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Tie-down cleat for a moving vehicle

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Publication number
US20110058914A1
Authority
US
Grant status
Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
vehicle
member
plate
license
cleat
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Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
Application number
US12554417
Inventor
William J. Ogden
Original Assignee
Ogden William J
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    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60PVEHICLES ADAPTED FOR LOAD TRANSPORTATION OR TO TRANSPORT, TO CARRY, OR TO COMPRISE SPECIAL LOADS OR OBJECTS
    • B60P7/00Securing or covering of load on vehicles
    • B60P7/06Securing of load
    • B60P7/08Securing to the vehicle floor or sides
    • B60P7/0807Attachment points
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60RVEHICLES, VEHICLE FITTINGS, OR VEHICLE PARTS, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • B60R13/00Elements for body-finishing, identifying, or decorating; Arrangements or adaptations for advertising purposes
    • B60R13/10Registration, licensing, or like devices
    • B60R13/105Licence- or registration plates, provided with mounting means, e.g. frames, holders, retainers, brackets

Abstract

A tie-down cleat removably secured at the vehicle's license plate area with the same screw used for securing the license plate. The cleat serves as an attachment point for a rope, etc. that is being used to maintain a vehicle's trunk lid or cargo hatch door in a substantially fixed unlatched position with respect to the vehicle when the trunk or cargo area is overfilled or otherwise preventing the lid or door from being latched and in a fully closed position. In another embodiment the cleat is provided with a slot for insertion of a top license plate portion for securing the cleat, with or without attachment also by the license plate screw. The slot can also be sized to receive the top of a vehicle window for securing the cleat at the vehicle window to serve as rope attachment points for securing an item to the vehicle's roof.

Description

    1. FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • [0001]
    The present invention relates to a cleat-like device for tying down the lid of an automobile trunk.
  • 2. BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0002]
    When an automobile trunk or cargo area (collectively referred to as “trunk”) is overfilled or contains a large object, it often becomes difficult to fully close the tick lid or cargo door hatch (collectively referred to as “trunk lid”). In such scenarios, the user secures a rope, cord, twine, string, cable, etc. (collectively referred to as “rope”) to a portion of the trunk lid and attempts to also secure the rope to another part of the automobile. Often the second securement position is not easily accessible and not designed for securing a rope around. In addition to being cumbersome to tie-down the truck lid, the actual securement is often not tight, which causes the trunk lid to move up and down while the automobile is moving. The present invention is directed to overcoming these above-described problems one experiences when currently tying down the trunk lid for an overfilled trunk.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0003]
    A vehicle secured cleat-like member is provided having a body member with preferably in one embodiment a single hole in the center in a base portion of the body member for securement to the moving vehicle by using the same screw, bolt, etc. (collectively referred to as “screw”) used to secure the license plate to the vehicle. Extending upward from the base are two flange members which are used to tie the rope (as defined above) around in use. Preferably, the two flange members are disposed at least substantially opposite of each other with respect to the base portion.
  • [0004]
    The preferred single hole provides a relatively quick installation/securement of the cleat-like member to the vehicle and allows the rope to be quickly tied thereto.
  • [0005]
    The base portion preferably is provided with a flared out member that can be approximately ¾″ from the center which ends with a lip that can be slid over or be clipped on to the edge of the license plate to provide stability to the cleat-like member in use. The lip can rest or lay on the edge of the license plate and can be approximately ¾″ in width. As an alternative to the edge engaging lip, a relatively small nub, protrusion, etc. (collectively referred to as “protrusion”) can be incorporated into the bottom of the base portion which can preferably conform to the shape of the license plate mounting hole. When the cleat like member is secured to the vehicle using one of the license plate screws, the protrusion is positioned within a portion of the license plate hole and prevents the cleat-like member from turning, rotated or otherwise twisting.
  • [0006]
    Preferably, the hole in the base is sized to receive the license plate screw. The size of the license plate screw are typically standard for most, if not all, vehicles, thus permitting the cleat like member to be used with at least most vehicles. In one non-limiting embodiment, the cleat-like member can be from approximately 2″ to approximately 2½″ in width (i.e. from an outer end of the first flange to the outer end of the oppositely positioned second flange).
  • [0007]
    The cleat-like member is not limited to any particular color and as non-limiting examples all or a portion of the cleat-like member can be black, white, clear (acrylic/lexan), silver, steel color, etc. The material(s) used for the cleat-like member is also not limited to any specific material(s). As non-limiting examples metal, nylon, synthetic material, rigid plastic, chrome plated, etc. can be used, as well as any other material which will preferably be durable and resistant to various and diverse weather conditions.
  • [0008]
    The actual tying down or securing of the trunk lid varies by vehicle. Where the license plate is secured to the bumper of the vehicle and with the cleat-like member properly secured thereto, approximately ten feet in length of rope can be used with one end of the rope preferably in a loop configuration. The looped end can be placed over the trunk lid and the other end of the rope can be fed through the loop and the rope pulled tight or taught. The non-looped end of the rope is then secured to the cleat-like member by conventional tying methods.
