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Title:
UNIVERSAL CONTAINER FOR TOILET PLUNGER COVERS AND OTHER ITEMS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/173824
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A storage container for toilet plunger covers or other objects to be stored with the plunger, which provides a storage container that can be attached to the handle of the plunger in a detachable or non-detachable manner having an interior and a dispensing slot for the dispensing of plunger covers stored in the storage container.

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Inventors:
HODKIEWICZ, Scot (6428 Townline Road, Lake Geneva, WI, 53147, US)
Application Number:
US2019/021613
Publication Date:
September 12, 2019
Filing Date:
March 11, 2019
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
HODKIEWICZ, Scot (6428 Townline Road, Lake Geneva, WI, 53147, US)
International Classes:
E03C1/308; A47K11/10; E03D9/00; E03D11/00
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BLUM, Ian R. (Cozen O'connor, 277 Park AvenueNew York, NY, 10172, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
I Claim:

1. A storage container for a plunger cover comprising:

an outer wall that extends longitudinally defining at least an outer boundary of a storage portion of the storage container;

a dispensing section defined in the outer wall;

a first end portion arranged at a first axial end of the outer wall and

configured to mate with a handle of a plunger; and

a second end portion arranged at a second axial end of the outer wall;

wherein at least one of the first end portion and the second end portion is removable coupled to the outer wall to provide access to the storage portion of the storage container.

2. The storage container of claim 1 , further comprising:

an inner wall that extends longitudinally defining at least an inner boundary of the storage portion of the storage container, the inner wall arranged coaxially inside the outer wall.

3. The storage container of claim 2, wherein at least a portion of the inner wall is configured to receive the handle of the plunger.

4. The storage container of claim 1 , further comprising:

a radially extending wall defining a boundary of the storage portion of the storage container.

5. The storage container of claim 4, further comprising:

a spindle arrange on the radially extending wall that extends into the storage portion of the storage container and configured to guide a roll of plunger covers.

6. The storage container of claim 1 , wherein the storage container is integrally formed with the handle of the plunger.

7. The storage container of claim 1 , wherein the radially extending wall is configured so that a face of the radially extending wall abuts an axial end of the handle of the plunger.

8. The storage container of claim 1 , further comprising:

a plurality of radially inwardly projecting grasping elements configured to retain the storage container on the handle of the plunger.

9. The storage container of claim 1 , wherein the dispensing section is one of an oval, an s-shaped slit, and an X-shaped slit.

10. The storage container of claim 2, wherein at least one of the first end portion and the second end portion is configured to mate with both the outer wall and the inner wall.

Description:
Universal Container for Toilet Plunger Covers and Other Items

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to a storage container for toilet plungers. Specifically, the present invention is a detachable storage container or a permanent storage container for toilet plunger covers and the like, or other items to be stored, for toilet plungers and/or similar objects.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

In modern society, there has been more emphasis on a hygienic maintenance of bathrooms, public restrooms, and other similar stations for relieving oneself of their bodily functions. There has been an increase in the number of different kinds and types of technology or device utilized in public restrooms such as automatic soap dispensers and hand dryers. Another such device would be toilet plunger covers and plunger storage containers.

Plungers are used as for unclogging a clogged toilet, sink, pipe, or the like. A plunger includes a plunger handle, typically an elongated pole or rod, and a plunger bowl coupled to an end portion of the plunger handle. When the plunger is used, contaminants from the clogged toilet or pipe can be deposited on portions of the plunger. For sanitary reasons, it is desirable to clean the plunger after use or cover the plunger to prevent contamination.

