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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
PROTECTIVE COVERS AND METHODS OF MAKING THE SAME
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/035339
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A table cover which comprises a silicone material, which comprises top and bottom surfaces. As opposed to conventional table covers, the table cover provides a flexible, unitary cover with excellent surface properties for dining and work space. Further, the bottom surface establishes a non-slip contact with the table surface to prevent the cover from sliding around of off of the table. The table cover may be configured and secured in a rolled position for storage and easy application to the table surface.

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Inventors:
ANDERSON, Lori (5 Birchwood Lane, Coventry, Rhode Island, 02816, US)
Application Number:
US2016/048662
Publication Date:
March 02, 2017
Filing Date:
August 25, 2016
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
ROLL-SAFE, LLC (5 Birchwood Lane, Coventry, Rhode Island, 02816, US)
International Classes:
A47G11/00; A47B13/08; A47G9/06; A47K10/02
Foreign References:
EP0096202A21983-12-21
US6116167A2000-09-12
US2074769A1937-03-23
US7713367B22010-05-11
DE102009056334A12011-06-09
Other References:
RENALD SHERAN.: "Check Joseph Joseph Silicone Non-Slip Pastry Mat with Measurements", ROLL-UP, GREEN DEAL. YOUTUBE., 15 August 2015 (2015-08-15), Retrieved from the Internet [retrieved on 20161020]
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BAIO, Elizabeth W. (70 W. Madison Street, Suite 3500Chicago, Illinois, 60602, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

What is claimed is:

1. A flexible cover for protecting a table surface, the cover comprising:

a bottom surface configured to establish a generally non-slip contact with the table surface; and a top surface generally opposite the bottom surface,

wherein at least one of the top surface or the bottom surface is made of a material including silicone, the cover having a surface area of at least nine ft2.

2. The cover of claim 1 , wherein the material further includes a reinforcing material.

3. The cover of claim 1, wherein the top surface is configured to be overlaid by a table cloth such that a generally non-slip contact is established between the top surface of the cover and the table cloth.

4. The cover of claim 1 , wherein the top surface includes a generally non-stick material.

5. The cover of claim 1, wherein the top surface includes a decorative embellishment.

6. The cover of claim 1, wherein the cover is configured to be rolled.

7. The cover of claim 6, wherein the cover further includes one or more fastening elements configured to maintain the cover in a rolled position.

8. The cover of claim 1, wherein the table surface is a kitchen table top or a dining room table top.

9. The cover of claim 1, wherein the cover includes an anti-spill edge, the anti-spill edge having a protrusion extending generally upwards from at least one edge of the top surface of the cover, the anti-spill edge being configured to inhibit materials from spilling off of the top surface of the cover.

10. A method for manufacturing a cover for a table surface, the method comprising:

receiving a dimension set corresponding with dimensions of the table surface, the table surface having a surface area of at least nine ft2;

providing a flexible material, the flexible material having a bottom surface configured to establish a generally non-slip contact with the table top, the flexible material further including a top surface generally opposite the bottom surface, at least one of the top surface or the bottom surface being made of a material including silicone; and

forming the cover such that a dimension set associated with the cover is substantially equal to the dimension set of the table surface.

11. The method of claim 10, wherein the material further includes a reinforcing material.

12. The method of claim 10, wherein the table top is generally rectangular, the dimension set of the table surface including a length and a width.

13. The method of claim 10, wherein the table surface is generally round, the dimension set of the table surface including a radius.

14. The method of claim 10, further comprising applying at least one decorative embellishment to the top surface of the cover.

15. The method of claim 10, further comprising rolling the cover.

16. The method of claim 10, further comprising applying one or more fastening elements to the cover, the one or more fastening elements being configured to maintain the cover in a rolled position.

17. The method of claim 10, wherein the table surface is a kitchen table top or a dining room table top.

18. The method of claim 10, further comprising:

receiving a dimension set corresponding with dimensions of one or more table leaves; and forming one or more additional cover pieces such that a dimension set associated with the additional cover pieces is substantially equal to the dimension set of the one or more table leaves.

19. The method of claim 10, further comprising:

forming an anti-spill edge on the top surface of the cover, the anti-spill edge having a protrusion extending generally upwards from at least one edge of the top surface of the cover, the anti-spill edge being configured to inhibit materials from spilling off of the top surface of the cover.

