Title:
Anchoring device for securing a cover to the ground
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An anchoring device configured to secure a cover to the ground is comprised of a body in the form of a living creature. Integral with the body are a first feature forming a first half of an anchoring clamp and a second feature forming a stake. A non-integral third feature forms a second half of the anchoring clamp. Each of the first, second, and third features are configured of natural parts or appendages of the living creature, such as the creature's mouth, arms, legs or tail. A biasing mechanism exerts a force that biases the first and third features together to provide a clamping force. Protrusions and/or a hook-and-loop material in the first and third features further facilitate securing the cover. A cavity in the creature's body accepts material that adds weight to the body. The stake may also have a hook feature that facilitates securing the stake to the ground.



Inventors:
Wicker, Justin Lee (West Hollywood, CA, US)
Application Number:
10/661092
Publication Date:
03/17/2005
Filing Date:
09/12/2003
Assignee:
Blanket Buddies, LLC.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04H15/62; (IPC1-7): E04C5/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
CHAPMAN, JEANETTE E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CHRISTENSEN O'CONNOR JOHNSON KINDNESS PLLC (Seattle, WA, US)
Claims:
1. An anchoring device for securing a cover to the ground, comprising: a body in the form of a living creature having an upper end portion and a lower end portion in which the upper or lower end portions are integral with the body and located remote from each other at opposite ends of the body, wherein the upper end portion of the body includes an integral first feature forming a first half of an anchoring clamp, and wherein the lower end portion of the body includes an integral second feature forming a stake, the stake being positioned at the end of the lower end portion of the body and configured to secure the body to the ground when the stake is inserted into the ground, the anchoring device further comprising a third feature forming a second half of the anchoring clamp, in which the third feature is not integral with the body but engages the body at a position opposite the first half of the anchoring clamp, the first and second halves of the anchoring clamp cooperating to secure a cover to the body, and wherein the first and third features forming the anchoring clamp and the second feature forming the stake are configured of natural parts or appendages of the living creature.

2. The anchoring device of claim 1, wherein the natural part or appendage of the living creature forming the anchoring clamp is comprised of the creature's mouth, in which the first and third features, respectively, comprise an upper portion and a lower portion of the creature's mouth.

3. The anchoring device of claim 1, wherein the natural part or appendage of the living creature forming the anchoring clamp is comprised of arms or legs of the creature that occur in the upper end portion of the body.

4. The anchoring device of claim 3, wherein the first feature is comprised of a first arm or leg and the third feature is comprised of a second arm or leg, the anchoring device further comprising a biasing mechanism that exerts a force which biases the first arm or leg and the second arm or leg together to provide a clamping force for the anchoring clamp.

5. The anchoring device of claim 1, wherein the first feature is comprised of a portion of the body and the third feature is comprised of an arm or leg of the creature, the anchoring device further comprising a biasing mechanism that exerts a force which biases the arm or leg toward the body to provide the clamping force of the anchoring clamp.

6. The anchoring device of claim 1, wherein the natural part or appendage of the living creature forming the stake is comprised of a tail that occurs in the lower end portion of the body.

7. The anchoring device of claim 1, wherein the natural part or appendage of the living creature forming the stake is comprised of one or more legs that occur in the lower end portion of the body.

8. The anchoring device of claim 1, wherein the second half of the anchoring clamp is hingedly attached to the body opposite the first half of the anchoring clamp.

9. The anchoring device of claim 8, wherein the pivot point of the hinge is positioned within the upper end portion of the body remote from the second feature forming the stake.

10. The anchoring device of claim 1, wherein the first half of the anchoring clamp further includes protrusions that mate with protrusions on the second half of the anchoring clamp.

11. The anchoring device of claim 10 wherein the protrusions on the first and second halves of the anchoring clamp are teeth that occur in the mouth of the creature.

12. The anchoring device of claim 10, wherein the protrusions on the first and second halves of the anchoring claim are fingers or toes that occur on arms or legs of the creature.

