Title:
Swimming pool liner
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A swimming pool assembly has a pool liner having indicia thereon in the form of a game for children or adults to play. The indicia is integral with the pool liner and is such that it allows for a user to play multiple types of games in the swimming pool.



Inventors:
Frost, Brian C. (Canfield, OH, US)
Application Number:
11/180040
Publication Date:
01/18/2007
Filing Date:
07/12/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E03C1/26
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PHILLIPS, CHARLES E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BANNER & WITCOFF, LTD. (71 SOUTH WACKER DRIVE SUITE 3600, CHICAGO, IL, 60606, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A pool liner comprising: a member having indicia thereon in the form of a game.

2. The pool liner of claim 1, wherein the indicia comprises different shapes.

3. The pool liner of claim 1, wherein the indicia comprises different colors.

4. The pool liner of claim 1, wherein the indicia comprises different numerical values.

5. The pool liner of claim 1, wherein the indicia are randomly positioned on the member.

6. The pool liner of claim 5, wherein the indicia is positioned on the bottom of the pool.

7. The pool liner of claim 2, wherein the indicia is in the shape of an item found in a body of water.

8. The pool liner of claim 7, wherein the item is a turtle.

9. The pool liner of claim 7, wherein the item is a seashell.

10. The pool liner of claim 3, wherein a select portion of the indicia is a first color.

11. The pool liner of claim 3, where in a select portion of the indicia is a second color.

12. The pool liner of claim 4, wherein the numerical values comprise 5, 10, and 15.

13. The pool liner of claim 1, wherein the indicia is in the shape of a turtle having a numerical value associated therewith.

14. The pool liner of claim 1, wherein the indicia is in the shape of a ring of shells having a numerical value associated therewith.

15. The pool liner of claim 1, further comprising a game piece associated with the member.

16. The pool liner of claim 15, wherein the game piece is submersible.

17. The pool liner of claim 15, wherein the game piece is one of a disk and a ring.

18. The pool liner of claim 1, wherein the indicia comprises a nine box configuration having nine square boxes of identical size.

19. The pool liner of claim 18, wherein the nine square boxes are for receiving game pieces.

20. The pool liner of claim 19, wherein the game pieces are submersible.

21. The pool liner of claim 20, wherein the playing pieces are one of an X-shape and one of an O-shape.

22. A pool liner comprising: a member having indicia thereon, the indicia having a first indicia element and a second element distinct from the first element, the elements capable of being used to play a game.

23. The pool liner of claim 22, wherein the first element is a first shape and the second element is a second shape.

24. The pool liner of claim 22, further comprising a game piece associated with the member.

25. A swimming pool liner comprising: a member having indicia thereon, wherein the indicia is in the form of a plurality of turtles and shells randomly arranged on the member having numerical values, wherein a select portion of the turtles are a first color and, wherein a select portion of the shells are a second color.

26. A swimming pool game in which players take turns tossing game pieces to accumulate points, the game providing: a swimming pool assembly having a member with indicia thereon associated with a game, wherein the indicia is in the form of a plurality of turtles and shells randomly arranged on the member having numerical values, wherein a select portion of the turtles are a first color and, wherein a select portion of the shells are a second color.

27. The swimming pool assembly of claim 26, further comprising a submersible game piece associated with the member.

28. A pool liner that is operably associated with a swimming pool, the liner comprising: a sheet stock material member having a lower surface and an upper, visible surface that is generally configured to define the interior of the pool, the material having a background and a pronounced and identifiable indicia associated with the member that is visible when viewing the upper surface, the indicia being in a form such that the indicia provides a contrast with the background such that a pool user can interact with the indicia in order to play a game.

29. A swimming pool comprising: a support structure, a liner position positioned on the support structure, the liner having indicia thereon, wherein the indicia is in the form of a plurality of turtles and shells randomly arranged on the member and having numerical values, wherein a select portion of the turtles are a first color; and wherein a select portion of the shells are a second color.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

None.

FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

None.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The invention relates to an amusement device, and more particularly to a swimming pool assembly having a pool liner in the form of a game.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Traditional swimming pools were essentially a hole in the ground of a substantially rectangular shape or other suitable shape. The walls and bottom of the pool were of cement or a similar material made waterproof by mixing with tar or a tar-like substance. Nowadays vinyl pools and inflatable pools have become increasingly popular. Above-ground pools that are made of wood, polymer, steel, or aluminum walls are being lined with vinyl to offer an economical alternative to concrete and fiberglass. Furthermore, above-ground pools are a cost effective alternative to in-ground pools due to minimal construction costs.

