US 20040045133 A1
The present invention relates to a card display device that includes two clips rotatably attached. A rivet connects the two clips and allows the clips to rotate with respect to each other. The design of one of the two clips allows it to grasp a card while the other clip grasps a user's clothing. In some embodiments, a suspender style clip serves as the card attachment. In other embodiments, a clothespin type clip serves as the card attachment. In some embodiments the first clip and second clip have only three separate jaws. The card attachment clip may include plastic or rubber gripping pads that aid in providing a secure grip.
1. A card display device comprising a first clip for retaining a card, a second clip for attaching to a user's clothing without making a hole in the user's clothing, said clips being attached to each other.
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20. A card display device comprising a first clip for retaining a card, a second clip connected to the first clip, the second clip including a first jaw and a second jaw for gripping a user's clothing.
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27. A method of attaching a card to a person comprising the steps of retaining a card with a first clip which is connected to a second clip, and attaching the second clip to a user's clothing by gripping the clothing between a pair of jaws.
28. A method of making a card display device comprising the steps of providing a first clip, configured to grip a card, providing a second clip configured to grip a user's clothing, and connecting the two clips.
FIG. 1 depicts one embodiment of the disclosed card display device 8 including a first clip 48 and a second clip 50. The first clip 48 is designed to retain a card while the second clip 50 is designed to be attached to a user's clothing. In one embodiment, the first clip 48 is of the suspender-type or cam-and-lever type design and includes a first jaw 10 and a second jaw 12. The first jaw 10 and the second jaw 12 preferably each include a gripping pad 11. The first jaw 10 includes a first gripping surface 18 and the second jaw 12 includes a second gripping surface 20. The gripping surfaces 18 and 20 are the portions of the gripping pads 11 that contact a card 32 as it is grasped by the card display device 8. Embodiments that include the cam-and-lever type clips have a closed position, shown in FIG. 3, in which the jaws are pressed together and an open position, shown in FIG. 4, in which the jaws are spread apart.
FIG. 1 illustrates in which the second clip as a clothespin-type clip. The second clip functions by grasping a user's clothing between a third jaw 52 and a fourth jaw 54. A spring 56, preferably a coil spring, closes the jaws 52 and 54 unless a pinching force is applied to open the jaw. The spring 56 applies force to the jaws allowing the jaws to grip a user's clothing. It is understood that several types of clips can be employed as the second clip 50 including cam-and-lever or suspender-type clips.
 In embodiments that include a cam-and-lever type clip such as those depicted in FIG. 1, the first jaw 10 and the second jaw 12 have a substantially parallel orientation when closed. A leaf spring 22 is shown connected to the first jaw 10 at one end and, at the other end, to the second jaw 12. The second jaw 12 engages one end of the spring 22 in such a way as to anchor that end of the spring 22. One end of the spring 22 is anchored by a slot 23 in the second jaw 12 at the pivot point 13. In other embodiments, a lever may attach the first jaw 10 to the second jaw 12.
 In the closed position depicted in FIG. 3, force from the spring 22 presses the first jaw 10 and second jaw 12 together. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 2, a lever 24 with an attached cam 26 interacts with the spring 22. The spring 22 also acts against the cam 26 in the closed position, preventing the cam 26 from moving, and thereby locking the first jaw 10, the cam 26, and the lever arm 24 in their closed positions. The card display device 8 will remain in the closed position until a user opens the card display device 8 by lifting the lever arm 24. The lever arm 24 and the cam 26 rotate about a pivot pin 30, as shown in FIG. 4, while the second jaw 12 remains relatively fixed. Similarly, the spring 22 resists movement of the cam 26 from the open position to the closed position such that the card display device 8 will remain in the open position unless a user closes the card display device 8 by applying force to the lever arm 24.
 The gripping pads 11 are preferably made of a soft plastic or rubber. In another arrangement, the gripping pads 11 may fit over the jaws in a sleeve-like manner. The gripping pads 11 may alternatively glued, riveted, molded into/onto, or otherwise attached to the jaws. Other embodiments use only one gripping pad 11 or other plastics, metal, coatings, or other materials or combinations of materials to grip a card. In one preferred embodiment, the gripping pads are molded to the jaws 10 and 12 by placing the ends of the jaws into the mold before introducing the plastic.
FIG. 1 shows one of a pair of side walls 14 on the first clip 48. The side walls 14 limit an effective gripping length A of the first gripping surface 18 and the second gripping surface 20. The effective gripping length A of the first gripping surface 18 and the second gripping surface 20 is preferably approximately ¼ inch. Preferably, the effective gripping length A and a side wall length B are approximately equal where the side wall length B is the lateral distance from the hinge pin 30 to the furthest edge of the side wall 14. In another embodiment, the ratio of the effective gripping length A to the side wall length B is approximately one to two, however, many ratios would be effective. In another embodiment, the effective gripping length A is approximately half of a first jaw length C.
FIG. 5 shows the card display device 8 with a card 32 inserted. The card 32 is inserted into the card display device 8 a distance equal to the effective gripping length A. In a preferred embodiment, the amount of the card 32 covered by the card display device 8 measures approximately ¼ inch in length by ⅜ inch in width. Other embodiments feature other dimensions and different ratios of the effective gripping surface A to the side wall length C. Also, a number of different gripping widths D are possible.
 While FIG. 5 shows the card display device 8 attached to a shirt pocket, the card display device can be attached to almost any part of a user's clothing. The first clip 48 and the second clip 50 are attached at a connection point 57 by a rotatable connection such as a rivet 58 which preferably allows rotation of the clips with respect to each other. Preferably, a rivet connects the clips at the ends opposite the jaws. Depending on the length of the rivet and the tension applied to connect the clips, the desired ease of rotation is achieved. In a preferred embodiment, the rivet loosely connects the two clips allowing free rotation. Embodiments that feature a tighter connection with less freedom to rotate are available.
