Title:
Device to aid in screening personal items
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A device to aid in screening personal items includes a spring-loaded reel mounted in a bag, an identification holder tethered to the reel, and a clip attached to the bag. A front portion of the bag defines an opening for viewing the identification holder, and the identification holder extends and retracts. The clip includes a generally concave handle configuration, allowing the clip to be ergonomically gripped or attach the bag to clothing. Portions of the bag are constructed of transparent plastic. Personal items are placed in the bag, and personal identification is placed in the identification holder. Security personnel may view the bag's contents through its transparent portions, and the bag may quickly pass through a metal detector. If separated from its owner, the bag is easily retrieved due to the visible identification holder. To present personal identification, the user easily extends the identification holder, which the reel automatically retracts.



Inventors:
Cushman, Craig D. (Springboro, OH, US)
Application Number:
10/928660
Publication Date:
03/02/2006
Filing Date:
08/27/2004
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
224/236
International Classes:
B65H75/40; A45F5/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MORGAN JR, JACK HOSMER
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Ream Law Firm, L.L.C. (210 W. TECUMSEH STREET, OTTAWA, KS, 66067, US)
Claims:
Having thus described the invention, what is claimed as new and desired to be secured by Letters Patent is as follows:

1. A device for holding and transporting personal items as an aid to efficient security screening events, comprising: a bag having a bottom portion with front, rear, and opposed side portions connected to said bottom portion and defining an open top; a flap attached to said bag for selectively covering said open top; and an identification holder tethered to a reel for allowing said identification holder to move between extended and retracted configurations, said reel being mounted in said bag and including a spring-loaded configuration for biasing said identification holder toward said retracted configuration.

2. The device as in claim 1, wherein said front portion of said bag includes an identification holder compartment for guiding said identification holder between said extended and retracted configurations, said identification holder nesting in said identification holder compartment at said retracted configuration.

3. The device as in claim 1, further comprising a clip fixedly attached to said rear portion of said bag for attaching said bag to a user's clothing.

4. The device as in claim 3, wherein said clip includes a generally concave handle configuration for being ergonomically gripped by a person's hand.

5. The device as in claim 1, wherein said bag is constructed of a transparent plastic material.

6. The device as in claim 1, wherein said rear portion of said bag is constructed of a transparent plastic material and said front and side portions of said bag are constructed of an opaque plastic material.

7. The device as in claim 1, wherein said bag includes a plurality of internal compartments.

8. The device as in claim 1, wherein said front portion of said bag defines an opening for displaying said identification holder when said identification holder is at said retracted configuration.

9. The device as in claim 1, further including means to secure said flap to said bag for securely covering said open top of said bag.

10. A device for holding and transporting personal items as an aid to efficient security screening events, comprising: a bag having front and rear portions, two generally opposed side portions, and a bottom portion, and defining a top opening; a flap attached to said bag for selectively covering said top opening of said bag; and a clip fixedly attached to said rear portion of said bag for attaching said bag to a user's clothing, said clip including a generally concave handle configuration for being ergonomically gripped by a person's hand.

11. The device as in claim 10, further comprising: a reel mounted in said bag; an identification holder for holding a personal identification item, said identification holder coupled to said reel with a tether for movement of said identification holder between extended and retracted configurations; and wherein said reel includes a spring-loaded configuration for biasing said identification holder toward said retracted configuration.

12. The device as in claim 11, wherein said front surface of said bag defines an opening for displaying said identification holder when said identification holder is at said retracted configuration.

13. The device as in claim 10, wherein said bag is constructed of a transparent plastic material.

14. The device as in claim 10, wherein said rear portion of said bag is constructed of a transparent plastic material and said front portion of said bag is constructed of an opaque plastic material.

15. The device as in claim 10, further comprising means to secure said flap to said bag for securely covering said top opening of said bag.

16. A device for holding and transporting personal items as an aid to efficient security screening events, comprising a bag having a bottom portion with front, rear, and generally opposed side portions connected to said bottom portion, and defining a top opening, wherein said rear portion of said bag is constructed of a transparent plastic material and said front portion of said bag is constructed of an opaque plastic material.

17. The device as in claim 16, further comprising: a reel mounted in said bag; an identification holder for holding a personal identification item, said identification holder coupled to said reel with a tether for movement of said identification holder between extended and retracted configurations; wherein said reel includes a spring-loaded configuration for biasing said identification holder toward said retracted configuration; and a clip fixedly attached to said rear portion of said bag for attaching said bag to a user's clothing, said clip including a generally concave handle configuration for being ergonomically gripped by a person's hand.

18. The device as in claim 17, wherein said front surface of said bag defines an opening for displaying said identification holder when said identification holder is at said retracted configuration.

19. The device as in claim 18, further comprising means for securely closing said top opening.

20. The device as in claim 16, further comprising means for securely closing said top opening.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to a container for personal items. In particular, the present invention relates to a device for holding and transporting personal items as an aid to efficient security screening events.

