Title:
Bag carrying apparatus
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A bag carrying apparatus for individuals to have a convenient, non-painful way to carry multiple plastic bags which can be easily loaded, transported and unloaded is disclosed. The inventive device includes two handles of similar variable size, and a base. Each handle has a generally U-shaped or looping configuration, and each handle has an aperture through which a user's hand, arm, shoulder, or torso may pass, depending on the size of the aperture. In addition, the bag carrying apparatus may be fitted with a closure to engage bags during use or transport. The apparatus also comprises multiple hook devices or hooks, which may be attached or molded to a handle to allow for brief attachment or hanging from shopping cart or other horizontal ridged structures during transport, loading and unloading.



Inventors:
Erickson, Heidi (Lawton, OK, US)
Erickson, Sheldon (Lawton, OK, US)
Application Number:
11/124245
Publication Date:
01/26/2006
Filing Date:
05/06/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A45F5/10
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CHIN, PAUL T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Hartman Titus (Phoenix, AZ, US)
Claims:
1. A bag carrying apparatus for holding one or more handled bags, the bag carrying apparatus comprising: a base, wherein the base has an interior recess capable of receiving the handles of a bag; a first handle coupled to the base, wherein the first handle has an aperture capable of receiving a human hand; and wherein the first handle further comprises a hook, wherein the hook allows the apparatus to be mounted on another object.

2. The bag carrying apparatus of claim 1, further comprising a second handle coupled to the base, wherein the second handle has a second aperture capable of receiving a human hand.

3. The bag carrying apparatus of claim 2, further comprising a closure, wherein the closure is capable of joining the first handle and the second handle.

4. The bag carrying apparatus of claim 2, further comprising a closure, wherein the closure is capable of holding the bags in the base.

5. The bag carrying apparatus of claim 2, wherein the first handle, the base, and the second handle are one contiguous unit.

6. The bag carrying apparatus of claim 1, wherein the first handle and the base are one contiguous unit.

7. The bag carrying apparatus of claim 1, wherein the length of the first handle is capable of being adjusted.

8. The bag carrying apparatus of claim 1, wherein the first handle further comprises padding.

9. The bag carrying apparatus of claim 1, wherein the first handle further comprise gripping material.

10. The bag carrying apparatus of claim 1, wherein the interior recess further comprises an insert, wherein the insert is capable of receiving the handles of a bag.

11. The bag carrying apparatus of claim 10, wherein the insert has a proximate end and a distal end; and comprises a central linear groove and a flexible lip.

12. The bag carrying apparatus of claim 1, wherein the first handle further comprises a second hook.

13. The bag carrying apparatus of claim 1, wherein the base further comprises one or a plurality of attachment portals capable of releasably engaging credit cards, keys, or other small objects.

14. The bag carrying apparatus of claim 4, wherein the closure is selected from a group consisting of: a rubber band loop, plastic loop, straps, snaps, hooks, pegs, ties, buttons, zippers, clips, clasps, and Velcro.

15. The bag carrying apparatus of claim 1, wherein the base further comprises a pouch capable of holding small objects.

16. The bag carrying apparatus of claim 15, wherein the small objects are selected from a groups consisting of credit cards, keys, change and paper money.

17. A bag carrying apparatus for holding one or more handled bags, the bag carrying apparatus comprising: a base, wherein the base has an interior recess capable of receiving the handles of a bag, and wherein the base further comprises a pouch capable of holding small objects; and a first handle coupled to the base, wherein the first handle has an aperture capable of receiving a human hand.

18. The bag carrying apparatus of claim 17, further comprising a flexible hook at the apex of the first handle, wherein the hook allows the apparatus to be mounted on another object.

19. A bag carrying apparatus for manually transporting or carrying one or more handled bags, the bag carrying apparatus comprising: a base, wherein the base has an interior recess capable of receiving the handles of a bag; a first handle and a second handle, wherein the first and second handles are of substantially similar shape and size, coupled to the base, each handle having an aperture, the aperture of each handle being substantially similar shape and size, and each aperture being capable of accommodating a human hand; a hook, coupled to the first handle, wherein the hook allows the apparatus to be mounted on another object; and a closure capable of joining the first handle and the second handle.

