Title:
Magnetic Bin System
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A magnetic bin system is disclosed. The magnetic bin system is comprised of two or more bins that vary in size and shape. The bins each have a first pair of adjacent sides with a first bottom edge, a second pair of adjacent sides with a second bottom edge, and a bottom side. The bottom side is connected to the first bottom edge and the second bottom edge to form an open top bin. On each bin, a magnet is coupled to each side of the first pair of adjacent sides, and a metal strip is coupled to each side of the second pair of adjacent sides. So that the bins can attach to each other, the magnets are coupled to the first pair of adjacent sides and the metal strips are coupled to the second pair of adjacent sides at approximately the same distance above the bottom side. These components work together to create an organizational system that can be used anywhere.



Inventors:
Weinberg, Gwen (Seattle, WA, US)
Nadelson, Anita (Seattle, WA, US)
Application Number:
11/277258
Publication Date:
03/22/2007
Filing Date:
03/23/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
220/23.4
International Classes:
B65D23/00; B65D21/02
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Primary Examiner:
ALLEN, JEFFREY R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
VENJURIS, P.C. (1938 E. OSBORN RD, PHOENIX, AZ, 85016-7234, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A configurable bin system comprising two or more bins wherein each bin comprises: A. a first pair of adjacent sides having a first bottom edge, a second pair of adjacent sides having a second bottom edge, and a bottom side wherein the bottom side is connected to the first bottom edge and the second bottom edge to form an open top bin; B. a magnet coupled to each side of the first pair of adjacent sides; C. a metal strip coupled to each side of the second pair of adjacent sides; and D. wherein the magnets are coupled to the first pair of adjacent sides and the metal strips are coupled to the second pair of adjacent sides at approximately the same distance above the bottom side.

2. The configurable bin system of claim 1 wherein the two or more bins are oriented such that the magnet in a first bin is aligned with the metal strip in a second bin.

3. The configurable bin system of claim 1 wherein the magnets of the two or more bins are attracted to any metal surface.

4. The configurable bin system of claim 1 wherein each side of the first pair of adjacent sides includes three magnets.

5. The configurable bin system of claim 1 wherein the bottom side of a first bin has a greater perimeter than the bottom side of a second bin such that the second bin fits inside the first bin.

Description:

This application claims benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/684,197 filed on May 23, 2005.

BACKGROUND

The present invention relates generally to organizing tools, and more particularly to plastic organizing bins that that are configurable and can attach to each other or any magnetic surface. Specifically, the present invention utilizes a set of configurable bins that are made of plastic and each includes at least one magnet and a metal strip. Because each bin includes both a magnet and a metal strip, the bins can be configured and coupled to each other in multiple ways.

Organization at home, the office, school, or any other personal space is important. One way to create and maintain an organized space is to use bins to store small items. But the bins themselves may take up too much space and cause disorganization. Because the bins may cause clutter and increase disorganization, they may add more to the disorganization problem than help it.

The present invention provides a functional and aesthetic way to become and stay organized. The present invention is a set of at least two bins that each includes at least one magnet and one metal strip. The bins can be coupled to each other or any other magnetic surface in unlimited configurations. This versatility allows the bins to be used in any type of space.

Currently, there are organizational bin systems that can be used on horizontal and vertical surfaces. But each of these systems suffers from several disadvantages. First, the systems can only be used on horizontal surfaces or on vertical surfaces, but not on both. The current systems are limited in configuration. Second, the systems are not designed so that the bins can couple to each other and provide better organization in small spaces.

Presently, there is no bin system that can be used on both horizontal and vertical surfaces and can couple to each other. For the foregoing reasons, there is a need for a system that would allow a person to use organizational bins on both horizontal and vertical surfaces.

SUMMARY

The present invention is directed to a system that satisfies the needs of providing a bin system that can be used on both vertical and horizontal surfaces, and providing a bin system that is magnetically configurable.

A bin system having features of the present invention comprises two or more bins where the bins include a first pair of adjacent sides, a second pair of adjacent sides, and a bottom side. The first pair of adjacent sides has a first bottom edge, and the second pair of adjacent sides has a second bottom edge. The bottom side is connected to the first bottom edge and the second bottom edge to form an open top bin. On each bin, a magnet is coupled to each side of the first pair of adjacent sides, and a metal strip is coupled to each side of the second pair of adjacent sides. So that the magnets and metal strips on each bin can attach to each other, the magnets are coupled to the first pair of adjacent sides and the metal strips are coupled to the second pair of adjacent sides at approximately the same distance above the bottom side.

