US 20050218018 A1
A compact disc casing as defined by first or major and second or minor casing members collectively defining a narrow chamber for housing a thin circular article, such as a compact disc. The second or minor casing member functions as a handle which can be grasped by a person to introduce and/or remove a compact disc relative to the case and an associated utilization device, such as a computer, absent tactile or finger contact.
1. A housing for storing and handling an article absent tactile contact therewith comprising first means for defining a chamber within which an article is adapted to be protectively housed, second means for receiving a portion of an article absent tactile contact therewith, and third means for effecting selective unification and separation of said first and second means whereby an article can be respectively inserted in and removed from said chamber by handling said second means absent tactile contact with the article.
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18. A device for storing and handling a substantially thin and flat article absent tactile contact therewith comprising first and second housings, said first housing including first and second walls disposed in relatively close spaced relationship to each other thereby defining a substantially narrow major chamber adapted to house a major portion of a substantially thin and flat article, said first and second walls having respective first and second edges defining therebetween an entry/exit opening of said narrow major chamber, said second housing including first and second walls disposed in relatively close spaced relationship to each other thereby defining a substantially narrow minor chamber adapted to house a minor portion of a substantially thin and flat article, said second housing first and second walls being constructed and arranged for inward motion relative to each other upon the application of external opposing tactile forces thereto whereby a minor portion of a substantially thin and flat article can be gripped therebetween for effecting entry and removal of a major portion of the substantially thin and flat article relative to said narrow major chamber through said entry/exit opening, and said second housing first and second walls having respective first and second wall portions in substantial registry with said first housing respective first and second edges whereby said entry/exit opening is at least partially closed when a substantially thin and flat article is substantially entirely housed within said major and minor chambers.
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This invention is directed to a case for storing and handling thin flat products, such as CDs (compact discs), DVDs (digital versatile disc), video game discs, etc., particularly for front-loading applications, i.e., computers.
One of the most common storage cases for CDs is a “jewel case” which is formed by two pivotally connected plastic members, each of a generally square or polygonal outline. One of the plastic members is a case cover and the other is a case body or housing having a central stylus or projection for receiving and locating a compact disc relative to the case body. The case cover is pivoted to the case housing by a hinge in a conventional manner for opening and closing the case to access the CD therein. Opposite side edges of the case body are relieved to allow a user to manually grip edges of the CD to grip the CD for manipulation, such as inserting the CD into a front-loading computer or inserting the CD back into the “jewel case.” The latter manipulation requires the use of two hands, one hand for holding the “jewel case” and the other for gripping and manipulating the CD. Using two hands is disadvantageous for many reasons, particularly when associated with loading and unloading CDs relative to use during the driving of a motor vehicle. However, irrespective of the use environment, the very fact that the CD must be manually grasped and manipulated is undesired because of the potential finger/hand contact with the recorded portion of the CD.
Recognizing the undesirability of handling CDs and utilizing two hands for CD manipulation, efforts have been made to construct compact disc cases or holders with ejection mechanisms, such as disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,590,768 in the name of Hilton et al. Other compact disc cases or storage devices which include loading and unloading mechanisms include U.S. Pat. No. 6,341,119 B1 in the name of Ezawa et al.; U.S. Pat. No, 5,334,904 in the name of Kramer; U.S. Pat. No. 4,520,470 in the name of Alayer de Costomore de Arc; U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,283,281 and 6,450,331, each in the name of Pandolph et al. and U.S. Pat. No. 6,467,616 in the name of Hegarty et al. The latter patents and the following listed patents were found during a search of the records of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office:
Though the latter identified related prior art is reflective of compact disc cases, none individually or collectively disclose an extremely low cost case for storing compact discs which can be readily manipulated such that a compact disc can be inserted in and removed from a chamber of the case and/or a utilization device (computer) by an individual using but a single hand absent tactile contact with the compact disc.
