Title:
Roll-On Protective Covers for Hand-Held Consumer Electronic Devices
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
According to various aspects of the present disclosure, exemplary embodiments are provided of covers for hand-held consumer electronic devices. In one particular embodiment, a roll-on cover generally includes elastomeric material configured to be unrolled to snugly fit over and conform to an outer surface portion of a hand-held consumer electronic device.



Inventors:
Noonan, Mark (New Canaan, CT, US)
Application Number:
12/122363
Publication Date:
11/20/2008
Filing Date:
05/16/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D65/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
DESAI, KAUSHIKKUMAR A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Harness Dickey (St. Louis) (St. Louis, MO, US)
Claims:
1. A roll-on cover for a hand-held consumer electronic device, the roll-on cover comprising: a lip defining an opening; and an elastomeric material configured to be unrolled from the lip and to snugly fit over and conform to an outer surface portion of a hand-held consumer electronic device received through the opening defined by the lip.

2. The roll-on cover of claim 1, wherein the elastomeric material comprises thermoplastic rubber or thermoplastic resin.

3. The roll-on cover of claim 1, wherein the elastomeric material comprises hydrogenated styrened isoprene/butadiene block copolymer.

4. The roll-on cover of claim 1, wherein the elastomeric material includes at least one of an outer non-slippery surface and an inner non-slipper surface.

5. The roll-on cover of claim 1, wherein the elastomeric material is transparent or translucent.

6. The roll-on cover of claim 1, wherein the elastomeric material is configured to be unrolled from the lip and snugly fit over at least one ear bud associated with the hand-held consumer electronic device.

7. The roll-on cover of claim 6, wherein the elastomeric material is configured to be disposed over and retain the at least one ear bud against the hand-held consumer electronic device.

8. The roll-on cover of claim 6, wherein the elastomeric material is configured to be unrolled from the lip and to snugly fit over at least one ear bud and wiring wrapped generally about the hand-held consumer electronic device.

9. The roll-on cover of claim 1, wherein the elastomeric material is configured to be unrolled from the lip such that: a first portion of the elastomeric material snugly fits over and conforms to the outer surface portion of the hand-held consumer electronic device received through the opening defined by the lip; and a second portion of the elastomeric material overlaps the first portion, and snugly fits over at least one ear bud such that the at least one ear bud is disposed generally between the first and second portions of the elastomeric material.

10. The roll-on cover of claim 1, wherein the elastomeric material is configured to be rolled at least partially back onto the lip to uncover at least a portion of the hand-held consumer electronic device.

11. The roll-on cover of claim 1, wherein: the opening defined by the lip is generally oval shaped or rounded when the elastomeric material is rolled onto the lip; and the lip comprises an elastomeric material configured to snugly fit over and conform to an outer surface portion of the hand-held consumer electronic device.

12. The roll-on cover of claim 1, wherein the cover is water resistant.

13. The roll-on cover of claim 1, wherein the elastomeric material has at least one of an outer surface texture and an inner surface texture for increasing a coefficient of friction.

14. The roll-on cover of claim 1, wherein an edge of the elastomeric material defines the lip.

15. The roll-on cover of claim 1, wherein the elastomeric material is configured to stretch at least about six times an initial, unstretched configuration.

16. A hand-held consumer electronic device comprising the roll-on cover of claim 1.

17. A method for covering a hand-held consumer electronic device with a cover having a lip and a cover member, the method comprising: positioning at least a portion of a hand-held consumer electronic device through an opening defined by the lip; and unrolling the cover member from the lip such that the cover member snugly conforms to an outer surface of the at least a portion of the hand-held consumer electronic device received through the opening defined by the lip.

18. The method of claim 17, wherein unrolling the cover member includes rolling the lip along the outer surface of the at least a portion of the hand-held consumer electronic device, to thereby cause the cover member to unroll from the lip.

19. The method of claim 17, further comprising rolling the cover member back onto the lip to uncover at least a portion of the hand-held consumer electronic device.

20. The method of claim 17, further comprising unrolling the cover member generally over at least one ear bud associated with the hand-held consumer electronic device.

21. The method of claim 17, wherein unrolling the cover member from the lip includes unrolling the cover member generally over at least one ear bud, such that the cover member holds the at least one ear bud against an outer surface portion of the hand-held consumer electronic device.

22. The method of claim 17, further comprising: wrapping wiring connected to at least one ear bud and to the hand-held consumer electronic device generally about a portion of the hand-held consumer electronic device; and unrolling the cover member generally over the wiring and the at least one ear bud.

23. The method of claim 17, wherein unrolling the cover member from the lip includes: covering the at least a portion of the hand-held consumer electronic device with a first portion of the cover member; continuing to unroll the cover member from the lip and overlapping a second portion of the cover member generally over the first portion, such that a seam is defined generally between the overlapped first and second portions of the cover; and positioning the lip on a side of at least one ear bud opposite the seam, such that the at least one ear bud is disposed within an area generally defined by the overlapped first and second portions of the cover member, the seam, and the lip.

24. The method of claim 17, wherein the cover member comprises thermoplastic rubber or thermoplastic resin.

25. The method of claim 17, wherein the cover member comprises hydrogenated styrened isoprene/butadiene block copolymer.

26. The method of claim 17, wherein an edge of the elastomeric material defines the lip.

27. A roll-on cover for a hand-held consumer electronic device, the cover comprising a thermoplastic rubber or thermoplastic resin and an opening configured for receiving at least a portion of the hand-held consumer electronic device therethrough, the cover unrollable from a rolled-up configuration so as to position the unrolled portion of the cover over an outer surface of the at least a portion of the hand-held consumer electronic device received through the opening.

