CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
This application claims the benefit of to U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/723,892, filed Oct. 5, 2005. The disclosure of the application is incorporated herein by reference.
1. Technical Field
The present invention generally relates to media storage containers and, more particularly, to a device that converts a disc-holding media storage container to one that holds a Universal Media Disc® media storage container. Specifically, the present invention relates to a media storage tray used to convert a lockable media storage container used for discs such as CDs and DVDs to one that holds a Universal Media Disc® media storage container.
2. Background Information
- BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Video tapes and DVDs have dominated the media rental market for the past 20 years. Rental companies have thus invested significant sums in rental storage containers and display shelving designed from video tapes and DVDs. Some of these rental establishments have invested in lockable media storage containers that allow the establishment to lock the recorded media in a container on a display shelf. As media is being released on the Universal Media Disc® cartridge, media rental establishments are asking for methods for displaying the Universal Media Disc® cartridges in their existing rental containers. One such known container is sold under the SECURE CASE trademark by the assignee of the present application. The CD and DVD version of the SECURE CASE product is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,474,470 at drawing FIGS. 27-53.
In one configuration, the present invention provides a conversion tray configured to retain at least one Universal Media Disc® cartridge. The tray may be inserted into a standard rental container to allow the container to be converted from a video tape or media disc (CD or DVD) configuration to hold the Universal Media Disc® cartridge. The tray may be configured to hold a pair of Universal Media Disc® cartridges.
In another configuration, the present invention provides a conversion tray that interlocks with the disc hub of a disc-shaped media storage container to locate and secure the conversion tray within the storage container.
In another configuration, the present invention provides a conversion tray that interlocks with the nest of the media storage container to locate and secure the conversion tray within the storage container.
In another configuration, the present invention provides a conversion tray having at least one chamber configured to retain a Universal Media Disc® cartridge wherein the chamber sits above the disc nest when the conversion tray is inserted into the media storage container.
In another configuration, the present invention provides a conversion tray for converting a lockable media storage container from holding one type of recorded media to another type of recorded media while still allowing the lock to fully function to lock the container.
In another configuration, the invention provides a tray having an opening that allows a portion of the nest to extend through the side of the tray. The opposite side of the tray may have a rounded protrusion that seats an opposite side of the nest wall to help position and interlock the tray with the container.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS
These configurations may be used alone or in combination.
FIG. 1 is a top plan view of a lockable media storage container with the conversion tray of the invention inserted into the base of the container.
FIG. 2 is a section view taken along line 2-2 of FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is a section view taken along line 3-3 of FIG. 1.
FIG. 4 is a section view similar to FIG. 2 showing the lid closed.
- DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
Similar numbers refer to similar parts throughout the specification.
The conversion tray of the present invention is indicated generally by the number 2 in the accompanying drawings. Conversion tray 2 may be inserted into the storage compartment of a known media storage container 4 to convert container 4 from holding a disc-shaped item of recorded media (such as a CD or DVD) to holding a Universal Media Disc® cartridge or other cartridge-based item of recorded media.
The exemplary media storage container 4 includes a container body having a base 6 adapted to hold a disc-shaped item of recorded media on a disc retaining hub 8 that projects upwardly from a flat bottom wall 10. The container body defines a storage compartment when disposed in a closed configuration. The container also includes a circular nest wall 12 disposed around hub 8 with a finger access recess 14 that provides a break in nest 12 where a user's finger may access the edge of a disc held on hub 8. A pair of retaining clips 16 project upwardly from bottom wall 10 adjacent the front wall 18 of base 6. Base 6 also includes a pair of side walls 20 disposed perpendicular to front wall 18. Nest 12 has a height above bottom wall 12 that is less than the height of walls 18 and 20. A back wall 22 is hinged to bottom wall 10 with a lid 24 hinged to back wall 22. A front wall 26 and side walls 28 are connected to lid 24 and are configured to nest inside walls 18 and 20 of base 6 when lid 24 is closed. The configuration of container 4 and the lock that holds the lid closed is described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,474,470 and is incorporated herein by reference.
Tray 2 includes a body having elements disposed on and between three layers referred to as the upper 52, intermediate 54, and lower 56 layers in this description. Lower layer 56 is designed to rest against or adjacent to bottom wall 10. An outer flange 50 may be used to laterally locate tray 2 within base 6. Intermediate layer 54 is configured to rest on the upper surface of nest 12. Upper layer 52 is configured to be disposed below and spaced from the inner surface of lid 24 when lid 24 is closed as shown in FIG. 4. Tray 2 holds items of recorded media between intermediate 54 and upper 56 layers.
