Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS20070175787 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/533,280
Publication dateAug 2, 2007
Filing dateSep 19, 2006
Priority dateJan 9, 2004
Publication number11533280, 533280, US 2007/0175787 A1, US 2007/175787 A1, US 20070175787 A1, US 20070175787A1, US 2007175787 A1, US 2007175787A1, US-A1-20070175787, US-A1-2007175787, US2007/0175787A1, US2007/175787A1, US20070175787 A1, US20070175787A1, US2007175787 A1, US2007175787A1
InventorsAaron Lown, John Swartz
Original AssigneeAaron Lown, Swartz John R
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Multi-Pack Tote Apparatus
US 20070175787 A1
Abstract
A tote bag apparatus includes a plurality of panel members joined together forming individual bounded container regions for securing containers. The panel members are joined in varying multi-panel designs limiting unintended container contact, limiting damage and thermal transfer while providing secure transport. During use, the present embodiments enable a plurality of external consumer products to be stored in a stable manner without risk of tipping.
Images(55)
Previous page
Next page
Claims(21)
1. A multi-pack tote apparatus; comprising:
at least a first panel group;
said at least first panel group including a first and a second panel sheet partially joined along perimeter portions by a first perimeter attachment connection forming a first initial bounded receiving region therewithin and a first open access portal for accessing said first initial bounded receiving region;
at least a first defining attachment connection joining respective inner regions of said first and said second panel members thereby forming said first initial bounded receiving region into at least a first and a second bounded item receiving region in said first panel group;
at least a second panel group;
said at least second panel group including a third and a fourth panel sheet partially joined along perimeter portions by a second perimeter attachment connection forming a second initial bounded receiving region therewithin and a second open access portal for accessing said second initial bounded receiving region;
at least a second defining attachment connection joining respective inner regions of said third and fourth panel members; thereby forming said second initial bounded region into at least a third and a fourth bounded item receiving region in said second panel group; and
at least a first and a second connection attachment joining portions of said first and said second bounded item receiving regions with said respective portions of said third and said fourth bounded item receiving region; whereby said first and second attachment connections fixably join first and second panel groups in a flexible manner.
2. A multi-pack tote apparatus; according to claim 1; further comprising:
a plurality of shaped bottom sections on respective portions of each said panel sheet distally disposed respective to said first and second open access portals;
said shaped bottom sections on respective said panel sheets joined by respective said perimeter attachment connections in each said at least first and second panel groups; and
at least one said shaped bottom section on each said bounded item receiving region; whereby during an insertion of an external carry item into at least one of said bounded item receiving regions; said shaped bottom section and said respective bounded item region distend to securely bound said carry item and provide a substantially smooth connection with an external support surface.
3. A multi-pack apparatus; according to claim 1; further comprising:
at least a first gusset member joining respective bottom portions of said first and second panel sheets in said at least first panel group distal said first open access portal; and
at least a first gusset attachment connection fixing said first gusset member to respective first and second panel sheets; whereby during an insertion of an external carry item in one of said bounded item receiving regions; said gusset and at least one of said bounded item receiving regions distend to securely bound said external carry item and provide a substantially smooth connection with an external support surface.
4. A multi-pack apparatus; according to claim 3; further comprising:
at least a second gusset member joining respective bottom portions of said third and fourth panel sheets in said at least second panel group distal said second open access portal; and
at least a second gusset attachment connection fixing said second gusset member to respective third and fourth panel sheets.
5. A multi-pack tote apparatus; according to claim 1; wherein:
each said panel sheet includes at least one of a textile material; an elastomeric material; and a thin-film material.
6. A multi-pack tote apparatus; according to claim 6; wherein:
each said panel sheet includes an elastomeric material; whereby said first and second panel groups enable an elastomeric gripping and retention of inserted external items to be carried and ready adaptation to an external geometry of said item.
7. A multi-pack tote apparatus; according to claim 6; wherein:
said elastomeric material is a thermal isolating material; whereby a thermal transfer from said item to be carried is minimized.
8. A multi-pack tote apparatus; according to claim 1; further comprising:
at least a first handle opening on one of said first and said second panel sheets in said first panel group; and
at least a second handle opening on one of said third and said fourth panel sheets in said second panel group; whereby said handle openings enable a ready transportation of said multi-tote pack.
9. A multi-pack tote apparatus; according to claim 1; further comprising:
a carry mechanism for securely engaging said multi-pack tote apparatus for transport; and
said carry mechanism being at least one of a carry handle; a support strap; a waist-belt strap; a shoulder strap; and a bandoleer strap; whereby said at least one enables a ready transportation of said multi-tote apparatus.
10. A multi-pack tote apparatus; according to claim 1; further comprising:
a securing mechanism for releasably securing at least portions of said panel sheets relative to each other for bounding at least one of said first and said second open access portals from unintended release of external transport items retained within bounded item receiving regions.
11. A multi-pack tote apparatus; according to claim 10; wherein:
said securing mechanism is at least one of a snap closure; a buckle closure; a zipper closure; a Velcro closure; and an adhesive closure.
12. A multi-pack tote apparatus; according to claim 1; further comprising:
at least a third panel group;
said at least third panel group including a fifth and a second panel sheet partially joined along perimeter portions by a third perimeter attachment connection forming a third initial bounded receiving region therewithin and a third open access portal for accessing said third initial bounded receiving region;
at least a third defining attachment connection joining respective inner regions of said third and said fourth panel members thereby forming said third initial bounded receiving region into at least a fifth and a sixth bounded item receiving region in said third panel group; and
at least a third and a fourth connection attachment joining portions of said third and said fourth bounded item receiving regions with respective portions of said fifth and said sixth item receiving regions; whereby said third and fourth attachment connections join second and third panel groups thereby forming an expanded multi-tote apparatus.
13. A multi-pack tote apparatus; comprising:
a first panel group:
said first panel group including at least a first and a second panel sheet partially joined along a perimeter section by a first perimeter attachment connection forming at first initial bounded receiving region therewithin and a first open access portal for accessing said first initial bounded receiving region;
at least two defining attachment connections joining respective spaced-apart inner regions of said first and said second panel members; thereby forming said first initial bounded receiving region into at least a first; a second; and a third bounded item receiving region in said first panel group; and
at least a first carry opening on said first and said second panel sheet projecting upwardly away from said at least two defining attachment connections; whereby said multi-pack tote apparatus may be conveniently carried.
14. A multi-pack tote apparatus; according to claim 13; further comprising:
a plurality of shaped bottom sections on respective portions of each said panel sheets distally disposed respective to said first open access portal;
said shaped bottom sections on respective said panel sheets joined by respective said perimeter attachment connection in said first panel group; and
at least one said shaped bottom section on each said bounded item receiving region; whereby during an insertion of an external carry item into at least one of said bounded item receiving regions; said shaped bottom section and said respective bounded item region distend to securely bound said carry item and provide a substantially smooth connection with an external support surface.
15. A multi-pack apparatus; according to claim 13; further comprising:
at least a first gusset member joining respective bottom portions of said first panel sheets in said at least first panel group distal said first open access portal; and
at least a first gusset attachment connection fixing said first gusset member to respective first and second panel sheets; whereby during an insertion of an external carry item in one of said bounded item receiving regions; said gusset and at least one of said bounded item receiving regions distend to securely bound said external carry item and provide a substantially smooth connection with an external support surface.
16. A multi-pack tote apparatus; according to claim 13; wherein:
each said panel sheet includes at least one of a textile material; an elastomeric material; and a thin-film material.
17. A multi-pack tote apparatus; according to claim 16; further comprising:
a securing mechanism for releasably securing at least portions of said panel sheets relative to each other for bounding at least one of said first open access portal from unintended release of external transport items retained within bounded item receiving regions.
18. A multi-pack tote apparatus; comprising:
at least a first panel group;
said at least first panel group including a first and a second panel sheet partially joined along perimeter portions by a first perimeter attachment connection forming a first initial bounded receiving region therewithin and a first open access portal for accessing said first initial bounded receiving region;
at least a first defining attachment connection joining respective inner regions of said first and said second panel members thereby forming said first initial bounded receiving region into at least a first and a second bounded item receiving region in said first panel group;
at least a second panel group;
said at least second panel group including a third and a fourth panel sheet partially joined along perimeter portions by a second perimeter attachment connection forming a second initial bounded receiving region therewithin and a second open access portal for accessing said second initial bounded receiving region; and
at least a first connection attachment joining a portion of said first and said second initial bounded receiving regions; whereby said first and second attachment connections fixably join first and second panel groups in a flexible manner.
19. A multi-pack tote apparatus; according to claim 18; further comprising:
a plurality of shaped bottom sections on respective portions of each said panel sheet distally disposed respective to said first and second open access portals;
said shaped bottom sections on respective said panel sheets joined by respective said perimeter attachment connections in each said at least first and second panel groups; and
at least one said shaped bottom section on each said bounded item receiving region; whereby during an insertion of an external carry item into at least one of said bounded item receiving regions; said shaped bottom section and said respective bounded item region distend to securely bound said carry item and provide a substantially smooth connection with an external support surface.
20. A multi-pack apparatus; according to claim 18; further comprising:
at least a first gusset member joining respective bottom portions of said first and second panel sheets in said at least first panel group distal said first open access portal; and
at least a first gusset attachment connection fixing said first gusset member to respective first and second panel sheets; whereby during an insertion of an external carry item in one of said bounded item receiving regions; said gusset and at least one of said bounded item receiving regions distend to securely bound said external carry item and provide a substantially smooth connection with an external support surface.
21. A method for assembly a multi-pack apparatus; comprising the steps of:
assembly a first and a second panel sheet in a first panel group;
stitching a perimeter portion of said first panel group together forming a first initial bounded receiving region therewithin;
assembling a third and a fourth panel sheet in a second panel group;
stitching a perimeter portion of said second panel group together forming a second initial bounded receiving region therewithin;
defining at least a first and a second bounded item receiving region in said first initial bounded receiving region by performing a defining attachment of proximate portions of said first and said second panel sheet;
defining at least a third and a fourth bounded item receiving region in said second initial bounded receiving region by performing a defining attachment of proximate portions of said second and said third panel sheet; and
defining at least a first and a second connection attachment joining portions of said first and said second bounded item receiving regions with respective portions of said third and said fourth bounded item receiving regions; whereby said step of defining attachment connections joins said first and said second panel groups thereby forming said multi-pack tote apparatus.
