Title:
Photo lens
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A photo lens with magnet includes a clear lens having an interior surface, an exterior surface, a lens perimeter and a center. One or more magnets are attached to the clear lens. The magnet is attracted to a metal surface by a magnetic force. The magnetic force attaches the lens to the metal surface. A photo can be securely positioned between the metal surface and the lens. The lens can easily be removed from the metal surface to change the photo.



Inventors:
Kim, Paul T. (Gardena, CA, US)
Application Number:
10/038448
Publication Date:
07/10/2003
Filing Date:
01/07/2002
Assignee:
KIM PAUL T.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47G1/06; (IPC1-7): A47G1/06
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MILLER, WILLIAM L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
John K. Park (Los Angeles, CA, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A photo lens comprising: a) a clear lens having an interior surface, an exterior surface, a lens perimeter and a center; and b) a magnet attached to the clear lens, wherein the magnet is attracted to a metal surface by a magnetic force; whereby the magnetic force can removably attach the lens to the metal surface, and whereby a photo can be securely positioned between the metal surface and the lens.

2. The photo lens with magnet of claim 1, wherein the magnet is imbedded into the lens.

3. The photo lens with magnet of claim 2, wherein the interior surface has a recess having a bottom base, a plurality of base angles α, a recess perimeter, four recess perimeter angles δ and a depth ‘d’, wherein the recess accepts the photo, and whereby the recess holds the photo in a secure positional alignment at about the center of the lens.

4. The photo lens with magnet of claim 3, wherein the recess is substantially a rectangular shape.

5. The photo lens with magnet of claim 4, wherein the plurality of base angles α are each between about 85 degrees and about 95 degrees.

6. The photo lens with magnet of claim 5, wherein the plurality of base angles α are each about 90 degrees.

7. The photo lens with magnet of claim 6, wherein the four recess perimeter angles δ are each between about 85 degrees and about 95 degrees.

8. The photo lens with magnet of claim 7, wherein the four recess perimeter angles δ are each about 90 degrees.

9. The photo lens with magnet of claim 8, wherein the lens perimeter forms four lens perimeter angles ‘β’, wherein the lens perimeter angles ‘β’ are each between about 85 degrees and about 95 degrees.

10. The photo lens with magnet of claim 9, wherein the four recess perimeter angles ‘β’ are each about 90 degrees.

11. The photo lens with magnet of claim 10, wherein the depth ‘d’ of the recess is between about {fraction (1/64)} of an inch and about ¼ inch.

12. The photo lens with magnet of claim 1, wherein the magnet is attached to the interior surface of the lens.

13. The photo lens with magnet of claim 12, wherein the interior surface has a recess having a bottom base, a plurality of base angles α, a recess perimeter, four recess perimeter angles δ and a depth ‘d’, wherein the recess accepts the photo, and whereby the recess holds the photo in a secure positional alignment at about the center of the lens.

14. The photo lens with magnet of claim 13, wherein the recess is substantially a rectangular shape.

15. The photo lens with magnet of claim 14, wherein the plurality of base angles α are each between about 85 degrees and about 95 degrees.

16. The photo lens with magnet of claim 15, wherein the plurality of base angles α are each about 90 degrees.

17. The photo lens with magnet of claim 16, wherein the four recess perimeter angles δ are each between about 85 degrees and about 95 degrees.

18. The photo lens with magnet of claim 17, wherein the four recess perimeter angles δ are each about 90 degrees.

19. The photo lens with magnet of claim 18, wherein the lens perimeter forms four lens perimeter angles ‘β’, wherein the lens perimeter angles ‘β’ are each between about 85 degrees and about 95 degrees.

20. The photo lens with magnet of claim 19, wherein the four recess perimeter angles ‘β’ are each about 90 degrees.

Description:

BACKGROUND

[0001] The present invention relates to photo frames that adhere to metal surfaces. More particularly the present invention pertains to photo frames and other ways of attaching pictures and photos to refrigerators.

[0002] Known photo frames include those where a picture is inserted between a clear front lens and a back-frame. A magnetic sheet or an adhesive is attached to the back surface of the back-frame, which attaches the photo frame to an existing surface. The use of magnets or a magnetic sheet for attachment is especially prevalent for refrigerators that are made from a magnetically attracting metal.

[0003] The back-frame adds additional weight, so the magnets must be larger and stronger to hold the photo frame onto the side of the refrigerator. The photo is often inserted through an open slot at the top of the photo frame. The photo resides between the lens and the back-frame. A disadvantage is that the photo drops to the bottom of the slot. When the photo is significantly smaller than the photo frame, the photo will rest at the bottom of the lens, rather than being centered in the middle of the front lens cover. Also, the photo may slide left or right away from the center of the lens cover. A way to easily mount smaller photos in the center of the lens cover would be preferable.

