Title:
Expandable file system for paper sheets
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A file system for paper sheets is formed using separable (or separable and expandable) linked according pockets. The file system has two sets of bilateral pockets. The file system is substantially rectangular in cross section but is configured to match the characteristics of the paper sheets for which it is intended. The file system is adaptable as a stand-alone unit with stiffened end pieces such that its pockets can be linearly separated (or separated and expanded) for access to the pockets. The file system is adaptable to fit into a desk drawer or to have lockable side pieces for holding the file linearly open or fanned open. The file system is adaptable to use hanging members such that the file may be optionally used as a group of hanging files.



Inventors:
Frankeny, Richard F. (Cedar Park, TX, US)
Application Number:
11/078756
Publication Date:
09/22/2005
Filing Date:
03/11/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/232, 206/308.1, 206/214
International Classes:
B42F7/08; B65D85/57; (IPC1-7): B65D85/57
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
STEPHENS III, JOSE S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Richard F. Frankeny (Dallas, TX, US)
Claims:
1. A file system for planar media comprising: a plurality of accordion pockets disposed between a first pocket with an exposed first planar surface and an end pocket with an exposed second planar surface, wherein the plurality of accordion pockets have a first and second set of pockets with first and second laterally opposing pocket openings, respectively; a first planar stiffener coupled to the first planar surface and having a top edge adjacent to the first pocket openings, a bottom edge adjacent to the second pocket openings and first and second side edges substantially orthogonal to the top and bottom edges of the first planar stiffener; and a second planar stiffener coupled to the second planar surface and having a top edge adjacent to the first pocket openings, a bottom edge adjacent to the second pocket openings and first and second side edges substantially orthogonal to the top and bottom edges of the second planar stiffener, wherein laterally translating the first and second planar stiffeners apart likewise laterally separates the plurality of accordion pockets exposing the first pocket openings for storing planar media or accessing stored planar media.

2. The file system of claim 1, wherein the first and second planar stiffeners are configured to remain separated when laterally translated apart to separate the plurality of accordion pocket with the first and second pocket openings.

3. The file system of claim 2, wherein laterally translating the second planar stiffener apart a set spacing from the first planar stiffener causes the plurality of accordion pockets to laterally separate and rotating the second planar stiffener, when translated, from a vertical position towards a horizontal position causes a portion of the plurality of accordion pockets to rotate such that a portion of the first pocket openings additionally separate and a portion of the second pocket openings laterally opposed to the first pocket openings rotate together.

4. The file system of claim 1 further comprising two or more hanging elements, each hanging element inserted under a common folded edge of two adjacent pockets of the plurality of accordion pockets with like opening orientation, wherein coupling the two or more hanging elements over spaced apart parallel rails holds all of the pockets of the file system suspended from the parallel rails and allows the accordion pockets to be separated for access by sliding the hanging elements along the parallel rails.

5. The file system of claim 4, wherein the two or more hanging elements are coupled to spaced apart parallel rails installed in a desk drawer, the desk drawer having a front side adapted to couple to the first stiffener and the second stiffener is adapted to be moveably positioned a lateral set spacing from the first stiffener to expose the first pocket openings for access.

6. The file system of claim 5, wherein the second stiffener is adapted to couple to the back of the desk drawer to separate the first pockets of the plurality of accordion pockets at a predetermined spacing.

7. The file system of claim 1, wherein the first and second stiffeners are adapted with handle features for grasping the first and second stiffeners to pick up the plurality of accordion pockets while keeping the first and second pocket openings compressed together and closed.

8. The file system of claim 1 further comprising: a locking member moveably coupled to a first feature on the first side of the first planar stiffener; and a second feature on first side of the second planar stiffener for engaging the locking member and holding the first planar stiffener a lateral set spacing from the second planar stiffener when the plurality of accordion pockets are laterally separated.