  • [0009]
    Where the license plate is secured to the trunk lid and with the cleat-like member properly secured thereto, approximately ten feet in length of rope can be used with one end of the rope again looped. The non-looped is placed through an appropriate section of the vehicle, which often can be near the vehicle's frame/undercarriage (collectively referred to as “frame”) under the vehicle's bumper or a hole in the frame. The non-looped end is fed through the loop at the opposite end of the rope and the rope is pulled taught or tight. The non-looped end of the rope is then secured to the cleat-like member by conventional tying methods.
  • [0010]
    Often where the license plate is secured to the trunk lid, the vehicle is provided with an easily accessible hole or gap between the bumper and the vehicle frame or a hole or gap is provided in the frame. The rope can be fed or threaded through these existing openings. Alternatively or additionally, the fixed portion of the trunk lid latch can also be appropriately configured to receive the rope as part of the process of tying down the trunk lid. Furthermore, many vehicles have a preexisting closed hook or loop attached to the vehicle frame adjacent to the bumper, centered in the middle that can also be used. As the cleat-like member with rope is used for securing the trunk lid, it is also possible and within the scope of the invention to secure the rope to one or more items stored in the vehicle. In this scenario, the stored item serves as the anchor point prior to tightening the rope and securing the other end of such rope to the cleat-like member. If the vehicle has a trailer hitch, the hitch can also be used as the anchor point. Thus, any appropriate part of the vehicle can be used as an anchor point.
  • [0011]
    It should also be recognized that a longer piece of rope (i.e. greater than 10 ft, etc.) can be used. With the longer piece of rope, rather than threading the rope through the loop, the rope can be folded in half and the two ends can be fed through the fold or bend in the rope. After such, the above-described process is then followed.
  • [0012]
    Thus, the cleat-like member secured to the vehicle permits the trunk lid to be quickly and easily secured when there are items stowed or otherwise disposed in the trunk that prohibit the trunk lid from latching. Thus, the cleat-like member secures the trunk lid in a substantially fixed position with respect to the vehicle.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0013]
    FIG. 1A is a front perspective view of a first embodiment for a vehicle secured cleat-like member in accordance with the present invention with the securing screw shown exploded;
  • [0014]
    FIG. 1B is a back perspective view of the vehicle secured cleat-like member shown in FIG. 1A;
  • [0015]
    FIG. 1C is a top view of the vehicle secured cleat-like member shown in FIG. 1A with securing screw;
  • [0016]
    FIG. 1D is a front elevational view of the vehicle secured cleat-like member shown in FIG. 1A with securing screw;
  • [0017]
    FIG. 1E is a back perspective view of the vehicle secured cleat-like member shown in FIG. 1A and having a nub or protrusion to assist in preventing the cleat-like member from substantially rotating once secured to the vehicle;
  • [0018]
    FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the vehicle secured cleat-like members of FIG. 1 a secured to the lower corners of the trunk attached license plate;
  • [0019]
    FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the vehicle secured cleat-like member of FIG. 1 a secured to the upper corners of the bumper attached license plate;
  • [0020]
    FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a license plate illustrating three embodiments of the vehicle secured cleat-like members attached thereto in accordance with the present invention;
  • [0021]
    FIG. 5Aa is a perspective view of a second embodiment of the vehicle secured cleat-like member in accordance with the present invention;
  • [0022]
    FIG. 5B is a side elevational view of the second embodiment of the vehicle secured cleat-like member of FIG. 5 a;
  • [0023]
    FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a third embodiment of the vehicle secured cleat-like member in accordance with the present invention;
  • [0024]
    FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a version of the third embodiment of the vehicle secured cleat-like member shown secured to the vehicle through use of the vehicle's window;
  • [0025]
    FIG. 8 is a perspective close up view of the securement to the vehicle's window shown in FIG. 7;
  • [0026]
    FIG. 9A is a perspective view of a fourth embodiment of the vehicle secured cleat-like member in accordance with the present invention;
  • [0027]
    FIG. 9B is a perspective view of a fifth embodiment of the vehicle secured cleat-like member in accordance with the present invention; and
  • [0028]
    FIG. 9C is a perspective view of a sixth embodiment of the vehicle secured cleat-like member in accordance with the present invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • [0029]
    A first embodiment of the present invention is illustrated in FIG. 1 a though FIG. 1 e and is generally designated as vehicle secured cleat-like member 20. Cleat-like member 20 includes a base portion 24 having a top surface 26, a bottom surface 28, a first end 30 and a second end 32. An aperture 34, which can be threaded, is defined through base portion 24. A nub or protrusion, or other downward member 36, can extend downward from bottom surface 28 and is preferably located by or adjacent aperture 34. In one non-limiting embodiment protrusion 36 can be a square-like member extending from bottom surface and having a circular passageway in communication with aperture 34 to effectively expand the length of aperture 34. Protrusion 36 helps to prevent or minimize rotation or turning of cleat-like member 20 when it is secured to the vehicle by one of the license plate screws 50 (with “screws” being defined as noted above). When cleat-like member 20 is properly attached, protrusion 36 extends within aperture 62 of license plate 60 and can contact the edge of aperture 62 to prevent or minimize turning of cleat-like member 20.
