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Title:
INFLATABLE AND COLLAPSIBLE WEATHER PROTECTION OUTDOOR COVER
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/084359
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention relates to a multi-use cover. More particularly, the present invention relates to a covering system that is easy to deploy and does not require tie downs. The covering system uses an expandable hose attached to a covering material. To deploy the cover over an object to be protected, the expandable hose is filled with a filling material such as air or water, and once the cover is over the entire object to be protected, the filling material is removed from the hose, causing the cover to contract snugly over the object to be protected. To remove the cover, the hose is once again filled with filling material until it can be removed from the object. For efficient storage of the cover, the filling material can be completely removed from the hose.

Inventors:
DERBES, Jim (2986 Hidden Hills Drive, Palm Harbor, Florida, 34683, US)
Application Number:
US2018/057643
Publication Date:
May 02, 2019
Filing Date:
October 26, 2018
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
DERBES, Jim (2986 Hidden Hills Drive, Palm Harbor, Florida, 34683, US)
International Classes:
B60J11/00; B60J11/04
Foreign References:
CN203805678U2014-09-03
CN206551845U2017-10-13
CN202138206U2012-02-08
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
D'SOUZA, Vanessa, M. et al. (Garvey, Smith & Nehrbass Patent Attorneys, L.L.C.,3838 N. Causeway Blvd., Suite 329, Metairie Louisiana, 70002, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A cover system for an outdoor object to be protected from weather or outdoor elements, comprising:

a) an expandable tubing frame comprised of sections of hollow tubing and 5 having a hollow bore;

b) a sheet of cover material that fits over the frame;

c) at least one inlet fitting that enables fluid flow to the hollow bore of the tubing frame;

d) wherein the expandable tubing frame has an expanded position and a o deflated position;

e) wherein the expandable tubing frame is arranged in a closed shape and the cover material is attached to the expandable tubing frame such that when the expandable tubing frame is in the expanded position, the cover material is stretched across the entirety of the closed shape; and

5 f) wherein the expandable tubing frame can be moved between the expanded and deflated positions via the at least one inlet fitting.

2. The cover system of claim 1 wherein the expandable tubing frame is moved from the delated position to the expanded position by filling it with water via the at least one inlet fitting.

0 3. The cover system of claim 1 wherein the expandable tubing frame is moved from the delated position to the expanded position by filling it with air via the at least one inlet fitting.

4. The cover system of claims 1-3 wherein the expandable tubing frame is arranged in a plurality of concentric closed shapes, and wherein the cover material is 5 attached to the expandable tubing frame such that when the expandable tubing frame is in the expanded position, the cover material is stretched across the entirety of the outermost closed shape of the concentric closed shapes.

5. The cover system of claim 4 wherein the closed shape is an oval.

6. The cover system of claim 4 wherein the closed shape is a rectangle.0 7. The cover system of claim 4 further comprising connectors, wherein the connectors attach the concentric shapes of expandable tubing to one another.

8. The cover system of claims 1 -7 wherein there are at least two inlet fittings, and at least one of the at least two inlet fittings is for inflating the expandable tubing frame, and at least one of the at least two inlet fittings is for deflating the expandable

5 tubing frame.

9. The cover system of claim 8 further comprising a yoke, wherein the yoke is attached to the innermost concentric shape and the at least one inlet fitting for inflating is attached to the yoke, and the at least one inlet fitting for deflating is attached to the outermost concentric shape.

0 10. The cover system of claim 9 further comprising at least one hose attachment, wherein the hose attachment is connected to the at least one inlet fitting for inflating, and wherein the hose attachment is able to be connected to a standard garden hose.

11. A cover system comprising an expandable hose, connectors, banding,5 curtain, one or more valves, and piping wherein the expandable hose has an inner ring and an outer ring, wherein the inner and outer rings are connected to each other with piping and connectors, wherein the piping is between the inner ring to the outer ring, and the connectors attach the piping to the inner and outer rings.

12. The cover system of claim 11 wherein the inner ring sits concentrically o inside the outer ring.

13. The cover system of claim 11 wherein the connectors are "T" shaped.

14. The cover system of claim 11 wherein the curtain fills the spaces between the inner and outer rings, and the piping.

15. The cover system of claim 11 wherein the expandable hose has a collapsed5 position, and a deployed position, and wherein the hose can be changed from the collapsed position to the deployed position via the one or more valves.

16. The cover system of claim 15 wherein one of the one or more valves is connected to a pneumatic system that causes the expandable hose in the collapsed position to fill with air and change to the deployed position.

