Title:
Universal laptop computer case
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Universal computer case for a laptop computer, having an adjustable base plate and a press device. The base plate is bi-directionally adjustable in height and width to accommodate the dimensions of the laptop. The pressure device is adjustable to the thickness of the laptop, and applies pressure to the top of the laptop, to prevent it from rattling in the case and to absorb impact shock.



Inventors:
Tsang, Chun Chee (Kwai Fong, HK)
Luk, Fai Wing (Kowloon, HK)
Application Number:
11/649417
Publication Date:
07/10/2008
Filing Date:
01/04/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47B81/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CHU, KING M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Eaton Peabody PA (Portland, ME, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. Computer case comprising: a rigid outer case having an upper lid and a lower lid and a frame assembly mounted in said lower lid; wherein said frame assembly is adjustable in a height dimension and a width dimension, so as to accommodate the height and width dimensions of a laptop computer.

2. The computer case of claim 1, said frame assembly comprising a first adjustable slide assembly that is adjustable in width and a second adjustable slide assembly that is adjustable in height.

3. The computer case of claim 2, wherein said first adjustable slide assembly includes a width-adjustment slide with a latching device, slidably captured in a latch bracket.

4. The computer case of claim 3, wherein said latching device is a spring pawl and said latch bracket includes a series of notches for receiving and retaining said spring pawl.

5. The computer case of claim 3, wherein said width-adjustment slide includes a pair of slides, and wherein said pair of slides is mounted in said frame, a first slide opposite a second slide.

6. The computer case of claim 5, wherein said first slide and said second slide are actuatable independently of each other.

7. The computer case of claim 2, wherein said second adjustable slide assembly includes a height-adjustment slide with a latching device, slidably captured in a latch bracket, said height-adjustment slide mounted on a rail, and wherein said width-adjustment slide assembly has an outer end and said rail is attached to said width-adjustment slide assembly.

8. The computer case of claim 7, wherein said height-adjustment slide includes a pair of slides and a pair of rails, and wherein a first slide and a second slide of said pair of slides are actuatable independently of each other.

9. The computer case of claim 7, wherein said rail includes a corner retainer that is adaptable for receiving and retaining said laptop computer.

10. The computer case of claim 7, wherein said latching device is a spring pawl and said latch bracket includes a series of notches for receiving and retaining said spring pawl.

11. The computer case of claim 1 further comprising a press device mounted in said case and having a press slide captured in a slide track, wherein said press device, when moved to a pressure position, is adapted to apply pressure to said laptop so as to force said laptop against said frame when said computer case is closed.

12. The computer case of claim 10, said press device further comprising a biasing spring and a hinge, and a mounting panel, wherein said hinge hingedly couples said mounting panel and said slide track and said biasing spring biases said slide track to a home position, wherein said mounting panel is affixed to said an inner surface of said upper lid, and wherein said press slide is selectively latchable between a home position and a maximum depth position.

13. The computer case of claim 1, wherein said frame includes a base plate that forms a central portion of said frame and wherein said width-adjustment slide assembly is mounted on said base plate.

14. The computer case of claim 13, wherein said base plate is supported by a base-plate support mount that holds a lower surface of said base plate a distance above an inner surface of said lower lid.

Description:

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

1. Field of the Invention

The invention relates to the field of cases. More particularly, the invention relates to a size-adjustable case for a laptop computer.

2. Description of the Prior Art

Laptop computers are ubiquitous today. Many users carry their laptop in a special case, to protect it from impact shock and secure it from theft or unauthorized use. Laptop computers come in a wide variety of dimensions, thus, it is not unusual for a laptop user to have to get a new carry case, when she acquires a new laptop.

What is needed, therefore, is a universal laptop computer case that will accommodate the dimensions of conventional laptops. What is further needed is such a case that will securely hold the laptop computer in the case and prevent it from rattling or shifting in the case.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention is a universal computer case comprising a frame that is width and height adjustable, so as to accommodate the size of almost any laptop computer. The universal computer case according to the invention has an upper and a lower lid. The frame is attached to a base plate that is securely mounted in the lower lid. The frame has a width-adjustment slide assembly and a height-adjustment slide assembly. Corner retainers are provided on the corners of the frame for retaining a computer. These slide assemblies are adjusted to the size of the computer to be carried in the case and ideally so, that the computer fits within the corner retainers, without excess room. A press assembly is assembled in the upper lid, which allows the user to adjust a downward press slide. The press slide serves to hold the laptop computer securely against the frame, when the case is closed, and to prevent the computer from banging or rattling against the upper lid, when the universal computer case is carried in a vertical orientation.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention is described with reference to the accompanying drawings. In the drawings, like reference numbers indicate identical or functionally similar elements. The drawings are not drawn to scale.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the universal computer case according to the invention.

FIG. 2 is an enlarged view of the base plate.

FIG. 3 is a top planar view a portion of the height-and-width adjusting frame.

FIG. 4A is a cross-sectional view of the spring pawl.

FIG. 4B is a cross-sectional view of the latch mechanism.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the press device, disassociated from the upper lid for illustration purposes, with the slide track pulled away from the mounting panel.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the press device of FIG. 5, showing the slide track biased shut against the mounting panel.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of the press device of FIG. 5, showing the underside of the device, with the soft pressure end and the underside of the press slide.

