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1. (WO2018226883) VACUUM BREAKER VALVES AND BAFFLED LIQUID CONTAINERS
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VACUUM BREAKER VALVES AND BAFFLED LIQUID CONTAINERS

Related Applications

[0001] This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Serial No.

62/515,750, filed on June 6, 2017, U.S. Nonprovisional Patent Application Serial No. 15/892,212, filed February 8, 2018, and U.S. Nonprovisional Patent Application Serial No. 15/807,179, filed November 8, 2017 the entire disclosures of which are hereby incorporated by reference for all purposes.

Background

[0002] The present disclosure relates generally to liquid dispensing devices. In particular, portable liquid dispensing devices including vacuum breaker valves and/or baffled liquid containers are described. The liquid dispensing devices described herein may be particularly suited for liquid fuel, however dispensing other liquids is also contemplated.

[0003] Gas cans and liquid containers are an easy way to move and transport fuel and other liquids. Common types of portable gas containers and other portable liquid containers are designed with the spout on the top of the container, thus the container must be inverted in order to dispense liquid. However, the known liquid containers are not entirely satisfactory for the range of applications in which they are employed. For example, existing liquid containers generally lack a vacuum breaker valve. Thus, when the containers are inverted to dispense liquid, a vacuum may form above the liquid as the liquid level drains. This vacuum above the liquid in the inverted container may hinder the flow of liquid out of the spout and may also cause surging in the flow of liquid.

[0004] Furthermore, conventional liquid containers may not be easily securable when transporting them. For example, many conventional liquid containers may not include a way to tie down or strap down the liquid container. When the liquid container may not be tied down or strapped down, securing the liquid container for transportation may be inconvenient or difficult and make transporting liquids, such as fuel, dangerous. Some liquid containers may include a handle that may be used to tie a rope or strap to. However, when the rope or strap is attached to the handle, the container may slip along the rope or strap and cause the liquid container to be unsecured and dangerous to transport.

[0005] Additionally, a conventional liquid container may have a single open cavity to hold a liquid. The open cavity may not control or dampen the movement of the liquid in the cavity when the liquid container is moved. For example, a conventional liquid container may have an unobstructed interior cavity that allows the liquid in the cavity to move freely side to side and up and down. Even as the liquid container is tipped to pour, the liquid may gush out of the container's open top, splashing its contents. Additionally, the unobstructed interior cavity does not meter or control a flow of the liquid as the liquid may be poured out of an opening in the liquid container. When the flow of the liquid is not controlled, the rate the liquid leaves the container may exceed a desired rate. Furthermore, a conventional liquid container vents air into the liquid container through an outflowing stream of the liquid, which slows a flow rate of the liquid as it is poured from the liquid container because the air cannot enter the liquid container at a sufficient rate.

[0006] Thus, there exists a need for liquid containers that improve upon and advance the design of known liquid containers. Examples of new and useful liquid containers relevant to the needs existing in the field are discussed below.

Summary

[0007] The present disclosure is directed to devices for dispensing liquid, especially fuel. In one embodiment, a device for dispensing fuel includes a spout for pouring liquid fuel, an annular fitting including a chamber formed therein. A sealing surface, a stopper, and spring may be disposed within the chamber. The annular fitting may be attached to the spout. The annular fitting may be configured to mate with a portable fuel container. The fitting may include sidewalls forming a channel for liquid fuel, an outer wall enveloping a portion of the sidewall forming a chamber proximate the liquid channel, and an atmospheric orifice formed in the outer wall. The sealing surface may be disposed proximal the orifice. The spring may be configured to bias the stopper into contact with the sealing surface such that the chamber is in selective pressure-dependent fluid communication with an atmosphere outside the device.

[0008] In some embodiments, the device may include a hose connected to the chamber within the container and running toward the bottom of the container. Thus the hose may be configured to place the chamber in fluid communication with a remote location within the fuel container. In some embodiments, the remote location is a bottom portion of the fuel container.

[0009] In some embodiments, the sealing surface is a surface of a gasket disposed in the chamber proximal the atmospheric orifice. In some embodiments, the annular fitting comprises an annular cap encircling the sidewalls of the spout and covering one end of the chamber, the atmospheric orifice being formed in the cap. In some embodiments, the stopper comprises a ball stopper.

[0010] In some embodiments, the chamber includes a groove formed therein, the ball stopper being slidably retained in the groove and configured to guide the ball stopper into contact with the sealing surface. In one embodiment, the groove may have a first long axis and the chamber having a second long axis, wherein the first long axis forms an angle with the second long axis of a least 10 degrees. In one embodiment, the channel having third long axis, wherein the second long axis is parallel to the third long axis.

[0011] In one embodiment, a device for dispensing fuel includes a portable liquid fuel container, a valve body attached to the fuel container, an atmospheric orifice formed in the valve body and the valve body having a chamber formed therein, a sealing surface disposed within the chamber, a stopper disposed within the chamber, and a spring configured to bias the stopper into contact with the sealing surface such that the chamber is in selective pressure-dependent fluid communication with an atmosphere outside the fuel container. The chamber may have a first end and a second end. The atmospheric orifice may be formed in the valve body proximal the first end of the chamber. The sealing surface may be disposed within the chamber proximal the orifice.

[0012] In one embodiment, a portable liquid fuel container comprises a lower compartment, a baffle, and an upper compartment. The lower compartment may comprise a base and a plurality of lower compartment walls connected to the base. The base and the plurality of lower compartment

walls may form a lower cavity to hold a liquid. The baffle may comprise a lower sidewall connected to the plurality of lower compartment walls, an upper sidewall connected to a plurality of upper compartment walls of the upper compartment, a first channel comprising a first set of channel walls connecting the lower compartment to the upper compartment at a first location, wherein the first channel provides a first passageway for liquid to pass between the lower compartment and the upper compartment, a second channel comprising a second set of channel walls connecting the lower compartment to the upper compartment at a second location, wherein the second channel provides a second passageway for the liquid to pass between the lower compartment and the upper compartment, and a baffle passage defining a first opening, a second opening, and a third passageway between the lower sidewall, the upper sidewall, the first channel, and the second channel, the third passageway providing being passage for an object to pass from the first opening to the second opening through a section between the lower compartment and the upper compartment. The upper compartment may comprise a plurality of upper compartment walls connected to the upper sidewall of the baffle, the first channel, and the second channel, the plurality of upper compartment walls forming an upper cavity to hold the liquid.

