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Publication numberUS20050284718 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/879,369
Publication dateDec 29, 2005
Filing dateJun 28, 2004
Priority dateJun 28, 2004
Publication number10879369, 879369, US 2005/0284718 A1, US 2005/284718 A1, US 20050284718 A1, US 20050284718A1, US 2005284718 A1, US 2005284718A1, US-A1-20050284718, US-A1-2005284718, US2005/0284718A1, US2005/284718A1, US20050284718 A1, US20050284718A1, US2005284718 A1, US2005284718A1
InventorsWoon Tai
Original AssigneeTai Woon S
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Collapsible container
US 20050284718 A1
Abstract
In accordance with the present invention there is provided devices and methods for an improved collapsible container that includes a base, which has a portion moveable between a collapsed and expanded position, at least one wheel associated with the one side of the base and a body associated with the base, where the body is moveable between a collapsed and expanded position. The container uses a zipper mechanism as a means to retain the moveable portions of the container in its collapsed and expanded positions. The container further includes support members configured to shape and retain the collapsible portion of the body member. The support members may be in the form of removable members or alternatively, the support members may be integrated within or upon the body member.
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Claims(20)
1. A collapsible container, said collapsible container comprising:
a base member, said base member having a portion movable between a first and second position;
at least one wheel member associated with a first side of said base member; and
a body member associated with said base member, said body member movable between a collapsed position and an expanded position.
2. The collapsible container according to claim 1, wherein said body member further includes at least one support member.
3. The collapsible container according to claim 2, wherein said support member is removable.
4. The collapsible container according to claim 2, wherein said support member is resilient.
5. The collapsible container according to claim 1, wherein said base member includes a hinge, said hinge defining said movable portion.
6. The collapsible container according to claim 5, wherein said wheel member is in association with said movable portion of said base member.
7. The collapsible container according to claim 6, wherein said base member further includes a zipper, said zipper configured to retain said movable portion of said base member in said first and second positions.
8. A non-rigid collapsible container, said collapsible container comprising:
a semi-rigid base member, said base member having a portion movable between a first and second position;
at least one wheel member associated with a first side of said base member;
a body member associated with said base member, said body member movable between a collapsed position and an expanded position; and
a support member, said support member associated with the body member, wherein the support member is configured to support at least a portion of the body member when the body member is disposed in an expanded position.
9. The collapsible container according to claim 8, wherein said support member is resilient.
10. The collapsible container according to claim 9, wherein said base member includes a hinge, said hinge defining said movable portion.
11. The collapsible container according to claim 10, wherein said wheel member is in association with said movable portion of said base member.
12. The collapsible container according to claim 11, wherein said base member further includes a zipper, said zipper configured to retain said movable portion of said base member in said first and second positions.
13. The collapsible container according to claim 12, wherein the base member is generally rectangular.
14. The collapsible container according to claim 12, wherein the base member is generally oval.
15. The collapsible container according to claim 12, wherein the base member is generally square.
16. A collapsible container, comprising:
a semi-rigid base member, said base member having a portion movable between a first and second position, wherein said base member is at least partially covered with a material;
at least two wheel members fixedly attached to a first side of said base member;
a body member associated with said base member, said body member movable between a collapsed position and an expanded position; and
a support member, said support member associated with the body member, wherein the support member is configured to support at least a portion of the body member when the body member is disposed in an expanded position.
17. The collapsible container of claim 16, wherein the base member further includes a zipper assembly, said zipper assembly configured to engage a portion of the body member.
18. The collapsible container of claim 17, wherein said support member is resilient.
19. The collapsible container of claim 18, wherein said base member further include a handle.
20. The collapsible container of claim 19, wherein said body member further includes a handle.
Description
TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention is generally related to luggage and containers, and more particularly related to expandable, wheeled luggage and containers.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The use of a collapsible bag, container or luggage item is often preferred inasmuch as such items are more easily stored because they can be folded or made compact when not in use. Additionally, such items are typically lighter in weight. Also, because soft-sided luggage items, containers or bags have flexible sides, they may be used to hold and transport uniquely shaped items that could not be easily placed and stored in a hard-sided luggage item or container. Further, flexible bags are often more economical to manufacture and easier to move or transport.

