Title:
File storage container
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An improved file storage container includes a generally rectangular box having a base wall and front, rear and side walls mounted on and extending upwards from the base wall thereby forming the generally rectangular box. A box lid includes a lid top wall and a lid front wall, lid rear wall and lid side walls mounted on and extending downwards from the lid top wall, the box lid being adapted to fit onto and cover the generally rectangular box. A connection and securement device includes lower and upper interlocking sections, the lower section mounted atop the generally rectangular box circumferentially around an upper edge of each of the front wall, rear wall and side walls of the generally rectangular box, and the upper section mounted on a lower edge of each of the lid front wall, lid rear wall and lid side walls of the box lid, the upper and lower sections releasably interlocking to form a generally watertight and vermin-proof seal thereby substantially preventing incursion of water and vermin into the box. For supporting the box above a ground surface, the box includes at least three feet mounted on and projecting downwards from the base wall of the generally rectangular box. Finally, the box lid includes at least three feet-receiving indentations formed in the lid top wall of the box lid for receiving and frictionally retaining the feet of a second file storage container mounted thereon whereby file storage containers may be stacked on one another for storage.



Inventors:
White, Thomas M. (Omaha, NE, US)
Application Number:
10/003049
Publication Date:
05/09/2002
Filing Date:
11/02/2001
Assignee:
WHITE THOMAS M.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B42F7/14; B65D21/02; (IPC1-7): B65D85/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20100200453RETENTION PACKAGINGAugust, 2010Keiger
20060016716Injection moulded containersJanuary, 2006Fregonese et al.
20120255502PACKAGE AND METHOD OF MARKETINGOctober, 2012Holmes
20050133397Container and locking sleeve and method for locking a sleeve relative to a containerJune, 2005Mehling
20020008045Microscope slide containerJanuary, 2002Guyot et al.
20150151888Carton With Article Protection FeatureJune, 2015Fitzwater et al.
20080105573PAPER CD/DVD CASEMay, 2008Gonzales
20090152149Tool and equipment organizerJune, 2009Allen
20130025489Ink Cup Lined With Non-Stick CoatingJanuary, 2013Cheng
20110186475TRANSPORT PACKAGEAugust, 2011Holgesson
20040074788Archival preservation kitApril, 2004Blinkhorn et al.



Primary Examiner:
ACKUN, JACOB K
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LAW OFFICES OF ADAM H. JACOBS (OMAHA, NE, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A file storage container comprising; a generally rectangular box including a base wall and front, rear and side walls mounted on and extending upwards from said base wall thereby forming said generally rectangular box; a box lid including a lid top wall and a lid front wall, lid rear wall and lid side walls mounted on and extending downwards from said lid top wall; said box lid adapted to fit onto and cover said generally rectangular box; a connection and securement device including lower and upper interlocking sections, said lower section mounted atop said generally rectangular box circumferentially around an upper edge of each of said front wall, rear wall and side walls of said generally rectangular box, and said upper section mounted on a lower edge of each of said lid front wall, lid rear wall and lid side walls of said box lid, said upper and lower sections releasably interlocking to form a generally watertight and vermin-proof seal thereby substantially preventing incursion of water and vermin into said box; at least three feet mounted on and projecting downwards from said base wall of said generally rectangular box for supporting said base wall of said generally rectangular box above a ground surface; and at least three feet-receiving indentations formed in said lid top wall of said box lid for receiving and frictionally retaining the feet of a second file storage container mounted thereon whereby file storage containers are stacked on one another for storage.

2. The file storage container of claim 1 wherein said file storage container is constructed of a high-impact plastic plate material that is generally resistant to damage and degradation.

3. The file storage container of claim 1 further comprising at least one file folder having a specific height, said at least one file folder positioned within said box in a generally upright position, at least one of said front, rear and side walls having a height less than said specific height of said at least one file folder such that an upper section of said at least one file folder extends above at least one of said upper edges of said front, rear and side walls thereby permitting convenient viewing, accessing and removing of said at least one file folder from said generally rectangular box.