Description
    CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • [0001]
    This application claims priority from and is a continuation-in-part of Ser. No. PCT/US2006/000853 filed Jan. 9, 2006 (Our Ref.: Built.P042), which in turn claims priority from U.S. Prov. No. 60/642,373 filed Jan. 8, 2005 now abandoned (Our Ref.: Built.P006), U.S. Prov. No. 60/664,870 filed Jan. 18, 2005 now abandoned (Our Ref.: Built.P015), and U.S. Prov. No. 60/697,122 filed Jul. 7, 2005 now abandoned (Our Ref.: Built.P032), U.S. Des. App. No. 29/220,937 filed Jan. 8, 2005 now pending (Our Ref.: Built.DP009), U.S. Prov. No. 60/642,363 filed Jan. 8, 2005 now abandoned (Our Ref.: Built.P011), U.S. Des. App. No. 29/203,704 filed May 25, 2005 now U.S. Pat. No. D518,631 (Our Ref.: Built.DP030), U.S. Des. App. No. 29/230,685 filed May 25, 2006 now U.S. Pat. No. D517,798 (Our Ref.: Built.DP029), U.S. Des. App. No. 29/230,683 filed May 25, 2005 now U.S. Pat. No. D517,797 (Our Ref.: Built.DP031), U.S. Des. App. No. 29/231,821 filed Jun. 10, 2005 now U.S. Pat. No. D520,229 (Our Ref.: Built.DP017) and its divisional U.S. D525,776 (Our Ref.: Built.DP017Div), the contents of each of which are fully incorporated herein by reference.
  • [0002]
    This application also claims priority to and is a continuation-in-part of U.S. Des. App. No. 29/242,720 filed Nov. 14, 2005 now pending (Our Ref.: Built.DP034), which in turn claims priority from U.S. application Ser. No. 10/816,676 filed Apr. 2, 2004 now pending (Our Ref.: Built.P012), which in turn claims priority from U.S. Prov. No. 60/535,443 filed Jan. 9, 2004 now abandoned (Our Ref.: Built.DP016), the contents of each of which are fully incorporated herein by reference.
  • [0003]
    This application is also claims priority to and is a continuation-in-part of U.S. application Ser. No. 10/816,676 filed Apr. 2, 2004 now pending (Our Ref.: Built.P012), which in turn claims priority from U.S. Prov. No. 60/535,443 filed Jan. 9, 2004 now abandoned (Our Ref.: Built.DP016), the contents of each of which are fully incorporated herein by reference.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0004]
    1. Field of the Invention
  • [0005]
    The present invention relates to a tote bag formed from multiple panels for transporting multiple containers in protective bounded pockets. More specifically, the present invention relates to a multi-pack tote apparatus having a simplified and rugged construction, allowing minimal storage size, and during use minimizes tipping and risk of container damage while also minimizing thermal transfer.
  • [0006]
    2. Description of the Related Art
  • [0007]
    Various bottle totes and bags are known in the related arts, but all lack the valuable features found in the present invention.
  • [0008]
    In multiple disclosures by Hamilton (US D441,612, US D409,450, US D414,083) [collectively Hamilton], a top loading wine bottle bag includes a body section formed from three sewn-together pieces and two separately attached handle portions that bound sides of the top opening. The body sections are sewn to bulge outwardly and loosely contain a wine bottle while providing a carry handle in two parts. Alternative embodiments include small zipper pockets on the outer surface of the body section. While Hamilton provides a convenient top loading wine bag it fails to provide for the option of securing the wine bottle securely within a closure to prevent unintended escape, jiggling, or for securing the product to another item for easy security or transport. Hamilton similarly fails to optimize a convenient and speedy construction, requiring multi-dimensional stitches and the assembly of multiple pieces requiring waste during shape cut-out.
  • [0009]
    In Plooster (U.S. Pat. No. 1,808,375), a shopping bag is formed from two main pieces of flexible material that are sewn together. In a continuous top piece, a carry strap and two side panels are formed, and a bottom piece is sewn to the bottom portion of each side panel joining them and forming a supportive bottom member. In this embodiment, the material selected is simply fabric and is therefore not readily shaped to enable thermal retention, secure a bottle from rattling and breakage, provide a tight engagement strap to retain a bottle within the bag, or provide an attachment mechanism to join the shopping bag to another item for easy security against tipping or to secure transport. As an additional negative, the bottom panel includes continuous seams that bunch and risk tipping a bottle, preventing a bottle bottom from flat contact without manually “pulling up” the shopping bag about the loosely contained bottle.
  • [0010]
    In Tyberg (US 2003/0228072) a collapsible bottle container is provided made from a base having a fold axis, a bottle bag with top and bottom portions, the bottom portions fixed to the base. A carry strap is provided. In Tyberg, the construction is adapted to accept only single containers for transport, all with similar diameters.
  • [0011]
    In Wachtel (U.S. Pat. No. 5,050,998) a dual laundry bag provides multiple stacked compartments. Each compartment section includes a zipper closure that facilitates discharging each compartment individually. The laundry bag includes a pair of adjustable carrying straps and multiple belts and connection points are provided to secure a laundry load. In Wachtel, the panels are constructed from inelastic woven materials that require cinching and binding to secure a load.
  • [0012]
    Referring to Plummer (U.S. Pat. No. 2,405,517) a bottle carrier is formed from fabric to contain a number of individual pleated pockets gathered (pleated) to provided receive a container. For use, the fabric is opened flat on a support surface and containers are inserted into the pleated pockets. A portion of the fabric is suspended and folds allowing the pockets to hang loosely together. Plummer fails to secure containers against unintended separation by elastic retention and similarly fails to provide a means for supporting all containers against individual tipping and breakage. Plummer also fails to consider thermal retention, ease of removal and insertion, and a construction readily adapted to multiple panel configurations.
  • [0013]
    In Cunningham (U.S. Pat. No. 3,812,962) a plastic container package includes a one piece packaging system having a wrap-around skirt for engaging containers from a top side and a covering top joining a carry handle. The plastic package with stretchable bottom may be provided on a continuous tear-off roll and similarly fails to approach the needs addressed by the present multiple embodiments.
  • [0014]
    In Hinman (U.S. Pat. No. 2,473,429) a single fabric member is positioned flat on a support surface and a plurality of gusseted pockets are stitched along an inner surface. Containers are inserted in to the multiple pockets from differing directions and opposing ends of the single fabric member are folded together gathering the gusseted pockets. As shown, only a continuous tension on the fabric member retains the pockets in close position prohibiting unintended separation and breakage.
  • [0015]
    In view of the above discussion, there is a need for a tote apparatus that provides one or more of the following advantages:
      • 1. An easily adapted construction, allowing manufacturing modification into an adaptive number and shape of container sections for variable container sizes, the inclusion of consumer-desirable straps, zippers, snaps, container openers, and other items.
      • 2. A multi-container capacity from two containers upwards to multiple containers depending upon consumer demand in a simplified construction readily adapted to securely transport a large number of containers in a secure manner.
      • 3. An optional thermal capacity to minimize thermal transfer from tote containers.
      • 4. An ability to elastically bound tote containers and minimize inter-container rattling and clinking while employing the containers to ensure a tote device that is stable on a support surface.
      • 5. A construction that enables an adaptive compaction of the tote apparatus during transfer, either with a simple lay-flat construction, or with an easily collapsible bottom gusset that allows folding for compact transport.
      • 6. A supportive container design that is easily compacted and stored, yet readily allows the upright stability of consumer containers in a planar surface.
  • [0022]
    There is therefore a need for a conveniently constructed, preferably insulating tote container, that flattens during non-use, securely contains a container, and provides a flattenable bottom without substantial bunching or “pulling up” the container prior to placement on a support surface. There is a further need for a tote container having a construction that is readily adapted from multi-panel designs to address a wide variety of consumer demands.
  • SELECTED OBJECTS AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0023]
    As broadly discussed above, the present invention attempts to respond to at least one of the needs noted above by suggesting in alternative embodiment of the present invention, tote bags having a simple and robust construction that enable superior protection to a container and easy transport.
  • [0024]
    Another alternative embodiment of the present invention is to provide a tote apparatus formed from a material having a thermal retention capability readily compacted during non-use.
  • [0025]
    Another alternative embodiment of the present invention is to provide a tote bag embodiment having a construction readily adapted for construction from a single or continuous piece of material folded upon itself.
  • [0026]
    Another alternative embodiment of the present invention is to provide a design easily adapted for varying container capacities by changing panel shapes and sizes.
  • [0027]
    Another alternative embodiment of the present invention is to provide a tote bag with a secure bottom closure that allows a filled tote bag to stand upright minimizing risk of tipping and preventing contact between individual containers.
  • [0028]
    Another alternative embodiment of the present invention is to provide a tote bag product that secures the contents and allows the product to be carried by a handle or strap or to be secured to the body during travel.
  • [0029]
    The present invention relates to a tote bag apparatus formed from multiple panels of material providing a plurality of partially bounded container receptacles.
  • [0030]
    The present invention relates to a tote bag apparatus includes a plurality of panel members joined together forming individual bounded container regions for securing containers. The panel members are joined in varying multi-panel designs limiting unintended container contact, limiting damage and thermal transfer while providing secure transport. During use, the present embodiments enable a plurality of external consumer products to be stored in a stable manner without risk of tipping.
  • [0031]
    According to one alternative embodiment of the present invention, there is provided a multi-pack tote apparatus, comprising: at least a first panel group, the at least first panel group including a first and a second panel sheet partially joined along perimeter portions by a first perimeter attachment connection forming a first initial bounded receiving region therewithin and a first open access portal for accessing the first initial bounded receiving region, at least a first defining attachment connection joining respective inner regions of the first and the second panel members thereby forming the first initial bounded receiving region into at least a first and a second bounded item receiving region in the first panel group, at least a second panel group, the at least second panel group including a third and a fourth panel sheet partially joined along perimeter portions by a second perimeter attachment connection forming a second initial bounded receiving region therewithin and a second open access portal for accessing the second initial bounded receiving region, at least a second defining attachment connection joining respective inner regions of the third and fourth panel members, thereby forming the second initial bounded region into at least a third and a fourth bounded item receiving region in the second panel group, and at least a first and a second connection attachment joining portions of the first and the second bounded item receiving regions with the respective portions of the third and the fourth bounded item receiving region, whereby the first and second attachment connections fixably join first and second panel groups in a flexible manner.
  • [0032]
    According to one alternative embodiment of the present invention, there is provided a multi-pack tote apparatus, further comprising: a plurality of shaped bottom sections on respective portions of each the panel sheet distally disposed respective to the first and second open access portals, the shaped bottom sections on respective the panel sheets joined by respective the perimeter attachment connections in each the at least first and second panel groups, and at least one the shaped bottom section on each the bounded item receiving region, whereby during an insertion of an external carry item into at least one of the bounded item receiving regions, the shaped bottom section and the respective bounded item region distend to securely bound the carry item and provide a substantially smooth connection with an external support surface.
  • [0033]
    According to one alternative embodiment of the present invention, there is provided a multi-pack tote apparatus, further comprising: at least a first gusset member joining respective bottom portions of the first and second panel sheets in the at least first panel group distal the first open access portal, and at least a first gusset attachment connection fixing the first gusset member to respective first and second panel sheets, whereby during an insertion of an external carry item in one of the bounded item receiving regions, the gusset and at least one of the bounded item receiving regions distend to securely bound the external carry item and provide a substantially smooth connection with an external support surface.
