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Publication numberUS20090050658 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 12/185,059
Publication dateFeb 26, 2009
Filing dateAug 1, 2008
Priority dateAug 1, 2007
Publication number12185059, 185059, US 2009/0050658 A1, US 2009/050658 A1, US 20090050658 A1, US 20090050658A1, US 2009050658 A1, US 2009050658A1, US-A1-20090050658, US-A1-2009050658, US2009/0050658A1, US2009/050658A1, US20090050658 A1, US20090050658A1, US2009050658 A1, US2009050658A1
InventorsMichael Boyd, Richard N. Case, Bowden Ormsbee
Original AssigneeCrocs, Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Multi-functional carrier for carrying items
US 20090050658 A1
Abstract
Embodiments of the present invention relate to multi-functional carriers for carrying items and methods for constructing carriers. According to some embodiments the carrier includes a holder and a strap molded of foam material. The strap and holder may be coupled together in various configurations to create loop through which one or more objects may be inserted or removed from within a cavity in the holder.
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Claims(11)
1. A carrier, the carrier comprising:
a holder molded of a foam material, the holder comprising:
a cavity, the cavity configured to receive at least one object,
at least one attachment point configured to receive a fastener, and
at least one aperture; and
a strap molded of a foam material, the strap comprising at least one connection point, the connection point configured to receive the fastener, the holder removably and movably coupled to the strap at the fastener, wherein the holder and the strap form a loop through which the at least one object may be inserted into and removed from the cavity.
2. The carrier of claim 1, wherein the object at least partially protrudes from the at least one aperture.
3. The carrier of claim 1, wherein the at least one attachment point is multiple attachment points, wherein the at least one connection point is multiple connection points, and wherein the multiple attachment points and multiple connection points permit coupling of the holder and the strap in two or more configurations.
4. The carrier of claim 1, further comprising at least one projection within the cavity, the at least one projection formed on an inner surface of the holder, and the at least one projection configured to space the object apart from the inner surface of the holder.
5. The carrier of claim 1, further comprising a recess on an inner surface of the holder, wherein the recess is concentric with the attachment point, and wherein the recess at least partially accepts the fastener such that the fastener is counter-sunk within the recess.
6. The carrier of claim 1, further comprising a sleeve, wherein the at least one object is two or more objects, wherein the sleeve is configured for placement within the cavity, and wherein the sleeve separates at least two of the two or more objects within the cavity.
7. The carrier of claim 1, further comprising a divider, wherein the at least one object is two or more objects, wherein the divider is configured for placement within the cavity, and wherein the divider separates at least two of the two or more objects within the cavity.
8. The carrier of claim 7, further comprising a slot configured to receive the divider.
9. A carrier, the carrier comprising:
a holder molded of a foam material, the holder comprising:
a cavity, the cavity configured to receive at least one object,
at least one attachment point,
at least one aperture, and
a back piece;
a strap molded of a foam material, the strap comprising at least one connection point, where the connection point is removably and movably coupled to the holder in at least one attachment point; and
a clip coupled to the back piece.
10. The carrier of claim 9, wherein the back piece comprises a simulated tread pattern.
11. A method for constructing a carrier, the method comprising:
forming a holder molded of foam material, the holder comprising:
a cavity, the cavity configured to receive at least one object,
at least one attachment point configured to receive a fastener, and
at least one aperture; and
forming a strap molded of foam material, the strap comprising at least one connection point, the connection point configured to receive the fastener;
coupling the strap and holder together at the at least one attachment point and at the at least one connection point creating a loop through which an object may be inserted or removed from within the cavity.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/962,839, filed on Aug. 1, 2007, entitled “A MULTI-FUNCTIONAL CARRIER FOR CARRYING ITEMS,” which is herein incorporated by reference in its entirety. This application is also a continuation-in-part of U.S. Design patent application Ser. No. 29/303,882, filed on Feb. 19, 2008, entitled “PHONE CASE,” which is hereby incorporated by reference

TECHNICAL FIELD

Embodiments of the present invention relate generally to carriers, and more specifically to multi-functional carriers for carrying items.

