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Title:
Storage device for compact disk box
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A storage device for computer data disk (CDs) boxes comprises a U-shaped unit. A constant tension spring is mounted in the unit to generate a substantially constant force against a CD stored in the unit regardless of the position of the CD in the unit. A resilient tongue is formed in the storage device and functions in cooperation with the constant tension spring to stabilize the base portion of CD box (when the lid has been removed) in an extended or open operative position. The resilient tongue also permits the storage device to be used to store CD boxes that have not had the lid removed from the CD box.


Inventors:
Mcbrady, Mark S. (Humbolt, AZ, US)
Application Number:
10/685960
Publication Date:
04/21/2005
Filing Date:
10/15/2003
Assignee:
MCBRADY MARK S.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
211/41.12, 312/9.1, G9B/33.011, G9B/33.021
International Classes:
B65D85/57; G11B33/04; (IPC1-7): B65D85/57
View Patent Images:
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Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Todd, Nissle R. P. C. (P.O. Box 55630, Phoenix, AZ, 85078, US)
Claims:
1. A compact disk storage system including (a) a storage device including (i) atop and a bottom, (ii) a first side wall intermediate said top and said bottom, (iii) a second side wall intermediate said top and said bottom, (iv) at least one flat spring member including a proximate end attached to said storage device and including a distal end, said distal end movable between two operative positions, a first operative position with said distal end coiled, and a second distended operative position with said distal end at least partially uncoiled from said first operative position; and, (b) a compact disk box including (i) a bottom, (ii) first and second side walls upwardly projecting from the bottom, (iii) a back wall, and (iv) a front wall; said compact disk box being inserted in said storage device such that said back wall contacts said distal end of said spring member and moves said distal end to said second distended operative position.

2. A method for storing a media record box including a bottom, first and second side walls upwardly projecting from the bottom, a back wall, and a front wall, the method including the steps of (a) providing a storage device to slidably receive the media record box and including (i) a top and a bottom, (ii) a first side wall intermediate said top and said bottom, (iii) a second side wall intermediate said top and said bottom, (iv) a front opening, (iv) at least one flat spring member including a proximate end attached to said storage device and including a distal end, said distal end movable between two operative positions, a first normal at rest operative position with said distal end coiled, and a second distended operative position with said distal end at least partially uncoiled from said first operative position in a direction of travel away from said front opening; and, (b) sliding the media record box into said front opening to contact said distal end of said spring member with said back wall to move said distal end from said first normal at rest operative position to said second distended operative position.

3. A method for storing a compact disk box including a first portion including a bottom, first and second side walls upwardly projecting from the bottom, a back wall, a front wall, and a cover movably attached to the first portion, the method including the steps of (a) providing a storage device including (i) a top and a bottom, (ii) a first side wall intermediate said top and said bottom, (iii) a second side wall intermediate said top and said bottom, (iv) a front opening; (b) removing the cover from the first portion of the compact disk box; and, (c) sliding the first portion of the compact disk box through the front opening into the storage device.

4. Apparatus for storing a compact disk box including a first portion including a bottom, first and second side walls upwardly projecting from the bottom, a back, a front wall, and a cover movably attached to the first portion, said apparatus including (a) a top and a bottom, (b) a first side wall intermediate said top and said bottom, (c) a second side wall intermediate said top and said bottom, (d) a front opening; (e) displaceable latch means shaped and dimensioned to (i) permit the compact disk box to be slidably inserted in and removed from the apparatus when the cover is closed, and (ii) when the cover is removed from the compact disk box, the first portion to be slidably inserted in the apparatus, and after the first portion is slidably inserted in the apparatus and an attempt is made to withdraw the first portion from the apparatus, to engage the back of the first portion to prevent the first portion from being withdrawn from the apparatus.

5. A media record storage system including (a) a storage device including (i) a top and a bottom, (ii) a first side wall intermediate said top and said bottom, (iii) a second side wall intermediate said top and said bottom, (iv) a front opening, (v) at least one spring member including a proximate end attached to said storage device and including a distal end, said distal end movable between two operative positions, a first operative position, and a second distended operative position with said spring distended in a direction away from said front opening; and, (b) a media record box including (i) a bottom, (ii) first and second side walls upwardly projecting from the bottom, (iii) a back wall, and (iv) a front wall; said media record box being slidably inserted through said front opening of said storage device such that said spring member is moved from said first operative position to said second operative position.