[0013] In one embodiment, the liquid container may comprise a handle integrated into at least one of the plurality of upper compartment walls, at least one of the plurality of the lower compartment walls, or the base. In one embodiment, the handle is hollow to provide a fourth passageway for the liquid to pass from a first portion of the lower compartment to a second portion of the lower compartment or a first portion of the upper compartment to a second portion of the upper compartment. In one embodiment, the handle is hollow to provide a second baffle to control a movement of the liquid stored in the liquid container.

[0014] In one embodiment, the liquid container comprises a mouth opening connected to the upper compartment, the mouth opening to provide an opening in the liquid container for the liquid to enter or exit the liquid container. In one embodiment, the mouth opening provides an opening for air to enter the liquid container.

[0015] In one embodiment, the baffle is to meter a flow of the liquid exiting the liquid container. In one embodiment, the first channel is to provide the first passageway for liquid to pass from the lower compartment to the upper compartment and the second channel is to provide the second passageway to pass air from the upper compartment to the lower compartment. In one embodiment, the baffle passage is shaped to receive a rope or tie-down to secure the liquid container for transportation.

[0016] In one embodiment, an apparatus comprises a lower compartment forming a lower cavity to hold a liquid, a baffle, and an upper compartment. The baffle may comprise a channel connecting the lower compartment to the upper compartment, wherein the channel provides a first passageway for liquid to pass between the lower compartment and the upper compartment, and a baffle passage defining an opening through a middle section of the apparatus between the lower compartment and the upper compartment. The upper compartment may be connected to the channel, the upper compartment forming an upper cavity to hold the liquid.

[0017] In one embodiment, the apparatus comprises a first handle integrated into a first side of the upper compartment, the first handle to provide a second passageway for the liquid to pass from a first portion of the upper compartment to a second portion of the upper compartment; and a second handle integrated into a second side of the upper compartment, the second handle to provide a third passageway for air to pass from a third portion of the upper compartment to a fourth portion of the upper compartment.

[0018] In one embodiment the apparatus comprises a first handle integrated into a first edge between a first side of the upper compartment and a second side of the upper compartment, the first handle to provide a second passageway for the liquid to pass from a first portion of the upper compartment to a second portion of the upper compartment; and a second handle integrated into a second edge between a third side of the upper compartment and a fourth side of the upper compartment, the second handle to provide a third passageway for air to pass from a third portion of the upper compartment to a fourth portion of the upper compartment.

[0019] In one embodiment, the apparatus comprises a mouth opening to provide an opening for the liquid to be poured out of the apparatus, wherein the baffle is to reduce a flow of the liquid poured out of the liquid container. In one embodiment the mouth opening provides an opening for air to enter the liquid container and the liquid to exit the liquid container. In one embodiment, a vent is integrated into a surface of the upper compartment, the vent to provide air into the apparatus.

[0020] In one embodiment, a liquid container comprises a lower compartment, a baffle and an upper compartment. The lower compartment may comprise a base and a plurality of lower compartment walls connected to the base, the base and the plurality of lower compartment walls forming a lower cavity to hold a liquid. The baffle may comprise a channel and a baffle passage. The channel may comprise a set of channel walls connecting the lower compartment to the upper compartment, wherein the set of channel walls form a first passageway for liquid to pass between the lower compartment and the upper compartment. The baffle passage may define a second passageway through a middle section of the liquid container from a first side of the liquid container to a second side of the liquid container. The upper compartment may comprise a plurality of upper compartment walls connected to the channel, the plurality of upper compartment walls forming an upper cavity to hold the liquid.

[0021] In one embodiment, the liquid container may comprise a handle integrated into the lower compartment or the upper compartment, wherein the handle is substantially flush with a surface of the lower compartment or the upper compartment. In one embodiment, the base is substantially flat to provide a surface for the liquid container to stand vertically.

[0022] In one embodiment, the plurality of lower compartment walls connect at approximately 90-degree angles and the plurality of upper compartment walls connect at approximately 90-degree angles to form a substantially rectangular container for the liquid container to stand horizontally. In one embodiment, the liquid container comprises a mouth opening connected to the upper compartment.

Brief Description of the Drawings

[0023] FIG. 1 A shows a perspective view of a liquid container with a thru-baffle, according to an embodiment.

[0024] FIG. 1 B shows a perspective view of a liquid container with a thru-baffle, according to an embodiment.

[0025] FIG. 1 C shows a perspective view of a liquid container with a thru-baffle, according to an embodiment.

[0026] FIG. 2A shows a perspective view of a liquid container with a baffle, according to an embodiment.

[0027] FIG. 2B shows a cross-sectional view of the liquid container with hollow base handles, hollow side handles, hollow upper handles, and hollow bottom handle, according to an embodiment.

[0028] FIG. 3 shows a bottom view of the liquid container shown in FIG. 2A and 2B, according to an embodiment.

[0029] FIG. 4 shows a top view of the liquid container shown in FIG. 2A and 2B, according to an embodiment.

[0030] FIG. 5 shows a side view of the liquid container shown in FIG. 2A and 2B, according to an embodiment.

[0031] FIG. 6 shows another second side view of the liquid container shown in FIG. 2A and

2B, according to an embodiment.

[0032] FIG. 7 shows a cross-sectional view of the liquid container shown in FIG. 2A and 2B, according to an embodiment.

[0033] Fig. 7 is perspective view of one embodiment of a fuel dispensing device including a fuel container and a fuel spout with associated vacuum breaker valve.

[0034] Fig. 8 is a cross section of the fuel spout and vacuum breaker valve of Fig 7.

[0035] Fig. 9 is a cross section of a second embodiment of a vacuum breaker valve.

Detailed Description

[0036] The disclosed liquid dispensing devices will become better understood through review of the following detailed description in conjunction with the figures. The detailed description and figures provide merely examples of the various inventions described herein. Those skilled in the art will understand that the disclosed examples may be varied, modified, and altered without departing from the scope of the inventions described herein. Many variations are contemplated for different applications and design considerations; however, for the sake of brevity, each and every contemplated variation is not individually described in the following detailed description.

[0037] Throughout the following detailed description, examples of various liquid dispensing devices are provided. Related features in the examples may be identical, similar, or dissimilar in different examples. For the sake of brevity, related features will not be redundantly explained in each example. Instead, the use of related feature names will cue the reader that the feature with a related feature name may be similar to the related feature in an example explained previously. Features

specific to a given example will be described in that particular example. The reader should understand that a given feature need not be the same or similar to the specific portrayal of a related feature in any given figure or example.

