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Publication numberUS20050242640 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/106,818
Publication dateNov 3, 2005
Filing dateApr 15, 2005
Priority dateApr 15, 2004
Publication number106818, 11106818, US 2005/0242640 A1, US 2005/242640 A1, US 20050242640 A1, US 20050242640A1, US 2005242640 A1, US 2005242640A1, US-A1-20050242640, US-A1-2005242640, US2005/0242640A1, US2005/242640A1, US20050242640 A1, US20050242640A1, US2005242640 A1, US2005242640A1
InventorsJerry Barko, Evan Kayahara
Original AssigneeBarko Jerry S, Kayahara Evan M
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Folding headrest assembly
US 20050242640 A1
Abstract
The foldable headrest assembly (20) includes a first support (22) extending from a first distal end (24) and a second support (28) spaced from the first support (22) and extending from a second distal end (30) for supporting a headrest between the supports (22, 28). The headrest assembly (20) further includes a first plate (34) extending from the first distal end (24) and a second plate (36) extending from the second distal end (30). A seat frame (38) portion presents a first and second paddle (40, 42) for rotatably supporting the first and second plate (34, 36) for rotation in unison about an axis (A) between an upright and a forwardly folded position. The headrest assembly (20) includes a latch lever (52) rotatably supported on either the first plate (34) or the first paddle (40) engaging the opposite to lock the first and second plates (34, 36) in the upright position. The latch lever (52) is rotated by a release mechanism (54) between a latched position and an unlatched position.
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Claims(24)
1. A foldable headrest assembly (20) for a seat comprising;
a first support (22) extending from a first distal end (24) to a first support end (26),
a second support (28) spaced from said first support (22) and extending from a second distal end (30) to a second support end (32) for supporting a headrest between said support ends (26, 32),
a first plate (34) extending from said first distal end (24),
a second plate (36) extending from said second distal end (30),
a seat frame (38) presenting a first paddle (40) and a second paddle (42) spaced from said first paddle (40),
said first plate (34) being rotatably supported by said first paddle (40) for rotation about an axis,
said second plate (36) being rotatably supported by said second paddle (42) on said axis for movement in unison with said first plate (34) between an upright and a forwardly folded position,
and a latch lever (52) rotatably supported on one of said first plate (34) and said first paddle (40) for movement between a latched position engaging the other of said first plate (34) and said first paddle (40) for preventing folding movement from said upright position toward said forwardly folded position and for movement of said latch lever (52) to an unlatched position allowing such folding movement.
2. An assembly as set forth in claim 1 further including a coil spring (56) reacting between said latch lever (52) and said one of said first plate (34) and said first paddle (40) on which said latch lever (52) is rotatably supported for biasing said latch lever (52) toward said latched position.
3. An assembly as set forth in claim 1 further including a release mechanism (54) for rotating said latch lever (52) to said unlatched position allowing said first plate (34) and said second plate (36) to rotate about said axis to said forwardly folded position.
4. An assembly as set forth in claim 3 further including a first insert (84) supported by said first plate (34) for attaching a first end (66) of a motion transmitting cable (62) and a second insert (86) supported by said second plate (36) for supporting a second end (68) of the motion transmitting cable (62).
5. An assembly as set forth in claim 4 wherein said release mechanism (54) includes a motion transmitting cable (62) sheath (64) having a first and second ends (66, 68) and a first fitting (70) on said first end (66) and a second fitting (72) on said second end (68) and a core (74) movably disposed within said sheath (64) for transmitting a force to rotate said latch lever (52).
6. An assembly as set forth in claim 5 wherein said first insert (84) supports both of said first fitting (70) and said second fitting (72) whereby said cable (62) may be manipulated on the same side as said latch lever (52).
7. An assembly as set forth in claim 5 wherein said core (74) includes a first terminal (76) connected to said latch lever (52) and a second terminal (78) for manually applying said force.
8. An assembly as set forth in claim 7 wherein said cable (62) includes a release strap (80) connected to said second terminal (78) of said core (74).
