Title:
Multi-purpose foldable tote bag
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A foldable bag comprising a flexible laminate panel section and a plurality of custom arranged or rearrangeable interior pockets. The bag is foldable to assume a folded closed configuration, an unfolded flat configuration, or a folded open configuration. In the folded open configuration the bag is adapted to be supported by a support structure, such as a chair back, in a configuration in which a plurality of interior pockets are in a substantially upright orientation and readily accessible. At least one pivotable pocket suitable for use as a work surface may be included, together with at least one open configuration retaining unit. Also disclosed are methods of making a foldable bag of the type described above.



Inventors:
Strevey, Darlene (Reston, VA, US)
Strevey, Jay (Seattle, WA, US)
Vazquez, Rene A. (Alexandria, VA, US)
Application Number:
09/917815
Publication Date:
08/22/2002
Filing Date:
07/31/2001
Assignee:
Darlene Strevey
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
190/901, 383/4, 383/40, 150/108
International Classes:
A45C3/00; A45C7/00; A47C7/62; (IPC1-7): B65D33/06; B65D30/22
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
PASCUA, JES F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KED & ASSOCIATES, LLP (Reston, VA, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A multi-purpose foldable bag, comprising: a laminate panel section foldable about a fold line and being substantially bilaterally symmetrical about the fold line, said laminate panel section capable of adopting a folded closed configuration, an unfolded flat configuration, and a folded open configuration, said laminate panel section in the folded open configuration adapted for being supported by a chair back; a plurality of interior pockets, each of said plurality of interior pockets being readily accessible when said laminate panel section adopts the folded open configuration; a plurality of exterior pockets, each of said plurality of exterior pockets being readily accessible when said laminate panel section adopts the folded closed configuration; and a bag closure unit for securing said laminate panel section in the folded closed configuration.

2. The bag of claim 1, further comprising at least one open configuration retaining unit for retaining said laminate panel section in the folded open configuration.

3. The bag of claim 2, wherein said at least one open configuration retaining unit comprises first and second side straps and a side strap lock unit.

4. The bag of claim 1, further comprising at least one pivotable pocket including a rigid slab.

5. The bag of claim 1, wherein said plurality of interior pockets are attached to at least one interior pocket section, and said at least one interior pocket section is attached to said laminate panel section.

6. The bag of claim 1, further comprising at least one holder band and at least one holding unit, and wherein said laminate panel section includes an outer panel, said at least one holder band secured to said outer panel.

7. The bag of claim 1, wherein said laminate panel section includes an outer panel, a backing layer, and a lining layer having a lining interior face.

8. The bag of claim 7, wherein said plurality of interior pockets are rearrangeable on said lining interior face.

9. The bag of claim 1, further comprising a carrying strap attached to the laminate panel section along the fold line.

10. The bag of claim 9, wherein the carrying strap is removably attached to the laminate panel section.

11. The bag of claim 1, wherein at least two of the interior pockets are layered.

12. The bag of claim 9, wherein a length of the carrying strap is adjustable.

13. A multi-purpose foldable bag comprising: a flexible outer panel; a lining layer attached to said outer panel to form a laminate panel section; a bag closure unit; at least one interior pocket; and at least one open configuration retaining unit; said bag foldable into a folded closed configuration, an unfolded flat configuration, and a folded closed configuration, said bag closure unit for retaining said bag in the folded closed configuration, said at least one open configuration retaining unit capable of retaining said bag in the folded open configuration, and said at least one interior pocket accessible when said bag in the folded open configuration.

14. A multi-purpose foldable bag, comprising: a laminate panel section foldable about a fold line, said laminate panel section including a lining interior face; and a pivotable pocket pivotably attached to said lining interior face, said pivotable interior pocket including a rigid slab.

15. The bag of claim 14, wherein said pivotable interior pocket is pivotable between an upright orientation and an angled orientation, and said pivotable interior pocket may be locked in the angled orientation via a stay unit.

16. The bag of claim 15, wherein said stay unit comprises first and second stays, first and second stay mounting units, and first and second stay receptacle units.

17. The bag of claim 14, further comprising at least one male attachment unit attached to said lining interior face, and a plurality of rearrangeable interior pockets each having at least one female attachment unit for attachment of each of said plurality of rearrangeable interior pockets to said lining interior face via said at least one male attachment unit.

18. A multi-purpose foldable bag comprising: a flexible laminate panel section foldable about a fold line into a folded closed configuration and a folded open configuration, the folded open configuration of said laminate panel section adapted for support on a chair back; a pivotable interior pocket pivotably attached to said laminate panel section and having a rigid slab adapted for use as a work surface; and at least one open configuration retaining unit for retaining said bag in the open configuration on the chair back.

19. The bag of claim 18, wherein said at least one open configuration retaining unit comprises first and second side straps and a side strap lock unit.

20. The bag of claim 18, wherein said pivotable interior pocket is pivotable between an upright orientation and an angled orientation, and said pivotable interior pocket may be locked in the angled orientation via a stay unit, said stay unit comprising first and second stays, first and second stay mounting units, and first and second stay receptacle units.

21. A method of making a foldable bag, comprising the steps of: a) providing a panel section; b) attaching at least one rearrangeable interior pocket to the panel section; and c) attaching a trilateral portion to the panel section.

22. The method of claim 21, wherein the at least one rearrangeable interior pocket includes a female attachment unit, and the panel section includes at least one male attachment unit.

23. The method of claim 21, wherein the panel section provided in said step a) includes an outer panel and at least one of a backing layer and a lining layer disposed on the outer panel.

24. The method of claim 21, wherein the at least one interior pocket comprises a plurality of rearrangeable interior pockets.

25. The method of claim 24, wherein at least two of the rearrangeable interior pockets are layered.

26. The method of claim 21, further comprising the step of attaching a first carrying unit to the panel section.

27. The method of claim 21, further comprising the step of attaching an exterior pocket to the panel section.

28. A method of making a foldable bag, comprising the steps of: a) providing an outer panel; b) attaching a backing layer to the outer panel provided in said step a); c) attaching a lining layer to the backing layer to form a trilaminate panel section; d) providing at least one interior pocket section, each of the at least one interior pocket sections having at least one interior pocket; e) attaching each of the at least one interior pocket sections to the panel section; f) attaching a trilateral portion to the panel section; and g) attaching at least one open configuration retaining unit to the panel section.

29. The method of claim 28, wherein said step d) comprises providing at least one interior pocket section including at least one pivotable pocket pivotably attached thereto, the pivotable pocket including a rigid slab.

