the container is a box comprising a base and a plurality of wall sections secured to the base and moveable between an erected configuration defining the containment configuration and an outwardly collapsed configuration defining the deployment configuration, the wall sections being securable in the erected configuration.
19. A cover assembly package, comprising:
a cover assembly, the cover assembly comprising:
a covering member having an object-covering shape;
a container for containing the covering member, the container:
being configurable between a containment configuration for containing the covering member and a deployment configuration for deploying the covering member;
having a defined orientation relative to a notional object to be covered; and
having an anchor for non-invasively maintaining the container in position on the notional object to be covered;
the covering member being secured to the container at a predetermined position of the covering member and in alignment with the defined orientation of the container; and
a substrate having instructions to place the container at a predetermined position of the notional object to be covered corresponding to the predetermined position of the covering member with the defined orientation of the container matching a an orientation of the notional object to be covered.
20. A cover assembly package according to claim 19, wherein the anchor comprises a high-friction material disposed on an underside of the container.
21. A cover assembly package according to claim 19, wherein the predetermined position on the notional object to be covered includes at least a portion comprising magnetically attractive metal and the anchor comprises at least one magnet on the container.
22. A cover assembly package according to claim 21, wherein the at least one magnet is disposed inwardly of a layer of material.
23. A cover assembly package according to claim 21, wherein the anchor comprises at least one suction cup on the container.
24. A cover assembly package according to claim 21, wherein the anchor comprises straps secured to the container.
25. A cover assembly package according to claim 21, wherein the container is a box comprising a base and a plurality of wall sections secured to the base and moveable between an erected configuration defining the containment configuration and an outwardly collapsed configuration defining the deployment configuration, the wall sections being securable in the erected configuration.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a Continuation-in-Part of U.S. application Ser. No. 11/448,801, filed Jun. 7, 2006, entitled “BARBEQUE COVER ASSEMBLY,” and a Continuation-in-Part of U.S. application Ser. No. 12,333,496, filed Dec. 12, 2008, entitled “BARBEQUE COVER ASSEMBLY,” all of which are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety.

FIELD OF INVENTION

This invention relates to cover assemblies, and more particularly to cover assemblies for use in covering various objects.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

It is often advantageous to position a cover over certain objects when those objects are not in use. For example, barbecues, vehicles and outdoor furniture may be covered when not in use, to protect them from the elements. As such, many different kinds of covers are known for covering various objects. However, known covers are often difficult to fit onto and to remove from the object to be covered, and are also often cumbersome and unsightly when not in use. In addition, during the deployment and removal process, the covers are often dragged across the ground, which is unsanitary and can lead to dirt being transferred from the cover to the object being covered.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to an aspect of the present invention, a cover assembly is provided. The cover assembly includes a covering member for covering a notional object, and a container for containing the covering member when the covering member is not in use. The covering member has an object-covering shape, and the container is selectively configurable in a containment configuration in which the covering member can be housed within the container, and a deployment configuration from which the covering member may be deployed to cover the notional object. The container has a defined orientation relative to the notional object to be covered, and the covering member is secured to the container at a predetermined position of the covering member and in alignment with the defined orientation of the container. As a result, when the container is placed in a predetermined position on the notional object to be covered, corresponding to the predetermined position of the covering member, with the defined orientation of the container matching the orientation of the notional object to be covered, the object-covering shape of the covering member will be aligned with the shape of the notional object to be covered. This facilitates easy and rapid deployment of the covering member to cover the object. In addition, the container may be provided with an anchor for maintaining the container in position on the notional object to be covered during deployment of the covering member. The anchor may be, for example, a high-friction material, one or more suction cups, one or more straps, or one or more magnets.

The defined orientation of the container may be defined by the position of the front of the container, or otherwise by the shape and configuration of the container, or may be arbitrarily defined, in which case it could be indicated by a marking on the container or by other indicia.

In one type of embodiment, the container is made up of a base having an anchor disposed on the underside thereof, and a plurality of wall sections secured to the base and moveable between an erected configuration in which they can be selectively secured, and an outwardly collapsed configuration. The container may optionally include a lid. In other types of embodiment, the container may take the form of a clamshell or of various types of bags having anchors.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Embodiments of aspects of the present invention will now be described, by way of example, with reference to the accompanying drawings, of which:

FIG. 1 is a bottom perspective view of an exemplary embodiment of a collapsible box-type cover assembly in accordance with an aspect of the present invention, showing high-friction material on an underside of a base of a container;

FIG. 1A is a bottom perspective view of an exemplary embodiment of a collapsible box-type cover assembly in accordance with an aspect of the present invention, showing suction cups on an underside of a base of a container;

FIG. 1B is a bottom perspective view of an exemplary embodiment of a collapsible box-type cover assembly in accordance with an aspect of the present invention, showing straps secured to a container;

FIG. 1C is a bottom perspective view of an exemplary embodiment of a collapsible box-type cover assembly in accordance with an aspect of the present invention, showing magnets on an underside of a base of a container;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the cover assembly of FIG. 1 located on top of a notional barbecue, the container of the cover assembly having its lid closed;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the cover assembly of FIG. 1 on top of the notional barbecue of FIG. 2, and showing the notional barbecue in its entirety;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the cover assembly of FIG. 1 on top of the notional barbecue of FIG. 2, the container of the cover assembly having its lid open and its walls in an erected configuration;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the cover assembly of FIG. 1 on top of the notional barbecue of FIG. 2, the container having its lid open and having straps on a rear wall and a second side wall of the container unfastened;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the cover assembly of FIG. 1 on top of the notional barbecue of FIG. 2, the container having its lid open, the second side wall having been moved to an outwardly collapsed configuration, and having a strap on a first side wall of the container unfastened;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of the cover assembly of FIG. 1 on top of the notional barbecue of FIG. 2, the container having its lid open, the second side wall and a front wall of the container having been moved to an outwardly collapsed configuration, and having a strap on a rear wall of the container unfastened;

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of the cover assembly of FIG. 1 on top of the notional barbecue of FIG. 2, the container having its lid open and having the rear wall, front wall and first and second side walls in an outwardly collapsed configuration;

FIG. 8A is a perspective view of the cover assembly of FIG. 1 on top of the notional barbecue of FIG. 2, the container having its lid open and having the rear wall, front wall and first and second side walls in an outwardly collapsed configuration, with the barbecue cover having been elevated above the container to provide a view of extension members securing the barbecue cover to the container;

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of the cover assembly of FIG. 1 on top of the notional barbecue of FIG. 2, the container having its lid open and having the rear wall, front wall and first and second side walls in an outwardly collapsed configuration, with the barbecue cover having been unfurled over the width of the notional barbecue at a central cooking portion thereof,

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of the cover assembly of FIG. 1 on top of the notional barbecue of FIG. 2, the container having its lid open and having the rear wall, front wall and first and second side walls in an outwardly collapsed configuration, with the barbecue cover extended along the length of the notional barbecue over one end thereof,

FIG. 11 is a perspective view of the cover assembly of FIG. 1 on top of the notional barbecue of FIG. 2, the container having its lid open and having the rear wall, front wall and first and second side walls in an outwardly collapsed configuration, with the barbecue cover covering the notional barbecue;

FIG. 12 is a perspective view of the cover assembly of FIG. 1 on top of the notional barbecue of FIG. 2, the container having its lid open and having the front wall and first side wall in an outwardly collapsed configuration and the rear wall and the second side wall in an erected configuration, with one lengthwise end of the barbecue cover having been pulled in a lengthwise direction inwardly from one end of the notional barbecue;

FIG. 13 is a detailed perspective view of the cover assembly of FIG. 1 on top of the notional barbecue of FIG. 2, the container having its lid open and having the front wall and first side wall in an outwardly collapsed configuration and the rear wall and the second side wall in an erected configuration, with one lengthwise end of the barbecue cover having been pulled in a lengthwise direction inwardly from one end of the notional barbecue;

FIG. 14 is a perspective view of the cover assembly of FIG. 1 on top of the notional barbecue of FIG. 2, the container having its lid open and having the first side wall in an outwardly collapsed configuration and the front wall, rear wall and second side wall in an erected configuration, with both lengthwise ends of the barbecue cover having been pulled in a lengthwise direction inwardly from each end of the notional barbecue;

FIG. 15 is a perspective view of the cover assembly of FIG. 1 on top of the notional barbecue of FIG. 2, the container having its lid open and having the front wall, rear wall and first and second side walls secured in an erected configuration, with both lengthwise ends of the barbecue cover having been pulled in a lengthwise direction inwardly from each end of the notional barbecue;

FIG. 16 is a perspective view of the cover assembly of FIG. 1 on top of the notional barbecue of FIG. 2, the container having its lid open and having the front wall, rear wall and first and second side walls of the container secured in an erected configuration, with the barbecue cover substantially entirely disposed therein;

FIG. 17 is a perspective view of an exemplary embodiment of a collapsible box-type cover assembly in accordance with an aspect of the present invention, located on top of a notional barbecue;

FIG. 18 is a perspective view of an exemplary embodiment of a clamshell-type cover assembly according to an aspect of the present invention and showing high-friction material on one clamshell portion thereof, located on top of a notional barbecue;

FIG. 19 is a bottom perspective view of the cover assembly of FIG. 18, showing an outer surface of a first clamshell portion of a container, the container in a closed configuration;

FIG. 19A is a bottom perspective view of an exemplary embodiment of a clamshell-type cover assembly in accordance with an aspect of the present invention and showing suction cups on one clamshell portion thereof,

FIG. 19B is a bottom perspective view of an exemplary embodiment of a cover assembly in accordance with an aspect of the present invention and showing straps secured to a container thereof,

FIG. 19C is a perspective view of an exemplary embodiment of a clamshell-type cover assembly in accordance with an aspect of the present invention and showing magnets on one clamshell portion thereof,

FIG. 20 is a view of the cover assembly of FIG. 19 with its container in an open configuration, showing outer surfaces of first and second clamshell portions of the container;

FIG. 20A is a view of the cover assembly of FIG. 19A with its container in an open configuration, showing outer surfaces of first and second clamshell portions of the container;

FIG. 20B is a view of the cover assembly of FIG. 19B with its container in an open configuration, showing outer surfaces of first and second clamshell portions of the container;

FIG. 20C is a view of the cover assembly of FIG. 19C with its container in an open configuration, showing outer surfaces of first and second clamshell portions of the container;

FIG. 20D shows an exemplary embodiment of a clamshell-type cover assembly in accordance with an aspect of the present invention with its container in an open configuration and showing high-friction material on both clamshell portions;

FIG. 20E shows an exemplary embodiment of a clamshell-type cover assembly in accordance with an aspect of the present invention with its container in an open configuration and showing suction cups on both clamshell portions;

FIG. 20F shows an exemplary embodiment of a clamshell-type cover assembly in accordance with an aspect of the present invention with its container in an open configuration and showing straps secured to the container;

FIG. 20G shows an exemplary embodiment of a clamshell-type cover assembly in accordance with an aspect of the present invention with its container in an open configuration and showing magnets on both clamshell portions;

FIG. 21 is a perspective view of a cover assembly according to an aspect of the present invention, representing any of the cover assemblies of FIG. 19, FIG. 19A, FIG. 19B or FIG. 19D, positioned on a notional barbecue;

FIG. 22 is a perspective view of the cover assembly of FIG. 21 positioned on a notional barbecue, showing a first stage of deployment of a covering member of the cover assembly;

FIG. 23 is a perspective view of the cover assembly of FIG. 21 positioned on a notional barbecue, showing a second stage of deployment of the covering member of the cover assembly;

FIG. 24 is a perspective view of the cover assembly of FIG. 21 positioned on a notional barbecue, showing a third stage of deployment of the covering member of the cover assembly;

FIG. 25 is a perspective view showing the covering member of the cover assembly of FIG. 21 completely deployed to cover the notional barbecue;

FIG. 26 is a perspective view showing a first stage of operations to move the covering member of the cover assembly of FIG. 21 from a fully deployed position to a contained configuration inside the container of the cover assembly;

FIG. 27 is a perspective view showing a second stage of operations to move the covering member of the cover assembly of FIG. 21 from a fully deployed position to a contained configuration inside the container of the cover assembly;

FIG. 28 is a perspective view showing a third stage of operations to move the covering member of the cover assembly of FIG. 21 from a fully deployed position to a contained configuration inside the container of the cover assembly;

FIGS. 29A and 29B are side views showing placement and deployment of an exemplary embodiment of a clamshell-type cover assembly according to an aspect of the present invention to cover a notional automobile;

FIGS. 29C and 29D are side views showing placement and deployment of an exemplary embodiment of a collapsible box-type cover assembly according to an aspect of the present invention to cover a notional automobile;

FIGS. 29E and 29F are side views showing placement and deployment of an exemplary embodiment of an upright bag-type cover assembly according to an aspect of the present invention to cover a notional automobile;

FIGS. 29G and 29H are side views showing placement and deployment of an exemplary embodiment of a longitudinal bag-type cover assembly according to an aspect of the present invention to cover a notional automobile;

FIGS. 30A and 30B are side views showing placement and deployment of an exemplary embodiment of a clamshell-type cover assembly according to an aspect of the present invention to cover a notional watercraft;

FIGS. 30C and 30D are side views showing placement and deployment of an exemplary embodiment of a collapsible box-type cover assembly according to an aspect of the present invention to cover a notional watercraft;

FIGS. 30E and 30F are side views showing placement and deployment of an exemplary embodiment of an upright bag-type cover assembly according to an aspect of the present invention to cover a notional watercraft;

FIGS. 30G and 30H are side views showing placement and deployment of an exemplary embodiment of a longitudinal bag-type cover assembly according to an aspect of the present invention to cover a notional watercraft;

FIGS. 31A and 31B are perspective views showing placement and deployment of an exemplary embodiment of a clamshell-type cover assembly according to an aspect of the present invention to cover a notional trailer;

FIGS. 31C and 31D are perspective views showing placement and deployment of an exemplary embodiment of a collapsible box-type cover assembly according to an aspect of the present invention to cover a notional trailer;

FIGS. 31E and 31F are perspective views showing placement and deployment of an exemplary embodiment of an upright bag-type cover assembly according to an aspect of the present invention to cover a notional trailer;

FIGS. 31G and 31H are perspective views showing placement and deployment of an exemplary embodiment of a longitudinal bag-type cover assembly according to an aspect of the present invention to cover a notional trailer;

FIGS. 32A and 32B are side views showing placement and deployment of an exemplary embodiment of a clamshell-type cover assembly according to an aspect of the present invention to cover a notional snowmobile;

FIGS. 32C and 32D are side views showing placement and deployment of an exemplary embodiment of a collapsible box-type cover assembly according to an aspect of the present invention to cover a notional snowmobile;

