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Help save Jeep and other vehicle owners from being able to modify their seats with simple washers or blocks to make them more comfortable.

Small businesses and vehicle owners are being threatened by the overly broad application in question. This application from Innovative JK Products, LLC seeks to patent the ability to place common metal washers between your seat and the floor board to adjust the height or angle of your vehicle seat!

Ten minutes of your time can help narrow this US patent application before it becomes a patent.

Photograph of the method

Below seems like a lot of reading. But it can be summarized as a system/method patent for using blocks of .5"-1" thick metal/plastic/composite material between a vehicle seat bracket and the floorboard to make it tilt and does not affect the seat belts or stop the seat from folding forward. This literally can be a stack of washers affixed together and placed on the bolts between the seat bracket and floor.

QUESTION: Have you seen anything that was published before February 19, 2014 that discusses:

The use of washers, spacers, blocks, plates of metal, plastic or other materials between a seat and the floorboard of a vehicle to adjust the height/angle of that seat.

If you've ever seen anything like this before, please submit evidence of prior art as an answer to this question - one piece of prior art per answer. We welcome multiple answers from a single individual. I believe there are many prior art pieces from forums, Jeep clubs, product manufacturers and enthusiast websites that list these very things or how to do so for the common person as well as multiple products being available.

Title: System and Method for reclining a vehicle seat

Summary: A system for reclining a vehicle seat is provided. The system comprises a plurality of seat bracket spacers adapted to be secured between a seat mounting bracket and a vehicle floor. A plurality of leg spacers is adapted to be secured between a seat leg and the vehicle floor. The seat bracket spacers create a fixed seat recline while the leg spacers accommodate a gap between respective seat legs and the vehicle floor caused by the fixed seat recline. Each of the seat bracket spacers has a thickness which allows for the maximum amount of seat recline without any modification to factory brackets, legs, or mounting bolts. Additionally, the fixed seat recline does not impact operation of factory safety restraining devices; nor does it impact the ability of the vehicle seat to fold forward.

Publication Number: US 2015/0231995 A1

Assignee: Innovative JK Products, LLC

Prior Art Date: Seeking prior Art predating February 19, 2014

I have been unable to determine when and for how long this application is "Open for Challenge at USPTO". If anyone can provide any insight to this date, it would be much appreciated.

Claims below 1 with 2-8 for the system and 9-15 for the method which are essentially the same:

  1. A system for reclining a vehicle seat, the system comprising: a) a plurality of seat bracket spacers adapted to be secured between a seat mounting bracket and a vehicle floor; and b) a plurality of leg spacers adapted to be secured between a seat leg and the vehicle floor; wherein the seat bracket spacers create a fixed seat recline and wherein the leg spacers accommodate a gap between respective seat legs and the vehicle floor caused by the fixed seat recline.

In English this means:

A combination of multiple blocks, spacers, washers that placed between the bottom of the seat and the vehicle floorboard to raise/lower parts of the seat to make it tilt. Much like placing a washer on a bolt to separate it from something.

  1. The system for reclining a vehicle seat of claim 1, wherein each of the plurality of seat bracket spacers has a different thickness than each of the plurality of leg spacers.

In English this means:

Each of the washers/spacers is a different thickness.

  1. The system for reclining a vehicle seat of claim 1, wherein each of the plurality of seat bracket spacers has a thickness which allows the maximum amount of seat recline without any modification to factory brackets, legs, or mounting bolts.

In English this means:

That the spacers will be at a prime height/thickness to recline without modifying the brackets, legs or bolts that attach to the floor.

  1. The system for reclining a vehicle seat of claim 3, wherein said thickness is from about 0.5 inches to about 1.0 inches.

In English this means:

Blocks, washers, spacers are 1/2" to 1".

  1. The system for reclining a vehicle seat of claim 1, wherein the fixed seat recline does not impact operation of factory safety restraining devices.

In English this means:

Using the blocks/washers/spacers will not affect the seatbelts, childseat restraints, etc..

  1. The system for reclining a vehicle seat of claim 1, wherein the fixed seat recline does not impact an ability of the vehicle seat to fold forward.

