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Publication numberUS20050077773 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/683,382
Publication dateApr 14, 2005
Filing dateOct 10, 2003
Priority dateOct 10, 2003
Publication number10683382, 683382, US 2005/0077773 A1, US 2005/077773 A1, US 20050077773 A1, US 20050077773A1, US 2005077773 A1, US 2005077773A1, US-A1-20050077773, US-A1-2005077773, US2005/0077773A1, US2005/077773A1, US20050077773 A1, US20050077773A1, US2005077773 A1, US2005077773A1
InventorsShun-Min Chen
Original AssigneeWonderland Nurserygoods Co., Ltd.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Child support device
US 20050077773 A1
Abstract
A child support device includes first and second frame members interconnected by a coupling unit. The first frame member has a first connecting end portion that extends along a first axis. The second frame member has a second connecting end portion that extends along a second axis. The coupling unit includes a stop surface and a tubular coupling sleeve. The stop surface is formed on the first connecting end portion. The tubular coupling sleeve is mounted on the second connecting end portion, and is provided with a resilient member that is movable toward the second axis to engage the stop surface for interconnecting the first and second frame members, and that is forcible to move away from the second axis to disengage the stop surface when disconnecting the first and second frame members.
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Claims(16)
1. A child support device comprising:
a first frame member having a first connecting end portion that extends along a first axis;
a second frame member having a second connecting end portion that extends along a second axis; and
a coupling unit for interconnecting said first and second connecting end portions such that said first axis is coaxial with said second axis, said coupling unit including
a stop surface formed on said first connecting end portion and disposed radially of said first axis, and
a tubular coupling sleeve mounted on said second connecting end portion, said first connecting end portion being inserted removably into said coupling sleeve, said coupling sleeve being provided with a resilient member that is movable toward said second axis in a normal state to engage said stop surface for interconnecting said first and second frame members, and that is forcible to move away from said second axis to disengage said stop surface and permit removal of said first connecting end portion from said coupling sleeve when disconnecting said first and second frame members.
2. The child support device as claimed in claim 1, wherein said second connecting end portion is tubular and is formed with a radial through hole, said first connecting end portion extending into said second connecting end portion when inserted into said coupling sleeve, said resilient member being formed integrally with said coupling sleeve and having an engaging portion that is movable toward and away from said second axis and that is extendible into said second connecting end portion through said through hole for engaging said stop surface.
3. The child support device as claimed in claim 2, wherein said first connecting end portion has a restricted neck section that is formed with said stop surface.
4. The child support device as claimed in claim 2, wherein said first and second connecting end portions have circular cross-sections.
5. The child support device as claimed in Claim 2, wherein said coupling sleeve is formed with a slot that extends parallel to said second axis, said resilient member being an elongate strip that has a connecting end connected to said coupling sleeve at one end of said slot, and an engaging end opposite to said connecting end, disconnected from said coupling sleeve, and formed with an engaging block that projects toward said second axis and that serves as said engaging portion.
6. The child support device as claimed in claim 1, wherein said coupling sleeve is formed with a radial buttonhole, said resilient member having a button portion that extends movably into said button hole, a biasing portion that is disposed in and that abuts against said coupling sleeve, and an engaging frame disposed in said coupling sleeve and interconnecting said button portion and said biasing portion, said biasing portion biasing said engaging frame toward said second axis to engage said stop surface, said button portion being operable against biasing action of said biasing portion to move said engaging frame away from said second axis to disengage from said stop surface.
7. The child support device as claimed in claim 6, wherein said coupling unit further includes a retaining unit provided on said coupling sleeve for movably retaining said engaging frame therein.
8. The child support device as claimed in claim 6, wherein said resilient member is formed integrally from plastic.
9. A child support device comprising a frame including a lower ground-engaging frame portion and an upper child-supporting frame portion connected to said ground-engaging frame portion, said ground-engaging frame portion including:
a first frame member having a first rear connecting end portion that extends along a first axis;
a second frame member having a second rear connecting end portion that extends along a second axis; and
a first coupling unit for interconnecting said first and second rear connecting end portions such that said first axis is coaxial with said second axis, said coupling unit including
a stop surface formed on said first rear connecting end portion and disposed radially of said first axis, and
a tubular coupling sleeve mounted on said second rear connecting end portion, said first rear connecting end portion being inserted removably into said coupling sleeve, said coupling sleeve being provided with a resilient member that is movable toward said second axis in a normal state to engage said stop surface for interconnecting said first and second frame members, and that is forcible to move away from said second axis to disengage said stop surface and permit removal of said first rear connecting end portion from said coupling sleeve when disconnecting said first and second frame members.
10. The child support device as claimed in claim 9, wherein said coupling sleeve has a ground-contacting side with an anti-slip pad mounted thereon.
11. The child support device as claimed in claim 9, wherein:
said first frame member further has a first front connecting end portion that extends along a third axis;
said second frame member further having a second front connecting end portion that extends along a fourth axis;