Consequently, pool liners are being placed in pools to hold water while overcoming the disadvantages discussed above. These liners are generally made of plastic, such as vinyl, and are flexible and waterproof. Pools having this type of liner allow for pools to be manufactured above-ground because this type of pool can be built on an above-ground frame of any suitable material. Additionally, pool liners can be used in portable vinyl pools that are constructed using a plastic or aluminum frame, or in inflatable pools having only an inflatable vinyl ring at the top. Over the years both above-ground and in-ground pools have become increasingly popular. In order to make pools more aesthetically pleasing, many pool liners are currently sold having decorative patterns.

As pools have become increasingly popular, so have games that can be played in pools. Currently, there are games available that can be played in pools such as basketball, soccer, and volleyball. These games require equipment that must be placed along the outside of the pool and/or equipment that must be submerged below the water surface at the bottom of the pool. Such games have disadvantages because they require storing and assembling of bulky equipment which can be costly and take up time assembling and disassembling. Often times this equipment is dangerous for young children to assemble on their own without proper supervision.

While such games are enjoyable, there is always a demand for different types of games that can be played in both above ground pools and in-ground pools. It is desirable for such games to be cost effective, safe and require little or no assembly time for both children and adults.

The present invention is provided to solve the problems discussed above and other problems, and to provide advantages and aspects not provided by prior swimming pool games of this type. A full discussion of the features and advantages of the present invention is deferred to the following detailed description, which proceeds with reference to the accompanying drawings.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a swimming pool liner. According to a first aspect of the invention, the swimming pool liner has a member having indicia in the form of a game. The indicia can take a variety of different forms such that a user can interact with the indicia to play a game.

According to another aspect of the invention, the swimming pool assembly has a pool liner for use as a game. The swimming pool assembly has a member that has indicia that is associated with the game. In one preferred embodiment, the indicia is in the form of a plurality of turtles and shells randomly arranged on the member, each having numerical values and a selected color. Alternatively, the indicia could have a nine box configuration for receiving game pieces.

According to another aspect of the invention, a swimming pool game is provided in which players take turns tossing game pieces to accumulate points. The swimming pool assembly has a member with indicia that is associated with the game. The indicia is in the form of a plurality of turtles and shells randomly arranged on the member having numerical values and a selected color.

According to another aspect of the invention, the indicia is in the form of a nine box configuration having nine square zones of identical size for receiving game pieces.

According to yet another aspect of the invention, a pool liner is provided that is operably associated with the swimming pool. The pool liner is made of a sheet stock material that has a lower surface and an upper visible surface, that is generally configured to define the interior of the pool. The sheet stock material has a background and a pronounced identifiable indicia associated with the material that is visible when viewing the upper surface. The indicia provides a contrast with the background, wherein a pool user can interact with the indicia in order to play a game.

Other features and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following specification taken in conjunction with the following drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

To understand the present invention, it will now be described by way of example, with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an above-ground pool having a portion of the sidewall of the pool removed and showing a pool liner of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a partial view of a pool liner and game piece according the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a in-ground pool incorporating the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a partial plan view of the pool liner of the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a plan view of a portion of the indicia;

FIG. 6 is a plan view of the game piece;

FIG. 7 is a plan view of an alternative game piece, and

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a in-ground pool incorporating an alternative embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

While this invention is susceptible of embodiments in many different forms, there is shown in the drawings and will herein be described in detail preferred embodiments of the invention with the understanding that the present disclosure is to be considered as an exemplification of the principles of the invention and is not intended to limit the broad aspect of the invention to the embodiments illustrated.

FIGS. 1 and 3 generally disclose a swimming pool assembly 10. The swimming pool assembly 10 may be either an above-ground pool as shown in FIG. 1, an in-ground pool as shown in FIG. 3, or an inflatable pool. Typically above-ground pools, in-ground pools and inflatable pools are of a substantially circular, oval or rectangular shape, however they can be custom designed or free-form. The swimming pool assembly 10 can be installed in a hole or pit below ground, or the swimming pool assembly 10 can be built on an above-ground frame of any suitable material. Pools can be constructed using a plastic or aluminum frame in the case for above ground pools, or they can inflatable as seen with pools for children. The swimming pool assembly 10 is constructed of a structure of any suitable material such as steel, aluminum, concrete, plastic, fiberglass, vinyl or the like depending on the specifications under which the pool is being constructed. As shown in FIG. 1, the swimming pool assembly 10 has a bottom 12 and sidewalls 14 that form an external structure 16. It is contemplated that the support structure of an inflatable pool could comprise a vinyl ring at the top of the pool.

