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Publication numberUS20050269224 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/143,196
Publication dateDec 8, 2005
Filing dateJun 2, 2005
Priority dateJun 3, 2004
Publication number11143196, 143196, US 2005/0269224 A1, US 2005/269224 A1, US 20050269224 A1, US 20050269224A1, US 2005269224 A1, US 2005269224A1, US-A1-20050269224, US-A1-2005269224, US2005/0269224A1, US2005/269224A1, US20050269224 A1, US20050269224A1, US2005269224 A1, US2005269224A1
InventorsDimitrios Giatsiakis
Original AssigneeResearch In Motion Limited
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Media storage devices
US 20050269224 A1
Abstract
Hard and soft cases for storing media are disclosed. A hard case includes hooking mechanisms, on one end, and receptacles, on the other end, for interconnecting a hard case with another case. The case has side extensions which can be superimposed to connect it to another similar case. Four cases are connected to form a two by two array. The cases have holes on the body of the cases and on the side extensions so that the array can be mounted to a conventional binder or to a novel binder disclosed where the distance between the rings is about 1355 millimeters. A soft case made by bonding together plastic sheets includes two straps extending from one end and two straps extending from the other to connect one case with another. The soft case includes extensions that extend outwardly from the sides of the soft case and house flat magnetic and non magnetic strips. Four soft cases are connected to form an array that is mountable to a conventional binder or a binder with a larger distance between the rings. A page soft case made in accordance with the present invention for storing media is an integral flat piece constructed by bonding together plastic sheets includes four pockets on each side. The page case can be mounted to a conventional binder or to a binder with rings being spaced apart at a greater distance. In another embodiment, straps are added to the ends of the page soft case to connect the page soft case to another case.
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Claims(1)
1. A case for holding media, comprising:
a housing for housing the media; and
means for removably connecting the housing to another case for holding media.
Description
RELATED PRIORITY DATE APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit under 35 U.S.C. 119(e) of the U.S. provisional application No. 60/576,794 filed on Jun. 3, 2004.

TECHNICAL FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to media storage devices, and, more particularly, to devices for storing media such as compact disks, floppy disks, zip disks and the like including booklets accompanying such media. Still more particularly, the present invention discloses hard and soft media storage cases capable of being releasably interconnected with other similar cases. The media storage cases can be designed with higher storage capacity than conventional cases and are mountable in either conventional binders or binders with rings spaced apart at a higher distance than the rings in conventional binders.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Media storage devices for storing media such as compact disks, floppy disks, zip disks and the like are well known. Such media storage cases are available as hard cases or soft cases. They are usually mountable on conventional binders where the rings are spaced apart at a distance of about 108 millimeters. The requirement of placing mounting apertures at such distances limit the area where the media can be stored. Furthermore, in the hard cases, such a requirement causes the placement of the apertures in the thick portions of the case thereby making the flipping of the cases difficult.

The hard cases heretofore are available as individual cases. Further, the soft cases are either available as individual cases or as cases bonded to each other to form multiple pockets. As a result, one has to handle and carry a large number of individual units with resulting organizational problems.

The disadvantages of the prior art cases are overcome by providing cases, soft or hard that are releasably interconnected with each other to form units that are easy to organize and transport. The cases can be designed with higher storage capacity than conventional cases and are mountable to either conventional binders or binders with rings spaced apart at a higher distance than the rings in conventional binders.

These and other advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following description and drawings.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to the present invention, hard and soft cases for storing media such as compact disks, floppy disks, zip disks or the like and booklets accompanying such media are disclosed. A hard case includes a housing with hooking mechanisms, on one end, and receptacles, on the other end, for interconnecting such a hard case with another similar case by receiving and removably engaging the hooking mechanisms in the receptacles. The hooking mechanisms disclosed are either an integral part of the case and the snapping engagement of the hooking mechanism is effected by the spring like properties of the resilient material used in the construction of the case or mechanically activated snapping mechanisms which are placed in an engaging or disengaging position by pulling or releasing the same and by springs responding to such pulling or releasing. The case has side extensions which can be superimposed to connect it to another similar case and to effect the simultaneous turning of the connected cases. Four cases are connected by engaging the snapping mechanism of one case with the receptacles of another case and the side extension of one case with the side extension of another case to form a two by two array. The cases have holes on the body of the cases and on the side extensions so that the array can be mounted to a conventional binder where the distance between the rings is about 108 millimeters or to a novel binder disclosed by the present invention where the distance between the rings is about 1355 millimeters. The holes on the extension facilitate the mounting of the array on the rings of such binder.

The housing of the case may have one or two cargo areas, one on each side in the latter case. One standard design case cover is used to close the housings and can be mounted on either end of the housing. In one embodiment, the case cover is designed to house a medium.

Retaining mechanisms are attached to the body of the housing and the cover to hold the mediums. These retaining mechanisms are part of the body or are separate units that are connected to the body.

In one embodiment, a compact disk is retained by a retaining mechanism having release segments with flanges activated by activation members, guide ring segments and an elevation ring. When one presses down on the activation members, the release segments retract to allow the passing of the interior hole of the compact disk over the retracted flanges and allowing the compact disk to be intimately received over the segmented exterior cylindrical surface formed by the release segments and the guide ring segments. The compact disk rests on the elevation ring. When the pressure on the activation members is discontinued, the resilient release segments returning the retaining flanges to their resting position to retain the compact disk in the housing. The compact disk is released by pressing the resilient release segments to retract the retaining flanges and pass the compact disk over the retracted flanges.

In another embodiment, a compact disk retaining mechanism includes curved fingers with flanges and an elevation ring. In order to engage the compact disk with retaining mechanism the interior opening of the compact disk is aligned over the mechanism and the disk is pressed down on curved fingers. The pressure causes the curved fingers to move inwardly until the compact disk passes over the flanges and the disk comes to rest on the elevation ring. The fingers then expand to engage the compact disk.

In another embodiment, a soft case made by bonding together plastic sheets includes a pocket formed between a base sheet and a front sheet to house a compact disk. The pocket is closed by a flap. The soft case includes two straps extending from one end and two straps extending from the other to connect one case with another. The soft case includes extensions that extend outwardly from the sides of the soft case. Each extension has an elongate pouch for housing an elongate flat magnetic strip and an elongate non magnetic flat strip. When two cases are placed side by side, the extensions overlap and the magnets retain the extensions in such overlapping position. A soft case has one pocket or two pockets, the latter having a pocket on each side. Four soft cases are connected to form an array that is mountable to a conventional binder or a binder with a larger distance between the rings as previously referred to in the summary regarding the hard cases.

In another embodiment, a page soft case made in accordance with the present invention for storing media is an integral flat piece constructed by bonding together plastic sheets. Each page case includes on one side four pockets in a two by two array configuration each pocket being suitable for receiving a medium. The open ends of the pockets are covered by flaps. In an alternative embodiment, similar pockets can be placed on the rear end of the page soft case in an arrangement which mirrors the arrangement set forth above to form a two sided page soft case having eight pockets. The page case can be mounted to a conventional binder or to a binder with rings being spaced apart at a greater distance as explained above. In another embodiment, straps are added to the ends of the page soft case to connect the page soft case to another case.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

For a detailed description of the preferred embodiments of the invention, reference will now be made to the accompanying drawings wherein:

FIG. 1A is a top perspective view of the general environment of the present invention showing hard and soft cases being mounted on a conventional binder;

FIG. 1B is a top perspective view of the general environment of the present invention showing hard cases and a page soft case being mounted on a binder made in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2A is a top plan view of the housings of two hard cases connected side by side;

FIG. 2B is a cross sectional view taken along line 2B-2B of FIG. 2A;

FIG. 2C is an enlargement of a portion of FIG. 2B;

FIG. 2D is an enlargement of a portion of FIG. 2B;

FIG. 2E is an enlargement of a portion of FIG. 2B;

FIG. 3A is a top plan view of the housings of two hard cases like those shown in FIG. 2A connected end to end;

FIG. 3B is an enlarged perspective view of a portion of a housing in FIG. 3A.

FIG. 3C is an enlargement of a portion of FIG. 3A;

FIG. 3D is an enlarged perspective view of a portion of a housing of FIG. 3A;

FIG. 4A is a top plan view of the housing of a hard case having an alternative hooking mechanism;

FIG. 4B is an enlarged perspective and partially exploded view of a portion of a housing of FIG. 4A showing the hooking mechanism in an engaging position;

FIG. 4C is the hooking mechanism of FIG. 4B in a disengaged position;

FIG. 4D is an enlarged perspective view of a portion of a housing of FIG. 4A showing the hooking mechanism;

FIG. 4E is an exploded view of the connection of the hitch to the body of the hooking mechanism of a housing of FIG. 4A;

FIG. 5A is a top plan view of the housing of a hard case having an alternative hooking mechanism;

FIG. 5B is an enlarged perspective and partially exploded view of a portion of a housing of FIG. 5A showing the hooking mechanism in an engaging position;

FIG. 5C is the hooking mechanism of FIG. 5B in a disengaged position;

FIG. 6A is a top plan and partially exploded view of the housing of a hard case having an alternative hooking mechanism;

FIG. 7A is a perspective, partially exploded view of the hooking mechanism of the housing of FIG. 6A in an engaging position;

FIG. 7B is the hooking mechanism of FIG. 7B in a disengaged position;

FIG. 7C is a perspective and partially exploded view of a portion of the hooking mechanism of FIG. 7A;

FIG. 8A is a perspective view of a housing of FIG. 2A with a compact disk not inserted in the housing;

FIG. 8B is a top plan view of the housing of FIG. 8A with the compact disk received in the housing;

FIG. 8C is a perspective view of another embodiment of housing of FIG. 8A having another design of a retaining mechanism with a compact disk not inserted in the housing;

FIG. 8D is a perspective view of a section of the housing of FIG. 8C showing an enlargement of the retaining mechanism;

FIG. 8E is a perspective view of a section of the housing of FIG. 8C showing an enlargement of the retaining mechanism with the compact disk attached to it;

FIG. 9A is a perspective view of a housing of FIG. 2A with a floppy disk not inserted in the housing;

FIG. 9B is a top plan view of the housing of FIG. 9A with the floppy disk received in the housing;

FIG. 9C is a perspective view of a housing of FIG. 2A with a zip disk not inserted in the housing;

FIG. 9D is a top plan view of the housing of FIG. 9C with the zip disk received in the housing;

FIG. 9E is a perspective view of a portion of FIG. 9A showing a space guide;

FIG. 9F is a perspective view of a portion of FIG. 9A showing a retaining mechanism;

FIG. 10A is a cross sectional view taken along line 10A-10A of FIG. 3A.