9. The file system of claim 8, wherein the first feature on the first side of the first planar stiffener is a first capped pin disposed substantially at a center position of the first side between the top and bottom edge of the first stiffener and the locking member is coupled to the first side of the first planar stiffener by fitting the first capped pin into a slot running a length of the locking member such that the locking member rotates about the first capped pin and translates by sliding the slot over the first capped pin.

10. The file system of claim 9, wherein the second feature on the first side of the second planar stiffener is second capped pin that is coupled to the locking member by a first notch opening at an end of the locking member.

11. The file system of claim 10, wherein the first planar stiffener comprises a third capped pin disposed near the top edge of the first planar stiffener and the locking member is stored when not used by coupling the locking member to the third capped pin with a second notch opening laterally opposed to the first notch opening.

12. The file system of claim 10, wherein the second planar stiffener is rotated about the second capped pin when the second capped pin is coupled to the locking member thereby causing a portion of the first pocket openings of the first pockets to rotate open and the locking member to form an angle relative to the first planar stiffener holding the first pocket in a rotated open position.

13. The file system of claim 4, wherein the two or more hanging elements are coupled to spaced apart parallel rails installed in an adjustable file space in a desk drawer with a front side of the adjustable file space adapted to couple to the first stiffener and a moveable partition adapted to couple to the second stiffener, wherein the moveable partition is translated to increase the file space thereby separating the plurality of accordion pockets accordingly exposing the first pocket openings for access.

14. The file system of claim 1, wherein the plurality of accordion pockets laterally separate and expand when the second planar stiffener is laterally translated from the first planar stiffener.

15. The file system of claim 4, further comprising a strap element extending from a first top edge of the first accordion pocket with one of the first pocket openings across the second pocket openings to a second top edge of the last accordion pocket with one of the first pocket openings, a first end of the strap element threaded through a first guide loop at the first top edge thereby forming a first handle loop and a second end of the strap element threaded through a second guide loop at the second top edge thereby forming a second handle loop, wherein the first end is coupled back onto the strap element with a first sliding element and the second end is coupled back onto the strap element with a second sliding element.

16. The file system of claim 15, wherein the first and second sliding elements translate to the first and second top edges respectively when the first and second stiffeners are moved laterally apart to separate the first and second accordion pockets.

17. The file system of claim 16, wherein excess length of the strap element resulting when the first and second stiffeners are moved laterally together compressing the first and second accordion pockets is transferred to the first and second handle loops and the first and second sliding elements are moved towards the bottom edges of the first accordion pockets to further take up any of the excess length of the strap not forming the first and second loop handles.

18. The file system of claim 8 further comprising: a second locking member moveably coupled to a first feature on the second side of the first planar stiffener; and a second feature on the second side of the second planar stiffener for engaging the second locking member and holding the first planar stiffener a lateral set spacing from the second planar stiffener when the plurality of accordion pockets are laterally separated.

19. A file system for planar media comprising: a container having a bottom, a back side, first and second sides, a top lid, and a front side adapted to couple to the top lid and to hingedly coupled to the bottom side forming a hinged edge such that the front side pivots and rotates away from the first and second sides when the front side is decoupled from the top lid; and a plurality of accordion pockets having first and second pockets with respective laterally opposing first and second pocket openings, the accordion pockets disposed between a first pocket with an exposed first planar surface and an end pocket with an exposed second planar surface, wherein the first planar surface of the first pocket is coupled to the back side of the box and the second planar surface of the end pocket is coupled to the front side of the box laterally separating the first and second pocket openings.

20. The file system of claim 18, wherein a portion of the first pockets are rotated when the front side is decoupled from the top lid and rotated about the hinged edge thereby additionally separating the first pocket openings of a portion of the first pockets and closing the second pocket openings of a portion of the second pockets laterally opposed to the portion of the first pockets.

21. The file system of claim 18, wherein the top lid is hingedly coupled to the back side forming a hinged edge and has a lip that extends over an edge of the front side for coupling to the front side when the front side is rotated closed and in contact with the first and second sides.

