Monday, March 2, 2009

Gear Secure

United States Patent
WWW.USPTO.GOV
7,347,298
Perry
March 25, 2008

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Gear secure


Abstract
This automobile anti-theft device comprises a removable stick gear
shifter, release mechanism, and possibly a second level safety release
mechanism, steel ball bearing, an exclusive shaft key lock component,
and electrical connections depending on the type of transmission in
use. These components are designed to function in unison to allow a
car operator to remove a gear shifter to prevent automobile theft.


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Inventors: Perry; Alvin (Palmale, CA)
Appl. No.: 10/994,624
Filed: November 22, 2004

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Current U.S. Class: 180/289 ; 70/247; 74/473.12; 74/523
Current International Class: B60R 25/06 (20060101); B62H 5/08 (20060101)
Field of Search: 74/473.1,523,529,536,548 180/287,289 70/204



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References Cited [Referenced By]

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U.S. Patent Documents

3564878 February 1971 Seatts
3865500 February 1975 Newell
4231241 November 1980 Lipski
4638882 January 1987 Sato
5211078 May 1993 McCarthy et al.
5251466 October 1993 Chang
5488846 February 1996 Green
5722452 March 1998 Gilmore
5791175 August 1998 Van Wyk
6116370 September 2000 Puigbo
6460426 October 2002 Kataumi et al.
6722711 April 2004 Kitzis
6927671 August 2005 DeBono
2006/0005660 January 2006 Rick et al.
2006/0076752 April 2006 Montague et al.
2006/0107782 May 2006 Perry
2006/0151987 July 2006 Marks et al.

Primary Examiner: Dickson; Paul N.
Assistant Examiner: Amores; Karen J.
Attorney, Agent or Firm: Galasso; Raymond M. Galasso & Associates, LP
WWW.GAPATENTS.COM
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Claims

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What is claimed is:

1. A theft prevention device for a motorized vehicle comprising: (a) a
removable gear shifter; (b) a mooring for anchoring the removable gear
shifter; (c) a key located at the bottom of the removable gear
shifter; (d) a lock on the interior of the mooring that corresponds to
the key located at the bottom of the removable gear shifter; (e) a
release button on the removable gear shifter that activates a steel
ball bearing located inside the key on the bottom of the removable
gear shifter (f) a first safety release button located on the
removable gear shifter; and (g) a second safety release button located
on the removable gear shifter.

2. The theft prevention device of claim 1 further comprising: a
release button located on the removable gear shifter that activates an
electrical terminal located on the key at the bottom of the removable
gear shifter.

3. The theft prevention device of claim 2 further comprising:
electrical terminals located on the interior of the mooring.

4. The theft prevention device of claim 1 further comprising: a theft
prevention warning sticker placed on the motorized vehicle.

5. The theft prevention device of claim 1 further comprising: a flap
hinged to the mooring.

6. A theft prevention device for a motorized vehicle comprising: (a) a
removable gear shifter; (b) a mooring for anchoring the removable gear
shifter; (c) a key located on the bottom of the removable gear
shifter; (d) a lock on the interior of the mooring that corresponds to
the key located at the bottom of the removable gear shifter; (e) a
release button located on the removable gear shifter that activates a
steel ball bearing located inside the key on the bottom of the
removable gear shifter; (f) a first safety release button located on
the removable gear shifter; (g) a second safety release button located
on the removable gear shifter; (h) a theft prevention warning sticker
placed on the motorized vehicle; and (I) a flap hinged to the mooring.

7. A method for protecting a vehicle comprising: installing a gear
shifter into a mooring connected to the vehicles transmission; and
pressing the release button on the removable gear shifter that
activates a steel ball bearing located inside the key on the bottom of
the removable gear shifter, the first safety release button on a
removable gear shifter in conjunction with the sescond safety release,
button, simultaneously, and removing the removable gear shifter from
the mooring.
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Description

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FIELD OF THE DISCLOSURE

The disclosures made herein relate generally to a vehicle theft
prevention device. Gear Secure is in the same general classification
of protective equipment as the steering wheel and pedal immobilizers.

BACKGROUND

Over the years, there have been many inventions to help secure
automobiles from being stolen to give an owner a feeling of comfort
when he/she leaves his/her automobile.