said child-supporting frame portion including a back support frame member having first and second lower connecting end portions that extend respectively along parallel fifth and sixth axes;
said child support device further comprising a pair of second coupling units for connecting a respective one of said first and second front connecting end portions to a respective one of said first and second lower connecting end portions such that said third axis is coaxial with said fifth axis and such that said fourth axis is coaxial with said sixth axis, each of said second coupling units including
a stop surface formed on the respective one of said first and second front connecting end portions and disposed radially of the respective one of said third and fourth axes, and
a tubular coupling sleeve mounted on the respective one of said first and second lower connecting end portions, each of said first and second front connecting end portions being inserted removably into said coupling sleeve of the respective one of said second coupling units, said coupling sleeve of each of said second coupling units being provided with a resilient member that is movable toward the respective one of said fifth and sixth axes in a normal state to engage said stop surface of the respective one of said second coupling units for connecting the respective one of said first and second front connecting end portions to the respective one of said first and second lower connecting end portions, and that is forcible to move away from the respective one of said fifth and sixth axes to disengage said stop surface of the respective one of said second coupling units and permit removal of the respective one of said first and second front connecting end portions from said coupling sleeve when disconnecting said back support frame member from said ground-engaging frame portion.
12. The child support device as claimed in claim 11, wherein said child-supporting frame portion further includes a generally U-shaped seat support frame member having a pair of looped ends that engage said first and second front connecting end portions, respectively.
13. The child support device as claimed in claim 11, further comprising a pair of frame retainers clamped respectively on said coupling sleeves of said second coupling units.
14. The child support device as claimed in claim 13, wherein each of said frame retainers is formed with an engaging hole, said child support device further comprising a generally U-shaped hanging frame having a pair of free ends, each of which is extended removably and respectively into said engaging holes in said frame retainers.
15. A child support device comprising a frame including a lower ground-engaging frame portion and an upper child-supporting frame portion connected to said ground-engaging frame portion,
said ground-engaging frame portion including a first frame member having a first front connecting end portion that extends along a first axis, and a second frame member having a second front connecting end portion that extends along a second axis,
said child-supporting frame portion including a back support frame member having first and second lower connecting end portions that extend respectively along parallel third and fourth axes,
said child support device further comprising a pair of coupling units for connecting a respective one of said first and second front connecting end portions to a respective one of said first and second lower connecting end portions such that said first axis is coaxial with said third axis and such that said second axis is coaxial with said fourth axis, each of said coupling units including
a stop surface formed on the respective one of said first and second front connecting end portions and disposed radially of the respective one of said first and second axes, and
a tubular coupling sleeve mounted on the respective one of said first and second lower connecting end portions, each of said first and second front connecting end portions being inserted removably into said coupling sleeve of the respective one of said coupling units, said coupling sleeve of each of said coupling units being provided with a resilient member that is movable toward the respective one of said third and fourth axes in a normal state to engage said stop surface of the respective one of said coupling units for connecting the respective one of said first and second front connecting end portions to the respective one of said first and second lower connecting end portions, and that is forcible to move away from the respective one of said third and fourth axes to disengage said stop surface of the respective one of said coupling units and permit removal of the respective one of said first and second front connecting end portions from said coupling sleeve when disconnecting said back support frame member from said ground-engaging frame portion.
16. A child support device comprising:
a first frame member having a first connecting end portion that extends along a first axis;
a second frame member having a second connecting end portion that extends along a second axis;
a third frame member having opposite frame end portions and extending along a third axis; and
a pair of coupling units for connecting a respective one of said first and second connecting end portions to a respective one of said frame end portions such that said first and second axes are coaxial with said third axis, each of said coupling units including
a stop surface formed on the respective one of said first and second connecting end portions and disposed radially of the respective one of said first and second axes, and
a tubular coupling sleeve mounted on the respective one of said frame end portions, each of said first and second connecting end portions being inserted removably into said coupling sleeve of the respective one of said coupling units, said coupling sleeve of each of said coupling units being provided with a resilient member that is movable toward said third axis in a normal state to engage said stop surface of the respective one of said coupling units for connecting the respective one of said first and second frame members to the respective one of said frame end portions, and that is forcible to move away from said third axis to disengage said stop surface of the respective one of said coupling units and permit removal of the respective one of said first and second connecting end portions from said coupling sleeve when disconnecting said first and second frame members from said third frame member.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The invention relates to a child support device, more particularly to a child support device that is convenient to assemble and disassemble and that has improved safety features.

