Title:
Modular Photo Storage Assembly and System
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Modular photo storage assemblies are provided for storing photographic materials. Each modular photo storage assembly can be both individually displayed and interchangeably engaged as a module in a photo storage system.



Inventors:
Haase, Andreas (Plantation, FL, US)
Stampfli, Urs (Weston, FL, US)
Chan, Connie (Weston, FL, US)
Application Number:
11/872222
Publication Date:
05/29/2008
Filing Date:
10/15/2007
Assignee:
CONCORD CAMERA CORP. (Hollywood, FL, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
G9B/33.011
International Classes:
A47G1/06
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
KIM, SHIN H
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LERNER GREENBERG STEMER LLP (HOLLYWOOD, FL, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. A modular photo storage assembly, comprising: a base portion including a chamber for receiving photographic media; a cover portion, hingedly connected to said base portion, said cover portion including: a photo retaining section sized to receive and retain a single photographic print; and an opaque frame section surrounding said photo retaining section on at least three sides; said base portion further including a retaining key for retaining a photodisc in a locked position in said chamber; and said base portion and said cover portion mating to, in said closed position, retain said photographic media in said chamber.

2. The modular photo storage assembly of claim 1, wherein said photo retaining section is a pocket for receiving said single photographic print, said modular photo storage assembly further including a lens removably engaged with said cover portion above said photo retaining section.

3. The modular photo storage assembly of claim 1, wherein said photo retaining section is formed of a clear material and said cover portion includes rails for retaining said single photo in said photo retaining section under said clear material.

4. The modular photo storage assembly of claim 1, wherein the opacity of said opaque frame section is achieved by texturing the material.

5. The modular photo storage assembly of claim 1, wherein the opacity of said opaque frame section is achieved by using a colored material.

6. The modular photo storage assembly of claim 1, further including an indentation for receiving an adhesive label.

7. The modular photo storage assembly of claim 1, wherein said base portion additionally includes at least two holes for hanging said modular photo storage assembly.

8. The modular photo storage assembly of claim 7, wherein at least one of said two holes permits the modular photo storage assembly to be hung in a landscape orientation and the other of the two holes permits the modular photo storage assembly to be hung in a portrait orientation.

9. The modular photo storage assembly of claim 7, wherein both of said two holes are used to hang the modular photo storage assembly in one of a landscape orientation and a portrait orientation

10. The modular photo storage assembly of claim 9, including at least a third hole through said base portion, said third hole being used to hang the modular photo storage assembly in the other one of a landscape orientation and a portrait orientation.

11. The modular photo storage assembly of claim 1, additionally including at least one stand foot, storable in said chamber and removably engageable with an external face said base portion to act as a stand for the photo storage assembly.

12. The modular photo storage assembly of claim 1, wherein one of said base portion and said cover portion further includes a spring biased key member.

13. The modular photo storage assembly of claim 12, wherein said spring is actuable between a first position and a second position by depressing and releasing a thumb button, respectively.

14. A modular photo storage assembly, comprising: a base portion including a chamber for receiving photographic media; a cover portion, hingedly connected to said base portion, said cover portion including: a photo retaining section sized to receive and retain a single photographic print; and an opaque frame section surrounding said photo retaining section on at least three sides; said photo retaining section being a pocket formed in said cover portion, said photo retaining section being covered by a removable a lens; and said base portion and said cover portion mating to, in said closed position, retain said photographic media in said chamber.

15. The modular photo storage assembly of claim 14, wherein said cover portion includes rails for retaining said lens over said photo retaining section, said lens sliding on said rails.

16. The modular photo storage assembly of claim 14, wherein said opaque frame section surrounds said photo retaining section on only three sides and said photo retaining section and wherein said lens is retained over said photo retaining section by a securing plate, said securing plate completing said opaque frame section on its fourth side.

17. The modular photo storage assembly of claim 16, wherein said securing plate and said lens are joined as a single piece.

18. The modular photo storage assembly of claim 14, wherein one of said base portion and said cover portion further includes a spring biased key member.

19. A modular photo storage system, comprising: a modular photo storage assembly, including: a base portion including a chamber for receiving photographic media; a cover portion, hingedly connected to said base portion, said cover portion including a photo retaining section sized to receive and retain a single photographic print; and said base portion and said cover portion mating to, in said closed position, retain said photographic media in said chamber; a frame assembly including a pocket for receiving said modular photo storage assembly; and a key member for lockingly engaging said photo storage assembly into said frame assembly.

20. The modular photo storage system of claim 19, wherein said key member includes a spring mechanism to retain said modular photo storage assembly within said frame assembly.

21. The modular photo storage system of claim 20, wherein said spring mechanism is located on a portion of said photo storage assembly, said key member interlocking with a mating portion located on said frame assembly.

22. The modular photo storage system of claim 21, wherein depression of a portion of said key member permits said photo storage assembly to be disengaged from said frame assembly.

23. The modular photo storage system of claim 19, wherein a rear face said frame assembly includes a stand portion mounted thereto, said rear face being curved and said stand portion is nested in said curved face in a folded position, such that said frame assembly can sit flush on a surface contacting said rear face.

24. The modular photo storage system of claim 23, wherein a ratchet portion on said stand portion engages a ratchet portion on said frame assembly, said ratchet portions matingly engaged to adjust and frictionally maintain an angle of separation between said stand portion and said frame assembly when said stand portion is in an unfolded position.

25. A modular photo storage system, comprising: a plurality of photo storage assemblies, each photo storage assembly including: a base portion including a chamber for receiving photographic media; a cover portion, hingedly connected to said base portion, said cover portion including, a photo retaining section sized to receive and retain a single photographic print, and an opaque frame section surrounding said photo retaining section on at least three sides; said base portion and said cover portion mating to, in said closed position, retain said photographic media in said chamber; and at least one modular connector for removably engaging at least two of said plurality of photo storage assemblies, in order to retain said at least two of said plurality of photo storage assemblies in a stable configuration.

26. The modular photo storage system of claim 25, wherein said at least one modular connector engages at least one corner of each of said at least two of said plurality of photo storage assemblies.

27. The modular photo storage system of claim 26, wherein said at least one modular connector is an elastomeric sphere.

28. The modular photo storage system of claim 25, wherein said at least one modular connector engages at least one edge of each of said at least two of said plurality of photo storage assemblies.

29. The modular photo storage system of claim 28, wherein said at least one modular connector includes an elastomeric sphere.

30. The modular photo storage system of claim 29, wherein said at least one modular connector is a linear bracket.

31. The modular photo storage system of claim 30, wherein said linear bracket includes an elastomeric material.

32. The modular photo storage system of claim 30, wherein said linear bracket includes a rigid extrusion.

33. The modular photo storage system of claim 25, wherein said at least one modular connector includes a magnet.

34. A modular photo storage system, comprising: at least one photo storage assembly including: a base portion including a chamber for receiving photographic media; a cover portion, hingedly connected to said base portion, said cover portion including, a photo retaining section sized to receive and retain a single photographic print, and an opaque frame section surrounding said photo retaining section on at least three sides; said base portion and said cover portion mating to, in said closed position, retain said photographic media in said chamber; and a cube shaped frame including at least one opening for receiving said at least one photo storage assembly in said frame, such that said cover portion is displayed on a face of said cube.