A majority of toilet plunger covers are rigid structures that complete encases a toilet plunger so as to hide the toilet plunger from occupants who would utilize the bathroom. However, these toilet plunger covers do not serve any other additional functions. Further, these toilet plunger covers are not as hygienic as disposable, plastic toilet plunger covers. However, there are no known storage container for disposable, plastic toilet plunger covers and the like that can be detached from or permanently incorporated into a toilet plunger handle. U.S. Pat. No. 9,970,186 discloses a plunger including, in combination, a handle, a plunger bell with an inner bell surface, and an elongated tubular sheath, wherein the sheath at least substantially encases the handle and plunger bell, and the sheath is at least partially secured to the inner bell surface.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An object of one aspect of the present invention is to provide a storage container for toilet plunger covers or other objects to be stored with the plunger. The present invention provides a storage container that can be attached to the handle of the plunger in a detachable or non-detachable manner.

One aspect of the present invention is to provide a storage container for disposable plastic plunger covers, though it could be used to store other items. The present invention provides users with a detachable or non-detachable storage device that can be easily grasped by the user.

One aspect of the present invention is a storage container for toilet plunger covers that can be universally attached to toilet plungers of any size and/or shape. For example, the storage container can be mounted coaxially with respect to the plunger handle and the plunger handles can be arranged coaxially in a roll in the container. Alternatively, the container can be a recess molded in the plunger handle.

One aspect of the present invention is a detachable or permanently affixed storage container for toilet plunger covers or other items. The present invention is a container with a compartment in a top portion of the container. A lower portion of the present invention contains a chamber for housing the top portion of the handle of the plunger. The present invention contains a lid that provides access to the compartment of the storage container.

These and other objects and features of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description considered in connection with the accompanying drawings. It is to be understood, however, that the drawings are designed solely for purposes of illustration and not as a definition of the limits of the invention, for which reference should be made to the appended claims. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In the drawing, wherein similar reference characters denote similar elements throughout the several embodiments and views:

Fig. 1 is a perspective view of a storage container;

Fig. 2 is a front view of the storage container of Fig. 1 ;

Fig. 3 is a side view of the storage container of Fig. 1 ;

Fig. 4 is a rear view of the storage container of Fig. 1 ;

Fig. 5 is a top view of the storage container of Fig. 1 ;

Fig. 6 is a bottom view of the storage container of Fig. 1 ;

Fig. 7 is a cross-sectional side view of the storage container of Fig. 1 ;

Figs. 8A-8D are front views of a storage container;

Fig. 8E is a cross section of the storage container of Fig. 8A;

Fig. 9 is a perspective view of a plunger with a storage container;

Fig. 10 is a front view of the storage container; and

Fig. 1 1 is a partial perspective view of a storage container.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

All illustrations of the drawings are to be describing selected versions of aspects of the present invention and are not intended to limit the scope of the present invention. All references of user or users pertain to individual or individuals who would utilize the present invention. All references of plunger and/or plungers pertain to toilet plungers and the like, unless explicitly otherwise.

Figs. 1 -7 depict a container 100 for storing items such as plunger covers or other items that will be detachable or permanently incorporated with a toilet plunger. The present invention can be of any shape, size, material, features, type or kind, orientation, location, components, and/or arrangements of components that would allow the present invention to fulfill the objectives and intents of the present invention. However, it is preferred that the present invention be of a material, or materials, that is/are hygienic, non-toxic, non-allergy reactive, strong, durable, easily cleanable, easily manufacturable, and/or lightweight. The present invention could be made of, but not limited to, materials exhibiting the

characteristics discussed previously, such as plastics. It is preferred that the present invention be of an overall shape similar to a cylindrical-like object. It is preferred the present invention be of an overall size large enough for the user to grasp the present invention within their hand. The present invention primarily consists a body and a lid.

As seen in Figs. 1 -7, the present invention includes a lid 102. The lid 102 of the present invention can be of any shape, size, material, features, type or kind, orientation, location, components, and/or arrangements of components that would allow the present invention to fulfill the objectives and intents of the present invention. However, it is preferred that the lid be of a material similar to the material of the present invention. Also, it is preferred that the lid be of a shape similar to a circular-like shape. Additionally, it is preferred that the lid be of a diameter corresponding to a diameter of the body 104 of the present invention. The lid primarily consists a latch 106 and a strap 108. The latch 106 can be of any shape, size, material, features, type or kind, orientation, location, components, and/or arrangements of components that would allow the present invention to fulfill the objectives and intents of the present invention. Although it can be preferred that the latch 106 be of a material similar to the material of the present invention, the material of the latch should also exhibit