30. A method of making a foldable bag, comprising the steps of: forming a laminate panel section having a lining layer interior face; attaching at least one male attachment unit to the lining layer interior face; providing at least one rearrangeable interior pocket, each of the at least one rearrangeable interior pockets having at least one female attachment unit attached thereto; attaching the at least one rearrangeable interior pocket to the lining layer interior face; attaching a trilateral portion to the laminate panel section; and attaching at least one carrying unit to the laminate panel section.

31. The method of claim 30, further comprising the step of attaching at least one pivotable pocket to the lining layer interior face, the at least one pivotable pocket including a rigid slab.

32. The method of claim 30, further comprising the step of attaching at least one open configuration retaining unit to the laminate panel section.

33. A multi-purpose foldable bag, comprising: a panel section foldable about a fold line; and at least one interior pocket attached to an interior surface of the panel section; wherein the panel section is adapted to be supported in an open folded configuration by a support structure.

34. The bag of claim 33, wherein the panel section is adapted to be supported in an open folded configuration by a chair.

35. The bag of claim 33, wherein at least one interior pocket is removably attached to the interior surface of the panel section.

36. The bag of claim 35 wherein at least one interior pocket is rearrangeable on the interior surface of the panel section.

37. The bag of claim 35 wherein at least one pocket is removably attached to the interior surface of the panel section with hook and loop fasteners.

38. The bag of claim 33, wherein said at least one interior pocket comprises a plurality of interior pockets, and wherein at least two of the interior pockets are layered.

39. The bag of claim 33, wherein the at least one interior pocket is attached so that it is in a substantially upright configuration when the panel section is supported in the folded open configuration by the supporting structure.

40. The bag of claim 33, further comprising at least one open configuration retaining unit for securing the panel section in the open folded configuration while the panel section is being supported by the supporting structure.

41. The bag of claim 33, further comprising at least one interior pocket that is pivotally attached to the interior surface of the panel section.

42. The bag of claim 41, further comprising a rigid material disposed inside the pivotally attached interior pocket.

43. The bag of claim 33, further comprising at least one exterior pocket attached to an exterior side of the panel section.

44. The bag of claim 33, further comprising a carrying strap attached to the panel section along the fold line.

45. The bag of claim 44, wherein the carrying strap is removably attached to the panel section.

46. The bag of claim 44, wherein a length of the carrying strap is adjustable.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] This invention relates generally to a tote bag and, more specifically, to a foldable bag which may be folded into a closed configuration for transportation of items therein, and which may also be folded into an open configuration for the display, storage, and access of items therein.

[0003] 2. Background of the Related Art

[0004] A number of tote bags, garment bags, backpacks, etc. have been disclosed as devices for the transportation of various items. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,692,604 to Houk discloses a daily wear organizer comprising an elongated, flexible, flat substratum; a plurality of flexible panels including multiple pockets therein; and a structure for connecting the flexible substratum to a stationary object so that the flexible substratum can hang vertically therefrom.

[0005] U.S. Pat. No. 5,680,973 to Vulpitta et al. discloses a portable lap desk and activity station, including front and rear side walls; and top, bottom, right and left side walls, together defining a main compartment. The rear side wall is flexible and padded for comfortably resting on the lap. A rigid panel, retained on the front side wall, includes a writing or work surface.

[0006] U.S. Pat. No. 5,676,223 to Cunningham discloses a multi-compartment business case, comprising an expandable rear compartment, a middle compartment, a front compartment, a removable portable computer carrying case, and a suit carrier.

[0007] U.S. Pat. No. 5,653,337 to Cirigliano discloses a reversible tote bag for storing, displaying, accessing and carrying tools. The tote bag has a reversible folding wall which includes a display panel having individual compartments for separately storing tools. A reversible zipper, extending along the peripheral edge of the sides of the bag, allows the sides of the bag to be closed with the display panel either on the exterior or on an interior wall.

[0008] U.S. Pat. No. 5,628,439 to O'Hara discloses a portable desk and cooperative file folder holder for use in a seat. The desk includes a horizontally disposed rectangular base member, which rests on the seat when in use and a back member, which is vertically disposed adjacent the back rest of the seat when in use.

[0009] U.S. Pat. No. 5,337,933 to Nunez discloses a convertible article carrier, e.g., for carrying and storing various tools, that is essentially a tote bag that is convertible to an apron having a belt, with the belt functioning as a therapeutic device.

[0010] U.S. Pat. No. 5,240,330 to Thompson discloses a “bundle” for a beach chair, the bundle being formed from first and second panels of one continuous piece of fabric, and third and fourth panels of another continuous piece of fabric. The second and third panels are joined by an elastic strip.

[0011] U.S. Pat. No. 5,113,982 to Pulichino et al. discloses a garment bag that includes an outer panel, a pair of sides, integral ends, and an inner panel that includes first and second inner panel sections. The bag may be suspended from a hook provided at one end of the bag, and either of first and second inner panel sections may be opened or closed independently of the other.

[0012] U.S. Pat. No. 4,960,204 to Young et al. discloses a flexible travel bag for carrying, storing, and transporting its contents in a closed, folded position. The bag may be hung in a vertical open position to enable ready access to the inside of the bag.

[0013] U.S. Pat. No. 4,887,751 to Lehman discloses a compartmental luggage or travel bag of soft, frameless, sewn or stitched construction employing flexible fabric having an inside and an outside surface. The bag is capable of being fully unfolded to an open condition of display usage.

[0014] U.S. Pat. No. 4,804,084 to Markovich discloses a foldable garment bag which incorporates a retainer assembly to suspend and retain closure panels in an open upright configuration. The retainer assembly attaches to the bag by a fabric sleeve, and includes a tubular housing, two telescopic subassemblies, and two attachment subassemblies.

[0015] U.S. Pat. No. 4,738,360 to King et al. discloses a garment bag adapted to fold into a suitcase-like configuration, and capable of being suspended in a vertical position by an upper strap and hook.

[0016] U.S. Pat. No. 4,598,803 to Ghiassi discloses a compact carry-on luggage assembly that includes a garment bag, a carry-on bag, and a toilet kit. Snap-hook means are adapted for attaching the toilet kit across the center of the inner surface of the garment bag.

[0017] U.S. Pat. No. 4,169,550 to Williams discloses an emergency medical kit constructed to be utilized with a conventional backpack support frame.

[0018] U.S. Pat. No. 3,613,843 to Davis discloses a center folded twin compartment travel bag, with each compartment including a soft base panel secured to a rectangular wire frame. In its open position, the bag may be hung from an end to serve as a portable, semi-enclosed wardrobe.