35. The photo storage system of claim 34, wherein said cube shaped frame includes at least five openings, each of said five openings for receiving at least one photo storage assembly in an orientation that displays a cover portion of said at least one photo storage assembly on a face of said cube.

36. The photo storage system of claim 35, wherein said cube shaped frame further includes, a carousel in communication with the sixth face.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the priority, under 35 U.S.C. § 119(e), of provisional application No. 60/852,083, filed Oct. 16, 2006; the prior application is herewith incorporated by reference in its entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The invention relates to a photo storage assembly and system for storing photographic prints, negatives and/or photodiscs and more particularly to a modular storage assembly in which photographic prints, negatives and/or photodiscs can be stored, and a modular system using the modular storage assembly as its base.

2. Description of the Related Art

Individual boxes for storing and displaying photographic prints are known. U.S. Pat. No. 4,932,529 to Levine discloses a container for storing a stack of photographic prints and their negatives, as well as displaying one of the photographs. Locating elements in the container of Levine extend between the transport wall and the front wall to precisely locate the stack of photographic prints with respect to a display opening in the front wall. Levine provides a spacer to accommodate stacks of variable thickness and a liner to hold the stack and negatives in the container.

U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,685,430 and 5,558,225 to Weisburn et al. discloses a photograph and negative storage container formed as a one-piece member of plastic material. U.S. Pat. No. 5,016,752 to Haugen Jr., discloses a picture and negative storage container having the general shape and configuration of a book.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,068,987 to Tontarelli discloses a picture display receptacle for holding and displaying photographs, wherein stacked photographs of suitable format fit exactly, and the first of which, starting from the top of the pile, is clearly visible from the outside of the box, in that the lid of the latter possess a sizeable central window closed by a sheet of transparent material. The box of Tontarelli gives the optical effect of making the photograph holding box into a simple photograph frame. U.S. Pat. No. 5,400,532 to Grove discloses a desk-top picture gallery constituted by a frame-pocket assembly supported to a detachable easel. In Grove, a box-like pocket secured to the rear of the frame behind a display opening accommodates a deck of prints.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,691,456 to Ackeret discloses a container for storing a stack of pictures. The container of Ackeret has a display window, a first chamber for accommodating a single picture at the window and a second chamber separated from the first chamber, wherein the remaining pictures of the stack can be loosely housed. In one particular embodiment of Ackeret, the container includes a housing and a drawer which is slidably removable from the housing. In a third embodiment of Ackeret, a picture holder is pivotally connected to a housing. The picture holder of the third embodiment of Ackeret includes rails to separate the upper and lower picture chambers when the holder is in a closed position. A stand foot, located at the back of the housing of the third embodiment of Ackeret unfolds to permit the container to be used as a stand-up frame.

The above patents all focus on individual photo storage containers. However, what is needed is a system for organizing a plurality of individual photo storage containers. What is additionally needed is a modular photo storage assembly that can be used both, individually or in combination with other photo storage assemblies, in such a system, for the display and/or organization of photographic materials.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is accordingly an object of the invention to provide a modular photo storage assembly and system, which overcomes the above-mentioned disadvantages of the heretofore-known devices and methods of this general type.

More particularly, it is an object of the invention to provide basic photo storage assemblies for storing photographic materials. Each modular photo storage assembly can be, both, individually displayed and interchangeably engaged as a module in a photo storage system.

Other features which are considered as characteristic for the invention are set forth in the appended claims.

Although the invention is illustrated and described herein as embodied in a modular photo storage assembly and system, it is nevertheless not intended to be limited to the details shown, since various modifications and structural changes can be made therein without departing from the spirit of the invention and within the scope and range of equivalents of the claims.

The construction of the invention, however, together with additional objects and advantages thereof will be best understood from the following description of the specific embodiment when read in connection with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention and its many features and advantages will be more apparent after reading the following detailed description which refers to the accompanying drawings illustrate the working parts of this invention. Like reference numerals refer to like items throughout the drawing.

FIG. 1 is an isometric view of a photo storage assembly in accordance with one particular embodiment of the instant invention.

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the photo storage assembly of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a bottom plan view of the photo storage assembly of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is an edge plan view of the front edge of the photo storage assembly of FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 is an edge plan view of one of the side edges of the photo storage assembly of FIG. 1.

FIG. 6 is an edge plan view of the rear edge of the photo storage assembly of FIG. 1.

FIG. 7 is an isometric view of the cover portion of the photo storage assembly of FIG. 1.

FIG. 8 is a top plan view of the photo storage assembly of FIG. 1 having its cover removed.

FIG. 9 is an isometric view, taken from the back, of the photo storage assembly of FIG. 1 additionally showing the interaction with the optional feet.

FIG. 10 is an isometric view of a photo storage assembly in accordance with another embodiment of the instant invention.

FIG. 11 is an exploded view of the photo storage assembly of FIG. 10.

FIG. 12 is a top plan view of the photo storage assembly of FIG. 10.

FIG. 13 is a bottom plan view of the photo storage assembly of FIG. 10.

FIG. 14 is an edge plan view of the rear edge of the photo storage assembly of FIG. 10.

FIG. 15 is an isometric view of one embodiment of an elastic frame member for use with a photo storage assembly in accordance with the instant invention.

FIG. 16 is a top plan view of the elastic frame member of FIG. 15.

FIG. 17 is a bottom plan view of the elastic frame member of FIG. 15.

FIG. 18 is an isometric of a photo storage assembly organizer in accordance with one particular embodiment of the instant invention.

FIG. 19A is an isometric view of a modular system for organizing a plurality of photo storage assemblies, in accordance with one particular embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 19B is an enlarged view of a portion of the system of FIG. 19A.

FIG. 20A is an isometric view of a modular system for organizing a plurality of photo storage assemblies, in accordance with another particular embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 20B is an enlarged view of a portion of the system of FIG. 20A.

FIG. 21A is an isometric view of a modular system for organizing a plurality of photo storage assemblies, in accordance with another particular embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 21B is an enlarged view of a portion of the system of FIG. 21A.

FIG. 21C is another view showing the growth capabilities of the system of FIG. 21A.

FIG. 22A is a top plan view of a modular system for organizing a plurality of photo storage assemblies, in accordance with another particular embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 22B is an enlarged isometric view of a portion of the system of FIG. 22A.

FIGS. 23A-23C show another modular system for organizing photo storage assemblies, in accordance with another embodiment of the instant invention.

FIG. 24A is an isometric view of a system for a photo storage assembly organizer, in accordance with one particular embodiment of the instant invention.