BACKGROUND

Multiple items often need to be carried. Such items may include, for example, cell phones, personal digital assistants (“PDA's”), digital cameras, credit cards, makeup accessories, and other similar items. Carriers such as a purse or a wallet may be used to carry such items. However a purse or wallet may be limited in the functionality of carrying such items. Often, a purse may not securely carry such items to protect them and allow for easy access. Also, existing carriers are often limited in the multi-functionality of securely carrying multiple items.

SUMMARY

Embodiments of the present invention include carriers for carrying items and methods of constructing carriers. According to embodiments of the present invention, a carrier includes a holder and a strap. In some embodiments, the holder is molded of foam material and includes a cavity configured to receive objects, at least one attachment point, and at least one aperture. In some embodiments, the strap is molded of foam material and includes at least one connection point. According to embodiments of the present invention, the holder is coupled to the strap at a fastener wherein the holder and strap may be moved about the fastener. In some embodiments the holder and strap may be coupled and de-coupled. The holder and the strap form a loop through which one or more objects may be inserted into and removed from the cavity, according to embodiments of the present invention.

According to embodiments of the present invention, a carrier may include a holder, a strap, and a clip. In some embodiments the holder is molded of foam material and includes a cavity, at least one attachment point, at least one aperture, and a back piece. In some embodiments the strap is molded of foam material and includes at least one connection point where the connection point is removably and movably coupled to the holder in at least one attachment point. In some embodiments the clip is coupled to the back piece of the holder.

Embodiments of the present invention include a method for constructing a carrier. According to some embodiments the method includes forming a holder molded of foam material, forming a strap molded of foam material, and coupling the strap and holder together to create a loop through which an object may be inserted or removed from within a cavity in the holder.

While multiple embodiments are disclosed, still other embodiments of the present invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description, which shows and describes illustrative embodiments of the invention. Accordingly, the drawings and detailed description are to be regarded as illustrative in nature and not restrictive.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1A is a front perspective view of a carrier, according to embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 1B is a front view of a carrier, according to embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 1C is a bottom view of a carrier, according to embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 1D is a top view of a carrier, according to embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 1E is a back view of a carrier, according to embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 1F is a side cross-sectional view of a carrier, according to embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 2A is front view of a carrier with an object in the cavity, according to embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 2B is a front view of a carrier with an object in the cavity, according to other embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 2C is a side view of a holder coupled with a strap, according to embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 3A is a front perspective view of a carrier, according to embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 3B is a front view of a carrier, according to embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 4A is a left side view of a carrier, according to embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 4B is a right side view of a carrier, according to embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 5 is a back view of a carrier, according to embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 6A is a top view of a carrier, according to embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 6B is a bottom view of a carrier, according to embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 7 is a front perspective view of a carrier, according to embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 8 is a front perspective view of a carrier, according to embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 9 is a front perspective view of a carrier, according to embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 10 is a front perspective view of a carrier, according to embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 11A is a back perspective view of a carrier, according to embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 11B is a right side view of a carrier, according to embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 11C is a back view of a carrier, according to embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 11D is a left side view of a carrier, according to embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 12 is a front view of a strap, according to embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 13 is a side view of a strap, according to embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 14A is a back perspective view of a carrier with a strap, according to embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 14B is a side view of a carrier with a strap, according to embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 15A is a side view of a carrier and a clip, according to embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 15B is a perspective view of a carrier, according to embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 15C is a front view of a carrier, according to embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 16 is a flow chart diagram of a method of constructing a carrier, according to embodiments of the present invention.

While the invention is amenable to various modifications and alternative forms, specific embodiments have been shown by way of example in the drawings and are described in detail below. The intention, however, is not to limit the invention to the particular embodiments described. On the contrary, the invention is intended to cover all modifications, equivalents, and alternatives falling within the scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Embodiments of the present invention include a carrier for carrying one or more objects, such as a mobile device, a credit card, a makeup accessory, or other similar objects. In accordance with one embodiment, the carrier includes a holder and at least one strap. The holder of one embodiment may include a front piece, a back piece, at least two side pieces, and a bottom piece. In addition, the holder may include an opening at the top for placing objects within the confines of the front, back, side, and the bottom pieces of the holder. A space, or cavity, for placing the items within the confines of the holder may be created by the various pieces of the holder.