20. The bag carrying apparatus of claim 19, further comprising a second hook, coupled to the first handle.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This Application claims the benefit of priority of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/569,069, filed May 6, 2004.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to a bag carrier and, more specifically, to a bag carrying apparatus to conveniently load, carry and unload multiple handled bags.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The need for a convenient solution to the problems of carrying large numbers of shopping bags, including plastic grocery bags and double-handled retail shopping bags, has been long recognized in the art. The need for bag carriers is particularly high in urban areas, where shoppers need to transport a large number of bags from retail stores to their homes on foot or via public transportation. The need for bag carriers is also felt in urban retail districts, shopping centers, malls, and suburban strip mall centers, where shoppers may carry a number of bags for a long period of time, while visiting multiple stores, before returning to a personal vehicle or taxi.

In addition, shoppers buying items in bulk, even where only walking to a car to load packages, still must deal with the problems associated with carrying multiple bags and need convenient solutions to organize the bags and keep the contents of the bags from spilling out. Consequently, bag carriers which allow carrying of multiple shopping bags are well known in the art. Particularly with the advent of the plastic bag as a replacement to traditional paper bags at grocery stores, there has been a proliferation of devices which attempt to address the problem of carrying multiple bags.

The prior art provides numerous examples of devices used to grip bags, allowing the user to grasp the bags by their handles, with the device as a protective barrier. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 3,800,361, to Stauffer, describes a hand saver device for carrying shopping bags and cartons having cord handles, comprising a U-shaped, channeled foam rubber or plastic foam body. Similarly, U.S. Pat. No. 5,083,825, to Bystrom et al., describes a cylindrical hinged handle for a bag or bag carrier comprising a rigid inner core of either metal, plastic, wood, ceramic, cermet, hard rubber or the like which is split longitudinally. Additionally, U.S. Pat. No. 3,083,366 to Franges, provides a hand protecting handle which wraps around cord or wire bag handles and protects the user's hand.

Other examples of bag carriers include: U.S. Pat. Appn. No. 2003/0131447, which discloses a neoprene pad which wraps around the bag handles and fastens with Velcro® or other fasteners; U.S. Pat. No. 4,590,640, to Enersen, which provides a simple plastic handle which wraps around bag handles, allowing the bag to be carried in the user's hand; U.S. Pat. Appn. No. 2003/0135954, to Beckwith, which discloses a padded wrap-around cover that allows the user to grip the handles of the bags with the device as a protective cover; U.S. Pat. Appn. No. 2002/0158483, to Greenlee, which discloses a two-sided hinged grasping device that allows a user to fit a bag handle between the two panels, and grasp the device; and U.S. Pat. No. 4,946,065, to Goulter et al., for a U-shaped holder that, again, provides a barrier between the bags and the user's hand while the user is gripping the bags by their handles. The device of Goulter et al. is also adapted to carry bags without handles by grasping and sealing the top of the bag.

The prior art also provides examples of carrying devices which have handles that can be gripped by the user, as well as providing a solution to secure each individual bag. For example, U.S. Pat. Appn. No. 2002/0158482, to Cadenhead, illustrates a carrying handle with a surface portion adapted as a hand grip and scalloped depressions to accommodate the user's fingers and which is capable of carrying multiple bags, where each bag is secured by the scallop designed to accommodate each of the user's fingers.

However, there still remains a need for a device capable of carrying multiple shopping bags, which provides a comfortable way to carry the bags, as well as a device for safely and securely carrying bags and a device for keeping bags well organized while shopping, carrying bags, transporting bags, or handling bags, as well as for use in hanging the bags on a surface during loading and unloading.

SUMMARY OF THE PRESENT INVENTION

The present invention provides a bag carrying apparatus construction wherein the same can be utilized for individuals to have a convenient, non-painful way to carry multiple plastic bags, which can be easily loaded, transported and unloaded.

The general object of the present invention, which will be described subsequently in greater detail, is to provide a bag carrying apparatus which has many of the advantages of the prior art, as well as novel features which result in a bag carrying apparatus which is not anticipated, rendered obvious, suggested, or even implied by any of the prior art bag carriers, either alone or in any combination thereof.