28. The roll-on cover of claim 27, wherein the cover comprises hydrogenated styrened isoprene/butadiene block copolymer.

29. The roll-on cover of claim 27, wherein the cover is translucent.

30. The roll-on cover of claim 27, further comprising a lip defining the opening about which the cover is rolled in the rolled-up configuration and from which the cover is unrollable when the lip is rolled along the outer surface of the at least a portion of the hand-held consumer electronic device.

31. The roll-on cover of claim 30, wherein the lip comprises an elastomeric material configured to snugly fit over and conform to an outer surface portion of the hand-held consumer electronic device.

32. The roll-on cover of claim 27, wherein the cover is configured to snugly fit over at least one ear bud.

33. The roll-on cover of claim 32, wherein the cover is configured to be unrolled to snugly fit over the at least a portion of the hand-held consumer electronic device, at least one ear bud, and wiring wrapped generally about the hand-held consumer electronic device.

34. The roll-on cover of claim 27, wherein the cover is configured to be unrolled such that: a first portion of the cover snugly fits over and conforms to the outer surface portion of the hand-held consumer electronic device received through the opening; and a second portion of the cover overlaps the first portion of the cover, and snugly fits over at least one ear bud such that the at least one ear bud is disposed generally between the first and second portions of the cover.

35. A hand-held consumer electronic device comprising the roll-on cover of claim 27.

36. A roll-on cover for a hand-held consumer electronic device, the roll-on cover comprising: a cover member having an edge defining an opening configured for receiving at least a portion of the hand-held consumer electronic device; the cover member unrollable from a rolled-up configuration so as to position the unrolled portion of the cover member over an outer surface of the at least a portion of the hand-held consumer electronic device received through the opening defined by the cover member.

37. The roll-on cover of claim 36, wherein the cover member comprises an elastomeric material defining an area dimensionally smaller than the hand-held consumer electronic device, such that the cover member snugly fits over the hand-held electronic consumer device.

38. The roll-on cover of claim 37, wherein the cover member comprises thermoplastic rubber or thermoplastic resin.

39. The roll-on cover of claim 36, further comprising a user-retention device for attaching the roll-on cover and hand-held consumer electronic device being covered thereby to a user.

40. The roll-on cover of claim 36, further comprising a user-retention device for attaching the roll-on cover and hand-held consumer electronic device being covered thereby to a user.

41. The roll-on cover of claim 36, wherein the edge of the cover member is configured to define a lip that is rollable along the outer surface of the at least a portion of the hand-held consumer electronic device to thereby unroll the cover member from the lip and position the portion of the cover member unrolled from the lip over the outer surface of the at least a portion of the hand-held consumer electronic device.

42. The roll-on cover of claim 36, wherein the cover member has an unrolled length longer than a length of the hand-held consumer electronic device.

43. The roll-on cover of claim 36, wherein the elastomeric material comprises hydrogenated styrened isoprene/butadiene block copolymer.

44. A cover for a hand-held consumer electronic device, the cover comprising: an elastomeric cover member defining an area dimensionally smaller than the hand-held consumer electronic device, such that the elastomeric material snugly fits over the hand-held electronic consumer device; and an elastic band integral to the elastomeric cover member for attaching the cover to user.

45. The cover of claim 44, wherein the elastomeric cover member and elastic band comprise thermoplastic rubber or thermoplastic resin.

46. The cover of claim 44, wherein the elastomeric cover member and elastic band comprise molded thermoplastic rubber or thermoplastic resin.

47. The roll-on cover of claim 1, wherein the roll-on cover includes at least one portion having at least one of a generally rounded, oval-shaped, or rectangular cross-section.

48. The roll-on cover of claim 27, wherein the roll-on cover includes at least one portion having at least one of a generally rounded, oval-shaped, or rectangular cross-section.

49. The roll-on cover of claim 36, wherein the cover member includes at least one portion having at least one of a generally rounded, oval-shaped, or rectangular cross-section.

50. The cover of claim 44, wherein the elastomeric cover member includes at least one portion having at least one of a generally rounded, oval-shaped, or rectangular cross-section.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/938,381 filed May 16, 2007, the entire disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

FIELD

The present disclosure generally relates (but not exclusively) to protective covers for hand-held consumer electronic devices, such as roll-on protective covers for MP3 players, ipods, etc.

BACKGROUND

The statements in this section merely provide background information related to the present disclosure and may not constitute prior art.

MPEG-1/2 Audio Layer 3 (“MP3”) is an audio technology that relies upon an audio compression algorithm capable of greatly reducing the amount of data required to reproduce audio, while sounding to most listeners like a faithful reproduction of the original uncompressed audio. Audio data can be compressed to approximately one-tenth the uncompressed size. Software programs are available to “rip” audio data from a standard audio CD, thereby creating compact MP3 files. This technology allows relatively large quantities of high quality digital audio to be stored on compact digital audio players. MP3 technology also allows large quantities of high quality digital audio to be rapidly transferred from one location to another via the Internet. During the late 1990's, it became very popular among young people to “share” audio files over the internet.

