Wednesday, September 23, 2009

United States Patent 7,584,983
WWW.USPTO.GOV
McKenney
September 8, 2009

Probe-operated trailer guide with lights

Abstract

A probe-operated guide is provided with battery-powered lights on a pole, such that a driver can attach a trailer to a vehicle without help from another person. The guide is mounted directly above the trailer cup on a trailer, and the lights on the guide can be adjusted in height and orientation to achieve the optimum visibility for the driver from most viewing angles. A direction light on the guide can be switched on, so that when backing up the driver can align it with a small light placed in the center-back of the vehicle. A directional probe on the guide can also be adjusted to turn on a second light on the guide when the vehicle is in position for attaching the trailer cup to a trailer hitch on the vehicle. After stopping the vehicle, the driver switches off, removes, and stores the guide and attaches the trailer to the vehicle.
Inventors: McKenney; Rex L. (Princeton, MN)
Appl. No.: 11/211,282
Filed: August 25, 2005

Current U.S. Class: 280/477
Current International Class: B60D 1/36 (20060101)
Field of Search: 280/477,511 116/28R 33/264
References Cited [Referenced By]
U.S. Patent Documents

4552376 November 1985 Cofer
5755453 May 1998 Bell
5821852 October 1998 Fairchild
6062160 May 2000 Delcambre
6139041 October 2000 Murphy
6209902 April 2001 Potts
6222457 April 2001 Mills et al.
6273448 August 2001 Cross
6279940 August 2001 Beavington
6386572 May 2002 Cofer
6499851 December 2002 Kelly et al.
6827363 December 2004 Amerson
6916109 July 2005 Julicher
7036840 May 2006 Kwilinski
7207589 April 2007 Givens
2006/0097481 May 2006 Nicholas
Primary Examiner: Morris; Lesley D.
Assistant Examiner: Scharich; Marc A
Attorney, Agent or Firm: Galasso; Raymond M. Galasso & Associates LP
WWW.GAPATENTS.COM

Claims


What is claimed is:

1. A guide for attaching a vehicle to a trailer comprising a direction light, a probe-operated light, a supporting pole, means of adjusting a height of the direction light and the probe-operated light, means of adjusting a directional orientation of the direction light and the probe-operated light, means of supplying electrical power to the direction light and the probe-operated light, a directional probe comprising a spring-loaded telescoping probe having at least two sections that telescope relative to one another, such that compressing the telescoping probe to a preconfigured position turns on the probe-operated light, and wires attaching the directional probe to at least one battery, means of attaching the directional probe to the guide, and means of attaching the guide to a trailer.

2. A guide for attaching a vehicle to a trailer comprising a direction light; a directional probe; a probe-operated light, wherein the probe-operated light is turned on when the directional probe is compressed to a position such that a trailer cup on a trailer to which the guide is mounted is in position for attachment to a trailer hitch on a vehicle, wherein said directional probe is spring-loaded and has at least two sections that telescope relative to one another; a supporting pole; means of adjusting a height of the direction light and the probe-operated light; means of adjusting a directional orientation of the direction light and the probe-operated light; the guide further comprising at least one swiveling clamp for attaching the directional probe to the guide; at least one battery; and at least one clamp for attaching the guide to a trailer.

3. The means of adjusting the height of the direction light and the probe-operated light of claim 2, wherein the means of adjusting the height of the direction light and the probe-operated light comprises a telescoping shaft that slides within the supporting pole, and a tension collar.

4. The means of adjusting the directional orientation of the direction light and the probe-operated light of claim 2, wherein the means of adjusting the directional orientation of the direction light and the probe-operated light comprises a telescoping shaft that rotates within the supporting pole, and a tension collar.

5. The means of adjusting the directional orientation of the direction light and the probe-operated light of claim 2, wherein the means of adjusting the directional orientation of the direction light and the probe-operated light comprises a ball and socket joint on a housing for the lights.
Description


FIELD OF THE DISCLOSURE

The present invention relates to guides for attaching trailers to vehicles and more particularly to a probe-operated guide with lights for attaching trailers to vehicles.

BACKGROUND

Many users of cars, trucks, and other vehicles employ trailers to haul items that are too large to fit into the vehicles. For example, owners of small boats typically haul them on trailers to water and unload the boats for use there. To attach a trailer to a vehicle, a user typically places a trailer cup attached to the front end of the trailer over a trailer hitch attached to the rear bumper of the vehicle and locks and chains the trailer cup in place. The trailer cup must be directly over the trailer hitch for the user to be able fasten it in place easily. Otherwise, the user has to move the trailer into the correct position, which can be difficult since trailers are usually manufactured at least partly of metal and can be heavy. Or the user has to reposition the vehicle, which can also be awkward and time consuming. It can also be difficult to judge the position of a trailer when a driver is backing a vehicle toward it, especially at night or when visibility is otherwise difficult. Because of these difficulties, more than one person may be needed to maneuver a vehicle and a trailer into proper position for attachment.

