Title:
Method and Device of Luggage Identification and Reinforcement
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method and device for identifying, protecting and reinforcing luggage. The device includes a substantially rectangular and planar flexible woven fabric, including a closure disposed in a complimentary direction to the width of the woven fabric. The present invention further includes a transparent envelope having at least one free edge into which may be inserted owner identification or other information.



Inventors:
Kuhn, Roger Alan (Tamarac, FL, US)
Rodriguez, Iris (Tamarac, FL, US)
Application Number:
12/205954
Publication Date:
06/25/2009
Filing Date:
09/08/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A45C13/42
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MAI, TRI M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
JACQUELINE TADROS, P.A. (FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A luggage protection and reinforcement device, for identifying, protecting and reinforcing luggage and adapted for preventing the inadvertent opening of luggage produced by possible improper handling, the device comprising: a substantially rectangular, planar top sheet of flexible fabric, wherein said top sheet has a size adapted for extending around the circumference of the luggage about a longitudinal axis of the body of said luggage; a transparent envelope, wherein said envelope is affixed to said top planar sheet, said envelope further having at least one free edge into which may be inserted owner identification or other information; and a closure provided along at least one edge of the said top planar sheet.

2. The luggage protection and reinforcement device of claim 1, wherein the closure is a zipper disposed in a complimentary direction to the width of said top sheet.

3. The luggage protection and reinforcement device of claim 1, wherein the closure comprises a hook and loop fastening means having a loop component and a hook component, wherein said hook and loop fastening means is disposed in a complimentary direction to the width of said top sheet.

4. The luggage protection and reinforcement device of claim 1, wherein the closure comprises a button fastener.

5. The luggage protection and reinforcement device of claim 1, wherein said top planar sheet includes a graphic design disposed along a top surface of said sheet.

6. The luggage protection and reinforcement device of claim 1, wherein said top planar sheet comprises a waterproof material.

7. A method of identifying, protecting and reinforcing luggage, the method comprising the steps of: casing a luggage body about a longitudinal axis of said luggage body with a substantially planar top sheet of flexible fabric, wherein said top sheet has a size adapted for extending around the circumference of the luggage about said longitudinal axis; and securing said top sheet around said luggage body using closure means.

8. The method of claim 7, wherein said top sheet includes a graphic design disposed along a top surface of said sheet.

9. The method of claim 7, wherein said top planar sheet comprises a waterproof material.

10. The method of claim 7, wherein said closure means comprises a zipper.

11. The method of claim 7, wherein said closure means comprises a hook and loop fastening means having a loop component and a hook component, wherein said hook and loop fastening means is disposed in a complimentary direction to the width of said top sheet.

12. The method of claim 7, wherein said closure means comprises a button fastener.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

Applicant claims priority from co-pending Provisional Patent Application No. 61/008,409, filed on Dec. 20, 2007 and entitled “Method and Device of Luggage Identification and Reinforcement” under Title 35, United States Code, Section 119(e). An entire copy of Provisional Patent Application No. 60/328,912 is incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The invention relates generally to the field of luggage covers and more particularly to a device to be secured around a luggage or container for reinforcing, protecting and identifying the luggage.

2. Related Prior Art

Travelers often find that their luggage arrives damaged or that the contents of their luggage have fallen out because the luggage has inadvertently opened due to the harsh handling of baggage handlers. Another common complaint among travelers is the inability to quickly and easily distinguish their luggage from a distance due to the myriad of other luggage which often appears strikingly similar in make, model and color.

Accordingly, it would be highly beneficial for travelers to protect their luggage from unintentional disgorgement of the contents of their luggage and also to provide reinforcement to the luggage itself, while also providing a quick and easy method of identifying and distinguishing luggage from other travelers' luggage from a distance.

In the past, other devices have been developed to reinforce luggage. It is also known in the art to have a luggage handle cover to aid in the identification of luggage.

