Title:
Ball storage container mountable to a vertical planar surface
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A game ball storage retainer mountable to a vertical planar surface is an equatorially-split spherical container having a generally hemispherical upper lid portion that is hinged to a generally hemispherical base base portion. The base portion has an annular ring that fits within the upper portion to prevent water from flowing into the container. Each portion has a locking tab that aligns with the locking tab of the other portion. A padlock may be used to lock the lid and base portions together. The base portion also has a rectangular extension that fits flush against a vertical planar surface and by means of which the container may be bolted thereto. Lag bolts may be installed from inside the container to prevent their removal when the container is closed and locked. Preferably, the container is either blow molded or rotationally molded from a tough polymeric resin or copolymer.



Inventors:
Bell, Larry K. (Brigham City, UT, US)
Bell, Barbara B. (Brigham City, UT, US)
Application Number:
11/231388
Publication Date:
03/23/2006
Filing Date:
09/20/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/315.9, 206/315.1
International Classes:
A63B43/00; B65D85/00; B65D85/20
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GRANO, ERNESTO ARTURIO
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Angus C. Fox, III (4093 N. Imperial Way, Provo, UT, 84604-5386, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A storage retainer comprising: a generally hemispherical base portion having an extension that fits flush against and is securable to a vertical planar surface; and a generally hemispherical lid portion hingeably coupled to said base portion; d to a generally hemispherical base portion, said lid portion and said base portion forming a generally sperical, enclosed chamber for the storage of a game ball when in a closed configuration, and providing access to a stored game ball when in an open configuration.

2. The storage retainer of claim 1, wherein said lid portion is equipped with a downward-facing circumferential groove, and said base portion is equipped with an upward-facing circumferential ring that engages the circumferential groove when said storage retainer is in a closed configuration.

3. The storage retainer of claim 1, which further comprises: a first locking tab on said base portion and a second locking tab on said lid portion, said first and second locking tabs being aligned when said storage retainer is in a closed configuration so that a padlock may be used to secure the lid portion to the base portion in a closed configuration.

4. The storage retainer of claim 1, wherein said base portion and said lid portion are manufactured from at least one polymeric resin.

5. The storage retainer of claim 1, wherein said base portion and said lid portion are both injection molded.

6. The storage retainer of claim 1, wherein said base portion and said lid portion are both blow molded.

7. The strorage retainer of claim 1, wherein said base portion is coupled to said lid portion with at least one hinge that is riveted to both portions.

8. A game ball storage retainer comprising: a hollow chamber having generally spherical inner and outer surfaces, said hollow chamber being equitorially split into base and lid portions through a plane which makes an angle of less than 45 degrees from level; at least one hinge coupling said lid portion to said base portion; and an extension integal with said base portion that fits flush against and is securable to a vertical planar surface.

9. The storage retainer of claim 8, wherein said base portion is equipped with an upward-facing circumferential ring that is inwardly offset from the outer surface thereof, and said lid portion is equipped with a circumferential recess that is inwardly offset from the outer surface thereof, said circumferential ring engaging circumferential recess when said storage retainer is in a closed configuration.

10. The storage retainer of claim 8, which further comprises: a first locking tab on said base portion and a second locking tab on said lid portion, said first and second locking tabs being aligned when said storage retainer is in a closed configuration so that a padlock may be used to secure the lid portion to the base portion in a closed configuration.

11. The storage retainer of claim 8, wherein said base portion and said lid portion are manufactured from at least one polymeric resin.

12. The storage retainer of claim 8, wherein said base portion and said lid portion are both injection molded.

13. The storage retainer of claim 8, wherein said base portion and said lid portion are both blow molded.

14. The strorage retainer of claim 8, wherein at least one hinge is riveted to both the base and lid portions.

15. A game ball storage retainer comprising: a hollow chamber having generally spherical inner and outer surfaces, said hollow chamber being equitorially split into base and lid portions through a plane which makes an angle of less than 45 degrees from level, said base and lid portions being hingeably coupled together along an outer edge of each portion; and means for securing said hollow chamber to an immovable object.

16. The storage retainer of claim 15, wherein said base portion is equipped with an upward-facing circumferential ring that is inwardly offset from the outer surface thereof, and said lid portion is equipped with a circumferential recess that is inwardly offset from the outer surface thereof, said circumferential ring engaging circumferential recess when said storage retainer is in a closed configuration.

17. The storage retainer of claim 15, which further comprises: a first locking tab on said base portion and a second locking tab on said lid portion, said first and second locking tabs being aligned when said storage retainer is in a closed configuration so that a padlock may be used to secure the lid portion to the base portion in a closed configuration.

18. The storage retainer of claim 15, wherein said base portion and said lid portion are manufactured from at least one polymeric resin.

19. The storage retainer of claim 15, wherein said base portion and said lid portion are both molded using a process selected from the group consisting of injection molding and blow molding.

20. The storage retainer of claim 15, wherein said means for securing comprises an extension integral with the hollow chamber that fits flush against and is securable to a vertical planar surface.

