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JumpSport’s 2nd Patent for Trampoline Enclosure System



United States Patent 6,261,207
Publicover , et al. July 17, 2001
Trampoline or the like with enclosure

Inventors: Publicover; Mark W. (Saratoga, CA), Greiner; Jon H. (Palo Alto, CA), Publicover; J. Scott (Boise, ID), Bertsch; Byron L. (San Jose, CA)

Assignee: JumpSport, Inc. (Saratoga, CA)
Appl. No.: 09/432,998
Filed: November 2, 1999
Current U.S. Class: 482/27 ; 482/28; 482/29

RELATED APPLICATION DATA
This Trampoline Safety Patent is a continuation of U.S. application Ser. No. 09/100,586, which claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/050,323, filed Jun. 20, 1997, U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/052,052, filed Jul. 9, 1997, and U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/087,835, filed Jun. 3, 1998.


CLAIMS: What is claimed is:

1. A trampoline enclosure system comprising:

a trampoline having a rebounding surface;

a plurality of posts, each post (a) being secured to the trampoline and (b) having a wall support portion located above the level of the surface;

a flexible top line that extends between adjacent posts at an elevation above the rebounding surface;

a bracket secured on one of the posts, the bracket defining at least one opening to receive the top line; and

a generally cylindrical wall made of a flexible material that is secured to the wall support portions of the posts and to the top line so that the wall defines a chamber above the rebounding surface.

2. A trampoline enclosure system comprising:

a trampoline having a rebounding surface;

a plurality of posts, each post (a) being secured to the trampoline and (b) having a wall support portion located above the level of the surface;

a flexible top line that extends between adjacent posts at an elevation above the rebounding surface; and

a generally cylindrical wall made of fencing that is secured to the wall support portions of the posts and to the top line, with the top line interlaced through openings in the fencing, so that the wall defines a chamber above the rebounding surface.

3. A trampoline enclosure system comprising:

a trampoline having a rebounding surface and a plurality of vertically-extending legs that support the rebounding surface at an elevation above ground level;

a plurality of posts, each post (a) being secured to one of the legs the trampoline and (b) having a wall support portion located above the level of the surface;

a plurality of leg fasteners that secure the posts to the legs, each leg fastener comprising (a) a block having two vertically-extending channels which are shaped respectively to partially receive a leg and to partially receive a post, (b) a first retainer shaped to wedgingly secure the leg in one of the channels, (c) a second retainer shaped to wedgingly secure the post in tie other channel, and (d) at least one spring mounted to serve as a shock absorption element so that the post can move a short distance relative to the leg when a sufficient force is applied to overcome the urging of the spring;

a flexible top line that extends between adjacent posts at an elevation above the rebounding surface; and

a generally cylindrical wall made of a flexible material that is secured to the wall support portions of the posts and to the top line so that the wall defines a chamber above the rebounding surface.

4. A trampoline enclosure system comprising:

a trampoline having a rebounding surface and a plurality of vertically-extending legs that support the rebounding surface at an elevation above ground level;

a frame that surrounds the surface and is supported by the legs, the surface being provided by a sheet of fabric that is stretched on the frame;

a plurality of posts, each post (a) being secured to one of the legs the trampoline and (b) having a wall support portion located above the level of the surface;

cable ties that secure the posts to the frame or legs;

resilient members provided between the cable ties and the posts such that a post can move a short distance relative to the leg when a sufficient force is applied on the wall support portion of the post to compress the resilient member;

a flexible top line that extends between adjacent posts at an elevation above the rebounding surface; and

a generally cylindrical wall made of a flexible material that is secured to the wall support portions of the posts and to the top line so that the wall defines a chamber above the rebounding surface.

5. A trampoline enclosure system comprising:

a trampoline having a rebounding surface and a plurality of vertically-extending legs that support the rebounding surface at an elevation above ground level;

a frame that surrounds the surface and is supported by the legs, the surface being provided by a sheet of fabric that is stretched on the frame;

a plurality of posts, each post (a) being secured to both the frame and one of the legs and (b) having a wall support portion located above the level of the surface;

a flexible top line that extends between adjacent posts at an elevation above the rebounding surface; and

a generally cylindrical wall made of a flexible material that is secured to the wall support portions of the posts and to the top line so that the wall defines a chamber above the rebounding surface.

6. A trampoline enclosure system comprising:

a trampoline having a rebounding surface and a plurality of vertically-extending legs that support the rebounding surface at an elevation above ground level;

a plurality of posts, each post (a) being secured to one of the legs the trampoline and (b) having a wall support portion located above the level of the surface;

a plurality of leg fasteners that secure the posts to the legs, the leg fasteners being pipe clamps, each pipe clamp comprising (a) a hinge having two wings with each wing having a free end portion, the wings together defining a passageway between the wings, which passageway receives both a leg and a post and is located such that the free ends of the wings are located opposite one another when the leg and the post are clamped between the wings and (b) at least one bolt which secures the ends of the wings together and thereby wedgingly holds a leg and a post together in the clamp;

a flexible top line that extends between adjacent posts at an elevation above the rebounding surface; and

a generally cylindrical wall made of a flexible material that is secured to the wall support portions of the posts and to the top line so that the wall defines a chamber above the rebounding surface.

