Title:
Dish rack draining tray providing stability and effective draining
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A dish rack draining tray that includes a sloped trough having an exit end at the front side of the draining tray. The slope in the trough allows fluid to flow and discharge off the exit end of the trough on the front side of the draining tray. The draining tray includes one or more sloped surfaces that allow the fluid collected on the sloped surfaces to run off into the sloped trough. These sloped surfaces also support a dish rack on a horizontal plane.



Inventors:
Cheung, Gerald K. (Santa Clara, CA, US)
Application Number:
10/452327
Publication Date:
12/02/2004
Filing Date:
06/02/2003
Assignee:
CHEUNG GERALD K.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
211/133.6
International Classes:
A47L19/02; (IPC1-7): A47F3/14
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NOVOSAD, JENNIFER ELEANORE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Xin Wen (Palo Alto, CA, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A draining tray having a front side, comprising a) a sloped trough to allow a fluid to flow along the trough and to be discharged off the front side of the draining tray at an exit end of the trough; and b) one or more sloped surfaces wherein the slopes allow the fluid on the sloped surfaces to run off into the trough.

2. The draining tray of claim 1, wherein the exit end of the trough clears the height of the rim of a sink so that the fluid can be discharged from the exit end of the trough into the sink.

3. The draining tray of claim 1, further comprising a lip at the exit end of the trough to allow fluid to be discharged off the front side of the draining tray.

4. The draining tray of claim 3 wherein the lip at exit end of the trough clears the height of the rim of a sink so that the fluid can be discharged from the exit end of the trough into the sink.

5. The draining tray of claim 1, further comprising one or more supporting walls along the peripheral edges of the draining tray.

6. The draining tray of claim 5, wherein the lower edges of the one or more supporting walls define a base plane to allow the draining tray to stand on a flat horizontal surface.

7. The draining tray of claim 1, further comprising one or more vertical ribs in connection with the under side of the draining tray, wherein the low edges of the vertical ribs define a base plane to allow the draining tray to stand on a flat horizontal surface.

8. The draining tray of claim 1, further comprising one or more foot members in connection with the underside of the draining tray.

9. The draining tray of claim 1, wherein the trough is distributed along the central axis of the draining tray and the two sloped surfaces are located on each side of the trough.

10. The draining tray of claim 1, wherein the draining tray comprises polymeric materials.

11. The draining tray of claim 1 wherein the process of making the draining tray includes injection molding, vacuum molding, or pressure molding.

12. The draining tray of claim 1, wherein the draining tray comprises four sides and four corners, including the front side adapted to be placed by a kitchen sink.

13. A draining tray having a front side, comprising a) a sloped trough distributed along a central axis of the draining tray; the trough being so sloped to allow a fluid to flow along the trough toward an exit end of the trough at the front side of the draining tray; b) a lip at the exit end of the trough to allow fluid to be discharged off the front side of the draining tray at the exit end of the trough; and c) two sloped surfaces parallel to the central axis and on the two sides of the sloped trough, wherein the two sloped surfaces are so sloped to allow the fluid on the sloped surfaces to run off into the sloped trough.

14. The draining tray of claim 13 wherein the lip at the exit end of the trough clears the height of the rim of a sink so that the fluid can discharge from the exit end of the trough into the sink.

15. The draining tray of claim 13, further comprising one or more supporting walls along the peripheral edges of the draining tray, wherein the lower edges of the one or more supporting walls define a base plane to allow the draining tray to stand on a flat surface.

16. The draining tray of claim 13, further comprising one or more vertical ribs in connection with the underside of the draining tray, wherein the low edges of the vertical ribs define a base plane to allow the draining tray to stand on a horizontal flat surface.

17. The draining tray of claim 13, wherein the process of making the draining tray includes injection molding, vacuum molding, or pressure molding.