6. In combination with a horizontally oriented support surface having a vertically oriented edge, a media record storage system including (a) a storage device including (i) a plurality of compartments for receiving media record boxes, and (ii) a bottom contacting the horizontally oriented support surface; and, (b) a finger extending downwardly from said bottom and engaging the vertically oriented edge to prevent said storage device from being pushed over the horizontally oriented surface in a direction of travel away from the edge over and generally parallel to the horizontally oriented surface.

Description:

This invention pertains to media records such as video disks, computer data disks (CDs), and cassette recordings.

More particularly, the invention pertains to protective boxes in which media records are sold and maintained.

In a further respect, this invention pertains to apparatus for storing and dispensing the protective boxes that house CDs and other media records.

CDs and other media records are usually sold and stored in lightweight, rectangular plastic boxes. The boxes typically include a base member and a hinged cover attached to the base member. The base member holds the CD or other media record. The hinged cover encloses and protects the CD or other media record.

If a media record box of the type described is configured to hold a CD, the box includes a central hub. The hub includes a plurality of fingers which can be compressed together by the circular hole formed through the center of a CD.

An individual who owns several CDs or other media records often will purchase a storage device which can house the media record boxes. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,191,983 to Hardy describes a modular storage rack for CD boxes. The modular rack includes a plurality of equivalent U-shaped storage units 15. Storage units 15 are stacked in registration, one on top of the other. Legs 52 on the bottom of a first storage unit 15 slidably, frictionally fit into slots 48 formed in a second storage unit 15 positioned immediately beneath the first storage unit. Each storage unit 15 includes a spring 32 attached to the back of the unit 15. When a CD box is inserted in unit 15, spring 32 is contacted and pressed rearwardly by the back of the CD box. In contrast, when a user is removing a CD box from unit 15, spring 32 helps push the CD box outwardly from unit 15. When a CD box is inserted in unit 15, the CD box is manually slightly tilted or pushed to one side so one of the front corners of the CD box engages the inside edge of wall 26 of unit 15. When a front corner of the CD box engages the inside edge of wall 26, wall 26 functions as a stop and prevents spring 32 from pushing the CD box out of unit 15. Instead, spring 32 simply pushes the CD box against wall 26. This is illustrated in FIG. 3 of the Hardy patent. As soon as the CD box is tilted so that the corner of the CD box engaging wall 26 is moved clear of wall 26, then spring 32 can function to push the CD box out of unit 15 in the manner illustrated in FIG. 4 of the Hardy patent.

The storage rack described in the Hardy patent has several potential disadvantages. First, practically speaking, the storage rack in the Hardy patent requires that the entire CD box be removed from the storage rack and requires that the cover of the CD box then be opened in order to access a CD that is inside the CD box. Second, the spring 32 only functions to push a CD box partially out of a storage unit. Third, the force applied by spring 32 tends to weaken as the spring moves further through its full range of motion, thus in many cases requiring the user to manually extract or pull out the CD box.

Accordingly, it would be highly desirable to provide an improved CD box storage device that would enable a CD to be removed from its box without requiring that the box be completely removed from the storage device. It would also be highly desirable to provide a spring or some other means that would apply a substantially constant force on a CD box while the box was being inserted in or removed from the storage device.

Therefore, it is a principal object of the invention to provide an improved storage device for boxes in which media records are stored.

Another object of the instant invention is to provide an improved CD box storage device that enables a CD to be removed from its box without requiring that the box be removed from the storage device.

A further object of the invention is to provide an improved CD box storage device that include an elastomer that applies a substantially constant force to a CD box while the box is being inserted and removed from the storage device.

Still another object of the invention is to provide an improved CD box storage device that enables a CD box—with or without its lid—to be inserted in and removed from the storage device.

The foregoing and other, further and more specific objects and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following detailed description of the invention, taken in conjunction with the drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is perspective bottom view illustrating a storage device for a media record box;

FIG. 2 is a perspective top view further illustrating the storage device of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a section view illustrating construction details of the latch tab in the storage device of FIG. 2 and taken along section lines 3-3 thereof;

FIG. 4 is a section view further illustrating the mode of operation of the latch tab of FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view illustrating the media record box for a CD;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view illustrating the mode of operation of the storage device of the invention; and, FIG. 7 is a perspective view further illustrating the mode of operation of the storage device of the invention.