  • [0030]
    Extending upward and outward from base 24 are two curved flange members 40 and 42 which are used to tie a rope 130 (as defined above) around in use to tie down the trunk lid (See FIGS. 2 and 3). One end of flange member 40 is disposed at or adjacent to first end 30 of base portion 24 and one end of flange member 42 is disposed at or adjacent to second end 32 of base portion. Thus, flange members 40 and 42 are preferably disposed substantially opposite of each other with respect to base portion 24.
  • [0031]
    As seen in FIG. 4, to secure cleat-like member 20 to a vehicle 150, the relevant license plate screw 50 is unscrewed (if currently screwed in) and aperture 34 is aligned with the chosen receiving aperture 151 on the vehicle which is provided on the vehicle for receiving license plate screw 50 and also aligned with the relevant aperture 62 of license plate 60. With aperture 34 aligned and bottom surface 28 of base 24 preferably contacting the license plate, license plate screw 50 is inserted (i.e. screwed in, etc.) in aperture 34, license plate aperture 62 and the chosen vehicle license plate screw aperture 151 until screw 50 is fully received. At this point, cleat-like member 20 is properly secured to the vehicle and flange members 40 and 42 are preferably substantially horizontal in position extending outward from first end 30 and second end 32, respectively, of base 24. Screw 50 is also still used to secure one corner area of license plate 60 to vehicle 150. In this embodiment, cleat-like member 20 is secured the same for when license plate 60 is secured to the bumper of vehicle 150 (FIG. 3) and when license plate 60 is secured to the trunk lid (as defined above) of vehicle 150 (FIG. 2), as both still used license plate screw 50.
  • [0032]
    Where protrusion 36 is provided, protrusion 36 will extend into aperture 62 of license plate 60, when bottom surface 28 contacts license plate 60 and base aperture 34 is aligned with license plate aperture 62. Once cleat-like member 20 is secured to vehicle 150 as noted above, protrusion 36, which is positioned within aperture 62, helps to prevent any substantial or noticeable turning, twisting or rotation of cleat-like member 20 when rope 130 is being tied around flange members 40 and 42. Thus, protrusion 36 helps to maintain or retain flange members 40 and 42 in their desired substantially horizontal orientation.
  • [0033]
    As seen in FIGS. 4 and 5, a second embodiment is shown as cleat-like member 200, which is provided with similar flange members 40 and 42 disposed at first end 30 and second 32 of base 210. Base 210 is provided with a bottom surface 212 and top surface 214. A slot 216 is formed in base 210 to define a first or bottom portion 220 and a second or top portion 230. Bottom portion 220 is preferably extended in length as compared to top portion 230, and along with slot 216, base 210 can be substantially J-shaped, and when secured to vehicle 150 can be a substantially inverted “J” in shape. It should be recognized that other shapes can be used for base 210 (i.e. substantially “U” shaped, etc.) and all are considered within the scope of the invention. An aperture 222 can be provided through bottom portion 220.
  • [0034]
    To secure cleat-like member 200 to a vehicle 150, the relevant license plate screw 50 is unscrewed (if currently screwed in) and aperture 222 is aligned with the chosen receiving aperture 151 on vehicle 150 (See FIG. 4) which is provided for receiving license plate screw 50 and also aligned with the relevant aperture 62 of license plate 60. The alignment of the apertures preferably occurs through the insertion of a portion of a top edge 64 of license plate 60 into slot 216, whose dimensions can be made such that when the top edge of license plate 60 contacts the upper end 217 of slot 216, aperture 222 is aligned with aperture 62 (See FIG. 4).
  • [0035]
    With all apertures aligned as described above and the relevant portion of top edge 64 of license plate 60 within slot 216, license plate screw 50 is inserted (i.e. screwed in, etc.) in apertures 222 and 62 and the chosen vehicle license plate screw aperture 151 until screw 50 is fully received. At this point, cleat-like member 200 is properly secured to vehicle 150 and flange members 40 and 42 are preferably substantially horizontal in position extending outward from first end 30 and second end 32, respectively, of base 210. Additionally bottom base portion 220 is tightly wedged between the back of license plate 60 and an adjacent portion of the vehicle's body. Screw 50 is also still used to secure one corner area of license plate 60 to vehicle 150. In this embodiment, cleat-like member 200 is secured the same for when license plate 60 is secured to the bumper of vehicle 150 (FIG. 3) and when license plate 60 is secured to the trunk lid (as defined above) of vehicle 150 (FIG. 2), as both still used license plate screw 50. The insertion of a portion of top edge 64 of license plate 60 in slot 216 also helps to prevent or minimize any substantial or noticeable turning, twisting or rotation of cleat-like member 200 when rope 130 is being tied around flange members 40 and 42 and helps to maintain or retain flange members 40 and 42 in their desired substantially horizontal orientation.
  • [0036]
    As seen in FIGS. 4 and 6, a third embodiment is shown as cleat-like member 300 which eliminates aperture 34 or aperture 222. Cleat-like member 300 is provided with similar flange members 40 and 42 disposed at first end 30 and second 32 of base 310. Base 310 is provided with a bottom surface 312 and top surface 314. A slot 316 is formed in base 310 to define a first or bottom portion 320 and a second or top portion 330. Bottom portion 320 is preferably extended in length as compared to top portion 330, and along with slot 316, base 310 can be substantially J-shaped, and when secured to vehicle can be a substantially inverted “J” in shape. It should be recognized that other shapes can be used for base 310 (i.e. substantially “U” shaped, etc.) and all are considered within the scope of the invention.
