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 numberUS20080156833 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/966,034
Publication dateJul 3, 2008
Filing dateDec 28, 2007
Priority dateDec 29, 2006
Publication number11966034, 966034, US 2008/0156833 A1, US 2008/156833 A1, US 20080156833 A1, US 20080156833A1, US 2008156833 A1, US 2008156833A1, US-A1-20080156833, US-A1-2008156833, US2008/0156833A1, US2008/156833A1, US20080156833 A1, US20080156833A1, US2008156833 A1, US2008156833A1
InventorsRonnie Espiritu, Phyliss Robins, Mario Duenas, Scott Vance, Clayton Richter
Original AssigneeUsa Wireless Solutions
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Case for portable electronic devices having a magnetically shielded fastener
US 20080156833 A1
Abstract
A case for portable electronic devices having a magnetically shielded fastener is provided. The case includes a plurality of walls defining a cavity for slideably receiving a portable electronic device and a flap extending from at least one of the walls to enclose the device within the case. A fastener mechanism for retaining the flap in place includes a first fastener in a front wall of the case and a second fastener in the flap. The first fastener includes a magnet and a receiver configured for receiving the magnet and for redirecting the magnetic field generated by the magnet away from the device disposed within the case. The second fastener is configured from a magnetically attractive material. By shielding the magnet, the magnetic field generated by the magnet is redirected away from the device disposed in the case and focused towards the second fastener to maintain optimal pull force closure.
Images(3)
Previous page
Next page
Claims(11)
1. A case for a portable electronic device comprising:
a plurality of walls configured for defining a cavity for slideably receiving the portable electronic device;
a flap extending from at least one of the walls to enclose the portable electronic device within the case;
a first fastener disposed in a wall opposite the at least one wall including the flap, the first fastener including a magnet and a shielded receiver configured for receiving the magnet and for directing a magnetic field generated by the magnet away from the portable electronic device disposed within the case; and
a second fastener disposed in the flap configured from a magnetically attractive material which when aligned with the first fastener will be attracted to the magnet.
2. The case as in claim 1, wherein the shielded receiver redirects the magnetic field generated by the magnet toward the second fastener to maintain optimal pull force closure between the magnet and the second fastener in the flap.
3. The case as in claim 1, wherein the plurality of walls is formed from neoprene material, leather, rubber or textile fabric material.
4. The case as in claim 1, wherein the receiver substantially surrounds the magnet.
5. The case as in claim 1, wherein a shape of the receiver is complementary to a shape of the magnet.
6. The case as in claim 1, wherein a dimension of the receiver is equal to or greater than a dimension of the magnet.
7. The case as in claim 1, wherein the plurality of walls include a front wall, a back wall, two side walls and a bottom wall and the flap extends from the back wall.
8. The case as in claim 7, wherein the first fastener is disposed in the front wall.
9. The case as in claim 8, wherein the receiver is configured to substantially face the cavity for slideably receiving the portable electronic device and the magnet is disposed between the receiver and an outer surface of the front wall.
10. The case as in claim 1, wherein the second fastener is a steel lug.
11. The case as in claim 1, wherein the receiver includes a bottom wall and at least one side wall extending from the bottom wall exposing one surface of the magnet when disposed therein and wherein the second fastener is configured to mate with the at least one side wall to enclose the magnet and contain the magnetic field.
Description

This application claims priority on U.S. Provisional Patent Appl. No. 60/877,981 filed Dec. 29, 2006.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present disclosure relates generally to portable electronic devices, and more particularly, to a case for portable electronic devices, e.g., a mobile phone, personal digital assistant (PDA), etc., having a magnetically shielded fastener.

2. Description of the Related Art

With such a vast segment of the population owning portable cellular telephones, it is perhaps the most universally carried “personal item”. However, with so many people carrying their cellular telephones with them at all times, the incidence of damage and destruction of the same is astronomically high. To some extent, manufacturers seek to make the cellular telephone “tough”—such that it is perhaps able to withstand an ordinary fall onto the floor. However, a fall onto a hard surface will certainly at least scratch the phone. Further, according to the configuration of the telephone, a fall on the wrong angle can break the antenna, crack the display, and even break a button or two. Also, repeated drops, or a drop from a greater height can crack the casing, or damage internal electronic circuitry such that the telephone is rendered inoperable. In addition, cellular telephones are very easily damaged by water.