4. The file storage container of claim 1 wherein said lower section of said connection and securement device comprises a securement lip and said upper section of said connection and securement device comprises a securement clasp, said securement clasp operative to elastically releasably deform to fit over and snap-fit onto said securement lip thereby forming a generally watertight and vermin-proof seal between said generally rectangular box and said box lid.

5. The file storage container of claim 1 further comprising: outwardly extending upper and lower protruding channel lips formed circumferentially, respectively, on said upper and lower sections of said connection and securement device, said upper and lower protruding channel lips positioned adjacent one another when said box lid is positioned on said box; and at least one longitudinally extended channel having a generally C-shaped cross-sectional shape, said channel adapted to be slid over and engage said upper and lower channel lips to releasably secure said upper and lower channel lips and additionally secure said box lid on said box thereby providing additional protection for box contents.

6. The file storage container of claim 3 further comprising internal file securement means operative to releasably secure files and folders stored within said file storage container in a generally upright orientation thereby preventing accidental dislodging of file contents from files and folders.

7. The file storage container of claim 3 further comprising: a generally semi-flexible file securement plate having a length slightly greater than an internal width of said generally rectangular box; and a plurality of spaced, generally vertical grooves formed on interior surfaces of said front wall, rear wall and side walls, said grooves adapted to frictionally secure said file securement plate in a determined location thereby restrict movement of file folders stored in said box, said semi-flexible file securement plate operative to be positioned within said box generally adjacent folders therein and be moved/ratcheted towards folders until a center section of said file securement plate presses against the adjacent file folder and the tension of the file folders against said file securement plate secure said file securement plate against said grooves.

8. The file storage container of claim 1 wherein said box lid further comprises at least one handle for facilitating lifting of said file storage container.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED PROVISIONAL APPLICATION

[0001] This application claims priority to the filing date of a related provisional application Ser. No. 60/245,639 filed Nov. 3, 2000.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] 1. Technical Field

[0003] The present invention relates to file storage devices and, more particularly, to a file storage container which is generally rectangular in shape and includes a vertically extended lid to provide for clearance for files stored within the box, a plurality of feet mounted on the underside of the box for supporting the box in an elevated position relative to the floor surface on which it is resting, a plurality of indentations formed in the top surface of the lid to accept and retain the feet of a file storage container mounted thereon whereby a plurality of file storage containers may be stacked one a top another and an interlocking sealing device operative to releasably connect the lid with the box to prevent the entrance of moisture, bugs, etc., into the file storage container.

[0004] 2. Description of the Prior Art

[0005] In the modern business world, the efficient storage of business forms, such as files, letters and records, is essential to efficient organization and operation of the business. In achieving such efficiency, the business records must be stored in as compact a manner as possible and yet, at the same time, allow for easy retrieval during daily business operations. Furthermore, especially in the legal profession, it is important to not only safely and efficiently store files and documents, but to permit their portability in such a way that damage to the files is prevented. Many of the prior art devices used for the storage of files and documents are constructed of cardboard or the like, and while they are generally acceptable for short-term storage of files, during long-term storage and during transport the cardboard boxes tend to be damaged and in turn permit damage to the materials held therein. There is therefore a need for an improved file storage container which will prevent damage to the files stored therein and is easily transportable.

[0006] A variety of filing apparatus, including file drawers and file dividers or envelopes, are well-known to the skilled artisan. Such apparatus includes a bill file disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 193,296 wherein a plurality of dividers are positioned within a file drawer, the dividers having notches in the sides thereof which engage a pair of strips disposed along the horizontal sides of the drawer. Papers or other records are placed between the dividers if desired, with the dividers being slidingly moveable along the strip so as to accommodate different numbers of papers or records therebetween.

[0007] It is also known to provide dividers which include apertures at the top end thereof which engage horizontally extending strips in the side of a file drawer to hold the file in a vertical upright position and to permit sliding movement of the file dividers within the drawer, as shown in U.S. Pat. No. 1,712,168.