9. An assembly as set forth in claim 3 wherein at least one of said first plate (34) and said second plate (36) includes a first stop (44) for engaging the associated one of said first paddle (40) and said second paddle (42) in said upright position and a second stop (46) for engaging the associated one of said first paddle (40) and said second paddle (42) in said forwardly folded position.
10. An assembly as set for in claim 7 wherein one of said first plate (34) and said first paddle (40) defines an arcuate slot (82) and said first terminal (76) extends into said arcuate slot (82) for guiding said latch lever (52) between said latched position and said unlatched position.
11. An assembly as set forth in claim 10 wherein said latch lever (52) is generally L-shaped and defines a generally C-shaped pocket (58) for receiving said first terminal (76) of said core (74).
12. An assembly as set forth in claim 11 further including a shield wire (88) connected to one of said first plate (34) and said second plate (36) for guiding said pull strap (122) when said pull force is applied.
13. An Assembly as set forth in claim 3 further including a shaft (90) extending between and supported by said first paddle (40) and said second paddle (42) on said axis.
14. An assembly as set forth in claim 13 wherein said shaft (90) includes an ear (96) extending from said shaft (90) in a transverse direction to said axis and said ear (96) defines a hole (98).
15. An assembly as set forth in claim 14 further including a rod (100) connected to and extending between said first plate (34) and said second plate (36) said rod (100) is spaced a distance from and parallel to said shaft (90).
16. An assembly as set forth in claim 15 further including a spring (102) having a first end (104) and a second end (106) wherein said first end (66) engages through said hole (98) of said ear (96) and said second end (68) engages said rod (100) for biasing said first plate (34) and said second plate (36) toward said forwardly folded position.
17. An assembly as set forth in claim 16 wherein said first plate (34) and said second plate (36) have a tab (108) extending inward and parallel to said axis for supporting a trim piece (110).
18. An assembly as set forth in claim 9 wherein said seat frame (38) presents a flange (118) extending upward from said seat frame (38) spaced from and parallel to said first paddle (40).
19. An assembly as set forth in claim 18 wherein said release mechanism (54) includes a latch handle (120) extending between and rotatably supported by said first paddle (40) and said flange (118) and said latch handle (120) defines a U-shaped bow.
20. An assembly as set forth in claim 19 wherein said latch handle (120) rotatably supports said latch lever (52).
21. An assembly as set forth in claim 20 wherein said release mechanism (54) further includes a pull strap (122) that is connected to said latch handle (120) at said U-shaped bow and a pull force on said pull strap (122) rotates said latch handle (120) thereby said latch lever (52) to said unlatched position.
22. An assembly as set forth in claim 21 further including a torsional spring (126) supported on one of said first paddle (40) and said second paddle (42).
23. An assembly as set forth in claim 22 wherein said torsional spring (126) reacts between said first paddle (40) and said first plate (34) for biasing said first plate (34) and said second plate (36) toward said forwardly folded position.
24. An assembly as set forth in claim 22 wherein said torsional spring (126) reacts between said second paddle (42) and said second plate (36) for biasing said first plate (34) and said second plate (36) toward said forwardly folded position.
Description
    CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
  • [0001]
    This application claims the benefit of provisional application Ser. No. 60/562,662 filed on Apr. 15, 2004.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0002]
    1. Field of the Invention
  • [0003]
    The subject invention relates to headrests for vehicle seats, and more particularly, to a folding headrest assembly that allows for compact storage of vehicle seats.
  • [0004]
    2. Description of the Prior Art
  • [0005]
    By way of background, automobile consumers are increasingly demanding multi-purpose vehicles that can be modified to transport either people or cargo. For example, a pickup truck is useful for transporting cargo, but it is inadequate transportation for a modest sized family. Conversely, a mid-sized sedan provides sufficient seating for a typical family, but this same sedan falls short when the owner needs to transport a large object, such as furniture. Multi-purpose vehicles, such as minivans and sport-utility vehicles, solve these conflicting needs by providing seats for passengers that can be folded into a space saving configuration when the vehicle is used to transport cargo.