22. A file system for planar media comprising: a container having a bottom side, a back side, first and second sides couple to and orthogonal to the bottom side, a top lid hingedly coupled to the back side, and a front side adapted to couple to the top lid and to hingedly and detachably coupled to the bottom side with a hinge element such that the front side pivots on the hinge element and rotates away from the first and second sides when the front side is decoupled from the top lid and the front side is laterally moveable from the top lid, the first and second sides, and the bottom when decoupled from the top lid and detached from the bottom; and a plurality of accordion pockets having a first and second pockets with respective laterally opposing first and second pocket openings, the accordion pockets disposed between a first pocket with an exposed first planar surface and an end pocket with an exposed second planar surface, wherein the first planar surface of the first pocket is coupled to the back side of the container and the second planar surface of the end pocket is coupled to the front side of the container laterally separating the first and second pocket openings providing storage room in each of the accordion pockets.

23. The file system of claim 22, wherein one set of the laterally opposing accordion pocket openings are accessible for storing or retrieving paper planar media by decoupling the top lid from the front side and rotating the top lid about the hinge edge.

24. The file system of claim 22, wherein the accordion pockets are further separated by decoupling the top lid from the front side, detaching the front side from the hinge element of the bottom side and laterally translating the front side away from the top side, the first and second sides.

25. The file system of claim 22, wherein the front side pivots and rotates about the hinge element when decoupled from the top side further separating in an arc a portion of one set of the accordion pocket openings disposed towards the front side.

Description:

PRIORITY BENEFIT AND CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is related to the following commonly owned copending U.S. Patent Application:

Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/554,322, entitled “Expandable File System for Paper Sheets”, filed Mar. 18, 2004, and claims the benefit of its earlier filing date under 35 U.S.C. §119(e).

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates in general to systems for storing, retrieving, and transporting sheets of paper or paper like material.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Expandable files are used to store and retrieve paper sheets and may be found in a variety of size configurations. Prior art paper files are constructed with a bellows or according like folded piece covering both sides and the bottom of the file. This configuration allows the files to have limited expansion capability wherein the opening to the divided sections expand while the bottom section compresses. Because the side pieces are made separate from the divider pieces, these files are difficult to manufacture and do not lend themselves to variable configurations within one design.

There is, therefore, a need for an expandable file system for storing, accessing, and transporting sheets of paper or paper like material in pockets wherein the pockets are separated or separated and expanded without requiring the bottom of the pockets holding the paper sheets to compress. There is also a need for an expandable file system that allows the pockets to be separated linearly, fanned open radially, or a combination of both in the same file structure.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An expandable file system for paper sheets is constructed using a separable or a separable and expandable accordion pocket structures. These accordion pocket structures allow pocket openings for filing the paper sheets to be bilateral in that two sets of opposing pockets results from the configuration. The same action that allows for the bilateral accordion pocket openings allows the pockets to expand linearly by pulling the ends of a group of pockets in a direction perpendicular to the pocket planar sides separating or separating and expanding the bilateral pockets simultaneously. These bilateral accordion pocket structures also allow one set of bilateral pockets to be fanned open while compressing or closing the opposing set of bilateral pockets. In another embodiment of the file system, some of the bilateral linearly separated (or separated and expanded) accordion pockets and the remaining pockets may be fanned open while compressing closed their corresponding opposing pockets. Embodiments of the file system may be used with locking side pieces to hold the pockets linearly separated (or separated and expanded) in a stand alone fashion for accessing paper sheets stored within. This embodiment may then be closed and one or two end flaps secured over the opening(s) to secure stored paper sheets for transport.