[0019] However, there is still a need for a relatively simple, easily carried bag in which diverse pieces of equipment, supplies, and items required for a particular activity can be conveniently transported, easily stored until they are needed, and readily accessed when they are needed.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0020] The instant invention provides a foldable bag for the convenient transport, storage, display, and access of various items. The bag can be provided in a wide range of styles and sizes, and adapted or modified according to the intended use of the bag and the nature of the various items to be held by the bag.

[0021] An object, therefore, of the present invention is to provide a foldable bag having a plurality of interior pockets for the convenient transport, storage, and access of a plurality of items contained therein.

[0022] Another object of the present invention is to provide a foldable bag adapted for the convenient containment of items routinely used for office work.

[0023] Another object of the present invention is to provide an “office-in-a-bag.”

[0024] Another object of the present invention is to provide a method of making a foldable bag having a flexible panel section, a bag closure unit, and a plurality of interior pockets.

[0025] Another object of the present invention is to provide a method of making a foldable bag adapted to be supported in a foldable open configuration by a structure, such as a chair back.

[0026] One advantage of the present invention is that it provides a bag which is flexible and easily transported via one or more carrying units.

[0027] Another advantage of the present invention is that it may include a plurality of rearrangeable interior pockets.

[0028] Another advantage of the present invention is that it may include one or more pivotable interior pockets that may be used as a work surface.

[0029] Another advantage of the present invention is that it may be adapted to be supported in an open folded configuration by a structure, such as a chair back.

[0030] Another advantage of the present invention is that it may include one or more open configuration retaining units for retaining the bag in a folded open configuration on a structure.

[0031] Another advantage of the present invention is that it can be provided in a range of different styles and sizes, it can be customized for a broad range of applications, and it can be adapted to hold a broad range of items.

[0032] One feature of the present invention is that it is easily foldable between a folded closed configuration, an unfolded flat configuration, and a folded open configuration.

[0033] Another feature of the present invention is that it may include one or more external compartments which are readily accessible while the bag is in the folded closed configuration.

[0034] Another feature of the present invention is that it includes a plurality of interior pockets which are in an upright orientation when the bag is in either the folded closed configuration or the folded open configuration.

[0035] Another feature of the present invention is that it includes a plurality of interior pockets which are readily accessible while the bag in the folded open configuration.

[0036] Another feature of the present invention is that it may include at least one pivotable interior pocket adapted to accommodate a rigid slab therein, the pivotable interior pocket/rigid slab combination suitable for use as a work surface or writing surface.

[0037] Another feature of the present invention is that is may include a plurality of rearrangeable interior pockets.

[0038] These and other objects, advantages and features of the instant invention are accomplished by the provision of a bag that is adapted to be supported in a folded open configuration by a rigid object, comprising: a flexible laminate panel section foldable about a fold line into a folded closed configuration and a folded open configuration, the folded open configuration of said laminate panel section adapted for support on a chair back; a pivotable interior pocket pivotably attached to said laminate panel section and having a rigid slab adapted for use as a work surface; and at least one open configuration retaining unit for retaining said bag in the open configuration on the chair back.

[0039] These and other objects, advantages and features are accomplished by the provision of a method of making a foldable bag, comprising: forming a laminate panel section having a lining layer interior face; attaching at least one male attachment unit to the lining layer interior face; providing at least one rearrangeable interior pocket, each of the at least one rearrangeable interior pockets having at least one female attachment unit attached thereto; attaching the at least one rearrangeable interior pocket to the lining layer interior face; attaching a trilateral portion to the laminate panel section; and attaching at least one carrying unit to the laminate panel section.

[0040] These and other objects, advantages and features of the instant invention will become more apparent from the following description of embodiments thereof taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

[0041] Additional advantages, objects, and features of the invention will be set forth in part in the description which follows and in part will become apparent to those having ordinary skill in the art upon examination of the following or may be learned from practice of the invention. The objects and advantages of the invention may be realized and attained as particularly pointed out in the appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0042] The invention will be described in detail with reference to the following drawings in which like reference numerals refer to like elements wherein:

[0043] FIG. 1A shows a plan view of one side of a foldable bag in the folded closed configuration, according to one embodiment of the present invention;

[0044] FIG. 1B is a perspective view of the foldable bag of FIG. 1A;

[0045] FIG. 2A is a plan view of an outer panel in an unfolded flat configuration with a corner along the upper edge folded over to show the exterior face of the outer panel, in accordance with the present invention;

[0046] FIG. 2B is a plan view of a backing layer in an unfolded flat configuration, with a corner along the upper edge folded over to show the exterior face of the backing layer, in accordance with the present invention;

[0047] FIG. 2C is a plan view of a lining layer in an unfolded flat configuration, with a corner along the upper edge folded over to show the exterior face of the lining layer, in accordance with the present invention;

[0048] FIG. 3A is a perspective view of the interior of a bag, in an unfolded flat configuration, showing a trilaminate panel section and with interior pockets omitted for the sake of clarity, according to one embodiment of the invention;

[0049] FIG. 3B is a plan view of a bag in an unfolded flat configuration, showing a pair of interior pocket sections and a plurality of interior pockets, according to one embodiment of the invention;

[0050] FIG. 3C is a plan view of the interior of a bag in an unfolded flat configuration, showing a plurality of interior pocket male attachment units, and with interior pockets omitted for the sake of clarity, in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention;

[0051] FIG. 3D is a plan view of the bag shown in FIG. 3C, showing a plurality of rearrangeable interior pockets attached to the interior pocket male attachment units, in accordance with the present invention;

[0052] FIG. 3E is a frontal plan view of the outer side of a rearrangeable interior pocket showing an interior pocket female attachment unit attached to the outer side of the pocket, in accordance with the present invention;

[0053] FIG. 3F is a frontal plan view of the inner side of the rearrangeable interior pocket of FIG. 3E showing an interior pocket closing unit, in accordance with the present invention;

[0054] FIG. 3G is a side view of the rearrangeable interior pocket of FIGS. 3E and 3F attached to the interior of the bag, and showing one embodiment of the interior pocket closing unit, in accordance with the present invention;

[0055] FIG. 3H is a side view of the rearrangeable interior pocket of FIGS. 3E and 3F showing another embodiment of the interior pocket closing unit, in accordance with the present invention;

[0056] FIG. 4A is a plan view of the exterior of a bag in an unfolded flat configuration, with external compartments omitted for the sake of clarity, in accordance with the present invention;

[0057] FIG. 4B is a plan view of the exterior bag of a bag in an unfolded flat configuration, showing a plurality of external compartments and holder bands, in accordance with the present invention;

[0058] FIG. 5A is a perspective view of a panel section in the folded closed configuration;