FIG. 10B is a cross section of a housing of a hard case made in accordance with the present invention having two recessed cavities, one on each side to house a medium in each cavity;

FIG. 10C is an enlarged view of a portion of FIG. 10A;

FIG. 10D is an enlarged view of a portion of FIG. 10B;

FIG. 11A is a fragmented top plan view of a housing of a hard case made in accordance with the present invention having two recessed cavities, one on each side, to house a medium in each cavity;

FIG. 11B is an enlargement of a portion of FIG. 11A;

FIG. 11C is a perspective view of a portion of the housing shown in FIG. 11B;

FIG. 12A is a perspective of hard case having a housing of FIG. 2A with a case cover connected to it on the end that is mountable to a binder;

FIG. 12B is a perspective of a hard case having a housing of FIG. 2A with a case cover connected to it on the end that is opposite to the end that it is connected to in FIG. 12A;

FIG. 12C is an enlarged perspective view of a portion of the hard case of FIG. 12A showing the connection between the case cover and the housing;

FIG. 12D is an enlarged perspective view of a portion of the hard case of FIG. 12B showing the connection between the case cover and the housing;

FIG. 12E is an enlarged perspective view of a portion of the hard case of FIG. 12A showing the connection between the case cover and the housing;

FIG. 13A is a perspective view of a housing of FIG. 11A having two case covers connected thereto;

FIG. 13B is an enlarged perspective view of a portion of the hard case of FIG. 13A showing the connection between the case covers and the housing;

FIG. 14A is a perspective view of a case cover which includes a media storage compartment;

FIG. 14B is a enlarged perspective view of a portion of the case cover of FIG. 14A;

FIG. 14C is a plan view of the inside of a case cover without a media storage compartment;

FIG. 14D is a plan view of the inside of a case cover without a media storage compartment configured to receive a compact disk;

FIG. 14 E is a plan view of the inside of a case cover without a media storage compartment configured to receive a floppy disk;

FIG. 14F is a plan view of the inside of a case cover without a media storage compartment configured to receive a zip disk;

FIG. 14G is an enlarged view of a portion of the case cover of FIG. 14A showing a locking mechanism that locks the case cover to the housing;

FIG. 15A is a top plan view of a retaining mechanism of a hard case;

FIG. 15B is a cross sectional view of the retaining mechanism of FIG. 15A taken along lines A and B of FIG. 15A;

FIG. 15C is a perspective view of the retaining mechanism of FIG. 15A;

FIG. 15D is a perspective view of a retaining pin of the retaining mechanism of FIG. 15A;

FIG. 16A is a top plan view of another retaining mechanism of a hard case;

FIG. 16B there is a cross sectional view of the retaining mechanism of FIG. 16A taken along line 16D-16D of FIG. 16A;

FIG. 16C is a perspective view of the retaining mechanism of FIG. 16A;

FIG. 16D is an enlargement of a portion of FIG. 16B;

FIG. 16E is an enlargement of a portion of FIG. 16C;

FIG. 17A is a top plan view of a soft case made in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 17B is a top plan view of another soft case made in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 18A is a cross sectional view taken along line 18A-18A of FIG. 17A;

FIG. 18B is a cross sectional view of a soft case having two pockets, one on each side;

FIG. 18C is an enlargement of section of FIG. 18A;

FIG. 18D is an enlargement of a section of FIG. 18B;

FIG. 19A is a top plan view showing two soft cases connected in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 19B is an enlarged perspective view of a portion of FIG. 19A showing a connection between the two soft cases;

FIG. 19C is an enlarged perspective view of a portion of FIG. 19A showing a folded strap that is not being used to connect the two soft cases;

FIG. 20A is a top plan view of four soft cases connected in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 20B is a fragmented cross sectional view of the connection between the sides of two double pocket soft cases;

FIG. 20C is a fragmented cross sectional view of an alternative connection between the sides of two double pocket soft cases;

FIG. 21A is a top plan view of a page soft case having four pockets on one side;

FIG. 21B is a top plan view of another embodiment of a page soft case having four pockets on one side;

FIG. 22A is a top plan view of the case of FIG. 21A with straps; and

FIG. 22B is a top plan view of the case of FIG. 21B with straps.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring now to FIG. 1A, there is shown a perspective view of a conventional binder 2 having rings 4 a, 4 b and 4 c which are equally spaced apart for pivotally receiving media cases. The distance between ring 4 a and 4 b and ring 4 b and 4 c is the presently used standard distance of 108 millimeters. Four identical hard cases 6 a, 6 b, 6 c and 6 d made in accordance with the present invention are connected, as hereinafter described, to form a two by two array 6 which is pivotally connected to binder 2. Case 6 a has holes 10 a, 12 a, 14 a and 16 a and case 6 b has holes 10 b, 12 b, 14 b and 16 b. In the assembled position shown in FIG. 1A, hole 10 b overlaps hole 16 a and pivotally receive ring 4 b. Holes 12 a and 14 b pivotally receive rings 4 a and 4 c, respectively.

Hard cases 6 a, 6 b, 6 c and 6 d can be made of hard plastic with some flexibility as in the conventional art of hard media cases. The media cases may be used to store computer disks, compact disks, back up disks or the like. A case such as case 6 a may be constructed so as to store from one to four media.

Still referring to FIG. 1A, four identical soft cases 18 a, 18 b, 18 c and 18 d, made in accordance with the present invention, as hereinafter described, are connected, as hereinafter described, to form a two by two array 18 which is pivotally connected to binder 2. Case 18 a has holes 20 a, 22 a, 24 a and 26 a and case 18 b has holes 20 b, 22 b, 24 b and 26 b. In the assembled position shown in FIG. 1A, hole 20 b overlaps hole 26 b and pivotally receive ring 4 b. Holes 22 a and 24 b pivotally receive rings 4 a and 4 c, respectively.

Soft cases 18 a, 18 b, 18 c and 18 d can be made of soft plastic with considerable flexibility as in the conventional art of soft media cases. A case such as case 18 a may be constructed by bonding plastic sheets together to form one or two pockets (if double sided) for storing one medium in each pocket.

Referring now to FIG. 1B, there is shown a perspective view of a binder 32 made in accordance with the present invention having rings 34 a, 34 b and 34 c which are equally spaced apart for pivotally receiving media cases. The distance between ring 34 a and 34 b and ring 34 b and 34 c is 1355 millimeters which is larger than the presently used standard distance of 108 millimeters. Four identical hard cases 6 a, 6 b, 6 c and 6 d, such as the ones previously described, form a two by two array 6 which is pivotally connected to binder 32. In the assembled position shown in FIG. 1B, hole 10 b overlaps hole 16 b and holes 10 b and 16 b in said overlapped position pivotally receive ring 4 b. Holes 10 a and 16 b pivotally receive rings 34 a and 34 c, respectively.

Still referring to FIG. 1B, a page soft case 36 made in accordance with the present invention for storing media has holes 38, 42 and 46 and is pivotally connected to binder 32 with holes 38, 42 and 46 pivotally receiving rings 34 a, 34 b and 34 c, respectively. Page soft case 36 is an integral flat piece made of well known soft plastic material commonly used for the construction of soft madia cases by bonding plastic sheets together. Case 36 includes, on one side, four pockets 49, 51, 52 and 54 closed by flaps, in a two by two array configuration, each pocket being suitable for receiving a medium. Page soft case 36 is described in detail hereinafter in connection with FIG. 21B.

The use of binder 32 with the rings being spaced apart at a distance of 1355 millimeters allows for the use of case 36 with pockets which are larger than the pockets in conventional page soft cases to facilitate the storage of larger media and accompanying written material. The other flat side of page soft case 36 which is not shown in FIG. 1B may include similar pockets and flaps to accommodate the storage of four additional media.

Referring now back to FIG. 1A or FIG. 1B, each of identical hard cases 6 a, 6 b, 6 c and 6 d generally includes a housing and one or two covers for one or two sided cases, respectively, which will be described in more detail hereinafter. Referring now to FIG. 2A there are shown identical housings 60 a and 60 b of cases 6 a and 6 b, respectively, aligned for connection to binder 2 which is not shown in FIG. 2A but is shown in FIG. 1A or binder 32 which is not shown in FIG. 2A but is shown in FIG. 1B. Housing 60 a includes a recessed cavity 66 a suitably configured and dimensioned for receiving the media (not shown). Cavity 66 a includes a wall 70 a, on one end, and a wall 72 a, on the other end. An extension 62 a extends outwardly from and vertically to wall 70 a having a lower surface on substantially the same level as the middle point of wall 70 a. An extension 64 a extends outwardly from and vertically to wall 72 a having an upper surface on substantially the same level as the middle point of wall 72 a Housing 60 a includes a holes 10 a disposed on extension 62 a, a hole 12 a, a hole 14 a and a hole 16 a disposed on extension 64 a. Holes 10 a, 12 a, 14 a and 16 a are positioned on a straight line and the distance between hole 10 a and hole 14 a is substantially equal to the distance between holes 12 a and 16 a. That distance is about 108 millimeters. The distance between holes 10 a and 16 a is about 1355 millimeters.

Housing 60 a includes case cover mountings 63 a and 65 a, on one end, and case cover mountings 67 a and 69 a, on the other end, for mounting a case cover (not shown), as hereinafter described. Housing 60 a includes projections 163 a and 165 a projecting inwardly in cavity 66 a from a wall 171 a and projections 167 a and 169 a projecting inwardly in cavity 66 a from a wall 173 a.

Housing 60 b is identical to housing 60 a and the parts of housing 60 b corresponding to the parts of housing 60 a are designated by the same number followed by the letter “b” substituting for letter “a.” Accordingly, housing 60 b includes a cavity 66 b with a wall 70 b and a wall 72 b, an extension 62 b extending from wall 70 b, an extension 64 b extending from wall 72 b, a hole 10 b disposed on extension 62 b, a hole 12 b, a hole 14 b and a hole 16 b disposed on extension 64 b.

Still referring to FIG. 2A, identical housings 60 a and 60 b are aligned for connection to binder 32 (not shown in FIG. 2A but shown in FIG. 1B) by superimposing extension 62 a over extension 64 a and hole 10 b over hole 16 a. In that position, holes 10 a, 12 a, 14 a, 16 a, 10 b, 12 b, 14 b and 16 b are positioned in a straight line for connection to binder 2, as the one shown in FIG. 1A or binder 32, as the one shown in FIG. 1B, as previously described.

Referring now to FIG. 2B, there is shown a cross sectional view of housings 60 a and 60 b taken along line 2B-2B of FIG. 2A. Housing 60 a has extension 62 a, on one side, and extension 64 a, on the other side. Similarly, housing 60 b has extension 62 b, on one side, and extension 64 b, on the other side. Extension 62 b is disposed over extension 64 a.

FIG. 2C shows an enlargement of the portion of the apparatus of FIG. 2B that is encircled by circle 2C. There is shown housing 60 a having recessed cavity 66 a and extension 64 a extending outwardly from wall 72 a. Extension 64 a has a reduced width portion 76 a adjacent to wall 72 a formed by channels 82 a and 84 a, on the upper and bottom surfaces of extension 64 a, respectively. Channels 82 a and 84 b have curved troughs. Thus, extension 64 a is more flexible at reduced width portion 76 a to allow it to deviate from its original position when a biasing force is applied on the upper or lower surface thereof. There is also shown housing 60 b having recessed cavity 66 b and extension 62 b extending outwardly from wall 70 b. Extension 62 b has a reduced width portion 74 b adjacent to wall 70 b formed by channels 78 b and 80 b, on the upper and bottom surfaces of extension 62 b, respectively. Channels 78 b and 80 b have curved troughs. Thus extension 62 b is more flexible at reduced width portion 74 b to allow it to deviate from its original position when a biasing force is applied on the upper or lower surface thereof. Extension 62 b is intimately superimposed over and abuts extension 64 a The distant end of extension 62 b abuts the exterior surface of wall 72 a The distant end of extension 64 a abuts the exterior surface of wall 70 b. The upper surface of extension 62 b is substantially on the same plane as the upper surfaces of walls 72 a and 70 b. The lower surface of extension 64 a is substantially on the same plane as the lower surfaces of walls 72 a and 70 b.

