BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
FIELD OF THE DISCLOSURE
This application claims priority under 35 U.S.C. §119(e) of U.S. provisional application Ser. No. 61/138,163 filed Dec. 17, 2008, the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference.
- DESCRIPTION OF THE PRIOR ART
The present disclosure pertains to a bag or container used to store an asset in a water-resistant configuration. The asset may include an automobile or similarly sized article, but may also include smaller items such as firearms or documents.
- OBJECTS AND SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE
In the prior art, it is known to use water-resistant bags, packages or containers for protection of smaller items, such as hand-held items, mementos, archival items, documents or firearms. However, further improvements are sought with respect to such bags, packages or containers. Moreover, such prior art bags, packages or containers have been found to be deficient with respect to larger items, such as automobiles or boats in that the water-resistant configuration has been difficult to maintain. Additionally, internally trapped air has made the prior art bags, packages or containers unwieldy.
It is therefore an object of the present disclosure to provide a water-resistant bag, package or container which can be used for larger items, such as, but not limited to, automobiles or boats, as well as smaller items, such as, but not limited to, firearms and documents, wherein the water-resistant configuration can be maintained, and wherein internally trapped air can be minimized.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
This and other objects are obtained by providing a package formed from a sheet of polymeric material, such as, but not limited to, polyethylene, which can lie flat, but which includes a water-resistant zipper around the periphery thereof to form an enclosure around an object. Additionally, the walls of the package include a vacuum port for removing excess air after an item has been encased within the package.
Further objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent from the following description and from the accompanying drawing, wherein:
FIG. 1 is a plan view of the unzipped configuration of an embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 2 is a perspective view, partially in cross section, of a typical zipper used with an embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 3 is a diagram of an automobile contained within an embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 4 is a diagram of a firearm enclosed within a further embodiment of the present invention, further including a parked slider configuration.
FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view of a wall for an embodiment of the present invention, showing that the inner layer may include anti-microbial or volatile corrosion inhibitors.
FIG. 6 is a top plan view of a folded configuration of an embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a typical valve used for an embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional view of a typical valve used for an embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a typical slider which is used for an embodiment of the present invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
FIG. 10 is a bottom perspective view of a typical slider which is used for an embodiment of the present invention.
Referring now to the drawings in detail wherein like numerals indicate like elements throughout the several views, one sees that FIG. 1 is a plan view of a typical embodiment of the asset protection bag 10, shown in the unzipped, planar and spread-out configuration. The illustrated asset protection bag 10 includes wall 11 which is sized for enclosing a compact-sized automobile or similarly sized boat, but those skilled in the art, after review of this disclosure, will realize that other sizes may be implemented for other applications. In its larger embodiments, the asset protection bag 10 may also be referred to as a vehicular protection bag. However, as illustrated in FIG. 4, the asset protection bag 10 may be sized for smaller items such as, but not limited to, a firearm 200 or documents (not shown). The wall 11 of illustrated asset protection bag 10 has an overall size of twenty-four feet by twenty-four feet, with a first half 12 sized at twelve feet by twenty-four feet, comprising relatively longer sides 14, 18 and relatively shorter sides 16, 20 substantially forming a rectangle, adjacent to second half 22 sized at twelve feet by twenty-four feet, comprising relatively longer sides 24, 28 and relatively shorter sides 26, 30 substantially forming a rectangle.
Relatively longer side 14 of first half 12 joins relatively longer side 24 of second half 22 along seam, seal or other joinder 50. In use, asset protection bag 10 is typically folded along or proximate to seam, seal or other joinder 50, so that first half 12 of wall is positioned over the top of the asset being protected, such as, but not limited to, an automobile, while second half 22 of wall is positioned under the asset being protected thereby bringing together first zipper profile 32 along sides 16, 18, 20 with second zipper profile 34 along sides 26, 28, 30. As first half 12 is intended to be over the asset being protected, first half 12 typically comprises polyethylene film, with a typical thickness of 8 mils. Similarly, as second half 22 is intended to be under the asset being protected, and therefore being subject to the weight of the asset, the second half 22 typically comprises scrim reinforced polyethylene. However, those skilled in the art will see a range of equivalent materials. Moreover, as shown in FIG. 5, wall 11 may include multiple layers, such as inner layer 13 and outer layer 15. Antimicrobial agents may be blended with the film of the inner layer 13. Likewise, volatile corrosion inhibitors may be blended with the film of the inner layer 13. The antimicrobial agents and/or the volatile corrosion inhibitors may be added as master batches during extrusion of the layers 13, 15.