Examples of various containers or luggage items are shown, in the following United States patents: Shyr et al., U.S. Pat. No. 5,307,908; Tan, U.S. Pat. No. 6,401,890; Godshaw et al., U.S. Pat. No. 6,550,592; Kotkins, Jr., U.S. Pat. No. 5,209,328; Knight, U.S. Pat. No. 4,160,496; Cohen, U.S. Pat. No. 4,756,394.

Although such bag, container or luggage items have achieved popularity and commercial success, there has been a continuing need for improvement.

A shortcoming of bags such as those shown in the above referenced patents is that many times the wheels are left exposed when the bag is disposed in its folded state. This is undesirable because the wheels may be dirty from having been used on various surfaces such as sidewalks, streets or other unclean surfaces. Therefore it is desirable to design a collapsible bag wherein the wheels are not exposed when the bag is in a collapsed state. As shown in U.S. Pat. No. 4,756,394, the bag shown and described therein does not dispose the wheels in a folded state but rather merely contemplates the detachment and removal of the exposed wheels.

An additional shortcoming of those bags shown above is that many of the bags are not collapsible upon the base member of which they extend from. For example, as shown in U.S. Pat. No. 5,307,908 and as shown in U.S. Pat. No. 6,401,890, when the bags shown therein are disposed in a folded state, the sides of the bag extend beyond the area of the base, thereby taking up more space than necessary. As shown in U.S. Pat. No. 4,160,496, the bag does not fold onto the base member but rather the bag is folded by sandwiching the bag between the folded halves of the bag's body member.

A further limitation still of the bags described above is that they cannot be completely expanded from and contracted to its base member with a single zipper. As shown in the above bag, each bag requires multiple folding and/or zippering steps to expand and contract them, thereby taking more time and effort than necessary.

Therefore it is an object of the present invention to provide a collapsible wheeled container, which when disposed in a collapsed state, provide for wheels that are not exposed.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a collapsible wheeled container, wherein when the container is disposed in a collapsed state, the collapsed bag does not extend beyond the area of the base member from which the bag extends from in an un-collapsed state.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a collapsible wheeled container, wherein the collapsed container is expanded from its base member to an expanded state, or vice versa, though a single zipper mechanism.

These and other objects, advantages, and features of the invention will become apparent to those persons skilled in the art upon reading the details of the methods and systems of the present invention which are more fully described below.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides for an improved collapsible container that includes a base, which has a portion moveable between a collapsed and expanded position, at least one wheel associated with the one side of the base and a body associated with the base, where the body is moveable between a collapsed and an expanded position. The container uses a single zipper or other fastening mechanism as a means to retain the moveable portions of the container in its collapsed and expanded positions. The container further includes support members configured to shape and retain the collapsible portion of the body member. The support members may be in the form of removable members or alternatively, the support members may be integrated within or upon the body member.

In accordance with the present invention there is provided: a collapsible container, said collapsible container comprising a base member, said base member having a portion movable between a first and second position; at least one wheel member associated with a first side of said base member; a body member associated with said base member, said body member movable between a collapsed position and an expanded position; at least one support member associated with said body member, said support member being either removable or resilient.

In accordance with the present invention there is provided a non-rigid collapsible container, the collapsible container comprising: a semi-rigid base member, the base member having a portion movable between a first and second position; at least one wheel member associated with a first side of the base member; a body member associated with the base member, the body member movable between a collapsed position and an expanded position; and a support member, the support member associated with the body member, wherein the support member is configured to support at least a portion of the body member when the body member is disposed in an expanded position.

In accordance with the present invention there is provided a collapsible container, including a semi-rigid base member, said base member having a portion movable between a first and second position, wherein the base member is at least partially covered with a material; at least two wheel members fixedly attached to a first side of the base member; a body member associated with the base member, said body member movable between a collapsed position and an expanded position; and support member, the support member associated with the body member, wherein the support member is configured to support at least a portion of the body member when the body member is disposed in an expanded position.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGS.