U.S. Pat. No. 7,140,133 (to Hu et al.) teaches a luggage identifier, which is disposed on a luggage case or a luggage bag. The identifying device includes an identifying unit and a circuit board. The identifying unit is connected to the circuit board with a power switch connected there between.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,554,033 (to Hydon) discloses a luggage handle cover having a body portion, with a length and width sufficient to substantially cover a luggage handle.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,364,365 (to Caplan) discloses a personal luggage identification system, including adhesive stickers, tape, firm plastic tags, flexible plastic labels, business card carriers, tags, envelopes and cards, each bearing its own distinctive pattern, which can be affixed to luggage either singularly or in combination to provide a distinctive pattern or combination of patterns.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,325,189 (to King et al.) teaches a hybrid construction luggage case comprising a generally one piece base shell defining an interior volume to contains the contents and a lid shell affixed to the base shell, the lid shell being mostly formed of fabric materials.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,303,201 (to Baierl et al.) discusses a bag tag comprising an elongated strip bonded to a tear resistant liner. The tear resistant liner is partially removable on one end of the elongated strip, so that the two ends of the strip can be adhesively joined together for attaching the tag to a piece of luggage.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,901,462 (to Wrigley) teaches a luggage tag formed from a soft hollow plastic body portion. The luggage identifying tag consists of a tag arranged for attachment to a piece of luggage and has a selected group of geometric shapes colored in one of a selected group of colors and which has an alphanumeric character located within the borders of the geometrical shape.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,828,081 (to Nordstrom et al.) teaches a luggage identification system to prevent unintentional viewing of the personal identification information of the traveler and also functions to prevent the unintentional loss of the identification panel and the information thereon.

For example, U.S. Pat. No. 4,700,818 (to Orwin) discloses a strap device for reinforcing luggage, bags, cartons or the like to prevent the luggage from opening when subjected to rough handling. The strap device includes a pair of straps which encircle the luggage and pass on either side of a handle on the luggage.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,634,849 (to Klingen) discloses numbered baggage split tag and system for handling baggage. The tag has a split construction and includes a base and separable tags including coded indicia structured for mechanical reading thereof.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,180,284 (to Ashley) teaches a tag for identifying luggage and method of using same.

U.S. Patent Application No. 2006/0218978 (to Toler et al.) discloses a luggage strap lock and identifier and method therefore with crisscrossing straps and a closing assembly. The strap and lock assembly can be used to prevent individuals from accessing the luggage and further may be used to identify his or her own piece of luggage from a similar looking one.

U.S. Patent Application No. 2004/0206431 (to Metzig et al.) describes a luggage security sleeve system that provides a cover or sleeve of transparent plastic sheeting having a closed end and an open end to receive a piece of luggage. Security tape identifying the airline seals the free end of the sleeve under the base of the piece of luggage near the center, exposing wheels at an end or spaced along a side of the base of the piece of luggage. The tape cannot be removed without leaving evidence of tampering.

The foregoing inventions disclose methods and devices for luggage identification and/or luggage reinforcement. However, none of the foregoing inventions includes features to provide for luggage reinforcement, protection and identification with ease and flexibility in the manner provided by the present invention.

Thus, there is a need for an improved luggage identification system, which will also provide reinforcement of the luggage and also protect the body of the luggage. The device should be easily adapted for use on any luggage, carton or container and should not interfere with security measures imposed by travel restrictions.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The general purpose of the present invention, which will be described subsequently in greater detail, is to provide a novel method and device of luggage identification, protection and reinforcement.

The apparatus of the present invention utilizes a substantially rectangular and planar sheet of material. The material is preferably flexible and elastic, such that it may be expanded to fit over a bulging luggage. An enclosure, such as for example a zipper, or button and button hole arrangement is affixed along the vertical edges of the material, generally complementary in width for securing the material around a piece of luggage.

The sheet of material is preferably provided with a transparent envelope having one free edge into which may be inserted owner identification or other information.

The inventive device defines an elongate zone that encircles a substantial portion of the body of a luggage such that it provides reinforcement and protection of the luggage to avoid inadvertent opening of the luggage and also to protect the body of the luggage from aggressive baggage handlers.

In view of the foregoing disadvantages inherent in the known types of luggage identification and reinforcement accessories now present in the prior art, the present invention provides a new method and device of luggage identification and reinforcement for protecting the luggage from unintentional opening or damage from baggage handlers as well as ease of luggage identification.