For example, audible and silent alarms have been designed to sound
when a parked automobile is moved or senses motion. Unfortunately,
these alarms often sound inadvertently. In fact, many people simply
view these alarms as audible irritants and do not pay attention to
them anymore. Even if people responded to such alarms, this type of
system puts the onus on the car owner or other citizens to stop a
potential car thief, potentially jeopardizing their own safety.
Moreover, these audible alarms often sound alike and it can be
difficult to recognize the source of the alarm. Hence, many users are
forced to pay for expensive devices with more unique alarms sounds. In
general, these car alarms are also not very complicated to bypass. It
may only take fifteen (15) to twenty (20) seconds for a car thief to
smash the window, lift the hood, and cut the wires to the siren.
Alternatively, a car thief could short out the alarm with a high
voltage charge even more quickly in many cases. Because the common
occurrence of a car alarm sounding for 15-20 seconds will likely be
ignored by most people, it will not serve as much of a deterrent for a
determined car thief.

Another invention, the CLUB, is a well-known car theft prevention
device that has sold tens of millions of devices through the years.
The use of the CLUB is actually an antiquated idea that involves
relatively primitive technology. Unfortunately, the CLUB is also
fairly easily circumvented. A car thief can simply cut the steering
wheel in one place with a hacksaw and remove the club and steal the
car. While the CLUB is more difficult to bypass than a common car
alarm, it can still be done if the car thief has sufficient time. For
example, in the evening while a car owner sleeps, the car thief can
probably disable the CLUB in 15 minutes or less.

Other car theft prevention accessories are also sold with the CLUB. A
club cover (steel plate device that covers the steering wheel) can be
utilized with the CLUB to prevent a car thief from sawing the steering
wheel and removing the CLUB. However, this type of device is large and
awkward to place on the steering wheel and to take off which may
prevent many consumers from using it.

LoJack is another car theft prevention device that deters thieves from
stealing a car because the location of the car can be tracked.
However, if the car thief knows what to look for after stealing the
car, he can dismantle the device in a secluded spot before a car owner
even reports the car missing. Obviously, this device also can only be
used as a deterrent and a determined car thief could still steal the
car if he was willing to take the risk that the car might be located
through the use of the LoJack system. Unlike the CLUB or the present
invention, LoJack does not truly immobilize the car.

The physical kill start switch and computerized switch through an
alarm are also inexpensive security features that can work well in
helping to stop auto theft if the consumer is imaginative when
installing it. Most consumers have their switch installed in a very
common place which can be visible if the car thief should take a few
seconds to look for it. Most car thieves know to look for a kill start
switch if the car does start immediately. It may only take a thief a
few minutes to locate this type of switch and bypass it.

Other devices, like valet keypads and keycards that are waived by the
steering column, are useful, but if the consumer forgets his code or
loses his keycard, he will be unable to start his car.

These devices, in the aggregate, can still be a good deterrent but do
not solve the problem of automobile theft. Most thieves are able to
bypass one or more of these devices.

SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE

In general, the Gear Secure system comprises a removable gear shifter,
release button, key, lock and possibly safety release buttons, a steel
ball bearing mechanism (like used in a socket wrench) and/or
electrical connections on the key and lock.

One embodiment of this invention is for use with automatic floor
transmissions. In this design, a removable gear shifter can be
detached from the mooring connected to the automobile's transmission.
This type of removable gear shifter has a release button on the top
and electrical terminals located on the bottom (key) that will send a
signal to the electrical connections on the interior of the mooring
(lock) to allow release of the gear shifter when the release mechanism
is pressed. The bottom of the gear shifter with the electrical
terminals has a unique key design to be inserted into the mooring.
Electrical connections on the interior of the mooring allow the
removable gear shifter to only be removed when the car is in park or
the car is turned off. Hence, the removable gear shifter can only be
removed when both the release mechanism is pressed and the car is in
park or turned off. The interior of the mooring with the electrical
connections has a unique lock design that corresponds to the key
design at the bottom of the removable gear shifter.

Another embodiment of this invention is for use with automatic
steering column transmissions. In this design, as with the floor
automatic transmission model, a removable gear shifter can be detached
from the mooring connected to the automobile's transmission. This type
of removable gear shifter has a release button on the top and
electrical terminals located on the bottom that will send a signal to
the electrical connections on the interior of the mooring to allow
release of the gear shifter when the release mechanism is pressed. The
bottom of the gear shifter with the electrical terminals has a unique
key design to be inserted into the mooring. Electrical connections on
the interior of the mooring allow the removable gear shifter to only
be removed when the car is in park or the car is turned off. Hence,
the removable gear shifter can only be removed when both the release
mechanism is pressed and the car is in park or turned off. The
interior of the mooring has a unique lock design that corresponds to
the key design at the bottom of the removable gear shifter.