The present invention generally comprises two handles attached at a base, the base optionally having an interior cylinder. The invention allows for easy placement and transport of shopping bags and has one or more hooks to attach the bag carrying apparatus to shopping carts. The present invention also includes a closure in order to securely fasten the bags and prevent the bags from spilling their contents. More specifically, the present invention further comprises a device with handles constructed of plastic in a U-shaped or loop design sized to accommodate a variety of uses.

In addition, in at least one embodiment of the invention, the device also comprises a cylindrical rectangle with U-shaped center removed to allow placement of bags from one end of the cylinder to the other with a thin, flexible lip at the top of the U shape. In some embodiments, the bag carrying apparatus has one or more hooks to allow a means of attachment to shopping carts, chairs, doors, etc. and also serve as part of the closure mechanism.

One aspect of the present invention is to provide a bag carrying apparatus which will allow multiple, completely-filled plastic bags to be carried on one carrying apparatus that eliminates the uncomfortable cutting sensation to the hands of the user, which is typically associated with carrying heavy plastic bags.

An additional aspect of the present invention is to provide a bag carrying apparatus whereby an individual can set the bags down on the ground, on public transportation, in a basket, car seat or trunk and subsequently retrieve them without having difficulties with spillage or having to pick up multiple bags again or readjusting the bags' fit in the carrying apparatus.

Another aspect of the present invention is to provide a bag carrying apparatus which reduces the cost to retailers by decreasing bag usage, as bags can now be filled completely. A further aspect of the present invention is to provide a bag carrying apparatus which can be used as a method for retailers to advertise. Another object is to provide a bag carrying apparatus which allows for easy loading and unloading of bags.

This invention may be embodied in the forms illustrated in the accompanying drawings, with attention being called to the fact, however, that the drawings are illustrative only, and that changes may be made in the specific construction illustrated. It is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of construction and to the arrangements of the components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced and carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein are for the purpose of the description and should not be regarded as limiting. Other aspects of the present invention and advantages of the present invention will become obvious to the reader and it is intended that these objects and advantages are within the scope of the present invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a side and bottom perspective view of the bag-carrying apparatus.

FIG. 2 is an interior perspective view of the bag-carrying apparatus showing the handles open for loading bags into the carrier.

FIG. 3 is an exterior perspective view of the bag-carrying apparatus showing the handles closed.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of an alternate embodiment of the bag-carrying apparatus.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of second alternate embodiment of the bag-carrying apparatus.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a third alternate embodiment of the bag-carrying apparatus.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a fourth alternate embodiment of the bag-carrying apparatus.

FIG. 8 is a view of a fifth alternate embodiment of the bag carrying apparatus.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention addresses one or more short-comings or disadvantages in the bag handles of the prior art, by providing a novel bag carrying apparatus for carrying shopping bags. As shown in FIG. 1-6, in multiple embodiments, the bag carrying apparatus 10 comprise a first handle 12 and a second handle 14, attached at a base 16. It is further envisioned that in some embodiments of the invention, the base 16 may further comprise a separate piece, for example, a cylinder insert 18, as shown on FIG. 6. In other embodiments, the base 16 may further comprise a closure apparatus 20, as shown on FIGS. 5 and 7. In an alternate embodiment, the bag carrying apparatus 10 has only first handle 12, as shown in FIG. 7.

The first handle 12 and the second handle 14 are constructed of sturdy material, formed in a U-shaped or loop design. As shown in FIGS. 1-3, the base 16, the first handle 12 and second handle 14, may be molded of a single unit of polyethylene or other plastics-based products. However, as shown in FIGS. 4-6, the first handle 12 and the second handle 14 may also be attached to the base at the distal ends of each U-shaped loop, thereby connecting the first and second handles 12 and 14 with the base 16 as one contiguous unit. In these embodiments, the apparatus may be constructed of cloth material, leather, or any other suitable material.

Other variations may include the use of leather, webbing, rubber, or other consumer-deemed fashionable handles attached to a base comprised of other solid materials such as wood, metal, plastic, or other appropriate material serving the stated needs. It is further envisioned that where the first handle 12 and the second handle 14 are constructed of a flexible material, such as leather or webbing, it is within the scope of the invention that the straps would be adjustable by allowing the user to manipulate and adjust the length of the handles. It is envisioned that the first and second handles 12 and 14 would be adjustable via buckles, clasps, clips, snaps, or the like.

