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Cooler Innovations


Written by Gene Quinn
President & Founder of IPWatchdog, Inc.
Patent Attorney, Reg. No. 44,294
Zies, Widerman & Malek
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Posted: July 7, 2012 @ 4:44 pm
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Lounge chair and cooler combination, US Patent No. 7,475,889

It is still extraordinarily hot throughout most of the United States today.  Some relief is on the horizon for tomorrow, at least for the greater Washington, DC and Northern Virginia area, with even more relief next week.  After getting up early to go for a long walk with my 5 pound weights in each hand (yes, trying to lose weight) and it was 88 degrees first thing in the morning I knew I had to return to the topic of cool or cold inventions.

Alright… alright… I know I’m a geek, a nerd and extremely corny!  But after the article from yesterday about Cool Wearable Innovations, I couldn’t resist writing an article titled “Cooler Innovation.”  That double entendre lured me into its clutches.  You see, these are “cooler” innovations because they all relate to the field of keeping perishable items and beverages cool, not because they are “cooler” in a hip sort of way.

The idea for the article initially came to me yesterday when I was searching for “cool” or “cold” inventions that will help keep people comfortable during the extreme heat we are facing in the United States.  I realized after a while I was leaning toward wearable innovations, but the personal air conditioning system (U.S. Patent No. 7,246,505) made the cut.  It was the only one that was not wearable, at which point the double entendre first occurred to me. Yes, I crack myself up… you know in that not funny at all patent attorney kind of way!

My personal favorite is U.S. Patent No. 7,475,889 (shown above), which is a combination of two folding lounge chairs and a cooler which, in a collapsed form, acts as a compact lightweight unit for ease of portability.  That could come in real handy on vacation at the beach!

Without further ado, here are some other “cooler inventions” for the dog days of summer.  Enjoy!

 

Personal air conditioning system
U.S. Patent No. 7,246,505
Issued July 24, 2007

This invention is a personal air conditioning system that can be used to cool a tent. The personal air conditioning system includes a cooling lid that fits over a typical insulated cooler. The existing lid for an insulated cooler is removed, and the cooling lid is installed in its place.

The cooling lid includes a heat transfer tower that is configured to transfer heat from a cold medium, such as ice, that is located within the cooler to an area within the cooling lid. A heat sink at the top of the heat transfer tower is at least partially within the cooling lid. A fan is configured to draw air into the cooling lid, across the heat sink, and out of the cooling lid. The cooled air may then be used for cooling a confined compartment, such as a tent, or may be directed to blow on an individual.

 

Golf cart cooler
U.S. Patent No. 6,601,745
Issued August 5, 2003

With golf being largely a summer activity, or at the very least an activity that can be “enjoyed” during the summer, players are often subjected to very hot weather conditions.  Thus, it is helpful to stay properly hydrated when participating in the “sport.”  How anyone can enjoy trying to drive such a tiny ball into such a tiny hole from such a distance while use a crooked stick is beyond me.  Golf seems less a sport and more a psychological test if you ask me.  As Robin Williams (or maybe it was George Carlin) once joked, you should thank your lucky stars you found the ball at all rather than hit it all over again!  It has been years since I golfed, but I did get quite good at getting out of the sand and out from behind trees and very rough terrain, but I digress.

Golf cart coolers are known, but this invention provides a golf cart cooler that is portable and easy to mount to the front of almost any golf cart. The cooler provides space for storing beverages, snacks and other perishable items in a thermally insulated container. The cooler is made from a soft body construction making it easy to fold up, transport and store.

 

Cooler backpack with compartments
U.S. Patent No. 5,509,279
Issued April 23, 1996

The Background of the patent explains that conventional coolers are portable, but require the person doing the carrying to grasp handles placed on the sides of the cooler. This conventional arrangement is not deemed to be best because it “suffers from the disadvantage of being unwieldy and difficult for one person to carry comfortably.” As the patent also explains, carrying such a cooler over long distances becomes a very intensive exercise.

With this in mind, this invention provides a cooler which can be conveniently carried on a person’s back. In the preferred embodiment there are separate compartments for holding food, beverage containers, and ice. An insulated food storage compartment is also present and will have a hinged door, an ice container, and multiple recesses formed in the top of the ice container into which cans or bottles of beverages may be held. The food compartment is preferably placed in the bottom of the backpack, with the ice container placed on top of the food compartment.

 

Beverage dispensing cooler
U.S. Patent No. 7,810,350
Issued October 12, 2010

This invention is a wearable cooler device for transporting consumable.  The cooler has multiple access ports near the bottom and contains pathways that direct the consumables to areas proximate the access ports, thereby allowing easy removal while preventing the unintended egress of the consumables from the wearable cooler.

Internally, the invention includes two container guides and six (6) spacing connectors. Container guides and connectors can be made from any material that is strong enough to hold a typical filled beverage container without significantly bending or breaking.  Of course, the material the guides and connectors are made of should preferably be sufficiently light weight that weight is minimized. Suitable materials include aluminum or molded plastic such as polycarbonate, polypropylene, high density polyethylene or polystyrene.

