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Publication numberUS20020033348 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 09/850,864
Publication dateMar 21, 2002
Filing dateMay 8, 2001
Priority dateMay 18, 2000
Also published asWO2001087741A1
Publication number09850864, 850864, US 2002/0033348 A1, US 2002/033348 A1, US 20020033348 A1, US 20020033348A1, US 2002033348 A1, US 2002033348A1, US-A1-20020033348, US-A1-2002033348, US2002/0033348A1, US2002/033348A1, US20020033348 A1, US20020033348A1, US2002033348 A1, US2002033348A1
InventorsVictorio Flores, Ernst Benjamins
Original AssigneeFlores Victorio T., Flores Victorio M., Benjamins Ernst C.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Disc storage container
US 20020033348 A1
Abstract
A storage container for storing optical discs, the storage container having a rectangular frame that includes a first ledge, a second ledge, a third ledge and a fourth ledge that creates a recess with the frame for supporting a disc. Two latches securely retain the disc in the recess, each latch having a lip that limits the movement of the disc when the disc is placed in the disc storage area. The latch being flexible so as to facilitate the insertion and removal of a disc from the disc storage area.
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Claims(20)
What is claimed is:
1. A disc storage container comprising:
a frame;
at least two ledges formed upon the frame defining a recess configured to receive a disc;
a first latch and a second latch formed upon the frame; and
wherein the first and second latches are configured to bend out of the way when a disc is inserted into the frame from above.
2. The disc storage container as recited in claim 1, wherein the first and second latches are disposed so as to generally define a semicircle about a disc disposed upon the frame.
3. The disc storage container as recited in claim 1, wherein the bottom of the frame has at least two cylindrical pillars mounted therein.
4. The disc storage container as recited in claim 1, wherein the first latch has an open position and a closed position, wherein removal of a disc from the recess is inhibited by the first latch when the first latch is in the closed position and wherein removal of the disc from the recess is facilitated by the first latch when the first latch is in the open position;
wherein the second latch has an open position and a closed position, wherein removal of the disc from the recess is inhibited by the second latch when the second latch is in the closed position and wherein removal of the disc from the recess is facilitated by the second latch when the second latch is in the open position; and
wherein a disc disposed within the recess is removable when only one of the first latch and the second latch is in the open position, thus facilitating both right and left handed operation of the latches.
5. The disc storage container as recited in claim 1, wherein the first and second latches are configured to facilitate both right and left handed operation of one thereof.
6. The disc storage container as recited in claim 1, wherein the first and second latches are disposed at opposed positions with respect to the recess.
7. The disc storage container as recited in claim 1, wherein each ledge further comprises a taper configured to facilitate self-centering of a disc being inserted into the recess.
8. The disc storage container as recited in claim 1, wherein the first and second latches are configured to contact the disc only at an unrecorded portion thereof.
9. The disc storage container as recited in claim 1, wherein the first and second latches are formed integrally with the frame.
10. The disc storage container as recited in claim 1, wherein the frame is substantially rectangular.
11. A disc storage container comprising:
a frame; and
at least two ledges formed upon the frame defining a recess configured to receive a disc, the recess comprising a taper formed substantially upon the recess and configured to facilitate self-centering of a disc inserted into the recess.
12. The disc storage container as recited in claim 11, further comprising a first latch and a second latch formed upon the frame, wherein the first and second latches are configured to bend out of the way when a disc is inserted into the frame from above.
13. The disc storage container as recited in claim 11, wherein the first and second latches are disposed so as to generally define a semicircle about a disc disposed upon the frame.
14. The disc storage container as recited in claim 11, wherein the bottom of the frame has at least two cylindrical pillars mounted therein.
15. The disc storage container as recited in claim 12, wherein the first latch has an open position and a closed position, wherein removal of a disc from the recess is inhibited by the first latch when the first latch is in the closed position and wherein removal of the disc from the recess is facilitated by the first latch when the first latch is in the open position;
wherein the second latch has an open position and a closed position, wherein removal of the disc from the recess is inhibited by the second latch when the second latch is in the closed position and wherein removal of the disc from the recess is facilitated by the second latch when the second latch is in the open position; and
wherein a disc disposed within the recess is removable when only one of the first latch and the second latch is in the open position, thus facilitating both right and left handed operation of the latches.
16. The disc storage container as recited in claim 11, wherein the first and second latches are configured to facilitate both right and left handed operation thereof.
17. The disc storage container as recited in claim 12, wherein the first and second latches are configured disposed at opposed positions with respect to the recess.
18. The disc storage container as recited in claim 12, wherein the first and second latches are configured to contact the disc only at an unrecorded portion thereof.
19. The disc storage container as recited in claim 12, wherein the first and second latches are formed integrally with the frame.
20. The disc storage container as recited in claim 11, wherein the frame is substantially rectangular.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

