Patent Practice and Procedure I - Fall 1998 Claim Drafting Final

Page 1 of 6

General Instructions

1. Turn in your typed or printed double-spaced claims to the Registrar before 4PM,
Wednesday, December 9, 1998.
2. Do not include your name. Use only your student testing number.
3. This is a closed universe exam. You may use this final (four pages of text, two pages of drawings), your PPI course materials, your notes and outline, and the MPEP. You may not use any other source.

Claim Drafting Instructions

1. Draft three apparatus claims in independent format.
2. Draft three apparatus claims in dependent format.
3. Do not use 35 USC 112,16 language.
4. Any claim that fails to define over the provided prior art will receive no credit.
5. Any dependent claim that limits an independent claim merely by designating a choice of materials will receive no credit.
6. You may depart from the language of the specification below, if, (1) it is necessary; and (2) you explain and define the terms you use in a separate section following your claims.

This invention relates to major advances in ice fishing and more particularly to a fish indicator with an integrated heating source and insulating structure for preventing the formation of ice in an ice-fishing hole. When fishing in the winter, ice fishermen typically drill or cut a hole in the ice to fish in. To increase their chances of catching fish, ice fishermen typically use more than one hole to fish out of simultaneously. A fisherman who is using a number of fish indicators is able to position himself in a stationary spot to drink beer while monitoring several fishing holes.

A major problem is stumbling into the ice hole. Another major problem is the carting about of sufficient fish indicators to monitor the varied sites. Other major problems include preventing freezing in the scattered unattended fishing holes and malfunction of the fishing equipment from cold, ice, and water. Ice fishermen must periodically scoop ice and slush from the fishing hole to prevent the hole from freezing over. That chore is a bit of a nuisance and generally requires the fishing line and fish indicator to be disturbed, often at an inopportune moment when looking for a can opener or performing some other ice-fishing related-task. If ice forms in the fishing hole, the line could be frozen in place, which would prevent the fish indicator from indicating that a fish is on the hook. Fishing reels can freeze and fail to work properly. Fish indicators that put the fishing reel in the water leads to freezing and rust.

The prior art discloses a plurality of devices for attempting to keep ice from forming in an ice-fishing hole. In some countries, glycerin, salt, or oil is poured on the surface of the water to prevent re-freezing. In North America, fishermen often build huts with removable floorboards in which to sit and fish. Hillary, U.S. Pat. No. 1,234,567 (not pictured), provides for a collapsible pillbox containing a heat source and a hole contained in the lid for the fishing line. Hillary contains a platform across the base for holding the heat source. The device requires a fisherman to continuously monitor his line, since there is no fish indicator.

Flowers (see Prior Art) discloses a floating hole preserver with a vertically extending tubular member projecting above and beneath the float. A shaft, rotatably disposed generally centrally of the tubular member carried a fishing line spool at the lower end and a trip lever at the upper end, both rotatable with the shaft. Signal means carried on the non-rotatable tubular member are releasably engageable with the trip lever. When engaged with the trip lever, the signal means interrupts rotation of the trip lever and thereby sets the depth of the fishing line. The signal means are releasable from the trip lever with rotation of the shaft to indicate the playing out of the fishing line and hopefully a potential catch. The float is heated to prevent a freezing up of the fishing hole by containing hot rocks, burning wood chips, coal, or the like. The Jones and Lewinski prior art devices are likewise difficult to maneuver.

FIG. I is a perspective view of one embodiment of the invention with the lid in an open position and a section of the enclosing wall cut away to show a heating element; the actuating fish indicator extends between opposed side walls.

FIG. 2 is a elevational. side view showing the trigger fish indicator extending from the insulation box, the triggering fish, and the flag in rotation.

FIG. 3 is a similar view showing the flag before triggering.

FIG. 4 is an enlarged sectional view showing the telescoped tube and shaft configuration of the indicator connected to the reel for rotation thereby.

Referring now to Figs. 1 and 4, wall 24 of insulated box 10 contains a tube notch 62 for engagement of hollow tube 12. On its portion exterior to insulated box 10, tube 12 is affixed to one or more telescoping extensions and on the portion interior of insulated box 10 to reel 16. Arrows 7 and 6 (Fig. 4) represent any number of telescoping extensions. Shaft 15 extends within tube 12 and is journaled and lubricated by grease (not shown) and secured to reel 16 by mounting 14. Reel 16 is rotatably mounted for winding and unwinding fishing line 17 on spool 20 through guide 18 supported outwardly to avoid entanglement by line guide 19, which is rotatably held in a groove on tube 12 for movement independent of reel 16. For ease of transport, the extensions telescopably collapse so that the tubes and shafts are contained within the box.