To facilitate understanding, the same reference numerals have been used (where practical) to designate similar elements that are common to the Figures. Some such numbering has, however, been omitted for the sake of drawing clarity.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the collapsible container of the present invention in an expanded configuration, disclosing the zipper and hinge mechanism and with a partial cutaway to disclose the removable supports.

FIG. 2A, is a perspective view disclosing the process of contraction of the container to its base member.

FIG. 2B is a perspective view disclosing the process of contraction of the container to its base member.

FIG. 2C is a perspective view disclosing the process of contraction of the container to its base member.

FIG. 3A is a perspective view of the collapsible container of the present invention in a contracted configuration.

FIG. 3B is a perspective view of the collapsible container of the present invention in a contracted configuration.

FIG. 4A is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the collapsible container of the present invention in an expanded configuration, disclosing the zipper and hinge mechanism and wireframe support members integrated within or upon the body.

FIG. 4B is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the collapsible container of the present invention, disclosing the zipper and hinge mechanism, the process of contraction of the container to its base member and wireframe support members integrated within or upon the body.

FIG. 4C is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the collapsible container of the present invention, disclosing the zipper and hinge mechanism, the process of contraction of the container to its base member and wireframe support members integrated within or upon the body.

FIG. 4D is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the collapsible container of the present invention, disclosing the zipper and hinge mechanism, the process of contraction of the container to its base member and wireframe support members integrated within or upon the body.

FIG. 4E is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the collapsible container of the present invention, disclosing the zipper and hinge mechanism, the process of contraction of the container to its base member and wireframe support members integrated within or upon the body.

FIG. 4F is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the collapsible container of the present invention, disclosing the zipper and hinge mechanism, the process of contraction of the container to its base member and wireframe support members integrated within or upon the body.

FIG. 4G is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the collapsible container of the present invention, disclosing the zipper and hinge mechanism, the process of contraction of the container to its base member and wireframe support members integrated within or upon the body.

FIG. 4H is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the collapsible container of the present invention, disclosing the zipper and hinge mechanism and the process of contraction of the container to its base member.

FIG. 4I is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the collapsible container of the present invention in a collapsed configuration.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of another preferred embodiment of the collapsible container of the present invention in an expanded configuration, disclosing the zipper and hinge mechanism for a container that is round or oval in shape.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Before the present invention is described in such detail, it is to be understood that this invention is not limited to particular variations set forth herein as various changes or modifications may be made to the invention described and equivalents may be substituted without departing from the true spirit and scope of the invention. In addition, many modifications may be made to adapt a particular situation, material, composition of matter, process, process act(s) or step(s) to the objective(s), spirit or scope of the present invention. All such modifications are intended to be within the scope of the claims made herein.

Methods recited herein may be carried out in any order of the recited events which is logically possible, as well as the recited order of events. Furthermore, where a range of values is provided, it is understood that every intervening value, between the upper and lower limit of that range and any other stated or intervening value in that stated range is encompassed within the invention. Also, it is contemplated that any optional feature of the inventive variations described may be set forth and claimed independently, or in combination with any one or more of the features described herein.

All existing subject matter mentioned herein (e.g., publications, patents, patent applications and hardware) is incorporated by reference herein in its entirety except insofar as the subject matter may conflict with that of the present invention (in which case what is present herein shall prevail). The referenced items are provided solely for their disclosure prior to the filing date of the present application. Nothing herein is to be construed as an admission that the present invention is not entitled to antedate such material by virtue of prior invention. [00351 Reference to a singular item, includes the possibility that there are plural of the same items present. More specifically, as used herein and in the appended claims, the singular forms “a,” “and,” “said” and “the” include plural referents unless the context clearly dictates otherwise. It is further noted that the claims may be drafted to exclude any optional element. As such, this statement is intended to serve as antecedent basis for use of such exclusive terminology as “solely,” “only” and the like in connection with the recitation of claim elements, or use of a “negative” limitation. Last, it is to be appreciated that unless defined otherwise, all technical and scientific terms used herein have the same meaning as commonly understood by one of ordinary skill in the art to which this invention belongs.

