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Trash can assembly

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Title: Trash can assembly.
Abstract: A trash can assembly generally having an inner container, an outer cover and a locking mechanism for securing the two-piece design together is disclosed. The inner container has a wall including a first open end, a base at a second end, and a rim about a periphery of the first open end. The locking mechanism comprises at least one locking tab affixed to the inner container, with at least one locking slot defined within the outer cover and positioned to align with and engage the locking tab when the two pieces are joined. It is preferable that the locking mechanism of the assembly be capable of being unlocked or released by the user from an exterior surface of the outer cover. The outer cover includes a wall defining a hollow, a rim defining a first opening, and a base defining a second opening. ...


- Chicago, IL, US
Inventors: Juan Escobar, Kristine Chan-Lizardo, Stephen Wahl, Emily Ma, James R. Yurchenco, Zach Traina, Mark D. Siminoff, Jan Raken, Tony Patron, David Thomsen
USPTO Applicaton #: #20080023475 - Class: 220 2391 (USPTO) - 01/31/08 - Class 220 


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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20080023475, Trash can assembly.

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TECHNICAL FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001]The present device relates to home and office trash receptacles. Particularly, the present device relates to a trash receptacle assembly including a decorative outer housing (or skirt) used to conceal an inner, bag-lined bin.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002]Cylindrical receptacles have long been used in the home and office as wastebaskets, storage containers and the like. These receptacles have also been provided in many different sizes, shapes, and construction designs. Typical one-piece trash receptacles currently on the market often do not present a pleasing, aesthetic appearance. This is due in-part to the use of unsightly, plastic bags lining the receptacle and folded over the open top. Further, these one-piece receptacles cannot be easily modified by the user to adopt a decorative appearance consistent with a desired decor or color scheme.

[0003]It has become a popular design option to decorate bathrooms, playrooms, offices, and other such rooms with coordinated accessories. A desired design feature may be carried over from a picture, area rug or wall colors, and applied to wastebaskets, storage containers and other receptacles used in the room. One known type of decorative receptacle comprises a one-piece container which has rigid decorative side walls. However, the aesthetics of such a device can be reduced by the use of a trash liner which typically folds over the top edge. Other receptacles have used a two-piece design, including an outer cover which seats over a lined container to hide the folded liner. However, such devices have either been too easily separated when, for example, they are accidentally kicked or bumped, too difficult to assemble and disassemble, too expensive to manufacture, or ineffective at retaining or hiding the liner.

[0004]Other decorative receptacles have been proposed which suffer the disadvantage that tools and/or separate fastening elements are required during assembly and disassembly thereof. This results in increased manufacturing costs and time-consuming assembly and disassembly.

[0005]The present invention overcomes these and many other disadvantages of previous devices. Disclosed is a trash can assembly which is decorative, yet functional; easy to assemble, but won't accidentally separate; and is relatively inexpensive to manufacture.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006]There is disclosed herein an improved trash can assembly which avoids the disadvantages of prior devices while affording additional structural and operating advantages.

[0007]Generally speaking, the disclosed assembly comprises an inner container, an outer cover and a locking mechanism for securing the two-piece design together. These components can be configured in an almost infinite number of distinguishable embodiments while still falling within the scope of the disclosed assembly as set forth in the appended claims.

[0008]In one particular embodiment, the inner container has a wall including a first open end, a base at a second end, and a rim about a periphery of the first open end. The locking mechanism comprises at least one locking tab affixed to the inner container, with at least one locking slot defined within the outer cover and positioned to align with and engage the locking tab when the two pieces are joined. It is preferable that the locking mechanism of the assembly be capable of being unlocked or released by the user from an exterior surface of the outer cover. The outer cover includes a wall defining a hollow, a rim defining a first opening, and a base defining a second opening.

[0009]Accordingly, in an embodiment of the assembly, the locking tab comprises a resilient arm for biasing the tab outward from the wall of the inner container. The resilient arm may be attached to the rim of the inner container, or elsewhere on the container, as required. Preferably, the resilient arm extends downward from the rim of the inner container.

[0010]In another embodiment of the assembly, the locking tab comprises a push button at an end of the resilient arm configured to releasably snap fit into the locking slot. The push button may alternatively extend from each of the at least one locking slots of the cover and be configured to bias the locking tab when inserted within the slot.

[0011]In the numerous embodiments of the assembly, the locking tab of the inner container should preferably support the weight of the outer cover when engaged within the locking slot. Alternatively, the rim of the outer cover may contact and rest upon the rim of the inner container when the locking tab is engaged with the locking slot.

[0012]These and other aspects of the invention may be understood more readily from the following description and the appended drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0013]For the purpose of facilitating an understanding of the subject matter sought to be protected, there are illustrated in the accompanying drawings embodiments thereof, from an inspection of which, when considered in connection with the following description, the subject matter sought to be protected, its construction and operation, and many of its advantages should be readily understood and appreciated.

[0014]FIG. 1 is a perspective view of one embodiment of the present trash can assembly;

[0015]FIG. 2 is also a perspective view showing the embodiment of FIG. 1 in a disassembled form;

[0016]FIG. 3 is a top view of the embodiment of FIG. 1;

[0017]FIG. 4 is a front view of the embodiment of FIG. 1;

[0018]FIG. 5 is a side view of the embodiment of FIG. 1;

[0019]FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view of the embodiment of FIG. 5 taken along line 6-6;

[0020]FIG. 7 is a close-up of the highlighted area 7 of FIG. 6;

[0021]FIG. 8 is a top view of an embodiment of the presently disclosed inner container of the disclosed trash can assembly;

[0022]FIG. 9 is a front view of the embodiment of FIG. 8; and

[0023]FIG. 10 is a side view of the embodiment of FIG. 8.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0024]While this invention is susceptible of embodiments in many different forms, there is shown in the drawings and will herein be described in detail a preferred embodiment of the invention with the understanding that the present disclosure is to be considered as an exemplification of the principles of the invention and is not intended to limit the broad aspect of the invention to embodiments illustrated.

