TOILET COVER APPARATUS

The present invention is directed to a toilet cover lifting apparatus comprising a toilet covering equipped with an integrated receiving port. The apparatus is also configured with a removable handle configured to couple to the receiving port. The length of the handle of the present invention is sufficient to provide increased mechanical advantage to a user of decreased mobility.

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Description

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of priority under 35 U.S.C. Section 119(e) of U.S. Application Ser. No. 61/713,217, filed Oct. 12, 2012, which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to an apparatus for assisting with the opening, lifting and lowering of a toilet seat, and toilet seat cover.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The conventional method of raising and lowering a toilet seat has always been less than desirable. The transference of germs, bacteria, and disease is increased by human contact with the toilet. Many have resorted to using feet, shoes, sticks, and other devices to prevent having to touch the toilet. Such means for raising and lowering a toilet lid are not always reasonable or effective. Many devices have been presented which will raise and lower a lid, but such devices are either too complex or require invasion of the toilet seat for mounting the devices. And, leverages provided by such devices are often incorrectly imposed. Grasping the lid back towards the lid hinge requires excessive leverage until the lid approaches a near vertical, at which time the force required to raise the lid is greatly diminished. Some devices have offered shock absorbing and cushioning efforts to try to counteract this design flaw.

Additionally, with an ageing population, there has never been a greater need for providing an improved mechanism for the raising and lowering for toilet facilities.

Basic design and proper leverage application, therefore, have long been needed in an apparatus that will raise and lower a toilet seat.

The prior art, herein incorporated by reference, provides a variety of mechanisms for the raising and lowering of toilet facilities. By way of example, the prior art discloses in U.S. Pat. No. 4,584,724 a toilet seat lifting and lowering device; U.S. Pat. No. 4,649,576 discloses a foot-activated toilet seat lifting device; U.S. Pat. No. 4,975,988 discloses a foot-operated toilet seat lifting and lowering mechanism; U.S. Pat. No. 5,103,506 discloses a toilet seat lifter; and

U.S. Pat. No. 5,237,708 discloses a foot actuated toilet seat lifting, anti-slamming, and reseating device. All of these prior art devices provide for toilet mechanics that are cumbersome and unsightly.

What is needed in the art is a toilet facilities lifting and lowering device that is well suited for senior or limited mobility users. What is also needed is a device that is configured to provide an increased mechanical advantage by providing additional leverage, while at the same time providing a pleasing or unmodified appearance.

SUMMARY OF THE PRESENT INVENTION

In accordance with a broad aspect of the present invention, the apparatus described provides unique structural elements that assist a user in raising or lowering a toilet covering. In one arrangement the apparatus described includes integrated receiving elements that are points of attachment for connecting a removable handle to a toilet seat and/or cover so as to allow a user to raise and lower the toilet seat parts.

In one example, the toilet set and cover are each equipped with concealed handles that, when extracted, allow a greater surface area and leverage position for a user to engage. Through this increased leverage, a lower amount of force is needed to access the various functions of the toilet seat and lid. Specifically, in one arrangement the apparatus described by the present invention incorporates a toilet cover lifting apparatus comprising a toilet covering equipped with an integrated receiving port and a removable handle configured to couple to the receiving port, wherein the length of the handle is sufficient to provide increased mechanical advantage.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The foregoing and other features of the present invention will be more readily apparent from the following detailed description and drawings of an exemplary arrangement of the elements of the device described in which:

FIG. 1 illustrates a first embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2A-B illustrates alternative views of FIG. 1 when the apparatus is engaged.

FIG. 3 illustrates a second embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 4 illustrates a third embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5 illustrates a fourth embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

By way of overview and introduction, the apparatus disclosed herein provides for an instrument that allows a user to lift and/or lower a toilet seat and/or toilet cover using a removable or integrated handle. In one arrangement, the apparatus of the present invention is configured to use removable handles and integrated receiving structures to allow for increased leverage. Through the use of leverage, the amount of force needed to raise and lower the toilet seat and/or toilet cover is greatly reduced. Those skilled in the art will quickly appreciate the various modifications of the apparatus and elements described herein.

As seen in FIG. 1 a front view of a toilet seat 106 as a portion of a toilet appliance 100 is provided. A detachable handle 102 is secured into a receiver structure 104 which includes a flexible lever 110 suitable for lifting the toilet seat. Upon application of force to the detachable handle 102, the counteracting force from the flexible lever 110 raises toilet seat 106 or covering from the base 108 of the toilet. In the illustrated arrangement, the lever 110 is configured such that upon application of a downward for exerted by the detachable handle 102 the lever exerts a raising force upon the toilet seat 106.

As seen in FIG. 2A, in one configuration, the lever pivots on, and uses the toilet base 108 as a fulcrum to exert a lifting force on the toilet seat 106. Those skilled in the art will recognize that it is not necessary to provide enough force to the lever such that the toilet seat or cover reaches a resting vertical position. In the illustrated arrangement, a portion of the lever 110 (shown in dashed lines) is affixed to the toilet base 108, either permanently or temporarily.

