Title:
Sealed protective case for laptop
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A protective case for a laptop comprising a base and a cover, each consisting of a sheet made of a rigid or non-rigid material, said case having at least one peripheral skirt extending substantially from the peripheral edge of the base or the cover, the free edge of said skirt being intended to cooperate with the free edge of a matching skirt or with the vicinity of the periphery of the base or the cover, i.e. the element that constitutes the enclosure without a skirt by means of a closing and opening device so as to to, firstly, constitute a lateral peripheral enclosure capable of enclosing the useful volume of the case and, secondly, ensure access to inside said useful volume, especially to the laptop. The skirt or skirts extend(s) over the entire periphery of the base and the cover respectively.



Inventors:
Picot, Francois (Combloux, FR)
Truffier-blanc, Gerald (La Terrasse, FR)
Application Number:
11/204797
Publication Date:
03/23/2006
Filing Date:
08/16/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D85/00; A45C5/00; G06F1/16
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MAI, TRI M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BURR & BROWN, PLLC (FAYETTEVILLE, NY, US)
Claims:
1. A protective case for a laptop comprising a base and a cover, each consisting of a sheet made of a rigid or non-rigid material, said case having at least one peripheral skirt extending substantially from the peripheral edge of the base or the cover, the free edge of said skirt being intended to cooperate with the free edge of a matching skirt or with the vicinity of the periphery of the base or the cover, i.e. the element that constitutes the case without a skirt by means of a closing and opening device so as to, firstly, constitute a lateral peripheral enclosure capable of enclosing the useful volume of the case and, secondly, ensure access inside said useful volume, especially to the laptop, characterised in that said skirt or skirts extend(s) along the entire periphery of the base and the cover respectively.

2. A protective case for a laptop as claimed in claim 1, characterised in that the closing and opening device of the lateral peripheral enclosure extends continuously along the entire length of the enclosure.

3. A protective case for a laptop as claimed in claim 2, characterised in that the base can be completely disconnected from the cover.

4. A protective case for a laptop as claimed in claim 1, characterised in that the cover and base are connected to each other at the rear surface by means of pillars that extend at right angles relative to the general plane of the sheets that constitute them in the vicinity of the two rear corners, said pillars defining a throughslot in the rear surface of the case, allowing access to the various connection areas of the rear surface of the laptop, this throughslot being reversibly closed off by the peripheral skirts.

5. A protective case for a laptop as claimed in claim 1, characterised in that the reversible closing and opening device is selected from a product family that includes a zip fastener, a plastic zipper, a hook-and-loop strip or even magnetic fasteners.

6. A protective case for a laptop as claimed in claim 1, characterised in that the sheets that constitute the base and the cover have dimensions that are larger than the main dimensions of the computer so as to each define an external peripheral rim that projects relative to the space that they define, said rim extending at least to the vicinity of the four corners of said sheets.

7. A protective case for a laptop as claimed in claim 1, characterised in that the sheets that constitute the base and the cover are solid or have cut-outs and in that they are flat or curved.

Description:

The invention relates to a protective case or bag for a laptop intended to protect the latter against shocks that are likely to occur while it is being transported or used.

Because of its portable nature, such a computer is intended to be transported depending on its place of use. This being so, it is liable to be dropped or be subjected to shocks which can damage it and sometimes even require a replacement unit. In addition, these various risks are especially aggravated when the computer is being used, i.e. when it is opened.

Protective bags or cases intended to afford protection to laptops that is as effective as possible against these types of shocks have therefore been developed.

Such protective bags or cases traditionally consist of a base and a cover, possibly equipped with shock-absorbing or cushioning means built into their inner surface, i.e. the surface intended to come into contact with the computer. In addition, a peripheral skirt made of a flexible material, typically woven fabric, extends between the cover and the base, said skirt being closed by a means allowing access to the useful volume space defined by the combination of base and cover, particularly to the laptop.

However, traditionally this skirt only extends over three consecutive sides of the case, i.e. the two lateral sides and the front side and does not extend to the rear surface of the case which is traditionally earmarked as the area where the cover is joined to the base, or to an intermediate element, and is also generally left open to ensure access to the areas where the various peripherals likely to be used with the laptop can be plugged in, e.g. mouse, power cord, etc.