  • [0034]
    According to one alternative embodiment of the present invention, there is provided a multi-pack tote apparatus, further comprising: at least a second gusset member joining respective bottom portions of the third and fourth panel sheets in the at least second panel group distal the second open access portal, and at least a second gusset attachment connection fixing the second gusset member to respective third and fourth panel sheets.
  • [0035]
    According to one alternative embodiment of the present invention, there is provided a multi-pack tote apparatus, wherein: each the panel sheet includes at least one of a textile material, an elastomeric material, and a thin-film material.
  • [0036]
    According to one alternative embodiment of the present invention, there is provided a multi-pack tote apparatus, wherein: each the panel sheet includes an elastomeric material, whereby the first and second panel groups enable an elastomeric gripping and retention of inserted external items to be carried and ready adaptation to an external geometry of the item.
  • [0037]
    According to one alternative embodiment of the present invention, there is provided a multi-pack tote apparatus, wherein: the elastomeric material is a thermal isolating material, whereby a thermal transfer from the item to be carried is minimized.
  • [0038]
    According to one alternative embodiment of the present invention, there is provided a multi-pack tote apparatus, further comprising: at least a first handle opening on one of the first and the second panel sheets in the first panel group, and at least a second handle opening on one of the third and the fourth panel sheets in the second panel group, whereby the handle openings enable a ready transportation of the multi-tote pack.
  • [0039]
    According to one alternative embodiment of the present invention, there is provided a multi-pack tote apparatus, further comprising: a carry mechanism for securely engaging the multi-pack tote apparatus for transport, and the carry mechanism being at least one of a carry handle, a support strap, a waist-belt strap, a shoulder strap, and a bandoleer strap, whereby the at least one enables a ready transportation of the multi-tote apparatus.
  • [0040]
    According to one alternative embodiment of the present invention, there is provided a multi-pack tote apparatus, further comprising: a securing mechanism for releasably securing at least portions of the panel sheets relative to each other for bounding at least one of the first and the second open access portals from unintended release of external transport items retained within bounded item receiving regions.
  • [0041]
    According to one alternative embodiment of the present invention, there is provided a multi-pack tote apparatus, wherein: the securing mechanism is at least one of a snap closure, a buckle closure, a zipper closure, a Velcro closure, and an adhesive closure.
  • [0042]
    According to one alternative embodiment of the present invention, there is provided a multi-pack tote apparatus, further comprising: at least a third panel group, the at least third panel group including a fifth and a second panel sheet partially joined along perimeter portions by a third perimeter attachment connection forming a third initial bounded receiving region therewithin and a third open access portal for accessing the third initial bounded receiving region, at least a third defining attachment connection joining respective inner regions of the third and the fourth panel members thereby forming the third initial bounded receiving region into at least a fifth and a sixth bounded item receiving region in the third panel group, and at least a third and a fourth connection attachment joining portions of the third and the fourth bounded item receiving regions with respective portions of the fifth and the sixth item receiving regions, whereby the third and fourth attachment connections join second and third panel groups thereby forming an expanded multi-tote apparatus.
  • [0043]
    According to one alternative embodiment of the present invention, there is provided a multi-pack tote apparatus, comprising: a securing mechanism for releasably securing at least portions of the panel sheets relative to each other for bounding at least one of the first open access portal from unintended release of external transport items retained within bounded item receiving regions.
  • [0044]
    According to one alternative embodiment of the present invention, there is provided a method for assembly a multi-pack apparatus, comprising the steps of:
  • [0045]
    assembly a first and a second panel sheet in a first panel group, stitching a perimeter portion of the first panel group together forming a first initial bounded receiving region therewithin, assembling a third and a fourth panel sheet in a second panel group, stitching a perimeter portion of the second panel group together forming a second initial bounded receiving region therewithin, defining at least a first and a second bounded item receiving region in the first initial bounded receiving region by performing a defining attachment of proximate portions of the first and the second panel sheet, defining at least a third and a fourth bounded item receiving region in the second initial bounded receiving region by performing a defining attachment of proximate portions of the second and the third panel sheet, and defining at least a first and a second connection attachment joining portions of the first and the second bounded item receiving regions with respective portions of the third and the fourth bounded item receiving regions, whereby the step of defining attachment connections joins the first and the second panel groups thereby forming the multi-pack tote apparatus.
  • [0046]
    The above, and other needs, objects, features, and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following description read in conduction with the accompanying drawings, in which like reference numerals designate the like elements.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0047]
    FIG. 1A provides a perspective view of a first alternative embodiment of the present invention having four pockets in a multi-pack construction.
  • [0048]
    FIG. 1B is a front plan view of FIG. 1A.
  • [0049]
    FIG. 1C is a close-up partial view of FIG. 1A taken at view-point I.
  • [0050]
    FIG. 1D is a front filled view of the first alternative embodiment in FIG. 1A.
  • [0051]
    FIG. 1E is a cross-sectional view along line V-V in FIG. 1D.
  • [0052]
    FIG. 1F is a close-up partial view along view-point VI in FIG. 1E.
  • [0053]
    FIG. 1G is a perspective filled view of the first embodiment in FIG. 1A noting the partial insertion of a container.
  • [0054]
    FIG. 1H is a bottom view of FIG. 1D showing a flattened bottom for container support.
  • [0055]
    FIG. 11 is an alternative combination of the first embodiment shown in FIG. 1A with a wrapping strap to secure the same during empty transport.
  • [0056]
    FIG. 2A is a front perspective view of a second alternative embodiment of the present invention having six pockets in a multi-pack construction.
  • [0057]
    FIG. 2B is a front filled view of the second alternative embodiment in FIG. 2A.
  • [0058]
    FIG. 2C is a perspective filled view of the second embodiment in FIG. 2A.
  • [0059]
    FIG. 2D is a cross-sectional view along line VII-VII in FIG. 2B.
  • [0060]
    FIG. 2E is a bottom view of FIG. 2B showing a flattened bottom for container support.
  • [0061]
    FIG. 3A is a front plan view of a third alternative embodiment of the present invention having six pockets and a gusset bottom.
  • [0062]
    FIG. 3B is a front filled view of the third alternative embodiment in FIG. 3A.
  • [0063]
    FIG. 3C is a perspective filled view of the third alternative embodiment in FIG. 3A.
  • [0064]
    FIG. 4A is a front plan view of a forth alternative embodiment of the present invention having six pockets and edging on all side seams.
  • [0065]
    FIG. 4B is a front filled view of the fourth alternative embodiment in FIG. 4A.
  • [0066]
    FIG. 4C is a perspective filled view of the embodiment in FIG. 4B.
  • [0067]
    FIG. 5A is a cross-sectional view along line III-III in FIGS. 1B, 1C, and 2A.
  • [0068]
    FIG. 5B is a cross-sectional view along line II-II in FIGS. 1B, 1C, and 2A.
  • [0069]
    FIG. 5C is a cross-sectional view along line IV-IV in FIGS. 1B and 2A.
  • [0070]
    FIG. 5D is a cross-sectional view along line VIII-VIII in FIG. 3A.
  • [0071]
    FIG. 5E is a cross-sectional view along line IX-IX in FIG. 4A.
  • [0072]
    FIG. 6A is an exploded view of a four-pocket construction related to that shown in FIG. 1A.
  • [0073]
    FIG. 7A is an exploded view of a single sheet construction of a fifth alternative embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0074]
    FIG. 7B is a partially constructed view of the embodiment of FIG. 7A.
  • [0075]
    FIG. 7C is an assembled view of the embodiment of FIG. 7A.
  • [0076]
    FIG. 8A is an exploded view of a dual sheet construction of a sixth alternative embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0077]
    FIG. 8B is a partially constructed view of the embodiment of FIG. 8A.
  • [0078]
    FIG. 8C is an assembled view of the embodiment of FIG. 8A.
  • [0079]
    FIG. 9A is a seventh alternative embodiment of the present invention providing two pockets and a bottom gusset with a protective securing strap.
  • [0080]
    FIG. 9B is a cross-sectional view along line X-X in FIG. 9A.
  • [0081]
    FIG. 10A is an eighth alternative embodiment of the present invention providing two pockets, a bottom gusset and carry handles.
  • [0082]
    FIG. 10B is a cross-sectional view along line XI-XI in FIG. 10A.
  • [0083]
    FIG. 11A is a perspective filled view of a ninth alternative embodiment of the present invention providing six pockets protected by zippers.
  • [0084]
    FIG. 11B is a perspective view of FIG. 11A with zippers open.
  • [0085]
    FIG. 12A is a perspective filled view of a tenth alternative embodiment of the present invention providing six pockets and protective zippers for container restraint.
  • [0086]
    FIG. 13A is a perspective filled view of an eleventh alternative embodiment of the present invention providing a modified center region and a single containing zipper.
  • [0087]
    FIG. 14A is a perspective filled view of a twelfth alternative embodiment of the present invention providing a large zipper pocket and three container chambers.
  • [0088]
    FIG. 15A is a perspective filled view of a thirteenth alternative embodiment of the present invention providing zippers on both a large pocket and a container region.
  • [0089]
    FIG. 16A is a perspective filled view of a fourteenth alternative embodiment of the present invention providing a zipper a container region.
  • [0090]
    FIG. 17A is a front plan view of a fifteenth alternative embodiment of the present invention providing a three container pockets.
  • [0091]
    FIG. 17B is a partially cut-away and filled view of the embodiment in FIG. 17A.
  • [0092]
    FIG. 17C is a perspective filled view of the embodiment in FIG. 17A noting a zipper enclosure and reduced center region.
  • [0093]
    FIG. 18A is a perspective filled view of a sixteenth alternative embodiment of the present invention providing a Velcro enclosure and reduced center region.
  • [0094]
    FIG. 19A is a perspective filled view of a seventeenth alternative embodiment of the present invention providing a snap-attachment enclosure and reduced center region.
  • [0095]
    FIG. 20A is perspective filled view of an eighteenth alternative embodiment of the present invention including a shoulder strap for ready carrying of a tote bag.
  • [0096]
    FIG. 21A is a perspective filled view of a nineteenth alternative embodiment of the present invention providing a removable shoulder strap for carrying of a tote bag.
  • [0097]
    FIG. 22A is a perspective filled view of a twentieth alternative embodiment of the present invention providing extended outer panels for shoulder carrying of a tote bag.
  • [0098]
    FIG. 23A is a perspective filled view of a twenty-first alternative embodiment of the present invention providing a carry shoulder strap, protective flap, and carry handle.
  • [0099]
    FIG. 23B is an open and filled view of FIG. 23A.
  • [0100]
    FIG. 24A is a perspective filled view of a twenty-second alternative embodiment of the present invention providing individual protective flaps.
  • [0101]
    FIG. 25A is a perspective filled view of a twenty-third alternative embodiment of the present invention providing an alternative multi-pack construction.
  • [0102]
    FIG. 25B is a perspective filled view of a twenty-fourth alternative embodiment of the present invention providing an alternative multi-pack construction with a bottom gusset member.
  • [0103]
    FIG. 26A is a perspective filled view of a twenty-fifth alternative embodiment of the present invention providing an alternative multi-pack construction from thin film material.