[0004] Magnetized business cards are a simpler way to attach images to a magnetically attracting metal surface. Any picture can be attached in a similar way. A magnetized sheet with one side having an adhesive is used. The adhesive side is initially covered with a protective cover. To apply the picture to the magnetized sheet the protective cover is removed to expose the adhesive. The back of the picture is pressed onto the adhesive side of the magnetized sheet. The magnetized sheet is then placed on a magnetically attracting metal surface, such as a refrigerator.

[0005] The magnetized sheet has several disadvantages. First, the picture is not protected by any lens. The picture is just adhesively attached to the front of the magnetized sheet. The picture is exposed to dirt and susceptible to tearing without the protection of a clear lens covering.

[0006] Second, the picture or photo cannot be easily removed once it is adhesively attached to the magnetized sheet. Older photos are often replaced with current photos. The older photos now have a magnetized sheet attached to them, which is difficult to remove without tearing the photo. The new photo requires the application of an additional magnetized sheet or the efforts required to reuse an existing magnetized sheet from which the previous photo has been removed.

[0007] Third, a thin flexible picture is prone to wrinkling when it is attached to the adhesive surface of the magnetized sheet. Once the wrinkling occurs it is very difficult to separate the picture from the adhesive to attempt to smoothly reapply the picture. Additionally, the picture may be misaligned on initial application to the adhesive surface. Removal and re-alignment of the picture is also very challenging without damaging the picture.

[0008] Personal pictures of family members and events can be irreplaceable and of great sentimental value. Important pictures should be preserved for as long as possible. There is a need for providing a protective lens cover over the picture, which secures the picture in a flat, unwrinkled position. The protective lens cover should also hold the picture in a proper positional alignment.

[0009] Magnetized clips are another known method of holding photos. Magnetized clips are used to attach notes and pictures to metal surfaces. The mechanical clip is opened, the photo is inserted between the two prongs of the clip, and then the clip is allowed to close around the photo. The clip tends to hold a portion of the photo picture away from the metal surface, so the pictures do not lay flat against the metal surface. The photo picture is prone to warping without a firm supportive surface behind the entire picture.

[0010] Inserts are also used to attach the photo pictures to magnetized sheets, rather than adhesives. The inserts are like those found in many photo albums. Four inserts per picture are provided, one at each corner of the picture. The inserts are often made of paper or plastic. Usually, the inserts are glued to the front of the backing, with the magnetized sheet on the rear of the backing. An insert accepts a small portion of the corner of the picture. The picture must be bent slightly to be placed into the inserts. Continued usage of the inserts eventually tends to cause tearing of the insert. Additionally, since the inserts are glued to the backing the inserts often detach from the backing.

[0011] Mechanical attachment devices, such as clips and inserts can bend, distort and break. The mechanical clip is opened each time a photo is inserted. After continued usage the mechanical clip may bend due to mechanical stresses and metal fatigue. Inserts tend to tear or detach after repeated usage.

[0012] Cellophane tape is the simplest way of attaching photos to a refrigerator. The tape tends to loosen over time, thus tape is a less than reliable way to attach the photos. The difficulty of the photo not laying flat on the surface of the refrigerator also occurs when tape is used. Furthermore, the tape can be unattractive or damage the photo when attached to the edges on the front of the photo.

[0013] Therefore there is a need for a magnetic photo lens that provides protection for the photo. The lens needs to easily attach to metal surfaces in an aesthetically appealing manner. The clear lens should be quickly and easily removable from the metal surface for changing of the photo. The attachment device should not be susceptible to mechanical stresses, metal fatigue, or tearing. Furthermore, there is a need for a device that allows varied sized photos to easily be centered in the middle of the lens to improve the visual presentation of the photo.

SUMMARY

[0014] An objective of the present invention is a photo lens that provides a protective covering over the photo. The family photos are preserved for viewing by future generations when they are adequately protected.

[0015] Another objective of the photo lens with magnet is having an attachment method that does not require mechanical clips or paper inserts that can bend, distort and break. An advantage of using magnetic force as a way of attachment is the elimination of mechanical stresses, metal fatigue, and tearing of the inserts. The magnetic force remains relatively consistent over time, which keeps the photo lens secure and holds the photo in tight and proper positional alignment.

[0016] Another objective of the photo lens with magnet is providing an attachment method that does not require mechanical clips or cellophane tape that project from the perimeter of the lens. Using clips or cellophane tape on the exterior surface of the lens could visually detract from the aesthetic presentation of the photo. An advantage of using magnets for an attachment device is that the magnets can be attached to the interior surface of the lens or imbedded directly into the lens. It is not necessary for the magnet to protrude beyond the perimeter of the lens.

[0017] Additionally, an objective is allowing photos of differing dimensions to be effectively centered behind the front lens. The photo will be firmly held behind the lens, thus the photo will not drop to the bottom area of the lens.