Therefore, mechanical guides for attaching trailers to vehicles are known in the art. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 6,062,160 for Delcambre and U.S. Pat. No. 5,755,453 for Bell both provide folding vertical guide members, in different designs, for the rear of a carrier or boat trailer. Although these guides provide general orientation that may be useful in many circumstances, they are not precise guides and may still require the assistance of a second person to attach the vehicle and trailer. For example, they do not provide lights that would make the guides highly visible at night or when visibility is otherwise difficult. Nor do they have a probe-operated light to show precisely when a vehicle is in the right position for attaching a trailer cup to the Vehicle's trailer hitch. Moreover, they are not clearly designed for general use with any vehicle and any trailer.

Therefore, there is a need for a guide for attaching trailers to vehicles that provides a highly visible direction light and a probe-operated light to show precisely when a vehicle is in the right position for attaching a trailer cup to the vehicle's trailer hitch, so that the driver of any vehicle can attach it from most directions to any trailer without aid from another person.

SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE

The following explanation describes the present invention by way of example and not by way of limitation.

It is an aspect of the present invention to provide a guide for attaching trailers to vehicles comprising highly visible lights that are adjustable in height and direction of orientation.

It is another aspect of the present invention to provide a guide for attaching trailers to vehicles comprising a highly visible lights that are adjustable in height and direction of orientation.

It is another aspect of the present invention to provide a guide for attaching trailers to vehicles comprising a probe-operated light that shows precisely when a vehicle is in the right position for attaching a trailer cup to the vehicle's trailer hitch.

It is still another aspect of the present invention to provide a battery-operated power source for lights for attaching trailers to vehicles.

It is another aspect of the present invention to provide a guide for attaching trailers to vehicles such that a driver can accomplish the alignment for attachment without the aid of another person.

These and other aspects of the present invention will become readily apparent upon further review of the following specification and associated drawings. In accordance with the present invention, a probe-operated guide is provided with battery-powered lights on a pole, such that a driver can attach a trailer to a vehicle without help from another person. The guide is mounted directly above the trailer cup on a trailer, and the lights on the guide can be adjusted in height and orientation to achieve the optimum visibility for the driver from most viewing angles. A direction light on the guide can be switched on, so that when backing up the driver can align it with a small light placed in the center-back of the vehicle. A directional probe on the guide can also be adjusted to turn on a second light on the guide when the vehicle is in position for attaching the trailer cup to a trailer hitch on the vehicle. After stopping the vehicle, the driver switches off, removes, and stores the guide and attaches the trailer to the vehicle.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The following embodiments of the present invention are described by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view that illustrates a probe-operated guide with lights for attaching trailers to vehicles;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view that illustrates a probe-operated guide mounted on a trailer.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIGURES

The following description of drawings is offered to illustrate the present invention clearly. However, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that the concepts of the present invention are not limited to these specific details. Also, commonly known elements are shown in diagrams for clarity, as examples only and not as limitations of the present invention.

The present invention comprises a probe-operated guide with lights for attaching trailers to vehicles. In an embodiment, the guide measures approximately four feet in height, sixteen inches in length, and two inches in width, with a supporting pole approximately one and three quarters of an inch in diameter. It may be manufactured of lightweight, durable materials, such as plastic or metal

As shown in FIG. 1, the guide comprises the following elements: A direction light 2, A probe-activated light 3, A housing 4 for the lights, A supporting pole 5, Means of adjusting the height of the direction light 2 and probe-activated light 3, Means of adjusting the directional orientation of the direction light 2 and probe-activated light 3, A directional probe 10. Clamps 11 for attaching the directional probe, Wires 12, A battery 14, An on-off switch 16 on the battery 14, and A clamp 18 for attaching the guide to a trailer.

A small alignment light is also used for the back of the vehicle.

The direction light 2 serves to orient the user to the location of the trailer on which the guide is mounted. In an embodiment, the direction light 2 is powered by an electrical battery 14 mounted on the guide. The direction light 2 is connected to the battery 14 by wires passing through a supporting pole 5 and comes on when a user turns an on-off switch 16 on the battery 14 to the on position. Although the direction light 2 may be any color, in a useful embodiment it is red. In an embodiment the direction light 2 is contained within a housing 4.

The probe-activated light 3 comes on when a vehicle is in the right position for attaching a trailer cup to the vehicle's trailer hitch. The probe-activated light 3 is also powered by the battery 14 and is connected to it by wires 12. But the probe-activated light 3 only comes on when the telescoping directional probe 10 is compressed by contact with a vehicle to a position that completes an electrical circuit connecting the directional probe 10, the battery 14, and the probe-activated light 3. This position for the directional probe 10 can be determined by estimation and experimentation. Although the probe-activated light 3 may also be any color, in a useful embodiment it is red. The probe-activated light 3 is also contained within the housing 4. In different embodiments, the probe-activated light 3 may be located above or below the direction light 3 or in other orientations to it.

The housing 4 is mounted on a durable supporting pole 5. In an embodiment, one or more durable plastic plates cover the lights 2 and 3 within the housing 4.

