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Publication numberUS20030217980 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/389,248
Publication dateNov 27, 2003
Filing dateMar 13, 2003
Priority dateMar 13, 2002
Publication number10389248, 389248, US 2003/0217980 A1, US 2003/217980 A1, US 20030217980 A1, US 20030217980A1, US 2003217980 A1, US 2003217980A1, US-A1-20030217980, US-A1-2003217980, US2003/0217980A1, US2003/217980A1, US20030217980 A1, US20030217980A1, US2003217980 A1, US2003217980A1
InventorsAllen Johnson, Terrence Berglund
Original AssigneeJohnson Allen E., Berglund Terrence G.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Merchandising system
US 20030217980 A1
Abstract
A merchandising system for storing and displaying at least a first sized product and a second sized product includes a center member, a first member adjustably coupled on a first side of the center member and configured to be adjusted between at least a first position and a second position, and a second member adjustably coupled on a second side of the center member and configured to be adjusted between at least a first position and a second position. The products are configured to be received between the first member and the second member.
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Claims(35)
What is claimed is:
1. A merchandising system comprising:
a first compartment having a first width defined by a distance between a first side member and a second side member;
a second compartment having a second width defined by a distance between a third side member and a fourth side member;
wherein the first width can be adjusted independently of the second width by positioning of an interface, the interface adjustably coupling the first side member and the second side member.
2. The merchandising system of claim 1 wherein the interface further comprises:
a plurality of notches; and
a projection that selectively co-acts with one notch of the plurality of notches in a first position, and selectively co-acts with another notch of the plurality of notches in a second position.
3. The merchandising system of claim 1 wherein the first side member comprises a first wall portion and the second side member comprises a second wall portion.
4. The merchandising system of claim 1 further comprising a guide provided between the first side member and the second side member.
5. The merchandising system of claim 1 wherein the interface comprises a first interface and a second interface.
6. The merchandising system of claim 1 further comprising a base provided between the first side member and the second side member.
7. The merchandising system of claim 6 wherein the interface is coupled to the base.
8. The merchandising system of claim 6 wherein the interface couples the first member to the base, and wherein the interface couples the second member to the base.
9. The merchandising system of claim 6 wherein the base comprises a center member.
10. The merchandising system of claim 9 wherein the interface further comprises a first interface and a second interface, wherein the first interface couples the first member to the center member, and wherein the second interface couples the second member to the center member.
11. A merchandising system comprising:
a first apparatus comprising:
a first member;
a second member configured to be adjusted between at least a first position and a second position; and
a third member configured to be adjusted between at least a first position and a second position;
a second apparatus comprising:
a first member;
a second member configured to be adjusted between at least a first position and a second position; and
a third member configured to be adjusted between at least a first position and a second position;
wherein the third member of the first apparatus is coupled to the second member of the second apparatus.
12. A merchandising system for storing and displaying at least a first sized product and a second sized product, the merchandising system comprising:
a center member;
a first member adjustably coupled on a first side of the center member and configured to be adjusted between at least a first position and a second position; and
a second member adjustably coupled on a second side of the center member and configured to be adjusted between at least a first position and a second position;
wherein the products are configured to be received between the first member and the second member.
13. The merchandising system of claim 12 further comprising a first interface provided between the center member and the first member, and a second interface provided between the center member and the second member.
14. The merchandising system of claim 13 wherein the first interface and the second interface each further comprise:
a plurality of notches; and
a projection that selectively co-acts with one notch of the plurality of notches in the first position, and selectively co-acts with another notch of the plurality of notches in the second position.
15. The merchandising system of claim 14 wherein the first interface further comprises:
a first arm coupled to the first side member; and
a first projection provided on the first arm.
16. The merchandising system of claim 15 wherein the first interface further comprises:
a second arm coupled to the first side member; and
a second projection provided on the second arm.
17. The merchandising system of claim 15 wherein the first arm comprises a first cantilevered arm and the second arm comprises a second cantilevered arm, wherein the first cantilevered arm and the second cantilevered arm each have a free end and a fixed end, and wherein the first projection is provided near the free end of the first cantilevered arm and the second projection is provided near the free end of the second cantilevered arm.
18. The merchandising system of claim 15 wherein the first interface allows for spacing adjustment between the center member and the first member when the free end of the first arm is moved.
19. The merchandising system of claim 18 movement of the free end of the first arm comprises at least one of vertical motion and deflection.
20. The merchandising system of claim 12 further comprising a pusher assembly configured to bias products toward a front of the merchandising system.
21. The merchandising system of claim 12 further comprising means for coupling the first member to an adjacent second member of a second merchandising system.
22. A tray for merchandising products having at least a first size and a second size, the tray comprising:
a center member;
a first member coupled on a first side of the center member;
a second member coupled to a second side of the center member;
a first interface provided between the first member and the center member; and
a second interface provided between the second member and the center member;
wherein the first interface comprises a first plurality of notches configured to selectively co-act with a first moveable projection and wherein the second interface each comprises a second plurality of notches configured to selectively co-act with a second moveable projection.
23. The tray of claim 22 wherein the first plurality of notches and second plurality of notches are provided on the center member.
24. The tray of claim 22 wherein the first moveable projection is provided on the first member and wherein the second moveable projection is provided on the second member.
25. The tray of claim 22 further comprising a first cantilevered arm coupled to the first member and a second cantilevered arm coupled the second member and wherein the first moveable projection is provided on the first cantilevered arm and the second moveable projection is provided on the second cantilevered arm.
26. The tray of claim 22 wherein the first interface is configured to provide for the selective size adjustment between the first member and the center member and the second interface is configured to provide for the selective size adjustment between the second member and the center member.
27. The tray of claim 26 where the selective size adjustment is a selective width adjustment.
28. The tray of claim 26 wherein the first member and the center member may be adjusted between a first position and a second position.
29. The tray of claim 28 wherein the first member and the center member may be adjusted between a plurality of positions between the first position and the second position.
30. The tray of claim 22 wherein the center member, the first member and the second member comprise a surface to support products.
31. The tray of claim 30 further comprising friction reducing ribs provided on the surface.
32. A merchandising system comprising:
a first member;
a second member adjustably coupled to the first member; and
a first interface provided between the first member and the second member, wherein the first interface comprises:
a first series of notches; and
a first arm having a first extension;
wherein the first extension is configured to selectively engage one notch of the first series of notches and to disengage the one notch by actuation of the first arm.
33. The merchandising system of claim 32 wherein the first extension is configured to disengage the one notch by depression of the first arm.
34. The merchandising system of claim 32 further comprising a third member adjustably coupled to the first member.
35. The merchandising system of claim 34 further comprising:
a second interface provided between the first member and the third member, wherein the second interface comprises:
a second series of notches; and
a second arm having a second extension;
wherein the second extension is configured to engage one notch of the second series of notches and to disengage the one notch by actuation of the second arm.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED PATENT APPLICATIONS