[0018] A photo lens with magnet includes a clear lens having an interior surface, an exterior surface, a lens perimeter and a center. One or more magnets are attached to the clear lens. The magnet is attracted to a metal surface by a magnetic force. The magnetic force attaches the lens to the metal surface. A photo can be securely positioned between the metal surface and the lens. The lens can easily be removed from the metal surface to change the photo. The lens perimeter forms four lens perimeter angles ‘β’ that are each between about 85 degrees and about 95 degrees. The exterior surface of the lens is a substantially rectangular shape.

[0019] The magnet is imbedded into the lens. When the magnet is imbedded into the lens there is no disruption of the smooth interior surface of the lens by the magnet. A smooth interior surface allows the lens to lay flat against the metal surface.

[0020] Alternately, the magnet can be attached to the interior surface of the lens. Grooves that accept the magnets can be added to the interior surface so that the magnets do not impede the flat attachment of the lens to the metal surface.

[0021] The interior surface of the lens has a recess that is substantially a rectangular shape. The recess has a bottom base, a plurality of base angles α, a recess perimeter, four recess perimeter angles δ, and a depth ‘d’. The recess accepts the photo and holds the photo in a secure positional alignment at about the center of the lens.

[0022] The four perimeter angles are between about 85 degrees and about 95 degrees. The plurality of base angles α are between about 85 degrees and about 95 degrees. In a preferred embodiment the four recess perimeter angles δ are each about 90 degrees, the four lens perimeter angles are each about 90 degrees and the plurality of base angles α are each about 90 degrees.

[0023] Coloring book drawings of children can be mounted behind the lens. The photo lens with magnet allows children's drawings to be easily framed for presentation for a short time period, then easily replaced with a new drawing. Framing a child's drawing in a picture frame can be a much more time consuming task and may require a border. The interior surface, without a recess, can press firmly against the child's drawing to flatten the image for the best viewing.

[0024] Although the present invention is briefly summarized, a fuller understanding of the invention can be obtained from the following drawings, detailed description and appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0025] These and other features, aspects and advantages of the present invention will become better understood with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein:

[0026] FIG. 1 is a top view of the lens, photo, and metal surface.

[0027] FIG. 2 is a front view of the lens.

[0028] FIG. 3 is a top view of the photo, metal surface, and the lens with a recess and the magnets attached to the interior surface.

[0029] FIG. 4 is a front view of the lens with a recess.

[0030] FIG. 5 is an enlarged view of a section of the lens.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0031] Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, a photo lens with magnet 10 includes a clear lens 12 having an interior surface 14, an exterior surface 16, a lens perimeter 18 and a center 20. One or more magnets 22 are attached to the clear lens 12. Each magnet 22 is attracted to a metal surface 100 by a magnetic force 24, which attaches the lens 12 to the metal surface 100. The lens 12 can easily be removed from the metal surface 100 to change the photo 102. The lens perimeter 18 forms four lens perimeter angles ‘β’ 28 that are each between about 85 degrees and about 95 degrees. The exterior surface 16 of the lens 12 is a substantially rectangular shape.

[0032] Four magnets 22 are imbedded into the lens 12. The four magnets 22 are positioned one magnet 22 at each of the four corners of the lens 12. The magnets 22 are attracted to the metal surface 100 by the magnetic force 24.

[0033] The magnetic force 24 removably attaches the lens 12 to the magnetically attracting metal surface 100. The photo 102 is securely positioned between the metal surface 100 and the interior surface 14 of the lens 12. In the drawings the metal surface 100 is depicted as a metal sheet 104.

[0034] The metal sheet 104, made of a magnetically attracting metal, is utilized as a backing support for the lens 12. The magnetically attracting metal sheet 104 draws the magnets 22 toward the metal sheet 104. The lens 12 has an interior surface 14 that abuts the metal sheet 104 and an exterior surface 16 that faces outward. Attachment to the metal sheet 104 that forms the side of a refrigerator is a common application of the photo lens with magnet 10.

[0035] The four magnets 22 are attached to the clear lens 12 at about the corners of the lens 12. The magnets 22 are imbedded into the lens 12 near the interior surface 14. The magnetic force 24 holds the clear lens 12 firmly in position on the front surface 14 of the metal sheet 104. The magnetic force 24 can be overcome by the pulling or pushing strength of a person's hand, so that the lens 12 can be removed from the metal sheet 104.

[0036] The photo 102 can be securely positioned between the metal sheet 104 and the lens 12. The lens 12 is held firmly against the metal sheet 104 by the attraction of the magnetic force 24 between the magnet 22 and the metal sheet 104. The photo 102 is pressed tightly between the front surface 106 of the metal sheet 104 and the interior surface 14 of the lens 12. The positioning between the two surfaces 14, 106, along with the pressure of the magnetic force 24, keeps the photo 102 flat without creases or sagging, which provides a pleasant visual presentation of the photo 102. The side edge 40 and exterior surface 16 form an angle φ that is greater than (ninety) 90 degrees.

