Title:
CARRY CASES AND BAGS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A carry case for a laptop computer, including: a plurality of side walls defining a chamber for containing a laptop computer, at least one of said side walls having a protective outer skin portion and a cushioning portion extending inwards from said outer skin portion for protecting a laptop computer in said chamber from physical shock, and at least a substantial portion of said at least one side wall being transparent.



Inventors:
Freeman, Ceri (Queensland, AU)
Cooke, James (Queensland, AU)
Application Number:
12/299908
Publication Date:
08/20/2009
Filing Date:
05/09/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
190/124, 206/521
International Classes:
B65D85/00; A45C13/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PERREAULT, ANDREW D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Joseph R. Baker, APC (San Diego, CA, US)
Claims:
1. A carry case for a laptop computer, comprising: a plurality of side walls defining a chamber for containing a laptop computer, at least one of said side walls having a protective outer skin portion and a cushioning portion extending inwards from said outer skin portion for protecting a laptop computer in said chamber from physical shock, and at least a substantial portion of said at least one side wall being transparent.

2. A carry case for a laptop computer, comprising: one or more side walls defining a chamber for an article to be carried, at least one of said one or more side walls having a protective outer skin portion and a cushioning portion for protecting an article in said chamber from physical shock, and at least a substantial portion of said at least one side wall being transparent.

3. A carry case for a laptop computer, comprising: a plurality of substantially transparent side walls defining a chamber for containing a laptop computer, at least one of said side walls having a protective outer skin portion and a cushioning portion extending inwards from said outer skin portion for protecting a laptop computer in said chamber from physical shock.

4. A carry case for a laptop computer according to any one of claims 1 to 3, wherein the cushioning portion is formed to provide a substantially unobstructed view of the contents of the carry case through the substantially transparent side walls.

5. A carry case for a laptop computer according to any one of claims 1 to 3, wherein the cushioning portion is substantially transparent.

6. A carry case according to claim 4, wherein: all of said side walls have a protective outer skin portion and a cushioning portion extending inwards from said outer skin portion and are all transparent.

7. A carry case according to claim 4, wherein: said outer skin portion is a layer of transparent generally waterproof material and said cushioning portion includes a layer of transparent cushioning material secured to said waterproof material.

8. A method of inspecting luggage at airport security inspection stations, the luggage including a carry case or bag claimed in any of the preceding claims and its contents, the method including: visually inspecting the contents without opening the carry case or bag or removing the contents from the carry case or bag.

9. A method according to claim 8 further comprising a step of scanning the carry case or bag containing the contents by x-ray.

10. A carry case as herein before described with reference to any one of FIGS. 1 to 5, 6 to 9, 10 to 12, 13, 14 to 16, 17 to 19, 20 to 21, 22, or 23 to 26.

Description:

FIELD OF INVENTION

The present invention relates to carry cases and bags. The invention has particular application to carry cases for laptop computers and similar carry bags but may have application to carry cases and bags generally as well as various other types of containers.

BACKGROUND ART

Airport security normally requires laptop computers to be removed from their carry cases prior to the carry case being scanned by x-ray machines so as to render other objects therein more discernible thereby decreasing the risk of undesirable objects such as guns and knives being smuggled aboard aircraft. However, the removal of laptop computers from their carry cases often causes frustration and delay at check-in stations. In this specification, unless the context indicates otherwise, the term carry case is to be taken to encompass other types of baggage such as carry bags and such like.

The present invention aims to provide a carry case or bag which allows adequate inspection by security personnel in conjunction with scanning systems without removal of the laptop computer therefrom. Other aims and advantages of the invention may become apparent from the following description and claims.

DISCLOSURE OF THE INVENTION

With the foregoing in view, the present invention resides broadly in a carry case for a laptop computer, including:

a plurality of side walls defining a chamber for containing a laptop computer, at least one of said side walls having a protective outer skin portion and a cushioning portion extending inwards from said outer skin portion for protecting a laptop computer in said chamber from physical shock, and at least a substantial portion of said at least one side wall being transparent.

In another aspect the present invention resides broadly in a carry case or a carry bag, including:

one or more side walls defining a chamber for an article to be carried, at least one of said one or more side walls having a protective outer skin portion and a cushioning portion for protecting an article in said chamber from physical shock, and at least a substantial portion of said at least one side wall being transparent.

Preferably, all of said side walls have a protective outer skin portion and a cushioning portion extending inwards from said outer skin portion and are all transparent.

In another aspect, the present invention resides broadly in a carry case or carry bag, including:

a plurality of substantially transparent side walls defining a chamber for containing a laptop computer, at least one of said side walls having a protective outer skin portion and a cushioning portion extending inwards from said outer skin portion for protecting a laptop computer in said chamber from physical shock.