  • [0006]
    Headrests situated on the top of vehicle seats provide comfort for an occupant and offer safety protection from accident and crash related injuries, i.e., whiplash. However, the headrest introduces a problem in multi-purpose vehicles with folding seats. Ideally, a seat occupies a minimal volume once folded to a storage position. However, the headrest is an extension by design, adding to the volume occupied by a folded seat, and thereby subtracts from the available cargo space in a multi-purpose vehicle.
  • [0007]
    For this reason, folding seats were in the past designed without headrests, which discarded the safety and ergonomic benefits provided by the headrest. Additionally, some folding seat designs required the complete removal of the seat from the vehicle to maximize cargo space. However, the procedure for removing and reattaching the seat is awkward and complicated and removal can be impractical when there is no convenient place to store the seat. Some folding seats have removable headrests as shown in U.S. Pat. No. 6,203,104. However, a detached headrest poses additional problems with storage of the headrest when the seat is in a folded or storage position and additionally the headrest may be lost or damaged during the removal. An improvement in the headrest design includes folding headrests that allows the headrest to fold against the seat for easier folding of the seat to a storage position as shown in U.S. Pat. No. 5,826,942. However, the previous folding headrests included rather complicated locking mechanisms for securing the headrest into a position. Therefore, there is utility for a folding headrest design that results in the simplification of the assembly and a locking mechanism that allows for adaptability of the folding headrest for the various seat configuration and space concern within the vehicle.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0008]
    The invention provides for a folding headrest assembly having a first support and a second support spaced from the first support for supporting a headrest. The first support extends to a first distal end and the second support extends to a second distal end. A first plate extends from the first distal end and a second plate extends from the second distal end. A seat frame presents a first paddle for rotatably supporting the first plate about an axis and a second paddle for rotatably supporting the second plate about the axis. The first plate and the second plate rotate in unison about the axis between an upright position and a forwardly folded position. The headrest assembly further includes a latch lever rotatably supported on either the first plate or the first paddle. The latch lever when in a latched position engages the opposing either the first plate or the first paddle for preventing the folding movement of the first and second plates from the upright position. The latch lever in an unlatched position allows the first and second plates to freely rotate allowing the folding movement of the first and second plates to toward the forwardly folded position.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0009]
    Other advantages of the present invention will be readily appreciated, as the same becomes better understood by reference to the following detailed description when considered in connection with the accompanying drawings wherein:
  • [0010]
    FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a first embodiment,
  • [0011]
    FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view of the first embodiment,
  • [0012]
    FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a second embodiment,
  • [0013]
    FIG. 4 is an exploded perspective view of the second embodiment,
  • [0014]
    FIG. 5 is a side view of the first embodiment illustrating an upright position in full lines and a forwardly folded position in phantom,
  • [0015]
    FIG. 6 is a side view of the second embodiment illustrating the upright position in full lines and the forwardly folded position in phantom,
  • [0016]
    FIG. 7 is a partial side view of the first embodiment with an insert removed focusing on a latch mechanism,
  • [0017]
    FIG. 8 is a partial side view of the first embodiment focusing on a shield wire, and
  • [0018]
    FIG. 9 is a partial cross-sectional view taken along line 9-9 of FIG. 3 of the second embodiment focusing on the latch mechanism.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • [0019]
    Referring to the Figures, wherein like numerals indicate corresponding parts throughout the several views, a foldable headrest assembly 20 for a seat is shown generally at 20. The foldable headrest assembly 20 includes a first support 22 extending from a first distal end 24 to a first support end 26 and a second support 28 spaced from the first support 22 and extending from a second distal end 30 to a second support end 32 for supporting a headrest between the support ends 26, 32. The supports 22, 28 can be formed from a singular piece having a generally C-shape with the first support end 26 and the second support end 32 spaced from one another for supporting the headrest.
  • [0020]
    The headrest assembly 20 further includes a first plate 34 extending from the first distal end 24 and a second plate 36 extending from the second distal end 30. As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the first and second plates 34, 36 in the first embodiment are separate components that are connected to the distal ends 24, 30 of the first and second supports 22, 28 by adequate methods known in the art, e.g. welding. In the second embodiment, as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the first and second plates 34, 36 are integrally formed at the distal ends 24, 30 of the first and second supports 22,28.