[0001] The present application claims the benefit of priority as may be available under 35 U.S.C. §§119-21 from the following application: U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/364,233 (“MERCHANDISING SYSTEM”) filed Mar. 13, 2002 (incorporated by reference herein).

FIELD

[0002] The present invention relates to a merchandising system. The present invention more specifically relates to a merchandising system such as a tray or divider system for a shelf or the like providing for the selective adjustment of the width of a shelf division (or a facing or space division on a surface).

BACKGROUND

[0003] It is known to provide a merchandising system on a shelf of a shelving unit so that some type of product or merchandise may be stocked and presented to potential customers in a more orderly or organized manner. According to one known arrangement, a merchandising system will provide several dividers attached to a front and/or rear connecting piece having slots to retain the dividers. The dividers may be adjusted by repositioning the dividers with respect to the connecting piece, allowing for the system to accommodate variously sized products. However, in this arrangement, when one display area or “facing” needs to be adjusted, adjacent facings in the system will also have to be adjusted in order to accommodate the same sized product in adjacent facings. As a result, adjustments to the systems tend to become more involved, even to resize only one product facing, because it may be necessary to resize or adjust other (or all) of the facings in the system. Also, adjustments in this arrangement become more involved as the number of dividers increase. By way of example, one known arrangement may be provided on a shelf, the arrangement having fifteen dividers forming fourteen facings. Should one facing require adjustment to accommodate a product of different size, all the remaining facings will also require adjustment in order to keep the same relative spacing of the facings. As a result, these systems may require an increased amount of time and/or effort in order to resize or reconfigure a merchandising system when products and product sizes change.