The present invention provides for an improved collapsible container that includes a base member, having a portion moveable between a first and second position, wherein at least one wheel associated with one side of the base member. The collapsible container further includes a body member associated with the base member, where the body member is moveable between a collapsed and expanded position. A zipper mechanism or similar closure means may be utilized to retain the moveable portions of the container in its collapsed and expanded positions. In addition to that described above, it is further contemplated that the collapsible container in accordance with the present invention may further include support members configured to shape and retain the collapsible portion of the body member. The support members may be in the form of removable members or alternatively, the support members may be integrated within or upon the body member as will be described in greater detail below.

In accordance with the present invention there is provided a collapsible container including a base member having at least one wheel and a body member. Referring now to FIG. 1, there is shown an exemplary embodiment of the collapsible container in accordance with the present invention, wherein the body member is shown in an expanded state. As shown in FIG. 1, the collapsible container 5 includes a base member 10, having at least one wheel 14 associated with the base member 10, wherein the wheel 14 may be fixedly or removably affixed to the base member 10. As shown in FIG. 1, the collapsible bag 5 further includes a body member 20, wherein the body member may be constructed of a generally flexible material, wherein the body member 20 having a proximal end 21 and a distal end 22, wherein the distal end 22 of the body member 20 is associated with a portion of the base member 10 through a hinge member 11 associated with the base member 10. The body member 20 may further include a handle member 25 disposed adjacent the proximal end 21. As will be described in greater detail below, the body member 20 may further include a stiffening and/or support member wherein the stiffening/support member may be removable 30 or be integrated therewith the body member 20 as a set of semi-rigid panels and/or wireframe support member 26.

As described above and shown in FIG. 1, a portion of the body member 20 adjacent to the distal end 22 is associated with a portion of the base member 10 through a hinge member 11. The hinge member 11 may be constructed of a material such as fabric or other similar material with desirable characteristics or may be embodied as a mechanical device such as a metal hinge, plastic hinge or the like. As shown in FIG. 1, only a portion of the body member 20 is attached to the base member by the hinge portion 11, wherein the remaining portion of the distal end 22 of the body member 20 may be removably attached to the remaining portion of the base member 10. The portion of the body member not associated with the base member through the hinge portion 11 may be removably attached utilizing an attachment means such as zipper mechanisms, snaps, buttons, clips, velcro®, or similar devices which may be used to detachably attach one member to another. In a preferred embodiment, a zipper is utilized to removably attach the portion of the base member to the body member.

As shown in FIG. 1, the base member 10 may be constructed of a rigid or semi-rigid material. Materials from which the base member may be constructed of include; wood, plastic, paper, composite materials, ethylene vinyl acetate (or EVA), metal, plastic, paper, or composite materials. In a preferred embodiment the base member is constructed of a composite material. Further still, as shown and described, the base member may be covered with a material such as cloth, plastic, polyvinylchloride, rubber or similar materials having desirable properties. In a preferred embodiment the base member is covered with a flexible material such as nylon fabric or cloth. The body member may be constructed of any material that is capable of being compressed and/or folded. Examples of suitable materials include cloth, nylon, plastics, composite materials, and leather. In preferred embodiments the body member may be constructed of leather, composite materials, or synthetic materials such as nylon or rayon, and natural fabrics such as cotton and other similar materials having desirable properties.

Referring now to FIGS. 2A through 2C there is shown a collapsible container in accordance with the present invention, wherein the container is shown in an expanded state in FIG. 2A, partially collapsed in FIG. 2B and fully collapsed in FIG. 2C, the process of collapsing the container as shown in FIGS. 2A through 2C will be described in detail below. FIGS. 1 and 2A through 2C together show how a user will collapse the container. As depicted in its expanded state in FIG. 2A, the user will unzip the zipper mechanism 15 of the base member 10, rotating the movable portion of the base member 12 180 degrees so that the base member is open and flat and wheel members 14 are now facing upwards. A user will then fold in the sides of the body member 20, rolling the body member into the fixed portion of the base member 11, removing the removable support members 30, as shown in FIG. 1, or collapsing the wireframe support members 26, as show in FIGS. 4G and 4H until the body member is folded into the base member 11. FIG. 2B shows the container in this partially collapsed state. As show in FIG. 2C, the user will then fold moveable portion of the base member 12 on top of the fixed portion 11 and zip up the container using fastener 15.