[0008] None of the prior art devices shown, however, disclose an easily portable and safe storage container for files and documents which will substantially prevent damage to the files and documents contained therein. One of the major problems encountered in the long-term storage of files and documents is that insects, rats and environmental conditions such as water get into the documents and destroy them. Cardboard boxes are particularly susceptible to this type of damage, as rats and insects chew on wood products and water will severely weaken the box structure. There is therefore a need for a file storage container which will permit long-term storage of the files and documents and will do so in a manner that prevents external damage to the documents and files stored therein.

[0009] Therefore, an object of the present invention is to provide an improved file storage container.

[0010] Another object of the present invention is to provide an improved file storage container which is constructed of a sturdy, damage-resistant plastic to prevent damage to materials stored therein.

[0011] Another object of the present invention is to provide an improved file storage container having a height that is less than the files supported therein for easy viewing and removal of files therefrom, and a lid having a depth to permit the lid to be placed over the files onto the container thus closing the container and protecting the files held therein.

[0012] Another object of the present invention is to provide an improved file storage container that is easily portable and can be shipped through the mail or via airline baggage systems to the final destination without raising concerns about whether the container will come through intact with the contents undamaged.

[0013] Another object of the present invention is to provide an improved file storage container that is waterproof and vermin-proof to prevent damage to the files and documents stored therein by bugs, rats and water.

[0014] Finally, an object of the present invention is to provide an improved file storage container which is safe, durable and efficient in use.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0015] The present invention provides a file storage container including a generally rectangular box having a base wall and front, rear and side walls mounted on and extending upwards from the base wall thereby forming the generally rectangular box. A box lid includes a lid top wall and a lid front wall, lid rear wall and lid side walls mounted on and extending downwards from the lid top wall, the box lid being adapted to fit onto and cover the generally rectangular box. A connection and securement device includes lower and upper interlocking sections, the lower section mounted atop the generally rectangular box circumferentially around an upper edge of each of the front wall, rear wall and side walls of the generally rectangular box, and the upper section mounted on a lower edge of each of the lid front wall, lid rear wall and lid side walls of the box lid, the upper and lower sections releasably interlocking to form a generally watertight and vermin-proof seal thereby substantially preventing incursion of water and vermin into the box. For supporting the box above a ground surface, the box includes at least three feet mounted on and projecting downwards from the base wall of the generally rectangular box. Finally, the box lid includes at least three feet-receiving indentations formed in the lid top wall of the box lid for receiving and frictionally retaining the feet of a second file storage container mounted thereon whereby file storage containers may be stacked on one another for storage.

[0016] The improved file storage container of the present invention, as thus described, offers many advantages over the devices previously used for file and document storage and transport. For example, the watertight and vermin-proof storage permits the safe, long-term storage of the files and documents stored therein. Also, the feet elevate the storage container and thus prevent damage to the container due to contact with the ground, while simultaneously allowing the easy pickup of the box with a hand truck or the like. Furthermore, as the feet of an upper file storage container fit within the feet-receiving indentations of the file storage container immediately below it, safe and secure stacking of multiple file storage containers is permitted, thus enabling more efficient use of storage space. Finally, as the present invention provides a lid having a depth, when the lid is removed, the files stored within project above the upper edges of the box for easy removal and viewing of the contents. It is thus seen that the present invention provides a substantial improvement over the prior art.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0017] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the file storage container of the present invention;

[0018] FIG. 2 is a detail side sectional elevational view of the interlocking sealing construction between the lid and base container showing how moisture and other harmful materials are prevented from entering the file storage container;

[0019] FIG. 3 is a side sectional elevational view of the present invention showing the feet thereon and a file stored within; and