FIGS. 32E and 32F are side views showing placement and deployment of an exemplary embodiment of an upright bag-type cover assembly according to an aspect of the present invention to cover a notional snowmobile;

FIGS. 32G and 32H are side views showing placement and deployment of an exemplary embodiment of a longitudinal bag-type cover assembly according to an aspect of the present invention to cover a notional snowmobile;

FIGS. 33A and 33B are side views showing placement and deployment of an exemplary embodiment of a clamshell-type cover assembly according to an aspect of the present invention to cover a notional motorcycle;

FIGS. 33C and 33D are side views showing placement and deployment of an exemplary embodiment of a collapsible box-type cover assembly according to an aspect of the present invention to cover a notional motorcycle;

FIGS. 33E and 33F are side views showing placement and deployment of an exemplary embodiment of an upright bag-type cover assembly according to an aspect of the present invention to cover a notional motorcycle;

FIGS. 33G and 33H are side views showing placement and deployment of an exemplary embodiment of a longitudinal bag-type cover assembly according to an aspect of the present invention to cover a notional motorcycle;

FIGS. 34A and 34B are perspective views showing placement and deployment of an exemplary embodiment of a clamshell-type cover assembly according to an aspect of the present invention to cover a notional set of furniture;

FIGS. 34C and 34D are perspective views showing placement and deployment of an exemplary embodiment of a collapsible box-type cover assembly according to an aspect of the present invention to cover a notional set of furniture;

FIGS. 34E and 34F are perspective views showing placement and deployment of an exemplary embodiment of an upright bag-type cover assembly according to an aspect of the present invention to cover a notional set of furniture;

FIGS. 34G and 34H are perspective views showing placement and deployment of an exemplary embodiment of a longitudinal bag-type cover assembly according to an aspect of the present invention to cover a notional set of furniture;

FIGS. 35A and 35B are perspective views showing placement and deployment of an exemplary embodiment of a clamshell-type cover assembly according to an aspect of the present invention to cover a notional tool chest;

FIGS. 35C and 35D are perspective views showing placement and deployment of an exemplary embodiment of a collapsible box-type cover assembly according to an aspect of the present invention to cover a notional tool chest;

FIGS. 35E and 35F are perspective views showing placement and deployment of an exemplary embodiment of an upright bag-type cover assembly according to an aspect of the present invention to cover a notional tool chest;

FIGS. 35G and 35H are perspective views showing placement and deployment of an exemplary embodiment of a longitudinal bag-type cover assembly according to an aspect of the present invention to cover a notional tool chest;

FIG. 36A is a perspective view of an exemplary embodiment of an upright bag-type covering assembly in accordance with an aspect of the present invention whose container is in the containment configuration;

FIG. 36B is a bottom perspective view of the cover assembly of FIG. 36A, showing high friction material on an underside of the container;

FIG. 36C is a top perspective view of the cover assembly of FIG. 36A with its container in the deployment configuration, exposing a covering member;

FIG. 36D is a bottom perspective view of an exemplary embodiment of an upright bag-type covering assembly in accordance with an aspect of the present invention whose container is in the containment configuration, showing suction cups on an underside of the container;

FIG. 36E is a bottom perspective view of the cover assembly of FIG. 36D with its container in the deployment configuration, exposing a covering member;

FIG. 36F is a bottom perspective view of an exemplary embodiment of an upright bag-type covering assembly in accordance with an aspect of the present invention whose container is in the containment configuration, showing straps secured to the container;

FIG. 36G is a bottom perspective view of the cover assembly of FIG. 36F with its container in the deployment configuration, exposing a covering member;

FIG. 36H is a bottom perspective view of an exemplary embodiment of an upright bag-type covering assembly in accordance with an aspect of the present invention whose container is in the containment configuration, showing magnets on an underside of the container;

FIG. 36I is a bottom perspective view of the cover assembly of FIG. 36H with its container in the deployment configuration, exposing a covering member;

FIG. 37A is a bottom perspective view of an exemplary embodiment of a longitudinal bag-type covering assembly in accordance with an aspect of the present invention whose container is in the containment configuration, showing high-friction material on an underside of the container;

FIG. 37B is a bottom perspective view of the cover assembly of FIG. 37A with its container in the deployment configuration, exposing a covering member;

FIG. 37C is a bottom perspective view of an exemplary embodiment of a longitudinal bag-type covering assembly in accordance with an aspect of the present invention whose container is in the containment configuration, showing suction cups on an underside of the container;

FIG. 37D is a bottom perspective view of the cover assembly of FIG. 37C with its container in the deployment configuration, exposing a covering member;

FIG. 37E is a bottom perspective view of an exemplary embodiment of an upright bag-type covering assembly in accordance with an aspect of the present invention whose container is in the containment configuration, showing straps secured to the container;

FIG. 37F is a bottom perspective view of the cover assembly of FIG. 37E with its container in the deployment configuration, exposing a covering member;

FIG. 37G is a bottom perspective view of an exemplary embodiment of an upright bag-type covering assembly in accordance with an aspect of the present invention whose container is in the containment configuration, showing magnets on an underside of the container;

FIG. 37H is a bottom perspective view of the cover assembly of FIG. 37G with its container in the deployment configuration, exposing a covering member;

FIGS. 38A to 38I depict placement and deployment of an exemplary cover assembly according to an aspect of the present invention to cover a notional automobile;

FIGS. 38J and 38K depict a collapsible pole according to an aspect of the present invention;

FIGS. 39A to 39D show cover assembly packages each comprising a collapsible box-type cover assembly and a substrate carrying instructions for placement and deployment of the cover assembly;

FIGS. 40A to 40D show cover assembly packages each comprising a clamshell-type cover assembly and a substrate carrying instructions for placement and deployment of the cover assembly;

FIGS. 41A to 41D show cover assembly packages each comprising an upright bag-type cover assembly and a substrate carrying instructions for placement and deployment of the cover assembly; and

FIGS. 42A to 42D show cover assembly packages each comprising a longitudinal bag-type cover assembly and a substrate carrying instructions for placement and deployment of the cover assembly.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

One exemplary application of a cover assembly constructed according to aspects of present invention is to cover a barbecue. In such an embodiment, the covering member would be a barbecue cover and would therefore have a barbecue-covering shape (i.e. have a shape corresponding generally to the outer contours of the notional barbecue to be covered. The covering member can be housed within the container when the container is in the containment configuration. The covering member includes an upper central portion (corresponding to the top of a notional barbecue to be covered) which is secured to the container with a particular orientation relative to the container. Specifically, the upper central portion of the covering member is secured to the container such that when the cover assembly is positioned on top of the notional barbecue with the defined front of the container aligned with the front of the notional barbecue, the barbecue-covering shape of the covering member is aligned with the barbecue.

With reference now to FIGS. 1 to 3, an exemplary cover assembly according to an aspect of the present invention is shown generally at 10. The exemplary cover assembly 10 is designed to cover a notional barbecue, and is constructed accordingly. As will be explained in greater detail below, it is to be appreciated that cover assemblies according to aspects of the present invention may be adapted to cover many other types of objects besides barbecues.

The cover assembly 10 comprises a container indicated generally by the reference numeral 12 and a covering member indicated generally by the reference numeral 14. In FIGS. 1-3, the covering member 14 is not visible because in those Figures it is housed inside the container 12.

Most of the time, a notional barbecue will be idle, and it is at those times that it is desirable to cover the notional barbecue, to protect it from the elements. At those times, a covering member 14 according to an aspect of the present invention will be deployed in a barbecue covering-position, as shown in FIG. 11. When it is desired to use the notional barbecue, a covering member 14 according to an aspect of the present invention may be packed into a compact arrangement, such as the container 12 shown in FIG. 2, which sits on top of the notional barbecue, and then removed from the notional barbecue so that cooking may begin. Once cooking is complete and the notional barbecue has cooled, the rectangular container 12 within which the covering member 14 is housed may be placed back on top of the notional barbecue, and the covering member 14 may be redeployed to the barbecue-covering position, as shown in FIG. 11.

Referring again to FIGS. 1 to 3, the exemplary container 12 has a base 16 and a plurality of wall sections, namely a front wall 18, a rear wall 20 (not visible in the perspective view of FIGS. 1-3), a first side wall 22 and a second side wall 24 (not visible in the perspective view of FIGS. 1-4). In one embodiment, the base 16 and the walls 18, 20, 22, 24 are substantially rigid. In an exemplary embodiment, the walls 18, 20, 22, 24 are made from corrugated polyethylene sandwiched between two layers of polyester-supported PVC material. Each of the walls 18, 20, 22, 24 is secured to the base 16 and is moveable between an erected configuration, as shown in FIGS. 1 to 3, and an outwardly collapsed configuration, as shown in FIGS. 8 to 11. The erected configuration defines the closed or containment configuration, and the outwardly collapsed configuration defines the open or deployment configuration. FIGS. 4 to 7 show the transition between the erected configuration and the outwardly collapsed configuration. In the illustrated embodiment, the walls 18, 20, 22, 24 are each hingedly secured to the base 16 by way of a living hinge arrangement, although other suitable arrangements, such as individual hinges, may also be used.

The walls 18, 20, 22, 24 are not permanently secured to one another, so as to enable movement of the walls 18, 20, 22, 24 to the outwardly collapsed configuration. The walls 18, 20, 22, 24 are securable in the erected configuration; in the embodiment shown in FIGS. 1 to 16, the walls may be secured in the erected configuration by way of straps and receivers having complementary fastener elements which can secure each wall to an adjacent wall. One example of a suitable set of complementary fastener elements is a Velcro®-type hook-and-loop arrangement, which is used in the illustrated embodiment. More particularly, in the illustrated embodiment, the rear wall 20 has two straps 26A, 28A (see FIG. 5) secured to its upper comers, with the straps 26A, 28A having either a hook region or a loop region for mating with complementary hook or loop patches 26B, 28B (see FIGS. 5 and 7) on the upper rear comers of the first and second side walls 22, 24. Similarly, in the illustrated embodiment each side wall 22, 24 has a respective strap 30A, 31A (see FIG. 5) secured to its upper front corner, the straps 30A, 31A having either a hook region or a loop region for mating with complementary hook or loop patches 30B, 31B (see FIGS. 4 to 6) on the upper rear comers of the front wall 18.

In the illustrated embodiment, the container 14 has a lid 32. The lid 32 is hingedly secured by way of a living hinge to an upper end of the rear wall 20 of the container 12, and has a hinged flap 36, secured to the lid 32 by way of a living hinge, for overlapping an upper end of the front wall 18 when the walls 18, 20, 22, 24 are in the erected configuration. The inner surface (relative to the container 12) of the hinged flap 36 and the outer surface of the upper end of the front wall 18 each have disposed thereon two pairs of mating hook-and-loop fastening surfaces 40A, 40B. Optionally (not shown), only a single pair of hook-and-loop fastening surfaces, or more than two hook-and-loop fastening surfaces, may be used. Also optionally, where a cover assembly is to be used to cover a barbecue, a container forming part of such a cover assembly need not include a lid since, generally speaking, it will store the covering member 14 only for the relatively short periods of time during which a notional barbecue is in use or is cooling down thereafter.

As shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the cover assembly 10 may be placed on top of a notional barbecue denoted generally by the reference letter “B” (for “barbecue”). The base 16 has a layer of high-friction material disposed on an underside thereof, which serves as an anchor for non-invasively maintaining the container 12 on top of the notional barbecue once it is positioned thereon. The high friction material may be, for example, a PVC-coated polyester scrim, such as that offered under the trademark “Gravitac” by the assignee hereof, and may be, for example, approximately ¼ inch in thickness. In one embodiment, the high friction material has approximately a 90 degree coefficient of friction.

It will be appreciated that high friction material is merely one example of a suitable anchor for non-invasively maintaining a container in position on a notional object to be covered. (As used herein, the term “non-invasively” refers to the fact that the anchor, during normal use, does not penetrate or otherwise substantially damage the surface of the notional object being covered.) Other examples of suitable types of anchor which may be used in conjunction with a collapsible box-type container, such as the container 12, are shown in FIGS. 1A, 1B and 1C.

Each of FIGS. 1A, 1B and 1C shows an alternative embodiment of a cover assembly which is identical in construction to the cover assembly 10, except that a different type of anchor is used. As such, identical reference numerals are used to refer to corresponding features, except that the reference numerals end with a respective “A”, “B” or “C” suffix.

Referring first to FIG. 1A, the anchor for the container 12A comprises a plurality of suction cups 15A mounted on the underside 16A of the container 12A, which can be used to secure the container 12A to a suitably smooth surface on the notional object to be covered. Optionally, in some embodiments, depending on the object to be covered, only a single suction cup may be used, or two, three or more than four suction cups may be used.

In FIG. 1B, the anchor for the container 12B comprises a plurality of straps 17B secured to the underside 16B of the container 12B, which may be used to secure the container 12B to the notional object to be covered. The straps may be secured to one another about the notional object to be covered by any fastening technique, such as snaps, buckles, belt-fastening, magnets, or the like, or may simply be tied to one another. The straps may 17B may be of any suitable width or thickness, ranging from belts to cables or strings. In some embodiments, only a single pair of straps may be used, and a “pair” of straps may consist of two separate straps or a single continuous strap that can be formed into a loop.

With reference now to FIG. 1C, when the predetermined location on top of the notional object to be covered includes at least a portion comprising magnetically attractive metal, the anchor for the container 12C may comprise a plurality of magnets 19C disposed on the underside 16C of the container 12C for removably securing the container 12C to a magnetic surface on a notional object to be covered. In the illustrated embodiment, the magnets 19C are disposed inwardly of an outer layer 21C of the underside 16 c of the container 12C, so that the magnets 19C do not scratch the surface of the notional object to be covered. Because the magnetic effect of the magnets 19C will still extend beyond the outer layer of material 21C, the anchor comprising the magnets 1919C can still be considered to be disposed on the underside 16C of the container 12C. When the magnets 19C are constructed of a suitably soft material, they may be disposed exteriorly of the outer layer 21C of the underside 16C of the container 12C. The exemplary container 12C has four magnets 19C disposed on the underside thereof, depending on the size of the magnet(s) more or fewer magnets may be used, or a single magnet may be used.