Means of adjusting the height and orientation of the direction light 2 and probe-activated light 3 may also be provided. For example, in an embodiment the housing 4 may be attached to the supporting pole 5 by means of a ball and socket joint, allowing the housing 4 to be turned at many different angles, as is known in the art.

In still another embodiment, the housing 4 may be attached to a telescoping shaft 6 that slides within and can be rotated within the supporting pole 5 and can be held in position by tightening a tension collar 8. This allows the housing 4 to be raised and lowered to different positions and to be turned at different angles. This embodiment can be combined with attachment of the housing 4 to its support by means of a ball and socket joint, allowing adjustment in a very wide range of positions. For example, placing the housing 4 at a 30.degree. angle from the vehicle may provide a particularly effective viewing angle.

The directional probe 10 is attached to the supporting pole 5, by means of swiveling clamps 11 that allow it to be placed at different heights and angles, for use with different vehicles and trailers. The directional probe 10 is spring loaded, so that upon its release from being compressed it extends outward to its full length again.

The battery 14 may comprise one or more commonly available batteries, for example two AA batteries in a waterproof box. As mentioned above, the battery is equipped with an on-off switch 16.

A clamp 18 or mounting plate is used to attach the guide. FIG. 2 shows how the clamp 18 is placed directly above a trailer cup 20 on a trailer 22 used for hauling a boat 24. The guide can thus be attached by means of the clamp 18 at the correct position on the trailer 22 for placing the trailer cup 20 over the trailer hitch on the rear bumper of the vehicle. In this position, the vehicle will press the directional probe 10 to the pointthat turns on the probe-activated light 3.

In another embodiment, the guide also comprises an alerting sound, for example a safety beeper, which is activated when the battery switch is switched on and alerts others that the driver will be backing up.

The alignment light may comprise a small, portable light that may be switched on and off, for example a pen light. The driver attaches it, for example with adhesive, in plain view in the center-rear of the vehicle, for example on the tailgate or in the back window, and turns it on. This allows the driver to line up the alignment light with the direction light 2, shown in FIG. 1, on the guide, when the driver is backing up the vehicle toward the trailer.

Use

Typically, the driver of a vehicle mounts the guide directly above of the trailer cup 20, shown in FIG. 2, on a trailer 22 with the clamp 18. The driver then adjusts the directional probe 10 so that it points toward the rear of the vehicle and is at the correct height and angle to touch a surface on the rear of the vehicle. The driver estimates and experiments with positioning the directional probe with the swiveling clamps 11, shown in FIG. 1, to preconfigure its position for precisely attaching the vehicle to the trailer before actual use.

The driver further turns on the switch 16 to the battery 14, which turns on the direction light 2. The driver also attaches a small light on the tailgate or in the back window of the vehicle, for example with adhesive, and turns on the small light.

During actual use, the driver backs the vehicle toward the trailer, lining up the alignment light with the direction light 2, which is especially effective when visibility is difficult, for example at night. When a surface on the rear of the vehicle presses the directional probe to the correct position for attaching the vehicle and the trailer, the probe-operated light 3 comes on. The driver then stops the vehicle, typically puts on the emergency brake, removes the guide from above the trailer cup 20, shown in FIG. 2, and lowers the trailer onto the trailer hitch on the rear bumper of the vehicle. The driver can then turn off the battery switch 16, shown in FIG. 1, and store the guide.

The best dimensional relationships for the parts of the invention described above, including variations in form and use, will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art, and are intended to be encompassed by the present invention. For more information go to WWW.GAPATENTS.COM or WWW.GOOGLE.COM.

Monday, September 21, 2009

United States Patent 7,588,292
WWW.USPTO.GOV
Valdes, et al.
September 15, 2009

Gardening chair having movable support surface

Abstract

A gardening chair configured to facilitate increase access to the area proximate thereto for a user. The gardening chair further includes a stationary base that is configured to provide structural support. Pivotally attached to the base is a sitting platform configured to receive a user thereon. Pins are utilized to pivotally connect the sitting platform and the base. The gardening chair further includes two pivot pins mounted to the sitting platform functioning to engage with the base and control the amount of pivotal movement of the sitting platform.
Inventors: Valdes; Omar P. (Reedley, CA), Valdes; Christina C. (Reedley, CA)
Appl. No.: 11/821,735
Filed: June 25, 2007

Current U.S. Class: 297/313 ; 297/314; 297/423.41; 297/423.43; 297/423.44; 297/423.45; 297/423.46
Current International Class: A47C 3/16 (20060101); A47C 1/00 (20060101); A47C 16/02 (20060101)
Field of Search: 297/423.41,423.43,423.44,423.46,313,423.45,314
References Cited [Referenced By]
U.S. Patent Documents