  • [0037]
    To secure cleat-like member 300 to a vehicle 150, the relevant license plate screw(s) 50 is(are) at least partially unscrewed (if currently screwed in) to loosen license plate 60. A portion of the top edge of license plate 60 is inserted into slot 316, causing base bottom portion 320 to between license plate 60 and an adjacent portion of vehicle 150. License plate screw(s) 50 is(are) conventionally inserted (i.e. screwed in, etc.) or tightened in connection with its(their) corresponding license plate aperture(s) 62 and vehicle license plate screw aperture(s) 151 until screw(s) 50 is(are) fully received. At this point, cleat-like member 300 is properly secured to the vehicle and flange members 40 and 42 are preferably substantially horizontal in position extending outward from first end 30 and second end 32, respectively, of base 310. Additionally bottom base portion 320 is tightly wedged between the back of license plate 60 and the adjacent portion of the vehicle's body. In this embodiment, cleat-like member 300 is secured the same for when license plate 60 is secured to the bumper of vehicle 150 (FIG. 3) and when license plate 60 is secured to the trunk lid (as defined above) of vehicle 150 (FIG. 2), as both still used license plate 60 to tightly wedge bottom base portion. The insertion of a portion of top edge 64 of license plate 60 in slot 316, and preferably up to slot end 317, also helps to prevent or minimize any substantial or noticeable turning, twisting or rotation of cleat-like member 300 when rope 130 is being tied around flange members 40 and 42 and helps to maintain or retain flange members 40 and 42 in their desired substantially horizontal orientation.
  • [0038]
    FIG. 9A illustrates another embodiment for the vehicle-secured cleat-like member which is secured to vehicle similar to the embodiment illustrated and described above for FIGS. 1A through FIG. 1E. Cleat-like member 20 a includes a base portion 24 a having a downward extending bottom portion 26 a, a first end 30 a and a second end 32 a. An aperture 34 a, which can be threaded, is defined through bottom portion 26 a. A nub or protrusion, or other downward member, (not shown—but similar to the nub, protrusion or downward member described above) can extend downward from the back surface of bottom portion 26 a and is preferably located by or adjacent aperture 34 a. The nub or protrusion helps to prevent or minimize rotation or turning of cleat-like member 20 a when it is secured to the vehicle by one of the license plate screws 50 (with “screws” being defined as noted above). When cleat-like member 20 a is properly attached, the nub or protrusion extends within aperture 62 of license plate 60 and can contact the edge of aperture 62 to prevent or minimize turning of cleat-like member 20 a.
  • [0039]
    Extending upward and outward from base 24 a are two flange members 40 a and 46 a can be used to tie a rope 130 (as defined above) around in use to tie down the trunk lid (See FIGS. 2 and 3). A leg 42 a of flange member 40 a can be disposed at or adjacent to first end 30 a of base portion 24 a and a leg 48 a of flange member 46 a is disposed at or adjacent to second end 32 a of base portion 24 a. Thus, flange members 40 a and 46 a are preferably disposed substantially opposite of each other with respect to base portion 24 a. Flange member 40 a also includes first end 41 a of elongated member 44 a which can be secured by conventional means to leg 42 a and leg 48 a, such as, but not limited to, screws 43 a and 49 a, respectively. Alternatively, elongated member 44 a and legs 42 a and 48 a can be constructed integral or monolithically formed as one piece, and can also be monolithically formed or constructed instructed integral with base 24 a and/or bottom portion 26 a. Similarly, flange member 46 a also includes second end 47 a of elongated member 44 a. Intermediate or middle portion 45 a of elongated member 44 a along with base 24 a, leg 42 a and leg 48 a define a passageway 51 a. As an alternative to tying rope 130 to cleat-like member 20, bungee cords or other ropes have clip, hook, clip-like, etc. ends can be used and connected to and disposed around intermediate portion 45 a through insertion into passageway 51 a.
  • [0040]
    Similar to securing cleat-like member 20 as shown in FIG. 4, to secure cleat-like member 20 a to a vehicle 150, the relevant license plate screw 50 is unscrewed (if currently screwed in) and aperture 34 a is aligned with the chosen receiving aperture 151 on the vehicle which is provided on the vehicle for receiving license plate screw 50 and also aligned with the relevant aperture 62 of license plate 60. With aperture 34 a aligned and the back surface of base 24 a/bottom portion 26 a preferably contacting the license plate, license plate screw 50 is inserted (i.e. screwed in, etc.) in aperture 34 a, license plate aperture 62 and the chosen vehicle license plate screw aperture 151 until screw 50 is fully received. At this point, cleat-like member 20 a is properly secured to the vehicle and flange members 40 a and 46 a are preferably substantially horizontal in position extending outward from first end 30 a and second end 32 a, respectively, of base 24 a. Screw 50 is also still used to secure one corner area of license plate 60 to vehicle 150. In this embodiment, cleat-like member 20 a is secured the same for when license plate 60 is secured to the bumper of vehicle 150 (FIG. 3) and when license plate 60 is secured to the trunk lid (as defined above) of vehicle 150 (FIG. 2), as both still used license plate screw 50.