It is therefore an object of the invention to provide a device to guard against the unintended opening of luggage while the luggage is subjected to rough handling by baggage carriers.

Another object of the invention is to provide a method and device of identifying and distinguishing luggage from a distance.

An advantage of the present invention is that it distinguishes the user's luggage from that of his or her fellow traveler's without resulting in a permanent alteration to the luggage.

An object of the invention is to provide a method and system for luggage protection that is also easily removable by transportation security. Thus, should security desire to open the luggage in order to examine its contents, the device may be easily removed. Once the examination is complete, the device is easily placed back on the luggage as it was prior to the examination.

It is still a further object to provide a luggage protection and reinforcement device of the above type that may be used as a medium of personal or social expression by its users or which may be used as a cost-effective medium for business and corporate advertising capable of reaching large audiences.

It is accordingly an object of the invention to provide a luggage protection and reinforcement device which is generally fittable upon any type of luggage or luggage equivalent.

An advantage of the present invention is that it may be used with a myriad of travel luggage and does not result in permanent alteration to the luggage.

Another advantage of the present invention is that it provides the user with the option to select from a variety of designs or patterns, any of which may be accessorized with the same luggage.

It is still a further object to provide a device of the above type which is simple and convenient in its use and cost effective in its manufacture.

Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the conception, upon which this disclosure is based, may readily be utilized as a basis for the designing of other structures, methods and systems for carrying out the several purposes of the present invention. It is important, therefore, that the claims be regarded as including such equivalent construction insofar as they do not depart from the spirit and scope of the present invention

There has thus been outlined, rather broadly, the more important features of the invention in order that the detailed description thereof may be better understood, and in order that the present contribution to the art may be better appreciated. Other features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following more detailed description, taken in conjunction with the Brief Description of the Drawings and accompanying drawings, which illustrate, by way of example, the principles of the invention, as well as the Detailed Description of the Invention and Claims appended herewith.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

A complete understanding of the present invention may be obtained by reference to the accompanying drawings, when considered in conjunction with the subsequent, detailed description, in which:

FIG. 1 illustrates a top schematic view of the present invention;

FIG. 2 illustrates a front view of the present invention;

FIG. 3 illustrates a front perspective operational view of the present invention in use;

FIG. 4 illustrates a rear perspective operational view of the present invention in use;

For purposes of clarity and brevity, like elements and components will bear the same designations and numbering throughout the Figures.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is described with references to the enclosed Figures wherein the same numbers are utilized where applicable.

In one embodiment, the present invention, shown generally at FIG. 10 provides a method and device for protection and reinforcement of luggage 22, including a top sheet 12 of flexible woven fabric, including without limitation, a polyester venier canvas, cotton, velour, nylon, vinyl and leather, each sheet is preferably substantially rectangular and planar.

In an alternative embodiment, the present invention includes a top sheet 12 and a bottom sheet 14, the bottom sheet 14 being secured to the top sheet 12 by stitching means 16 or other means as may be appreciated by those skilled in the art. A graphic pattern 18 may be imprinted on the top sheet 12, the bottom sheet 14 or both. The graphic pattern 18 may be used as an aid to identify the luggage 22 from a distance or for advertising purposes.

Along a first edge is provided a closure 20, which typically exhibits a length substantially equal to the width of the sheet. In a preferred embodiment, the closure may include, without limitation, a zipper, a strip of hook-and-loop material (commonly known as VELCRO) thereof disposed in a complimentary direction to the width of the top sheet 12. As will be appreciated by those skilled in the art, the closure 20 may also comprise for example, a clasp, a button and button hole combination, a slider closure, and the like.

In a preferred embodiment, the present invention includes a transparent envelope 24 having at least one free edge 26 into which may be inserted owner identification 28 or other information.

Further, the inventive device may be readily provided with a zipper, button and button hole, hook and loop, or other closures or combinations thereof, as will be appreciated by those skilled in the art.

While there has been shown and described the preferred embodiment of the instant invention it is to be appreciated that the invention may be embodied otherwise than is herein specifically shown and described and that, within said embodiment, certain changes may be made in the form, dimensions and arrangement of the parts without departing from the underlying ideas or principles of this invention as set forth herein.