[0038] The embodiments described herein may address the above-noted deficiencies by providing a liquid container to control a flow rate of liquid poured from an opening of the liquid container. The liquid container may include handles, cavities, openings, or baffles to tie or strap down the liquid container and control a movement of the liquid.

[0039] FIG. 1A shows a perspective view of a liquid container 100 with a baffle 104, according to an embodiment. Liquid container 100 may store a liquid for easy transportation and distribution. For example, the liquid container 100 may be a gas can used to store, transport, and distribute gasoline or diesel fuel. The liquid container 100 may be metal, plastic, rubber, polyurethane, and so forth.

[0040] The liquid container 100 may include a lower compartment 102, a baffle 104, an upper compartment 106, and a mouth opening 108. The lower compartment 102 may include an inner cavity that is shaped to hold a volume of liquid inside the liquid container 100. In one embodiment, the lower compartment 102 may include a base 110. In one example, the base 1 10 may be a flat surface or a substantially flat surface to sturdily support the container and any liquid held in the container. In another example, the base 110 may allow the liquid container 100 to stand vertically.

[0041] In another embodiment, the lower compartment 102 may include lower compartment walls 1 12 that may connect to the base 1 10 and extend upward from the base 1 10. The base 110 and the lower compartment walls 1 12 of the lower compartment 102 may enclose a first area within the liquid container 100 to hold a volume a liquid. As discussed below, the lower compartment 102 may be connected to the baffle 104 and the upper compartment 106 to form a cavity to hold a liquid.

[0042] In one example, the lower compartment walls 1 12 may connect to the base 110 at an angle. For example, the wall 1 12 may include four lower walls that extend upwards from the base 110. When the base 1 10 is substantially square, the four lower walls may each extend from an edge of the square base to form a square lower compartment 102. The square lower compartment 102 may allow the liquid container 100 to stand in a vertical position or lay in a horizontal position.

[0043] In another example, the lower compartment walls 1 12 may connect to the base 1 10 at substantially perpendicular angles, such as approximately 90-degree angle. In another example, one or more of the lower compartment walls 1 12 may connect to the base 1 10 to form rounded corners.

[0044] In another embodiment, the lower compartment walls 112 may extend from the base

1 10 at less than ninety degrees such that the lower compartment walls 1 12 converge inward, allowing the liquid container 100 to hold a lower volume of liquid. In another embodiment, the lower compartment walls 1 12 may extend more than ninety degrees such that the lower compartment walls 1 12 splay outward, allowing the liquid container 100 to hold an increased volume of liquid.

[0045] The base 1 10 and/or the lower compartment walls 1 12 may include one or more handles. In one example, the one or more handles may aid a user in transporting the liquid container 100. In another example, the one or more handles may aid a user in pouring a liquid from the liquid container 100.

[0046] The baffle 104 may be connected to the lower compartment 102. The baffle 104 may include one or more channels 1 18 that may provide a conduit for liquid stored in the lower compartment 102 to flow to the upper compartment 106. Each channel 1 18 may include a set of channel walls 132 that form the conduits. In one example, a bottom of the channel walls 132 may be connected to the lower compartment 102 and a top of the channel walls 132 may be connected to the upper compartment 106. The channel walls 132 may be connected to each other at angles. In one example, the channel walls 132 may be connected to each other at approximately 90-degree angles to form a square channel. In another example, the channel walls 132 may be connected to each other at approximately 45-degree angles to form a triangular channel. In another example, the channel walls 132 may be rounded to form a cylindrical channel.

[0047] The baffle 104 may include a lower sidewall 134 connected to a top portion of the lower compartment 102. The baffle 104 may include an upper sidewall 136 connected to a lower portion of the upper compartment 106. The lower sidewall 134 may also be connected to an edge of one or more of the channel wall 132. The lower sidewall 134 may provide a barrier to the liquid stored in the lower compartment 102 so that when the liquid in the lower compartment 102 is poured out of the liquid container 100, the lower sidewall 134 forces the liquid to flow through the channels 118. The lower sidewall 134 may also be connected to an edge of one or more of the channel wall 132. The upper sidewall 136 provides a barrier to the liquid stored in the upper compartment 106 so that when the liquid is transferred between the lower compartment 102 and the upper compartment, the upper sidewall 136 forces the liquid to flow through the channels 1 18.

[0048] The baffle 104 may include one or more baffle openings 1 14 with one or more through-holes or openings between the channels 118 and between the lower wall 134 and the upper sidewall 136. For example, the channels 1 18 may be connected at the corners of the lower compartment 102. A center of the baffle 104 and spaces between the channels 118, the lower wall 134, and the upper wall 136 may be open space. The baffle openings 1 14 may allow for objects to pass through a middle section of the liquid container 100.

[0049] The baffle openings 1 14 may be connected by one or more baffle passages 1 16 to allow objects, such as rope, tie-downs, or a hand, to pass through the middle section of the liquid container 100. In this example embodiment, the baffle 104 may include four baffle openings 114. The baffle openings 114 may be circular holes, rectangular holes, square holes, oblong holes, and so forth. An exterior of the baffle openings 114 may be rounded or squared. In one embodiment, the baffle openings 114 may each be the same shape or similar shapes. In another embodiment, the baffle openings 1 14 may be different shapes. The baffle openings 1 14 may be smaller than a peripheral edge of the lower compartment walls 1 12 such that the baffle openings 114 may run along a portion of the edge of the lower compartment walls 1 12, such as between the channel walls 132.

[0050] In one embodiment, the baffle openings 1 14 each connect with each other via a baffle passage 1 16. The baffle passage 1 16 may enclose an area such that an object may pass through the baffle passage 116 while being surrounded by the baffle passage 1 16. The baffle passage 1 16 may

include the lower side wal l 134 and the upper sidewall 136, where the lower sidewall 134, the upper sidewall 136, and the channels 130 connect to form the baffle passage 1 16.

[0051] The lower sidewall 134 may connect to the baffle openings 1 14 located around a perimeter of the lower compartment walls 1 12 and a perimeter of the baffle openings 1 14. The upper sidewall 136 may connect to the baffle openings 1 14 located around a perimeter of the upper compartment walls 120 and a perimeter of the baffle openings 1 14. By connecting the baffle openings 114 to the lower sidewall 134 and the upper sidewall 136 to make a connected baffle passage 1 16, the baffle passage 1 16, the lower sidewall 134, and the upper sidewall 136 separate an area contained within the liquid container 100 which may hold or contain a liquid from an outside area of the liquid container 100.