  • [0021]
    A seat frame 38 presents a first paddle 40 and presents a second paddle 42, the second paddle 42 being spaced from the first paddle 40. The seat frame 38 portion of the headrest can be of many different configurations for presenting the first paddle 40 and second paddle 42, but as illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2, the seat frame 38 presents a pair of posts presenting the first and second paddles 40, 42. Alternatively, as shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, the seat frame 38 presents a base and the first and second paddles 40, 42 extend upwards from the base to rotatably support the first and second plates 34, 36. In both embodiments, however, the first and second paddles 40, 42 rotatably support 22, 28 the first and second plates 34, 36 for rotation about an axis (A). The first plate 34 and the second plate 36 rotate in unison about the axis (A) between an upright position and a forwardly folded position, as shown in FIGS. 5 and 6.
  • [0022]
    The rotational movement of the first and second plates 34, 36 about the axis (A) is limited by the location of a first stop 44 and second stop 46, incorporated on one or both of the plates 34, 36. The first stop 44 engages the associated paddle 40,42 limiting the rearward rotation of either the first and second plates 34, 36 when the headrest is in the upright position. The first stop 44 limiting the rearward rotation of the first and second plates 34, 36 is imperative for the headrest to support an occupant's head and prevent injury in the event of an accident by preventing the first and second plate 34, 36 from rotating rearward away from the occupant. A second stop 46 incorporated into one or both of the plates 34, 36 limits the forward rotation of the headrest about the axis (A) to define the forwardly folded position. The headrest in the forwardly folded position allows the seat to be compactly folded and/or stored within the vehicle. As shown in FIGS. 2 and 5, the stops 44, 46 in the first embodiment are defined by a guide hole 48 in each of the first plate 34 and second plate 36. The guide hole 48 has an elongate arcuate shape extending a circumferential or arcuate length about the axis (A). The first paddle 40 and second paddle 42 each include a pin 50 extending into the guide hole 48 whereby the pin 50 engages the guide hole 48 to limit the rotation of the first and second plate 34, 36 to that of the ends of the arcuate length (L) of the guide hole 48. Alternatively, in the second embodiment, the stops 44, 46, as shown in FIGS. 4 and 9, are integrally formed into the first plate 34 and second plate 36 as shoulders that limit the rotation by engaging with the associated first paddle 40 or second paddle 42. Additionally, it is to be understood that in either embodiment the stops 44, 46 could be incorporated on one or both of the plates 34, 36, since the first and second plates 34, 36 rotate in unison about the axis (A).
  • [0023]
    The headrest assembly 20 further includes a latch lever 52 rotatably supported on the first plate 34 for engaging the first paddle 40 opposite the first plate 34 to lock the first plate 34 and the second plate 36 in the upright position. It should be appreciated that the latch lever 52 could be rotatably supported on the first paddle 40 engaging the first plate 34 opposite the first paddle 40 to lock the first plate 34 and the second plate 36 in the upright position. The latch lever 52 is rotatably supported for movement between a latched position and an unlatched position. The latch lever 52 in the latched position secures the first and second plates 34, 36 against the first stop 44 to prevent the first and second plates 34, 36 from rotating about the axis (A). However, when the latch lever 52 is rotated by a manual force into the unlatched position the first and second plates 34, 36 are free to rotate about the axis (A) toward the forwardly folded position.
  • [0024]
    The latch lever 52 is rotated by a release mechanism 54 between the latched position and the unlatched position. The release mechanism 54 in both the first and second embodiments includes a coil spring 56 that reacts between the latch lever 52 and the first plate 34 or the first paddle 40. The coil spring 56 is configured to bias the latch lever 52 toward the latched position. As shown in FIG. 1, the coil spring 56 in the first embodiment reacts between the first plate 34 and the latch lever 52. In the second embodiment, as shown in FIG. 3, the coil spring 56 reacts between the first paddle 40 and the latch lever 52.