In most embodiments of the invention, the first handle 12 and the second handle 14 are jointly attached at the base 16, with the space between the base 16 and the first handle 12 forming a first aperture and space between the base 16 and the second handle 14 forming a second aperture. The first handle 12 and second handle 14 are envisioned as being of similar size and shape and, consequently, the first aperture and the second aperture are envisioned being of similar size and shape with the apertures large enough to allow a human hand to grip first handle 12 and second handle 14.

It is envisioned that in multiple embodiments of the invention, the first handle 12 and the second handle 14 both may be of varying sizes. In one embodiment of the invention, the user may use the bag carrying apparatus 10, by gripping the first and second handles 12 and 14 with his or her hand, thereby passing his or her fingers through the first aperture and the second aperture. In this example, the first aperture and the second aperture are capable of accommodating a user's hand and allow the first handle 12 and the second handle 14 to be used as handles.

In another embodiment of the invention, the first aperture and the second aperture are large enough to allow the user's arm and shoulder to fit through the bag carrying apparatus 10. In this example, the first handle 12 and the second handle 14 are made of long looping straps, capable of accommodating a user's arm though the first aperture and second aperture, with the interior of the first and second handles 12 and 14 resting on the user's shoulder, much like a shoulder bag. It is further envisioned that the first handle 12 and second handle 14, the base 16, and remaining structure may be modified to various shapes and sizes so that the bag carrying apparatus 10 may be used by individuals with disabilities that prevent grasping of the handles, for example, that would allow the bag carrying apparatus to be hung on a wheelchair or walker.

In another embodiment of the invention, the first aperture and the second aperture are large enough to allow the user's arm, shoulder, and torso to fit through the bag carrying apparatus 10. In this example, the first handle 12 and the second handle 14 are made of long looping straps, capable of accommodating a user's upper body though the first aperture and second aperture, with the interior of the first and second handles 12 and 14 being slung across the user's upper body, much like a messenger bag.

The base 16 may be made of hard molded plastic or other suitable material and, in multiple embodiments of the invention, the base 16 may be interlockingly fitted with the cylinder insert 18, shown in FIG. 6. In multiple embodiments of the invention, the cylinder insert 18 is a long flexible or hard plastic insert, with a tube-like shape, and having a proximate end 50 and a distal end 52. In at least one embodiment of the invention, the cylinder insert 18 comprises a central linear groove 32 and a flexible lip 34. In at least one embodiment of the invention, the central linear groove 32 is a U-shaped groove.

The flexible lip 34 is a thin, upper flexible lip 34 which will allow placement of shopping bags in a linear fashion threaded through the flexible lip 34, allowing placement and movement of bags from one end of the cylinder to the other. For example, if the user threads the bags, by their handles onto flexible lip 34 at the proximate end 50 of the cylinder insert 18, the user may then slide the bag's handle along the length of the cylinder insert 18, moving it to the distal end 52 of the cylinder insert 18. Likewise, the user may move the bag handle from the distal end 52 to the proximate end 50 using the same threading of the bag handle across the flexible lip 34, and moving the bag handles along the cylinder insert 18. In various embodiments of the invention, the cylinder insert 18, central linear groove 32, and flexible lip 34 may be designed of various shapes and sizes, including with cross-section appearing in any number of useful shapes, which may include U-shaped, square circular, oval, rectangular or polygon. It is within the scope of the invention to provide interchangeable cylinder inserts 18, such that the user may change the inserts according to the type or weight of bag he or she will be carrying. In other embodiments of the invention, cylinder insert 18 is removable or absent.

In some embodiments of the invention, the first handle 12 and the second handle 14 may be interlockingly attached and released to use the bag carrying apparatus. As shown in FIGS. 1-3 and 5-7, in multiple embodiments of the invention, the handles may be closed or interlocked. This may be accomplished by one or a plurality of closures 20, including snaps, hooks, pegs, ties, buttons, zippers, clips, clasps, or Velcro®. However, it is contemplated that the first handle 12 and the second handle 14 may not have any interlocking mechanism, as shown in FIG. 4. Additionally, in multiple embodiments of the invention, the first handle 12 and the second handle 14 may further be embellished with padding or gripping material 28, as shown on FIG. 8. The padding or grip also may be comprised of foam or other material that improves ease with which the handles can be grasped, or improves the overall ergonomic functionality of the bag carrying apparatus.