In 2001, the Apple ipod was introduced. The ipod is a portable MP3 player designed for music fans. With the iTunes software and a computer, music fans may purchase music from the iTunes music store, download the music to their computer, and transfer the music to their ipod.

SUMMARY

According to various aspects of the present disclosure, exemplary embodiments are provided of covers for hand-held consumer electronic devices. In an exemplary embodiment, a roll-on cover generally includes elastomeric material configured to be unrolled to snugly fit over and conform to an outer surface portion of a hand-held consumer electronic device.

In another exemplary embodiment, a roll-on cover generally includes a lip defining an opening. An elastomeric material is configured to be unrolled from the lip and to snugly fit over and conform to an outer surface portion of a hand-held consumer electronic device received through the opening defined by the lip.

In another exemplary embodiment, a roll-on cover generally includes an opening configured for receiving at least a portion of the hand-held consumer electronic device therethrough. The cover may comprise thermoplastic rubber or thermoplastic resin. The cover is unrollable from a rolled-up configuration so as to position the unrolled portion of the cover over an outer surface of the at least a portion of the hand-held consumer electronic device received through the opening.

In a further exemplary embodiment, a roll-on cover generally includes a cover member having an edge defining an opening configured for receiving at least a portion of the hand-held consumer electronic device. The cover member is unrollable from a rolled-up configuration so as to position the unrolled portion of the cover member over an outer surface of the at least a portion of the hand-held consumer electronic device received through the opening defined by the cover member.

In an additional exemplary embodiment, a cover generally includes an elastomeric cover member defining an area (e.g., pouch, internal space, pocket, etc.) dimensionally smaller than the hand-held consumer electronic device, such that the elastomeric material snugly fits over the hand-held electronic consumer device. The cover may also include an elastic band integral to the elastomeric cover member for attaching the cover to user.

Other aspects of the present disclosure relate to methods for covering hand-held consumer electronic devices. In an exemplary embodiment, a method generally includes positioning at least a portion of a hand-held consumer electronic device through an opening defined by a lip of a roll-on cover. The method may also include unrolling a cover member from the lip such that the cover member snugly conforms to an outer surface of the at least a portion of the hand-held consumer electronic device received through the opening defined by the lip.

Further aspects and features of the present disclosure will become apparent from the detailed description provided hereinafter. In addition, any one or more aspects of the present disclosure may be implemented individually or in any combination with any one or more of the other aspects of the present disclosure. It should be understood that the detailed description and specific examples, while indicating exemplary embodiments of the present disclosure, are intended for purposes of illustration only and are not intended to limit the scope of the present disclosure.

DRAWINGS

The drawings described herein are for illustration purposes only and are not intended to limit the scope of the present disclosure in any way.

FIG. 1 is a front elevation view of an exemplary hand-held consumer electronic device that may be provided with a cover according to exemplary embodiments;

FIG. 2 is a side elevation view of a cover according to exemplary embodiments, and illustrating the cover in a rolled-up relatively compact state or configuration in which the cover's material or body is rolled-up or rolled onto the cover's lip or rim member;

FIG. 2A is an upper plan view of the cover of FIG. 2, and illustrating the opening into the cover as defined by the cover's lip or rim member;

FIG. 3 is a front elevation view illustrating the cover shown in FIGS. 2 and 2A unrolled onto and covering the hand-held consumer electronic device shown in FIG. 1, according to exemplary embodiments;

FIG. 4 is a front elevation view of another exemplary hand-held consumer electronic device that may be provided with a cover according to exemplary embodiments;

FIG. 5 is a front elevation view illustrating another exemplary embodiment of a cover unrolled onto and covering the hand-held consumer electronic device shown in FIG. 4, according to exemplary embodiments;

FIG. 6 is a front elevation view illustrating another exemplary embodiment in which a cover has been unrolled onto and is covering a hand-held consumer electronic device;

FIG. 7 is a front elevation view illustrating another exemplary embodiment in which a cover has been unrolled onto and is covering a hand-held consumer electronic device;

FIG. 8 illustrates another exemplary embodiment of a cover for a hand-held consumer electronic device, that includes an integrally molded elastic arm band for attaching the cover (and the hand-held consumer electronic device being covered thereby) to a user;

FIG. 9 illustrates an exemplary embodiment illustrating a cover being used to cover a hand-held consumer electronic device, ear buds, and wiring; and

FIG. 10 illustrates another exemplary embodiment illustrating a cover being used to cover a hand-held consumer electronic device, ear buds, and wiring.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The following description is merely exemplary in nature and is not intended to limit the present disclosure, application, or uses.

As recognized by the inventor hereof, existing covers for ipods and MP3 players tend to have one or more of the following disadvantages: the cover is too loose and the ipod slips out of the cover too easily; the cover is not water/sweat resistant; and/or the cover is slippery and is thus prone to slip out of one's hand or pocket, which may result in damage to the electronic device upon impact with the ground.

According to various aspects of the present disclosure, exemplary embodiments are provided of covers for hand-held consumer electronic devices. In an exemplary embodiment, a roll-on cover generally includes elastomeric material configured to be unrolled to snugly fit over and conform to an outer surface portion of a hand-held consumer electronic device.

In another exemplary embodiment, a roll-on cover generally includes a lip defining an opening. An elastomeric material is configured to be unrolled from the lip and to snugly fit over and conform to an outer surface portion of a hand-held consumer electronic device received through the opening defined by the lip.

