Title:
Consumer assembleable reclining massage chair and shipment method therefor
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A consumer assembleable reclinable massaging chair in which the back support, seat and leg support are capable of assembly and disassembly by a consumer. The present chair can be conveniently shipped to the consumer for assembly by the consumer as individual unassembled components or combination of unassembled and/or assembled components in one or more shipping containers having a length dimension no greater than 108 inches and a girth dimension no greater than a difference between 130 inches and the dimension. The shipping container containing the chair components preferably do not exceed 150 pounds.



Inventors:
Wan, Tracy Y. (San Francisco, CA, US)
Feroe, William L. (San Francisco, CA, US)
Farrell, Anthony (San Francisco, CA, US)
Brenner, Patricia I. (Encino, CA, US)
Parker, Andrew J. (Novato, CA, US)
Application Number:
10/944351
Publication Date:
04/28/2005
Filing Date:
09/17/2004
Assignee:
SHARPER IMAGE CORPORATION (SAN FRANCISCO, CA, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47C1/0355; A47C4/02; (IPC1-7): A47C7/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20100019557CHILD TRAVEL SEAT RESTRAINT SYSTEMJanuary, 2010Longenecker et al.
20090045233Baby swaddlerFebruary, 2009Garofalo et al.
20080309141ADJUSTABLE ARM FOR CHAIRDecember, 2008Machael et al.
20080238164Cushion presenter systemOctober, 2008Mcmillen et al.
20050236873Collapsing chair with solid armrest and tensioned seatOctober, 2005Edward
20020167211Massage chairNovember, 2002Nishi Yama
20070102972Monitor integrated into the driver's seat, for rear passengersMay, 2007Dinkel et al.
20050067866Pedicure chair entertainment centerMarch, 2005Luong
20050253430Modular seating systemNovember, 2005George et al.
20050151409Chair with readily removable and replaceable componentsJuly, 2005Infanti et al.
20100026070Runner and Seat Provided with a Locking SystemFebruary, 2010Rohee et al.



Primary Examiner:
BROWN, PETER R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Palo Alto (Palo Alto, CA, US)
Claims:
1. A massage chair adapted to be shipped at least partially unassembled comprising a seat component having dimensions to allow the seat component to be packaged in a first shipping container having a dimension no greater than 108 inches and a girth dimension no greater than a difference between 130 inches and the dimension.

2. The massage chair of claim 1 further comprising a back support component adapted to be assembled to the seat component by a consumer, the back support component having dimensions to allow the back support component to be package in a second shipping package having a dimension no greater than 108 inches and a girth dimension no greater than a difference of 130 inches and the dimension.

3. The massage chair of claim 1 wherein the seat component has a weight such that the first shipping container is no greater than 150 pounds when the seat component is placed within the first shipping container.

4. The massage chair of claim 2 wherein the back support component has a weight such that the second shipping container is no greater than 150 pounds when the back support component is placed within the second shipping container.

5. The massage chair of claim 1 wherein the seat component further comprises a seat.

6. The massage chair of claim 1 wherein the seat component further comprises a plurality of side support components and a seat, wherein the side support components and seat are adapted to be coupled to one another by the consumer.

7. The massage chair of claim 6 wherein the side support components are detached from the seat when packaged in the first shipping container.

8. The massage chair of claim 1 wherein the seat component further comprises a plurality of side support components and a seat, the side support components coupled to the seat and pivotably movable between a folded and an unfolded position, the side supports in a folded position when packaged in the first shipping container.

9. The massage chair of claim 1 wherein the seat component further comprises a plurality of side support components, a seat, and a leg support component, wherein the leg support component and the seat are adapted to be coupled to the side support components by the consumer.

10. The massage chair of claim 1 wherein the seat component includes a selectively controllable massage unit therein.

11. The massage chair of claim 2 wherein the back support component includes a selectively controllable massage unit therein.

12. The massage chair of claim 9 wherein the leg support component includes a selectively controllable massage unit therein.

13. The massage chair of claim 1 wherein the seat component is placed in the first shipping container with a packing material.

14. The massage chair of claim 2 wherein the back support component is placed in the second shipping container with a packing material.

15. The massage chair of claim 2 wherein the back support component is selectively movable between an upright position and a reclined position relative to the seat component when coupled thereto.