2. Description of the Related Art

In U.S. patent application publication No. 2003/0034685 A1, there is disclosed a child support device that includes a frame unit and a frame connector. The frame unit includes left and right lower frame members that have left and right ground engaging lower frame portions coupled together by the frame connector. The frame connector includes a male left connector and a female right connector. The left connector is formed integrally with the left ground engaging lower frame portion, and has one end formed with an engaging projection that extends upwardly. The right connector is formed integrally with the right ground engaging lower frame portion, and is formed with a slide groove for sliding engagement with the left connector. The right connector has a top side formed with an engaging hole such that, after the left connector is inserted into the slide groove, the engaging projection extends outwardly of the engaging hole for secure connection between the left and right lower frame members.

Although the frame connector serves the purpose of connection between the left and right lower frame members, use of the same affects the order of assembly and disassembly of the child support device. That is, during assembly, connection between the left and right ground engaging lower frame portions must be performed first, whereas during disassembly, disengagement between the left and right ground engaging lower frame portions must be performed last. Besides, in view of stringent safety standards for child support devices, exposed engaging components, such as the engaging projection, are generally regarded to be unsafe, since accidental contact thereto may result in undesired escapement among the engaging components of the child support device.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Therefore, the object of the present invention is to provide a child support device that can overcome the aforesaid drawbacks associated with the prior art.

Accordingly, a child support device of this invention comprises first and second frame members and a coupling unit. The first frame member has a first connecting end portion that extends along a first axis. The second frame member has a second connecting end portion that extends along a second axis. The coupling unit interconnects the first and second connecting end portions such that the first axis is coaxial with the second axis. The coupling unit includes a stop surface and a tubular coupling sleeve. The stop surface is formed on the first connecting end portion and is disposed radially of the first axis. The tubular coupling sleeve is mounted on the second connecting end portion. The first connecting end portion is inserted removably into the coupling sleeve. The coupling sleeve is provided with a resilient member that is movable toward the second axis in a normal state to engage the stop surface for interconnecting the first and second frame members, and that is forcible to move away from the second axis to disengage the stop surface and permit removal of the first connecting end portion from the coupling sleeve when disconnecting the first and second frame members.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Other features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent in the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments with reference to the accompanying drawings, of which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the first preferred embodiment of a child support device according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a fragmentary exploded perspective view to illustrate a lower ground-engaging frame portion of the first preferred embodiment;

FIG. 3 is a schematic sectional view to illustrate how a coupling unit interconnects first and second frame members of the lower ground-engaging frame portion in the first preferred embodiment of this invention;

FIG. 4 is another schematic sectional view to illustrate a connected state of the first and second frame members of the lower ground-engaging frame portion when viewed from a different angle;

FIG. 5 is a fragmentary exploded perspective view to illustrate the ground-engaging frame portion and a child-supporting frame portion of the first preferred embodiment;

FIG. 6 is a schematic sectional view to illustrate engagement between the ground-engaging frame portion and the child-supporting frame portion of the first preferred embodiment;

