Title:
Trolley-style suitcase having a reversibly deployable seat
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A trolley-style suitcase having a reversibly deployable seat unit is disclosed. The suitcase has a rear frame member, a rear compartment in which the seat unit may be stowed, two runner means, each having a fixed part attached to the rear frame member and a moveable part attached to the seat unit by means of a pivot arrangement, and a retractable handle to facilitate movement of the suitcase, the retractable handle being mechanically independent of the two runner means. When the seat unit is stowed the seat unit is pivoted to be in a vertical position and the moveable part of the runners is retracted inside the fixed part and when the seat unit is deployed the moveable part of the runners is extended from within the fixed part of the runners so that the seat unit may be lifted out of its compartment until such point where the pivot unit allows the seat to be rotated into a horizontal position for use. A trolley-style suitcase comprising a seat unit having two indentations shaped to fit the contours of a user's posterior affixed to the top of the case is also disclosed.



Inventors:
Gray, Daniel (London, GB)
Application Number:
12/558712
Publication Date:
03/25/2010
Filing Date:
09/14/2009
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
190/115, 297/229
International Classes:
A47C13/00; A45C13/30; A47C7/62
View Patent Images:
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20090038900TRAVEL CASE FOR COSMETICSFebruary, 2009Redzisz et al.
20090321205FABRIC FOR PACKINGDecember, 2009Morkemo
20050263226Purse liner, organizer and essential item transfer pouchDecember, 2005Smithers
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20060272980Interconnecting luggage system having optional featuresDecember, 2006Montgomery
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20060196744Discrete organizers for a travel bagSeptember, 2006Greiner
20060231297Luggage with a built-in weighing scale and e-tagOctober, 2006Patel



Primary Examiner:
COLLADO, CYNTHIA FRANCISCA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Stuart Harbron (BERKHAMSTED, GB)
Claims:
1. A trolley-style suitcase having a reversibly deployable seat unit (202) comprising: (a) a rear frame member (506); (b) a rear compartment (108) in which the seat unit may be stowed; (c) two runner means, each having a fixed part (502) attached to the rear frame member and a moveable part (504) attached to the seat unit by means of a pivot arrangement (510); (d) a retractable handle (104) to facilitate movement of the suitcase, the retractable handle being mechanically independent of the two runner means; whereby when the seat unit is stowed the seat unit is pivoted to be in a vertical position and the moveable part of the runners is retracted inside the fixed part and when the seat unit is deployed the moveable part of the runners is extended from within the fixed part of the runners so that the seat unit may be lifted out of its compartment until such point where the pivot unit allows the seat to be rotated into a horizontal position for use.

2. The trolley-style suitcase of claim 1 in which the rear compartment is external to the retractable handle.

3. The trolley-style suitcase of claim 1 in which the retractable handle is external to the rear compartment.

4. The trolley-style suitcase of claim 1 additionally comprising seat support units (204) on a front edge (206) of the suitcase, the support units being supported by one or more front frame members, the support units being sufficiently high to prevent the seat unit when deployed from being fouled by a middle handle (208) of the suitcase.

5. The trolley-style suitcase of claim 1 additionally having wheels (106) at the rear lower corners (112) of the suitcase to facilitate movement of the suitcase, the wheels being fitted with brakes to prevent movement when the seat unit is deployed.

6. The trolley-style suitcase of claim 1 additionally comprising feet (302) at the two lower front corners (304) of the case to provide further stability for the suitcase when used as a seat.

7. The trolley-style suitcase of claim 1 additionally comprising a padded seat cover (402) slideable over the two sides of the retractable handle to provide additional comfort and support for the back when a user is sat upon the seat unit.

