Title:
Luggage article
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A luggage article includes a main body including a first wall, a flap, and a first gusset attached to the main body and to the flap, with the flap being moveable from a closed position in which the flap is partially attached to the main bag body to an open position in which the flap is at least partially attached from the main bag body to form a storage compartment defined by the first wall and the flap that can receive an item therein. The abstract shall not be used for interpreting the scope of the claims.



Inventors:
Abraham, Richard J. (Pittsburgh, PA, US)
Application Number:
09/758886
Publication Date:
07/11/2002
Filing Date:
01/11/2001
Assignee:
ABRAHAM J. RICHARD
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
190/903, 190/109
International Classes:
A45C5/03; A45C5/06; (IPC1-7): A45C3/00; A45C5/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NGO, LIEN M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Brij K. Agarwal (Pittsburgh, PA, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A luggage article comprising: a main bag body including a first wall; a flap; and a first gusset attached to the main body and to the flap; the flap being movable from a closed position in which the flap is partially attached to the main bag body to an open position in which the flap is at least partially detached from the main bag body to form a storage compartment that is defined by the first wall and the flap and that can receive an item therein.

2. The luggage article as set forth in claim 1, in which the first wall includes a first side edge portion and the flap includes a second side edge portion, the first gusset being attached to the first and second side edge portions.

3. The luggage article as set forth in claim 1, further comprising a second gusset, and in which the interior wall includes a pair of opposed first side edges, a first top edge, and a first bottom edge, and in which the flap includes a pair of opposed second side edges, a second top edge, and a second bottom edge, the first gusset being attached to one of the first side edges and to one of the second side edges, the second gusset being attached to the other of the first side edges and to the other of the second side edges.

4. The luggage article as set forth in claim 3, in which the storage compartment is defined by the first wall, the flap, and the first and second gussets, when the flap is in the open position.

5. The luggage article as set forth in claim 4, in which a zipper extends between at least a portion of the main bag body and the flap.

6. The luggage article as set forth in claim 5, in which the second bottom edge is fixedly attached to the main bag body.

7. The luggage article as set forth in claim 1, in which the first wall has a first inner surface, the flap has a second inner surface, and in which the first and second inner surfaces are substantially moisture-resistant.

8. The luggage article as set forth in claim 7, in which the first wall and the flap are lined with a moisture-resistant material to form the first and second inner surfaces.

9. The luggage article as set forth in claim 8, in which the moisture-resistant material is polyvinyl chloride.

10. The luggage article as set forth in claim 8, in which the first gusset is lined with a moisture-resistant material.

11. The luggage article as set forth in claim 10, further comprising a second gusset, and in which the interior wall includes a pair of opposed first side edges, a first top edge, and a first bottom edge, and in which the flap includes a pair of opposed second side edges, a second top edge, and a second bottom edge, the first gusset being attached to one of the first side edges and to one of the second side edges, the second gusset being attached to the other of the first side edges and to the other of the second side edges, and in which the second gusset is lined with a moisture-resistant material.

12. The luggage article as set forth in claim 1, in which the flap is manufactured at least partially out of a resilient material such that the storage compartment is structured to be expandable to hold the item therein when the flap is in the closed position.

13. The luggage article as set forth in claim 1, in which the first gusset is a strap.

14. The luggage article as set forth in claim 13, in which the first gusset includes a first portion attached to the main bag body and a second portion attached to the flap, the first and second portions being releasably connected with one another.

15. The luggage article as set forth in claim 14, in which the first gusset includes a buckle releasably extending between the first and second portions.

16. The luggage article as set forth in claim 15, in which the flap includes an interior zippered compartment.

17. The luggage article as set forth in claim 1, in which the flap includes an interior zippered compartment.

18. A luggage article comprising: a main bag body including a first wall; a flap structured to be cantilevered from the main bag body such that the first wall and the flap form a storage compartment.

19. The luggage article as set forth in claim 18, in which the flap can be cantilevered between a closed position and an open position, and further comprising a first gusset extending between the main bag body and the flap, in which the flap in the open position is supported in the open position by the first gusset.