13. The anchoring device of claim 1, wherein the body of the living creature is formed with a cavity to accept material that adds weight to the body to further facilitate securing the body to the ground.

14. The anchoring device of claim 1, wherein the non-integral third feature is configured in two or more parts that each engage the body at a position opposite the first half of the anchoring clamp and cooperate with the first half of the anchoring clamp to secure a cover to the body.

15. The anchoring device of claim 14, wherein each part of the third feature is comprised of an arm or leg of the creature.

16. The anchoring device of claim 14, further comprising two or more biasing mechanisms, in which a biasing mechanism is associated with each part of the third feature to exert a force that biases the part of the third feature toward the first feature and provide a clamping force for the anchoring clamp.

17. The anchoring device of claim 1, further comprising a hook-and-loop material disposed on the first and third features to facilitate securing the cover to the body.

18. The anchoring device of claim 1, wherein the second feature forming a stake further comprises a hook feature configured to facilitate securing the stake to the ground when the stake is inserted into the ground.

19. The anchoring device of claim 1, wherein the second feature forming a stake is configured in two or more parts positioned at the end of the lower end portion of the body, in which each of the two or more parts forms separate stakes that are configured to secure the body to the ground when the stakes are inserted into the ground.

20. The anchoring device of claim 19, wherein each part of the second feature forming a stake is comprised of a leg of the creature.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to anchoring devices, and more particularly to an anchoring device for securing a cover to the ground.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Beach towels, blankets, tarpaulins, and other types of covers are typically used in outdoor environments to provide soft and clean surfaces on which people can sit or lie down. In such environments, these covers are subject to displacement as a result of people moving about on the covers, or wind blowing on the covers. Blanket anchors that are presently known are typically utilitarian in appearance and configuration. Moreover, the stake and/clip or fastening portions are typically constructed in multiple pieces and then assembled. None of these anchoring devices provide advantages as found in the present invention, including an aesthetically pleasing design in which the anchoring device is configured in the form of a living creature with a stake portion and at least part of a clip or fastening portion of the device being integrally constructed with the body of the device and further configured to appear as natural parts or appendages of the living creature.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is an anchoring device configured to secure a cover to the ground. The anchoring device is comprised of a body in the form of a living creature. The body has an upper end portion and a lower end portion. The upper and lower end portions are integral with the body. Moreover, the upper and lower end portions are located remote from each other at opposite ends of the body.

The upper end portion of the body includes an integral first feature that forms a first half of an anchoring clamp. The lower end portion of the body includes an integral second feature that forms a stake. The stake is positioned at the end of the lower end portion of the body and is configured to secure the body to the ground when the stake is inserted in the ground.

The anchoring device is further comprised of a third feature that forms a second half of the anchoring clamp. The third feature is not integral with the body but engages the body at a position opposite the first half of the anchoring clamp. The first and second halves of the anchoring clamp (provided by the first and third features of the body) cooperate to secure a cover to the body. The first and third features forming the anchoring clamp and the second feature forming the stake are configured of natural parts or appendages of the living creature.

In one embodiment, the natural part or appendage of the living creature that forms the anchoring clamp may be comprised of the creature's mouth, in which the first and third features, respectively, comprise an upper and lower portion of the mouth. In another embodiment, the natural part or appendage of the living creature forming the anchoring clamp may be comprised of arms or legs of the creature that occur in the upper end portion of the body. For example, the first and third features may be comprised of arms or legs of the creature.

A biasing mechanism in the anchoring device may be used to exert a force that biases the first and third features together to provide a clamping force for the anchoring clamp. For example, where the first and third features are comprised of arms or legs of the creature, the biasing mechanism may exert a force which biases one arm or leg toward the other arm or leg. Alternatively, an arm or leg of the creature may be biased toward a portion of the creature's body.

The natural part or appendage of the living creature forming the stake may be comprised of a tail that occurs in the lower end portion of the creature's body. Alternatively, the stake may be comprised of one or more legs that occur in the lower end portion of the body.