16. The massage chair of claim 2 wherein the back support component is coupled to the seat component and pivotably movable between an unfolded position and a folded position.

17. The massage chair of claim 9 wherein the leg support component is selectively movable between an extended position and a retracted position relative to the side support component when coupled thereto.

18. A consumer assemblable chair comprising: a. a seat component having dimensions such that the seat component is capable of being packaged in a first shipping container having a first dimension no greater than 108 inches and a first girth dimension no greater than a difference between 130 inches and the first dimension; and b. a back support component adapted to be assembled to the seat component, the back support component having dimensions such that the back support component is capable of being placed in a second shipping package having a second dimension no greater than 108 inches and a second girth dimension no greater than a difference between 130 inches and the second dimension.

19. The chair of claim 18 wherein the seat component has a weight such that the first shipping container is no greater than 150 pounds when the seat component is placed within the first shipping container.

20. The chair of claim 18 wherein the back support component has a weight such that the second shipping container is no greater than 150 pounds when the back support component is placed within the second shipping container.

21. The chair of claim 18 wherein the seat component further comprises a seat.

22. The chair of claim 18 wherein the seat component further comprises a plurality of side support components and a seat, wherein the side support components and seat are adapted to be coupled to one another by the consumer.

23. The chair of claim 18 wherein the seat component further comprises a plurality of side support components and a leg support component, wherein the leg support component is adapted to be coupled to the side support components by the consumer.

24. The chair of claim 18 wherein the seat component further comprises at least one side support component.

25. The chair of claim 18 wherein the back support component includes a selectively controllable massage unit therein.

26. The chair of claim 23 wherein the leg support component includes a selectively controllable massage unit therein.

27. The chair of claim 18 further comprising a leg support component adapted to be coupled to the seat component by the consumer, the leg support component having dimensions such that the leg support component is capable of being packaged in a third shipping package having a third dimension no greater than 108 inches and a third girth dimension no greater than a difference between 130 inches and the third dimension.

28. The chair of claim 18 wherein the seat component is placed in the first shipping container with a packing material.

29. The chair of claim 18 wherein the back support component is placed in the second shipping container with a packing material.

30. The chair of claim 18 wherein the back support component is selectively movable between an upright position and a reclined position relative to the seat component when coupled thereto.

31. The chair of claim 23 wherein the leg support component is selectively movable between an extended position and a retracted position relative to the seat component when coupled thereto.

32. A chair kit configured to be packaged unassembled comprising: a. a pair of side support components; b. a seat adapted to be coupled to the side support components in an assembled state; and c. a back support component pivotally moveable between an upright position and a reclined position relative to the seat in the assembled state, wherein the back support component is capable of being packaged in a first shipping container having a first dimension no greater than 108 inches and a first girth dimension no greater than a difference between 130 inches and the first dimension.

33. The chair kit of claim 32 wherein the back support component is coupled to the side support components in the assembled state.

34. The chair kit of claim 32 wherein the back support component is coupled to the seat and pivotably movable between a folded position and an unfolded position, wherein the back support component and the seat are able to be packaged in the first shipping container when in the folded position.

35. The chair kit of claim 32 wherein the side support components are capable of being packaged in a second shipping container having a second dimension no greater than 108 inches and a second girth dimension no greater than a difference between 130 inches and the second dimension.

36. The chair kit of claim 32 further comprising a leg support component adapted to be coupled to the side support components, wherein the leg support component is movable between an extended position and a retracted position.

37. The chair kit of claim 36 wherein the leg support component includes a massaging mechanism.

38. The chair kit of claim 32 wherein the back support component includes a massaging mechanism.

39. The chair kit of claim 35 wherein the seat is capable of being packaged in the second shipping container.

40. The chair kit of claim 32 wherein the first shipping container weighs no greater than 150 pounds when the back support component is placed therein.

41. The chair kit of claim 35 wherein the second shipping container weighs no greater than 150 pounds when the side support component is placed therein.

42. A method of packaging an unassembled chair comprising: a. packaging a back support component in a first shipping container having a first dimension no greater than 108 inches and a first girth dimension no greater than a difference between 130 inches and the first dimension; and b. packaging a seat component in a second shipping container having a second dimension no greater than 108 inches and a second girth dimension no greater than a difference between 130 inches and the second dimension, wherein the back support component and the seat component are adapted to be assembled by a consumer.