  • [0025]
    Focusing on FIG. 7, the latch lever 52 in the first embodiment is generally L-shaped and rotatably supported on the first plate 34. The latch lever 52 defines a C-shaped pocket 58 at a distance from the support and rotation point of the latch lever 52. The latch lever 52 engages into a notch 60 on the first paddle 40 in the latched position when the headrest assembly 20 is in the upright position. The latch lever 52 in the unlatched position disengages the notch 60 allowing the first and second plates 34, 36 to rotate about the axis (A) toward the forwardly folded position.
  • [0026]
    In the first embodiment as seen in FIGS. 2, 7 and 8, the release mechanism 54 further includes a motion transmitting cable 62 with a sheath 64 having a first end 66 and a second end 68. The first end 66 includes a first fitting 70 and the second end 68 includes a second fitting 72. A core 74 is movably disposed within the sheath 64 for transmitting the manual force that rotates the latch lever 52 out of the latched position and into the unlatched position. As shown in FIGS. 2 and 7, the core 74 includes a first terminal 76 connected to the latch lever 52 and a second terminal 78 connected to a release strap 80 for manually applying the force. The first terminal 76 defines a generally cylindrical end that is received into a C-shaped pocket 58 on the latch lever 52 and extends into an arcuate slot 82 on the first plate 34 for guiding the latch lever 52 as the manual force is applied between the latched and unlatched position. However, one skilled in the art would understand that different configurations would be possible such as incorporating the latch lever 52 and the release mechanism 54 on the first paddle 40.
  • [0027]
    The release mechanism 54 of the first embodiment allows the headrest assembly 20 to be easily adapted for either the driver side or passenger side of a vehicle, typically for use in the second row of seats in a multi-purpose vehicle. The adaptability of the headrest is accomplished by manipulating the routing of the cable 62 within the assembly 20. Since the release mechanism 54 further includes a first insert 84 supported by the first plate 34 for attaching the first end 66 of a motion transmitting cable 62 and a second insert 86 supported by the second plate 36 for supporting the second end 68 of the motion transmitting cable 62. However, the first insert 84 can support both the first fitting 70 and the second fitting 72 allowing the cable 62 to be manipulated on the same side as the latch lever 52. As shown in FIG. 2, the cable 62 can be manipulated such that either the first or the second insert 84, 86 is supporting the second end 68 of the cable 62 in a connector 87 depending on the desired location of the release strap 80.
  • [0028]
    Additionally as shown in FIG. 8, the first embodiment includes a shield wire 88 that connects to either the first plate 34 or the second plate 36 depending on the routing of the cable 62 and which insert 84, 86 is supporting the second end 68 of the cable 62. The shield wire 88 provides several benefits one of which is guiding the release strap 80 as the manual force is applied to release the latch lever 52. Therefore, the release strap 80 is routed between the shield wire 88 and either the first or second paddles 40, 42. In addition, the shield wire 88 provides protection against a force on the release strap 80 in a lateral direction that could cause the second end 68 of the cable 62 to dislodge from engagement with the insert 84, 86. The shield wire 88 further provides additional protection to the release strap 80 from contacting or rubbing additional trim or other components of the seat that may cause the release strap 80 to eventually fray.
  • [0029]
    The first embodiment of the headrest assembly 20 further includes a shaft 90 extending between and supported by the first and second paddles 40, 42 on the axis (A). The first and second plates 34, 36 include a shaft hole 92 that the shaft 90 passes through for rotatably supporting the first and second plates 34, 36 on the shaft 90. A nyliner bearing 94 is further fitted in the shaft hole 92 of the first and second plates 34, 36 to reduce the frictional resistance of the rotation of the first and second plates 34, 36 on the shaft 90. Furthermore, the nyliner bearing 94 can adapt to some manufacturing variation reducing the chance of binding or undesired looseness between the first and second plates 34, 36 and the shaft 90.