FIG. 24B is an end plan view of one embodiment of a connecting bracket for use with the system of FIG. 24A.

FIG. 24C is an isometric view of one embodiment of a connecting bracket of FIG. 24B.

FIG. 25A is an isometric view of a system for a photo storage assembly organizer, in accordance with one particular embodiment of the instant invention.

FIG. 25B is an end plan view of one embodiment of a connecting bracket for use with the system of FIG. 25A.

FIG. 25C is an isometric view of one embodiment of a connecting bracket of FIG. 25B.

FIG. 26A is an isometric view of a system for a photo storage assembly organizer, in accordance with one particular embodiment of the instant invention.

FIG. 26B is an end plan view of one embodiment of a connecting bracket for use with the system of FIG. 26A.

FIG. 26C is an isometric view of one embodiment of a connecting bracket of FIG. 26B.

FIG. 27A shows a system for organizing photo storage assemblies, in accordance with yet another embodiment of the instant invention.

FIG. 27B is an exploded view of the carousel organizer of FIG. 27A.

FIGS. 28A-28C show another system for organizing photo storage assemblies, in accordance with yet another embodiment of the instant invention.

FIGS. 29A-29B shown another system for organizing photo storage assemblies, in accordance with another embodiment of the instant invention.

FIG. 30 is an isometric view of an alternate embodiment of a base portion of a photo storage assembly in accordance with one particular embodiment of the instant invention.

FIG. 31 is a bottom plan view of the base portion of FIG. 30.

FIG. 32 is an edge plan view, taken from the front edge of the base portion of FIG. 30.

FIG. 33 is an edge plan view, taken from one of the side edges of the base portion of FIG. 30.

FIG. 34 is a top plan view of the base portion of FIG. 30.

FIG. 35 is an edge plan view, taken from the rear edge of the base portion of FIG. 30.

FIG. 36 is an enlarged partial view of the base portion of FIG. 30 showing the key mechanism.

FIG. 37 is an isometric view of a modular frame system including a photo storage assembly interlocked with a frame assembly, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 38 is a perspective view, taken from the bottom, of the modular frame system of FIG. 37.

FIG. 39 is a side view of the modular frame system of FIG. 37.

FIG. 40 is a perspective view of one embodiment of a frame assembly that can be used in the modular frame system of FIG. 37.

FIG. 41A is a perspective view of one particular inventive stand that can be connected with the frame assembly of the modular frame system of FIGS. 37-39.

FIG. 41B is an enlarged view of a portion of the stand of FIG. 41A.

FIG. 42 is an exploded view of a photo storage and frame unit in accordance with one particular embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 43 is an isometric of another photo storage assembly organizer in accordance with one particular embodiment of the instant invention.

FIG. 44 is a perspective view of a modular photo storage assembly, in accordance with another embodiment of the instant invention.

FIGS. 45A and 45B show a front and rear perspective views of a desk accessory for use with the modular photo storage assemblies of the instant invention.

FIGS. 46-48 show various embodiments of storage devices for memory cards in accordance with various embodiments of the instant invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring now to the figures of the drawing in detail and first, particularly, to FIGS. 1-9 thereof, there is shown one preferred embodiment of a photo storage assembly 10. The photo storage assembly 10 serves as the base element or module of a modular photo storage system, to be described herebelow.

More particularly, the photo storage assembly or assembly 10 includes a cover portion 12 mated with a base portion 14. In the present embodiment, the cover portion 12 is pivotally mated to the base portion 14 at a pair of pivot points 15, wherein a pair of protuberances 17 on the base portion mate with a pair of holes 19 on the cover portion to permit the cover 12 to be pivoted between an open position and a closed position. The closed position is shown in FIG. 1. The mating of the cover portion 12 and the base portion 14 forms an enclosed chamber 13, within.

The photo storage assembly 10 is designed to not only act as a storage box, but to additionally be used as a picture frame, if desired. More particularly, in the present embodiment, a border section 16, of the cover portion 12 is made to be opaque. For example, the border section 16 can be formed using a textured material, and/or a dark plastic, or other opaque material, or can be painted for opacity. Alternatively, a snap-on face plate and/or stickers can be applied to form and/or decorate the opaque border section 16.

Further, located within the border section 16 is a clear section 18, through which a photograph can be viewed. For example, in the instant embodiment, a stack of photographs can be placed in the chamber 13 between the cover portion 12 and the base portion 14, the top photograph of which will be visible through the clear section 18. As such, by providing a decorative opaque border section 16, the photograph on the top of the stack will appear to be “framed” by the border section 16.

Additionally, the photo storage assembly 10 of the instant embodiment includes a mechanism to ensure that a photograph is appropriately framed within the border section 16. Referring more particularly to FIGS. 1, 2 and 7, it can be seen that the cover portion 12 includes fingers 22 that position and maintain a photograph within the clear section 18 of the cover portion 12, i.e., appropriately centered and/or framed within the border section 16. In the instant embodiment, the fingers 22 are formed on the internal face of the cover portion 12 (i.e., internal to chamber 13). However, this is not meant to be limiting, as it can be seen that such fingers could be formed on the external surface of the cover portion 12.

In operation, a photograph can be slid by the user or a photofinisher within the cover portion 12, between the clear section 18 and the fingers 22. In the present embodiment, the photograph slides from inside the lid into an area purposely arranged to receive it. If desired, stops 24 can be provided to further limit the horizontal travel of a photograph placed under the fingers 22.

As can additionally be seen from FIGS. 1, 2, 6 and 7, the cover portion 12 includes an indent 20 sized to receive a label. In the most preferred embodiment, the indent 20 is sized to receive a standard printed label from a label maker or printer. In this way, the photo storage assembly 10 can be labeled so as to inform a viewer of the photo materials (i.e., photographic prints, negatives and/or photodiscs) stored within. For example, the indent 20 can be used to receive a standard sized label printed on a BROTHER™ or DYMO™ label maker and stating, for instance “Our Trip to Ireland 2006”. As such, a viewer can know, at a glance, the contents of each photo storage assembly 10. This is useful because, as will be described further herebelow, each photo storage assembly 10 can be one of many photo storage assemblies 10 owned. In the present embodiment, the indent 20 is located adjacent to the end having the pivot points 15. However, it will be seen from the following descriptions herein, that the indent 20 could be provided in another location and/or on another face of the photo storage assembly 10. By placing a label in the indent 20, i.e., on the “spine” or end face of the assembly 10, individual assemblies 10 are identifiable from this label, even if a plurality of such assemblies are located, together, in a rack. However, as shown in FIG. 3, an indent 39 may, optionally, be provided for alternate placement of a label, in the event that the assembly 10 is to be displayed as a picture frame.