The upper end of shaft IS is secured to the lower portion of terminal tubular extension 2 1. The lower end of tubular extension 21 rests on end 30. A coil spring 26 rests with its lower end fixed in extension tube 21 and projects upwardly therefrom. Sleeve 27 is affixed atop spring 26. Flag shaft 28 is slideably mounted in sleeve 27 for rotation of flag 29 outside insulation box 10. End 30 of flag shaft 28 engages end 31 of shaft 15 to rotate shaft 28 and flag 29 when spring 26 is in its resting relaxed position.

Lid 32 of insulation box 10 consists of an inner surface 36 and an outer surface 38. When lid 32 is in a closed position, inner surface 36 rests upon the top edge surface of insulated box 10. Chain 39 is attached from the inner surface 36 of the lid 32 to the inner surface of wall 24 to limit the movement of lid 32 in its open position. With the lid in a closed position, chain 39 hangs loosely in the interior of insulated box 10, as shown in FIG. 1.

Affixed to the inner surface 36 of lid 32 is a heat shield 37. Heat shield 37 can be made of various materials, however, it should be made of a material that will protect the lid 32 from the heat given off by warmer 61. In a preferred embodiment, heat shield 37 is an aluminum plate, which not only protects the lid 32, but also reflects heat back into the inner portion of insulated box 10. In another preferred embodiment, warmer 61 is a candle, although any device which emanates heat for an extended period of time could be used such as a battery powered heating element, a chemical reaction heater, a kerosene lamp, and so on. Handle 40 (not shown) is connected through lid 32 through connectors 42 to facilitate carrying of the entire insulated box 10. In an alternate embodiment of the invention, handle 40 consists of a braided nylon rope with knots replacing the welded connectors 42. With the lid 32 in a closed position, a ring 44 and hook 46 are used to securely hold the lid in position.

A second hook and ring are also used in storage of the invention. For example, a second fish indicator box may be placed on top of a first fish indicator box with its lid closed and hooks 46 and ring 44 joined. When stacked as such, hook 48 of the bottom fish indicator is used to engage ring 50 of the upper fish indicator to securely hold the stack. When stacked as such, handle 40 of the bottom fish indicator extends through the open bottom of insulated box 10 of the fish indicator stacked above it. Thus, multiple boxes may be easily hooked together and easily carried by the handle of just one box, each with its telescoping extensions collapsed into the interior of box 10.

Fishing reel 16 consists of a tube 12, a spool 20, and fishing line 17. The tube 12 extends between sidewalls 24 of inner portion 36 of insulated box 10. The first end of tube 12 rests on the bottom of a blind tube notch 60 formed by material partially removed from sidewall 24. The second end of tube 12 extends through an open tube notch 62 formed by material completely removed from the opposite side wall 24. Tube 12 extends completely through open notch 62 and extends into the outer of insulated box 10. Connected across the open tube notch 62 are two flaps of insulating material 64 and 66, which limit the air flow through the notch and hold the tube in position. Tube 12 also contains a washer 68, which additionally helps to limit the longitudinal movement. Tube 12 rests on the bottom of notches 60 and 62 such that tube 12, extension 2 1, and any additional extensions remain stationary, but allow for the rotation of reel 16, shaft 15, shaft 28 and flag 29.

In the preferred embodiment of the invention, foam bait holders 82 and 84 are mounted onto the inner portion of insulated box 10. These bait holders 82, 84 are used to secure fishing tackle, such as jig heads or hooks, when they are not being used for fishing.

In operation, insulated box 10 is put into a bridging position over an ice hole such that flag 29 on shaft 28 extending from hollow tube 12 and extension tube 21 and any other extensions are visible from the site where the fisherman will monitor the box. Line 17 from reel 16 is played out to lower baited hook 35 into the ice hole and flag staff 28 is pulled outwardly through sleeve 27 to disengage shaft 28 from shaft 15. As shown in Fight, spring 26 may then be pulled and bent outwardly downwardly, or sidewardly, to engage the flag staff 28 on hook 36, which is supported in a fixedly lateral position on tube 12. When a fish 23 is hooked, it pulls on line 17. Shaft 15 and tubular extension 21 will be turned, and the frictional connection of extension 21 and spring 26 will cause spring 26 and flag staff 28 to rotate about the axis of tube 12 to release the flag staff 28 from catch 36. Spring 26 then pulls flag staff 28 into engagement with shaft 15 to ensure rotation of flag 29 about the axis of tube 12 to alert the fisherman.

It is to be understood that these many embodiments are but a few within my inventive concept and protected hereby. Every term used herein is to be understood in its broadest sense consistent with my invention.