In keeping with the present invention, a novel compact disc/CD case is provided in the form of a relatively flat and narrow housing have an exit/entry opening along one edge thereof. A CD chamber is defined by two substantially intimately adjacent walls of a first or major case housing or body of the CD case, each having a substantially U-shaped slot, opening, cutout or notch opening through and/or in part defining the narrow exit/entry opening of the chamber. Another second or minor case housing or body of the CD case in the form of a handle is defined by two walls which are pivotally connected to each other and between which is grasped an edge of a compact disc. The configuration of two edges of the two walls of the handle complement the U-shaped opening of the CD case first case body which allows the handle to be slid into and out of the U-shaped slot which likewise effects insertion and removal of a CD gripped by the handle when inserted into or removed from the exit/entry opening of the first case body. While the CD is still gripped by the handle which is in turn gripped by the user, the user can transport the CD to an appropriate utilization device, such as a computer, CD player, etc. Upon inserting the CD into the utilization device, the handle pressure is released, the handle is withdrawn, and the CD is drawn into the utilization device absent any tactile contact. After ejection from the utilization device, the handle is again utilized to grip a peripheral edge portion of the CD to withdraw the same from the utilization device and again, absent tactile contact, reintroduced into the first case body with the handle seated complementary within the U-shaped slot thereof. When thus assembled with the handle and the CD retained in the first case body, the CD case can be appropriately stored in any conventional CD storage rack. In this manner the handle forms a portion of the case in the storage mode of operation of the case and CD, yet through single hand manipulation the handle and CD can be appropriately manipulated without tactile contact of the CD during relative transport of the CD to and from and/or between the CD case and/or first case body and the utilization device.
With the above and other objects in view that will hereinafter appear, the nature of the invention will be more clearly understood by reference to the following detailed description, the appended claims and the several views illustrated in the accompanying drawings.
A housing or case 10 for storing and handling a substantially thin, flat, circular article A, such as compact disc, CD-rom, DVD, for utilization with front-load computers, video games, CD car players, etc., absent tactile contact or hand contact with the user thereof, is best illustrated in
The case 10 includes first means 11 in the form of a major or first housing, member or body for defining a relatively narrow chamber or major chamber C having a narrow exit/entry opening O through which can pass the article A, such as a compact disc of a generally annular configuration defined by an outer circumferential edge Ce and an inner circular opening O1.
The case or housing 10 is further defined by second means 12 in the form of a minor or second housing member, body or handle which performs the dual function of gripping the article A adjacent the circumferential edge Ce thereof absent tactile contact (
The first or major housing, member or body 11 of the case 10 is defined by two substantially identically contoured injection molded plastic material walls 21, 22.
The wall 21 of the first case member 11 includes a centrally located slot or recess 23 (
Six identical means 40 (
Interior surfaces (unnumbered) of the walls 21, 22 may preferably include a plurality of shallow, generally parallel, ribs 59 along which the article or compact disc A can slide during the insertion and removal thereof relative to the chamber C to preclude surface damage to the compact disc A, particularly with respect to the surface thereof having information M electronically stored thereupon. The ribs 59 are placed on the inner surfaces of both walls 21, 22 to prevent or reduce such damage to the compact disc A no matter which side thereof is adjacent either of the walls 21, 22.
The second or minor housing, member or body 12 of the case 10 is defined in part by walls or handle members 61, 62 (
A generally U-shaped metal spring 76 having legs 77, 78 each provided with an opening 89 is located between the handle members 61, 62 with a locating projection 81, 82 (
In order to remove the compact disc A from the compartment C, the user need but grip the handle or clamping member 12, preferably at the gripping ribs 71 of both handle members 61, 62, apply pressure thereto which disengages the projections 70 from the shallow recesses 50 and permits the handle 12 and the now-gripped compact disc A to be removed from the chamber C, as is illustrated in
In further accordance with the present invention, the projections 70 and the recesses 50 can be eliminated and lieu thereof the opposing surfaces of the walls 21, 61 and 22, 62 can be produced in a “soft grip” synthetic plastic/copolymeric material similar to that found on grip ends of ballpoint pen housings. Such material is scratch-resistant or abrasion-resistant and since somewhat resilient and possessing a high co-efficient of friction, the anti-friction material 75, 75 can also be eliminated. The frictional grip between the walls 61, 62 and 21, 22, respectively, achieved by the construction and characteristics of the materials of these wall themselves and the tension offered by the U-shaped spring 76 is sufficient to retain the second handle or case member 12 housed within the first case member 11 with or without the compact disc A housed between the walls 61, 62.
Although a preferred embodiment of the invention has been specifically illustrated and described herein, it is to be understood that minor variations may be made in the apparatus without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention, as defined by the appended claims.