[0052] The number of baffle openings 1 14 for the baffle passage 1 16 is not intended to be limiting. In one embodiment, the baffle 104 may include baffle openings 1 14 on each side of the liquid container 100. In another embodiment, the baffle 104 may include baffle openings 1 14 on two or more sides of the liquid container 100 and other sides of the baffle 104 may not have baffle openings. 114. For example, the baffle passage 1 16 may connect two baffle openings 114.

[0053] The baffle 104 may control a movement of liquid that may be contained within the liquid container 100. In one example, as the liquid container 100 is moved or tilted at an angle, including being inverted, the liquid within liquid container 100 may slosh around or move around irregularly. The baffle 104 may reduce the irregular movement of the liquid to stabilize the liquid container 100 for transportation or pouring of the liquid from the liquid container 100. In another embodiment, when the baffle 104 reduces the movement of the liquid by metering a rate that the liquid is poured from the liquid container 100, reduces the velocity that the liquid is poured from the liquid container 100.

[0054] In one embodiment, as the liquid container 100 is tilted at an angle or inverted while pouring the liquid from the liquid container 100, the baffle 104 may provide an air passage for air to enter the liquid container 100 as the liquid exits the liquid container 100. For example, as the baffle 104 reduces the flow of liquid as it is poured, the reduced flow provides a gap or space at the mouth opening 108 where air may flow into the liquid container 100. Additionally, as the baffle forces the liquid stored in the lower compartment 102 to flow through one or more of the channels 1 18, the reduced flow of the liquid from the lower compartment 102 may create an air pocket at the upper compartment 106 for the air to flow into from the mouth opening 108.

[0055] In another embodiment, the baffle passage 1 16 and baffle openings 1 14 of the baffle

104 provides locations to hold or secure the liquid container 100. For example, during transportation of the liquid container 100, a rope or tie-down may be inserted into one of the baffle openings 1 14, through the baffle passage 1 16, and out another of the baffle openings 1 14. The rope or tie-down may then be secured to another object, such as a truck bed or trailer, or an area a user may desire to secure the liquid container 100 without a risk of the rope or tie-down slipping free from around the liquid container 100. The baffle passage 1 16 and baffle openings 1 14 may also provide a place for a user to grab and hold the liquid container 100.

[0056] The upper compartment 106 may be connected to the upper sidewall 136 and the channels 118 of the baffle 104. The upper compartment 106 may be shaped to store and funnel liquid held inside the liquid container 100 toward a mouth opening 108 of the liquid container 100. The upper compartment 106 may include an inner cavity that is shaped to hold a volume of liquid and/or air inside the liquid container 100. The upper compartment walls 120 may connect to the upper sidewall 136 and the channels 1 18 of the baffle 104 and extend upward from the upper sidewall 136 and the channels 1 18 of the baffle 104. The upper sidewall 136 and the upper compartment walls 120 of the upper compartment 106 may enclose a second area within the liquid container 100 to hold a volume a liquid. For example, the lower compartment 102, the baffle 104, and the upper compartment 106 may be connected to form an upper cavity and a lower cavity to hold a liquid.

[0057] In one embodiment, the upper compartment walls 120 may connect to the upper sidewall 136 and the channels 118 at an angle. For example, the upper compartment walls 120 may include four upper walls that extend upwards from the upper sidewall 136 and the channels 1 18. In another embodiment, the upper compartment walls 120 may connect to the upper sidewall 136 and the channels 118 at substantially perpendicular angles, such as approximately ninety degrees. In another example, one or more of the upper compartment walls 120 may connect to the upper sidewall 136 and the channels 1 18 to form rounded corners.

[0058] In another embodiment, the upper compartment walls 120 may extend from the upper sidewall 136 and the channels 118 at less than ninety degrees such that the upper compartment walls 120 converge inward, allowing the liquid container 100 to hold a lower volume of liquid. For example, the upper compartment walls 120 may extend at an angle from the upper sidewall 136 and the channels 1 18 to converge at the mouth opening 108. The mouth opening 108 may be formed to connect with nozzles, lids, or other attachments. In one example, the mouth opening 108 may include threads to screw the nozzles, the lids, or the other attachments onto the mouth opening 108. In another example, the mouth opening may include a fastener to attach the nozzles, the lids, or the other attachments onto the mouth opening 108. The upper compartment walls 120 may be angled inward from to the upper sidewall 136 and the channels 1 18 such that the upper compartment walls 120 contain less volume as the upper compartment walls 120 converge. The converging shape of the upper compartment walls 120 enables liquid contained within liquid container 100 to be channeled or tunneled toward an exit point or mouth opening 108 of the liquid container 100.

[0059] The upper compartment 106 may also include one or more upper handles 122 to allow a user to grip the liquid container 100. In one embodiment, the upper handles 122 may be integrated into the upper compartment 106. In one example, an upper handle 122 may have a hollow interior or channel. A first end of the upper handle 122 may connect at a first point along the surface of the upper compartment walls 120 into the cavity of the upper compartment 106 that is holding liquid. A second end of the upper handle 122 may connect at a second point along the surface of the upper compartment walls 120 into the cavity of the upper compartment 106 that is holding liquid. In one embodiment, as liquid is poured from the upper compartment 106 to the mouth opening 108, at least a portion of the liquid may flow through the channel of the upper handle 122. In another embodiment, as liquid is poured from the upper compartment 106 to the mouth opening 108, at least a portion of the air flowing in from the mouth opening 108 may flow through the channel of the upper handle 122.

[0060] In one example, one or more of the upper handles 122 may be located on an edge portion 124 where the upper compartment walls 120 connect. In another embodiment, the upper handles 122 may be located on the upper compartment walls 120 themselves. The upper handles 122 may provide a location to grip the liquid container 100, allowing for easier transportation and pouring ability.

[0061] In one embodiment, the upper compartment 106 may also include air vents 126. The air vents 126 may be small, closable or sealable holes located along one or more of the upper compartment walls 120. The air vents 126 may provide an opening for air to enter into liquid container 100 as the contents of liquid container 100 are poured out, allowing for a uniform flow of the liquid.