The covering member 14 has a barbecue-covering shape in the sense that, when deployed, it can assume a three dimensional shape conforming generally to the shape of the notional barbecue to be covered, and defines an interior volume that accommodates the notional barbecue. Referring specifically to FIG. 3, a typical barbecue, as illustrated by the notional barbecue B, will generally have a length L that is substantially greater than its width W, and a central cooking portion C having a greater height HC than the height HS of the side portions S which may include, for example, shelves or side burners (not shown), or may be omitted from certain barbecues. As such, the covering member 14 will have a corresponding length, width and height, somewhat larger than those of the notional barbecue to be covered, and will have an upper central portion 42 (see FIG. 10) corresponding to the top of the notional barbecue, or more particularly the top of the central cooking portion C of the notional barbecue. The covering member 14 may slope downward from the upper central portion 42 towards its lengthwise ends, to conform to the general shape of the barbecue. It will be appreciated that a cover assembly 10 having a covering member 14 for covering a notional barbecue may be designed to accommodate a range of notional barbecue shapes and sizes. As such, from a commercial perspective one could offer, for example, “small”, “medium” and “large” cover assemblies, with each size of assembly having a container 12 and covering member 14 dimensioned to cover notional barbecues within a given size range. Alternatively, a single “one size fits all” or “one size fits most” construction may be used, with the dimensions of the covering member 14 being determined by the size and shape (or range of sizes and shapes) of the notional barbecue(s) or other notional object(s) to be covered. In this regard, a container having a rectangular base 16 with a length of about 11 to 13 inches and a width of about 8 to 10 inches, with walls 18, 20, 22, 24 having a height of about 5 to 7 inches, has been found to be generally suitable for containing a covering member dimensioned to cover typical notional barbecues.

With specific reference now to FIG. 8, the upper central portion 42 of the covering member 14 is secured to the container 12. More particularly, the upper central portion 42 of the covering member 14 is secured to the container 12 in such a way that when the cover assembly 10 is positioned on top of the notional barbecue B with the front wall 18 of the container 12 aligned with the front of the notional barbecue B, the barbecue covering shape of the covering member 14 will be aligned with the barbecue B. In other words, when the container 12 is placed on top of the upper surface US of the of the central cooking portion C of the barbecue B with its front wall 18 facing substantially in the same direction as the front of the notional barbecue B, the length of the covering member 14 will be aligned with the length L of the notional barbecue B, and the width of the covering member 14 will be aligned with the width W of the notional barbecue B. It will be appreciated that this alignment facilitates placement of the covering member 14 over the notional barbecue B. Thus, because the covering member 14 is housable within the container 12 when the walls 18, 20, 22, 24 are in the erected configuration (i.e. the containment configuration), once the container 12 is placed on top of the notional barbecue B with their respective fronts aligned, the walls 18, 20, 22, 24 can be moved to the outwardly collapsed configuration (i.e. the container 12 is in the deployment configuration) to permit the covering member 14 to be deployed to a barbecue-covering position (as shown in FIG. 11).

With reference now to FIG. 8A, in the embodiment shown the upper central portion 42 of the covering member 14 is secured to the container by way of two extension members 50. FIG. 8A shows the covering member 14 elevated above the outwardly collapsed container 12 so that the extension members 50 are more clearly visible; it will be appreciated that when in use, the cover assembly 10 would seldom, if ever, be placed in the configuration shown in FIG. 8A. The extension members 50 may be made from the same material as the covering member 14, or from another suitable material.

Continuing to refer to FIG. 8A, each extension member 50 has a first end 50A secured to the container 12 and a second end 50B secured to the upper central portion 42 of the covering member 14. In the particular embodiment shown, the extension members 50 are rectangular in shape, and the first end 50A of each extension member 50 is secured to the container at a junction between the base 16 and one of the side walls 20, 22 of the container. More particularly, each first end 50A and second end 50B of each attachment member 50 defines a respective edge 50A, 50B, with each extension member 50 being secured to the container 12 (at its first end 50A) and the upper central portion (at its second end 50B) along the entire length of the respective edge 50A, 50B. The extension members 50 may be secured to the container 12 and to the upper central portion 42 of the covering member 14 by any suitable technique, such as stitching or adhesive. Optionally, the extension members 50 may be removably secured to the container 12 or to the upper central portion 42, such as by hook-and-loop fasteners or snap fasteners, to permit the covering member 14 to be cleaned.

While the covering member 14 may be secured directly to the base 16, such as by stitching the upper central portion 42 to the base 16 or by gluing the underside of the upper central portion 42 to the upper surface of the base, it is believed that the use of extension members, such as extension members 50, provides certain advantages when the cover assembly is designed to cover a barbecue, as well as certain other objects. With reference now to the particular embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 1 to 16, the extension members 50 allow for some limited movement of the upper central portion 42, and hence of the covering member 14, relative to the container 12 while still securing the covering member 14 to the container 12 in alignment therewith. Because the high-friction material on the underside of the base 16 (or suction cups 15A, straps 17B or magnets 19C) will hold the container 12 in a substantially fixed position relative to the notional barbecue B as long as it is not subjected to excessive forces, the use of extension members 50 allows for some limited adjustment or “play” in the position of the covering member 14 relative to the notional barbecue B to which the collapsed container 12 is anchored. In the illustrated embodiment, the relative position of the upper central portion 42, and thus of the covering member 14, can be adjusted along the length of the notional barbecue B, as denoted by the arrow PL, along the width of the notional barbecue B, as denoted by the arrow PW, or both, while maintaining the general alignment of the covering member 14 with the container 12 (and hence with the notional barbecue “B”). This improves the ease with which the covering member 14 can be placed over the notional barbecue B. Thus, the upper central portion 42 of the covering member 14 is adjustably secured to the container 12, to allow for constrained adjustment of the position of the upper central portion 42 of the covering member 14 relative to the position of the container 12 during deployment of the covering member 14. The constraint on the positional adjustment will be defined by the length of the extension members.

In addition, where a container such as container 12 has sufficient mass, or where a container such as container 12A, 12B or 12C is used, the use of extension members such as extension members 50 may assist in preventing the covering member 14 from being lifted off of a notional barbecue by a gust of normal wind. In particular, the extension members allow the covering member 14 to be lifted some distance away from the notional barbecue B so as to absorb the energy of the wind gust while the collapsed container 12 remains in position on top of the notional barbecue B.

Extension member arrangements different from those illustrated may also be used, without departing from the scope of the present invention. For example, a single suitable extension member may be used, or more than two extension members may be used. In one embodiment (not shown), the extension members may take the form of elastic or inelastic cords secured at one end thereof at or adjacent the comers of the base 16 and at the other end to the upper central portion 42 of the covering member 14.

As described above, the covering member 14 is housable within the container 12, and would typically be housed in the container 12 when the notional barbecue B is in use. Once the barbecuing operations have been completed and the notional barbecue B has cooled down, the covering member 14 would typically be deployed to cover the notional barbecue 14 and protect it from the elements. An exemplary implementation of such a deployment process will now be described with reference to FIGS. 4 to 11. It is to be appreciated that while the deployment process is described in respect of the exemplary cover assembly 12, the identical deployment process, with minor modification, would be used for any of the alternative cover assemblies 10 a, 10 b and 10 c.

With reference first to FIG. 2, the cover assembly 10 is placed on the upper surface US of the central cooking portion C of the notional barbecue B. The high-friction material on the underside of the base 16 (not visible in FIG. 4) anchors the container 12 and assists in maintaining the position of the container 12 relative to the upper surface US of the central cooking portion C of the notional barbecue B during subsequent deployment operations. (Where the cover assembly 10A is used, the suction cups 15A would be secured to the upper surface US of the central cooking portion C of the notional barbecue B to anchor the container 12A. Where the cover assembly 10B is used, the straps 17B would be used to anchor the container 12B to the upper surface US of the central cooking portion C of the notional barbecue B. If the upper surface US is made of a magnetically attractive metal, such as suitable types of stainless steel, then the cover assembly 10C could be used, and the container 12C would be anchored to the upper surface US of the central cooking portion C of the notional barbecue B by the magnets 19C.)

Once the cover assembly 10 is positioned, as shown in FIG. 4 the lid 32 is opened by separating the mating hook-and-loop fastening surfaces 40A, 40B from one another and pivoting the lid 32 about its hinged connection to the rear wall 20.

Referring now to FIG. 5, after the lid 32 has been opened, the strap 28A securing the rear wall 20 to the second side wall 24 is separated from the complementary patch 28B on the second side wall 24, and the strap 31A securing the second side wall 24 to the front wall 18 is separated from the complementary patch 31B on the front wall 18. This allows the second side wall 24 to be individually moved from the erected configuration shown in FIG. 5 to the outwardly collapsed configuration shown in FIG. 6, by pivoting the second side wall 24 about its hinged connection to the base 16.

Continuing to refer to FIG. 6, the strap 30A which secures the first side wall 22 to the front wall 18 is separated from the complementary patch 30B on the front wall 18, allowing the front wall 18 to be pivoted about its hinged connection to the base 18 so that the front wall 18 moves individually from the erected configuration shown in FIG. 6 to the outwardly collapsed configuration shown in FIG. 7.

Still referring to FIG. 7, the strap 26A, which secures the rear wall 20 to the first side wall 22, is separated from the complementary patch 26B on the side wall 20. This enables both the rear wall 18 and the first side wall 22 to be individually (or, optionally, simultaneously) moved from the erected configuration shown in FIG. 7 to the outwardly collapsed configuration shown in FIG. 8.

It will be appreciated that the order in which the straps 26A, 28A, 30A, 31A were separated from their respective complementary patches 26B, 28B, 30B, 31B and the order in which the walls 18, 20, 22, 24 were moved from the erected configuration to the outwardly collapsed configuration, are arbitrary, and that these operations may be carried out in a different order without departing from the scope of the present invention. Moreover, it may in some instances be possible (although inefficient) to execute the operations required to move one or both of the side walls 22, 24 from the erected configuration to the outwardly collapsed configuration before opening the lid 32.

As shown in FIG. 8, the walls 18, 20, 22, 24 are in the outwardly collapsed configuration, and the covering member 14 is ready to be placed in a covering relationship with the notional barbecue B.

Now referring to FIG. 9, the covering member 14 which had been folded or, in the case of a less fastidious user, “bunched up”, inside the container 12, is unfurled over the width W of the notional barbecue B, as shown. Then, the covering member 14 is extended over the length L of the notional barbecue B, first over one end thereof, as shown in FIG. 10, and then over the other, so that the notional barbecue B is completely covered by the covering member 14 as shown in FIG. 11. It will be appreciated that the covering member 14 could alternatively be unfurled first along the length L of the notional barbecue B and then along the width W, or in alternating lengthwise and widthwise steps. In either case, the process is simplified by the fact that the position and orientation of the covering member 14, relative to the notional barbecue B, is held substantially constant by the engagement of the high-friction material on the underside of the base 16 (or the suction cups 15A or magnets 19C) with the upper surface US of the central cooking portion C (or by securing the straps 17B to the notional barbecue B).

An exemplary process for removal of the covering member 14 will now be described. As shown in FIG. 12, one lengthwise end of the covering member 14 is pulled in a lengthwise direction inwardly from one end of the notional barbecue B, and the second side wall 24 and the rear wall 20 may be moved into the erected configuration as shown in more detail in FIG. 13 and secured to one another by affixing the strap 28A to the complementary patch 28B.

Next, as shown in FIG. 14, the other lengthwise end of the covering member 14 is pulled in a lengthwise direction inwardly from the other end of the notional barbecue B, and the front wall 18 is then moved into the erected configuration and secured to the second side wall 24 by affixing the strap 31A to the corresponding patch 31B.

Then, as shown in FIG. 15, the first side wall 22 is moved into the erected configuration and secured to the front wall 18 and the rear wall 20 by affixing the respective straps 26A, 30A to their corresponding patches 26B, 30B (not shown in FIG. 15). Thus, the container 12 has been returned to its erected configuration, and a portion of the covering member 14 is disposed therein.

With the container 12 in the erected configuration, the covering member 14 can then be folded or “bundled” into the container 12 so that it is completely or substantially completely disposed therein, as shown in FIG. 16, and then the lid 32 may be closed and secured in the closed position by securing together the two pairs of mating hook-and-loop fastening surfaces 40A, 40B located on the hinged flap 36 and the outer surface of the upper end of the front wall 18, respectively. The cover assembly 10 will thus have been returned to the initial condition shown in FIG. 2, and can, for example, be removed from the notional barbecue B so that a user may prepare such suitable barbecued comestibles as may be desired.

It is to be appreciated that the above-described process for removing the covering member 14, and returning the walls 18, 20, 22, 24 of the container 12 to the erected configuration so that the covering member 14 may be housed therein, is merely one exemplary process for so doing. The steps of removing each portion of the covering member 14 from the notional barbecue B, and moving each wall from the outwardly collapsed configuration to the erected configuration and securing it in that configuration, may be executed in any suitable order.

In alternative embodiments of a cover assembly according to an aspect of the present invention, the straps 26A, 28A, 30A and 31A and their corresponding patches 26B, 28B, 30B and 31B may be omitted entirely, and a different arrangement may be used to secure the walls 18, 20, 22, 24 in the erected configuration. One such embodiment 110 is shown in FIG. 17, which is substantially identical to the first embodiment 10 described above, except that the front wall 118 and first side wall 122 and second side wall (not shown) of the container 112 are secured in the erected configuration by respective corresponding hinged flaps 136A, 136B and 136C on the lid 132. Each of the hinged flaps 136A, 136B and 136C, and each of the front wall 118, first side wall 122 and second side wall, have corresponding mating hook-and loop fasteners. The rear wall 120 is held in the erected configuration by securing the lid 132 to the front wall 118, first side wall 122 and second side wall by way of the hinged flaps 136A, 136B and 136C. Thus, in the embodiment 110 shown in FIG. 17, it is the lid 132 which secures the walls in the erected configuration. In a variation on this embodiment (not shown), a lid may comprise a separate part and include a downwardly-extending peripheral rim, similar to the downwardly-extending peripheral rim on a shoebox lid, and the downwardly-extending peripheral rim would serve to retain the walls in the erected configuration when the lid was placed on the container.

In another embodiment (not shown), the walls may be held in the erected configuration by an actuating member in the form of a cord extending around the upper ends of the walls and passing through apertures therein. The cord may be provided with a slider which retains the walls in the erected configuration, and can be slid back to permit the container walls to fall outwardly to the collapsed configuration to expose the covering member 14. Conversely, to return the container to the erected configuration, a user would pull the cord and slide the slider along the cord to abut the front wall of the container. A lid similar to lid 32 in the first embodiment may be provided. An example of such an arrangement is shown in U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 20070283946 A1, which is co-owned by the assignee hereof.

In the exemplary embodiments 10, 10A, 10B and 10C so far described, the respective container 12, 12A, 12B, 12C has taken the form of a rectangular parallelepiped. Other suitable shapes may, with suitable adaptation, also be used as outwardly collapsible containers for a cover assembly according to an aspect of the present invention. For example, the container may be a non-rectangular parallelepiped, or the container may have a triangular prismatic shape or a pentagonal, hexagonal, septagonal, octagonal or greater-sided prismatic shape, with the base being either regular or irregular. In addition, a cylindrical container or a container having an oval or elliptical base and a curved perimeter wall may be used, with the perimeter wall being divided into outwardly collapsible sections.