As shown in FIGS. 1, 3 and 8, the bag carrying apparatus 10 has one or a plurality of hooks 30, capable of attachment to objects and surfaces for the purpose of keeping the bags off of the ground, or to secure the bags from movement, such as for attachment to shopping carts. In various embodiments of the invention the hooks 30 may be attached to one or more of the following: the base 16, the first handle 12, the second handle 14, or the cylinder insert 18. In multiple embodiments of the invention, the hooks 30 allow a means of attachment to shopping carts, chairs, drawers, car trunks, car doors, pantry doors, and other objects. It is envisioned that the hooks 30 will be made of plastic or other suitable material and may be of different sizes and shapes to allow for connection to various devices or structures.

In multiple embodiments of the invention, it is further envisioned that the closure 20 interlockingly attaches the first handle 12 and the second handle 14, using closures as shown in FIG. 1. Additionally, as shown in FIGS. 5 and 7, the closure 20 comprises clasps located at the base 16 of the bag carrying apparatus 10. In the embodiments where clasps are attached to the base 16, the clasps function as closure 20, by engaging and releasing from a loop, such as a rubber band loop, plastic loop, webbed or leather strap, snaps, other hooks, ties, holes or recesses, or the like.

In one embodiment, the clasps serve as a closure 20 for the base 16, passing through the first and second apertures, and engaging with the loop, thereby holding the handles of the bags securely between the apparatus handles. In other embodiments, various types of closures 20 may be utilized, rubber band loops, plastic loops, webbed or leather straps, snaps, hooks, pegs, ties, buttons, zippers, clips, Velcro®, or the like, for fasteners 26, as shown in FIGS. 5-7. In other embodiments of the invention, the closure is absent, as shown in FIG. 4.

In yet an additional embodiment of the invention, as shown in FIG. 4, the base 16 may be modified to include small pouch 36 in which credit cards, money, and keys can be placed while shopping, if desired. In one embodiment of the invention, the base 16 may have one or a plurality of holes, snaps, or clasps to allow the pass through of a key ring for placement of shopping cards, credit cards, keys or other paraphernalia generally attached to a key ring.

Generally, the bag carrying apparatus will be utilized when a user places the handles of a bag over the first handle 12, or second handle 14 (but not both), and threads the bag handle down to the base 16. In one embodiment of the invention, the user then slides the bag handle into the central linear groove 32 of the cylinder 18, engages the bag handle within the central linear groove 32 and secures the closure 20 over the base, for example as shown in FIG. 5, or by engaging peg and hole fasteners, as shown in FIGS. 1-3.

In another embodiment of the invention, the user then slides the handles of the bag into the base, passing the handle of the bag below the flexible lip 34, and secures the closure 20 over the base, shown in some embodiments by fastenably engaging the closure 20, thereby securing the bag below the flexible lip 34. The user may then lift the bag carrying apparatus 10 and carry the bags. When the destination has been reached, the user then fastenably disengages the closure 20, removes the bag by lifting the bag handle out over the first handle 12 or second handle 14.

Thus, the present invention provides for a variety of novel features. For example, in the present invention, the user's hand is not required to wrap directly around bag handles. Instead, the user grasps the handle of the device, allowing the bags to hang below, and in various embodiments of the invention, the user may wear the bag carrying device in a comfortable manner on his or her shoulder, or across the torso. Additionally, in the present invention, the device also grips the tops of the bags, securing them and keeping the contents of the bags from spilling. Further, the present invention also provides one or more hooks, allowing the user to store and transport the bag carrying apparatus and hang the apparatus up on a surface during loading and unloading.

With respect to the above description, it is to be realized that the optimum dimensional relationships for the parts of the invention, to include variations in size, materials, shape, form, function and manner of operation, assembly and use, are deemed readily apparent and obvious to one skilled in the art, and all equivalent relationships to those illustrated in the drawings and described in the specification are intended to be encompassed by the present invention.

Therefore, the foregoing is considered as illustrative only of the principles of the invention. Further, since numerous modifications and changes will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation shown and described, and accordingly, all suitable modifications and equivalents may be resorted to, falling within the scope of the claimed invention.