Referring now to FIG. 3A, the figure shows the collapsible container, disposed in a collapsed state. A handle 24 is now exposed which is connected to the now exposed side of the fixed portion of the base member 11. The fixed portion of the base member 11 and the moveable portion of the base member 12 are fastened together by the zipper mechanism 15. In its collapsed state, the container can be carried by handle 24.

Referring now to FIG. 3B, there is shown an exemplary embodiment of a container in accordance with the present invention wherein as shown in FIG. 3B, the wheel members 14 are not exposed when the container is disposed within a collapsed state.

Referring now to FIGS. 4A through 4I, there is shown an exemplary embodiment of an alternative collapsible container in accordance with the present invention. As show in FIG. 4A, the collapsible container 5 is constructed similar to that shown and described in FIGS. 1-3 above, wherein the container shown in FIG. 4A alternatively includes wireframe support members 26 integrated within or upon the body member 20. In this particular embodiment, the wireframe support members 26 have been applied to a rectangular body member 20 so that they outline the shape of the body member 20. The wireframe support members 26 can be made of a number of metallic, synthetic or natural materials that possess both flexible and rigid characteristics, including, but not limited to, steel, stainless steel, titanium, aluminum, polycarbonate, polyurethane, glass filled plastics and similar materials having desirable properties.

As depicted in FIGS. 4B and 4C, a user collapsing this embodiment of the container will first undo both snap fastening members 27 (FIG. 4D) and velcro® fastening members 28 (FIG. 4C) that hold the edges of the body member 20 to the edges of the base member 10. The fastening members can be composed of a combination of snaps, buttons, clips, velcro®, or similar devices and/or cloth, fabric or other similar materials with such desirable characteristics. User will then as depicted in FIG. 4D, unzip zipper mechanism 15 of the base member 10, rotating the moveable portion of the base member 12 180 degrees so that the base member is open and flat and wheel members 14 are now facing upwards as depicted in FIGS. 4E and 4F. User then folds the body member 20 into the fixed portion of base member 11 by collapsing the wireframe support members 26 as depicted in FIGS. 4G and 4H. User then completes the process by folding the moveable portion of the base member 12 on top the fixed portion 11 and fastens the two with the zipper mechanism 15 as depicted in FIG. 4I. In its collapsed state, the container can be carried by handle 24 and personal information displayed in the card holder 29.

Referring now to FIG. 5, there is shown another preferred embodiment a container in accordance with the present invention where as show in FIG. 5, the collapsible container 5 has a base member 10 and a body member 20 that is round or oval in shape. Wherein the container shown in FIG. 5 functions in the same or a similar manner in that shown and described above with respect to the other embodiments of the present invention.

The instant invention is shown and described herein in what is considered to be the most practical, and preferred embodiments. It is recognized, however, that departures may be made there from, which are within the scope of the invention, and that obvious modifications will occur to one skilled in the art upon reading this disclosure.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7458451 *Jan 26, 2006Dec 2, 2008Travel Caddy, Inc.Collapsible storage and carrying case
US7500547Aug 14, 2006Mar 10, 2009Max Mirani LlcCollapsible expanding luggage
US8231058Jul 24, 2009Jul 31, 2012Target Brands, Inc.Transaction product assembly with pocket and supporting backer
US8287188Jan 14, 2010Oct 16, 2012Target Brands, Inc.Reusable bag
US20110235950 *Mar 28, 2011Sep 29, 2011Chien-Pang LinFoldable Bag
Classifications
U.S. Classification190/107, 190/18.00A, 383/4
International ClassificationA45C7/00, B65D5/36, A45C5/14, B65D30/00
Cooperative ClassificationA45C5/14, A45C7/0077
European ClassificationA45C7/00D3