Title:
LUGGAGE HANDLE IDENTIFIER
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A luggage handle identifier attachment has a panel adapted to be releasably secured around a luggage handle with the panel including an attachment portion having first and second fastener elements that fasten to each other. The panel further includes a pair of axial slits formed therein, each slit having a length, and the slits spaced apart by a first distance. The identifier attachment further includes a band, the band having a width less than the length of the axial slits and a band length greater than the first distance between the slits and the band having a band fastener for releasably securing the band to the panel and through the slits.



Inventors:
Geier, William F. (White Stone, VA, US)
Application Number:
11/680765
Publication Date:
09/04/2008
Filing Date:
03/01/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
40/6
International Classes:
A45F5/10; A45C13/00; B65D65/02
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20070158156Travel case with desk topJuly, 2007Chen
20100072011Trolley-style suitcase having a reversibly deployable seatMarch, 2010Gray
20030019705Luggage case with reinforcing structureJanuary, 2003Lau
20050126872Convertible luggageJune, 2005Dror
20030042091Luggage with container holderMarch, 2003Oh
20070044877Carry bag modular organizer systemMarch, 2007Davidoff et al.
20080308370Push-pull wheeled luggage with swingable rear wheels and at least one fixed front wheelDecember, 2008Chung et al.
20080210506LUGGAGE HANDLE IDENTIFIERSeptember, 2008Geier
20040232186Backpack with umbrella supportNovember, 2004Huang et al.
20030066724Luggage foot adjustable in heightApril, 2003Chen
20100059323Luggage system for simultaneous transporting of attached luggage piecesMarch, 2010Marji



Primary Examiner:
COLLADO, CYNTHIA FRANCISCA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
John H. Thomas (Richmond, VA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A luggage handle identifier attachment comprising: a panel adapted to be releasably secured around a luggage handle, the panel comprising an attachment portion having first and second fastener elements that fasten to each other; the panel further comprising a pair of axial slits formed therein, each slit having a length, and the slits spaced apart by a first distance; the identifier attachment further comprising a band, the band having a width less than the length of the axial slits and a band length greater than the first distance between the slits; the band comprising a band fastener for releasably securing the band to the panel and through the slits.

2. The luggage handle identifier attachment identified in claim 1, wherein the panel further comprises a plurality of pairs of axial slits formed therein, each slit having a length, and each pair of slits spaced apart by a first distance; the identifier attachment further comprising a plurality of bands corresponding in number to the plurality of pairs of axial slits, each band having a width less than the length of the axial slits and a band length greater than the first distance between the slits; each band comprising a band fastener for releasably securing each band to the panel and through each respective pair of slits.

3. The luggage handle identifier attachment identified in claim 2, wherein each band length is greater than two times the first distance between each pair of slits, and wherein each band is fastened to itself and looped through a respective pair of slits to secure each band to the panel.

4. The luggage handle identifier attachment identified in claim 2, wherein each band is comprised of different colored segments.

5. The luggage handle identifier attachment identified in claim 2, wherein each band has a color that is a different color from the other bands.

6. The luggage handle identifier attachment identified in claim 2, wherein one of the bands comprises written indicia.

7. The luggage handle identifier attachment identified in claim 1, wherein the panel is substantially rectangular in shape, and the panel is adapted to wrap around a luggage handle and fasten to itself by way of the first and second fastener elements of the attachment portion of the panel.

8. The luggage handle identifier attachment identified in claim 2, wherein the panel is substantially rectangular in shape, and the panel is adapted to wrap around a luggage handle and fasten to itself by way of the first and second fastener elements of the attachment portion of the panel.

9. The luggage handle identifier attachment identified in claim 1, wherein the attachment portion of the panel comprises a pair of extension flaps, and the first and second fasteners are configured on the respective flaps, whereby the flaps wrap around the luggage handle and are fastened to each other.

10. The luggage handle identifier attachment identified in claim 2, wherein the attachment portion of the panel comprises a pair of extension flaps, and the first and second fasteners are configured on the respective flaps, whereby the flaps wrap around the luggage handle and are fastened to each other.

11. The luggage handle identifier attachment identified in claim 4, further comprising means to releasably secure the bands to the panel, whereby a desired combination of colors may be visible on the panel.