  • [0104]
    FIG. 26B is a cross-section view along line XII-XII in FIG. 26A.
  • [0105]
    FIG. 26C is a cross-sectional view along line XIII-XIII in FIG. 26A.
  • [0106]
    FIG. 26D is a cross-sectional view along line XIV-XIV in FIG. 26A.
  • [0107]
    FIG. 26E is a cross sectional view along line XV-XV in FIG. 26A.
  • [0108]
    FIG. 27A is a perspective filled view of a twenty-sixth alternative embodiment of the present invention providing an alternative multi-pack construction for seven containers.
  • [0109]
    FIG. 27B is a cross-sectional view along line XVI-XVI in FIG. 27A.
  • [0110]
    FIG. 28A is a perspective filled and open view of a twenty-seventh alternative embodiment of the present invention providing an alternative multi-pack construction with a securing strap wrap.
  • [0111]
    FIG. 28B is a closed view of the embodiment shown in FIG. 28A.
  • [0112]
    FIG. 28C is a perspective filled view of a twenty-eighth alternative embodiment showing a three-pack multi-pack design and waist belt for easy transport.
  • [0113]
    FIG. 29A is a perspective partially filled view of a twenty-ninth alternative embodiment of the present invention showing a multi-pack design secured to a user's garment for ready transport during use.
  • [0114]
    FIG. 30A is a perspective filled view of a thirtieth alternative embodiment of the present invention providing an multi-pack construction with engagement snaps for transport with an additional item.
  • [0115]
    FIG. 31A is a perspective filled view of a thirty-first alternative embodiment of the present invention providing an alternative multi-pack construction with internal cooling or warming devices.
  • [0116]
    FIG. 32A is a perspective filled view of a thirty-second alternative embodiment of the present invention providing an alternative multi-pack construction with container viewing openings along panel walls.
  • [0117]
    FIG. 33A is a perspective filled view of a thirty-third alternative embodiment of the present invention providing an alternative multi-pack construction with an additional opener pocket and retained opener.
  • [0118]
    FIG. 33B is a perspective filled view of a thirty-fourth alternative embodiment of the present invention providing an alternative multi-pack construction with a fixed opener device.
  • [0119]
    FIG. 33C is a perspective filled view of a thirty-fifth alternative embodiment of the present invention providing an alternative multi-pack construction with an alternative affixed opener device.
  • [0120]
    FIG. 34A is a perspective filled view of a thirty-sixth alternative embodiment of the present invention providing an alternative multi-pack construction similar to that of FIG. 22A with an additional viewing section.
  • [0121]
    FIG. 35A is a perspective filled view of a thirty-seventy alternative embodiment of the present invention providing an alternative multi-pack construction having nine container positions based on a multi-panel construction.
  • [0122]
    FIG. 35B is a cross-sectional view along line XVII-XVII in FIG. 35A.
  • [0123]
    FIG. 36A is a perspective filled view of a thirty-eight alternative embodiment of the present invention providing an alternative multi-pack construction using multi-panel construction as a bandoleer.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
  • [0124]
    Reference will now be made in detail to several embodiments of the invention that are illustrated in the accompanying drawings. Wherever possible, same or similar reference numerals are used in the drawings and the description to refer to the same or like parts or steps. The drawings are in simplified form and are not to precise scale. For purposes of convenience and clarity only, directional terms, such as top, bottom, up, down, over, above, and below may be used with respect to the drawings. These and similar directional terms should not be construed to limit the scope of the invention in any manner. The words “connect,” “couple,” and similar terms with their inflectional morphemes do not necessarily denote direct and immediate connections, but also include connections through mediate elements or devices.
  • [0125]
    Referring now to FIGS. 1A through 1I, one alternative embodiment of the present invention provides a multi-container or multi-pack tote apparatus 100A, including four similarly shaped panels 101A, 101B, 101C, and 101D having respective handle openings 102A, 102B, 102C, and 102D, as shown.
  • [0126]
    For convenience only, panels 101A and 101B are referred to as outer panels, and panels 101C and 101D are referred to as inner panels. Also for convenience, panels 101A, 101C are referred to as a first defined container group, and panels 101B, 101D are referred to as a second defined container group, as will be later explained. As will be later provided, the present multi-pack invention enables single sets of container groups may be joined, modified, or extended to provide a readily adapted multi-pack tote container without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention.
  • [0127]
    In this embodiment, each panel 101A-101D includes shaped bottom sections 104 (here shown rounded but other shapes are considered herein under) to aid the formation of a flat supporting surface for a filled tote apparatus, as will be described. It will be understood that shaped sections 104 may be provided with differing shapes, sections, gussets, and constructions enabling the same goal without departing from the scope and spirit of the present invention.
  • [0128]
    During one preferred type of construction, the two respective panels of each group are sewn together about a partial outer perimeter stitch line 106 (also called perimeter attachment connections) forming each group into a large single pocket or bag having an open top portion and a closed bottom portion. Perimeter stitch lines 106 are shown formed with a sewing machine but may be constructed in any suitable way to join the individual panels securely without limiting their flexibility during use. Suitable construction methods may alternatively include gluing, Radio Frequency (RF) seaming, riveting, etc.
  • [0129]
    Piping or edging material 103 is sewn around each respective open top portions of each group (of now two joined panels) and around respective handle openings 102A-102D. Edging material 103 serves to provide a pleasing appearance, strengthen the handles and panels, and minimizes fraying and abrasion during use. As will be discussed later, edging material 103 may be provided in a single layer around the top portions of the panels 101A-101D(as shown), and, where groups of panels are joined, an additional layer 103A of piping or edging material may be used to further strengthen joined edges, cover portions of edging material 103, and provide a smooth transition between container regions. Additional layer 103A may be applied during later assembly or may be applied prior to forming bounded regions 110, as will be discussed.
  • [0130]
    During a subsequent step, each group of two panels is further defined into container or bounded regions 110 with defining stitch lines 108 conveniently referred to as bottle stitches 108 or defining attachment connections, at selected positions. In the embodiment shown, bottle stitches 108 are positioned at one-half intervals dividing each group of two panels into two bounded regions 110.
  • [0131]
    In a subsequent step, each group of two panels (101A+101C and 101B+101D) is positioned on and aligned with each other. The two groups of divided panels are then stitched together by stitch lines (called connecting stitches or connection attachments) 109 located below the handles that connect the two groups of two panels together. Connecting stitches 109 are located in the respective container or bounded regions 110 formed by respective series of container stitch lines 108, as shown (See FIG. 1E). This construction allows respective container areas or pockets 110 to receive respective containers 105 containers in a honey-comb-like effect that puts a minimum stress on the panel material selected while still allowing the multi-tote to lay flat when not in use. This construction (multi-sets of panel pockets) allows for easy container shape adaptation that smoothes production changes and minimizes waste.
  • [0132]
    For example, by eliminating a defining or container stitch lines 108 on one side, a larger pocket is provided (as will be later shown), allowing for example transport of a sandwich with two containers 105.
  • [0133]
    In a second example, by eliminating defining or container stitch lines 108 on both sides, a single large diameter bottle may be stored while allowing transportation of a sandwich in the opposing larger bounded region 110. As will also be appreciated by those of skill in the art, such construction allows ready adaptation to multi-pocket construction for diverse purposes, such as a diaper carry bag, a utility bag, etc. and the creation of larger personal pocket.
  • [0134]
    As noted specifically in FIG. 1G, a container 105 is inserted and withdrawn from bounded regions 110 along a vertical direction 111, as shown. This construction allows multi-pack tote 100A to be easily used in a partially-filled configuration without departing from the self-supporting and cushioning spirit discussed.
  • [0135]
    Referring directly to FIG. 11, an adaptive construction may be employed by using a strap 112 having a fastener portion 112A to secure a rolled multipack 100A in a convenient shape for packaging, storage, or transportation between use.
  • [0136]
    As noted in FIG. 1F, each panel 101A-101D of the present construction is multi-layered and further includes an elastomeric cushioning layer 107 bounded by opposite protective layers 107A. While the present construction may select any reasonable material for each panel, including single layer materials as will be discussed, without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention, one present preferred construction provides cushioning layer 107 as one of an open and a closed cell foam or felt type material either natural or man-made, for example neoprene or SBR (Styrene Butadiene Rubber). Similarly, outer protective layers 107A may be formed from any suitable natural or man-material and may be formed from a textile or film material without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. Thus, as an example a coated woven nylon may serve as layers 107A, or a flexible petroleum-based film may be applied.
  • [0137]
    Referring now to FIGS. 2A thorough 2E, an alternative multi-pack embodiment 100B is provided and includes panels or sheets 113A, 1103B, 113C, and 113D, as shown in a construction similar to embodiment 100A. Respective panels 113A-113D include respective handle openings 114A-114D in constructive manner similar to that discussed above in embodiment 100A.
  • [0138]
    As can be seen particularly well in FIG. 2B, protective edging or piping layers 103 covering center panel members 113C, 133D are covered in part and join additional protective layer 103A on either side of embodiment 100B.
  • [0139]
    As can also be seen from the embodiment, respective panels 113A-113C and 113B-113D are initially formed as container groups or sets by side or perimeter stitching 106.
  • [0140]
    As discussed above, the present multi-panel construction enables ready formation of diverse multi-pack designs by the use of defining stitch lines 108 and connecting stitching 109 as best seen in FIG. 2D. Here, individual panels are formed into multiple bounded container regions 110 by the positioning of stitch lines without requiring radical redesign and re-tooling.
  • [0141]
    As a consequence, one of the needs noted above—simplified construction—is readily achieved by the use of multi-panel construction and repetitive division and securement by stitching or seaming.
  • [0142]
    Referring now to FIGS. 3A through 3C a third alternative and adaptive embodiment of the present invention is provided at multi-pack 101C including side panels, sheets, or sections, 115A, 115B, 115C, and 115D, each having respective handle openings 116A, 116B, 116C, and 116D.
  • [0143]
    Unlike previous embodiments of multi-packs 100A, 100B, multi-pack 100C additionally includes two gusset members 117, 117, joined to respective bottom portions of panels 115A-115D by gusset stitching lines 118.
  • [0144]
    As incorporated herein by reference and as shown in FIG. 3C, gusset members 117 readily span bottom portions of respective bounded container regions 110 and replace shaped bottom sections 104 to form flat bottom members to support containers 105 and prevent their tipping.
  • [0145]
    While the inclusion of gusset members 117 adds an additional construction step to the present process the additional time and costs are minimal and it is envisioned that a bend seam line may be formed by thermal-fusing along a center region of gusset 117 to allow easy folding and compaction of multi-pack 100C for transportation between uses. It is alternatively proposed that outer protective layers 107A on gusset members 117, 117 may be selected from a differing or more abrasion-resistant material than the material selected for the protective layers 107A employed on panels or sheets 115A-115D. As a consequence, the present embodiment may be employed in a heavy use or high-abrasion environment without unintended degradation.