43. The method of claim 42 wherein a combined weight of the first shipping container and the back support component is no greater than 150 pounds.

44. The method of claim 42 wherein a combined weight of the second shipping container and the seat component is no greater than 150 pounds.

45. The method of claim 42 further comprising the steps of: a. packaging a leg support component in the second shipping container; and b. packaging a plurality of side support components in the second shipping container, wherein the side support components and the leg support component are adapted to be coupled to the back support component and the seat by the consumer.

46. The method of claim 42 further comprising the steps of: a. packaging a leg support component in a third container; and b. packaging a plurality of side support components in the third shipping container, wherein the side support components and the leg support component are adapted to be coupled to the back support component and the seat by the consumer.

47. A reclinable chair adapted to be shipped in a shipping container, the chair comprising: an unassembled chair component having dimensions capable of being placed in a first shipping container having a dimension no greater than 108 inches and a girth dimension no greater than the difference between 130 inches and the dimension, the unassembled chair component having a weight such that the first shipping container is no greater than 150 pounds when the unassembled chair component is placed within the first shipping container.

48. A massage chair kit configured to be assembled by a consumer comprising: a. a pair of side support components; b. a seat adapted to be coupled to the side support components; and c. a back support component pivotally moveable between an upright position and a reclined position relative to the seat, wherein at least a portion of the chair kit is capable of being packaged in a shipping container having a dimension no greater than 108 inches and a girth dimension no greater than a difference between 130 inches and the dimension.

Description:

CLAIM OF PRIORITY

This Patent Application claims priority under 35 U.S.C. 119 (e) of the co-pending U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/504,363 entitled, “CONSUMER ASSEMBLEABLE RECLINING MASSAGE CHAIR AND SHIPMENT METHOD THEREFOR” by Tracy Wan et al., filed Sep. 19, 2003 (Attorney Docket No. SHPR-01427US0) as well as co-pending U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/508,823 entitled, “CONSUMER ASSEMBLEABLE RECLINING MASSAGE CHAIR AND SHIPMENT METHOD THEREFOR” by Tracy Wan et al., filed Oct. 3, 2003 (Attorney Docket No. SHPR-01427US1), both of which are hereby incorporated by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to a consumer assembleable reclining chair and a method of shipping thereof.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Reclining chairs are widely used in a variety of residential and commercial applications and, as such, are adapted to provide reclining movement between the seat and seat back assemblies, tilting movement of the chair frame assembly relative to the base assembly, rocking or gliding movement of the chair frame assembly relative to the base frame assembly and extension and retraction of a leg rest assembly. These chairs are capable of placing the seated occupant in many seated positions ranging from an upright position to a reclined position. Such reclining chairs containing a massage mechanism, however, are not available in a consumer assembleable model.

The reclining mechanisms, tilting mechanisms and leg rest assemblies in commonly known massage chairs are typically integrated such that the chair may only be assembled by one with appropriate skills in the mechanical arts. Therefore, such reclining massage chairs are typically sold and shipped to consumers as a single assembled unit which can be expensive.

What is needed is a reclining massage chair that may be conveniently shipped to a consumer in an unassembled state, using an advantageous shipment method whereby the chair is easily assembleable by the consumer.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a plan view of the chair in a reclined position with the leg support in an extended position in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the chair in an upright position with the leg support extended in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3A is a side view the back support in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3B is a side view of the pivoting mechanism of the present invention in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a side view of the interior of one side panel of the chair in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the leg support in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 6A is a perspective view of the back support of the present chair in a shipping container in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 6B is a perspective view of the seat, side supports and leg support of the present chair in a shipping container in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 7A is a perspective view of the back support of the present chair in a shipping container in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 7B is a perspective view of the leg support of the present chair in a shipping container in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 7C is a perspective view of the side supports and seat of the present chair in a shipping container in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of the seat, side supports and leg support of the present chair in a shipping container in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of an alternate embodiment of the invention of the user assembleable chair shown in a partially disassembled state in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 10 is a top view of the base of the chair shown in FIG. 9 placed in a shipping container in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 11 is a top view of an alternate embodiment of the base of the present chair shown in FIG. 9, placed in a shipping container in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 12 is a front view of an alternate embodiment of the present chair shown in FIG. 9 in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 13 is a top view of the chair shown in FIG. 12 in a disassembled state in a shipping container in accordance with the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PRESENT INVENTION

The present invention is directed to a consumer assembleable reclinable massaging chair in which the back support, seat and leg support are capable of assembly and disassembly by a consumer. The present chair can be conveniently shipped to the consumer for assembly by the consumer as individual unassembled components or combination of unassembled and/or assembled components in one or more shipping containers having a length dimension no greater than 108 inches and a girth dimension no greater than a difference between 130 inches and the dimension. The shipping container containing the chair components preferably do not exceed 150 pounds.