Briefly, in accordance with the invention, I provide an improved compact disk storage system. The system includes a storage device. The storage device includes a top and a bottom; a first side wall intermediate the top and the bottom; a second side wall intermediate the top and the bottom; and, at least one flat spring member including a proximate end attached to the storage device and including a distal end. The distal end is movable between two operative positions, a first operative position with the distal end coiled, and a second distended operative position with the distal end at least partially uncoiled from the first operative position. The disk storage system also includes a compact disk box including a bottom; first and second side walls upwardly projecting from the bottom; a back wall, and a front wall. The compact disk box is inserted in the storage device such that the back wall contacts the distal end of the spring member and moves the distal end to the second distended operative position.

In another embodiment of the invention, I provide an improved method for storing a media record box. The box includes a bottom; first and second side walls upwardly projecting from the bottom; a back wall; and, a front wall. The method includes including the step of providing a storage device to slidably receive the media record box. The storage device includes a top and a bottom; a first side wall intermediate the top and the bottom; a second side wall intermediate the top and the bottom; a front opening; at least one flat spring member including a proximate end attached to the storage device and including a distal end. The distal end is movable between two operative positions, a first normal at rest operative position with the distal end coiled; and, a second distended operative position with the distal end at least partially uncoiled from the first operative position in a direction of travel away from the front opening. The method also includes the step of sliding the media record disk box into the front opening to contact the distal end of the spring member with the back wall to move the distal end from the first normal at rest operative position to the second distended operative position.

In a further embodiment of the invention, I provide an improved method for storing a compact disk box. The box includes a first portion including a bottom; first and second side walls upwardly projecting from the bottom; a back wall; a front wall; and, a cover movably attached to the first portion. The method includes the step of providing a storage device. The storage device includes a top and a bottom; a first side wall intermediate the top and the bottom; a second side wall intermediate the top and the bottom; and, a front opening. The method also includes the steps of removing the cover from the first portion of the compact disk box; and, sliding the first portion of the compact disk box through the front opening into the storage device.

In still another embodiment of the invention, I provide an improved apparatus for storing a compact disk box. The box includes a first portion including a bottom; first and second side walls upwardly projecting from the bottom; a back; and, a front wall. The box also includes a cover movably attached to the first portion. The improved apparatus includes a top and a bottom; a first side wall intermediate the top and the bottom; a second side wall intermediate the top and the bottom; a front opening; and a displaceble latch. The displaceable latch is shaped and dimensioned to permit the compact disk box to be slidably inserted in and removed from the apparatus when the cover is closed; and, when the cover is removed from the compact disk box, the first portion to be slidably inserted in the apparatus, and after the first portion is slidably inserted in the apparatus and an attempt is made to withdraw the first portion from the apparatus, to engage the back of the first portion to prevent the first portion from being withdrawn from the apparatus.

In still a further embodiment of the invention, I provide an improved media record storage system including a storage device. The storage device includes a top and a bottom; a first side wall intermediate the top and the bottom; a second side wall intermediate the top and the bottom; a front opening; and, at least one spring member including a proximate end attached to the storage device and including a distal end. The distal end movable between two operative positions, a first operative position, and a second distended operative position with the spring distended in a direction away from the front opening. The storage system also includes a media record box including a bottom; first and second side walls upwardly projecting from the bottom; a back wall; and, a front wall. The media record box is inserted through the front opening of the storage device such that the spring member is moved from the first operative position to the second operative position.

In yet another embodiment of the invention, I provide, In combination with a horizontally oriented support surface having a vertically oriented edge, a media record storage system. The media record storage system includes a storage device including a plurality of compartments for receiving media record boxes, and a bottom contacting the horizontally oriented support surface; and, includes a finger extending downwardly from the bottom and engaging the vertically oriented edge to prevent the storage device from being pushed over the horizontally oriented surface in a direction of travel away from the edge and over and generally parallel to the horizontally oriented surface.