In accordance with one embodiment, each of the front, back, side, and the bottom pieces may be further formed with other sub-pieces. Alternatively, two or more pieces may be combined and formed as one piece. Further, each piece may be joined with another piece at substantially perpendicular angles. Furthermore, the edges and corners of joining the various pieces may be rounded at a radius to result in a surface instead of an edge connecting the joined pieces.

FIG. 1A is a front perspective view of a carrier, according to embodiments of the present invention. FIG. 1B is a front view of a carrier according to embodiments of the present invention. In some embodiments the carrier includes a holder 100. According to one embodiment, holder 100 includes two side pieces 102 and 104, a front piece 104, and a back piece 108. Front piece 106 and side piece 102 are shown joined substantially perpendicular to each other and the edge of the joint rounded at a radius 110, according to some embodiments. In some embodiments, front piece 106 and a bottom piece 112 are connected to each other at a radius 114, as shown in a right side view 182 of holder 100.

In some embodiments, pieces may be of a substantially flat or curved contour. For example, front piece 106 may be curved at a radius 116, as shown in FIG. 1D. FIG. 1D is a top view of a carrier, according to embodiments of the present invention. In one embodiment, several pieces may be combined and formed as one piece. For example, FIG. !A depicts a piece 172, which can be front piece 106, two side pieces 102 and 104, and bottom piece 112 formed so as to have one continuous surface. Piece 172 is attached to back piece 108, according to embodiments of the present invention. Holder 100 may be formed from any suitable material of sufficient mechanical strength to hold the objects placed inside the holder, and prevent damage to such object from accidental bumps, falls, or pressure, according to embodiments of the present invention. EVA is a type of closed cell foam, and is an example of such a material. In some embodiments, the holder and/or pieces are injection molded or otherwise constructed with CROSLITE™, a proprietary closed-cell resin of Crocs, Inc., 6328 Monarch Park Place, Niwot, Colo., 80503, USA.

According to embodiments of the present invention, the holder 100 has at least one attachment point configured to receive a fastener. In some embodiments the attachment point may be hole 148 or hole 150.

According to embodiments of the present invention, the carrier has a strap 202 as shown in FIGS. 2A-3A. In some embodiments the strap 202 has at least one connection point configured to receive a fastener. In one embodiment the connection point may be hole 708 as shown in FIG. 7. In one embodiment the fastener may be the fastener 706 as shown in FIG. 7 and/or the fastener 806 as shown in FIG. 8. According to some embodiments, the holder 100 and the strap 202 may be coupled with a fastener at corresponding attachment points and connection points.

FIG. 1E is a back view of a carrier, according to embodiments of the present invention. In some embodiments the back piece 108 has a simulated tread pattern as shown in FIG. 1E. According to embodiment of the present invention, the simulated tread pattern may be formed on the back piece 108 of the holder 100 in order to discourage sliding and/or other movement of the holder with respect to a user while the holder is clipped or otherwise attached onto the user or the user's garment or the user's personal effects.

In some embodiments, front piece 106 has an outer surface 122, and an inner surface 124. Outer surface 122 and inner surface 124 may be smooth to touch, textured, or of other similar characteristics. Additionally, each piece may have one or more surface features. According to some embodiments, one or more apertures, such as hole 126, may be positioned on either outer surface 122 or inner surface 124 such that the an object can be placed therethrough. The apertures may be of any shape or size. For example, hole 126 is shown to be round in shape, whereas, holes 140 and 142 are shown to be of an approximately trapezoidal shape.

Furthermore, in some embodiments, a surface may have projections thereon as surface features. For example, inner surface 124 may include one or more raised bumps, or dimples, such as dimple 128, that may be formed onto the inner surface 124. Similarly, inner surface of piece 172 may include a set of depressions, or recesses, such a recess 130, around a hole's opening on the inner surface of piece 172.

One exemplary function of the dimples may be to provide separation between a part of an object placed in the cavity of the holder 100, such as cavity 156, and the holder 100, so as to avoid damage to the object. Another exemplary function of the dimples may be to provide friction during insertion of an object into, and removal from, the cavity 156 of the holder 100. By providing friction in this manner, the dimples may prevent the article from readily moving within the cavity 156 and from accidentally coming out of the cavity 156. Similarly, an exemplary function of a recess 130 may be to provide a separation between an article, such as an end of a fastener placed into the recess 130, from coming in contact with an object while placed in the cavity 156 of the holder 100.