Referring now to FIG. 2D, there is shown an enlargement of the portion of the apparatus of FIG. 2B that is encircled by circle 2D. Housing 60 b with recessed cavity 66 b and wall 72 b has extension 64 b with a reduced thickness portion 76 b formed by channels 82 b and 84 b.

FIG. 2E shows an enlargement of the portion of the apparatus of FIG. 2B that is encircled by circle 2E. Housing 60 a with recessed cavity 66 a and wall 70 a has extension 62 a with a reduced thickness portion 74 a formed by channels 78 a and 80 a.

Referring back to FIG. 2A, when housings 60 a and 60 b are connected as shown and inserted into binder 2 (shown in FIG. 1A) or binder 32 (shown in FIG. 1B), the turning of housing 60 a from right to left (western style) causes extension 64 a to lift extension 62 b thereby turning housing 60 b at the same time. If one wishes to simultaneously turn housings 60 a and 60 b from left to right, he may do so by turning housing 60 b from left to right thereby turning housing 60 a therewith. It should be understood that housings 60 a and 60 b may be modified by symmetrically changing the location of extensions 62 a, 64 a, 62 b and 64 b so that extension 64 a is superimposed over extension 62 b. Referring to FIG. 2F, there is shown that modification wherein extension 64 a of housing 60 a is superimposed over extension 62 b of housing 60 b. In that case, housings 66 a and 66 b could be turned simultaneously from left to right by turning housing 60 a from left to right.

As it can be appreciated from the description above, extensions 62 a, 64 a, 62 b and 64 b are thinner than housings 60 a and 60 b. Accordingly, the use of extensions 62 a, 64 a, 62 b and 64 b with holes thereon to insert the rings of binders such as binder 32 of FIG. 1B makes the turning of the hard cases easier than it would be if the rings were inserted in holes in the thicker portions of housings 60 a and 60 b.

Referring now to FIG. 3A there are shown housings 60 a and 60 d of cases 6 a and 6 d, respectively, connected to form half of array 6 shown in FIG. 1A or FIG. 1B. Housing 60 a includes, on one end, an inwardly facing hooking mechanism 90 a and an inwardly facing hooking mechanism 92 a which is a mirror image of hooking mechanism 90 a. On the other end, housing 60 a includes an outwardly facing receptacle 94 a and an outwardly facing receptacle 96 a which is a mirror image of receptacle 94 a. Housing 60 d is identical to housing 60 a and the corresponding parts thereof are designated by the same numbers as the ones used for housing 60 a followed by the letter “d” substituting for the letter “a.” Accordingly, housing 60 b includes a hooking mechanism 90 d, a hooking mechanism 92 d, a receptacle 94 d and a receptacle 96 d. Housing 60 d is connected to housing 60 a by snappingly inserting hooking mechanisms 90 d and 92 d into receptacles 94 a and 96 a, respectively, as hereinafter described in more detail.

Still referring to FIG. 3A, hooking mechanism 90 a is an integral part of housing 60 a and includes a support portion 100 a, an extension 102 a depending from support portion 100 a and a peg 104 a extending inwardly from the upper portion of extension 102 a. Hooking mechanism 90 a is adjacent to the end portion of extension 62 a but it is not connected therewith. A small gap 108 a is between hooking mechanism 90 a and extension 62 a to allow for a limited movement of hooking mechanism 90 a towards extension 62 a when a biasing force is applied thereon. Housing 60 a includes a semicircular notch 106 a adjacent to support portion 100 a for placing the fingers to open the case. Hooking mechanism 92 a is an integral part of housing 60 a and includes a support portion 110 a, an extension 112 a depending from support portion 110 a and a peg 114 a extending inwardly from the upper portion of extension 112 a. Hooking mechanism 92 a is adjacent to the end portion of extension 64 a but it is not connected therewith. A small gap 118 a is between support portion 110 a and extension 64 a to allow for a limited movement of hooking mechanism 92 a towards extension 64 a when a biasing force is applied thereon. Housing 62 a includes a semicircular notch 116 a adjacent to support portion 110 a for placing the fingers to open the case.

Referring now to FIG. 3B, there is shown an enlarged perspective view of the portion of housing 60 a which is in circle 3B in FIG. 3A. There is shown hooking mechanism 92 a adjacent to notch 116 a and extension 64 a Hooking mechanism 92 a has support portion 110 a, extension 112 a and peg 114 a.

Referring now back to FIG. 3A, housing 60 d includes hooking mechanism 90 d which is identical with hooking mechanism 90 a Hooking mechanism 90 d is an integral part of housing 60 d and includes a support portion 100 d, an extension 102 d depending from support portion 100 d and a peg 104 d extending inwardly from the upper portion of extension 102 d. Hooking mechanism 92 d is adjacent to the end portion of extension 62 d. A small gap 108 d is between support portion 100 d and extension 62 d to allow for a limited movement of hooking mechanism 90 d towards extension 62 d when a biasing force is applied thereon. Housing 62 d includes a semicircular notch 106 d adjacent to support portion 100 d.

Hooking mechanism 92 d is identical with hooking mechanism 92 a. Hooking mechanism 92 d is an integral part of housing 60 d and includes a support portion 10 d, an extension 112 d depending from support portion 10 d and a peg 1141 d extending inwardly from the upper portion of extension 112 d. Hooking mechanism 92 d is adjacent to the end portion of extension 64 d but it is not connected therewith. A small gap 118 d is between support portion 110 d and extension 64 d to allow for a limited movement of hooking mechanism 92 d towards extension 64 d when a biasing force is applied thereon. Housing 62 d includes a semicircular notch 116 d adjacent to support portion 110 d.

Receptacle 94 a is an integral part of housing and includes an outwardly facing cavity formed by a bottom blind bore and two opposite facing, spaced apart walls 120 a and 122 a having arch shaped interior surfaces. The cavity of receptacle 94 a is appropriately shaped and sized so as to intimately receive peg 104 d by a snapping action and to retain peg 104 d therein by the restoring spring action of walls 130 a and 132 a. As peg 104 d is inserted therein, walls 120 a and 122 a are biased away from each other. When peg 104 d settles in receptacle 94 a, the restoring spring force of walls 120 a and 122 a causes them to snap around peg 104 d and to retain it therein until another force is applied thereon to disengage.

Receptacle 96 a is an integral part of housing and is symmetrical to receptacle 94 a. Receptacle 96 a includes an outwardly facing cavity formed by a bottom blind bore and two opposite facing, spaced apart walls 130 a and 132 a having arch shaped interior surfaces. The cavity of receptacle 94 a is appropriately shaped and sized so as to intimately receive peg 114 d by a snapping action and to retain peg 114 d therein by the restoring spring action of walls 130 a and 132 a. As peg 114 d is inserted therein, walls 130 a and 132 a are biased away from each other. When peg 114 d settles in receptacle 94 a, the restoring spring force of walls 130 a and 132 a causes them to snap around peg 114 d and to retain it therein until another force is applied thereon to disengage. Housing 60 d is connected to housing 60 a by engaging hooking mechanism 90 d with receptacle 94 a by snappingly inserting peg 104 d in the cavity of receptacle 94 a, as previously described, and by engaging mechanism 92 d with receptacle 96 a by snappingly inserting peg 114 d in the cavity of receptacle 96 a. In that connected position, pegs 104 d and 114 d act as pivot for housing 60 d with respect to housing 60 a and vice versa.

Referring now to FIG. 3C, there is shown an enlargement of that section of FIG. 3A which is within circle 3C showing housing 60 a connected to housing 60 d via the engagement of hooking mechanism 92 d with receptacle 96 a. Hooking mechanism 92 d includes a support portion 110 d, extension 112 d depending from support portion 110 d and peg 114 d extending inwardly from the upper portion of extension 112 d. Hooking mechanism 92 d is adjacent to the end portion of extension 64 d but it is not connected therewith. Gap 118 d is between support portion 10 d and extension 64 d to allow for a limited movement of hooking mechanism 92 d towards extension 64 d when a biasing force is applied thereon. Receptacle 96 a includes two opposite facing, spaced apart walls 130 a and 132 a having arch shaped interior surfaces. The cavity of receptacle 94 a is appropriately shaped and sized so as to intimately receive peg 114 d by a snapping action and to retain peg 114 d therein by the restoring spring action of walls 130 a and 132 a. As peg 114 d is inserted therein, walls 130 a and 132 a are biased away from each other. When peg 114 d settles in receptacle 94 a, the restoring spring force of walls 130 a and 132 a causes them to snap around peg 114 d and to retain it therein as shown in FIG. 3C.

Referring back to FIG. 3A, housing 60 d has a receptacle 94 d which is identical with receptacle 94 a. Receptacle 94 d is an integral part of housing and includes an outwardly facing cavity formed by a bottom blind bore and two opposite facing, spaced apart walls 120 d and 122 d having arch shaped interior surfaces. Housing 60 d further includes a receptacle 96 d which is identical with receptacle 96 a Receptacle 96 d is an integral part of housing and is symmetrical to receptacle 94 d. Receptacle 96 d includes an outwardly facing cavity formed by a bottom blind bore and two opposite facing, spaced apart walls 130 d and 132 d having arch shaped interior surfaces FIG. 3D is an enlarged perspective view of the section of FIG. 3A which is encircled by circle 3D. There is shown housing 60 d having receptacle 96 d with opposite facing walls 130 d and 132 d and an inner cavity to receive the hooking mechanism.

Referring to FIGS. 1A, 2B and 3A, when the housing of case 6 c is connected to housing 60 b of case 6 b the way housing 60 d of case 6 d is connected to housing 60 a of case 6 a and when the housing of case 6 c is connected to housing 60 d of case 6 d the way housing 60 b of case 6 b is connected to housing 60 a of case 6 a, array 6 is formed. In a western style configuration, the entire array of four cases may can be flipped from right to left by flipping case 6 a or case 6 b.

In housings 60 a, 60 b, 60 c and 60 d described above, the hooking mechanisms associated therewith are an integral part of the housing. For example, in housing 60 d, hooking mechanisms 90 d and 92 d are an integral part of housing 60 d and the disengagement or engagement of those mechanisms from or with receptacles 94 a and 96 a, respectively, is effected by the inherent spring and elastic properties of the material. In another embodiment of the present invention, hooking mechanisms 90 d and 92 d are replaced by sliding hooking mechanisms that engage the receptacles by sliding in and out to engage and disengage the receptacles.

Referring to FIG. 4A, there is shown a housing 200 which is similar to housing 60 d, except that it is modified to replace the integral hooking mechanisms 90 d and 92 d with inwardly facing sliding hooking mechanisms 190 and 192, respectively. Hooking mechanism 190 has a peg 204 similar to but longer than peg 104 d and hooking mechanism 192 has a peg 214 similar to but slightly longer than peg 114 d. Housing 200 includes receptacles 194 and 196 which are identical to receptacles 94 a and 96 a (shown in FIGS. 3A and 3C), respectively. Receptacles 194 and 196 are configured so as to intimately receive pegs 204 and 214, respectively. Hooking mechanisms 190 and 192 are slidable to place pegs 204 and 214 in engaging or disengaging positions in or away from receptacles similar to receptacles 194 and 196 in another housing.