Turning now to the drawings, which depict the presently preferred embodiments of the invention for the purpose of illustrating the practice thereof and not by way of limitation of the scope of the invention, and in which like reference characters refer to corresponding elements throughout the several views, FIGS. 1 to 4 illustrate the storage device of the invention.

A storage device constructed in accordance with the principles of the invention can be used in conjunction with different kinds of media record boxes. Some presently preferred embodiments of the invention concern, however, CD media record boxes, including CDs which have sound recordings and CDs which have video recordings. A conventional CD box 70 is illustrated in FIG. 5 and includes a first portion or base 80 and a cover 71. The cover 71 includes rectangular top panel 72. Rectangular sides 73, 74 outwardly depend from panel 72. Side 73 includes a foot 75. A pin-like projection (not visible) extends outwardly from the inside of foot 75 into a mating aperture 76 (FIG. 3) formed in the side wall 82 of first portion 80. Similarly, a pin-like projection (not visible) extends outwardly from the inside of foot 78 into a mating aperture formed in the side wall 83 of first portion 80. The pin-like projections just noted pivot or rotate in their mating apertures and, accordingly, permit cover 70 to pivot in the manner indicated by arrows J and K. The pin-like projections ordinarily can also be popped or snapped out of their mating apertures so cover 71 can be removed from first portion 80.

The first portion 80 (i.e., the lower portion of box 70 not including the cover 71) includes a bottom 89, a first side wall 82 upwardly projecting from bottom 89, a second side wall 83 upwardly projecting from bottom 89, a back wall 79, and a front wall 81 generally parallel to the back wall 79. Cylindrical recess 84 is formed in portion 80 and includes cylindrical wall 85. Central hub 86 is formed in recess 84 and includes a plurality of resilient fingers which can be compressed by the circular hole in the center of a CD. A step including vertically oriented rectangular surface 78 and horizontally oriented surface 77 is formed at the back of portion 80.

In FIGS. 1 to 4, the storage device of the invention includes a generally U-shaped unit 20. In FIG. 1, unit 20 is shown turned over, or upside down, from its normal orientation. In FIG. 2, unit 20 is in its normal orientation.

Unit 20 includes top 21, a first side wall 24 depending from top 21, a second side wall 30 depending from top 21, and back wall 22 depending from top 21. As illustrated in FIG. 2, the “bottom” associated with unit 20 can comprise the top 21A of a like unit 20A on which unit 20 is stacked. Units 20 and 20A are of equivalent shape and dimension. Or, the “bottom” associated with a unit 20 can comprise a rectangular plate 51 on which a unit 20, 20A is stacked or placed. Or, the bottom can be an integral part of unit 20. As will be appreciated by those of skill in the art, each unit 20 can also, with the exception of the latch mechanism that includes tongue 35, be utilized in the upside down configuration shown in FIG. 1. Each unit 20 can also be utilized in a vertical orientation or in an orientation in which unit 20 is canted at some angle intermediate a vertical orientation and a horizontal orientation and in which wall 22 is positioned either at the bottom or top of unit 20, as desired.

Cylindrical pins 25, 26 outwardly project from edge 29 of wall 24. Cylindrical apertures 27, 28 are formed in wall 24. Cylindrical pins 31, 32 outwardly project from edge 38 of wall 30. Cylindrical apertures 33 and 34 are formed in wall 30. Back wall 22 includes edge 23.