In English this means:

Use of the blocks/washers/spacers won't stop the seat from folding forward to lay flat.

  1. The system for reclining a vehicle seat of claim 1, wherein each of the plurality of seat bracket spacers and each of the plurality leg spacers is constructed of a material selected from: aluminum, an aluminum alloy, steel, a steel alloy, a polymer or a composite.

In English this means:

Blocks/washers/spacers must be made of metal, plastic or some composite material.

  1. The system for reclining a vehicle seat of claim 1, wherein each of the plurality of seat bracket spacers and each of the plurality leg spacers includes a hole through which a factory bolt may be threaded when each spacer is fixedly secured between its respective bracket or leg and the vehicle floor.

In English this means:

The blocks/washers/spacers have a hole in them that the factory bolts go through to attach the seat to the floor board.

  1. A method for reclining a vehicle seat having a seat platform and seat back, the method comprising the steps of: a) providing a vehicle seat reclining system, the vehicle seat reclining system comprising: i) a plurality of seat bracket spacers adapted to be secured between a seat mounting bracket and a vehicle floor; and ii) a plurality of leg spacers adapted to be secured between a seat leg and the vehicle floor; wherein each of the plurality of seat bracket spacers and each of the plurality leg spacers includes a hole; b) removing seat leg bolts which secure the seat legs of the vehicle seat to vehicle floor; c) pivoting seat platform to lie against the seat back; d) removing bracket mounting bolts which secure the seat mounting bracket to the vehicle floor; e) lifting the vehicle seat so as to provide sufficient clearance to allow said plurality of seat bracket spacers and said plurality of leg spacers to be positioned beneath their respective seat mounting bracket or respective seat leg; f) positioning a respective seat bracket spacer and a respective leg spacer beneath their respective seat mounting bracket or respective seat leg such that the hole within the respective spacer overlaps a hole within the bracket or seat leg and the vehicle floor; g) positioning each of the seat leg bolts and bracket mounting bolts within a respective overlapped hole such that a spacer is positioned between its respective bracket or leg and the vehicle floor; and h) rethreading each of the seat leg bolts and bracket mounting bolts to fixedly secured the vehicle seat to the vehicle floor.

In English this means:

The method of using the above claims together to tilt the seat back.

  1. The method for reclining a vehicle seat of claim 9, wherein each of the plurality of seat bracket spacers has a different thickness than each of the plurality of leg spacers.

In English this means:

Each of the washers/spacers is a different thickness.

  1. The method for reclining a vehicle seat of claim 9, wherein each of the plurality of seat bracket spacers has a thickness which allows the maximum amount of seat recline without any modification to factory brackets, legs, or mounting bolts.

In English this means:

That the spacers will be at a prime height/thickness to recline without modifying the brackets, lets or bolts that attach to the floor.

  1. The method for reclining a vehicle seat of claim 9, wherein said thickness is from about 0.5 inches to about 1.0 inches.

In English this means:

Blocks, washers, spacers are 1/2" to 1".

  1. The method for reclining a vehicle seat of claim 9, wherein the fixed seat recline does not impact operation of factory safety restraining devices.

In English this means:

Using the blocks/washers/spacers will not affect the seatbelts, childseat restraints, etc..

  1. The method for reclining a vehicle seat of claim 9, wherein the fixed seat recline does not impact an ability of the vehicle seat to fold forward.

In English this means:

Use of the blocks/washers/spacers won't stop the seat from folding forward to lay flat.

  1. The method for reclining a vehicle seat of claim 9, wherein each of the plurality of seat bracket spacers and each of the plurality leg spacers is constructed of a material selected from: aluminum, an aluminum alloy, steel, a steel alloy, a polymer or a composite.

In English this means:

Blocks/washers/spacers must be made of metal, plastic or some composite material.

Perfect prior art would be evidence of a system that did each and every one of these steps prior to February 19, 2014.

You're probably aware of multiple pieces of art that meet this criteria already...

What is good prior art? They can be images, discussions on forums, web pages, product pages that exist. Please see the FAQs available on this site.