Referring now to FIGS. 18, 19 and 20, an alternative embodiment of a cover assembly according to an aspect of the present invention is indicated generally at 1900. The cover assembly 1900 includes a container 1902, and a covering member 2104 (see FIGS. 21 to 28) containable within the container 1902. The covering member 2104 is secured to the container 1902 by stitching, as described in greater detail below. The cover assembly 1900 may be a cover assembly for covering a notional barbecue, as indicated in FIG. 18, or may be adapted to cover a different type of object.

The container 1902 is a clamshell container, comprising a first clamshell portion 1908 and a second clamshell portion 1910 pivotingly secured to one another at respective inner edges 1912, 1914 thereof. In the illustrated embodiment 1900, the first clamshell portion 1908 and the second clamshell portion 1910 are made from a flexible fabric material, and are pivotingly secured to one another by way of a living hinge 1916 (FIG. 20). The closed configuration of the clamshell container 1902 is defined by the first clamshell portion 1908 and the second clamshell portion 1910 being in facing relation to one another as shown as shown in FIGS. 18 and 19; this closed configuration serves as a containment configuration for containing the covering member 2104. By pivoting the clamshell portions 1908, 1910 away from one another about the living hinge 1916, the container 1902 can be moved into an open configuration to permit deployment of the covering member 2104. The container includes a fastener 1918 for securing the first clamshell portion 1908 and the second clamshell portion 1920 in facing relation to one another. In the illustrated embodiment, the fastener 1918 is a zipper provided with two zipper sliders 1920; other types of fasteners, such as snap fasteners, hook-and-loop fasteners, and the like, may also be used.

As best seen in FIG. 20, the covering member 2104 (FIG. 21) is stitched to the container 1902; in the illustrated embodiment the covering member 2104 is stitched to the first clamshell portion 1908 at locations 1924 adjacent the side edges thereof and a location 1926 adjacent the edge opposite the living hinge 1916, and is stitched to the second clamshell portion 1910 at a single location 1928 adjacent the edge opposite the living hinge 1916. The covering member 2104 can be attached to the container 1902 at other locations and by means other than stitching, without departing from the scope of the present invention. Optionally, the covering member 2104 can be attached by way extension members similar to the extension members 50 described above. Handles 1930 are provided at the edges of the first and second clamshell portions 1908, 1910 opposite the living hinge to facilitate carrying of the container 1902 when it is secured in the closed configuration.

As noted above, the container 1902 has an anchor for maintaining the container in position on the notional object to be covered. In the exemplary cover assembly 1900, the anchor comprises a layer of high-friction material 1932 disposed on the outer surface of the first clamshell portion 1908. As with the exemplary cover assembly 10, the high-friction material may be, for example, a PVC-coated polyester scrim, such as that offered under the trademark “Gravitac” by the assignee hereof, and may be, for example, approximately ¼ inch in thickness. In one embodiment, the high-friction material has approximately a 90 degree coefficient of friction. The high-friction material 1932 assists in maintaining the container 1902 in position on the notional object to be covered, such as the notional barbecue B as shown in FIG. 18.

As indicated above, high-friction material is merely one example of an anchor suitable for use in non-invasively maintaining a container in position on a notional object to be covered, and other types of anchors, such as suction cups, straps, and magnets, may also be used.

Each of FIGS. 19A and 20A, 19B and 20B, and 19C and 20C shows an alternative embodiment of a cover assembly which is identical in construction to the cover assembly 1900, except that a different type of anchor is used. As such, identical reference numerals are used to refer to corresponding features, except that the reference numerals end with a respective “A”, “B” or “C” suffix. Thus, the cover assembly in FIGS. 19A and 20A is denoted generally by reference numeral 1900A, the container in FIGS. 19A and 20A is denoted by reference numeral 1902A, and so on.

Beginning with FIGS. 19A and 20A, the anchor for the container 1902A comprises a plurality of suction cups 1915A mounted to the outer surface of the first clamshell portion 1908A. The suction cups 1915A can be used to secure the container 1902A to a suitably smooth surface on the notional object to be covered. In alternate embodiments embodiments, depending on the object to be covered, more or fewer suction cups may be used, and in appropriate instances, only a single suction cup may be used.

Turning to FIGS. 19B and 20B, the anchor for the container 1902B comprises a plurality of straps 1917B secured to the outer surface of the first clamshell portion 1908A. The straps 1917B can be used to secure the container 1902B to the notional object to be covered, and may be secured to one another about the notional object to be covered by any fastening technique, such as snaps, buckles, belt-fastening, magnets, or the like, or may simply be tied to one another. The straps may 1917B may be of any suitable width or thickness, ranging from belts to cables or strings. In some embodiments, only a single pair of straps may be used, and a “pair” of straps may consist of two separate straps or a single continuous strap that can be formed into a loop.

Now referring to FIGS. 19C and 20C, when the predetermined location on top of the notional object to be covered includes at least a portion comprising magnetically attractive metal, the anchor for the container 1902C may comprise a plurality of magnets 1919C disposed on the first clamshell portion 1908A for removably securing the container 1902C to the magnetic surface on a notional object to be covered. In the illustrated embodiment, the magnets 1919C are disposed inwardly of the outer layer of material 1921C of the first clamshell portion 1908A, so that the magnets 1919C do not scratch the surface of the notional object to be covered. Because the magnetic effect of the magnets 1919C will still extend beyond the outer layer of material 1921C of the first clamshell portion 1908A, the anchor comprising the magnets 1919C can still be considered to be disposed on the first clamshell portion 1908C even though the magnets 1919C are inward of the outer surface. When the magnets 1919C are constructed of a suitably soft material, they may be disposed exteriorly of the outer layer 1921C of the first clamshell portion 1908A. The exemplary container 1902C has four magnets 1919C disposed on the first clamshell portion 1908A thereof, depending on the size of the magnet(s) more or fewer magnets may be used, or a single magnet may be used.

In the embodiments shown in FIGS. 19 and 19A to 19C and FIGS. 20 and 20A to 20C, the anchor (high-friction material layer 1932, suction cups 1915A, straps 1917B and magnets 1919C) is disposed only on the respective first clamshell portion 1908, 1908A, 1908B, 1908C. Depending on the notional object to be covered, it may be advantageous for the anchor to be disposed on both the first and second clamshell portions, as illustrated in FIGS. 20D to 20G. FIGS. 20D to 20G illustrate embodiments of clamshell-type cover assemblies identical in construction to those shown, respectively, in FIGS. 19A and 20A, 19B and 20B, and 19C and 20C, except that the anchor is disposed on both clamshell portions rather than only on the first clamshell portion. As such, identical reference numerals are used to refer to corresponding features, except that the reference numerals end with a respective “D”, “E”, “F” or “G” suffix.

FIG. 20D shows a cover assembly 1900A in which high-friction material 1932D is disposed on both clamshell portions 1908D and 1910D. Optionally, the clamshell portions 1908D and 1910D may be formed from the high-friction material, instead of having the high-friction material form a separate layer. FIG. 20 e shows a cover assembly 1900E in which suction cups 1915E are disposed on both clamshell portions 1908E and 1910E; alternatively more, fewer or a single suction cup may be disposed on each clamshell portion. FIG. 20F illustrates a cover assembly 1900F having a first set of straps 1917F secured to the first clamshell portion 1908F and a second set of straps 1917F secured to the second clamshell portion 1910F, and FIG. 20G depicts a cover assembly 1900G in which magnets 1919G are provided on the first and second clamshell portions 1908G, 1910G. As described in respect of the cover assembly 1900C illustrated in FIGS. 19C and 20C, the magnets 1919G are disposed inwardly of the outer layer of material 1921G of the first clamshell portion 1908G to avoid scratching the surface of the notional object to be covered and, since the magnetic effect of the magnets 1919G extends past the outer layer of material 1921G, the anchor comprising the magnets 1919G can still be considered to be disposed on the first and second clamshell portions 1908G, 1910G. Alternatively, magnets 1919G constructed of a suitably soft material may be disposed exteriorly of the outer layer 1921G of the clamshell portions 1908G, 1910G. Depending on the size of the magnet(s) more or fewer magnets may be used, or a single magnet may be used for each clamshell portion 1908G, 1910G.

Reference is now made to FIGS. 21 to 28, which illustrate deployment and storage of an exemplary clamshell-type cover assembly in accordance with an aspect of the present invention. The clamshell-type cover assembly shown in FIGS. 21 to 28 is adapted to cover a notional barbecue, and is denoted generically by the reference numeral 2100, and may be any of the clamshell-type cover assemblies 1900, 1900A, 1900B, 1900C depicted in FIGS. 19 and 20, 19A and 20A, 19B and 20B and 19C and 20C, respectively. Accordingly, the cover assembly 2100 comprises a container 2102 and a covering member 2104 secured at a predetermined position thereof to the container 2102 by stitching at locations 2124, 2126 and 2128. The container 2102 comprises a first clamshell portion 2108 and a second clamshell portion 2110 pivotingly connected to one another at their respective inner edges by a living hinge, and the container 2102 is therefore movable between a containment configuration for containing the covering member 2104, and a deployment configuration for deploying the covering member 2104. The container 2102 may be secured in the containment configuration, in which the first and second clamshell portions 2108, 2110 are in facing relation to one another, by way of a fastener in the form of zipper 2118 which includes two sliders 2120 (only one of which is shown, see FIG. 21). Each clamshell portion 2108, 2110 is provided with a handle 2130 at its outer edge. The container 2102 has an anchor, which may be a layer of high-friction material as with the container 1900, one or more suction cups as with the container 1900A, one or more sets of straps as with the container 1900B, one or more magnets as in the container 1900C, or another type of anchor. Straps 2117 are shown in phantom in FIGS. 21 to 28 to illustrate how the straps 1917B, 1917F would be used to anchor the container 1902B, 1902F to the notional barbecue B2.

The exemplary cover assembly 2100 is adapted to cover a notional barbecue. A notional barbecue, different from the notional barbecue B shown in FIGS. 2 and 3 to 17, is shown in FIGS. 21 to 28, and is denoted by the reference B2. Like the notional barbecue B, the notional barbecue B2 has a central cooking portion, denoted by reference C2, which includes an upper surface, denoted by reference US2. The upper surface US2 of the notional barbecue B2 is curved, unlike the flat upper surface US of the notional barbecue B. As such, a cover assembly whose container is formed from a flexible fabric material, such as the cover assembly 2100, is well suited for covering the notional barbecue B2. The container 2100 has a defined orientation relative to the notional object to be covered, in this case the notional barbecue B2. For the particular exemplary cover assembly 2100, this orientation is defined by the handles 2130 being aligned with the front of the notional barbecue B2 while the first clamshell portion 2108 is facing the upper surface US2 of the central cooking portion C2. Because the notional object to be covered is the notional barbecue B2, the covering member 2104 has a suitable object-covering shape, namely a barbecue-covering shape. More particularly, the covering member 2104 includes an upper central portion 2134 (see FIG. 25) corresponding to a predetermined position on an upper surface of the notional barbecue to be covered, namely the upper surface US2 of the central cooking portion C2. It is this upper central portion 2134 which is secured to the container 2102 (see FIG. 25).

Deployment of the covering member 2104 of the cover assembly 2100 is now described.

Now referring specifically to FIG. 21, the cover assembly 2100, secured in its closed or containment configuration, is placed on the upper surface US2 of the notional barbecue B2, with the handles 2130 facing in the same direction as the front of the barbecue and the first clamshell portion 2108 facing the upper surface US2 so that the anchor can engage the upper surface US2. The defined orientation of the container 2102 is thus co-oriented with the shape of the notional object to be covered, namely the notional barbecue B2, which aligns the shape of the covering member 2104 with the shape of the notional barbecue B2. This will permit deployment of the covering member 2104 to cover the notional barbecue B2 when the container 2102 is in the open configuration.

The first and second clamshell portions 2108 and 2110 are unfastened from one another by using the zipper sliders 2120 to open the zipper 2118. This process is shown partially completed in FIG. 21.

With reference now to FIG. 22, once the first and second clamshell portions 2108 and 2110 are unfastened from one another, the container 2102 is moved to the open or deployment configuration, in which the covering member 2104 is exposed from deployment. FIG. 22 shows the container 2102 at an intermediate stage between the closed or containment configuration and the open or deployment configuration. For the particular exemplary cover assembly 2100 illustrated in FIGS. 21 to 28, in the open or deployment configuration the first clamshell portion 2108 will rest on the upper surface US2 of the notional barbecue B2, while the second clamshell portion 2110 will hang behind the central cooking portion C2, as shown in FIG. 23.

Continuing to refer to FIG. 23, once the container 2102 is in the open or deployment configuration, the covering member 2104, which was folded or bunched inside the closed container 2102, can be unfurled and deployed to cover the object in question, in this case the notional barbecue B2. More particularly, the covering member is pulled over the front, back and sides of the notional barbecue B2, with the securement of the upper central portion 2134 of the covering member 2104 to the container 2102, in cooperation with the anchor on the container 2102, assisting in maintaining alignment of the barbecue-covering shape of the covering member 2104 with the notional barbecue B2. FIG. 23 shows the beginning of this unfurling and deployment process, and FIG. 24 shows an intermediate stage of the unfurling and deployment process. FIG. 25 shows the covering member 2104 having been completely deployed to cover the notional barbecue B2.

Return of the covering member 2104 from the deployed position shown in FIG. 25 to a contained position within the container 2101 is essentially the reverse of the deployment process. The covering member 2104 is pulled back from the sides, front and back of the notional barbecue B2, and preferably folded into a stack on top of the first clamshell portion 2108, or on top of both the first and second clamshell portions 2108 and 2110. FIG. 26 shows the beginning of this process and FIG. 27 shows an intermediate stage in this process. Alternatively, a less fastidious user may simply bunch the covering member 2104 into a pile on top of the first clamshell portion 2108 or on top of both the first and second clamshell portions 2108 and 2110. Following either the folding or bunching process, the container 2102 can be moved into the closed configuration, with the first and second clamshell portions 2108 and 2110 in facing relation to one another, essentially as shown in FIG. 21. FIG. 28 shows the container 2102 at an intermediate stage between the open or deployment configuration and the closed or containment configuration. Once the container 2102 is in the closed or containment configuration, with the first and second clamshell portions 2108 and 2110 facing one another, the container can be secured in that configuration by way of the zipper 2118 and the zipper sliders 2110.

While clamshell-type cover assembly 2100 shown in FIGS. 21 to 28 may be any of the clamshell-type cover assemblies 1900, 1900A, 1900B, 1900C depicted in FIGS. 19 and 20, 19A and 20A, 19B and 20B and 19C and 20C, respectively, it is to be appreciated that any of the clamshell-type cover assemblies 1900D, 1900E, 1900F and 1900G shown in FIGS. 20D to 20G may be deployed in substantially the same manner.

