Title:
Quick release vent mounting clip
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A clip for an air vent louver attachment apparatus for portable electronic devices and the like, wherein the clip has an upper leg and a lower leg and a quick release lever attached to the lower leg for opening and closing the clip for insertion and removal onto a fin of the air vent louver.



Inventors:
Mo, Ka-wing (Temple City, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/717290
Publication Date:
09/18/2008
Filing Date:
03/12/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47B96/06
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
WUJCIAK, ALFRED J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP (Glendale, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A clip for a vehicle mounting apparatus comprising: an upper leg; a lower leg having a quick release lever; and a flexible web positioned between the upper and lower leg allowing the upper leg and the lower leg to expand relative to one another when a force is applied to the quick release lever.

2. The clip of claim 1, wherein the clip further includes counter-opposed hooks positioned on an end of each of the upper leg and lower leg.

3. The clip of claim 1, wherein the clip further has means positioned opposite the counter-opposed hooks for attachment of the clip to the vehicle mounting apparatus.

4. The clip of claim 1, wherein the means for attachment include a head portion and a reduced neck position opposite the counter-opposed hooks.

5. An attachment apparatus for electronic devices and the like in an interior of a vehicle comprising: a vertical plate having at least one attachment flange positioned on a front surface of the flange; and at least one clip comprising: an upper leg; a lower leg having a quick release lever; a flexible web positioned between the upper leg and the lower leg allowing the upper leg and the lower leg to expand away from each other when a force is applied to the quick release lever; and means for attaching the clip to the vertical plate.

6. The attachment apparatus of claim 5 further comprising a positioning leg attached to the vertical plate below the clip.

7. The attachment apparatus of claim 5, wherein there are two clips spaced apart from one another.

8. The attachment apparatus of claim 5, wherein the attachment means include a head portion on the clip and a reduced neck portion for placement within a slot extending through the vertical plate.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a mounting apparatus for a vehicle interior, and more particularly to an apparatus having a clip with a release lever for attaching the mounting apparatus to the air vent louvers of a vehicle.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The use of electronic devices in vehicles has increased in recent years. For example, such electronic devices can be global positioning satellite devices, portable telephones, radios and personal digital assistants, commonly known as PDAs, mounted within a vehicle either permanently or in a manner such that the device can be portable. The mounting or holding of these devices or other types of items, such as coffee cups or soda cans, has generated a number of attachment mechanisms. The various types of attachment mechanisms or mounting apparatuses include apparatus which are attached to the dashboard, floor or other support surface in a vehicle such that the electronic device or other apparatus can be viewed or accessed. Prior art mounting apparatuses typically are secured within the interior of the vehicle through the use of screws, bolts, rivets, velcro, putty, or other types of fasteners including clips or adhesives.

A disadvantage of such prior mounting devices within the vehicle is that the mounting devices cause damage to the surface to which it is mounted, such as by drilling holes for fasteners or adhesives remaining on the surface. A second problem associated with these prior art mounting devices is that it is difficult to remove or remount the apparatus at a different location within the vehicle. In order to change the location of the mounting apparatus within the vehicle, it must first be removed from its original location which may require a variety of tools to remove the fasteners used to secure the apparatus in its original location. Once removed, the apparatus to be removed to a new location, or reinserted, requires the time-consuming step of remounting the apparatus.

To address these problems, mounting apparatus were developed which included a clip as a component of the apparatus which attached to air vent louvers in the vehicle. These attachment apparatus incorporate clips which slide onto the air vent louvers. The problem with the current style of vent clips is that they are not easily removed, and again requires special tools to remove the clips from the air vent fins.

Therefore, a need exists for an electronic device, or the like, removable mounting apparatus for an air vent louver which addresses the problem with prior mounting devices and which is easy to install and remove without damaging the vehicle.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is an improved mounting apparatus which addresses the problems associated with prior mounting device designs. The attachment mechanism of the present invention incorporates a quick release vent-mounting clip which can be easily opened at its end for easier insertion and removal from an air vent fin. The clip incorporates an extended arm or quick release lever which when pressed, opens the ends of the clip so that they can be easily inserted and removed. The ends of the clip also incorporate two counter-opposed hooks that provide a more secure fit when the attachment mechanism is attached to the vent louver fin.