Want to help? Please vote or comment on submissions below.

Thanks!

migrated from meta.patents.stackexchange.com Sep 18 '15 at 1:06

This question came from our discussion, support, and feature requests site for people interested in improving and participating in the patent system.

  • Welcome to Ask Patents! Great question. Just a heads up, you originally posted this on Ask Patents Meta, which is our site for questions about the site (like if you wanted to ask about site rules, for instance). No worries on this one, I've migrated the question here to our main site. I just wanted to let you know for future reference. – Matthew Haugen Sep 18 '15 at 1:11
  • The priority date you originally listed was incorrect. This application claims priority from Provisional Application 61/941,711, filed February 19, 2014 (see USPTO Public Pair). I've made the update to your question. – vallismortis Sep 19 '15 at 13:04
  • Just a note - I see that all of the prior art you are listing is Jeep Wrangler-related. A good starting point because I believe you turned up the original 2010 post that inspired the patent. However, there are multiple ways to break a patent, and you don't need to limit yourself to Jeeps. Any bracket/spacer that falls within the claim language and specification can serve as Prior Art. Also, it is much easier to break a patent application if Prior Art is found within the existing patent literature (it is a stronger argument for the patent examiner at the USPTO). – vallismortis Sep 19 '15 at 17:57

10 Answers 10

2

Here is prior art from 11-13-2010 user J_Westy shows how a common person cut the material, drilled the holes to utilize the same method and system for tilting their seat back. http://www.wranglerforum.com/f274/2011-detonator-yellow-unlimited-66227-2.html#post874071

Image of blocks made from aluminum. Blocks placed between bracket and floor Blocks placed between bracket and sloping floor

  • The inventor on this patent application, Anthony LaRuffa, filed a signed Oath on March 11, 2015 that declared he was the original inventor or original joint inventor of the patent. This could be true, as his web site states he moved to California in 2011 and this post from 2010 states the poster is in Michigan. He could be the original poster. However, the existence of this post from 2010 could then qualify as public disclosure that could result in the invalidation of the provisional patent application. – vallismortis Sep 19 '15 at 13:50
1

Looking at the Public Pair Image File Wrapper US 2005/0035248 A1, Bolt-on adjustable seat mounting bracket kit, you'll find some interesting reading, including some Prior Art cited by the examiner (refer to the 18 page Non-Final Rejection). I'm going to cite the full argument here, as most of it should be applicable to this application:

Claim 1 is rejected under 35 U.S.C. 102(b) as being anticipated by U.S. Patent 3,128,979 to Damelo. Damelo discloses a mounting bracket (Fig. 7) comprising: a bracket (31) capable of bolting onto seat mounts (at 33 generally) and having optional rearward mounting positions (34) and height seat mounting positions (due to the thickness of the bracket itself), thus allowing a seat to be mounted further back as well as increasing height such that legroom may be increased and viewing over a dashboard, side window, etc. may be improved.

Claim 1 is rejected under 35 U.S.C. 102(b) as being anticipated by U.S. Patent 4,550,451 to Hubbard. Hubbard discloses a mounting bracket (Fig. 5) comprising: a bracket (36a) capable of bolting onto seat mounts (at 54 generally) and having optional rearward mounting positions (48) and height seat mounting positions (due to the thickness of the bracket itself), thus allowing a seat to be mounted further back as well as increasing height such that legroom may be increased and viewing over a dashboard, side window, etc. may be improved.

Claim 1 is rejected under 35 U.S.C. 102(b) as being anticipated by U.S. Patent 0375,832 to Miller. Miller discloses a mounting bracket (Fig. 1) comprising: a bracket having a series of six horizontally aligned holes, the bracket being capable of bolting onto seat mounts (via the first and fourth holes) and having optional rearward mounting positions (second, third, fifth, and sixth holes) and height seat mounting positions (due to the thickness of the bracket itself), thus allowing a seat to be mounted further back as well as increasing height such that legroom may be increased and viewing over a dashboard, side window, etc. may be improved.