7. A trampoline enclosure system comprising:

a trampoline having a rebounding surface;

a plurality of posts, each post (a) being secured to the trampoline and (b) having a wall support portion located above the level of the surface;

a plurality of cross braces, each cross brace having an upper end and a lower end located at an elevation below the upper end, the upper and lower ends of each cross-brace being connected respectively to the wall support portions of two adjacent posts;

a flexible top line that extends between adjacent posts at an elevation above the rebounding surface; and

a generally cylindrical wall made of a flexible material that is secured to the wall support portions of the posts and to the top line so that the wall defines a chamber above the rebounding surface.

8. The system of claim 7 wherein:

the cross braces are flexible lines;

the upper ends of the cross braces are attached to the upper ends of the posts; and

the lower ends of the cross braces are attached at the bottoms of the wall support portions of the posts.

9. A trampoline enclosure system comprising:

a trampoline having a rebounding surface;

a plurality of posts, each post (a) being secured to the trampoline and (b) having an upper end portion and a wall support portion located above the level of the surface;

a flexible top line that extends between adjacent posts at an elevation above the rebounding surface;

a generally cylindrical wall made of a flexible material that is secured to the wall support portions of the posts and to the top line so that the wall defines a chamber above the rebounding surface; and

an end cap at the top of the upper end portion of each post.

10. The system of claim 9 wherein each end cap has a shock absorbing element positioned so that the cap descends for a short distance when downward pressure is applied to the end cap.

11. A trampoline enclosure system comprising:

a trampoline having a rebounding surface;

a plurality of posts, each post (a) being secured to the trampoline and (b) having a wall support portion located above the level of the surface;

a flexible top line that extends between adjacent posts at an elevation above the rebounding surface;

a generally cylindrical wall made of a flexible material that is secured to the wall support portions of the posts and to the top line so that the wall defines a chamber above the rebounding surface; and

an awning which extends over the chamber and which is supported by at least some of the posts.

12. A trampoline enclosure system comprising:

a trampoline having a rebounding surface;

a plurality of posts, each post (a) be secured to the trampoline and (b) having a wall support portion located above the level of the surface;

a flexible top line that extends between adjacent posts at an elevation above the rebounding surface;

a generally cylindrical wall made of a flexible material that is secured to the wall support portions of the posts and to the top line so that the wall defines a chamber above the rebounding surface; and

a basketball backboard supported by at least one of the posts.

13. A trampoline enclosure system comprising:

a trampoline having a rebounding surface;

a plurality of posts, each post (a) being secured to the trampoline and (b) having a wall support portion located above the level of the surface;

a flexible top line that extends between adjacent posts at an elevation above the rebounding surface;

a generally cylindrical wall made of a flexible material that is secured to the wall support portions of the posts and to the top line so that the wall defines a chamber above the rebounding surface;

a generally vertically-extending interior post; and

an interior post support structure which holds the interior post at a position inside the chamber.

14. A trampoline system comprising:

a trampoline, including a substantially horizontal frame having a rebounding surface coupled thereto, and plural legs positioning the frame above the ground; and

a fence support structure including plural support members;

wherein at least one of said support members is coupled by a first removable fastener to a leg, and by a second removable fastener to the frame.

15. The system of claim 14 wherein each of said first and second removable fasteners includes at least one U-bolt.

16. A trampoline system comprising:

a frame;

a rebounding mat coupled to the frame;

plural legs that extend upwardly from the ground, are coupled to the frame, and support the frame above the ground;

plural vertically extending independent poles, each pole being coupled to only one of the legs, each pole having an upper end portion at an elevation above the frame, and each pole being spaced apart from the other poles without interconnecting members that inhibit bowing of the poles; and

an encompassing expanse of flexible material that is coupled to the independent poles and that defines a chamber above the rebounding mat,

the frame, the legs, the poles and the flexible material being interconnected such that at least some of the poles can bow and act as tubular springs that can become loaded with energy in the manner of a drawn bow when a person in the chamber impacts the flexible material and that can distribute impact forces from the flexible material to the legs, whereafter energy stored in the poles is promptly released as a reaction force that urges the impacted portion of the flexible material back towards the center of the chamber, which pushes the person back towards the center of the chamber.

17. A trampoline system according to claim 16 further comprising a flexible loop that links the upper end portions of the poles.