[0004] Accordingly, it would be advantageous to provide a merchandising system that provides for the merchandising of a variety of differently sized products. It would also be advantageous to provide a merchandising system that provides shelf divisions that are selectively adjustable. It would further advantageous to provide a merchandising system in which the width of one shelf division could be adjusted without altering the width of an adjacent shelf division, for example, a merchandising system that provides a number of different adjustment positions to accommodate a variety of sized products. It would further be advantageous to provide a merchandising system that may offer modularity in construction and assembly of the merchandising system by allowing for the construction and assembly of one or more tray systems and/or one or more tray system components. It would further be advantageous to provide a merchandising system which may include an interface configured to selectively engage and disengage as to allow for selective positional adjustment and size adjustment of the merchandising system.

[0005] It would be desirable to provide a merchandising system that provides any one or more of these or other advantageous features.

SUMMARY

[0006] The present invention relates to a merchandising system for storing and displaying at least a first sized product and a second sized product. The merchandising system includes a center member, a first member adjustably coupled on a first side of the center member and configured to be adjusted between at least a first position and a second position, and a second member adjustably coupled on a second side of the center member and configured to be adjusted between at least a first position and a second position. The products are configured to be received between the first member and the second member.

[0007] The present invention further relates to a tray for merchandising products having at least a first size and a second size. The tray includes a center member, a first member coupled on a first side of the center member, a second member coupled to a second side of the center member, a first interface provided between the first member and the center member, and a second interface provided between the second member and the center member. The first interface comprises a first plurality of notches configured to selectively co-act with a first moveable projection and wherein the second interface each comprises a second plurality of notches configured to selectively co-act with a second moveable projection.

[0008] The present invention further relates to merchandising tray system having a first member, a second member adjustably coupled to the first member and a first interface provided between the first member and the second member. The first interface includes a first series of notches, and a first arm having a first extension. The first extension is configured to selectively engage one notch of the first series of notches and to disengage the one notch by actuation of the first arm.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0009]FIG. 1A is a front perspective view of a merchandising system according to an exemplary embodiment.

[0010]FIG. 1B is a rear perspective view of the merchandising system shown in FIG. 1A.

[0011]FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view of the merchandising system shown in FIG. 1A.

[0012]FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a merchandising system according to an exemplary embodiment.

[0013]FIG. 4 is perspective view of the merchandising system shown in FIG. 3 with products provided on the merchandising system.

[0014]FIGS. 5A to 5D illustrate a size adjustment of a merchandising system according to an exemplary embodiment.

[0015]FIG. 6 is a cross section view taken along the line 6-6 shown in FIG. 5D.

[0016]FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a center member for use with a merchandising system according to an alternative embodiment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0017] Referring to the FIGURES, exemplary embodiments of a merchandising system are shown. The merchandising system may provide for display, space division, and orderly presentation of products. The merchandising system may provide for selective size (shown as width) adjustment of a product display, “facing,” cell, compartment, or display area, while not requiring the width adjustment of adjacent product displays, “facings,” cells, compartments, or display areas.

[0018] As shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, a merchandising system 10 may provide any number of facings (shown as three facings 12 a, 12 b, and 12 c). A single facing to be adjusted (for example, to accommodate a differently sized product), may be readily adjusted without the need to resize any (or potentially all) of the remaining facings such as facings.

[0019] The merchandising system may further provide for modularity in the construction and assembly of the merchandising system. For example, product displays, “facings,” cells, compartments, or display areas may be added and/or removed to an existing merchandising system by reconfiguring the number and arrangement of merchandising systems or trays.

[0020] The merchandising system may be a shelf system, shelf divider system, product facing tray system, product self-facing and organization tray system, divider system, shelf tray system, pusher system, dispensing system, tray system, etc. The merchandising system may be provided for use on or attached to a structure such as a shelving unit (or any portion of a shelf), rack, display, or other merchandising systems; according to an alternative embodiment, the merchandising system may be provided as a separate or independent) merchandising system.

