Title:
Portable key assembly
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A portable key assembly occupies less space and is attachable to certain attachment structures for providing a key-turning moment arm. The portable key assembly is set with a key body, a lock fastener, and an abbreviated key handle on one end of the key body. The portable key assembly can be connected and overlapped in face-to-face relation with other keys or key accessories so that the same may be well combined, easily located, and convenient to carry. A moment arm extension can be formed by connecting the portable key assembly with other keys or key accessories. The turning torque of the key handle may thus be enlarged so that the portable key assembly can function properly even if the key handle is shortened and the volume of the whole key is reduced.



Inventors:
Luo, Dan (Oak Lawn, IL, US)
Application Number:
11/481577
Publication Date:
01/11/2007
Filing Date:
07/06/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A45C11/32; A44B15/00; A47G29/10
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GALL, LLOYD A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Meroni & Meroni, P.C. (Barrington, IL, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A portable key assembly, the portable key assembly comprising a primary key body, a primary key-borne lock fastener, and a primary, two-sided, abbreviated key handle, the primary key-borne lock fastener being set on the primary key handle at one end of the primary key body.

2. The portable key assembly of claim 1 pivotally fastenable to select key-attachment structure, the select key-attachment structure for providing a torque arm relative to the key body for increasing torque for locking/unlocking key movement.

3. The portable key assembly of claim 2 wherein the select key-attachment structure is defined by at least one second portable key assembly, the second key assembly being substantially identical to the portable key assembly and matable thereto via the key-borne lock fasteners.

4. The portable key assembly of claim 2 wherein the select key-attachment structure is defined by a select key accessory, the select key accessory being outfitted with an accessory-borne lock fastener, the accessory-borne lock fastener being matable with the key-borne lock fastener for attaching the key assembly to the select key accessory.

5. The portable key assembly of claim 7 wherein the select key accessory is selected from the group consisting of a key card, a key strap, a key clip, and a key case.

6. The portable key assembly of claim 1 wherein the key-borne lock fastener is an elastic snap fastener.

7. The portable key assembly of claim 6 wherein the elastic snap fastener comprises two fastener ends, the fastener ends being exposed on opposite sides of the key handle

8. The portable key assembly of claim 8 wherein the two fastener ends are defined by a male fastener and a female fastener.

9. The portable key assembly of claim 1 wherein the lock fastener is a magnetic member attached to the key handle.

10. The portable key assembly of claim 1 wherein the key handle comprises a handle width and the key body has a body width, the handle width being substantially equal in magnitude to the body width.

11. A portable key assembly, the portable key assembly comprising a key body, a key-borne lock fastener, and a two-sided key handle, the key-borne lock fastener being set on the key handle at one end of the key body.

12. The portable key assembly of claim 11 pivotally fastenable to select key-attachment structure, the select key-attachment structure for providing a moment arm relative to the key body for increasing torque for locking/unlocking key movement.

13. The portable key assembly of claim 12 wherein the select key-attachment structure is defined by at least one second portable key assembly, the second key assembly being substantially identical to the portable key assembly and matable thereto via the key-borne lock fasteners.

14. The portable key assembly of claim 12 wherein the select key-attachment structure is defined by a select key accessory, the select key accessory being outfitted with an accessory-borne lock fastener, the accessory-borne lock fastener being matable with the key-borne lock fastener for attaching the key assembly to the select key accessory.

15. The portable key assembly of claim 14 wherein the select key accessory is selected from the group consisting of a key card, a key strap, a key clip, and a key case.

16. The portable key assembly of claim 11 wherein the key-borne lock fastener is an elastic snap fastener.

17. The portable key assembly of claim 16 wherein the elastic snap fastener comprises two fastener ends, the fastener ends being exposed on opposite sides of the key handle

18. The portable key assembly of claim 17 wherein the two fastener ends are defined by a male fastener and a female fastener.

19. The portable key assembly of claim 1 wherein the lock fastener is a magnetic member attached to the key handle.

20. The portable key assembly of claim 1 wherein the key handle comprises a handle width and the key body has a body width, the handle width being substantially equal in magnitude to the body width.

Description:

PRIOR HISTORY

This application is a non-provisional patent application claiming priority to Chinese Patent Application No. 200520112382.3, filed in the Chinese Patent Office on Jun. 8, 2005.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention generally relates to an apparatus used to open a lock. More particularly, the present invention relates to a portable key and method of its use.