The photo storage assembly 10 additionally includes a mating catch (not shown) used to secure the cover portion 12 to the base portion 14, thus securing the contents of the assembly 10 within the chamber 13. As such, if desired, the end face of the photo storage assembly 10 opposite the pivot point 15 can be formed to include a groove or indent 26, to facilitate the opening of the assembly 10 (i.e., the pivoting of the cover portion 12 around the pivot points 15 in order to expose the chamber 13, and its contents). The mating catch securing the assembly 10 closed can be countered by inserting a finger or thumb into the groove 26 and biasing the cover portion 12 away from the base portion 14.

Referring now more particularly to FIGS. 3, 8 and 9, there is shown more particularly the base portion 14 of the photo storage assembly 10. In particular, FIGS. 3 and 9 show the back surface 14a of the closed assembly 10 (i.e., the external surface of the cover portion 12 being the front surface).

In the instant embodiment, the base portion 14 of the photo storage assembly 10 includes a number of features that can be used to facilitate the use of the assembly 10 as a frame. For example, the base portion 14 of the assembly includes a number of notches 30, formed therethrough. The notches 30 can be used to hang the assembly 10 on a wall, i.e., by engaging either the pair of notches 30a or the pair of notches 30b with a pair of nails or picture hangers mounted in a wall. Use of a pair of notches 30a or 30b to hang the assembly 10, instead of a single centered notch, helps to balance the assembly 10 on the wall, even if the contents of the assembly 10 are unevenly balanced within the assembly 10. Selection of either the notches 30a or the notches 30b to hang the assembly 10 permits the assembly 10 to be hung in either the portrait or landscape orientation. Referring more particularly to FIG. 5, indicators 31 can be molded, painted or otherwise affixed onto the side edge or, optionally, the front surface, of the cover section 12, in alignment with the notches 30a, to assist with nail placement. Similar indicators can be placed on the rear edge or front surface, in alignment with the notches 30b, to assist with the nail placement for hanging the assembly 10 in the portrait orientation. For example, the assembly 10 can be held flat against a wall and marks made on the wall (i.e., for nail placement), in the locations pointed to by the indicators 31. Although shown as arrows, indicators 31 can take other forms, as desired.

As an alternative to hanging the assembly 10 on a wall, feet 32 can be provided with the assembly 10, in order to use the assembly 10 as a freestanding picture frame. For example, a single pair of the feet 32 can be provided with the assembly, as shown more particularly in FIG. 8. Upon removal of the feet 32 from the chamber 13 of the assembly 10, one or both of feet 32 can be engaged with either the notches 30a or the notches 30b to permit the picture to be displayed in portrait or landscape orientations. Although, FIG. 9 shows three feet 32, this is merely for demonstration purposes, in order to show how the feet 32 would be mounted in either the holes 30a or 30b. In use, only two feet 32 on a single side need to be used to support the assembly 10. When not in use, the feet 32 can be stored in the chamber 13 of the assembly 10, as shown in FIG. 8. Additionally, the protuberances 32a, which are normally used to engage the notches 30a or 30b, 32a can be snapped into retaining grooves or mated to retaining posts 34 formed in the base portion 14, in order to secure the feet 32 to the assembly 10, when not in use.

Additionally, as shown more particularly in FIG. 8, the base portion 14 can be formed to include a retaining key 35 for receiving and retaining a photodisc 36. Note that the term “photodisc” is used herein to encompass all forms of disc-like storage media upon which images, including moving images, are stored. For example, a “photodisc” can be compact disc or DVD, or any other form of media containing storage disc. Note that digital cameras have progressed such that they can capture movies in addition to still images. It is envisioned that the photodisc 36 can include such movies in addition to, or instead of, the captured still images, as desired. Optionally, a snap-in receiving area or pocket can be formed in the base portion 14 for the storage and/or return of a memory card, such as a COMPACTFLASH card, a MEMORYSTICK, or an SD or miniSD card, the recitation of which media-types is not meant to be specifically limiting. Further, the base portion 14 can be formed including stops 38a and/or 38b, which are provided to help limit the travel of photographic prints and/or negatives within the chamber 13. Alternatively, the stops 38a and/or 38b can be formed as removable pieces, the location of which can be set by the user by engaging a peg or key (not shown) on the stops 38a and/or 38B with holes or notches on the base portion 14 to accommodate different sized prints.

It can be understood from the foregoing, that the photo storage assembly 10 can be made to accommodate any size of photographic print, as desired. For example, the assembly 10 can be sized to optimize the receipt of 3×5 prints, 4×6 prints, 5×7 prints, 8×10 prints, etc. Additionally, the assembly 10 can be made to be any depth to accommodate a desired number of photographic prints, an accompanying photodisc and/or photographic negatives.

However, in one particular embodiment of the preferred invention, the photo storage assembly 10 is sized to fit in existing standard CD racks. In this embodiment, the length of the assembly 10 is, for example, 19.3 centimeters, while the depth is 11.5 mils. Such a design can accommodate 27 photographic prints of the size 4×6, with one further photograph print being retained against the cover portion 12 by the fingers 22.

Referring now to FIG. 10-14, there is shown another embodiment of a photo storage assembly 50 that can be used as the base element or module of a modular photo storage system. Please note that the front edge and side edge of the photo storage assembly 50 would be substantially similar to those shown and described in connection with FIGS. 4 and 5, above, and will not be described again.

In contrast to the photo storage assembly 10, which includes fingers 22 to retain a photo adjacent to the cover viewing area (i.e., clear section 18 of FIG. 1), the photo storage assembly or assembly 50 includes a cover portion 52 having a pocket 54, formed therein, to receive a photographic print. The pocket 54 is framed on three sides by an opaque border section 56 (i.e., labeled as 56a, 56b and 56c in FIG. 11). A clear plate or lens 58 is secured over the photographic print contained in the pocket 54 to permit the print to be viewed while retaining the print in the pocket 54.

As shown more particularly in FIG. 14, the cover portion 52 further includes grooves 52a for receiving and maintaining the lens 58 over the pocket 54. Note that, in the instant embodiment, the opaque border 56 provides a decorative border on only three sides of the pocket 54, while a securing plate 60, having edge portions 60a that additionally mate with the grooves 52a, completes the decorative border on the fourth side and maintains the lens 58 in place. In the instant embodiment, the lens 58 includes a retaining plate 58a, which sits under the securing plate 60, to help keep the lens 58 from unintentionally moving. Note that, although the securing plate 60 is shown as a separate piece in FIG. 11, the final border section can be fixed to or made as a unitary piece with the lens 58, if desired. For example, in one preferred embodiment, the securing plate 60 is sonically welded to, or otherwise permanently affixed to, the retaining plate 58a of the lens 58.

Further, removal of the lens 58 and securing plate 60 permit easy removal of a photographic print previously placed in the pocket 54, thus allowing different pictures to be cycled through as the cover photo.