20. A method of storing an item in a storage compartment of a luggage article, the method comprising the steps of: detaching at least a portion of a flap of the luggage article from a main bag body of the luggage article; moving the detached portion of the flap away from the main bag body to form the storage compartment between the flap and a first wall of the main bag body; and receiving the item into the storage compartment.

21. The method as set forth in claim 20, in which the step of moving the detached portion of the flap includes the step of supporting the flap in an open position with a first gusset.

22. The method as set forth in claim 21, in which the step of supporting the flap includes the step of holding the flap in equipoise with the first gusset and with gravity.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The present invention relates generally to luggage articles and, more particularly, to a luggage article having a flap that forms an auxiliary storage compartment that can receive an item therein.

[0003] 2. Description of the Related Art

[0004] Numerous types of luggage articles are known and understood in the relevant art. Luggage articles typically are used for storing a plurality of items such as clothing or other items therein, and typically are configured with handles, wheels, and the like to facilitate moving the luggage articles and the items therein from one location to another. Luggage articles thus are conveniently used by travelers to transport from one location to another their clothing and other items needed for daily use. While such luggage articles have been reasonably successful at achieving their intended purposes, such luggage articles have not, however, been without limitation.

[0005] Most luggage articles are configured with a main storage cavity into which the clothing and other items are introduced for storage and transportation. It is desirable, however, that dirty and sometimes wet clothes be kept separate from clean clothes in order to avoid the transmission of moisture perspiration, odors, and soil from the dirty clothes to the clean clothes. It is also desirable to isolate certain items, such as bottles holding liquids therein, from the clean clothing or other items in order to avoid the liquid from contaminating the clean clothing or other items in the event that the bottle breaks and the liquid escapes. While external pockets have been provided on some types of luggage articles, and it is understood that dirty clothes can sometimes be received in such pockets, the use of such pockets nevertheless remain inconvenient due to their small size and generally awkward configuration. Additionally, while some luggage articles are configured with multiple sub-compartments within the main storage cavity, such sub-compartments are undesirable for the storage of dirty clothing inasmuch as such dirty clothing presents an unsightly appearance when the main storage cavity is opened for other purposes, such as to place additional articles therein during travel.

[0006] It is thus desired to provide an improved luggage article having a flap externally disposed thereon such that a storage compartment is defined behind the flap. The storage compartment preferably is separated by a wall from the main storage cavity and is configured to conveniently receive therein an item such as a piece of dirty clothing or other item. It is also preferred that the flap be configured to remain open under certain circumstances to facilitate the introduction of items therein.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0007] In accordance with the foregoing, a luggage article is provided, the general nature of which can be stated as including a main body including a first wall, a flap, and a first gusset attached to the main body and to the flap, with the flap being moveable from a closed position in which the flap is at least partially attached to the main bag body to an open position in which the flap is at least partially detached from the main bag body to form a storage compartment that is defined by the first wall and the flap and that can receive an item therein.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0008] A further understanding of the present invention can be obtained from the Description of the Preferred Embodiments and the accompanying figures in which:

[0009] FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of a first embodiment of a luggage article in accordance with the present invention, with the luggage article being in a closed condition;

[0010] FIG. 2 is a front perspective view of the first embodiment in an open condition;

[0011] FIG. 3 is a view similar to FIG. 1, except partially cut away;

[0012] FIG. 4 is a front perspective view of a second embodiment of a luggage article in accordance with the present invention, with the first embodiment being in a closed condition;

[0013] FIG. 5 is a front perspective view of the second embodiment in an open condition and with a zippered compartment thereof not shown for purposes of clarity;

[0014] FIG. 6 is a view similar to FIG. 4, except partially cut away and shown without the zippered compartment for purposes of clarity; and

[0015] FIG. 7 is a sectional view as taken along line 7-7 of FIG. 4.

[0016] Similar numerals refer to similar parts throughout the specification.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0017] A luggage article 4 in accordance with a first embodiment of the present invention is indicated generally in FIGS. 1-3. The luggage article 4 includes a main bag body 8, a flap 12, and a pair of gussets 16. The luggage article 4 is configured to receive and store therein a variety of items such as clothing, personal items, and the like, and includes handles, wheels, and other devices to facilitate carrying or otherwise moving the luggage article 4 from one location to another. The luggage article 4 can be configured in the form of numerous known types of luggage articles, such as carry-on bags, suitcases, garment bags, and other known luggage configurations.