The third feature of the device that forms the second half of the anchoring clamp may engage the body by way of a hinge. In this manner, the second half of the anchoring clamp is hingedly attached to the body opposite the first half of the anchoring clamp. The pivot point of the hinge is preferably positioned within the upper end portion of the body remote from the second feature that forms the stake.

The first and third features of the device that form the anchoring clamp may further include protrusions that facilitate securing the cover to the body of the anchoring device. Preferably, the protrusions are configured to mate with one another. In one embodiment of the invention, protrusions on the first and second halves of the anchoring clamp are teeth that occur in the mouth of the creature. In another embodiment, the protrusions are fingers or toes that occur on arms or legs of the creature. A hook-and-loop material may further be disposed on the first and third features of the device to facilitate securing the cover to the body.

In addition, the third feature of the body that forms the second half of the anchoring clamp and/or the second feature that forms the stake may be configured in two or more parts. For example, the stake may be comprised of two or more legs that occur in the lower end portion of the body, with each leg configured as a stake. An anchoring device having a third feature (i.e., half of the anchoring clamp) configured in two or more parts may be in the form of creature in which two or more arms or legs hingedly engage the body of the device at a position opposite the first half of the anchoring clamp. In addition, two or more biasing mechanisms may be used in which each biasing mechanism is associated with an arm or leg to exert a force that biases the arms or legs toward the first half of the anchoring clamp.

Furthermore, the body of the living creature forming the anchoring device may be formed with a cavity that accepts material and adds weight to the body to further facilitate securing the body to the ground. A hook feature may also be added to the stake to facilitate securing the stake to the ground when the stake is inserted in the ground.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The foregoing aspects and many of the attendant advantages of this invention will become more readily appreciated as the same become better understood by reference to the following detailed description, when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a pictorial diagram of one embodiment of an anchoring device constructed in accordance with the present invention in which the body of the anchoring device is in the form of a living creature, in this instance, a dolphin, in which the dolphin's mouth forms an anchoring clamp and the dolphin's tail forms a stake;

FIG. 2 is a side elevation view of the anchoring device shown in FIG. 1, in which the lower jaw of the dolphin's mouth forming a lower half of the anchoring clamp is shown removed;

FIG. 3 is a front elevation view of the anchoring device shown in FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a rear elevation view of the anchoring device shown in FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 is a top plan view of the anchoring device shown in FIG. 2;

FIG. 6 is a bottom plan view of the anchoring device shown in FIG. 2;

FIG. 7 is a side elevation view of the lower jaw portion of the dolphin's mouth that forms the lower half of the anchoring clamp;

FIG. 8 is a front elevation view of the lower jaw portion shown in FIG. 7;

FIG. 9 is a rear elevation view of the lower jaw portion shown in FIG. 7;

FIG. 10 is a depiction of a pin that may be used to secure the lower jaw portion of the dolphin's mouth shown in FIG. 7 to the anchoring device shown in FIG. 2;

FIGS. 11A and 11B are front and side elevation views, respectively, of a spring mechanism that may be used in the anchoring device of FIG. 1 to provide a force that biases the anchoring clamp together;

FIG. 12 is a pictorial diagram of another embodiment of an anchoring device constructed in accordance with the present invention in which the body of the anchoring device is in the form of a living creature, in this instance, a shark, with a body and lower jaw portion that provide an anchoring clamp similar to the body and lower jaw portions of the dolphin embodiment shown in FIGS. 2 and 7;

FIG. 13 is a front view of the anchoring device shown in FIG. 12; and

FIG. 14 is a pictorial diagram of yet another embodiment of an anchoring device constructed in accordance with the present invention in which the body of the anchoring device is in the form of a living creature, in this instance, a mermaid, in which the mermaid's arms form an anchoring clamp and the mermaid's tail forms a stake.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The present invention is directed to an anchoring device for securing blankets, towels, tarpaulins, and other types of covers to the ground. Exemplary embodiments of the invention described herein are particularly suited for anchoring a beach blanket to a sandy beach. However, these and other embodiments of the invention may also be used for securing covers to soil, e.g., when picnicking or sun tanning in the park.