Preferably, the cushioning portion is substantially transparent. Alternatively, the cushioning portion is formed substantially to provide an unobstructed view of the contents of the carry case or carry bag through the substantially transparent side walls.

Preferably, said outer skin portion is a layer of transparent generally waterproof material and said cushioning portion includes a layer of transparent cushioning material secured to said waterproof material.

In another aspect the invention resides broadly in a method of inspecting luggage at airport security inspection stations, the luggage including a carry case or bag as previously described and contents, the method including:

visually inspecting the contents without opening the carry case or bag or removing the contents from the carry case or bag.

Preferably, the method includes the further step of scanning the carry case or bag containing the contents by x-ray.

Typically, a laptop computer in a carry case is revealed by x-ray scanning of the bag. However, undesirable objects which are placed in a carry case adjacent a laptop computer are not necessarily distinguished from the laptop computer by x-ray but rather blend with the on screen computer image of the laptop computer. Advantageously, if the content of the carry case or bag is a laptop computer which can be seen by security personnel without removal from the carry case or bag, the need to remove a laptop computer from its carry case is reduced if not eliminated. In this respect, transparency in the context of the present invention refers to transmission of visible light therethrough substantially without distortion. However, it will be appreciated that the material of construction of the side walls and/or cushioning portion may be selected for transparency to x-rays.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In order that the invention may be more readily understood and put into practical effect, reference will now be made to the accompanying drawings illustrating several preferred embodiments of the invention and wherein:

FIGS. 1 to 5 are a pictorial representations of a carry case according to the present invention when closed, open, laid flat, as carried and as traveling through an airport security x-ray machine respectively and illustrating a “brief case concept” embodiment;

FIGS. 6 to 9 are two pictorial representations, a front view and a detail view respectively of a carry case according to the present invention and illustrating a “silicon overmould” embodiment;

FIGS. 10 to 12 are two pictorial representation (closed and open) and a detail view respectively of a carry case according to the present invention and illustrating an “injection moulded” embodiment;

FIG. 13 is a pictorial exploded representation of a carry case according to the invention illustrating a “modular endcaps” embodiment;

FIGS. 14 to 16 are a pictorial representation and two detail views respectively of a carry case according to the present invention and illustrating a “silicon skin” embodiment;

FIGS. 17 to 19 are a pictorial representation and two detail views respectively of a carry case according to the present invention and illustrating an “expandable” embodiment;

FIGS. 20 and 21 are pictorial representations of a carry case according to the present invention in an open and closed attitude respectively and illustrating a “vac formed” embodiment;

FIG. 22 is a pictorial representation of a carry case according to the present invention and illustrating a “welded bag” embodiment;

FIGS. 23 and 24 are pictorial views of a carry case according to the present invention viewed from the top or opening end thereof and the other end respectively and illustrating a preferred form; and

FIGS. 25 and 26 show the same views as FIGS. 23 and 24 respectively with the hidden details thereof in phantom outline.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The carry case 10 illustrated in FIG. 1 has a bottom part 11 which forms a tray adapted to receive therein a laptop computer, and a top part 12 which is adapted to close over the laptop computer and forms a lid for the tray. The two parts are connected together by spaced apart hinges 13 which allow pivoting movement of the lid relative to the tray in a manner similar to that of a briefcase. The lid and the tray can be secured together by spaced apart latches 14 which each have a latch half 14a on the tray and a complementary latch half 14b on the lid adapted to releasably engage with the latch half on the tray to secure the two parts together.

The tray has a front wall 11a, two spaced apart opposed side walls 11b and 11d extending from one side of the front wall, and spaced apart opposed lower and upper walls 11c and 11e extending from the front wall between the two opposed side walls. Likewise, the lid has a rear wall 12a which is spaced from front wall 11a and parallel thereto when the carry case is closed as shown in FIG. 2, side walls 12b and 12d, and lower and upper walls 12c and 12e which are contiguous with the corresponding walls 11b, 11c, 11d and 11e of the tray when in the closed position as can also be seen in FIG. 2.

Advantageously, all of the walls of the carry case are constructed of a transparent plastics material which forms a relatively hard outer skin and each wall is lined with a transparent plastics material which provides a soft padding for a laptop computer when placed therein. In one form of the invention, the padding material is secured to the outer skin by adhesive while in another form the outer skin and the padding are formed as a single moulded plastics component.

The carry case 110 illustrated in FIG. 3 has spaced apart opposed front and rear walls 111a and 111f which are joined by spaced apart side walls 111b and 111d and spaced apart opposed lower and upper walls 111c and 111e. A slot 112 is provided in the upper wall to provide an entry for a laptop computer 115 into the case. Advantageously, all of the walls are constructed of a transparent plastics material as in the other example with a relatively hard outer skin and a soft inner lining allowing a laptop computer therein to be clearly seen along with any other object or article which may be in the carry case and outside the laptop computer.