As a result of the potential damage to mobile phones, cases and enclosures for portable electronic devices have been developed to protect such devices from falls, water, scratches, etc. Cases for portable electronic devices are well known in the art and come in many forms such as slip cases, hard-shell cases, and pouches to name a few.

One such prior art case is shown in FIG. 1. Generally, the case 10 includes a plurality of walls including a front wall 12, a back wall 14, two side walls 16 and a bottom wall 18 defining a cavity 20. The cavity 20 is configured to slideably receive a portable electronic device 22, e.g., a mobile phone. The case further includes a flap 24 extending from the back wall 14 configured to enclose the device 22 after the device 22 is disposed in the cavity 20. The front wall 12 and flap 24 generally include complementary fasteners indicated as 26, 28 respectively. The fasteners 26, 28 could be hook and loop-type fasteners, such as those sold under the trademark Velcro™ or button-type fasteners where one of the members is a button, e.g., fastener 28, and the second member of the pair is a buttonhole adapted to receive the button, e.g., fastener 26.

Referring to FIG. 2, certain prior art cases include magnets as the complementary fasteners 26, 28. Generally, each magnet will be configure to have opposite polarity so when the flap 24 is brought over the front wall 12 and the magnetic fasteners 26, 28 align, the magnets will attract each other to retain the flap 24 in a closed position. One bare magnet with an uncontrolled magnetic field, either on the flap 24, or on the front wall 12 has been documented to cause problems in various types of mobile telephones. This magnetic field nearly doubles when the case is closed and the two magnets are put together, thus increasing the potential to cause problems with the device. For example, as a call was being received and the mobile phone 22 was being removed from the case 10, calls were being rejected completely without acknowledgment, e.g., a dropped call, or the ringer was silenced and the call was redirected into voice mail. Moreover, there are new devices that purposely utilize magnet actuated internal switches. Devices with these types of switches are naturally susceptible to false triggering by external magnets, such as 26 and 28.

Therefore, a need exists for cases or holders for portable electronic devices, e.g., mobile phones, that protect the device disposed therein and do not affect the functionality of the device.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A case for portable electronic devices, e.g., mobile phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), etc., having a magnetically shielded fastener is provided. The case of the present disclosure includes a plurality of walls defining a cavity for slideably receiving a portable electronic device and a flap extending from at least one of the walls to enclose the device within the case. The case includes a fastener mechanism for retaining the flap in place. The fastener mechanism includes a first fastener in a front wall of the case and a second fastener in the flap. The first fastener includes a magnet and a receiver configured for receiving the magnet and for redirecting the magnetic field generated by the magnet away from the device disposed within the case. The second fastener is configured from a magnetically attractive material which when aligned with the first fastener will be attracted to the magnet. By shielding the magnet of the first fastener, the magnetic field generated by the magnet is redirected away from the device disposed in the case and focused towards the second fastener to maintain optimal pull force closure. Simultaneously, by eliminating the magnet on the flap and replacing it with a slug, the magnetic field on the flap is virtually eliminated.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The above and other aspects, features, and advantages of the present disclosure will become more apparent in light of the following detailed description when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a prior art case for a portable electronic device;

FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of the prior art case shown in FIG. 1 with a mobile phone disposed therein;

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of a case for a portable electronic device in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure wherein a flap of the case is open; and

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of the case shown in FIG. 3 where the flap is closed.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Preferred embodiments of the present disclosure will be described herein below with reference to the accompanying drawings. In the following description, well-known functions or constructions are not described in detail to avoid obscuring the present disclosure in unnecessary detail.