186071 January 1877 White
269780 December 1882 Fenny
322792 July 1885 Clark
663632 December 1900 Mack
789813 May 1905 Longley
815046 March 1906 Sherman
2017433 October 1935 Carrington
2248369 July 1941 Ludersen
2281119 April 1942 Smith
2353418 July 1944 Smith
2528331 October 1950 Bell
2600759 June 1952 Gross
2798732 July 1957 Craig
D182750 May 1958 Williams
2850081 September 1958 Dillon
2869620 January 1959 Gleitsman
2907375 October 1959 Gleitsman et al.
2912046 November 1959 Fuerst
2994364 August 1961 Gleitsman et al.
3119356 January 1964 Sauer
3121551 February 1964 Ancell et al.
3132835 May 1964 Drabert
3143375 August 1964 Langbaum
3160381 December 1964 Langbaum
3163468 December 1964 Koch
3438675 April 1969 Seguin et al.
3563605 February 1971 Pinkas
3667803 June 1972 Ford
3940181 February 1976 Cheek, Jr.
4427234 January 1984 Peters
4441758 April 1984 Fleischer et al.
4549767 October 1985 Hampshire et al.
4873966 October 1989 Gitter
4901385 February 1990 Adolphson
5054144 October 1991 Stuart et al.
5201568 April 1993 Christensen, Jr.
5238296 August 1993 Paul
5294180 March 1994 Grimm
5348377 September 1994 Grosch
5356203 October 1994 Levasseur et al.
5419618 May 1995 Hatcher
5536072 July 1996 Chang
5577806 November 1996 Ugalde
5584535 December 1996 Jacobson et al.
5626393 May 1997 Levasseur et al.
6682147 January 2004 Leoutsakos
6846043 January 2005 Leoutsakos
2003/0071508 April 2003 Lu
Foreign Patent Documents

3432303 Mar., 1985 DE
Primary Examiner: White; Rodney B
Attorney, Agent or Firm: Galasso; Raymond M. Galasso & Associates, LP
WWW.GAPATENTS.COM

Claims


What is claimed is:

1. A device for supporting a user in a sitting position comprising: a base for providing structural support, said base portion comprising a wall that is contiguously formed with two opposing side walls; an upper section, said upper section generally arcuate in shape; and four leg members contiguously formed with the wall and two opposing sidewalls; and a top portion, said top portion including a sitting surface, said top portion pivotally connectable to said base with said top portion movable between a first position and a second position with respect to said base, said top portion including first and second support members, with each of said first and second support members being pivotally connected to said base with at least one pivot pin, wherein said first support member including a first mounting pin; said second support member including a second mounting pin; said base including a first slot and a second slot; said first slot of said base for receiving said first mounting pin; and said second slot of said base for receiving said second mounting pin.

2. The device as recited in claim 1, wherein first and second mounting pins and said first and second slots facilitate the movement of said top portion between said first position and said second position.

3. The device as recited in claim 2, wherein said first and second slots are configured the movement of said top portion between said first position and said second position is 25 degrees.

4. The device as recited in claim 3, wherein said sitting surface is generally planar.

5. A chair for supporting a user in a sitting position comprising: a base for providing structural support, said base portion comprising a wall that is contiguously formed with two opposing side walls; an upper section, said upper section generally arcuate in shape; and four leg members contiguously formed with the wall and two opposing sidewalls; and a top portion, said top portion including a sitting surface, said top portion pivotally connectable to said base with said top portion movable between a first position and a second position with respect to said base, said top portion including first and second support members, with each of said first and second support members being pivotally connected to said base with at least one pivot pin, wherein said first support member including a first mounting pin; said second support member including a second mounting pin; said base including a first slot and a second slot; said first slot of said base for receiving said first mounting pin; and said second slot of said base for receiving said second mounting pin.

6. The chair as recited in claim 5, wherein first and second mounting pins and said first and second slots facilitate the movement of said top portion between said first position and said second position.

7. The chair as recited in claim 6, wherein said first and second slots are configured the movement of said top portion between said first position and said second position is 25 degrees.

8. The chair as recited in claim 7, wherein said sitting surface is generally planar.

9. A gardening chair for providing a user increased access to the area proximate thereto comprising: a base for providing structural support, said base portion comprising a wall that is contiguously formed with two opposing side walls; an upper section, said upper section generally arcuate in shape; and four leg members contiguously formed with the wall and two opposing sidewalls; and a top portion connected to said base, said top portion including a sitting platform, said top portion including first and second support members extending from said sitting platform, said first and second support members being pivotally connected to said base with at least one pivot pin, wherein said first support member including a first mounting pin; said second support member including a second mounting pin; said base including a first slot and a second slot; said first slot of said base for receiving said first mounting pin; and said second slot of said base for receiving said second mounting pin.

10. The gardening chair as recited in claim 9, wherein first and second mounting pins and said first and second slots facilitate the movement of said top portion between said first position and said second position.

11. The gardening chair as recited in claim 10, wherein said first and second slots are configured the movement of said top portion between said first position and said second position is at least 25 degrees.

12. The gardening chair as recited in claim 11, wherein said sitting platform is generally planar.
Description


FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a sitting aid, more specifically a chair having a base and a support structure with the support being pivotally secured to the base to facilitate a increase user's ability to reach objects in an area proximate the chair.

BACKGROUND

Home improvement is a multi-billion dollar a year industry in the United States. Homeowners engage in many facets of home improvement. One area of home improvement that millions of homeowners engage in is gardening or landscaping. Homeowners routinely plant trees, shrubs and utilize flower beds to create a desired look around their home.

