Title:
Commode Bowl Guard
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A commode bowl guard for covering a bowl portion of a commode is provided. The commode bowl guard is provided with a cover plate having an upper surface adapted to cover a section of the bowl portion of the commode when the commode bowl guard is in an installed position on the commode. The commode bowl guard is further provided with a means for retaining the cover plate disposed over the bowl portion of the commode such that the cover plate covers at least the section of the bowl portion of the commode.



Inventors:
Cross, Lynette E. (Arlington, TX, US)
Cross, Edward C. (Arlington, TX, US)
Application Number:
09/921086
Publication Date:
02/06/2003
Filing Date:
08/02/2001
Assignee:
CROSS LYNETTE E.
CROSS EDWARD C.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47K13/24; (IPC1-7): A47K13/00
View Patent Images:
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20040148689Portable gravity-flow simple bidet attachmentAugust, 2004Patalinghug
20050188454Flush Valve ToiletSeptember, 2005Bosivert
20040034914Removable attachments and shields for aquatic recreation devicesFebruary, 2004Gross
20060213001Aspirating apparatus particularly for toiletsSeptember, 2006Mattiello
20090307834Spa covering deviceDecember, 2009Rizzotto
20070266493Sanitation cover deviceNovember, 2007Jimenez
20020129441Water closet bowl with suction apparatusSeptember, 2002Bassorelli
20060032439Device for applying a cosmetic product to the human bodyFebruary, 2006Burato et al.



Primary Examiner:
ELOSHWAY, CHARLES R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Ed Cross (Arlington, TX, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A commode bowl guard for covering a bowl portion of a commode, the commode bowl guard comprising: a cover plate having a sidewall extending about a portion of the cover plate, the sidewall adapted for tensioning engagement by a portion of a rim of the bowl portion of the commode such that the cover plate covers at least a section of the bowl portion of the commode.

2. The commode bowl guard of claim 1, wherein the cover plate is a substantially oval member having an arcuate shaped end conforming to a substantially arcuate shaped front of the bowl portion of the commode.

3. The commode bowl guard of claim 1, wherein the sidewall adapted to be tensioningly received by an inner portion of the rim of the bowl portion of the commode such that the cover plate substantially covers the bowl portion of the commode.

4. The commode bowl guard of claim 1, wherein the sidewall adapted to be tensioningly received by an outer portion of the rim of the bowl portion of the commode such that the cover plate covers at least the section of the bowl portion of the commode.

5. The commode bowl guard of claim 4, wherein the cover plate is adapted to inhibit access to at least the section of the bowl portion of the commode when the commode bowl guard is in an installed position on the commode.

6. The commode bowl guard of claim 1, wherein the cover plate is constructed of a material selected from the group consisting of plastic material, polymeric material, resilient polystyrene plastic, aluminum, and cardboard.

7. The commode bowl guard of claim 1, further comprising a tension release mechanism attached to the cover plate, the tension release mechanism adapted to disengage the tensioning engagement of the sidewall of the cover plate from the portion of the rim of the bowl portion of the commode.

8. The commode bowl guard of claim 7, wherein the cover plate is provided with a scored portion further defining the tension release mechanism.

9. The commode bowl guard of claim 1, wherein the cover plate is further defined as having an upper surface and a lower surface such that the sidewall extends between the upper and lower surfaces of the cover plate and wherein the sidewall is further defined as at least a first sidewall and at least a second sidewall extending between the upper and lower surfaces of the cover plate such that at least the first and second sidewalls tensioningly engage the portion of the rim of the bowl of the commode.

10. The commode bowl guard of claim 1, wherein the cover plate is further defined as having an upper surface and a lower surface such that the sidewall extends from the lower surface of the cover plate and wherein the sidewall is further defined as at least a first sidewall and at least a second sidewall extending from the lower surface of the cover plate such that at least the first and second sidewalls tensioningly engage the portion of the rim of the bowl of the commode.

11. The commode bowl guard of claim 10, wherein the sidewall is adapted to tensioningly engage the rim of the bowl portion of the commode.

12. The commode bowl guard of claim 1, wherein the cover plate is further defined as having an upper surface and a lower surface such that the sidewall extends between the upper and lower surfaces of the cover plate and wherein the sidewall is further defined as extending substantially circumferentially about the cover plate between the upper and lower surfaces of the cover plate.

13. The commode bowl guard of claim 1, wherein the cover plate is further defined as having an upper surface and a lower surface such that the sidewall extends from the lower surface of the cover plate and wherein the sidewall is further defined as extending substantially circumferentially about the cover plate between the upper and lower surfaces of the cover plate.

14. A commode bowl guard for covering a bowl portion of a commode, the commode bowl guard comprising: a cover plate sized to cover at least a section of the bowl portion of the commode, the cover plate having a notch adapted to receive at least a portion of a rim of the bowl portion of the commode such that the cover plate covers at least the section of the bowl portion of the commode.

15. The commode bowl guard of claim 14, wherein the cover plate is further defined as having a substantially flat surface upper surface.

16. The commode bowl guard of claim 14, wherein the cover plate is further defined as substantially oval.

17. The commode bowl guard of claim 14, wherein the cover plate is further defined as substantially round.

18. The commode bowl guard of claim 14, wherein the cover plate is further defined as substantially rectangular.

19. The commode bowl guard of claim 14, wherein the cover plate further comprises a substantially arcuate first end adapted to cover a substantially arcuate portion of the bowl portion of the commode.

20. The commode bowl guard of claim 14, wherein the cover plate is further defined as having an upper surface, a lower surface and a sidewall extending between the upper and lower surfaces and wherein the notch is formed in the sidewall of the cover plate.

21. The commode bowl guard of claim 14, wherein the cover plate is further defined as having an upper surface and a lower surface and wherein the notch is further defined as at least a first groove formed in the lower surface of the cover plate adapted to receive at least the section of the bowl portion of the commode.

22. The commode bowl guard of claim 21, wherein the groove is adapted to receive a portion of a rim of the bowl portion of the commode.

23. The commode bowl guard of claim 14, wherein the cover plate is further defined as having an upper surface, a lower surface and a sidewall extending from the lower surface and wherein the notch is defined by the sidewall extending from the lower surface of the cover plate.

