US 20020047294 A1
A clip mechanism for supporting a flexible storage receptacle on a portion of a chair. The apparatus has a first clip member mountable to the portion of the chair and a second clip member connectable to the first clip member. A coupling is employed for connecting a first member to a second member, whereby the first member and the second member are positioned in a spaced apart relationship when coupled.
1. An apparatus for supporting a storage receptacle on a portion of a chair, the apparatus comprising:
a first member mountable to said portion of said chair; a second member connectable adjacent to said first member; and a coupling for connecting said first member to said second member, wherein said first member and said second member are positioned in a spaced apart relationship to accommodate a portion of said receptacle.
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12. An apparatus according to claim I wherein said coupling further comprises a tongue and groove apparatus for releaseably securing said first member to said second member.
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19. A method of using the apparatus of
mounting said first member to said portion of said chair;
coupling said second member to said first member; and
coupling said storage receptacle to said apparatus.
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25. An apparatus according to claim, 1 wherein said storage receptacle her comprises a surface area having indicia for displaying information to surrounding spectators.
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 The present invention relates to a clip mechanism for attaching storage devices to a seat or chair.
 Public facilities, such as stadiums or theatres, commonly use rows of folding seats separated by aisles to maximize the number of spectators that can be accommodated per event. Spectators often bring items to the event, such as purses, hats, or sweaters. Spectators also typically purchase concession goods, such as popcorn, candy and beverages while watching the event. Due to limited seating space provided by the facility to the spectator, the only places to put the items are either on the floor, under the seat, or on the spectator's lap Also, discarded containers and wrappers from the concession goods can often clutter the aisles and underneath seats, which is unsightly and requires specialized cleaning services to remove.
 Shipman et al. teaches a storage device for stadium seating in U.S. Pat. No. 5,820,210. The storage device fastens to an underside of the seat, or a seat back, and consists of a flexible receptacle held by a rigid frame. This arrangement does provide for item storage, however Shipman's storage device can be too bulky when fastened to the back of the seat. The width of the storage device can restrict spectator travel along the aisles, which is inconvenient and can pose safety concerns in the case of emergencies. Another disadvantage is that replacement of the storage receptacle requires disassembly of the frame. This is undesirable in situations where the receptacles are frequently changed, such as with garbage bags. A further disadvantage is that a limited amount of surface area on the storage device is available, for providing information and advertising to the surrounding spectators.
 Allegro in U.S. Pat. No. 5,887,942 attempts to address the need for advertising space by teaching a trash collection system for mounting on fold-up stadium seating. The system uses a trash receptacle attached to the seat, preferably by adhesive. The receptacle has information displayed thereon. One disadvantage with this system is that the adhesive attachment means does not provide a way to attach other articles to the seat, such as hats, purses, or bags brought by the spectator. As well, the use of adhesive does not provide for symmetrical placement of the bags on the seats, as mounting position depends upon the placement skills of the person installing the bags. This can produce a haphazard or non-uniform display of the bags in the stadium, which can be undesirable from an advertiser's viewpoint A further disadvantage is that all displayed information by the system is removed from the seat, once the receptacle is removed.
 It is an object of the present invention to obviate or mitigate the above presented disadvantages.
 According to the present invention there is provided an apparatus for supporting a storage receptacle on a portion of a chair. The apparatus comprises a first member mountable to the portion of the chair. A second member is connectable to the first member. A coupling is employed for connecting the first member to the second member, whereby the first member and the second member are positioned in a spaced apart relationship to accommodate a portion of said storage receptacle.
 Preferred embodiments of the present invention are now described by way of example only with reference to the following drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a clip mechanism mounted on a chair;
FIG. 2 is a section 2-2 view of FIG. 1,
FIG. 3 is a section 3-3 view of FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 is a top view of the clip mechanism of FIG. 1;
FIG. 5 shows a side view assembly of the clip mechanism of FIG. 1;
FIG. 6 shows the bag of FIG. 1;
FIG. 7 is a further embodiment of FIG. 1; and
FIG. 8 shows further clip mechanisms.
 Referring to FIG. 1, a clip mechanism 10 is used to support a storage bag 12, shown in ghosted view, to a back 14 of a folding seat 16. The clip mechanism 10 comprises a mounting plate 18 fastened securely to the back 14 by a series of screws 20. A face plate 22 is connected to the mounting plate 18, and can be used to display indicia 24, such as advertisements or other suitable information to surrounding spectators.
 As shown in FIG. 2, the mounting plate 18 includes a connector 19, which has a resilient arm 24 connected to a plate portion 26. The arm 24 is positioned in a cut-out 25, of the plate portion 26. A wedge 28 is located on one end of the arm 24, and comprises a ramp portion 30 and an abutment surface 32. The connector 19 also includes a pair of L-shaped brackets 34, connected to the plate portion 26, and are mateable with a pair of corresponding brackets 36, (of a connector 23), located on the back side 38 of the face plate 22 (shown in FIG. 3).