The external structure 16 has a member 20 that lines the interior of the external structure 16. The member 20 is typically referred to as a pool liner. It is understood that the different types of pools will often have a pool liner associated with the pools such as defining a bottom of the pool or generally defining an interior of the pool. The pool liner 20 is operably associated with the swimming pool assembly 10. The member 20 is positioned adjacent to the bottom 12 and sidewalls 14. It is further understood that in certain embodiments, the bottom 12 of the pool may be the pool liner. In an inflatable pool embodiment for example, the pool liner defines the bottom of the pool and is connected to the inflatable rings. The pool liner my be made of a sheet stock material having a lower surface 21 and an upper surface 23. The shape and dimensions of the member 20 correspond to the external structure 16 of the pool. The pool liner may be made of a sheet stock material having a lower surface 21 and an upper surface 23. The member 20 is made of a liner material 22, which may be made of vinyl , waterproof fabric and other materials suitable for the purpose intended as is known in the art. The member 20 may also be tiles, ceramic, resin, polymeric material or the like in order to provide an indicia-being member.

As shown in FIG. 1 the member 20 or pool liner 20 has indicia 24. FIG. 4 shows the indicia 24 located on select regions of the member 20. The indicia 24 is visible when viewing the upper surface of the pool liner. The indicia 24 is applied directly on the member 20 and is therefore integral with the member 20. It is understood that the indicia 24 could be attached to a separate member that is then attached to the liner if desired. It is understood that the indicia 24 could be applied to the liner 20 in may different ways such that the indicia 24 is visible when viewing the upper surface 23 of the liner 20. Preferably, however, the indicia is printed directly onto the pool liner 20. The pool liner 20 generally has a background that can be in shade of a blue color, and provides a contrast to the indicia 24. The background generally, visually perceptively different from the indicia 24. The background can take other forms. With respect to the background, the indicia 24 is pronounced and identifiable when viewing the pool liner 20. Furthermore, the indicia 24 is in the form of a game, so that the game is integrated into the pool liner 20 of the swimming pool assembly 10.

The indicia 24 is positioned randomly on the member 20 at the bottom 12 of the swimming pool assembly 10, as shown in FIGS. 1, 3, and 4. The indicia 24 is generally not meant to span the entire length of the pool. The indicia 24 can comprise a variety of different images each of which can be used to play various games. The indicia 24 can take the form of different elements. The indicia 24 can be of different shapes 26, colors 28, or game values such as numerical values 30. It is further understood that shapes and colors could be combined to form a game value. For example, FIGS. 2, 4 and 5 depict the indicia 24 in the shape 26 of a turtle 32 or a ring of shells 34 as will be described in greater detail below. The indicia 24 can also include additional elements such as shading 31 or other markings, such as coral or pebbles, located between shapes 26 or numerical values 30. However it is contemplated that the shape 26 of the indicia 24 could be any sort of item found in a body of water such as a dolphin, walrus, sea urchin, shark, whale, fish, manatee or any of the like. Additionally, the indicia 24 could also be shells, sand castles, seaweed, starfish, sunken ships, treasure chests, or any of the like. It is contemplated that the consumer would have a variety of different indicia 24 to choose from when designing their swimming pool that are aesthetically appealing to the consumer depending on the size and shape. Each of the indicia 24 have a select number of indicia 24 of a certain color 28. For example, half of the indicia 24 could be of a first color 18 such as blue, whereas the other half of the indicia 24 could be of a second color 36 such as white. The colors are generally, visually, perceptively different from one another, as well as perceptively different from the background. Any number of colors 28 could be chosen. As shown in FIG. 2 each of the indicia 24 may also have a numerical value 30 located in the center of the indicia 24. The numerical value 30 is of a different color than the shape 26 that it is associated with. Together, the varying shapes 26, colors 28, and varying numerical values 30 all come together to form one preferred embodiment of an indicia 24 as indicated in the form of a game that is integral with the swimming pool liner 20. Some of the games are described in further detail below.

In addition to the indicia 24 on the member 20, a game piece 38, as shown in FIGS. 1, 2 and 6, may also be associated with the game. Several game pieces 38 may be used and having different colors. FIG. 1 shows a game piece 38 that may be made of any type of submersible material such that the game piece 38 will remain at the bottom 12 of the pool when tossed into the pool water by a player. The game piece 38 can be in the shape of a ring 40 (FIG. 6) or disk 42 (FIG. 7) for easy handling. The game piece 38 could also take other forms. Furthermore, each of the game pieces 38 can be of a different color to indicate which game pieces belong to which player. It is understood that swimmers can use any submersible object as a game piece.