Anchoring devices formed in accordance with the present invention have a body in the form of a living creature and a stake and anchoring clamp that are configured in the form of natural parts or appendages of the living creature. FIG. 1 illustrates one embodiment of the invention in which an anchoring device 10 has a body 12 in the form of a dolphin. The body 12 has an upper end portion 14 forming the head of the dolphin and a lower end portion 16 forming the rear of the dolphin. The upper end portion 14 and lower end portion 16 of the dolphin's body 12 are located remote from each other at opposite ends of the body 12.

The upper end portion 14 of the dolphin's body 12 includes an integral first feature 18 that forms a first half of an anchoring clamp. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, the first feature 18 is the upper half of the dolphin's mouth, and as shown, is formed integrally with the dolphin's body 12.

The lower end portion 16 of the body 12 includes an integral second feature 20 forming a stake. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, the second feature 20 is the tail of the dolphin, and as shown, is formed integrally with the dolphin's body 12. The stake 20 is preferably positioned at the end of the lower end portion 16 and formed at an angle with respect to the body 12 so that the stake 20 is directed for insertion in the ground while the body 12 preferably rests on top of the ground. The stake 20 is configured to secure the dolphin's body 12 to the ground when the stake is inserted into the ground.

The anchoring device 10 further comprises a third feature 22 that forms a second half of the anchoring clamp of the device. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1, the third feature 22 is a lower jaw portion of the dolphin's mouth. The third portion 22 is not integral with the dolphin's body 12 but engages the body 12 at a position opposite the first feature 18 that forms the first half of the anchoring clamp. In this manner, the first feature 18 and the third feature 22 form first and second halves of the anchoring clamp, which in this embodiment is the dolphin's mouth, and cooperate with each other to secure a cover to the dolphin's body 12.

In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the third feature 22 (e.g., the lower jaw portion of the dolphin's mouth) is hingedly attached to the body 12 opposite the first feature 18. The pivot point of the hinge 24 is preferably positioned within the upper end portion 14 of the body 12 remote from the second feature 20 that forms the stake.

As illustrated in FIG. 1, the lower jaw portion 22 of the dolphin rotates about the pivot point of the hinge 24 in a direction indicated by arrow 26. The lower jaw portion rotates from a normally closed position 28 to an open position 29, and vice versa. As further described below in reference to FIGS. 11A and 11B, the anchoring device 10 includes a biasing mechanism that exerts a force which biases the lower jaw portion 22 back toward the closed position 28 to provide the clamping force of the anchoring clamp.

Optionally, the stake 20 may include one or more serrations, protrusions, or equivalent hook features 30 that facilitate securing the dolphin's body 12 to the ground when the stake 20 is inserted in the ground. The anchoring device 10 may include additional features, such as fins 32 for the dolphin configuration, that may be designed to facilitate handling of the anchoring device 10.

FIGS. 2-6 illustrate various views of the integral body, clamp, and stake portions of the anchoring device 10 shown in FIG. 1. The non-integral third feature 22 of the anchoring device 10 is depicted separately in FIGS. 7-9. In brief, FIG. 2 illustrates a side view of the dolphin's body 12. The body 12 has an integral upper mouth portion 18 forming the first half of the anchoring clamp and an integral tail 20 formed at an angle with respect to the body 12 to provide a stake.

FIG. 3 is a front view of the anchoring device 10 shown in FIG. 2. As illustrated, the anchoring device 10 includes an upper end portion 14 that includes the integral first feature 18, namely the upper portion of the dolphin's mouth. Also shown is the second feature 20 forming the stake. FIG. 4 is a rear view of the anchoring device 10 and depicts, in particular, the lower end portion 16 that includes the stake 20.