24. The commode bowl guard of claim 14, wherein the cover plate is constructed of a material selected from the group consisting of plastic material, polymeric material, resilient polystyrene plastic, aluminum, and cardboard.

25. The commode bowl guard of claim 14, wherein the cover plate is further defined as a plurality of substantially flat panel members stackingly attached to one another.

26. The commode bowl guard of claim 25, wherein an upper panel member of the plurality of substantially flat panel members has a perimeter greater than a perimeter of at least a lower panel member of the plurality of substantially flat panel members.

27. A commode bowl guard for covering a bowl portion of a commode, the commode bowl guard comprising: a cover plate having an upper surface adapted to cover a section of the bowl portion of the commode when the commode bowl guard is in an installed position on the commode; and at least a first mechanism connected to the cover plate, a portion of the first mechanism positionable below at least a portion of a rim of the bowl portion and operable to inhibit removal of the commode bowl guard when the commode bowl guard is in an installed position on the commode.

28. The commode bowl guard of claim 27, further comprising a release mechanism operably connected to at least the first mechanism, the release mechanism adapted to disengage at least the first mechanism to promote removal of the commode bowl guard.

29. The commode bowl guard of claim 27, further comprising a release mechanism operably connected to cover plate, the release mechanism adapted to disengage at least the first mechanism to promote removal of the commode bowl guard.

30. The commode bowl guard of claim 27, wherein the at least first mechanism is further defined as a tension spring having a first end and a second end such that the first end is connected to the cover plate and the second end is positionable below at least the portion of the rim of the bowl portion of the commode.

31. The commode bowl guard of claim 30, wherein the second end of the tension spring is adapted to engage at least the portion of the rim of the bowl portion of the commode to inhibit removal of the commode bowl guard from the commode.

32. The commode bowl guard of claim 27, wherein the at least first mechanism is further defined as a plurality of brackets connected to the cover plate, the plurality of brackets adapted to engage the rim of the bowl of the commode to inhibit removal of the commode bowl guard from the commode.

33. The commode bowl guard of claim 32, wherein the plurality of brackets are further defined as at least a first bracket and at least a second bracket adapted to receive an inner portion of the rim of the bowl portion to inhibit removal of the commode bowl guard from the commode.

34. The commode bowl guard of claim 33, further comprising a release mechanism operably connected to at least one of the plurality of brackets, the release mechanism adapted to disengage at least one of the plurality of brackets to promote removal of the commode bowl guard from the commode.

35. The commode bowl guard of claim 34, wherein cover plate is further defined as having a first section and a second section hingingly connected to one another and wherein the release mechanism is further defined as a latch connected to the cover plate to inhibit hinging movement of the first and second sections of the cover plate when the latch is in a locked position.

36. The commode bowl guard of claim 32, wherein the plurality of brackets are further defined as at least a first bracket and at least a second bracket adapted to receive an outer portion of the rim of the bowl portion to inhibit removal of the commode bowl guard.

37. The commode bowl guard of claim 36, further comprising a release mechanism operably connected to at least one of the plurality of brackets, the release mechanism adapted to disengage at least one of the plurality of brackets to promote removal of the commode bowl guard.

38. The commode bowl guard of claim 37, wherein cover plate is further defined as having a first section and a second section hingingly connected to one another and wherein the release mechanism is further defined as a latch connected to the cover plate to inhibit hinging movement of the first and second sections of the cover plate when the latch is in a locked position.

39. A commode bowl guard for covering a bowl portion of a commode, the commode bowl guard comprising: an cover plate having an upper surface and a lower surface, the cover plate adapted to cover a section of the bowl portion of the commode when the commode bowl guard is in an installed position; a lower plate having an upper surface and an outer peripheral edge, the lower plate connected to the cover plate; and at least a first mechanism connected such that a portion of the first mechanism positionable below at least a portion of a rim of the bowl portion and operable to inhibit removal of the commode bowl guard when the commode bowl guard is in an installed position on the commode.

40. The commode bowl guard of claim 39, wherein the cover plate is adapted to rest such that a portion of the lower surface of the cover plate contacts a top surface of the rim portion of bowl portion of the commode.

41. The commode bowl guard of claim 39, wherein the upper surface of the lower plate is connected to a portion of the lower surface of the cover plate.

42. The commode bowl guard of claim 41, wherein the upper and lower plates are substantially unitarily configured.

43. The commode bowl guard of claim 39, wherein the at least first mechanism is connected to the cover plate.

44. The commode bowl guard of claim 39, wherein the at least first mechanism is connected to the lower plate.

45. The commode bowl guard of claim 44, wherein the at least first mechanism is further connected to the cover plate.

46. The commode bowl guard of claim 39, wherein at least the first mechanism is connected to the outer peripheral edge of the lower plate.

47. The commode bowl guard of claim 43, wherein the at least first mechanism is further defined as a tension spring having a first end and a second end such that the first end is connected to the cover plate and the second end is positionable below at least the portion of the rim of the bowl portion of the commode.

48. The commode bowl guard of claim 47, wherein the second end of the tension spring is adapted to engage at least the portion of the rim of the bowl portion of the commode to inhibit removal of the commode bowl guard from the commode.

49. The commode bowl guard of claim 44, wherein the at least first mechanism is further defined as a tension spring having a first end and a second end such that the first end is connected to the lower plate and the second end is positionable below at least the portion of the rim of the bowl portion of the commode.

50. The commode bowl guard of claim 49, wherein the second end of the tension spring is adapted to engage at least the portion of the rim of the bowl portion of the commode to inhibit removal of the commode bowl guard from the commode.

51. A commode bowl guard for covering a bowl portion of a commode, the commode bowl guard comprising: a cover plate having an upper surface adapted to cover a section of the bowl portion of the commode when the commode bowl guard is in an installed position on the commode; and a means for retaining the cover plate disposed over the bowl portion of the commode such that the cover plate covers at least the section of the bowl portion of the commode.

52. The commode bowl guard of claim 51, wherein the cover plate is constructed of a material selected from the group consisting of plastic material, polymeric material, resilient polystyrene plastic, aluminum, and cardboard.

53. The commode bowl guard of claim 51, wherein the means for retaining the cover plate is further defined as a tensioning means connected to the cover plate for tensioningly retaining the cover plate over at least a portion of the bowl portion of the commode.