In one embodiment, back piece 108 has an outer surface 132 and an inner surface 134. In some embodiments, outer surface 134 has texture 136, as shown in a back view 186, which may be formed in any shape, size, depth, area, orientation, material, and/or color.

In some embodiments, articles may be placed or fastened to the carrier. In one example, articles may be placed or fastened through an aperture, such as through hole 126. In another example, articles having a surface and a post perpendicular to the surface may be placed such that the post projects through an aperture, such as hole 126 or 127. A decorative pin is an example of such an article. The surface of the decorative pin may be adorned, embossed, engraved, and/or otherwise decorated with decorative information such as informative symbols, insignia, and/or text.

In some embodiments, a counter part to the post may couple with the post on the inner surface so as to form a fastener and prevent the article from becoming detached from the piece. As an example, a decorative pin may have a counter part to the post, that screws on, snaps on, and/or otherwise couples to the post of the pin such that a decorative surface of the decorative pin rests on the outer surface, and the counter-part rests on the inner surface of a piece, fastening the decorative pin in the aperture. Furthermore, the counter-part, such as a screw nut, may rest inside a recess, such as recess 130 on the inner surface.

According to some embodiments, apertures of different shapes may permit articles of different shapes and sizes to be placed there through. For example, a round hole may allow a cylindrical post to pass through, whereas, a trapezoidal, rectangular, oval or another shape may permit a cable connector or an antenna of a mobile device to pass through. In one embodiment, a mobile device may be placed upside down in holder 100 such that the mobile device's antenna protrudes below holder 100 through hole 142 or a similar hole. The examples of decorative pins, cylindrical posts, cable connectors, and antennas are only exemplary, used for the clarity of the description, and are not limiting on the illustrative embodiments.

In one embodiment, a holder, such as holder 100, may hold articles, including but not limited to a mobile device such as cell phones, PDAs, and music players, and other accessories such as credit cards, identity cards, lipsticks, and other similar commonly carried articles.

Furthermore, in one embodiment, a holder, such as holder 100, may accept a separator within its cavity. A separator, such as a sleeve or a divider, may allow separation between several articles that may be placed within the cavity, according to embodiments of the present invention. For example, a sleeve may be approximately shaped similar to the shape of the cavity 156 but with some dimensions that are smaller than corresponding dimensions of the cavity 156. For example, the sleeve may be thinner than the front to back thickness of a holder's cavity, such as cavity 156. The sleeve, when placed inside the cavity 156 can then accept one or more articles within the sleeve and one or more articles between the sleeve and an inner surface of the cavity, thus providing separation between the two articles. Furthermore, the sleeve may be fastened to the holder 100, such as by using fasteners through the apertures in the holder 100 and compatible apertures in the sleeve, or by having projections on the sleeve that fit into the apertures of the holder, or any other suitable method of fastening.

In another embodiment, a divider may be a flat piece of material shaped in the shape of an X-axis cross-section of the cavity 156. The cavity 156 may further include grooves or slots that are cut in the surfaces within the cavity 156, such as in the inner surfaces of side pieces 102 and 104. The divider may slide into the slots to effectively partition the cavity 156 into two cavities—one bound between the divider and the front piece 106 of the holder 100, and the other bound between the divider and the back piece 108 of the holder 100. As another example, a divider may instead be of a shape that slides into four slots simultaneously—a slot in each of the front piece 106, side piece 102, side piece 104, and back piece 108 of the holder 100, effectively partitioning the cavity into four partitions. The specific sleeve and divider configurations are described only as exemplary and are not intended to be limiting on the illustrative embodiments. Based on the disclosure provided herein, one of ordinary skill in the art will recognize the existence of various other possible separator configurations. For example, the slots for a divider, as described above, may be cut into front piece 106 and back piece 108 instead of side pieces 102 and 104.

In some embodiments, a holder 100 may be coupled with other objects, for example, to a purse, a backpack, a briefcase, a box, a belt, a strap, a rod, a hook, a loop. The holder may also be coupled with a person's wrist or palm such that the person may lift and/or carry the holder. FIGS. 2A and 2B are embodiments of a carrier which include a strap 202 coupled with the holder 100 such that the strap 202 and the holder 100 form a loop for another object, such as a strap or a wrist to go through. In one embodiment, a strap 202 may be a flat piece of rubber of an elongated rectangular shape and a flattened rectangular cross-section.