DESCRIPTION OF PRIOR ART

A key is a frequently used article in daily life. Generally, a key comprises a key body and a key handle. The key body is used to lock and unlock a lock. The width of the key handle is typically greater in magnitude than the width of the key body. Thus, the key handle functions, in part, to increase the turning torque of the key body during unlocking movement. The key handle may further function to provide certain convenient carrying means as may be taught or defined by certain key accessories such as a key ring, a key chain, or a key case as connected or coupled to the key handle by way of a punched hole on the key handle. A disadvantage of the enlarged key handle is that the enlarged key handle simultaneously expands the volume of the key thereby occupying a relatively larger space and often results in a key bunch that is out of order, and/or inconvenient to carry after connecting with other key accessories.

The prior art thus perceives a need for a key assembly having locking/unlocking key structure with otherwise bulky handle structure removed. A key having an abbreviated handle may thus function to occupy a relatively smaller space and provide for or enable a relatively compact and tidy key bunch and/or key-carrying means

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is thus an object of the present invention to overcome the above-mentioned shortcomings, in part, by reducing the volume of a single key and thus enabling compact key bunch storage and transport. For example, when the key is connected with or coupled to other key accessories, the resulting assemblage may provide a convenient-to-carry and easy-to-use set of keys.

The invention thus essentially provides a key body comprising a lock fastener set at one end of the abbreviated key handle of the key body. It is contemplated that the lock fastener may be defined by an elastic snap fastener set on the abbreviated key handle. It is further contemplated that when used in combination with other keys of the same sort, the resulting key set may be carried with certain key-carrying means having certain cooperative lock fastening means. Certain key carrying accessories may be defined by a plate key card, a flexible key strap, an elastic key clip and any number of key cases.

The method of using the key contemplated by the present invention is contemplated to comprise the steps of connecting and/or fastening the key via certain lock fastening means incorporated into the construction of key itself or certain key accessories for the convenience of using and carrying.

A further usage may be defined by methodology after connecting the key with other keys or key accessories. In this regard, it is contemplated that the post-connect methodology may be defined by turning the key utilizing the connected keys and or key accessories as torque arms, thereby enhancing or easing unlocking movement of the key.

Thus, this portable key can be connected and overlapped in face-to-face or side-by-side adjacency with other keys or key accessories so that they are compactly combined, not easily lost, and convenient to carry. In addition, with the moment arm extension formed by connecting this portable key with other keys or key accessories, the turning torque of the key handle is enlarged so that the portable key can function properly even if the key handle is shortened and the volume of the whole key is reduced.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Other features of my invention will become more evident from a consideration of the following brief description of patent drawings:

FIG. No. 1 is a perspective view of the preferred embodiment of the key of the present invention.

FIG. No. 2 is a perspective view of a first assemblage of a plurality of keys of the present invention.

FIG. No. 3 is a perspective view of a key-carrying key plate connecting a plurality of keys to the key plate.

FIG. No. 4 is a perspective view of a key-carrying flexible key strap for connecting and fastening a portable key of the present invention.

FIG. No. 5 is a perspective view of a key-carrying elastic key strap for connecting and fastening a portable key of the present invention.

FIG. No. 6 is a combination perspective type depiction of a first key-carrying case and a plan view type depiction of a case connection strap for cooperable attachment to the key-carrying case.

FIG. No. 7 is a perspective view of a key-carrying tie clip type accessory attached to two keys of the present invention.

FIG. No. 8 is a perspective view of a key-carrying shirt pocket clip type accessory attached to two keys of the present invention.

FIG. No. 9 is a perspective view of a second key-carrying case connecting a plurality of keys to the second key-carrying case.

FIG. No. 10 is a perspective view of a third key-carrying case connecting for receiving a plurality of keys in key-receiving compartments.

FIG. No. 11 is a perspective view of the first key-carrying case cooperatively attached to a case connection strap showing a time piece mounted to the key-carrying case.

FIG. No. 12 is a perspective view of a fourth key-carrying case in the form of a billfold for receiving a plurality of keys in key-receiving compartments.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT(S)

Referring now to the drawings, the preferred embodiment of the present invention generally concerns a key A1 as illustrated and referenced in FIG. Nos. 1-3 and 7-9. In a first implementation as illustrated or depicted in FIG. No. 1, key A1 comprises an elastic snap fasteners 1 fixed on the flake key handle 2 at one end of the key body 3. Preferably, the elastic snap fasteners 1 may comprise cooperative male and female mating structure, which are convenient to connect and fasten with other portable keys A2 and key accessories outfitted with cooperable elastic snap fastener(s) 1. Other portable keys A2 cooperable with key A1 are illustrated and referenced in FIG. Nos. 2, 7, and 8. From an inspection of the noted figures, it will be seen that the width of the abbreviated key handle 2 is approximate to that of the key body 3. As compared to state of the art keys of the general sort, it should be understood that the width and length of the key handle 2 is greatly reduced.