12. A luggage handle comprising: a panel comprising a pair of axial slits formed therein, each slit having a length, and the slits spaced apart by a first distance; a band having a width less than the length of the axial slits and a band length greater than the first distance between the slits; the band comprising a band fastener for releasably securing the band to the panel and through the slits.

13. The luggage handle identified in claim 12, wherein the panel further comprises a plurality of pairs of axial slits formed therein, each slit having a length, and each pair of slits spaced apart by a first distance; the handle further comprising a plurality of bands corresponding in number to the plurality of pairs of axial slits, each band having a width less than the length of the axial slits and a band length greater than the first distance between the slits; each band comprising a band fastener for releasably securing each band to the panel and through each respective pair of slits.

14. The luggage handle identified in claim 13, wherein each band length is greater than two times the first distance between each pair of slits, and wherein each band is fastened to itself and looped through a respective pair of slits to secure each band to the panel.

15. The luggage handle identified in claim 13, wherein each band is comprised of different colored segments.

16. The luggage handle identified in claim 13, wherein each band has a color that is a different color from the other bands.

17. The luggage handle identified in claim 13, wherein one of the bands comprises written indicia.

18. The luggage handle identified in claim 15, further comprising means to releasably secure the bands to the panel, whereby a desired combination of colors may be visible on the panel.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to luggage identifiers. Specifically the luggage identifiers are handles or handle attachments used to facilitate the identification of luggage from a distance such as when the luggage is on a carousel in an airport.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

There has been a long standing problem of identifying luggage from a distance such as when in the claim area of an airport. Heretofore, various highly visible tags and covers have been marketed to facilitate baggage identification. The limitation of these devices is that if they are marketed in quantity then they can no longer serve their purpose, because in quantity they no longer have their unique nature which is necessary for the purpose for which they were used. In other words, once a tag of a particular visual nature, such as a bright color and a particular shape, is used on a number of pieces of luggage, it is no longer a unique identifier for the luggage. Small tags with the written name of the owner serve to uniquely identify the luggage, however they are not visible from a distance. There has been a long felt need for a luggage identification means that is both highly visible and can be configured by the consumer so that it will have a unique appearance.

Accordingly, the present invention provides a means of identifying luggage from a distance while also being constructed in such a way that it can be configured by the consumer so that it is unique in its visual appearance.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with an example of the present invention, a luggage tag in the form of a luggage handle identifier attachment comprises a panel to be installed on the handle of the luggage. The panel has a plurality of pairs of longitudinal slits through which bands are passed such that the bands are visible from the top of the handle. The bands may have highly visible characteristics such as bright colors, large characters printed upon them, or similar identifiers. The bands may be interchanged by the consumer to provide a unique pattern. The bands may be multicolored and may be rotated to expose different surfaces of the band having different visual characteristics.

In one example, a luggage handle identifier attachment comprises a panel adapted to be releasably secured around a baggage handle. The panel comprises an attachment portion having first and second fastener elements that fasten to each other. The panel further comprises a pair of axial slits formed therein, each slit having a length, and the slits spaced apart by a first distance. The identifier attachment further comprises a band, the band having a width less than the length of axial slits and a band length greater than the first distance between the slits. The band comprises a band fastener for releasably securing the band to the panel and through the slits. The panel may comprise a plurality of pairs of axial slits and a plurality of bands corresponding in number to the plurality of pairs of axial slits. The bands may be comprised of different colored segments. One of more of the bands may comprise written indicia.

In an alternative example, a luggage handle comprises a panel comprising a pair of axial slits formed therein, each slit having a length, and the slits spaced apart by a first distance. A band having a width less than the length of the axial slits and a band length greater than the first distance between the slits. The band comprises a band fastener for releasably securing the band to the panel and through the slits. The luggage handle may further include a panel having a plurality of pairs of axial slits formed therein and a plurality of bands corresponding in number to the plurality of pairs of axial slits. The bands may have different colored segments. Further, the bands may comprise written indicia thereon.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of one example of a luggage handle identifier attachment with three bands installed through slits in the panel.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a removable band.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a band that could be permanently installed in a handle or a handle attachment.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of another example of a luggage handle attachment.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a luggage handle identifier.