[0021] As shown in FIGS. 1 to 3, a merchandising system 10 comprises a center member 20, a first member 30 (shown as a side member), a second member 40 (also shown as a side member), and interfaces 60 between center member 20 and side members 30 and 40 respectively.

[0022] As shown in FIG. 2, center member 20 is a track, base, etc., and has an elongated shape. Center member 20 comprises a slot 22, one or more interfaces 24, and one or more guides 26.

[0023] As shown in FIG. 3, slot 22 is a track, pusher track, channel, etc. Center member 20 is provided with slot 22 along a central portion of center member 20. Slot 22 is a channel, track, etc., in which a pusher system 80 moves in order to urge or move products towards a front of merchandising system 10. Slot 22 is provided along a center axis of center member 20. According to alternative embodiments, the slot is provided along a variety of locations and placements on or in the center member as to allow the operation of the pusher assembly.

[0024] Center member 20 is e provided with one or more interfaces 24 provided on the center member. Interface 24 comprises teeth, notches, gaps, tabs, projections, connectors, connector pieces, couplers, etc. Interface 24 provides for selective engagement with an interface 34 of side member 30 or 40. (Generally, one or two or more interfaces 24 and interfaces 34 comprise a single interface 60 referenced above which is provided between center member 20 and side members 30 or 40). Interface 24 provides projections, tabs, interconnects, recesses, apertures, teeth, gaps, notches, etc. sized and configured to selectively engage interface 34 on side member 30 or 40. As shown in FIG. 2, interface 24 provided on center member 20 is a series or index of gaps or notches 90 provided along a protruding member 92. As shown in FIG. 3, member 92 extends away from center member 20, in a direction in which the side members and center member will be adjusted relative to each other. According to various alternative embodiments, the placement, arrangement and position of interfaces, and the number of adjustment positions may be varied.

[0025] According to an exemplary embodiment shown in FIG. 2, one or more guides 26 are provided on center member 20. Guide 26 is a slot, rail, guide, track, etc. Guide 26 interfaces with an extension 46 provided on side member 30 or 40. Guide 26 may assist to provide stability to merchandising system 10. Guide 26 may further limit the movement or motion of side member 30 or 40 relative to center member 20. According to an exemplary embodiment, guide 26 is formed between member 96 and member 92.

[0026] A cross member 1 02 is provided to rigidify or reinforce center member 20. According to a particularly preferred embodiment, cross member 102 couples to center member 20 by clips 104. Clips 104 have an engagement portion which couples or co-acts at apertures 106 provided on center member 20.

[0027] As shown in FIG. 1, merchandising system 10 further includes side members 30 and 40. Side members 30 and 40 are configured to retain, hold, or divide product within merchandising system 10, as well as between multiple merchandising systems. According to a particularly preferred embodiment shown in FIG. 1B, side members 30 and 40 comprise a divider panel 110, one or more end panels 112, and one or more interfaces 34 configured to selectively engage and disengage with interfaces 24 provided on center member 20. As shown in FIG. 2, interface 34 is a cantilevered member or beam, having projections 120 configured to selectively engage the gaps, notches, etc., provided on interface 24 of center member 20. According to a particularly preferred embodiment, two interfaces 34 are provided on each side member 30 and 40. According to various alternative embodiments, the arrangement and configuration of the interfaces may be altered or reversed.

[0028] The interface may comprise teeth, notches, gaps, tabs, projections, a connector, a coupler, etc. According to a particularly preferred embodiment, interface 34 comprises a flange or tab or arm that is configured to be movable (e.g. moved, deflected, actuated, deformed, depressed, moved in a vertical direction, etc.) and preferably will be flexible as to allow temporary deformation when a load is applied (e.g. by depressing) and will return to the original form (e.g. spring back) when the load is removed. Interface 34 is shown as a cantilever member or beam on side member 30 but may be provided in alternative orientations. Projections or tabs or nibs 120 provided on the end of the cantilever co-act with gaps or projections on interface 24, thereby providing selective adjustability or movement, and also retaining the position of side member 30 and 40 and center member 20 with respect to each other.