[0018] In the embodiment depicted in FIGS. 1-3, the main bag body 8 is roughly in the shape of a hollow rectangular parallelepiped with rounded comers, although it will be appreciated that other sizes and shaped can be utilized. The flap 12 and the gussets 16 are disposed on one side of the main bag body 8. The flap 12 advantageously defines a storage compartment 20 between the flap 12 and the main bag body 8. The storage compartment 20 is advantageously configured to receive an item therein, such as an article of dirty clothing or other such item, as will be set forth more fully below.

[0019] The luggage article 4 is manufactured primarily out of a flexible and somewhat resilient material such as sheets of woven nylon or other such material. Moreover, while the luggage article 4 depicted in FIGS. 1-3 is manufactured primarily out of flexible, resilient fabric to be of a “soft-sided” configuration, it is further understood that in other configurations the luggage article 4 could be manufactured out of relatively stiff materials such as molded plastic, which could include polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and PVC-derivatives, or other such materials, without departing from the concept of the present invention.

[0020] The main bag body 8 includes a first wall 24 (FIGS. 2 and 3,) a second wall 28, and a perimeter wall 32 connected with one another to form a hollow rectangular body. The first and second walls 24 and 28 are substantially rectangular with rounded corners, and are parallel and spaced apart from one another. The perimeter wall 32 extends between the spaced first and second walls 24 and 28 and extends around the perimeters of each of the first and second walls 24 and 28.

[0021] The main bag body 8 further includes a main bag zipper 36 that detachably connects the perimeter wall 32 with the first wall 24 and extends therebetween. When the main bag zipper 36 is in the released position, the first wall 24 can be pivoted away from the perimeter wall 32 to reveal a main storage cavity 40 within the main bag body 8. The main storage cavity 40 is configured to receive therein a quantity of items such as clothing, shoes, personal items and the like. As will be set forth more fully below, the main storage cavity is advantageously separated from the storage compartment 20 by the first wall 24.

[0022] The first wall 24 includes a pair of first side edges 44, a first top edge 48, and a first bottom edge 52 that are connected with one another along arcuate corners to form the substantially rectangular perimeter of the first wall 24. The first side edges 44 are substantially parallel and spaced apart from one another, and the first top and bottom edges 48 and 52 are likewise substantially parallel and spaced apart from one another. The second wall 28 is substantially similar to the first wall 24.

[0023] The flap 12 is a substantially rectangular body with rounded corners having a pair of parallel and spaced apart second side edges 56, a second top edge 60, and a second bottom edge 64. The second top and bottom edges 60 and 64 are substantially parallel and spaced apart from one another, and along with the second side edges 56 form the perimeter of the flap 12. The second bottom edge 64 of the flap 12 is fixedly attached to the main bag body 8 such as by sewing or other appropriate attachment method, such that the flap 12 is flexibly and pivotably mounted on the main bag body 8.

[0024] In the embodiment depicted in FIGS. 1-3, the fixed attachment of the flap 12 to the main bag body 8 extends beyond the second bottom edge 64, and continues along the rounded comers between the second bottom edge 64 and the second side edges 56, and extends a small distance along the second side edges 56. A flap zipper 68 extends between the flap 12 and the main bag body 8 along the remainder of the perimeter of the flap 12. It is understood, however, that in other embodiments the relative extent of the flap zipper 68 and the fixed attachment of the flap 12 onto the main bag body 8 may vary without departing from the concept of the present invention.

[0025] The flap zipper 68 advantageously can be moved between a zipped condition (FIG. 1) and an unzipped condition (FIG. 2), which permits the flap 12 to be moved between a closed position (FIG. 1) and an open position (FIG. 2). As is best shown in FIG. 2, the flap 12 in the open position is partially attached to the main bag body 8, whereby the portions of the flap 12 that are fixedly attached to the main bag body 8 remain attached thereto, and the portions of the flap 12 along which the flap zipper 68 extends are detached from the main bag body 8. As such, it can be seen from FIG. 2 that the second bottom edge 64 and a small portion of the lower ends of the second side edges 56 remain attached to the main bag body 8, while the other portions of the perimeter of the flap 12 are spaced or pivoted away from the main bag body 8.