20. A multi-portion table cover for protecting a top of a table, the table including a first main table portion and a second main table portion, the first and second main table portions being separated from one another by one or more leaves, the kit comprising:

a first main cover portion having a top surface and a generally opposite bottom surface, the bottom surface of the first main cover portion being configured to establish a generally non-slip contact with a top surface of the first main table portion, at least one of the top surface or the bottom surface of the first main cover portion being made of a material including silicone, the first main cover portion being generally flexible;

a second main cover portion having a top surface and a generally opposite bottom surface, the bottom surface of the second main cover portion being configured to establish a generally non-slip contact with a top surface of the second main table portion, at least one of the top surface or the bottom surface of the second main cover portion being made of a material including silicone, the second main cover portion being generally flexible; and

one or more leaf cover portions having a respective top surface and a generally opposite bottom surface, the bottom surface of the one or more leaf cover portions being configured to establish a generally non-slip contact with a top surface of the respective one or more leaves, at least one of the top surface or the bottom surface of the one or more leaf cover portions being made of a material including silicone, the one or more leaf cover portions being generally flexible.

21. The multi-portion table cover of claim 20, wherein the material of the at least one of the top or the bottom surface of the first main cover portion, second main cover portion, or the one or more leaf cover portions further includes a reinforcing material.

22. The multi-portion table cover of claim 20, wherein the top surfaces of the first main cover portion, second main cover portion, and the one or more leaf cover portions are configured to be overlaid by a table cloth such that a generally non-slip contact is established between the top surfaces and the table cloth.

23. The multi-portion table cover of claim 20, wherein the top surfaces of the first main cover portion, second main cover portion, and the one or more leaf cover portions include a generally non-stick material.

24. The multi-portion table cover of claim 20, wherein the top surfaces of the first main cover portion, second main cover portion, and the one or more leaf cover portions includes at least one decorative embellishment.

25. The kit of claim 20, wherein the first main cover portion, second main cover portion, and the one or more leaf cover portions are configured to be rolled.

26. The multi-portion table cover of claim 20, wherein at least one of the first main cover portion, second main cover portion, and the one or more leaf cover portions further includes one or more fastening elements.

27. The multi-portion table cover of claim 20, wherein the table is a kitchen table top or a dining room table top.

28. The multi-portion table cover of claim 20, wherein the first main cover portion is configured to cover the substantially all of the top surface of the first main table portion, the second main cover portion is configured to cover the substantially all of the top surface of the second main table portion, and the one or more leaf cover portions are configured to cover substantially all of the one or more leaves.

Description:
PROTECTIVE COVERS AND METHODS OF MAKING THE SAME

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to covers for furniture or appliances. More particularly, the present invention relates to covers that may be used to protect surfaces such as tables, desktops, or the like.

BACKGROUND

Furniture surfaces are exposed to many uses that can cause wear and/or damage thereto. Such uses may include, for example, dining, writing, various work activities, and the like. Kitchen and dining room tables, for instance, are constantly exposed to heat, sharp objects, scratches, dents, liquid damage, and daily wear.

To assist in mitigating damage and wear to the surface of a table, table cloths or covers are often placed over the surface. Conventional table covers often include a top surface made of plastic and a bottom surface made of felt, which can cause the cover to move around on - and even off of - the table. Such movement is undesirable because it can cause fragile items placed on top of the table to shift and even fall and break, liquid containers placed on top of the table to spill their contents, or the like. Moreover, the thin, often flimsy nature of existing table covers often allows heat from hot objects placed on the table surface to penetrate the table cloth and damage the table surface. Further, conventional table covers are often aesthetically unpleasing, thereby requiring a user to place a table cloth over the cover to "hide" it. Further still, the nature of the materials used to form existing table covers substantially alters the (e.g., smooth) properties of the working or dining surface.

Therefore, there exists a need for a furniture/appliance cover that addresses one or more of the aforementioned deficiencies.

SUMMARY

According to one embodiment, a flexible cover for protecting a table surface is disclosed. The flexible cover comprises a bottom surface and a top surface, the bottom surface configured to establish a generally non-slip contact with the table surface. The top surface is generally opposite the bottom surface. At least one of the top surface or bottom surface is made of a material including silicone. The cover has a surface area of at least nine square feet.