For example, as in FIG. 2B, the lever is equipped with a tab or flange 112 designed to catch the edge of the opening to the interior bowl of the toilet. Upon exertion of a force through the removable handle to the lever, a corresponding force is exerted by the tab or flange on the toilet base. As a result, a portion of the lever is configured to bend upwards so as to raise the toilet seat. It is envisioned in the described apparatus and method of using it, to only lift the toilet seat or cover to a sufficient height which an individual with limited mobility is able to exert a manual force on the toilet seat of cover in order to reach the resting vertical position.

In one configuration, the lever 110 is configured as incorporating a leaf spring construction. In an alternative configuration, the lever is used in conjunction with the toilet base to form a lever/fulcrum machine. In this arrangement, a vertical down force on one end of the lever, causes a corresponding upward force on an opposite end of the lever. Those skilled in the art will recognize that the lever and receiving structure, in one configuration are integral to one another and formed of the same material. In another configuration, the lever and receiving structure are formed of different materials.

Those skilled in the art will recognize that any of the structural elements described are formed of metal, plastics, composite, or other materials suitable for the uses so described.

As illustrated in FIG. 3, the device is also configurable so as to exert an upward force on the lever so as to raise the toilet seat or cover. In this arrangement, the removable handle is equipped with a plurality of couplings 202. Each coupling, spaced along the length of the removable handle, is configured to increase the mechanical advantage of the user depending on the coupling 202 chosen. In one arrangement, the couplings 202 are configured as slots which are integral to the detachable handle 102.

In a further configuration, the detachable handle 102 incorporates coupling mechanisms to securely attach the couplings to the receiving portion of the lever. In one arrangement, the coupling mechanism is a configurable clamp which exerts a compressive force on the sides of the receiving portion. In an alternative configuration, the detachable handle 102 coupling mechanisms are a plurality of hook and loop articles, configured to removably attach themselves to corresponding structures of the receiving structure. In this configuration, a user or operator exerts upward force on the lever, secured by the couplings, such that the toilet seat or covering is raised in a uniform and consisted way. In this arrangement the lever is selected of a rigid material. The user inserts the lever underneath the toilet set, preferable in the spaces provides by cushions or risers integral to the toilet seat. The user then connects the removable handle to the lever and raises the seat in a uniform manner.

The handle described is activated by either a foot or hand, depending on the preference of the user. In a further configuration wherein the removable handle is configured to have an extendable length to increase the mechanical advantage exerted by the user.

In an alternative embodiment, the detachable handle 102 is co-extensive with a disposable lever 110. In this configuration the detachable handle is attached to the lever. The lever 110 is inserted underneath the toilet and is used to exert sufficient leverage so as to lift the toilet seat. After use, the lever is disposed of in a trash receptacle. In one envisioned embodiment, the hand held device is cable of being stored in a pocket of a user. Additionally, the device is stored in a portable enclosure for personal use with publically available levers 110.

In a further arrangement, the toilet lifting device is forked such that a flange of material is presented both above and below the toilet seat. In this configuration, the seat is secured through the entire range of movement, such that a user can effectuate a controlled raising or lowering of the toilet seat.

As shown in FIG. 4, the apparatus is configured for use without a lever 110. In this arrangement, the receptacle 104 is secured to a toilet seat 106. This configuration allows the user to exert a lifting force by using the removable handle 102 to raise both the receptacle 104 and toilet seat 106 to the a vertical stationary position. Those skilled in the art will recognize that the receptacle 104 is joined to the toilet seat 106, such that upon insertion of the handle 102, a secure lever is formed.

Those skilled in the art will also recognize that various structural arrangements are possible given the described apparatus. For example, the handle 102 is configured to be inserted along rails or other guidelines which provide a secure channel for insertion. In the alternative, the handle is open at one end, and is configured to fit over a pin integral to the receiving structure 104. Likewise, the handle is equipped in one arrangement with a locking device such that upon insertion of the handle, the device is secured to the receptacle. In a further arrangement, the handle 102 is equipped with a disengagement mechanism which allows the user to disengage the handle from the receptacle 104 without physically touching the receiving structure or toilet seat 106. In one arrangement, the handle is equipped with a spring activated release, which is charged upon insertion with the receptacle, and discharged with the press of a trigger or release.

As seen in FIG. 4 the receptacle is fashioned, in the alternative, as a tab and lever arrangement 404 and 402. In this configuration the tab and lever arrangement provides a flange that extends beyond the profile of the toilet seat 106. The removable handle, in the illustrated arrangement is designed to be inserted into a receiving slot of the tab or lever. The tab and lever are incorporated into a portion of the toilet seat or toilet cover. In a particular arrangement, a slot is arranged on either or both of the toilet seat 106 and the toilet seat cover. While multiple configurations of the tab and lever elements illustrated are possible, it is envisioned that the slot is configured for easy insertion of the handle. For example, the envisioned slot has dimensions which exceed the dimensions of the handle, thus reducing the need for precision movements to couple the handle to the receiver. Alternatively, the handle is equipped with a locking mechanism which allows the handle to be retained within the slot until such time as the user desires the handle to be removed. Furthermore, it is envisioned that the tab and lever are configured to be rotated when not in use. In one position, the tab and lever are rotated such that the tab and lever are not visible, or only slightly visible to a user. Upon rotation of the tab and lever, the tab extends beyond the edge of the toilet seat and is connected to the removable handle.

