Title:
DISPOSABLE SEAT COVER
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A disposable cover for seats, which may comprise a bag for enveloping a seat back. The bag may comprise two layers including an outer liquid absorbent material and an inner water impermeable layer. An opening permits air to escape when the cover is being installed over a seat back. The cover may have an element for gathering the same about the seat back. The cover may include leg covers in the form of tabs which project from the cover to extend over the seat where a person's legs would contact the seat.



Inventors:
Chico, Ronald (Monrovia, CA, US)
Application Number:
12/122039
Publication Date:
11/19/2009
Filing Date:
05/16/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47C31/11
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MCPARTLIN, SARAH BURNHAM
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ITALIA IP (BURBANK, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A disposable seat cover for seats having seat backs which are cushioned or upholstered or both, comprising an envelope portion for encircling the seat back, comprising: a front panel for covering the front of the seat back; a rear panel for spanning the rear of the seat back; a proximal end formed at the top of the seat when the envelope portion is installed on a seat back with the front panel covering the front of the seat back and the rear panel spanning the rear of the seat back, the proximal end including a proximal opening of diameter less than that of the envelope portion, for relieving relatively high and low internal air pressures which would otherwise develop when the disposable seat cover is installed over and removed from a seat back; and a distal end formed at the bottom of the seat back when the envelope portion is installed on the seat back with the front panel covering the front of the seat back and the rear panel spanning the rear of the seat back, the distal end including a distal opening of diameter about equal to that of the envelope portion, for passing the seat back through the disposable seat cover for installation, wherein at least the front panel comprises an outer web of liquid retentive, permeable material, and an inner web of liquid impermeable material.

2. The disposable seat cover according to claim 1, further including a gathering element for constricting the overall diameter of the disposable seat cover so that when installed over a seat back, the disposable seat cover conforms closely to the seat back.

3. The disposable seat cover according to claim 2, wherein the gathering element comprises hook and loop fastener.

4. The disposable seat cover according to claim 2, wherein the gathering element comprises a draw string retained on the envelope portion.

5. The disposable seat cover according to claim 2, wherein the gathering element comprises a hook and an eye arranged to receive and retain the hook.

6. The disposable seat cover according to claim 1, wherein the inner web comprises a synthetic polymeric material.

7. The disposable seat cover according to claim 1, wherein the outer web comprises flexible netting material.

8. The disposable seat cover according to claim 1, wherein the outer web comprises a soft fabric material.

9. The disposable seat cover according to claim 1, further including at least one extension tab extending from the envelope portion at the distal end thereof, wherein the extension tab is arranged to underlie the thighs of a person sitting in the seat.

10. The disposable seat cover according to claim 1, wherein the front panel and the rear panel are fabricated from an elongated strip of material having the inner web and outer web, wherein the elongated strip displays generally constant width along its length, and the proximal opening is formed generally in the center of the elongated strip of material, and the distal opening is defined when the elongated strip of material is folded over onto itself at a fold coinciding with location of the proximal opening and the distal end of the front panel is disposed in overlying registry with the distal end of the rear panel with respective lateral edges of the front panel and of the rear panel caused to abut.

11. The disposable seat cover according to claim 1, further comprising indicia disposed on the outer web in a location visible to view when the disposable seat cover is installed over a seat back of a seat.

12. A method of covering a seat having a seat back which is cushioned or upholstered or otherwise covered so as to be permeable to fluids and fine particulate matter, to prevent cross contamination between the seat back and a person sitting in the seat, comprising the steps of: providing a disposable seat cover having an envelope member which is dimensioned and configured to cooperate with the seat back of the seat, which has an opening of width less than the width of the envelope member, and which is made of material comprising a liquid impervious inner layer and a liquid absorbent, permeable outer layer; and placing the disposable seat cover over the seat back such that the opening is located at the top of the seat back, a front panel portion of the envelope covers the front of the seat back, and a rear panel portion of the envelope member spans the rear of the seat back.

13. The method according to claim 12, comprising the further step of discarding the disposable seat cover after each usage by one person.

14. The method according to claim 13, comprising the further step of providing and installing a new disposable seat cover on the seat for a subsequent usage by a person.

Description:

BACKGROUND

This application relates generally to a disposable cover for seats. More particularly, this application is directed to a bag-like member intended for installation over the seat back of a seat, such as an upholstered seat intended for public accommodations.