In another aspect, a method for manufacturing a cover for a table surface is disclosed. The method comprises the act of receiving a dimension set corresponding with dimensions of the table surface having a surface area of at least nine square feet. The method further comprises the act of providing a flexible material having a bottom surface configured to establish a generally non-slip contact with the table top. The flexible material further includes a top surface generally opposite the bottom surface. At least one of the top or bottom surfaces is made of a material including silicone. The method further comprises the act of forming the cover such that a dimension set associated with the cover is substantially equal to the dimension set of the table surface.

According to another embodiment, a kit for protecting a top of a table is disclosed, where the table includes a first main table portion and a second main table portion, the first and second main table portions being separated from one another by one or more leaves. The kit includes a first main cover portion having a top surface and a generally opposite bottom surface. The bottom surface of the first main cover portion is configured to establish a generally non-slip contact with a top surface of the first main table portion. At least one of the top surface or the bottom surface of the first main cover portion is made of a material including silicone. The first main cover portion is generally flexible. The kit further includes a second main cover portion having a top surface and a generally opposite bottom surface. The bottom surface of the second main cover portion is configured to establish a generally non- slip contact with a top surface of the second main table portion. A least one of the top surface or the bottom surface of the second main cover portion is made of a material including silicone. The second main cover portion is generally flexible. The kit further includes one or more leaf cover portions having a respective top surface and a generally opposite bottom surface. The bottom surface of the one or more leaf cover portions is configured to establish a generally non-slip contact with a top surface of the respective one or more leaves. At least one of the top surface or the bottom surface of the one or more leaf cover portions is made of a material including silicone. The one or more leaf cover portions are generally flexible.

These as well as other aspects, advantages, and alternatives, will become apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art by reading the following detailed description, with reference where appropriate to the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Figure 1 is a top view of a furniture/appliance cover according to one embodiment.

Figure 2 is a side view of the cover of Figure 1, being placed over the surface of a table.

Figure 3 is a perspective view of the cover and table of Figure 2.

Figure 4A is a side view depicting a cover being applied to a table surface from a rolled-up position according to one embodiment.

Figure 4B is a close-up, perspective view depicting the cover of Figure 4A in a rolled-up position.

Figure 5 is a top view of a furniture/appliance cover according to another embodiment.

Figure 6 A is a perspective view of a table assembly including a table, a removable table leaf, and a multi-portion table cover according to one embodiment.

Figure 6B is a perspective view of another table assembly including a table, a hinged table leaf, and a multi-portion table cover, according to another embodiment. Figure 7 is a side view of the table assembly of FIG. 6A further including side flaps on the table cover.

Figure 8 is a perspective view of a furniture/appliance cover including an anti-spill edge according to one embodiment.

Figure 9A is a top view of a furniture/appliance cover including a gutter edge according to one embodiment.

Figure 9B is a cross-sectional side view depicting the cover and gutter edge of Figure 9A.

While the invention is susceptible to various modifications and alternative forms, specific embodiments have been shown by way of example in the drawings and will be described in detail herein. It should be understood, however, that the invention is not intended to be limited to the particular forms disclosed. Rather, the invention is to cover all modifications, equivalents, and alternatives falling within the spirit and scope of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

In accordance with the embodiments disclosed herein, generally stated, a cover used to protect furniture and/or appliances is disclosed. Although the remaining portion of this disclosure will be directed to table (e.g., kitchen and or dining room tables) covers, it should be understood that, where appropriate, the embodiments described herein may also be used to protect any suitable surface including, but not limited to, nightstands, coffee tables, or the like.

Referring to the drawings, Figure 1 is a top view depicting a table cover 12 in accordance with an exemplary embodiment. Figure 2 shows a side view of the cover of Figure 1 being placed over a surface 26 of a table 24. As illustrated in Figure 2, the table cover 12 includes a top surface 14, a bottom surface 16, and a thickness 22. The top surface 14 is positioned generally opposite the bottom surface 16. In use, the bottom surface 16 is placed on the table surface 26 of the table 24 such that the table cover 12 covers substantially all of the surface area of the table surface 26, as shown in Figures 2 and 3.

As a general matter, in this arrangement, the cover 12 functions to protect the table surface 26. In one embodiment, the cover 12 is a single, unitary component. It is contemplated, however, that the cover 12 may be formed of two or more portions positioned generally adjacent to and/or coupled with one another. For example, the cover 12 may include two pieces, each of which is configured to cover half of a standard table, and one or more additional pieces configured to cover one or more leaves that may be inserted into the table to expand the table surface.