[0001] This application is a continuation-in-part of pending application Ser. No. 09/706,213, filed Nov. 2, 2000 and entitled DISC STORAGE CONTAINER, which is a continuation-in-part of pending application Ser. No. 09/573,867, filed May 18, 2000 and entitled DISC STORAGE CONTAINER, the entire contents of which are hereby expressly incorporated by reference as if set forth herein in full.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The present invention relates generally to disc storage containers and more particularly to a disc storage container which is configured to store an optical disc such as a CD, CD-ROM, CD-R, CD-RW, DVD, DVD-R, DVD-RAM or the like.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] Optical discs such as CDs, CD-ROMs, CD-Rs, CD-RWs, DVDs, DVD-Rs, DVD-RAMs and the like are well known. Such discs are commonly stored within a protective container. The protective container prevents the disc from being scratched or otherwise damaged during shipping, handling and storage thereof.

[0004] As those skilled in the art will appreciate, discs are subject to being damaged by mishandling thereof. Although the bottom surface of such discs comprises a layer of polycarbonate or the like which has a thickness of approximately 0.050 inch (and which is thus comparatively durable and resistant to physical damage), the top surface of such discs comprises an extremely delicate aluminum film which typically has a thickness of only approximately 1 micron.

[0005] The delicate aluminum surface on the top of contemporary discs is therefore undesirably susceptible to physical damage. Scratching or other damage to this thin aluminum film often results in damage to the data, e.g., computer program, computer data, audio data, video data or the like stored upon the disc. Although data is typically stored upon such optical discs in a manner which readily facilitates recovery of lost portions thereof due to such physical damage to the media, it is still possible to damage the aluminum film in a manner such that data is permanently lost. It is even possible to damage the disc sufficiently that it becomes completely unusable. Thus, protective storage containers are frequently utilized to facilitate shipping, handling and storage of such optical discs. The storage containers protect the discs from physical damage which might otherwise occur.

[0006] Although such contemporary storage containers for discs and the like have proven generally suitable for their intended use, contemporary storage containers suffer from inherent deficiencies which detract from their overall effectiveness and desirability. For example, contemporary storage containers are loaded with a disc, either initially at the factory or by a user, by pushing the disc downwardly into the container to force the central opening of the disc over a hub. Further, contemporary storage containers require that a disc be removed therefrom by pulling the disc upwardly at the periphery thereof, while pushing downwardly upon the hub of the storage container, so as to free the disc from the hub. Such pulling up at the periphery of the disc causes the disc to deform or bend substantially, thereby introducing substantial stresses into the disc.

[0007] The introduction of such stresses is particularly undesirable for multi-layer optical discs, such as those used in the production of high density DVDs and the like. Multi-layer discs are rapidly becoming popular because of the ability to store large amounts of data, such as video programming thereon. As those skilled in the art will appreciate, the introduction of such undesirable stresses into multi-layer discs may cause the plural layers of the disc to delaminate as the shear strength of the bonding agent used to attach adjacent layers to one another is exceeded. Such delamination will, of course, result in the destruction of the disc, rendering it completely useless.

[0008] Thus, it is desirable to provide a storage container which is configured to store an optical disc, such as a CD, CD-ROM, CD-R, CD-RW, DVD, DVD-R, DVD-RAM or the like, which mitigates the undesirable introduction of stresses into the optical disc when it is placed within the storage container (both during an initial machine placement of the disc within the storage container and during subsequent user placement of the optical disc therein) and when the disc is removed from the storage container.