FIGS. 6 and 7 are perspective views of locking mechanisms to releasably secure bands on the attachment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The present invention is a luggage accessory that may be mounted on the handle of any piece of luggage. Alternatively, the invention may be incorporated and installed in the original manufacture of a luggage handle. The invention embodies a luggage handle identifier, whether an attachment or a permanent fixture, and includes a distinctive band or bands that are changeable by the luggage owner to create a unique identifier for the luggage. In the example of the use of multiple bands, then each band can be a different color. Alternatively, each band can have multiple colored segments, and the user can manipulate the bands to expose a special color or color combination that is uniquely identifiable. Still further, the bands may incorporate distinctive indicia displayed on them to further personalize the handle or handle attachment.

The following examples discuss the invention in terms of specific embodiments. The present invention, of course, is not limited to these specific examples. Those of skill in the art will be familiar with additional ways of designing the invention and incorporating it into or onto a luggage handle.

FIG. 1 is an example of the invention wherein the luggage handle identifier is an attachment that can be installed around the handle of the luggage by the consumer. The luggage handle identifier is comprised of a panel 1 fashioned from a flexible material such as fabric or vinyl. In FIG. 1, the panel 1 is curled into an approximate cylinder as it would be when wrapped around a luggage handle (not shown). The two facing surfaces 2 and 3 bordered by two axial edges 4 and 5 have first and second fastening elements (not shown). Examples of fastening elements are hook and loop fasteners, adhesive strips, snaps, or the like. The panel 1 has a plurality of pairs of axial slits 9 and 10. The slits 9 and 10 of each pair are approximately diametrically opposed when the panel 1 is wrapped into an approximate cylinder as shown. Three pairs of slits are shown in FIG. 1. Bands 6 are shown passing through slits 9 and 10. The bands 6 have a distinctive visual appearance so as to give the luggage handle cover a unique visual appearance.

As shown in FIG. 1, the slits 9 and 10 have a generally uniform slit width 11. It is possible for the slit width 11 to vary between the three pairs of slits shown. Stated another way, one pair of slits 9 and 10 maybe wider or have a greater slit width 11 than the other pairs of slit widths. As shown, the slits 9 and 10 are also separated by a first distance 12 between the slits. In the example shown, the slits are approximately diametrically opposed. The distance 12 between the slits 9 and 10 may vary in order to differentiate the amount of band 6 that is exposed when the band 6 is inserted into the pair of slits.

FIG. 2 illustrates a removable band 6 that may be installed in the panel 1 of the handle identifier attachment. In a similar manner to the fasteners of the panel 1, this band 6 has band fasteners near the ends 20 and 21 of the band. The surface 22 of the band has a distinctive highly visible characteristic such as a bright color, large alpha characters to form initials, logos, or the like. The band 6 is installed on the panel 1 of FIG. 1 by passing the ends of band 6 through the slits 9 and 10 of the panel 1 of FIG. 1. By selecting among various bands made available with the luggage handle cover, the user can assemble a unique pattern for the luggage handle identifier attachment.

To use the preferred embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1, the consumer selects bands provided with the luggage handle attachment and installs each band in the panel 1 by passing the ends of each band through the slits 9 and 10 and engages the fasteners on the underside of the jacket. The consumer then wraps the handle cover around the handle and engages the fasteners of the jacket on the underside of the luggage handle.

FIG. 3 illustrates a band that is installed in the panel 1 at the time of manufacture. This band has a distinctive highly visible characteristic on the top surface 31 and a different distinctive highly visible characteristic on the bottom surface 32, hidden from view in FIG. 3. This band is made as a continuous loop installed in the panel 1 at the time of manufacture. This band may be rotated about its axis to expose either surface 31 or 32 on the top thereby permitting the user to select the particular visual characteristic the user wishes to expose to view.