The cover of the embodiments described herein comprises a material including silicone. In one embodiment, the material further includes a reinforcing material such as, for example, fiberglass. Any suitable ratio of silicone and other materials may be used. Generally stated, the reinforcing material (e.g., fiberglass) forms a framework that reinforces the silicone, thereby increasing the strength and rigidity of the cover. Advantageously, a material including silicone and a reinforcing material provides a flexible and resilient cover. The silicone component of the material provides desirable non-slip properties, which allow the cover to form a generally non-slip contact with another material such as the surface of the table on which it is placed and/or a table cloth that may be overlaid on the cover. The material is also configured to establish a non-stick contact certain other materials such as, for example, food preparations. For instance, dough may be rolled on the cover without the dough substantially sticking to the cover (or the underlying table). In some embodiments, the material used to form the cover may be treated to provide further non-stick and/or non-slip properties.

Additionally, the material used to form the table cover generally provides impact resistance to assist in preventing denting, chipping, scratching, etc. of the table surface. In one embodiment, the material has heat-resistant properties, which allows, for example, hot food preparations and containers having the hot food preparations therein to be placed directly on the cover without damaging the table surface or the cover itself. The material may also provide a hydrophobic surface, which assists in protecting the table surface from liquids and allows for easy cleaning of the table cover.

Conventional table covers generally consist of multiple materials/layers, including, for example, plastic and felt. The covers of the embodiments described herein, on the other hand, may advantageously be manufactured from a single layer of material(s), thereby lowering manufacturing expenses and enhancing the ease associated with manufacturing processes.

It is contemplated that the material may include additional materials including, for example, one or more polymers, dyes, antimicrobial components, combinations thereof, or the like. The additional materials may be combined with the material used to form the table cover, a coating applied to the table cover, or the like.

The covers of the embodiments described herein are sized to cover substantially the entire surface that they are intended to cover/protect. For example, table covers in accordance with the embodiments described herein may have a surface area of at least about nine square feet. As shown in Figure 3, the cover 12 is configured to cover substantially the entire table surface 26. The cover 12 may be manufactured to have a surface area with dimensions suitable for covering any standard or custom table size/shape. As shown in the embodiment of Figure 2, the cover 12 may be substantially rectangular. As depicted in an alternative embodiment illustrated in Figure 5, a cover 112 may be generally round. Alternatively still, the cover may take the shape of any polygon, oval, etc. so as to substantially completely cover the underlying table surface.

As shown in Figures 4 A and 4B, the cover 12 may be rolled into a rolled position where the rolled cover 12 is substantially cylindrical. In the rolled position, the cover can be easily stored and/or transported. The ability to roll the cover is also advantageous because of the ease in which the cover may be applied to the table surface 26, as shown in Figure 4A. For example, the rolled cover may be placed at one end of the table 24 such that an outer end 40 generally aligns with a corresponding end 42 of the table surface and the bottom surface 16 of the cover 12 contacts the table surface 26. The cover 12 may then be unrolled until it covers substantially the entire table surface 26. Unrolling the table covers of the embodiments described herein is substantially less cumbersome and/or time consuming than processes used to apply conventional table covers, especially when covering a large table. Specifically, with conventional table covers, a user must typically unfold the cover at one end and drag or pull the cover towards the other end of the table, sometimes having to walk around the table to completely unfold the cover and/or position the cover where desired. Then, the user must typically adjust the cover until it is generally symmetrical over each edge of the table. One advantage of the present invention is that a single user can easily cover a large table in fewer steps, requiring less time and effort.

As depicted in Figure 4B, the cover 12 may optionally include at least one fastening element 34. The fastening element 34 allows the user to secure the cover 12 in the rolled position. In one embodiment, the fastening element includes hook-and-loop type fasteners including a strap 44 and a landing zone 46. A first end 36 of the strap 44 is coupled to the bottom surface 16 of the cover 12 and an opposing second, free end 38 extends from the outer end 40 of the cover 12. The landing zone 46 is positioned on the bottom surface 16 of the cover 12. The landing zone 46 may be sized such that the strap 44 will contact the landing zone 46 whether the cover 12 is generally tightly rolled or loosely rolled. "Hook-type" fastening elements may be positioned on the strap 44, and "loop-type" fastening elements may be positioned on the landing zone 46 such that the hook-type fastening elements of the strap 44 are adapted to make contact with and mate with the loop-type fastening elements of the landing zone 46 when the cover 12 is in a rolled position. It is contemplated that the hook-type fastening elements may be positioned on the landing zone 46 and the loop-type fastening elements may be positioned on the strap 44. It is also contemplated that there may be a removable or partially removable cover positioned over the hook-type fastening element to protect the table surface 26 and/or assist in preventing other materials from attaching thereto.