Tray 2 is configured to locate intermediate layer 54 on top of nest 12 so that the items of recorded media held by tray 2 are disposed above the upper surface of nest 12 and under lid 24 when lid 24 is closed. Tray 2 includes at least one or, as shown in the drawings, a pair of media nests 60 disposed between intermediate 54 and upper 52 layers. Each nest 60 is configured to closely surround the outer perimeter edge of the item of recorded media and, in the exemplary embodiment, closely surround the outer perimeter edge of a Universal Media Disc® cartridge. Nests 60 have locking fingers 62 that are configured to snap fit over the outer edges of the recorded media. These locking fingers 62 have a height that is less than one-quarter of the height of nests 60. Fingers 62 are flexible and have rounded or angled upper and lower surfaces to allow the item of recoded media to be forced down into nest 60 and then pulled from nest 60. When tray 2 is formed from a vacuum-formed method, the resiliency of the material allows the fingers to be flexed back out of the way while the recorded media is being pushed down into nest 60 and then snapped back over the outer edge of the recorded media. Each nest 60 also defines a pair of recessed finger access depressions that allow the user to grasp opposed locations of the outer edge of the item of recorded media.
At least the upper (the nest 60 disposed closest to the top of FIG. 1 and to the right of FIG. 2) nest 60 has a first locating projection 66 that projects from the lower surface (disposed at intermediate layer 54) of nest 60 from the intermediate layer 54 to the lower layer 52. Projection 66 is configured to fit within finger access recess 14 as shown in FIGS. 2 and 4 to locate and laterally retain tray 2 within base 6.
Tray 2 also defines a hub lock 70 that defies an opening sized to snap fit or slidingly receive a portion of hub 2. Hub lock 70 at least laterally retains tray 2 with respect to base 6. When a snap-fit connection is formed, hub lock 70 also prevents tray 2 from falling out of base 6 even when base is turned upside down. The snap fit connection may be made under the projections of hub 8 that are designed to retain a CD or DVD.
In the exemplary embodiment of the invention, tray 2 further includes a pair of opposed second locating projections 72 extending from intermediate layer 54 to lower layer 56. Each second locating projection has a broad flat bottom with a curved outer sidewall adapted to fit just within nest 12 to laterally locate and retain tray 2 within base 2. Second locating projections are disposed on opposite sides of hub lock 70. Each sidewall that nests just inside nest 12 may encompass an arc length of 5 to 75 degrees (when measured from the center of hub 8) with each wall encompassing at least a 70 degree arc in the exemplary embodiment.
Tray 2 may also include feet 74 and 76 that project from intermediate layer 54 to lower layer 56. Each foot 74 and 76 has a flat lower surface that may be connected to the inner surface of bottom wall 10. The connection may be formed with an adhesive, a mechanical connector, or a weld. Feet 74 or 76 may have edges or corners that engage the outer portion of nest 12. In the exemplary embodiment of the invention, the lower inner corners of feet 74 and the inner upper corners of feet 76 are disposed to engage outer portions of nest 12. Feet 74, 76 and projections 72 thus cooperate to laterally locate tray 2 within base 6.
Tray 2 also may have a sidewall 84 that also engages the outer surface of nest 12. In the exemplary embodiment of the invention, sidewall 84 has an outwardly curved portion 80 that cooperates with the outer sidewall of projection 72 to trap a portion of nest 12. The opposite sidewall 86 of tray 2 depicts an alternate mechanism to trap nest 12. Sidewall 86 defines a nest opening 82 that allows a portion of nest 12 to project through sidewall 86. Opening 82 also allows tray 2 to fit within base 6 while providing a gap between wall 86 and wall 18. This gap provides space to receive the inner ends of the lock (see U.S. Pat. No. 6,474,470) that is used to lock lid 24 in the closed position.
Tray 2 may thus be inserted into container 4 to convert container from one that holds a single DVD to one that holds a pair of media cartridges such as those described above.
In the foregoing description, certain terms have been used for brevity, clearness, and understanding. No unnecessary limitations are to be implied therefrom beyond the requirement of the prior art because such terms are used for descriptive purposes and are intended to be broadly construed.
Moreover, the description and illustration of the invention is an example and the invention is not limited to the exact details shown or described.