18. A dish rack and draining system, comprising a) a dish rack that supports one or more of dishes, utensils, and cookware, supported by one or more foot members; and b) a draining tray, comprising i) a front side; ii) a sloped trough to allow a fluid to flow along the trough and to be discharged off the front side at the exit end of the trough; and iii) one or more surfaces so sloped to allow the fluid on the sloped surfaces to run off into the trough, wherein the sloped surfaces are adapted to receive the foot members of the dish rack.

19. The dish rack and draining system of claim 18, wherein the foot members of the dish rack received by the sloped surfaces are distributed on a horizontal plane.

20. The dish rack and draining system of claim 18, wherein the fluid carried on the dishes, utensils, and cookware in the dish rack drips onto the sloped surfaces and the sloped trough of the draining tray when the foot members of the dish rack are placed on the sloped surfaces.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0001] This application relates to a dish rack draining tray for a dish rack that is used for drying dishes on a kitchen counter top.

BACKGROUND

[0002] Dish racks and draining trays are commonly used in kitchens for drying dishes, utensils, and cookware after they are washed. A dish rack typically includes a wire or plastic frame and several foot members. A draining tray (or pan) is placed under the dish rack to collect water dripping off of the wet dishes, utensils, or cookware in the dish rack. The dish rack and the draining tray are often placed on a kitchen counter top next to a kitchen sink such that the water collected in the draining tray can discharge into the sink.

[0003] Most draining trays or draining mats on the market collect the water from the dish rack on a basically horizontal surface, which does not allow the collected water to effectively flow into the kitchen sink. Instead, the dish water remains in the draining tray for a period of time, which promotes the growth of mold and mildew in the tray.

[0004] Design Pat. D288,375, D288,374, and D273,904 attempt to address the problem of dish-water accumulation under a dish rack by providing a significantly angled surface to divert water away from the dish rack and into the kitchen sink. However, this same angled surface must also support the dish rack. As a result, the dish rack tends to be unstable on this angled surface, especially when the dish rack is loaded with large or heavy dishes.

[0005] Design U.S. Pat. D446,370 and utility U.S. Pat. No. 4,531,641 offer improved solutions over the aforementioned design patents by providing an angled draining surface to divert dish water into the kitchen sink and supporting the dish rack on a horizontal plane in order to improve stability. Design U.S. Pat. D446,370, however, includes many internal corners and edges, which can collect debris and make it hard to clean. This design also only provides two vertical ribs to support a dish rack, which cannot support folding dish rack designs. Utility U.S. Pat. No. 4,531,641 describes a dish rack and a drain board that are custom designed to fit only with each other. Their design involves multiple parts, including various folding legs, hinges, and/or straps, which makes them difficult to clean. Furthermore, the complex construction of the dish rack and drain board increases manufacturing costs.

[0006] Therefore, there is a long-felt need for a dish rack draining tray that can effectively drain water to a kitchen sink and can stably support a dish rack. The same draining tray should also be easy to clean and easy to manufacture.

SUMMARY

[0007] Implementations of the system may include one or more of the following. The invention system generally includes a draining tray with a front side, comprising

[0008] a) a sloped trough to allow a fluid to flow along the trough and to discharge off the front side of the draining tray at an exit end of the trough; and

[0009] b) one or more sloped surfaces wherein the slopes allow the fluid on the sloped surfaces to run off into the trough.

[0010] In one aspect, the present invention relates to a draining tray having a front side, comprising

[0011] a) a sloped trough distributed along a central axis of the draining tray; the trough being so sloped to allow a fluid to flow along the trough toward an exit end of the trough at the front side of the draining tray;

[0012] b) a lip at the exit end of the trough to allow fluid to be discharged off the front side of the draining tray at the exit end of the trough; and

[0013] c) two sloped surfaces parallel to the central axis and on the two sides of the sloped trough, wherein the two sloped surfaces are so sloped to allow the fluid on the sloped surfaces to run off into the sloped trough.

[0014] These two sloped surfaces are adapted to receive the foot members of a dish rack.