In a second implementation of the present invention as generally depicted in FIG. No. 2, several portable keys A1 and A2 may be connected or overlapped together for the convenience of using or carrying the same. The portable keys A1 and A2 maybe connected via the lock fastener 1 on the flake key ring or key handle. It is contemplated that an alternative lock fastener 1 of the present invention may comprise a magnetic member, via which, several portable keys may be connected or overlapped in face-to-face or side-by-side relation so as to form a compact integration, for the convenience of using or carrying.

It is contemplated that when using a certain key A1 to unlock a lock, key A1 may be turned with the key body 3 separated from the key bodies 3 of other keys A2 to a certain angle, and the key A1 may then be inserted into the lock. To key body 3 of key A1, other keys A2 may be connected, which keys A2 then become moment or torque arm extension(s) of the key handle 2 of key A1. When key A1 is turned, its moment torque can thus be enlarged or increased by way of keys A2, making the unlocking and locking more convenient.

In a third implementation as illustrated and referenced in FIG. No. 3, the portable key A1 may be connected and fastened with the lock fastener 5 fixed on a plate key card 4 in face-to-face relation to use or carry together. Key plate 4 is preferably rectangular, with a line of lock fasteners 5 fixed on opposite edges of the portable key, which may effectively function to connect a key A1 or keys A1 with the corresponding lock fasteners 5 for the purpose of using and carrying. When wanting to turn a selected key A1 (i.e. for example, when unlocking a lock), one need only turn or pivot the key body 3 of the portable key A1 to the outside of the key plate 4 as generally depicted in FIG. No. 3 at 10. Once pivoted to such an orientation, the key plate 4 may thus function as a moment or torque arm extension of the key handle 3, thereby enlarging the moment torque of the selected portable key A1. The lock fastener 1 on this portable key A1 and the lock fastener 5 on the key plate 4 may be cooperable female and male snap fasteners.

In a fourth implementation of the present invention, as generally depicted in FIG. No. 4, key A1 may be connected and/or fastened with the lock fastener(s) 5 on either end of the flexible key strap 6 in face-to-face relation for the purpose of using and carrying. When so coupled or connected, the flexible key strap 6 may be used to hang and carry the keys A1. When the user is desirous of utilizing the key for unlocking and/or locking operations, the user may turn or pivot the portable key A1 so that a certain angle extends intermediate the key strap 6 and the key body 3 of the key A1. Thus, the key strap 6 may be used as a moment or torque arm extension of the key handle 2 of the portable key A1, enlarging the moment torque of the portable key.

In a fifth implementation of the present invention as generally depicted in FIG. No. 5, it is contemplated that the key A1 may be connected and/or fastened to either of certain lock fastener(s) 5 formed on both ends of a V-shaped elastic key clip 7 in face-to-face relation for the purpose of using or carrying. It is contemplated that the elastic key clip 7 may be clamped on a carrying object. When the user is desirous of utilizing the key for unlocking and/or locking operations, the user may turn or pivot the portable key A1 so that a certain angle extends intermediate the key clip 7 and the key body 3 of the key A1. The elastic clip 7 may then be used as the moment or torque arm extension of the key handle 2 of the portable key A1 thereby enlarging the moment torque of the key A1.

In a sixth implementation of the present invention as generally depicted in FIG. No. 6, it is contemplated that a key A1 or keys A1 may be connected and/or fastened via the key handle(s) 2 with lock fastener (s) 5 on a first key case 8 in face-to-face relation. The key case 8 is connected with lock fastener(s) 5 on a fastener strap 9 via its lock fastener 5. Via the fastener strap 9, the key case 8 may be attached to the human body, such as around a user's wrist (in much the same manner as a wristwatch). When the user is desirous of utilizing the key A1 for unlocking and/or locking operations, the user may turn or pivot the portable key A1 so that a certain angle extends intermediate the longitudinal axis of the key case 8 and the key body 3 of the key A1. The key case 8 may thus be used as the moment or torque arm extension of the portable key A1 for enlarging or increasing the moment torque of the portable key A1.

