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1. (WO2019066858) WATER-SAVING FAUCET
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What is claimed is:

1 . A faucet flow control assembly (1 60) for placement within a valve cartridge of a single-lever faucet, the flow control assembly (160) comprising:

a handle actuator (190) having a handle stem (192) with a handle base

portion (1 94) and a handle upper portion (1 96) wherein the handle upper portion (1 96) is adapted to attach to the handle of the single-lever faucet, and at least one handle leg (200) connected to the handle base portion (194) and extending longitudinally from the handle base portion (194) and parallel to and away from the handle upper portion (196);

a flow control housing (164) having a housing base portion (164a), a housing upper portion (164b), a housing through-opening (164c) extending through the housing base portion (164a) and the housing upper portion (164b), and an index stop (168) wherein the at least one handle leg (200) of the handle actuator is pivotally connected to the housing upper portion (164b);

a valve stem (170) having a lower stem end portion (170a) and an upper stem portion (1 70b), the valve stem pivotally disposed within the housing through-opening of the flow control housing and pivotally connected to the at least one handle leg of the handle actuator;

a pawl (210) pivotally disposed within the flow control assembly to interact with the upper stem portion of the valve stem;

a handle biasing member (220) connected to the handle actuator wherein the biasing member causes the handle actuator (190) to pivot away from a water-on direction;

wherein one of the following conditions (i) or (ii) is met:

(i) the handle actuator pivots back through an angle of greater than 3

degrees to about 7 degrees from a water-on direction after a user pivots the handle actuator to a water-on position followed by the user releasing the handle actuator; or

(ii) the handle actuator pivots back through an angle of about 1 .5-3 degrees from a water-on direction after a user pivots the handle actuator to a water-on position followed by the user releasing the handle actuator.

2. The faucet flow control assembly (160) of claim 1 wherein, under condition (ii), the pawl (210) pivots and moves forward and backward to thereby cause a different index stop (168a, 168b) of the index stop (168) of the flow control housing (1 64) to be engaged during operation of the faucet flow control assembly (160).

3. The faucet flow control assembly of claim 1 wherein the handle actuator has a handle base front portion (194a), a handle base rear portion (194b), and a handle base bottom (1 94c), the handle base rear portion (194b) having a handle base stop surface (194b') facing a corresponding upper surface (164e') of the flow control housing (1 64) wherein under condition (i) the handle base front portion (194a) has a front base portion slot (1 94e) that extends toward the handle base rear portion (1 94b) in which the pawl (21 0) is pivotally disposed and having a length to accommodate a portion of the upper stem portion (170b) of valve stem (170) and wherein under condition (ii) the handle base front portion (194a) has at least one of the handle biasing member (220) disposed within a recess (196) that extends into the handle base front portion (194a) toward the handle base rear portion (1 94b) and at least one handle base bottom slot (198) that receives a valve stem arm (176), the handle biasing member (220) engaging the valve stem arm (176) of the valve stem (170).

4. The faucet flow control assembly of claim 1 wherein the at least one handle leg (200) is disposed within the housing through-opening (164c) under condition (ii) and disposed at an upper housing perimeter (168) under condition (i).

5. The faucet flow control assembly of claim 1 wherein the handle actuator (190) further includes a pawl biasing member (212) disposed to pivotally bias the pawl (210) away from the handle actuator (190).

6. The faucet flow control assembly of claim 1 wherein the upper stem portion

(170b) of the valve stem (170), under condition (i), a first upper pawl engaging surface (174), a second upper pawl engaging surface (175), and a rear actuator engaging surface (1 76) formed therein, and, under condition (ii), has an angled slot (180) extending into the upper stem portion towards the lower stem portion (170a), a first U-shaped slot (182) in the upper stem portion (1 70b) transverse to the angled slot (1 80), a second U-shaped slot (1 84) in the upper stem portion (170b) transverse to the angled slot (180) and spaced from the first U-shaped slot (182), the first U-shaped slot (182) and the second U-shaped slot (1 84) forming at least one valve stem arm (1 76) therebetween, the at least one valve stem arm (176) extending linearly from and parallel with the upper stem portion (170b), the angled slot (1 80) sized to accommodate the pawl (210) wherein the pawl (21 0) pivots within the first U-shaped slot (182).