In another embodiment, the strap 202 may be a length of plastic having a compressed rectangular, cylindrical, oval cross-section, or a cross-section of another shape. Many other materials, shapes, and cross-sectional shapes may be combined to form a strap 202.

In one embodiment, the strap 202, such as a rubber and/or foam strap, may have one or more apertures on each of the narrow ends of the elongated rectangular shape, cut through the strap. According to some embodiments, the strap 202 and the holder 100 may be movably, flexibly, and/or detachably coupled using a fastener 208 through each hole such that the strap 202 and holder 100 form a loop and the strap 202 remains movable with respect to the holder 100 about the fasteners 208 through the two holes. A loop is a closed shape. Some examples of closed shapes are a circle, an ellipse, an oval, a triangle, a quadrilateral, or an irregular shape that is closed.

In one embodiment, one aperture on one end of the strap may be placed concentrically with an aperture on the holder, such as any one of holes 144 and 146. A fastener 208, such as a rivet shaped fastener, may be placed through the concentric apertures on the strap 202 and the holder 100, according to one embodiment. Similarly, in other embodiments, an aperture on the other end of the strap may be placed concentrically with another aperture of the holder 100, such as any one of holes 148 and 150, and a similar fastener placed through those concentric apertures. Coupled in such a manner, the strap 202 and the holder 100 form a loop through which an object, such as a wrist or a strap of a backpack, may be placed, according to embodiments of the present invention.

In one embodiment, the fastener 208 is rivet-like and formed in a manner that it can be removed, reduced, unfastened, and/or broken down, to allow the strap 202 to become decoupled from the holder 100. According to some embodiments of the present invention, operating in such a manner, the strap 202 may be coupled with the holder 100 on one end, an object, such as a shoulder strap of a backpack or a similar object, may be placed in the space where the loop will form when the other end of the strap 202 is coupled with the holder 100, and the other end of the strap 202 may be coupled with the holder 100 to complete a loop.

Furthermore, the size of the loop that forms from the strap 202 and the holder 100 being coupled in this manner may be adjustable, according to embodiments. For example, a strap may be coupled to holes 144 and 148 such that the strap 202 loops over the top of the holder 100 and forms a loop of a first size. The same strap coupled to holes 146 and 150 may form a loop that is of a size smaller than the first size.

Additionally, in one embodiment, an exemplary rectangular strap 202 may have several holes longitudinally arranged at each end along the long axis of the elongated rectangular strap 202. As inner holes are progressively coupled to the same holes in the holder 100, progressively smaller loops result. Thus, one or more holes on the strap 202 may be coupled to one or more holes on the holder 100 to form loops of varying sizes. According to some embodiments of the present invention, the strap 202 is elongated and rectangular in shape, but can be of any shape that may be aesthetically pleasing and/or ergonomically superior for the intended purpose as compared to a strictly rectangular shaped strap. For example, a strap 202 may be wider at the center of the long axis as compared to another point along its length, and may widen again at each end in smoothly decreasing and increasing widths. The shape of the strap 202 and arrangement of holes may vary.

According to embodiments of the present invention, when the above-described loops are formed above the top of the holder 100, the width of the strap 202 may function to partially or completely block access to, or egress from, the cavity of the holder 100, such as cavity 156. Thus, the loop may be formed after an object, such as a mobile device, has been placed in the cavity 156 of a holder 100. Thus, when a loop is formed above the cavity 156 containing an exemplary mobile device, the mobile device may be prevented from coming out of the cavity, such as by falling out accidentally.

Furthermore, according to embodiments of the present invention, because loops of varying sizes may be formed by coupling various combinations of the holes on the strap 202 and the holder 100, objects of varying sizes may be placed in the cavity 156 of the holder 100 and those objects may be prevented from coming out of the cavity 156 in the manner described above. For example, as shown in FIG. 2A, a large cell phone 204 may be placed in the cavity 156 and the size of the loop adjusted to pass over the top of the large cell phone 204 in the cavity 156. In another example, as shown in FIG. 2B, a small cell phone 206 may be placed in the cavity 156 and the size of the loop adjusted to pass over the top of the small cell phone 206 in the cavity 156. Many other objects of varying sizes may be similarly placed securely in the cavity 156 of the holder 100.