54. The commode bowl guard of claim 51, wherein the means for retaining the cover plate is further defined as a coupling means connected to the cover plate for coupling the cover plate to at least a portion of a rim of the bowl portion of the commode.

55. The commode bowl guard of claim 54, wherein the means for retaining the cover plate is further defined as a coupling means connected to the cover plate for coupling the cover plate to at least an inner portion of the rim of the bowl portion of the commode.

56. The commode bowl guard of claim 54, wherein the means for retaining the cover plate is further defined as a coupling means connected to the cover plate for coupling the cover plate to at least an outer portion of the rim of the bowl portion of the commode.

57. The commode bowl guard of claim 51, wherein the means for retaining the cover plate is further defined as a means for retaining the cover plate substantially positioned to cover at least the portion of the rim of the bowl portion of the commode.

58. The commode bowl guard of claim 51, wherein the cover plate is further provided with indicia thereon the cover plate, the indicia indicative of the commode being in a non-operational state.

59. The commode bowl guard of claim 51, wherein the cover plate is retained such that the upper surface of the cover plate is disposed substantially so as to avoid interference with a lid portion of the commode when the lid portion of the commode rests on the rim of the bowl portion of the commode.

60. The commode bowl guard of claim 51, wherein the cover plate is retained such that the upper surface of the cover plate is disposed within the bowl portion of the commode substantially below a top surface of the rim of the bowl of the commode.

61. The commode bowl guard of claim 51, wherein the cover plate is retained such that the upper surface of the cover plate is disposed at a height adjacent a top surface of the rim of the bowl of the commode.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates to the field of commode bowl guards and more specifically, but not by way of limitation, to a commode bowl guard for covering a bowl portion of a commode to prevent use of the commode.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] A myriad of reasons exist for covering toilet bowls or commodes to inhibit access to the bowl portion of the commode. For example, small children and animals have been injured by drowning in an unprotected commode. Children are also known to drop objects into the commode causing the commode or sewer lines to become clogged.

[0003] Additionally, when commodes require maintenance, paper signs are frequently placed near commodes or banners may be strung across commodes warning of its condition.

[0004] Current devices for covering commode bowls suffer from a number of disadvantages. Enclosure type devices are large enough to cover a substantial portion of the commode while others are easily removed from the commode. The enclosure type covers are cumbersome to handle, ship and install. These devices are prohibitively complex and expensive to manufacture. Furthermore, many locking type covers utilize padlocks or other locking mechanisms that require keys or combinations and are expensive, complicated and time-consuming to lock, unlock and remove.

[0005] Thus, it is readily apparent that a need exists for a commode bowl guard that overcomes the disadvantages of currently available devices for covering commode bowls to prevent use of the commodes since current devices are cumbersome and complicated or inadequate to secure the commode, expensive to construct, and suffers from a variety of other disadvantages mentioned above.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] In one aspect, the present invention is directed to a commode bowl guard for covering a bowl portion of a commode. The commode bowl guard includes a cover plate having a sidewall extending about a portion of the cover plate. The sidewall is adapted for tensioning engagement by a portion of a rim of the bowl portion of the commode such that the cover plate covers at least a section of the bowl portion of the commode.

[0007] In another aspect, the present invention is directed to a commode bowl guard for covering a bowl portion of a commode. The commode bowl guard includes a cover plate sized to cover at least a section of the bowl portion of the commode. The cover plate is provided with a notch adapted to receive at least a portion of a rim of the bowl portion of the commode such that the cover plate covers at least the section of the bowl portion of the commode.

[0008] In yet another aspect, the present invention is directed to a commode bowl guard for covering a bowl portion of a commode. The commode bowl guard includes a cover plate and at least a first mechanism. The cover plate has an upper surface adapted to cover a section of the bowl portion of the commode when the commode bowl guard is in an installed position on the commode.

[0009] The at least first mechanism is connected to the cover plate. A portion of the first mechanism is positionable below at least a portion of a rim of the bowl portion and operable to inhibit removal of the commode bowl guard when the commode bowl guard is in an installed position on the commode.

[0010] In one aspect, the present invention is directed to a commode bowl guard for covering a bowl portion of a commode. The commode bowl guard includes an upper plate, a lower plate and at least a first mechanism. The upper plate is provided with an upper surface and a lower surface. The upper plate is adapted to cover a section of the bowl portion of the commode when the commode bowl guard is in an installed position.

[0011] The lower plate has an upper surface and an outer peripheral edge, the lower plate connected to the upper plate. The at least first mechanism is connected such that a portion of the first mechanism is positionable below at least a portion of a rim of the bowl portion and operable to inhibit removal of the commode bowl guard when the commode bowl guard is in an installed position on the commode.

[0012] In another aspect, the present is directed to a commode bowl guard for covering a bowl portion of a commode. The commode bowl guard is provided with a cover plate having an upper surface adapted to cover a section of the bowl portion of the commode when the commode bowl guard is in an installed position on the commode; and

[0013] The commode bowl guard is further provided with a means for retaining the cover plate disposed over the bowl portion of the commode such that the cover plate covers at least the section of the bowl portion of the commode.

[0014] One advantage of the present invention is the reduced size, simplicity of design and, in one embodiment, the unitary configuration of the cover plate of the commode bowl guard. The commode bowl guard is configured for construction from a variety of lightweight materials, such as plastic, polymeric, aluminum and cardboard. The reduced size, simplified design and variety of available construction materials that may be utilized enables the commode bowl guard of the present invention to be easily and inexpensively constructed.

[0015] Another advantage of the present invention is the adaptability of the commode bowl guard of the present invention for utilization on commodes of varying sizes, shapes and designs. One advantage of the present invention is that the simplicity of attachment inhibits removal without the necessity for complex and expensive locking mechanisms. Yet in other embodiment, where the locking feature is not necessitated, the present invention is simple and inexpensively provided.

[0016] Also, during construction and remodeling involving installation of new commodes, service to commodes have either not yet been established or may be temporarily interrupted. During this period, the commode is unusable. Warning signs are often ignored and removed, particularly at large construction or remodeling sites where the nearest substitute facilities are a considerable distance.