As can be determined from the exploded view of the photo storage assembly 50 in FIG. 11, in use, the cover section 52 receives a photographic print or sheet in the pocket 54, over which the lens 58 is slid, tracking the grooves 52a. After the lens 58 is in place, the securing plate 60 is additionally engaged with the grooves 52a and snapped into a flush alignment with the end of the cover 52, and over the retaining plate 58a, as shown more particularly in FIGS. 12 and 14. Thus, the securing plate 60, in combination with the border sections 56a, 56b and 56c form the complete border framing the pocket 54. As described in connection with the photo storage assembly 10, the border framing the cover mounted photographic print can be decorative or decorated by the user, such as with a snap-on face plate and/or stickers. Note, however, one difference between the photo storage assembly 10 and the photo storage assembly 50, is that the photo storage assembly 50 does not include on its front face (i.e., the face seen by the viewer when the photo storage assembly is set up as a frame) the indent 20 for receiving a label, such as a standard sized label from a printer or label maker. Areas for receiving a label are situated on the base portion 68 (i.e., area 39 of FIG. 13) or on the rear spine of the cover portion 52 (i.e., indent 62 of FIG. 13) of the photo storage assembly 50.

Referring back to FIGS. 10-14, the cover 52 of the photo storage assembly 50 is pivotally fixed to a base portion 68 at the pivot points 15, in the same manner as shown in FIGS. 7 and 8, above, and as described in connection with the photo storage assembly 10. More particularly, at the pivot points 15, protuberances on one of the base portion 68 or the cover portion 52 engage holes in the other of the base portion 68 or the cover portion 52, to permit the cover section 52 to pivot between an open position and a closed position, relative to the base portion 68.

The base portion 68, as shown more particularly in FIGS. 11 and 13, is substantially similar to the base portion 14 of the photo storage assembly 10, and like numbered elements in the drawings serve like functions. Additionally, although feet 32 are not shown in connection with the photo storage assembly 50, it is intended that such feet may additionally be provided, if desired. Like the photo storage assembly 10, in photo storage assembly 50, such feet can be engaged with posts 34 on the interior of the base portion 68, when stored, and with holes 30a or 30b, when the assembly 10 is mounted or stands in either landscape or portrait orientations, respectively.

As such, in use, a photographic print or sheet can be secured in the pocket 54 of the photo storage assembly 50, while other photographic materials (i.e., photographic prints, negatives, photodiscs, memory cards, etc.) can be placed and/or secured into the chamber formed internal to the mated cover portion 52 and the base portion 68.

Note that other embodiments of the photo storage assemblies 10 and 50 are envisioned as being part of the instant invention. For example, in another embodiment, a photo storage assembly can be provided including a border surrounding, on all four sides, a pocket in the cover. In such an embodiment, a lens having posts or edges that engage the cover could be snapped into the cover to secure the cover print in the pocket. A slight groove at one edge of either the border or the lens would permit a slim edge, such as a screwdriver blade or nail file, to be inserted into the groove in order to bias and remove the lens from its locked engagement with the cover, when it is desired to remove or change the cover print. It is apparent from the foregoing that other modifications can be made to the described assemblies without deviating from Applicants' invention.

Additionally, it can be desirable to provide a photo storage assembly having a key lock feature, to assist in the retention in and removal from a photo storage assembly organizer. Referring more particularly to FIGS. 30-35, there is shown a base portion 14′, which can be substituted for the base portion 14 of photo storage assembly 10 in FIGS. 1-9, and for the base portion 68 of photo storage assembly 50 in FIGS. 10-14. Note that the cover portion 14 of photo storage assembly 10 and cover portion 52 of photo storage assembly 50 can be fitted without change, or only minor change, to the base portion 14′.

As shown in FIGS. 30-36, the base portion 14′ is substantially similar to the base portions 14 and 68, but for the addition of a key member 70. Key member 70 includes a spring body 72 fixed to the base portion 14′ at the end distal from the front edge of the base portion 14′, thus forming a cantilever spring. A tongue 74 formed on the spring body 72 is sized to be received into a groove 76, formed on the bottom surface of the base portion 14′, thus allowing the spring body 72 to be held flat against the base portion 14′ when the free end of the spring body 72 is depressed. The key member 70 is normally biased such that the free end of the spring body is biased away from the bottom surface of the base portion 14′.

As can be seen more particularly in FIGS. 31 and 36, the key member 70 includes a thumb button 78 located on the free end of the spring body 72. The thumb button 78, which ergonomically locates the users thumb in a desired position for depressing the spring body 72. Additionally, as will be discussed in connection with a later modular portion of the present inventive system, a raised ridge 78a, formed in the center of the thumb button 78, can be used to assist with the insertion or removal of an assembly including the base 14′ into or from a mating organizer system. More particularly, the thumb button correctly locates the thumb on the spring body 72, and while the thumb is depressing the spring body 72, the ridge 78a provides an opposing surface for the thumb when sliding the assembly into a mating body, whereupon release of the button causes the spring body 72 to engage a portion of the mating body, locking the assembly into the mating body. Further, when the thumb button 78 is depressed, the ridge 78a provides a gripping surface for the thumb to assist in sliding the assembly out of a mating body, whereupon release of the button 78 frees the spring body 72 from its contact with the bottom surface of the base portion 14′.

Although shown and described as preferably being incorporated into the base portion, please note that a key member, such as key member 70, may alternatively, and/or additionally, be incorporated on the cover portion, if desired.

Referring now to FIGS. 15-17, there is shown one particular embodiment of an elastic frame member 80 for supporting an individual photo storage assembly, such as photo storage assemblies 10 and 50. Elastic frame member or frame 80 is designed of an elastic material, such as an elastomer, plastic or polymer, to stretch so as to engage the corners of an individual photo storage assembly. More particularly, corner portions 82 at the ends of legs 84, each engage one corner of a photo storage assembly in accordance with the instant invention. Each corner assembly is formed as a pocket, so as to maintain the photo storage assembly therein. Once engaged with a photo storage assembly, the legs 84 stretch to lay flat against the base portion of the photo storage assembly, fitting like a sheath or skin to the back surface of the photo storage assembly. Centered between the legs 84 is a hub portion 86 from which the frame and assembly can be hung. For example, the hub portion 86 includes indents 86a, 86b, 86c and 86d in the cardinal compass points, so that the frame 80 can be hung in a desired orientation.

Additionally, as shown more particularly in FIG. 17, the frame member 80 can be made to include magnetic portions 88 affixed thereto or imbedded therein, to permit the frame and assembly to be mounted on a metal or otherwise magnetically compatible material, such as a refrigerator or dry-erase board. Such magnetic portions 88 can be made from magnets, such as ferro-magnetic materials or rare earth magnets, which can actually be enclosed within the legs 84 and/or mounted/affixed to the legs 84 using, for example, an adhesive or a friction fit within a molded holder portion located on the legs 84.