Hooking mechanisms 190 and 192 include internal springs that are designed to bias and hold hooking mechanisms 190 and 192 to the engaging position, that is the position that pegs 204 and 214 are engagingly inserted in the receptacles, unless a pulling force is applied on hooking mechanisms 190 or 192. In FIG. 4A, hooking mechanism 190 is shown in the engaging position. Hooking mechanism 190 is activated by grasping at a hitch 220 and pulling opposite to the biasing force of the spring to displace away from housing 200 and disengage the receptacle. Once hitch 220 is released, hooking mechanism 190 returns to the engaging position because of the spring force. In FIG. 4A, hooking mechanism 192 is shown in the disengaging position after it is activated by grasping at a hitch 222 and pulling opposite to the biasing force of th spring. Once hitch 222 is released, hooking mechanism 192 returns to the engaging position.

Housing 200 includes a recessed cavity 266 which is suitable dimensioned and configured to receive the media. Cavity 266 includes a wall 270, on one end, and a wall 272, on the other end. An extension 262 extends outwardly from and vertically to wall 270 having a lower surface on substantially the same level as the middle point of wall 270. An extension 264 extends outwardly from and vertically to wall 272 having an upper surface on substantially the same level as the middle point of wall 272. Housing 200 includes a hole 210, a hole 212, a hole 214 and a hole 216. Holes 210, 212, 214 and 216 are positioned on a straight line and the distance between hole 210 and hole 214 is substantially equal to the distance between holes 212 and 216. That distance is about 108 millimeters. The distance between holes 210 and 216 is about 1355 millimeters.

Referring now to FIG. 4B, there is shown an enlarged view of a perspective, partially exploded view of the section of housing 200 and hooking mechanism 190 within circle B of FIG. 4A. Hooking mechanism 190 with peg 204 has a guide opening 228 and is mounted on housing 200 by inserting a stationary cylinder 226 extending from housing 200 in guide opening 228. The interior surface of guide opening 228 rests on cylinder 226 and hooking mechanism 190 is slidable on cylinder 226 using guide opening 228 as guide. A spring 230 is disposed in housing 200 having one end 232 connected to housing 200 and another end 234 connected to hooking mechanism 190. Spring 230 in the rested position retains hooking mechanism 190 in the engaged position previously described. A cover 236 mounted on hooking mechanism by pins or similar means is used to cover and close hooking mechanism 190. Hooking mechanism 190 is activated to put it in the disengaging position by grasping hitch 220 and pulling against the biasing force of spring 230 to pull peg 204 away from the engaging position. Hooking mechanism 190 rides over stationary cylinder 226 over a predetermined path and for a predetermined distance dictated by guide opening 228 until hooking mechanism 190 reaches its complete disengaged position.

Referring to FIG. 4C, hooking mechanism 190 is shown in the disengaged position after hooking mechanism 190 has traveled over cylinder 226 guided by guide opening 228. Spring 230 applies a biasing force on hooking mechanism 190 pulling it to the engaged position. Once hitch 220 is released, spring 230 retracts hooking mechanism 190 to the resting position which is the position in which hooking mechanism 190 is in the engaging position.

FIG. 4D is an enlarged perspective view of the section of hooking mechanism 192 and housing 200 defined by circle D in FIG. 4A. There is shown hooking mechanism 192 having peg 214 and being mounted on housing 200. A hitch 222 is connected to hooking mechanism 192 to use for grasping and pulling hooking mechanism 192.

Referring to FIG. 4E, there is shown an exploded view of the connection of hitch 220 to the body of hooking mechanism 190. The body has a pivot element 238 with a bore 242 there through. Hitch 220 includes a double clevis 244 having holes 246 and 248 there through. Pivot 238 is received between double clevis 244 and a pin 250 is inserted through aligned hole 246, bore 242 and hole 248 to connect hitch 220 to pivot 238.

Referring to FIG. 5A, there is shown a housing 300 which is similar to housings 200, except that it is modified to replace the sliding integral hooking mechanisms 190 and 192 with inwardly facing rotating hooking mechanisms 290 and 292, respectively. Hooking mechanism 290 has an arch shaped hook 304 and hooking mechanism 292 has a an arch shaped hook 314 which is in its retracted position (not shown in FIG. 5A). Housing 300 includes receptacles 294 and 296 which are identical to receptacles 294 and 296 (shown in FIG. 4A), respectively. Receptacles 294 and 296 are configured so as to intimately receive the ends portions of hooks 304 and 314, respectively. Hooking mechanisms 290 and 292 are rotatable to place hooks 304 and 314 in engaging or disengaging positions in or away from receptacles similar to receptacles 294 and 296 in another housing.

Housing 300 includes a recessed cavity 366 which is suitable dimensioned and configured to receive the media. Cavity 366 includes a wall 370, on one end, and a wall 372, on the other end. Tandem extensions 362 and 363 extend outwardly from and vertically to wall 370 and have a lower surface on substantially the same level as the middle point of wall 370. Tandem extensions 364 and 365 extend outwardly from and vertically to wall 372 and have an upper surface on substantially the same level as the middle point of wall 372. Housing 300 includes a hole 310 on extension 363, a hole 312, a hole 314 and a hole 316 on extension 365. Holes 310, 312, 314 and 316 are positioned on a straight line and the distance between hole 310 and hole 314 is substantially equal to the distance between holes 312 and 316. That distance is about 108 millimeters. The distance between holes 310 and 316 is about 1355 millimeters.

Hooking mechanisms 290 and 292 include internal springs (not shown in FIG. 5A) that are designed to bias and hold hooking mechanisms 290 and 292 to the engaging position, that is the position that hooks 304 and 314 are engagingly inserted in the receptacles. In FIG. 5A, hooking mechanism 290 is shown in the engaging position. Hooking mechanism 290 is activated by grasping at a hitch 320 which is disposed between extensions 362 and 363 and pulling opposite to the biasing force of the spring to displace away from housing 300 and disengage the receptacle. Once hitch 320 is released, hooking mechanism 290 returns to the engaging position because of the spring force. In FIG. 5A, hooking mechanism 292 is shown in the disengaging position after it is activated by grasping at a hitch 322 and pulling opposite to the biasing force of the spring. Once hitch 322 is released, hooking mechanism 392 returns to the engaging position.

Referring now to FIG. 5B, there is shown an enlarged perspective, partially exploded view of the section of housing 300 and hooking mechanism 290 within circle B of FIG. 5A. Hooking mechanism 290 includes hitch 320, a driver 324 being connected to hitch 320 and having a surface with teeth 326, a first gear 328 engaging teeth 326, a second gear 332 engaging first gear 328, a third gear 336 engaging second gear and a coiled spring 340 being connected to third gear 336, on end, and to housing 300 on the other end. Hitch 320 is connected to driver 324 the same way hitch 220 is connected to the body of hooking mechanism 190 in FIG. 4E. Driver 324 has a guide opening 348 and is slidably mounted on a stationary cylinder 350 which is inserted in guide opening 348. The interior surface of guide opening 348 rests on cylinder 350 and driver 324 is slidable on cylinder 350 using guide opening 348 as guide. First gear 328, second gear 332 and third gear 336 are rotatably mounted on pins 330, 334 and 338, respectively. Hooking mechanism 290 further includes hook 304 which is integrally connected to an inner hub 342 and an arm 346. Inner hub 342 is rotatably mounted on pin 344 and its rotation around pin 344 causes the rotational movement of hook 304. Stationary cylinder 350 and pins 330, 334, 338 and 344 are integral extensions of housing 300. Arm 346 is connected to third gear 336 so that when gear 336 rotates, arm 346 is moved to cause the rotational movement of hook 304. A cover 353 mounted on hooking mechanism 290 by pins or similar means is used to cover and close hooking mechanism 290.

In its rested position, spring 340 retains third gear 336 in a position wherein hook 304 that is connected thereto via arm 346 is in the engaged position that was previously described. Hooking mechanism 290 is activated to put it in the disengaging position by pulling hitch 320 which causes driver 324 to ride over stationary cylinder 350 over a predetermined path and for a predetermined distance dictated by guide opening 348. As driver 324 slides in the pulling direction, it causes first gear 328 to move in a clockwise, second gear 332 in a counterclockwise direction and third gear 336 in a clockwise direction. As third gear 336 moves in a clockwise direction, it moves arm 346 and causes hook 304 to rotate counterclockwise and to its disengaging position. The rotation of third gear 336 cause tension on spring 340 so that the restoring force of spring 340 applies a force that biases hook 304 towards the engaged position.

Referring to FIG. 5C, hooking mechanism 290 is shown in the disengaged position after hooking mechanism 290 has been activated by pulling hitch 320. Hook 304 is in a fully retracted position. Spring 340 applies a biasing force on hook 304 via third gear 336 to return hook 304 to the engaged position. Once hitch 320 is released, spring 340 returns hook 304 to the resting position which is the position in which hooking mechanism 290 is in the engaging position.

In the embodiment depicted in FIGS. 5A-5C, hooking mechanisms 290 and 292 are housed in housing 300 and are supported therein by parts of housing 300 that are integral parts of the body of housing 300. Referring now to FIG. 6A, there is shown a housing 400 which is similar to housing 300, except that, in housing 400, the rotating hooking mechanisms and the outermost holes that receive the binder rings are housed in and supported by an assembly which is removably attached to body 401 of housing 400. An assembly 380, shown in a position wherein it is not connected to body 401, includes an inwardly facing rotating hooking mechanism 390 comprising an arch shaped hook 404 and a hitch 420, an extension 463 having a hole 410, a housing element 403 for housing and supporting hooking mechanism 390 and a plurality of screws 467 for affixing assembly 380 to body 401. An assembly 382, shown in a position wherein it is connected to body 401, includes an inwardly facing rotating hooking mechanism 392 comprising an arch shaped hook 414 (not shown in FIG. 6A) and a hitch 422, an extension 465 having a hole 416, a housing element 405 for housing and supporting hooking mechanism 392, and a plurality of screws 469 for securely connecting assembly 382 to body 401. Extensions 463 and 465 are similar to previously described extensions 363 and 365, respectively.

Housing 400 includes receptacles 394 and 396 which are identical to receptacles 294 and 296 (shown in FIG. 5A), respectively. Receptacles 394 and 396 are configured so as to intimately receive the ends portions of hooks 404 and 414, respectively. Hooking mechanisms 390 and 392 are rotatable to place hooks 404 and 414 in engaging or disengaging positions in or away from receptacles similar to receptacles 394 and 396 in another housing, as further described herein.

Housing 400 includes a recessed cavity 466 which is suitable dimensioned and configured to receive the media Cavity 466 includes a wall 470, on one end, and a wall 472, on the other end. Extension 462 extends outwardly from and vertically to wall 470 and has a lower surface on substantially the same level as the middle point of wall 470. Extension 464 extends outwardly from and vertically to wall 472 and has an upper surface on substantially the same level as the middle point of wall 472. Housing 400 includes a hole 412 and a hole 414. In the assembled position wherein assemblies 380 and 382 are connected to body 401, holes 410, 412, 414 and 416 are positioned on a straight line and the distance between hole 410 and hole 414 is substantially equal to the distance between holes 412 and 416. That distance is about 108 millimeters. The distance between holes 410 and 416 is about 1355 millimeters.