[0017] The use of inoperable commodes results in commodes that are in unsanitary condition and require considerable time and resources to clean and repair to an operable state once service has been restored. Also, during construction, the bowl lids may not yet be attached which limits the use of devices connecting to or utilizing the bowl lids for these purposes.

[0018] One embodiment of the present invention addresses these unique problems since the commode bowl guard is adapted for use with commodes with or without lids. The commode bowl guard has a low-profile design that does not interfere with the movement or operation of the lid when a lid is present. Furthermore, the present invention may be implemented whether or not the commode is provided with a lid. This design allows for the present invention to be installed after the commode is manufactured, while not inhibiting or interfering with the shipment of the commode.

[0019] In one embodiment, the present invention is small, lightweight, and easy to handle, install, uninstall, efficient to ship and store, simple and economical to manufacture and utilize. Another advantage of the present invention is that the low cost construction promotes disposable commode bowl guards that may be discarded after remove, particularly, where the commode bowl guard, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, is constructed of cardboard or Styrofoam wherein removal of the commode bowl guard requires breaking or corrupting the commode bowl guard, such as along a scored portion.

[0020] Other objects, features, and advantages of the present invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings and appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0021] For a more complete understanding of the present invention and the advantages thereof, reference is now made to the following brief description, taken in connection with the accompanying drawings and detailed description, wherein like reference numerals represent like parts, in which:

[0022] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of one embodiment of the present invention shown covering a bowl portion of a commode;

[0023] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the present invention shown covering the bowl portion of the commode, substantially as shown in FIG. 1, with a lid of the commode removed;

[0024] FIG. 3 is a side view of one embodiment of the present invention shown covering the bowl portion of the commode;

[0025] FIG. 4 is a side view, in greater detail, of the invention shown in FIG. 3;

[0026] FIG. 5 is a top plan view of the commode bowl guard shown in FIG. 3 constructed in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention;

[0027] FIG. 6 is a top plan view of another embodiment of the present invention shown covering the bowl portion of the commode;

[0028] FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view of the commode bowl cover shown in FIG. 6 taken along 7-7 thereof;

[0029] FIG. 8 is a side view of yet another embodiment of the commode bowl cover of the present invention;

[0030] FIG. 9 is a side view of another embodiment of the commode bowl cover of the present invention;

[0031] FIG. 10 is a side view of yet another aspect of the present invention of the commode bowl guard, shown engaging a rim portion of the bowl portion of the commode;

[0032] FIG. 11 is a top plan view of the commode bowl guard shown in FIG. 10 provided with a tension release mechanism;

[0033] FIG. 12 is a top plan view of another embodiment of the present invention showing a plurality of sidewalls in phantom;

[0034] FIG. 13 is a is a perspective view of another aspect of the commode bowl guard of the present invention;

[0035] FIG. 14 is a side view of yet another embodiment of the present invention of the commode bowl guard;

[0036] FIG. 15 is a side view of yet another embodiment of the commode bowl guard provided with a notch for tensioning engagement with the commode;

[0037] FIG. 16 is a side view of yet another embodiment of the commode bowl guard with the sidewalls shown tensioningly engaging the commode;

[0038] FIG. 17 is a side view of another aspect of the present invention of the commode bowl guard;

[0039] FIG. 18 is a side view of yet another embodiment of the commode bowl guard shown with a tensioning spring;

[0040] FIG. 19 is a perspective view, in greater detail, of the tension spring shown in FIG. 18;

[0041] FIG. 20 is a side view of yet another aspect of the present invention of the commode bowl guard;

[0042] FIG. 21 is a side view, in greater detail, of the invention shown in FIG. 20;

[0043] FIG. 22 is a side view of the commode bowl guard illustrating one embodiment of a tension release mechanism;

[0044] FIG. 23 is a side view of the commode bowl guard shown in FIG. 22 illustrating use of the tension release mechanism;

[0045] FIG. 24 is a side view of yet another aspect of the commode bowl cover constructed in accordance with the present invention provided with a hinge assembly and a locking mechanism;

[0046] FIG. 25 is a top plan view of the commode bowl guard illustrated in FIG. 24 with the locking mechanism shown in phantom;

[0047] FIG. 26 is a top plan view of the commode bowl guard shown in FIG. 24 with the locking mechanism shown in an unlocked position; and

[0048] FIG. 27 is a side view commode bowl guard illustrated in FIG. 24 shown in position for placement or removal.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0049] It should be understood at the outset that although exemplary implementations of the present invention are illustrated below, the present invention may be implemented using any number of techniques whether currently known or in existence. The present invention should in no way be limited to the exemplary implementations, drawings, and techniques illustrated below, including the exemplary designs and implementations illustrated and described herein.

[0050] FIG. 1 illustrates a commode bowl guard 10 constructed in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention for covering a bowl portion 12 of a commode 14. Commodes 14 are well known and are available in a variety of configurations and include a lid 16, which may have a seat and a seat cover.

[0051] As previously mentioned, commodes 14 frequently require repair, or are unusable when water or sewer systems are inoperable or unavailable, such as when the commode is first installed. Under these circumstances, the commode 14 is without services, such as water or sewer, and is inoperable. Attempts to use the commode 14 in this condition cause the commode 14 to become unsanitary and require significant resources to clean and repair the commode 14 once service is provided.

[0052] Furthermore, children and small animals may be injured or drown by falling into the bowl portion 12 of the commode 14. Also, objects inadvertently dropped into the bowl portion 12 of the commode 14 may clog up the commode 14 or the sewer line.

[0053] FIG. 2 illustrates a commode 14 substantially as shown in FIG. 1 with the lid 16 portion of the commode 14 removed. Manufacturers of commodes 14 may ship the commodes 14 in several parts, including a tank 18, the bowl portion 12 and the lid 16. Prior to installation, the commode parts are assembled. Often, the lid 16 is not attached until the end of the construction process to prevent it from being scared or damaged during the construction. For this reason, toilet covers that utilize the lid 16 are ineffective in these circumstances.

[0054] The commode bowl guard 10 of the present invention is a useful device well adapted to address these and other problems previously discussed. The commode bowl guard 10 of the present invention is readily adapted for covering the bowl portion 12 of the commode 14 prior to attachment of the lid 16, and also, as shown in the present embodiment, is well suited for applications where the lid 16 has already been attached to the commode 14.