Additionally, referring now to FIGS. 45A and 45B, there are shown front and rear perspective views, respectively, of a desk accessory 500 for use with the modular photo storage assemblies, such as photo storage assemblies 10 and 50. The desk accessory 500 can be a molded piece, such as a molded plastic piece, designed to hold and display a photo storage assembly, such as photo storage assemblies 10 and 50. The desk accessory 500 includes an angled slot for receiving and maintaining a photo storage accessory in an upright position, i.e., so that a photograph stored in the cover portion thereof, can be viewed. Additionally, the desk accessory 500 can include other appropriate items mounted thereon, such as pencil and pen holders 520 and a clock 530. Alternately, or in addition to the accessories described, other accessories may be provided in the desk accessory 500, such as a paper clip receptacle and/or a tape dispenser.

Additionally, as previously stated, the above described photo storage assemblies 10 and 50 can be used as the basis (i.e., the basic unit or module) in a modular photograph storage system. For example, it is envisioned that a user of such a system will possess a plurality of individual photo storage assemblies 10 or 50. As such, the instant invention additionally provides a system for organizing a plurality of individual photo storage assemblies (i.e., the base modules). Further, the system for organizing can additionally be built upon in a modular fashion, by acquiring and accumulating modular organizational units, as well as, modular photo storage assemblies, such that the photo storage assemblies may be interchanged between the various modular organizational units.

More particularly, referring now to FIG. 18, there is shown a photo storage assembly organizer or cube 100 in accordance with one particular embodiment of the instant invention. A frame is provided in the form of a cube that can hold a plurality of individual photo storage assemblies 110, such as photo storage assemblies 10 and 50.

Further, the cube 100 is arranged to permit individual photo storage assemblies 110 to be slid into the cube 100. Openings in the corner brackets permit the photo storage assemblies 110 to be slid into a space on the face of the cube 100 from only one direction, thus being maintained in that space. Linear portions 104 of the cube 100 support the cube 100 while it is empty or only partially filled. Interlocking members on the linear portions 104 and corner brackets 102 permit the cube 100 to be assembled by the purchaser/end user.

Further, the cube 100 is, in one embodiment, mounted on a carousel (not shown), in order to permit the cube 100 to be easily rotated. In this embodiment, there are five faces of the cube 100 (i.e., the top and four sides) that can receive individual photo storage assemblies 110. As such, upon spinning the cube 100, five different photographic prints can be viewed (i.e., one print on the cover of each assembly 110).

Optionally, the carousel on the bottom face of the cube 100 can be replaced with a further space, such that a sixth photo storage assembly 110 can be placed therein. However, in such an embodiment, the cube 100 would need to be lifted from the table to view all of the images located on the covers of all of the assemblies 110.

In one embodiment of the cube 100, the corner brackets are placed and arranged to receive the assemblies 110 in alternating horizontal and vertical formats. Thus, in this embodiment, the assemblies 110 will alternate portrait and landscape orientations, around the side faces of the cube 100.

Referring now to FIG. 43, there is shown another embodiment of a photo storage assembly organizer or cube 100′ in accordance with one particular embodiment of the instant invention. A frame 400 is provided in the form of a cube that can hold a plurality of individual photo storage assemblies, such as photo storage assemblies 10 and 50. Each face 410 of the cube 100′ can be made of a unitary piece, so as to facilitate assembly of the cube 100′. Modular corner pieces 420 are used to maintain a plurality of the faces 410 in place. Additionally, as is described in connection with the cube 100 of FIG. 18, photo storage assemblies, such as photo storage assemblies 10 and 50, can be slid into place under the corner pieces 420 and over the faces 410, for display of a cover photograph of an assembly on each face 410. Like the cube 100, the cube 100′ can include a carousel 430, in place of its lower face 410, as shown, or alternately, the carousel 430 can be omitted.

Referring now to FIGS. 19-22, there is shown a number of embodiments of photo storage assembly organizers, in accordance with the instant invention. Referring more particularly to FIG. 19, there is shown a modular system 120 of organizers for organizing a plurality of photo storage assemblies, such as photo storage assemblies 10 and 50. The basic module of the organizer system of FIG. 19 is an elastomeric “sphere” 122 including indentations formed therein for receiving the corners of the photo storage assemblies 124. Although described as a “sphere” herein, it shall be noted that the devices referred to as “spheres” in this application are not true spheres, but are rounded or sphere-like devices. Contrary to the system of FIG. 18, the present system 120 does not require any underlying “frame” to support the structure. Rather, the structure of FIG. 19 is supported by the unique engagement of the spheres 122 and the assemblies 124.

Each “sphere” 122 has indentations for receiving a plurality of corners of the photo storage assemblies 10 and 50. In one preferred embodiment, the “sphere” 122 includes eight indentations 123, allowing each “sphere” 122 to be used in any orientation and, additionally, allowing the system 122 to be added onto in any direction.

As shown in FIGS. 19A and 19B, the spheres 122 are each engaged with two—four photo storage assemblies 124. This is not meant to be limiting, as additional structures can be built off of an existing structure, such as the structure shown in FIG. 19A, for example, at the corners. The spheres 122 can be provided individually or in groups. In use, a corner of a photo storage assembly 124 is snapped into an indentation 123. The elastomeric nature of the sphere 122 permits the indentation 123 to grasp and contain the corner in a friction fit. Structures can be built by engaging spheres 122 with assemblies 124 in stable configurations. Structures can be added upon simply by adding more assemblies 124 onto existing spheres 122, and further, by adding more spheres 122 and more assemblies 124.

For example, the system 120 of FIG. 19, show a two-story structure made up of assemblies 124. However, this is not meant to be limiting. If desired, a tower of spheres 122 and assemblies 124 can be formed, reaching multiple stories above those shown. Additionally, the structure can be further built outward, for example, at the diagonal corners of the existing structure. However, it is desirable to take some care that the view of the cover prints of assemblies 124 are not obstructed.

Referring now to FIGS. 20A and 20B, there is shown a modular system 130 of organizers for organizing a plurality of photo storage assemblies. The modular system 130 is similar in many respects to that shown and described in connection with FIGS. 19A and 19B. However, in the modular system 130 of FIGS. 20A and 20B, the elastomeric “spheres” 132 each include four “linear” indentations arranged to engage the edges of the photo storage assemblies in a friction fit, rather than the corners. Note that, four assemblies 134 can be assembled in a cube using four spheres 132. Additionally, a plurality of cubes of four assemblies 134 can be stacked, one on the another, as shown in FIGS. 20A and 20B, by adjoining the cubes to each other with spheres 132 connecting the top edges of one cube of assemblies 134 to the bottom edges of another cube of assemblies 134. As stated above, the structures in the system 130 can be added to either upward, or outward, by the addition of more assemblies 134 and/or more assemblies 134 and more spheres 132.

FIGS. 21A-21C show a modular system 140, wherein the connectors bend, thus permitting the creation of different shapes of structure, for example a pentagon or hexagon. More particularly, the elastomeric connectors 142 can be used at the corners and/or edges, as shown in FIGS. 21A and 21B. Additionally, by adding more assemblies 144 into the cube/loop, the connectors 142 are made to bend, and additional shapes of stable structures can be formed, as shown in FIG. 21C.

