Title:
Briefcase with pockets with magnetic closures
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A soft sided briefcase is disclosed which has typical compartments and further includes external pockets with secure flap closures. The pockets are affixed to the side of the briefcase, and the flap closures are suitably hinged to a portion of the pockets. Sections of the pockets as well as areas of the flaps include cooperating steel plate members and permanent magnets, or both having permanent magnets, to provide access faster than would be possible via conventional zipper closures and is reasonably secure in providing protective closure for internal contents.



Inventors:
Myers, Jay E. (Newport Beach, CA, US)
Lin, Shin-fu (Taipei, TW)
Chen, Shou Mao (Taichia, TW)
Application Number:
11/357725
Publication Date:
08/23/2007
Filing Date:
02/17/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
190/119, 206/818
International Classes:
B65D85/00; A45C13/10
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20080125715Shaped Introducer For Vascular AccessMay, 2008Cohen
20090266727Camera Case With Selective Lens StorageOctober, 2009Fair et al.
20100032326SCREWSTRIP WITH DRIVE SLOTS HAVING ANGLED SIDEWALLSFebruary, 2010Park
20090114558Low melt plastic fastnerMay, 2009Shilale et al.
20060124477Odour absorbing clothes coverJune, 2006Cornelius et al.
20090028964CONTAINER AND KIT FOR THE PREPARATION, STORAGE AND DISPENSING OF COMPOUNDED SUPPOSITORIESJanuary, 2009Muni et al.
20050263430Container for effervescent tabletsDecember, 2005Giovanni
20050257678Ballistic resistant gun case and method of usageNovember, 2005Camp
20040129585Disc and information article sleeveJuly, 2004Ballantine et al.
20080105592PACKAGING CUSHION ASSEMBLY HAVING ONE FOLDABLE/UNFOLDABLE SIDEMay, 2008Cheng et al.
20020157970Beverage flavor dispensing capOctober, 2002Carlson



Primary Examiner:
MAI, TRI M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ORRICK, HERRINGTON & SUTCLIFFE, LLP;IP PROSECUTION DEPARTMENT (4 PARK PLAZA, SUITE 1600, IRVINE, CA, 92614-2558, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A soft sided case constructed of suitable material, such as a strong fabric, plastic, leather or the like, and having suitable compartments for carrying various articles, such as a laptop computer, books, and other devices, and further comprising at least one external pocket affixed to a side of the case for carrying smaller items such as cell phones, portable communication devices, calculators, pens, pencils and the like, and the pocket further including an attached flap configured to be opened for internal access and to completely enclose and cover the pocket, and the flap including an internal stiffening member to configure the top of the flap to overlay the top of the pocket, and sections of the flap and the pocket including cooperating metal pieces and magnets, or both including magnets, for mutually attracting the flap to the pocket.

2. A case as in claim 1 wherein the stiffening member is a thin gauge plastic strip.

3. A case as in claim 1 wherein the pocket includes metal inserts attractable by permanent magnets, and the flap including permanent magnets.

4. A case as in claim 1 wherein the members in the pocket and the members in the flap comprise permanent magnets arranged to mutually attract each other.

5. A case as in claim 1 including a pair of handles and a cover attached to one handle, the cover including one or more magnets for firmly enclosing the cover around both handles.

6. A soft sided case constructed of suitable material, such as a strong fabric, plastic, leather or the like, and having suitable compartments for carrying various articles, such as a laptop computer, books, and other devices, and further comprising a plurality of external pockets affixed to a side of the case for carrying smaller items such as cell phones, portable communication devices, calculators, pens, pencils and the like, and the pockets each further including an attached flap configured to be opened for internal access and to completely enclose and cover the respective pocket, and each flap including an internal stiffening member to configure the top of the flap to overlie the top of the respective pocket, and sections of the flap and the pocket including cooperating metal pieces and magnets, or both including magnets, for mutually attracting each flap to the respective pocket.

7. A case as in claim 6 wherein the stiffening member is a thin gauge plastic strip.

8. A case as in claim 6 wherein the pockets include metal inserts attractable by permanent magnets, and the flaps including permanent magnets.

9. A case as in claim 6 wherein the members in the pocket and the members in the flap each comprise permanent magnets arranged to mutually attract each other.

10. A case as in claim 6 including a pair of handles and a cover attached to one handle, the cover including one or more magnets for firmly enclosing the cover around both handles.

Description:

BACKGROUND

The present invention relates to luggage or cases, and more particularly to soft side cases or briefcases such as for carrying various items including laptop computers and other devices.

Typical cases of this nature are made from a strong cloth such as ballistic nylon, leather or the like, and usually include various compartments with openings closed by zippers, snaps or the like. Many cases of this nature include external pockets for carrying items like cellphones, portable communication devices, calculators, pens, pencils and so on. These external pockets, if they have any depth, are closed by zippers or secure snaps.

Carrying devices have been provided in the past with magnetic closures, but typically of the pocketbook or purse type. One example is a handbag shown in U.S. Pat. No. 5,749,447 which has a fastening mechanism that may be a magnetic closure mechanism. Another example is a bag closure system shown in U.S. Pat. No. 6,678,923. However, these devices are not suitable for external pockets on a briefcase or the like.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to a portable carrying case of the nature described above but with relatively large external pockets having stiffened opening flaps and wherein the flaps can be securely and quickly closed through an arrangement of permanent magnets. In an examplary embodiment the case is in the form of a briefcase having a pair of handles, and with several compartments having external and internal zipper closures. External and relatively deep three-dimensional pockets are securely and integrally attached, and include flaps cooperating with sections of the pockets for closing the pockets and are retained closed by the magnets.