[0055] The commode bowl guard 10 of the present invention is provided with indicia 20, such as the “out-of-order” warning to apprise individuals of the inoperable state of the commode 14. Disposition of the indicia 20 in this manner is useful to warn individuals of the inoperable condition of the commode 14.

[0056] FIG. 3 illustrates a side view of one embodiment of the commode bowl guard 10 for covering the bowl portion 12 of the commode 14. The commode bowl guard 10 is provided with a cover plate 22 adapted to cover a section of the bowl portion 12 of the commode 14 when the commode bowl guard 10 is in an installed position, substantially as shown.

[0057] The commode bowl guard 10 is provided with a means 30 for retaining the cover plate 22 disposed over the bowl portion 12 of the commode 14. The retaining means 30 is adapted to retain the cover plate 22 disposed to cover at least a section or portion of the bowl portion 12 of the commode 14.

[0058] It will be appreciated that the bowl portion 12 includes an inner-bowl area 32 that is substantially defined by a rim 34 of the bowl portion 12 of the commode 14. As previously mentioned, commodes 14 and the bowl portion 12 may be of various shapes and sizes and, for this reason, the commode bowl guard 10 may not uniformly cover the bowl portion 12 in its entirety. In some embodiments, the commode bowl guard 10 may covers only a section or portion of the bowl portion 12 of the commode 14. In the preferred embodiment, the commode bowl guard 10 is adapted to cover a significant or substantial portion of the bowl portion 12 sufficient to deter an individual from attempting to use the commode 14 or easily access the bowl portion 14.

[0059] The commode bowl guard 10 may be constructed from a variety of materials, such as plastic material, polymeric material, resilient polystyrene, aluminum and other metallic materials, cardboard and other paper materials. Furthermore, the commode bowl guard 10 may be constructed such that the cover plate 22 is constructed of a substantially polymeric material, while the means 30 for retaining the cover plate 22 is constructed from cardboard or other material and vice-versa. It will be appreciated that a variety of combinations of materials may be utilized in this manner and are well within the spirit and scope of the present invention.

[0060] FIG. 4 illustrates, in greater detail, the commode bowl guard 10 shown in FIG. 3. In this view, the cover plate 22 can be seen as having an upper surface 40 and a lower surface 42. In this manner, the cover plate 22 is adapted such that the lower surface 42 of the cover plate 22 may rest on a top surface 44 of the rim 34 of the bowl portion 12.

[0061] In one embodiment, the retaining means 30 may be the formation provided by connecting of the cover plate 22 to a lower plate 46 about an outer peripheral edge 50 of the lower plate 46. An upper surface 48 of the lower plate 46 is connected to the lower surface 42 of the cover plate 22. The connection of the cover plate 22 to the lower plate 46 may be accomplished with a bonding material, a polymeric or silicone material such as glue, or other materials well known for accomplishing such bonding connection that are well known in the art.

[0062] The lower plate 46 and the cover plate 22 may also be unitarily constructed from a single material, such as cardboard, injection-molded plastic, other paper or cardboard-like products, polymeric materials, or other metallic-based products, such that the cover plate 22 and the lower plate 46 are substantially unitarily configured. In addition, a plurality of additional plates 52 may be included in other embodiments. As such, the plurality of additional plates 52 are stackingly configured, or may be unitarily configured, as previously discussed.

[0063] In this manner, the outer peripheral edge 50 of the lower plate 46, and the plurality of additional plates 52, are adapted for positioning adjacent an inner surface of the rim 34. In this manner, the outer peripheral edge 50 of the lower plate 46 and, where employed, the plurality of additional plates 52 define the retaining means 30 for stability and positioning of the commode bowl guard 10 disposed to cover the bowl portion 12 of the commode 14.

[0064] FIG. 5 illustrates a top view of the commode bowl guard 10 shown in FIGS. 3 and 4 with the lower plate 46 shown in phantom. It will be appreciated that while the outer peripheral edge 50 of the lower plate 46 is configured substantially similar in shape and configuration to the cover plate 22, the cover plate 22 is larger in overall size in that the cover plate 22 is provided with a greater perimeter extending about an outer edge 56 of the cover plate 22 in relation to the smaller perimeter extending about the outer peripheral edge 50 of the lower plate 46.

[0065] In other embodiments, the cover plate 22 and the lower plate 46, as well as the plurality of additional plates 52, may be substantially flat panel members constructed of cardboard and stackingly attached to one another and bondingly connected. As such, the cover plate 22 and lower plate 46, and where provided the plurality of additional plates 52, may be substantially oval, round, rectangular, triangular, or other useful configurations for adapting to commodes 14 of various shapes and sizes. The cover plate 22 is shown having a first end 60 that is generally straight and a second end 62 that is substantially arcuate for conforming and covering an arcuate end 64 of the bowl portion 12.

[0066] Yet, in other embodiments, the lower plate 46 and the plurality of additional plates 52 are not represented as substantially flat panel members dimensioned similar to the cover plate 22 extending substantially along the lower surface 42 of the cover plate 22 and, instead, are considerably smaller plates 66 stacked and attached to the lower surface 42 of the cover plate 22 at various points 68 on the lower surface 42 of the cover plate 22.

[0067] FIG. 6 illustrates a top view of of the commode bowl guard 10 showing another embodiment of the lower plate 46 in phantom. In this embodiment, two lower plates 46 are provided and shown substantially rectangular in configuration and disposed on the lower surface 42 of the cover plate 22. The present invention contemplate a variety of configurations involving one or more lower plates 46 positioned at various locations to provide stabilizing and positioning for the cover plate 22 to cover the bowl portion 12 and these configurations are within the spirit and scope of the present invention.

[0068] Referring also to FIG. 7, a cross-section taken along 7-7 of FIG. 6 is shown. In this view, the lower plate 46 can be seen as a substantially unitary stabilizing member which may be constructed from, for example, cardboard, polymeric material, Styrofoam, or other materials suitable for these purposes, as previously discussed. This embodiment uses less materials and is inexpensive to construct while providing adequate stabilization and positioning for the commode bowl guard 10. In applications where locking or securing the commode bowl guard 10 to the commode 14 is unnecessary, the current embodiment of the commode bowl guard 10 may be useful and inexpensively employed to indicate that the commode 14 is inoperable and to restrict access to the bowl portion 12 of the commode 14.