The novel features that are considered characteristic of the invention are set forth with particularity in the appended claims. The invention itself, however, both as to its structure and its operation together with the additional object and advantages thereof will best be understood from the following description of the preferred embodiment of the present invention when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings. Unless specifically noted, it is intended that the words and phrases in the specification and claims be given the ordinary and accustomed meaning to those of ordinary skill in the applicable art or arts. If any other meaning is intended, the specification will specifically state that a special meaning is being applied to a word or phrase. Likewise, the use of the words “function” or “means” in the Description of the Preferred Embodiments is not intended to indicate a desire to invoke the special provision of 35 U.S.C. §112, paragraph 6 to define the invention. To the contrary, if the provisions of 35 U.S.C. §112, paragraph 6 are sought to be invoked to define the invention(s), the claims will specifically state the phrases “means for” or “step for” and a function, without also reciting in such phrases any structure, material, or act in support of the function.

Moreover, even if the provisions of 35 U.S.C. §112, paragraph 6 are invoked to define the inventions, it is intended that the inventions not be limited only to the specific structure, material or acts that are described in the preferred embodiments, but in addition, include any and all structures, materials or acts that perform the claimed function, along with any and all known or later developed equivalent structures, materials, or acts for performing the claimed function.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of a magnetic bin. One of the metal strips and two of the magnets are shown.

FIG. 1A shows an alternate perspective view of the same magnetic bin as in FIG. 1. Two of the metal strips are shown.

FIG. 2 shows a perspective view of a larger magnetic bin than in FIGS. 1 and 1A. One of the metal strips and two of the magnets are shown.

FIG. 2A shows an alternate perspective view of the same magnetic bin as in FIG. 2. Two of the metal strips are shown.

FIG. 3 shows a perspective view of a larger magnetic bin than in FIGS. 1, 1A, 2, and 2A. One of the metal strips and two of the magnets are shown.

FIG. 3A shows an alternate perspective view of the same magnetic bin as in FIG. 3. Two of the metal strips are shown.

FIG. 4 shows an embodiment of the invention where the magnetic bins depicted in FIGS. 1-3 are arranged such that the metal strips and the magnets on each bin are aligned.

FIG. 4A shows an alternate configuration of the magnetic bins.

FIG. 5 shows an alternate configuration of the magnetic bins.

FIG. 6 shows an alternate configuration of the magnetic bins.

FIG. 7 shows an alternate configuration of the three magnetic bins of FIGS. 1-3 connected to a vertical surface 500.

FIG. 7A shows an alternate view of the arrangement of FIG. 7.

FIGS. 8-8B show an alternate view of the three magnetic bins of FIGS. 1-3 and the attached magnets.

FIG. 9 shows an alternate configuration of the magnetic bins of FIGS. 1-3 arranged in a way where the magnetic bins can nest inside one another.

FIG. 9A shows an alternate configuration of the magnetic bins of FIG. 9 nested inside one another.

DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

FIGS. 1-4 depict three (3) bins 200, 300, and 400 that vary in size and shape. In the preferred embodiment, each of the bins 200, 300, and 400 is comprised of a front side 202, 302, 402, a left side 204, 304, 404, a right side 206, 306, 406, a back side 208, 308, 408, and a bottom side 250, 350, and 450. Together, the right side 206, 306, 406 and back side 208, 308, 408 comprise a first pair of adjacent sides 230, 330, and 430. And together, the front side 202, 302, 402 and left side 204, 304, 404 comprise a second pair of adjacent sides 240, 340, and 440. The first pair of adjacent sides 230, 330, and 430 further comprise a first bottom edge 260, 360, and 460. The second pair of adjacent sides 240, 340, and 440 further comprises a second bottom edge 270, 370, and 470. The bottom side 250, 350, and 450 connects to the first bottom edge 260, 360, and 460 and the second bottom edge 270, 370, and 470 to form an open top bin 200, 300, and 400.

In the preferred embodiment, the bins 200, 300, and 400 are made of plastic. Many other materials would be suitable, of course. The different sizes and shapes of the bins 200, 300, and 400 increase the ways in which the bins 200, 300, and 400 can be configured. In addition, while many size combinations can be utilized, a preferred three-bin size combination is: 4″ (w)×4″ (d)×2″ (h) for one bin; 3.5″ (w)×3.5″ (d)×3.5″ (h) for another bin; and 3″ (w)×3″ (d)×4.5″ (h) for the third bin.