  • [0041]
    Where a nub or protrusion is provided as described above, the protrusion will extend into aperture 62 of license plate 60, when the back surface contacts license plate 60 and base aperture 34 a is aligned with license plate aperture 62. Once cleat-like member 20 a is secured to vehicle 150 as noted above, the protrusion, which is positioned within aperture 62, helps to prevent any substantial or noticeable turning, twisting or rotation of cleat-like member 20 a when rope 130 is being tied around flange members 40 a and 46 a or when a clip or hook end rope (i.e. bungee cord, etc.) is secured to cleat-like member 20 a preferably at intermediate portion 45 a. Thus, the nub or protrusion helps to maintain or retain flange members 40 a and 46 a in their desired substantially horizontal orientation.
  • [0042]
    As seen in FIGS. 9B, a further embodiment is shown as cleat-like member 200 a, which is provided with similar flange members 40 a and 46 a disposed at first end 30 a and second 32 a of base 24 a, as well intermediate portion 45 a which defines passageway 51 a, along with base 24 a and legs 42 a and 48 a. Base 24 a includes a slot 216 a which is formed in base 24 a to define a first or bottom portion 226 a and a second or top portion 230 a. Bottom portion 226 a is preferably extended in length as compared to top portion 230 a, and along with slot 216 a, base 24 a can be substantially J-shaped, and when secured to vehicle 150 can be a substantially inverted “J” in shape. It should be recognized that other shapes can be used for base 24 a (i.e. substantially “U” shaped, etc.) and all are considered within the scope of the invention. An aperture 234 a can be provided through bottom portion 226 a.
  • [0043]
    To secure cleat-like member 200 a to a vehicle 150, the relevant license plate screw 50 is unscrewed (if currently screwed in) and aperture 234 a is aligned with the chosen receiving aperture 151 on vehicle 150 (Similar to cleat-like member 200 shown in FIG. 4) which is provided for receiving license plate screw 50 and also aligned with the relevant aperture 62 of license plate 60. The alignment of the apertures preferably occurs through the insertion of a portion of a top edge 64 of license plate 60 into slot 216 a, whose dimensions can be made such that when the top edge of license plate 60 contacts the upper end 217 a of slot 216 a, aperture 234 a is aligned with aperture 62 (See FIG. 4).
  • [0044]
    With all apertures aligned as described above and the relevant portion of top edge 64 of license plate 60 within slot 216 a, license plate screw 50 is inserted (i.e. screwed in, etc.) in apertures 234 a and 62 and the chosen vehicle license plate screw aperture 151 until screw 50 is fully received. At this point, cleat-like member 200 a is properly secured to vehicle 150 and flange members 40 a and 46 a are preferably substantially horizontal in position extending outward from first end 30 a and second end 32 a, respectively, of base 24 a. Additionally bottom base portion 226 a is tightly wedged between the back of license plate 60 and an adjacent portion of the vehicle's body. Screw 50 is also still used to secure one corner area of license plate 60 to vehicle 150. In this embodiment, cleat-like member 200 a is secured the same for when license plate 60 is secured to the bumper of vehicle 150 (FIG. 3) and when license plate 60 is secured to the trunk lid (as defined above) of vehicle 150 (FIG. 2), as both still used license plate screw 50. The insertion of a portion of top edge 64 of license plate 60 in slot 216 a also helps to prevent or minimize any substantial or noticeable turning, twisting or rotation of cleat-like member 200 a when rope 130 is being tied around flange members 40 and 42 (or a bungee cord, etc. is secured at intermediate portion 45 a) and helps to maintain or retain flange members 40 a and 46 a in their desired substantially horizontal orientation.
  • [0045]
    As seen in FIG. 9C, an additional embodiment is shown as cleat-like member 300 a which eliminates aperture 34 a shown in FIG. 9B. Cleat-like member 300 a is provided with similar flange members 40 a and 46 a disposed at first end 30 a and second 32 a of base 24 a. A slot 316 a is formed in base 24 a to define a first or bottom portion 326 a and a second or top portion 330 a. Bottom portion 326 a is preferably extended in length as compared to top portion 330 a, and along with slot 316 a, base 24 a can be substantially J-shaped, and when secured to vehicle can be a substantially inverted “J” in shape. It should be recognized that other shapes can be used for base 24 a (i.e. substantially “U” shaped, etc.) and all are considered within the scope of the invention.