0 17. The cover system of claim 15 wherein one of the one or more valves is connected to a hydro system and causes the expandable hose in the collapsed position to fill with water and change to the deployed position.

18. The cover system of claim 17 wherein the hydro system is a home garden hose.

5 19. The cover system of claims 15-17 wherein one of the one or more valves also has a release mechanism that causes the expandable hose in a deployed position to release the air or water and return the hose to its collapsed position.

20. A method of using the cover of any of the above claims to cover an object.

21. A method of covering an object to be protected from rain, sun, snow or o other outdoor element, comprising the steps of:

a) placing a covering system on top of the object, the covering system comprising:

- an expandable tubing frame;

- a cover material that fits over said tubing frame; and5 - at least one inlet fitting

b) wherein the expandable tubing frame of step "a" has an expanded position and a deflated position;

c) wherein the expandable tubing frame of step "a" is arranged in a closed shape and the cover material is attached to the expandable tubing frame such that when o the expandable tubing frame is in its expanded position, the cover material is stretched across the entirety of the closed shape;

d) wherein the expandable tubing frame of step "a" can be moved between its expanded and deflated positions via the at least one inlet fitting;

e) inflating the expandable tubing frame of the covering system via the inlet5 fitting until the cover material covers the entire object;

f) fitting the covering system over the object; and

g) deflating the expandable tubing frame of the covering system via the inlet fitting so that it contracts over the object.

22. The method of claim 21 wherein in step (b) the expandable tubing frame is o inflated with air.

23. The method of claim 21 wherein in step (b) the expandable tubing frame is inflated with water.

24. The method of claim 21 further comprising a step for removing the cover from the object:

(e) inflating the expandable tubing frame of the covering system via the valve until the covering system can be easily lifted off the object.

25. The method of claim 24 further comprising a step for preparing the covering system for storage:

(f) deflating the expandable tubing frame of the covering system via the valve until it is completed deflated and can be folded for storage.

26. The invention(s) substantially as shown and/or described herein.

Description:
TITLE OF THE INVENTION

5 INFLATABLE AND COLLAPSIBLE WEATHER PROTECTION OUTDOOR

COVER

INVENTOR: DERBES, Jim, a US citizen, of 2986 Hidden Hills Drive, Palm Harbor,

Florida, 34683, US.

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

o This application claims benefit of US Provisional Patent Application Serial No.

62/577,390, filed on 26 October 2017, which is hereby incorporated herein by reference.

Priority of US Provisional Patent Application Serial No. 62/577,390, filed on 26 October 2017, is hereby claimed.

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR

5 DEVELOPMENT

Not applicable

REFERENCE TO A "MICROFICHE APPENDIX"

Not applicable

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

0 1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a multi-use cover. More particularly, the present invention relates to a covering system that is easy to deploy and does not require tie downs.

The covering system of the present invention uses an expandable hose, tubing, or 5 web system that is preferably attached to a covering material. To deploy the cover over an object to be protected, the expandable hose or tubing is preferably filled with a fluid filling material such as air or water, thereby preferably expanding the covering material. The cover is placed over the entire object to be protected from the effects of weather (sun, freezing temperatures, rain, dirt, dust, tree leaves or the like) or outdoor invasive material. o The cover can also be used indoors to cover furniture or the like. The filling material is preferably removed from the hose or tubing, causing the cover to contract snugly over the object to be protected. To remove the cover, the hose can be filled with filling material until it expands and can be removed from the object. The cover can also be removed without having to be filled with filling material. For efficient storage of the cover, the filling material can be completely removed from the hose.

2. General Background of the Invention

A conventional cover (e.g., boat cover, car cover, furniture cover) is heavy, hard to store, and typically requires a system to tie it in place, and often requires more than one person to deploy and use. Many covers are made to cover specific- shaped items and may not be functional to cover a variety of sized items. Outdoor covers are commercially available for boats, automobiles, indoor/outdoor furniture, and outdoor cooking equipment (e.g., www.covercraft.com; www.overtons.com; www.alcocovers.com).

The following possibly relevant US Patents and Publications relate to covers and are each hereby incorporated herein by reference:

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The apparatus of the present invention includes a multi-use cover and system of deploying same. The invention is called "The Rella." The basic idea is to deploy a covering system with ease and simplicity. In this example, the cover can be used as a boat cover or, "BoRella." A conventional cover (e.g., boat cover, car cover, furniture cover) is heavy, hard to store, and typically requires a system to tie it in place, and often requires more than one person to deploy and use. Many covers are made to cover specific-shaped 5 items and may not be functional to cover a variety of sized items. The present invention uses the features of an expandable hose, tubing or web system, its elastic properties, and gravity.