[0029] Members 30 and 40 also comprise guides or alignment extensions 46 which interface with guides 26 on center member 20 as shown in FIG. 2. The interface between these guides or alignments facilitates the easy adjustment in width between center member 20 and side members 30 and/or 40, while also providing a track or otherwise limiting the motion) of side member 30 or 40 and center member 20 moving relative to each other.

[0030] According to a particularly preferred embodiment, guide 26 has one or more surfaces 116 on which extensions 46 coact (see FIG. 6). This arrangement assists in providing vertical support of side member 30 or 40 when the cantilevered arm on side member 30 or 40 is depressed for adjustment. Other surfaces may be provided at different locations to serve the same purpose.

[0031] As shown in FIGS. 1A and 1B, side member 30 or 40 further include an additional interface 136 provided on the outside of the member, configured to engage with a corresponding interface 138 on an adjacent side member. According to one exemplary embodiment shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, interface 136 is shown as a dovetail portion. The dovetail portion is configured to engage or co-act with a corresponding dovetail portion provided on an adjacent second side member of an adjacent merchandising system. Other interfaces/engagement portions may be used to couple or attach side members together (as shown in FIG. 3).

[0032] According to a particularly preferred embodiment shown in FIG. 1, side members 30 and 40 are generally symmetrical. However, engagement portion 138 (shown as a dovetail portion) is configured to receive corresponding dovetail portion 136 of side member 30.

[0033] Center member 20 and side members 30 and 40 may generally be made from injection molded plastic. The interfaces may as well be constructed, or assembled, from injected molded plastic. The various members may be formed separately and then connected using a sonic welding process (or other suitable attachment technique). A variety of plastics may be used in constructing the center member and the first and second side members. For example, these members may be constructed from high-impact plastics, polymers, other plastics, and the like. Using plastic offers several advantages including that the elements are multiple in a variety of colors, surface finishes, textures and other treatments, etc. Other materials such as composites, metals, wood, etc. may alternatively be used.

[0034] A merchandising system may be provided to display, merchandise, organize, or dispense various products in an organized and orderly fashion. According to an exemplary embodiment, merchandising system 10 includes pusher assembly 80. Pusher assembly 80 has a spring biased or spring urged member or pusher face 82 to urge forward product towards the front of the merchandising system. Product is retained by end panels 112 and a front lens 132. (Front lens 132 is releasably coupled to center member 20 via fingers 136 coupling to apertures 138 via a snap-fit.) Members 20, 30 and 40 forms a surface 152 on which product is supported. Friction reducing ribs 154 are provided on surface 152 to reduce friction on the bottom surface of the products, allowing them to be moved more easily. This configuration results in an orderly, and neatly faced merchandising system and overall shelf appearance. Pusher assembly 80 is generally configured to automatically advance product towards the front of the merchandising system. According to various alternative embodiments, a wide variety of merchandising systems or tray systems may be used, including pusher and non-pusher assembly trays.

[0035] Merchandising system 10 may be placed on a top surface of a shelf. Merchandising system 10 may additionally or alternatively be attached to the top surface of the shelf using a low-bond adhesive which would restrict motion of the merchandising system relative to the top surface, but allow the merchandising system to be removable with relative ease. Alternatively, merchandising system 10 may comprise non-skid feet 1 86 (e.g. of rubber or another elastomeric material or the like) as shown in FIG. 2.

[0036] According to one exemplary embodiment, the merchandising system is intended to provide shelf dividers that may be selectively adjusted to accommodate products of different sizes. Products or merchandise will be placed between dividers (e.g. side members 30 and 40) shown in FIG. 4. Pusher assembly 80 will be in a position back from the front of the shelf when fully stocked with products. As products are removed from the divider system, the pusher assembly (e.g. urged forward by a coil spring) will push the remaining product forward to the front of merchandising system. It should be noted, however, that the pusher system is not required for use in alternative embodiments, which may be used in conjunction with other shelving dividers arrangements (such as basic wall dividers).

[0037] One or more merchandising systems are interconnected to provide modularity in the construction and arrangement of a larger merchandising system (e.g. via connections shown as dovetail portions) as shown in FIG. 3. According to various alternative embodiments, a wide variety of interfaces may be used, including clips, connectors, teeth, notches, or other connections or interfaces.