FIG. 1 shows a consumer assembleable reclining chair 100 in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention. It should be noted that the term consumer is preferably the end user, but can also be a distributor, retailer, wholesaler, manufacturer or the like within the scope of the invention. The chair 100 preferably includes a first side support 102, a second side support 104, a back support 106, a leg support 108 and a seat 110. The chair 100 of the present invention is preferably shipped to a consumer unassembled, whereby the consumer is able to assemble the individual components to form the chair 100. As discussed in more detail below, this allows the unassembled chair of the present invention to be shipped inexpensively compared to an assembled chair that is shipped on a pallet, which would be more expensive.

In the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, the seat 110 is preferably coupled to the two side supports 102, 104. The back support 106 is preferably pivotally coupled to the two side supports 102, 104. The leg support 108 is preferably pivotally coupled to the two side supports 102, 104. However, in alternate embodiments, the back support 106 and leg support 108 may be coupled directly to the seat 110. The back support 106 is preferably pivotably actuatable between a reclined position (FIG. 1) and an upright position (FIG. 2). The back support 106 is preferably able to be reclined by mechanical, electro-mechanical, or motor-driven mechanisms.

In one embodiment the leg support 108 may be absent or may be physically detached from the chair 100, whereby a pedestal supports the seat 110 directly. The leg support 108 is preferably able to move between an extended position (FIG. 1) and a retracted position. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, the leg support 108 preferably includes a mechanism which allows the leg support 108 to pivot and extend out to a position that is approximately level with the seat 110 in the extended position. When the leg support 108 is in the retracted position, it is substantially flush with the front edge of the seat 110 and the front edges of the side supports 102, 104. The extension and the retraction of the leg support 108 may be accomplished using any convenient mechanism and may be controlled manually, mechanically or by a motor driven system.

In the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, the leg support 108 preferably includes a known shiatsu-type massaging mechanism 118. The massaging mechanism preferably comprises two channels 112, 114 designed to laterally support the lower portions of a user's legs when placed in the channels 112, 114. Each channel contains a known electrically driven roller mechanism that is designed to gently compress the outside and the inside of the lower portion of each of the user's legs, thus providing a massaging sensation to the user. The shiatsu-type massage mechanism may operate in any other known manner. Additionally, or alternatively, non-vibratory massage mechanisms or any other shiatsu-type message mechanism may be used. It is contemplated that the leg support 108 alternatively does not include a massaging mechanism.

In the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, the back support 106 also preferably includes a shiatsu-type massage mechanism 119. The massage mechanism 119 is designed to extend from the top end of the back support 106 to the lower end of the back support 106. In operation, the shiatsu-type massage mechanism 119 travels up and down a user's back from approximately the shoulder level of the user to the base of the spine of the user. The shiatsu-type massage mechanism 119 may also provide percussive-type stimulation and/or may also be concentrated in a particular area. In alternate embodiments, the message mechanism 119 in the back support 106 may be any known type of massage mechanism. In another embodiment, the back support may not include a massage mechanism.

The chair of the present invention preferably includes a control console 120 which is preferably used to adjust the chair's position and/or operate the massage mechanisms 118, 119. The control console 120 is preferably located in the arm 102. The control console 120 can alternatively be tethered to the chair 100 with a cable in another embodiment. Alternatively, the control console 120 wirelessly operates the chair and/or the massaging mechanism.

In the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, the leg support 108 is preferably electrically coupled to the control console 120 such that a user can control the massage mechanism 118 contained in the leg support 108. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, leg support 108 and the control console 120 are coupled to one another via the electrical connection 116. However, in alternate embodiments, any other appropriate connection may be used. The electrical connection 124 is coupled directly between a power supply 122 and the control console 120 and massaging mechanism 118, or can be coupled to a communal power supply 122 located in any convenient section of the chair 100. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, the electrical connection 116 can be connected to the power supply 122 by a user. In an alternate embodiment, the electrical connection can be fixedly attached to the power supply 122 or can be coupled to the power supply 122 in any other convenient manner.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the chair 100 shown in FIG. 1, with the back support 106 in an upright position and the leg support 108 in the extended position. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 2, the central portion 202 of the back support contains the shiatsu-type massage mechanism 119 discussed above.