Whether it is the maintenance of existing landscaping or gardens or the installation of new foliage, routinely this type of work involves a great deal of time that is usually spent on the ground in a bent over position. Homeowners routinely remain in one position while they work in the area proximate to them within their reach performing the necessary tasks that are needed to accomplish the gardening or landscaping project. This usually involves forward movement of their torso outside of its general axial alignment, or rested position, as well as reaching in the proximate area with their arms. These movements can create a significant amount of discomfort for any individual engaging in these tasks for a long period of time. One problem in performing these tasks is that a user is required to constantly move as they perform work in the area proximate to them. While there are many current devices that provide a user a suitable horizontal support structure to engage with while performing gardening or landscaping task, no current device has been shown the ability to increase the area in which a user can work in without having to move.

Accordingly, there is a need for a device that can provide a suitable support structure for a user to engage therewith while performing tasks such as gardening or landscaping that can increase the area in which a user can reach without the requirement for moving the support structure.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is the object of the present invention to provide a support structure for a user to engage therewith during such tasks as gardening for providing an ability to substantially increase the area in which the user can perform tasks in without the requirement for moving the support structure.

Another object of the present invention to provide a support structure for use in performing tasks such as gardening that comprises a base portion and a top portion.

A further object of the present invention is to provide a support structure wherein the top portion is pivotally secured to the base portion facilitating movement thereof.

Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a support structure having a pivotal top portion that has the ability to pivot up to twenty five degrees.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a support structure for use in tasks such as gardening that is light weight and inexpensive.

To the accomplishment of the above and related objects the present invention may be embodied in the form illustrated in the accompanying drawings. Attention is called to the fact that the drawings are illustrative only. Variations are contemplated as being a part of the present invention, limited only by the scope of the claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

A more complete understanding of the present invention may be had by reference to the following Detailed Description and appended claims when taken in conjunction with the accompanying Drawing wherein:

FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view of an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a side view of the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1; and

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 3-3 of FIG. 2.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring now to the drawings submitted herewith wherein the various elements depicted therein are not necessarily drawn to scale and wherein like elements are designated with like reference numerals throughout the figures and in particular to FIGS. 1, 2 and 3, there is illustrated a preferred embodiment of a gardening chair 100 constructed according to the principles of the present invention.

The gardening chair 100 comprises a base portion 105 and a top portion 110. Base portion 105 includes a wall 115 that is contiguously formed with two opposing side walls 120 and 122 proximate lateral edges 116 and 118 of wall 115 to form base portion 105. Base portion 105 has an upper section 130 that is generally arcuate in shape. The base portion 105 includes four legs members 145 which are contiguously formed therewith and function to engage a suitable support surface such as the ground. It is contemplated within the scope of the present invention that an alternative embodiment of the present invention includes leg members 145 that are adjustable in length to facilitate adjustment of the height of the sitting surface 150. With such adjustable leg members 145, good results have been achieved utilizing leg members 145 that adjust to allow the height of chair 100 to be approximately thirteen to fifteen inches.

The upper section 130 of the base portion 105 is formed into an arcuate shape to allow the top portion 110 that is movably secured to the base portion 105 to pivot without restriction or interference from the base portion 105. While no particular radius of the upper section 130 is required, good results have been achieved utilizing a wall 115 having an upper section 130 that has approximately a six inch radius. The base portion 105 further functions to provide the structural support needed for the movably engaged top portion and a user engaged therewith. The base portion 105 is manufactured from a suitable durable material such as but not limited to plastic or aluminum. Those skilled in the art will recognize that the base portion 105 could be manufactured with numerous different amounts of walls and still be formed into a desirable shape achieving the functionality as described herein. It should also be recognized that different amounts of leg members 145 could be utilized to engage a suitable support surface.

Two pivot holes 140 and 142 are journaled through each of the two opposing side walls 120 and 122, respectively, below the center points of the side walls 120 and 122 and are generally annular in shape. Pivot holes 140 and 142 are of sufficient diameter to receive therein pivot pins 160 and 162. Pivot pins 160 and 162 (see FIG. 3) function to movably connect the top portion 110 to the base portion 105 and function to allow the top portion 110 to pivot around the base portion 105. Pivot pins 160 and 162 are shaped to be matebaly inserted into the pivot holes 140 and 142. Pivot pins 160 and 162 are manufactured from suitable durable materials such as but not limited to plastic or aluminum. It is further contemplated within the scope of the present invention that the pivot pins 160 and 162 could be manufactured as single pin of sufficient in length to fit both pivot holes 140 and 142 at the same time.

Two pivot slots 135 and 137 are positioned above pivot holes 140 and 142, respectively, and are journaled through each of the two side walls 120 and 122. The pivot slots 135 and 137 are generally arcuate in shape and are sufficient in size in order to receive pivot pins 165 and 167 of top portion 110. Pivots slots 135 and 137 function to control the movable range of the top portion 110 subsequent to being secured to the base portion 105. Pivot slots 135 and 137 are located generally parallel to each other on each of the two opposing side walls 120 and 122 to allow the top portion 110 to move without binding or restriction. The length of pivot slots 135 and 137 function to control the degrees of tilt of the movably connected top portion 110. While no particular length of pivot slots 135 and 137 is required, good results have been achieved utilizing pivot slots 135 and 137 having sufficient in length to allow the top portion 110 to rotate between a vertical upright position and a tilted position approximately twenty five degrees from vertical.

Pivot slots 135 and 137 are generally arcuate in shape and positioned so as to allow the movably connected top portion 110 to tilt in one direction a number of degrees as controlled by the length of the pivot slots 135 from an initially upright or vertical position. This tilting of the top portion 110 facilitates a user sitting on chair 100 to extend their reach therefrom. Although the pivot slots 135 are illustrated in the drawings submitted herewith as being shaped to allow the movably connected top portion 110 to tilt in one direction, it should be recognized by those skilled in the art that the pivot slots could be shaped to facilitate the tilting of the movably connected top portion 110 in two directions.

The top portion 110 includes two side members 155 and 157 with seat portion 150 interposed the two side members 155 and 157 and integrally formed therewith. The top portion 110 is manufactured of suitable durable materials such as but not limited to plastic or aluminum. The top portion 110 is of sufficient size to be superposed the base portion 105 and movably connected thereto. The bottom edge of each side members 155 and 157 is generally arcuate in shape to facilitate the top portion 110 to tilt with respect to the base portion 105 without interference or restriction from the support surface on which the garden chair 100 is placed. Those skilled in the art will recognize that the bottom edge 170 of the side members 155 could be shaped in numerous different shapes in order to achieve the functionality as described herein.

Pivot apertures 141 and 143 are journaled through each side member 155 and 157, and function to receive pivot pins 160 and 162 thereby movably securing the top portion 110 to the base portion 105. The top portion 110 is superposed on the base portion 105 such that the pivot holes 140 and 142 and the pivot apertures 141 and 143 are in general alignment in order to facilitate receiving pivot pins 160 and 162.

As illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3 the space 175 between top portion 110 and base portion 105 allows the top portion 110 to tilt with respect to the base portion 105 as described herein substantially eliminating contact between the top portion 110 and the base 105. While no particular distance is required for the mounting space 175, good results have been achieved with a mounting space 175 that is at least one-eighth of an inch.

Mounting pins 165 and 167 are mounted generally parallel to each other and engage pivot slots 135 and 137 on side walls 120 and 122. The mounting pins 165 and 167 function to control the degree of tilting of the top portion 110 with respect to the base portion 105 as the mounting pins 165 and 167 traverse within the pivot slots 135 and 137.

A description of the operation of the gardening chair 100 is as follows. In use, a user will position the gardening chair 100 in a desired location and assume a sitting position thereon. The sitting surface 150 is configured in a substantially horizontal manner with top portion 110 being generally vertical. While performing the desired task a user can extend their reach by leaning or applying pressure to the edge of the top portion 110. As top portion 110 tilts at an angle with respect to the base portion 105 the user can extend their reach in the area proximate the gardening chair 100. The pivot rod 160 functions to facilitate the tilting or pivoting movement of the top portion 110. The user will apply pressure to the edge 185 of top portion 110 until the desired extended reach is achieved or until the mounting pin 165 and 167 engage the ends of povot slots 135 and 137. Pivot slot 135 and 137 function to control the range of movement of the top portion 110 within the range of approximately zero (being vertical) to twenty five degrees from vertical. This process is repeated as needed to reach objects or into the area proximate the gardening chair 100.

It is contemplated to be in the scope of this invention that alternative embodiments of the present invention can be made and still be within the scope of this invention. In particular in one alternative embodiment, it is contemplated that pockets or compartment areas could be incorporated into chair 100 to receive items such as tools or used for storage. Such compartment areas could include an area on one side of chair 100 or could be removable side pockets that attach with to chair 100 with hooks or tongue and groves. In yet another embodiment, it is contemplated that a locking/unlocking mechanism could be incorporated into chair 100 to permit the operating of chair such that top portion 110 could be locked in preset positions, or unlocked to permit uninhibited movement. In still yet another embodiment, it is contemplated that chair 100 could have incorporated therein a handle, such as in top portion 110, to facilitate easier handling by a user.

In the preceding detailed description, reference has been made to the accompanying drawing that form a part hereof, and in which are shown by way of illustration specific embodiments in which the invention may be practiced. These embodiments, and certain variants thereof, have been described in sufficient detail to enable those skilled in the art to practice the invention. It is to be understood that other suitable embodiments may be utilized and that logical changes may be made without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention. The description may omit certain information known to those skilled in the art. The preceding detailed description is, therefore, not intended to be limited to the specific forms set forth herein, but on the contrary, it is intended to cover such alternatives, modifications, and equivalents, as can be reasonably included within the spirit and scope of the appended claims. For more information please go to WWW.GAPATENTS.COM or WWW.GOOGLE.COM.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Secretary Locke Joins President Obama in Announcing the 2008 National Medal of Technology and Innovation Laureates
WWW.USPTO.GOV

Washington - U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke today joined President Barack Obama in announcing and congratulating the 2008 winners of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. The medal is the nation’s highest honor for technological and scientific achievement. President Obama will present the medals at a White House ceremony on October 7.