[0025]Referring to FIGS. 1-7, there is illustrated a trash can assembly, generally designated by the numeral 10. The assembly 10 comprises an inner container 12 having a wall 30 including a first open end 34, a base 36 at a second end 38, and a rim 32 about the periphery of the first open end 34. The assembly 10 also includes an outer cover 14 having a wall 31 defining a hollow 40, a rim 33 defining a first opening 35, and a base 37 defining a second opening 39. The cover 14 and container 12 are shown to be rectangular cylinders, though many other traditional shapes are also possible, as would be understood by one skilled in the art. In fact, the design and function of the container 12 and outer cover 14 is considered to be independent of geometry.

[0026]A locking mechanism 20, as illustrated best in FIG. 7, is further provided to releasably connect the inner container 12 and outer cover 14 together. At least one locking tab 22 is affixed to the container 12 and at least one locking slot 24 is defined within the wall 31 of the outer cover 14 and is preferably positioned to align with and engage the at least one locking tab 22 when the inner container 12 is positioned within the hollow 40 of the outer cover 14.

[0027]Referring now specifically to FIGS. 8-10, a preferred embodiment of the inner container 12 is illustrated. In this embodiment, the locking mechanism 20 is comprised of a resilient arm 26 which biases the tab 22 outward from the wall of the inner container 12. The resiliency of the arm 26 may be inherent to the design of the arm itself, or it may be created or aided by the use of a mechanism, such as a spring (e.g., coil or leaf) or a resilient natural or synthetic polymer, seated between the arm 26 and the wall 30 of the container 12. The number of locking tabs 22 used may be as little as one and as many as four. However, to allow a single user to most readily release the mechanism 20 and permit the cover 14 to be removed from the container 12, two locking tabs 22 are preferred. Where a greater number of tabs are provided, it may be possible to lock such tabs in a disengaged position in order to have all tabs simultaneously released from corresponding slots.

[0028]The resilient arm 26 of the locking mechanism 20 is most preferably attached by one end to the rim 32 of the inner container 12, as shown in FIG. 9. At the opposing end of the arm 26 is supported the locking tab 22 for engaging the locking slot 24. The locking tab 22, while shown to be obround or rectangular in the drawing figures, may be most any shape, so long as the locking slot 24 mimics the shape or at least allows a suitable locking, releasable engagement between the two components. The length of the resilient arm 26 should preferably be just long enough to place the releasable locking mechanism 20 at the user's fingertips as the rim 33 of the cover 14 is grasped to be lifted.

[0029]Referring now to FIG. 2, the two-piece assembly 10, may be more readily understood. To engage the locking mechanism 20, the cover 14 is lowered over the inner container 12 with the tabs 22 and slots 24 vertically aligned. As the tabs 22 are biased outward by the resilient arms 26, they will "snap-fit" into the slots 24 when the two components align horizontally. As shown in FIG. 7, the top of the locking tab 22 has a slight lip 23 which catches along the upper edge 25 of slot 24. This prevents the cover 14 from being lifted off container 12.

[0030]If the cover 14 is shorter in length than the inner container 12, then the tabs 22 will tend to support the cover 14 just off the ground surface. Alternatively, the cover 14 may come to rest on the ground just as engagement of the locking mechanism 20 occurs. In either case, an underside of the cover rim 33 may come to rest on the container rim 32 to aid in support of the cover 14. This feature may also aid in retention of a liner (not shown) placed within the inner container 12.

[0031]To facilitate assembly of the trash can 10, the cover walls 31 are preferably sloped outward toward the open base of the cover 14. If the cover 14 contains a design, picture or color, such may be carried over to the exposed portion of the locking tabs 22, if desired.

[0032]In order to remove the cover 14, the locking mechanism 20 is preferably configured to operate with a push-button type release. The release operates by pressing inward on the tabs 22 extending from the slots 24 as the cover 14 is lifted. Once the tabs 22 and slots 24 are no longer horizontally aligned, i.e., the tabs 22 are clear of the slots 24, the inward pressure on the tabs 22 may be released by the user. When the cover 14 is removed, the inner container 12 may be emptied, cleaned and/or re-lined.

[0033]With reference to FIGS. 1-7 again, the locking slot 24 of the disclosed embodiment is illustrated as an opening defined within the cover wall 31. This opening allows the tab 22 to extend through the cover wall 31, permitting easy access by the user. However, it should be understood that the locking slot 24 may not pass entirely through the cover wall 31. Rather, it may have only a small opening to permit, for example, a single finger to press inward on the locking tab 22 of the locking mechanism 20 to release the tab 22 from the slot 24 in the interior of the cover wall 31. Such a configuration may better camouflage, if desired, the release tab for the assembly 10.

[0034]The matter set forth in the foregoing description and accompanying drawings is offered by way of illustration only and not as a limitation. While particular embodiments have been shown and described, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that changes and modifications may be made without departing from the broader aspects of applicants' contribution. The actual scope of the protection sought is intended to be defined in the following claims when viewed in their proper perspective based on the prior art.

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Garbage can
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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20080023475 A1
Publish Date
01/31/2008
Document #
11494308
File Date
07/27/2006
USPTO Class
220 2391
Other USPTO Classes
International Class
65D21/02
Drawings
7



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