In the embodiment shown in FIG. 2, the side supports 102, 104 preferably include integrated arm rests 204. However, in alternate embodiments the arm rests 204 may not be included or may be attached to the chair 100 in any other appropriate manner.

In the embodiment shown in FIG. 2, the two channels 112, 114 in the leg support 108 are defined by two exterior supports 206, 210 and a central support 208. The exterior supports 206, 210, as described above, preferably contain roller mechanisms that project inward towards the channels 112, 114. The central support also preferably contains two roller mechanisms, one on each side, which project inward toward the channels 112, 114. In another embodiment, the leg support 108 does not include the central 208 and/or exterior supports 206, 210. In another embodiment, the leg support 108 simply includes the exterior supports 206, 210 or the central support 208.

FIG. 3A is a side view of the back support 108 of the chair 100 shown in FIG. 1. In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 3A and 3B, the back support 106 includes a motor 302, a drive mechanism 304, a pivot rod 306 and a rotation support arm 308. The rotation support arm 308 is preferably coupled to the pivot rod 306. The pivot rod 306 is coupled to the drive mechanism 304. The consumer utilizes the control 120 to selectively move the back support between the reclined and upright position. In operation, the motor 302 engages the drive mechanism 304 which in turn rotates the pivot rod 306 to move the rotation support arm 308. The rotational support arm 308 engages a support point 408 (FIG. 4) in at least one of the side supports 102, 104 when assembled thereto. Additionally, the pivot rod 306 preferably engages a pivot support 406 (FIG. 4) located in one or both of the side supports 102, 104 when the back support 106 is assembled to the side supports 102, 104. In operation, when the motor is engaged, the back support 106 pivots about the pivot rod 306 to move between the upright (FIG. 2) and reclined (FIG. 1) positions.

In the embodiment shown in FIG. 3A, the pivot rod 306 preferably extends through the sides of the back support 106 and has a radial flange 310 at its distal ends. The pivot rod 306 is designed to engage the support engagement slots 404 (FIG. 4) located in the side supports 102, 104 when the back support 106 is assembled to the side supports and the radial flanges 310 are designed to provide lateral stability to the side supports 102, 104 and back support 106 when assembled together.

The embodiment shown in FIGS. 3A-3B also includes an electrical connection 312 coupling the motor 302 to the power supply 122, whereby the electrical connection 312 provides power to the motor 302 to rotate the back support 106 relative to the seat 110 and side supports 102, 104 between the upright and reclined positions. In alternate embodiments, various other mechanisms may be employed to control the rotation of the back support 106 relative to the seat 110 and side supports 102, 104. The electrical connector may alternatively be connected to a communal power supply 122 located conveniently in the chair 100. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 3, the electrical connection 312 is a wired connection that may be coupled to the power supply 122 by a user. In alternate embodiments, power may be supplied to the motor 302 in any convenient manner.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the interior of one side support 102 of the chair. The embodiment shown in FIG. 4 preferably includes a seat support bracket 402 extending therefrom which is designed to support the seat 110. In one embodiment, the seat support 402 is attached to both side supports 102, whereby the seat 110 entirely rests upon the seat support 402, as in FIG. 9. In another embodiment, each side support 102, 104 includes the seat support 402 extending therefrom toward each other but are not attached to one another, as in FIG. 12.

The side support 102 shown in FIG. 4 preferably includes a back support engagement slot 404 which is designed to receive and engage the distal end of the pivot rod 306 (FIG. 3A) of the back support 106. The back support engagement slot 404 terminates at a pivot rod support 406 which is designed to allow the pivot rod 306 (FIG. 3A) to freely rotate relative to the side support 102. The back support engagement slot 404 and the pivot rod support 406 are designed such that the radial flange 310 of the pivot rod 306 inhibits translational movement of the back support 106 relative to the side support 102 when the pivot rod 306 engages and is seated in the pivot rod support 406. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 4, rotational movement of the back support 106 relative to the side supports 102, 104 is controlled by the interaction between the rotation support arm 308 (FIGS. 3A and 3B) and the support point 408. In alternate embodiments, various other known coupling mechanisms may be used to secure and actuate the back support 106 relative to the side supports 102, 104.