The expandable hose frame or web can expand to approximately three times its collapsed size. The expandable hose frame or web can expand to more than three times o its collapsed size. Cover material can be attached to the expandable hose frame or web cover and expands and contracts with the hose frame or web. In some embodiments, an inner yoke or attachment system and outer ring of hose or tubing can be attached in a network of "T's" as shown in the figures. The cover material can be exchanged to accommodate the operators' desired protection (i.e. ultraviolet (UV) rays or leaves and5 debris). The cover material can also incorporate an elastic to assist in expanding and contracting/retracting.

The cover can be deployed by placing it in its collapsed state (no filler in the expandable hose or tubing) on top of an object that a user wishes to protect. Using, for example, typical water pressure or garden hose or tubing, the expandable hose of the o cover is preferably filled as much as is needed to allow the cover to be easily placed over the entire object to be covered. An air source may be used instead, filling the cover's expandable hose or tubing with air instead of water. Once the cover is over the entire object to be protected, the expandable hose is then fitted around the item to be preferably covered 360 degrees. Next, as the filling agent (i.e., air or water) is slowly released, the5 elastic properties of the hose or tubing and cover material begin to collapse to the undercarriage of the object, causing the cover to fit snuggly around the object to be protected by the cover. In the boat example, the cover collapses to the bow, gunnel, and back of the engine of the boat. When the filling agent has been fully exhausted, the properties of the hose/tubing and cover material "seal" around the boat or object being o covered. The expandable hose frame or web system of the cover can be refilled in order to lift it free from the object and allow it to draw itself back to the collapsed position. In the collapsed position, the unit may be attached several ways.

The present invention includes a cover system having an expandable hose frame or web, cover material, and at least one valve. In general, expandable hose material is 5 commercially available, usually in garden hose form. Examples include:

1) www.flexablehoseextreme.com;

2) Dap ® X Hose; and

3) Hospaip Expandable Water Hose.

In one or more embodiments, the expandable hose frame or web can have an o expanded position and a deflated position.

In one or more embodiments, the expandable hose can be arranged in one or more closed shapes and the cover material can be attached to the expandable hose such that when the expandable hose is in its expanded position, the cover material is stretched across the entirety of the closed shape.

5 In one or more embodiments, the expandable hose can be moved between its expanded and deflated positions via the at least one valve.

In one or more embodiments, the expandable hose can be moved from its deflated position to its expanded position by filling it with water via the at least one valve.

In one or more embodiments, the expandable hose can be moved from its deflated o position to its expanded position by filling it with air via the at least one valve.

In one or more embodiments, the expandable hose can be arranged in a plurality of concentric closed shapes, and wherein the cover material is attached to the expandable hose such that when the expandable hose is in an expanded position, the cover material is stretched across the entirety of the outermost closed shape of the concentric closed5 shapes.

In one or more embodiments, the closed shape can be an oval.

In one or more embodiments, the closed shape can be a rectangle. In one or more embodiments, the present invention further includes connectors, wherein the connectors preferably attach the concentric shapes of expandable hose to one o another. In one or more embodiments, there can be at least two valves, and at least one of the at least two valves is preferably for inflating the expandable hose, and at least one of the at least two valves is preferably for deflating the expandable hose.

In one or more embodiments, the present invention can include a yoke or collar, 5 wherein the yoke or collar is preferably attached to the innermost concentric shape and the at least one valve for inflating can be attached to the yoke, and the at least one valve for deflating is preferably attached to the outermost concentric shape.

In one or more embodiments, the present invention can include at least one hose attachment, wherein the hose attachment is preferably connected to the at least one valve o for inflating.

In one or more embodiments, the at least one valve has a hose attachment that is preferably able to be connected to a standard garden hose.

The present invention includes a cover system comprising an expandable hose frame, connectors, banding, curtain, one or more valves, and piping, wherein the 5 expandable hose frame has an inner ring and an outer ring, wherein the inner and outer rings are preferably connected to each other with piping and connectors, wherein the piping is preferably between the inner ring to the outer ring, and the connectors preferably attach the piping to the inner and outer rings.

In one or more embodiments, the inner ring preferably sits concentrically inside o the outer ring.

In one or more embodiments, the connectors can be T-shaped.

In one or more embodiments, the curtain preferably fills the spaces between the inner and outer rings, and the piping.

In one or more embodiments, the expandable hose frame can have a collapsed 5 position, and a deployed position, and wherein the hose frame can be changed from the collapsed position to the deployed position via the one or more valves.