Yet another embodiment of this invention is for use with manual
transmissions. In this design, as with the in floor and steering wheel
automatic transmission models, a gear shifter can be detached from the
mooring connected to the automobile's transmission. However, unlike
the automatic transmission models, the manual transmission model does
not have electrical terminals located on the bottom of the removable
gear shifter and in the interior of the mooring. Instead, it has one
or more safety buttons on the removable gear shifter that will be
pressed simultaneously with the release button located at the top of
the removable gear shifter. When the release button and safety release
buttons are pressed simultaneously, the removable gear shifter can be
taken out of the mooring. The bottom of the removable gear shifter has
a unique key design with a steel ball bearing placed inside. The
interior of the mooring has a unique lock design that corresponds to
the key design at the bottom of the removable gear shifter. Pressing
the release button and safety release buttons activates the steel ball
bearing mechanism and allows the key at the bottom of the removable
gear shifter to be taken out of the lock located on the interior of
the mooring.

One object of this invention is to design a car theft prevention
device that will be easy to install and remove.

Another object of this invention is to produce a car theft prevention
device that is unique to each vehicle in which it is installed.

Another object of this invention is to create a car theft prevention
device that is difficult to bypass.

Another object of this invention is to provide a car theft prevention
device that actually immobilizes a car.

Another object of this invention is to create a car theft prevention
device that is inexpensive.

Yet another object of this invention is to create a car theft
prevention device that can be installed or retrofitted for use in new,
older and classic model cars.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 depicts a perspective view of the Gear Secure System for floor
automatic transmission models.

FIG. 2 depicts a perspective view of the Gear Secure System for
steering column automatic transmission models.

FIG. 3 depicts a perspective view of the Gear Secure System for manual
transmission models.

FIG. 4 depicts an overhead view of various lock designs for use in the
Gear Secure System.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Gear Secure is an automobile theft prevention system that allows a car
owner to remove his gear shifter from the automobile when he leaves
the vehicle. When properly used, the Gear Secure System prevents a car
from being placed in gear and stolen while the owner is away from his
car.

FIG. 1 depicts the preferred embodiment of Gear Secure 10 for floor
automatic transmission models. In this design, a removable gear
shifter 12 can be detached from its mooring 14 connected to the
automobile's transmission. The removable gear shifter 12 has a release
button 16 on the top and two electrical terminals 18 located on the
bottom. These two electrical terminals 18 send a signal to the
mooring's electrical connections 20 located on the interior of the
mooring 14 to allow release of the removable gear shifter 12 only when
the release button 16 is pressed. The bottom of the removable gear
shifter 12 with the two electrical terminals 18 is fashioned into a
unique key 22 to be inserted into the mooring 14. The mooring's
electrical connections 20 allow the removable gear shifter 12 to only
be removed when the car is in park or the car is turned off. Hence,
the removable gear shifter 12 can only be removed when both the
release button 16 is pressed and the car is in park or turned off. The
interior of the mooring 14 is fashioned into a unique lock 24 that
corresponds to the key 22 at the bottom of the removable gear shifter
12.

FIG. 2 depicts the preferred embodiment of Gear Secure 30 for steering
column automatic transmission models. In this design, as with the
floor automatic transmission model, a removable gear shifter 42 can be
detached from its mooring 34 connected to the automobile's
transmission. The removable gear shifter 42 has a release button 32 on
the top and two electrical terminals 36 located on the bottom. These
two electrical terminals 36 send a signal to the mooring's electrical
connections (not pictured) located on the interior of the mooring 34
to allow release of the removable gear shifter 42 only when the
release button 32 is pressed. The bottom of the removable gear shifter
42 with the two electrical terminals 36 is fashioned into a unique key
38 to be inserted into the mooring 34. The mooring's electrical
connections allow the removable gear shifter 42 to only be removed
when the car is in park or the car is turned off. Hence, the removable
gear shifter 42 can only be removed when both the release button 32 is
pressed and the car is in park or turned off. The interior of the
mooring 34 is fashioned into a unique lock 40 that corresponds to the
key 38 at the bottom of the removable gear shifter 42.

FIG. 3 depicts the preferred embodiment of Gear Secure 64 for manual
transmission models. In this design, as with the floor and steering
wheel automatic transmission models, a gear shifter can be detached
from the automobile's transmission. However, unlike the automatic
transmission models, the manual transmission model does not have two
electrical terminals located on the bottom of the removable gear
shifter 66. Instead, the removable gear shifter 66 has a release
button 50 on the top. The removable gear shifter 66 also has a first
safety release button 52 located next to the release button 50 on top
of the removable gear shifter 66. A second safety release button 54 is
located on the back of the removable gear shifter 66, a few inches
down from the first safety release button 52. The release button 50,
first safety release button 52 and second safety release button 54
must be pressed simultaneously to remove the removable gear shifter 66
from its mooring 62. The bottom of the removable gear shifter 66 is
fashioned into a unique key 58 with a steel ball bearing 56 placed
inside. The interior of the mooring 62 is also fashioned into a unique
lock 60 that corresponds to the key 58 at the bottom of the removable
gear shifter 66. Pressing the release button 50, first safety release
button 52 and second safety release button 54 activates the steel ball
bearing 56 and allows the key 58 at the bottom of the removable gear
shifter 66 to be taken out of the lock 60 located on the interior of
the mooring 62.