In another exemplary embodiment, a roll-on cover generally includes an opening configured for receiving at least a portion of the hand-held consumer electronic device therethrough. The cover may comprise thermoplastic rubber or thermoplastic resin. The cover is unrollable from a rolled-up configuration so as to position the unrolled portion of the cover over an outer surface of the at least a portion of the hand-held consumer electronic device received through the opening.

In a further exemplary embodiment, a roll-on cover generally includes a cover member having an edge defining an opening configured for receiving at least a portion of the hand-held consumer electronic device. The cover member is unrollable from a rolled-up configuration so as to position the unrolled portion of the cover member over an outer surface of the at least a portion of the hand-held consumer electronic device received through the opening defined by the cover member.

In an additional exemplary embodiment, a cover generally includes an elastomeric cover member defining an area dimensionally smaller than the hand-held consumer electronic device, such that the elastomeric material snugly fits over the hand-held electronic consumer device. The cover may also include an elastic band integral to the elastomeric cover member for attaching the cover to user.

Other aspects of the present disclosure relate to methods for covering hand-held consumer electronic devices. In an exemplary embodiment, a method generally includes positioning at least a portion of a hand-held consumer electronic device through an opening defined by a lip of a roll-on cover. The method may also include unrolling a cover member from the lip such that the cover member snugly conforms to an outer surface of the at least a portion of the hand-held consumer electronic device received through the opening defined by the lip.

In a further exemplary embodiment, a cover for a hand-held electronic device generally includes a rolled thin elastomeric, resilient, or flexible material (e.g., a material capable of stretching about six to eight times its initial, unstretched configuration, etc.) configured to snugly fit over the hand-held consumer electronic device. Example materials from which the cover member may be formed include thermoplastic rubber or thermoplastic resin (TPR), such as hydrogenated styrened isoprene/butadiene block copolymer, a block copolymer, etc. The cover member may define an area or internal space (e.g., pouch, pocket, etc.) therein for receiving a hand-held consumer electronic device. The cover member may be configured such that the area is dimensionally sized smaller than the hand-held consumer electronic device, such that the cover member must be stretched in order to allow the device to be positioned within the area. The cover member may have sufficient elasticity, resiliency, or flexibility to snugly fit over the hand-held electronic consumer device.

At least a portion of the elastomer may have a non-slippery surface (e.g., textured, dimpled, or rough surface for increasing coefficient of friction, etc.) to inhibit slipping of that surface when held by a user and/or to inhibit slipping between the cover and the hand-held consumer electronic device. At least a portion of the elastomer may be at least partially light-transmissive (e.g., transparent, translucent, cutouts, holes therethrough, etc.) through which at least a portion of the hand-held consumer electronic device is visually perceptible to an observer.

In various embodiments, the cover may include a hollow generally oval-shaped, rounded or rectangular cross-section. In various embodiments, the cover may be made of polyurethane, thermoplastic rubber or thermoplastic resin (TPR), such as hydrogenated styrened isoprene/butadiene block copolymer, a block copolymer, etc. In various embodiments, the cover has a thickness of approximately 0.02 inches (e.g., 0.0218 inches, etc.) to approximately 0.08 inches. In various embodiments, the cover is water resistant. In various embodiments, the cover has a surface texture. In various embodiments, the cover has an inner cross-sectional dimension of approximately 2.375 inches by 0.57 inch and an unrolled length of approximately 4.6 inches. In various embodiments, the cover has an inner cross-sectional dimension of approximately 2.375 inches by approximately 0.69 inch and an unrolled length of approximately 4.6 inches. In various embodiments, the non-slippery surface comprises an outer surface of the cover when the cover is fit over the hand-held consumer electronic device. In various embodiments, the non-slippery surface comprises an inner surface of the cover when the cover is fit over the hand-held consumer electronic device. In various embodiments, the non-slippery surface comprises outer and inner surfaces of the cover when the cover is fit over the hand-held consumer electronic device.

In various embodiments, the elastomer includes at least a portion that is transparent or translucent. In various embodiments, the substantial entirety of the elastomer is light transmissive. In various embodiments, the substantial entirety of the elastomer includes a non-slippery surface. In various embodiments, the substantial entirety of the elastomer is transparent and includes a non-slip or non-slippery surface. In various embodiments, the cover is made from polyurethane. In other embodiments, the cover is made of thermoplastic rubber or thermoplastic resin (TPR), such as hydrogenated styrened isoprene/butadiene block copolymer, a block copolymer, etc.

In various embodiments, at least a portion of the elastomer is aesthetically colored and visually perceptible to an observer, whereby the cosmetic appearance of the hand-held consumer electronic device fitted with the cover may be enhanced. In various embodiments, the aesthetically colored portion of the elastomer is at least partially light transmissive. In various embodiments, the substantial entirety of the elastomer is light transmissive and aesthetically colored. In various embodiments, the cover includes at least one or more of a red portion, an orange portion, a yellow portion, a green portion, a cyan portion, a blue portion, an indigo portion, a violet portion, and a portion having a non-metallic color.