The proximate end 42 of flat spring member 40 is fixedly attached to wall 24. The distal end 41 of spring member 40 is coiled in the manner illustrated in FIG. 1. The orientation of spring member 40 illustrated in FIG. 1 is the “at rest“ orientation of member 40. If distal end 41 is uncoiled and released, distal end 41 recoils itself and returns to the “at rest” orientation shown in FIG. 1. Dashed lines 41A illustrate spring 40 after it has been uncoiled by pushing end 41 in the direction of arrow B to distend spring 40. Once spring 40 is released from the orientation indicated by dashed lines 41A, the distal end recoils to the orientation indicated by reference character 41. If desired, a similar spring member 50 can be provided adjacent wall 30 with the proximate end of spring 50 attached to wall 30. Spring member 50 operates in a manner similar to that just described for spring member 40, except that spring member 50 unrolls in the direction of arrow B along wall 30 instead of along wall 24. A particular advantage of spring members 40 and 50 is that they tend to produce a substantially constant applied force against a CD box that remains uniform while the box is slid into and out of unit 20 in the manner described below. It is believed that the force applied by the coiled distal end 41 against the back wall 79 of a CD box tends to remain constant because (1) as the coil 41 unwinds, the remaining wound portion of the coil is “tighter” and more force is required to unwind it, (2) as the size of the coil becomes smaller and the force required to unwind the coil increases, the point at which the coil contacts the back of the CD box moves closer to side wall 24. This shortens the “lever arm” or torque action on the CD box, which tends to reduce the magnitude of force action on the back wall of case 70 and to offset the increased force generated by the coil against wall 79 as the coil becomes smaller and “tighter”. The force applied to the base 80 of a CD box 70 by a spring member 40, 50 when the CD box is in the extended or open position illustrated in FIG. 7 is sufficient to function to stabilize the CD box to facilitate insertion and removal of a CD into and from the box.

As can be seen in FIG. 2, when a unit 20 is stacked on top of an identical unit 20A, the pins 25, 26 of unit 20 slidably, frictionally fit into apertures 27, 28, respectively, of the like unit 20A positioned beneath unit 20. And, pins 31, 32 slidably frictionally fit into apertures 34, 33, respectively, of the unit 20A. Alternatively, pins 25, 26, 31, 32 can slidably frictionally fit in similar apertures formed in plate 51 or in some other structure on which a unit 20 is mounted. Means other than pins 25, 26, 31, 32 can be used to secure unit 20 to another unit 20A or to some other structure.

Resilient tongue 35 is formed in top 21 and includes end 37. Tongue 35 (in FIG. 2), extend outwardly above aperture 36. If tongue 35 is displaced toward top 21 and then released, tongue 35 springs back to the position illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 4.

In use, a closed CD box (i.e., in a closed CD box the cover 71 is closed by moving it in the direction of arrow J in FIG. 5 until cover 71 is seated on the first portion 80 of the CD box 70) is inserted through rectangular front opening 55 in the direction of arrow E in FIG. 2. Edge 90 contacts end 37 of tongue 35 and displaces tongue 35 upwardly in the direction of arrow F in the manner indicated in FIG. 3. As will be described below, FIG. 3 illustrates only the first portion (i.e., the lower portion of box 70 with the cover removed) of a CD box is being inserted through opening 55. The upward displacement by edge 90 of tongue 35 in the direction F occurs, however, regardless of whether the complete CD box is inserted or whether only the first portion of box 70 is inserted through opening 55.

When box 70 is inserted through opening 55 in the direction of arrow E, a portion of the back wall 79 of box 70 contacts coiled distal end 41 of spring member 40 and pushes end 41 toward back wall 22, causing end 41 to unwind to the orientation indicated in FIG. 1 by dashed lines 41A and indicated in FIG. 1 by reference character 41A. Even when distal end 41 is uncoiled to the position indicated by reference character 41A, end 41 still generates a force against back wall 79 in the direction of arrow L. Once box 70 is inserted through opening 55 into unit 20, the user utilizes one of his fingers to displace front wall 81 in the direction of arrow A such that a corner of box 70 bears against the inside of wall 43. The force L generated by distal end 41A against back wall 79 presses that corner of the box 70 against the inside of wall 43. In order to remove box 70 from unit 20, the user presses a finger or fingers against front wall 81 and displaces wall 81 in the direction of arrow M so that box 70 is displaced from behind wall 43 so that box 70 can be pushed by distal end 41A in the direction of arrow L out through opening 55. When box 70 slides out through opening 55 in the direction of arrow L, distal end 41A rewinds and reassumes the “at rest” configuration 41. After rear wall 79 moves in the direction of arrow L past tongue 35, tongue 35 resiliently returns to the orientation illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2. Any latching means other than tongue 35 can be utilized in the practice of the invention, provided that the latching means permits a lower portion 80 to be installed, prevents lower portion 80 from being completely removed from unit 20, and can—as will be described below—be manipulated with a tool to permit lower portion 80 to be removed from unit 20.