[0037] Referring to FIG. 3, the magnets 22 can be attached to the interior surface 14 of the lens 12, rather than being directly imbedded into the lens 12. The magnets 22 can be relatively flat on the interior surface 14 so that the magnets 22 do not impede the flat attachment of the lens 12 to the metal surface 100.

[0038] Referring to FIGS. 3, 4 and 5, a recess 30 that accepts the photo 102 is provided on the interior surface 14 of the lens 12. The recess 30 has a bottom base 32, a plurality of base angles a 34, a recess perimeter 36, four recess perimeter angles δ 38, and a depth ‘d’. The recess 30 accepts the photo 102 and holds the photo 102 against the metal surface in a secure positional alignment at about the center 20 of the lens 12. FIG. 5 shows one of the plurality of base angles α 34 and also shows the lens 22 imbedded into the lens 12 with a recess 30. The side edge 40 and exterior surface 16 form an angle φ that is greater than (ninety) 90 degrees.

[0039] The four recess perimeter angles δ 38 are between about 85 degrees and about 95 degrees. The plurality of base angles α 34 are between about 85 degrees and about 95 degrees. In this preferred embodiment the four recess perimeter angles δ 38 are each about 90 degrees, the four lens perimeter angles ‘β’ 28 are each about 90 degrees and the plurality of base angles a 34 are each about 90 degrees. The recess 30 forms a slight indentation, which holds the photo 102 in proper alignment with the perimeter of the lens 12. The recess 30 has a depth ‘d’ that is between about {fraction (1/64)} of an inch and about ¼ inch. Once the lens 12 and photo 102 are attached to the metal sheet 104, then the lens 12 can be slightly twisted to straighten the photo 102. The photo 102 will move easily with the movement of the lens 12, since to photo 102 is securely held within the recess 30.

[0040] The recess 30 alleviates the common occurrence of a photo 102 being cellophane taped to a refrigerator with a crooked orientation. The cellophane tape tends to lose its adhesive quality each time it is pulled away from the refrigerator to straighten the photo 102. In contrast, the lens 12 can be slightly adjusted for straightening, while still attached to the metal sheet 104 of the refrigerator.

[0041] The lens 12 is formed from a clear material that allows substantially unobstructed viewing of the photo 102. The magnets 22 are located near the perimeter 18 of the lens 12, where viewing of the photo 102 is not hindered. Positioning the magnets 22 where they are hidden by the photo 102 can improve aesthetic appearance.

[0042] The lens 12 can be manufactured from Plexiglas, plastic, glass, or other clear materials. The lens material should be relatively free of impurities that may hinder the clarity of viewing through the lens 12. Although not shown, an anti-glare coating can be added to the exterior surface 16 of the lens 12 to reduce distracting reflections. Plexiglas, plastic and other moldable materials can be injection molded to create the clear lens 12 with the magnet 22 imbedded.

[0043] The photo 102 can be any print, picture, graphic image, photograph, drawing or other artwork that is typically mounted in a photo frame or picture frame. The recess 30 can vary in size to accept different standard sized photos 102. A lens 12 with a flat interior surface 14, without a recess 30, can be used for other graphic images that may vary in size. The lens 12 can vary in height and width to accommodate many different sizes of photos 102 or artwork.

[0044] The photo lens with magnet 10 allows the photo 102 to be inserted behind the interior surface 14 of the lens 12. The magnets 22 are attracted to the metal sheet 104 located in back of the photo 102. The lens 12 provides a protective covering for the photo 102, so aesthetic appearance is improved. Additionally, the lens 12 and photo 102 present the impression of a photo 102 that has been framed and mounted. The visual presentation and preservation of the photo 102 is improved, in contrast to some of the other known ways of attaching photos 102 to refrigerators. For example, the magnet 22 does not protrude beyond the perimeter 38 of the lens 12, in contrast to cellophane tape. Inserts, which have been used in the past, hold the four corners of a photo 102. The inserts may not adequately prevent the photo 102 from bulging in the middle. Also, inserts when used to hold a photo 102 on the side of a refrigerator usually do not have any protective covering.

[0045] The magnet 22 provides an attachment method that does not bend, distort or break like mechanical clasps or paper inserts can. Mechanical stresses and metal fatigue are dramatically reduced or eliminated. Tearing of the paper inserts is avoided. The magnet 22 maintains its strong magnetic force 24 attraction for a long period of time.

[0046] Although the present invention has been described in considerable detail with regard to the preferred versions thereof, other versions are possible. Therefore, the appended claims should not be limited to the descriptions of the preferred versions contained herein.