Transportation security, and especially airport security, has justifiably received a great deal of attention recently. Heightened fears at airports have translated into incredibly long waits to clear security screening. One of the most time consuming parts of this process is passing through a metal detector, which is complicated by the need to place change, keys, electronics, and other personal items into an open basket for inspection. A device that helps streamline this process would be greatly appreciated by passengers and airport personnel.

Further, at least once, and perhaps two or three times, a photo identification item must be presented in order to board an airplane. This means that the identification will have to be taken out of its pocket and replaced regularly. A device that simplifies this process would likewise be greatly appreciated by passengers.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,201,259 discloses a waterproof security pouch capable of holding personal items in an accessible location when traveling. It is not designed to aid in security screening, however, and it does not include transparent features.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,255,833 discloses a transparent carrier with an integrated shoulder strap that allows certain personnel to meet strict uniform codes. It is not sized for or designed to aid in security screening.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,237,825 addresses security-screening concerns but is inappropriate for general airport screening. The disclosed device is for transporting schoolbooks and supplies, and its size and shape simply make it too large and inconvenient for use in screening normal personal items at airports and other common security checkpoints.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,637,563 discloses a clear plastic case that can be attached to carry-on luggage to secure items such as a personal laptop computer and various personal items.

While assumably effective for their intended purposes, none of the above proposals provide a device that aids in screening personal items that is conveniently sized to be worn or carried, includes a clip that also functions as a handle, provides a tethered identification holder, and incorporates transparent materials. Indeed, none of the above proposals include a clip that also functions as a handle or provides a tethered identification holder.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A device for holding and transporting personal items as an aid to efficient security screening events (also called a device to aid in screening personal items) according to the present invention includes a bag, a flap attached to the bag, a reel mounted in the bag, an identification holder coupled to the reel with a tether, and a clip attached to the bag. A front portion of the bag defines an opening through which the identification holder may be viewed when the identification holder is in a retracted configuration, and the identification holder may move between extended and retracted configurations. The reel includes a spring-loaded configuration for biasing the identification holder toward the retracted configuration. The clip includes a generally concave handle configuration that allows the clip to be ergonomically gripped by a person's hand as well as attach the bag to the user's clothing. Select portions of the bag are preferably constructed of transparent plastic material.

In use, personal items are placed in the bag as desired and a personal identification item is placed in the identification holder. The user may carry the bag by the clip due to the clip's generally concave handle configuration, or the clip may be used to secure the bag to the user's clothing. When the user reaches a security screening event (such as airport security screening,) the clip easily releases the bag from the user's clothing. Security personnel may view the contents of the bag through the bag's transparent portions, and the bag may easily and quickly pass through a metal detector. Time is saved and the screening process is made more efficient because the personal items are already gathered for inspection. The time previously required to place the personal items into an open basket for inspection and then to retrieve the personal items has been eliminated. Since the personal identification item in the identification holder is visible through the opening in the bag's front portion, the bag is easily retrieved by its rightful owner once it has passed through a metal detector or is otherwise separated from the owner. When the need arises to present a personal identification item, the user may quickly and easily extend the identification holder from the retracted configuration to an extended configuration. Once the personal identification item is no longer needed, the reel automatically retracts the tether and the attached identification holder due to its spring-loaded configuration, returning the identification holder to the retracted configuration. It is anticipated that the present invention will be encouraged and promoted by airport and other security organizations due to its safety and efficiency benefits.

Therefore, a general object of this invention is to provide a device to aid in screening personal items that is conveniently sized to hold personal items and be worn or carried.

Another object of this invention is to provide a device to aid in screening personal items, as aforesaid, that includes a clip that also functions as a handle.

Still another object of this invention is to provide a device to aid in screening personal items, as aforesaid, that provides an easily accessible and presentable identification holder.

Yet another object of this invention is to provide a device to aid in screening personal items, as aforesaid, that incorporates transparent materials.

A further object of this invention is to provide a device to aid in screening personal items, as aforesaid, that is comfortable and stylish to wear.

Other objects and advantages of this invention will become apparent from the following description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, wherein is set forth by way of illustration and example, embodiments of this invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of a device for holding and transporting personal items as an aid to efficient security screening events according to the present invention positioned on a belt;

FIG. 2 is an exploded view of the device as in FIG. 1 with personal items and an identification item;

FIG. 3a is a top view of the device as in FIG. 1 positioned on a belt;

FIG. 3b is the cross section of the clip and belt taken along line 3b-3b of FIG. 3a;

FIG. 4a is a front perspective view of the device as in FIG. 1 with the flap in an open configuration and with the identification holder in a retracted configuration;

FIG. 4b is a front perspective view of the device as in FIG. 1 with the flap in an open configuration and with the identification holder in an extended configuration; and

FIG. 5 is a fragmented perspective view of the device as in FIG. 1 with the bag and flap cut away to show the reel.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

A device for holding and transporting personal items as an aid to efficient security screening events according to the present invention will now be described in detail with reference to FIGS. 1 through 5 of the accompanying drawings. More particularly, a device 100 for holding and transporting personal items as an aid to efficient security screening events (also called a device 100 to aid in screening personal items) includes a bag 110, a flap 118 attached to the bag 110, a reel 124 mounted in the bag 110, an identification holder 120 coupled to the reel 124 with a tether 123, and a clip 130 attached to the bag 110.

