Title:
Barrier cover and method of making the same
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A barrier cover may have a rear portion with an upper pocket, a lower pocket and a web. The upper and lower pockets may receive support members. The web may have a plurality of pockets for receiving tie-like structures therein.



Inventors:
Clark, Thomas D. (Bonita Springs, FL, US)
Application Number:
11/641282
Publication Date:
06/21/2007
Filing Date:
12/19/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
160/368.1
International Classes:
E04H17/16
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20060076544Safety sign/barrierApril, 2006Kurple
20030146426Portable collapsible corral fence and method of useAugust, 2003Ray et al.
20040217339Plastic fencing systemNovember, 2004Stone
20050045863Modular metal fence or gate panel assemblyMarch, 2005Mackay
20060169965Pre-fabricated fencing panelsAugust, 2006Paskar
20090321704Baluster AssemblyDecember, 2009Chung
20090321702Metal Baluster With Ornamental EndsDecember, 2009Grandich
20040195556Wire or like connectors/tensionersOctober, 2004Facey et al.
20080157044FAILURE AVOIDANCE EFFECTIVE SILT FENCEJuly, 2008Barfield et al.
20020005512Modular temporary fencing system for sports arenasJanuary, 2002Trill
20040104382Safety railing system for roof access hatchJune, 2004Collins et al.



Primary Examiner:
COLLADO, CYNTHIA FRANCISCA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MARSHALL & MELHORN, LLC (FOUR SEAGATE - EIGHTH FLOOR, TOLEDO, OH, 43604, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A barrier cover, comprising: a front portion; and a rear portion, comprising: an upper pocket receiving a support member therethrough; and a lower pocket receiving a support member therethrough, said pockets being substantially parallel to one another; a web located in a middle portion of said rear portion, said web defining a plurality of pockets oriented substantially transverse to said upper pocket and said lower pocket; apertures extending from said rear portion to said front portion and being located adjacent said upper pocket and said lower pocket; and tie structures located in at least one of said apertures and at least one of said plurality of pockets of said web.

2. The cover of claim 1, wherein lengths of material are removably located in at least one of said plurality of pockets of said web.

3. The cover of claim 2, wherein said lengths of material extend approximately from said upper pocket to said lower pocket.

4. The cover of claim 1, wherein said support member in said lower pocket and in said upper pocket is rope.

5. The cover of claim 1, wherein said tie structures have a first end that is received within a second end having a lock.

6. A method of making a barrier cover, comprising: providing a flexible barrier cover having a front portion and a rear portion; forming an upper pocket with an upper portion of said rear portion; forming a lower pocket with a lower portion of said rear portion; selectively attaching a web to a middle portion of said rear portion to create a plurality of pockets that are transversely oriented to said upper pocket and said lower pocket; creating a plurality of apertures adjacent said upper pocket and said lower pocket, said apertures extending from said front portion to said rear portion.

7. The method of claim 6, wherein said upper pocket is formed by securing a strip of material to said upper portion and said lower pocket is formed by securing a strip of material to said lower portion.

8. The method of claim 6, wherein said upper pocket is formed by folding over a portion of said upper portion onto itself and said lower pocket is formed by folding over a portion of said lower portion onto itself.

9. The method of claim 6, wherein flexible support members are located through said upper pocket and said lower pocket.

10. The method of claim 6, wherein flexible ties are located through said pockets in said web and said apertures adjacent said upper and lower pockets.

11. The method of claim 6, wherein lengths of material are removably located beneath said web as it is applied to said rear portion so that said web is not attached to said rear portion where said lengths of material are located.

12. A flexible barrier cover, comprising: a front portion; a rear portion, comprising: an upper pocket having a flexible support member extending therethrough; a lower pocket having a flexible support member extending therethrough; and at least one web located between said upper pocket and said lower pocket, said at least one web defining a plurality of pockets oriented substantially transverse to said upper pocket and said lower pocket; and apertures extending from said rear portion to said front portion and being located adjacent said upper pocket and said lower pocket.

13. The cover of claim 12, wherein said flexible support members extend entirely through said upper pocket and said lower pocket and wherein said pockets are substantially continuous.

14. The cover of claim 12, wherein said at least one web extends substantially continuously across said rear portion.

15. The cover of claim 12, wherein said pockets and said at least one web are substantially parallel to one another.

16. The cover of claim 12, wherein three webs are located on said rear portion.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATION

This application is claiming the benefit, under 35 U.S.C. §119(e), of the provisional application filed Dec. 20, 2005 under 35 U.S.C. §111(b), which was granted Ser. No. 60/751,948 and which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The device and method disclosed herein relates to a barrier cover for a barrier, such as for a fence or the like, and a method of making the same.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Covers for barriers, such as fences, are well known in the art. Such covers are typically used to block the view through the barrier, to provide a visually pleasing decoration or design to the barrier and/or to provide information.