FIG. 7 is a fragmentary exploded perspective view to illustrate a frame retainer and a second coupling unit of the first preferred embodiment;

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of the second preferred embodiment of a child support device according to the present invention;

FIG. 9 is a fragmentary exploded perspective view to illustrate a ground-engaging frame portion of the second preferred embodiment;

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of a portion of the third preferred embodiment of a child support device according to the present invention;

FIG. 11 is a partly exploded, partly cutaway, perspective view of the portion shown in FIG. 10, illustrating a coupling sleeve, a resilient member and a connecting end portion of a frame member of the third preferred embodiment;

FIG. 12 is an assembled, partly sectional view of the portion shown in FIG. 10 to illustrate engagement between the resilient member and the connecting end portion; and

FIG. 13 is a view similar to FIG. 12, illustrating disengagement between the resilient member and the connecting end portion.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, the first preferred embodiment of a child support device 300 according to the present invention is shown to include a metal frame 3. The frame 3 includes a lower ground-engaging frame portion 30 and an upper child-supporting frame portion 31 connected to the ground-engaging frame portion 30.

The ground-engaging frame portion 30 includes a first frame member 41, a second frame member 42, and a first coupling unit 45. The first frame member 41 includes a first rear end section 411 and a first front end section 416. The first rear end section 411 is formed with a first rear connecting end portion 412 that extends along a first axis 415. The second frame member 42 includes a second rear end section 421 and a second front end section 426. The second rear end section 421 is formed with a second rear connecting end portion 422 that extends along a second axis 425. The second rear connecting end portion 422 is tubular so as to form a receiving space 423, and has an end opening 424. The second rear connecting end portion 422 is further formed with a radial through hole 427. In this embodiment, the first and second rear connecting end portions 412, 422 have circular cross-sections.

The first coupling unit 45 includes a stop surface 413 and a tubular coupling sleeve 450, and interconnects the first and second rear connecting end portions 412, 422 such that the first axis 415 is coaxial with the second axis 425. In this embodiment, the stop surface 413 is an annular surface formed on a restricted neck section 414 of the first rear connecting end portion 412, and is disposed radially of the first axis 415. The coupling sleeve 450, which is made of plastic, is sleeved securely on the second connecting end portion 422, is formed with a slot 455 that extends parallel to the second axis 425, and is provided a resilient member 451. The resilient member 451 is an elongate plastic strip that has a connecting end connected integrally to the coupling sleeve 450 at one end of the slot 455, and an engaging end opposite to the connecting end, disconnected from the coupling sleeve 450, and formed with an engaging block 452 (see FIG. 3) that projects toward the second axis 425 and that serves as an engaging portion which is movable toward and away from the second axis 425 and which is extendible into the second rear connecting end portion 422 through the through hole 427. The coupling sleeve 450 has a ground-contacting side that is formed with a pad groove 457 for receiving an anti-slip pad 458. The anti-slip pad 458 and the coupling sleeve 450 are fastened to the second rear connecting end portion 422 by a rivet 46 that extends through a fastener hole 428 in the second rear connecting end portion 422 and a fastener hole 453 in the coupling sleeve 450, as best shown in FIG. 4.

When interconnecting the first and second frame members 41, 42, the first rear connecting end portion 412 is extended into the receiving space 423 of the second rear connecting end portion 422 through the end opening 424. At this time, the engaging block 452 of the resilient member 451 extends into the receiving space 423 of the second rear connecting end portion 422 to engage the stop surface 413 on the first rear connecting end portion 412, thereby interconnecting the first and second frame members 41, 42, as best shown in FIG. 3.

When disconnecting the first and second frame members 41, 42, since the engaging end of the resilient member 451 is disconnected from the coupling sleeve 450, the resilient member 451 can be lifted at the engaging end for forcing the engaging block 452 to move away from the second axis 425 so as to disengage the stop surface 413 and permit removal of the first rear connecting end portion 412 from the coupling sleeve 450 and the second rear connecting end portion 422.

Referring to FIGS. 1, 5 and 6, the first front end section 416 of the first frame member 41 is formed with a first front connecting end portion 47 that extends upwardly and rearwardly along a third axis 472. The second front end section 426 of the second frame member 42 is formed with a second front connecting end portion 47′ that extends upwardly and rearwardly along a fourth axis 472′. In this embodiment, the first and second front connecting end portions 47, 47′ have circular cross-sections.