characteristics of elasticity or flexibility such that the latch should be able to retain its shape and/size after being relieved of stress or load. It is preferred that the front facing end of the latch be of a shape and size similar to the shape and size of the latch hole 1 10 in the body 104. It is preferred that the latch be located and oriented on a bottom surface of the lid near the front face of the present invention such that free end of the latch is facing the front face of the present invention. In some alternative embodiments of the present invention, the latch can be orientated and located on the side wall of the lid that is closest to the front face of the present invention such that the free end of the latch is facing the rear of the present invention.

The strap 108 of the lid 102 can be of any shape, size, material, features, type or kind, orientation, location, components, and/or arrangements of components that would allow the present invention to fulfill the objectives and intents of the present invention. However, it is preferred that the strap be of a material similar to the material of the latch. It is preferred that the strap 108 be of shape and size similar to a quadrilateral-like shaped strap commonly found with some plastic sports bottle drink container. The strap is located at the rear-facing end of the lid 102, as illustrated in Figs. 1 , 3, and 4. In some alternative embodiments of the present invention, the lid can be a slot or slit similarly found in containers that store baby wipes, tissues, and the like. With this alternative embodiment of the present invention, the lid would also include a second lid similar to a flip lid that is commonly found on containers storing baby wipes, or similar objects.

As seen in Figs. 1 -7, the present invention consists a body 104. The body can be of any shape, size, material, features, type or kind, orientation, location, components, and/or arrangements of components that would allow the present invention to fulfill the objectives and intents of the present invention. However, it is preferred that the body be of a shape, size, and material similar to the shape, size, and material of the present invention. It is preferred than the body be of a diameter similar to the diameter of the lid. It is preferred that the body be considered as a hollow, thin-walled cylindrical-like object that is open- faced at both ends of the body. The body primarily consists a compartment, a first panel, and a chamber. In alternative embodiments of the present invention, the body can consist any or all of the following: grips, finger recesses, grooves, or other similar objects along the side wall of the body to facilitate for easier grip by the user’s hands; and a hanging apparatus like a hook or a looped strap on the side of the body to allow the user to hang the present invention if not needed.

As seen in Figs. 1 and 5-7, the body 104 of the present invention includes a compartment 1 12. The compartment 112 can be of any shape, size, material, features, type or kind, orientation, location, components, and/or arrangements of components that would allow the present invention to fulfill the objectives and intents of the present invention. However, it is preferred that the compartment 1 12 be of a diameter similar to the inner diameter of the present invention. Also, it is preferred that the compartment 1 12 be of a height less than the height of the chamber 1 14. Additionally, it is preferred that the compartment 1 12 be located above the chamber 1 14, as illustrated in Fig. 7. The compartment 1 12 primarily includes the latch hole 1 10 located on the side wall of the body 104 at the front face of the present invention. It is preferred that the latch hole be of a complementary shape and size similar to the shape and size of the free end of the latch 106. In one embodiment, the latch 106 has a sloped face to ease the latching operation.

In some alternative embodiments of the present invention, the compartment can include a spindle shaft 1 16, shown in dashed line, or similar object on which a user can attach a roll of plunger covers. Also shown in Fig. 7, in dashed lines, is a handle 120 of a plunger.

As seen in Figs. 1 and 5-7, the body of the present invention has a first panel 122 dividing the compartment 1 12 from the chamber 1 14. The first panel 122 can be of any shape, size, material, features, type or kind, orientation, location, components, and/or arrangements of components that would allow the present invention to fulfill the objectives and intents of the present invention. However, it is preferred that the first panel 122 be of a material similar to the material of the present invention. Also, it is preferred that the first panel be of a diameter similar to the inner diameter of the present invention. It is preferred that the first panel be of a thickness that is significantly smaller than the height of the present invention. The first panel 122 has a dimple located at a center of the first panel. It is preferred that the dimple be of a shape similar to the hollow, hemispherical-like shaped object with an open face on the bottom face of the dimple. It is preferred that the dimple be of an inner diameter large enough to accommodate the diameter of the handles of most plungers.