Referring now to FIGS. 22A and 22B, there is shown a modular system 150 using an elastomeric “domed” connector 152 to connect a plurality of assemblies 154. The connectors 152 stretch/bend to engage the corners or edges of the assemblies 154 in a friction fit. For example, the domed connectors 152 can be formed circumferentially around an elastomeric post, such that there is an open, annular region, in which the edges and/or corners of the assemblies 154 can be received. Alternatively, indentations, such as indentations 123, discussed in connection with FIGS. 19A and 19B, can be used.

The domed connectors 152 include, in the instant embodiment, one domed surface and an opposite, flat surface. Alternatively, the connectors 152 need not be domed, but could be flat on both faces. Additionally, the connectors 152 need not be circular, but could be square or rectangular in shape. In the instant embodiment, the connectors 152 include embedded therein, or affixed thereto, magnetic materials. As such, “two dimensional” arrays of photo storage assemblies can be built, using the modular connectors and modular assemblies of the instant invention, as each array is intended to be supported on a metallic, or other magnetically compatible, surface. For example, a large array of photo storage assemblies 154 can be placed on the door of a refrigerator.

In FIGS. 23A-23C, there is shown another modular system 160 for organizing photo storage assemblies 164, such as photo storage assemblies 10 and 50, in accordance with another embodiment of the instant invention. In the system 160, linear brackets are provided as the modular connector. As such, a single bracket 162 can be used to support as few as two assemblies 164 in a stable configuration. Additionally, further brackets 162 and assemblies 164 can be used to grow the structure, in either of the first or second dimensions.

Note that the same connector 162 can be used to connect either two assemblies 164 in a first dimension (as shown in FIGS. 23A and 23B) or four assemblies 164 in a second dimension (as shown in FIG. 23C). Adapting the length of the brackets 162 allows more assemblies to be stacked, i.e., by allowing a smaller number of brackets 162 to connect a larger number of assemblies 164. As such, if desired, modular brackets 162 can be sold in multiple sizes.

In operation, at least one edge of each photo storage assembly 164 is slid into a groove of a connector 162 to form an engagement therebetween. The modular brackets 162 of the instant embodiment can be elastomeric, or can be rigid, for example, hard plastic or metal extrusions. However, this is not meant to be limiting, as it can be seen that other materials, including wood, could be used to form the connectors 162. If the brackets 162 are elastic, for example, synthetic rubber, it can be seen how they could be bent to arrange for differently shaped structures in the same manner as is disclosed in connection with the connectors of FIGS. 23A-23C.

Additionally, differently shaped brackets can be used to form differently shaped structures. For example, referring to FIGS. 24A-24C, there is shown a connector 200 wherein the external angle of separation α between assembly receiving slots 200a and 200b is, preferably, 90°. As such, as shown in FIG. 24A, cubic arrangements of photo storage assemblies can be made.

Another embodiment of a modular bracket for use in a modular organizational system of the present invention is shown in FIGS. 25A-25C. More particularly, a bracket 210 is shown in which the preferred external angle β is 60°. Such an arrangement can be used to make the triangular structure of FIG. 25A, as well as the sawtooth arrangement of FIGS. 23A-23C.

Other shapes of modular brackets may additionally be used. For example in FIGS. 26A-26B there is shown another embodiment of modular bracket, wherein the external angle γ (i.e., the angle between receiving slots) is, preferably, 120°.

In all of the embodiments of FIGS. 19-23, it should be noted that the systems can be easily grown. Rather, purchase of individual modular accessories, such as the modular elastomeric connectors, modular brackets and modular photo storage assemblies, such as photo storage assemblies 10 and 50, described above, are all that is needed to creatively organize piles of photographic prints and other photographic materials using the photo storage assemblies and system of the present invention.

Referring now to FIGS. 27A and 27B, there is shown the design of a carousel organizer 170 for a plurality of photo storage assemblies, such as photo storage assemblies 10 and 50. Carousel organizer 170 is structured to securely hold one or many photo storage assemblies 174 in opposing slots 172. Additionally, the organizer is designed to rotate on its base 176, providing access to all of the photo storage assemblies 174 contained within the organizer 170.

In FIGS. 28A-28C, there is shown another organizer 180 for holding a plurality of photo storage assemblies 184, such as photo storage assemblies 10 and 50, in slotted drawers 182. Each drawer 182 can hold a plurality of photo storage accessories 184. Additionally, if labeled on the spine, for example, in indent 20 of FIG. 2 or indent 62 of FIG. 13, the contents of each individual photo storage assembly 184 can be identifiable to the viewer, without the need for removing the assembly 184 from the drawer 182. Further, the front panels of the drawers 182 can be clear, to permit viewing of the cover print of the first assembly 184 in each drawer 182.

FIGS. 29A-29C show another organizer 190 for holding a plurality of photo storage assemblies 194, such as photo storage assemblies 10 and 50, in slots 192 formed in the base of the organizer 190. The organizer 190 of the instant embodiment is made of bent metal coated with a self-adhesive rubber extrusion, which is used to grip the assemblies 194 in the slots 192. As with the storage drawers described above, if labeled on the spine, for example, in indent 20 of FIG. 2 or indent 62 of FIG. 13, the contents of each individual photo storage assembly 194 can be identifiable to the viewer, without the need for removing the assembly 194 from the organizer 190.

Referring now to FIG. 37-39, there is shown a frame assembly 200 adapted to receive a modular photo storage assembly 210, such as photo storage assemblies 10 and 50, or photo storage assemblies 10 and 50 including the alternate base portion 14′, such that the entire module (i.e., photo storage assembly) is inserted into the frame assembly 200. As can be seen more particularly in FIG. 39, the frame assembly 200 includes an opening 222 for receiving the photo storage assembly 210. In this arrangement, the cover print displayed on the inserted photo storage assembly 210 will become the print displayed in the frame 200.

Referring now to FIGS. 37-40, the frame assembly 200, and its interlocking engagement with the modular photo storage assembly 210, will now be described in greater detail. Note that, in the present preferred embodiment, the photo storage assembly 210 will be described as including the alternate base portion 14′, so as to provide a locking engagement with the frame assembly 200 and assistance in inserting and removing the assembly 210 (i.e., via the thumb button and raised ridge). However, it can be seen that a frame assembly in accordance with Applicants' invention, could, optionally, be used with the photo storage assemblies 10 and 50 by omitting the locking member on the frame assembly.

However, in the instant embodiment wherein the photo storage assembly 210 includes the base portion 14′ of FIG. 30, it can be seen from FIG. 38, that the frame assembly 200 includes a cut-out portion 230 for receiving a portion of the spring body 72 therethrough, and for providing access to the thumb button 78 and raised ridge 78a, to facilitate the insertion and removal of the assembly 210 into/from the frame assembly 210. Once fully inserted into the frame assembly 200, the spring body 72 engages an indent 240 (see, FIG. 40) formed in the base of the frame assembly 200, to lock the photo storage assembly 210 into place within the frame assembly 200. Depressing the thumb button 78 and pushing the raised ridge 78a toward the opening 222 in the frame assembly will release the lock formed between the frame assembly 200 and the spring body 72, while pushing the assembly 210 far enough out of the mouth of the frame assembly 200, so that it can be grasped and pulled the remainder of the way from the frame assembly 200.