  • [0146]
    Referring now to an alternative and optional embodiment of the present multi-pack invention shown in FIGS. 4A through 4C represented by multi-pack apparatus 100D. Multi-pack apparatus 100D includes sheets or panel members 119A, 119B, 119C, and 119D assembled as shown, each of which includes respective handle openings 120A-120D.
  • [0147]
    Construction is substantially similar to those embodiments discussed above employing perimeter stitching 123 to form perimeter joints 121 (replacing perimeter stitching 106) and defining stitch lines 108. Similarly edging and piping materials 103, 103A are employed as previously discussed.
  • [0148]
    In the present embodiment 100D, perimeter joints 121 are formed by simple stitching 123 in a construction method faster to use than perimeter stitching 106 which requires edge-to-edge stitching. However, as a consequence, the raw-unfinished edges of panels 119A-119D are exposed and must be covered by the inclusion of an additional perimeter piping or edging material 112, similar to that of edging or piping materials 103, 103A.
  • [0149]
    Referring now to FIGS. 5A through 5C, cross sectional views as noted in the earlier figures disclose the stitching and construction placement for perimeter edging 106, and the use of panels 101A-101D represent those four-panel multi-packs noted earlier. Similarly, the multi-layers 107, 107A for respective panels in the multi-packs are noted and how edging or piping materials 103, 103A protects the exposure cut ends of each panel.
  • [0150]
    Referring now to FIG. 5D, is noted that panels 115A (and respectively panels 115B-115D) are joined to gusset member 117 by butt-end stitch lines 118 in a manner similar to perimeter stitch lines 106. Thus, one skilled in the art of textile assembly and manufacturer will readily understand that stitch lines 106, 118, 123, etc. may be employed in any manner effect to accomplish the task required by the stitch line without departing from the scope and spirit of the present invention.
  • [0151]
    Referring now to FIG. 6A, a four pack multi-pack construction 100E is provided in an exploded view and reference numerals as proposed in FIGS. 1A-1I are employed for convenience.
  • [0152]
    As shown via representative stitch lines 106, 108, and 109, construction of a multi-pack tote from similar panel construction is speedy as is pattern cut-out and other steps in the above-described tote-assembly process.
  • [0153]
    Referring now to FIGS. 7A through 7C, an alternative multi-pack embodiment 100F provides bounded container regions for four external containers in a manner similar to the first embodiment discussed.
  • [0154]
    As shown here, a continuous panel or sheet 125 is provided with multiple pre-cut handle openings 126. Continuous sheet 125 is sub-divided for discussion into continuous panel portions 127A, 127B. As should be understood herein after, continuous panel portions are referred to for simplicity as panel portions. Thus, whether panel portions original in continuous form or are fully separate from each other, construction similarities are maintained and the phrase panel portion or sheet portions are employed.
  • [0155]
    Employing construction assembly as shown via FIG. 7B, similar stitch lines 106, 108, 109 are employed to form a plurality of pockets or bounded regions 110A. As shown, multi-tote apparatus 100F includes piping or edging materials 103, 103A, to minimize edge abrasion.
  • [0156]
    The principal commercial benefit of the present multi-tote apparatus 100F is the single sheet construction, which prevents unintended miss-alignment between panels during assembly, and hence waste.
  • [0157]
    Referring now to FIGS. 8A through 8C, an alternative and representative multi-pack construction 100G provides a two respective continuous folded sections 128A, 128B with multiple respective handle openings 129, as shown. Similar to the comments regarding FIG. 7A-7C where continuous panel sections 128A, 128B are referred to herein, for simplicity all panel portions will be referred to as panel or sheet portions whether originally connected for manufacturing simplicity or otherwise.
  • [0158]
    In a manner related and similar to that shown in FIGS. 7A through 7C, a simplified construction technique may be employed as enabled by multi-panel design without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention.
  • [0159]
    Those of skill in the textile and consumer assembly arts will recognize that modifications may be made to the single (multi-tote embodiment 100F) or dual-panel (multi-tote embodiment 100F) designs.
  • [0160]
    Referring now to FIGS. 9A and 9B, an alternative multi-tote embodiment is provided at multi-tote 100H for transporting baby bottles 132. A pair of opposing panels or sheets 130A, 130B are stitched along a perimeter seam and an extending gusset member 131 is joined by gusset stitching. Multi-tote 100H is divided into two container regions for receiving bottles 132.
  • [0161]
    A releasable engagement member shown as a strap 137A enables a snap engagement between snap members 136, 136. Edging or piping material 137 is provided about an open perimeter. Bottle 132 is a baby bottle and contains a plastic bag 133 for containing formula 135 that is spaced via space 134 from walls of bottle 132.
  • [0162]
    Referring now to FIGS. 10A and 10B another alternative multi-tote embodiment 100I containing side panels or sheets 138A and 138B joined by a bottom gusset member 139 and stitching and dividing elements in a manner discussed earlier. Containers 140 shown as wine bottles are positioned within and securely retained. Handle openings 141, 141 are positioned along sheets or panels 138A, 138B as shown.
  • [0163]
    As noted in FIG. 10B, walls of wine bottles 140 are directly contacted and insulated by panels 138A, 138B thereby cushioning and optionally insulating fluid contents 143.
  • [0164]
    Referring now to FIGS. 11A and 11B, a multi-pack tote apparatus 100J includes multi-panel construction including panels 145A, 145B, 145C and 145D joined by perimeter stitching 106. Panels 145A-D include handle openings 146A-D as shown. Defining stitches (not shown) form a plurality of pockets 110J in a manner earlier described and a zipper 147 having a zipper pull 148 provides a mechanism for enclosing each set of pockets.
  • [0165]
    As noted in this embodiment, zippers 147 extend from perimeter stitching 106 within each pocket cavity below handle openings, thereby allowing ready protection and enclosing of multi-tote apparatus 100J. As a consequence, no tension is placed along zippers 147 as part of a container support, but only the stress in enclosing the pocket cavity.
  • [0166]
    Referring now to FIG. 12A, a multi-tote apparatus 100K includes multiple panel or sheet construction 151A, 151B, 151C, and 1151D connected via perimeter stitching 106.
  • [0167]
    In contrast to embodiment 100J noted in FIGS. 11A, 11B, multi-tote apparatus 100K employs zippers 149 with pulls 150 about an outer edge of each panel fully enclosing each container-receiving region. This construction is similar to that of embodiment 100J, but allows tension or stress to be placed along zippers 149. This construction provides a benefit of completely enclosing multi-tote 100K and securing the handle openings in close placement for convenient grasping.
  • [0168]
    Similar to embodiment 100K, referring now to FIG. 13A, a multi-tote embodiment 100K provides multi-panel or sheet construction 152A, 152B, 153C, and 152D joined principally by perimeter stitching as shown. Handle openings 153A, 153B are provided on outer panels 152A, 152B but inner sheets 152C, 152D are joined in a central panel 154 that is reduced in height to allow easy positioning of containers 105.
  • [0169]
    Piping or edging 156 surrounds the opening created by outer sheets 152A, 152B, as shown, and a single zipper 155 joins sheets 152A, 152B into a single secure enclosure for safe container transport.
  • [0170]
    One benefit of the embodiment is that containers may be readily inserted without having to position the flexible central panel noted in the earlier embodiments. As an alternative embodiment, central panel 154 may be formed from a sheet of dense foam stitched to inner panels 152C, 152D that forms a semi-rigid central barrier to containers 105 and easily receives defining and connecting stitching 108, 109 as earlier described (not shown). As a consequence, multi-tote apparatus 100L is an eleventh alternative embodiment of the present multi-panel tote apparatus demonstrating ready adaptability to varied constructions without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention, while also providing the advantage of a fully enclosed container-receiving region.
  • [0171]
    Referring now to FIG. 14A, a twelfth embodiment of a multi-pack tote apparatus 100M employing the present multi-panel design via panels or sheets 157A, 157B, 157C, and 157D as shown with associated handle openings 158A, B, C, and D.
  • [0172]
    Stitching as noted earlier provides a plurality of bounded container regions 110 on a first side of multi-tote pack 100M (left hand side), while only connecting stitching 109 secures panels 157D, 157B. As a consequence, a single large tote pocket (“full opening”) 160 is provided and enclosed via zipper 159 as shown. As a consequence, large pocket 160 is suitable for containing non-bottle items such as keys 162, medicine 163, and a wallet or billfold 164 in a safe manner secured by zipper 159. Thus, those of skill in the art will recognize embodiment 100M as a type of four-pocket multi-tote, with three small container regions 110, and a single zip-enclosed large or full opening 160 for carrying personal items.
  • [0173]
    Referring now to FIG. 15A, an additional embodiment of a multi-pack tote apparatus 100N is constructed in a manner similar to that discussed above in FIG. 14A, with the additional inclusion of a second zipper 159 enclosing container regions 110. As a result of the present design, multi-tote apparatus 100N it will be recognized that varying designs responding to varying consumer demands may incorporate the teachings of the present invention without departing from the spirit and scope thereof.
  • [0174]
    Referring now to FIG. 16A, a further variation of the present invention is provided at multi-pack tote apparatus 1000, shown without a zipper enclosure on large or full opening 160. While present embodiment departs from those embodiments noted in FIGS. 14A and 15A, it should be recognized that not all openings require a secure zipper. For example, apparatus 100O may be suitable for a baby diaper bag, wherein large or full opening 160 contains non-valuable diapers without need for a securing zipper, and container regions 110 receive baby bottles—requiring a securing zipper during transport.
  • [0175]
    Referring now to FIGS. 17A through 17C, a multi-pack tote embodiment 100P is constructed employing multi-panel design with panels or sheets 166A through 166D to provide a three-pocket construction.
  • [0176]
    Handle openings 172A, 172B are positioned on outer panels or sheets 166A, 166B, respectively. Perimeter stitching 106 joins panel edges and provides shaped regions 104 (container sized), 104′ (large size), and 104A (medium sized) for respective container opening 110, a medium opening 168, and a large opening 167. As will be noted due, to the present construction and teaching it is readily envisioned that multi-tote 100P may be used as a purse wherein large and medium shaped regions 104′, 104A easily flatten forming flattened bottom portions 173, 173 to support and stabilize the embodiment during on a support surface prior to transport, and container region 110 flattens as earlier discussed.
  • [0177]
    A defining stitch line 108 creates single container region 110 for receiving container 105, and connecting stitches (not shown), joining inner panels 166C, 166D together as discussed earlier. As is additionally noted herein, center panels 166C, 166D are reduced in height with a central region improving utility of the present alternative embodiment as a purse or hand bag device.
  • [0178]
    Piping or edging material 170 protects panel edges in a manner earlier described. Here, a zipper member 171 enables securing large pocket 167 for retaining personal items such as keys 162 and wallet 164 while medium opening 168 receives a sandwich 165.
  • [0179]
    Referring now to FIG. 18A, a sixteenth alternative and adaptive embodiment of the present invention provides a multi-pack tote apparatus 100Q including panels or sheets 174A through 174D assembled as shown. A central member 177 having a reduced height represents the joining of central panels 174C, 174D, but may alternatively represent a foam or semi-rigid place holder device.