As seen at least in Fig. 7, the body 104 of the present invention has a chamber 1 14. The chamber 114 can be of any shape, size, material, features, type or kind, orientation, location, components, and/or arrangements of components that would allow the present invention to fulfill the objectives and intents of the present invention. Flowever, it is preferred that the chamber 1 14 be of a diameter similar to the inner diameter of the present invention. Also, it is preferred that the chamber 1 14 be of a height greater than the height of the compartment. Additionally, it is preferred that the chamber be located beneath the compartmentl 12, as illustrated in Fig. 7. The chamber 1 14 primarily consists a second panel 124 located at a bottom end of the chamber 1 14. It is preferred that the second panel 124 be of diameter similar to the diameter of the present invention. It is also preferred that the second panel be of a thickness that is significantly smaller than the overall height of the present invention. The second panel 124 primarily includes a slit hole located on the center of the bottom face of the second panel that is of shape and size to facilitate the insertion of any shape and size handle of a plunger, as illustrated in Fig. 6.

As shown in Fig. 6, the second panel 124 includes a plurality of substantially wedge shaped portions and a central through-hole configured to receive a handle 120 of a plunger. The wedge shaped portions are flexible and configured to grasp and retain a plunger handle 120. Due to the flexibility of the wedge shaped portions, the second panel can grasp handles of varying sized and shapes. Typically, the plunger handle will pass through the second panel 124 and abut the first panel 122. While the second panel 124 is shown having 4 wedge shaped portions, any number of wedge shaped portions can be used.

As shown in Figs. 8A-8E, storage container 200 is a body that is entirely or at least partially a compartment for storing plunger covers 210. In other words, the body 200 would not necessarily have more than one axially oriented chamber. According to this aspect of the present invention, the plunger would have at least an outer sleeve. The sleeve can be a hollow, cylindrical-like container with a slot 212 for removing the plunger covers 210. The sleeve would have a diameter similar to the diameter of the plunger handle. The storage container 200 is configured to mate with a handle 120 of various diameters. Preferably, the storage container 200 has at least one radially extending wall with wedge shaped portions or other grasping elements configured to retain the storage container 200 on the handle 120. In one embodiment, the storage container 200 has a first inner cylindrical portion configured to be arranged proximate a handle 120 and a second cylindrical portion spaced radially from the first cylindrical portion. A cylindrical space is formed between the cylindrical walls. A roll of plunger covers is arranged in the cylindrical space. An opening 212 is provided in the second outer cylindrical portion through which the plunger covers 210 are dispensed.

As shown in Fig. 8E, the storage container 200 has an outer cylindrical shell 202. There is an opening 212 provided in the outer shell 202 for dispensing plunger covers. An inner cylindrical shell 218 is provided. The inner shell 218 is connected to the outer shell 202 via one or more radially extending walls. A plurality of radially inwardly projecting projections 220 are provided. The projections 220 are configured to hold the storage container on a handle of a plunger.

According to one aspect of the invention, the container 200 has a closed top. In this manner, the storage container is configured to slide over a plunger handle until the closed top of the storage container abuts an axial end of the plunger handle.

As shown in Fig. 9, the storage container 300 is an integral part of the plunger. In one embodiment, the storage container is non-detachable. The storage container 300 has a removable cover 306, which can be removed so that a roll of plunger covers can be installed in the storage container 300. The plunger covers are removed from the storage container 300 via dispensing portion 312, configured here as an oval opening. It should be noted that other opening configurations are conceivable including slits, S-shaped slits, X- shaped slits, and the like. In one embodiment, the storage container 300 is provided with a base 322 upon which a roll of plunger covers can rest. In one embodiment, the base 322 has a spindle upon which the roll of plunger covers can be rotationally guided.