[0015] In another aspect, the present invention relates to a dish rack and draining system, comprising

[0016] a) a dish rack that supports one or more of dishes, utensils, and cookware, comprising one or more foot members, and

[0017] b) a draining tray, comprising

[0018] i) a front side;

[0019] ii) a sloped trough to allow a fluid to flow along the trough and to be discharged off the front side at the exit end of the trough; and

[0020] iii) one or more surfaces so sloped to allow the fluid on the sloped surfaces to run off into the trough, wherein the sloped surfaces are adapted to receive the foot members of the rack.

[0021] An advantage of the present invention is that it provides a draining tray that effectively diverts dish water collected from the dish rack into a kitchen sink. The invention dish rack draining tray is free of the problem of water accumulation observed in the prior art draining trays.

[0022] Another advantage of the present invention is that it provides a horizontal plane in the dish rack draining tray to support the dish rack so that the dish rack is stable even when it is loaded with heavy dishes. The draining tray in the present invention is compatible with known dish rack designs, including basket dish racks, folding dish racks, as well as dish racks of various sizes.

[0023] Yet another advantage of the present invention is that it is very easy to clean. The corners, edges or crevices in the invention design are easily accessed and cleaned by the user.

[0024] Still another advantage of the present invention is that the design is very simple. The invention dish rack draining tray is based on a one-piece design, which eliminates the need for any assembly in manufacturing and promotes reliable performance for the user. The simple design also makes it inexpensive to manufacture the invention dish rack draining tray.

[0025] The details of one or more embodiments are set forth in the accompanying drawings and in the description below. Other features, objects, and advantages of the invention will become apparent from the description and drawings, and from the claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0026] The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated in and form a part of this specification, illustrate embodiments of the invention and, together with the description, serve to explain the principles of the invention:

[0027] FIG. 1 is the perspective view of the dish rack draining tray supporting a basket-design dish rack in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

[0028] FIG. 2 is the top view of the dish rack draining tray and the dish rack of FIG. 1.

[0029] FIG. 3 is the side view of the dish rack draining tray and the dish rack of FIG. 1.

[0030] FIG. 4 is the front view of the dish rack draining tray and the dish rack of FIG. 1.

[0031] FIG. 5 is the perspective view of the dish rack draining tray supporting a folding-design dish rack.

[0032] FIG. 6 is the perspective view of the dish rack draining tray supporting a basket-design dish rack in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention.

[0033] FIG. 7 is the top view of the dish rack draining tray and the dish rack of FIG. 6.

[0034] FIG. 8 is the side view of the dish rack draining tray and the dish rack of FIG. 6.

[0035] FIG. 9 is the front view of the dish rack draining tray and the dish rack of FIG. 6.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0036] Reference will now be made in detail to the preferred embodiments of the invention, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings. While the invention will be described in conjunction with the preferred embodiments, it will be understood that they are not intended to limit the invention to these embodiments. On the contrary, the invention is intended to cover alternatives, modifications and equivalents, which may be included within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims. Furthermore, in the following detailed description of the present invention, numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of the present invention. However, it will be obvious to one of ordinary skill in the art that the present invention may be practiced without these specific details. In other instances, well known methods, procedures, components, and designs have not been described in detail so as not to unnecessarily obscure aspects of the present invention.

[0037] FIG. 1 is the perspective view of the dish rack draining tray 100 and a dish rack 110 in accordance to one embodiment of the present invention. FIGS. 2-4 are the top view, the side view and the front view of the dish rack draining tray 100 and a dish rack 110 in FIG. 1. The dish rack 110 illustrated in FIG. 1 is a wire-framed basket including foot members 111-114 underneath the basket. Other dish rack designs are also compatible with the present invention. The draining tray in the present invention is compatible with other known dish rack designs, such as basket dish racks, folding dish racks, as well as dish racks of various sizes or of different materials. For example, the dish rack 110 can also be a folding dish rack as exemplified in the U.S. Pat. No. 4,221,299. The dish rack draining tray 100 includes a front side 115, supporting side walls 160, 161, 162 around the rim or peripheral edges of the dish draining tray 100, and four rounded corners 170-173. The dish rack draining tray 100 can be placed on a kitchen-counter top with a kitchen sink. The front side 115 of the dish rack draining tray 100 is adapted to face the rim of the kitchen sink.