According to other embodiments, the strap may be movably coupled to the holder. FIG. 2C shows one embodiment according to which the strap 202 may be moved or swiveled to allow access to the cavity 156 of the holder 100 along the direction of arrow 210. Also the strap 202 may be moved or swiveled to partially or completely block or prevent access and egress to the cavity, according to some embodiments.

FIGS. 3A-6B show various views of a carrier 300, according to embodiments of the present invention. FIG. 3A shows a carrier 300 with a strap 202 connected to the holder 100 by a fastener 208, according to embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 7 is a front perspective view of a holder 702, according to embodiments of the present invention. Holder 702 is coupled with strap 704 using a pair of fasteners, such as fastener 706, according to embodiments of the present invention.

According to one embodiment, fastener 706 is placed through an aperture in strap 704 that is concentric with an aperture in holder 702. Fastener 706 may go through the aperture, according to embodiments of the present invention. The aperture in strap 704 is similar to aperture 708 that is visible but not used for fastening in the depicted configuration. Aperture 708 and the aperture on strap 704 are cut along the longitudinal axis of the approximately rectangular strap 704. The aperture of strap 704 is closer to the center of strap 704 as compared to aperture 708, when measured on the strap's long axis. A comparable pair of apertures is configured on the other end of strap 704 that is coupled with holder 702, according to some embodiments.

According to one embodiment as depicted in FIG. 7, loop 710 is formed using strap 704 and holder 702, through which an object, such as a shoulder strap of a backpack, may be placed, thus effectively hanging the combined holder 702 and strap 704 from such object. Furthermore, width 712 of strap 704 may prevent an object placed in the cavity of holder 702 from falling out. Additionally, by coupling strap 704 with holder 702 in the depicted exemplary manner, an object of approximate size 714 may be placed in the cavity of holder 702.

As another embodiment of the various combined configurations of the strap and the holder described above, FIG. 8 depicts a perspective view a carrier with another strap and holder combination. Holder 802 is coupled with strap 804 using a pair of fasteners such as fastener 806.

In one embodiment, fastener 806 is placed through an aperture in strap 804 that is concentric with an aperture in holder 802. In some embodiments, the aperture in strap 804 is similar to aperture 808 that is visible but not used for fastening in the depicted configuration. Aperture 808 and the aperture on strap 804 are cut along the longitudinal axis of the approximately rectangular strap 804. The aperture of strap 804 is farther from the center of strap 804 as compared to aperture 808, when measured on the strap's long axis. A comparable pair of apertures is configured on the other end of strap 804 that is coupled with holder 802.

According to some embodiments, as depicted in FIG. 8, loop 810 is formed using strap 804 and holder 802, through which an object, such as a shoulder strap of a backpack, may be placed, thus effectively hanging the combined holder 802 and strap 804 from such object. Furthermore, width 812 of strap 804 may prevent an object placed in the cavity 156 of holder 802 from falling out. Additionally, by coupling strap 804 with holder 802 in the depicted exemplary manner, an object of approximate size 814 may be placed in the cavity of holder 802. According to this embodiment size 814 is larger than size 714 in FIG. 7, thereby enabling the placement of a larger object in the cavity 156 of holder 802 as compared to the size of the object that may be placed in the cavity of holder 702 in FIG. 7.

The illustrative embodiments depicted in FIGS. 7 and 8 use the same pair of apertures on their respective holders for fastening their respective straps. One difference in the embodiments of FIGS. 7 and 8 is in the different pairs of apertures on their respective straps that are used for fastening their respective straps to their respective holders, effectively creating size 714 that is different from size 814.

FIG. 9 depicts another perspective view of a combination of a holder and a strap in accordance with an illustrative embodiment. The embodiment of FIG. 9 is substantially similar to the configuration depicted in FIG. 7, with some differences.

For example, the apertures on the strap and the fasteners are configured and used in a manner of the configuration of FIG. 7. However, according to this embodiment, the strap and the fastener are coupled to a different pair of apertures in the holder as compared to the pair of holder apertures used in the configuration of FIG. 7. According to one embodiment, those apertures in the holder of FIG. 9, are situated above the apertures in the holder of FIG. 7. For example, the configuration of FIG. 7 may use holes 146 and 150 shown in FIG. 1A for fastening the strap therewith, whereas, the configuration of FIG. 9 may use holes 144 and 148 in FIG. 1A for fastening the strap, according to embodiments of the present invention.