FIG. 5 is a top plan view of the anchoring device 10 depicting, in particular, the body 12 and the upper and lower end portions 14, 16 of the body that are located remote from each other at opposite ends of the body. FIG. 6 is a bottom plan view of the anchoring device 10 depicting, in particular, the integral first feature 18 and integral second feature 20.

FIG. 7 is a side view of the non-integral third feature 22 (i.e., the lower jaw portion of the dolphin's mouth) that forms the second half of the anchoring clamp. FIGS. 8 and 9 depict front and rear views, respectively, of the lower jaw portion 22 shown in FIG. 7.

Persons having ordinary skill in the art will recognize numerous ways in which the lower jaw portion 22 may be connected to the body 12. The particular embodiment of the invention shown in FIG. 1 uses a pin 34 as depicted in FIG. 10 to hingedly secure the lower jaw portion 22 to the body 12. The pin 34 extends laterally across the width of the body 12 at the pivot point of the hinge 24. The pin 34 may include end caps 35 as shown in FIG. 10 to secure the pin 34 to the body 12 when the pin 34 is installed. Of course, other mechanisms exist for hingedly securing the lower jaw portion 22 to the body 12 that are not specifically illustrated, but are readily recognized and appreciated by those having ordinary skill in the art of hinge design. For example, the anchoring device 10 may use two separate securing mechanisms on the two sides of the dolphin's mouth, rather than the pin 34 that extends across the lateral width of the dolphin.

The anchoring clamp (i.e., the dolphin's mouth in the embodiment shown in FIG. 1) is provided a clamping force by a biasing mechanism included in the anchoring device 10. In one embodiment, the anchoring device 10 uses a spring-type biasing mechanism 36 as illustrated in FIGS. 11A and 11B.

The spring mechanism 36 may be constructed of a wire of suitable strength that is wound with one or more windings to provide a central body portion having two end portions 37 that project outward from the central body portion. The end portions 37, when pressed toward or away from each other, cause the spring mechanism 36 to exert a corresponding opposite force toward the natural position of the spring mechanism 36. When installed in the anchoring device 10 of FIG. 1, one of the end portions 37 may be connected to the first half of the anchoring clamp, namely the first feature 18, and the other end portion 37 may be connected to the second half of the anchoring clamp, namely the third feature 22. Accordingly, for the dolphin configuration of FIG. 1, when the mouth of the dolphin is moved from a normally closed position 28 to an open position 29, the spring mechanism 36 exerts a force that biases the lower jaw portion 22 toward the closed position 28. The biasing mechanism may be configured differently in other embodiments of the invention. For example, in the mermaid configuration of FIG. 14, discussed below, one of the end portions 37 of the spring mechanism 36 may be connected to an integral arm or body portion of the mermaid, and the other end portion 37 may be connected to the non-integral arm portion (third feature 22b) of the mermaid.

In any event, when the spring mechanism 36 is installed, the pin 34 shown in FIG. 10 may extend through the windings of the spring mechanism 36. Preferably, the biasing force exerted by the spring mechanism 36 is strong enough to adequately secure a cover to the body 12 within the anchoring clamp, but also permit users of the anchoring device 10 to open the anchoring clamp as needed.

FIG. 12 depicts another embodiment of the anchoring device 10. The anchoring device 10a shown in FIG. 12 includes several features that are similar to the anchoring device 10 shown in FIG. 1. The anchoring device 10a includes a body 12a in the form of a living creature, in this instance a shark. The body 12a of the shark has an upper end portion 14a and a lower end portion 16a that are located remote from each other at opposite ends of the shark's body 12a. Integral with the body 12a at the upper end portion 14a is a first feature 18a that forms the first half of an anchoring clamp. As with the dolphin configuration shown in FIG. 1, the shark configuration shown in FIG. 12 uses the upper portion of the shark's mouth as the first feature 18a. The anchoring device 10a further includes a second feature 20a integral with the body 12a to form a stake. In the shark configuration, the integral second feature 20a is the tail of the shark, which is positioned at an angle with respect to the shark's body 12a. The stake 20a may include one or more serrations, protrusions, or equivalent hook features 30a that facilitate securing the shark to the ground when the stake 20a is inserted in the ground.

Separate from the body 12a is a third feature 22a that forms a second half of the anchoring clamp. As with the dolphin configuration of FIG. 1, the third feature 22a in the shark configuration of FIG. 12 is comprised of the lower jaw portion of the shark's mouth. The lower jaw portion 22a may be hingedly connected to the shark's body 12a at a hinge 24a. The hinge 24a may use a pin, such as the pin 34, and a biasing mechanism, such as the spring mechanism 36, shown in FIGS. 10, 11A and 11B, to secure the lower jaw portion 22a to the shark's body 12a and bias the shark's mouth toward a closed position. FIG. 13 provides a front view of the anchoring device 10a in which the lower jaw portion 22a is secured to the body 12a at a position opposite the upper mouth portion 18a of the shark.

To facilitate securing a cover within the anchoring clamp of the anchoring device, embodiments of the present invention may further include protrusions in the first and second halves of the anchoring clamp. The protrusions in the first half of the anchoring clamp preferably mate with protrusions in the second half of the anchoring clamp. For the shark configuration of the anchoring clamp 10a shown in FIG. 12, the teeth of the shark provide such protrusions. The teeth facilitate securing a cover to the anchoring device 10a when the mouth of the shark is closed. Other embodiments of the invention may include a hook-and-loop material (such as that sold under the trademark VELCRO® on the first and third features of the anchoring device that form the anchoring clamp. When a cover is inserted into the anchoring clamp, the hook-and-loop material preferably engages the cover and further secures the cover within the anchoring clamp.

While living creatures, such as a dolphin and a shark have been shown and described above, other forms of living creatures can be used in the invention. The living creatures may be animals or plants. The living creatures may also take on a human form, as illustrated by the mermaid configuration shown in FIG. 14. The anchoring device 10b illustrated in FIG. 14 includes a body 12b in the form of a mermaid having an upper end portion 14b and a lower end portion 16b that are integral with the mermaid's body 12b. The upper end portion 14b and lower end portion 16b are located remote from each other at opposite ends of the body 12b. In the upper end portion 14b, the anchoring device 10b includes a first feature 18b forming a first half of an anchoring clamp. In this instance, the first feature 18b is an arm of the mermaid.

The lower end portion 16b includes an integral second feature 20b, namely the tail of the mermaid, which forms a stake. The stake 20b is preferably positioned at the end of the lower end portion 16b of the anchoring device 10b. When inserted into the ground, the stake 20b secures the mermaid's body 12b to the ground. Optionally, the stake 20b may include one or more serrations, protrusions, or equivalent hook features 30b that facilitate securing the mermaid's body 12b to the ground when the stake 20b is inserted in the ground.

The anchoring device 10b further includes a third feature 22b that forms a second half of the anchoring clamp. In the mermaid configuration of FIG. 14, the third feature 22b is the forearm of the mermaid opposite the arm forming the first feature 18b. The forearm 22b is not integral with the mermaid's body 12b, but engages the body 12b at an elbow opposite the arm 18b. A hinge 24b may be used to connect the forearm 22b to the body 12b. The forearm 22b, as shown, rotates from a closed position 28b to an open position 29b, and vice versa, in the direction of arrow 26b.

The anchoring device 10b further includes a biasing mechanism, such as a spring mechanism 36 shown in FIGS. 11A and 11B, at the pivot point of the hinge 24b to exert a force that biases the forearm 22b toward the closed position 28b.

While the mermaid configuration shown in FIG. 14 illustrates the hinge 24b at an elbow of the mermaid, it should be understood that the hinge may be located at other portions of the mermaids body. For instance, the hinge 24b may be located at a shoulder of the mermaid such that the entire arm of the mermaid rotates between a closed position 28b and open position 29b. In other embodiments, the hinge 24b may be located at a wrist such that the hand of the mermaid rotates between a closed and open position. Similar considerations apply to animal and plant configurations of the invention in which the hinge that connects the third feature to the body of the anchoring device can be positioned at various locations.