  • [0046]
    To secure cleat-like member 300 a to a vehicle 150, the relevant license plate screw(s) 50 is(are) at least partially unscrewed (if currently screwed in) to loosen license plate 60. A portion of the top edge of license plate 60 is inserted into slot 316 a, causing base bottom portion 326 a to between license plate 60 and an adjacent portion of vehicle 150. License plate screw(s) 50 is(are) conventionally inserted (i.e. screwed in, etc.) or tightened in connection with its(their) corresponding license plate aperture(s) 62 and vehicle license plate screw aperture(s) 151 until screw(s) 50 is(are) fully received. At this point, cleat-like member 300 a is properly secured to the vehicle and flange members 40 a and 46 a are preferably substantially horizontal in position extending outward from first end 30 a and second end 32 a, respectively, of base 24 a. Additionally bottom base portion 326 a is tightly wedged between the back of license plate 60 and the adjacent portion of the vehicle's body. In this embodiment, cleat-like member 300 a is secured the same for when license plate 60 is secured to the bumper of vehicle 150 (FIG. 3) and when license plate 60 is secured to the trunk lid (as defined above) of vehicle 150 (FIG. 2), as both still used license plate 60 to tightly wedge bottom base portion. The insertion of a portion of top edge 64 of license plate 60 in slot 316 a, and preferably up to slot end 317 a, also helps to prevent or minimize any substantial or noticeable turning, twisting or rotation of cleat-like member 300 a when rope 130 is being tied around flange members 40 a and 46 a (or a bungee cord, etc. is secured at intermediate portion 45 a) and helps to maintain or retain flange members 40 a and 46 a in their desired substantially horizontal orientation.
  • [0047]
    It is also within the scope of the invention to have legs 42 a and 48 a be secured directly to or be molded with bottom portion 226 a (FIG. 9A) or top portion 230 a (FIGS. 9B and/or FIG. 9C). This could eliminate the lower member 23 a at one end of legs 42 a and 48 a which is positioned at least substantially parallel to elongated member 44 a. Thus, the definition of base member for purposes of the description and claims is considered to include all above described variations or versions for the base member (i.e. with or without lower member 23 a, etc.).
  • [0048]
    With all of the above-described embodiments, the actual tying down or securing of the trunk lid 154 (as defined above) varies by vehicle and can include multiple ways for the same vehicle and can involve use of one cleat-like member or a multiple of cleat-like members. All tying scenarios and variations are considered within the scope of the invention. In one non-limiting example, where license plate 60 is secured to a bumper 156 of vehicle 150 and with cleat-like member 20/20 a/200/200 a/300/300 a properly secured thereto, approximately ten feet in length of rope 130 can be used with one end of rope 130 preferably in a loop configuration. The looped end can be placed over trunkk lid 154 and the other end of rope 130 can be fed through the loop and rope 130 pulled tight or taught. The non-looped end of rope 130 is then secured to cleat-like member 20/20 a/200/200 a/300/300 a by conventional tying methods.
  • [0049]
    In another non-limiting example, where license plate 60 is secured to trunk lid 154 and with cleat-like member 20/20 a/200/200 a/300/300 a properly secured thereto, approximately ten feet in length of rope 130 can be used with one end of rope 130 again looped. The non-looped is placed through an appropriate section of vehicle 150, which often can be near the vehicle's frame (as defined above) under the vehicle's bumper or a hole in the frame. The non-looped end of rope 130 is fed through the loop at the opposite end of rope 130 and rope 130 is pulled taught or tight. The non-looped end of rope 130 is then secured to cleat-like member 20/20 a/200/200 a/300/300 a by conventional tying methods.
  • [0050]
    Often where license plate 60 is secured to trunk lid 154, vehicle 150 is provided with an easily accessible hole or gap between the bumper and the vehicle frame or a hole or gap is provided in the frame. Rope 130 can be fed or threaded through these existing openings. Alternatively or additionally, the fixed portion of the trunk lid latch can also be appropriately configured to receive rope 130 as part of the process of tying down trunk lid 154. Furthermore, many vehicles have a preexisting closed hook or loop attached to the vehicle frame adjacent to the bumper, centered in the middle that can also be used. As cleat-like member 20/20 a/200/200 a/300/300 a with rope 130 is used for securing trunk lid 154, it is also possible and within the scope of the invention to secure rope 130 to one or more items stored in vehicle 150. In this scenario, the stored item serves as the anchor point prior to tightening rope 130 and securing the other end of rope 130 to cleat-like member 20/20 a/200/200 a/300/300 a. If vehicle 150 has a trailer hitch, the hitch can also be used as the anchor point. Thus, any appropriate part of vehicle 150 can be used as an anchor point and all are considered within the scope of the invention.
  • [0051]
    As seen in FIGS. 7 and 8, several of the above-described embodiments (i.e. members 200, 200 a, 300 and/or 300 a) can also be secured to vehicle 150 through use of the vehicle's window 158. Preferably, for this specific use, the width of slot 216, 216 a, 316 and/or 316 a may be slightly larger in dimension as compared to when these members are specifically designed to receive a portion of top edge 64 of license plate 60, since the thickness of the vehicle's windows may be larger or greater than the thickness of license plate 60. Thus, it is preferred that the width of slot be selected to correspond to the thickness of the object it is intended to be secured to (i.e. window 158 or license plate 60). Attaching member 200, 200 a, 300 or 300 a to at least one window 158 and preferably at least two windows 158 (at least one on each side of vehicle 150) permits the cleat-like member to be used for securing items to the roof of vehicle 150 (i.e. mattress, luggage, etc.).