[0026] As can further be seen in FIGS. 1-3, the flap 12 additionally includes a zippered compartment 72 that is internal either to the flap 12 or to the storage compartment 20. The zippered compartment 72 includes a zipper on the flap 12, and thus provides an additional separate storage space within the luggage article 4 that can be accessed from the exterior of the luggage article 4.

[0027] The embodiment of the luggage article 4 depicted in FIGS. 1-3 includes a perimeter strip 76 that extends between the first wall 24 and the flap 12. The perimeter strip 76 thus spaces the flap 12 from the first wall 24 and increases the volume of the storage compartment 20. It can seen, therefore, that the fixed attachment of the flap 12 to the main bag body 8 is actually a fixed attachment of the second bottom edge 64 and a portion of the second side edges 56 of the flap 12 to the perimeter strip 76. Likewise, the flap zipper 68 extends between the flap 12 and the perimeter strip 76 about the remainder of the perimeter of the flap 12. It is understood, however, that in other embodiments the luggage article 4 may be configured to not include the perimeter strip 76 without departing from the concept of the present invention. In such a configuration, the flap 12 may be mounted directly onto the first wall 24 of the luggage article 4.

[0028] As is best shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the gussets 16 extend between the second side edges 56 of the flap 12 and the first side edges 44 of the first wall 24. The gussets 16, as depicted generally in FIG. 2, are roughly trapezoid-shaped sheets of material similar to that out of which the main bag body 8 and flap 12 are manufactured, although other appropriate materials may be employed without departing from the concept of the present invention. It can be understood from FIG. 2 that in other configurations the gussets 16 could potentially extend between the perimeter strip 76 and the second side edges 56 of the flap 12 without departing from the concept of the present invention.

[0029] Assuming that the second bottom edge 64 is at a vertically lower position than the second top edge 60, the flap 12 in the open position is retained in equipoise in the position depicted generally in FIG. 2 by the combined action of gravity and the retentive forces of the gussets 16. As such, the flap 12 in the open position remains in the open position such that the storage compartment 20 includes a mouth extending generally vertically upward with respect to FIG. 2. This open-mouth configuration of storage compartment 20 permits the flap 12 to function in concert with the first wall 24 such that the storage compartment 20 serves as a laundry hamper that can receive a number of items therein, such as dirty clothing. The first wall 24 advantageously separates the storage compartment 20 from the main storage cavity 40 to resist the transmission of perspiration, odors, and soil therebetween. The luggage article 4 also is preferably configured such that it will remain vertically upright in the orientation depicted generally in FIG. 2 despite the introduction of numerous items into the storage compartment 20.

[0030] As is best shown in FIG. 2, the gussets 16 extend along a substantial portion of the first and second side edges 44 and 56. The gussets 16 thus cooperate with the flap 12 and first wall 24 to form the laundry hamper which retains the items within the storage compartment 20 when the flap 12 is in the open position by resisting items from falling through the space between the flap 12 and the first wall 24. It is understood, however, that the gussets 16 may be of other configurations than that depicted in FIGS. 2 and 3 without departing from the concept of the present invention.

[0031] Inasmuch as it is desirable to physically separate the storage compartment 20 from the main storage cavity 40 with the first wall 24, and inasmuch as it is understood that some of the items that can be stored within the storage compartment 20 can include wet clothing and liquid-containing structures, the first wall 24, the flap 12, and the gussets 16 are lined with a moisture-resistant material to form moisture-resistant inner surfaces. In the embodiment depicted in FIGS. 1-3, the moisture-resistant material is polyvinyl chloride. In other embodiments, it is understood that substantial benefits can also be achieved by lining only the first wall 24 with the moisture-resistant material. It is further understood that in other configurations the lining material may be of a different-moisture-resistant material, and it is farther understood that such moisture resistance may be imparted to the luggage article 4 in fashions other than by lining with a moisture-resistant material, such as by impregnating the various components of the luggage article 4 with the moisture-resistant material, or by manufacturing various components of the luggage article 4 out of the moisture-resistant material.