[0062] The mouth opening 108 may be connected to the upper compartment 106. The mount opening may provide an opening in the liquid container to allow liquid on air into or out of the liquid container 100. The mouth opening 108 may allow for attachments to affix to the liquid container 100. The attachments may include a lid to assisting in containing liquid in the liquid container 100, a funnel or spout to assist in filling the liquid container 100 with liquid, or a spout to assist in pouring the liquid out of the liquid container 100. In one example, the mouth opening 108 may be a small, round opening in the container, where the mouth opening 108 includes outer threads to attach the attachments. In another example, the mouth opening may be large opening to enable an increased amount of fluid or air to enter or exit the liquid container. In another example, the mouth opening 108 may be square shaped, rectangularly shaped, polygonal shaped, and so forth. In one example, the lower compartment 102, the baffle 104 and the upper compartment 106 may form a substantially square or rectangular liquid container 100. In another example, the lower compartment 102, the baffle 104 and the upper compartment 106 may form a substantially cylindrical liquid container 100 or another polygonal shaped liquid container 100.

[0063] FIG. 1 B shows a perspective view of the liquid container 100 with the baffle 104, according to an embodiment. Some of the features in FIG. 1 B are the same or similar to some of the features in FIG. 1A as noted by same reference numbers, unless expressly described otherwise. The baffle 104 may include the passage baffle openings 1 14, the channels 1 18, the channel walls 132, and the passage 1 16.

[0064] In one embodiment, one or more of the channels 118 may provide a pathway for fluid to travel from the lower compartment 102 to the upper compartment 106. In another embodiment, one or more of the channels 1 18 may provide a pathway for air to travel from the mouth opening to the upper compartment 106 and/or the lower compartment 102. In another embodiment, one or more of the channels 1 18 may store air or fluid. In another embodiment, one or more of the passage baffle openings 114 may provide a space for a rope or tie down to pass through the liquid container 100 to secure the liquid container 100. In one example, the passage baffle openings 114 and the passage 1 16 may form a t-shaped open space where the channels 118 may be located at the corners of the baffle 104. The shape of the baffle 104 is not intended to be limiting. For example, the baffle 104 may form a y-shape with 3 channels 118 and a y-shaped passage 1 16.

[0065] FIG. 1 C shows a cross-section view of the liquid container 100, according to an embodiment. Some of the features in FIG. 1 C are the same or similar to some of the features in FIG. 1A and 1 B as noted by same reference numbers, unless expressly described otherwise. The liquid container 100 may store a liquid. For example, the liquid container 100 may store gasoline or diesel. When the liquid is poured from the liquid container 100 to another liquid container, such as a fuel tank, the liquid container 100 may be positioned on its side for pouring. As the liquid pours out of the liquid container 100, the liquid may flow through one or more passageways 138, 140, and 142 of the liquid container 100 to exit a portion of the mouth opening 108. For example, the liquid container 100 may include a first passageway 138 that extends from the lower compartment 102, through a first channel 148 of the baffle 104 at a bottom side of the liquid container 100, through an opening between the upper handles 122, and through the mouth opening 108 to a liquid exit 144. In another example, the liquid container 100 may include a second passageway 140 that extends from the lower compartment 102, through a fourth channel 155 of the baffle 104 at a top side of the liquid container 100, through the opening between the upper handles 122, and through the mouth opening 108 to the liquid exit 144.

[0066] The upper handles 122 may include a first handle 152 and a second handle 154. The first handle 152 may be integrated into the liquid container 100 and provide a first passage for liquid between the first handle 152 and a first inner surface 156 of the liquid container 100. The second handle 154 may be integrated into the liquid container 100 and provide a second passage for liquid between the second handle 154 and a second inner surface 158 of the liquid container 100. The first passage of the first handle 152 and/or the second passage of the second handle 154 may provide additional baffles for the liquid container 100. In another example, the liquid container 100 may include a third passageway 142 that extends from the lower compartment 102, through the first channel 148 of the baffle 104 at the bottom side of the liquid container 100, through a passage of the second handle 154, and through the mouth opening 108 to the liquid exit 144.

[0067] As the baffle 104, the first handle 152, and/or the second handle 154 meter a flow of the liquid as it exits the mouth opening 108, the liquid may flow through a first portion of the mouth opening and provide a second portion of the mouth opening for air to flow into the liquid opening via an air entrance 146. In one example, the liquid container 100 may include a fourth channel 150 that extends from the mouth opening 108, through the first passage of the first handle 152 to the upper compartment 106 and/or the lower compartment 102 of the liquid container 100. In another example, the liquid container 100 may include a fifth channel 153 that extends from the mouth opening 108, between a passage between the first handle 152 and the second handle 154, to the upper compartment 106 and/or the lower compartment 102 of the liquid container 100. The arrangement and number of channels and passages are not intended to be limiting. For example, the liquid container 100 may include four handles that provide four passageways around the handles. In another example, the liquid container 100 may not include the baffle 104 and only the handles 152 and 154 to provide baffles for the liquid container 100.

[0068] FIG. 2A shows a perspective view of a liquid container 200 with a baffle 272, according to an embodiment. Some of the features in FIG. 2A are the same or similar to some of the features in FIG. 1A, 1 B, and 1 C as noted by same reference numbers, unless expressly described otherwise. The liquid container 200 may include the lower compartment 102, the baffle 272, the upper compartment 106, and the mouth opening 108. The liquid container 200 may store a liquid for transportation and distribution. The baffle 272 of the liquid container 200 may control or meter the movement of the liquid and allow for securing of the liquid container 200.

[0069] The lower compartment 102 may be shaped to allow the liquid container 200 to hold a volume of liquid inside. The liquid container 200 may be shaped to enable the liquid container 200 to stand in a vertical position or lay in a horizontal position. For example, the lower compartment 102 may include a substantially square base 1 10 to allow the liquid container 200 to stand vertically. The base 1 10 may provide a flat or substantially flat surface to sturdily support the liquid container 200 and any liquid held in the liquid container 200. In one embodiment, the lower sidewalls 264 of the lower compartment 102 and the upper sidewalls 266 of the of the upper compartment 106 may be substantially flat and connect at approximately 90-degree angles so that the sides of the liquid container 200 are square and the liquid container 200 may be laid on its side when storing the liquid or when the liquid is poured from the mouth opening 108.