7. The faucet flow control assembly of claim 1 wherein the pawl (210) has an

angled body (212) with a valve-stem position limiting portion (214), a pivot- limiting portion (216), a middle body portion (218) between the valve-stem engaging portion (214) and the pivot-limiting portion (216), and a pivot shaft portion (21 9) extending from opposite sides (218a) of the middle body portion (218) wherein, under condition (i), the pivot shaft portion (219) is rotatably disposed within a pivot shaft recess (187) of the handle base front portion (194a), and, under condition (ii), the pivot shaft portion (219) is rotatably disposed within at least the first U-shaped slot (1 82) of upper stem portion (170b) and in a pawl-receiving opening (202) in the at least one handle leg (200) wherein the first U-shaped slot (1 82) has a diameter larger than a diameter of the pivot shaft portion (219) to permit the pawl (210) to move transverse to the first U-shaped slot (182) but not move transversely relative to the pawl-receiving opening (202) in the at least one handle leg (200).

8. The faucet flow control assembly of claim 1 wherein the pawl (210) has, under condition (ii), at least one pawl position-setting shaft (220) extending

transversely from the valve-stem position limiting portion (214) and parallel to the pivot shaft portion (219) wherein the at least one pawl position-setting shaft (220) is sized to be disposed within the second U-shaped slot (1 84) in the upper stem portion (1 70b) of valve stem (170).

9. The faucet flow control assembly of claim 1 wherein the housing stop surface (168) is formed, under condition (i), on a rearwardly portion (162) of a control housing top surface (164d), and, under condition (ii), on an inside through- opening wall (164f) of the through-opening 164c of a rearwardly portion (1 62) of flow control housing (1 64).

10. The faucet flow control assembly of claim 1 further comprising, under condition (i), a pawl release member (224) secured in a top surface housing recess (169) wherein the pawl release member (224) extends toward and into the through- opening (164c).

1 1 . The faucet flow control assembly of claim 1 further comprising a flow control pivot pin (163) disposed transversely through the housing upper portion (164), the through-opening (1 64c), the valve stem (170), and the at least one handle leg (200).

12. The faucet flow control assembly of claim 10 wherein the flow control pivot pin (163) also supports the handle biasing member (220) under condition (i).

13. The faucet flow control assembly of claim 1 further comprising a pawl biasing member (21 3) that engages the valve-stem engaging portion (214) causing the valve-stem engaging portion (214) to be biased toward the upper stem portion (170b) of the valve stem (170).

14. A faucet flow control assembly (1 60) within a valve cartridge (150) of a single- lever faucet, the faucet flow control assembly (160) comprising:

a handle actuator (190);

at least one handle leg (200) connected on one end to the handle actuator (190);

a flow control housing (164) having a through-opening (164c) wherein the at least one handle leg (200) is connected on an opposite end to the flow control housing (1 64);

a valve stem (1 70) disposed within the through-opening (164c) of the flow control housing (1 64) and pivotally connected to the at least one handle leg (200) and the flow control housing (1 64);

a pawl (21 0) pivotally disposed within the flow control assembly (160) to

interact with the valve stem (170) to position the valve stem (170) into two or more water-on positions; and

a handle biasing member (220) connected to the handle actuator (1 90) that causes the handle actuator (190) to pivot away from a water-on direction through an angle of greater than 3 degrees and about 7 degrees under a condition (i) or through an angle of about 1 .5-3 degrees under a condition (ii) after a user releases the handle actuator (190).