[0069] The formation of the lower surface 42 of the cover plate 22 and the outer peripheral edge 50 of the lower plate 46 form a notch 70 adapted to receive at least a portion 72 of the rim 34 of the bowl portion 12. A plurality of configurations of the commode bowl guard 10 are available and will readily suggest themselves to one of ordinary skill in the art to form the notch 70 for receiving the rim 34 and are within the spirit and scope of the present invention.

[0070] FIG. 8 illustrates another embodiment of the commode bowl guard 10 showing the upper and lower surfaces 40 and 42 of the cover plate 22 provided with a side wall 80. The sidewall 80 is shown extending from the lower surface 42 of the cover plate 22. In this manner, the extension of the sidewall 80 from the lower surface 42 of the cover plate 22 forms the notch 70 adapted to receive a portion of the rim 34 of the bowl portion 12.

[0071] Thus, it can be readily seen that the sidewall 80 is well suited to provide positioning and stabilizing support for the commode bowl guard 10 about the bowl portion 12 of the commode 14. The sidewall 80 may extend substantially about the lower surface 42 of the cover plate 22 in one embodiment. However, in other embodiments, the sidewall 80 may be provided as a plurality of sidewalls 80 extending from the lower surface 42 of the cover plate 22 at various locations and operable for stabilizing and positioning the commode bowl guard 10 disposed to cover the bowl portion 12 of the commode 14. On advantage of this construction is reduction in the amount of materials used and reduced cost by variously locating and positioning the sidewalls 80.

[0072] It should be appreciated that in the present embodiment, as shown in FIG. 8, as well as other various embodiments shown herein, it is within the spirit and scope of the invention that the cover plate 22 and sidewalls 80 may be constructed from a variety of materials, such as plastic, polymeric materials, resilient polystyrene, plastic, aluminum, cardboard and other materials previously disclosed and discussed herein.

[0073] FIG. 9 illustrates another embodiment of the present invention wherein the cover plate 22 is provided with the upper surface 40, the lower surface 40 and the sidewall 80 extends between the upper and lower surfaces 40 and 42 of the cover plate 22. In this embodiment, the commode bowl guard 10 and cover plate 22 may be constructed as a substantially unitary member.

[0074] The formation of the sidewall 80 substantially between the upper and lower surfaces 40 and 42 of the cover plate 22 form the notch 70 adapted to receive at least the portion 70 of the rim 34 of the bowl portion 12.

[0075] FIG. 10 illustrates another embodiment of the commode bowl guard 10 for covering the bowl portion 12 of the commode 14. In this embodiment, the commode bowl guard 10 includes the cover plate 22 provided with the sidewall 80 extending about at least a portion of the lower surface 42 of the cover plate 22. The sidewall 80, in this embodiment, is adapted for tensioning engagement by an inner portion 82 of the rim 34 of the bowl portion 12. In this manner, the sidewall 80 is tensioningly received by an inner portion 82 of the rim 34, such that the cover plate 22 substantially covers the bowl portion 12 of the commode 14.

[0076] Although the sidewall 80 in the currently illustrated embodiment is shown as being substantially arcuate so as to extend below the rim portion 34, it should be appreciated that the side walls 80 may be substantially flat, rounded or angulated for improved tensioning engagement with the inner portion 82 of the rim 34 and these various configurations are within the spirit and scope of the present invention.

[0077] FIG. 11 illustrates a top view of another embodiment of the present invention for covering the bowl portion 12 of the commode 14 and further includes a tension-release mechanism 90 adapted to disengage the tensioning engagement of the sidewall 80 from the portion of the rim 34 or the inner portion 82 of the rim 82 of the bowl portion 12 of the commode 14.

[0078] In this embodiment, the tension-release mechanism 90 may be a scored portion along the upper surface 40 of the cover plate 22 wherein the commode bowl guard 10 may be bent, broken or more easily disfigured for removal. Such a scoring type tension-release mechanism 90 may be beneficial where the commode bowl guard 10 is constructed as a substantially unitary member formed from, for example, Styrofoam, cardboard, injection-molded polymeric material, or otherwise such that the commode bowl guard 10 may be snappingly installed so that the sidewall 80 tensioningly engages the inner portion 82 of the rim 34.

[0079] As such, the scoring-type tension-release mechanism 90 assists in the removal, such as breaking the Styrofoam along the scored area for removal purposes. The commode bowl guard 10 of the present embodiment may be advantageously produced in a mass manufacture and low-cost environment and installed for on the commodes 14 for shipment in large numbers. The commode bowl guard 10 would then be removed once the commode 14 is installed and service has been established.

[0080] FIG. 12 illustrates a top view of another embodiment of the commode bowl guard 10 constructed in accordance with the present invention provided with one or more sidewalls 80, which may extend from the lower surface 42 of the cover plate 22. In this manner, only the necessary amount of materials is utilized to form the sidewalls 80 for tensioning engagement with the inner portion 82 of the rim 34 for securing the commode bowl guard 10 to the commode 14. Although the sidewalls 80 are shown oppositely disposed about the lower surface 42 of the cover plate 22, it will be appreciated that any number of sidewalls 80 may be provided at various points along the lower surface of the cover plate 22 for tensioningly engaging the rim portion 82 and are within the spirit and scope of the present invention.

[0081] FIG. 13 illustrates another embodiment of the present invention of the commode bowl guard 10. In this embodiment, the sidewall 80 is shown extending substantially circumferentially about the lower surface 42 of the cover plate 22. The present embodiment of the commode bowl guard 10 lends itself towards mass production in that, for example, it could be readily produced using cardboard, Styrofoam or injection-molded plastics, and is light-weight and utilizes a minimum amount of materials for construction.

[0082] Furthermore, the overall size of the commode bowl guard 10 of the present invention, as illustrated in FIG. 13, is advantageous for storage and shipment in that it is designed to be of minimum height and overall dimension. Furthermore, the commode bowl guard 10 of the present invention is simple and easy to install and remove from the commode 14 while the tensioning engagement of the sidewall 80 with the inner portion 82 of the rim 34 inhibits removal sufficient to deter an individual from utilizing a commode 14.