 

Easy pulling rolling cooler
U.S. Patent No. 6,446,988
Issued September 10, 2002

What list of cooler inventions could possibly be complete without mentioning the nearly ubiquitous rolling cooler?

This particular rolling cooler  can be manually towed by pulling a handle that is designed to resist torsion. The cooler has two wheels that are located directly under the cooler center of gravity to minimize pulling strain for the user. The handle can be folded down and stored on the cooler lid when not being used for towing. The cooler bottom is V-shaped, providing good ground clearance for the back end of the cooler when being towed over uneven ground. The cooler is also light weight, compact and easily fitted in a car trunk

Claim 1 is extraordinarily long.  It reads:

1. A pullable, rolling cooler comprising: (a) a generally rectangular shaped, rigid molded case having an open top, said case having elongate opposing parallel, planar side walls, a planar front end wall, an opposing planar rear end wall, and a V-shaped bottom wall; all said walls being made thick for thermal insulation; (b) a pair of rubber-tired wheels, rotatably mounted on an axle extending, transversely to said side walls, said axle being fastened to the under surface of said bottom wall at the proximate midway point corresponding to a vertical line through the case center of gravity; (c) a handle mounting plate, said mounting plate being fastened and centered adjacent to a top edge of said front end wall of said case, said mounting plate having two projecting, parallel opposing ears, said ears each having a hole; (d) a rigid, metal handle, (e) a pin member for connecting a proximate end of said handle to said handle mounting plate for pivotal movement of said handle between a stored position and an extended position; (f) means for fixing said handle rigidly in place to the front end wall of said case while in said extend position, said means including a strut assembly that is connected to said handle, and a latch plate assembly which is attached to the front end wall of said case below said mounting plate; said strut assembly comprising two elongate identical strut members made of a springy material which are joined in parallel at their mid-point by a stiffening plate, said stiffening plate separating said strut members by a width of said handle plus clearance; said strut members having proximate ends pivotally fastened to opposing side of said handle; distal ends of said strut members each including a portion permanently bent at an acute angle outwardly therefrom, forming fastening lips said latch plate assembly comprising a pair of opposed vertically extending curved members, each curved member being formed with a recess which becomes narrower in a downwardly extending direction, each curved member having a slot near a lower end for receiving a respective one of said fastening lips when said handle is in said extended position; (g) a thick, molded rectangular lid that has a width and length which is identical to said case; said lid having a generally planar top surface and a stepped planar bottom surface, said bottom surface having a stepped portion that is sized and shaped to fit closely into the open top of said case to secure said lid on said case; said top surface having a wide, deep groove cut along longitudinal axis of the lid from near one end to a distal end adjacent said handle mounting plate when said lid is in a closed position, said groove being shaped to accommodate in nesting fashion the length of said handle when said handle is in said stored position with said strut assembly attached and folded against the sides of said handle; and (h) means for removably securing said handle within said groove in said lid while in said stored position said handle being movable from said stored position to said extended position by disengaging said handle from said lid, unfolding said strut assembly from said handle, and inserting said fastening lips into said opposed curved members until said fastening lips are received within said slots, thereby readying said cooler for manual pulling by said handle.

It would be extremely difficult to infringe that claim, but if you did you would be hard pressed to prove it was anything other than willful infringement.

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Posted in: Gene Quinn, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Museum of Obscure Patents, Patents

About the Author

is a Patent Attorney and the founder of the popular blog IPWatchdog.com, which has for three of the last four years (i.e., 2010, 2012 and 2103) been recognized as the top intellectual property blog by the American Bar Association. He is also a principal lecturer in the PLI Patent Bar Review Course. As an electrical engineer with a computer engineering focus his specialty is electronic and computer devices, Internet applications, software and business methods.

 

6 comments
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  1. Great stuff Gene. We just got some thunder and lightning. Hope we can get some rain in Philly.

  2. Just curious, are any of the products covered by these patents commercialized and available on the market?

  3. Steven-

    The thunderstorms are just rolling into Northern Virginia. After they blow through temperatures are supposed to drop dramatically. Here is hoping! Stay cool in Philly if you can!

    -Gene

  4. Gene-

    I am pretty surprised at how recent most of these patents are. Your other post about Cool Wearable Innovations got me to thinking a bit, which led me to a perhaps a much simpler and cheaper way to produce cooling garments, that could even be a bit stylish if done properly. Imagine a suit coat or even slacks that would be *charged* with coolness, about twice per day, by simply changing clothes at lunch break or whenever needed.

    Thanks!
    Stan~

  5. Stan, that ain’t new so it ain’t patentable. Didn’t you watch Downton Abbey?? They dressed for dinner every night. Moreover, putting on a set of clothes not infested with your body heat does not strike me as the most efficient or effective way to chill.

  6. AC-

    It depends on what the clothes are made of. I was thinking of just a suit coat that could be donned just before you had to appear in a formal setting, and easily replaced with a fresh twin version during a break. I haven’t done a patent search yet, so I have no idea yet if it has been done before. Probably a very small market as well, at least here in the US.