Other embodiments of the present invention use end pieces configured to allow a files system to be inserted into a desk drawer. In one embodiment, a group of linked bilateral accordion pockets have cross members that allow the group of accordion pockets to be hung on parallel rails like a Pendaflex® file. By moving the end pieces with respect to each other, the bilateral accordion pocket openings fan open for access. In this embodiment, only one set of bilateral accordion pockets are used, the other bilateral accordion pockets only facilitate the separation (or separation and expansion) of the exposed pockets. In another embodiment, the file system has bilateral accordion pockets with two stiffened end pieces with features for attaching one of the end pieces to the front of a desk drawer. The other end piece is attached to a sliding panel that is coupled to the sides of the drawer in such a way that the sliding panel is held upright while sliding from a position near the front of the draw to a position near the back of the drawer. In this manner, the file system may be easily integrated within a desk drawer as a linked separable (or separable and expandable) accordion pockets. If desired, the filing system may be removed from the drawer as a unit for transport or storage. A flap may be used to cover the accordion pocket openings to secure stored paper sheets.

In another embodiment, where the accordion pocket assembly of accordion is used in a file drawer, the accordion pocket assembly has a strap element with first and second ends that extend to and beyond the top edge of one stiffener side and the top edge of the other stiffener side. The first and second ends are threaded through guide pieces disposed at each of the top edges of the two stiffener sides. The first and second ends are each coupled to a sliding element that fits back over the strap element forming a loop on each side that functions as a handle to lift the pocket assembly out of the file drawer. The sliding element can be slid towards the bottom of the stiffener to take up the slack while holding the pocket assembly compressed. When the stiffeners are moved apart, the accordion pockets of the pocket assembly are expanded and separated as the sliding elements move towards the top edges of the stiffeners providing the necessary excess strap.

In another embodiment, where the accordion pocket assembly of accordion is used in a file drawer, the accordion pocket assembly has strap element with first and second ends that extend to and beyond the top edge of one stiffener side and the top edge of the other stiffener side. The first and second ends are threaded through guide pieces disposed at each of the top edges of the two stiffener sides. The first and second ends are each coupled across the pocket openings adjacent to the top edges of the stiffeners and coupled to the opposing stiffeners forming a loop that functions as a handle to lift the pocket assembly out of the file drawer. To expand the accordion pocket assembly, the first and second ends are decoupled from the corresponding opposing stiffeners forming excess strap. When the stiffeners are moved apart, the accordion pockets of the pocket assembly are expanded and separated as the excess strap extends over the bottom of the accordion pocket assembly. The first and second ends are configured so that the guides elements at the top edges of the stiffeners catch the first and second ends of the strap for top side access.

In yet another embodiment, a substantially rectangular salesman type sample case is modified to make a portable expandable filing system. In this embodiment, the at least one the sides of the salesman type case (S-case) is configured to detach from the base (bottom) of the salesman case. The other two or three sides are rigid and attached to the base. An accordion pocket assemble has an outside plane of a first pocket coupled to the detachable side and an outside plane of a last pocket coupled to its directly opposing side (fixed or also detachable). The top has a handle and two latch elements for coupling to the two detachable sides. The base also has a cylindrical bar element disposed to extend from the edge of the base that couples to the detachable side(s). The detachable side has a fork element for fitting over the cylindrical bar element which keeps the detachable side from moving laterally away from the base when engaged. The combination of the fork and the cylindrical bar element functions as a hinge allowing the detachable side to hinge open in an arc when the detachable side is decoupled from the other elements of the S-case. The detachable side has latch elements for coupling to the rigid sides with planes orthogonal to the plane of the detachable side. Likewise the detachable side has a latch element for coupling to the top. In this manner, the top may be rotated open when the detachable side is coupled to the two orthogonal plane rigid sides to access stored planar media elements. The detachable side may be decoupled from the top and the sides and lifted so the fork element disengages from the cylindrical bar element. The detachable side may then be moved laterally away from its opposing side like a drawer opening separating the accordion pockets for access. One or two bar elements, each rotatably coupled to the orthogonal sides, are coupled to the detachable side to hold the accordion pockets separated.