Hooking mechanisms 390 and 392 include internal springs (not shown in FIG. 6A) that are designed to bias and hold hooking mechanisms 390 and 392 to the engaging position, that is the position that hooks 404 and 414 are engagingly inserted in the receptacles. In FIG. 6A, hooking mechanism 390 is shown in the engaging position. Hooking mechanism 390 is activated by grasping hitch 420 and pulling opposite to the biasing force of the spring to displace away from housing 400 and disengage the receptacle. Once hitch 420 is released, hooking mechanism 390 returns to the engaging position because of the spring force. In FIG. 6A, hooking mechanism 392 is shown in the disengaging position after it is activated by grasping at hitch 422 and pulling opposite to the biasing force of the spring. Once hitch 422 is released, hooking mechanism 392 returns to the engaging position.

Referring now to FIG. 7A, there is shown a perspective, partially exploded view of assembly 380 of FIG. 6A. Hooking mechanism 390 includes hitch 420, a driver 424 being connected to hitch 420 and having a surface with teeth 426, a first gear 428 engaging teeth 426, a second gear 432 engaging first gear 428, a third gear 436 engaging second gear and a coiled spring 440 being connected to third gear 436, on end, and to housing 403 on the other end. Driver 424 has a guide opening 448 and is slidably mounted on a stationary cylinder 450 which is inserted in guide opening 448. The interior surface of guide opening 448 rests on cylinder 450 and driver 424 is slidable on cylinder 450 using guide opening 448 as guide. First gear 428, second gear 432 and third gear 436 are rotatably mounted on pins 430, 434 and 438, respectively. Hooking mechanism 390 further includes hook 404 which is integrally connected to an inner hub 442 and an arm 446. Inner hub 442 is rotatably mounted on pin 444 and its rotation around pin 444 causes the rotational movement of hook 404. Stationary cylinder 450 and pins 430, 434, 438 and 444 are integral extensions of housing 403. Arm 446 is connected to third gear 436 so that when gear 436 rotates, arm 446 is moved to cause the rotational movement of hook 404. A cover 453 mounted on housing 403 by pins or screws 467 is used to cover and enclose housing 403.

In its rested position, spring 440 retains third gear 436 in a position wherein hook 404 that is connected thereto via arm 446 is in the engaged position that was previously described. Hooking mechanism 390 is activated to put it in the disengaging position by pulling hitch 420 which causes driver 424 to ride over stationary cylinder 450 over a predetermined path and for a predetermined distance dictated by guide opening 448. As driver 424 slides in the pulling direction, it causes first gear 428 to move in a clockwise, second gear 432 in a counterclockwise direction and third gear 436 in a clockwise direction. As third gear 436 moves in a clockwise direction, it moves arm 446 and causes hook 404 to rotate counterclockwise and to its disengaging position. The rotation of third gear 436 cause tension on spring 440 so that the restoring force of spring 440 applies a force that biases hook 404 towards the engaged position.

Referring to FIG. 7B, hooking mechanism 390 of FIG. 7A is shown in the disengaged position after hooking mechanism 390 has been activated by pulling hitch 420. Hook 404 is in a fully retracted position. Spring 440 applies a biasing force on hook 404 via third gear 436 to return hook 404 to the engaged position. Once hitch 420 is released, spring 440 returns hook 404 to the resting position which is the position in which hooking mechanism 390 is in the engaging position.

Referring now to FIG. 7C, there is shown the connection between extension 463 having hole 410 and housing 403. Housing 403 includes a double pivot 411 a and 411 b having tandem bore 413 a and 413 b, respectively. Extension 463 has a double clevis 415 a and 415 b having tandem openings 417 a and 417 b. A pin 419 is inserted through openings 417 a, bore 413 a, opening 417 b and bore 413 b to form a “hinge like” connection wherein extension 463 is allowed to swing.

The hard cases described may be used to store several types of media such as compact disks, floppy disks, zip disks and other media or booklets. In order to a accommodate a specific medium the recessed cavity of the housing of the hard is appropriately configured to intimately receive and retained therein the medium for storage, transportation or the like. FIG. 8A shows housing 60 a which was previously described with a recessed cavity 66 a configured to receive a compact disk 550. A retaining mechanism 552 a is placed in the middle of the bottom of recessed cavity 66 a to engage and retain compact disk 550. Retaining mechanism 552 a is attached to the bottom of recessed cavity by inserting a connecting portion thereof in apertures 554 a and 556 a. Retaining mechanism 552 a may be also an integral part of housing 60 a. FIG. 8B shows compact disk 550 intimately received in recessed cavity 66 a of housing 60 a and retained therein by retaining mechanism 552 a.

Referring now to FIG. 8C, there is shown housing 60 a having an alternative design of a retaining mechanism 558 a which is an integral part of housing 60 a for receiving compact disk 550. Retaining mechanism 558 a has an interior grasping section 565 a formed by a ring and two perpendicular crossing walls inside the ring forming cavities for receiving the fingers of a person, a segmented ring 559 a being disposed outside grasping section 565 a and comprised of six ring segments and six elevation spokes 561 a being outside segmented ring 559 a. Grasping section 56 a, segmented ring 559 a and elevation spokes 561 a are attached to the bottom of the recessed cavity of housing 60 a. Retaining mechanism 558 a is made of flexible plastic material commonly used in the construction of media retaining mechanisms employed in compact disk storage cases.

Referring now to FIG. 8D, there is shown an enlargement of retaining mechanism 558 a having interior grasping section 565 a, segmented ring 559 a being disposed outside grasping section 565 a and comprised of six ring segments and six elevation spokes 561 a being outside segmented ring 559 a. Each of the ring segments of segmented ring 559 a has an outwardly projecting upper retaining flange 563 a. Segmented ring 559 a has a segmented outer cylindrical surface suitably sized to be intimately inserted in the central circular opening of a standard compact disk. Retaining flanges 563 a are also arranged in a segmented circular configuration and, in their rested position, they extend beyond that segmented cylindrical surface. The upper surfaces of the segments of segmented ring 559 a are tapered with the higher end being on the inside and the lower end being on the outside.

In order to engage the compact disk with retaining mechanism 558 a, the interior opening of the compact disk is aligned with the segmented outer cylindrical surface of segmented ring 559 a and is pressed down on tapered upper surface of segmented ring 559 a. The pressure causes the segments of segmented ring 559 a to move inwardly until the compact disk passes over flanges 563 a and comes to rest on elevation spokes 561 a The restoring force causes the segments of segmented ring 559 a to move outwards and flanges 563 a to retainingly engage the compact disk. FIG. 8E shows compact disk 550 retained by retaining mechanism 558 a.

FIG. 9A shows housing 60 a with a recessed cavity 66 a suitably configured to receive a floppy disk 560. Space guides 562 a (not shown), 562 b, 562 c and 562 d extend from the bottom of recessed cavity 66 b and are spaced apart to provide stabilizing walls for floppy disk 560. Retaining mechanisms 564 a (not shown), 564 b, 564 c and 564 d also extending vertically from the bottom of recessed cavity 66 a are spaced apart to provide stabilizing walls and retaining hooks for floppy disk 560. FIG. 9B shows floppy disk 560 intimately received in recessed cavity 66 a of housing 60 a and are positioned and retained therein by space guides 562 a, 562 b, 562 c and 562 d and retaining mechanism 564 a, 564 b, 564 c and 564 d.

FIG. 9C shows housing 60 a with a recessed cavity 66 a suitably configured to receive a zip disk 570. Space guides 562 c and 562 d extend from the bottom of recessed cavity 66 b and are spaced apart to provide stabilizing walls for zip disk 560. Retaining mechanisms 564 a (not shown), 564 b, 564 c and 564 d also extending vertically from the bottom of recessed cavity 66 a are spaced apart to provide space guides, stabilizing walls and retaining hooks for zip disk 570.

FIG. 9D shows zip disk 570 intimately received in recessed cavity 66 a of housing 60 a and are positioned and retained therein by space guides 562 c and 562 d and retaining mechanism 564 a, 564 b, 564 c and 564 d.

FIG. 9E shows space guide 562 a extending from the bottom of recessed cavity 66 a of housing 60 b providing a space guide for floppy disk 560. Space guide 562 a includes a lower vertical wall section 567 a and an upper ramp section 568 a to facilitate the easier insertion of floppy disk 560 between the space guides.

FIG. 9F shows details of retaining mechanism 564 a having a wall 569 a extending vertically from the bottom of recessed cavity 66 a of housing 60 a and a hook portion 571 a. Wall 569 a provides a space guide and support for hook portion 571 a that hooks on floppy disk 560. Retaining mechanism 564 a is suitably constructed with sufficient flexibility to allow for the insertion of floppy disk 560 and sufficient spring strength to return to the resting position and snappingly engage floppy disk 560.

In one embodiment of the present invention, the housing disclosed herein is designed to have a recessed cavity on one side only to store the media In another embodiment, the housing is designed with two recessed cavities, one on each side. Referring to FIG. 10A there is shown a cross sectional view of housing 60 a taken along line 10A_10A of FIG. 3A. There is shown recessed cavity 66 a having walls 70 a and 72 a and extensions 62 a and 64 a, as previously described. FIG. 10C is an enlarged view of one end portion of housing 60 a designated by circle 10C in FIG. 10A. Housing 60 a has recessed cavity 66 a, wall 72 a and extension 64 a extending outwardly from wall 72 a.

FIG. 10B is a cross section of a housing 600 made in accordance with the present invention having a recessed cavity 660, on one side, and a recessed cavity 670, on the other side. Cavities 660 and 670 have a wall 700 on a one end and a wall 720, on the opposite end. An extension 620 similar to extension 62 a extends outwardly and perpendicularly from wall 700. The lower surface of extension 620 extends from the middle point of wall 620. An extension 640 extends outwardly and perpendicularly from wall 720. The upper surface of extension 640 extends from the middle point of wall 620. FIG. 10D is an enlarged view of one end portion of housing 600 designated by circle 10D in FIG. 10B. Housing 600 has recessed cavities 660 and 670, wall 720 and extension 640 extending outwardly from wall 720.

As described above, the housings disclosed have either one or two recessed cavities and have case cover mountings for attaching a case cover either on the end that has the holes for receiving the binder or on the opposite end where the receptacles are. According to the present invention, a modular, single design case cover is disclosed that can be used as cover in both single or double recessed cavity housings and can be mounted in both mounting ends of the housings without requiring modification. Referring now to FIG. 11A, a double recessed cavity housing is designed to accommodate the use of such a modular case cover.

Figure is a fragmented top view of housing 600 having hooking mechanisms 90 a an 92 a and receptacles 94 a and 96 a, as the ones shown in FIG. 3A, extensions 620 and 640 that are similar to extensions 62 a and 64 a (shown in FIG. 2A), a recessed cavity 660 and a recessed cavity 670 (not shown in FIG. 11A but shown in FIG. 10B). In order to better describe the invention, a straight line 601 is shown which passes through the middle point of recessed cavity 660 and is parallel to extensions 620 and 640. Line 601 and a similar line that passes through the middle point of cavity 670 are on the same plane which is generally perpendicular to housing 600. That plane is designated herein as Plane A. A line 603 is also shown which is perpendicular to line 601 and passes though the middle point of recessed cavity 660. Line 603 and a similar line that passes through the middle point of recessed cavity 670 define a plane which is perpendicular to Plane A and generally perpendicular to housing 600. That plane is referred to herein as Plane B.