[0083] Also, it can be seen that the low profile of the commode bowl guard 10 will not interfere with commodes 14 that are provided with lids 16, nor does the commode bowl guard 10 require that the commode 14 be provided with a lid 16 to operate for its intended purpose of covering the bowl portion 12 of the commode 14.

[0084] FIG. 14 illustrates yet another embodiment of the present invention of the commode bowl guard 10 wherein the notch 70 adapted to receive the portion 72 of the rim 34 is formed in the lower surface 42 of the cover plate 22. The notch 70 shown in this embodiment provides greater stability and is readily adapted to properly orient the cover plate 22 for correct positioning over the bowl portion 12.

[0085] Referring also to FIG. 15, the notch 70 may also be formed so as to be substantially arcuate in configuration so as to tensioningly receive and engage the rim 34 of the bowl portion 12 of the commode 14. In one embodiment, the tension-release mechanism 90 may be a handle or other structure connected to the commode bowl guard 10 to promote easy removal of the commode bowl guard 10 from the rim 34. Although the tension-release mechanism 90 shown in the current embodiment is provided on the upper surface 40 of the cover plate 22, it will be appreciated that the tension-release mechanism 90 may be provided at various locations about the commode bowl guard 10 and include a variety of configurations which will readily suggest themselves to one of ordinary skill in the art and are within the spirit and scope of the present invention as shown and disclosed herein.

[0086] FIG. 16 illustrates another embodiment of the present invention of the commode bowl guard 10 for covering the bowl portion 12 of the commode 14. In the present embodiment, the sidewall 80 extends from the cover plate 22 and is adapted for tensioningly engaging an outer portion 92 of the rim 34. In this manner, the sidewall 80 extends over and covers a portion of the outer portion 92 of the rim and retains the commode bowl guard 10 disposed so as to cover the bowl portion 12 of the commode 14.

[0087] FIG. 17 illustrates yet another aspect of the present invention for covering the bowl portion 12 of the commode 14. It will be appreciated that a number of different configurations may be adapted and utilized for securing in a tensioning fashion the commode bowl guard 10, and specifically the cover plate 22 to the bowl portion of the commode 14. One method of accomplishing this tension engagement is illustrated wherein the side wall 80 may be provided on the outer portion 92 or the inner portion 82 of the rim 34 of the bowl portion 12.

[0088] Furthermore, the sidewalls 80 may be provided as coupling devices, such as brackets or other locking or tensioning mechanisms extending from the cover plate 22 and adapted for tensioning engagement with the rim 34. In this manner, the sidewalls 80 may be brackets for tensioning in a bolting, screwing, threading, spring-tensioning or other manner well known in the art and utilized for such purposes. In such configuration, the sidewall 80 may be operably mechanically connectable utilizing a hinge (not shown) or other configurations operable for disposing the sidewall 80 adjacent the rim 34 for tensioning thereto.

[0089] FIG. 18 illustrates another embodiment of the commode bowl guard 10 of the present invention for covering the bowl portion 12 of the commode 14. The commode bowl guard 10 is provided with a cover plate 22 and a plurality of additional plates 52 constructed from a variety of material, such as, but not limited to, cardboard. In the present embodiment, the commode bowl guard 10 is provided with at least a first mechanism 100 connected to the commode bowl guard 10, such that a portion 102 of the first mechanism 100 is positionable below at least a portion 104 of the rim 34.

[0090] The first mechanism 100 is operable to inhibit removal of the commode bowl guard 10 when the commode bowl guard 10 is in an installed position on the commode 14. It is readily apparent that the first mechanism 100 tensioningly engages the rim 34 such that the rim 34 is disposed between the portion 102 of the first mechanism 100 and the lower surface 42 of the cover plate 22. The first mechanism 100 may be connected to the plurality of additional plates 52 in a variety of manners, including a seating engagement within, for example, the cardboard plate 52 and secured with a bonding or other connection well known in the art and utilized for such purposes.

[0091] The first mechanism 100 may also be connected between the plates 52 or attached to a lower surface 106 of the lower plate 52 or other connections suitable for attachment of the first mechanism 100 such that it is adapted for tensioning engagement with a portion of the rim 104. While the portion 102 of the first mechanism 100 is shown in contact with the portion 104 below the rim 34, it is understood that the first mechanism 100 may be disposed below, but not in contact with, the portion 104 below the rim 34.

[0092] Referring also to FIG. 19, the first mechanism 100 is shown in greater detail as a substantially flat member having a first end 110 adapted to be connected to the commode bowl guard 10 and a second end 112 adapted for positioning below at least a portion of the rim 104 of the bowl portion 12 of the commode 14. It will be appreciated that the first mechanism 100 may be provided in various configurations, such as substantially cylindrical in shape, or as a substantially hooked or arcuate member, so long as the first mechanism 100 is adapted and suitable for these purposes.

[0093] The first mechanism 100 may be constructed from aluminum or other metallic materials, plastic or polymeric materials, or other substances that are within the spirit and scope of the present invention.

[0094] FIGS. 20 and 21 illustrate another embodiment of the commode bowl guard 10 of the present invention shown with a cover plate 22 having the first mechanism 100 attached to the lower surface 42 of the cover plate 22. It will be appreciated that the first mechanism 100 may similarly be attached to the cover plate 22, as shown in FIG. 18, or may be connected (not shown) to the upper surface 40 of the cover plate 22 and extend through an opening in the cover plate 22 or angularly bend about the edge of the cover plate 22.

[0095] In the present embodiment, the first mechanism 100 is shown as being positionable below the portion 104 of the rim 34, such that the second end 112 of the first mechanism 100 does not contact the portion 104 of the rim 34 in a tensioning manner. Thus, the second end 110 of the first mechanism 100 is operable to inhibit removal of the commode bowl guard 10 when the commode bowl guard 10 is in an installed position on the commode 14.

[0096] Only when an attempt is made to remove the commode bowl guard 10 will the second end 112 of the first mechanism 100 engage the portion 104 below the rim 34 to inhibit removal of the commode bowl guard 10. It will be appreciated that the first mechanism 100 may be a tension spring or other member extendable from the cover plate 22 for such purposes. In one embodiment(not shown), the first tension mechanism 100 is formed unitarily form the cover plated 22 such that a portion of the lower surface 42 of the cover plate 22 defines the first tension mechanism 100.