 The connector 23 also has a wedge 30 located between the brackets 36, which comprises a ramp portion 40 and an abutment surface 42. A width “W” of the surface 42 helps to determine a corresponding spacing 44 between the plates 18, 22 when assembled, as shown in FIG. 4.
 In order to assemble the plates 18 and 22, the mounting plate 18 is secured to the chair back 14 by the screws 20, or other fasteners such as adhesive or clips if desired. This places the back wall 23 of the arm 24 in a spaced apart relationship with respect to the chair back 14. A face plate 22 is then positioned above the mounting plate 18 as shown in FIG. 5. Once the bracket pairs 34 and 36 are aligned in a mateable orientation, as shown in FIG. 4, the plate 22 is displaced towards the plate 18 so that a portion of the brackets 36 is received within the brackets 34. This arrangement places the ramp portions 30, 40 of the connectors 19, 23 into engagement.
 Further downward displacement of the plate 22, with respect to the plate 18, causes the wedge 28 on the resilient arm 24 to flex towards the chair back 14, in response to the interaction between the ramp portions 30 and 40. Once the ramp portions 30, 40 by-pass one another, the resilient arm 24 is released into a relaxed state which causes an edge 46 to contact a front surface 48 of the arm 24. This arrangement places the abutment surfaces 32 and 42, of the connectors 19, 23, into engagement. A pair of stops 50 are positioned on a bottom end 54 of the brackets 34 to inhibit further advance of an end 56 of the brackets 36, thereby locking the face plate 22 onto the mounting plate 18 as shown in FIG. 1.
 Once the clip mechanism 10 is assembled, a cut-out portion 58 of the bag 12 can be positioned in the space 44 between the plates 18, 22 (see FIG. 4). This arrangement provides support for the bag 12 on the chair 14, as well as inhibiting accidental knocking of the bag 12 off the clip mechanism 10 due to spectator contact. The bag 12, shown in FIG. 6, has a mounting portion 60 containing the cut-out 58 and a receptacle portion 62. The receptacle portion 62 can be initially closed by a perforated seal 64, if desired.
 In order to use the bag 12, a spectator breaks the seal 64 and proceeds to fill the portion 62 with personal items or trash generated by the consumption of concession goods. A further pouch 66 can be provided on the bag 12. The pouch 66 can be used to provide the spectator with promotional goods 68, such as coupons or consumer samples. The front areas of the portion 60, 62 can also be used to display indicia 24, if desired. In order to replace the bag 12, the cut-out 58 is removed from the space 44.
 Disassembly of the clip mechanism 10 is accomplished by flexing the arm 24 towards the chair back 14. Once the abutment surfaces 32 and 42 of the connectors 19, 23 are thereby disengaged, the face plate 22 can be displaced upwards relative to the mounting plate 18 and removed. A tool, such as a screwdriver, can be used to flex the arm 24 and force apart the surfaces 32, 42 if desired.
 The clip mechanism 10 can also be used to attach bag 12 to the underside of folding seats, such as in sporting venues and large theatres. The folding seats are typically spring loaded, which causes the seat to automatically rise into an upright position when a user vacates the seat. The placement of indicia 24 on the bag 12 can be effective, since a spectator at the venue will be constantly exposed to the indicia whenever the spectator glances at an empty folding seat, or uses the bag 12 attached to an adjacent seat. Since the bag 12 is preferably recyclable and disposable, indicia can be changed for each event. It should be noted that the clip mechanism 10 can be mounted to other types of facility seating, if desired. Also, indicia 24 can also be displayed on the mounting plate 18.
 Mounting of the bags 12 on the seats 16 can be facilitated using static electricity contained by the bag material, such as plastic, after manufacture thereof. Static electricity can attract and retain the bag 12 in contact with portions of the seats 16, once the bags 12 are mounted on the clip mechanism 10. This helps the bags 12 to be held away from high traffic areas, such as aisles, so that movement of spectators between seats 16 may be less awkward. Also, adhesive may be used to retain the bag 12 in contact with the seat 16, if desired.
 A further embodiment of the clip mechanism 10 as shown in FIG. 7, wherein like numerals with the prefix 1 refer to similar elements to those in proceeding figures. A mounting plate 118 is U-shaped in cross-section. The plate 118 consists of a top portion 70 connected to two side portions 72. The plate 118 can be mounted on a top 74 on the chair back 114 shown in ghosted view. The side portions 72 are inwardly disposed, in a relaxed state, so that force is required to spread the portion 72 apart when mounting the plate 118 to the chair back 114. This arrangement provides a compressive force to help clip the mounting plate 118 to the back 114. Additional fasteners can also be used to mount the plate 118 to the back 114, if desired.
 Referring to FIG. 8, different clip mechanisms 210, 310 are shown. Clip mechanism 210 has a small faceplate 222 with a larger mounting plate 218. In this case indicia 24 can be placed on both plates 222, 218. Clip mechanism 310 has a faceplate 322 larger than a mounting plate 318, which provides greater support for the bag 12 against accidental removal from behind the plate 322.
 Although the invention has been described with reference to certain specific embodiments, various modifications thereof will be apparent to those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as outlined in the claims appended hereto.