[0009] It is further desirable that the storage container facilitate automated or machine based manufacturing techniques, wherein a machine arm, pusher or the like is used to place an optical disc within the storage container in a rapid and efficient manner. Such automated loading of a disc storage container should be performed without introducing substantial undesirable stresses to the disc. Further, it is desirable to provide a disc storage container which facilitates self-centering for both automated loading thereof and for loading thereof by a user, so as to further mitigate undesirable stresses being imparted to the disc and so as to make loading easier and more convenient.

[0010] Another disadvantage commonly associated with contemporary disc storage containers is that of their inability to adequately deter theft therefrom. It is well known that a disc may be removed from a contemporary disc storage container by merely slitting the outer cellophane wrapping thereof and then popping the disc loose from its retainer within the housing of the disc storage container so that the disc can be removed through the slit in the cellophane wrapper. Thieves generally prefer to remove such discs from their disc storage containers, since anti-theft devices are typically attached to the disc storage containers, and not the discs themselves.

[0011] For example, a small knife or other sharp object may be used to slit one end of the cellophane wrapper of a housing sufficiently to allow a disc to be removed therefrom. Then the housing is deformed or bent, such as by pressing in the middle thereof and pulling out the ends thereof, so as to disengage a disc contained therein from the hub. The loose disc may then be manipulated toward the opening which was slit in the cellophane wrapper, so as to facilitate removal of the disc from the housing.

[0012] In view of the foregoing, it is further desirable to provide a housing which mitigates the ability of a thief to steal a disc by disengaging the disc from the housing, in the above-described manner.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0013] The present invention is directed to a disc storage container for storing optical discs. The storage container comprises a frame having at least two ledges formed on the frame which define a recess configured to receive a disc. Additionally, a pair of latches are formed on the frame which are configured to bend out of the way when a disc is inserted into the frame from above.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0014] These and other features, aspects, and advantages of the present invention will be more fully understood when considered with respect to the following detailed description, appended claims, and accompanying drawings, wherein:

[0015]FIG. 1 is a semi-schematic perspective view of the disc storage container of the present invention;

[0016]FIG. 2 is a semi-schematic top view of the disc storage container of FIG. 1;

[0017]FIG. 3 is a semi-schematic bottom view of the disc storage container of FIG. 1;

[0018]FIG. 4 is a semi-schematic cross-sectional view of the disc storage container of FIG. 2, taken along line 4 thereof;

[0019]FIG. 5 is a semi-schematic end view of the disc storage container of FIG. 1, showing one end thereof, the other end thereof being substantially similar to the end shown;

[0020]FIG. 6 is a semi-schematic cross-sectional view of the disc storage container of FIG. 2, taken along line 6 thereof;

[0021]FIG. 7 is a semi-schematic cross-sectional end view of the disc storage container of the present invention in the closed position thereof;

[0022]FIG. 8 is a semi-schematic side view of the disc storage container of FIG. 1;

[0023]FIG. 9 is a semi-schematic cross-sectional view of the disc storage container of FIG. 2, taken along line 9 thereof;

[0024]FIG. 10 is a semi-schematic cross-sectional view of the disc storage container of FIG. 2, taken along line 10 thereof;

[0025]FIG. 11 is an enlarged semi-schematic perspective view of a latch of the disc storage container of FIG. 1;

[0026]FIG. 12 is a semi-schematic top view of a tray for a disc storage container, according to the present invention; and

[0027]FIG. 13 is a semi-schematic top view of a further embodiment of the disc storage container of the present invention;

[0028]FIG. 14 is a semi-schematic cross sectional view of the disc storage container of FIG. 13, taken along line 14-14 thereof; and

[0029]FIG. 15 is a semi-schematic bottom view of the disc storage container of FIG. 13.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0030] The detailed description set forth below in connection with the appended drawings is intended as a description of exemplary embodiments of the invention and is not intended to represent the only form in which the present invention may be constructed or utilized. The detailed description sets forth the construction and functions of the invention, as well as the sequence of steps for operating the invention in connection with the illustrated embodiments. It is to be understood, however, that the same or equivalent functions may be accomplished by different embodiments which are also intended to be encompassed within the spirit and scope of the invention.

[0031] As used herein, the term disc is defined to include any compact disc (CD), compact disc read only memory (CD-ROM), recordable compact disc (CD-R), rewriteable compact disc (CD-RW), digital video disc or digital versatile disc (DVD), recordable digital video disc or digital versatile disc (DVD-R), digital video disc random access memory or digital virtual disc random access memory (DVD-RAM), as well as any other similar device which is used for storing information.

[0032] Referring now to FIGS. 1-11, one exemplary configuration disc storage container 10 comprises a housing 11 having a cover 12, a base 13 and a living hinge member 14. The living hinge member 14 interconnects the cover 12 and the base 13 with two living hinges, 16 and 17.

[0033] A raised portion 18 of the base 13 is configured to receive at least one disc, such that the lowermost disc received thereby rests upon a taper 21 defined by the raised portion 18. The lower most disc rests upon the taper 21 at the peripheral edge thereof, such that the portion of the bottom surface of the disc where information is stored is spaced apart from the floor 19 of the base 13, preferably by approximately 0.090 inch, so as to prevent undesirable contact of the bottom of the disc with the disc storage container of the present invention. In this manner, the likelihood of scratching, abrading or otherwise undesirably damaging the underside of the disc is substantially mitigated.

[0034] Further, by supporting the lowermost disc at the periphery thereof and thus providing some clearance between the bottom of the lowermost disc and the floor 19 of the base 13, sufficient room is provided for a user to easily insert a finger or thumb beneath the disc (between the disc and the floor 19 of the base 13) so as to allow the user to conveniently lift the disc from the recess 20, as described in detail below.

[0035] Preferably, the raised portion 18 comprises a taper 21 which generally surrounds the floor 19 and which defines a concave, generally conical, surface which facilitates self-centering of a disc, as the disc is being inserted into the recess 20.

[0036] The recess 20 is configured so as to receive and contain at least one disc. The recess is preferably configured so as to receive and contain from one to four discs. However, as those skilled in the art will appreciate, the recess may be configured so as to receive and contain any desired number of discs. Thus, for example, the recess may be configured so as to receive and contain one, two, three, four, five, six, or more discs.

[0037] The raised portion 18 further comprises a top wall 25, a bottom wall 26, a right wall 27 and a left wall 28.

[0038] Each of the top wall 25, bottom wall 26, right wall 27, and left wall 28 is configured to inhibit movement of a disc radially out of the recess 20. Thus, the top wall 25, bottom wall 26, right wall 27 and left wall 28 cooperate to maintain any disc(s) contained within the recess 20 therein during an attempt to steal the disc(s) by slitting the cellophane wrapper of the disc storage container 20 and then manipulating the disc storage container 10 so as to remove the disc(s) therefrom.

[0039] More particularly, an attempt to bend the disc storage container 10 so as to pop discs contained therein from a central hub is not likely to be successful. The disc storage container of the present invention does not have a central hub from which the discs can be popped or otherwise removed. Further, discs are maintained within the recess 19 of the disc storage container 10 of the present invention by the top 25, bottom 26, right 27, and left 28 walls, even when the disc storage container 10 of the present invention is deformed substantially. Therefore, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to remove a disc from the disc storage container of the present invention by slitting the wrapper thereof and then deforming the disc storage container in an attempt to move the disc from the recess and through the slit in the wrapper.

[0040] Optionally, a first depression 31 is formed in the raised portion 18 intermediate the top wall 25 and the right wall 27. Optionally, a second depression 32 is similarly formed in the raised portion 18 intermediate the right wall 27 and the bottom wall 26. Both depressions 31 and 32 are configured to facilitate grasping of a disc disposed within the recess 20. That is, both the first and second depressions, 31 and 32, are configured so as to allow a user to insert a thumb or finger underneath one or more disc(s) contained within the recess 20, so as to allow the user to easily lift the disc(s) from the recess 20.

[0041] According to a preferred configuration of the present invention, a cover stop 33 is formed to the cover 12 and is configured to inhibit removal of disc(s) from the recess 20 when the cover 12 is closed.

[0042] According to a preferred configuration of the present invention, a hinge member stop 34 is formed to the hinge member 14, so as to similarly inhibit removal of disc(s) from the recess 20 when the cover is closed. A notch 36 formed in the left wall 28 receives the hinge member stop 34 when the cover 12 is closed, such that the hinge member stop 34 extends over the top of any disc(s) disposed within the recess 20.

[0043] Thus, the cover stop 33 and the hinge member stop 34 cooperate to maintain any disc(s) contained within the recess 20 therein, in a manner which inhibits theft of the disc(s) by slitting the cellophane wrapper and manipulating the disc storage container 10, as described above.

[0044] Indeed, the top wall 25, bottom wall 26, right wall 27, left wall 28, cover stop 33 and hinge member stop 34, all cooperate with one another in a manner which substantially mitigates the likelihood of a thief being able to successfully manipulate the disc storage container 10 in a manner which frees any disc from the recess 20 and allows the freed disc to move between the base 13 and the cover 12, such that the disc can slip out of the disc storage container 10 and through a slit formed in the cellophane disposed thereabout.

[0045] The first latch 41 and a second latch 42 cooperate to keep the disc(s) in the recess 20 when the cover 12 is open (as well as when the cover is closed). The first latch 41 is disposed proximate the top wall 25. The first latch 41 has an open position and a closed position. Removal of the disc(s) from the recess 20 is inhibited by the first latch 41 when the first latch 41 is in the closed position and is facilitated by the first latch 41 when the first latch 41 is in the open position.

[0046] Similarly, the second latch 42 is disposed proximate the bottom wall 26. The second latch 42 also has an open position and a closed position. Removal of disc(s) from the recess 20 is inhibited by the second latch when the second latch is in the closed position and is facilitated by the second latch when the second latch is in the open position.

[0047] Disc(s) disposed within the recess 20 are removable when either one of the first latch and the second latch is in the open position. Thus, according to the present invention, both right and left-handed operation of the latches, 41 and 42, is facilitated. That is, a user may use either the user's right-hand or a left-hand to depress either the first latch or the second latch, in order to effect removal of disc(s)from the recess 20.

[0048] With particular reference to FIG. 11, each latch, 41 and 42, preferably comprises a pair of flextures, 43 and 44. The flextures, 43 and 44, bend downwardly when the latch is depressed, so as to allow the latch to move downwardly and thus move the lip 50 of the latch outwardly (away from any discs stored in the recess 20), so as not to interfere with removal of one or more disc(s) from the recess 20. Outward movement of the lip is enhanced by the latch pivoting about the connections 51 between the flextures and the remaining portions of the latch.

[0049] Each latch, 43 and 44, further comprises a button 46, which preferably has the word PRESS formed thereon, so as to make clear the operation of the first and second latches.

[0050] Opening 48 reduces the amount of force required to bend the flextures 43 and 44, so as to allow the latches, 41 and 42, to be easily depressed or moved downwardly.

[0051] At least one, preferably a plurality of inwardly extending ribs 47 (FIG. 11) are preferably formed upon each latch. The ribs 47 are configured so as to contact the periphery of any disc(s) contained within the recess 20, so as to frictionally engage the disc(s) and thus inhibit rattling thereof, particularly in the instance that the recess 20 contains less than the total number of discs which may be disposed therein. For example, if the recess 20 is configured to contain a maximum of four discs and the recess 20 actually contains only one disc, then that disc would tend to be loose in the recess, such that the disc could move up and down or possibly rattle within the recess. The ribs 47 formed upon each latch, 41 and 42, frictionally engage the periphery of the disc so as to inhibit substantial vertical movement of the disc within the recess 20, and thereby inhibit the disc from rattling.

[0052] Those skilled in the art will appreciate that various different configurations of the opening 48 and/or the flextures 43 and 44 are likewise suitable. Indeed, in some instances it may be desirable to omit the opening 48 such that one large flexture is provided instead of the two smaller flextures shown in FIG. 11.

[0053] Clips, 51 and 52, hold a paper within the cover 12 of the disc storage container 10, as is done according to contemporary practice. Such papers typically comprise cover art for the disc and/or game instructions, advertising literature, song selections, movie scenes, etc. Preferably, the top wall 25, bottom wall 26, right wall 27, and left wall 28 each have a height such that when a paper is disposed in the cover 10 (and held thereby by clips, 51 and 52), then the top wall 25, bottom wall 26, right wall 27 and left wall 28 cooperate with the paper, so as to capture the disc(s) within the recess 20.

[0054] Alternatively, the first wall 25, second wall 26, right wall 27, and left wall 28 each have a height such that a disc cannot move radially out of the recess 20 between any of the walls, 25, 26, 27, and 28, and the cover 12, when the cover 12 is closed.

[0055] Cover detent members 61 and 62 are configured to cooperate with base detent members 63 and 64, so as to releasably latch the cover 12 in the closed position with respect to the base 13.

[0056] Ribs 65 enhance the strength of the cover 12 according to well known principles. Similarly, ribs 66 enhance the strength of the base 13 according to well known principles. The ribs 65 and 66, at least along one edge (preferably the lower edge) of the disc storage container 10 are preferably formed so as to facilitate stable standing of the disc storage container on end in a half or quarter open position (wherein the cover forms an angle of approximately 45 to 90 with respect to the base), in an open-book fashion. That is, the ribs 65 and 66 formed along the lower edge of the disc storage container 10 preferably define feet which provide a stable contact surface such that the disc storage container may be opened slightly and placed on end upon a table, counter, shelf of the like.

[0057] Although the disc storage container of the present invention is shown and described above as having both a base 13 and a cover 12, those skilled in the art will appreciate that a tray, which is substantially similar to the base 13, may alternatively be utilized without the associated cover 12. For example, a number of such trays may be formed in a book-like fashion (wherein another tray is substituted for the cover 12 shown in FIG. 1. Indeed, any desired number of such trays may be attached to one another, such as in a Z-fold fashion, so as to facilitate the storage of any desired number of discs. Those skilled in the art will appreciate the various different configurations of the present invention are contemplated herein.

[0058] According to the tray configuration of the present invention, a central post 102 extends upwardly from the floor 19 of the recess 20 to inhibit radial movement of disc(s) out of the recess 20. The central post 102 is received within a central opening of a disc and has a diameter which is substantially smaller than the diameter of the central opening of a disc. Therefor, the central post does not engage the disc, as does the hub of a contemporary disc storage container. When such a central post 102 is provided, then the walls 25, 26, 27 and 28 may optionally be provided, as well. The central post has a height similar to that of the walls and functions in a similar manner to retain the disc(s) within the recess and inhibit theft.

[0059] The latches, 41 and 41; depressions, 31 and 32; taper 21 and raised portion 18 of the tray 101 are substantially identical to those of FIGS. 1-11. Optionally, walls 25, 26, 27 and 28 are likewise provided for the tray, in a fashion similar to that shown in FIGS. 1-11. Thus, the central post 102, optionally in cooperates with the walls 25, 26, 27 and 28 inhibit movement of any disc(s) contained within the recess 20 in a radial direction, so as to similarly inhibit theft.

[0060] Having thus described the structure of the disc storage container of the present invention in detail, it may be beneficial to describe the operation and use thereof. One or more discs are initially loaded into the disc storage container 10 of the present invention utilizing a machine which lowers the discs, preferably one at a time, into the recess 20 of the base 13. Each disc is preferably supported about the periphery thereof as it is lowered passed the latches, 41 and 42. This process is repeated, as necessary, to either fill or partially fill the recess 20 with discs.

[0061] A user removes one or more discs from the recess 20 by simply depressing either one of the latches, 41 and 42, and then lifting the desired disc(s) from the recess 20. Because the lowermost disc is spaced apart from the floor 19 of the base 13, a user can simply insert a finger or thumb under the lowermost disc at one of the depressions, 31 or 32, so as to allow the user to conveniently lift the disc(s) from the recess 20.

[0062] Typically, a finger or thumb will be inserted into the depression, 31 or 32, which is closest to the latch, 41 or 42, which has been depressed. However, either depression 31 or 32, may be utilized with either latch, 41 or 42, as desired.