[0097] FIG. 22 illustrates yet another aspect of the present invention of the commode bowl guard 10 provided with the cover plate 22 having sidewalls 80 extending therefrom for tensioning engagement of the sidewalls 80 with the inner portion 82 of the rim 34. In this embodiment, the sidewalls 80 are reinforced by a stabilizing member 120 extending there between the sidewalls 80.

[0098] The stabilizing member 120 may be constructed of a variety of materials, as previously discussed, and may be configured substantially as a shaft or bar extending between the sidewalls 80. However, the stabilizing member 12 may be a flat plate attached to the sidewalls 80 and extending substantially below the lower surface 42 of the cover plate 22. In either embodiment, the stabilizing member 120 inhibits an untensioning of the sidewalls 80 and further makes removal of the commode bowl guard 10 difficult.

[0099] FIG. 23 illustrates the commode bowl guard 10 substantially as shown in FIG. 22 with the tension-release mechanism 90 shown as a key or hook operable for releasing the stabilizing member 120. In this manner, the tension-release mechanism 90 is operable to corrupt the stabilizing effect provided by the stabilizing member 120. This may be accomplished in a variety of methods, for example, such as where the stabilizing member 120 is a cardboard, plastic or Styrofoam bar or shaft extending between the sidewalls 80, the tension-release mechanism 90 may be a key operably extendable through the cover plate 22 and having a hooked-end adapted to hook and break or bend the stabilizing member 120 upwardly or downwardly relative to the cover plate 22.

[0100] Where the stabilizing member 120 is a substantially flat plate, the stabilizing member 120 may be provided with a scored portion, such that the hooked end 122 of the tension-release mechanism 90 projects through an opening in the stabilizing member 120 and is adapted to be turned such the hooked end 122 comes into contact with the scored portion of the stabilizing member 120 for bending the stabilizing member 120 upward. It will be appreciated that a variety of different configurations can be utilized as a stabilizing member 120 and a tension-release mechanism 90 for the purposes herein and are within the spirit and scope of the present invention as disclosed and claimed herein. In this manner, the tension-release mechanism 90 releases the reinforcing effect of the stabilizing member 120 on the sidewalls 80 and promotes removal of the commode bowl guard 10 from the commode 14.

[0101] FIG. 24 illustrates a side view of another embodiment of the commode bowl guard 10 of the present invention. Referring also to FIG. 25, the commode bowl guard 10 is provided with a first section 130 and a second section 132 connected by a hinge 134. The commode bowl guard 10 of the present invention is further provided with a latch 136 connected to the first section 130 of the cover plate 22. The latch 136 is connected to the first section 130 via a connector 138, which may be a screw or a nut and bolt or other connector operable for connecting the latch 136 to the first section 130 of the cover plate 22.

[0102] The latch 136 is operable to swivel and lock the first section 130 to the second section 132 to inhibit hinging movement of the hinge 134 between the first and second sections 130 and 132 of the cover plate 22. The first section 130 of the cover plate 22 is provided with a first bracket 138 adapted to receive an inner portion 82 of the rim 34 of the bowl portion 12 to inhibit removal of the commode bowl guard 10.

[0103] Similarly, the second section 132 is provided with a second bracket 140 adapted to receive an inner portion 82 of the rim 34 of the bowl portion 12 to inhibit removal of the commode bowl guard 10 from the commode 14. It will be appreciated that the first and second brackets 138 and 140 may be provided along various positions on the first and second sections 130 and 132 of the cover plate 22. Furthermore, the first and second brackets 138 and 140 may be sized so as to extend about a significant portion of the first and second sections 130 and 132 of the cover plate 22.

[0104] In another embodiment (not shown), the first and second brackets 138 and 140 extend from the cover plate so as to be positionable about the outer portion 92 of the rim 34 for tensioning engagement of the outer portion 92 of the rim 34 of the bowl portion 12.

[0105] The latch 136 may be provided with a handle portion (not shown) extending therethrough the cover plate 22 so as to promote easy latching and unlatching by an individual. As such, the handle portion may be removable to prevent removal of the commode bowl guard 10. Furthermore, the latch 136, while shown substantially adjacent to the lower surface 42 of the cover plate, may be disposed substantially adjacent the upper surface 40 of the cover plate 22.

[0106] FIG. 26 illustrates a top view of the commode bowl guard 10 shown in FIGS. 24 and 25 with the latch 136 shown in an unlocked position substantially parallel to the hinge 134. Referring also to FIG. 27, it is readily apparent that when the latch 136 is in an unlocked position that the hinge is operably adapted to promote a folding motion of the first and second sections 130 and 132 of the cover plate 22 and thereby disengage the first and second brackets 138 and 140 from the engagement with the inner portion 82 of the rim 34 of the bowl portion 12.

[0107] Thus, the commode bowl guard 10 of the present embodiment is attachable to the commode 14 and detachable from the commode while the latch 136 is in an unlocked position. Once the commode bowl guard 10 is disposed such that the first and second brackets 138 and 140 engaged the inner portion 82 of the rim 34, the latch 136 may be placed in a locked position (as shown in FIG. 25) to inhibit removal of the commode bowl guard 10 from the commode 14. It will be appreciated that a variety of locking mechanisms and hinging configurations, which may include more than one hinge and more than the first and second sections 130 and 132 comprising the cover plate, may be utilized for the present purposes and are within the spirit and scope of the present invention as disclosed and claimed herein.

[0108] Thus, it is apparent that there has been provided, in accordance with the present invention, a commode bowl guard for covering a bowl portion of a commode to prevent access to the bowl portion of the commode that satisfies one or more of the advantages set forth above. Although various embodiments have been described in detail, it should be understood that various changes, substitutions, and alterations can be made herein without departing from the scope of the present invention, even if all of the advantages identified are not present. For example, the various embodiments shown in the drawings herein illustrate that the present invention may be implemented and embodied in a variety ways that still fall within the scope of the present invention.

[0109] Also, the techniques, designs, elements, and methods described and illustrated in the preferred embodiment as discrete or separate may be combined or integrated with other techniques, designs, elements, or methods without departing from the scope of the invention. Other examples of changes, substitutions, and alterations are readily ascertainable by one skilled in the art and could be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention.