Title:
Toilet protector and protection method
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A protective device is provided in which the protective device comprises a bag configured to fit over a toilet to be protected. An opening in the bag permits placement of the bag over a toilet, and a securing feature can be used to secure the bag to the toilet. In certain embodiments, the securing feature comprises a drawstring. In other embodiments, the bag may comprise printed text, such as a warning not to use the protected fixture. In yet other embodiments, small holes can be provided in the bag for safety purposes. A protected toilet is also provided, in which a toilet is protected by a protective device, as discussed above. A method of protecting a toilet is also provided, in which a bag is placed over a toilet and secured to the toilet.



Inventors:
Mullen, Pat (Encinitas, CA, US)
Crouch, Gary (Carlsbad, CA, US)
Mullen, Dan (El Cajon, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/150589
Publication Date:
01/05/2006
Filing Date:
06/10/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47K17/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NGUYEN, TUAN N
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KNOBBE MARTENS OLSON & BEAR LLP (IRVINE, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A protected toilet comprising a plastic bag having an opening, said bag placed over said toilet with said opening proximate to a base of said toilet.

2. The protected toilet of claim 1, wherein said bag comprises a drawstring configured to hold said bag to said base.

3. The protected toilet of claim 1, wherein said bag comprises gussets to facilitate bag fit over and around said toilet.

4. The protected toilet of claim 1, wherein said bag comprises printed text in a location proximate to the front of the toilet such that said text is easily readable.

5. The protected toilet of claim 4, wherein said printed text comprises a limitation on toilet use.

6. A method of protecting a toilet, comprising: placing an opening of a bag over a toilet, said bag being configured to fit over the toilet; positioning the bag such that the toilet is substantially covered by said bag; and securing the bag to the toilet.

7. The method of claim 6, wherein securing the bag to the toilet comprises using a drawstring to secure said bag to said toilet.

8. The method of claim 6, wherein securing the bag to the toilet comprises using a rubber band to secure said bag to said toilet.

9. The method of claim 6, wherein securing the bag to the toilet comprises using adhesive tape to secure said bag to said toilet.

10. The method of claim 6, wherein securing the bag to the toilet comprises using a cable tie to secure said bag to said toilet.

11. The method of claim 6, wherein positioning said bag such that the toilet is substantially covered by said bag comprises aligning a slit in said bag with a feature.

12. The method of claim 11, wherein said feature comprises a water supply pipe.

13. The method of claim 6, additionally comprising expanding the bag from a compressed state prior to placing the opening of the bag over the toilet.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority under 35 U.S.C. § 119(e) to U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/578,741, filed on Jun. 10, 2004, the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates to protective covers for fixtures.

2. Description of the Related Art

There are many situations where preventing the use of an installed or uninstalled toilet is warranted. In a residential or commercial construction environment, construction debris may be improperly flushed down the toilet, resulting in clogged pipes. During residential construction projects, it is common for homeowners to tour their home while it is under construction. During such a visit, homeowners are often very offended if they see that the toilet has been used by someone else. It is not uncommon for the warranty department of a builder to get a call on Monday morning after a weekend of visitors to the project, asking that all of the toilets in one or more houses be removed and replaced. The builder will commonly respect these wishes and replace them.

Even in non-construction environments, a toilet may be inoperable, a home or business owner may wish to keep a particular toilet reserved for certain people or events, the toilet may be damaged or clogged, or the water supply may not be working properly.

Thus, an inexpensive and attractive method of preventing toilet use would be useful.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In one embodiment, a protected toilet is provided, including a plastic bag having an opening, the bag placed over the toilet with the opening proximate to a base of said toilet.

In another embodiment, a method of protecting a toilet is provided, including placing an opening of a bag over a toilet, the bag being configured to fit over the toilet, positioning the bag such that the toilet is substantially covered by the bag; and securing the bag to the toilet.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1A shows a front view of an embodiment of a bag suitable for fixture protection.

FIG. 1B shows a side view of an embodiment of a bag suitable for fixture protection, shown in an unexpanded state.

FIG. 1C shows an embodiment of a gusset suitable for use on a panel of the

FIG. 2 shows a perspective view of the bag of FIG. 1 in an expanded and open configuration.