Housing 600 includes case cover mountings 605, 607, 609 and 611 which are on the end that has the holes that receive the binder rings and case cover mountings 613, 615, 617 and 619 on the opposite end. Case cover mountings 619, 617, 615, and 613 are mirror images of case cover mountings 605, 607, 609, and 611, respectively with respect to Plane B. Case cover mountings 609, 611, 613, and 615 are mirror images of case cover mountings 607, 605, 619, and 617, respectively with respect to Plane A. Therefore, a description of case cover mountings 605 and 607 is sufficient to describe the remaining case mountings.

An enlargement of case cover mountings 605 and 607 is shown in FIG. 11B. Case cover mounting 605 includes an open end slot 621 in housing 600, a closed end slot 623 and a bearing 625 having an axis perpendicular to slots 621 and 623. Bearing 625 is formed by spaced apart tandem walls 627 and 629 having arched surfaces on their facing ends. FIG. 11C shows slot 623 and walls 627 and 629 of FIG. 1B. Walls 627 and 629 have ends with arched surfaces 631 and 633, respectively that form a segmented cylinder that acts as a bearing for intimately receiving a journal from a case cover (not shown). Wall 627 has tapered ends 635 and 637 on either side of curved surface 631. Further, wall 629 has tapered ends 639 and 641 on either side of curved surface 633.

Referring back to FIG. 11B, case cover mounting 607 includes an open end slot 643 in housing 600, a closed end slot 645 and a bearing 647 having an axis perpendicular to slots 643 and 645. Bearing 647 is similar to bearing 625 and is formed by spaced apart tandem walls 649 and 651 having arched surfaces 653 and 655 on their respective facing ends. Arched surfaces 653 and 655 form a segmented cylinder that acts as a bearing for intimately receiving a journal from a case cover (not shown).

Referring to FIG. 12A, case 6 a has a housing 60 a, as the one previously described in FIGS. 2A and 3A, and a case cover 61 a being rotatably connected to housing 60 a via case cover mountings 63 a and 65 a which are proximate to the holes receiving the rings of the ring binder. Case cover 61 a includes a generally flat section 161 a which is sufficiently sized to cover housing 60 a. FIG. 12C is an enlargement of the connection between case cover 61 a and housing 60 a via case cover mounting 63 a. Case cover mounting 63 a is similar to case cover mounting 605 previously described. Accordingly, it includes an open end slot 71 in housing 60 a, a closed end slot 73 and a bearing 75 having an axis perpendicular to slots 71 and 73. Bearing 75 is formed by spaced apart tandem walls 77 and 79 having arched surfaces on their facing ends. Case cover 61 a has an arm 81 a extending perpendicularly therefrom and a journal 83 a extending perpendicularly therefrom arm 81 a. Arm 81 a is received in slot 71 and journal 83 a is received and supported in bearing 75 where it is allowed to rotate.

FIG. 12E is another view of the connection between case cover 61 a and housing 60 a. Arm 81 a of case cover 61 a is received in slot 71 and journal 83 a is received and supported in bearing 75 where it is allowed to rotate. Bearing 75 is formed by spaced apart tandem walls 77 and 79 having arched surfaces 731 and 733 on their facing ends, respectively. Wall 77 has tapered ends 735 and 737 on either side of curved surface 731. Further, wall 79 has tapered ends 739 and 741 on either side of curved surface 733. Journal 83 a is inserted in bearing 75 by pushing journal 83 a to advance it on tapered surfaces 737 and 741 causing walls 77 and 79 to move further apart until journal 83 a snaps into place in bearing 75. Walls 77 and 79 return to their rested position and retain journal 83 a in bearing 75.

Referring back to FIG. 12A, case cover 61 a includes a second arm 810 a identical with arm 81 a and a journal 830 a identical with journal 83 a which engage case cover mounting 65 a like arm 81 a and journal 83 a engage case cover mounting 63 a.

Referring to FIG. 12B, case cover 61 a is connected to housing 60 a via case cover mountings 67 a and 69 a on the end that is proximate to receptacles 94 a and 96 a. FIG. 12D is an enlargement of the connection between case cover 61 a and housing 60 a via case cover mounting 67 a. Case cover mounting 67 a is similar to case cover mounting 613 previously described. Accordingly, it includes an open end slot 85 in housing 60 a, a closed end slot 87 and a bearing 89 having an axis perpendicular to slots 85 and 87. Bearing 89 is formed by spaced apart tandem walls 91 and 93 having arched surfaces on their facing ends. Arm 81 a is received in slot 85 and journal 83 a is received and supported in bearing 89 where it is allowed to rotate. Flat section 161 a includes a crease area 189 a where cover 61 a is more flexible and readily bendable.

Referring back to FIG. 12B, second arm 810 a which is identical with arm 81 a and journal 830 a which is identical with journal 83 a engage case cover mounting 69 a like arm 81 a and journal 83 a engage case cover mounting 67 a.

FIG. 13A shows housing 600, previously described in FIGS. 10 b and 11A, having case cover mountings 605, 607, 609 and 611, on the end that is connected to the binder, and case cover mountings 613, 615, 617 and 619, on the opposite end. Case covers 61 a and 61 b which are identical are mounted on housing 600 to cover recessed cavities 660 and 670 (not shown in FIG. 13A), respectively. Case cover 61 a is rotatably connected to housing 600 via case cover mountings 605 and 609. Case cover 61 b is rotatably connected to housing 600 via case cover mountings 607 and 611. It should be understood, that case cover 61 b is identical with case cover 61 a. Hence, case cover 61 b has arms 81 b and 810 b extending perpendicularly from section 161 b and journals 83 b and 830 b extending perpendicularly from arm 81 b and 810 b, respectively.

FIG. 13B is an enlargement of the connection between case cover 61 a and housing 600 via case cover mounting 605 and case cover 61 b via case cover mounting 607 which is the area designated by circle 13B in FIG. 13A. There is shown journal 83 a supported by arm 81 a of case cover 61 a being rotatably disposed in bearing 625 of case cover mounting 605. Journal 830 b which is connected to case cover 61 b is rotatably disposed in bearing 647.

Referring back to FIG. 13A, journal 830 a supported by arm 810 a of case cover 61 a is rotatably disposed in the bearing of case cover mounting 609 and journal 83 b of case cover 61 b is rotatably disposed in the bearing of case cover mounting 611. Covers 61 a and 61 b are securely and rotatably connected to housing 600 and can be opened and closed without interfering with each other.

It should be understood that case covers 61 a and 61 b can be similarly mounted on the other end of the housing by mounting case cover 61 a on case cover mountings 613 and 617 and case cover 61 b on case cover mountings 615 and 619.

The case covers made in accordance with the present invention may or may not include a media storage compartment to store a booklet, a compact disks, a floppy disk, a zip disk or the like. Referring to FIG. 14A, there is shown a case cover 861 a which includes a media storage compartment 866 a for storing a booklet. Case cover 866 a includes arms 81 a and 810 a extending perpendicularly from the body of case cover 886 a Journal 83 a extends perpendicularly from arm 81 a and journal 830 a extends perpendicularly from arm 810 a. Journals 83 a and 830 a point to the same direction and their axis is on the same line. Arms 81 a and 810 a and journals 83 a and 830 a are the same in all covers and are positioned in the same location in all covers so that the same cover design (with or without a media compartment) may be used in single or double storage housings and for all case cover mounting applications previously described. Referring now to FIG. 14B there is shown an enlarged view of arm 81 a extending from the body of case cover 861 a and journal 83 a extending perpendicularly from arm 81 a.

Referring now to FIG. 14C, there is shown the relative position of journals 83 a and 830 a with respect to each other on a case 61 a, a case without media storage compartment. It should be understood, however, that the relative position is the same in all case covers regardless on whether they include media storage compartments. To further clarify the invention, a line 790 passes through the center of case cover 861 a. A line 791 is parallel to line 790 and passes adjacent to the arm supporting journal 830 a. A line 792 is parallel to line 790 and passes adjacent to the arm supporting journal 83 a. The distance between lines 790 and 791 is equal to the distance between lines 790 and 792. Journal 830 a points towards 790 and away from line 791. Journal 83 a points away from lines 792 and 790. It should be understood that the various case cover mountings previously described in connection with single or double storage housings are positioned so as to accommodate the usage of the universal case cover design with the universal arm/journal design and positioning described herein.

Referring now back to FIGS. 14A and 14B, case cover 861 a includes an outer wall 867 a which is suitably designed to conform with and be positioned in tandem with the wall on the housing when case cover 861 a is closed. Further, case cover 861 a includes a raised wall 868 a which is interiorly of and abutting wall 867 a. Wall 868 a is so configured so as to be intimately inserted inside the wall of the housing when case cover 861 a is closed to seal the recessed cavity of the housing and to protect the stored media. In the case of case covers that do not have a media storage compartment, wall 867 a is not present. Still referring to FIG. 14A, case cover 861 a includes extensions 870 a, 871 a, 872 a and 873 a to engage and retain the booklet in the booklet storage compartment. Case cover 861 a includes locking mechanisms 874 a and 875 a that engage corresponding mechanisms in the housing to lockingly engage the housing with case cover 861 a.

Referring now to FIG. 14G, there is shown and enlargement of locking mechanism 874 a. There is shown case cover 866 a with walls 867 a and 868 a. A groove 893 a in wall 868 a is configured to intimately receive and engage a projection in the housing such as projection 169 a or 165 a (shown in FIG. 2A).

FIG. 14D shows a case cover 862 a configured to receive a compact disk 550. A retaining mechanism 552 a as the one described in FIG. 8A retains compact disk 550 therein.

FIG. 14E shows a case cover 863 a with a storage compartment suitably configured to receive a floppy disk 560. Floppy disk 560 is intimately received in case cover 863 a and is positioned and retained therein by space guides 562 a, 562 b, 562 c and 562 d and retaining mechanisms 564 a, 564 b, 564 c and 564 d similar to the ones described in FIG. 9B.

FIG. 14F shows a case cover 864 a with a storage compartment suitably configured to receive a zip disk 570. Zip disk 570 is intimately received in case cover 864 a and is positioned and retained therein by space guides 562 c and 562 d and retaining mechanisms 564 a, 564 b, 564 c and 564 d similar to the ones previously described in FIG. 9D.

FIGS. 15A and 15C show retaining mechanism 552 a having an elevation ring 802, two symmetrical release segments 808, two symmetrical release segments 818, two symmetrical guide ring segments 826, two symmetrical guide ring segments 828 and two symmetrical connecting members 830. Retaining mechanism 552 a is an integral piece made of flexible plastic material commonly used in the construction of media retaining mechanisms employed in compact disk storage cases. Elevation ring 802 has an exterior conical surface with a lower exterior diameter 804 being larger than an upper exterior diameter 806. Release segment 808 has a wall 810 connected to elevation ring 802, an outwardly projecting retaining flange 814 and a generally flat activation member 812. Release segment 818 has a wall 820 connected to elevation ring 802, an outwardly projecting retaining flange 824 and a generally flat activation member 822. Guide ring segment 826 is connected to elevation ring 802 between release segments 808 and 818. Guide ring segment 828 is connected to elevation ring 802. Connecting member 830 extends from interiorly from guide ring segment 828. Walls 810 and 820 and guide ring segments 826 and 828 have exterior curved surfaces that are arranged and connected to elevation ring 802 in a circular configuration so as to form a segmented outer cylindrical surface having a diameter substantially equal to upper diameter 806 of elevation ring 802 and suitably sized to be intimately inserted in the central circular opening of a standard compact disk (shown in FIG. 8B). Retaining flanges 814 and 824 are also arranged in a segmented circular configuration and, in their rested position, they extend beyond the exterior surfaces of walls 810 and 820 and guide ring segments 826 and 828.

