CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The present application claims priority to U.S. Design application Ser. No. 29/246,604 filed Mar. 26, 2006, U.S. Design application Ser. No. 29/249,148 filed Sep. 22, 2006, U.S. Design application Ser. No. 29/249,151 filed Sep. 22, 2006 and U.S. Design application Ser. No. 29/249,149 filed Sep. 22, 2006, the contents of each of which are herein fully incorporated by reference.
1. Field of the Invention
The invention relates to a carrying accessory and, in particular to a carrying pocket for transporting and storing portable electronic devices.
2. Description of the Related Art
It is often desirable that portable electronic appliances be conveniently stored by a user so as to become immediately available to the user if a need arises. For example, a commuter, often burdened with numerous pieces of luggage, typically keeps a cell phone, palm device and/or other electronic portable devices stored in his/her pockets or on a belt-loop. If a need arises for using the stored electronic device, the user may experience quite an inconvenience while reaching for the device. Frequently, the user anticipating an urgent call or email message chooses to hold an electronic device in one of his/her hands while steering heavy pieces of luggage through large crowds by the other hand. As a result, the user/commuter experiences difficulties with both handling the luggage and using the electronic device.
A few configurations of carriers for portable electronic devices have been offered to address this problem. For example, as shown in FIG. 6A, a carrier 1 that may be used for carrying a pager/beeper has a body 2 and a cover 3 coupleable to body 2 by means of a closure or fastening device 4. Typically, the rear side of carrier 1 has a hook-like unit (not shown) configured to engage a narrow edge of pocket of the user's wardrobe or the belt of a bag carried by the user. However, such an engagement is not reliable, and carrier 1 can be easily dislodged.
FIG. 6B illustrates a further example of a carrier 5 configured to store a cell phone. Provided with a body 6 and a cover 7, carrier 5 can be suspended on a belt 8 by means of a hooking unit 9 which is located on the rear side of body 6. Similar to the structure shown in FIG. 6A, carrier 5 can be easily displaced off belt 8 and lost. These and other examples of carriers for electronic portable devices can be seen, for example, at www.uscav.com/productinfo.aspx?productid=5827&tabID=137 advertising BlackHawk@products.
A need, therefore, exists for a carrier for electronic portable devices that has a structure capable of reliably and releasably attaching itself to a support.
A further need exists for a carrier for electronic portable devices that has a structure facilitating the use of stored electronic portable devices by a commuter or user.
- SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
A yet further need exits for a carrier that readily adapts to the shape of variable sized portable electronic devices so as to allow a user to choose differing devices to carry over time while not requiring a purchase of a custom-made carrying device—often an additional expense when acquiring a new cell phone, PDA, or other device. As a consequence, a related need exists to for a carrier that hugs or secures a carrying device while allowing ready removal.
These above-noted needs are satisfied by a carrier for electronic devices configured in accordance with at least one of the embodiments noted in the present disclosure. The disclosed carrier has a flexible body provided with an opening at one of opposite ends of the body and configured to be traversed by the rest of the body so that the body is wrapped about a support in a manner substantially minimizing accidental dislodging of the carrier.
The body of the disclosed carrier includes two substantially identically configured sheets of flexible material coupled to one another along a continuous peripheral edge. One or more of the sheets is provided with a slit closable by, for example, a zipper, Velcro, and an elastomeric urging providing the access into the interior of the bounded body which is, thus, defined between the opposing surfaces of the respective bounding sheets. As a consequence, the interior of the body is configured as a pocket shaped and dimensioned to receive various electronic devices after the disclosed carrier has been attached to a support. The support can include, as an example, the handle of a suitcase or any other piece of luggage.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
In accordance with a further aspect of the disclosure, a carrier for electronic portable devices is configured with three substantially identical sheets of material. The outer sheets of material are coupled to the inner sheet of material along opposing peripheral edges of the respective sheets. The outer sheets each have a slit closable by a zipper and defining the access into the interior of the carrier. As a consequence, the carrier has two isolated pockets each configured to receive a portable electronic device.
The above and other features and advantages will become more readily apparent from the following description explained in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of a carrying pocket configured with an embodiment of the present disclosure.
FIG. 2 is a top elevational view of the carrying pocket of FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is a side elevational view of the carrying pocket of FIG. 1.
FIG. 4 is a bottom plan view of the carrying pocket of FIG. 1.
FIG. 5 is an exploded perspective view of a carrying pocket configured in accordance with a further embodiment of the invention and having a three-sheet structure provided with a plurality of pockets.
FIGS. 6A and 6B illustrate various configurations of carriers for electronic devices configured in accordance with the known prior art.
Reference will now be made in detail to several views of the invention that are illustrated in the accompanying drawings. Wherever possible, same or similar reference numerals are used in the drawings and the descriptions 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, rear and front 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,” or “affix” and similar terms with their inflectional morphemes do not necessarily denote direct and immediate connections, but also include connections through mediate elements or devices. The words “carrying pocket” and ““carrier” are used interchangeably.