The manual and automatic transmission versions of Gear Secure shown in
FIGS. 1-3 could be interchanged, however, certain practical and safety
considerations make this less desirable. Moreover, the location and
number of release buttons, safety release buttons and electrical
terminals can be manipulated without departing from the spirit of this
invention. Although Gear Secure was originally designed for use with a
car, other motorized vehicles may also employ the Gear Secure system.

FIG. 4 depicts an overhead view of various sample designs for locks 70
(also shown in FIGS. 1-3 as 24, 40 and 60). In the preferred
embodiment of Gear Secure, each lock and key for the removable stick
will be unique in shape and size. In the event that a car thief would
happen to break into a consumer's car and obtain a removable gear
shifter of his own, his key will not fit in the lock of other vehicles
and will not permit him to steal other vehicles. The lock and keys
will have serial numbers matching the car should the removable stick
malfunction or be lost. This will allow replacement by only the owner.

In the preferred embodiment of the invention, the Gear Secure system
for use with all models would further include a sticker to be placed
on the windshield stating "this car utilizes the Gear Secure system."
This sticker would act as a further deterrent to a car thief who would
likely seek an easier target if he read the sticker.

The preferred embodiment of the Gear Secure system for use with all
models would further include a hinge plastic flap (74) to fit over the
mooring when the removable gear shifter is removed to prevent dust and
debris from entering the lock area.

Gear Secure is manufactured using several interrelated components.
These components include those that allow the product to act in the
manner of a standard motor vehicle gear shift lever. Gear Secure thus
employs gear shift lever shafts and handgrips as well as locking
mechanisms in its makeup. The length and width of the components
remain relatively the same as with standard gear shift mechanisms. Of
course, Gear Secure is different from these standard gear shift levers
because it is easily removable due to its design and component parts
discussed in FIGS. 1 through 4.

Gear Secure is constructed of the best quality materials commonly
accepted and used in the manufacturing industry today. In the
preferred embodiment, the metals used will be selected from available
steel or alloys of steel and aluminum. The production process related
to the use of these metals would insure that they were produced so as
to be non-corrosive, durable and strong. The selected metals should
have high impact strength and be able to accept and retain coloring
materials for an extended length of time.

The plastic used in the production of the preferred embodiment of Gear
Secure should also be selected for its durability and lasting traits.
Thermoplastics are commonly used in the manufacturing of components
similar to those designed for Gear Secure. Polyethylene,
polypropylene, and other similar thermoplastic materials would be
among those considered to have the desirable traits. Members of this
family are recognized universally as being versatile and high quality.

The electronic components of Gear Secure will also be ideally selected
from those currently having the highest industry ratings. These
components would meet or exceed all safety regulations as well. Wiring
and associated connecting hardware should be insulated and otherwise
protected from intrusion by any harmful or degrading elements,
including water, medium level temperatures, and low to medium impact
force.

The method of operation for Gear Secure will ideally vary depending on
whether a manual or automatic transmission car is being operated. In
an automatic transmission vehicle, as a vehicle owner leaves his or
her car, truck or other motorized vehicle, he or she would press the
release button located on the gearshift. The automatic transmission
model will have two electric terminals located on the key that will
send a signal to the lock located on the transmission releasing the
stick only when release button is pressed and the transmission is in
the park gear or the car is turned off. The gear shift would then be
removed by the owner.

In a manual transmission model, as the owner exits his vehicle, he
would press the release button located on the gearshift. The first and
second safety release buttons would also be pressed simultaneously
with the release button on the gear shift to unlock the lock and allow
the key to be removed from the lock. To accomplish this, a steel ball
bearing activated mechanism will be unlocked with the activation of
the release buttons. The gear shift would then be removed by the owner.

It will be recognized by those skilled in the art that changes or
modifications may be made to the above-described embodiments without
departing from the broad inventive concepts of the invention. It
should therefore be understood that this invention is not limited to
the particular embodiments described herein, but is intended to
include all changes and modifications that are within the scope and
spirit of the invention as set forth in the claims. For more
information go to WWW.GAPATENTS.COM or WWW.GOOGLE.COM.

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