The child-supporting frame portion 31 includes a back support frame member 33, a seat support frame member 34, and a hanging frame 365.

The back support frame member 33 is generally U-shaped, and includes first and second lower connecting end portions 331, 331′ that extend respectively along parallel fifth and sixth axes 339, 339′. Each of the first and second lower connecting end portions 331, 331′ is tubular so as to form a receiving space 335, 335′, and has an end opening 336, 336′. Each of the first and second lower connecting end portions 331, 331′ is further formed with a radial through hole 338, 338′. In this embodiment, the first and second lower connecting end portions 331, 331′ have circular cross-sections.

The child support device 300 further comprises a pair of second coupling units 37 for connecting a respective one of the first and second front connecting end portions 47, 47′ to a respective one of the first and second lower connecting end portions 331, 331′ such that the third axis 472 is coaxial with the fifth axis 339 and such that the fourth axis 472′ is coaxial with the sixth axis 339′.

Each second coupling unit 37 includes a stop surface 473 and a tubular coupling sleeve 370. In this embodiment, the stop surface 473 is an annular surface formed on a restricted neck section 471, 471′ of the respective one of the first and second front connecting end portions 416, 426, and is disposed radially of the respective one of the third and fourth axes 472, 472′. The coupling sleeve 370, which is made of plastic, is sleeved securely on the respective one of the first and second lower connecting end portions 331, 331′, is formed with a slot 373 that extends parallel to the respective one of the fifth and sixth axes 339, 339′, and is provided a resilient member 371. The resilient member 371 is an elongate plastic strip that has a connecting end connected integrally to the coupling sleeve 370 at one end of the slot 373, and an engaging end opposite to the connecting end, disconnected from the coupling sleeve 370, and formed with an engaging block 372 (see FIG. 6) that projects toward the respective one of the fifth and sixth axes 339, 339′ and that serves as an engaging portion which is movable toward and away from the respective one of the fifth and sixth axes 339, 339′ and which is extendible into the respective one of the first and second lower connecting end portions 331, 331′ through the through hole 338, 338′. The coupling sleeve 370 is fastened to the respective one of the first and second lower connecting end portions 331, 331′ by a rivet 38 that extends through a fastener hole 337 in the respective one of the first and second lower connecting end portions 331, 331′ and a fastener hole 375 in the coupling sleeve 370, as best shown in FIG. 6.

Since the construction and operation of the second coupling units 37 are similar to those of the first coupling unit 45 described hereinbefore, a detailed description of the assembly and disassembly operations of the back support frame member 33 and the ground-engaging frame portion 30 will be omitted herein for the sake of brevity.

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 7, the seat support frame member 34 is generally U-shaped, and has a pair of looped ends 341, 343 that engage the first and second front connecting end portions 416, 426, respectively. The child support device 300 further comprises a pair of frame retainers 36 clamped respectively on the coupling sleeves 370 of the second coupling units 37. Each of the frame retainers 36 includes a clamp body 361 and is formed with an engaging hole 363. The hanging frame 365 is generally U-shaped and has a pair of free ends, each of which is extended removably and respectively into the engaging holes 363 in the frame retainers 36. The hanging frame 365 is used to hang some toys for amusement purposes.

It is evident from the foregoing that the various engaging components of the child support device of this invention are well shielded to guard against undesired escapement, thereby resulting in improved safety. Moreover, assembly and disassembly of the various components of the child support device may be performed in any order for added convenience.

FIGS. 8 and 9 illustrate the second preferred embodiment of a child support device 600 according to the present invention, which differs from the first preferred embodiment mainly in the construction of the ground-engaging frame portion. In this embodiment, the ground-engaging frame portion includes a metal third frame member 7 disposed between rear end sections 611, 612 of first and second frame members 61, 62. The rear end section 611, 621 of each of the first and second frame members 61, 62 is formed with a connecting end portion 612, 622. The third frame member 7 has opposite frame end portions 71, 72 and extends along an axis. Each of two coupling units 73 connects a respective one of the connecting end portions 612, 622 to a respective one of the frame end portions 71, 72 such that the frame end portion 71 is coaxial with the connecting end portion 612, and such that the frame end portion 72 is coaxial with the connecting end portion 622. Since the construction and operation of the coupling units 73 are similar to those described hereinabove in connection with the first preferred embodiment, a detailed description of the same is omitted herein for the sake of brevity. It is noted that the presence of the third frame member 7 makes it easier to store the child support device 600.