[0038] Merchandising system 10 allows side members 30 and 40 (e.g., dividers) to be reconfigured and resized for divisions that conveniently allow for the display of different sized products. Furthermore, merchandising system 10 allows for the selective adjustment of one merchandising system without the need to resize adjacent merchandising systems. As shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, merchandising system 10 may be resized to accommodate differently sized products (shown as product 200 a having width “A”, product 200 b having width “B”, and product 200 c having width “C”.

[0039] According to one exemplary embodiment, merchandising system 10 allows individual merchandising systems to be reconfigured and resized for different divisions, thereby allowing for the display of different and variously sized products. Merchandising system 10 generally comprises center member 20 and side members 30 and 40, each of which selectively interface and are adjustably coupled, providing for secure engagement.

[0040] As shown in FIGS. 5A to 5D, the spacing or width between center member 20 and side member 30 or 40 are adjusted by depressing interface 34 (e.g. the cantilevered member), thereby disengaging projections 120 from gaps or teeth 90 (see FIG. 5A). Once disengaged, the relative spacing is adjusted between center member 20 and side member 30 or 40 by moving or sliding center member 20 and side member 30 or 40 with respect to each other (see FIGS. 5B and 5C). When the desired spacing has been achieved, the cantilevered member is released, thereby re-engaging projections 120 with the gaps or notches 90 (see FIG. 5D).

[0041] The interfaces and members shown in the FIGURES provides certain advantages. The interfaces and members advantageously allow for simple and convenient construction, being easier to mold, costing less to mold, reducing production times, etc. Additionally, the merchandising systems may be provided in variable lengths and widths. This allows the merchandising system to accommodate products and shelving spacing of even further varying dimensions. As shown in FIG. 7, a center member 320 is shown having a lesser width than center member 20.

[0042] According to another alternative embodiment (not shown), a merchandising system may comprise a first member and a second member, and one or more interfaces between the members. The merchandising system may be similar in arrangement and construction to the merchandising systems shown in the FIGURES, however the center member and one side member may be constructed or assembled as a single element. As such, the merchandising system would have one width adjustment available, as opposed to two width adjustments of the particularly preferred embodiments.

[0043] It is also important to note that the construction and arrangement of the elements of the merchandising system as shown in the preferred exemplary and alternative embodiments is illustrative only. Although only a few embodiments of the present inventions have been described in detail in this disclosure, those skilled in the art who review this disclosure will readily appreciate that many modifications are possible (e.g., variations in sizes, dimensions, structures, shapes and proportions of the various elements, values of parameters, mounting arrangements, use of materials, colors, orientations, etc.) without materially departing from the novel teachings and advantages of the subject matter recited in the claims. For example, elements shown as integrally formed may be constructed of multiple parts or elements show as multiple parts may be integrally formed, the operation of the interface of the members of the merchandising system may be reversed or otherwise varied, the length or width of the elements of the system may be varied, the nature or number of discrete adjustment positions provided between the center member and the side members may be varied (e.g. by variations in the number of engagement points or size of the engagement points or type of engagement). It should be noted that the elements and/or assemblies of the system may be constructed from any of a wide variety of materials that provide sufficient strength or durability, including any of a wide variety of moldable plastic materials (such as high-impact plastic) in any of a wide variety of colors, textures and combinations. It should also be noted that the merchandising system may be used in association with a shelf (e.g. of a shelving unit or the like) or any of a wide variety of other surfaces in any of a wide variety of other applications. Accordingly, all such modifications are intended to be included within the scope of the present inventions. Other substitutions, modifications, changes and omissions may be made in the design, operating conditions and arrangement of the preferred and other exemplary embodiments without departing from the spirit of the present invention.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification211/59.3, 211/175
International ClassificationA47F1/12
Cooperative ClassificationA47F1/126
European ClassificationA47F1/12D1
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jul 25, 2003ASAssignment
Owner name: DCI MARKETING, INC., WISCONSIN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:JOHNSON, ALLEN E.;BERGLUND, TERRENCE G.;REEL/FRAME:014317/0770
Effective date: 20030715