The strap 44 may be configured to be hidden when the cover 12 is in use. For example, the strap 44 may be tucked between the cover 12 and the table surface 26 when the cover 12 is applied to the table 24. Advantageously, in this arrangement, only one fastening element (e.g., the strap) must be tucked/hidden while it is in use. To assist in maintaining a generally flat top surface of the cover 12, the bottom surface may include a storage channel for the fastening element.

In another embodiment, the cover may include first and second fastening elements, where the first element is affixed to the cover and the second element is detachable. Referring back to Figure 4B, for example, the landing zone 46, having loop-type fastening elements, may extend all the way to or near the outer end 40 of the bottom surface 16 of the cover 12. Alternatively, a second landing zone may be positioned at or near the outer end 40 of the bottom surface 16 of the cover 12. The strap 44, having hook-type fastening elements, may be detachable from the second landing zone such that, when the cover 12 is in a rolled position, a user may remove the strap 44 from the second landing zone and use it to fasten the outer end 40 of the cover 12 to the body 48 of the cover 12 to maintain the cover 12 in a rolled position (as shown, for example, in Figure 4B). In another alternative embodiment, the cover includes a single fastening element which is not affixed to the cover and may be wrapped around the circumference of the rolled cover.

Any suitable fastening material may be used to maintain the cover 12 in a rolled position, including, but not limited to, adhesive, hook-and-loop type fasteners such as Velcro®, snaps, magnets, combinations thereof, or the like.

Referring back to Figure 1, the cover 12 includes an optional border element 18. The border element 18 may be coupled to at least one of the top surface 14 or the bottom surface 16. The border element may include a functional aspect (e.g., to prevent fraying of a reinforcing material used in forming the cover 12). Alternatively, the border may be added for aesthetic purposes. The border element 18 may be comprised of the same material used to generally form the cover 12, any other suitable material, or a combination thereof.

As shown in Figure 2, the cover 12 has a thickness 22. The cover 12 may have any suitable thickness 22. As a general matter, an increase in thickness 22 will provide increased protection for the table surface 26, including greater resistance to heat and impact. Such increased thickness 22 should, however, be balanced against increased manufacturing and material costs that may be associated therewith.

It is contemplated that the cover may have a non-uniform thickness. For instance, a generally central portion of cover 12 may have a greater thickness than the outer/peripheral portion(s) to provide extra protection for hot items placed on or near the center of the table. Alternatively, the thickness 22 may be varied to form a gradient in which spilled liquid may be urged, for example, to the center of the table 24/cover 12 or to roll off the edges of the cover 12.

Referring to Figure 2, the cover 12 has a bottom surface 16. The bottom surface 16 is configured to establish a generally non-slip contact with the table surface 26. Advantageously, the generally non-slip contact inhibits the cover 12 from sliding around or off of the table surface 26 when it is used as a dining or work surface, while still allowing a user to easily remove it from the table 24. Although not required, the bottom surface 16 may include one or more suction cups, weights, fasteners, or the like to further secure the cover 12 to the table surface 26. In an alternative embodiment, magnets may be embedded in the cover 14 to mate with magnets embedded in the table surface 26. In further alternative embodiments, the bottom surface 16 may be secured to the table surface 26 at one end and may be detachable at the other.

It is contemplated that the cover may include a hanging strap for storing the cover. The hanging strap may be placed over a hook, hanger, or the like to conveniently store the cover. The hanging strap may be permanently attached, for example, to the bottom surface so that the cover may be stored and the hanging strap may be concealed between the cover and table surface while the cover is in use. Alternatively, the hanging strap may be detachable, such that the strap may be stored separately while the table cover is in use.

Referring back to Figure 1, the cover 12 includes a top surface 14. In one embodiment, the top surface 14 provides a generally non-slip surface, which allows the surface to establish a generally non- slip contact with, for example, plates, eating utensils, a table cloth, or the like. Advantageously, the top surface 14 may also have non-stick properties, which allows for the top surface 14 to be used as a workstation, e.g., for food preparation. In addition, the top surface 14 may be generally hydrophobic, thereby repelling liquids from the table surface 26 and from the cover 12 itself, which allows for easy cleaning.