In the embodiment shown in FIG. 4, the side support 102 also includes a leg support engagement slot 410 which terminates at a second pivot rod support 412. The leg support engagement slot 410 and second pivot rod support 412 are designed to engage the distal end of a pivot rod 508 (FIG. 5) associated with the leg support 108. The embodiment shown in FIG. 4, also includes a second support point 416 that is designed to engage a rotational support arm 510 (FIG. 5) associated with the leg support 108 to allow the leg support 108 to actuate between the retracted and extended positions.

In alternate embodiments, the leg support engagement slot 410, and second pivot rod support 412 may take any appropriate form or may be absent. In still further alternate embodiments, alternate known mechanisms may be used to couple the back support 106 and the leg support 108 to the side supports 102, 104.

FIG. 5 shows a perspective view of the leg support 108 shown in FIG. 1. The embodiment of the leg support 108 shown in FIG. 5 includes a lower portion 502 and an upper portion 504. The upper portion 504 and the lower portion 502 are attached to a pivot and extension mechanism 506 which allows the leg support 108 to be moved between the retracted position and the extended position. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 5, the extension mechanism 506 is a mechanical scissor-type system. However, in alternate embodiments any other convenient mechanism, either mechanical or electrical, may be used. Additionally, in alternate embodiments, the lower portion 502 and/or the upper portion 504 may take various other forms or may not be included.

In the embodiment shown in FIG. 5, the leg support 108 also includes the pivot rod 508 which extends along the sides of the leg support 108. The pivot rod 508 also includes the rotation support arm 510 fixedly attached to it and operates in conjunction with the support point 416 (FIG. 4) in the side support 102, 104. Additionally, the pivot rod 508 includes a radial flange 509 which is received within the leg support engagement slot 410 (FIG. 4). The radial flange 509 inhibits translation of the leg support 108 relative to the side supports 102, 104. The leg support 108 is coupled to the side supports 102, 104 whereby the pivot rod 508 engages the leg support engagement slot 410 (FIG. 4).

FIGS. 6A and 6B depict the chair 100 in a disassembled state and packaged for shipping. A shipping container 600 is shown in FIG. 6A which contains the back support 106 with an appropriate packing material 606 substantially surrounding the back support 106. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 6A, the container 600 is preferably a corrugated cardboard box with protective packing material 606 within the box. However, in alternate embodiments, the container 600 is made of any other appropriate material. The packing material 606 is preferably a bubble-type wrap or any other appropriate packing material (e.g., packing popcorn). In an alternate embodiment, the packing material 606 may not be present.

It is preferred that the present invention is able to be shipped to the consumer as unassembled components (e.g. side supports, seat, back supports, leg support, control components, power supply) for the consumer to assemble. Preferably, the unassembled components are able to be shipped in standard sized shipping containers. FIG. 6A illustrates one type of shipping container 600 which has a longest dimension, L, shown as the length dimension. It should be noted that the longest dimension is alternatively the height or width of the container 600 and is not limited to the length as shown in FIG. 6A. Additionally, the shipping container has a girth dimension which is defined as the sum of the two width dimensions G1 and G3 and the two height dimensions G2 and G4, shown in FIG. 6A perpendicular or transverse to the longest dimension.

In the embodiment shown in FIG. 6A, the longest dimension L of the container 600 preferably does not exceed 108 inches (274 cm). Additionally, the sum of the longest dimension L of the container 600 plus the girth (G1-G4) of the container 600 preferably does not exceed 130 inches (330 cm). Additionally, in the embodiment shown in FIG. 6A, the weight of the container 600, including the back support 106 and packing material 606, preferably does not exceed 150 lbs. (68 kg). The specific dimensions and weight are preferably chosen so that the unassembled components of the chair can be inexpensively sent by a carrier, such as United Parcel Service or the like, to the consumer. However, in alternate embodiments, the package dimensions and/or weight specifications of the shipped components can exceed the above-specified dimensions and weight.