According to some embodiments, when the same apertures on the strap are coupled with different apertures on the holder, different size loops and different size cavities result. For example, the loop 910 is larger than loop 710 in FIG. 7, and size 912 is larger than size 712 in FIG. 7.

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of a carrier with a combination of a holder and a strap according to embodiments of the present invention. The configuration of FIG. 10 is substantially similar to the configuration depicted in FIG. 8, with some differences.

For example, the apertures on the strap and the fasteners are configured and used in a manner of the configuration of FIG. 8. However, the strap and the fastener are coupled to a different pair of apertures in the holder as compared to the pair of holder apertures used in the configuration of FIG. 8. The apertures in the holder of FIG. 10, to which the strap is coupled using the fasteners, are obscured and not visible. Those apertures in the holder of FIG. 10, however, are situated above the apertures in the holder of FIG. 8. For example, the configuration of FIG. 8 may use holes 146 and 150 in FIG. 1A for fastening the strap therewith, whereas, the configuration of FIG. 10 may use holes 144 and 148 in FIG. 1A for fastening the strap, according to embodiments of the present invention.

According to embodiments of the present invention, when the same apertures on the strap are coupled with different apertures on the holder, different size loops and different size cavities result. For example, the loop 1010 is larger than loop 810 in FIG. 8, and size 1012 is larger than size 812 in FIG. 8.

FIG. 11A depicts a combination of a holder and a strap in accordance with one embodiment. Here, apertures in the back piece of a holder 1102 are used for coupling with a strap 1104. Apertures in the back piece of holder 1102 used for fastening strap 1104 may be similar to holes 152 and 154 in FIG. 1F, according to some embodiments.

In one embodiment, fasteners, such as fastener 1106, may be used for detachably, movably, and flexibly fastening strap 1104 and holder 1102 together. With strap 1104 and holder 1102 fastened together in this manner, a loop 1110 results, as depicted in the right side view of the configuration in FIG. 11B. When a loop is created as depicted in FIGS. 11A and 11B, the strap may not obstruct an object that may be placed in the cavity of the holder, and may not prevent such object from falling out, according to some embodiments.

FIG. 11C is a back view of a carrier, according to embodiments of the present invention. FIG. 11D is a side view of a carrier, according to embodiments of the present invention.

According to some embodiments, coupling the same apertures on a strap 202 to different apertures on a holder 100 results in different sized loop and cavity. Similarly, coupling the same apertures on a holder 100 to different apertures on a strap 202 also results in different sized loop and cavity. A number of sizes, shapes, and orientations of loop and cavity may be created by coupling different holes on the strap 202 and the holder 100.

FIGS. 7-11D illustrate embodiments of the present invention, with a strap with two pairs of apertures, and positions of several pairs of apertures on the holder 100 to which to fasten the strap 202. In other embodiments, a particular strap 202 may have any number of apertures that may be coupled to any aperture in any position on a particular holder 100. For example, while some embodiments of the present invention include one pair of apertures in the back piece 108 of the holder 100, a particular holder 100 may have any number of apertures in the back piece 108 that may be usable in the manner described above. Furthermore, a strap 202 may be fastened on one end to a back piece 108 of a holder 100, such as by using one or more apertures in the back piece 108, for example, holes 152 and 154 in FIG. 1F, and may be fastened on the other end to a front piece 106 of the holder 100, such as by using one or more apertures in the front piece 106, for example holes 126 and 127 in FIG. 1B.

Furthermore, more than one strap 202 may be fastened to a holder 100 in a particular implementation of the illustrative embodiments. For example, a strap 202 fastened in the manner illustrated in any of FIGS. 7-10 may be fastened to a holder simultaneously with another strap 202 fastened to the same holder 100 in the manner illustrated in FIGS. 11A and 11B. As another example, a strap 202 fastened in the manner illustrated in any of FIGS. 7-10 may be fastened to a holder 100 simultaneously with another strap 202 fastened to the same holder 100 with one end fastened to the front piece 106 of the holder 100 and the other end fastened to the back piece 108 of the holder 100. According to other embodiments of the present invention, any number of straps 202 may be fastened to any combination of holes and pieces of a holder.