Many seats and chairs are covered with fabric or other permeable coverings for user comfort. Examples are upholstered chairs and seats and fabric covered chairs and seats. Other coverings such as leather and even plastic materials are also susceptible to contamination by dander, perspiration, spilled beverages and toiletries such as skin lotion, among many others.

In most places which offer public accommodation for seating, such as trains, airplanes, ships, busses, restaurants, meeting and lecture halls, theaters, and waiting rooms, seats are left unprotected. These seats may become fouled over time due to spills and due to long term exposure to bodily fluids and substances. In extreme cases, insect infestations, such as lice, mites, fleas, and others may be transferred to the seats. There exists a need for easily installed, inexpensive protection for seats intended for public use.

SUMMARY

This application discloses a disposable seat cover intended for promoting hygiene in seats intended for public accommodations.

In particular, this application discloses a disposable seat cover which is particularly suitable for preventing cross contamination between an upholstered or cushioned seat and a member of the public using that seat.

Of course, it is not necessary that use of the novel seat cover be reserved for public accommodations. The novel seat cover may be used in the home or in other private facilities to protect chairs and seats, especially those having liquid permeable upholstering, cushioning, or other covering which might be susceptible to permeation from bodily fluids, spilled beverages, and other potential contaminants.

A novel disposable seat cover is disclosed, which seat cover slips over and conforms to the seat back of a seat or chair, and which can be quickly removed therefrom and discarded.

This application also discloses a construction of a disposable seat cover, wherein the seat cover is fabricated from two joined plies, including an outer liquid absorbent layer and an inner liquid impermeable layer. The outer layer retains bodily fluids such as perspiration. The inner layer prevents perspiration, small insects and pests, and some particulate matter, such as dandruff, dust, pollen, dirt, and lint from passing to and potentially contaminating upholstery and cushions. The inner layer also prevents contaminants already present in the upholstery or cushions of the seat from being transferred to a new user.

This application also discloses additional advantageous features of a disposable seat cover, such as an opening to permit air to be rapidly evacuated while installing the seat cover over a seat back, extensions to extend protection to the legs of the user, and an element for gathering the seat cover so as to conform closely to the dimensions of the seat on which it is installed.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The drawings, when considered in connection with the following description, are presented for the purpose of facilitating an understanding of the subject matter sought to be protected.

FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view of a disposable seat cover according to one aspect of the invention.

FIG. 2 is a cross sectional detail view illustrating constituency of a constituent material for making a disposable seat cover.

FIG. 3 is a cross sectional detail view similar to FIG. 2, but showing a different construction.

FIG. 4 is a rear perspective view of a disposable seat cover according to another aspect of the invention.

FIG. 5 is a rear perspective view of a disposable seat cover according to a third aspect of the invention.

FIG. 6 is a rear perspective view of a disposable seat cover according to a fourth aspect of the invention.

FIG. 7 is a rear perspective view of a disposable seat cover according to a fifth aspect of the invention.

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of one construction of tubular stock material for making a disposable seat cover.

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a pattern of single thickness stock material for making a disposable seat cover.

FIG. 10 is a block diagram illustrating summarized steps of a method of practicing the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring first to FIG. 1, there is shown a disposable seat cover 10 according to one aspect of the invention. The seat cover 10 is intended for covering a cushioned, upholstered, or otherwise covered seat back 2 of a seat or chair 4, which seat back 2 is permeable to fluids and fine particulate matter. The chair 4 comprises a seat bottom 6 which is similarly cushioned, upholstered, or otherwise covered, and thereby susceptible to the same type of contamination which could occur with the seat back 2. The seat cover 10 may comprise an envelope portion 12 for encircling the seat back 2, the envelope portion 12 comprising a front panel 14 for covering the front of the seat back 2 and a rear panel 16 for spanning the rear of the seat back 2. The envelope portion 12 has a proximal end 18 which is formed at the top of the seat 4 or seat back 2 when the envelope portion 12 is placed over the seat back 2 as it would be installed to cover the seat back 2. In this installed condition, the front panel 14 covers the front of the seat back 2 and the rear panel 16 spans the rear of the seat back 2 so as to support the front panel 14 in its operative condition covering the front of the seat back 2.