Other aspects of the present disclosure relate to methods for covering hand-held consumer electronic devices. In one exemplary embodiment, a method generally includes unrolling an elastomeric pouch over the hand-held device. The pouch includes a rolled thin transparent elastomer having a non-slippery surface and being dimensioned to snugly fit over the hand-held device. In various embodiments, the pouch may include a hollow generally oval-shaped, rounded or rectangular cross-section. In various embodiments, the pouch is made of polyurethane. In other embodiments, the pouch is made of thermoplastic rubber or thermoplastic resin (TPR), such as hydrogenated styrened isoprene/butadiene block copolymer, a block copolymer, etc. In various embodiments, the pouch has a thickness of approximately 0.02 inches (e.g., 0.0218 inches, etc.) to approximately 0.08 inches. In various embodiments, the pouch is water resistant. In various embodiments, the pouch has a surface texture. In various embodiments, the pouch has an inner cross-sectional dimension of approximately 2.375 inches by approximately 0.57 inch and an unrolled length of approximately 4.6 inches. In various embodiments, the pouch has an inner cross-sectional dimension of approximately 2.375 inches by approximately 0.69 inch and an unrolled length of approximately 4.6 inches. Alternative embodiments may include a pouch having a sectional dimension of less than 2.375 inches by less than 0.69 inch and an unrolled length of less than 4.6 inches. In various embodiments, the non-slippery surface comprises an outer surface of the pouch when the pouch is fit over the hand-held consumer electronic device. In various embodiments, the non-slippery surface comprises an inner surface of the pouch when the pouch is fit over the hand-held consumer electronic device. In various embodiments, the non-slippery surface comprises outer and inner surfaces of the pouch when the pouch is fit over the hand-held consumer electronic device.

According to one embodiment, the bottom of the cover is thicker than the top of the cover, to inhibit the cover from stretching to the point of tearing along the bottom. In some embodiments, the thickness of the cover is approximately 0.02 inches (e.g., 0218 inches, etc.) to approximately 0.08 inches. In some embodiments, the cover material is polyurethane (or a material with similar properties). In other embodiments, the cover material may be made of thermoplastic rubber or thermoplastic resin (TPR), such as hydrogenated styrened isoprene/butadiene block copolymer, a block copolymer, etc. Alternative materials may also be used for the cover.

The cover may be provided in various or different colors and sold in packages containing several different color covers, for example, to accommodate the preferences of the consumer. Because the covers of some embodiments may be manufactured relatively inexpensively (e.g., when formed of polyurethane, thermoplastic rubber or thermoplastic resin (TPR), etc.), the cover may be considered by some users to be disposable, for example, when they get dirty or look worn.

In various exemplary embodiments, an arm band or other user-retention device (e.g., clip, etc.) may be provided for attaching the cover (and the hand-held consumer electronic device being covered by the cover) to be attached to the user, for example, to allow for hand-free use of the hand-held consumer electronic device (e.g., while biking or at the gym, etc.) For example, an arm band or other user-retention device may be formed integrally (e.g., via a molding process) with a portion of the cover (e.g., the cover material and/or the lip or rim member, etc.). As another example, an arm band or other user-retention device may be attached (e.g., adhesively bonded, etc.) to a portion of the cover.

Various embodiments may provide one or more benefits or advantages. For example, various embodiments provide a cover for a hand-held consumer electronic device, in which the cover is water/sweat resistant. Various embodiments provide a cover for a hand-held consumer electronic device, in which the cover is non-slippery. Various embodiments provide a cover for a hand-held consumer electronic device that is easy to install/put on and easy to remove/take off the hand-held consumer electronic device. Various embodiments provide a cover for a hand-held consumer electronic device, where the cover is adaptable to fit a large range of devices. Various embodiments provide a cover for a hand-held consumer electronic device, where the cover is relatively inexpensive to manufacture. Additional possible advantages of one or more exemplary embodiments disclosed herein may also become apparent to those skilled in the art upon reference to the detailed description taken in conjunction with the provided figures.

FIG. 1 illustrates an example of an existing hand-held consumer electronic device 10, which may be provided with a cover or pouch as disclosed herein. As shown in FIG. 1, the hand-held consumer electronic device 10 has a device configuration similar to that of an MP3 player, or more specifically, an ipod. The hand-held consumer electronic device 10 includes a screen 12 and controls 14. The hand-held consumer electronic device 10 can include connectors (not shown) provided on the top 16 and/or bottom 18 for connecting to headphone, earbuds, in-ear headphones, battery chargers, audio interfaces, remote controllers, etc. The hand-held consumer electronic device 10 is rectilinear with rounded corners.

FIGS. 2 and 2A illustrate an exemplary embodiment of a cover 100 embodying one or more aspects of the present disclosure. As shown in FIGS. 2 and 2A, the cover 100 generally includes a pouch or cover member 102, which is shown in a rolled-up configuration in which the material is rolled up at the top 104. The top 104 may comprise a lip, rim, or edge of the material forming the cover member 102. One of the cross-sectional inner dimensions of the pouch or cover member 102 may be slightly smaller than that of the hand-held consumer electronic device 10 (FIG. 1), such that the pouch 102 will stretch over the hand-held consumer electronic device 10 and fit snugly thereon. One of the inner dimensions of the pouch or cover member 102 may also be slightly larger than the corresponding dimension of the hand-held consumer electronic device 10 to facilitate initiation or starting of the roll over the hand-held consumer electronic device 10.