[0059] FIG. 5B is a plan view of a trilateral portion in a linear configuration and shown in isolation (unattached to a foldable bag);

[0060] FIG. 5C is a perspective view of a foldable bag in the folded closed configuration showing the trilateral portion shown in FIG. 5B attached to the panel section, according to one embodiment of the invention;

[0061] FIG. 5D is a perspective view of a foldable bag that includes a shoulder strap for conveniently transporting the bag, according to one embodiment of the invention;

[0062] FIG. 5E shows a foldable bag with a shoulder strap that includes shoulder strap tabs, according to another embodiment of the invention;

[0063] FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a bag in the folded open configuration showing a plurality of interior pockets, in accordance with the present invention;

[0064] FIG. 7A is a side plan view of a foldable bag in the folded open configuration supported on the back of a chair, in accordance with the present invention;

[0065] FIG. 7B is a side plan view of a foldable bag in the folded open configuration supported on the back of a chair, and showing a pivotable pocket pivoted away from the chair back, in accordance with the present invention;

[0066] FIG. 7C is a side plan view of a foldable bag in the folded open configuration showing a pair of unfastened retaining straps, in accordance with the present invention;

[0067] FIG. 7D shows the foldable bag of FIG. 7C with the retaining straps fastened to retain the bag against a chair back, in accordance with the present invention;

[0068] FIG. 8A is a front plan view of a foldable bag in the folded open configuration showing a pivotable interior pocket, in accordance with the present invention;

[0069] FIG. 8B is a side plan view of a portion of a foldable bag in the folded open configuration showing a pivotable interior pocket in an upright orientation, in accordance with the present invention;

[0070] FIG. 8C shows the foldable bag of FIG. 8B with the pivotable pocket in an angled orientation with respect to the bag, in accordance with the present invention;

[0071] FIGS. 8D and 8E are a side plan view and a face plan view, respectively, of a rigid slab adapted to be inserted in a pivotable interior pocket, in accordance with the present invention;

[0072] FIGS. 9A and 9B show how a user may interact with the foldable bag of the present invention while the bag is in a folded open configuration and supported by a chair back, in accordance with the present invention;

[0073] FIG. 10 summarizes steps involved in a method of making a foldable bag, according to one embodiment of the present invention;

[0074] FIG. 11 summarizes steps involved in a method of making a foldable bag, according to another embodiment of the present invention; and

[0075] FIG. 12 summarizes steps involved in a method of making a foldable bag, according to another embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0076] The foldable bag of the present invention is versatile, and may be adapted for a variety of applications. For example, the foldable bag may be adapted for the transportation, storage, and display of office supplies and items needed by business people, students, etc. who have work to be performed “in the field” or away from an office or office-like environment. The foldable bag of the present invention may also be adapted so that it may be opened to a folded open configuration and placed over a support such as a chair back when the bag is in the folded open configuration. In this, configuration, the chair back provides support for the foldable bag, and the foldable bag holds and displays various items of office equipment in a readily accessible manner.

[0077] The foldable bag of the present invention may also be adapted for accommodating various items other than office supplies. Thus, the foldable bag may have the features generally outlined above, and may be adapted to accommodate, for example, items required for the amusement of a child, e.g., games and toys, or items needed by models and entertainment artists, e.g., make-up, costumes, etc.

[0078] A foldable bag according to the instant invention is adapted so that it may adopt three different configurations: a folded closed configuration, an unfolded substantially flat configuration, and a folded open configuration. For convenience, these configurations are hereinafter referred to as 11, 11′, and 11″, respectively.

[0079] Referring to the drawings, FIG. 1A shows a plan view of an outer panel 12 of a foldable bag 10 on one side of a fold line designated as X-Y, with the bag in the folded closed configuration. The fold line X-Y is centrally or substantially centrally located such that, in the folded closed configuration, bag 10 is substantially bilaterally symmetrical. Outer panel 12 preferably comprises a durable flexible material, as will be described herein below. A first carrying unit 60 may be attached to outer panel 12, preferably adjacent to each end of the fold line X-Y, to facilitate transportation of the bag by a person. According to a currently preferred embodiment of the invention, carrying unit 60 preferably comprises a shoulder strap 62 or 62′ (Shown in FIGS. 5D and 5E).

[0080] FIG. 1B is a perspective view of a foldable bag 10 in the folded closed configuration, according to one embodiment of the invention, and shows outer panel 12 folded about the fold line X-Y. Bag 10 is retained in the folded closed configuration in part by its own resiliency, and in part by closure unit 30, which extends along outer panel left edge 12a, outer panel upper and lower edges 12c/12d, and outer panel right edge 12b.

[0081] Closure unit 30 is attached to outer panel 12 via a trilateral portion 26 (Shown FIGS. 5B and 5C. According to a currently preferred embodiment of the invention, closure unit 30 preferably comprises a zip fastener or zipper having a zipper tab 31. It is within the scope of the invention as disclosed herein, however, for closure unit 30 to encompass other fastening or closing means, such as hook and loop fasteners, e.g., Velcro™, snap fasteners, etc.

[0082] Bag 10 may include a second carrying unit 60′. The second carrying unit 60′ is preferably attached to outer panel 12 adjacent to each end of the fold line X-Y, in a way similarly to the attachment of first carrying unit 60. Second carrying unit 60′ may be of the same length as, or may be shorter than, first carrying unit 60. The second carrying unit 60′ is preferably to be held in the hand of an individual for carrying bag 10. However, when second carrying unit 60′ is substantially the same length as the first carrying unit 60, the bag may be carried on the back of an individual in a backpack-like manner.

[0083] Foldable bag 10 may be provided in a broad range of sizes, according to the size of the items the foldable bag 10 is designed to carry, e.g., office supplies, artist's supplies, athletic equipment, make-up, etc., according to the characteristics of the individual who is to use bag 10, e.g., an adult male, female adolescent, child, etc., or according to other factors. The bag 10, in the folded closed configuration, preferably has a length in the range of from less than one foot to a few feet, and a width in the range of from several inches to a few feet. FIG. 2A is a plan view of an outer panel 12 of a foldable bag 10, with outer panel 12 in an unfolded flat configuration and outer panel interior face 14 of outer panel 12 shown uppermost. One corner of outer panel 12 is turned over to reveal outer panel exterior face 13. Outer panel 12 includes outer panel left and right edges 12a and 12b, respectively, as well as outer panel upper and lower edges 12c and 12d, respectively. In the folded closed configuration, outer panel upper and lower edges 12c, 12d are juxtaposed along the basal portion of bag 10.