[0070] In another embodiment, the lower sidewalls 264 of the lower compartment 102 and the upper sidewalls 266 of the upper compartment 106 may be concave or curved and connect at approximately 90 degree angles so that the sides of the liquid container 200 are square and the liquid container 200 may be laid on its side when storing the liquid or when the liquid is poured from the mouth opening 108. The convex or curved lower sidewalls 264 of the lower compartment 102 and the upper sidewalls 266 of the convex or curved upper compartment 106 may enable the liquid container 200 to be laid on its side on an uneven surface. For example, when a surface that the side of the liquid container 200 is laid on has mounds, objects, protrusions, or divots, the concave or curved surface of the liquid container 200 may remain stable because the surface of the side of the liquid container 200 may not contact the mound, object, protrusion, or divot.

[0071] In another embodiment, an edge 268 formed between the base 110 and the lower compartment walls 112 may be curved, forming a concave edge. The concave portion of the edge 268 may extend along the edge 268 or a portion of the edge 268. The concave portion of the edge 244 may be shaped to conform to the contours of a leg, arm, or shoulder. Additionally, the concave portion of the edge 268 may assist in transporting or securing the liquid container 200 from slipping when being poured or tilted.

[0072] The liquid container 200 may include a baffle 272. The baffle 272 may include baffle openings and a baffle passage similar to the baffle passage 1 16 and the baffle openings 1 14 in FIGS. 1A, 1 B, and 1 C. In one embodiment, the baffle 272 may include a first baffle opening 274 and a second baffle opening 276 that are on opposite side surfaces of the liquid container 200 and a baffle passage that extends between the baffle openings 274 and 276 to provide an exterior through channel to put ropes or tie downs through when securing the liquid container 200.

[0073] The liquid container 200 may include one or more base handles 270, side handles

262, or upper handles 122. In one embodiment, the base handles 270, side handles 262, and/or upper handles 122 may be solid and attached to the liquid container 200.

[0074] In another embodiment, the base handles 270, the side handles 262, and/or the upper handles 122 may be hollow and attached to the liquid container 200. In one example, the hollow base handles 270, the side handles 262, and/or the upper handles 122 may provide additional storage cavities within the handles for liquids. In another example, the hollow base handles 270, the side handles 262, and/or the upper handles 122 may be baffles to control a movement of the liquid as the liquid is stored in the liquid container 200 or meter the liquid as the liquid is poured from the liquid container 200 , as discussed below. In another example, one or more of the base handles 270, the side handles 262, and/or the upper handles 122 may be solid handles and one or more of the base handles 270, the side handles 262, and/or the upper handles 122 may be hollow. The number of handles and the location of the handles is not intended to be limiting.

[0075] FIG. 2B shows a cross-section view of the liquid container 200 with one hollow base handle 246, the side handles 248, the upper handles 250, and the bottom handle 255, according to an embodiment. Some of the features in FIG. 2B are the same or similar to some of the features in FIGS. 1A-1 C and 2A as noted by same reference numbers, unless expressly described otherwise.

[0076] In one embodiment, the base handle 270 may be a handle integrated into a bottom surface of the liquid container 200. In another embodiment, the side handles 262 may include a first side handle 278 and a second side handle 280 that are along surfaces opposite to the baffle passage and baffle openings 274 and 276. The upper handles 122 may include a first upper handle 282 and a second upper handle 284.

[0077] When the liquid is poured from the liquid container 200 to another liquid container, such as a gasoline tank, the liquid container 200 may be positioned on its side for pouring. As the liquid pours out of the liquid container 200 , the liquid may flow through one or more channels around the base handle 270, the first side handle 278, the second side handle 280, the baffle 272, the first upper handle 282, and/or the second upper handle 284 of the liquid container 200 to exit a portion of the mouth opening 108.

[0078] As the base handle 270, the first side handle 278, the second side handle 280, the baffle 272, the first upper handle 282, and/or the second upper handle 284 meter a flow of the liquid as it exits the mouth opening 108, the liquid may flow through the liquid exit 144 of the mouth opening 108 and provide a second portion of the mouth opening for air to flow into through the air entrance 146.

[0079] The base handle 270, the first side handle 278, the second side handle 280, the first upper handle 282, and/or the second upper handle 284 may be set in a concave portion of the liquid container 200. In one embodiment, the base handle 270, the first side handle 278, the second side handle 280, the first upper handle 282, and/or the second upper handle 284 may also act as other baffles by interrupting or dampening the free flow of liquid that may be contained within the liquid container 200. In another embodiment, passageways between one or more of the base handle 270, the first side handle 278, the second side handle 280, the first upper handle 282, and/or the second upper handle 284 may provide paths for the fluid to exit the liquid container 200 as the liquid is poured and other passageways between the one or more of the base handle 270, the first side handle 278,

the second side handle 280, the first upper handle 282, and/or the second upper handle 284 may provide paths for the air to enter the liquid container 200 as the liquid to poured.

[0080] The paths of the fluid or the air via the passageways of the liquid container 200 are not intended to be limiting. In one example, when the liquid container 200 is completely full, the liquid may flow out via all of the passageways. In another example, as the liquid container 200 empties or is only partially full of liquid, the liquid may flow out via one or more of the passageways and air may flow in via one or more other passageways.

[0081] FIG. 3 shows a bottom view of the liquid container 200 , according to an embodiment.

Some of the features in FIG. 3 are the same or similar to some of the features in FIGS. 1A-1 C and 2A-2B as noted by same reference numbers, unless expressly described otherwise.

[0082] The base 110 may include one of the base handles 270 to assist in transporting the liquid container 200 and pouring the contents of liquid container 200. In one example, the base handle 270 may be located on a bottom surface of the base 1 10. The base handle 270 may be located in a concave portion 378 of the base 1 10 such that the base handle 270 may be substantially flush with the base 210, so as to not jut out and compromise the stability of the liquid container 200 when set on the base 1 10. The number of base handles 270 is not intended to be limiting. For example, the liquid container 200 may include multiple base handles 270 or a single base handle 270.

[0083] FIG. 4 shows a top view of the liquid container 200 , according to an embodiment.

Some of the features in FIG. 4 are the same or similar to some of the features in FIGS. 1A-1 C and 2A-2B as noted by same reference numbers, unless expressly described otherwise. The liquid container 200 may include the first upper handle 282 and the second upper handle 284. The first upper handle 282 may be located along a surface of the upper compartment 106. The first upper handle 282 may include a first concave portion 486 for a user to insert a hand and grab the first upper handle 282. The second upper handle 284 may be located along the surface of the upper compartment 106. The second upper handle 284 may include a second concave portion 488 for a user to insert a hand and grab the second upper handle 284. The first upper handle 282 and the second upper handle 284 may be substantially flush with the surface of the upper compartment 106 so as to not jut out from the surface of the upper compartment 106.