FIG. 3 shows the cover 100 rolled over the hand-held consumer electronic device 10. As shown for this particular embodiment, the roll 104 is rolled up from the bottom 18 to the top 16 of the hand-held consumer electronic device 10. The length of the pouch or cover member 102 when fully extended may be longer than an ipod or other hand-held consumer electronic device (e.g., longer by up to about 0.5 inch, etc.) as represented by the dashed lines in FIG. 3. With the extra length, the pouch or cover member 102 may be extended beyond the top 16 of the hand-held consumer electronic device 10, for example, to help provide more protection to the hand-held consumer electronic device 10 during rain and/or to allow the cover 100 to be double-backed or unrolled generally over ear buds connected to the hand-held consumer electronic device 10, such as is shown in FIG. 10.

The cover 100 is preferably elastic, resiliently flexible, or stretchy so that the cover 100 may snugly fit over and hold the device 10. Preferably, the cover 100 is sufficiently elastic or stretchy so that the hand-held consumer electronic device 10 and associated ear buds (not shown) may be covered by the cover 100 (e.g., FIGS. 9 and 10, etc.). In various embodiments, uncovering the ear buds is accomplished fairly easily by rolling the cover 100 down but not necessarily completely off the device 10. In various embodiments, the thickness of the cover 100 may be approximately 0.018 to 0.020 inch.

In one particular embodiment, the cover 100 is configured for use with a twenty gigabyte ipod having a cross-sectional outer dimension of 2.4 inches by 0.057 inch. In this embodiment, the preferred cross-sectional inner dimensions for the cover are 2.375 inches by 0.57 inch. In another embodiment, the cover 100 is configured for use with a forty gigabyte ipod having a cross-sectional outer dimension of 2.4 inches by 0.069 inch. In such embodiments, the cover 100 preferably has cross-sectional inner dimensions of 2.375 inches by 0.69 inch. In both of these examples, the twenty and forty gigabyte ipods are 4.1 inches tall, and the covers for the ipods are preferably approximately 4.6 inches tall when fully unrolled. Alternative embodiments may include a cover dimensionally sized larger or smaller than just described.

In various embodiments, the cover 100 is made from polyurethane, which is usually less opaque and more durable than latex. Other embodiments include the cover 100 being made of thermoplastic rubber or thermoplastic resin (TPR), such as hydrogenated styrened isoprene/butadiene block copolymer, a block copolymer, etc. Alternative materials may also be used for the cover 100.

In various embodiments, covers 100 may be made in different colors and sold in packages containing several different color covers. Because the covers of some embodiments may be manufactured relatively inexpensively, the cover may be considered by some users to be disposable, for example, when they get dirty and/or look worn. In some embodiments, the bottom of the cover is optionally thicker than the top to inhibit the cover from stretching to the point of tearing. In various embodiments, the light transmissiveness (e.g., transparency and/or translucency, etc.) of the cover 100 (or portions thereof) allows a user to read the screen 12 of the device 10 when the cover 100 is covering the screen 12. Also, various embodiments may be dimensionally size the cover such that the thinness of the cover 100 allows the device controls 14 to be operated without having to first remove or unroll the cover 100. In other embodiments, however, the cover may be formed from a thicker material such that the cover may have to be removed from over the controls and buttons of the hand-held consumer electronic device before the controls and buttons may be operated. For example, the user may by rolling the cover at least partially back onto the cover's lip or rim member to thereby expose and make accessible a control or button of the electronic device. Or, for example, the user may completely remove the cover from the electronic device to thereby expose and make accessible a control or button of the electronic device.

FIG. 4 illustrates another example of a hand-held consumer electronic device 20, which may be provided with a cover or pouch as disclosed herein. The hand-held consumer electronic device 20 has a device configuration similar to that of an MP3 player, or more specifically, an ipod Mini. As shown in FIG. 4, the hand-held consumer electronic device 20 includes a screen 22 and controls 24. The hand-held consumer electronic device 20 may include connectors (not shown) provided on the device's top 26 and/or bottom 28 for connecting to ear buds, in-ear headphones, headphones, battery chargers, audio interfaces, remote controllers, etc.

FIG. 5 illustrates the hand-held consumer electronic device 10 with a cover 200 embodying one or more aspects of the present disclosure. As shown, the cover 200 comprises a pouch or cover member 202 with a rolled top 204 (e.g., cover material rolled up along a lip, rim, edge, etc.). In various embodiments, the cover 200 is dimensioned to fit snugly over an ipod Mini 20, where the ipod Mini has a cross-sectional dimension of 2.0 inches by 0.5 inch and a height of 3.6 inches. Alternative embodiments may include a cover dimensionally sized to fit over a device larger or smaller than an ipod Mini.

FIG. 6 illustrates a further example of a hand-held consumer electronic device 30, which may be provided with a cover or pouch as disclosed herein. The hand-held consumer electronic device 30 has a device configuration similar to that of an MP3 player, or more specifically, a Dell DJ. As shown in FIG. 6, the hand-held consumer electronic device 30 includes a screen 32 and controls 34. The Dell DJ 30 may have connectors (not shown) on the top 36 and/or bottom 38 for connecting to ear buds, in-ear headphones, headphones, battery chargers, audio interfaces, remote controllers, etc.

As shown in FIG. 6, the cover 300 has been rolled over the Dell DJ 30. The cover 300 comprises a pouch or cover member 302 with a rolled top 304 (e.g., cover material rolled up along a lip, rim, edge, etc.). In various embodiments, the cover 300 is dimensioned to fit snugly over a Dell DJ 30, where the Dell DJ 30 has a cross-sectional dimension of 2.5 inches by 0.74 inch and a height of 4.0 inches.

