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 The present invention relates to and claims priority to provisional patent application No.
 1. Field of the Invention
 The present invention relates generally to the field of cargo management for truck beds, such as truck beds of pick-up trucks and sport utility trucks (“SUT”) (trucks which have two rows of seats and which typically have a reduced length of cargo floor therebehind). Still more specifically, the present invention relates to a system for extending the length of the cargo floor of such vehicles and to a tie-down system which may be used with such vehicles (or with other vehicles requiring cargo management) and which does not interfere with loading of the truck.
 2. Background of the Invention
 Many different sized and types of trucks having flat cargo beds are known. While SUT's have been popular in Central and South America for some time, they have certain disadvantages. For example, they can carry more people, but they have a reduced length cargo bed. SUT's are becoming increasingly popular around the world since they tend to provide many of the advantages of sports utility vehicles with regard to occupant transportation and a cargo space larger than that provided by most two- or four-door automobiles. However, most of the SUT vehicles do not have a sufficiently long cargo floor to carry such items as motorcycles, snowmobiles, furniture or other goods which could be transported by a typical pick-up truck. The types of trucks with which the present invention is particular concerned are those which have a tailgate which can be dropped from a vertical position to a horizontal position to allow articles to be placed onto the cargo bed, either by lifting the item and placing it on the cargo floor or by sliding it across the tailgate onto the cargo floor. The tailgate is subsequently raised and latched in current practice.
 The tailgates of present vehicles include a hinge coupling the bottom of the tailgate to the rear edge of the cargo floor in a way that does not create an obstruction when an item is being loaded into position on the cargo floor. Also, various latches, such as chains encased in elastomer tubes and the like can be provided for additional support of the rear end of the tailgate if the tailgate is left open to transport large items, such as bales of hay or the like, where the risk of the items sliding rearwardly and out of the pick-up truck is not high.
 A system for enlarging the cargo bed for SUT and other trucks would be a significant advance in the art, especially if the system provided the additional length without requiring substantial modification of the truck frame or existing sidewalls and tailgate.
 Tie-down cords are also known for use in the vehicle field and are commonly provided in the rear compartment of sports utility vehicles, and as accessories for various types of trucks. They typically include an elasticized cord (e.g., bungee cord) having a coupling member at each end which is connected to a receiver mounted on the vehicle. The tie-down straps themselves may be held in a slightly taut condition during storage but have a substantial amount of expansion capability so that they may be placed over large objects to be transported. Tie-down cords particularly useful in situations where it is desired to prevent heavy loads from shifting during transportation. Tie-down cords are also used on the roof of certain vehicles (e.g. vans) to hold such items as skis, bicycles and the like. The present inventors are not aware of any tie-down systems which may be used conveniently in the cargo bed of trucks, especially on the floor thereof, because existing cords would interfere with someone sliding a large object onto a cargo floor.
 A cargo tie-down cord system which overcomes the disadvantages noted above would also represent a substantial advance in this art.
 A primary feature of the present invention is to provide a system for extending the length of the cargo bed of a truck having a tailgate.
 Another feature of the present invention is to provide a cargo extender which does not require significant modification of the existing truck bed or the sidewalls of the truck.
 A different object of the present invention is to provide a cargo extender which may be used easily and which provides a secure containment for cargo placed in the extended-length cargo bed.
 A different feature of the present invention is to provide a tie-down cord system which may be used with a variety of different types of vehicles and which is recessed into an elongate channel.
 A still further feature of the present invention is to provide a tie-down cord system which includes recessed channel having at least one drain to prevent accumulations of water in the channel while permitting easy access to the cord of the tie-down system.
 How these and other features of the present invention are accomplished, individually and in various subcombinations, will be described in the following detailed description of the preferred embodiment of the invention taken in conjunction with the FIGURES. Generally, however, they are accomplished by providing a cargo extender system on the tailgate of an existing vehicle. The system includes a panel, preferably hinged to the top of the existing tailgate, and which may be rotated
 In the various FIGURES, like reference numerals are used to indicate like components.
 Before beginning the detailed description of the preferred embodiment of the present invention, several general comments can be made about the applicability and the scope thereof. First, hinges are referred to for coupling an extension panel and wings to a tailgate, and in the illustrations, two, spaced-apart hinges are used for each component. The number of hinges, and the type of hinges and their location may be variously embodied without departing from the invention's intended scope. For example, hinges similar to piano hinges can be used if desired for either the panel or the side wings.
 Second, reference is made in this application to the use of the extension system for sports utility trucks, but the invention has equal applicability for current pick-up trucks which have only a single row of seating and where it is still desired to provide an elongate cargo bed for the transportation of items such as furniture, motorcycles, snowmobiles, etc.
 Third, the particular materials used for constructing the extension system of the present invention can be selected from those commonly used for constructing vehicle body parts (hardened steel being the most common), but since the panel and the wings are not load bearing, plastic materials, aluminum and other lighter weight materials can be employed.
 Fourth, again referring to the hinges, it is preferred that they be placed on inner surfaces of folding components so that they are not exposed to the exterior of the truck, a feature which enhances the appearance of the cargo extension system and prevents inadvertent damage to the hinges.
 Sixth, the tie-down system is illustrated in connection with the sports utility truck used in FIGS.
 Proceeding now to the description of
 Main panel
 Referring next to
 The recessed channels
 As shown in
 The tie-down cord
 The tie-down system
 While the present invention has been illustrated and described in connection with a single preferred embodiment, the invention is not to be limited by such description but is to be limited solely by the scope of the claims which follow.