FIGS. 1-4 illustrate a carrier 10 having an optional body 12 shaped and dimensioned to releasably receive and store en electronic device (not shown). The electronic device is not limited to any particular functionality and may be configured as, among others, a cellular phone, tape recorder, IPOD, portable computer, palm device and any other electronic gadget fitting the inner space of body 12, as will be explained below. The body 12 is formed from two variously shaped sheets of flexible (in this case elastomeric) material including, but, of course, not limited to, durable neoprene or Nytaneon™ nylon material or other like materials such as SBR. This and other like materials provide body 12 with a high degree of flexibility that, in turn, provides for a small storage space for carrier 10 when the latter is not in use. On the other hand, when carrier 10 is in use, for example, when the user is traveling, carrier 10 can be securely coupled to any item, such as a suitcase, and be at hand for the user's disposal whenever a need arises. Coupling carrier 10 to an item can be realized by initially compressing a bottom 18 portion (FIG. 4) of body 12 so that it assumes a state in which the user can pass compressed bottom 18 through an opening 22 formed in a top 20 (FIG. 2) of body 12. For example, if carrier 10 is to be mounted to the handle of a suitcase, the user can bring, for example, top 20 of body 12 in the vicinity of the handle, wrap body 12 about the handle by pushing bottom 18 through opening 22 and, finally, tighten up the looped carrier 10 about the handle. Having securely attached carrier 10 to the item, the user may further open a closure 30, submerge the desired electronic device inside a pocket 50 formed in bottom 18 of body 12 and secure the device in pocket 50 by releasing closure 30. As a consequence, while the user's hands or the pockets of the user's wardrobe are free or empty, respectively, the carried electronic device can be immediately retrieved from carrier 10 in a convenient manner if a need arises. The carrier 10 does not have to be necessarily coupled to a piece of luggage, but cant be attached to any other support including appropriate locations at the user.
In the present embodiment shown, the body 12 has two sheets of flexible material 14 and 16 (FIGS. 1, 2), respectively, coupled to one another along respective peripheral regions so that body 12 has a continuous or endless peripheral edge 24. Affixing sheets 14 and 16 to one another may be realized by a variety of methods including, but not limited to, stitching the sheets' peripheral regions together, as shown by a numeral reference 26, gluing the sheets together or fusing them to one another along the respective peripheral regions. The carrier 10, as illustrated by FIG. 1, has a substantially bottle-neck shaped cross-section in this embodiment to facilitate flexible use. However, it is clear that the functionality of carrier 10 is completely divorced from its shape which, thus, can include variously shaped cross sections such as polygonal, circular, egg-shaped, ovoidal, and other regular or irregular cross-sections. The only requirement carrier 10 must meet is that pocket 50 is shaped and dimensioned to receive an electronic device so that the latter completely submerges in the pocket to allow closure 30 to close pocket 50.
Based on the forgoing, pocket 50 is, thus, defined by opposing inner surfaces of respective sheets 14 and 16 (provided for a bounded inner region) and generally expands from a slit 32 to a location proximate the segment of peripheral edge 24 running along bottom 18 of body 12. The slit 32, thus, may be formed in one of or both sheets 14 and 16 and be dimensioned to substantially correspond to the dimension of closure 30 to provide an electronic device with access into and removal from pocket 50. One of ordinary skill can readily realize that pocket 50 may have a variety of configurations. The boundaries of pocket 50 are defined by the coupled regions of respective sheets 14 and 16.
The closure 30 located along the opposite edges of slit 32 may have different configurations. Advantageously, closure 30 includes a zipper. Alternatively, VelcroŽ strips can be provided along the edges of slit 30. Furthermore, a snap unit including buttons and respective holes or knobs and respective sockets can be used as well.
Optionally, body 12 includes a reinforcing layer 28 advantageously overlaying at least a region of bottom 18 and, thus, covering at least a part of pocket 50. Made from material having a structured outer surface, layer 28 functions as a gripping region for the user and reinforces one of sheets 14, 16 formed with slit 32 to minimize voluntary displacement of an electronic device in pocket 50 and minimize abrasion to the edges of slit 32. Preferably, layer 28 is silk screened as a liquid formulation of elastomeric material, but it may be coupled to body 12 by any other suitable method including, without any limitation, stitching and gluing. The reinforcing layer 28 may have its top region coupled to body 12 between closure 30 and top 20 to define the ceiling of pocket 50. Configuration of reinforcing layer may vary as long as the functionality including the improved grip, pocket reinforcement and added ornamental value is maintained.
Turning now FIG. 5, a carrier 100 is configured with three sheets 110, 120 and 130, respectively coupled together along peripheral edge 241. The outer sheets 110 and 130 are configured identically to one another and each have slit 32, closure 30, which is operative to close slit 32, and reinforcing layer 28, as disclosed in reference to FIG. 1. As a result of coupling outer sheets 110 and 130 to respective opposite surfaces of inner sheet 120, carrier 100 has a two-pocket structure. The pockets 50 each are formed by the opposing surfaces of respective inner and outer sheets 120 and 110, 130. The two-pocket structure allows the user to conveniently store multiple electronic devices. The method of using carrier 100 is substantially the same as the one disclosed in reference to FIGS. 1-4 and includes coupling the body of carrier 100 to a support and then inserting electronic devices into respective pockets 50. The pockets 50 may be uniformly configured or have different shapes and dimensions. Accordingly, carrier 100 can be used as an organizer having one pocket 50 configured, for example, to store a cell phone, and other pocket 50 shaped and dimensioned to carry, for example, a pager.
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.
Many additional modifications, which are not designed-oriented, are intended in the foregoing disclosure, and it will be appreciated by those of ordinary skill in the art that in some instances some features of the invention will be employed in the absence of a corresponding use of other features. The illustrative examples therefore do not define the metes and bounds of the invention.