Title:
CARRYING CASE FOR ELONGATED ARTICLES
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
According to an embodiment of the invention, a carrying case for elongated articles comprises: a housing having a rear panel, a front panel, two side panels, and a bottom panel, all panels interconnected to each other to form a cavity; a flap for closing the housing from a top portion of the case; and locks for fastening the flap to the housing in a closed position; wherein at least one of the rear, front or side panels and at least a portion of the bottom panel each comprise at least two parts spaced apart to thereby form an opening extending across substantially an entire length of the at least one panel and across at least a portion of the bottom panel, and wherein the elongated articles have longitudinal axes that are substantially horizontal while carried in the case.



Inventors:
Gnatenko, Vitaliy I. (Kyiv, UA)
Application Number:
11/744088
Publication Date:
06/19/2008
Filing Date:
05/03/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A45C15/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
QUEST, DENE JASON
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KNOBBE MARTENS OLSON & BEAR LLP (IRVINE, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A carrying case for elongated articles, the case comprising: a housing having a rear panel, a front panel, two side panels, and a bottom panel, all panels interconnected to each other to form a cavity; a flap for closing the housing from a top portion of the case; and locks for fastening the flap to the housing in a closed position; wherein at least one of the rear, front or side panels and at least a portion of the bottom panel each comprise at least two parts spaced apart to thereby form an opening extending across substantially an entire length of the at least one panel and across at least a portion of the bottom panel, and wherein the elongated articles have longitudinal axes that are substantially horizontal while carried in the case.

2. The case of claim 1, wherein the panel with the opening is the front panel.

3. The case of claim 2, wherein the locks for fastening the flap to the housing are provided on each part of the front panel spaced apart by the opening, and on portions of the flap that overlie the locks on the front panel when the flap is in its closed position.

4. The case of claim 1, wherein the width of the opening is such that at least one finger of a user fits in the opening.

5. The case of claim 1, wherein the opening extends across substantially an entire width of the bottom panel.

6. The case of claim 1 wherein the elongated articles comprise hand-held devices.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to Ukraine Patent Application 2006 13413, filed on Dec. 18, 2006.

BACKGROUND

1. Field

Embodiments of the present invention relate to carrying cases for various elongated articles, and cases that are configured to retain the articles so that their longitudinal axes are substantially horizontal while the user carries them and that allow the user to frequently take such articles from the case.

2. Description of the Related Technology

Conventional cases for carrying elongated articles comprise a housing having a rear panel, a front panel, side panels, and a bottom panel all interconnected to each other, a flap for closing the housing from a top portion of the case, and locks for fastening the flap to the housing in its closed position. Moreover, they typically comprise a means for securing the articles to a user's piece of clothing, e.g., to the user's waistband. The whole article is retained within such housing.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,612,432 B2 discloses a carrying case, which also comprises a housing having a rear panel, front panel, side panels, and a bottom panel all interconnected to each other, a flap for closing the housing from above and locks for fastening the flap to the housing in its closed position. To facilitate extracting the article from the case, the case is designed such that the article is found extending outside of the upper end of the body portion of the case and the user takes the article out of the case by holding the upper part of the article.

There is a disadvantage to conventional cases for carrying elongated articles residing in the fact that in order to extract the article, e.g., a cellular phone, the user has to insert her or his fingers between the cellular phone and the front and/or rear panels of the case. The disadvantage is most pronounced when the user wears gloves. To offset this disadvantage, the cases are sometimes made larger than the article to be carried therein so as to provide ample space between the panels and the article. However, this results in an undesirable enlargement of outer dimensions of the case and in an equally undesirable jiggling movement of the article within the housing while being carried so that rapid wear of the article is brought about.

However, taking elongated articles, whose longitudinal axes are substantially horizontal, out of such a case is inconvenient because of a relatively great extent between the opposite, shorter sides of the article to take hold of them. Sometimes the bottom panel of a carrying case is provided with a hole, through which the user lifts the article above the bottom panel with a finger of his/her one hand and takes hold of the upper part of the article with the other hand. As a rule, such cases are adapted for an article of a specific design, such as a cellular phone, mobile computer, etc., and the versatility of such cases gets impaired. The cases with bottom holes present difficulties because the person in taking the articles out of the case must either use both hands or possess certain skills in order to cope with the task. The task is not always easy to cope with, especially for those with decreased mobility of their hands, such as elderly people.

Improvements to cases for carrying elongated articles are desired.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to an embodiment of the invention, a carrying case for elongated articles comprises: a housing having a rear panel, a front panel, two side panels, and a bottom panel, all panels interconnected to each other to form a cavity; a flap for closing the housing from a top portion of the case; and locks for fastening the flap to the housing in a closed position; wherein at least one of the rear, front or side panels and at least a portion of the bottom panel each comprise at least two parts spaced apart to thereby form an opening extending across substantially an entire length of the at least one panel and across at least a portion of the bottom panel, and wherein the elongated articles have longitudinal axes that are substantially horizontal while carried in the case.

According to an embodiment, the panel with the opening is the front panel.

According to an embodiment, the locks for fastening the flap to the housing are provided on each part of the front panel spaced apart by the opening, and on portions of the flap that overlie the locks on the front panel when the flap is in its closed position.