[0038] The lower edges of the supporting walls 160-162 can define a base plane to allow the dish rack draining tray 100 to stand on a flat horizontal surface such as a kitchen countertop. The dish rack draining tray 100 can also include optional foot members spaced apart on the underside of the draining tray 100 to provide proper elevation. The height of the foot members can optionally be adjusted for height or tilt directions.

[0039] In accordance with the present invention, the draining tray 100 includes a sloped trough 120 that is sloped down toward the front side 15 of the dish rack draining tray 100. In one preferred design of the present invention, the trough 120 is substantially aligned along the central axis of the dish rack draining tray 100. The trough 120 can include multiple angular faces and a flat bottom surface, as shown in FIG. 1. The bottom of the trough 120 can also have other forms, such as a V-shape or U-shape. A lip 150 can be formed at the exit end of the trough 120 on the front side 115 of the dish rack draining tray 100. In one embodiment of the present invention, the lip 150 protrudes outward relative to the supporting side walls 161, 162 on the front side 115 so that it can reach into the kitchen sink. The height of the lip 150 is elevated so that it clears the height of the rim of the kitchen sink that is sometimes above the surface of the kitchen counter.

[0040] In accordance with the present invention, the draining tray 100 further includes one or more sloped surfaces 130, 140 that are inclined down toward the trough 120. As shown in FIG. 1, the sloped surfaces 130, 140 are located on the two sides of the trough 120 and are substantially symmetric along the central axis of the dish rack draining tray 100. The dish rack 110 is placed on the dish rack draining tray with the foot members 111-114 standing on the sloped surfaces 130, 140.

[0041] In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the sloped surfaces 130, 140 are parallel to the central axis of the dish rack draining tray 100. Most common dish racks have four foot members that are distributed at the corners of a rectangle. The sloped surfaces 130, 140 in this configuration allow the foot members 111-114 of the most common dish racks 110 to be positioned on a horizontal plane. As a result, the dish rack 110 can remain stable in a level plane even when it is loaded with heavy dishes.

[0042] The operation of the dish rack draining tray 100 and the dish rack 110 are now described. The dish rack 110 is placed over the sloped surfaces 120, 130 of dish rack draining tray 100 as described above. The dish rack 110 and the dish rack draining tray 100 are placed next to a kitchen sink with the lip 150 over the kitchen sink. Wet dishes, utensils, and cookware are loaded on the dish rack 110 after they are washed over the kitchen sink. Water from the wet dishes, utensils, and cookware drips onto the sloped surfaces 130, 140 and the sloped trough 120 of the draining tray. The incline in the sloped surfaces 130, 140 allow water to run off into the trough 120. The water collected in the trough 120 flows along the trough 120 to the exit end, and is then discharged off at the lip 150 into the kitchen sink (over the rim of the sink).

[0043] An advantage of the present invention is that the dish rack draining tray 100 provides well-defined sloped surfaces in any surface areas that may receive water dripping from the wet dishes, utensils and cookware on the dish rack 110. The water collected by the dish rack draining tray 100 is effectively diverted along well-defined downward paths into a kitchen sink. Water does not accumulate in the dish rack draining tray 100. Therefore the invention dish rack draining tray does not have the problems of water accumulating on its top surfaces or mold and mildew growing as a result of accumulated water, which is commonly seen in the prior art dish rack draining trays.