“Innovation is the key to our economic recovery and the medical and telecommunication advances of the 2008 medalists are truly awe-inspiring,” Locke said. “Their innovations have revolutionized desktop publishing, reasserted American leadership in high-performance computing, and saved the lives of millions of people. All Americans owe a great deal of gratitude to these men and women. I look forward to joining President Obama in honoring them at the White House in October.”

The 2008 National Medal of Technology and Innovation winners are:

* Dr. Forrest M. Bird for his pioneering work in the field of respiratory and cardiopulmonary care including the revolutionary BABYBird®. This device dramatically reduced the infant respiratory failure mortality rate from approximately 70 percent to 10 percent. His more recent medical invention of Intrapulmonary Percussive Ventilation (IPV) ® concepts have reduced pulmonary failure in the most critically injured military and civilian burn patients from about 75 percent to 5 percent. Dr. Bird’s innovations have saved millions of lives.

* Dr. Esther S. Takeuchi for the development of the silver vanadium oxide battery technology which powers the majority of today’s implantable cardiac defibrillators and innovations related to other enabling medical battery technologies that power implantable pacemakers, implantable neurostimulators and left ventricular assist devices. Dr. Takeuchi’s innovations have saved and dramatically improved the quality of hundreds of thousands of human lives.

* Dr. John E. Warnock and Dr. Charles M Geschke for their pioneering contributions that spurred the desktop publishing revolution and for changing the way people create and engage with information and entertainment across multiple mediums including print, Web and video.

* International Business Machines Corporation for the IBM Blue Gene supercomputer, which re-established United States leadership in high performance computing. Blue Gene’s systems architecture, design and software have delivered fundamental new science, unsurpassed speed and unparalleled energy efficiency, which have had a profound impact on the worldwide high-performance computing industry.

The National Medal of Technology and Innovation was created by Congress in 1980 and has been presented by the President of the United States since 1985. A distinguished, independent committee appointed by the Secretary of Commerce evaluates the merits of all candidates nominated through an open, competitive process. Committee recommendations are forwarded to the Secretary who makes recommendations to the President for a final decision.

The Medal program is administered by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Additional information is available at www.uspto.gov/nmti.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

USPTO Director David Kappos Delivers Opening Remarks at IPO Annual Meeting
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On Monday, September 14, USPTO Director David Kappos gave his first major address since taking office last month. He delivered the opening remarks at the Annual Meeting of the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) in Chicago, Ill. In his remarks to an audience of more than 700 attendees, he addressed some of the early priorities and challenges for the USPTO under the Obama Administration. The full text of his speech can be found below.

Introduction

* Good morning everyone.

* It is a pleasure to be with you this morning, and to have the opportunity to be the “kick-off” speaker here at the IPO 2009 Annual Meeting.

* Thank you so much for inviting me.

* It’s really an incredible privilege to be here representing the USPTO, after so many years attending this conference as a practitioner. It’s a new experience for me, as you can imagine.

* I can’t believe it’s been just five short weeks since I took on the job as Under Secretary and Director of the USPTO.

* I have to say that I have a new appreciation for the challenges that come with running a complex agency within the U.S. government . But I also have a new appreciation for the extremely dedicated people who work at the USPTO. I feel confident I’m working with the brightest and most passionate team in the federal government.

Thank you to IPO

* Before I start my remarks, I want to specifically thank Herb Wamsley and Steve Miller for the wonderful ongoing partnership IPO has with the USPTO.

* There has been a longstanding, productive relationship—much to the benefit of the U.S. innovation community.

* Over the years, the USPTO has benefited greatly from IPO’s support of the agency’s international programs and ongoing outreach to important parts of the innovation community.

* The relationship the USPTO and IPO have developed is one that I hope will continue to flourish during my tenure.

Updates from the USPTO

* Turning to today’s topic, let’s start with a glimpse of some of the things we’re focusing on at the USPTO—both in terms of broad themes, as well as specifics.

* But let me say right up front—WE NEED YOUR HELP. We need your support. We need your input. We need your advocacy. And we need your patience.

* In exchange, we will be completely transparent—sharing with you the good, the bad and the ugly of what’s happening at the USPTO as we embark on what I intend to be a renewed focus aimed at making the agency a catalyst for innovation and competitiveness for the U.S. economy.

* So where are we directing our initial efforts?

* We have a number of initiatives underway that I want to share with you:

o We’ve started a task force to reengineer the examiner count system, which hasn’t been revisited in several decades. This a joint task force made up of senior Patents managers and leaders from our examiner labor union – POPA. The team is currently working together to propose a new system that will give examiners the time they need to do their jobs properly the first time through an application, while incentivizing compact prosecution.

+ Let me repeat this one: We’re going to have a count system that helps everyone get to the point without requiring two or three RCEs.

o We are working on new programs to help cut pendency across the board, such as one that would allow an applicant to select an application to advance in the queue in exchange for each application they withdraw before substantive examination.