According to an embodiment, the width of the opening is such that at least one finger of a user fits in the opening.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows a carrying case with its closure flap open according to an embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

According to an embodiment of the invention as shown in FIG. 1, a carrying case comprises a housing 1 having a rear panel 2, front panel 3, and side panels 4, and a bottom panel 5 all interconnected to each other, and a flap 6 for closing the housing from a top portion of the case. According to an embodiment, the flap constitutes one piece with the rear panel 2. The flap 6 can be manufactured from either soft or rigid material. An elongated article, e.g. a cellular phone (not shown), can be arranged in the housing with its longitudinal side oriented along the front panel 3 and rear panel 2. Other examples of elongated articles include things that users generally carry with them, such as mobile phones, pocket computers, pagers as well as other articles comparable to the aforementioned in size and shape, for example, eyeglasses, penknives, etc.

On the outer side of the rear panel 2, there may be a means for fastening the case to the user's garments, for example, a clip for attaching the case to the belt of the wearer (not shown).

There is an opening 7 extending from the upper edge 8 on the front panel 3 and across the front panel 3, preferably across its central portion, farther across the bottom panel 5 thus dividing the front panel 3 and the bottom panel 5 into the left-hand part 9 and the right-hand part 10 of the front panel 3, and also into the left-hand part 11 and the right-hand part 12 of the bottom panel 5.

If the front panel 3 is provided with an opening extending across substantially all of a portion of the front panel 3 such as across its entire length, the same opening can be extended either across substantially all of a portion of the bottom panel such as across its entire width (shown defined by a solid line) or across a part thereof (shown defined by a dotted line). This alternative makes it possible to provide the proper carrying case for a specific article as well as sufficient rigidity of the case housing (the greater the opening in the bottom panel, the lesser the rigidity of the case housing, all other things being equal).

The opening is defined by edges 13 and 14 in the front panel 3 and the bottom panel 5, respectively. The edges can run in parallel directions or at an angle to one another, or they can take either upright or inclined position. The edges can also be rectilinear, curvilinear or any other shape depending on the article's shape and on the convenience desired in taking the article out of the case.

According to an embodiment, it may be desirable for further convenience to have more openings, for example, two openings. In the illustrated embodiment, the opening extends across substantially all of a portion of the front panel and substantially all of a portion of the bottom panel. The opening, however, can extend across the whole of one of the two side panels and the bottom panel, or across the front and rear panels and the bottom panel, and so on. All the variation depend on the design of the article to be carried and on convenience requirements in taking the article out of the case.

The opening 7 can be as wide (the minimal spacing of the edges 13 in the front panel 3 and the edges 14 in the bottom panel 5) as to allow at least one finger of a user to fit loosely therein. The width of the opening 7 in the bottom panel 5 cannot be greater than the width of the article to be carried.

The case housing 1 can be manufactured from either rigid or soft materials depending on the article's properties. To increase rigidity of the housing 1, the rear panel 2, front panel 3, and bottom panel 5 can be made from, e.g., plastics, or metal, or be supplied with a rigid inner framework. To enhance safety of the article, the inner surfaces of the housing can be lined with a soft material, for example, soft foam plastics.

The carrying case is provided with a left-hand lock having members 15 and 16 on the left-hand part of the flap 6 and on left-hand part 9 of the front panel 3 respectively. There is a right-hand lock having members 17 and 18 on the right-hand part of the flap 6 and on right-hand part 10 of the front panel 3 respectively. According to an embodiment, the locks may be conventional magnetic clasps where the members 15, 16, and 17, 18 are permanent magnets. Other lock types can also be used according to other embodiments, such as Velcro-type attachment parts, interconnecting elements consisting of hooks and loops, and various other locks.

The article to be carried, e.g., a cellular phone, can be placed into the case as follows. First, the flap 6 is raised and the phone held by the thumb and a finger is lowered so that its longitudinal sides are oriented in parallel with the bottom panel 5 or the rear panel 2 and the front panel 3. In doing this, the fingers and the thumb freely enter the opening 7 and the article is left to be retained in the case. Then, the members 15, 16 of the left-hand lock and the members 17, 18 of the right-hand lock are locked together either alternately or simultaneously to fix the flap 6 on the left-hand part 9 and the right-hand part 10 of the front panel 3 and thus provide for sufficient rigidity of the housing 1 while in use, despite the fact that the front panel 3 and the bottom panel 5 are divided by the opening 7 into parts. Thus, to place the article into the case, the user does not need to place his or her fingers into the case. Accordingly, embodiments of the invention provide a handy way of placing the article into the case.

To take the article, e.g., a cellular phone, out of the case, the flap 6 is raised following unlocking of the members 15, 16, 17, and 18, and the article is held in its central portion, for example, by the thumb and index, which were placed into the opening 7. Then, the user can raise the phone and take it out of the case. In doing this, the user can hold the phone in its central portion by the thumb and index (or by any other finger) given the opening 7 in the front panel 3 and the bottom panel 6. This provides a handy way of taking the phone since there is no need to push the fingers into the narrow space between the housing and the article. Moreover, since embodiments of the invention allow a user to hold the article in its central portion, convenience is provided by enabling the user to take the article out of the case without the use of the other hand.

Thus, a carrying case according to embodiments of the invention for elongated articles, whose longitudinal axes are substantially horizontal, provides convenience in taking the articles out of the case and place them back into the case without the need to push the fingers into the narrow space between the housing and the article, or without the use of the other hand.

The present invention is not limited to the disclosed embodiment and the departures may be made therefrom within the scope of the invention as defined in the claims.