In one or more embodiments, one of the one or more valves can be connected to a pneumatic system that causes the expandable hose frame in the collapsed position to fill with air and change to the deployed position.

0 In one or more embodiments, one of the one or more valves can be connected to a hydro system and causes the expandable hose frame in the collapsed position to fill with water and change to the deployed position.

In one or more embodiments, the hydro system can be a home garden hose. In one or more embodiments, one of the one or more valves also can have a 5 release mechanism that causes the expandable hose in a deployed position to release the air or water and return the hose to its collapsed position.

The present invention includes a method of using the cover to cover an object. The present invention includes a method of covering an object including placing a covering system or frame on top of the object, the covering system comprising an l o expandable hose, cover material, and at least one valve. The expandable hose can have an expanded position and a deflated position. The expandable hose can be arranged in a closed shape and the cover material is preferably attached to the expandable hose such that when the expandable hose is in an expanded position, the cover material is preferably stretched across the entirety of the closed shape. The expandable hose can be moved 15 between the expanded and deflated positions via the at least one valve.

The expandable hose of the covering system can be inflated via the valve until the cover material covers the entire object.

The covering system can be fitted over the object on all sides.

In one or more embodiments, the expandable hose can be inflated with air. 20 In one or more embodiments, the expandable hose can be inflated with water.

The expandable hose of the covering system can be deflated via the valve until it fits snuggly over the object.

In one or more embodiments, the present invention includes a step for removing the cover from the object by preferably inflating the expandable hose of the covering 25 system via the valve until the covering system can be easily lifted off the object.

In one or more embodiments, the present invention includes a step for preparing the covering system for storage by deflating the expandable hose of the covering system via the valve until it is completed deflated and can be folded for storage.

The present invention includes a cover system for an outdoor object to be 30 protected from weather or outdoor elements. The invention includes an expandable tubing frame preferably comprised of sections of hollow tubing and having a hollow bore, a sheet of cover material that can fit over the frame, at least one valve that preferably enables fluid flow to the hollow bore of the tubing frame.

In various embodiments, the expandable tubing frame can have an expanded position and a deflated position.

In various embodiments, the expandable tubing frame can be arranged in a closed shape and the cover material can be attached to the expandable hose such that when the expandable hose is in its expanded position, the cover material is preferably stretched across the entirety of the closed shape.

In various embodiments, the expandable hose can be moved between its expanded and deflated positions via the at least one inlet fitting.

The present invention includes a method of covering an object to be protected from rain, sun, snow or other outdoor element. A covering system can be placed on top of the object, the covering system including an expandable tubing frame, a cover material that fits over said tubing frame, and at least one inlet fitting. The expandable tubing frame can have an expanded position and a deflated position. The expandable tubing frame can be arranged in a closed shape and the cover material can be attached to the expandable tubing frame such that when the expandable hose is in its expanded position, the cover material can be stretched across the entirety of the closed shape. The expandable tubing frame can be moved between its expanded and deflated positions via the at least one inlet fitting. The expandable tubing frame of the covering system can be inflated via the inlet fitting until the cover material covers the entire object. The covering system can be fitted over the object. The expandable hose of the covering system can be deflated via the inlet fitting so that it contracts over the object.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

For a further understanding of the nature, objects, and advantages of the present invention, reference should be had to the following detailed description, read in conjunction with the following drawings, wherein like reference numerals denote like elements and wherein:

Figure 1 is a top view of a preferred embodiment of the apparatus of the present invention in a collapsed position;

Figure 2 is a top view of a preferred embodiment of the apparatus of the present invention in an expanded position;

Figure 3 is a side view of a preferred embodiment of the apparatus of the present 5 invention;

Figure 4 is a side view of a preferred embodiment of the apparatus of the present invention in an expanded position;

Figure 5 is a side view of a preferred embodiment of the apparatus of the present invention in the collapsing process;

l o Figure 6 is a side view of a preferred embodiment of the apparatus of the present invention in a collapsed position;

Figure 7 is a perspective view of another preferred embodiment of the apparatus of the present invention in an expanded view;

Figure 8 is a top view of another preferred embodiment of the apparatus of the 15 present invention in a collapsed view;

Figure 9 is an exploded fragmentary view of a preferred embodiment of the apparatus of the present invention showing the connectors of the present invention;

Figure 10 is a partial perspective view of a preferred embodiment of the apparatus of the present invention showing the connectors of the present invention;

20 Figures 11-15 show steps in a preferred embodiment of a method of the present invention, applied to a table; and

Figures 16-18 show steps in another preferred embodiment for a method of the present invention, applied to a boat.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

25 Figures 1-18 show a preferred embodiment of the apparatus and method of the present invention designated generally by the number 10. The present invention is a cover system 10 including an expandable hose or tubing 28, cover material 31, and at least one valve 16 (e.g., ball valve, plug valve, other valve suitable to valve the flow of gas (air or liquid). Hose or tubing 28 can create a web or frame 50.