FIG. 7 illustrates an additional example of a hand-held consumer electronic device 40, which may be provided with a cover or pouch as disclosed herein. The hand-held consumer electronic device 40 has a device configuration similar to that of an MP3 player, or more specifically, a Creative Zen micro. As shown in FIG. 7, the hand-held consumer electronic device 40 includes a screen 42, controls 44, a top 46, and a bottom 48. The cover 400 has been rolled over the device 40. The cover 400 comprises a pouch or cover member 402 with a rolled top 404 (e.g., cover material rolled up along a lip, rim, edge, etc.). In various embodiments, the cover 400 is dimensioned to fit snugly over a Creative Zen Micro, where the Creative Zen Micro has a cross-sectional dimension of 2.0 inches by 0.7 inch and a height of 3.3 inches.

FIG. 8 illustrates another exemplary embodiment of a cover or pouch 400 for a hand-held consumer electronic device. In this illustrated embodiment, the cover 400 includes a cover member or pouch 402 that may be formed from an elastomeric or resiliently flexible material. Example materials from which the cover member 402 may be formed are thermoplastic rubber or thermoplastic resin (TPR), such as hydrogenated styrened isoprene/butadiene block copolymer, a block copolymer, etc. The cover member 402 defines an area or internal space 460 therein for receiving a hand-held consumer electronic device (e.g., device 10 shown in FIG. 1, device 20 shown in FIG. 4, device 30 shown in FIG. 6, etc.). The cover member 402 may be configured such that the area 460 is dimensionally sized smaller than a hand-held consumer electronic device, such that the cover member 402 must be stretched in order to allow the device to be positioned within the area 460. The cover member 402 may have sufficient elasticity, resiliency, or flexibility to snugly fit over the hand-held electronic consumer device.

With continued reference to FIG. 8, the cover 400 also includes an elastic arm band 464. The elastic arm band 464 may be useful, for example, for attaching the cover 400 (and the hand-held consumer electronic device being covered by the cover 400) to a user, for example, to allow for hand-free use of the hand-held consumer electronic device (e.g., while biking or exercising at the gym, etc.) In this particular example, the arm band 464 is formed integrally (e.g., via a molding process, etc.) with the cover 400. A wide range of materials (e.g., elastomeric materials, resiliently flexible materials, etc.) may be used for the arm band 464. Example materials from which the cover member 402 may be formed of thermoplastic rubber or thermoplastic resin (TPR), such as hydrogenated styrened isoprene/butadiene block copolymer, a block copolymer, etc. In one exemplary embodiment, the arm band 464 and the cover member 402 are formed from TPR as a single piece via a molding process. Alternative embodiments may include the arm band and/or cover member being formed from a different material and/or different manufacturing process. Still other embodiments may include a cover with a different user-retention device, or a user-retention device that is a discrete component separately attached (e.g., adhesively bonded, etc.) to a cover.

In various embodiments, the cover may include a material that is rollable about a lip, rim, or edge of the material (e.g., rolled top, etc.). The cover may have a cross-section substantially matching or corresponding with the hand-held consumer electronic device for which the cover is intended to cover, e.g., rectangular, etc. As another example, the cover may have a cross-section that is generally round or oval when not covering a hand-held consumer electronic device, but the cover may be formed from a material having sufficient flexibility to allow the cover to be unrolled generally over and conform (e.g., change shape from oval or round to generally rectangular, etc.) to the hand-held consumer electronic device. In some embodiments, the cover may have a length slightly longer or slightly shorter than the hand-held consumer electronic device for which the cover is designed to cover. The cover may be formed of a stretchy or resilient material that allows the cover to snugly hold and/or snugly fit generally over the hand-held consumer electronic device. Example materials from which the cover may be formed include thermoplastic rubber or thermoplastic resin (TPR), such as hydrogenated styrened isoprene/butadiene block copolymer, a block copolymer, etc. The cover may have sufficient flexibility or stretchiness to not only cover the hand-held consumer electronic device (e.g., IPOD, etc.), but to also cover ear buds/in-ear headphones and associated wiring, if any, connected to the ear buds/in-ear headphones. In some embodiments, the ear buds/in-ear phones may be wireless such that the cover may be used to cover the electronic device and ear buds/in-ear headphones.

For example, and with reference to FIG. 9, wiring 568 connected to the ear buds/in-ear headphones 572 (or other audio output device) may be wrapped about the hand-held consumer electronic device 576. The cover 500 may be rolled over the hand-held consumer electronic device 576 and the ear buds/in-ear headphones 572 and wires 568. Accordingly, the cover 500 would thus be disposed generally over the hand-held consumer electronic device 576, ear buds/in-ear headphones 572, and wiring 568, thus helping protect and the device 576, ear buds/in-ear headphones 572 and wiring 568, as well as providing convenient storage for the ear buds/in-ear headphones 572 and wiring 568. Accessing or uncovering the ear buds/in-ear headphones 572 may be relatively easily done by rolling the cover 500 down, for example, to uncover the ear buds/in-ear headphones 572 and portion of the hand-held consumer electronic device 576 against which the ear buds/in-ear headphones 572 were being held by the cover 500. As another example, the user may simply remove the cover 500 completely off the hand-held consumer electronic device 576 to access the ear buds/in-ear headphones 572. In either case, this exemplary manner of protecting and storing the ear buds/in-ear headphones 572 also may help reduce tangles or entanglements of the wiring 568.