The foregoing has outlined rather broadly the features and technical advantages of the present invention in order that the detailed description of the invention that follows may be better understood. Additional features and advantages of the invention will be described hereinafter which form the subject of the claims of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

For a more complete understanding of the present invention, and the advantages thereof, reference is now made to the following descriptions taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a side view of a bilateral accordion pocket structure suitable for embodiments of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a side view of a file system according to an embodiment of the present invention wherein a side locking member is used to hold the end pieces at a desired separation thereby holding the accordion pockets open for access;

FIG. 3 is a side view of a file system according to an embodiment of the present invention wherein some of the bilateral accordion pockets are linearly expanded and some are fanned open and the side locking member is used to hold the end pieces separated;

FIG. 4 is a side view of a file system according to an embodiment of the present invention wherein the bilateral accordion pockets have end pieces for adapting to a desk drawer;

FIG. 5 is a side view of a file system according to an embodiment of the present invention with the locking side member in a stored position;

FIG. 6 is a side view of a file system according to an embodiment of the present invention with stiffeners adapted to hold the file system expanded using foot pieces;

FIG. 7 is a bottom view of the file system of FIG. 6;

FIG. 8 is a side view of a file system with hanging elements inserted under the folder edge of one set of bilateral accordion pockets for converting the file system to a hanging file;

FIG. 9 is an end view of the file system of FIG. 8 showing the parallel rails and a hanging element;

FIG. 10 is another embodiment of the present invention with bilateral accordion pockets dispose in a box with a pivoting side; and

FIG. 11 is another embodiment of the present invention bilateral accordion pockets disposed in a case to configure a portable file drawer.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

In the following description, numerous specific details are set forth to provide a thorough understanding of the present invention. However, it will be obvious to those skilled in the art that the present invention may be practiced without such specific details. In other instances, well-known mechanisms may be shown in block diagram form in order not to obscure the present invention in unnecessary detail. For the most part, details concerning materials, processes and the like have been omitted inasmuch as such details are not necessary to obtain a complete understanding of the present invention and are within the skills of persons of ordinary skill in the relevant art.

Refer now to the drawings wherein depicted elements are not necessarily shown to scale and wherein like or similar elements are designated by the same reference numeral through the several views. For details of a separable and expandable accordion pocket structure, see U.S. Pat. No. 6,419,082. Accordion pockets are defined as a linked accordion pocket structure where the pocket openings may be either separated or separated and expanded. One class of accordion pockets form bi-lateral pockets when the pockets are joined to provide linking. Embodiments of the present invention may use the accordion pockets to provide either single pocket openings for access and storage or opposing bi-lateral accordion pockets openings for access and storage. In the following detailed descriptions, the shortened terms “accordion pockets” or simply “pockets” may be used interchangeably when referring to the class of accordion pockets comprising separable or separable and expandable bi-lateral accordion pockets used in embodiments of the present invention. Accordion pockets are usually configured to conform to the shape of the planar media, however, embodiments of the present invention may store any shaped planar media in suitably sized accordion pockets.

FIG. 1 is a side view of an accordion pocket structure suitable for use in embodiments of the present invention. In this illustration, accordion pocket assembly 100 is linearly expanded. In this embodiment, pocket openings 102 and 104 enlarge to provide access to a pocket (e.g., pocket 108 for a 102 opening). The pockets of accordion pocket assembly 100 both expand and separate. Separating a pocket is defined as pocket center lines (e.g., 105 and 110) moving away from each other. In FIG. 1, pocket openings 102 face upwards and would allow paper sheets to be placed in an exemplary pocket 108 from the topside. Stiffeners 101 and 103 are added so that the whole surface of the end pockets moves at one time. If the material used to form accordion pocket assembly 100 is stiff (e.g., manila folder material), stiffeners 101 and 103 may not be necessary unless additional features are needed to attach accordion pocket assembly 100 to another unit (not shown).