As can be seen in FIG. 5, the carry case with the laptop contained therein can be passed through a typical airport security x-ray machine without removing the laptop before or after inspection by security personnel. Advantageously, as indicated above, any metallic objects between the laptop computer and the carry case can be seen the naked eye thus obviating the need to remove the laptop computer from the carry case.

The silicon overmould embodiment 60 shown in FIGS. 6 to 9 includes clear silicon overmoulded side walls 61 with integral cushioning details 62 to support and protect laptop computers. The cushioning details are provide by a pair of basal ridges shown typically at 63 and opposed pairs of side ridges shown typically at 64 with valleys in between. A panel wall 65 is provided in envelope form between the side walls in a diecut clear PETG or similar plastics sheet folded if necessary to conform to the envelope. An injection moulded latch 66 is provided spaced inward from the respective edges of the panel wall and its opposite end, being a closure flap 68. The shape of the edge may be squared off as shown in FIG. 8 or curved as shown in FIGS. 6 and 7. Two anchor points 67 (only one being visible in the views shown) are provided on the outside of the side walls near the opening of the flap.

The injection moulded embodiment 100 includes a three-piece injection moulded polycarbonate shell with two integral hinges 104. Overmoulded silicon corners 101 shown in the detail view of FIG. 12 are provided for cushioning the contents of the carry case as well as to protect the carry case itself. An injection moulded latch 103 is also provided in similar fashion to that of the silicon overmoulded embodiment shown and described with reference to FIGS. 6 to 9.

The modular endcaps embodiment 130 shown in FIG. 13 includes two clear polycarbonate injection moulded end caps 131 each provided with a basal silicon cushion 132 and an anterior silicon cushion 133. The endcaps and cushions slide over and into a clear diecut PETG sheet 135 in the form of an envelop having a flap 138 and a latch 136.

The silicon skin embodiment 140 shown in FIGS. 14 to 16 includes a single-piece injection moulded clear silicon case 141 with moulded-in cushioning 143 in the form of a plurality of ridges running along the side walls 145 of the carry case. Two integral anchor points 144, one on each side wall near the opening, are provided to take a shoulder strap.

The expandable embodiment 170 shown in FIGS. 17 to 19 has two opposed sheets of clear diecut PETG sheets 172 bonded or moulded or fixed into opposed side edges of a concertina style edge wall 176, shown in a collapsed attitude 178 in FIG. 19 and an expanded attitude 177 in FIG. 18. The sheets are inserted into complementary channels as shown in the detail views at 179. A latch 174 is also provided to fasten a flap 173 to one of the sheets. A strap 175 is attached to the flap.

The vac formed embodiment 200 shown in FIGS. 20 and 21 includes a base portion 201, a larger lid portion 202 and a smaller lid portion 203 which abut edge to edge when in the closed attitude shown in FIG. 20. A latch 205 is provided near the edges thereof, and the lid portions may be closed by bending a fluted or corrugated hinge joint 212 joining each lid portion to a respective opposed edge of the base portion. The lid and base portions also include a sidewall 206 along opposed side edges of substantially planar panels to provide a polycarbonate or PETG shell. Each panel also is provided with opposed pairs of silicone pads shown typically at 210 spaced inward from the side edges and hinge joints of each panel for cushioning the contents of the carry case with in the closed attitude.

The welded bag embodiment 220 shown in FIG. 22 includes a clear PVC film panels 221 welded or stitched to sidewalls 222 having optional clear silicone pads to cushion and protect the laptop computer. Two anchor points 223 are provided on each sidewall near the opening fro attachment of a strap, and a latch 224 is provided to close the opening with a flap 228 against one of the panels. Optional coloured edging or piping or the like is provided along the weld or stitch joint.

The preferred form 230 shown in FIGS. 23 to 26 includes a polycarbonate sheeting envelope panel folded or formed to an envelope 233 with a flap 232 to close the opening. Referring particularly to FIGS. 23 and 24, the shape of the envelope, as with similar embodiments previously described, is substantially determined by the periphery of two opposed side walls 231 shown. Each side walls moulding includes an anchor point 238 near the opening of the envelope and four cushion anchoring apertures shown typically at 234, the apertures being provided in two pairs each. As shown particularly in the hidden detail of FIGS. 25 and 26 there are provided a pair of opposing basal cushions 237 and a pair of opposing ventral cushions 236 near the opening of the envelope, each cushion being anchored to a side wall moulding by way of the cushion anchoring apertures. All of the elements of the carry case are substantially transparent, or if not, any opaque portions are of such dimensions that visual inspection of the contents of the carry case are substantially unimpeded by virtue of small size and/or configuration.

The foregoing description has been given by way of illustrative example of the invention and many modifications in variations which will be apparent to persons skilled in the art may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the following claims.