FIG. 8 illustrates the raised and pressure positions of the press device.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention will now be described more fully in detail with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which the preferred embodiments of the invention are shown. This invention should not, however, be construed as limited to the embodiments set forth herein; rather, they are provided so that this disclosure will be complete and will fully convey the scope of the invention to those skilled in the art.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a universal computer case 1000 according to the invention. The universal computer case 1000 comprises a hard case 100, an adjustable base plate 200 that is placed within a lower lid 120, and a press device 300 mounted on the inner surface of an upper lid 130 of the hard case 100. FIG. 2 is an enlarged view of the base plate 200, which comprises a pad 210 securely and fixedly mounted the base plate 200. A height-and-width adjusting frame 220, which is adjustable in a width dimension W and a height dimension H, as indicated by the corresponding arrows in FIG. 2, is mounted on the pad 210. The frame 220 includes a width-adjustment slide assembly 250 and a height-adjustment slide assembly 230. The width-adjustment slide assembly 250 includes a width-adjustment slide 252 with a latching device 264; the height-adjustment slide assembly 230 includes a rail 234 with a slide mechanism 236 mounted thereon. In the embodiment shown, the width-adjustment slide assembly 250 includes a pair of slides 252 with latching device 262. The combination of the height-adjustment slide assembly 230 and the width-adjustment slide assembly 250 enables bi-directional adjustment of the frame 220, so as to accommodate the dimensions of various types and models of computers.

FIGS. 3, 4A, and 4B illustrate details of the height-and-width adjusting frame 220. The pad 210 is formed as a rigid plate and mounted in the lower lid 120. In the embodiment shown, the pad 210 has a series of holes, for the purpose of reducing the weight of the case. The width-adjustment slide assembly 250 includes a pair of slide assemblies 250A and 250B that are fixedly mounted on the pad 210. The width-adjustment slide assembly 250 includes a width-adjustment rail 256 with a latch mechanism 260. One embodiment of the latch mechanism 260, shown in FIGS. 4A and 4B, comprises a latch 262 that is captured in a latch bracket 264. The latch bracket 264 has a series of notches and the latch 262 is a spring pawl 262A that catches in one of the notches. Applying force to the latch 262 depresses the spring pawl 262A and releases it from a latched position. An ideal pressure point is identified in the embodiment shown with a visual and tactile cue 266. When the latch mechanism 260 is depressed, the width-adjustment rail 256 may be slid to another position in the latch bracket 264. In this way, the width of the height-and-width adjusting frame 220 is adjusted to accommodate the width of a computer to be stored in the universal computer case 1000. In the particular embodiment shown, the pad 210 is supported on pad supports 212, best seen in FIG. 2, that serve to raise the lower surface of the pad 210 slightly above the surface of the lower lid 120 to provide the necessary space to accommodate a pull-out handle (not shown) that is slidably recessed into the case. In cases without the pull-out handle, it may still be desirable to raise the pad 210 above the surface of the lower lid 120 to provide space for the spring pawl 262A, although raising the pad 210 is not a limiting feature of the invention.

The height-adjustment slide assembly 230 includes height-adjustment rails 234 that are slidably captured in a height-adjustment slide assembly 236, which is affixed to the width-adjustment rail 256 at junction 237. The height-adjustment slide assembly 236 comprises a latch assembly 238 that includes the same latch mechanism as described above, that is, it has a latch 262 and a spring pawl 262A that catches in a latch bracket 264. In the embodiment shown, the height-adjustment slide assembly 236 is a double-ended bracket, each end containing the latch bracket 264. The outer ends of the height-adjustment rails 234 are formed as corner retainers 232 for receiving the corners of the computer to be stored in the universal computer case 1000. The overall height of the frame 220 is adjustable by depressing the latch 262 and sliding the height-adjustment rail 234 at one or both ends of the height-adjustment slide assembly 230 to the desired position. An intermediate portion of the height-adjustment slide assembly 236 connects to an outer end 259 of the width-adjustment rail 256.

FIGS. 5, 6, and 7 illustrate the press device 300, which is used to apply a shock-absorbing pressure to the computer when the universal computer case 1000 is closed, to prevent the computer from rattling or bumping in the case. The figures show the press device, isolated from the universal computer case 1000, for purposes of illustration. The press device 300 is a clamshell device having a mounting panel 302 and a press slide 310 mounted on a slide track 320. The mounting panel 302 and press slide 310 are coupled to each other by means of a hinge 304.

FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional view of the upper lid 130 and illustrates the function of the press device 300. The mounting panel 302 is affixed to the inner surface of the upper lid 130, preferably where an upper lid wall 130A and an upper lid sidewall 130B come together. A biasing spring forces the slide track 320 upwards toward the mounting panel 302. The slide track 320 is in a raised position when the press slide 310 positioned at a first end 320A of the slide track 320. By raised position is meant, that the press slide 310 is in its uppermost position, relative to the base plate 200. Moving the press slide 310 up toward a second end 320B of the slide track 320 forces the slide track 320 into a steeper downward slant, to a pressure position. The undersurface of the slide track 320 has a buffer pad 330, which is preferably a shock-absorbing foam material that is adhesively affixed to the slide track. When in the pressure position, the buffer pad 330 presses against the computer stored in the universal computer case 1000. This prevents the laptop from rattling in the case and also serves to absorb impact forces.

It is understood that the scope of protection is not limited to certain types of materials used for the various features of the universal computer case 1000. In a preferred embodiment, the latch mechanism 260 and height-adjustment slide assembly 230 and width-adjustment slide assembly 250 are made of metal or metal-coated hard plastic. The pad 210 is ideally made of a rigid plastic material, as are the upper and lower lids of the hard case 100. The universal computer case 1000 may include additional features, such as recessible or pull-out handles, storage frames for storing CDs or memory sticks, etc., and padding on the inner surfaces of the hard case 100.

It is understood that the embodiments described herein are merely illustrative of the present invention. Variations in the construction of the universal computer case may be contemplated by one skilled in the art without limiting the intended scope of the invention herein disclosed and as defined by the following claims.