It is contemplated that the easy cleaning of the cover surface may lend itself to being written on with, for example, dry-erase or generally washable markers. This may be useful for entertaining children during mealtime, group work/study groups, or the like.

As shown in Figure 2, the top surface 14 of the cover 12 may include a decorative embellishment 20, which provides pleasing aesthetics. The decorative embellishment may include text, one or more graphics, designs, combinations thereof, or the like. For instance, a holiday design, sports- related design, or the like may be displayed on the top surface 14. In addition, the decorative embellishment 20 may include a wood grain design mimicking the look of the table surface itself. This may be desirable to protect the underlying table while providing the appearance of the table itself. In an alternative embodiment, the cover is reversible and includes decorative embellishments on both the top and bottom surfaces, thereby allowing the user to choose which side/decorative embellishment to display. In addition, the top or bottom surface may be further treated to provide a slicker surface that more closely mimics the surface of the table. For example, in this configuration, the top surface can be treated to provide a slick working and/or dining surface, while the bottom surface still inhibits the cover from sliding during use.

As depicted in Figure 6 A, the cover 12 may include one or more additional pieces configured to cover one or more table leaves. Figure 6A illustrates an expandable table assembly according to one embodiment including an expandable table having a first main table portion 64a and a second main table portion 64b. The first and second main table portions 64a, 64b are separated from one another by one or more removable leaves 66. A multi-portion table cover includes first and second main cover portions 70a, 70b and one or more leaf cover portions 58. When the expandable table assembly is in a retracted position, the first and second main cover portions 70a and 70b cover substantially the entire surface of the main table portions 64a and 64b, respectively. When the table is in an expanded position in which the first and second main table portions 64a, 64b are separated from one another by the one or more leaves 66, as shown in Figure 6A, the one or more leaf cover portions 58 may be applied to cover the leaf 66, such that substantially all of the expanded table surface is covered. It is contemplated that more than one removable leaf and corresponding leaf cover(s) may be included in the expandable table assembly.

Figure 6B illustrates another embodiment in which a hinged table assembly includes a main table portion 24, at least one hinged leaf 56, and a multi-portion table cover 68. The multi-portion table cover 68 includes a main cover portion 70 and one or more leaf cover portions 58. The hinged leaf 56 may be coupled to one or more edges 54a, 54b, 54c, 54d of the table 24 by, e.g., one or more hinges 74. To expand the table assembly, the hinged leaf(s) 56 may be pivoted along a hinge to a position that is generally coplanar with the surface of the main table portion 24. The table assembly may include one or more features or elements for maintaining the hinged leaf(s) in the coplanar position. The main cover portion 70 may be placed on the main table portion 24 and the leaf cover portion 58 may be placed on the hinged leaf 56 such that the cover portions 70 and 58 cover substantially all of the surface area of the main table portion 24 and the hinged leaf 56, respectively. As such, it is contemplated that each of the cover portions 70 and 58 have shapes and sizes that substantially correspond with the portion of the table that they are intended to cover.

Multi-piece table covers, as shown in the exemplary embodiments of Figures 6A and 6B have many advantages. For example, conventional table covers are not expandable. As such, an entirely different table cover must be purchased and used when a table is expanded to include one or more leaves. Thus, because many expandable table assemblies include at least two leaves, a user may be required to purchase (and store) three separate table covers for a single expandable table assembly. Further, the multi-piece table covers of the embodiments described herein establish a generally non-slip contact with the underlying table surface, allowing the main cover portions to remain on the table during the expansion process without sliding around or off of the table. As such, the table may be expanded by inserting one or more leaves without having to first remove the first and/or second main cover portions from the main table portions.

It is contemplated that one or more of the cover portions of a multi-piece table cover may include an element for linking the respective table cover portions to one another. For example, one or more ends of the leaf cover may include a generally thin flap 72 extending from or near its bottom surface. The flap may be placed under or secured to a bottom surface of the adjacent main table cover and/or an adjacent leaf cover, as shown, for example, in Figure 7. The flap assists, e.g., in preventing spills from seeping in between the adjacent cover portions and potentially damaging the surface of the underlying table.