[0084] The shape of outer panel 12 is preferably substantially rectangular. The dimensions of outer panel 12 may be varied according to the uses and user of bag 10, as discussed above. According to a currently preferred embodiment of bag 10, outer panel 12 has dimensions of approximately 40 inches by approximately 17.5 inches. However, these approximate dimensions are not to be construed as limiting the invention in any way, and it is to be understood that other dimensions for outer panel 12 lie entirely within the scope of the invention as herein disclosed.

[0085] Outer panel 12 preferably comprises a flexible, strong and durable material, including various non-woven or woven, natural or synthetic fabrics, e.g., various types of commercial grade nylon, cotton, cotton/polyester blends, plastics, denim, leather, velvet, velour, upholstery-grade fabrics, brocades, etc. The material comprising outer panel 12 may be provided in a range of colors, prints, weights, and textures. According to one embodiment, outer panel 12 may comprise material which is water proof, water resistant, and/or stain resistant, or may comprise material which has been treated to promote water resistant and/or stain resistant properties to outer panel 12.

[0086] FIG. 2B is a plan view of an outer panel backing layer 16 of a foldable bag 10, with backing layer 16 in an unfolded flat configuration, and backing layer interior face 18 shown uppermost. One corner of backing layer 16 is turned over to reveal backing layer exterior face 17. Backing layer 16 includes backing layer left and right edges 16a and 16b, respectively, as well as backing layer upper and lower edges 16c and 16d, respectively.

[0087] The shape and dimensions of backing layer 16 are the same or substantially the same as those of outer panel 12. Backing layer 16 preferably comprises a flexible, strong and somewhat resilient material, including various non-woven or woven, natural or synthetic fabrics, and may be provided in a range of colors, weights, and textures.

[0088] FIG. 2C is a plan view of an outer panel bag lining layer 20 of a foldable bag 10, with lining layer 20 in an unfolded flat configuration and lining layer interior face 22 shown uppermost. One corner of lining layer 20 is turned over to reveal lining layer exterior face 21. Lining layer 20 includes lining layer left and right edges 20a and 20b, respectively, as well as lining layer upper and lower edges 20c and 20d, respectively.

[0089] The shape and dimensions of lining layer 20 are the same or substantially the same as those of outer panel 12. Lining layer 20 preferably comprises a flexible, strong and fairly smooth material, including various non-woven or woven, natural or synthetic fabrics, e.g., as various commercial grade nylon fabrics, and may be provided in a range of colors, weights and textures.

[0090] During construction of bag 10, outer panel 12, backing layer 16 and lining layer 20 are joined such that backing layer exterior face 17 is disposed on outer panel interior face 14, and lining layer exterior face 21 is disposed on backing layer interior face 18. Outer panel 12, backing layer 16, and lining layer 20 are joined at their respective left, right, upper and lower edges to form a substantially rectangular laminate panel section 24 (Shown in FIG. 3A).

[0091] FIG. 3A is a perspective view of a foldable bag 10 in an unfolded flat configuration, according to one embodiment of the invention, with lining interior face 22, i.e., the face corresponding to the interior of the bag, uppermost. Bag 10 includes outer panel 12, backing layer 16, and lining layer 20, which are preferably superimposed on one another to provide laminate panel section 24.

[0092] Outer panel 12, backing layer 16 and lining layer 20 may be joined at their respective edges 12a-12d, 16a-16d, and 20a-20d by various types of stitching, by adhesives, by fasteners such as Velcro™, or by other means well known in the art. Laminate panel section 24 includes laminate panel section left and right edges 24a and 24b, as well as laminate panel section upper and lower edges 24c and 24d.

[0093] According to various embodiments of the invention, one or both of backing layer 16 and lining layer 20 may be omitted, depending on the intended use of bag 10 and the nature of the material of outer panel 12. Interior pockets 41 (Shown in FIG. 3B) are omitted from FIG. 3A for the sake of clarity.

[0094] FIG. 3B is a plan view of a bag 10 in an unfolded flat configuration, including first and second interior pocket sections 40a and 40b, and a plurality of interior pockets 41, according to one embodiment of the invention. First and second interior pocket sections 40a and 40b are disposed against lining interior face 22, and each of the plurality of interior pockets 41 are held in an upright orientation when bag 10 is in either the folded closed configuration 11 or the folded open configuration 11″.

[0095] Interior pockets 41, and first and second interior pocket sections 40a and 40b may be constructed from the same material used in the construction of lining layer 20 or outer panel 12. Alternatively, they may be constructed from a broad range of other materials, including transparent plastic, mesh (net-like) material, various fabrics, or any combination of plastic, mesh and fabric, e.g., fabric with plastic or mesh windows therein. In addition, interior pockets 41 may be reinforced with one or more additional layers of either the same or different material, and may be padded, layered or pleated for increased durability and/or storage capacity. Interior pockets 41, as well as interior pockets 41′ shown FIG. 3D, may be varied in size, shape and design in order to accommodate items having a range of sizes and/or shapes.

[0096] Furthermore, FIG. 3B shows an example of how a layered pocket structure 46 may be formed by layering two or more interior pockets (pockets 41a, 41b and 41c in FIG. 3B). In the example shown in FIG. 3B, pocket 41b overlaps pocket 41a, and pocket 41c overlaps pocket 41b.

[0097] As indicated above, one or more of the layered pockets may be constructed from a transparent material so that the contents of the pocket may be viewed without opening the pocket. The number of layered pocket structures 46, and the number, size, shape and design of the individual pockets that make up the layered pocket structure 46 may be varied and still fall within the scope of the present invention.

[0098] According to the embodiment of FIG. 3B, interior pockets 41 are prearranged on first and second interior pocket sections 40a and 40b prior to attachment of first and second interior pocket sections 40a and 40b to laminate panel section 24. The size, number, and arrangement of interior pockets 41 on first and/or second interior pocket sections 40a and 40b may be prearranged or customized according to the preferences of the user of the bag 10 or according to the intended use of the bag 10.

[0099] Interior pockets 41 may each include an interior pocket closing unit 44 (Shown in FIG. 3F) for closing or sealing pockets 41, and for securing items to be carried within pockets 41. Interior pocket closing units 44 may be hook and loop fasteners, snap fasteners, zippers, etc. According to a currently preferred embodiment of the invention, interior pocket closing units 44 may include a fastening mechanism, such as strips of Velcro™.