Note that other forms of locking mechanism may be used in addition to, or in place of, the key member 70. For example, a knob may be included on the base portion of the frame assembly 200, such that the knob is graspable and turnable externally. The reverse portion of the knob can include a cam and finger portion that engages the photo assembly module such that, upon insertion, the finger engages a cutout (not shown) in the sidewall of a photo storage assembly, such as photo storage assemblies 10 and 50, thus, locking the photo storage assembly into the frame assembly 200. For example, the finger portion can be inserted into the edge of the photo storage assembly. A spring, such as a coil spring, can be used to normally maintain the finger in such a position to engage and mate with the photo storage assembly.

When it is desired to remove the photo storage assembly, the knob is rotated, opposing the normal bias of the spring, and disengaging the retaining finger from the photo storage assembly. Additionally, rotation of the knob brings a cam surface on the cam and finger portion into contact with one edge of the photo storage assembly and, with the rotation of the knob, the cam pushes the photo storage assembly outside of the frame assembly an amount sufficient for it to be grasped and removed.

The frame assembly 200 of the present embodiment includes a decorative flange 220, which provides a decorative border for the frame assembly 200. Note that the decorative flange can include molded decorations, painted decorations, etc., if desired. Additionally, if desired, the decorative flange can include an object, such as a clock (not shown) inset therein. Note that, the decorative flange 220 can be made to cover the entire border section 212 (see also, for example, border section 56 of FIG. 12), or may be smaller than the entire border section 212 (as shown in FIG. 37), wherein the border section 212 can provide the visual effect of a “matte” for the frame assembly 200. A stanchion 250 on the rear surface of the frame assembly 220 permits the support and attachment of a kickstand type support, not shown, which would connect to the frame by a post through a hole 255. Additionally, the bottom surfaces of the frame assembly 200 are curved (see, for example, FIG. 39) to permit the frame assembly 200 to sit flat on a flat surface, while making allowances for the stanchion 250 and connecting stand, while in the folded, unextended position. The curvature adds a further decorative appearance to the frame assembly 200.

Referring now to FIGS. 41A and 41B, there is shown a leg 300 rotatably attached to a stanchion, such as stanchion 250 of FIG. 38. A stand base 310 is fixed to the stanchion 250, and through the hole 255 of FIG. 38. Stand base 310 includes a hinged cover 320, connected to the remainder of the stand base 310 by the hinge 315. The cover 320 is molded at the end opposite the hinge 315 to form a finger tab 330. Raising the cover 320, using the finger tab 330, permits the stand base 310, and correspondingly the attached leg 300, to be rotated 90°, thus converting the frame between landscape and portrait orientations. Once the cover 320 is snapped closed, the stand base 310 is locked into the selected orientation until the base cover 320 is, again, opened.

Additionally as shown in FIGS. 41A-41B, the leg portion 300a is attached to the stand base 310 at a ratchet portion 345. The surface of the leg 300 that engages the ratchet portion 340 includes teeth 305 that engage teeth 340 on the ratchet portion 345. As such, pivoting of the leg 300 will adjust the frame angle (i.e., an angle of separation between the leg 300 and said frame assembly) when the leg 300 is in an unfolded position, while the interlocking of the teeth between the leg 300a and the ratchet portion 340 will maintain the leg 300a at the selected angle.

Referring now to FIG. 42, there is shown an exploded view of a photo storage and frame unit 350 in accordance with one particular embodiment of the present invention. Note that the instant unit 350 is not part of the modular system described above, but is rather, a stand-alone unit. The storage portion 360 forms a chamber in the base for storing photographic media, such as photographic prints, negatives, a memory card and/or a photodisc. A base card 365 is put into place over the photographic media, and a photographic print may be placed thereon. A lens 370 is placed over the print and an inner slide frame 375 is used to lock the assembly together. Optionally, an outer, decorative frame 380 can be placed over the inner frame 375. The outer frame 380 is held relative to the inner frame 375 by a snap ring 390.

Additionally, the unit 350 can include a stand 395, which can be the same or similar to that described in connection with FIG. 41.

Referring now to FIG. 44, there is shown a perspective view of another embodiment of a modular photo storage assembly 450 in accordance with one particular embodiment of the instant invention. The modular photo storage assembly 450 can be used as a modular building block in a photo storage system, wherein a plurality of such modular photo storage assemblies 450 can be stacked and/or otherwise connected. Each modular photo storage assembly 450 includes projections 460 and recesses 470. As can be seen, the projections 460 of one modular photo storage assembly 450 can be mated with the recesses 470 of another modular photo storage assembly 450, in order to stack a plurality of photo storage assemblies in an organized manner. Additionally, each photo storage assembly 450 can be opened to provide access to a chamber 480, in which photographic media can be placed.

Additionally, a window 485, through the cover of the assembly 450, permits the top photo of a stack of photos in the chamber 480 to be viewed. Alternatively, rails or a pocket may be provided in the cover portion of the assembly 450, to receive an individual photographic print, as is described in connection with the assemblies 10 and 50.

Referring now to FIGS. 46-48, there are shown three particular exemplary embodiments of memory card holders in accordance with another embodiment of the instant invention.

Referring to FIG. 46, there is shown a memory card holder 550 for receiving an individual memory card 560, such as an SD memory card. If desired, the holder 550 can be of a flexible material to retain the card 560 in a friction fit in a recess therein. Alternatively, a snapping arrangement can be used to mate with and retain the card 560 therein. A loop 570 can be used to fix the holder 550 to a ring or string.

Referring now to FIG. 47, there is shown a memory card holder 580 for retaining a plurality of memory cards 510, such as SD Memory cards produced by SecureDigital.

Referring now to FIG. 48, there is shown a card type storage device 600 for memory cards. In the instant embodiment, a card, about the size of a credit card, can receive memory cards, such as SD memory cards, in receptacles 610, therein. The receptacles include spring members 620 for receiving and retaining the memory cards therein, as well as providing a spring means for releasing the memory cards from the receptacle 610. The rear surface of the spring members 620 can be depressed from the back of the card 600 to push memory cards out of the receptacles 610. The card 600 is sized to be received in a credit card slot of a wallet or purse, thus providing portability and protection for the memory cards.

While the invention has been described with reference to certain embodiments, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes can be made and equivalents can be substituted for elements thereof without departing from the scope of the invention. In addition, many modifications can be made to adapt a particular situation or material to the teachings of the invention without departing from the essential scope thereof. Therefore, it is intended that the invention not be limited to the particular embodiment disclosed as the best mode contemplated for carrying out this invention, but that the invention will include all embodiments falling within the scope of the appended claims.