The bands 6 and 31 shown in FIGS. 2 and 3 each have specific widths 23 and 32 respectively. These widths are less than the length of the axial slits into which the bands will be inserted. The lengths 23 and 32 of the bands 6 and 31 may vary depending on the amount of the band that is desired to be visible. For instance, when only a single or two of the bands may be incorporated in a handle, the bands may be relatively wider than bands that may be used when, for instance, 3 or more bands are incorporated into a luggage handle. Further, as indicated with respect to the slit lengths discussed earlier, the bands that may be incorporated into a handle may have different widths. In this way, a unique design of colors in combination with relative sizes of the widths may be used. Finally, it is possible that the panel portion of the luggage handle or the luggage handle attachment has a pair of relatively long axial slits therein. In that example, multiple bands may be inserted through the single pair of slits.

The bands of the present invention, for instance, as shown as band 6 or band 31, may have multiple segments with each segment being a different color. For instance, in FIG. 2, the band 6 includes segments 24, 25 and 26. Each of these segments 24, 25 and 26 may have a different color or, alternatively, display visual indicia that allows a user to rotate the band 6 in the slits to expose a desired segment of the band.

With respect to the length of a band, as shown in FIG. 2, the length of the band 6 is the length from one of ends 20 and 21 to the other end. In the embodiment of the circular band 31 shown in FIG. 3, the length of the band is equal to the circumference of the loop formed by the band. Preferably, the length of the band is at least twice or greater the distance between the axial slits so that the band may connect to itself. Shorter bands may be used, but they must connect directly to the panel by way of fastener systems known to those of skill in the art.

Turning now to FIG. 4, there is shown a luggage handle attachment 40. The attachment 40 includes a panel 41 and extension flaps 42. This attachment 40 is simply an alternative construction to the attachment 1 shown in FIG. 1. The extension flaps 42 include fasteners 44 that are adapted to wrap around a luggage handle and secure to each other In this example of the attachment 40, there are three pairs of axial slits 46 and 48. Each of the pairs of slits is substantially similar in length. A band 50 is mounted by feeding the band through the slits 46 and 48.

FIG. 5 is a still further example of the present invention. In this example, a luggage handle 60 has bands 65, 69 and 73 integrally mounted therein The handle 60 includes a panel 61 having three pairs of axial slits 62 and 64, 66 and 68, and 70 and 72. Each of the foregoing pairs of axial slits has a different length relative to the other pairs. Mounted in each pair of axial slits is a band 65, 69 and 73, respectively. These bands have different widths that correspond generally to the lengths of the respective axial slits. In this example, the handle 60 includes the identifier components integrally mounted therein as compared with the attachments shown in the earlier examples. The bands may be different color, multicolored and bear indicia as discussed herein.

Each of the foregoing examples may further incorporate an anchor that allows the user to changeably fix the combination of colors and/or indicia that appear on the band or bands described herein. For instance, if a user were to select a three-band combination of colors as red, white and blue, then the user could rotate the multi-segmented bands around to display those desired colors. The anchor then releasably fixes those particular exposed segments so that the displayed colors or designs will remain visible. The anchor may be a hook and loop type fastener on the back of a panel. Alternatively, a removable rod may interact with additional loop means or other attachments on the back of the bands in order to releasably lock those bands in place.

FIGS. 6 and 7 show examples of locking mechanisms that releasably secure bands relative to a panel of an identifier attachment. In FIG. 6, the bands 80 each have notches 82 on opposite sides of the bands and generally between the segments 84 and 86 of the band. The panel 88 is generally the same as the panel shown in FIG. 1. The notches 82 line up with the slits 83 creating an interference fit that results in a soft lock. If a user wants to advance the band 80, then they simply apply rotating pressure manually.

In FIG. 7, the panel 90 is like the one described in FIG. 1. Slits 92 allow for bands 94 to be inserted through. The panel 90 further is made of friction pads 96 inside and adjacent the slits 92 that are adapted to press against the bands 94. The friction pads 96 create a friction fit between the bands 94 and the panel 90. The friction fit is tight enough to releasably secure the bands 94 but still loose enough to allow manual rotation of the bands in the slits 92.

This invention is susceptible to considerable variation in its practice. Therefore the foregoing description is not intended to limit, and should not be construed as limiting, the invention to the particular exemplifications presented hereinabove. Rather, what is intended to be covered is as set forth in the ensuing claims and the equivalents thereof permitted as a matter of law.