Referring now to FIG. 15B there is shown a cross sectional view of retaining mechanism 552 a taken along lines A and B of FIG. 15A. There is shown retaining mechanism 552 a having elevation ring 802 with lower exterior diameter 804 and smaller upper exterior diameter 806. Activation member 822 of release segment 818 is connected to elevation ring 802 via wall 820 over a relief cavity 838. Retaining flange 824 extends beyond the exterior surface of wall 820. Activation member 812 of release segment 808 also extends over relief cavity 838. Guide ring segment 828 is connected to elevation ring 802 and connecting member 830 extends from guide ring segment 828 inwardly. A retaining pin 832 extends downwards from connecting member 830 and is one of the two pins (the other being an identical pin extending from th other connecting member 830) that are used to securely connect retaining mechanism 552 a to apertures 554 a and 556 a (shown in FIG. 8A).

FIG. 15D shows retaining pin 832 extending from connecting member 830. Retaining pin 832 is a segmented pin with an enlarged head having four identical resilient segments 834 with relief slots 836 there between. Segments 834 are biased towards each other to reduce the enlarged head so that it can be inserted in aperture 554 a or 556 a Once it is inserted in the aperture, the biasing force is discontinued and the enlarged head returns to its resting position to securely retain retaining pin 832 and securely connect retaining mechanism 552 a to housing 60 a (shown in FIG. 8B). A retaining mechanism is connected likewise to a cover when a cover is used to store a compact disk.

Referring now to FIGS. 15A through 15C, a compact disk is attached by simultaneously pressing release segments 808 and 818 to retract retaining flanges 814 and 814, passing the interior hole of the compact disk over the retracted flanges 812 and 814 and allowing the compact disk to be intimately received over the segmented exterior cylindrical surface formed by walls 810 and 820 and guide ring segments 826 and 828. The compact disk comes to rest on the upper portion of elevation ring 802 whereby it does not touch the bottom of the housing to avoid scratching or other damage that can be caused by such contact. When the pressing on release segments 808 and 818 is discontinued, the resilient release segments 808 and 818 return to the resting position thereby returning the retaining flanges 814 and 814 to their resting position to retain the compact disk in the housing. The compact disk is released by similarly pressing the resilient release segments 808 and 818 to retract the retaining flanges 814 and 824 and pass the compact disk over the retracted flanges.

Another compact disk retaining mechanism 850 is shown in FIGS. 16A and 16C. Retaining mechanism 850 includes an elevation ring 851, a main body 852 comprising branches 854, 856 and 858 and connecting members 853 and 855, and curved fingers 868, 870, 872, 874, 876 and 878. The end portions of branches 854, 856 and 858 are attached to elevation ring 851 and have outer arc ends 860, 862 and 864, respectively, that form a segmented outer cylindrical surface suitably sized to intimately receive a compact disk over it. Elevation ring 851 has an exterior conical surface with a lower exterior diameter 881 being larger than an upper exterior diameter 883. Upper exterior diameter 883 is substantially equal to the diameter of outer arc ends 860, 862 and 864.

Curved fingers 868 and 870 extend circumferentially in opposite directions from the end portion of branch 854 with the exterior surfaces of curved fingers 868 and 870 transitioning smoothly from outer arc end 860 at the points of connection and gradually advancing beyond the imaginary circumference of the segmented cylinder formed by arc ends 860, 862 and 864. A retaining flange 869 extends from curved finger 868 with the extension span of retaining flange 869 gradually and smoothly increasing from nil to its maximum as one advances from the point of connection of curved finger 868 and outer arc end 860 to the free end of curved finger 868. Similar retaining flanges 871, 873, 875, 877 and 879 with similarly increasing spans extend from curved fingers 870, 872, 874, 876 and 878, respectively. The upper surfaces of fingers 868, 870, 872, 874, 876 and 878 are tapered with the higher end being on the inside and the lower end being on the outside.

Each one of connecting members 853 and 855 includes retaining pin 832 like the one previously described in connection with retaining mechanism 552 a in FIG. 15D. Retaining pins 832 securely connects retaining mechanism 850 to housing 60 a (shown in FIG. 8B). A retaining mechanism is connected likewise to a cover when a cover is used to store a compact disk.

Referring now to FIG. 16D, there is shown a cross sectional view of retaining mechanism 850 taken along line 16D-16D of FIG. 16A. There is shown elevation ring 851 with lower diameter 881 and upper diameter 883, branch 858 of body 852 having an outer arc end 864, connecting members 853 and 855 with retaining pins 832, and finger 870 having retaining flange 871.

Referring now to FIG. 16D, there is shown an enlargement of the section of FIG. 16B encircled by circle 16D. There is shown finger 870 having an exterior surface extending beyond the surface defined by upper diameter 883 of elevation ring 851 and a retaining flange 871 extending from finger 870. Upper outer facing surface 885 of flange 871 is curved. Referring now to FIG. 16E, there is shown an enlargement of section of FIG. 16C enclosed by circle 16E showing finger 874 having retaining flange 875.

In order to engage the compact disk with retaining mechanism 850, the interior opening of the compact disk is aligned with the segmented outer cylindrical surface formed by outer arc ends 860, 862 and 864 and is pressed down on curved fingers 868, 870, 872, 874, 876 and 878. The pressure causes curved fingers 868, 870, 872, 874, 876 and 878 with the upper tapered ends to move inwardly until the compact disk passes over flanges 869, 871, 873, 875, 877 and 879 and comes to rest on elevation ring 851. The restoring force causes resilient curved fingers 868, 870, 872, 874, 876 and 878 to move outwards and flanges 869, 871, 873, 875, 877 and 879 to retainingly engage the compact disk.

Referring to FIG. 17A, there is shown soft case 18 a which is also shown in FIG. 1A as part of array 18. Soft case 18 a is made by bonding together plastic sheets of well known material suitable material for the construction of soft cases. Soft case 18 a includes a pocket 900 a formed between base sheet 901 a and front sheet 902 a to receive and house compact disk 550. A generally triangularly shaped flap 906 a (shown is a partially opened position) with its fixed end attached adjacent to end 907 a is configured so as to allow the insertion of the compact disk, in the open position, and to close the open end of pocket 900 a, in the closed position, to protect the enclosed compact disk from dust, scratching and the like as well as from sliding out of the pockets. A small pocket 908 a adjacent to end 907 a formed by base sheet 901 a and a narrow front strip receives a small portion 909 a of compact disk 550 and serves as a stop and stabilizing element for compact disk 550.

An extension 910 a extends outwardly on one side of soft case 18 a and an extension 920 a which is a mirror image of extension 910 a extends outwardly on the other side of soft case 18 a. Extension 910 a includes an elongate pouch 911 a for housing an elongate flat strip 912 a having two flat sides, one magnetic or one non magnetic. Strip 912 a is inserted in or removed from pouch 911 a through aperture 913 a. Strip 912 a can be one piece having one magnetic and one non magnetic section connected together or two separate flat strips, one magnetic and one non magnetic. Pouch 911 a has an elongate opening 915 a over a portion of strip 912 a to allow the direct contact of the strip with another strip. Extension 910 a further includes hole 26 a. Extension 920 a, being a mirror image of extension 910 a includes an elongate pouch 921 a for housing an elongate flat strip 922 a having two flat sides, one magnetic and on non magnetic. Strip 922 a can be inserted in or removed from pouch 921 a through aperture 923 a. Pouch 921 a has an elongate opening 925 a over a portion of strip 922 a to allow the direct contact of the strip with another strip. Extension 920 a further includes hole 20 a.

Soft case 18 a includes bonded sections 914 a and 924 a Hole 24 a is disposed in bonded section 914 a and hole 22 a is disposed in bonded section 924 a Holes 20 a, 22 a, 24 a and 26 a are positioned on a straight line and the distance between hole 20 a and hole 24 a is substantially equal to the distance between holes 22 a and 26 a. That distance is about 108 millimeters. The distance between holes 20 a and 26 a is about 1355 millimeters.

Soft case 18 a further includes straps 930 a, 932 a, 934 a and 936 a which are used to connect soft cases like soft case 18 a together. Strap 930 a is a generally flat member having a semicircular exterior end portion 938 a, a semicircular cut 940 a forming a semicircular interior portion 942 a and a rectangular aperture 944 a between cut 940 a and hole 26 a.

Strap 936 a is a mirror image of strap 930 a and strap 934 a is a mirror image of strap 932 a with respect to a plane which is perpendicular to extension 910 a. Strap 932 a is a mirror image of strap 930 a and strap 934 a is a mirror image of strap 936 a with respect to a plane which is perpendicular to the plane of case 18 a and parallel with extensions 910 a and 920 a. Accordingly, strap 932 a includes a semicircular exterior end portion 917 a, a semicircular cut 919 a forming a semicircular interior portion 927 a and a rectangular aperture 945 a. Strap 934 a includes a semicircular exterior end portion 933 a, a semicircular cut 935 a forming a semicircular interior portion 937 a and a rectangular aperture 929 a. Strap 936 a includes a semicircular exterior end portion 948 a, a semicircular cut 950 a forming a semicircular interior portion 952 a and a rectangular aperture 954 a. The sheets used to form soft case 18 a are bonded in bonded sections 914 a and 924 a, straps 930 a, 932 a, 934 a and 936 a, end 907 a and on extensions 910 a and 920 a, interiorly and exteriorly of pouches 911 a and 921 a.

Referring now to FIG. 17B, there is shown a soft case 19 a which is similar to soft case 18 a except for the fact that its pocket is increased by removing bonded sections 914 a and 924 a and holes 22 a and 24 a. Booklets or the like can be stored in the increased size pocket. Soft case 19 a is used only in connection with binders that have rings that are spaced at a distance of 1355 millimeters.

Soft case 18 a may be constructed with one pocket or with two pockets, one on the front and one on the back. Referring now to FIG. 18A, there is shown a cross sectional view of soft case 18 a having one pocket taken along line 18-18 of FIG. 17A. Soft case 18 a has pocket 900 a formed between front sheet 901 a and base sheet 902 a to receive and house compact disk 550. Extension 910 a extends outwardly on one side of soft case 18 a and extension 920 a which is a mirror image of extension 910 a extends outwardly on the other side of soft case 18 a. Extension 910 a includes pouch 911 a for housing strip 912 a which includes a magnetic and a non magnetic portion. Extension 920 a includes pouch 921 a for housing flat strip 922 a which includes a magnetic and a non magnetic portion. The sheets forming soft case 18 a are bonded on extensions 910 a and 920 a, interiorly and exteriorly of pouches 911 a and 921 a, at 953 a, 955 a, 965 a and 963 a.

FIG. 18C is an enlargement of the section of soft case 18 a encircled in FIG. 18A by circle 18C. There is shown soft case 18 a with pocket 900 a formed between base sheet 901 a and front sheet 902 a housing compact disk 550. Extension 920 a includes pouch 921 a housing flat strip 922 a and having opening 925 a over it. Strip 922 a includes an upper portion 959 a and a lower portion 961 a. Depending on whether the configuration is western or eastern, one of portions 959 a and 961 a is magnetic and the other non magnetic. The sheets forming soft case 18 a are bonded at 965 a and 963 a.