15. A method of controlling the flow of water from a single lever faucet while

maintaining the approximate throw of a standard single lever faucet, the method comprising:

obtaining a flow control assembly (1 60) for placement within a valve cartridge (150) of a standard single lever faucet;

disposing the flow control assembly (1 60) within the valve cartridge (150) of a standard single lever faucet;

coupling the valve cartridge (150) containing the flow control assembly (160) between a handle (140) of the standard single lever faucet and the faucet assembly of the standard single lever faucet wherein the handle (140) of the standard single lever faucet (1 ) engages a handle actuator (190) of the flow control assembly (160) which is adapted to automatically select a predefined valve stem position that is directly related to a predefined water flow when moving the handle (140) from a water-off position to a water-on position, and (3) is configured to automatically pivot the handle (140) and handle actuator (1 90) back, under a condition (i), through an angle of greater than 3 degrees and about 7 degrees from a water-on direction after a user pivots the handle actuator (190) to a water-on position followed by the user releasing the handle (140), or, through an angle of about 1 .5-3 degrees from a water-on direction after a user pivots the handle actuator (190) to a water-on position followed by the user releasing the handle

wherein each of the condition (i) and condition (ii) maintains the

approximate throw of a standard single lever faucet that does not have the flow control assembly (160); and

moving the handle (140) from a water-off position to a water-on position.

16. A method of controlling the use of water from a single lever faucet while

maintaining the approximate throw of a standard single lever faucet, the method comprising:

providing an indexing system (160) that has two or more water-on positions and a water-off position in a single lever faucet to control water flow from the single lever faucet wherein the indexing system (160) includes (1 ) providing a predefined flow rate when the single lever faucet is moved from the off position to a full open position, the predefined flow rate being less than a flow rate of a full open position for a single lever faucet without an indexing system, and (2) providing a predefined increase in flow rate with each subsequent movement of the lever of the faucet toward a water-on direction where the number of subsequent movements of the lever is predefined by the indexing system, each subsequent movement being available so long as the lever of the single lever faucet is not engaged to stop the flow of water from the single lever faucet and wherein the handle (140) of the standard single lever faucet (1 ) engages a handle actuator (190) of the indexing system (160) which is adapted to automatically select a predefined valve stem position that is directly related to the predefined water flow when moving the handle (140) from an off position toward a water on direction, and (3) is configured to automatically pivot the handle (140) and handle actuator (190) back, under a condition (i), through an angle of greater than 3 degrees and about 7 degrees from a water-on direction after a user pivots the handle actuator (190) to a water-on position followed by the user releasing the handle (140), or, (ii) through an angle of about 1 .5-3 degrees from a water-on direction after a user pivots the handle actuator (1 90) to a water-on position followed by the user releasing the handle (140) wherein each of the condition (i) and condition (ii) maintains the approximate throw of the handle (140) of a standard single lever faucet that does not have the indexing system (160).

17. A method of controlling the use of water from a single lever faucet while

maintaining the approximate throw of a standard single lever faucet, the method comprising:

providing an indexing system (1 60) that has two or more water-on positions and a water-off position in a single lever faucet to control water flow from the single lever faucet wherein the indexing system (160) includes (1 ) providing a predefined flow rate when the single lever faucet is moved from the off position to a full open position wherein the indexing system (160) engages a first index stop (168a), the predefined flow rate being less than a flow rate of a full open position for a single lever faucet without an indexing system, and (2) providing a predefined increase in flow rate with each subsequent movement of the lever of the faucet toward a water-on direction wherein the indexing system (160) engages a second or subsequent index stop (168b) that is a different structure from the first index stop (168a) and where the number of subsequent movements of the lever is predefined by the indexing system, each subsequent movement being available so long as the lever of the single lever faucet is not engaged to stop the flow of water from the single lever faucet and wherein the handle (140) of the standard single lever faucet (1 ) engages a handle actuator (190) of the indexing system (160) which is adapted to automatically select a predefined valve stem position of the indexing system (1 60) that is directly related to the predefined water flow when moving the handle (140) from an off position toward a water on direction, and (3) is configured to automatically pivot the handle (140) and handle actuator (190) backward toward a water-off direction.