In the case of the present invention an exemplary embodiment has two external three-dimensional pockets securely attached, as by sewing, to a side of the briefcase. These pockets are gusseted to provide full rectangular pockets, not just flat partially open pockets as typically are found in a handbag or purse which have no significant depth to the opening. One particular advantage to a magnetic closure system is that the closure flaps close quickly and positively snap closed as soon as they are moved toward the closed position.

Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a new form of carrying case.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a new form of briefcase having pockets which are maintained closed by permanent magnets suitably located with respect to the pockets.

These and other objects and features of the present invention will become better understood through a consideration of the following description and drawings in which:

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an exemplary briefcase according to the present invention with a pair of external pockets shown open.

FIG. 2 is a view similar to FIG. 1 but showing the external pockets closed.

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view along line 3-3 of FIG. 2 illustrating the cooperative relationship of one pair of magnets.

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view along line 4-4 of FIG. 2 particularly showing the curved shape of the flap 38.

FIG. 5 is a partial perspective view of a magnetic handle attachment cover.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Turning now to the drawings, a case in the form of a soft sided briefcase 10 is illustrated, and having the usual sides 12 and 13 and ends 16 and 17 all integrally formed with a top 20. The case 10 as shown has internal compartments closed via zippers 22 and 24 and dividing the case into several compartments as is well known. The case 10 includes a pair of handles 28 and a handle closure wrap 30. The case 10 also includes if desired a shoulder strap 32.

According to the present invention, the case 10 includes one or more three-dimensional pockets 36 and 38 attached to side 12 and which are gusseted to provide full rectangular three-dimensional pockets and front sections 36a, b and 38a, b, and having respective closure flaps 40 and 42 for the pockets 36 and 38. The flaps 40 and 42 are hinged at 40a and 42a to the respective pockets 36 and 38. As can be seen from FIG. 1, these pockets 36 and 38 are relatively deep, and can readily hold various articles, such as cell phones, electronic communication devices such as those sold under the trademarks Blackberry and Trio, a calculator, pens, pencils and the like. The pockets 36 and 38 can include internal dividers 44 through 48 to help maintain devices therein separated. The pocket 36 is also shown as including an internal pocket closed by a zipper 50. The pockets preferably are formed of two layers of material and this plus the front sections ensure a relatively rigid pocket structure.

According to the present invention, the pockets 36 and 38 are not only integrally fixed to the side 12 of the briefcase 10 to provide quick and easy access to the contents of the pockets, but they further utilize stiffened and configured flaps 40 and 42 and a magnetic closure system as best seen in FIGS. 1 through 3 and 5. The pocket 36 is illustrated as having five members 54a through 54e which are either steel or permanent magnet inserts. Similarly, five members 56a through 56e are shown in the cover flap 40 and which represent permanent magnets or steel members. Two of these 54c and 56c are illustrated in cross-section in FIG. 3. The members 54 and 56 can comprise any suitable combination of steel inserts and permanent magnet inserts. For example, the ones at 54 can be steel inserts, and the ones at 56 permanent magnets. In the case of thicker material from which the pockets 36 and 38 and flaps 40 and 42 are constructed, such as of leather, it can be desirable for all of members 54 and 56 to be permanent magnets which are polarized oppositely to properly attract those at 56 to those at 54 for providing a firm and tight closure of the flap 40 to the pocket 36. The arrangement of the magnets is such that when 54a and 56a and 54e and 56e come close together the flap 40 starts to immediately snap closed.

The second pocket 38 similarly includes four either steel or permanent magnet inserts 60a through 60b and a similar set 62a - 62d in the cover flap 42. In both of the external pockets 36 and 38, the steel and magnet members can be retained in the pocket and flaps 40 and 42 and any suitable manner as by stitching them within a sandwich of the material from which the pockets 36 and 38 and flaps 40 and 42 are constructed, that is between the shell and lining fabrics.

Another important structural feature of the pockets 36 and 38 and their respective flaps 40 and 42 is the inclusion of thin plastic strips 64 and 66 which are curved as illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 4 to enable the tops 67 and 68 of the respective flaps 40 and 42 to be curved in a manner to fully overlap the top sides 69 and 70 of the respective pockets 36 and 38. These strips 64 and 66 comprise interlining material between the shell S and lining L fabrics of the flaps 40 and 42 and preferably are formed of thin gauge polyethylene plastic sheet. Thus, the flaps 40 and 42 provide semi-rigid, fully overlapping edges on the top sides of both the pockets 36, 38, and the pocket flaps 40, 42 to provide fully secure closures. FIGS. 3 and 4 particularly illustrate the strip 64 in the top 67 of the flap 40 surrounding permanent magnet 56c. The pockets 36 and 38 also are formed of two layers S and L of material to ensure sufficient stiffness of them. Also pressure molded fabric can be used.

FIG. 5 further illustrates a cover 30 for the upper ends of the handles 26 and 28 which is attached to one of the two handles. It too can be retained closed by a magnetic assembly much like those previously discussed. One side of the cover 30 includes members 70a-70c which may be steel members or permanent magnets, and the other side includes members 72a through 72c which too may be either permanent magnets or small steel plates.

While an embodiment of the present invention as been shown and described, various modifications may be made without departing from the scope of the present invention, and all such modifications and equivalents are intended to be covered.