In some more sophisticated versions, it has been proposed to partially close off this rear surface by means of a flap reversibly attached by any means of reversible fixing of the adhesive or hook-and-loop type (registered trademark VELCRO®) or by an additional zip fastener in an attempt to protect this sensitive area against dust.

Of the systems that have been developed so far, some protective bags are therefore unable to seal the useful volume they define, precisely because of the need to ensure access to the rear surface of the protective case which is vital in order to be able to make full use of the laptop which the case is expected to protect.

However, although some of these protective bags are likely to ensure such sealing of the space in question, in contrast they do not at the same time allow easy access to all the various areas of the connectors of said computer. In addition, the systems that they recommend require an additional manufacturing stage, thus making production costs more expensive.

Also, bags according to the prior art comprise two parts that form half shells that are always linked together by a hinge or other means so that one cannot detach them. It is sometimes desirable to be able to separate them, for example in order to replace a damaged or worn out base or cover cheaply or in order to obtain aesthetically different combinations with fresh patterns and/or colours.

The object of the invention is to overcome these drawbacks. It proposes a protective case for a laptop comprising a base and a cover, each consisting of a sheet of rigid or non-rigid material, said case having at least one peripheral skirt that extends substantially from at least the peripheral edge of the base or the cover, the free edge of said skirt being intended to cooperate with the free edge of a matching skirt or with the vicinity of the periphery of the base or cover, i.e. the element without a skirt by means of a closing and opening device so that, firstly, the useful volume inside the case can be enclosed and, secondly, the interior of said useful volume, especially the laptop, can be accessed.

It is characterised in that said skirt extends over the entire periphery of the base and the cover respectively.

In other words, the invention involves providing the protective case with an integral peripheral enclosure and, at the same time, providing this enclosure with a means of reversible closing that is also integral or quasi integral, said means extending continuously over the entire length of the enclosure.

Advantageously, the base can be completely disconnected from the cover.

According to the invention, the sheets that constitute the base and the cover are solid or have cut-outs. Said sheets can be flat or curved and, in the latter case, be concave or convex.

According to one advantageous feature of the invention, the cover and the base of the protective case are connected to each other at the rear surface by means of pillars that extend at right angles relative to the general plane of the sheets that constitute them and are separately mounted, especially on the base, by bonding, stitching or other means, close to the two rear corners. They thus define a throughslot in the rear surface that allows access to the various connector areas on the rear surface of the laptop, this throughslot being reversibly closable by the peripheral skirt(s) or the enclosure of the invention.

According to another feature of the invention, the cover and the base of the protective case are connected to each other on the rear surface by means of a curb that extends at right angles relative to the general plane of the sheets that constitute them and is separately mounted, especially on the base, by bonding, stitching or any other means, close to the two rear corners, said curb having one or more through openings suitable for allowing access to the rear surface of the computer and hence the various connector areas of said rear surface of the laptop, this or these throughslots being reversibly closable by the peripheral skirt(s) or the enclosure of the invention.

According to the invention, the means of reversible closing consists of a zip fastener, a plastic zipper, a hook-and-loop strip or even magnetic fasteners and, generally speaking, by any means that allows such reversible closing.

The method of implementing the invention and the resulting advantages will become apparent from the following embodiment, described merely by way of example, with the aid of the following drawings.

FIG. 1 is a schematic perspective three-quarter front view of the protective case in accordance with the invention shown when it is closed.

FIG. 2 is a front three-quarter view similar to the view in FIG. 1 showing the protective case when it is opened.

FIG. 3 is a schematic perspective view of the protective case according to the invention when it is closed, showing the rear surface with the skirts closed.

FIG. 4 is a schematic perspective view of the protective case according to the invention when it is opened, seen from rear with the skirts opened.

FIG. 5 is a schematic perspective view of the protective case according to the invention when it is closed, seen from rear with the skirts partially opened.

FIG. 6 is an exploded view of the protective case in FIGS. 1 and 2 seen from the front.

FIG. 7 is an exploded view of the protective case in FIGS. 1 and 2 seen from rear.