Discussion herein has thus far been directed to cover assemblies adapted for use in covering a notional barbecue, in that the covering member has had a shape corresponding generally to the shape of a notional barbecue. One skilled in the art will, now informed by the herein disclosure, appreciate that an object-specific cover assembly for a wide variety of different types of object may be constructed according to an aspect of the present invention by providing a covering member having a suitable size and shape, and providing a container of suitable size to contain the covering member. For example, and without limitation, a cover assembly constructed similarly to the cover assembly 10 can be provided with a boat-shaped covering members so that it can be used to cover a boat, or a vehicle-shaped covering member so that it can be used to cover a vehicle, without departing from the scope of the present invention.

Thus, aspects of the present invention may be applied to create an object-specific cover assembly for covering virtually any arbitrary object of reasonable size. Such a cover assembly will comprise a container, and a covering member. As has been described above, the container is movable between an open or deployment configuration and a closed or containment configuration, and the covering member is containable within the container when the container is in the closed configuration and is exposed for deployment when the container is in the open configuration.

The container has a defined orientation relative to a notional object to be covered. In the exemplary cover assembly 10, this orientation is defined by alignment of the front wall 18 with the front of the notional barbecue B when the container 12 is upright; in the case of the exemplary cover assembly 2100, this orientation is defined by alignment of the handles 2130 with the front of the notional barbecue B2 while the first clamshell portion 2108 faces the upper surface US2 of central cooking portion C2 of the notional barbecue B2. Other techniques for defining the orientation of the container relative to the object to be covered may also be used, such as providing a marking on the container.

The container also has an anchor for non-invasively maintaining the container in position on the notional object to be covered. Examples of types of anchors which may be used include layer of high-friction material disposed on an underside of the container; one or more suction cups, one or more magnets, and straps, may also be used. In addition, combinations of different types of anchors may be used for the same container.

The covering member has a size and shape corresponding generally to a shape of the notional object to be covered, and therefore has an object-covering shape. In the exemplary cover assemblies described above, the notional object to be covered was a notional barbecue, so the covering members had a barbecue-covering shape. The shape of the covering member will depend on the notional object to be covered. A covering member forming part of a cover assembly according to an aspect of the present invention may be of any suitable construction. Covering members for cover assemblies according to aspects of the present invention may be made from any suitable, flexible sheet-like material having suitable resistance to environmental factors such as heat, cold and precipitation. Such materials may include flexible fabric materials such as PVC, polyester, polyester-supported PVC, polyurethane-coated polyester, PVC-coated polyester, polyethylene-coated polyester, spun-bonded non-woven material (polypropylene), as well as natural materials such as leather, bamboo, hemp, and other organic/eco-friendly fibers.

The covering member is secured to the container at a predetermined position of the covering member; typically the covering member includes a portion corresponding to a predetermined position on an upper surface of the notional object to be covered. Thus, for the exemplary cover assemblies 10 and 2100, which were adapted to cover a notional barbecue, the predetermined position of the covering member is the upper central portion 42, 2134 thereof, and the corresponding predetermined position on the upper surface of the notional object to be covered was the respective upper surface US, US2 of the respective central cooking portion C, C2 of the respective notional barbecue B, B2. As has been illustrated in the barbecue-covering context, placement of the container at the predetermined position of the notional object to be covered, which position on the notional object corresponds to the predetermined position of the covering member, with the defined orientation of the container matching (i.e. co-oriented with) the orientation of the notional object to be covered, will align the object-covering shape of the covering member with the shape of the notional object to be covered. In the case of exemplary cover assemblies 10 and 2100, which were adapted to cover a notional barbecue, such placement aligns the barbecue-covering shape of the covering members 14, 2132 with the shape of the respective notional barbecue B, B2. Thus, the upper portion of the covering member is secured to the container in cooperation with the defined orientation of the container so that when the cover assembly is positioned at the predetermined position on the upper surface of the notional object to be covered with the defined orientation of the container co-oriented with the shape of the notional object to be covered, the shape of the covering member is aligned with the notional object to be covered. This permits easy deployment of the covering member to cover the notional object to be covered when the container is in the open configuration, since the shape of the covering member is aligned with, and anchored relative to, the notional object to be covered.

Clamshell-type cover assemblies according to aspects of the present invention may be formed from rigid or flexible fabric materials. When a cover assembly according to an aspect of the present invention uses a clamshell container made from a flexible fabric material, the container will define a bag. Other types of bags, typically constructed from a flexible fabric material, may also be used as a container for a cover assembly according to an aspect of the present invention.

A further exemplary embodiment of a cover assembly according to an aspect of the present invention is shown in FIGS. 36A to 36C, and is indicated generally by the reference numeral 3600. The cover assembly 3600 comprises a container 3602 and a covering member 3604 (visible in FIG. 36C).

The container 3602 takes the form of an upright bag 3602 comprising a base 3603 and a flexible circumferential wall 3605 secured to and extending upwardly from the base 3603. The base 3603 defines the underside of the bag 3602, and an anchor in the form of a layer of high-friction material 3607, such as PVC-coated polyester scrim offered under the trademark “Gravitac” by the assignee hereof, is disposed on the outer surface of the base 3603. The circumferential wall 3605 defines, when in the containment configuration as shown in FIGS. 36A and 36B, an upper aperture 3606 opposed to the base 3603, and a plurality of eyelets 3608 are defined in a reinforced rim 3610 surrounding the upper aperture 3606. A cord 3612 is threaded through the eyelets 3608, and can be tightened and tied or otherwise fastened to secure the bag 3602 in a closed or containment configuration in which the covering member 3604 is contained inside the bag 3602, as shown in FIGS. 36A and 36B. The bag 3602 can be moved from the closed or containment configuration into the open or deployment configuration by loosening the cord 3612 to open the upper aperture 3606 and then moving the reinforced rim 3610 toward the base 3603 to expose the cover member 3604 for deployment, as shown in FIG. 36C.

The covering member 3604 may be sized and shaped to match the shape of whichever notional object or general type of object it is intended to cover, and is secured to the bag 3602 at a predetermined position of the covering member 3604. For example, the covering member 3604 could be secured to the base 3603, or to lower portions of the circumferential wall 3605. Because the shape of the bag 3602 does not inherently define an orientation of the bag relative to a notional object to be covered, the orientation is defined by a marking on the bag 3602, in the form of an arrow 3640 containing the word “FRONT”, thus indicating the front of the bag, which should be aligned with the front of the notional object to be covered. Thus, placement of the bag 3602 at the predetermined position of the notional object to be covered, corresponding to the predetermined position of the covering member 3604, with the defined front of the bag 3602 facing in the same direction as the front of the notional object to be covered, so that they are co-oriented, will align the object-covering shape of the covering member 3604 with the shape of the notional object to be covered. Of course, a marking such as the arrow 3640 need not define a front of the bag 3602, but can define, for example, a particular side or the rear of the bag 3602. The anchor, namely the high-friction material 3607, will assist in maintaining the bag 3602 in position on the notional object, and thus help to maintain the orientation of the covering member 3604 during deployment thereof.

The pairs of FIGS. 36D and 36E, 36F and 36G and 36H and 36I each show an alternative embodiment of a cover assembly which is identical in construction to the cover assembly 3600 shown in FIGS. 36A to 36C, except that a different type of anchor is used. As such, identical reference numerals are used to refer to corresponding features, except that the reference numerals end with a respective “D”, “F” or “H” suffix.

Turning first to FIGS. 36D and 36E, the anchor for the bag 3602D comprises a plurality of suction cups 3615D mounted to the outer surface of the base 3603D, for anchoring the bag 3602D to a suitably smooth surface on the notional object to be covered. Depending on the object to be covered, more or fewer suction cups may be used, and in appropriate instances, only a single suction cup may be used.

Now referring to FIGS. 36F and 36G, the anchor for the bag 3602F comprises a plurality of straps 3617F secured to the outer surface of the base 3603F. The straps 3617F can be used to anchor the bag 3602F to the notional object to be covered, and may be secured to one another about the notional object to be covered by any fastening technique, such as snaps, buckles, belt-fastening, magnets, or the like, or may simply be tied to one another. The straps may 3617F may be of any suitable width or thickness, ranging from belts to cables or strings. In some embodiments, only a single pair of straps may be used, and a “pair” of straps may consist of two separate straps or a single continuous strap that can be formed into a loop.

Referring now to FIGS. 36H and 36I, when the predetermined location on top of the notional object to be covered includes at least a portion comprising magnetically attractive metal, the anchor for the bag 3602H may comprises a plurality of magnets 3619H disposed on the base 3603H for removably securing the bag 3602H to the portion of the notional object comprising magnetically attractive metal. In the illustrated embodiment, the magnets 3619H are disposed inwardly of the outer layer of material 3621H of the base 3603H, so that the magnets 3619H do not scratch the surface of the notional object to be covered; as explained above, the anchor comprising the magnets 3619H can still be considered to be disposed on the base 3603H. When the magnets 3619H are formed from a suitably soft material, they may be disposed exteriorly of the outer layer 3621H of the base 3603H. While the exemplary container 3602H has four magnets 3619H disposed on the base 3603H, more or fewer magnets may be used, or a single magnet may be used, depending on the size of the magnet(s).

A still further exemplary embodiment of a cover assembly according to an aspect of the present invention is illustrated in FIGS. 37A to 37B, and is indicated generally by the reference numeral 3700. The cover assembly 3700 comprises a container in the form of a longitudinal bag 3702, and a covering member 3704 (visible in FIG. 37B). The longitudinal bag 3702 comprises a rigid or substantially rigid base 3703 and two opposed side portions 3705 each having a side wall 3706 and two opposed semi-circular end walls 3708. The two opposed side portions 3705 may be made of a flexible fabric material. A closed or containment configuration is defined by the two opposed side portions 3705 being in facing relation to one another, as shown in FIG. 37A, and the opposed side portions 3705 can be secured in this position by way of one or more fasteners. In the illustrated embodiment 3600, the fastener takes the form of a zipper 3712 comprising two zipper halves extending along the mating edges of the two opposed side portions 3705. An open or deployment configuration is defined by the two opposed side portions 3705 having been pulled away from one another, as shown in FIG. 37B. Straps 3730, which may be secured to the base 3703, the opposed side portions 3705, or both, are provided for carrying the bag 3702.

The base 3703 defines the underside of the bag 3702, and an anchor in the form of a layer of high-friction material 3707, such as PVC-coated polyester scrim offered under the trademark “Gravitac” by the assignee hereof, is disposed on the outer surface of the base 3703.

The covering member 3704 is sized and shaped to match the shape of whatever type of notional object it will be used to cover, and is secured to the bag 3702 at a predetermined position of the covering member 3704. For example, the covering member 3704 could be secured to the base 3703, or to lower portions of the two opposed side portions 3705. Similarly to the bags 3600, 3600D, 3600F and 3600H, the orientation of the bag 3702 relative to a notional object to be covered is defined by a marking on the bag 3702, in the form of an arrow 3740 containing the word “FRONT”, thus indicating the front of the bag, which would typically be aligned with the front of the notional object to be covered. Of course, a marking such as the arrow 3640 need not define a front of the bag 3702, but can define, for example, a particular side or the rear of the bag 3702, and the bag could be correspondingly aligned with the notional object to be covered. Accordingly, by placing the bag 3702 at the predetermined position of the notional object to be covered, corresponding to the predetermined position of the covering member 3704, with the defined front of the bag 3702 facing in the same direction as the front of the notional object to be covered, so that they are co-oriented, the user will have aligned the object-covering shape of the covering member 3704 with the shape of the notional object to be covered. The anchor, in particular the high-friction material 3707, helps to keep the bag 3702 in position on the notional object during deployment thereof.

The pairs of FIGS. 37C and 37D, 37E and 37F and 37G and 37H show other embodiments of cover assemblies in which a different type of anchor is used, but which are otherwise identical in construction to the cover assembly 3700 shown in FIGS. 37A and 37B. Accordingly, the same reference numerals have been used to refer to corresponding features, except that the reference numerals end with a respective suffix of either “C”, “E” or “G”.

Beginning with FIGS. 37C and 37D, the anchor on the base 3703C of the bag 3702C comprises a plurality of suction cups 3715C for anchoring the bag 3702D to a suitably smooth surface on the notional object to be covered. As explained above, more or fewer suction cups may be used, and in appropriate instances, only a single suction cup may be used, depending on the object to be covered.

With reference now to FIGS. 37E and 37F, the anchor for the bag 3702E comprises a plurality of straps 3717E, which are secured to the outer surface of the base 3703E. The straps 3717E, when fastened, will anchor the bag 3702E to the notional object to be covered, and may be secured to one another about the notional object to be covered by any suitable fastening technique, including snaps, buckles, belt-fastening, magnets, or the like, or by tying opposed straps to one another. The straps 3717E may have any suitable width or thickness, and may take the form of belts, cables, strings or other types of strap. In certain embodiments, there may be only a single pair of straps. Moreover, a “pair” of straps may consist of two separate straps or a single continuous strap that can be formed into a loop.

Now referring now to FIGS. 37G and 37H, in situations where the predetermined location on top of the notional object to be covered includes at least a portion comprising magnetically attractive metal, a cover assembly such as cover assembly 3700G may be used. The anchor for the bag 3702G comprises a plurality of magnets 3719G disposed on the base 3703G, which can be used to removably secure the bag 3702G to the portion of the notional object comprising magnetically attractive metal. In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 37G and 37H, the magnets 3719G are positioned inwardly of the outer layer of material 3721G of the base 3703G. This configuration inhibits the magnets 3719G from scratching the surface of the notional object to be covered; the anchor comprising the magnets 3719G is still considered to be disposed on the base 3703G. When the material of the magnets 3719G is a suitably soft material, the magnets 3719G may be disposed directly on the outer layer 3721G of the base 3703G. The exemplary container 3702G has four magnets 3719G disposed on the base 3703G; more or fewer magnets, or even a single magnet, may be used depending on the size(s) thereof.

As stated above, a notional barbecue is simply one example of many types of notional objects which a cover assembly according to an aspect of the present invention may be adapted to cover. With suitable adaptation, cover assemblies according to aspects of the present invention may be used to cover a wide variety of notional objects.

With reference now to FIGS. 29A to 29H, 30A to 30H, 31A to 31H, 32A to 31H, 32A to 32H, 33A to 33H, 34A to 34H and 35A to 35H, deployment of various cover assemblies according to various aspects of the present invention is illustrated.