[0084] FIG. 5 shows a side view of the liquid container 200 , according to an embodiment.

Some of the features in FIG. 5 are the same or similar to some of the features in FIGS. 1A-1 C and 2A-2B as noted by same reference numbers, unless expressly described otherwise. As discussed above, a concave portion of the edge 268 may extend along a portion of the edge 268 or a portion of the edge 268. The edge 268 may be shaped to conform to the contours of a leg, an arm, or a shoulder. Additionally, the edge 268 may assist in transporting or securing the liquid container 200 from slipping when being poured or tilted.

[0085] The liquid container 200 may include the first side handle 278 or the second side handle 280 to assist in transporting the liquid container 200 and pouring the contents of the liquid container 200. The first side handle 278 or the second side handle 280 may be located on a side surface of the liquid container 100. The first side handle 278 or the second side handle 280 may include a concave portion 590 for a user to insert a hand and grab the first side handle 278 or the second side handle 280. The first side handle 278 or the second side handle 280 may be substantially flush with the side surface of the liquid container 200 so as to not jut out and compromise the stability of the liquid container 200 when set on its side.

[0086] The upper compartment 106 may include the first upper handle 282 or the second upper handle 284 along the upper compartment 106 to assist in transporting liquid container 200 and pouring the contents of the liquid container 200. The first upper handle 282 or the second upper handle 284 may be located on the side surfaces of the upper compartment 106. The first upper handle 282 or the second upper handle 284 may include concave portions 592 for a user to insert a hand and grab include the first upper handle 282 or the second upper handle 284. The first upper handle 282 or the second upper handle 284 may be substantially flush with the upper compartment 106 so as to not jut out and compromise the stability of the liquid container 200 when set on its side.

[0087] The upper compartment 106 may be shaped to store and funnel liquid held inside the liquid container 200 toward the mouth opening 108 of the liquid container 200. The upper compartment 106 may extend at an angle from the lower compartment 102 to converge at the mouth opening 108. The upper compartment 106 may be angled inward from the lower compartment 102 such that the upper compartment 106 may store less volume as the upper compartment 106 converges towards the mouth opening 108. The converging shape of the upper compartment 106 may enable liquid stored within the liquid container 200 to be channeled or tunneled toward the mouth opening 108 of the liquid container 200.

[0088] FIG. 6 shows a side view of the liquid container 200 , according to an embodiment.

Some of the features in FIG. 6 are the same or similar to some of the features in FIGS. 1A-1 C and 2A-2B as noted by same reference numbers, unless expressly described otherwise. The baffle 272 may be a baffle to help control or slow the movement of liquid that might be held in the liquid container 200. Further, the baffle 272 may allow for objects to pass through a middle section of the liquid container 200. The baffle 272 may include one or more baffle opening 274 which may be connected by one or more passages to allow object like rope, tie-downs, or a hand to pass through a center or middle portion of the liquid container 200. In one example, the baffle opening 274 may be a rounded rectangular opening. In another example, the baffle openings 274 may be circular openings, squared rectangular openings, square openings, oblong openings, or polygonal shaped openings. In one example, the baffle openings 274 may be the same shape. In another example, the multiple baffle openings 274 may be different shapes.

[0089] With reference to Figs. 7-8, one example of a liquid dispensing device, fuel dispensing device 800, will now be described. Device 800 functions to dispense liquid fuel from a portable liquid fuel container 700 while simultaneously regulating the gas pressure above the liquid fuel when the container 700 is inverted. More specifically, device 800 functions to break the vacuum formed above the liquid fuel in the container 700 when the container 700 is inverted and fuel flows from the fuel spout of the device. Device 800 and container 700 comprise a fuel dispensing system 50. The reader will appreciate from the figures and description below that device 400 addresses shortcomings of conventional devices.

[0090] For example, device 800 functions to equalize pressure between an atmosphere above the liquid in an inverted liquid container and the ambient atmosphere outside the liquid. Thus, device 800 may achieve a steady flow of liquid from the spout.

[0091] Device 800 includes a spout 820 for pouring liquid fuel, an annular fitting 819 including a chamber 805 formed therein. A sealing surface 806, a stopper 808, and spring 810 may be disposed within chamber 805. The annular fitting 819 may be attached to spout 820. The annular fitting 819 may be configured to mate with a portable fuel container 700. Fitting 819 may include sidewalls 818 forming a channel 817 for liquid fuel, an outer wall 804 enveloping a portion of the sidewall 818 forming chamber 805 proximate the liquid channel 817, and an atmospheric orifice 802 formed in the outer wall 804. The sealing surface 806 may be disposed proximal orifice 802. The spring 810 may be configured to bias the stopper 808 into contact with the sealing surface 806 such that the chamber 805 is in selective pressure-dependent fluid communication with an atmosphere 600 outside the device.

[0092] Device 800 may be secured to liquid container 700. A hose 830 may connect device

800 to a dispensing nozzle 831. An air intake may be included in the liquid container 700 to allow air to flow into the container 700 to take the place of the displaced liquid as the liquid is poured out of the liquid container. As can be seen in Fig. 8, an example of a possible air intake may be a spout check device 800, and may include an orifice 802 located in an outer wall 804 of device 800. The orifice 802 in the wall 804 may allow air to enter into the liquid container from the outside atmosphere. Surrounding the orifice 802, there may be a sealing surface 806 which may be made from a rubber or elastic, or other material, to seal the orifice when liquid is not poured, or when it is not desirable for air to pass through the orifice 802.

[0093] As can be seen in Fig. 8, the spout check 800 may include a stopper 808 which may interact with the sealing surface 806 to seal the orifice 802 and make the liquid container air or liquid tight, or spill resistant. In the illustrated embodiment, the stopper 808 may be a ball bearing, where the ball bearing is the same size and shape, or a similar or slightly larger size and shape, as the orifice 802 and the gasket 806 surrounding the orifice. Because the ball bearing stopper 808 may be similarly sized, or slightly larger than the orifice 802 and sealing surface 806, the stopper 808 will fully seal the orifice 802 when it is pressed against the orifice 802 and sealing surface 806. In the illustrated embodiment, the sealing surface 806 comprises an O-ring. In other embodiments, the sealing surface may comprise a gasket or may be an integral part of the annular fitting.