+ We hope this will benefit applicants who are abandoning applications without response to first office actions, while saving the office from unnecessarily examining applications that are no longer important to applicants.

o We’e also looking at ways to cut pendency in specific growth segments such as green technologies, with programs that would shorten the time an application waits for review.

o We’ve started a quality task force, which IPO past president Mark Adler is leading under the auspices our Patent Public Advisory Committee.

+ I won’t stand up here charts and tell you how perfect our quality is. I know that quality is not where it should be, even if the agency’s past quality standards indicated otherwise.
+ So this task force will be gathering information from a variety of sources with respect to how quality should be analyzed and evaluated.
+ We hope you’ll participate in this effort: Look for a Federal Register notice where we’ll be asking for your comments on quality. We’ll also be holding a roundtable discussion on the topic in the near future.

o We are also focused on global worksharing—which I believe is key to helping us meet the increasing challenge of efficiently managing the USPTO’s workload.

+ We need to increase participation in worksharing projects such as the Patent Prosecution Highway by orders of magnitude, so we can truly see the benefits of worksharing, including time and cost savings for applicants and patent offices worldwide.
+ We need your input if we are to succeed in our aggressive target of a many-fold increase in worksharing participation, so we’re planning a roundtable discussion on Work Sharing at the USPTO on October 27.
+ We are also focused on bringing the quality of PCT processing to world-class level. We’ll have another formal effort directed to this issue.

o We are looking to provide the public with increased access to USPTO data, and additional ways to participate in USPTO processes through wikis and other Web 2.0 technologies.

o We’re going to take a run at developing a nationwide work force, which will allow us to hire the best candidates across the country, retain valuable employees, and control real estate costs associated with workforce expansion.

o In the policy arena,we are taking broad policy leadership positions aimed at increasing the role IP plays in accelerating innovation across ALL business models and industries. There is to be no prejudice for or against certain technologies. Our mission is U.S. policy leadership on a global scale to accelerate innovation, and products and services rooted in innovation.

o We are actively participating in patent reform discussions on Capitol Hill. This is one of my, and Secretary Locke’s, highest priorities.

o You can expect we will be strongly in favor of reform now. The patent system is a key driver of innovation and prosperity for our country. Innovation industries create jobs, which means a well-functioning patent system creates jobs. It has been too long since the U.S. patent system was overhauled.

o Without significant improvements to our patent system, we put at risk a major source of job creation, financial security and global competitiveness.

o The time is now to get patent reform done.

Our biggest challenge – Funding

* So we’ve got a very full agenda already, and we’re just getting started.

* However, we’ve also got a big overhanging problem—an elephant in the room kind of problem. The economic downturn has brought to light fundamental flaws in the method of funding the USPTO.

* Because of the downturn in patent application filings, issuances and maintenance fee payments, the USPTO faces a $200M shortfall in fiscal year 2010. This serious situation puts into question the agency’s ability to address its mission at any acceptable level.

* This means no hiring in 2010, so the size of the agency will decrease. It means no IT improvements, no overtime and probably no progress in cutting into the backlog.

* We need help from Congress, the Administration and—YOU—the intellectual property community to implement both short- and long-term solutions to our funding shortfall and overall funding process.

* USPTO is in discussions with the DOC, OMB and Congress regarding a number of short-term solutions.

* But in the longer-term, the USPTO needs to restructure its fees and have additional flexibility to adjust fees.

* These longer-term measures would allow us to focus on reducing pendency, enhancing quality and improving the intellectual property system domestically and abroad.

* Specifically, our objectives include:

o Reducing first action pendency to 10 months and overall pendency to 20 months;

o Decreasing the size of the patent application backlog to approximately 300,000 cases;

o Reducing patent appeals pendency to 3 months;

o Reducing reexamination pendency to 1 year;

o Bringing the quality of PCT processing to world-class level; and

o Implementing a robust IT system capable of supporting all the USPTO’s operations on a 24/7 basis, and capable of facilitating full electronic patent and trademark processing.

Reason to be optimistic

* Having just shared with you many of our challenges, I’ll tell you I also am incredibly optimistic.

* Whereas in earlier eras intellectual property was considered by many as an arcane segment of law, today it is widely recognized as the engine that drives our information age economy, maintains our competitiveness and is responsible for creating and sustaining tens of millions of U.S. jobs.

* It’s not just about patents—it’s about people.

* It’s an issue that CEOs and cabinet-level secretaries care deeply about.

* And we shouldn’t feel threatened or marginalizes or invaded by this attention.

* Rather, we should take advantage of this visibility and this moment, and work together to ensure we create a system that drives the economy the way it can and should.

Conclusion

* As Mark Twain wrote in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court: “A country without a patent office and good patent laws is just a crab and can’t travel anyway but sideways or backwards.”

* Although those words were written more than 100 years ago, they’ve never been more true than they are today.

* I look forward to working with all of you to move our country forward with a good patent office and patent laws that will drive innovation, create jobs and ensure America’s competitiveness.

Thank you.

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