[0063] Referring to FIGS. 13-15, there is shown yet another embodiment of a storage container 70 provided in accordance with practice of the present invention. The storage container 70 is similar to the container of FIG. 12 except that the floor 19 is absent. Turning particularly to FIGS. 13 and 14, the storage container 70 comprises a generally rectangular frame 72 including a top side 74, a bottom side 78, a left side 82 and a right side 86. The frame is defined by four contiguous walls, a top wall 75 extending along its top side, a bottom wall 79 extending along its bottom side and side walls 83 and 87 extending along the left and right sides respectively. Each wall comprises a front side surface, 77, 81, 89 and 93 respectively, and an outside surface, 73, 85, 91 and 95 respectively. Additionally, the frame 72 includes first and second ledges, 76 and 80, that extend along cutout portions, 97 and 99, in the top and bottom walls, 75 and 79. Third and fourth ledges, 84 and 88, extend along the base of the side walls, 83 and 87 respectively. The combination of the first, second, third and fourth ledges, 76, 80, 84 and 88 respectively, create a recess 69 within the frame 72 for supporting a disc in the container 70. The recess is preferably configured so as to receive and contain from one to four discs. However, as those skilled in the art will appreciate, the recess may be configured so as to receive and contain any desired number of discs. Thus, for example, the recess may be configured so as to receive and contain one, two, three, four, five, six, or more discs. In one embodiment, the storage container 70 is injection molded from polystyrene, polypropylene or any other suitable plastic material.

[0064] Preferably, the left and right walls, 83 and 87, include semi-circular cutout portions, 90 and 92, and the third and fourth ledges, 84 and 88, include tapers, 94 and 96, which are sloped slightly downwards from cutout portions, 90 and 92, towards the recess 69. This facilitates self-centering of a disc, as the disc is being inserted into the recess 69. Additionally, it is preferable that the first and second ledges, 76 and 80, also define a tapered surface which facilitate self-centering of a disc, as the disc is being inserted into the recess 69.

[0065] Each of the top wall 75, bottom wall 79, left wall 83, and right wall 87 is configured to inhibit movement of a disc radially out of the recess 69. Thus, top wall 75, bottom wall 79, left wall 83, and right wall 87 cooperate to maintain the disc contained within the recess 69.

[0066] A first latch 98 and a second latch 100, oppositely disposed on the frame 72, cooperate to keep the disc in the recess 69. Each latch, 98 and 100, includes a vertically extending wall, 112 a and 114 a respectively. Lips, 112 b and 114 b, extend horizontally from the vertically extending walls, 112 a and 114 a, respectively, and inwardly toward the center of the recess 69. The top surface of the lips are sloped so when the periphery of a disc contacts the top surface of the lips and is urged downwards, the latches bend out of the way facilitating insertion of the disc. Pairs of flextures, 104, 106 and 108, 110 connect the latches, 98 and 100 respectively, to the frame 72 at the base portion of the first and second ledges, 76 and 80.

[0067] The flextures bend downwardly when each latch is depressed, so as to allow each latch to move downwardly and thus move the respective lips 112 b and 114 b of each latch outwardly (away from any disc stored in the recess 69), so as not to interfere with removal a disc from the recess 69. Outward movement of the lips is enhanced by the latches pivoting about the connections 115 between the flextures and the remaining portion of the latches. The lips, 112 b and 114 b, are configured so as to contact the periphery or an unrecorded portion of any disc contained in the recess 69, so as to frictionally engage the disc and thus inhibit vertical movement of the disc within the recess 69. Openings, 116 and 118, reduce the amount of force required to bend the flextures, 104, 106, 108 and 110, so as to allow the latches, 98 and 100, to be easily depressed or moved downwardly. The first latch 98, which is disposed proximate the top side 74 of the frame, has an open position and a closed position. Removal of the disc from the recess 69 is inhibited by the first latch 98 when the first latch is in the closed position and is facilitated by the first latch when the first latch is in the open position.

[0068] Similarly, the second latch 100, which is disposed proximate the bottom side 78 of the frame, also has an open position and a closed position. Removal of a disc from the recess 69 is inhibited by the second latch 100 when the second latch is in the closed position and is facilitated by the second latch when the second latch is in the open position.

[0069] To insert a disc into the storage container 70, the disc is urged downward into the frame. This causes the periphery of the disc to contact the top surface of the lips, 112 b and 114 b, of the latches, 98 and 100, causing the latches to bend out of the way facilitating insertion of the disc onto the frame 72 from above. When the periphery of the disc moves past the lips, 112 b and 114 b, the latches, 98 and 100, snap or bend back to their original positions so as to capture the disc.

[0070] A disc disposed within the recess 69 is removable when either the first latch 98 or the second latch 100 or both are in the open position. Thus, according to the present embodiment, both right and left-handed operation of the latches, 98 and 100, is facilitated. That is, a user may use either the user's right-hand or a left-hand to depress either the first latch 98 or the second latch 100, in order to effect removal of a disc from the recess 69.