3 o Preferably, the hose 28 can be made of an expandable, flexible material, similar to that of US Patent Nos. 7,549,448; 8,479,776, or a similar type of hose. Hose or tubing 28 preferably has an expanded position 14 and a collapsed, contracted or deflated position 12. The hose or tubing 28 can be made of a stretchable material in which a filling material, such as air or water, can flow. The hose or tubing 28 can be a commercially available hose or tubing as disclosed herein or can be made of an alternative material. The stretchable hose or tubing 28 can be made of an elastic material such as rubber, latex, or polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and/or of a combination of one or more of the aforementioned materials. The hose or tubing 28 can include an outer material or covering that surrounds the stretchable hose 28. The outer material of the hose or tubing 28 can be made of fabric such as nylon, cord, fabric, or rubber, and/or of a combination of one or more of the aforementioned materials.

Preferably, the expandable hose frame or tubing frame 50 is arranged in a closed shape 13, such as a circle, oval, square, rectangle, or any other suitable shape depending on the object 11 to be covered. Tubing or expandable hose 28 can be of a material able to withstand pressures of about 50-150 psi (345-1035 kPa). The cover material 31 can be attached to the expandable hose 28 such that when the expandable hose 28 is in an expanded position 14, the cover material 31 is preferably stretched across the entirety of the closed shape 13. Preferably, the expandable hose frame 50 expands to approximately three times its collapsed size. Hose frame 50 can expand to more than three times its collapsed size.

Preferably, the cover material 31 is sewn directly to the expandable hose 28 covering and expands and contracts with the hose 28. The cover material 31 can also be attached to the hose 28 by a securing device 44, such as eyelets, rings, ties, Velcro® or other suitable attachment means. The securing device 44 can be used to fasten cover material 31 to hose 28 at intervals along the hose frame 50. Cover or covering material 31 can be any suitable waterproof, sun proof or water-resistant material such as Sunbrella®, acrylic, canvas, polyester, olefin, Outdura®, solar power generating material or fabric, and/or of a combination of one or more of the aforementioned materials. In some embodiments, the cover material 31 may incorporate elastic to allow the cover material 31 to expand and contract for a formed fit over the object to be covered 11. Cover material 31 could also be made of fabric, stretchable fabric, plastic, the expandable hose material, or another suitable material. Cover material 31 can be made of material that can generate solar power or provide solar power. The cover material 31 can preferably be exchanged to accommodate the operator' s desired protection (i.e. ultraviolet (UV) rays or leaves and debris).

Preferably, the expandable hose 28 can be moved between its expanded 14 and deflated 12 positions via the at least one valve 16 at inlet fitting 26. Inlet fitting 26 can be any fitting that enables connection to an air compressor, air pump or other source of pressurized air. Fitting 26 could be a fitting connectable to a water or liquid source such as a garden hose or water pump.

Preferably, the expandable hose 28 is moved from a deflated position 12 to an expanded position 14 by filling it with a filling material such as air or water via the at least one valve 16. The filling material is preferably introduced via a pressurized source 42, such as pressurized water or air. The hose or tubing 28 can be deflated or contracts by removing the filling material, for example using a vacuum 43 to remove the air or allowing the water or air to flow out via a valve 16. The hose or tubing 28 can be self- draining. Once the filling material is removed, hose or tubing 28 preferably deflates and contracts to its original length.