8. A padded seat cover (402) slideable over the two sides of a retractable handle (104) of a trolley-style suitcase having a reversibly deployable seat unit (202), said retractable handle facilitating movement of the suitcase and being mechanically independent of the two runner means, said suitcase comprising: (a) a rear frame member (506); (b) a rear compartment (108) in which the seat unit may be stowed; and (c) two runner means, each having a fixed part (502) attached to the rear frame member and a moveable part (504) attached to the seat unit by means of a pivot arrangement (510); whereby when the seat unit is stowed the seat unit is pivoted to be in a vertical position and the moveable part of the runners is retracted inside the fixed part and when the seat unit is deployed the moveable part of the runners is extended from within the fixed part of the runners so that the seat unit may be lifted out of its compartment until such point where the pivot unit allows the seat to be rotated into a horizontal position for use; whereby said padded seat cover provides additional comfort and support for the back when a user is sat upon the seat unit.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application claims the benefit of GB Application No. 0817138.1 filed 19 Sep. 2008, which application is included herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to a trolley-style suitcase having a seat unit concealed within its carcass, the seat unit being conveniently deployable over the top of the suitcase to form a seat as and when required.

Trolley-style suitcases having a retractable handle which, when the suitcase is in the vertical position, extends from the suitcase and allows the suitcase to be inclined at an angle so that wheels make contact with the ground, thereby facilitating movement of the suitcase by pulling or pushing it, are a well-known item of commerce. When the handle is retracted, the suitcase may be stowed in the luggage compartment of a car, a boat, an aircraft, or any other mode of transportation.

Increasing security concerns at airports, railway stations, and other transportation facilities, has meant that the waiting time for people as they board vehicles or wait to pass through security has substantially increased. This means that passengers have to stand for relatively long periods of time as they move slowly down the queue.

Various suitcases have been developed with integrated stands and/or seats (U.S. Pat. No. 7,097,017, FR2302066, WO2004/100699).

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

From the foregoing, it may be appreciated that a need has arisen for a trolley-style suitcase having a reversibly deployable seat unit. The suitcase has a rear frame member, a rear compartment in which the seat unit may be stowed, two runner means, each having a fixed part attached to the rear frame member and a moveable part attached to the seat unit by means of a pivot arrangement, and a retractable handle to facilitate movement of the suitcase, the retractable handle being mechanically independent of the two runner means. When the seat unit is stowed the seat unit is pivoted to be in a vertical position and the moveable part of the runners is retracted inside the fixed part and when the seat unit is deployed the moveable part of the runners is extended from within the fixed part of the runners so that the seat unit may be lifted out of its compartment until such point where the pivot unit allows the seat to be rotated into a horizontal position for use.

A trolley-style suitcase comprising a seat unit having two indentations shaped to fit the contours of a user's posterior affixed to the top of the case is also disclosed.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING

For a more complete explanation of the present invention and the technical advantages thereof, reference is now made to the following description and the accompanying drawing in which:

FIG. 1 shows a trolley-style suitcase of the present invention;

FIG. 2 shows how a seat unit may be conveniently pulled from a compartment for deployment on a top surface of the suitcase;

FIG. 3 shows wheels that may be fitted with brakes to stop the suitcase from moving whilst the user is using the seat unit to provide a seat for sitting upon, and feet to provide further stability for the suitcase when used as a seat;

FIG. 4 shows a padded seat cover which may be slid over the two sides of the retractable handle to provide additionally comfort and support for the back when the user is sat upon the seat unit;

FIG. 5 shows how the seat unit is attached to the suitcase via two runners to allow the deployment of the seat unit; and

FIG. 6 shows a seat unit having two indentations shaped to fit the contours of the user's posterior affixed to the top of the case.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Embodiments of the present invention and their technical advantages may be better understood by referring to FIG. 1.

The trolley-style suitcase (102), in common with similar known items of commerce, has a retractable handle (104) which, when the suitcase is in the vertical position as shown, extends from the suitcase and allows the suitcase to be inclined at an angle so that wheels (106) at the rear lower corners of the case (112) make contact with the ground, thereby facilitating movement of the suitcase by pulling or pushing it.

In a preferred embodiment the suitcase of the present invention includes a rear compartment (108) in which a reversibly deployable seat unit may be stowed. The rear compartment has a closure (110) along a top surface (114) of the suitcase. Preferably the closure is a zipper. In FIG. 1 the rear compartment is shown as being external to the retractable handle; in another embodiment the retractable handle may be external to the rear compartment. The operation of reversibly deployable seat unit from within the rear compartment may be better understood by referring to FIG. 2, which shows how the seat unit (202) may be conveniently pulled from the compartment for deployment on a top surface (114) of the suitcase. The seat unit has a slot (210) into which the user's hand may be inserted in order to pull the seat unit from the compartment.