In FIGS. 29A and 29B, a first cover assembly 2900A for covering a notional automobile is placed in a predetermined position on an upper surface of a notional automobile 2950. The cover assembly 2900A is a clamshell-type cover assembly, comprising a container 2902A and a cover member 2904A, and accordingly may have the same construction as any of the clamshell-type cover assemblies 1900, 1900A, 1900B, 1900C, 1900D, 1900E, 1900F and 1900G, except that the covering member 2904A is sized and shaped to cover the notional automobile 2950. Thus, the container 2950 has a containment configuration for containing the covering member and a deployment configuration for deploying the covering member. In FIG. 29A, the container is shown in the containment configuration. The container 2902A also has a defined orientation relative to the notional automobile 2950, which is defined by having the handles 2930A face toward the rear of the notional automobile 2950. The container 2902A also includes an anchor, which may be a high-friction material, one or more suction cups, straps, one or more magnets, or another type of anchor for non-invasively maintaining the container in position on the notional automobile 2950. The covering member 2904A is secured to the container 2902A at a predetermined position of the covering member 2904A, namely the portion of the covering member 2904A that will cover the roof of the notional car to be covered, and in alignment with the defined orientation of the container 2902A. As shown in FIG. 29A, the container 2902A is placed at a predetermined position of the notional automobile 2950 corresponding to the predetermined position of the covering member 2904A, that is, on the roof of the notional car 2904A, with the defined orientation of the container 2902A matching an orientation of the notional object to be covered (i.e. the handles 2930A pointing toward the rear of the car). This placement aligns the automobile-covering shape of the covering member 2904A with the shape of the notional automobile 2950, permitting easy deployment of the covering member 2904A once the container 2902A is moved to the deployment configuration. FIG. 29B shows the covering member 2904A having been deployed to cover the notional automobile 2950.

In FIGS. 29C and 29D, a second cover assembly 2900C for covering the notional automobile 2950 is shown. The cover assembly 2900C is a collapsible box-type cover assembly, and includes a container 2902A comprising outwardly collapsible walls and a cover member 2904A. The covering member 2904C of the cover assembly 2900C is sized and shaped to cover the notional automobile 2950, but the cover assembly 2900C may otherwise be constructed identically to any of the collapsible box-type cover assemblies 10, 10A, 10B, 10C. Accordingly, the container 2902C has a containment configuration in which it can contain the covering member 2904C and a deployment configuration from which the covering member 2904C may easily be deployed. In FIG. 29C, the container 2902C is shown in the containment configuration. As has been explained, the container 2902C also has a defined orientation relative to the notional automobile 2950. In the illustrated embodiment, this orientation is defined by having the side of the container 2902C having the lid flap face toward the left side of the notional automobile 2950. The container 2902C also includes an anchor, which, as illustrated in FIGS. 1, 1A, 1B and 1C, may be a high-friction material, one or more suction cups, straps, one or more magnets, or another type of anchor for non-invasively maintaining the container in position on the notional automobile 2950. The covering member 2904 is secured to the container 2902C at a predetermined position of the covering member 2904. More particularly, the covering member 2904 is secured to the container so that the container is aligned with the portion of the covering member 2904 that will cover the roof of the notional automobile 2950, and in alignment with the defined orientation of the container 2902C. As shown in FIG. 29A, the container 2902 is placed at a predetermined position of the notional automobile 2950 corresponding to the predetermined position of the covering member 2904. In the illustrated embodiment, this predetermined position is on the roof of the notional automobile 2950, with the defined orientation of the container 2902C matching an orientation of the notional object to be covered (i.e. the flap on the lid of the container 2902C pointing toward the left side of the notional automobile 2950). Placing the container 2902C on the roof of the notional automobile 2950, with the covering member 2904C contained therein, aligns the automobile-covering shape of the covering member 2904 with the shape of the notional automobile 2950. This permits rapid deployment of the covering member 2904C once the walls of the container 2902C are collapsed outwardly (i.e. the container 2902C is moved to the deployment configuration), since the portion of the covering member 2904C intended to cover the roof of the notional automobile 2950 is aligned with the roof of the notional automobile 2950 and anchored in position. FIG. 29D shows the covering member 2904C having been deployed to cover the notional automobile 2950.

In FIGS. 29E and 29F, a third cover assembly 2900E for covering the notional automobile 2950 is shown. The cover assembly 2900E is an upright bag-type, and as such the container takes the form of an upright bag 2902E comprising a circumferential wall extending upwardly from a base having an anchor, such as a high-friction material, one or more suction cups, straps, one or more magnets, or another type of anchor for non-invasively maintaining the bag in position. The cover assembly 2900E also includes a covering member 2904E that is sized and shaped to cover the notional automobile 2950. Thus, the cover assembly 2900E may be substantially identical to any of the upright bag-type cover assemblies 3600, 3600D, 3600F and 3600H, and the bag 2900E therefore has a containment configuration enabling containment of the covering member 2904E as well as a deployment configuration facilitating deployment of the covering member 2904E. FIG. 29E shows the bag 2902E in the containment configuration. As has been explained, the bag 2902C also has a defined orientation relative to the notional automobile 2950. In the illustrated embodiment, a marking such as marking 3640, 3640D, 3640F, 3640H (not shown in FIGS. 29E and 29F) is disposed on the bag 2902E, and the specific orientation is defined by having the marking on the bag 2902C face toward the front of the notional automobile 2950. The bag 2902C also includes an anchor disposed on its base, which, as depicted in FIGS. 36A to 36I, may comprise a high-friction material, one or more suction cups, straps, one or more magnets, or any other suitable type of anchor for non-invasively maintaining the bag in position on the notional automobile 2950. The covering member 2904E is secured to the bag 2902E at a predetermined position of the covering member 2904E; specifically, the covering member 2904E is secured to the bag 2902E with the bag 2902E in alignment with the portion of the covering member 2904E that will cover the roof of the notional automobile 2950, and in alignment with the orientation of the bag 2902E as defined by the marking thereon. FIG. 29E shows the bag 2902E having been placed at a predetermined position of the notional automobile 2950 corresponding to the predetermined position of the covering member 2904, that is, on the roof of the notional automobile 2950, with the marking on the bag 2902E pointing toward the front of the car so that the defined orientation of the bag 2902E matches the orientation of the notional automobile 2950. By so placing the bag 2902E, which has the covering member 2904E contained inside, the user has aligned the car-covering shape of the covering member 2904E with the shape of the notional automobile 2950. This enables the covering member 2904E to be quickly deployed once the bag 2902E is in the deployment configuration. In FIG. 29F, the covering member 2904E has been deployed to cover the notional automobile 2950.

FIGS. 29G and 29H depict a fourth cover assembly 2900G for covering a notional car, such as the notional automobile 2950. As shown in FIG. 29G, the cover assembly 2900G has been positioned on the roof of the notional automobile 2950. The cover assembly 2900G is a longitudinal bag-type cover assembly, and the container therefore takes the form of a longitudinal bag 2902G comprising two opposed side portions secured to a rigid base having an anchor, such as a high-friction material, one or more suction cups, straps, one or more magnets, or another type of anchor for non-invasively maintaining the bag in position. The cover assembly 2900G also includes a covering member 2904G which has a size and shape corresponding to the notional automobile 2950. Thus, the cover assembly 2900G may be substantially identical to any of the longitudinal bag-type cover assemblies 3700, 3700C, 3700E and 3700G, and the bag 2902G is therefore selectively configurable between a containment configuration, in which the covering member 2904G is contained by the bag 2902G, and a deployment configuration from which the covering member 2904G may be deployed. FIG. 29G depicts the bag 2902G in the containment configuration. The bag 2902G also has a defined orientation relative to the notional automobile 2950 which, in the particular embodiment depicted, is provided by way of a marking such as marking 3740, 3740D, 3740F, 3740H (not shown in FIGS. 29G and 29H) on the bag 2902G. More particularly, in the exemplary embodiment depicted in FIGS. 29G and 29H the orientation of the bag 2902G is defined by having the marking on the bag 2902G face toward the right of the notional automobile 2950. The bag 2902G also includes an anchor disposed on its base; the anchor may comprise a high-friction material, one or more suction cups, straps, one or more magnets, or any other suitable type of anchor for non-invasively maintaining the bag in position, as depicted in FIGS. 37A to 36H. The covering member 2904G is secured to the bag 2902G at a predetermined position of the covering member 2904E, so that the bag 2902G is positioned in alignment with the portion of the covering member 2904G that will cover the roof of the notional automobile 2950, and matching the orientation of the bag 2902G as defined by the marking thereon. FIG. 29G shows the bag 2902G having been placed at a predetermined position of the notional automobile 2950, which is the roof of the notional automobile 2950, with the marking on the bag 2902G pointing toward the right side of the car so that the defined orientation of the bag 2902G matches the orientation of the notional automobile 2950. Positioning the bag at this location will align the car-covering shape of the covering member 2904G with the shape of the notional automobile 2950. This enables a user to move the bag 2902G into the deployment configuration and then deploy the covering member 2904G to cover the notional automobile 2950, as shown in FIG. 29H.

FIGS. 30A and 30B show a first embodiment of a cover assembly 3000A according to an aspect of the present invention for covering a notional watercraft 3050. The cover assembly 3000A comprises a container 3002A and a covering member 3004A, and is substantially identical to the cover assembly 2900A except that the covering member 3004A is sized and shaped to effectively cover the notional watercraft 3050. The predetermined position of the covering member 3004A, which is secured to the container 3002A, is the portion that will cover the seat of the notional watercraft 3050, and the predetermined position of the notional watercraft 3050 is the seat thereof. FIG. 30A shows the cover assembly 3000A anchored on the seat of the notional watercraft 3050 with the container 3002A in the closed configuration with the covering member 3004A contained therein, and FIG. 30B shows cover assembly 3000A with the covering member 3004A deployed to cover the notional watercraft 3050.

FIGS. 30C and 30D depict a second embodiment 3000C of a cover assembly according to an aspect of the present invention, also for covering a notional watercraft 3050. The cover assembly 3000C comprises a container 3002C and a covering member 3004C, and is substantially identical to the cover assembly 2900C except that the covering member 3004C is sized and shaped to match the shape of the notional watercraft 3050 to be covered. The predetermined position of the covering member 3004C, which is secured to the container 3002C, is the portion that will cover the seat of the notional watercraft 3050, and the predetermined position of the notional watercraft 3050 is the seat thereof FIG. 30C shows the cover assembly 3000C anchored on the seat of the notional watercraft 3050 with the container 3002C in the closed configuration (so that the covering member 3004C is disposed inside the container 3002C), and FIG. 30D shows cover assembly 3000C with the covering member 3004C deployed to cover the notional watercraft 3050.

In FIGS. 30E and 30F, a third embodiment of a cover assembly for covering a notional watercraft 3050 according to an aspect of the present invention, is indicated generally at 3000E. The cover assembly 3000E comprises a container in the form of an upright bag 3002E and a covering member 3004E. The covering member 3004E has a size and shape corresponding to those of the notional watercraft 3050 to be covered, but aside from this difference is substantially identical to the cover assembly 2900E. The predetermined position of the covering member 3004E, which is secured to the container 3002E, is the portion that will cover the seat of the notional watercraft 3050, and the predetermined position of the notional watercraft 3050 is the seat thereof. In FIG. 30E, the cover assembly 3000E is shown anchored on the seat of the notional watercraft 3050 with the upright bag 3002E in the closed configuration and thereby containing the covering member 3004E. FIG. 30D shows the cover assembly 3000E with the covering member 3004E in the deployed position, covering the notional watercraft 3050.

With reference now to FIGS. 30G and 30H, a fourth embodiment of a cover assembly for covering a notional watercraft 3050 according to an aspect of the present invention is denoted generally at 3000G. The cover assembly 3000G comprises a container in the form of a longitudinal bag 3002G and a covering member 3004G. The size and the shape of the covering member 3004G are such as to enable the covering member 3004G to effectively cover the notional watercraft 3050; the cover assembly 300G is otherwise substantially identical to the cover assembly 2900G. The predetermined position of the covering member 3004G, which is secured to the container 3002G, is in this case the portion that will cover the seat of the notional watercraft 3050, and the predetermined position of the notional watercraft 3050 is the seat thereof. FIG. 30G depicts the cover assembly 3000G with the container 3002G in the closed configuration to contain the covering member 3004G, with the container 3002G anchored on the seat of the notional watercraft 3050. In FIG. 30H the cover assembly 3000G is shown with the covering member 3004G having been deployed to cover the notional watercraft 3050.

FIGS. 31A and 31B show a first embodiment of a cover assembly 3100A according to an aspect of the present invention for covering a notional trailer 3150. The cover assembly 3100A comprises a container 3102A and a covering member 3104A, and is substantially identical to the cover assemblies 2900A, 3000A except that the covering member 3104A is sized and shaped to effectively cover the notional trailer 3150. The predetermined position of the covering member 3104A, which is secured to the container 3102A, corresponds to a predetermined upper surface of the trailer 3150. FIG. 31A shows the cover assembly 3100A anchored on the upper surface of the notional trailer 3150 with the container 3102A in the closed configuration with the covering member 3104A contained therein, and FIG. 31B shows cover assembly 3100A with the covering member 3104A deployed to cover the notional trailer 3150.

FIGS. 31C and 31D depict a second embodiment 3100C of a cover assembly according to an aspect of the present invention, also for covering a notional trailer 3150. The cover assembly 3100C comprises a container 3102C and a covering member 3104C, and is substantially identical to the cover assemblies 2900C, 3000C except that the covering member 3104C is sized and shaped to match the shape of the notional trailer 3150 to be covered. The predetermined position of the covering member 3104C, which is secured to the container 3102C, corresponds to a predetermined upper surface of the trailer 3150. FIG. 31C shows the cover assembly 3100C anchored on the upper surface of the notional trailer 3150 with the container 3102C in the closed configuration (so that the covering member 3104C is disposed inside the container 3102C), and FIG. 31D shows the cover assembly 3100C with the covering member 3104C deployed to cover the notional trailer 3150.

In FIGS. 31E and 31F, a third embodiment of a cover assembly for covering a notional trailer 3150 according to an aspect of the present invention, is indicated generally at 3100E. The cover assembly 3100E comprises a container in the form of an upright bag 3102E and a covering member 3104E. The covering member 3104C has a size and shape corresponding to those of the notional trailer 3150 to be covered, but aside from this difference is substantially identical to the cover assemblies 2900E, 3000E. The predetermined position of the covering member 3104E, which is secured to the container 3102E, corresponds to a predetermined upper surface of the trailer 3150. In FIG. 31E, the cover assembly 3100E is shown anchored on the upper surface of the notional trailer 3150 with the upright bag 3102E in the closed configuration and thereby containing the covering member 3104E. FIG. 31F shows the cover assembly 3100E with the covering member 3104E in the deployed position, covering the notional trailer 3150.