In some embodiments, the expandable hose frame 50 can be arranged in one or more closed shapes 13, preferably concentric closed shapes 13. Cover system 10 can include one closed shape/ring 13, as seen in figure 11. Cover system 10 can include two closed shapes/rings 13, as seen in figures 1, 2. Cover system 10 can include three or four closed shapes/rings 13, as seen in figures 7, 8. Cover system 10 can have a plurality of closed shapes 13. In these embodiments, the cover material 31 can be attached to the expandable hose 28 such that when the expandable hose 28 is in an expanded position 14, the cover material 31 is stretched across the entirety of the outermost closed shape of the concentric closed shapes 13, or the outer ring 20, as shown in Figures 2-5. Thus, an expandable shape 13 would enable placement over an object 11 to be covered such as a boat hull (Figures 3-6), automobile, agriculture, or item of furniture (e.g., table of figures 11-15). In various embodiments, the hose frame 50 can include an inner ring 18 and an outer ring 20. In this example, when viewing the cover 10 from the top, the inner ring 18 sits concentrically inside the outer ring 20, however, other suitable arrangements of the hose frame 50 could be used. Preferably, the inner and outer rings 18, 20 are connected 5 to each other with piping or tubing 36 and connectors 22 as shown in Figures 1 , 2 and 7, 8. Preferably, the piping or tubing 36 is positioned in between the inner ring 18 to the outer ring 20, and the connectors 22 attach the piping 36 to the inner and outer rings 18, 20. Piping or tubing 36 can be attached at intervals in between inner and outer rings 18, 20 as seen in the figures.

o Piping 36 can preferably fluidly connect the inner ring 18 and the outer ring 20, so that the filling material can preferably flow throughout the hose frame 50 and expand both inner and outer rings 18, 20. In some embodiments, the inner ring 18 can be made of non-expandable material and the outer ring 20 can be made of expandable material. In some embodiments, the outer ring 20 can be made of non-expandable material and the 5 inner ring 18 can be made of expandable material. In some embodiments, both the inner and outer rings 18, 20 can be made of expandable materials.

Preferably, the cover 10 tubing frame 50 further comprises connectors 22, wherein the connectors 22 attach the closed shapes 13 of expandable hose 28 to one another. A preferred embodiment of the connectors 22 of the present invention can be seen in o Figures 9-10. Connectors 22 can be a Tee fitting, Y-type connector, elbow fitting, 4-way connector, threaded connector, tubing connector, or any other suitable connector. Connectors 22 can be made of nylon, brass, aluminum, some other type of metal, plastic or another suitable material. In this embodiment, the expandable hose 28 can be attached to connector 22 with a connection means or banding 24, such as a clamp, push-to-connect5 tube fittings/connectors, crimped connectors, or other suitable means.

In another preferred embodiment, there can be at least two valves 16, wherein at least one of the at least two valves 16 can be for inflating the expandable hose 28, and at least one of the at least two valves 16 can be for deflating the expandable hose 28, for example, as shown in Figures 7-8. When the hose 28 is being filled with the filling0 material via one of the at least two valves 16, the other of the at least two valves 16 is closed so that the hose 28 can be filled with the filling material and expand to the preferred size.

In some embodiments, the cover 10 further comprises a yoke 30, wherein the yoke 30 is preferably attached to an innermost concentric shape 13, or inner ring 18 of tubing and the at least one valve 16 for inflating or deflating can be attached to the yoke 30. At least one valve 16 for inflating or deflating can be attached to the outermost concentric ring shape 20 (or outer tubing section), as seen in Figures 7, 8. Preferably, the cover system 10 further comprises at least one hose attachment 26, wherein the hose attachment 26 is preferably connected to the at least one valve 16 for inflating, and wherein the hose attachment 26 is able to be connected to a standard garden hose 42, as shown, for example, in Figures 5-6, 11, and 12. The hose attachment 26 can also be attached directly to a connector 22, as shown in Figures 9-10.

The present invention also includes a method of covering an object 11, the method comprising the steps of:

a) placing the covering system 10 of the present invention on top of an obj ect

11;

b) inflating the expandable hose 28 or tubing/hose frame 50 of the covering system 10 via inlet 26 and a valve 16 until the cover material 31 covers the entire object 11 (e.g., see figures 4 and 14);

c) fitting the covering system 10 over the object 11 on all sides;

d) deflating the expandable hose 28 of the covering system 10 via the inlet 26 and valve 16 until the cover material 31 fits snuggly over the object 11. Deflating can employ a vacuum device 43 (e.g., vacuum cleaner, shop vacuum, or simply releasing pressure from valve 16).

An example of this method can be seen in Figures 3-6, wherein the object 11 is a boat. Figures 3-4 show steps (a) and (b) above. Figure 5 shows steps (c) and (d) above. Figure 6 shows the boat 11 as covered by the cover 10 in its collapsed position 12. In this example, the outer ring 20 of the cover 10 is preferably longer than the object by about a 1 to 3 feet (30-92 cm), and about 1 to 3 feet (30-92 cm) wider than the object. These sizes can be increased or decreased depending on the size and shape of the object 11 being covered.

Another example of this method can be seen in Figures 11-15, wherein the object 11 is a table. Figure 11 shows step (a). Figures 12-13 show step (b). Figure 14 shows step (c). Figure 15 shows step (d).