Sides 16, 18, 20 forming the periphery of first half 12 include first zipper profile 32 and sides 26, 28, 30 forming the periphery of second half 22 include second zipper profile 34. First and second zipper profiles 32, 34 form a water-resistant zipper 36, typically chosen from zippers represented by U.S. Pat. No. 3,918,131 entitled “Fluid-Tight Fastener” to Ausnit; U.S. Pat. No. 4,046,408 entitled “Omni-Directional Fastener” to Ausnit; U.S. Pat. No. 4,199,845 entitled “Slider for Heavy Duty Flexible Fastener Tracks” to Ausnit; U.S. Pat. No. 4,354,541 entitled “Profiled Plastics Bag Closure Strip and Adhesive Bonding Method” to Tilman; U.S. Pat. No. 4,578,813 entitled “Bag and Reclosable Separable Fastener Assembly, etc.” to Ausnit; U.S. Pat. No. 4,660,259 entitled “Twist Resistant Reclosable Extruded Plastic Fastener” to Ausnit; U.S. Pat. No. 4,673,383 entitled “Fusible Rib Bonding of Fasteners to Substrate” to Bentsen; U.S. Pat. No. 4,787,880 entitled “Method of Making Extruded Zipper Strips and Bags Containing the Same” to Ausnit; U.S. Pat. No. 4,792,240 entitled “Extruded Zipper Strips for Bags” to Ausnit; U.S. Pat. No. 4,846,585 entitled “Easy Open Bag Structure” to Boeckmann; and U.S. Pat. No. 5,351,369 entitled “Moisture-Resistant Fastener”. A typical or composite zipper 36 with first and second profiles 32, 34 is illustrated in FIG. 2. Additionally, FIG. 2 illustrates first profile 32 including first and second teeth 38, 40 and second profile 34 likewise including first and second teeth 42, 44, wherein first and second teeth 38, 40 interlock with first and second teeth 42, 44.
First tooth 38 of first profile 32 is illustrated as including a color strip 46, such as red, which is visible to the user when the first and second profiles 32, 34 are not interlocked, but hidden from the user when first and second profiles 32, 34 are completely interlocked. This serves as an aid to the user by indicating which sections of zipper 36 are not completely interlocked.
As further shown in FIGS. 2 and 4, zipper 36 may include a slider 37 to assist in operating the zipper 36. FIG. 4 further illustrates the slider 37 being placed in pocket 39, a cut-out portion of the wall 11, to further increase the water-resistance of asset protection bag 10. A slider 37 for a typical application is disclosed by commonly-assigned U.S. Patent Publication No. 2008/0313863 entitled “Slider for Water-Resistant Zippers” to Swain et al. (which is hereby incorporated by reference) and is further illustrated in FIGS. 9 and 10. The first sidewall 80 of slider 37 is generally planar while the second sidewall 82 is generally curved so that the first and second sidewalls 80, 82 are relatively closer together at the closing end 84 and further apart at the opening end 86. A triangular island 88 and separating plow 90 are formed at the opening end 86 to separate the first and second profiles 32, 34 (see FIG. 2).
FIGS. 1 and 3 illustrate first half 12 including two vacuum ports 60, while FIGS. 4 and 6 illustrates first half 12 including a single vacuum port 60. Vacuum port 60 is illustrated in FIGS. 7 and 8. A typical vacuum port 60 is disclosed in commonly-assigned U.S. Patent Publication No. 2009/0257688 entitled “One-Way Valve with Flapper for Vacuum Bag” to Calvo et al., which is hereby incorporated by reference. Vacuum port 60 typically includes valve base 62 which is affixed to first half 12 and encircles an opening 70 formed in the material of first half 12. Living hinge 64 attaches flapper 66 and valve cap 68 to valve base 62. Valve cap 66 can snap engage valve base 62 thereby urging flapper 66 into an essentially airtight configuration over or within opening 70. Valve cap 68 can likewise be detached therefrom to allow flapper 66 to be lifted in response to an external suction device (not shown) thereby allowing for the evacuation of air trapped within asset protection device 10 after zipper 36 has been closed.
As shown in FIG. 6, asset protection bag 10 includes D-ring connector 72 extending from joinder 50 and D-ring connector 74 extending from side 28 of second half 22 (or from side 18 of first half 12). D-ring connectors 72, 74 allow the user to secure the assert protection bag 10 in place, particularly when it does not include the weight of an asset, such as, but not limited to, an automobile 100 (see FIG. 3), being protected inside thereof.
To use asset protection bag 10, the user typically first unzips the zipper 36 so that the first and second halves 12, 22 lie side by side, as shown in FIG. 1. The asset protection bag 10 may be secured in place by D-ring connectors 72, 74. In the case of a smaller item, such as is shown in FIG. 4, the user simply places the item to be protected onto second half 22 and fold first half 12 thereover. In the case of a large item, such as an automobile or boat, as shown in FIG. 3, the user drives or otherwise places the asset to be protected, such as, but not limited to, an automobile, over the second half 22 and folds first half 12 thereover, so that first and second zipper profiles 32, 34 meet. The user then interlocks first and second zipper profiles 32, 34 together. The user may then attach an external vacuum device (not shown) to one of vacuum ports 60, 62 and evacuate the air enclosed within asset protection bag 10.
Thus the several aforementioned objects and advantages are most effectively attained. Although preferred embodiments of the invention have been disclosed and described in detail herein, it should be understood that this invention is in no sense limited thereby and its scope is to be determined by that of the appended claims.