Conclusion

The prior art made of record and not relied upon is considered pertinent to applicant's disclosure: 1928814 to Flintermann; 2274235 to Gandillon; 3021103 to Beyerle; 3198466 to Gardner et al; 3652050 to Marrujo et al; 4307865 to MacCready; 4638546 to Benshoof; 4850769 to Matthews; 0338057 to Robbins; 5244178 to Stewart; 0361503 to Hubbard; Re. 35785 to Stewart; 6012685 to Saraceno, Jr.

I believe there might be some useful Prior Art within the patent system in some of the older patents mentioned in the above examination.

1

Here's another prior art piece referencing off the shelf spacers being used - https://web.archive.org/web/20120823091347/http://www.savagesun4x4.com/enter/fabwerks_-_projects/general-jeep-4x4-projects/jeep_seatriser_install.html from August 23rd 2012.

1

Here is prior art from 2006 -

This is from someone that implemented the spacers and referenced the manufacturer. https://web.archive.org/web/20060317205722/http://www.stu-offroad.com/body/riser/seatriser-1.htm

Here is the manufacturer that describes the design from a page in 2004. https://web.archive.org/web/20041208160708/http://www.buchananworks.com/html/jeep_parts.html

1

Here is a discussion from 12-22-2009 explaining exactly how to make these spacers with multiple responses from others amending the design with additional ideas.

http://www.jkowners.com/forum/showthread.php?t=20378

1

"Common" person discussion 8 years ago on how to do this yourself. https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080227061412AAhTBPU

  • This could be used as a demonstration that the invention is obvious to one skilled in the art. – vallismortis Sep 25 '15 at 18:07
1

Here is a thread from JK-Forum started June 18th, 2008 with over 130 messages prior to the priority date discussing how to make these and install.

http://www.jk-forum.com/forums/jk-write-ups-39/rear-seat-angle-adjustment-write-up-44784/

Here are some of the images as a highlight to this thread, all in 2008/2009.

Picture of washers in place for this use. Picture of spacer in use. Picture of parts the person purchased Picture of a spacer made for this purpose Before spacer picture After spacer picture

0

Here is a video showing the same system/method in November 25th, 2014.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Du8EaytQMew

  • This will not qualify as Prior Art, because the Priority Date of the application is February 19, 2014. – vallismortis Sep 19 '15 at 13:07
0

Here is prior art in August 2014 showing spacers for the common person to make and install. http://www.wranglerforum.com/f274/jku-rear-seat-recline-mod-ebay-kit-871209.html

  • This will not qualify as Prior Art, because the Priority Date of the application is February 19, 2014. – vallismortis Sep 19 '15 at 13:07
  • 1
    Thanks, probably not a question appropriate here in this discussion, but I'd like to learn how the priority date is determined. If the patent was filed in feb 2015, what was the driving factor in the priority date being Feb 2014? – Whiskeymike Sep 21 '15 at 21:29
  • The application claims the domestic benefit of a provisional application (No. 61/941,711) filed on February 19, 2014. See "Continuity Data" in USPTO Public Pair, search by Publication Number US 20150231995 A1. – vallismortis Sep 25 '15 at 18:00
0

Not necessarily prior art, but an example of how this common design was being sold in August of 2013. http://www.ebay.com/itm/Jeep-JK-Unlimited-JKU-4-Door-Rear-Seat-Recline-Spacers-/251294621881?rmvSB=true&nma=true&si=0ChF4YnT%252FxOwN1AmzBcN5wXiMZc%253D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557

  • The earliest revision date of the posting for that item was June 23, 2013 12:17:16 PDT. The seller (Jeep JK Unlimited) is likely the assignee/inventor of the provisional application for this patent application (Innovative JK Products, LLC). A public disclosure (e.g., publication, public use, offer for sale) more than one year before the provisional application filing date would preclude patenting in the United States. Unfortunately, this does not qualify, as it was only 8 months prior to the filing date of the provisional application. – vallismortis Sep 19 '15 at 13:16
  • 1
    Good to know. I believe there were sales well prior to this. I'll look for other references prior. – Whiskeymike Sep 21 '15 at 21:30

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