A case for portable electronic devices, e.g., mobile phones, having a magnetically shielded fastener is provided. Although the below embodiment is described in relation to a mobile phone, the principles of the present disclosure are equally suitable for other portable electronic devices including but not limited to personal digital assistants (PDAs), MP3 players, etc.

Referring to FIGS. 3 and 4, a case 100 according to an embodiment of the present disclose is illustrated. Generally, the case has a similar structure to the prior art case shown in FIG. 1. The case 100 includes a plurality of walls including a front wall 112, a back wall 114, two side walls (not shown) and a bottom wall 118. The plurality of walls define a cavity 20 configured to slide ably receive a portable electronic device 22, e.g., a mobile phone. It is to be appreciated the plurality of walls of the case may be formed from any known material including but not limited to neoprene material, leather, rubber, textile fabric material, etc.

In this embodiment, a fastener mechanism is configured to direct any magnetic field generated by a fastener away from the electronic device 22 disposed in the case 100. The fastener mechanism includes a first fastener 134 disposed or attached to the front wall 112 of the case. The first fastener 134 includes a magnet 126 disposed in a cup, plate, or receiver 132, made of a magnetically permeable material, e.g., steel or other alloys. It is to be appreciated that the shape of the magnet and cup, plate, or receiver, can take many shapes and configurations. For example, the magnet can be circular and the corresponding cup or receiver can have a square bottom wall and four side walls extending up from the bottom wall to receive the circular magnet. If a plate is used as the shield, there will be no side walls, but the plate dimensions should be equal to, or larger than, the magnet dimensions. A second fastener 128 is disposed in the flap 124 and is made from a magnetically attractive material, e.g., a steel lug or other alloys, so when the second fastener 128 is aligned with the first fastener 134, the flap 124 will remain in a closed position.

Referring to FIG. 3, the magnetic field 136 generated by the magnet 126 is redirected away from the device 22 and focused toward the flap by the magnetically permeable cup, plate, or receiver 132. In this embodiment, the magnetic field directed to the second fastener 128, e.g., the steel lug, is increased in strength by a significant amount (e.g. to about 2600 gauss) while the magnetic field 138 directed to the device 22 is decreased in strength by a proportionally significant amount (e.g. to about 200 gauss). Simultaneously, by replacing the magnet on the flap 28 with a slug 128, the magnetic field on the flap is virtually eliminated.

Referring to FIG. 4, when the flap 124 is closed, the second fastener 128, e.g., a steel slug, also acts as a magnetic shield which completes the magnetic circuit to contain the magnetic field 140 in a small volume. The overall leakage outside the shielded area is significantly reduced in comparison to the bare magnet configuration on FIG. 2 (e.g. reduced to about 400 gauss). By shielding the magnet 126 of the first fastener 134, the magnetic field generated by the magnet is redirected away from the device 22 disposed in the case and focused towards the second fastener 128, e.g., a steel lug, to maintain optimal pull force closure. Furthermore, by reducing the magnetic field exposed to the device 22, the device has no adverse effects caused by the case.

While the disclosure has been shown and described with reference to certain preferred embodiments thereof, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes in form and detail may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the disclosure.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8662298Feb 24, 2012Mar 4, 2014Blackberry LimitedMagnetic edge closure cover
US20130278566 *Apr 18, 2012Oct 24, 2013Research In Motion LimitedCover for Actuating a Mobile Electronic Device Sensor
EP2632124A1 *Feb 24, 2012Aug 28, 2013Research In Motion LimitedEdge closure cover
EP2735244A1 *Nov 19, 2013May 28, 2014Albéa ServicesCompact closed via a magnet with a concentrated magnetic field
Classifications
U.S. Classification224/236
International ClassificationA45F5/00
Cooperative ClassificationA45C2011/002, A45C13/1069, A45F5/00
European ClassificationA45C13/10M
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Mar 6, 2008ASAssignment
Owner name: USA WIRELESS SOLUTIONS, CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:ESPIRITU, RONNIE;ROBINS, PHYLISS;DUENAS, MARIO;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:020608/0860;SIGNING DATES FROM 20080102 TO 20080118