Description:

This application has a priority date based on provisional patent application No. 60/611,835, which was filed on Sep. 20, 2005.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The instant invention relates generally to sports equipment and more specifically it relates to a anti-theft storage device for game balls, such as basketballs, soccer balls, kickballs and four square playground balls mountable to a stationary object.

2. Description of the Prior Art

There are many public facilities, such as basketball courts, which have no on-site supervisor and no on-site ball dispensary. Thus, users of the facilities must carry a game ball to such public facilities. Sometimes younger players travel to such facilities on their bicycles, making the transport of a game ball, such a basketball, a difficult task. Sometimes, these players will choose to leave their ball behind for use on the next day instead of having to lug the ball home on their bicycle. This is a risky proposition due to the potential for theft. What is needed is a way to leave a basketball or other game ball at an outdoor venue without the risk of the ball being stolen or lost.

There is also a similar need to store game balls at a home location in a container where they cannot be removed without the involvement of a responsible individual, such as a parent.

The present invention attempts to solve the abovementioned problem by providing a lockable game ball holder that can be secured to a fence, a wall, or other permanent structure.

The use of receptacles suited for containing sports balls is known in the prior art. More specifically, receptacles suited for containing sports balls heretofore devised and utilized for the purpose of holding sports balls for transport are known to consist basically of familiar, expected and obvious structural configurations, notwithstanding the myriad of designs encompassed by the crowded prior art which have been developed for the fulfillment of countless objectives and requirements.

By way of example, U.S. Pat. No. 6,612,946 to McClain discloses a game ball anti-theft device including a sperical web dimensioned for completely enclosing the game ball therein. The spherical web is comprised of a plurality of cables.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,601,711 to Knable, III discloses a ball holder for supporting a ball that includes a hoop portion and a bracket portion. A preferred embodiment includes means for supporting a football, means for mounting to various support surfaces, means for supporting an air pump, and means for storing needle valves.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,894,951 to Hunt discloses a cylindrical storage device for mounting to a basketball backboard stanchion. A preferred embodiment of the device has sufficient interior space for storing two basketballs and includes a lockable hinged front cover which may be opened to store and retrieve basketballs.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,671,844 to Sircy discloses a storage device for storing sports equipment that is adapted for securement to a substantially vertical surface of an object situated adjacent the site of a playing court or field. The device includes an open-toped receptacle for holding the sports equipment, such as game balls and a lid hingedly attached to the receptacle for opening and closing the top thereof.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,207,360 to Stine discloses a ball bag comprised of webbings and straps capable of being attached to the handlebars of a bicycle. U.S. Pat. No. 4,502,576 to Reardon discloses a portable locker device for sports equipment. U.S. Pat. No. 5,085,320 to Scott discloses a bag for carrying a game ball.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,247,117 to Reichert and U.S. Pat. No. 4,147,353 to Moore both disclose devices which encapsulate a game ball so that it can be tether to a person or a spike, respectively for training purposes and for retrieval of the ball. However, these devices not adequately secure the ball so as to prevent its theft.

While these devices fulfill their respective, particular objective and requirements, the aforementioned patents do not describe a game ball anti-theft device for preventing a game ball from being removed from a public area.

In this respect, the game ball anti-theft device according to the present invention substantially departs from the conventional concepts and designs of the prior art, and in doing so provides an apparatus primarily developed for the purpose of for preventing a game ball from being removed from a public area.

The existing game ball anti-theft devices have certain disadvantages. Firstly, those ball retainers which do not fully enclose the ball needlessly expose the ball to the sun and the elements, resulting in a much shortened life span for the a ball so stored. Secondly, most of the anti-theft ball retainers are overly complex, expensive to manufacture, and expensive to purchase. Therefore, it can be appreciated that there exists a continuing need for a new and improved game ball anti-theft device which can be used for preventing a game ball from being removed from a public area and that is easily manufactured and economical to purchase. In this regard, the present invention substantially fulfills this need.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In the view of the disadvantages inherent in the known types of receptacles suited for containing sports balls now present in the prior art, the present invention provides an improved game ball anti-theft device. As such, the general purpose of the present invention, which will be described subsequently in greater detail, is to provide a new and improved game ball anti-theft device which has all the advantages of the prior art and none of the disadvantages.

To attain this, the present invention essentially comprises an equatorially-split spherical container having a generally hemispherical lid portion that is hinged to a generally hemispherical base portion. The base portion has an annular ring that fits within the lid portion to prevent water from flowing into the container. Each portion has a locking tab which aligns with the locking tab of the other portion. A padlock may be used to lock the lid portion to the base portion. The base portion also has a rectangular extension that fits flush against a vertical planar surface and by means of which the container may be bolted thereto. The rectangular extension has a plurality of bolt holes therein that extend into the interior of the container. Lag bolts may be installed from inside the container to prevent their removal when the container is closed and locked.

For a preferred embodiment of the invention, the container is either blow molded or rotationally molded from a tough polymeric resin or copolymer such as acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) copolymers, polyethylene terephthalate, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polypropylene (PP), or polystyrene (PS).