It should further be understood that the first feature 18 of the anchoring device that forms the first half of an anchoring clamp can be comprised of a portion of the creature's body that is not necessarily an appendage such as an arm or a leg. For example, as illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2, the first feature 18 may be comprised of an upper portion of the creature's mouth. The first feature may also be simply a portion of the creature's body. In such a configuration, the anchoring device may include a biasing mechanism that exerts a force which biases the third feature of the body toward the body to provide the clamping force of the anchoring clamp.

To further facilitate securing the body of the anchoring device to the ground, the anchoring device may be formed with a cavity that accepts material, such as sand, soil or other items, that add weight to the body. For example, a cavity may be provided in the body of the dolphin configuration shown in FIG. 1 allowing the dolphin to be filled with sand which, when the stake 20 of the dolphin is inserted into the ground, the added weight of the dolphin's body assists in keeping the body secured to the ground.

As noted earlier, embodiments of the invention may include protrusions in the anchoring clamp to facilitate securing a cover to the body of the anchoring device. In the mermaid configuration of the anchoring device 10b shown in FIG. 14, the fingers of the mermaid act as protrusions for this purpose. In other embodiments, protrusions such as claws, toes, twigs, branches may act for this purpose.

While several preferred embodiments of the invention have been illustrated and described, it will be appreciated that various changes can be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention, particularly as to selection of a living creature for configuring an embodiment of the invention. Virtually any kind of land or sea animal or plant can be contemplated for configuring an embodiment of the invention. Without any limitation whatsoever on the scope of the present invention as claimed, configurations that have been contemplated thus far include animals such as an otter, alligator, turtle, flamingo, seahorse, squirrel and frog. For creatures such as these, the creature's tail, fins, legs, or paws that occur in the lower end portion of the creature may be configured as a stake that is used to secure the creature's body to the ground, while arm, legs, fins, paws, horns or the mouth of the creature may form the anchoring clamp that secures the cover to the body of the creature. Trees and flowers have also been contemplated for embodiments of the invention in which limbs, leaves, or petals of the tree or flower are configured as the anchoring clamp while the trunk or stem of the tree or flower are configured to form the stake. Embodiments of the invention may also be configured as butterflies or other insects in which antennae, wings or legs of the insects function as the anchoring clamp or stake of the anchoring device. As noted earlier, human forms, whether mythical or real, can be used in the invention in which the mouth or arms function as the anchoring clamp and the legs function as the stake.

The embodiments of the invention illustrated and described above depict an anchoring device in which the second feature forming a stake is a single part or appendage of the living creature, such as tail or rear fin. In other embodiments of the invention where the third feature (i.e., stake) of the anchoring device is comprised of legs, for example, the stake may be configured in two or more parts that can be inserted into the ground. For example, two stakes comprised of separate rear legs of a living creature may be used.

Similarly, the third feature of the anchoring device (that forms the second half of the anchoring clamp) may be configured in two or more parts that each engage the body at a position opposite the first half of the anchoring clamp. For example, the anchoring device may in the form of a living creature in which the third feature is comprised of arms or legs in the upper end portion of the creature. In reference to a mermaid design of the type shown in FIG. 14, both of the mermaid's arms may comprise the third feature of the mermaid's body, with the first feature (forming the first half of the anchoring clamp) being the mermaid's body or head. Two or more biasing mechanisms may be employed in which each biasing mechanism is associated with one of the parts (e.g., arms) of the third feature to exert a force that biases the part of the third feature toward the first feature (e.g., body) and provide a clamping force for the anchoring clamp. In reference to a mermaid configuration, where each arm of the mermaid comprise the third feature, the arms may have a biasing mechanism that biases the arm toward the body of the mermaid.

Because various changes can be made to embodiments of the invention described herein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention, the scope of the invention should be determined from the following claims and equivalents thereto.





 
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