[0020] FIG. 4 is a perspective view showing multiple file storage containers of the presenting invention stacked atop one another.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0021] The file storage container 10 of the present invention is best shown in FIGS. 1-4 as including a generally rectangular box section 12 which includes a base wall 14 and front, rear and side walls 16, 18, and 20a and 20b, which extend upwards and are connected to base wall 14 thus forming the generally rectangular box structure of box section 12. In the preferred embodiment, box section 12 would be approximately eight inches deep by twelve inches long and fifteen inches wide, although the precise dimensions of box section 12 would generally be determined by the material to be stored within the file storage container 10. In the preferred embodiment, however, the above-mentioned dimensions are preferred as the box section 12 may thus store both letter size and legal size file folders (11 inches and 14 inches in width, respectively). It is further preferred that the container 10 be constructed of a high-impact plastic plate material to provide for a durable, conditions-proof construction material.

[0022] As shown best in FIG. 2, a file folder 100 fits within the box section 12 in an upright position with the upper section of the file folder 100 extending above the top edge of box section 12 to permit convenient viewing, accessing and removal of the file folder 100 from the box section 12. Another substantial advantage of the restriction of the wall height of box section 12 is that the label on the file folder 100 may be quickly and easily viewed, thus permitting removal of the desired file folder from the box section 12. An added advantage of the restriction in height of box section 12 is that the user of the file storage container 10 of the present invention may merely set the file storage container 10 on the desk at which he or she is working and access file folders stored within file storage container 10 much more quickly and easily than similar file storage containers found in the prior art.

[0023] Of course, the file storage container 10 of the present invention will not always include a full compliment of file folders 100 stored within the box section 12. The problem to be solved is how to keep the file folders 100 stored within box section 12 in upright position even if the full compliment of files is not stored within. The solution is to include a semi-flexible file securement plate 22, shown best in FIG. 4, which has a length slightly greater than the internal width of box section 12 and a plurality of spaced, generally vertical grooves formed on the interior surfaces of front wall 16, rear wall 18 and side walls 20a and 20b, the grooves 24 acting to frictionally secure file securement plate 22 in a determined location in order to restrict movement of file folders 100 in box section 12. The semi-flexible nature of file securement plate 22 permits some bending of the plate 22 in order to properly position and secure the file folders 100 within box section 12, the file securement plate 22 being positioned within the box section 12 adjacent the folders therein and being “ratcheted” towards the file folders 100 until the center section of file securement plate 22 presses against the adjacent file folder 100 and the tension of the file folders against the plate 22 secure the plate 22 against the grooves 24.

[0024] It has also been found that it is desirable to roughly texture the upper surface of base wall 14 in order to provide additional friction for file folders 100 resting thereon, thereby helping to prevent sliding and undesirable movement of file folders 100 within box section 12. The roughened texture may be of any appropriate design, although it is expected that a “pebbling” of the upper surface of base wall 14 would provide the most cost-efficient and effective form of roughened texture.

[0025] Formed on the underside of base wall 14 are a plurality of container-supporting feet 30a, 30b, 30c and 30d which act to space the base wall 14 from the surface on which file storage container 10 is resting. In the preferred embodiment, the feet 30a-d are generally arcuate in shape consisting of a generally flat, curved plate of rigid material connected at either end of the underside of base wall 14 thereby forming a downwardly rounded foot, as shown best in FIGS. 3 and 4. It is preferred that longitudinal axis of each of the feet 30a-d be generally aligned with the longitudinal axis of box section 12. It is important to note that the rounded shape of the feet 30a-d fulfills several desirable functions, including inhibiting the shifting of file storage containers 10 when stacked atop one another and permitting the easy sliding of the file storage container 10 in the direction of the longitudinal axis of each foot 30a-d. Of course, the feet 30a-d may be constructed in any appropriate manner, so long as the primary function of elevating the base wall 14 above the ground surface on which the file storage container 10 is resting is maintained.

[0026] One additional function of the feet 30a-d is to allow for the lift plate of a hand truck to be quickly and easily slid underneath the file storage container 10 for lifting and moving the container. The cardboard boxes of the prior art are often torn or damaged by the edges of the lift plate being slid thereunder, and the feet 30a-d of the present invention are designed to prevent the file storage container 10 of the present invention from being damaged in a like manner, in addition to facilitating the lifting and transporting of the containers.