FIG. 6B depicts a second container 608 that preferably contains the leg support 108, pedestal 610, seat 110 and side supports 102, 104. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 6B, the longest dimension of the second container 608 preferably does not exceed 108 inches. Additionally, the sum of the longest dimension of the second container 608 plus the girth dimension of the second container 608 preferably does not exceed 130 inches. Additionally, in the embodiment shown in FIG. 6B, the weight of the container, including the leg support 108, seat 110, side supports 102, 104 and packing material 606 preferably does not exceed 150 lbs. However, in alternate embodiments, the package dimensions and/or weight of the second shipping container 608 can exceed the above-specified dimensions and weight.

In an alternate embodiment shown in FIGS. 7A-7C, three containers can be used to ship the unassembled chair of the present invention. The first container 702 shown in FIG. 7A can contain the back support 106 surrounded by optional packing material 606. As shown in FIG. 7B, the second container 704 can contain the leg support 108 surrounded by optional packing material 606. As shown in FIG. 7C, the third container 706 can contain the seat 110, side supports 102, 104 and the remaining components of the chair 100 surrounded by optional packing material 606. In alternate embodiments, the contents in the containers 702, 704, 706 can vary from that described above. Thus, any and all combinations of the unassembleable or partially assembled components of the chair 100 are able to be packaged in a shipping container having a longest dimension that does not exceed 108 inches. Additionally, the sum of the longest dimension of the shipping container plus the girth dimension of the shipping container preferably does not exceed 130 inches. Additionally, in the embodiments shown in FIGS. 7A, 7B and 7C, the weight of the container with the component(s) therein preferably does not exceed 150 lbs. However, in alternate embodiments, the package dimensions and/or weight of the shipping container can exceed the above-specified dimensions and weight.

FIG. 8 illustrates one embodiment in which one container 800 is utilized to ship the entire chair 100 in unassembled components of the present invention. In particular, the container 800 includes the side supports 102, 104, the leg support 108, the back support 106, the optional pedestal 610, the seat 110, as well as the power supply and other appropriate materials. In yet another embodiment, each unassembled component of the present chair is packaged in individual containers. It should be noted that the components of the present chair can be packaged in any number of shipping containers and are not limited to the embodiments shown and described herein.

FIG. 9 shows an alternate embodiment of the chair of the present invention. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 9, the back support 106 is pivotally coupled with the seat 110 via a pivot rod 902 or other appropriate pivoting mechanism. The mechanism 902, which allows the back support to recline relative to the seat 110, can be contained in either the seat 110 or the back support 106. The mechanism 902 can be mechanical, electromechanical, or motor-driven.

In the embodiment shown, the back support 106 is able to pivot about the pivot rod 902 relative to the seat 110 such that the back support 106 and seat 110 are able to fold together to form a compact unit to be shipped in a shipping container having a longest dimension which preferably does not exceed 108 inches. Additionally, the sum of the longest dimension and the girth dimension of the shipping container preferably does not exceed 130 inches. Additionally, the weight of the container, along with the component, preferably does not exceed 150 lbs. However, in alternate embodiments, the package dimensions and/or weight of the shipping container 608 can exceed the above-specified dimensions and weight.

The base includes two side supports 102, 104 and a seat support 904. The seat support 904 has a top surface 908 which receives the seat 110 thereon. The seat support 904 is pivotally attached to the two side supports 102, 104 at pivoting mechanisms 906 on the side supports 102, 104. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 9, the pivoting mechanisms 906 are hinges. However in alternate embodiments, the pivoting mechanisms 906 may be any convenient mechanical or electromechanical devices which allow pivotal movement of the side supports 102, 104 relative to the seat support 904. The seat support 904 is attached to the side supports 102, 104 such that the side supports 102, 104 can be pivoted and folded relative to the seat support 904 to form a compact unit for convenient shipping. In particular, the side support 102 is able to rotate clockwise about the pivot mechanism 906 to fold into a folded position. In addition, the side support 104 is able to rotate counterclockwise about the pivot mechanism 906 to fold into the folded position.

In the embodiment shown in FIG. 9, the reclining and massaging controls 120 are preferably attached to the seat 110 by an electrical tether 908 and are preferably powered by the power source 122. However, in alternate embodiments, the controls 120 may be wireless or associated with the seat 110 and back support 106 in any convenient manner. In another embodiment, the controls 120 are integrally formed at an appropriate location in the chair.