As an alternative example, and with reference to FIG. 10, a cover 600 may be used as follows for storing and protecting the audio output device, such as the ear buds/in-ear headphones 672 and wiring 668. In this example, the cover 600 may be unrolled over the hand-held consumer electronic device 676. The wiring 668 of the ear buds/in-ear headphones 672 may be wrapped about the hand-held consumer electronic device 676 and generally over/around a first portion of the cover 600. The cover 600 may then be unrolled and double-backed so as to overlappingly position a second portion of the cover 600 generally over the first portion of the cover 600 and over the wiring 668 and ear buds/in-ear headphones 672. At which point, the wiring 668 and ear buds/in-ear headphones 672 would be disposed and stored within an area or internal space (e.g., pouch, pocket, compartment, etc.) defined generally by the overlapped first and second portions of the cover 600 and between the lip 604 and seam/overlapped/folded edge 680. The seam 680 is the junction or interface at which the cover 600 was overlapped, folded, or double-backed so as to position the second portion of the cover 600 over the wiring 668 and ear buds/in-ear headphones 672. In addition to double-backing or unrolling the cover over the wiring 668 and ear buds/in-ear headphones 672, the cover's lip 604 may also positioned on the side of the wiring 668 and ear buds/in-ear headphones 672 generally opposite the seam 680. The resilient, elastic nature of the cover's lip 604 may help retain the wiring 668 and ear buds/in-ear headphones 672 in place. The inner surface of the first portion of the cover 600 would be against the electronic device 676, and the outer surface of the first portion of the cover 600 would have the wiring 668 and ear buds/in-ear headphones 672 there against. The wiring 668 and ear buds/in-ear headphones 672 would be sandwiched generally between the first and second portions of the cover 600. This exemplary manner of protecting and storing the ear buds/in-ear headphones 672 may also help reduce tangles or entanglements of the wiring 668. In such exemplary embodiments, uncovering the earbuds/in-ear headphones 672 may be done relatively easily by pulling or rolling the cover off the ear-buds/in-ear headphones 672, for example, by fully extending the cover (e.g., unrolling off the ear buds, etc.).

In various embodiments, the covers fit snugly over a hand-held electronic consumer device and may be formed of materials that are less slippery than leather covers or plastic covers. Optionally, the covers may be manufactured with a surface texture (e.g., roughend surfaces, dimpled surface, etc.), which may enhance non-slip characteristics. The hand-held covers of various embodiments may be liquid or moisture resistant to repel water, sweat, etc. In various embodiments, the top of the cover may remain open, and accordingly, the cover may not be completely water-tight. In such embodiments, however, the covers may still be rain resistant when held upside down.

In various embodiments, the covers may provide impact/scratch resistance/protection. For example, exemplary embodiments may include a cover configured from a relatively thick thermoplastic rubber or thermoplastic resin (TPR) so as to provide fairly good impact/scratch resistance/protection to the hand-held consumer electronic device when covering that device.

In various embodiments, the covers will allow many electronic devices to be operable while the cover is disposed over and covering the device controls. But some embodiments may include cut-outs or openings in the cover to expose the controls (e.g., allow the controls to protrude outwardly through the cut-outs or openings and/or allow a user to insert his finger into a cut-out or opening to press a button). Alternatively, a cover may also be rolled down by the user when the user wants to access the electronic device's controls. The cover may then be subsequently rolled back up. If access to connectors on the bottom of the electronic device is desired, the bottom of the cover may be cut or otherwise removed or provided with openings for accessing the connectors. As another option, the user may simply remove the cover from the electronic device (e.g., relatively easily by rolling the cover at least partially back onto the cover's top roll, lip, rim member, etc.) to access one or more connectors along the bottom of the electronic device.

Any one or more of the covers disclosed herein may be used with a wide range of other electronic devices, including MP3 players, ipods, Dell DJs, personal cellular communication devices, among others. Accordingly, the specific references herein to MP3 players, ipods, and Dell DJs should not be construed as limiting the scope of the disclosure to only these devices.

All dimensions and materials set forth here are mere examples and can be varied depending, for example, on the particular end use of the cover.

Certain terminology is used herein for purposes of reference only, and thus is not intended to be limiting. For example, terms such as “upper”, “lower”, “above”, “below”, “front”, “back”, “rear”, “bottom”, and “side” can refer to directions in the drawings to which reference is made and/or can describe the orientation of portions of the component within a consistent but arbitrary frame of reference which is made clear by reference to the text and the associated drawings describing the component under discussion. Such terminology may include the words specifically mentioned above, derivatives thereof, and words of similar import. Similarly, the terms “first”, “second” and other such numerical terms referring to structures do not imply a sequence or order unless clearly indicated by the context.

When introducing elements or features of the present disclosure and the exemplary embodiments, the articles “a”, “an”, “the” and “said” are intended to mean that there are one or more of such elements or features. The terms “comprising”, “including” and “having” are intended to be inclusive and mean that there may be additional elements or features other than those specifically noted. It is further to be understood that the methods “steps”, “processes”, and “operations” thereof described herein are not to be construed as necessarily requiring their performance in the particular order discussed or illustrated, unless specifically identified as an order of performance. It is also to be understood that additional or alternative steps may be employed.

The description of the disclosure is merely exemplary in nature and, thus, variations that do not depart from the gist of the disclosure are intended to be within the scope of the disclosure. Such variations are not to be regarded as a departure from the spirit and scope of the disclosure.