As shown in Figure 8, a top surface 114 of a cover 112 according to another embodiment may include an anti-spill edge 50. The anti-spill edge 50 is configured to inhibit liquids, food preparations, and the like from spilling off of the top surface 114 and onto users, chairs, the ground, and the like. The anti-spill edge 50 of the illustrated embodiment includes a protrusion 52 extending generally upwardly from the edges 54a, 54b, 54c, 54d of the cover. The protrusion 52 may have any suitable height. In one embodiment, the anti-spill edge 50 and cover 112 form a single, unitary component. In another embodiment, the anti-spill edge 50 may be removable from the top surface 114. Such embodiments may be particularly advantageous for use on tables on which children typically eat/drink to assist in catching dropped food and/or spilled drinks.

As shown in Figures 9 A and 9B, a cover 112 according to another embodiment may include a gutter edge 76. The gutter edge 76 is configured to catch items and/or liquids that have fallen or spilled off the edge of the table. As shown in Figure 9A, the gutter edge 76 extends along the perimeter of the cover 112. As depicted in Figure 9B, the gutter edge 76 has a channel 78 extending generally downward from the top surface for catching the spilled items and/or liquids. As further shown in Figure 9B, the top of gutter edge 76 is positioned such that it forms a generally co-planar relationship with the top surface of cover 112. The bottom of channel 78 is positioned such that it forms a generally co-planar relationship with the bottom surface of cover 112.

To manufacture a table cover 12 in accordance with the embodiments described herein, a manufacturer receives a dimension set corresponding with a table to be covered by the table cover. The dimension set may generally correspond to that of a kitchen / dining room table and, as such, corresponds with a surface area of at least nine square feet. In one embodiment, the dimension set includes a table length 28 and a table width 30, as shown in Figure 5. Alternatively, the dimension set may include a radius for a generally round table. A silicone -containing, flexible table cover 12 may then be formed having a dimension set substantially equal to the table dimension set. The cover 12 may include additional materials including a reinforcing material (e.g., fiberglass), one or more polymers, dyes, antimicrobial components, combinations thereof, or the like. Any suitable process may be used to form the cover.

As discussed above, at least one decorative embellishment may be applied to the top surface of the cover during the manufacturing process. The method of manufacture may further comprise rolling the cover. Rolling may be accomplished by either manual or automated means and allows the cover to be easily packaged for retail or commercial sale. Fastening elements, as discussed above, may also be added to the cover 12 to assist in securing the cover when it is in a rolled position.

In one embodiment, the manufacturer may also receive a dimension set corresponding with dimensions of one or more table leaves. In one embodiment, the table leaf dimension set includes a leaf length and a leaf width. Alternatively, the dimension set may include a radius and/or arc length for a leaf used with a circular table. One or more additional cover pieces may then be formed having a dimension set substantially equal to the dimension set of the one or more table leaves.

In one embodiment, a cover may be part of a kit for protecting a table surface. The kit may include, for example, a kitchen or dining room table having a table surface with a surface area of at least about nine square feet. The kit may also include one or more covers comprising a silicone material and including top and bottom surfaces. The kit or the cover may also contain a border element for wrapping around at least one edge of the cover. The kit may further include one or more table leaves configured to be inserted into, for example, a kitchen or dining room the table having a table surface area of at least nine square feet in order to expand the table top surface. The kit may also include one or more additional cover pieces configured to substantially cover the one or more table leaves.

Further, the kit may include a storage container and a fastening element for storing and transporting the cover 12 in a rolled position. For example, the container may have a cylindrical shape configured to receive the cover in a rolled position. It is contemplated that the inside of the container is made from or coated with a material that the cover generally does not stick to, thereby providing ease of insertion and removal of the rolled cover to and from the container. The container may also be configured to store any additional leaf cover pieces, straps, or the like. Further, in some embodiments, the kit may include an anti-spill edge and/or a gutter edge, as shown in Figures 8, 9 A, and 9B, that may be coupled to the top surface of the cover.

While various aspects and embodiments have been disclosed herein, other aspects and embodiments will be apparent to those skilled in the art. The various aspects and embodiments disclosed herein are for purposes of illustration and are not intended to be limiting, with the true scope and spirit being indicated by the following claims. Other embodiments may be utilized, and other changes may be made, without departing from the spirit or scope of the subject matter presented herein. It will be readily understood that the aspects of the present disclosure, as generally described herein and illustrated in the figures, can be arranged, substituted, combined, separated, and designed in a wide variety of different configurations, all of which are contemplated herein.