[0100] First and second interior pocket sections 40a and 40b may be attached to laminate panel section left, right, upper and lower edges 24a-24d, respectively, by various types of stitching, or by other appropriate means known in the art. First and second interior pocket sections 40a and 40b are preferably disposed on laminate panel section 24 such that a gap or space, designated “U-V” in FIG. 3B, exists about fold line X-Y. Space U-V allows for the convenient attachment of trilateral portion 26 (Shown in FIG. 5B) to laminate panel section 24.

[0101] FIGS. 3C and 3D are plan views of a foldable bag 10 according to another embodiment of the invention, with bag 10 in the unfolded flat configuration and including laminate panel section 24. The embodiment shown in FIGS. 3C and 3D further includes at least one, and preferably a plurality, of interior pocket male attachment units 42 which, together with interior pocket female attachment units 43 (Shown in FIG. 3E) form a complementary fastening mechanism for the rearrangeable attachment of rearrangeable interior pockets 41′.

[0102] For example, male attachment units 42 may include the hook portion or the loop portion of a hook and loop fastening mechanism, while female attachment units 43 may include the loop portion or the hook portion of a hook and loop fastening mechanism. Rearrangeable interior pockets 41′ are omitted from FIG. 3C for the sake of clarity. Male attachment units 42 may be attached to lining interior face 22 by, for example, various forms of stitching, adhesives, etc., and are depicted in FIG. 3C as elongated strips oriented substantially parallel to fold line X-Y. However, shapes, sizes, numbers, arrangements, and features of male attachment units 42 other than those represented in FIG. 3C may be used and lie within the scope of the instant invention. According to one embodiment of the invention, male attachment units 42 may themselves be rearrangeable so as to accommodate various arrangements of interior pockets 41′ within bag 10. According to another embodiment of the present invention, the male attachment units 42 may cover substantially all of the lining interior face 22 so that the interior pocket 41′ may be positioned anywhere on the lining interior face 22.

[0103] FIG. 3D shows a plurality of rearrangeable interior pockets 41′ attached to interior pocket male attachment units 42 via interior pocket female attachment units 43 (Shown in FIG. 3E). Interior pockets 41′ are preferably attached so that they assume an upright orientation when bag 10 assumes either the folded closed configuration 11 or the folded open configuration 11″.

[0104] The characteristics of the materials for the rearrangeable interior pockets 41′, and the construction of rearrangeable interior pockets 41′, is generally as described above in connection with the interior pockets 41 shown in FIG. 3B. Interior pockets 41′ may each include an interior pocket closing unit 44 (Shown in FIG. 3F) for closing or sealing pockets 41′, and for securing items to be carried within pockets 41′. Interior pocket closing units 44 may be hook and loop fasteners, snap fasteners, zippers, etc. According to a currently preferred embodiment of the invention, interior pocket closing units 44 may include a fastening mechanism, such as strips of Velcro™.

[0105] FIG. 3E is a frontal plan view of a rearrangeable interior pocket 41′ with the interior pocket outer side 41b foremost, and including interior pocket female attachment unit 43 attached to interior pocket outer side 41b.

[0106] FIG. 3F is a frontal plan view of a rearrangeable interior pocket 41′ with interior pocket inner side 41a foremost. Interior pocket 41′ may include interior pocket closing unit 44 inside the pocket 41′.

[0107] FIG. 3G is a side view of a rearrangeable interior pocket 41′, including interior pocket closing unit 44, with interior pocket 41′ attached to lining interior face 22 of laminate panel section 24 via male and female attachment units 43 and 44.

[0108] FIG. 3G is a side view of a rearrangeable interior pocket 41′, according to another embodiment of the invention, wherein pocket 41′ includes a closure flap 45, and wherein closing unit 44 is located between the inner part of flap 45 and interior pocket inner side 41a.

[0109] FIGS. 4A and 4B are plan views of a foldable bag 10 in the unfolded flat configuration 11′ showing outer panel exterior face 13 of laminate panel section 24. FIG. 4A shows the points of attachment of carrying unit 60 in relation to fold line X-Y. External compartments 32 and holder bands 36 (shown in FIG. 4B) are omitted from FIG. 4A for the sake of clarity.

[0110] FIG. 4B shows the plurality of external compartments 32 and the plurality of holder bands 36, according to one embodiment of the invention. External compartments 32 may serve as pockets for relatively large items, which may be readily accessed from compartments 32 while bag 10 is in the folded closed configuration 11. According to a currently preferred embodiment, external compartments 32 are constructed from flexible and durable material, which may be the same as or similar to the material used for outer panel 12. External compartments 32 may include an external compartment closing unit 35, such as a hook and loop fastener mechanism.

[0111] Holder bands 36 may be spaced apart a distance ranging from a few inches to a foot or more, and are preferably secured to outer panel 12 at various points via holding units 37. The holder bands 36 may be used to hold various items, e.g., an umbrella, a rolled-up newspaper, or other commonly carried articles. Holding units 37 may include various types of stitching, rivets, snap fasteners, or other securing mechanisms well known in the art.

[0112] The external compartments 32 and the holder bands 36 are preferably attached to the outer panel 12 before the outer panel 12, the backing layer 16 and the lining layer 20 are joined to form the laminate panel section 24.

[0113] FIG. 5A shows a laminate panel section 24 folded along a fold line represented by the line X′-Y′ in a folded closed configuration, corresponding to configuration 11 of bag 10. For the purposes of clarity, laminate panel section 24 is depicted here as a single layer. Laminate panel section 24 includes laminate panel left, right, upper, and lower edges 24a-24d, respectively, as discussed above.

[0114] FIG. 5B shows trilateral portion 26 in isolation (unattached to bag 10) and extended in a substantially straight line. In a currently preferred embodiment, trilateral portion 26 includes closure unit 30 having a closure unit tab 31, as well as first and second joining sections 27 and 28 attached to and disposed on each side of closure unit 30. First and second joining sections 27 and 28 are preferably formed from a flexible and durable woven or non-woven fabric, such as the fabric used for outer panel 12. Closure unit 30 is preferably a zipper or zip fastener.

[0115] FIG. 5C is a perspective view of a foldable bag 10 in the folded closed configuration 11, and including trilateral portion 26 attached to laminate panel 24 and extending along outer panel edges 24a, 24c/24d, and 24b. Closure unit 30 is in a fully closed position with closure unit tab 31 located adjacent to fold line X-Y at laminate panel left edge 24a. The width of trilateral portion 26 can be varied to provide correspondingly deeper or shallower versions of bag 10, as desired.