  • [0180]
    Outer panels 174A, 174B extend upwardly and are finished with edging or piping material 176 to present a smooth and pleasing appearance. Velcro members 178, 178 are provided on opposing portions of panels 174A, 174B proximate handle openings 175A, 175B, as shown. Stitching 178A retains Velcro members 178 in place on each panel.
  • [0181]
    As used, Velcro members 178, 178 serve similarly to the zippers noted above as a mechanism for securing containers 105 within tote 100Q, preventing their unintended dispersion. As also noted, and similar to each of the previous embodiments, individual container regions, upon receipt of containers 105 form a series of flattened bottoms co-joined and co-supporting to enable multi-tote 100Q to stand upright on a support surface.
  • [0182]
    Referring now to FIG. 19A, a multi-tote apparatus 100R representing another alternative embodiment of the present invention is similarly constructed in a multi-panel manner providing panels or sheets 179A, 179B, 179C, and 179D, with handle openings 180A, 180B in respective panels 179A, 179B, as shown.
  • [0183]
    In this embodiment, piping or edging material 181 covers exposed edgings, and covers reduced central region of inner panels 179C, 179D, as shown. Here, a series of affixment devices shown as snap members 182 are provided proximate an upper boundary of outer panels 179A, 179B and handle openings 180A, 180B.
  • [0184]
    In a manner similar to that shown in FIG. 18A, fixing members 182 allow a user to secure multi-tote apparatus 100R after inserting containers 105 to prevent unintended dispersion and slippage. Snaps 182 also allow a distributor to package their product (for example soda, hot sauce, etc. in container 100R, secure the outer panels and provide a pleasing “enclosed” look to the general public.
  • [0185]
    Referring now to FIG. 20A a multi-pack tote apparatus 100S formed in a manner previously described (see for example, FIG. 11A, multi-tote embodiment 100J) in combination with a strap member 183. As shown, strap member 183 maybe a shoulder strap or belt strap, etc. but is shown in a manner fixed to multi-pack tote apparatus. One benefit of the present embodiment is the secure transportation of the multi-tote apparatus in a convenient hands-free manner without risking container loss.
  • [0186]
    Referring now to FIG. 21A, an alternative embodiment of the present invention provides a multi-tote assembly 100T combining a representative multi-tote embodiment (selected here as multi-tote 100J noted in FIG. 11A) with a removable shoulder strap member 184. Releasable clip ends 185 allow pivoting and engagement with clip rings 186 positioned on portions of multi-tote apparatus 100J.
  • [0187]
    As a consequence of the present invention, it should be recognized by those of skill in the art that the multi-tote packs embodying the spirit and scope of the present invention may be readily adapted by incorporating straps, belts, and other devices to aid transportation and user convenience.
  • [0188]
    Referring now to FIG. 22A, an alternative embodiment of a multi-pack tote apparatus 100U employs related multi-panel construction via panels or sheets 187A through 187D. Outer panels 187A, 187B extend upwardly with respective extended panel portions 189, 189 including shaped arm or shoulder openings 188, as illustrated in the figure.
  • [0189]
    The present embodiment (multi-tote pack 100U) suggest the ready adaptability of the present inventive concept to a diverse array of consumer products without departing from the spirit and scope of the present embodiment. As a consequence, those of skill in the art should readily recognize that extended panel portions 189, 189 and respective shoulder openings 188 may be adapted to a bandoleer-type shape as shown in FIG. 36A wrapping about an opposite shoulder or forming a long flexible strap. It is also envisioned that the present panel construction may be readily adapted to employ a more durable outer covering on outer panels 187A, 187B, such as Courdura® nylon to withstand additional abrasive use as a purse or other tote item. It will also be recognized that tote apparatus 100U may be stitched in any suitable manner to form multiple pockets (2-pockets, 3-pockets, 4-pockets, 5-pockets, etc.) as required by a manufacturer.
  • [0190]
    Referring now to FIGS. 23A and 23B an alternative embodiment of a multi-pack 100V employs multi-panel construction with panels 190A, 190B, 190C, and 190D as a representative example. In the present embodiment, central panels 190C, 190D extend upwardly into a central handle construction member 192 having a handle opening 193. Piping or edging materials 191 enclose cut edges as discussed earlier.
  • [0191]
    A flap panel portion 197 extends upwardly from one of the outer panels 190A, 190B forming a covering flap. Flap panel portion includes a flap handle opening 195 shaped to engage central handle construction 192, as shown, by rotation about direction K. A series of retaining/engaging members shown as snaps 196 are positioned on the leading portion of flap panel portion 194 to engage related snaps 196 positioned on the opposing portion of outer panel member 190A for securely closing retaining containers 105 in individual pockets 199A.
  • [0192]
    A pair of ring holes 199 engages split rings 198 affixed to opposing ends of a strap 197 to conveniently support multi-pack tote 100V from a users shoulder.
  • [0193]
    The present embodiment similarly reinforces the multi-panel theme of the present invention but should be recognized as merely representative. Those of skill in the arts will recognize that additional sets of panels may be employed and differing protective measures may be employed without departing from the scope and spirit of the present invention.
  • [0194]
    Referring now to FIG. 24A, an alternative multi-tote apparatus 100W provides a series of joined panel members 200A, 200B, 200C, and 200D as shown joined by stitching as earlier discussed into a series of openings or container regions 206 for receiving containers 105.
  • [0195]
    As with the previous embodiment, a central handle construction portion 201 extending from central panel members 200C, 200D projects upwardly and includes a handle opening 203 passing through both panels. Multi-tote apparatus 100W may be carried by handle opening 203.
  • [0196]
    Outer panels 200A, 200B project upwardly into a series of defined flap panel portions 204A, 204B that are later defined into flap finger portions 205 respectively.
  • [0197]
    During use or transport, flap panel portions cover and retain containers 105 and finger portions 205 enter respective container regions 206 to retain containers via friction against unintended separation. One benefit of the preferred embodiment is the capacity to individually insert, withdraw, and insulate/protect respective containers 105.
  • [0198]
    As with the previous embodiments, those of skill in the art should recognize that various modifications and adaptations may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. For example, expansion may be created to additional panel groupings, or removal to single panel set and only three pockets where the handle extends from one panel and the flap panel portion extends from the other panel. Obviously, straps, handles, enclosures etc. may be varied without departing from the inventive scope herein.
  • [0199]
    Referring now to FIG. 25A an alternative twenty-third embodiment of the present invention provides a multi-pack tote 100X constructed from multiple panels 207A, 207B, 207C, and 207D including respective handle openings 208A, B, C, and D. As shown, edges of panels 207A-D are joined proximate a central juncture top location at 210 in a co-junction joining side region 212 for all four panels together. Edging or piping material 209 covers exposed seams, and defining and connecting stitches are employed to define a plurality of container pockets or openings 211 as noted for receiving containers 105.
  • [0200]
    As with the previous embodiment various alternative constructions may be employed without departing from the spirit of the present embodiment. One principal advantage of the present construction is the simple design and speedy manufacture with a single central juncture of all panels. This central stitching serves to minimize the expansive range for all container pockets 211, particularly those at the end and hence improve secure retention of the most vulnerable outer-edge containers.
  • [0201]
    Referring now to FIG. 25B, an alternative twenty-fourth embodiment of a multi-tote apparatus 100Y constructed from a multi-panel design including panels 213A, 213B, 213C, and 213D each including a related handle opening 208A, B, C, and D. Piping or edging material 209 is positioned as shown and a series of container pockets or openings 218 are provided by stitching as noted.
  • [0202]
    A central stitch region 217 joins all panels on each side of tote 100Y. As shown, an additional gusset panel 214A, and 214B are positioned on bottom regions of respective panel pocket groupings and are joined at seams protected by edge piping 215. Those of skill in the art will recognize the relation between the present embodiment and those previously discussed. The benefits of the present invention are noted in the earlier embodiment at FIG. 25A but also include the use of a gusset construction to more easily receive containers.
  • [0203]
    Referring now to an alternative multi-tote construction involving FIGS. 26A through 26E and a disclosure of multi-tote embodiment 100Z formed from a thin film material such as polyethylene, Mylar, or any suitable film material, a substantially inelastic synthetic textile material such as tightly woven and coated nylon, and other related materials known to those skilled in the art of container design. It should also be recognized that the above thermally insulating and elastomeric materials neoprene and SBR may be similarly employed with adhesive and thermal or RF (Radio Frequency) bonding, but with a greater degree of difficult and at a higher cost.
  • [0204]
    Multi-tote 100Z is formed from a series of panels 219A, 219B, 219C, and 219D having respective handle openings 220A, B, C, and D, and joined by a series of adhesive or thermal/heat seal bonds 221, 221A, and 221C, as shown. Seals 221 join respective top handle regions of central panels 219C and 219D, and seals 221A join as perimeter seams the bottoms and sides of respective groups of panels in a manner similar to perimeter stitching 106. Seals 221B operate to join respective sets of panels into defined container openings 224 for receiving containers 105 containing a fluid 222 for transport in a manner similar to defining stitching 108. Connecting seals (not shown) are employed to secure central panel members in a manner similar to connecting stitches 109.
  • [0205]
    It is envisioned that multi-tote embodiment 100Z may be constructed a simplified and highly automated matter using die-cutting and thermal or radio frequency (RF) welding from very inexpensive materials. In contrast to the thermally insulative and cushioning embodiments above employing neoprene and SBR and a stitched procedure the present multi-tote embodiment 100Z is intended to be a throw-away or single-use item. Thus, while the use of neoprene and SBR may be employed, the main point of the present embodiment is a single use and very inexpensive tote apparatus.
  • [0206]
    An additional benefit of the present constructions thin films readily accept advertising printing, that are particularly attractive in the case of Mylar and may be adapted to for promotional advantage.
  • [0207]
    Referring now to FIGS. 27A and 27B an alternative multi-tote apparatus 400A are designed to operate as a multi-panel design with a varied stitch pattern to accept differing container volumes (here seven container) in a plurality of bounded regions 228, including a central region 229 for receiving containers 105. It should be understood by those skilled in the art that varying stitch patterns, removing defining stitch lines or connecting stitches allows varied number of container receptacles to be defined.
  • [0208]
    As shown panels or sheets 225A, 225B, 225C, and 225D are employed with associated handle openings 226A, B, C, and D.
  • [0209]
    Piping or edging materials 227 cover edges and stitch lines as noted. And a series of stitching is employed. Joining stitches 230 join central panels 225C, 225D forming central region 229, and additionally join edges of all four panels 225A, B, C, D on each side. Defining stitches 231 are employed to form outer containers openings 228 and join respective outer panels 225A, 225B to respective portions of inner panels 225C, 225D. At the outer edges, those of skill in the art will understand that defining stitches 231 may also serve as joining stitches 230 along a common stitch line, as shown in FIG. 27B.