In FIG. 1, the proximate end 42 of spring member 40 is attached to wall 24 near opening 55. If desired, the proximate end 42 can be attached to wall 24 at a location nearer to back wall 22, so that when a box 70 is inserted in opening 55 in the direction of arrow E, box 70 must travel a greater distance into unit 20 before back wall 79 contacts distal end 41. It is presently preferred, however, that proximate end 42 be attached to wall 24 near to opening 55 so that distal end 41 acts against and applies a force to wall 79 during most of the distance of travel of a box 70 into and out of unit 20. Proximate end 42 can be attached or anchored to top 21. Any desired means can be utilized to attach or anchor proximate end 42. Other kinds of springs or resilient materials can be utilized in place of or in conjunction with spring member 40. In one embodiment of the invention illustrated in FIG. 1, one end of a spring 50 extends through an opening 96 formed through a wall of device 20. The end wraps through opening 96 and is attached and anchored to the outside of the wall with a rivet 50A or other fastening means.

One advantage associated with the use of spring member 40 is that the back wall 22 need not be utilized or included in unit 20. Eliminating wall 22 permits a box 70 to be inserted in unit 20 from two opposing sides, either through opening 55 or through an opening formed when wall 22 is removed.

Another advantage associated with the invention is that the invention enables a CD to removed from a box 70 without requiring that the box 70 be completely removed from unit 20. This is accomplished by first removing cover 71 from portion 80 of box 70. Portion 80 is then slid, rear wall 79 first, into unit 20 through opening 55. As illustrated in FIG. 3, when portion 80 is slid into unit 20 in the direction of arrow G, edge 90 contacts contacts resilient tongue 35 and displaces tongue 35 upwardly in the direction of arrow F. After the top surface 77 moves in the direction of arrow G completely past edge 37, tongue 35 resiliently moves in the direction of arrow H back to its normal “at rest” position. This “at rest” position is illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 4. Once tongue 35 returns to the “at rest” position, it prevents portion 80 from being completely removed from unit 20. Consequently, if portion 80 is slid in the direction of arrow I in FIG. 4 to remove portion 80 from unit 20 through opening 55, the majority of portion 80 can be pulled out from unit 20 in the direction of arrow I through opening 55. However, when vertically oriented surface 78 approaches tongue 35, surface 78 contacts edge 37 and tongue 35 prevents portion 80 from traveling any further in the direction of arrow I unless a tool is used to upwardly displace tongue 35 in the direction of arrow F so that surface 78 and back wall 79 can be pulled in the direction of arrow I past tongue 35.

When portion 80 is in the position shown in FIG. 4 with surface 78 against edge 37, most of portion 80 is positioned outside of opening 55 and of unit 20. This permits a CD seated in indent or recess 84 to be removed from portion 80. After the CD is removed from recess 84, portion 80 can be pushed in the direction of arrow G to a position in which portion 80 is fully housed in unit 20 in the same manner that box 70 is housed in unit 20 in FIG. 2.

A further advantage associated with the invention is that spring member 0 requires little space between wall 24 and box 70 because when box 70 is inserted through opening 55 into unit 20, distal end 41 unrolls, leaving only a single thin flat length of spring member 40 extending between box 70 and wall 24.

Another advantage of the invention is that when a box 70 is inserted through opening 55 into unit 20, spring member 40 is distended instead of being compressed. This facilitates placing spring member 40 at a side of unit 20 instead of at the back of unit 20.

Still a further advantage of the storage device of the invention is that either a complete box 70 or only the lower portion 80 of a box 70 can be inserted therein.

Still another advantage of the storage device of the invention is that it can be ready adapted to store boxes that house audio cassettes or other types of record media.

FIG. 6 illustrates portion 80 of a CD box 70 (without lid 71) being slidably ejected by spring 40 from device 20 in the direction indicated by arrow M. As earlier noted, a CD box 70 including lid 71 can also be stored in, and ejected from, device 20.

FIG. 7 illustrates portion 80 of a CD box 70 (without lid 71) in the open extended position in which spring 40 is pressing vertically oriented surface 78 of portion 80 against end 37 of tongue 35 to stabilize portion 80 in the open extended position. FIG. 7 also illustrated a CD box 70 with lid 71 being ejected in the direction of arrows P and Q.