In a seventh implementation of the present invention as generally depicted in FIG. No. 7, it is contemplated that a key A1 and/or key A2 may be connected and/or fastened to a tie clip type structure 11, which tie clip structure 11 may then be simultaneously worn as a tie clip and function as a key-carrying device or assembly. It is contemplated that the tie clip structure 11 may be connected to a key A1 or key A2 with certain lock fastener(s). Via the tie clip structure 11, the key A1 or A2 may be attached in adjacency to a human body, such as at or around a user's tie. When the user is desirous of utilizing the selected key for unlocking and/or locking operations, the user may turn or pivot the portable key so that a certain angle extends intermediate the longitudinal axis of the tie clip structure 11 and the key body 3 of the key A1 or key A2. The tie clip structure 11 may thus be used as the moment or torque arm extension of the portable key A1 or key A2 for enlarging or increasing the moment torque of the selected portable key.

In an eighth implementation of the present invention as generally depicted in FIG. No. 8, it is contemplated that a key A1 and/or key A2 may be connected and/or fastened to a pocket clip type structure 12, which pocket clip structure 12 may then be simultaneously worn as a pocket clip and function as a key-carrying device or assembly. It is contemplated that the pocket clip structure 12 may be connected to a key A1 or key A2 with certain lock fastener(s). Via the pocket clip structure 12, the key A1 or A2 may be attached in adjacency to a human body, such as at or around a user's shirt pocket. When the user is desirous of utilizing the selected key for unlocking and/or locking operations, the user may turn or pivot the portable key so that a certain angle extends intermediate the longitudinal axis of the pocket clip structure 12 and the key body 3 of the key A1 or key A2. The pocket clip structure 12 may thus be used as the moment or torque arm extension of the portable key A1 or key A2 for enlarging or increasing the moment torque of the selected portable key.

In a ninth implementation of the present invention as generally depicted in FIG. No. 9, it is contemplated that a number of keys A1 may be connected and/or fastened to a second key case 13 (akin to a business card carrying case), which key case 13 may be used to house and carry keys A1 as generally depicted. It is contemplated that the key case 13 may be connected to a plurality of keys A1 with certain lock fastener(s). When the user is desirous of utilizing the selected key for unlocking and/or locking operations, the user may turn or pivot the portable key so that a certain angle extends intermediate the key case 13 and the key body 3 of the selected key A1. The key case 13 may thus be used as the moment or torque arm extension of the portable keys A1 for enlarging or increasing the moment torque of the selected portable key.

Other types of proprietary key-carrying devices are contemplated that do not necessarily function as a moment or torque arm extension, but instead function to simply and conveniently store or house a plurality of keys A1. In this regard, it is contemplated that certain key-housing means usable in combination with a key or keys A1 may be defined by a third key-carrying case or key pouch 14 as generally depicted in FIG. No. 10; a fourth key-carrying case or wrist-mountable case 15 as generally depicted in FIG. No. 11; or a fifth key-carrying case or billfold type case 16 as generally depicted in FIG. No. 12.

While the above description contains much specificity, this specificity should not be construed as limitations on the scope of the invention, but rather as an exemplification of the invention. For example, it is contemplated that the essence of the present invention teaches a portable key assembly (such as key A1) comprising a primary key body (such as key body 3), a primary key-borne lock fastener (such as lock fastener 1), and a primary, two-sided, abbreviated key handle (such as key handle 2). The lock fastener is essentially set on the key handle at one end of the key body.

The portable key assembly is pivotally fastenable to select key-attachment structure (such as at least one second key assembly or key A2 identical to the first key assembly or key A1 or any number of key accessories). It is contemplated that the select key-attachment structure functions to provide a torque arm relative to the key body for increasing torque for locking and/or unlocking key movement. The select key-attachment structure may thus be defined by at least one second portable key assembly identical to the portable key assembly and matable thereto via the key-borne lock fasteners, or the select key-attachment structure may be a select key accessory, in which case the select key accessory is outfitted with an accessory-borne lock fastener (such as lock fastener 5). The accessory-borne lock fastener is matable with the key-borne lock fastener for attaching the key assembly to the select key accessory. The select key accessory may be selected from the group consisting of a key card (such as key card 4), a key strap (such as a key strap 6), a key clip (such as clip 7, or structure(s) 11, 12) and a key case (such as cases 8, 13 14, 15, or 16).

The key-borne lock fastener may be defined by an elastic snap fastener or a magnetic member with opposing matable fastener ends. If the lock fastener is an elastic snap fastener, the fastener ends are exposed on opposite sides of the two-sided key handle and may be defined by a male fastener and a female fastener. It should be further understood that the key handle has a certain handle width and the key body has a certain body width, the handle width being substantially equal in magnitude to the body width.

Accordingly, although the invention has been described by reference to certain preferred and alternative embodiments, it is not intended that the novel disclosures herein presented be limited thereby, but that modifications thereof are intended to be included as falling within the broad scope and spirit of the foregoing disclosure, the following claims and the appended drawings.





 
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