[0071] Those skilled in the art will appreciate that various different configurations of the openings 116 and 118 and/or the flextures, 104, 106, 108, 110, are likewise suitable. Indeed, in some instances it may be desirable to omit the openings 116 and 118 such that one large flexture is provided instead of the two smaller flextures shown in FIG. 13.

[0072] Turning now to FIG. 15, a bottom view of the disc storage container 70 is shown. The bottom surface of the storage container 70 comprises a bottom edge 123 on each of its four sides and four generally cylindrical pillars, 124, 126, 128 and 130, one of which is located in each corner. In the illustrated embodiment, each pillar has an outer cylindrical surface 125, 129, 133 and 137 respectively, and an inner cylindrical surface, 127, 131, 135 and 139 respectively, connected via four ribs 41, 42, 43 and 44. In one embodiment, adhesive is applied to openings, 132, 134, 136 and 138, to adhere the container 70 to a base or backing material (not shown), such as a piece of cardboard or the like.

[0073] A number of the containers described with reference to FIGS. 13-15 may also be formed in a book-like fashion by binding a common edge of each container. Indeed, any desired number of such containers may be attached to one another, such as in a Z-fold fashion, so as to facilitate the storage of any desired number of discs.

[0074] Referring again to FIGS. 13 and 14, in addition to FIG. 15, in the illustrated embodiment, the container 70 includes a stepped surface forming a stacking ledge 140 that extends outwardly from each wall, 75, 79, 83 and 87, and extends around the periphery of the frame 72. In a preferred embodiment, the width of the stacking ledge 140 is equal to the thickness of the bottom edge 123 of the frame 72 to allow for a number of containers 70 to be stacked on top of each other. Furthermore, each pillar is located on the bottom surface of the top or bottom walls, 75 and 79, and is configured so that the bottom surface of each pillar is recessed into the container the same distance as the height of the stacking ledge 140. This allows the frame's bottom edge 123 to contact the stacking ledge around the periphery of the frame when one container is stacked on top of another. The design of the stacking ledge and the from bottom edge 123 accommodate the stacking of any number of containers one on top of the other.

[0075] Those skilled in the art will appreciate the various different configurations of the present invention are contemplated herein. It is to be understood that the exemplary disc storage containers described herein and shown in the drawings represent only presently preferred embodiments of the container provided in accordance with the present invention.

[0076] The scope of the invention is defined in the following claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7527148Jul 15, 2005May 5, 2009MIP Packaging Moulage Industriel de PerseigneDisc-shaped package for a digital recording medium
US7757848Oct 20, 2006Jul 20, 2010Meadwestvaco CorporationPackage with security features
US7875222Mar 13, 2006Jan 25, 2011Dubois LimitedMethod of making an injection molded container
US7975844Feb 20, 2008Jul 12, 2011Encore Holdings LtdOptical media disc case
US8662296 *Apr 21, 2011Mar 4, 2014Atlas Agi Holdings, LlcBooklet form paperboard package for media discs
US20120267267 *Apr 21, 2011Oct 25, 2012Mark PreeceBooklet form paperboard package for media discs
EP2093769A1 *Dec 30, 2008Aug 26, 2009Encore Holdings Ltd.Optical media disc case
WO2006016092A1 *Jul 15, 2005Feb 16, 2006Mip Packaging Moulage Ind De PDisc-shaped package for a digital recording medium
WO2007047797A2 *Oct 20, 2006Apr 26, 2007Meadwestvaco CorpPackage with security features
WO2010011322A2 *Jul 23, 2009Jan 28, 2010Nexpak CorporationMerchandise storage container
Classifications
U.S. Classification206/308.1, G9B/33.011
International ClassificationG11B33/04
Cooperative ClassificationG11B33/0427
European ClassificationG11B33/04D1B1
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Dec 3, 2001ASAssignment
Owner name: FILAM NATIONAL PLASTICS, CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:FLORES, VICTORIO T., JR.;FLORES, VICTORIO M., III;BENJAMINS, ERNST C.;REEL/FRAME:012345/0725
Effective date: 20010924