The proximal end 18 of the envelope portion 12 may have a proximal opening 20, for relieving relatively high and low internal air pressures which would otherwise develop within the envelope portion 12 when the latter is drawn over the seat back 2 and removed therefrom. The lower or distal end 22 of the envelope portion 12 has a distal opening 24 to pass the seat back 2 as the envelope portion 12 is being installed over the seat back 2. The envelope portion 12 may be of generally constant diameter when installed on the seat back 2, with the diameter thereof great enough to pass the seat back 2 through the distal opening 24 into the envelope portion 12 for installation. Alternatively stated, the distal opening 24 is a diameter about equal to that of the envelope portion 12.

Turning now to FIG. 2, the front panel 14 may comprise an outer web 26 of liquid retentive, permeable material, and an inner web 28 of liquid impermeable material such as polyethylene or polypropylene film. The outer web 26 may comprise for example a soft fabric material, which may be made from natural fibers, synthetic fibers, or a blend of natural and synthetic. Natural fibers may include among others, cotton, linen, and hemp. Synthetic materials may include polyester, polyamide, and nylon. Fibers may be microfibers. As an alternative, and as shown in FIG. 3, the outer web 126 of a front panel 114 may comprise a flexible netting material 126. In other respects, the front panel 114 may be structurally and functionally identical to the front panel 14 of FIG. 1. The inner web 128 of the front panel 114 may comprise for example a synthetic polymeric material 128 such as polyethylene or polypropylene film.

It would be possible to provide the outer web only in limited areas, such as on the front panel, such as the front panel 14, only, and to omit the outer web in other areas.

Again referring to FIG. 1, the seat cover 12 may comprise at least one extension tab (two extension tabs 30 and 32 are shown) which extends from the envelope portion 12 at the distal end 22 thereof. In use, the extension tab or tabs 30, 32 are arranged to underlie the thighs of a person (not shown) sitting in the seat bottom 6. A single extension tab (not shown) spanning both thighs may be substituted for the two extension tabs 30 and 32 if desired.

Turning now to FIG. 4, the disposable seat cover 10 may further comprise a gathering element for constricting the overall diameter of the envelope portion 12 so that when installed on the seat back 2, the envelope portion 12 is gathered about and conforms closely to the seat back 2. The gathering element may comprise a draw string 34 suitably secured to the envelope portion 12 by for example, being contained within a hem 36. The two free ends 38, 40 of the draw string 34 may be drawn apart to constrict the draw string 34 about the envelope portion 12 and then tied together.

In an alternative to the arrangement of FIG. 4, and referring to FIG. 5, there is shown the envelope portion 212 of a disposable seat cover (not shown in its entirety), wherein the gathering element may comprise a hook 34 and an eye 36 disposed to receive and retain the hook 34. The hook 34 may be fixed to the envelope portion 212 by a pad 238, and the eye fixed to the envelope portion 212 by a similar pad 240. The pads 238, 240 may be stitched, adhered, sonically welded, or joined or bonded in any other way to their respective hook 234, eye 236, and envelope portion 212.

In a further alternative shown in FIG. 6, an envelope portion 312 of a disposable seat cover (not shown in its entirety) may have a gathering element in the form of hook and loop fastener patches 334, 336. The patch of hook fastener 334 is located on a strip 338 of flexible material which is fixed to the envelope portion 312 to enable constriction of the envelope portion 312 over a seat back such as the seat back 2 of FIG. 1.

In still another alternative illustrated in FIG. 7, an envelope portion 412 of a disposable seat cover (not shown in its entirety) may have a gathering element in the form of tie strings 434 and 436, which may be joined or bonded to the envelope portion 412 in any way including those described above for the pads 238 and 240.

The envelope portion of a disposable seat cover according an aspect of the invention may be made in any of several ways. For example, the envelope portion, such as the envelope portion 12 of FIG. 1 may be made from a tubular stock material in the way that plastic bags (not shown) are made. That is, a tubular base element is made as a stock material of indefinite length, is cut to a desired length (as for example a tubular base element 500 shown in FIG. 8), and then is bonded along one end such as the end 502 to create a bag with one opening. Obviously, bonding along the end may be interrupted to form an air relieving opening, such as the proximal opening 20 of the disposable seat cover 10 of FIG. 1. As an alternative, the end 502 may be bonded along its entire length, with the air relieving opening cut into the bonded end. Where extension tabs such as the extension tabs 30 and 32 of FIG. 1 are to be present in the final disposable seat cover, such tabs may be die cut, knife cut, or otherwise severed before or after bonding that end bearing the air relieving opening.