  • [0210]
    One particular advantage of the present alternative embodiment is that it reinforces the adaptability of the multi-panel construction design allowing a variation in stitching and panel dimension to adapt to multiple container designs. Also obviously the present multi-tote embodiment 400A may be adapted to incorporate protective covers or flaps, protective or supportive straps and carry handle members discussed within the present disclosure.
  • [0211]
    As an additional consideration, those of skill in the art will recognize that one or more bottom gusset members may be incorporated into the present design, as well as one or more stitch configurations. For example, defining stitches may be excluded on one or more panel groupings allowing larger or smaller pockets to be provided
  • [0212]
    Referring now to FIGS. 28A and 28B, an alternative embodiment of the present multi-tote construction is provided at tote 400B and tote 400C, employing multi-panel construction with panels 232A, 232B on respective sides with handle openings 237A, 237B. A series of container receptacles or bounded regions 235 for receiving containers 105 is defined by a series of perimeter and defining stitch lines, as shown.
  • [0213]
    Each panel construction and individual multi-pack tote is provided with a series of loops 236 along outer container regions 235 for slidably receiving a strap 233 having Velcro engagement sections 234.
  • [0214]
    As shown strap 233 wraps around both multi-tote containers 400B, 400C as shown providing a secure “six-pack” type configuration. It should also be envisioned that strap 233 may be worn as a belt or over-the-shoulder construction similar to a bandoleer without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention.
  • [0215]
    As was recognized earlier, multi-tote containers 400B, 400C may be similarly modified by alternating stitch panels to vary the number and type of defined bounded receiving regions, without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention.
  • [0216]
    Referring now to FIG. 28C, an adaptation of the embodiments in FIGS. 28A, 28B is provided via multi-tote 400C provided with a belt 239 and a clasp or buckle 240 in a multi-tote+belt construction 400D for use as a novel waist pack or belt-pack for improved user convenience.
  • [0217]
    Referring now to FIG. 29A, an alternative multi-tote construction 400E for containing sports bottles 241 within container pockets 243 includes two panels 244A, 244B sewn along common stitch lines with a central defining stitch line.
  • [0218]
    Additionally included are a series of extending fixing tabs 246 proximate one or more edge regions of multi-pack tote 400E. As proposed a series of fixed tabs or fixing tabs 245 is affixed or affixable to a sports or other garment and engages via fixing elements, here snaps 246 with tabs 246 to secure multi-pack tote 400E to the user.
  • [0219]
    While any of the previous embodiments proposed may be substituted for the present multi-tote 400E without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention, it would be preferred by sports people for a lower weight of tote bag and hence it is suggested that a lower size tote apparatus may be principally used.
  • [0220]
    Referring now to FIG. 30A, an alternative embodiment of the present multi-tote construction is proposed with snap-on multi-tote 400F shown as a three-container construction as discussed hereinabove. Proposed are a series of one or more snap clips 248A, 248B for linking multi-tote construction 400F with a retaining hook ring 249 on a sports bag 250 or other object (tail gate, boat wall, sports seat, etc.) for ready storage and transport.
  • [0221]
    Referring now to FIG. 31A. an alternative multi-tote embodiment combined with particularized container embodiments is proposed. Here, multi-tote container 400G includes a series of receiving pockets 252 for receiving thermal modification sleeves 251 shaped to received containers 105A.
  • [0222]
    As will be understood by those of skill in the art, the present multi-pack tote apparatus 400G follows panel construction with definable container tote sections. Thermal modification sleeves 251 may be either additional insulation sleeves, cooling packs, or warming packs and are provided to slide within pockets 252.
  • [0223]
    As a consequence, it may be readily envisioned that multiple (non-three pocket) multi-pack designs may be additionally provided as a kit with thermal modification sleeves 251 and receiving containers 105A. Thus, for example, the 7-embodiment shown at FIG. 27A may be formed to receive sleeves 251 for containers 105 without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention.
  • [0224]
    Referring now FIG. 32A, to a display-orientated multi-pack embodiment 400H is provided employing a series panel construction with panels 253A, 253B, 253C, and 253D with respective handle openings 254A, B, C, and D, as shown. Piping or edging material 255 bounds respective seams and bounded pockets are defined for receiving containers.
  • [0225]
    In an outer region of each respective pocket member one or more openings 255 is provided bound by piping or edging 255 and exposing a logo 257 on respective containers.
  • [0226]
    One benefit of the present multi-tote apparatus 400H is that openings 255 allow a user to see a product logo readily and hence the promotional appeal of the product is extended. Similarly, the multi-tote apparatus 400H may be employed more readily as promotional product with additional external printing (as proposed earlier) to aid promotional efforts.
  • [0227]
    Referring now to FIG. 33A, an alternative embodiment of a multi-tote apparatus 400I is constructed with multiple panels 262A through 262D in a manner earlier described but additionally includes a side pocket 258 formed to engage along piping or edging line 261 joining respective panels in a central region 262.
  • [0228]
    A hand tool 259, here a bottle opening, is attached by a tether or restraint 260 to multi-tote apparatus 400I. Thus the present multi-tote apparatus is provided in combination with a hand tool for user convenience and as an aid to promoting a particular product sold within the multi-tote container.
  • [0229]
    Referring now to FIG. 33B, an alternative multi-tote apparatus 400J is provided with multi-panel or sheet construction using sheets 264A, B, C, and D as shown. In the present embodiment, constructed similarly to those described earlier, an additional opening tool 267 is stitched via stitching 265 to one of the panels or sheets 264A-D, as shown. Piping material 266 surrounds stitching 265 and provides a pleasing appearance. Similar to the embodiment noted in FIG. 33A, opening tool 267 facilitates user convenience and augments promotional appeal of the apparatus.
  • [0230]
    Referring now to FIG. 33C, another alternative multi-tote apparatus 400K containing one of the multiple types of multi-pack construction represented above using panels 268A, B, C, and D. An additional hand tool 270 is affixed to one of the panels via at a stud or pivot point 269 to provide convenient access to opener 271. As discussed above, the present embodiment is another design showing the utility of the present invention. It should also be understood, that hand tool 270 may be easily positioned for use by rotation about pivot point 269 or by flexing panel member 268A.
  • [0231]
    Referring now to FIG. 34A, an alternative multi-pack tote apparatus 400K is provided with multiple panels 272A, B, C, D. Outer panels 272A and 272B extend upwardly into extension or extended panels 274A, 274B, respectively.
  • [0232]
    Extension panels 274A, B include respective shoulder openings 273A, B as shown, allowing a user to place multi-tote apparatus 400L in a convenient manner for supporting weight. Where panels 272A-D are constructed from elastomeric material an additional stretching motion during walking eases the weight born by a user.
  • [0233]
    An additional feature is noted at opening 277 where a clear cover 278 bound by stitching 275 at an attachment point provides a location for a user to place an identification card, promotional material prior to sale, preferred picture, etc.
  • [0234]
    Referring now to FIGS. 35A and 35B an alternative multi-pack or tote apparatus 400M is provided based on the present multi-panel design, here for nine containers 105.
  • [0235]
    As shown, a series of panels 280A, B, C, D, E, and F are joined by respective perimeter stitches 285 forming a series of container regions or pockets 282. Piping or edging 283 bounds handle openings 281A, 281B on respective panel portions 280A, 280B.
  • [0236]
    As shown in FIG. 35A, central portions of inner panels 280C, D, E, and F are cropped and covered by central piping material 284 along a binding stitch regions 286 joining respect panels and providing a pleasing inner-tote finish and ready access to each of the internal sections.
  • [0237]
    As will be obvious to those of skill in the art in view of the discussions herein, stitching lines for definition and also connection may be repositioned or eliminated or modified to adjust the number of container regions or pockets 282 within the embodiment. Thus, for example, outer regions may contain only two pockets and inner region may be zipper-protect for transportation of personal items.
  • [0238]
    Referring now to FIG. 36A, an alternative multi-pack embodiment 400N is based on the multi-panel design discussed herein. A set of panels 287A, 287B are provided and joined along a continuous side stitch line 290. A plurality of dividing stitches 291 subdivide and enable a number of receiving areas. Handles 288 on each panel 287A, 287B allow hand gripping for ready transport.
  • [0239]
    A series of contoured portions 294 allow multi-tote apparatus 400N to stand erect on a support surface after being filled with containers 105. An extending support portion 292 on each panel 287A, 287B extends away from container region and forms a shoulder or belt portion terminating at a binding or covering edge 289 similar to the piping and edging material employed throughout embodiment 400N.
  • [0240]
    Buckles 293 extend and join opposite ends of panels 287A, 287B and form a bandoleer or continuous supporting loop allowing a user to easily transport multiple containers without undue strain. Where panels are selected from an elastomeric material (not required but preferred) there is a supportive elasticity that improves user comfort.
  • [0241]
    Those of skill in the art will recognize that the present embodiment of a multi-tote apparatus 400N represents one alternative design based on the present invention, and that additional panel layers may be selected, differing stitch lines may be employed, and differing materials may be selected without departing from the scope and spirit of the present invention.
  • [0242]
    Those of skill in the consumer products are will also readily recognize several of the basic improvements provided by the present invention that respond to at least one of the needs noted above.
  • [0243]
    These improvements include, but are not limited to:
    • 1. Securely and snugly holding a wide range of containers without a requirement for mechanical fasteners.
    • 2. Protecting container contents from damage/impact from outside objects and surface abrasion.
    • 3. Protecting content from damage/impact with contents in the other chambers.
    • 4. Allows flattened storage when not in use (little internal volume) and therefore, takes up minimal space when empty (can be stowed by the end user in limited-size drawers or other carrying cases when not in use). An additional feature allows the use of a bottom gusset shaped for flat storage but allowing increased expansion range.
    • 5. The flattened-when-not-in-use design also takes up very little storage space at each step in the commercial distribution channel as well, thereby lowering shipping costs and volume. (since it stores and ships flat it takes up less room than other 3-dimensional container pouches.
    • 6. Provides good thermal isolation for contents.
    • 7. This particular construction allows each bottle to have its own thermal protection without effecting temperature of the other contents/bottles since each bottle is in a separate compartment separated by space (allowing adjoining container to have hot/cold objects at the same time).
    • 8. No need for top closer on the bag in order to achieve effective thermal protection with this construction since each bottle is snugly enveloped by the tension from the stretchable elastomeric material used, this generally covers roughly a substantial majority of the container surface area.
    • 9. Slight springiness in motion while being transported provides comfortable sensation.
    • 10 Construction allows multiple hand sizes to be effectively and comfortably formed without undue retooling during manufacture.
    • 11. Well-balanced geometric construction (a/k/a honeycomb design) can be assembled in several patterns/embodiments depending upon a manufacturers need.
    • 12. The totes have no fasteners, hooks, snaps, separate parts or mechanical pieces to loose or break, although these may be added as a benefit or user convenience.
    • 13. The preferred tote material is corrosion resistant and can be used outside or indoors without damage, including elastomeric and non-elastomeric materials.
    • 21. Tote material may be washed by hand or in a machine without damage.