The bag 110 has a bottom portion 112 with front and rear portions 113a, 113b and generally opposed side portions 114a, 114b connected to the bottom portion 112 and defining an open top (also called a top opening) 115 (FIG. 2). The bag 110 preferably includes a plurality of internal compartments 111. The front portion 113a of the bag 110 includes an identification holder compartment 116 for guiding the identification holder 120 between extended and retracted configurations 126, 128 (FIGS. 4a and 4b) and for containing the identification holder 120 when the identification holder 120 is at the retracted configuration 128. The front portion 113a of the bag 110 defines an opening 117 for displaying the identification holder 120 when the identification holder 120 is at the retracted configuration 128.

Preferably, the rear portion 113b of the bag 110 is constructed of transparent plastic material, and the front and side portions 113a, 114a, 114b are constructed of an opaque plastic material. This allows visual inspection of the contents of the bag 110 when the bag 110 is presented for inspection while maintaining the user's privacy and making the pouch less of a target for theft while the bag 110 is worn. Alternately, the entire bag 110 may be constructed of a transparent plastic material, or the bag 110 may be constructed from another suitable material.

The flap 118 is attached to the bag 110 and includes means 119 to secure the flap 118 to the bag 110 for securely covering the open top 115 of the bag 110. The securing means 119 may be hook and loop fasteners 119a (such as Velcro), snaps, buttons, adhesive, a zipper, clasps, magnets, or the like. Depending on the securing means 119 used, compatible securing means 119 may need to be located on the front portion 113a of the bag 110. When the flap 118 is not securely covering the open top 115 of the bag 110, the flap 118 is said to be in an open configuration. The top opening 115 may also be covered without the use of the flap 118. If the flap 118 were not used, the securing means 119 would be located proximate upper edges 118a, 118b of the front and rear portions 113a, 113b. This arrangement is not shown.

The reel 124 (FIG. 5) is mounted in the bag 110 and includes a spring-loaded configuration for biasing the identification holder 120 toward the retracted configuration 128. The identification holder 120 is configured to hold a personal identification item 140, such as a driver's license or passport.

The clip 130 includes a generally concave handle configuration 132 and is fixedly attached to the rear portion 113b of the bag 110 for attaching the bag 110 to a user's clothing, such as a belt 102. The generally concave handle configuration 132 allows the clip 130 to be ergonomically gripped by a person's hand (FIGS. 3a and 3b).

In use, personal items 142 are placed in the internal compartments 111 of the bag 110 as desired and a personal identification item 140, e.g. a driver's license, is placed in the identification holder 120. The identification holder 120 is initially nested in the identification holder compartment 116 at the retracted configuration 128. The open top 115 of the bag 110 is securely covered by the flap 118, which is secured to the bag 110 by the securing means 119. The user may carry the bag 110 by the clip 130 due to the generally concave handle configuration 132 of the clip 130, or the clip 130 may be used to secure the bag 110 to the user's clothing (such as the user's belt 102).

When the user reaches a security screening event (such as airport security screening, hospital security screening, government building security screening, etc.) the clip 130 easily releases the bag 110 from the user's clothing if the bag is being so carried. Security personnel may view the contents of the bag 110 through the transparent portions of the bag 110, and the bag 110 may easily and quickly pass through a metal detector. Time is saved because the personal items 142 are already gathered for inspection; the time previously required to place the personal items 142 into an open basket for inspection and then to retrieve the personal items 142 has been eliminated. Since the personal identification item 140 in the identification holder 120 is visible through the opening 117 in the front portion 113a of the bag 110, the bag 110 is easily retrieved by its rightful owner once the bag 110 has passed through a metal detector or is otherwise separated from the owner.

When the need arises to present a personal identification item 140, the user may quickly and easily extend the identification holder 120 from the retracted configuration 128 to an extended configuration 126. When extending the identification holder 120, it is not necessary for the user to remove the bag 110 from the user's clothing, and once the personal identification item 140 is no longer needed, the reel 124 automatically retracts the tether 123 and the attached identification holder 120 due to its spring-loaded configuration. This returns the identification holder 120 to the retracted configuration 128, nested in the identification holder compartment 116 of the bag 110.

It is understood that while certain forms of this invention have been illustrated and described, it is not limited thereto except insofar as such limitations are included in the following claims and allowable functional equivalents thereof.