Often, the covers are constructed of a flexible material that permits them to be located over barriers that do not have substantially planar surfaces, such as chain link fences, for example. The flexible material also permits the covers to be bent around corners or located over or under the top and bottom of the barrier.

The flexibility of the covers sometimes causes them, however, to disadvantageously billow, blow and/or flap in the wind. Non-flexible covers may also be moved by the wind. Attempts have been made to secure the covers, however, it has been noticed that these attempts are often inadequate in that the securing means permit too much movement of the cover, they are complicated, expensive and/or prone to failure.

Prior art designs sometimes locate one or more holes, or flaps, in the covers to permit the wind to blow through the covers and reduce the billowing, blowing and/or flapping effects. Frequently, however, the holes are not enough by themselves to prevent the covers from moving in the wind. It is also preferred not to locate so many holes in the covers to allow the wind to pass through that the printed material on the covers cannot be read or understood because of all the holes.

It is undesirable to allow the covers to move in the wind as it can tear the covers from their connections to the fence or the ground, rip or tear the covers themselves, damage the barrier itself and/or distort the image or printed material on the covers. Therefore, it would be advantageous to have a barrier cover that could be secured to a barrier so that the cover remained substantially against the barrier to protect the cover and the fence, to permit the image or printed material on the cover to remain distortion free and which is not complicated, inexpensive and reliable.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A flexible barrier cover has a front portion and a rear portion. The rear portion may have an upper pocket, a lower pocket, at least one web and apertures. The upper and lower pockets may have flexible support members extending therethrough. The at least one web may be located between the upper pocket and the lower pocket. The at least one web may define a plurality of pockets oriented substantially transverse to the upper pocket and the lower pocket. The apertures may extend from the rear portion to the front portion and they may be located adjacent the upper pocket and the lower pocket.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The above, as well as other advantages of the present invention, will become readily apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description when considered in the light of the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a schematic rear view of a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2a is a schematic rear view of a method of making the present invention;

FIG. 2b is a schematic side view of the invention depicted in FIG. 1 taken along lines 2-2;

FIG. 3 is a schematic rear view of another embodiment of the invention; and

FIG. 4 is a schematic rear view of another embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

It is to be understood that the invention may assume various alternative orientations and step sequences, except where expressly specified to the contrary. It is also to be understood that the specific devices and processes illustrated in the attached drawings, and described in the following specification are simply exemplary embodiments of the inventive concepts of the present invention. Hence, specific dimensions, directions or other physical characteristics relating to the embodiments disclosed are not to be considered as limiting, unless expressly stated otherwise.

Referring now to FIG. 1, a rear portion 10 of a barrier cover 12 is schematically depicted. While FIG. 1 depicts a substantially rectangular barrier cover 12, it should be appreciated that the present invention is applicable to barrier covers 12 of all shapes and sizes such as, for example round, oval or any polygon. The barrier cover may be constructed of out many different types of materials such as, for example, plastic, paper, cardboard, wood, metal and/or fabric. The cover can be almost any thickness. The rear portion 10 and/or the opposite (front) side may or may not have any pigment containing material, such as ink, in any design, in any amount and/or in any color.

The type of barriers the present invention may be appropriate for varies widely. By way of example only, the present invention may be located over permeable barriers, such as chain link type fences, or other wire based fences, split rail fences and picket fences, regardless of the material they are constructed of, solid barriers, constructed of concrete, wood or metal and/or semi-permeable barrier, such as a fence constructed of dry stacked stones.

The rear portion 10 of the barrier cover 12 has an upper portion 14 and a lower portion 16. The upper portion 14 may define an upper pocket 18. The upper pocket 18 is preferably created by folding over a predetermined quantity of the cover 12 onto itself. An edge 20 of the folded over material is then secured to the barrier cover 12 to create the pocket 18. The edge 20 may be secured by one or more of the following methods or products: welding, adhesive, stitching, and/or mechanical fasteners, such as rivets.

In an alternative embodiment, the upper pocket 18 may also be created by securing a strip of material along the upper portion 14 of the cover 12, such as by welding, adhesive, stitching, and/or mechanical fasteners. More specifically, an upper edge of the strip is secured to the cover 12 and a lower edge of the strip is secured to the cover 12. The pocket is created between the secured upper and lower edges and the strip and the cover.