 The ability to rotate one clip with respect to the other allows a user to attach the card display device 8 to a user's clothing at any angle. The second clip 50 can be attached to a flap or fold in a user's clothing including a shirt pocket 60, as shown in FIG. 5, a belt, a pants pocket, a collar, or the front opening of a shirt 62, as shown in FIG. 6. As can be seen in FIG. 6, the second clip 50 can attach at an angle while gravity preferably causes the first clip 48 and the card 32 to hang straight down.
 In one preferred alternate embodiment shown in FIG. 8, the second jaw 12 and the fourth jaw 54 are a single piece. In this embodiment, the clips are not rotatable, but the clips may be oriented with the jaws in the same direction, as in FIG. 8, or in opposite directions.
 Typical cards 32 are made of a hard plastic material. The gripping pads 11 are perferably of a material that has a coefficient of friction that enhances the connection between the gripping surfaces and a card 32. A relatively high coefficient of friction provides a secure grip even with a small contact area. The soft plastic used for the gripping pads 11 can deform slightly under the force of a hard plastic card 32 pressed against it, further ensuring a secure grip of the card 32. Also, the gripping pads 11 in some embodiments have gripping surfaces that create a somewhat tacky adhesion to a plastic card 32. A preferred material for the gripping pads 11 is plasticized polyvinyl chloride having a Shore A hardness of 65. Another preferred material for the gripping pad is rubber or natural rubber. Some preferred embodiments achieve a pull strength of seven pounds with a gripping surface that is only approximately ¼ inch by ⅜ inch. To solve the difficult problem of affixing the gripping pad to a jaw, the end of the jaw may be positioned in a mold and the gripping pad molded to the jaw in a manner to obtain a mechanical connection. Also, the gripping pad can be bonded to the jaw with a suitable adhesive. Other preferred embodiments include sleeve-like gripping pads which slide over the ends of the jaws.
 While the invention has been described in terms of a preferred embodiment, it will be understood that other arrangements fall within the scope of the following claims.
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a card display device incorporating the invention.
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of another embodiment of a card display device.
FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional side view of the card display device of FIG. 1 in the closed position.
FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional side view of the card display device of FIG. 1 in the open position.
FIG. 5 is a plan view of the card display device of FIG. 1 grasping a card and attached to a user's shirt pocket.
FIG. 6 is a plan view of the card display device of FIG. 2 grasping a card and attached to the front opening of a user's shirt.
FIG. 7 is another perspective view of the card display device of FIG. 2.
FIG. 8 is a perspective view of another embodiment of a card display device incorporating the invention.
 1. Field of the Invention
 The present invention relates to a card attachment that simultaneously grasps an identification card and attaches to a user's clothing.
 2. Description of the Related Art
 Identification cards, credentials, badges, access cards and similar items are becoming common place in today's society. People are often required to display identification cards, badges, and/or access cards in certain places such as offices, conventions, special events and other secure areas. Typical methods of displaying such cards or badges include a first device such as a neck or wrist lanyard, a clip, or a pin that connect to a users clothing and a second device that retains the card to be displayed. Among the most common devices for retaining a card or badge are clips, key rings, strap clips, and swivel hooks.
 Most frequently, clips, key rings, strap clips, and swivel hooks connect with a slot or hole that must be punched in the card. For many applications, however, a slot or hole is undesirable and impractical. Punching slots or holes in cards takes time, creates a weak spot in the card, compromises the protective overlay protecting the card's graphics and requires additional hole punching equipment. Slots punched in cards can interfere with the writing, pictures, or logos displayed on a card. Also, some cards include embedded electronics or magnetic stripes that prevent users from punching holes or slots. Thus, many applications require an alternative method of display.
 Wallet or envelope-type card holders are the most common types of card display devices that do not require slots or holes. These devices are typically made of a vinyl type plastic and hold a card in a pocket. The plastic pocket typically encases a card with a clear portion allowing the card to be viewed while encased. Cards with magnetic stripes or electronic chips often cannot be used in their corresponding electronic reading devices while encased in such holders.
 The only device on the market today that allows the display of a card without a slot, hole, or envelope encasement is a clothespin-type clip card attachment. Clip card attachments on the market today, however, have not enjoyed widespread adoption in the market at least in part because they require additional display devices to connect to a user's clothing. Numerous styles and variations of display devices are available on the market today. Among the most popular display devices on the market today are simple clips, neck lanyards, wrist lanyards, safety pins, and straight pins. While such display devices are generally inexpensive, requiring a display device to attach a card attachment to a user's clothing requires an additional purchase and is therefore an additional expense.
 Requiring an additional display device to display a clip and card is also less than convenient for some users. Many people find some display devices, such as neck lanyards or wrist lanyards, uncomfortable, unfashionable, and inconvenient. Other devices such as retractable reels and magnetic card holders are often too bulky and unnecessary. Furthermore, the additional device raises the cost to the consumers.
 Notwithstanding the different types of clip card attachments available, it is believed that there is a need for an improved card attachment that is easy to operate, provides a secure grip on a card without covering too much of the card, and can be attached to directly to a user's clothing, without the need for an additional device.
 The present invention discloses several embodiments of a card display device. The present invention allows a user to securely retain a card and attach it their clothing with only one device. The disclosed invention includes a card attachment and clip assembly that allows the retention of a card and connection to a user's clothing to display the card. In one embodiment of this invention, a card is retained by a clip that has specially designed plastic gripping pads. An attached clip can connect directly to a user's clothing without the need for an additional device. In another feature of the disclosed invention, a swivel joint allows the card attachment and clip to rotate with respect to each other thereby allowing attachment to a user's clothing at any angle.