Referring now to FIG. 18B, there is shown a cross sectional view of a soft case 218 a having two pockets. Soft case 218 a is similar to soft case 18 a except that soft case 218 a has two pockets. Soft case 218 a has pocket 900 a formed between front sheet 901 a and base sheet 902 a and a pocket 990 a formed between base sheet 902 a and back sheet 931 a housing compact disks 550. Extension 930 a extends outwardly from the middle section of one side of soft case 218 a and extension 940 a which is a mirror image of extension 930 a extends outwardly on the other side of soft case 218 a. Extension 930 a includes pouch 911 a for housing magnetic or non magnetic strip 912 a and a pouch 941 a for housing a magnetic or non magnetic strip 942 a. Extension 940 a includes pouch 921 a for housing flat magnetic or non magnetic strip 922 a and a pouch 951 a for housing a magnetic or non magnetic strip 952 a. The sheets forming soft case 218 a are bonded on extensions 930 a and 940 a at 973 a, 975 a, 985 a and 983 a.

FIG. 18D is an enlargement of the section of soft case 218 a encircled in FIG. 18B by circle 18D. There is shown soft case 218 a with pockets 900 a and 990 a formed between base sheet 902 a and front sheet 901 a and base sheet 902 a and back sheet 931 a housing compact disks 550. Extension 940 a includes pouch 921 a for housing flat magnetic or non magnetic strip 922 a and having opening 925 a over it, and a pouch 951 a for housing a magnetic or non magnetic strip 952 a and having an opening 955 a over it. The sheets forming soft case 218 a are bonded at 985 a and 983 a.

Referring now to FIG. 19A there are shown soft cases 18 a and 18 d connected to form half of array 18 shown in FIG. 1A. As previously described, soft case 18 a has straps 930 a, 932 a, 934 a and 936 a which are used to connect soft cases like soft case 18 a together. Soft case 18 d is identical to soft case 18 a and the corresponding parts thereof are designated by the same numbers as the ones used for soft case 18 a followed by the letter “d” substituting for the letter “a.” Accordingly, soft case 18 d has straps 930 d, 932 d, 934 d and 936 d which are used to connect it to another soft case. Soft case 18 d is connected to soft case 18 a by engaging strap 936 a with strap 930 d and strap 934 a with strap 932 d.

Referring now to FIG. 19B, there is shown an enlarged view of the engagement between straps 934 a and 932 d in the area contained within circle 19B. Strap 934 a extending from soft case 18 a engages strap 932 d extending from case 18 d by inserting semicircular exterior portion 933 a and semicircular interior portion 937 a of strap 934 a through a rectangular aperture 945 d and expanding portions 933 a and 937 a to securely engage soft case 18 d. Similarly, strap 932 d engages strap 934 a by inserting semicircular exterior portion 917 d and semicircular interior portion 927 d of strap 932 d through a rectangular aperture 929 a and expanding portions 917 d and 927 a to securely engage soft case 18 a.

Referring back to FIG. 19A, unused straps 930 a, 932 a, 934 d and 936 d are folded inwards to a secure position. Referring to FIG. 19C, there is shown an enlarged view of the folding of strap 930 a of soft case 18 a. Strap 930 a is folded downwardly and rearwardly at 941 a, exterior semicircular portion 938 a and interior semicircular portion 942 a are inserted in rectangular aperture 944 a and are allowed to expand to securely remain in the folded position.

Referring now to FIG. 20A, there are shown four identical soft cases 18 a, 18 b, 18 c and 18 d being connected to form array 18 of FIG. 1A for mounting to a binder. The corresponding parts of each of those identical soft cases are designated by the same numbers followed by the letter corresponding to the specific case. For example, in soft case 18 b, the extension which is identical with extension 910 a of soft case 18 a is 910 b. Accordingly, like soft case 18 a that has extensions 910 a and 920 a, previously described, soft cases 18 b, 18 c and 18 d have extensions 910 b and 920 bs extensions 910 c and 920 c, and extensions 910 d and 920 d.

Soft cases 18 a and 18 d are connected to each other, as previously described in connection with FIGS. 19A, 19B and 19C. Further, soft cases 18 b and 18 c are connected to each other in a similar fashion by using corresponding straps. Still referring to FIG. 20A, identical housings 18 a and 18 b are aligned for connection to binder 32 (not shown in FIG. 20A but shown in FIG. 1B) by superimposing extension 910 a over extension 920 b and hole 26 a over hole 20 b. Strip 912 a in extensions 910 a has a lower magnetic section and an upper non magnetic section. Strip 922 b in extension 920 b has an upper magnetic section and a lower non magnetic section. The magnetic sections of strips 912 a and 922 b cause extensions 910 a and 920 b to stick together. Similarly, identical housings 18 d and 18 c are aligned for connection by superimposing extension 910 d over extension 920 c with strips having magnetic and non magnetic sections being disposed therein to strengthen the engagement there between. In that position, holes 26 b, 24 b, 22 b, 20 b, 26 a, 24 a, 22 a and 20 a are positioned in a straight line for connection to binder 2, as the one shown in FIG. 1A or binder 32, as the one shown in FIG. 1B.

Still referring to FIG. 20A, when soft cases 18 a, 18 b, 18 c and 18 d are connected as shown and inserted into binder 2 (shown in FIG. 1A), the turning of soft case 18 b from right to left (western style) causes extension 920 b to lift extension 910 a thereby turning soft case 18 a at the same time. Similarly the turning of soft case 18 c causes soft case 18 d to turn also.

If the arrangement of the extensions shown in FIG. 20A is changed by superimposing extension 920 b over extension 910 a and extension 920 c over extension 910 d, the turning of the soft cases previously described will be changed from left to right.

Referring now to FIG. 20B, there is shown the connection between double pocket soft cases 218 a and 218 b, if the single pocket soft cases of FIG. 20A are replaced with double pocket soft cases. Soft case 218 a was described in FIG. 18B and soft case 218 b is identical with soft case 218 a. There is shown extension 930 a of soft case 218 a being superimposed over extension 940 b of soft case 218 b. Extension 930 a has a nonmagnetic strip 912 a on top and a magnetic strip 942 a at the bottom. Extension 940 b has a magnetic strip 922 b on top and a non magnetic strip 952 b, at the bottom. That arrangement facilitates the western style turning from right to left. To effect a reverse turning style, i.e. eastern style turning from left to right the superimposition of extensions 930 a and 940 b is reversed by superimposing extension 940 b over extension 930 a, as shown in FIG. 20C. Extension 940 b has nonmagnetic strip 922 b on top and magnetic strip 952 b at the bottom. Extension 930 a has magnetic strip 912 a on top and nonmagnetic strip 942 a, at the bottom.

Referring now to FIG. 21A, a page soft case 36 u made in accordance with the present invention for storing media is an integral flat piece constructed by bonding together plastic sheets. The sheets are made of well known soft plastic material commonly used for the construction of soft madia cases. Page soft case 36 u has holes 38, 40, 42, 44 and 46, in sequence, advancing from one side to the other. The distance between holes 38 and 42 is equal to the distance between holes 42 and 46 and it is about 1355 millimeters. The distance between holes 40 and 42 is equal to the distance between holes 42 and 44 and it is about 108 millimeters. Page soft case 36 u can be pivotally connected to a binder like binder 2 by receiving the rings in holes 40, 42 and 44 or to a binder like binder 32 by receiving the rings in holes 38, 42 and 46.

Case 36 u includes, on one side, four pockets 48, 50, 52 and 54, in a two by two array configuration, each pocket being suitable for receiving a medium. Each pocket is formed between base sheet 37 and front sheet 39 to receive and house compact disk 550 inserted therein through open ends. The closed end of pocket 48 includes a bonded section 21 wherein hole 40 is disposed and a bonded section 23. The closed end of pocket 50 includes a bonded section 27 and a bonded section 29 wherein hole 44 is disposed. The open ends of pockets 48 and 50 are on the portion of the pocket which is distant to the side that is mountable to the binder. The open ends of pockets 54 and 52 face towards the top end of page soft case 36 u.

The open ends of pockets 48, 50, 52 and 54 are covered by generally triangularly shaped flaps 56 a, 56 b, 56 c and 56 d (shown in a partially opened position), respectively, whose fixed ends are connected to the end of the respective pocket and are configured so as to allow the insertion of the media, in the open position, and to cover the open ends of those pockets, in the closed position, to protect the enclosed media from dust, scratching and the like as well as from sliding out of the pockets. Although flaps 56 a, 56, 56 c and 56 d are connected to the ends of their respective pockets, they are not creased at those ends, but at a point which is a short distance interiorly of those ends to form small pockets 58 a, 58 b, 58 c and 58 d, respectively, that serve as a stop and stabilizing element for compact disk 550. Pockets 52 and 54 are square and have a larger capacity than pockets 48 and 50 whose capacity is reduced by the bonded sections 21 and 23, and 27 and 29. Accordingly, one may store in pockets 52 and 54 booklets which sometimes accompany compact disks. Page soft case 36 u further includes a title strip 59 a, at the top end of pocket 48, a title strip 59 b, at the top end of pocket 54, a title strip 59 c, at the bottom end of pocket 52, a title strip 59 d, at the bottom of pocket 50, and a title strip 59 e between pockets 48 and 50. Each title strip is a narrow elongate pouch formed by the top and bottom sheets and has small openings for inserting the written title material.

In an alternative embodiment, similar pockets can be placed on the rear end of page soft case 36 u in an arrangement which mirrors the arrangement set forth above to form a two sided page soft case having eight pockets.

In an alternative construction of page soft case 36 u, bonded sections 21, 23, 27 and 29 and holes 40 and 44 of page soft case 36 u are eliminated to increase the capacity of pockets 48 and 50. That alternative construction is shown as page soft case 36 in FIG. 21B wherein pockets 48 and 50 of page soft case 36 u are replaced by pockets 49 and 51, respectively. The three remaining holes 38, 42 and 46 are used to receive rings 34 a, 34 b and 34 c of binder 32, as shown in FIG. 1B.

Referring now to FIG. 22A, there is shown page soft case 360 which is page soft case 36 u of FIG. 21A with straps 367, 369, 371, 373 and 375 attached thereto. Those straps are similar to straps 930 a, 932 a, 934 a and 936 a which were described in FIG. 17A and are used to connect page soft case 360 with page soft cases having similar straps in a manner similar to the one described before. FIG. 22B shows a page soft case 650 which is case 36 of FIG. 21B with straps 367, 369, 371, 373 and 375 attached thereto to connect case 650 with other cases having similar straps.

While preferred embodiments of the invention have been shown and described, modifications thereof can be made by one skilled in the art without departing from the spirit of the invention.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7475816 *Aug 12, 2005Jan 13, 2009Rochelo Donald RProtective case for a plurality of different sized memory cards
WO2014184822A1 *May 14, 2013Nov 20, 2014Fujiplastic Co.,Ltd.Two-disc tray equipped with disc holder
Classifications
U.S. Classification206/308.1, G9B/33.015, 211/40
International ClassificationG11B33/04, B65D85/57
Cooperative ClassificationG11B33/045
European ClassificationG11B33/04D2B1