As illustrated in FIG. 4, the tab and slot are arranged such that it is an additional piece of equipment which is affixed to the toilet seat or toilet cover. In the alternative the handle slot is located and integral within the body of the toilet seat.

In an alternative arrangement, the toilet seat 106 is configured with integrated handles affixed or co-extensive with the toilet seat. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the handles as depicted in FIG. 5 are likewise applicable to a toilet seat cover.

Furthermore, the apparatus of the present invention also envisions the use of removable handles stored in a portion of the toilet seat. In this configuration, the handles are configurable such that they can be changed to effectuate stylistic changes. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the handles are retractable such that they are not visible when not in use. In a further arrangement, it is envisioned that these removable handles are configured with various sliding or grooved attachments. For example, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the described handles are affixed with slots or tabs or runners, which are mated with complementary portions on a surface of the toilet seat. When combined, this configuration allows for movement of the handles to extend beyond the edges of the seat or cover. Alternatively, the handles are equipped with means to move about the toilet seat at the preference of the user. In a further arrangement, the handles are able to swing freely beyond the edges of the toilet seat and/or cover so as to be accessible by the user. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that it is possible to combine these elements to provide for hybrid designs which maximize the leverage and stability of the handle.

The apparatus so described is also configurable for used in a method or series of steps of providing increased leverage to an individual to lift a toilet seat. In one arrangement the present invention includes a method of raising or lowering a toilet covering using an optionally engaged handle, wherein the toilet covering is equipped with an integrated receiving port configured to accept a portion of the handle incorporating the steps of inserting the handle into the integrated receiving port. Also provided is a step for applying a vertical force to the handle to raise or lower the toilet covering. Furthermore the described method includes a step for removing the handle from the integrated receiving port. Those skilled in the art will recognize that various additional steps are envisioned which allow the user to set the position of the handle relative to the toilet seat, steps to configure the removable handle to engage with the receiving portion. Furthermore, additional steps are envisioned that are applicable to selecting the direction of force to be exerted on the lever based on the type of lever used in the apparatus.

It should be understood that various combinations, alternatives and modifications of the present invention could be devised by those skilled in the art. The present invention is intended to embrace all such alternatives, modifications and variances which fall within the scope of the appended claims.

While the invention has been particularly shown and described with reference to a preferred embodiment thereof, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes in form and details may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.

Claims

1. A toilet cover lifting apparatus comprising:

A toilet covering equipped with an integrated receiving port;
A removable handle configured to couple to the receiving port, wherein the length of the handle is sufficient to provide increased mechanical advantage.

2. The toilet cover lifting apparatus of claim 1,

wherein the integrated receiving port is configured with magnetic elements and the removable handle is equipped with magnetic element of an opposing polarity.

3. The toilet cover lifting apparatus of claim 1,

wherein the removable handle is configured to have an extendable length to increase the mechanical advantage.

4. The toilet cover lifting apparatus of claim 1,

wherein the removable handle is configured with multiple coupling points each coupling port configured to provide a different level of mechanical advantage.

5. The toilet cover lifting apparatus of claim 1,

wherein the integrated receiving port is configured to be positioned within the toilet covering, such that the profile of the toilet covering is not disrupted.

6. The toilet cover lifting apparatus of claim 1,

wherein the integrated receiving port is hinged so as to be rotated from a engage position such that the integrated receiving port extends beyond a surface of the toilet covering, to a disengaged position such that the integrated receiving port stored between the toilet seat and a toilet device.

7. A toilet cover lifting apparatus comprising:

an apparatus configured to be selectively engaged to a toilet seat, the apparatus configured with a handle member, the handle member is coupled to a lifting member, the lifting member equipped with a plurality of recesses configured to accept the insertion of a portion of a toilet cover.

8. The apparatus of claim 7, wherein the handle is formed of a flexible material such that the handle is configured to bend in relation to the lifting member when a force is applied to the handle which is perpendicular to the degree of movement of the toilet cover.

9. A toilet cover lifting apparatus comprising: a method of raising or lowering a toilet covering using an optionally engaged handle, wherein the toilet covering is equipped with an integrated receiving port configured to accept a portion of the handle incorporating the steps of:

A removable handle configured be optionally engaged with a toilet covering and used to raise or lower the toilet covering.
inserting the handle into the integrated receiving port;
applying a vertical force to the handle to raise or lower the toilet covering
removing the handle from the integrated receiving port.

Patent History

Publication number: 20140101833
Type: Application
Filed: Oct 15, 2013
Publication Date: Apr 17, 2014
Inventor: Liviu B. Saimovici (Rye, NY)
Application Number: 14/054,295

Classifications

Current U.S. Class: Lever Operated Opener (4/246.3)
International Classification: A47K 13/10 (20060101);