FIGS. 10 to 13 illustrate a portion of the third preferred embodiment of a child support device according to the present invention, which differs from the first and second preferred embodiments in the construction of the coupling unit 80 employed therein.

The tubular coupling sleeve 81 is formed with a sleeve hole 811 that extends along a sleeve axis 82, and a button receiving space 85 transverse to the sleeve axis 82 and in spatial communication with the sleeve hole 811. The button receiving space 85 has a blind end and a radial button hole 84 opposite to the blind end. The coupling sleeve 81, which is made of plastic, is sleeved securely on a tubular connecting end portion 91 of a frame member, and is secured thereto by a rivet 913. The button receiving space 85 is disposed adjacent to an end opening 911 of the connecting end portion 91.

The resilient member 83 has a button portion 831 that extends movably into the buttonhole 84, a biasing portion 835 that is disposed in the button receiving space 85 and that abuts against the coupling sleeve 81 at the blind end of the button receiving space 85, and an engaging frame 833 disposed in the button receiving space 85 and interconnecting the button portion 831 and the biasing portion 835. The biasing portion 835 biases the engaging frame 833 toward the sleeve axis 82. In this embodiment, the resilient member 83 is formed integrally from plastic. The engaging frame 833 is a looped frame. The biasing portion 835 has a zigzag configuration with a free end 838 abutting against the blind end of the button receiving space 85, and the other end connected to the engaging frame 833. As such, when the connecting end portion 95 of another frame member is inserted into the sleeve hole 811, an engaging portion 836 of the engaging frame 833 can engage a stop surface 951 formed on a restricted neck section 953 of the connecting end portion 95, as best shown in FIG. 12. The button portion 831 is operable against biasing action of the biasing portion 835 to move the engaging portion 836 of the engaging frame 833 away from the sleeve axis 82 to disengage from the stop surface 951, thereby permitting removal of the connecting end portion 95 from the sleeve hole 811, as best shown in FIG. 13.

The coupling unit 80 further includes a retaining unit provided on the coupling sleeve 81 for movably retaining the engaging frame 833 therein. The retaining unit includes a set of stop surfaces 813 formed on the sleeve hole 811 proximate to the button receiving space 85, and a set of engaging hooks 837 formed on opposite lateral sides of the engaging frame 833.

When assembling the resilient member 83 to the coupling sleeve 81, the free end 838 of the biasing portion 835 is inserted into the button receiving space 85 through the button hole 84 till the engaging hooks 837 move past the stop surfaces 813. Since the distance between the tips of the engaging hooks 837 at the opposite lateral sides of the button receiving space 85 is slightly larger than the width of the button receiving space 85, the engaging hooks 837 will be squeezed by the walls of the button receiving space 85 before they move past the stop surfaces 813. Accordingly, the resilient member 83 can be movably retained in the button receiving space 85, and only the button portion 831 is accessible from the exterior of the coupling sleeve 81.

While the present invention has been described in connection with what is considered the most practical and preferred embodiments, it is understood that this invention is not limited to the disclosed embodiments but is intended to cover various arrangements included within the spirit and scope of the broadest interpretation so as to encompass all such modifications and equivalent arrangements.

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US4135835 *Aug 3, 1977Jan 23, 1979Hoover Universal, Inc.Latch unit for adjustable bed frame rails
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Classifications
U.S. Classification297/440.11, 297/440.1
International ClassificationA47D13/10
Cooperative ClassificationA47D13/107
European ClassificationA47D13/10F
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Oct 10, 2003ASAssignment
Owner name: WONDERLAND NURSERYGOODS CO., LTD., TAIWAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:CHEN, SHUN-MIN;REEL/FRAME:014605/0945
Effective date: 20031001