FIG. 12 is a front view of a strap 1202, according to embodiments of the present invention. According to embodiments, strap 1202 may be used with a holder in the manner described above, such as in the manners of FIGS. 7-11D. Strap 1202 is depicted as having an aesthetically pleasing and ergonomically comfortable shape; strap may be of any shape suitable for a particular application.

FIG. 13 is a side view of a strap, according to embodiments of the present invention. According to some embodiments, a strap, such as strap 1202 in FIG. 12, may be formed with a curvature in a part of the strap, such as curvature 1302. According to embodiments, when fastened to a holder, curvature 1302 creates a larger loop with the holder as compared to the loop that would be created without curvature 1302. Other embodiments of a strap may have a curvature that may be rectangular rather than with a radius, or may have any shape.

FIG. 14A is a back perspective view of a holder 100, with a strap 1402, according to embodiments of the present invention. FIG. 14B is a side perspective view of a holder 100, with a strap 1402, according to embodiments of the present invention. In some embodiments the strap 1402 may be a clip 1404 which may be attached to a belt, waistband, or any other suitable article.

FIG. 15A is a side view of a holder 100 and a clip 1402 which are not yet coupled, according to embodiments of the present invention. FIG. 15A shows one embodiment of a clip 1402 which may have one or more connection points 1502 which may be coupled with an aperture or attachment point of the holder. FIGS. 15B and 15C show embodiments of the present invention according to which a shoulder or neck strap is coupled with the clip 1402 to allow a user to carry the holder 100. The clip 1402 may be made of plastic, moldable foam, or other suitable material.

According to embodiments of the present invention, the strap 202 may be made from a material that is of sufficient strength so as to not break, weaken, or give way under the combined load of the holder 100 and the objects intended to be carried in the holder 100. According to other embodiments, the strap 202 may be made in a certain form and/or size, of suitable materials, so as to permit use of the strap 202 and holder 100 as a shoulder purse, handbag, or a similar accessory. Additionally, the strap 202 may have additional apertures similar to those on the holder 100 to accept articles, such as decorative pins and snap-fit decorations, in addition to the apertures for fastening the strap to the holder.

According to some embodiments of the present invention, the fastener is a snap-fit type fastener in which one piece of the fastener snaps into another piece to fasten objects placed in between the two pieces. As another example, a screw-type fastener may also be used where one piece of the fastener screws onto or into another piece of the fastener to fasten objects placed between the two pieces. Other examples of types of fasteners that may be used are rivets, cotter pins, press-fit fasteners, fastening forms with compressible ends that expand after insertion, and/or any other fasteners that, based on the disclosure provided herein, would be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art.

FIG. 16 shows a flow chart diagram of a method of constructing a carrier, according to embodiments of the present invention. At block 1602 a holder is molded of a foam material. At block 1604 a strap is molded of foam material. At block 1606 the strap and the holder are coupled together at one or more attachment points on the holder and at one or more of the connection points on the strap to form a loop through which an object may be inserted or removed from with the cavity.

As used herein, the term “coupled” is used in its broadest sense to refer to elements which are connected, attached, and/or engaged, either directly or integrally or indirectly via other elements, and either permanently, temporarily, or removably.

Various modifications and additions can be made to the exemplary embodiments discussed without departing from the scope of the present invention. For example, while the embodiments described above refer to particular features, the scope of this invention also includes embodiments having different combinations of features and embodiments that do not include all of the described features. Accordingly, the scope of the present invention is intended to embrace all such alternatives, modifications, and variations as fall within the scope of the claims, together with all equivalents thereof.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8794495 *Jul 12, 2012Aug 5, 2014Lesley J. WathenCarrier for mobile phone
Classifications
U.S. Classification224/245, 224/250, 264/242, 224/269
International ClassificationA45F5/00
Cooperative ClassificationA45C2011/001, A45C1/06, A45C2013/306, A45C11/182, A45F2005/008, A45C2013/303, A45F5/00, A45F5/02, A45C11/38, A45C2011/002, A45C13/30, A45F5/021, A45C1/04, A45C2001/065, A45C11/008, A45F2200/055, A45F2005/006
European ClassificationA45C11/38, A45C13/30, A45F5/00, A45F5/02, A45C1/06
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