5 Other suitable sizes can be used as required depending on the item to be covered

11.

In some embodiments the expandable hose 28 is inflated with air. In other embodiments the expandable hose 28 is inflated with water. Other suitable inflating materials may also be used as appropriate.

0 The method may further comprise a step for removing the cover 10 from the object 11 by inflating the expandable hose 28 of the covering system 10 via the valve 16 until the covering system 10 can be easily lifted off the object 11. For example, in the Figures, from Figure 15, the hose 28 would be expanded 14 to return to Figure 14, and then the cover 10 could be easily removed from the object 11. Preferably, the covering5 system 10 can be prepared for storage by then deflating the expandable hose 28 of the covering system via the valve 16 until it is completed deflated 12, as shown in Figure 10, and can be folded for storage.

Figure 1 is a top view showing a preferred embodiment of the present invention in a collapsed position 12. The cover 10 shown in Figure 1 could be used to cover, for o example a boat; however, it is also adaptable for other appropriate covering uses such as jet skis, cars, trailers, furniture, construction equipment, household items, outdoor items, and any other suitable items 11 that a user wants to protect. Cover 10 can also be used for agricultural covering, such as covering of plants, vegetables, fruits, crop fields, grains, or other agriculture.

5 In some preferred embodiments, the cover 10 of the present invention is comprised of an expandable hose or tubing 28, connectors 22, banding 24, yoke 30, cover material 31 , one or more valves 16, and piping 36. Preferably, for the boat cover example, the expandable hose 28 is arranged in rings, and has an inner ring 18 and an outer ring 20. In this example, when viewing the cover 10 from the top, the inner ring 18 sits o concentrically inside the outer ring 20, however, other suitable arrangements of the hose 28 could be used. Preferably, the inner and outer rings 18, 20 are connected to each other with piping 36 and connectors 22 as shown in Figure 2, wherein the piping 36 is between the inner ring 18 to the outer ring 20, and the connectors 22 attach the piping 36 to the inner and outer rings 18, 20. Preferably, the connectors 22 are "T" shaped or other suitable types of connectors, as shown in Figures 1 , 2, 9, and 10. Preferably, the cover 10 has a cover material 31 that fills the spaces between the inner and outer rings 18 20, and the piping 36. Preferably, the expandable hose 28 has a collapsed/contracted position 12 (shown for example in Figure 11), and a deployed/expanded position 14 (shown for example in Figure 14), wherein the hose or tubing 28 can be changed from the collapsed/contracted position 12 to the deployed/ expanded position 14 via a valve 16.

The hose 28 can be in positions of varying percentages of inflation, for example as shown in Figures 12-13 wherein the hose 28 is partially inflated. In some embodiments, the valve 16 is connected to a pneumatic system and causes the expandable hose 28 in the collapsed position 12 to fill with air and change to the deployed position 14. In some embodiments, the valve 16 is connected to a hydro system and causes the expandable hose 28 in the collapsed position 12 to fill with water and change to the deployed position 14. Preferably, the valve 16 also has a release mechanism that causes the expandable hose 28 in a deployed position 14 to release the air or water and return the hose to its collapsed position 12.

In some embodiments, the expandable hose 28 or tubing can be that of US Patent

Nos. 7,549,448; 8,479,776; however, it could also be any other suitable expandable hose or tubing.

In some embodiments, the connectors 22 can be made of nylon; however, the connectors 22 could also be made of plastic, the tubing material itself, brass, aluminum or some other type of metal, or another suitable material. Because the item to be covered 11 may be of an endless array of shapes and sizes, the connectors 22 used will also vary according to the necessary dimensions.

In some embodiments, the cover 10 further comprises tie downs, such as snaps, hooks, clips, grommets, handles, or other suitable attachments 32 for additional security of the cover. In some embodiments, the piping 36 can be made of poly vinyl chloride (PVC), but it could also be made of chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC), flexible hose, standard hose, expandable hose, or any other suitable material. The piping 36 can be made of the same material as the hose or tubing 28, preferably being an expandable 5 tubing that can expand and collapse or contract similar to the hose or tubing 28, with use of the filling material such as air or water via the at least one valve 16.