  • [0052]
    To secure the cleat-like member to a vehicle 150 at window 158, the relevant window is lowered so that a portion of the top edge of window 158 can be inserted into the slot. Once inserted, window 158 is raised such that the top of base 210, 210 a, 310 or 310 a is sandwiched between the top edge of window 158 and the associated window frame. Another cleat-like member (identical in configuration or configured similar to another embodiment described above) is typically similarly positioned at the opposite side of vehicle 150. At this point, the cleat-like members are properly secured to vehicle 150 at the vehicle windows and their corresponding flange members are preferably substantially horizontal in position extending outward from their first end and their second end, respectively, of their associated base. The insertion of a portion of the top edge of window 158 in the slot also helps to prevent or minimize any substantial or noticeable turning, twisting or rotation of the cleat-like member when rope 130 is being tied around the flange members and helps to maintain or retain the flange members in their desired substantially horizontal orientation.
  • [0053]
    All dimensions discussed above are merely by way of example and are not considered limiting and other dimensions can be chosen and used and all are considered within the scope of the invention. Additionally, all colors and material(s) for constriction noted above are also merely by way of example and are not considered limiting and other dimensions can be chosen and used and all are considered within the scope of the invention.
  • [0054]
    It is also within the scope of the invention to screw or otherwise (permanently or removably) secure a cleat into the vehicle frame at a desired location.
  • [0055]
    Additionally, the apertures of the various cleat-like embodiments can be threaded apertures.
  • [0056]
    Additionally, the specific dimensions of the bottom portions, bases, flanges, and other portions of the various cleat-like members are not limited to any specific dimension. Furthermore, the specific dimensional relationship between the various portions of the cleat-like member with respect to each other are not considered limited to any specific dimensions.
  • [0057]
    The present invention provides the ability to tie down and secure the trunk lid or cargo hatch quickly and easily, and then unsecure or untie the rope or twine quickly and easily to provide access to the trunk or cargo area. The present invention permits knots to be tied properly such that they can be safely secured, yet easily untied when desired by the user and without the need of a knife or scissors to cut the rope. The tie-down cleat of the present invention permits the secured rope to loosen, tighten, raise or lower the trunk lid or cargo hatch door and quickly and easily release and/or untie.
  • [0058]
    In one or more embodiments the apertures can be centrally located on the base member and/or bottom portion of the base member.
  • [0059]
    While the invention has been described and disclosed in certain terms and has disclosed certain embodiments or modifications, persons skilled in the art who have acquainted themselves with the invention, will appreciate that it is not necessarily limited by such terms, nor to the specific embodiments and modification disclosed herein. Thus, a wide variety of alternatives, suggested by the teachings herein, can be practiced without departing from the spirit of the invention, and rights to such alternatives are particularly reserved and considered within the scope of the invention.

Claims (21)

1. A tie-down cleat removably secured at a license plate area of a motor vehicle with a same screw used for securing a license plate to the vehicle for use as an attachment point for a rope, twine, cord or cable that is being used to maintain a vehicle's trunk lid or cargo hatch door in a substantially fixed unlatched position with respect to the vehicle when said trunk or cargo area is overfilled or otherwise preventing the lid or door from being latched and in a fully closed position, comprising:
a base having a first end and a second end and an aperture extending therethrough from a top side to a bottom side, said aperture size to correspond to a size of a license plate screw receiving aperture of a vehicle;
a first flange member having a first end permanently attached at the first end of said base and extending upward and outward from the top side of said base; and
a second flange member having a first end permanently attached at the second end of said base and extending upward and outward from the top side of said base;
wherein said first flange member and said second flange member provide a securing point for a rope, twine, cord or cable used to maintain a substantially fixed unlatched position of a vehicle trunk lid or cargo hatch door when a trunk or cargo area of the vehicle is overfilled or otherwise preventing the lid or door from being latched and in a normal fully closed position.
2. The tie-down cleat of claim 1 wherein said first flange member and said second flange member are monolithically formed with said base.
3. The tie-down cleat of claim 1 further comprising a protrusion extending outward from the bottom side of the base and adapted for position within a license plate aperture when said tie-down cleat is properly secured to the vehicle at a license plate area.
4. The tie-down cleat of claim 1 wherein when said base is secured to the vehicle said base aperture, the license plate screw receiving aperture of a vehicle and a license plate aperture are aligned with each other to permit a license plate screw to be inserted in all three apertures.
5. The tie-down cleat of claim 1 further including an intermediate portion disposed between said first flange member and said second flange member, said intermediate portion along with said first flange member, said second flange member and said base defining, a passageway.
6. A vehicle secured tie-down cleat for providing an attachment point on a vehicle for a rope, cord or cable, comprising:
a base having a bottom portion and a top portion and a slot defined between said bottom portion and said top portion, said top portion having a first end and a second end;
a first flange member having a first end permanently attached at the first end of said base top portion and extending upward and outward from a top surface of said base top portion; and
a second flange member having a first end permanently attached at the second end of said base top portion and extending upward and outward from the top surface of said base top portion.
7. The vehicle secured tie-down cleat of claim 6 wherein said base having a substantially inverted J shape with said base bottom portion extending longer in length as compared to base top portion.
8. The vehicle secured tie-down cleat of claim 6 wherein said slot sized to snugly receive a portion of a top edge of a vehicle license plate, wherein said cleat is used as an attachment point for a rope, twine, cord or cable that is being used to maintain a vehicle's trunk lid or cargo hatch door in a substantially fixed unlatched position with respect to the vehicle when said trunk or cargo area is overfilled or otherwise preventing the lid or door from being latched and in a fully closed position; wherein said first flange member and said second flange member provide a securing point for the rope, twine, cord or cable.