The protective case according to the invention basically consists of a base (2) and a cover (3), also referred to as a “lid”, both consisting of a flat sheet made of a rigid or non-rigid material such as a synthetic material, especially plastic, metal, wood etc. These two sheets, possibly covered with woven fabric or even having cut-outs, have dimensions that are at least equal to the main dimensions (length, width) of the space that one wishes to define which is roughly equivalent to the volume of the laptop that the case in question is intended to protect.

A lateral peripheral skirt (4, 5) made of a flexible material, typically woven fabric, and intended to constitute a peripheral enclosure suitable for enclosing the internal volume of the case extends from the base and the cover respectively.

This resulting enclosure is obtained by operating a means of reversible closing, typically a zip fastener (6) attached to the free edge of the two skirts (4, 5) and extending along the four sides of the protective case according to the invention. In other words, this zip fastener (6) joins both the skirts (4, 5) together over the entire periphery of the case, including the rear surface.

In one embodiment (not described), the base and the cover are only connected together by the enclosure and therefore constitute two completely independent entities. Such a configuration using a completely independent cover that can be disconnected from the base may prove useful if the case is intended to protect a tablet PC against shocks i.e. a type of computer that integrates means of interaction and a display in a single element, especially a flat element.

According to the invention it is possible to completely disconnect the two shells that constitute the protective case. To achieve this, it is preferable to use a plastic zipper closing device of the type employed in order to bag foods.

However, in a more traditional version, the base and the cover are connected to each other at least at the rear by means of rear pillars (7, 8) positioned substantially in the vicinity of the two rear corners of the base sheet. These pillars, made of polypropylene for example, extend at right angles relative to the base sheet to a height that is essentially equivalent to the thickness of the computer that the resulting case is intended to accommodate. They are joined to the case by bonding, stitching or by any other means. These pillars may be replaced by a curb (not shown) that has one or more throughslots.

In one advantageous version of the invention, the top end of said pillars has a flat (9) that extends parallel to the base sheet and is intended to be fixed, especially by bonding or stitching, to the corresponding rear edge of the cover sheet. This flat is rigid so that the sheet is specially designed in order to make it possible to open and close said cover at a virtual hinge extending parallel to said rear edge but slightly recessed from the latter.

This being so, the two rear pillars (7, 8) that define an area where there is an absence of material therefore constitute a throughslot that extends substantially along the entire rear surface of the protective case and allows unobstructed access to all the connector areas that are traditionally found at the rear of a laptop.

However, in accordance with one essential characteristic of the invention, these areas are capable of being shut off by means of the enclosure consisting of above-mentioned skirts (4, 5).

In order to access these areas, it is sufficient to open the zip fastener (6) that joins the two skirts to each other and, for example, move the slider as far as it will go, to one of the rear pillars (7, 8) or to any point on the rear surface.

In the embodiment shown, the base sheet (2) also has front pillars (10) made of an identical or similar material to that of which the rear pillars (7, 8) are made and also separately mounted by bonding, stitching or any other means. They are intended to reduce any risks of the case being crushed.

Consequently and due to the method of fixing the cover on the base, especially by using rear pillars (7, 8), it is possible to use base and cover sheets that have dimensions that are larger than the main dimensions (length, width) of the useful volume, i.e. the volume of the laptop which is to be protected.

This being so, it becomes possible to define peripheral rims that project relative to the lateral surfaces corresponding substantially to the enclosure defined by skirts (4, 5). These peripheral rims (11, 12) are thus capable of constituting means of cushioning shocks that occur in this area and are statistically more numerous.

Finally, as already indicated, the pillars can be replaced by a peripheral curb, also made of a rigid material, extending at right angles relative to the base. The height of this curb is substantially equivalent to the thickness of the laptop to be placed inside the case. This curb has a certain number of throughslots positioned in appropriate places in order to allow access to means of connection, in addition to the areas where diskettes or CD-ROMs are inserted into any diskette or CD ROM drive.

It is thus apparent that the invention makes it possible to give protective cases the required sealing using means that are simple to implement whilst enabling easy access to the various connection areas which a laptop has. In addition, by its design, it also makes it possible to equip said cases with peripheral rims that project beyond the lateral surfaces that define them and are capable of constituting means of cushioning or absorbing shocks that are likely to be sustained by the cases in question.