FIG. 2 also shows the retractable handle (104) deployed, which allows the suitcase to be moved by means of its wheels as described above even when the seat unit is deployed. This is ideal when waiting in a queue, as the user of the suitcase may use the seat unit to provide a seat for sitting upon when the queue is not moving, and yet easily move the suitcase to a new position in the queue when required. The retractable handle, whilst mechanically separate from the reversibly deployable seat arrangement, may also serve as a support for the back of the user when the user is sat upon the seat unit.

In addition, FIG. 2 shows seat support units (204) on a front edge (206) of the suitcase. One or more front frame members of the suitcase support these seat support units. The seat support units support the seat, and are sufficiently high to prevent the seat unit when deployed from being fouled by a middle handle (208) often found on the top surface of trolley suitcases. Preferably there are two such seat supports units at each of the front corners as shown.

Referring now to FIG. 3, which shows the seat unit in place on the top surface of the suitcase, wheels (106) may be fitted with brakes to stop the suitcase from moving whilst the user is using the seat unit to provide a seat for sitting upon. In addition, the suitcase may be fitted with feet (302) at the two lower corners (304) to provide further stability for the suitcase when used as a seat. One or more front frame members of the suitcase support these feet.

Referring now to FIG. 4, which shows the seat unit in place on the top surface of the suitcase, an optional padded seat cover (402) is shown which may be slid over the two sides of the retractable handle (104) to provide additionally comfort and support for the back when the user is sat upon the seat unit. Again, this is ideal when waiting in a queue, as the user of the suitcase may use the seat unit to provide a seat for sitting upon when the queue is not moving, and yet easily move the suitcase to a new position in the queue when required.

Referring now to FIG. 5, which shows how the seat unit (202) is attached to the suitcase, two runners (500), each having a fixed part (502) attached to a rear frame member (506) of the suitcase and a moveable part (504) attached to the seat unit, allow the deployment of the seat unit. The runners are of the kind commonly used in drawer units, in which the fixed end is attached to the cabinet, and the movable end is attached to the drawer. A cross piece (508) is attached between each of the two moveable parts of the runners to provide extra stability and to reduce the possibility of the runners becoming stuck. The seat unit is attached to one end of the moveable runners by means of a pivot arrangement (510). In FIG. 5 the retractable handle is shown as being external to the rear compartment; in another embodiment the rear compartment may be external to the retractable handle. For both embodiments, the retractable handle is mechanically separate from the reversibly deployable seat arrangement.

FIG. 5 shows how the seat unit is stowed inside its compartment: the moveable part of the runners is retracted inside the fixed part and the seat is pivoted to be in the vertical position. The whole assemblage is contained within its compartment in a secure fashion and the closure is closed.

When the seat unit is to be deployed, the closure is opened and the seat unit pulled upwards, during which phase the moveable part of the runners is extended from within the fixed part of the runners so that the seat unit may be lifted out of its compartment until such point where the pivot unit allows the seat to be rotated into a horizontal position for use.

Referring now to FIG. 6, which shows a further embodiment of the present invention in which the seat unit is integral with the top of the case, a seat unit (602) having two indentations (604) shaped to fit the contours of the user's posterior is affixed to the top of the case. The seat unit has a slot into which the central handle (208) is recessed, and from which the handle may be pulled out for use. Retractable handle (104) when deployed may serve as a support for the back of the user when the user is sat upon the seat unit. As shown in FIG. 4, an optional padded seat cover (402) may be slid over the two sides of the retractable handle (104) to provide additionally comfort and support for the back when the user is sat upon the seat unit. Again, this is ideal when waiting in a queue, as the user of the suitcase may use the seat unit to provide a seat for sitting upon when the queue is not moving, and yet easily move the suitcase to a new position in the queue when required.