[0032] In use, the luggage article 4 is typically transported from one location to another with the flap 12 in the closed position as is depicted generally in FIG. 1. When it is desired to place an item into the storage compartment 20, the flap zipper 68 is moved from the zipped condition to the unzipped condition, which permits the flap 12 to pivot from the closed position to the open position, whereby the flap 12, the gussets 16, and the first wall 24 cooperate to make the storage compartment 20 into a laundry hamper with an upward-pointing mouth as is depicted generally in FIG. 2. The flap 12 is maintained in equipoise in the open position by the combined action of the gussets 16 and gravity acting upon the flap 12, which advantageously permits items to be placed into the storage compartment 20 without the need to manually hold the flap 12 in the open position.

[0033] Once the items are positioned in the storage compartment 20, the flap zipper 68 is moved from the unzipped condition to the zipped condition to detachably reconnect the detached portions of the flap 12 onto the main bag body 8 and to thereby close the storage compartment 20. In so doing, the material of the flap 12 and/or of the first wall 24 resiliently stretches or otherwise elastically deforms as needed to accommodate the items in the storage compartment 20. The items in the storage compartment 20 are advantageously retained therein and are kept separate from the main storage cavity 40 by the first wall 24 that is interposed therebetween.

[0034] It thus can be seen that the flap 12 and the gussets 16 advantageously define the storage compartment 20 against the first wall 24, with the first wall 24 advantageously separating the storage compartment 20 from the main storage cavity 40. The first wall 24 and other components of the luggage article 4 are advantageously moisture-resistant to resist the transmission of perspiration, odor, and soil between items in the storage compartment 20 and items in the main storage cavity 40. The fixed attachment of the second bottom edge 64 of the flap 12 to the main bag body 8 operates in concert with the gussets 16 such that the flap 12 remains in the open position depicted generally in FIG. 2. The flap 12 and/or the first wall 24 are made out of a flexible and resilient material that can stretch to accommodate varying quantities of items of different shapes within the storage compartment 20.

[0035] A second embodiment of a luggage article 104 in accordance with the present invention is indicated generally in FIGS. 4-7. The luggage article 104 advantageously includes gussets 116 that are in the form of straps 176 extending between the flap 112 and the first wall 124.

[0036] The straps 176 each include a first portion 180 and a second portion 184 that are detachably connected with one another via a buckle 188 extending therebetween. The first portion 180 of each strap 176 is connected with the first wall 124 of the luggage article 104, and the second portion 184 of each strap 176 is connected with the flap 112. The buckle 188 extending between the first and second portions 180 and 184 permits the first and second portions 180 and 184 to be detached from one another to permit the flap 112 to be pivoted farther away from the main bag body 108 than the open position.

[0037] The luggage article 104 additionally includes a flexible sheet 192 on the first wall 124 that defines an additional retention compartment within the storage compartment 120. The flap 112 additionally includes a zippered compartment 172 (FIG. 7) that is of a different configuration than the zippered compartment 172.

[0038] It can further be seen that the main bag body 108 includes a main bag zipper 136 that is disposed thereon opposite the flap 112. The flap 112 thus remains stationary when the main bag zipper 136 is operated and the second wall is pivoted away from the main bag body 108. In other embodiments, however, the main bag zipper could be disposed adjacent the flap 112, whereby it would permit the first wall 124 to be selectively pivoted with the flap 112 away from the main bag body 108 to open the main storage cavity.

[0039] The luggage articles 4 and 104, depending upon their specific configurations, may have a front side and a back side defined thereon. The front and back sides may be defined by the presence of wheels and/or handles, the positioning of zippers, and in other fashions. In this regard, it is understood that the flaps 12 and 112 may be disposed on either or both of the front and back sides of the luggage articles 4 and 104.

[0040] While a number of particular embodiments of the present invention have been described herein, it is understood that various changes, additions, modifications, and adaptations may be made without departing from the scope of the present invention as set forth in the following claims.