FIG. 10 shows the base of the chair shown in FIG. 9 in a folded position and placed in a shipping container 702. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 10, the pivoting mechanisms 906 are located at the upper portion of the seat support 904. Thus, the upper portions of the side supports 102, 104 may be folded inward toward the bottom surface 910 of the seat support 904 to form a compact unit as discussed above. In another embodiment, the hinges 906 are located on the top surface 908 of the seat support 904, whereby the side supports 102, 104 fold inward toward the top surface 908 of the seat support 904.

The embodiment shown in FIG. 10 shows the folded seat 908 and side supports 102, 104 packaged in the shipping container 702, whereby the side supports 102, 104 and seat support 904 are surrounded by packing material 606. However, in alternate embodiments, the packing material 606 may not be present. As stated above with respect to FIGS. 6-8, the folded seat 908 and side supports 102, 104 preferably have dimensions to be able to be packaged in a shipping container having a longest dimension no greater than 108 inches and a sum of the longest dimension and the girth dimension no greater than 130 inches. Additionally, the total weight of the shipping container 702 with the seat 904 and side supports 102, 104 packaged within is to be no greater than 150 pounds. It should be noted that additional components of the present chair 900 can be included in the container 702 in FIG. 10.

FIG. 11 shows another embodiment of the seat and side supports of the chair shown in FIG. 9 in a folded position. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 11, one or more pivoting mechanisms 906 are located on the top surface 908 of the seat support 904 and one or more pivoting mechanisms 906 are located on the bottom surface 910 of the seat support 904. Thus, the side support 102 may be folded in a counter-clockwise direction about the pivoting mechanism 906 and inward toward the top surface 908 of the seat support 904 and the side support 104 may be folded in a counter-clockwise direction about the pivoting mechanism 906 toward the bottom surface 910 to form a compact unit for convenient shipping.

The embodiment shown in FIG. 11 shows the base placed in a shipping container 702 and the side supports 102, 104 and seat support 904 being surrounded by packing material 606. However, in alternate embodiments, the packing material 606 may not be present. As stated above with respect to FIGS. 6-8, the folded seat 908 and side supports 102, 104 preferably have dimensions to be able to be packaged in a shipping container having a longest dimension no greater than 108 inches and a sum of the longest dimension and the girth dimension no greater than 130 inches. Additionally, the total weight of the shipping container 702 with the seat 904 and side supports 102, 104 packaged within is to be no greater than 150 pounds. It should be noted that additional components of the present chair 900 can be included in the container 702 in FIG. 10.

FIG. 12 shows another alternate embodiment of the invention, in a disassembled state. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 12, the side supports 102, 104 each include mounting flanges 1202 which extend inward from the interior surfaces of the side supports 102, 104. The mounting flanges 1202 are designed to engage and support the underside of the seat 110 without using a seat support 904 (FIG. 9). The use of the mounting flanges 1202 provides added flexibility in packaging the present chair due to the absence of the seat support 904 (FIG. 9). In the embodiment shown in FIG. 12, the seat may be coupled to the mounting flanges 1202 by fasteners (e.g. screws). However, in alternate embodiments, the seat 110 can attach to the mounting flanges 1202 in any other appropriate manner. In one embodiment, the mounting flanges 1202 can engage the sides of the seat 110. In another embodiment, the mounting flanges 1202 engage the back support 106 and seat 110 unit in any convenient manner. The chair in FIG. 12 can be packaged in a shipping container discussed above in FIG. 9.

FIG. 13 shows the back support 106 and the seat 110 folded in a compact position about the pivot rod 902 within a shipping container 1300. The container 1300 also includes the leg support 108 discussed above, where by the leg support 108 can be attached to the seat 110, side supports 102, 104 or can be freestanding. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 13, the back support 106, seat 100 and leg support 108 are surrounded by shipping material 606 in the appropriate container 702 having the specific dimensions and weight discussed above.

Although FIGS. 6A, 6B, 7A-7C, 8, 10, 11 and 13 show the various components of the chair being placed in containers in specific configurations, it will be obvious to one of ordinary skill in the art that numerous other packing configurations are possible and contemplated. Thus, the division of the various components and placement of the various components in the containers can made in any convenient manner to accommodate various shipping requirements and/or available containers.

It should be understood that the particular embodiments described above are only illustrative of the principles of the present invention, and various modifications could be made by those skilled in the art without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention. Thus, the scope of the present invention is limited only by the claims that follow.