[0027] The lid 40 of file storage container 10 is shown best in FIGS. 1-4 as including a generally horizontal top wall 42 from the edges of which depend a lid front wall 44, lid rear wall 46 and lid side walls 48a and 48b. In the preferred embodiment, the height of each of the front, rear and side walls, 44, 46 and 48a-b would be approximately three inches in order to permit lid 40 to be fitted onto box section 12 without impacting or damaging the upper sections of file folders 100 stored within box section 12. Also, on top wall 42, is a handle 50 to permit lifting of the lid 40 and entire file storage container 10 when lid 40 is secured on box section 12b. Finally, lid 40 would also include a plurality of feet-receiving indentations 52a, 52b, 52c and 52d which are formed in and positioned at the corners of top wall 42 and are designed to receive and releasably secure the feet 30a-d of file storage container 10 stacked atop file storage container 10′ as shown best in FIG. 4. This design feature permits the stacking of multiple file storage containers atop one another in a generally stable manner as the feet of the upper file storage container are releasably secured within foot-receiving indentations 52a-d of the file storage container immediately beneath the upper file storage container.

[0028] For securing lid 40 to box section 12, it is preferred that the connection and securement device 60 include two interlocking sections, lower section 62 mounted atop box section 12 circumferentially around the upper edges of front wall 16, rear wall 18, and side walls 20a and 20b, and upper section 64 be mounted on the lower edges of lid front wall 44, lid rear wall 46 and lid side walls 48a and 48b on lid 40. In the preferred embodiment, lower section 62 would comprise a securement lip adapted to fit within upper section 64, which in the preferred embodiment, is a securement clasp section which is deformed to fit over and “snap” down on securement lip 62. In this manner, the upper and lower sections 64 and 62 of connection securement device 60 interlock with one another to secure lid 40 on base box section 12 until such time as the upper securement clasp section 64 is deformed to release lower securement lip section 62. In the preferred embodiment, the connection securement device 60 would provide a substantially waterproof/bug tight seal to prevent intrusion of water into the file storage container 10 and likewise prevent the intrusion of insects into the file storage container 10 which could result in damage to file folders 100 stored therewithin.

[0029] To further secure lid 40 on box section 12, outwardly extending upper and lower protruding channel lips 70 and 72 would be formed circumferentially, respectively, on the outer edges of upper and lower sections 64 and 62 of connection securement device 60. In the preferred embodiment, when lid 40 is seated atop box section 12 and the upper and lower sections 64 and 62 of connection securement device 60 are interlocked with one another, upper and lower channel lips 70 and 72 are positioned adjacent one another on the outer edge of connection securement device 60. A length of rigid channel 74 having a generally C-shaped cross-sectional shape would then be slid over the upper and lower channel lips 70 and 72 on each side of the file storage container 10 as shown best in FIGS. 2 and 3, thus further securing lid 40 to box section 12 and rendering the file storage container 10 virtually impervious to external assault. Of course, numerous variations of the connection device described herein may be substituted so long as the intended function of securing lid 40 to box section 12 is accomplished.

[0030] Furthermore, it is to be understood that numerous modifications and substitutions may be made to the file storage container 10 of the present invention which fall within the intended broad scope of the above disclosure. For example, although the present invention is intended to be constructed of a durable, high-impact plastic, other construction materials may be substituted for the plastic so long as the desired features of longevity and durability are maintained. Furthermore, the precise size, shape and dimensions of the file storage container 10 of the present invention may be modified and changed so long as the intended functioning of the present invention is not degraded. Finally, additional features such as nameplates, tie down attachments and other such features may be included on the exterior of the present invention which fall within the skilled practitioner's understanding of the features of the prior art.

[0031] There has therefore been shown and described a file storage container which accomplishes at least all of its intended objectives.