With reference now to FIGS. 31G and 31H, a fourth embodiment of a cover assembly for covering a notional trailer 3150 according to an aspect of the present invention is denoted generally at 3100G. The cover assembly 3100G comprises a container in the form of a longitudinal bag 3102G and a covering member 3104G. The size and the shape of the covering member 3104G are such as to enable the covering member 3104G to effectively cover the notional trailer 3150; the cover assembly 310G is otherwise substantially identical to the cover assemblies 2900G, 3000G. The predetermined position of the covering member 3104G, which is secured to the container 3102G, corresponds to a predetermined upper surface of the trailer 3150. FIG. 31G depicts the cover assembly 3100G with the container 3102G in the closed configuration to contain the covering member 3104G, with the container 3102G anchored on the predetermined upper surface of the notional trailer 3150. In FIG. 31H the cover assembly 3100G is shown with the covering member 3104G having been deployed to cover the notional trailer 3150.

FIGS. 32A and 32B show a first embodiment of a cover assembly 3200A according to an aspect of the present invention for covering a notional snowmobile 3250. The cover assembly 3200A comprises a container 3202A and a covering member 3204A, and is substantially identical to the cover assemblies 2900A, 3000A, 3100A except that the covering member 3204A is sized and shaped to effectively cover the notional snowmobile 3250. The predetermined position of the covering member 3204A, at which the container 3202A is secured to the covering member 3204A, is in this case the portion that will cover the seat of the notional snowmobile 3250, and the predetermined position of the notional snowmobile 3250 is the seat thereof. FIG. 32A shows the cover assembly 3200A anchored on the seat of the notional snowmobile 3250 with the container 3202A in the closed configuration with the covering member 3204A contained therein, and FIG. 32B shows cover assembly 3200A with the covering member 3204A deployed to cover the notional snowmobile 3250.

FIGS. 32C and 32D depict a second embodiment 3200C of a cover assembly according to an aspect of the present invention, also for covering a notional snowmobile 3250. The cover assembly 3200C comprises a container 3202C and a covering member 3204C, and is substantially identical to the cover assemblies 2900C, 3000C, 3100C except that the covering member 3204C is sized and shaped to match the shape of the notional snowmobile 3250 to be covered. The predetermined position of the covering member 3204C, at which the container 3202C is secured to the covering member 3204C, is in this case the portion that will cover the seat of the notional snowmobile 3250, and the predetermined position of the notional snowmobile 3250 is the seat thereof. FIG. 32C shows the cover assembly 3200C anchored on the seat of the notional snowmobile 3250 with the container 3202C in the closed configuration (so that the covering member 3204C is disposed inside the container 3202C), and FIG. 32D shows the cover assembly 3200C with the covering member 3204C deployed to cover the notional snowmobile 3250.

In FIGS. 32E and 32F, a third embodiment of a cover assembly for covering a notional snowmobile 3250 according to an aspect of the present invention, is indicated generally at 3200E. The cover assembly 3200E comprises a container in the form of an upright bag 3202E and a covering member 3204E. The covering member 3204C has a size and shape corresponding to those of the notional snowmobile 3250 to be covered, but aside from this difference is substantially identical to the cover assemblies 2900E, 3000E, 3100E. The predetermined position of the covering member 3204E, at which the container 3202E is secured to the covering member 3204E, is in this case the portion that will cover the seat of the notional snowmobile 3250, and the predetermined position of the notional snowmobile 3250 is the seat thereof. In FIG. 32E, the cover assembly 3200E is shown anchored on the seat of the notional snowmobile 3250 with the upright bag 3202E in the closed configuration and thereby containing the covering member 3204E. FIG. 32D shows the cover assembly 3200E with the covering member 3204E in the deployed position, covering the notional snowmobile 3250.

With reference now to FIGS. 32G and 32H, a fourth embodiment of a cover assembly for covering a notional snowmobile 3250 according to an aspect of the present invention is denoted generally at 3200G. The cover assembly 3200G comprises a container in the form of a longitudinal bag 3202G and a covering member 3204G. The size and the shape of the covering member 3204G are such as to enable the covering member 3204G to effectively cover the notional snowmobile 3250; the cover assembly 320G is otherwise substantially identical to the cover assemblies 2900G, 3000G, 3100G. The predetermined position of the covering member 3204G, at which the container 3202G is secured to the covering member 3204G, is the portion that will cover the seat of the notional snowmobile 3250, and the predetermined position of the notional snowmobile 3250 is the seat thereof. FIG. 32G depicts the cover assembly 3200G with the container 3202G in the closed configuration to contain the covering member 3204G, with the container 3202G anchored on the seat of the notional snowmobile 3250. In FIG. 32H the cover assembly 3200G is shown with the covering member 3204G having been deployed to cover the notional snowmobile 3250.

FIGS. 33A and 33B show a first embodiment of a cover assembly 3300A according to an aspect of the present invention for covering a notional motorcycle 3350. The cover assembly 3300A comprises a container 3302A and a covering member 3304A, and is substantially identical to the cover assemblies 2900A, 3000A, 310A, 3200A except that the covering member 3304A is sized and shaped to effectively cover the notional motorcycle 3350. The predetermined position of the covering member 3304A at which it is secured to the container 3302A is in this case the portion that will cover the upper surface of the fuel tank of the notional motorcycle 3350, and the predetermined position of the notional motorcycle 3350 is the upper surface of its fuel tank. FIG. 33A shows the cover assembly 3300A anchored on the upper surface of the fuel tank of the notional motorcycle 3350 with the container 3302A in the closed configuration with the covering member 3304A contained therein, and FIG. 33B shows cover assembly 3300A with the covering member 3304A deployed to cover the notional motorcycle 3350.

FIGS. 33C and 33D depict a second embodiment 3300C of a cover assembly according to an aspect of the present invention, also for covering a notional motorcycle 3350. The cover assembly 3300C comprises a container 3302C and a covering member 3304C, and is substantially identical to the cover assemblies 2900C, 3000C, 3100C, 3200C except that the covering member 3304C is sized and shaped to match the shape of the notional motorcycle 3350 to be covered. The predetermined position of the covering member 3304C at which it is secured to the container 3302C is the portion that will cover the upper surface of the fuel tank of the notional motorcycle 3350, and the predetermined position of the notional motorcycle 3350 is the upper surface of its fuel tank. FIG. 33C shows the cover assembly 3300C anchored on the upper surface of the fuel tank of the notional motorcycle 3350 with the container 3302C in the closed configuration (so that the covering member 3304C is disposed inside the container 3302C), and FIG. 33D shows the cover assembly 3300C with the covering member 3304C deployed to cover the notional motorcycle 3350.

In FIGS. 33E and 33F, a third embodiment of a cover assembly for covering a notional motorcycle 3350 according to an aspect of the present invention, is indicated generally at 3300E. The cover assembly 3300E comprises a container in the form of an upright bag 3302E and a covering member 3304E. The covering member 3304C has a size and shape corresponding to those of the notional motorcycle 3350 to be covered, but aside from this difference is substantially identical to the cover assemblies 2900E, 3000E, 3100E, 3200E. The predetermined position of the covering member 3304E at which it is secured to the container 3302E is in this case the portion that will cover the upper surface of the fuel tank of the notional motorcycle 3350, and the predetermined position of the notional motorcycle 3350 is the upper surface of its fuel tank. In FIG. 33E, the cover assembly 3300E is shown anchored on the upper surface of the fuel tank of the notional motorcycle 3350 with the upright bag 3302E in the closed configuration and thereby containing the covering member 3304E. FIG. 33D shows the cover assembly 3300E with the covering member 3304E in the deployed position, covering the notional motorcycle 3350.

With reference now to FIGS. 33G and 33H, a fourth embodiment of a cover assembly for covering a notional motorcycle 3350 according to an aspect of the present invention is denoted generally at 3300G. The cover assembly 3300G comprises a container in the form of a longitudinal bag 3302G and a covering member 3304G. The size and the shape of the covering member 3304G are such as to enable the covering member 3304G to effectively cover the notional motorcycle 3350; the cover assembly 330G is otherwise substantially identical to the cover assemblies 2900G, 3000G, 3100G, 3200G. The predetermined position of the covering member 3304G at which it is secured to the container 3302G is in this case the portion that will cover the upper surface of the fuel tank of the notional motorcycle 3350, and the predetermined position of the notional motorcycle 3350 is the upper surface of its fuel tank. FIG. 33G depicts the cover assembly 3300G with the container 3302G in the closed configuration to contain the covering member 3304G, with the container 3302G anchored on the upper surface of the fuel tank of the notional motorcycle 3350. In FIG. 33H the cover assembly 3300G is shown with the covering member 3304G having been deployed to cover the notional motorcycle 3350.

FIGS. 34A and 34B show a first embodiment of a cover assembly 3400A according to an aspect of the present invention for covering a notional set of patio furniture 3450 comprising chairs 3452 and a table 3454. As such, it is to be understood that the term “object” as used herein may refer to a single object, such as the notional barbecues B and B, or notional automobile 2950, etc., or to a set of objects that are intended to be covered together as a set. The cover assembly 3400A comprises a container 3402A and a covering member 3404A, and is substantially identical to the cover assemblies 2900A, 3000A, 3100A, 3200A, 3300A except that the covering member 3404A is sized and shaped to effectively cover the notional set of patio furniture 3450. The predetermined position where the covering member 3404A is secured to the container 3402A is the portion that will cover the central upper surface of the notional table 3454, and the predetermined position of the notional set of patio furniture 3450 is the central upper surface of the notional table 3454. FIG. 34A shows the cover assembly 3400A anchored on the upper surface of the notional table 3454 with the container 3402A in the closed configuration with the covering member 3404A contained therein, and FIG. 34B shows cover assembly 3400A with the covering member 3404A deployed to cover the notional set of patio furniture 3450.

FIGS. 34C and 34D depict a second embodiment 3400C of a cover assembly according to an aspect of the present invention, also for covering a notional set of patio furniture 3450. The cover assembly 3400C comprises a container 3402C and a covering member 3404C, and is substantially identical to the cover assemblies 2900C, 3000C, 3100C, 3200C, 3300C except that the covering member 3404C is sized and shaped to match the shape of the notional set of patio furniture 3450 that is to be covered. The predetermined position where the covering member 3404C is secured to the container 3402C is the portion that will cover the central upper surface of the notional table 3454, and the predetermined position of the notional set of patio furniture 3450 is the central upper surface of the notional table 3454. FIG. 34C shows the cover assembly 3400C anchored on the upper surface of the notional table 3454 with the container 3402C in the closed configuration (so that the covering member 3404C is disposed inside the container 3402C), and FIG. 34D shows the cover assembly 3400C with the covering member 3404C deployed to cover the notional set of patio furniture 3450.

In FIGS. 34E and 34F, a third embodiment of a cover assembly for covering a notional set of patio furniture 3450 according to an aspect of the present invention, is indicated generally at 3400E. The cover assembly 3400E comprises a container in the form of an upright bag 3402E and a covering member 3404E. The covering member 3404C has a size and shape corresponding to those of the notional set of patio furniture 3450 to be covered, but aside from this difference is substantially identical to the cover assemblies 2900E, 3000E, 3100E, 3200E, 3300E. The predetermined position where the covering member 3404E is secured to the container 3402E is the portion that will cover the central upper surface of the notional table 3454, and the predetermined position of the notional set of patio furniture 3450 is the central upper surface of the notional table 3454. In FIG. 34E, the cover assembly 3400E is shown anchored on the upper surface of the notional table 3454 with the upright bag 3402E in the closed configuration and thereby containing the covering member 3404E. FIG. 34D shows the cover assembly 3400E with the covering member 3404E in the deployed position, covering the notional set of patio furniture 3450.

With reference now to FIGS. 34G and 34H, a fourth embodiment of a cover assembly for covering a notional set of patio furniture 3450 according to an aspect of the present invention is denoted generally at 3400G. The cover assembly 3400G comprises a container in the form of a longitudinal bag 3402G and a covering member 3404G. The size and the shape of the covering member 3404G are such as to enable the covering member 3404G to effectively cover the notional set of patio furniture 3450; the cover assembly 340G is otherwise substantially identical to the cover assemblies 2900G, 3000G, 3100G, 3200G, 3300G. The predetermined position where the covering member 3404G is secured to the container 3402G is the portion that will cover the central upper surface of the notional table 3454, and the predetermined position of the notional set of patio furniture 3450 is the central upper surface of the notional table 3454. FIG. 34G depicts the cover assembly 3400G with the container 3402G in the closed configuration to contain the covering member 3404G, with the container 3402G anchored on the upper surface of the notional table 3454. In FIG. 34H the cover assembly 3400G is shown with the covering member 3404G having been deployed to cover the notional set of patio furniture 3450.

FIGS. 35A and 35B show a first embodiment of a cover assembly 3500A according to an aspect of the present invention for covering a notional tool chest 3550. The cover assembly 3500A comprises a container 3502A and a covering member 3504A, and is substantially identical to the cover assemblies 2900A, 3000A, 310A, 3200A, 3300A, 3400A except that the covering member 3504A is sized and shaped to effectively cover the notional tool chest 3550. The upper portion of the covering member 3504A is secured to the container 3502A, and corresponds to the top of the notional tool chest 3550. FIG. 35A shows the cover assembly 3500A anchored on the top of the notional tool chest 3550 with the container 3502A in the closed configuration with the covering member 3504A contained therein, and FIG. 35B shows cover assembly 3500A with the covering member 3504A deployed to cover the notional tool chest 3550.

FIGS. 35C and 35D depict a second embodiment 3500C of a cover assembly according to an aspect of the present invention, also for covering a notional tool chest 3550. The cover assembly 3500C comprises a container 3502C and a covering member 3504C, and is substantially identical to the cover assemblies 2900C, 3000C, 3100C, 3200C, 3300C, 3400C except that the covering member 3504C is sized and shaped to match the shape of the notional tool chest 3550 to be covered. The upper portion of the covering member 3504C is secured to the container 3502C, and corresponds to the top of the notional tool chest 3550. FIG. 35C shows the cover assembly 3500C anchored on the top of the notional tool chest 3550 with the container 3502C in the closed configuration (so that the covering member 3504C is disposed inside the container 3502C), and FIG. 35D shows the cover assembly 3500C with the covering member 3504C deployed to cover the notional tool chest 3550.

In FIGS. 35E and 35F, a third embodiment of a cover assembly for covering a notional tool chest 3550 according to an aspect of the present invention, is indicated generally at 3500E. The cover assembly 3500E comprises a container in the form of an upright bag 3502E and a covering member 3504E. The covering member 3504C has a size and shape corresponding to those of the notional tool chest 3550 to be covered, but aside from this difference is substantially identical to the cover assemblies 2900E, 3000E, 3100E, 3200E, 3300E, 3400E. The upper portion of the covering member 3504E is secured to the container 3502E, and corresponds to the top of the notional tool chest 3550. In FIG. 35E, the cover assembly 3500E is shown anchored on the top of the notional tool chest 3550 with the upright bag 3502E in the closed configuration and thereby containing the covering member 3504E. FIG. 35D shows the cover assembly 3500E with the covering member 3504E in the deployed position, covering the notional tool chest 3550.