FIG. 2 is a side view of a file system 200 according to an embodiment of the present invention wherein a side locking member 206 is used to hold the stiffener pieces 201 and 203 at a desired separation thereby holding the pockets (e.g., 211) open for access so that a paper sheet 220 may be stored. Locking member 206 has a slot 209 that allows it to slide over pivot element 207 on stiffener 201. Locking member 206 may be rotated on pivot element 207 into an upright position and then slid downward so that it may be stored flush with the side of stiffener 201. Locking member 206 is shown dotted in a storage position. Notch 212 in locking member 206 fits over a pin 208 in stiffener 203. When file system 200 is linearly expanded as shown, locking member slides and rotates over pivot 207. When notch 212 is fitted over pin 208, file system 200 is held with its pockets separated for access. In this embodiment, the accordion pockets (e.g., 211) expand allowing for easy access to stored paper sheet media.

FIG. 3 is a side view of a file system 300 according to an embodiment of the present invention wherein some of the bilateral accordion pockets are linearly expanded and some are fanned open and the side locking member is used to hold the end pieces separated. File system 300 is similar to file system 200 and is used to illustrate additional functionality of the present invention. Stiffener 301 has pivot 307 which allows locking member 306 to slide and pivot on slot 309. The linked and separable (or separable and expandable) accordion pockets (e.g., 311 and 312) have pocket openings 302. Opposing bilateral accordion pockets (e.g., 313 and 314) have pocket openings 304 and 305. Openings 305 are differentiated for openings 304 since they operate in a different mode. Stiffener 303 may be linearly moved relative to stiffener 301 separating the accordion pockets of file system 300 similar to the illustration of FIG. 2. Likewise, locking member 306 may be rotated and fitted over pin 308 to hold the pockets open. At this point, stiffener 303 may be rotated from a vertical position to a horizontal position as shown. Because locking member 306 is a fixed length, some of the pockets (e.g., 311) will remain upright and some of the pockets (e.g., 312) fan open. When the pockets fan open, pocket openings 305 are compressed closed; however, pocket openings 302b remain fully accessible for storing paper sheet media. Since the accordion pockets of files system 300 are linked together, the accordion pockets may be expanded and separated by varying degrees by simply moving the folded edges (e.g., 315). Locking member 306 may be returned to its stored position (see FIG. 2) and the file system compressed closed by moving stiffeners 301 and 303 toward each other. The file system will compress to a thickness defined by the thickness of stiffeners 301 and 303, the combined thickness of the pocket planar sides, and the thickness of stored paper sheet media. To again access stored paper sheet media, file system 300 is simply expanded into one of the configurations shown in FIGS. 2 and 3. Openings 302a are differentiated for openings 302b as they are primarily in the linear expanded portion of file system 300.

FIG. 4 is a side view of a file system 400 according to an embodiment of the present invention wherein the accordion pocket unit 100 couples to a modified desk drawer 430 made to receive file folders. Drawer 430 typically has a sliding panel 401 that defines file holding space that may vary from zero to substantially the whole drawer depth. Rails 404 are attached to both sides of drawer 430 and guide features 405 on sliding panel 401 allow it to move in guide slot 406. A accordion pocket unit 100 is placed in drawer 430 and stiffener 101 is attached to drawer front 402 using element 407. Likewise, element 408 is used to attach stiffener 103 to sliding panel 401. In this manner, sliding panel 401 expands and compresses pocket openings 102 and 104 in accordion pocket unit 100 as it moves to define the file space in drawer 430. However, unlike prior art file systems, accordion pocket unit 100 according to embodiments of the present invention may be removed as a unit for transport or to allow access according to the embodiment of FIG. 2 and FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 is a side view of a file system 500 according to an embodiment of the present invention with the locking side member 506 in a stored position and a flap 506 for covering and securing pocket openings in a accordion pocket unit 100. Pocket openings 102 in accordion pocket unit 100 are compressed closed in this illustration. Stiffeners 502 and 503 define the ends of accordion pocket unit 100 of file system 500. Stiffener 501 has optional locking member 506 shown with pivot 507. Likewise, stiffener 503 has pin 508 for coupling to notch 504 in locking member 506. Stiffener 501 also has an attachment feature 505 for coupling to a mating attachment feature 508 on flap 502. Flap 502 would fold over openings 102 and couple to attachment feature 505 to secure media stored in the accordion pockets of accordion pocket unit 100 of file system 500.