Referring to FIG. 1, the upper pocket 18 preferably extends substantially across the entire rear portion 10 of the barrier cover 12. The upper pocket 18 may, however, extend over only a section, or sections, of the rear portion 10. In other words, the upper pocket 18 itself need not be continuous across the rear portion 10.

Preferably, the upper pocket 18 forms a channel 22 that permits an upper support member 24, such as a rope, wire or other similar material, to be located through it. The channel 22 is best seen in FIG. 2b.

Located below the upper pocket 18, a plurality of spaced apart apertures 26 are located through the cover 12. Preferably, these apertures 26 are reinforced, but reinforcement is not required. If the apertures 26 are reinforced, they may be reinforced by grommets and/or by folding the cover material on itself and securing the folded over portion by welding, adhesive, stitching and/or mechanical fasteners. The apertures 26 may also be located in the upper pocket itself 18.

Preferably, a web 28 is located substantially across a middle portion 30 of the rear portion 10 of the cover 12. While FIG. 1 depicts the web 28 as being located substantially across the entire middle portion 30 of the cover 12, the web 28 need not be located continuously across the cover 12. Instead, the web 28 may be located in a section, or sections, across the rear portion 10 of the cover 12 without departing from the scope of the present invention.

Furthermore, although the figures depict the web 28 as being located substantially in the middle portion 30 of the cover 12, the present invention is not limited to only locating the web 28 substantially in the middle portion 30 of the cover 12. Instead, the web 28 can be located anywhere between the upper and lower portions 14, 16 of the cover 12.

The web 28 may be constructed of any material including, but not limited to, fabric, polymers, such as plastic, and/or metal, such as wire. In the embodiment depicted in the Figures, the web 28 is constructed out of a polymer material that is welded to the cover 12. While welding is a preferred method of securing the web 28 to the cover 12, it must be appreciated that the web 28 can be secured to the cover 12 with other means, including but not limited to, adhesive, stitching, and/or mechanical fasteners, such as rivets.

Preferably, the web 28 is secured to the cover 12 in such a way that a plurality of pockets 32 are created in the web 28. More specifically, it is preferred that the web 28 not be entirely attached to the cover 12. Where the web 28 is not attached to the cover 12, a pocket 32 is formed. The pockets 32 may be constructed of a single ply of material or they may be reinforced with multiple plies of material.

It can be appreciated the pockets 32 may be formed in the web 28 by a variety of means, however, it is preferred that before the web 28 is welded to the cover 12, that a removable length of material 34, such as a stick of wood, or dowel, is located between the web 28 and the cover 12, as shown in FIG. 2a. It should be understood that the present invention is in no way limited to using wood, but instead any length of material 34 constructed of a polymer, wood, and/or metal, by way of example only, can be used. The length of material 34 prevents the web 28 from being attached at that location to the cover 12, thus creating the pocket 32. Once the web 28 is attached to the cover 12, except for the pockets 32, the lengths of material 34 are removed from the pockets 32, as shown by the dashed arrows in FIGS. 2a and 2b.

Preferably, the pockets 32 are spaced from one another. The pockets 32 may be located at almost any distance from one another without departing from the scope of the present invention. It can be appreciated, based on the Figures, that the pockets 32 are oriented approximately transverse to the upper pocket 18 and a lower pocket, which is discussed below.

The lower portion 16 preferably defines a lower pocket 36. The lower pocket 36 may be created by folding over a predetermined quantity of the cover 12 onto itself. An edge 38 of the folded over material may then be secured to the barrier cover 12 to create the pocket 36. The edge 38 may be secured by one or more of the following methods or products: welding, adhesive, stitching, and/or mechanical fasteners, such as rivets.

In an alternative embodiment, the lower pocket 36 may also be created by securing a strip of material along the lower portion 16 of the cover 12, such as by welding, adhesive, stitching, and/or mechanical fasteners. More specifically, an upper edge of the strip is secured to the cover 12 and a lower edge of the strip is secured to the cover 12. The pocket 36 is created between the secured upper and lower edges and the strip and the cover 12.

Referring to FIG. 1, the lower pocket 36 preferably extends substantially across the entire rear portion 10 of the barrier cover 12. The lower pocket 36 may, however, extend over only a section, or sections, of the rear portion 10. In other words, the lower pocket 36 itself need not be continuous across the rear portion 10.

Preferably, the lower pocket 36 is a channel that permits a lower support member 40, such as a rope, wire or other similar material to be located through it. The channel is best seen in FIG. 2b.