[0044] Another advantage of the present invention is that the dish rack draining tray 100 is very easy to clean. The surfaces of the dish rack draining tray 100 are smooth. The corners, edges or crevices in the invention design are easily accessible and cleaned by a user. In addition, the vertical ribs 174-178 connected to the underside of the draining tray provide extra strength in supporting the weight of the dishes, utensils, and cookware loaded on the dish rack 10. The vertical ribs 174-178 prevent the sloped surfaces 130, 140 and the sloped trough 120 from sagging under the weight of the dishes. They ensure that the dish rack draining tray 100 will maintain its shape over an extended period of usage.

[0045] The dish rack draining tray 100 can be made of polymeric materials such as polypropylene, ABS, and high-strength types of plastic materials. The dish rack draining tray 100 can be fabricated using injection molding, vacuum molding, or pressure molding technologies. An advantage of the present invention is that the dish rack draining tray 100 is based on a very simple one-piece design. The design eliminates the need for any assembly steps in manufacturing, and provides reliable performance for the user. The simple design also makes it inexpensive to manufacture the dish rack draining tray 100.

[0046] FIG. 5 is the perspective view of the dish rack draining tray as disclosed in the embodiment above in relation to FIG. 1, supporting a folding-design dish rack.

[0047] FIG. 6 is the perspective view of a dish rack draining tray 600 and a dish rack 610 in accordance to another embodiment of the present invention. FIGS. 7-9 are respectively the top view, the side view and the front view of the dish rack draining tray 600 and a dish rack 610 in FIG. 6. The top surfaces of the dish rack draining tray 600 are similar to those described in relation to FIG. 1. The dish rack draining tray 600 includes a sloped trough 620 having its exit end of the trough 620 on the front side 615 of the dish rack draining tray 600. A lip 650 can be formed at the exit end of the trough 620. The lip 650 can be protruded and elevated at such a height that the lip reaches over the rim of the kitchen sink and into the kitchen sink. The dish rack draining tray can also optionally include edges 651-653 around its rim.

[0048] The dish rack draining tray 600 also includes sloped surfaces 630, 640 that are inclined toward the trough 620. Preferably, the sloped surfaces 630, 640 are parallel to the central axis of the dish rack draining tray 600 such that the foot members 611-614 of the dish rack 610 can be positioned on a horizontal plane when they are placed on the sloped surfaces 630, 640. The dish rack 610 can therefore remain stable even when it is loaded with heavy dishes.

[0049] Similar to the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1, the dish water dripping from the wet dishes, utensils, and cookware is collected by the sloped surfaces 630, 640 and the sloped trough 620. The collected water flows downward from the sloped surfaces 630, 640 into the sloped trough 620, flows along the sloped trough 620 to the lip 650, and finally discharges into the kitchen sink.

[0050] The dish rack draining tray 600 is supported by a plurality of vertical ribs 661-665 in connection with the underside of the dish rack draining tray 600. The low edges 671-675 of the vertical ribs 661-665 can define a flat base plane that allows the dish rack draining tray 600 to stand on a flat surface such as a counter top in a kitchen.

[0051] The invention dish rack draining tray 600 shown in FIG. 6 possesses the same advantages as those of the embodiment of the present invention shown in FIG. 1 such as the elimination of water accumulation, the simplicity of a one-piece design, and easy cleaning. In addition, the vertical ribs 661-665 provide extra strength in supporting the weight of the dishes, utensils, and cookware loaded on the dish rack 610. The vertical ribs 661-665 prevent the sloped surfaces 630, 640 and the slope trough 620 from sagging under the weight of the dishes, They ensure that the dish rack draining tray 600 will maintain its shape over an extended period of usage.

[0052] Although specific embodiments of the present invention have been illustrated in the accompanying drawings and described in the foregoing detailed description, it will be understood that the invention is not limited to the particular embodiments described herein, but is capable of numerous rearrangements, modifications, and substitutions without departing from the scope of the invention. The following claims are intended to encompass all such modifications.