FIG. 6 is a side view of a file system 600 according to an embodiment of the present invention. Exemplary bilateral accordion pockets 611 and 612 are linked expandable and separable accordion pockets with folded edges 620. Pocket 609 is linked with element 607. Pocket 608 has joined edge 610. Opposing pocket 613 has joined edge 605. The accordion pockets have pocket openings 606 which are expanded open for access. The linked accordion pockets (e.g., 611 and 612) have stiffeners 601 and 603 applied to the planar sides of the end pockets. Stiffener 601 has foot pieces 602 (one on each side, where one is hidden in this view) and stiffener 603 has foot pieces 604. When file system 600 is expanded, the linking of the accordion pockets provides a natural restoring force 606 that tries to return the accordion pockets into a closed and compressed position. If foot pieces 603 and 604 are designed to have sufficient friction force to prevent the accordion pockets from closing, then there is a moment that tries to rotate the stiffeners 601 and 603. By making foot piece 602 with a sufficient length 622 and foot piece 603 with a sufficient length 621, the rotational moment caused by force 606 will be countered and file system 600 will remain open once expanded until sufficient force is applied to close it again.

FIG. 7 is a bottom view of file system 600. In this view both of foot pieces 602 and 604 on stiffeners 601 and 603, respectively, may be seen. Pocket bottoms 621 and folded edges 620 are also visible in this view. The accordion pockets fit inside of foot pieces 602 and 604 so that file system 600 may be placed in both configurations shown in FIGS. 2 and 3.

FIG. 8 is a side view of a file system 800 according to embodiments of the present invention. Exemplary bilateral accordion pockets 808 and 809 are shown. Pocket 808 has joined edge 810 and pocket 809 has joined edge 805. Pocket 808 and 809 configured such that they are linked with element 807. The linked bilateral pockets in file system 800 have exemplary folded edges 820. The folded edges of the opposing bilateral accordion pockets have a hanging element 830 inserted such that file system 800 may be “hung” from parallel rails much like a Pendaflex® file folder. However, files system 800 allows multiple file pockets to be hung as a unit. Stiffeners 801 and 803 likewise have hanging elements 830. Since the accordion pockets of files system 800 are linked, separable accordion pockets, the hanging elements 830 may be slid along the parallel rails to open one or multiple pockets. File system 800 may be compressed and removed as a unit. Stiffeners 801 and 803 may have optional foot pieces 822 and 821. This would allow file system 800 to be place in the configurations illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3. Additionally, stiffeners 801 and 803 may have an optional locking member (not shown) like locking member (206) with corresponding pivot 207 and 208. See FIGS. 2 and 3.

FIG. 9 is an end view of a file system 800 illustrating parallel rails 900 and a hanging element 830. Stiffener 801 is the only other part of file system 800 visible in this view.

FIG. 10 is a view of another embodiment of the present invention. A box has a back side 1012, first and second sides 1004 and 1005, a bottom side 108, a front side 1006 and a top lid 1001. The top lid 1001 has lip 1002 and a lip 1003. Lip 1003 is adapted to fit over and hold front side 1006 when it is closed in contact with first and second sides 1004 and 1005. A plurality of accordion pockets 1013 are disposed in the box and the planar side of the first pocket 1014 is coupled to the back side 1012 and the planar side of the last pocket 1015 is coupled to the front side 1006. The front side is hinged to the bottom 1008. When the front side 1008 is rotated closed and in contact with first and second sides 1004 and 1005, the first pocket openings directed up towards the top lid (e.g., 1007) are separate evenly in accordion fashion to fill the space between the back side and the closed front side. When the top lid 1001 is rotated open on hinge 1009, front side 1006 is released and rotates about hinge 1010 rotating first pocket openings 1007 additionally separating them for access. Since the accordion pockets are attached only to the back side 1012 and the front side 1006, rotating the front side 1006 open translates all the pockets and further separates all the pocket openings. Exemplary pocket openings 1007 may separate more than the pockets that only translate.