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a right-side elevational view of the new partially-opened anti-theft game ball container;

FIG. 2 is a rear elevational view of the new game ball container;

FIG. 3 is a top plan view of the base portion of the new game ball container;

FIG. 4 is a a right-side elevational view of the base portion of the new game ball container;

FIG. 5 is a rear elevational view of the base portion of the new game ball container;

FIG. 6 is an isometric view of the base portion of the new game ball container;

FIG. 7 is a bottom plan view of the lid portion of the new game ball container;

FIG. 8 is a top plan view of the lid portion of the new game ball container;

FIG. 9 is a right-side elevational view of the lid portion of the new game ball container;

FIG. 10 is a rear elevational view of the lid portion of the new game ball container; and

FIG. 11 is an isometric view of the lid portion of the new game ball container.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The invention will now be described with reference to the included dcrawing figures. It is to be understood that the drawings are not necessarily drawn to scale, and that they are intended to be merely illustrative.

Referring now to FIG. 1, the new anti-theft game ball storage container 100 is a generally equatorially split, spherical container that includes a generally hemispherical base portion 101 and a generally hemispherical lid portion 102. The lid portion 102 is connected to the base portion 101 via a hinge 103 that is riveted to both pieces. The attaching rivets 104 are swedged inside the container. The base portion 101 has an annular ring 105 that fits within the lid portion 102 to prevent water from flowing into the container 100. The base portion 101 also has a rectangular extension 106 that fits flush against a vertical planar surface and by means of which the container may be bolted thereto.

Referring now to FIG. 2, details of the rectangular extension 107 are visible. The rectangular extension 106 has a plurality of bolt holes 201 therein that extend into the interior of the container. Lag bolts may be installed from inside the container and into the vertical planar surface to prevent their removal of the container 100 therefrom when the container 100 is closed and locked. It will be noted that the lid portion 102 has a locking tab 202U that aligns with a locking tab 202L on the base portion when the lid portion 102 is closed. A padlock (not shown) may be used to lock the locking tabs 202U and 202L together during storage of a game ball within the container 100.

Referring now to FIG. 3, the interior of the base portion 101 is generally hemispherical and has a water drain hole 301 located at the lowermost point. It will be noted that the base portion 101 has a planar base hinge mounting panel 302 that unitary with the base portion 101 and that projects away from the spherical wall 303 of the base portion 101. The rectangular extension 106 is visible in this view, as is the lower locking tab 202L.

Referring now to FIG. 4, the rectangular extension 106 is seen from the side, while the planar base hinge mounting panel 302 is seen head on. Two rivet holes 401 are seen in the planar base hinge mounting panel 302.

Referring now to FIG. 5, the base portion 101 of the new anti-theft game ball storage container 100 is shown separately. The annular ring 105 is clearly visible in this view and is unitary with the base portion 101. The rectangular extension 106 is seen head on, while the planar base hinge mounting panel 302 is seen from the side. Also visible is the lower locking tab 202L.

Referring now to FIG. 6, this isometric view of the base portion 101 provides a more realistic view thereof. The lower hemispherical interior cavity 601 of the anti-theft game ball storage container 100, the annular ring 105, the planar base hinge mounting panel 302, the rectangular extension 106, and the lower locking tab 202L are all clearly visible in this view.

Referring now to FIG. 7, this bottom view of the lid shows the upper hemispherical interior cavity 701 of the new anti-theft game ball storage container 100. Also visible is an annular recess 702 which fits over the annular ring 105 of the base portion 101. The planar lid hinge mounting panel 703 and the upper locking tab 202U are all clearly visible in this view.

Referring now to FIG. 8, this top view of the lid portion 102 shows the hemispherical shape of the lid portion 102, the top of the planar lid hinge mounting panel 703 and the upper locking tab 202U.

Referring now to FIG. 9, this right-side view of the lid portion 102 clearly shows the domed hemispherical external shape of the lid portion 102, and shows the planar lid hinge mounting panel 703 head on.

Referring now to FIG. 10, this rear view of the lid portion 102 also clearly shows the domed hemispherical external shape of the lid portion 102, and also shows the side of the planar lid hinge mounting panel 703 and the side of the upper locking tab 202U.

Referring now to FIG. 11, this isometric view of the lid portion shows its domed external shape and also shows the planar lid hinge mounting panel 703.

For a preferred embodiment of the invention, the container is either blow molded or rotationally molded from a tough polymeric resin or copolymer such as acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) copolymers, polyethylene terephthalate, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polypropylene (PP), or polystyrene (PS). In the event that blow molding is employed, each hinge half may be incorporated into its respective hemispherical portion, rather than riveting a steel hinge to both hemispherical portions. The hinge halves, which are unitary with either the base portion 101 or the lid portion 102, may then be pinned together with a preferably stainless steel hinge pin.

For a preferred embodiment of the invention, the container is either blow molded or rotationally molded from a tough polymeric resin or copolymer such as acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) copolymers, polyethylene terephthalate, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polypropylene (PP), or polystyrene (PS).

Although only a single embodiment of the invention has been shown and described, it will be obvious to those having ordinary skill in the art that changes and modifications may be made thereto without departing from the scope and the spirit of the invention as hereinafter claimed.





 
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