[0094] Still as seen in Fig. 8, in order to hold the stopper 808 in place against the orifice 802 or gasket 806, a spring 810 is compressed slightly in place within the wall 804 of the nozzle or liquid container in a position behind the stopper 808. The spring 810 is positioned to press the stopper 808 toward the orifice 802, and at an opposite end, the spring 810 presses against a spring stop 812. The spring stop 812 may be a protruding edge of the wall 804, or may be part of a recess in the wall 804.

[0095] As is seen in Fig. 8, the spout check may include a spout hose 814 to assist in moving air into the liquid container. The spout hose 814 may be a small, cylindrical and flexible or rigid hose extending from the orifice 802 of the device 800 into the liquid container 700 to move air past liquid that may be contained within the liquid container during pouring. The spout hose 814 may

fit by interfacing with the walls 804 of the nozzle or liquid container, and may be held in place by friction or tension or compression fitting.

[0096] The device 800 may function by allowing air intake through the orifice 802 during pouring of the liquid container and the stopper 808 automatically resealing the orifice 802 when pouring stops. This is possible because as liquid is poured from the otherwise air and liquid tight liquid container, a vacuum is formed within the liquid container above the displaced liquid. The low pressure of the liquid container will create a natural sucking action, and the orifice 802 may allow air to be sucked into the liquid container.

[0097] As air is sucked through the orifice 802, the stopper 808 is displaced, and the spring

810 is compressed by the forces acting on it. As pouring slows or ceases from the liquid container 700, the difference in pressure will also slow or cease, creating equal pressures once again. Because there is equal pressure inside the container as there is outside, the sucking action of air through the orifice 802 will cease, and the spring 810 will extend and press the stopper against the gasket 806 or orifice 802, again creating a sealed container.

[0098] As described above, hose 814 may assist in moving air into container 700.

Specifically, one end of the hose may be connected to chamber 805 and the other end of the hose may terminate in a remote location of the container, such as the bottom. Thus, hose 814 may be configured to place the chamber 805 in fluid communication with the remote location 851 within the fuel container 700.

[0099] As can be seen in Fig. 8, the annular fitting 819 may comprise an annular cap 816 encircling the sidewalls of the spout 820 and covering one end of the chamber 805. The atmospheric orifice 802 may be formed in the cap 816.

[0100] Chamber 805 may include a groove 813 formed therein. The ball stopper 808 may be slidably retained in the groove 813 and configured to guide the ball stopper 808 into contact with the sealing surface 806. The groove 413 may be formed at an angle to chamber 805 in order to allow air to rush past the ball stopper when it is retracted. Specifically, groove 813 may have a first long axis 852 and the chamber 805 may have a second long axis 850, wherein the first long axis 852 forms an angle 860 with the second long axis 850 of a least 10 degrees. The channel 805 may have a third long axis 854, wherein the second long axis 850 is parallel to the third long axis 854.

[0101] Device 800 may be secured to container 700 via retaining cap 840. For example, a flange at the proximal end of annular fitting 819 may be sandwiched between retaining cap 840 and the neck of container orifice 842.

[0102] Turning now to Fig. 9, a second embodiment of a vacuum breaker valve device, device 900, will now be described. Device 900 shares many characteristics with device 800, thus only the differences will be explained. Device 900 is configured as a stand-alone vacuum breaker device, rather than the integrated spout and check valve of device 800.

[0103] As can be seen in Fig. 9, device 900 includes a valve body 904. The valve body may be attached to a fuel container orifice 942 via a retaining cap 940. The valve body 904 may have a chamber formed therein. The chamber may have a first end and a second end. An atmospheric orifice 902 may be formed in the valve body 904, proximal the first end of the chamber. A sealing

surface may be 906 may be disposed within the chamber, proximal the orifice 902. A stopper 908 may be disposed within the chamber. A spring 910 may be disposed within the chamber. Spring 910 may be configured to bias the stopper 908 into contact with the sealing surface 906 such that the chamber is in selective pressure-dependent fluid communication with an atmosphere outside the fuel container.

[0104] In order to hold the stopper 908 in place against the orifice 902 or sealing surface

906, spring 910 is compressed slightly in place within the wall of the nozzle or liquid container in a position behind the stopper 908. The spring 910 is positioned to press the stopper 908 toward the orifice 902, and at an opposite end, the spring 910 presses against a spring stop 912. The spring stop 912 may be a protruding edge of the wall, or may be part of a recess in the wall.

[0105] Device 900 may comprise an annular cap 916 covering one end of the chamber 905.

The atmospheric orifice 902 may be formed in the cap 916.

[0106] Device 900 may include a hose 914 configured to place the chamber in fluid communication with a remote location within the fuel container. The chamber may include a groove formed therein. The ball stopper 908 may be slidably retained in the groove and configured to guide the ball stopper 908 into contact with the sealing surface 906. The groove may be formed at an angle to the chamber in order to allow air to rush past the ball stopper when it is retracted. Specifically, the groove may have a first long axis 952 and the chamber may have a second long axis 950, wherein the first long axis 952 forms an angle 960 with the second long axis 950 of a least 10 degrees.

[0107] Hose 914 may assist in moving air into the container. Specifically, one end of the hose may be connected to the chamber and the other end of the hose may terminate in a remote location of the container, such as the bottom. Thus, hose 914 may be configured to place the chamber in fluid communication with the remote location within the fuel container.

[0108] The disclosure above encompasses multiple distinct inventions with independent utility. While each of these inventions has been disclosed in a particular form, the specific embodiments disclosed and illustrated above are not to be considered in a limiting sense as numerous variations are possible. The subject matter of the inventions includes all novel and non-obvious combinations and subcombinations of the various elements, features, functions and/or properties disclosed above and inherent to those skilled in the art pertaining to such inventions. Where the disclosure or subsequently filed claims recite "a" element, "a first" element, or any such equivalent term, the disclosure or claims should be understood to incorporate one or more such elements, neither requiring nor excluding two or more such elements.

[0109] Applicant(s) reserves the right to submit claims directed to combinations and subcombinations of the disclosed inventions that are believed to be novel and non-obvious. Inventions embodied in other combinations and subcombinations of features, functions, elements and/or properties may be claimed through amendment of those claims or presentation of new claims in the present application or in a related application. Such amended or new claims, whether they are directed to the same invention or a different invention and whether they are different, broader, narrower or equal in scope to the original claims, are to be considered within the subject matter of the inventions described herein.