[0116] FIG. 5D shows a foldable bag 10 including a carrying strap, preferably a shoulder strap 62, having a length adapted for placement over the shoulder of a person, for the purpose of conveniently transporting bag 10, according to one embodiment of the invention. Shoulder strap 62 may be attached to laminate panel 24 adjacent to fold line X-Y by various forms of stitching, or by other attachment mechanisms well known in the art. Shoulder strap 62 may be formed from a sturdy, flexible material, such as the material used for outer panel 12, or from webbing material. Optionally, a second carrying unit 60′ (shown in FIG. 1B) may be attached to laminate panel 24 instead of, or in addition to, shoulder strap 62.

[0117] FIG. 5E shows a foldable bag 10 including a shoulder strap 62′, first and second shoulder strap tabs 64a and 64b, and first and second shoulder strap attachment units 66a and 66b, according to another embodiment of the invention. First and second shoulder strap tabs 64a and 64b, as well as shoulder strap 62′, may be formed from a sturdy and flexible material, such as webbing material or the material used for outer panel 12. First and second shoulder strap tabs 64a and 64b may be attached to laminate panel 24 in ways similar to those described for attachment of shoulder strap 62 in connection with FIG. 5D. In one embodiment, the first and second shoulder strap attachment units 66a and 66b are adapted to allow the length of the shoulder strap 62′ to be adjusted. Such adjustable first and second shoulder strap attachment units 66a and 66b may, for example, be rigid rings, e.g., stainless steel or plated metal rings, wooden rings, plastic rings, etc., or may include spring-loaded rings, hooks, etc.

[0118] FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a foldable bag 10 in the folded open configuration 11″, including closure unit 30 in the fully open or unzipped state, first and second joining sections 27 and 28, and a pivotable interior pocket 50. The pivotable interior pocket 50 will be described fully herein below.

[0119] Bag 10 further includes a plurality of interior pockets 41/41′, which may be either fixedly attached on interior pocket sections 40a and 40b, i.e., such as interior pockets 41 (shown in FIG. 3B) or, according to an alternative embodiment, arranged on lining interior face 22 using male and female attachment units 42 and 43, i.e., rearrangeable pockets 41′ (shown in FIGS. 3C-3G).

[0120] FIG. 7A is a side plan view of a foldable bag 10 in the folded open configuration 11″ being supported on the back 75 of a chair 80, according to the invention. The fold line is in an apical position, or at an approximately 12 o'clock position. Each of the plurality of interior pockets 41/41′ are in an upright position, thereby making items contained therein conveniently accessible. Although the foldable bag 10 is shown being supported in the folded open configuration on the back 75 of chair 80, it should be appreciated that the foldable bag 10 may be supported in the folded open configuration by other types of supporting structures.

[0121] According to one embodiment of the invention, at least one open configuration retaining unit 70 may be included for retaining laminate panel section 24 in the folded open configuration, and for securing bag 10 in the folded open configuration to a supporting structure, such as the back 75 of chair 80. According to a currently preferred embodiment, retaining unit 70 may include at least one pair of retaining straps or side straps, e.g., first and second side straps 70a and 70b, respectively, as well as a side strap lock unit 71 (shown in FIG. 7C). A pivotable interior pocket 50 is shown in the vertical or upright configuration. Although only one pivotable pocket 50 is shown, it is to be understood that a bag 10 according to the invention may include two or more of such pivotable pockets 50.

[0122] FIG. 7B is a side plan view of a foldable bag 10 in the folded open configuration 11″ supported on the back 75 of a chair 80. Open configuration retaining unit 70 is fastened to secure bag 10 to the chair 80. Pivotable pocket 50 is pivoted from the upright configuration (i.e., away from bag 10 and the back 75 of the chair 80). A rigid slab 56 (shown in FIGS. 8B-8E) is provided inside pivotable pocket 50, thereby providing a work surface for writing, sketching, or other tasks.

[0123] FIG. 7C shows a foldable bag 10 in the folded open configuration 11″ as seen from the side. First and second side straps 70a and 70b may be attached to laminate panel right edge 24b, preferably at points equidistant from laminate panel edges 24c and 24d. In other words, the distance from the point of attachment of first side strap 70a from laminate panel upper edge 24c is preferably the same or substantially the same as the distance from the point of attachment of second side strap 70b from laminate panel lower edge 24d. Each of first and second side straps 70a and 70b include a side strap lock unit 71, which is shown in the unfastened or unlocked position.

[0124] FIG. 7D shows foldable bag 10 in the folded open configuration 11″ with first and second side straps 70a and 10b fastened to each other via side strap lock unit 71. This allows bag 10 to be conveniently retained against a supporting object such as a chair back, in the folded open configuration.

[0125] FIG. 8A shows a foldable bag 10 in the folded open configuration 11′ showing pivotable pocket 50, according to one embodiment of the invention. Pivotable pocket 50 may be pivotally attached to laminate panel 24 by, for example, various forms of stitching, by complementary male and female attachment units 42 and 43, respectively, or by other attachment mechanisms. Pivotable pocket 50 includes a rigid slab 56 and, optionally, a mouth portion 57 by which rigid slab 56 may be inserted within and removed from pocket 50 (shown in FIGS. 8B-8E). Pivotable pocket 50 may occupy either an upright orientation, i.e., pocket 50 is substantially vertical, or an angled orientation, i.e., pocket 50 is pivoted away from laminate panel 24 (shown in FIGS. 8B and 8C).

[0126] Pivotable pocket 50 may be locked in the angled orientation via a stay unit. According to one embodiment, the stay unit comprises first and second stays 53a and 53b, first and second stay mounting units 54a and 54b for pivotably mounting stays 53a and 53b to pocket 50, and first and second stay receptacle units 55a and 55b (shown in FIGS. 8B and 8C) for receiving or holding first and second stays 53a and 53b. According to a currently preferred embodiment, first and second stay mounting units 54a and 54b pivotably mount stays 53a and 53b to rigid slab 56 within pocket 50.

[0127] FIG. 8B shows a foldable bag 10 (shown truncated) in the folded open configuration 11″, with pivotable pocket 50 in the upright orientation, stay 53b suspended from mounting unit 54b, and stay receptacle 55b unoccupied. FIG. 8C shows pivotable pocket 50 in the angled orientation, with stay 53b pivoted at mounting unit 54b to assume a substantially horizontal orientation, and retained within stay receptacle 55b, thereby holding pivotable pocket 50 in the angled orientation.

[0128] FIGS. 8D and 8E show a rigid slab 56 that may be inserted in pivotable interior pocket 50. Slab 56 is preferably planar or substantially planar, has a thickness preferably ranging from approximately 1 mm to approximately 15 mm, and may be formed from various types of wood, plastic, metal, etc. Slab 56 preferably has overall dimensions and an outline shape adapted to fit, or to be held snugly by, pivotable pocket 50. For example, slab 56 may be substantially square, rectangular, oval, etc. in outline. A preferred range for the length of slab 56 is from approximately 1 inch to approximately 20 inches. A preferred range for the breadth of slab 56 is from approximately 1 inch to approximately 14 inches.