In another construction, and referring to FIG. 9, a disposable seat cover such as the seat cover 10 of FIG. 1 may be formed from a single thickness stock material of two ply construction according to the constructions for example of FIGS. 2 and 3. Starting from an elongated strip of two ply material having an inner web and outer web, such as the inner web 28 and the outer web 26 of FIG. 2, a pattern 600 has been pre-cut to have a centrally located proximal opening 620. The pattern 600 may display generally constant width along its length, with the proximal opening 620 formed generally in the center of the pattern 600. The distal opening will be defined when the pattern 600 is folded over onto itself at a fold (indicated as imaginary fold line 623). The direction of fold is indicated as arrows A and B, with a corner 625 meeting a corner 627, and a corner 629 meeting a corner 631 after folding. The distal opening 620 will be defined and will resemble the distal opening 20 of FIG. 1 after folding is complete. It will be seen that the distal opening 620 is, after folding, centered on the fold line 623, and that the distal end 622 of a panel such as the front panel 614 will be disposed in overlying registry with the distal end 626 of the rear panel 616. The lateral edges 637 and 639 of the front panel 612 will abut respective the lateral edges 633 and 635 of the rear panel 616.

Of course, once folded, the pattern 600 will be joined or bonded along the lateral edges 633, 637 and 635, 639 to form a generally tubular member similar to that of the envelope portion 12 of FIG. 1.

The pattern 600 may optionally have extension tabs 630 and 632, which are structural and functional counterparts of the extension tabs 30 and 32 of FIG. 1.

An optional feature that may be provided with any disposable seat cover according to one or more aspects of the invention is that indicia may be provided on the seat cover for advertising and other purposes. This is illustrated representatively in FIG. 1, where a patch 50 represents wording, a logo, or other indicia which may be disposed on the outer web in a location visible to view when the disposable seat cover installed over a seat back such as the seat back 2 of the seat 4.

As summarized in FIG. 10, the invention may be thought of as a method 700 of covering a seat having a seat back, such as the seat back 2 of the seat 4, which is cushioned or upholstered or otherwise covered so as to be permeable to fluids and fine particulate matter, to prevent cross contamination between the seat back and a person sitting in the seat. This method 700 may comprise a step 702 of providing a disposable seat cover, such as the disposable seat cover 10, which comprises an envelope portion and is dimensioned and configured to cooperate with the seat back of the seat, which has an opening of width less than the width of the envelope portion, and which is made of material comprising a liquid impervious inner layer and a liquid absorbent, permeable outer layer.

The method 700 may comprise a step 704 of placing the disposable seat cover over the seat back such that the opening is located at the top of the seat back, a front panel portion of the envelope covers the front of the seat back, and a rear panel portion of the envelope spans the rear of the seat back.

The method 700 may comprise a step 706 of discarding the disposable seat cover after each usage by one person.

The method 700 may comprise a step 708 of providing and installing a new disposable seat cover on the seat for a subsequent usage by a person.

A disposable seat cover according to one or more aspects of the invention, such as the seat cover 10, may be used in the home and for other private purposes, and not just for public accommodations. For example, children sitting in high chairs and at upholstered chairs at a dinner table may have their seats protected by a disposable seat cover. Disposable seat covers according to one or more aspects of the invention may be sold at wholesale or retail in rolls or in small packs of two to ten or more seat covers.

A disposable seat cover according to one or more aspects of the invention, such as the seat cover 10, may assume proportions other than those described herein. For example, a disposable seat cover (not shown) may be made to the dimensions and proportions of a bench seat (not shown) of the type used in many forms of public transportation. Sofas and other furniture may benefit from similarly configured seat covers. In either case, a seat cover may be attached by different types of fasteners, including clips, hook and loop patches and tie strips using hook and loop, wire which may be wound around seat structure, hooks, flexible cords and strips terminating in hooks, readily removable adhesive, friction, and weight of the occupant, among others.

The illustrations shown are for explanation purposes only.

While the present disclosure has been described in connection with what is considered the most practical and preferred embodiment, it is understood that this disclosure is not limited to the disclosed embodiments, but is intended to cover various arrangements included within the spirit and scope of the broadest interpretation so as to encompass all such modifications and equivalent arrangements.