The present invention also includes a method of using the cover 10 of the present invention to cover items 11. Preferably, the cover 10 is placed on top of the item 11 to be covered in its collapsed position 12, as shown in Figure 11. Preferably, a user may then l o use a typical water pressure or garden hose 42 to fill the expandable hose 28 of the cover 10 of the present invention, as shown in Figures 12-14. Preferably, the garden hose 42 attaches to one of the one or more valves 16 of the cover 10 of the present invention. Preferably, the expandable hose 28 is filled and expands to about three times its collapsed size. In an alternate embodiment, a compressed air source is attached to one of the one or

15 more valves 16 of the cover 10 of the present invention, and the expandable hose 28 of the cover is filled with air to its deployed position 14. Preferably, once the hose 28 is expanded with either air or water or another suitable filling material, the cover 10 is then fitted around the object to be covered, preferably 360 degrees as shown in Figure 14. Preferably, once the cover in its deployed position 14 is fitted on the object to be covered,

20 it is then deflated to secure it around the item as shown in Figure 15.

Preferably, to return the cover 10 of the present invention from the expanded state 14 to the collapsed state 12, the filling agent (for example, water or air) is slowly released via one or more of the one or more valves 16. The valve 16 may be located in different locations on the cover 10 depending on the item 11 to be covered. The elastic properties

25 of the expandable hose 28 allow for the hose 28 to begin to collapse. For example, where the object covered is a boat, the cover 10 collapses to the bow, gunnel, and back of the engine as the filling agent is released, as shown in Figures 5-6.

Preferably, when the filling agent has been fully exhausted and the expandable hose 28 is in its collapsed position 12, the properties of the hose 28 and cover material 30

30 "seal" around the boat or object being covered 11 as shown in Figures 5-6 and 15. The cover 10 may need to be refilled to an expanded state 14 in order to lift the cover 10 free off of item 11 and allow cover 10 to draw itself back to the collapsed position 12. Depending on the application, the cover 10 can either be inflated to remove it, or the cover 10 may be able to be disconnected and allowed to collapse on its own. It may also be lifted over the edge of the object 11 it is covering before letting the hose 28 continue to collapse. In the collapsed position 12, the cover 10 of the present invention may be attached several ways.

In some embodiments, cover 10 may be attached to a "mat" or yoke 30. Depending on the application, the mat shape and size varies to fit object 11 being covered. Mat 30 can have an inner ring 18 that can be sized and shaped to fit a boat T- top. An example of a cover 10 used with a boat T-top is seen in figures 2, 17-18. Preferably, the mat 30 can be used as a carry case or in certain applications, placed in a semi -permanent mounted position (i.e. stored to itself on top of a boat with a "T-Top" boat). The mat or yoke 30 may be made of rubber, plastic, fabric, rope, or other suitable material. For the boat example, the mat or yoke 30 is preferable made of fabric or like material.

In some embodiments, the cover can be a curtain-type configuration 45 seen in figures 16. The cover can be one continuous piece 45 preferably having quick disconnects 38, 40 on the side ends 46, 47, as seen in figure 16, to secure the piece 45 around an object 11. Cover 45 can be connected to another one or more covers 45 to create a longer sized piece/cover 45. The disconnects 38, 40 can be joined together so that the cover 10 preferably covers the entire object 11. In some embodiments, for larger objects, one or more covers 45 can be joined together with the disconnects 38, 40 to each other to create a larger overall cover. In one embodiment, the inner ring 18 can be connected to the male quick disconnect 38 at the front of the object to be covered 11 , and to the female quick disconnect 40 at the back of the object to be covered 11.

In figures 17-18, the cover 45 can hang over the entire boat 11 in an expanded position 14. In this embodiment, cover 45 can be draped over boat in a variety of suitable ways and attached with devices, such as Velcro®, ties, clamps, or snaps, or other suitable means if necessary. PARTS LIST:

The following is a list of parts and materials suitable for use in the present invention:

Parts Number Description

10 cover of a preferred embodiment of the present invention

11 object to be covered (e.g. boat, automobile, outdoor furniture article)

12 collapsed position

13 closed shape

14 expanded position

16 fill/release valve

18 inner ring

20 outer ring

22 connectors

24 banding

26 hose attachment/inlet fitting

28 expandable hose/hose frame/tubing frame

30 yoke/mat

31 cover material

32 additional fasteners

34 four-way cross connector

36 piping hose

38 male quick disconnect

40 female quick disconnect

42 filling means (e.g. water or air hose)/garden hose/air pump/blower

43 vacuum source

44 securing device

45 curtain-type configuration/cover

46 side end

47 side end 50 hose web/frame

All measurements disclosed herein are at standard temperature and pressure, at sea level on Earth, unless indicated otherwise. All materials used or intended to be used in a human being are biocompatible, unless indicated otherwise.

The foregoing embodiments are presented by way of example only; the scope of the present invention is to be limited only by the following claims.