There are several different types of games that a user could play using the swimming pool assembly 10 described above, however, it is one object of the invention to provide a member 20 having indicia 24 that will allow a user to play multiple types of games using the same member 20. For example, one of the games that is contemplated is a turtle toss game. In the turtle toss game, the member 20 is used having indicia 24 that is randomly positioned on the member 20 at the bottom 12 of the swimming pool assembly 10. The indicia 24 is in the shape of turtles 32 and a ring of shells 34. Half of the indicia 24 is of a first color 18, whereas the other half of the indicia is of a second color 36. Each of the indicia 24 has a numerical value 30 located in the center of each indicia 24. In the turtle toss game, each player selects a game piece 38 color. The players then alternate tossing game pieces 38 at the indicia 24 on the bottom 12 of the pool. Game pieces 38 landing on a turtle 32 score the number of points corresponding to the numerical value 30 on the turtle 32. Game pieces 38 landing on a ring of shells 34 lose points corresponding to the numerical value 30 on the ring of shells 34. Game pieces 38 that do not land on a turtle 32 or ring of shells 34 receive a score of zero points. The object of the game is to achieve the highest score or be the first to reach a score as set by the players.

Another example of a different game that could be played in the swimming pool assembly 10 using the same member 20 is turtle tag. In turtle tag, each player selects a game piece 38 color. The game pieces 38 are put into a pile and players alternate picking one game piece other than their own selected color until all the game pieces 38 are chosen. Players then select a specific turtle 32 with a specific numerical value 30 to stand on. Players take turns stepping onto another turtle of the same numerical value 30, while moving towards other players. Once a player is close enough to tag another player, the player calls out their selected color. If the other player has one of their game pieces 38, they must hand one of the them over. A player cannot tag the same person twice without tagging at least one other player. The object of the game is for one player to collect all of their game pieces first.

Yet another example of a different game that can be played using the same member 20 is a reef swimmer race. One player is chosen to be a caller. Other players select a set number of game pieces 38 of a certain color and place one game piece on the pool wall ledge as their “home base.” The three remaining game pieces 38 are then given to another player whose home base is on the opposite side of the pool. Players place their opponent's three game pieces 38 on their own side of the pool, placing each game piece 38 on a different turtle 32 having a different numerical value 30. For example, the farther from another player's home base, the harder it will be for them to retrieve each piece. Players return to home base and wait for the caller. The caller yells out a numerical value 30 of a turtle 32 and players race to retrieve the game piece 38 that has been placed on that specific turtle 32 having a specific numerical value 30. The player then returns to home base. The first player for each round to make it back gets to keep their game piece 38, while the others must surrender their game pieces 38 to be replaced by their opponents. The object of the game is to be the first player to collect all three of their game pieces 38.

As discussed above, the indicia 24 can comprise a variety of different images each of which can be used to play various games. The indicia 24 described above is of a turtle design, however several other designs are contemplated. For example, FIG. 8 discloses indicia 24 having a nine box configuration 44 divided into nine square boxes 46 of identical size. In the alternative, the Tic-Tac-Toe board could be formed from four intersecting lines that form nine areas to receive game pieces 38.

The nine box configuration 44 resembles that of a traditional Tic-Tac-Toe board. The game pieces 38 may be of made of any type of submergible material such that the game pieces 38 will remain at the bottom 12 of the pool. The game piece 38 can be in the shape of an “X” 48 or “O” 50 as used in traditional Tic-Tac-Toe games. However, it is contemplated that the game pieces 38 can be of any type of shape or figure upon request such as starfish or a ring of shells. Players take turns tossing their game pieces into the water to place their designated game pieces 38 on one of the nine square boxes 46, alternating turns. The object of the game is to be the first player to get three game pieces 38 of their own in a row. It is further understood that the indicia 24 can comprise separate elements on separate sections of the pool liner for players to be able to play different games.

With the pool liner 20 of the present invention, swimmers can easily play pool games with minimal set-up or effort. Because the game is made up of indicia printed directly onto the pool liner 20, bulky, external equipment is unnecessary. The game is incorporated into and integral with the pool liner 20. As discussed and appreciated, the indicia 24 can take many different forms so that it provides a pronounced and identifiable view. The indicia 24 further provides a contrast with the background. It is thus contemplated that the indicia 24 is in such a form such that a pool user can interact with the indicia 24 in order to play a variety of games. The game may or may not require the use of game pieces as discussed above. While several embodiments were discussed above, the indicia 24 can be designed to satisfy a particular game, such as a hopscotch grid, a baseball diamond, football yard markers, a basketball free throw lane and goal, soccer markings, field hockey or ice hockey markings, assorted targets, a horse shoe pit, and netting markings such as to simulate volleyball and tennis. It is readily understood that other game indicias 24 are possible.

While the specific embodiments have been illustrated and described, numerous modifications come to mind without significantly departing from the spirit of the invention, and the scope of protection is only limited by the scope of the accompanying claims.