With reference now to FIGS. 35G and 35H, a fourth embodiment of a cover assembly for covering a notional tool chest 3550 according to an aspect of the present invention is denoted generally at 3500G. The cover assembly 3500G comprises a container in the form of a longitudinal bag 3502G and a covering member 3504G. The size and the shape of the covering member 3504G are such as to enable the covering member 3504G to effectively cover the notional tool chest 3550; the cover assembly 350G is otherwise substantially identical to the cover assemblies 2900G, 3000G, 3100G, 3200G, 3300G, 3400G. The upper portion of the covering member 3504G is secured to the container 3502G, and corresponds to the top of the notional tool chest 3550. FIG. 35G depicts the cover assembly 3500G with the container 3502G in the closed configuration to contain the covering member 3504G, with the container 3502G anchored on the top of the notional tool chest 3550. In FIG. 35H the cover assembly 3500G is shown with the covering member 3504G having been deployed to cover the notional tool chest 3550.

FIGS. 38A to 38I illustrate deployment of a further exemplary embodiment 3800 of a cover assembly according to an aspect of the present invention to cover a notional automobile 3850. The cover assembly 3800 comprises a generally box-shaped container 3802 formed from a flexible fabric material, and a covering member 3804 formed from a similar or identical material. The container 3802 comprises two opposed halves which may be secured in facing relation to one another, so that the container 3802 has a containment configuration for containing the covering member 3804. The two opposed halves may be collapsed away from one another to define a deployment configuration from which the covering member 3804 may be deployed. FIG. 38A shows the container 3802 in the containment configuration; in FIGS. 38B to 38I the container 3802 is in the collapsed or deployment configuration. In the illustrated embodiment, the two opposed halves may be secured to one another by way of a zipper comprising two zipper halves extending along the facing edges of the two opposed halves. An anchor is disposed on the flat underside of the container 3802, which may be a layer of high-friction material, one or more suction cups, one or more sets of straps, one or more magnets, or another type of anchor.

The container 3802 has a defined orientation relative to the notional automobile 30; in the illustrated embodiment this orientation is defined by a marking 3840 on the container 3802 indicating that the marking should face toward the front of the notional automobile 3850. The covering member 3804 has an automobile-covering shape, and is secured to the container at the portion of the covering member 3804 corresponding to the hood 3870 of the notional automobile 3850. The covering member 3804 is secured, at the portion thereof corresponding to the hood 3870, to the container 3802 so as to be in alignment with the orientation of the container 3802 as defined by the marking 3840. Thus, placing the container 3802 on the hood 3870 of the notional automobile 3850 with the marking 3840 on the container 3802 facing the front of the notional automobile 3850 (so that the defined orientation of the container 3802 matches the orientation of the notional automobile 3850) aligns the automobile-covering shape of the covering member 3802 with the shape of the notional automobile 3850.

Once the container 3802 has been placed on the hood 3870 of the notional automobile 3850, the container may be configured into the deployment configuration, and a user 3896 can begin to unfurl the covering member, as shown in FIGS. 38B and 38C. In the illustrated embodiment, during storage of the covering member 3804 in the container 3802, the side portions 3820 of the covering member 3804 (corresponding to the sides 3858 of the notional automobile 3850) are rolled or folded toward the central portion 3822 of the covering member 3804 (corresponding to the central length of the notional automobile 3850 as defined by its hood 3870, roof 3880 and trunk/hatchback 3890). The side portions 3820 of the covering member 3804 may be secured in the aforementioned rolled or folded condition by fasteners 3828, which may be hook-and-loop fasteners, snap fasteners, magnetic fasteners, or any other suitable type of fasteners.

Securing the side portions 3820 of the covering member 3804 in the rolled or folded condition adjacent the central portion 3822 of the covering member 3804 facilitates deployment of the covering member 3804 by making it easier to align the central portion 3822 of the covering member 3804 with the hood 3870, roof 3880 and trunk/hatchback 3890 of the notional automobile 3850 and extend the covering member 3804 lengthwise along the length of the notional automobile 3850. This alignment is best seen in FIG. 38D. To further support this lengthwise extension of the covering member 3804 along the notional automobile 3850, a plurality of loops 3842 are provided along the width of the covering member 3804 at the end of the covering member 3804 corresponding to the trunk/hatchback 3890 of the notional automobile 3850. By inserting a rigid or substantially rigid pole 3844 through the loops 3842, the user 3896 can extend the covering member 3804 along the length of the notional automobile 3850, including over the roof 3880 and trunk/hatchback 3890 thereof, while standing on one side of the notional automobile 3850. This process is shown in FIGS. 38C to 38F. This feature, and the deployment technique enabled thereby, is particularly advantageous when the notional automobile 3850 to be covered has a high roof, such as a van, minivan, pickup truck or sport utility vehicle.

Once the covering member 3804 has been extended along the length of the notional automobile 3850, the side portions 3820 of the covering member 3804 may be unfastened from the central portion 3822 of the covering member 3804 and unrolled or unfolded to cover the sides 3858 of the notional automobile 3850, as shown in FIGS. 38H and 38I. Optionally, one or more elastic members (not shown) may be provided at the outer perimeter of the covering member 3804, in a manner analogous to the elastic portions of a fitted bed-sheet, to assist in maintaining the deployed covering member 3804 in position on the notional automobile 3850. Removal of the covering member 3804 and return of the container 3802 to the closed or containment configuration is essentially the reverse of the process described above.

FIGS. 38J and 38K show an exemplary embodiment of a rigid or substantially rigid pole 3844 which may be inserted through the loops 3842 provided along the width of the covering member 3804 at the end thereof. The pole 3844 is collapsible, and is made from a plurality of nesting pole segments 3846. The intermediate pole segments 3846 are hollow tubes, and each have one open end 3847 and one region of reduced diameter 3848 which can fit into the open end 3847 of the adjacent pole segment 3846. (The pole segments 3846 defining the ends of the pole 3844 may each omit one of the open end and the region of reduced diameter, since these pole segments 3846 will only be adjacent to one other pole segment 3846.) By making the pole 3844 collapsible, it can easily be stored within the container 3802, such as on top of the folded or bunched cover member 3804, or a specialized compartment may be provided as part of the container 3802. Optionally, a telescopic pole may be used as the collapsible pole instead of the pole 3844.

A cover assembly according to an aspect of the present invention may form part of a package. Such a package would include a cover assembly, such as any of the cover assemblies described herein. As such, the cover assembly would include a covering member having an object-covering shape, and a container for containing the covering member, with the container having a containment configuration for containing the covering member and a deployment configuration for deploying the covering member, and also having a defined orientation relative to the notional object to be covered and an anchor for maintaining the container in position on the notional object. As described above, the covering member would be secured to the container at a predetermined position of the covering member. The package would also include a substrate having instructions to place the container at a predetermined position of the notional object to be covered corresponding to the predetermined position of the covering member with the defined orientation of the container matching the notional object to be covered. Thus, by following the instructions, a user will be able to position the container so that the object-covering shape of the covering member will be aligned with the shape of the notional object to be covered.

FIG. 39A shows a cover assembly package 3900A comprising a cover assembly 3910A including a collapsible box-type container 3902A having a high-friction material 3907A on its underside, as well as a set of instructions 3960A. FIG. 39B depicts a cover assembly package 3900B comprising a cover assembly 3910B including a collapsible box-type container 3902B whose underside has suction cups 3915B disposed thereon, along with a set of instructions 3960B. FIG. 39C illustrates a cover assembly package 3900C comprising a cover assembly 3910C including a collapsible box-type container 3902C having straps 3917B secured to the container 3902C, together with a set of instructions 3960C. FIG. 39D shows a cover assembly package 3900D comprising a cover assembly 3910D including a collapsible box-type container 3902D having magnets 3919D on its underside, as well as a set of instructions 3960D.

FIG. 40A shows a cover assembly package 4000A comprising a cover assembly 4010A including a clamshell-type container 4002A having a high-friction material 4007A on a clamshell portion thereof, as well as a set of instructions 4060A. FIG. 40B depicts a cover assembly package 4000B comprising a cover assembly 4010B including a clamshell-type container 4002B whose having suction cups 4015B disposed thereon, along with a set of instructions 4060B. FIG. 40C illustrates a cover assembly package 4000C comprising a cover assembly 4010C including a clamshell-type container 4002C having straps 4017B secured to the container 4002C, together with a set of instructions 4060C. FIG. 40D shows a cover assembly package 4000D comprising a cover assembly 4010D including a clamshell-type container 4002D having magnets 4019D, as well as a set of instructions 4060D.

FIG. 41A shows a cover assembly package 4100A comprising a cover assembly 4110A including an upright bag-type container 4102A having a high-friction material 4107A on its underside, as well as a set of instructions 4160A. FIG. 41B depicts a cover assembly package 4100B comprising a cover assembly 4110B including an upright bag-type container 4102B whose underside has suction cups 4115B disposed thereon, along with a set of instructions 4160B. FIG. 41C illustrates a cover assembly package 4100C comprising a cover assembly 4110C including an upright bag-type container 4102C having straps 4117B secured to the container 4102C, together with a set of instructions 4160C. FIG. 41D shows a cover assembly package 4100D comprising a cover assembly 4110D including an upright bag-type container 4102D having magnets 4119D on its underside, as well as a set of instructions 4160D.

FIG. 42A shows a cover assembly package 4200A comprising a cover assembly 4210A including a longitudinal bag-type container 4202A having a high-friction material 4207A on its underside, as well as a set of instructions 4260A. FIG. 42B depicts a cover assembly package 4200B comprising a cover assembly 4210B including a longitudinal bag-type container 4202B whose underside has suction cups 4215B disposed thereon, along with a set of instructions 4260B. FIG. 42C illustrates a cover assembly package 4200C comprising a cover assembly 4210C including a longitudinal bag-type container 4202C having straps 4217B secured to the container 4202C, together with a set of instructions 4260C. FIG. 42D shows a cover assembly package 4200D comprising a cover assembly 4210D including a longitudinal bag-type container 4202D having magnets 4219D on its underside, as well as a set of instructions 4260D.

In the embodiments shown in FIGS. 39A to 39D, 40A to 40D, 41A to 41D and 42A to 42D, the substrate containing the instructions has been depicted as a separate sheet of paper, typical of the written instructions frequently included in consumer products. In other embodiments, the substrate carrying the instructions may be a retail package in which the cover assembly is enclosed, or may be a machine-readable medium such as a CD-ROM, DVD, or USB thumb-drive carrying machine readable instructions for placement of the container of the cover assembly. Alternatively, the substrate carrying the instructions may be attached to or form part of the container. For example, instructions for placement of the container may be printed on an outer surface of the container. Moreover, the instructions may be written instructions in any language, or may be pictorial instructions, or may be a combination of written and pictorial instructions.

Various types of anchor have been described for maintaining a container in position on a notional object to be covered. Anchors on containers according to an aspect of the present invention may also include a first mating portion of a set of mating fastener pairs, with the second mating portion of the set being secured to the notional object to be covered. By way of example, and without limitation, a container may have one of a hook portion or a loop portion of a hook-and-loop fastener pair, and the other of the hook portion or loop portion may be secured to the notional object to be covered at the predetermined position thereof.

Reference has been made herein to the use of flexible fabric material. Fabric materials which may be used for covering members according to aspects of the present invention may include synthetic materials, such as PVC, polyester-backed PVC, polyester, PVC-backed polyester, spun-bonded non-woven material (polypropylene), polyurethane-coated polyester, polyethylene-coated polyester, as well as natural materials such as leather, bamboo, hemp, and other organic/eco-friendly fibers. Similar materials may be used for constructing containers according to aspects of the present invention; where a container includes rigid components, such as the collapsible box-type containers, some reinforcement will be required to provide the rigidity. For example, rigid components of a container may be made from corrugated polyethylene sandwiched between two layers of polyester-supported PVC material.

Covering members according to aspects of the present invention may be of unitary construction (although they may be assembled by stitching or otherwise securing several pieces of material together), or may comprise a plurality of portions, such as a main portion and side portions and wherein only part of the inner edge of the side portion is be permanently secured to the main portion, with the remaining part of the inner edge being detachably connectable, such as by zippers, to the main portion after deployment. An example of a barbecue cover of this type is shown in U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 20070283946 A1, which is co-owned by the assignee hereof. Also, a cover member according to an aspect of the present invention may be provided with hook-and-loop fastening straps at its lower, outer edges, to assist in securing the barbecue cover to the notional barbecue with which it will be used. Such straps could be fastened to one another either to tighten the lower edges of the cover around the base of the notional barbecue, or could be used to secure the lower edges of the cover directly to the notional object to be covered.

Reference has been made herein to the use of hook-and-loop fastening arrangements. Hook-and-loop fasteners made by entities other than Velcro Industries B.V. and its affiliates may also be used, subject to any relevant intellectual property rights, without departing from the scope of the present invention. Moreover, other suitable fasteners, including but not limited to snap-fasteners and magnetic fasteners, may also be used without departing from the scope of the present invention.

Optionally, a container for a cover assembly according to an aspect of the present invention may have a trademark or other promotional image disposed thereon, either that of the manufacturer or that of a third party who has retained the manufacturer. For example, a barbecue manufacturer or retailer may wish to place its trademark on the lid of a container for a cover assembly according to an aspect of the present invention, and offer the cover assembly either as a separate product or as a promotional item to incent purchase of a barbecue.

Reference has been made herein to notional exemplary barbecues, denoted by the references “B” and “B2”, as well as various other objects in association with which cover assemblies according to aspects of the present invention may be used. Neither the notional exemplary barbecues B and B2, nor any other object, form part of the present invention, and any references to an object in the claims are intended solely to define attributes of the invention and not to define any object to be covered as a component of any embodiment of any aspect of the invention. Rather, the barbecues B, B2 and other objects shown as being covered are merely exemplary objects representative of objects in association with which embodiments of aspects of the present invention may be used.

In general, it will be apparent to persons skilled in the art that a number of variations and modifications can be made without departing from the scope of the invention as defined in the claims. More particularly, it will be appreciated that various individual features from different exemplary embodiments described herein may be combined to produce an embodiment not explicitly shown or described, without departing from the scope of the present invention.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US20130032131 *Aug 3, 2011Feb 7, 2013Fenix Outdoor ABStorage box
Classifications
U.S. Classification150/154
International ClassificationB65D65/02
Cooperative ClassificationA47J37/0786
European ClassificationA47J37/07L
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Mar 25, 2009ASAssignment
Owner name: JLM ACCESSORIES LTD., CANADA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:MARUZZO, WALTER FIORE;REEL/FRAME:022450/0209
Effective date: 20080324