  • [0030]
    The shaft 90 further includes an ear 96 extending in a transverse direction to the axis (A) and the ear 96 defines a hole 98. Additionally a rod 100 extends between and connects to the first plate 34 and the second plate 36. The rod 100 is spaced at a distance from and parallel to the shaft 90. The configuration and spacing between the rod 100 and the shaft 90 are important since the assembly further includes a spring 102 for biasing the first and second plates 34, 36 toward the forwardly folded position. The spring 102 has a first end 104 that engages through the hole 98 in the ear 96 of the shaft 90 and a second end 106 engages with the rod 100. The spacing of the rod 100 and shaft 90 allows the spring 102 reacting between the rod 100 and shaft 90 to bias the first plate 34 and the second plate 36 toward the forwardly folded position. Therefore, when the headrest is in the upright position the latch lever 52 secures the headrest against the biasing force of the spring 102. The release mechanism 54 rotates the latch lever 52 to the unlatched position and the biasing force of the spring 102 rotates the first and second plates 34, 36 to the forwardly folded position. The headrest assembly 20 is returned to the upright position by manually rotating the headrest against the bias of the spring 102 until the latch lever 52 engages into the notch 60 of the first paddle 40 securing the headrest against the first stop 44.
  • [0031]
    In addition, the first and second plates 34, 36 of the first embodiment include a tab 108 that extends inward and parallel to the axis (A) from the bottom portion of the first and second plates 34, 36 to supporting a trim piece 110. The trim piece 110 may be used to close off the base of the headrest pad 112, or attach decorative trim to the headrest pad 112. As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 the trim piece 110 is attached to the tabs 108 by a fastener or other adequate methods know in the art.
  • [0032]
    Focusing on FIG. 9, the latch lever 52 in the second embodiment presents a face 116 that engages the second stop 46 of the first plate 34 in the latched position when the headrest assembly 20 is in the upright position. The latch lever 52 in the unlatched position disengages the second stop 46 allowing the first and second plates 34, 36 to rotate about the axis (A) toward the forwardly folded position.
  • [0033]
    The release mechanism 54 of the second embodiment, as shown in FIGS. 3, 4, and 9, is a design typically used in the last row of a multi- purpose vehicle, i.e., the third row of a minivan. The seat frame 38 presents a flange 118 extending upward from the seat frame 38 spaced from and parallel to the first paddle 40. The release mechanism 54 includes a latch handle 120 that extends between and is rotatably supported by the first paddle 40 and the flange 118. The latch handle 120 defines a U-shaped bow and the latch lever 52 is supported on the latch handle 120. A pull strap 122 connects to the latch handle 120 at the U-shaped bow. The manual force on the pull strap 122 rotates the latch handle 120 overcoming the bias force of the coil spring 56 on the latch lever 52 thereby rotating the latch lever 52 to the unlatched position.
  • [0034]
    Additionally, the second embodiment further includes a pair of rivets 124 that rotatably connect the first and second plates 34, 36 to the associated first and second paddles 40, 42. Either one of the rivets 124 on the first paddle 40 or the second paddle 42 supports a torsional spring 126. The torsional spring 126 reacts between either the first paddle 40 and the first plate 34 or the second paddle 42 and the second plate 36 for biasing the first and second plates 34, 36 toward the forwardly folded position. The latch lever 52 when in the latched position secures the first plate 34 in the upright position opposing the biasing force of the torsional spring 126. The release mechanism 54 rotates the latch lever 52 to the unlatched position and the biasing force of the torsional spring 126 rotates the first and second plates 34, 36 to the forwardly folded position. The headrest assembly 20 is returned to the upright position by manually rotating the headrest against the bias force of the torsional spring 126 until the latch lever 52 engages the second stop 46 securing the first plate 34 against the first stop 44.
  • [0035]
    The foregoing invention has been described in accordance with the relevant legal standards; thus, the description is exemplary rather than limiting in nature. Variations and modifications to the disclosed embodiments may become apparent to those skilled in the art and do come within the cope of the invention. Accordingly, the scope of legal protection afforded this invention can only be determined by studying the following claims. In addition, the reference numerals in the claims are merely for convenience and are not to be read in any way as limiting.
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Classifications
U.S. Classification297/238
International ClassificationB60N2/48, A47C15/00
Cooperative ClassificationB60N2/4855
European ClassificationB60N2/48C3D
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jul 12, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: WINDSOR MACHING & STAMPING LIMITED, CANADA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:BARKO, JERRY SCOTT;KAYAHARA, EVAN MURRAY;REEL/FRAME:016783/0884
Effective date: 20050526