Located above the lower pocket 36, a plurality of spaced apart apertures 42 may be located through the cover 10. Preferably, these apertures 42 are reinforced, but reinforcement is not required. If the apertures 42 are reinforced, they may be reinforced by grommets and/or by folding the cover material 10 on itself and securing the folded over portion by welding, adhesive, stitching and/or mechanical fasteners. Additionally, the apertures 42 may be located in the lower pocket 36 itself.

As shown in FIG. 1, tie-like structures 44 may be located through one or more of the apertures 26, 42 in the upper and lower portions 14, 16 of the cover 12, as well as through one or more pockets 32 of the web 28. The tie-like structures 44 may be constructed of any material and be of any length. By way of example only, the tie-like structures 44 may be such as locking plastic-type ties in which one end of the tie structure is inserted into a one-way housing on the other end of the tie structure 44. Such an arrangement creates a lockable and selectively adjustable loop. The tie structures 44 may also be constructed of, without limitation, metal, such as wire, string, rope, and/or plastic.

The cover 12 is then located against a barrier, such as a chain link fence, by way of example. More specifically, the rear portion 10 of the cover 12 is located against the barrier. It can be appreciated that the tie structures 42 located in the upper and lower apertures 26, 42, as well as through the pockets 32, can be located around the wire links in the fence. The tie structures 42 can be cinched to draw the cover 12 tightly against the barrier and then locked in place to prevent the cover 12 from moving in the wind. Each tie structure 42 may be locked to the barrier, by way of example only, by twisting, tying and/or coupling. Additionally, the upper and lower support members 24, 40, such as rope, wire or chains, are located through the upper and lower pockets 18, 36. The ends of the support members 24, 40 are then secured to the barrier. As such, the upper and lower portions 14,16 of the cover 12, as well as the middle portion 30 of the cover 12, are secured to the barrier so that the printed material on the front side of the cover 12 can be enjoyed without distortion and the cover 12 will not damage itself in the wind or the fence either.

While it is preferred to use both the support members 24, 40 as well as the ties 42 in the upper and lower portions 14, 18, it should be understood that all or only some of these devices be used.

It can be appreciated that holes or flaps (not shown) can also be located in the cover 12 to reduce the effects of the wind on the cover 12 while it is secured to the fence. Additionally, it should be appreciated the present invention can be used on barriers that are indoors or outdoors without limitation.

As stated above, pigment containing material can be located anywhere on the rear portion 10, such as on the web 28, the upper, lower and middle portions 14, 30, 16, respectively, and the upper and lower pockets 18, 36, as well as the opposite side to the rear portion 10, so that all aspects of the cover 12 can be used to decorate a barrier and convey information.

Further, while the foregoing has dealt primarily with covers 12 that are described as flexible, it should be appreciated that the present invention is equally applicable to semi-rigid covers, as well as rigid covers.

Yet another embodiment of the present invention comprises locating one or more lengths of material 46 in the pockets 32 before or after the web has been located on the cover 12, as shown in FIG. 3. The lengths of material 46 may be of any length including, by way of example, those which extend substantially from the upper portion 14 to substantially the lower portion 16. The material 46 may be wood, metal and/or a polymer or any other rigid or semi-rigid material. The lengths of material 46 may be located in each pocket 32 or in selected pockets 32. The lengths of material 46 may vary in size, shape and construction from one another. The lengths of material 46 are designed to provide vertical support to the cover 12 so as to prevent, or reduce, the cover 12 folding over on itself. The lengths of material 46 may be used with or without the ties 44.

Yet another embodiment of the present invention comprises providing more than one web between the upper and lower portions 14, 16 on the rear portion 10 of the cover 12. While two additional webs 28′, 28″ are shown in FIG. 4, greater or fewer webs in other locations and having different lengths are permissible. Thus, while webs 28′ and 28″ are depicted as extending substantially across the rear portion 10, it can be appreciated that one or both of the webs can extend over just a section or sections of the rear portion 10.

The webs 28′, 28″ may have pockets 32′, 32″ for receiving the tie-like structures 44 and/or the lengths of material 46. The pockets 32′, 32″ may or may not be aligned with and/or be equal in number to, the pockets 32 of the web 28. It can be appreciated that additional tie-like structures 44 can be used to secure the cover 12 to a barrier through the pockets 32′ and/or 32″. Further, by locating the lengths of material 46 through the additional pockets 32′ and/or 32″, the lengths of material 46 can lend additional support to the cover 12. Such additional support and/or tie-like structures 44 may be needed in areas where the cover 12 is used where high winds and/or gusts are present.

In accordance with the provisions of the patent statutes, the present invention has been described in what is considered to represent its preferred embodiments. However, it should be noted that the invention can be practiced otherwise than as specifically illustrated and described without departing from its spirit or scope.