[0129] FIG. 9A illustrates an individual in relation to a foldable bag 10, with bag 10 in the folded open configuration 11′ and supported by a chair back. Thus, an individual may sit on a separate chair behind the chair on which bag 10 is supported, and use pivotable pocket 50 as a work surface, and/or conveniently access items located within interior pockets 41/41′ (shown in FIGS. 3B, 3D).

[0130] FIG. 9B illustrates an individual in relation to a foldable bag 10 in a folded open configuration and supported by a chair back, wherein the individual is seated on the chair that is supporting bag 10. In this position, the individual may use pivotable pocket 50 as a work surface, and/or conveniently access items located within interior pockets 41/41′, in a similar fashion to that described in reference to FIG. 9A above.

[0131] FIG. 10 summarizes steps involved in a method of making a foldable bag, according to one embodiment of the invention, wherein step 102 includes providing a panel section. The panel section provided in step 102 may be trilaminate, including an outer panel, a backing layer, and a lining layer, such as the laminate panel section 24 described above in connection with FIG. 3A. Alternatively, the panel section provided in step 102 may include either two layers, e.g., a lining layer or a backing layer disposed on an outer panel, or the panel section may be constructed from a single layer, such as an outer panel having an exterior and an interior surface. The panel section provided in step 102 may include one or more external compartments and one or more holder units attached to the exterior thereof.

[0132] Step 104 includes attaching at least one interior pocket to the panel section provided in step 102. The at least one interior pocket referred to in step 104 may include interior pockets 41 or 41′, or pivotable interior pocket 50.

[0133] Step 106 includes attaching a trilateral portion to the edges of the panel section provided in step 102. Subsequent to step 106, the edges where the trilateral portion was attached to the panel section may be “finished” by the attachment of additional materials, such as sewing a strip of bias binding to the edges. Furthermore, subsequent to step 106, a first and/or a second carrying unit may be attached to the panel section provided in step 102.

[0134] FIG. 11 summarizes steps involved in a method of making a foldable bag, according to another embodiment of the invention, wherein step 202 includes providing an outer panel. The outer panel provided in step 202 is preferably a substantially rectangular bypass panel made of flexible and durable woven or non-woven synthetic or natural fabric material, such as commercial grade nylon, plastic, denim, various polyester/cotton blends, etc.

[0135] The outer panel provided in step 202 may be modified by the attachment of one or more external compartments or external pockets. Such external compartments may be provided in a range of sizes and shapes, and may be constructed from the same material or substantially the same types of materials described above as being suitable for construction of the outer panel. The outer panel provided in step 202 may also be modified by the attachment of one or more holder straps and holding units, described above in connection with FIG. 4B.

[0136] Step 204 includes attaching a backing layer to the outer panel provided in step 202, wherein the backing layer has substantially the same length and width as the outer panel provided in step 202. In particular, step 204 includes attaching left, right, upper and lower edges of the backing layer to the left, right, upper and lower edges, respectively, of the outer panel.

[0137] Step 206 involves attaching left, right, upper and lower edges of a lining layer to the left, right, upper and lower edges, respectively, of the backing layer to form a trilaminate panel section. The lining layer has substantially the same length and width as the outer panel provided in step 202, and the lining layer includes a lining exterior face and a lining interior face, with the lining exterior face disposed against the backing layer.

[0138] Step 208 involves providing at least one, or preferably two, interior pocket sections each having at least one interior pocket attached thereto. Step 210 involves attaching the interior pocket section(s) to the laminate panel section. The interior pocket sections are preferably attached to the laminate panel section such that a gap exists on each side of the fold line (X-Y of FIG. 3B) of the laminate panel section/bag.

[0139] Step 212 involves attaching a trilateral portion to the laminate panel section such that the trilateral portion is attached at right, upper/lower, and left outer panel edges. The trilateral portion includes a bag closure unit, and first and second joining sections (shown in FIGS. 5A-5C). The seam where the trilateral portion is attached to the laminate panel section may be “finished” by, for example, the attachment of bias binding thereto.

[0140] Step 214 is an optional step that involves attaching at least one open configuration retaining unit to the panel section. Step 216 involves attaching a first and/or a second carrying unit to the laminate panel section. The first and/or the second carrying unit is preferably attached to the laminate panel section adjacent to fold line X-Y. In embodiments wherein both first and second carrying units are attached to the laminate panel section, the second carrier unit may be substantially the same length or may be considerably shorter than the first carrier unit. In a further optional step (not shown) at least one pivotable interior pocket having a rigid slab housed therein may be attached to the at least one interior pocket section provided in step 208.

[0141] FIG. 12 summarizes a series of steps involved in a method of making a foldable bag according to another embodiment of the invention. The method of FIG. 12 corresponds generally to the method of FIG. 11. However, in the method shown in FIG. 12, the interior pockets are of the rearrangeable type. Substantial deviations from the method of FIG. 11 are outlined below.

[0142] Step 302 involves forming a laminate panel section, for example, in a way generally corresponding to steps 202-206 of FIG. 11. Step 304 involves attaching male attachment units to the laminate panel section by, for example, stitching hook or loop portions of Velcro™ or Velcro™-like material to the lining layer interior face.

[0143] Step 306 involves providing at least one rearrangeable interior pocket, each having at least one female attachment unit attached thereto. Such a female attachment unit may include, for example, a loop or hook portion of Velcro™ or Velcro™-like material.

[0144] Step 308 involves attaching the at least one rearrangeable interior pocket to a designated location on the lining layer interior face via complementary male and female attachment units. Step 310 involves attaching a trilateral portion to the laminate panel section, essentially as described in connection with step 212 of FIG. 11. Step 312 involves attaching a first and/or a second carrying unit to the laminate panel section, essentially as described in connection with step 214 of FIG. 11.

[0145] While the foldable bag been described herein primarily with respect to the transportation, storage and access of office supplies, it is to be understood that certain embodiments of the instant invention are also applicable to a broad range of other uses and activities. For example, the foldable bag of the present invention may be useful for artists, students, photographers, beauticians, athletes, etc.

[0146] The foregoing embodiments are merely exemplary and are not to be construed as limiting the present invention. The methods and devices of the present invention can be readily applied to other types of apparatuses. The description of the present invention is intended to be illustrative, and not to limit the scope of the claims. Many alternatives, modifications, and variations will be apparent to those skilled in the art.