Coupled to the first pair of adjacent sides 230, 330, 430 of the bins 200, 300, and 400 are magnets 220, 320, and 420. Preferably, two magnets 220, 320, and 420 are embedded in the right side 206, 306, 406 of the first pair of adjacent sides 230, 330, and 430, as seen in FIGS. 1, 2, and 3. Two magnets 220, 320, and 420 are also preferably embedded in the back side 208, 308, 408 of the first pair of adjacent sides 230, 330, and 430, as shown in FIGS. 8-8B. The magnets 220, 320, and 420 are positioned vertically on the first pair of adjacent sides 230, 330, and 430 so that they will align with the metal strip 210, 310, and 410 on the second pair of adjacent sides 240, 340, and 440. A top magnet 225, 325, and 425, as depicted in FIGS. 8-8B, is positioned above and between the magnets 220, 320, and 420 that align with the metal strips 210, 310, and 410. The top magnet 225, 325, and 425 is added to provide additional support to the bins 200, 300, and 400 when they are attached to a vertical surface. While it is preferred to embed the magnets into the sides of bins, many other types of connections known in the art can be used, including glues and other adhesives.

Similarly, the metal strips 210, 310, and 410 are embedded in the plastic of the second adjacent sides 240, 340, and 440. For added strength and aesthetic appeal, holes in the metal strips can be added to allow additional points of connection. The metal strips 210, 310, and 410 are preferably three-fourths (¾) of the length of the second bottom edges 270, 370, and 470 and are centered near the bottom of the second adjacent sides 240, 340, and 440 so that they align with the magnets 220, 320, and 420. The magnets 220, 320, and 420 and metal strips 210, 310, and 410 add to the versatility of the bins 200, 300, and 400 and allow the bins 200, 300, and 400 to couple to each other. While it is preferred to releasably couple the bins with a magnet/metal combination, many other types of releasable connections could be used, such as hook and pile (velcro). While it is preferred to embed the magnets into the sides of bins, many other types of connections known in the art can be used, including glues and other adhesives.

Each of the bins 200, 300, and 400 depicted in FIGS. 1-3 have different sizes of bottom sides 250, 350, and 450. This size differentiation allows the bins 200, 300, and 400 to nest inside each other as illustrated in FIGS. 9 and 9A. The bottom side 250 of the bin 200 shown in FIGS. 1 and 1A is the largest; the bin 300 in FIGS. 2 and 2A has a bottom side 350 that is smaller than the bin 200 in FIGS. 1 and 1A; and the bin 400 shown in FIGS. 3 and 3A has a bottom side 450 that is smaller than the bin 300 in FIGS. 2 and 2A. The nesting of the bins 200, 300, and 400 provides the user with further options for configuring the bin system 100.

FIGS. 4-6 depict several of the ways that the bins 200, 300, and 400 can be configured by aligning the magnets 220, 320, and 420 and the metal strips 210, 310, and 410. FIGS. 4 and 4A illustrate the bins 200, 300, and 400 before being attached and show the details of the magnets 220, 320, and 420 aligning with the metal strips 210, 310, and 410. FIGS. 5 and 6 depict the bins 200, 300, and 400 coupled together. The configurations of the bin system 100 shown in FIGS. 4-6 are just a few examples of the many configurations that can be made with the bins 200, 300, and 400. As represented in FIGS. 7 and 7A, the three (3) individual bins 200, 300, and 400 shown in FIGS. 1-3 can also be connected to a vertical surface 500, such as a refrigerator door or other metal surface.

The preferred embodiment of the invention is described above, in the Drawings, and Description of Preferred Embodiments. While these descriptions directly describe the above embodiments, it is understood that those skilled in the art may conceive modifications and/or variations to the specific embodiments shown and described herein. Any such modifications or variations that fall within the purview of this description are intended to be included therein as well. Unless specifically noted, it is the intention of the inventor that the words and phrases in the specification and claims be give the ordinary and accustomed meanings to those of ordinary skill in the applicable art(s). The foregoing description of a preferred embodiment and best mode of the invention known to the applicant at the time of filing the application has been presented and is intended for the purposes of illustration and description. It is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise form disclosed, and many modifications and variations are possible in the light of the above teachings. The embodiment was chosen and described in order to best explain the principles of the invention and its practical application and to enable others skilled in the art to best utilize the invention in various embodiments and with various modifications as are suited to the particular use contemplated.





 
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