The present invention provides a mounting apparatus that causes no damage to the surface of the vehicle interior. The mounting apparatus of the present invention also allows for the insertion and removal of the attachment mechanism without the necessity of the use of tools.

Additional aspects of the invention, together with the advantages and novel features thereof, will be set forth in the following detailed description.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front view of a prior art mounting apparatus of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a side view of the mounting apparatus of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a mounting clip of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a side view of the mounting clip of FIG. 3 in a resting position; and

FIG. 5 is a side view of the mounting clip of FIG. 3 in an expanded position.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Prior art attachment mechanism 10 used in connection with attachment to an air vent louver of a vehicle interior is shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. Attachment mechanism 10 includes a vertical plate 12 having a flange 14 positioned on a front surface 16 for attachment of a portable electronic device or the like. Flange 14 is L-shaped having a web 18 positioned between the flange 14 and vertical plate 12. Attachment mechanism 10 further includes a rear leg 20 connected to plate 12 by a housing 22 extending from a rear surface 24 of the vertical plate. Rear leg 20 is connected to housing 22 by a rivet 26 or other suitable fastener and is used to support and adjust the angle of plate 12 with respect to the air vent louver.

Attachment apparatus 10 is connected to the air vent louver by a clip 28 also extending rearwardly from rear face 24 of vertical plate 12. Preferably, there are two clips 28 positioned on either side of the vertical plate 12. The clip is held to vertical plate 12 by a head portion 30 which extends through a slot 32 in vertical plate 12. A neck portion (not shown) is positioned between head 30 and the clip 28 which is held within slot 32. Slot 32 has an enlarged opening 34 for receipt of head 30 and sliding of the neck into slot 32. Clips 28 have a lower leg portion 36 having an angled surface 38 for engaging an individual fin in the air vent louver and guiding the clip onto the fin. An end 40 of the clip is L-shaped thereby providing a stop for receiving and capturing the rear edge of the fin within the clip. The attachment mechanism 10 is then securely held onto the fin of the air vent louver.

Removal of the attachment mechanism 10 from the air vent louver is a difficult and time-consuming task due to the design of the clip. A tool is required to be inserted into the louver to pry down the flexible leg 36 to remove the clip from the louver.

As shown in FIGS. 3-5, the present invention includes an improved clip 50 for easy insertion and removal of the attachment mechanism 10. The current invention substitutes clip 50 with prior clip 28. Clip 50 has an upper leg 52 and a lower leg 54 connected by an integral curved web portion 56. Web portion 56 is flexible. Lower leg 54 has a quick release lever 58 extending from an end portion thereby providing a surface such that when an upward force is applied to the lever, the upper and lower legs are spread from a resting position as shown in FIG. 4 and an expanded position shown in FIG. 5. When an upward force is applied to release lever 58, flexible web 56 allows for the spreading of the upper and lower legs 52 and 54. In the expanded position, the clips can be inserted into the louver and removed from the louver. In the resting position, shown in FIG. 4, the fin of the air vent louver is retained between the upper and lower legs. The upper and lower legs each include a hook 60 and 62, respectively, which forms a stop surface for retaining the edge of the fin of the air vent louver. As shown in FIG. 3, hooks 60 and 62 are counter opposed which provides a secure fit when the clip is attached to the fins.

Gripping surfaces 64 and 66 are positioned on the top surface of the upper leg 52 and on the lower surface of the quick release lever 58 to provide a gripping surface for the fingers of the user. In essence, during use the lever 58 is pinched upwardly towards the upper leg 52.

Similar to clips 28, clip 50 includes a head portion 68 and a neck portion 70 for connection of the clip to vertical plate 12. Head 68 is inserted into opening 34 and slid sideways capturing neck 70 in slot 32.

Although the present invention has been described and illustrated with respect to a preferred embodiment therefore, it is to be understood that changes and modifications can be made therein which do not depart from the scope of the present invention. For example, flexible web 56 could be substituted by a spring to allow upper and lower legs to move between the resting and expanded position.