18. A trampoline system according to claim 17 wherein the loop comprises a line that is made of a flexible material, that extends pole-to-pole and that connects the upper end portions of the poles such that the line permits constrained movement of upper end portions of two adjacent poles relative to one another.

19. A trampoline system according to claim 17 wherein the line is made of a substantially inelastic material.

20. The system of claim 9 wherein the flexible material has a bottom margin that is positioned below the plane of the rebounding surface.

21. The system of claim 9 wherein the flexible material has overlapping end portions that provide a flap door.

22. The system of claim 16 wherein the flexible material has a bottom margin that is positioned below the plane of the rebounding mat.

23. The system of claim 16 wherein the flexible material has overlapping end portions that provide a flap door.

24. The system of claim 9 wherein two overlapping portions of the flexible material define a passageway that permits access to the chamber.

25. The system of claim 9 further comprising resilient sheaths around the posts.

26. The system of claim 25 wherein the flexible material is connected such that when a person in the chamber impacts the flexible material, the impact is partially absorbed by one or more of the resilient sheaths.

27. The system of claim 25 wherein:

at least one of the posts is mounted so that it does not extend to the ground;

the top line is substantially inelastic, extends post-to-post, and connects the upper end portions of the post such that the line permits constrained movement of upper end portions of two adjacent post relative to one another; and

the flexible material is connected such that when a person in the chamber impacts the flexible material, the impact is partially absorbed by one or more of the resilient sheaths.

28. The system of claim 25 wherein:

at least one of the posts is mounted so that it does not extend to the ground;

the flexible material is connected to at least one elastic member; and

the flexible material is connected such that when a person in the chamber impacts the flexible material, the impact is partially absorbed by one or more of the resilient sheaths.

29. The system of claim 25 wherein:

at least one of the posts is mounted so that it does not extend to the ground;

the flexible material is connected to at least one of the post by at least one elastic member;

the top line permits movement of upper end portions of two adjacent posts relative to one another; and

two overlapping portions of the flexible material define a passageway that permits access to the chamber.

30. The system of claim 9 wherein:

the trampoline comprises a frame; and

at least one of the posts is secured to a horizontally extending portion of the frame.

31. The system of claim 9 wherein at least one of the posts is mounted so that it does not extend to the ground.

32. The system of claim 16 wherein two overlapping portions of the flexible material define a passageway that permits access to the chamber.

33. The system of claim 16 further comprising resilient sheaths around the poles.

34. The system of claim 33 wherein the flexible material is connected such that when a person in the chamber impacts the flexible material, the impact is partially absorbed by one or more of the resilient sheaths.

35. The system of claim 33 wherein at least one of the poles is mounted so that it does not extend to the ground.

36. The system of claim 35 wherein:

the system further comprises a top line that is substantially inelastic, extend post-to-post, and connects the upper end portions of the posts such that the line permits constrained movement of the upper end portions of two adjacent posts relative to one another; and

the flexible material is connected such that when a person in the chamber impacts the flexible material, the impact is partially absorbed by one or more of the resilient sheaths.

37. The system of claim 35 wherein:

the flexible material is connected to at least one of the poles by at least one elastic member; and

the flexible material is connected such that when a person in the chamber impacts the flexible material, the impact is partially absorbed by one or more of the resilient sheaths.

38. The system of claim 35 wherein:

the system further comprises a top line that is connected to the poles and permits movement of upper end portions of two adjacent poles relative to one another;

the flexible material is connected to at least one of the poles by at least one elastic member; and

two overlapping portions of the flexible material define a passageway that permits access to the chamber.

39. The system of claim 16 wherein at least one of the poles is secured to a horizontally extending portion of the frame.

40. The system of claim 16 wherein at least one of the posts is mounted so that it does not extend to the ground.


Description: BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention concerns wall structures used with trampolines to protect trampoline users, and to provide new uses for trampolines.
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BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an oblique view showing a trampoline apparatus including an enclosure system according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is top plan view of the apparatus shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is an enlarged oblique view of a leg portion of the apparatus shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is an enlarged partial oblique view of a wall portion of the apparatus shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 is an enlarged partial side view of the apparatus shown in FIG. 1.

FIGS. 6 and 7 are enlarged views of an end cap used in the FIG. 1 embodiment.

FIG. 8 illustrates a door structure used in the FIG. 1 embodiment.

FIG. 9 shows cross-bracing that can be used in the FIG. 1 embodiment.

FIG. 10 shows one of several alternative arrangements for fastening upright fence support posts 44 to the trampoline frame 34.

FIG. 11 shows one embodiment of a sun/rain covering that can be used with the embodiment of FIG. 1.

FIGS. 12 and 13 show packing arrangements that can be used in connection with the FIG. 1 embodiment.

FIGS. 14 and 15 are views of an electronic sensor that can be used with the FIG. 1 embodiment