  • [0258]
    As will be understood by those of skill in the art, the use of descriptive language, for example perimeter, bounded, top, bottom, etc., to describe aspects of the proposed invention should be consider to be non-limiting as to geometry, shape, or construction. Thus, for example while the phrase “perimeter” involves, on one select aspect the measurement of a circle, as used herein the phrase perimeter indicates an outer region of any shape and is thus non-limiting to a specific geometry merely indicative of its outer region. For a further example, an irregular shape has an outer perimeter as does a regular shape.
  • [0259]
    As should also be noted herein, the phrase open access portal may be broadly used to define the entering regions of each panel group or between panel groups for accessing one or more bounded container regions, and is not narrowly limited to the external edge region of each panel group. As a consequence, zipper 155 in FIG. 13A, zippers 147 in FIGS. 11A and 11B, Velcro members 178 in FIG. 18A, and snaps 182 in FIG. 19A may all be broadly referred to as mechanism for securing open access portals and securing carry items therewithin.
  • [0260]
    In the claims, means- or step-plus-function clauses are intended to cover the structures described or suggested herein as performing the recited function and not only structural equivalents but also equivalent structures. Thus, for example, although a nail, a screw, and a bolt may not be structural equivalents in that a nail relies on friction between a wooden part and a cylindrical surface, a screw's helical surface positively engages the wooden part, and a bolt's head and nut compress opposite sides of a wooden part, in the environment of fastening wooden parts, a nail, a screw, and a bolt may be readily understood by those skilled in the art as equivalent structures.
  • [0261]
    Having described at least one of the preferred embodiments of the present invention with reference to the accompanying drawings, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited to those precise embodiments, and that various changes, modifications, and adaptations may be effected therein by one skilled in the art without departing from the scope or spirit of the invention as defined in the appended claims.
Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US166779 *Jun 12, 1875Aug 17, 1875Himself And henby LImprovement in grain-drill teeth
US665942 *Jun 9, 1900Jan 15, 1901Jasper Newton TablerMail-pouch.
US1808375 *Aug 26, 1929Jun 2, 1931Plooster Neal WShopping bag
US1983418 *Dec 4, 1933Dec 4, 1934Thurmer Sophie JBottle bag
US2123031 *Aug 3, 1936Jul 5, 1938Weiner Julius LeonThermos carrier
US2297375 *Dec 3, 1936Sep 29, 1942Vogt Clarence WContainer
US2405517 *Jan 1, 1945Aug 6, 1946Owens Illinois Glass CoBottle carrier
US2473429 *Jun 20, 1945Jun 14, 1949Hinman Harry LBottle carrier
US2899997 *Dec 23, 1957Aug 18, 1959 Duck decoy carrier
US3559873 *Sep 9, 1969Feb 2, 1971Grace W R & CoBag with tote handle
US3812962 *Mar 31, 1972May 28, 1974Grip Pak IncContainer package
US3954177 *Feb 8, 1974May 4, 1976Union Carbide CorporationContainer package having integral means for carrying
US3967666 *Feb 21, 1975Jul 6, 1976Farrar Sophia MBedside article bag
US4062392 *Apr 14, 1977Dec 13, 1977Merril HermansonDouble handled bag - foldable to two sizes
US4180111 *Nov 13, 1978Dec 25, 1979Terri DavisHandbag
US4197890 *Dec 18, 1978Apr 15, 1980Simko James FInsulating jacket for bottles
US4428484 *Jan 19, 1982Jan 31, 1984Rattay Rosemary CPortable wine bottle carrier
US4542826 *Dec 30, 1983Sep 24, 1985Adams Mark SFlexible bag type beverage can carrier
US4601390 *Jan 28, 1985Jul 22, 1986Roberta RosenthalCollapsible hand carrier for bottles
US4681225 *Jun 16, 1986Jul 21, 1987Schuster Lorenz MGlass and bottle tote
US4696403 *Sep 16, 1986Sep 29, 1987Sonoco Products CompanyBottle bag
US4750639 *Oct 8, 1986Jun 14, 1988Emil Schaerer & Co.Arrangement for the pre-sorting of garbage
US4819793 *Oct 13, 1987Apr 11, 1989Charles, Fong And AssociatesBeverage carrier
US4872766 *Nov 18, 1988Oct 10, 1989Sonoco Products CompanyTwo-compartment plastic bag
US4884683 *Apr 12, 1989Dec 5, 1989Ford Thomas EBottle carrier
US4955556 *Jan 30, 1989Sep 11, 1990Pzf, Inc.Shoulder harness reel assembly with automatic reel lock
US4984662 *Dec 27, 1989Jan 15, 1991Sgi Inc.Self supporting, selectively collapsible soft-walled carrier
US5044699 *Jun 8, 1990Sep 3, 1991Carolyn DutyTote bag with straps
US5050998 *Jul 16, 1990Sep 24, 1991Boaz WachtelDual laundry bag
US5090526 *Dec 19, 1990Feb 25, 1992Sgi Inc.Self supporting, selectively collapsible soft-walled carrier
US5110020 *Dec 28, 1990May 5, 1992Michael UhlTote bag
US5313807 *Apr 12, 1993May 24, 1994Owen Michelle LInsulated holder with cooler pocket
US5503476 *Jul 20, 1994Apr 2, 1996Hamdan; SharifPre-sort and organization laundry apparatus
US5624048 *Feb 16, 1995Apr 29, 1997Sander; RonenInsulated carrying container
US5791481 *Jan 9, 1997Aug 11, 1998Thomas; Janice GoreElastic retaining assembly
US5848734 *Feb 18, 1997Dec 15, 1998Outer Circle Products, Ltd.Container having a rigid liner and a flexible cover
US5860525 *Jan 22, 1997Jan 19, 1999Bellehchili; DjamalBag for transporting substantially rigid elongate loads
US6004033 *Jul 30, 1998Dec 21, 1999Iron Gloves, Inc.Water bottle holder system with attachment mechanism
US6062434 *Oct 16, 1998May 16, 2000Outer Circle Products, Ltd.Insulated jacket and container assembly
US6068402 *Oct 27, 1998May 30, 2000Outer Circle Products, Ltd.Foldable cooler
US6131780 *Jun 28, 1999Oct 17, 2000Becker; Elsie ClareBottle tote
US6155714 *Dec 24, 1996Dec 5, 2000Rhone PoulencMulti-compartment packaging bag with carrying handle
US6401993 *Nov 27, 2000Jun 11, 2002Carlos AndrinoMulti-purpose bottle holder
US20010031104 *Feb 13, 2001Oct 18, 2001Maxworld, Inc.Bag with variable volume
US20030128897 *Jan 9, 2002Jul 10, 2003David LehrmanConvertible bag
US20030185465 *Apr 28, 2003Oct 2, 2003Maximino VazquezVertically expandable bag
US20030228072 *Jun 5, 2002Dec 11, 2003Theodore TybergCollapsible bottle container
US20050028910 *Aug 6, 2003Feb 10, 2005Duty Carolyn I.Tote bag with a single strap and pockets
USD266048 *Aug 11, 1980Sep 7, 1982 Collapsible bottle or can holder
USD289128 *Jul 23, 1984Apr 7, 1987 Single bottle insulated bag
USD357845 *Mar 10, 1993May 2, 1995 Temperature keeping bag for bottles
USD379119 *Oct 16, 1995May 13, 1997Thomasville Furniture Industries, Inc.Bottle holder
USD409450 *Apr 2, 1998May 11, 1999 Wine bottle bag
USD414083 *Jun 3, 1998Sep 21, 1999 Side loading wine bottle bag
USD433802 *Apr 12, 2000Nov 21, 2000 Beverage holder
USD441612 *Aug 3, 1999May 8, 2001Stanley A. HamiltonTop loading wine bottle bag
USD451665 *Mar 27, 2000Dec 11, 2001John Allan PhillipsWine bottle tote
USD462164 *Nov 1, 2001Sep 3, 2002John Alan PhillipsWine bottle tote for two wine bottles
USD474887 *Aug 27, 2002May 27, 2003Victoria R. ForsterBottle holder with attachment and storage features
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8387783Oct 13, 2009Mar 5, 2013Skip Hop, Inc.Device for holding bath toys
US8662368Oct 17, 2008Mar 4, 2014Shootsac, Inc.Wearable camera lens bag and laptop bag
US8827102 *Mar 1, 2013Sep 9, 2014Skip Hop, Inc.Device for holding bath toys
US8906036 *Nov 5, 2012Dec 9, 2014Covidien LpSurgical retrieval apparatus
US8985409 *Oct 20, 2009Mar 24, 2015Amphipod, Inc.Bottle and accessories carrier
US9084588Oct 28, 2014Jul 21, 2015Covidien LpSurgical retrieval apparatus
US9456679 *Dec 31, 2014Oct 4, 2016Amphipod, Inc.Bottle and accessories carrier
US9591915Jan 14, 2015Mar 14, 2017Amphipod, Inc.Bottle sleeve and mating bottle
US20080199107 *Apr 28, 2008Aug 21, 2008Performance Packaging Of Nevada LlcReusable general purpose bag
US20090101530 *Oct 17, 2008Apr 23, 2009Keats ElliottWearable Camera Lens Bag and Laptop Bag
US20090294317 *May 27, 2008Dec 3, 2009Villhard Jr Robert LCollapsible insulating sleeves for multi-container packages
US20100102096 *Oct 20, 2009Apr 29, 2010Amphipod, Inc.Bottle and accessories carrier
US20110084038 *Oct 13, 2009Apr 14, 2011Elizabeth ZackDevice for holding bath toys
US20110182532 *Jan 26, 2011Jul 28, 2011Igloo Products Corp.Liner for use with flexible containers
US20120024875 *Jul 29, 2010Feb 2, 2012Zerda Deborah AInsulating cup sleeve
US20130077897 *Sep 23, 2011Mar 28, 2013Potter Industries LimitedWaterproof storage bag
US20150108183 *Dec 31, 2014Apr 23, 2015Amphipod, Inc.Bottle and accessories carrier
USD616199Nov 12, 2009May 25, 2010Built Ny, IncCamera case
USD619861Nov 12, 2009Jul 20, 2010Built Ny, Inc.Girls lunch bag
USD626798Nov 12, 2009Nov 9, 2010Built Ny, Inc.Boys lunch bag
USD627613Nov 12, 2009Nov 23, 2010Built Ny, Inc.Shoulder lunch tote
USD773800 *Mar 31, 2015Dec 13, 2016Amphipod, Inc.Pouch
Classifications
U.S. Classification206/427, 220/739, 383/38, 220/903
International ClassificationB65D25/00, B65D65/00, B65D30/22
Cooperative ClassificationA45F2200/0583, A45F3/16, A45F5/00
European ClassificationA45F3/16, A45F5/00
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Dec 11, 2006ASAssignment
Owner name: BUILT NY, INC., NEW YORK
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:LOWN, AARON;SWARTZ, JOHN ROSCOE;REEL/FRAME:018609/0807
Effective date: 20061208