9. The vehicle secured tie-down cleat of claim 6 wherein said slot sized to snugly receive a portion of a top edge of a vehicle window wherein said cleat is used as an attachment point for a rope, cord or cable that is being used to secure an item to the vehicle's roof.
10. The vehicle secured tie-down cleat of claim 8 wherein said base bottom portion is substantially disposed between the vehicle license plate and an adjacent portion of the vehicle's body and a substantial portion of the base top portion is disposed over the vehicle license plate when said tie-down cleat is secured to the vehicle at a license plate area of the vehicle.
11. The vehicle secured tie-down cleat of claim 9 wherein said base bottom portion is substantially disposed within an internal passenger/driver compartment area of the vehicle and the base top portion is substantially disposed outside of the internal passenger/driver compartment area on an opposite side of the vehicle window when said tie-down cleat secured to the vehicle at a vehicle window area.
12. The vehicle secured tie-down cleat of claim 6 wherein said base bottom portion having a first aperture extending therethrough.
13. The tie-down cleat of claim 6 wherein said first flange member and said second flange member are monolithically formed with said base top portion.
14. The tie-down cleat of claim 12 wherein when said base is secured to the vehicle at said license plate area said base first aperture, a license plate screw receiving aperture of the vehicle and a license plate aperture are aligned with each other to permit a license plate screw to be inserted in all four apertures.
15. The tie-down cleat of claim 6 further including an intermediate portion disposed between said first flange member and said second flange member, said intermediate portion along with said first flange member, said second flange member and said base defining a passageway.
16. A method for securing a vehicle trunk lid or cargo hatch door is a substantially fixed unlatched position with respect to the vehicle, said method comprising the steps of:
(a) securing at least one cleat-like member to a vehicle, wherein the cleat-like member having a base and a first upwardly and outwardly flange portion located at a first end of the base and a second upwardly and outwardly flange portion located at an opposite second end of the base;
(b) securing a rope, twine, cord or cable to a truck lid or cargo hatch door of the vehicle; and
(c) securing the rope, twine, cord or cable to the cleat-like member.
17. The method of claim 16 wherein said base having an aperture extending therethrough and step (a) comprises the steps of:
(a1)) aligning the base aperture with a license plate aperture and a license plate screw receiving aperture of the vehicle; and
(a2) disposing a license plate screw within the base aperture, license plate aperture and license plate screw receiving aperture.
18. The method of claim 16 wherein said base having a bottom portion and a top portion and defining a slot between the bottom portion and the top portion and step (a) comprises the steps of:
(a1)) providing sufficient access to a space between a vehicle license plate and an adjacent portion of a vehicle body;
(a2) positioning a substantial portion of the base bottom portion within the space by inserting a portion of the top edge of the vehicle license plate within the slot; and
(a3) tightening one or more vehicle license plate screws to tighten the securement of the vehicle license plate to the adjacent portion of the vehicle and in turn safely securing said base bottom portion within the space between the vehicle license plate and the adjacent portion of the vehicle body.
19. The method of claim 18 wherein said base bottom portion having an aperture extending therethrough and wherein steps (a2) comprising the steps of:
(a2A) positioning a substantial portion of the base bottom portion within the space by inserting a portion of the top edge of the vehicle license plate within the slot; and
(a2B) aligning the base bottom portion aperture, a license plate aperture and a license plate screw receiving aperture of the vehicle's body with each other.
20. The method of claim 18 wherein said step (a3) comprises the step of tightening a vehicle license plate screw inserted within the base bottom portion aperture, the license plate aperture and the license plate screw receiving aperture.
21. A method for helping to secure an item to the roof of a vehicle, said method comprising the steps of:
(a) securing a first cleat-like member to a first vehicle window, wherein the cleat-like member having a base having a bottom portion and a top portion and defining a slot between said bottom portion and said top portion, said cleat-like member having a first upwardly and outwardly flange portion located at a first end of the base top portion and a second upwardly and outwardly flange portion located at an opposite second end of the base top portion, wherein a portion of the top edge of the vehicle is disposed within said slot and the vehicle window is in a substantially closed position to sandwich the cleat-like member between the vehicle window and an upper window frame associated with the vehicle window;
(b) securing a second cleat-like member having similar characteristics to said first cleat-like member to a second vehicle window located on an opposite side of the vehicle similar to how said first cleat-like member is secured to said first vehicle window;
(c) securing a rope, twine, cord or cable to said first cleat-like member;
(d) positioning the rope, twine, cord or cable over or through a part of an item to be secured to a vehicle roof; and
(c) securing the rope, twine, cord or cable to the second cleat-like member such that the securement of the rope, twine, cord or cable to the first and second cleat-like members is sufficient to help retain the item to the vehicle roof while the vehicle is moving.
US12554417 2009-09-04 2009-09-04 Tie-down cleat for a moving vehicle Abandoned US20110058914A1 (en)

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WO2011028793A3 (en) 2011-07-21 application
WO2011028793A2 (en) 2011-03-10 application

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