In another embodiment, both the front side 1006 and the back side 1012 are hinged to the bottom side 1008. In this embodiment, the top lid 1001 is hinged only to either first side 1004 or second side 1005. Top lid 1001 is then configured with a lip 1003 which couples to hold front side 1006 closed and a opposing lip (not shown) that couples to hold back side 1012 closed. In this embodiment, opening top lid 1001 frees both the back side 1012 and the front side 1006 to rotate about their respective hinges. In this manner, the accordion pockets 1013 rotate the pockets in an arc and separating the first pocket openings and compressing the second pocket openings (e.g., 1011).

FIG. 11 is a portable file drawer 1100 used with bi-lateral accordion pockets according to embodiments of the present invention. Base 1117 has rigid sides 1104 and 1105. Top 1106 may be coupled to the back side 1120 with a permanent hinge element 1108 or back side 1120 may be detachable like detachable side 1102. Top 1106 has a handle 1107 and a latch element 1109 for coupling to mating latch element 1113 on detachable side 1102. Bilateral accordion pocket unit 1101 is disposed between the detachable side 1102 and the back side 1120 such that moving detachable side 1102 laterally from back side 1120 serves to separate the pockets in accordion pocket unit 1101. Detachable side 1102 has mating latch elements 1115 and 1116 that couple with a latch element (e.g., latch element 1110) to hold detachable side 1102 engaged to base 1117 and sides 1104 and 1105. Base 1117 has cylindrical bar element 1112 that couples with mating fork element 1114 to further hold detachable side engaged with base 1117. Detachable side 1102 may also rotate around cylindrical hinge element 1112 when mating latch elements 1115 and 1116 are decoupled or disengaged thereby cause the pocket openings in accordion pocket unit 1101 to fan open in an arc. Top 1106 may rotate open around hinge element 1108 when latch element 1113 and latch element 1109 are decoupled so that pockets under top 1106 may be accessed. One or two optional bars (e.g., bar 1111) are rotatably attached to side 1104 (or side 1105) and may then be coupled to the detachable side when open to hold the accordion pocket unit 1101 fully separated. Cut away line 1121 is used to remove from view the bottom portion of accordion pocket unit 1101 so that pivot 1112 and base 1117 may be viewed. Dotted line 1118 is used to illustrate the folded edge of an accordion pocket under top 1106.

FIG. 12 is a view of a stiffener suitable for use with accordion pocket units used in embodiments of the present invention to make paper files that are disposed into a file drawer with or without hanging elements. Accordion pockets in an accordion pocket unit 1202 are linked together and it is desirable to have a way to remove them from a drawer recess without having to grasp the bottom of the accordion pocket unit. To solve this problem a strap, rope, or string element 1206 with two ends (only end 1208 is shown) are threaded through a guides (e.g., guide 1205) coupled to the top edges (e.g., 1201 and 1221) of the stiffeners 1209 and 1211. The strap element 1206 is looped back (1207) and coupled with a sliding element 1203 to strap element 1206. When stiffeners 1209 and 1211 are moved laterally apart, the sliding element moves toward the top edge 1201 and the excess strap of strap 1206 is free to extend allowing the pockets of accordion pocket unit to separate. When the paper file 1200 is lifted using loops 1212 and 1210, stiffeners 1209 and 1211 move laterally together until stopped by the thickness of the pockets and any stored planar paper elements. The excess of strap element 1206 is taken up by sliding the sliding elements (e.g., 1203) toward the bottom of the stiffeners (e.g., 1209).

In embodiments of the present invention, linked bilateral separable and expandable accordion pockets are used as described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,419,082. Since these pockets have folded edges and since the retaining sides of the pockets do not have to be joined all the way to the folded edges, an opening is available to place a hanging element 830. Therefore, a file system 800 may have multiple uses and the hanging members 830 may be added as an option.

The present invention and its advantages have been described in detail, it should be understood that various changes, substitutions and alterations can be made herein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.