FIG. 3 shows a perspective view of the bag of FIG. 1 over a toilet.

FIG. 4 illustrates the opening of a bag comprising a drawstring around the base of the toilet.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The following detailed description is directed to certain specific embodiments of the invention. However, the invention can be embodied in a multitude of different ways. In this description, reference is made to the drawings wherein like parts are designated with like numerals throughout.

FIGS. 1A and 1B illustrate a plastic bag 10 in accordance with one embodiment of the invention. The bag 10 comprises a bottom opening 12, which may advantageously be provided with a drawstring 14 for closure. The use of a drawstring enables the creation of a bag which can be easily secured in place while adding very little additional material, and therefore very little weight.

The bag 10 may be seamless, or may include side and top seams. In certain advantageous embodiments, the bag is provided with pleats or gussets on either or both the top and sides. Such embodiments permit bags 10 to be stored in a compressed, or unexpanded, state, as shown in FIG. 1B. An exemplary gusset 22 is depicted in FIG. 1C. With gusseted top and sides, the bag may open up into an approximate shape. In certain embodiments, the bag may open up into a rectangular shape having a size of about 2′ to 4′ in each dimension. This is illustrated in FIG. 2, which shows the bag of FIG. 1 after being opened and expanded with the gussets 16, 18. In other embodiments, particularly those in which fixtures other than toilets are being protected, the dimensions of the open bag can be modified as appropriate.

The bag 10 could be formed from clear or colored plastic. The bag 10 could be made in a wide variety of thicknesses. In certain embodiments, the bag may have a thickness of less than about 2 mil. In some embodiments, the bag is provided with small holes to limit any possible asphyxiation danger. It will be appreciated that such a bag can be made disposable, easy to manufacture, and inexpensive.

In some embodiments, printing 20 to provide information may be placed on one or more surfaces of the bag 10. The printing could be in multiple languages, such as both English and Spanish. Preferably, the printing is centered in such a way that when the bag is in operation it is clear and easy to read. Appropriate printing/messages/warnings and the like are significant features of some embodiments of the invention. A clear indication of limitations on toilet use on the bag over the toilet can significantly reduce improper toilet use even more so than a bag having no printed messages concerning use limitations.

As illustrated in FIG. 3, the bag 10 may be placed neatly over the toilet 24 by placing the opening 12 over the toilet and pulling the bag 10 over the tank and bowl sections. Some embodiments of the bag 10 may include a slit or other opening on the rear surface so the water supply pipe to the toilet does not interfere with pulling the bag all the way over the toilet and to the floor.

The bag 10 could be cinched using tape, drawstring, rubber bands or cabletie around the bottom of the toilet as shown in FIG. 4. Therefore, the bag 10 is very easy to install and remove, and can be placed over many different sizes and styles of toilet. In one embodiment, the bag can be cinched by a plastic drawstring having a thickness of less than about 2 mil. In embodiments in which a slit or other opening is provided on the rear surface of the bag 10, a drawstring or other appropriate securing method can be tied together to secure the two loose ends of the bag to one another, providing additional protection.

In alternate embodiments, the lower portion of the bag may comprise a weighted trim, so as to help secure the bag in place, or the opening may include no features designed to hold the bag in place. The appropriate design will vary based on the intended use of the bag. For instance, in embodiments in which the bag is to be used both as protection for an underlying fixture and a signal that the underlying fixture is not to be used, such as at a construction site, a drawstring or similar feature will provide additional protection. In embodiments in which the bag is merely used as a signal, such protection may not be necessary, and no securing features at the bag opening will be necessary.

From the above discussion, it will be appreciated that larger sizes of bags constructed in the same or similar fashion could be used to protect other items from being marked by paint or stucco. Other objects such as power distribution transformers, cable TV boxes, telephone splice connections, and similar utility distribution apparatus, all are above ground boxes requiring extra cleaning or repainting after a construction phase is complete in order to maintain the project in as clean and new looking condition as possible. If a protective bag were to be placed over the item at the time of installation, this extra work would not be needed. It will be understood that embodiments of protective covers may include bags of any appropriate dimensions, and that additional features, such as slits or openings as discussed above, may be used to provide the appropriate level of protection