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|20090127534||POST ASSEMBLY||May, 2009||Powell|
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 The present invention relates generally to privacy fences, and more specifically to privacy panels that can be attached to a non-privacy fence to turn the non-privacy fence into a virtual privacy fence.
 The enclosing of land with some form of fencing material dates far back into history. Many different types of enclosures have been developed out of the desire to enclose or exclude animals, people or to provide privacy. Throughout history fences have been built of many materials including hedges, stone, concrete, wood, and wire.
 “Fences of living plants have been made in many places, such as the hedges of Great Britain and continental Europe and the cactus fences of Latin America. In well-timbered country, such as colonial and 19th-century North America, many patterns of timber fence were developed, such as the split rail laid zigzag, the post rail, and the picket. On the East European Plain and in the western United States, fences of turf were erected that often stood for years in the absence of heavy rains. Wire, the preeminent modern fencing material, was first used in the mid-19th century, with the development of methods of mass production. Woven wire fences, affixed to wood, steel, or concrete posts, proved economical and durable (wood posts may be treated with preservative). The invention of the barbed-wire fence in the 1860s and of a machine for its manufacture in 1874 made possible effective fencing of cattle range.”
 Today, fences are commonly used within and around the perimeter of commercial and residential property to form a barrier erected to confine or exclude people or animals, define boundaries, decorate, or restrict view. Many fences currently on the market have wide gaps between their posts or rails such that people can see through to the property within the fence. In certain situations, it is desirable for people not to be able to see through the fence, so that those inside the fenced area can enjoy some privacy. Privacy fences were designed to meet this need. However, many people that enjoy privacy purchase homes and other properties that already have an existing fence that is not a privacy fence around the home or property. It would be very expensive for these people to tear down the existing fence and install a privacy fence. What is needed is an inexpensive way to change a non-privacy fence into the functional equivalent of a privacy fence, a virtual privacy fence.
 U.S. Pat. No. 4,143,857 to Weiner, discloses a fence which provides effective barriers to the attempts of children to climb. The non-climbable barriers contain small openings to reduce wind loading on the fence and are configured so as not to provide hand or foot holds for children. The Weiner patent also discloses a self-closing gate with a child-resistant latch. Since the disclosed barriers contain openings to reduce wind loading on the fence they do not block the view of the area inside the fenced enclosure.
 U.S. Pat. No. 5,799,929 to Meglino, et al. discloses fence slats for chain link fences that are slid into channels of the chain link fence. The fence slats have a pair of stops extending outwardly that prevent movement of the slat within the channels of the chain link fence. The slats are intended to act as a windbreak and provide some privacy. The slats may only be used with chain link fences and after the slats are in place many gaps, which people can see through, still exist in the fence.
 Each of the above systems suffers from a number of deficiencies. Their designs do not allow for the consumer to convert any existing fence with gaps into a privacy fence. There is a need to provide the public with an inexpensive, lightweight means to convert an existing fence, which provides a view into and out of the enclosed area, into a fence that obstructs the view into and out of the enclosed area.
 A removably attachable virtual privacy fence assembly comprising two main parts; a number of generally rectangular panel elements and a means on each panel for securing the panel elements to an existing fence. Each of the panel elements is made of a flexible planar material for placement on either the inner or outer surface of the existing fence. The flexible planar material of the panel elements can be made of canvas, plastic, vinyl, polyethylene, nylon, cotton, cloth, paper, fiber and/or metal. Each panel element has top, bottom, and side edges and is large enough to cover at least a portion of the surface area of the fence. Multiple panel elements may be used to completely cover the surface area of the fence.
 The panel elements of the virtual privacy fence assembly may be secured to the fence by means of one or more straps. The straps used to secure the panel elements to the fence may be Velcro straps, hooks, loops, snaps, buttons, buckles, or hooks and eyes. The straps can be secured to the panel elements by being sewn, glued, riveted, or stapled to the panel elements.
 It is an object of the present invention to provide inexpensive, lightweight panels that can be easily attached to an existing non-privacy fence, so that the view of anyone trying to see through the fence is blocked. The panels may be constructed of a solid or semi-solid material or they can be made of a canvas-type or vinyl material that is stored in rolls. The panels are preferably attached to the fence with loops or Velcro straps however other means of attachment may be utilized.
 It is a further object of the present invention to provide a lightweight affordable wind-block that can be attached to an existing fence via multiple attachment devices and effectively block strong winds from disturbing people and objects inside the fence.
 The invention of the present application will now be described in more detail with reference to the accompanying drawings, given only by way of example, in which:
 Referring to
 It may only take one panel to provide the desired level of privacy. For a house in a wooded area, the backyard swimming pool, for instance, may have only a small portion visible to non-residents of the house from the driveway or the connecting street. In this case, only the portion of the fence facing the driveway or street needs to be covered with the present panel(s) to provide privacy and only one privacy panel may be required to meet this need. However, in most cases more than one panel will be used to provide privacy and turn a see through fence into a privacy fence. In such cases, the normal usage of the privacy panels is to place the panels sided by side so that two adjacent privacy panels touch, and the placement of each additional panel extends the amount of privacy provided. The ultimate in privacy is achieved by covering an entire fence with privacy panels so that no one outside the fence no matter where they are located can see through to the inside of the fence. Just as panels can be customized to particular fence sizes, panels can also be customized to fit any gate size as well. So the entire fence including the gate can be covered to block the view of unwanted onlookers.
 The panels
 The foregoing description of the specific embodiments will so fully reveal the general nature of the invention that others can, by applying current knowledge, readily modify and/or adapt for various applications such specific embodiments without departing from the generic concept. Therefore, such adaptations and modifications should and are intended to be comprehended within the meaning and range of equivalents of the disclosed embodiments. It is to be understood that the phraseology of terminology employed herein is for the purpose of description and not of limitation.