While the storage container 300 and handle 120 shown in Fig. 9 can be integrally formed, such as in a molding process, it is also conceivable that the storage container 300 and handle 120 can be formed separately and joined at a coupling section 320. The coupling section 320 can be an adhesively bonded section, a thermally bonded section, a threadingly coupled section, or the like. In one embodiment, the storage container 300 can be separated from the coupling section 320 to install a roll of plunger covers to be dispensed.

Fig. 10 is a storage container 400 having a body 402 configured a cylindrical shell. The shell has an opening 412 for removing plunger covers from the storage container 400. A radially extending base 414 is provided in the storage container 400. A roll of plunger covers rest on the base 414. The storage container 400 can have multiple configurations.

In a first configuration of the storage container 400 of Fig. 10, inner portion 410 extends through the body 402 to at least the base 414. Inner portion 410 is coupled to the body 402 by at least the base 414. An axially extending radial space is formed between the inner portion 410 and the body 402 in which the plunger covers are stored. In this embodiment, the inner portion 410 is hollow and configured to receive a plunger handle.

At least one of the covers 404, 406 has an opening corresponding to the hollow of inner portion 410. If only one of the covers 404, 406 has an opening, the handle abuts an inner surface of the cover without an opening. Alternatively, the handle can abut a surface of the base 414 facing the cover with the opening. In yet another embodiment, both of the covers 404, 406 have openings and the storage can be arranged on a handle as shown in Figs 8B-8D.

In a second configuration of the storage container 400 of Fig. 10, inner portion 410 does not extend through the body 402. Inner portion 410 is removably or permanently coupled to the body 402 at an axial end 420 of the body 402. An axially extending radial space is formed that is bounded radially only by the body 402 in which the plunger covers are stored. At least one of the covers 404, 406 has an opening configured to receive the handle of a plunger and at least one of the covers is removable so that plunger covers can be placed in the radial space formed in the body. Axial end 408 of cover 404 is configured to mate with the body 402. In an embodiment in which the handle is coupled to cover 404, the storage container is arranged in a manner similar to the configuration of Fig. 9.

Fig. 1 1 is a storage container 500 having a body 502 configured a cylindrical shell. The shell has an opening 512 for removing plunger covers from the storage container 500. A radially extending base is provided with an axially extending spindle 514. A roll of plunger covers rest on the spindle 514. In one embodiment, a second opening or window 516 is provided. In one embodiment, a second spindle is provided opposite the first spindle 514.

In another alternative embodiment, there is a slit with or without a closable lid on the side or bottom of the storage area for refilling and removal of the plunger covers or other items.

It is intended that the toilet plunger be used in a normal fashion with or without the plunger storage container attached. In use, a plunger cover 210 is removed from the storage container. The plunger bowl and at least a portion of the plunger handle are covered by the plunger cover. In one embodiment, the plunger cover has an adhesive portion or is configured to be tacky to adhere to the plunger bowl and handle. After the plunger is used to unclog the pipe, sink, toilet, or the like, the plunger cover is removed and disposed of. In one embodiment, the plunger cover is a biodegradable plastic bag. In one embodiment, the plunger cover is water soluble, so that the plunger cover can be flushed down a toilet after the unclogging process.

Although the invention has been explained in relation to its preferred embodiments, it is to be understood that many other possible modifications and variations can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Thus, while there have shown and described and pointed out fundamental novel features of the invention as applied to a preferred embodiment thereof, it will be

understood that various omissions and substitutions and changes in the form and details of the devices illustrated, and in their operation, may be made by those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit of the invention. For example, it is expressly intended that all combinations of those elements and/or method steps that perform substantially the same function in substantially the same way to achieve the same results are within the scope of the invention. Moreover, it should be recognized that structures and/or elements and/or method steps shown and/or described in connection with any disclosed form or embodiment of the invention may be incorporated in any other disclosed or described or suggested form or embodiment as a general matter of design choice. It is the intention, therefore, to be limited only as indicated by the scope of the claims appended hereto.