US20070108005A1 - Apparatus and methods for identifying luggage - Google Patents

Apparatus and methods for identifying luggage Download PDF

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Publication number
US20070108005A1
US20070108005A1 US11/559,135 US55913506A US2007108005A1 US 20070108005 A1 US20070108005 A1 US 20070108005A1 US 55913506 A US55913506 A US 55913506A US 2007108005 A1 US2007108005 A1 US 2007108005A1
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Prior art keywords
panel
luggage
visual queue
kit
piece
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Abandoned
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US11/559,135
Inventor
Jason Augenstein
Jan Anderson
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Jason Augenstein
Jan Anderson
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Priority to US71257605P priority Critical
Priority to US51207706A priority
Application filed by Jason Augenstein, Jan Anderson filed Critical Jason Augenstein
Priority to US11/559,135 priority patent/US20070108005A1/en
Publication of US20070108005A1 publication Critical patent/US20070108005A1/en
Abandoned legal-status Critical Current

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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A45HAND OR TRAVELLING ARTICLES
    • A45CPURSES; LUGGAGE; HAND CARRIED BAGS
    • A45C13/00Details; Accessories
    • A45C13/42Devices for identifying luggage; Means for attaching same
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A45HAND OR TRAVELLING ARTICLES
    • A45CPURSES; LUGGAGE; HAND CARRIED BAGS
    • A45C5/00Rigid or semi-rigid luggage
    • A45C5/03Suitcases

Abstract

An identifying panel for luggage includes a visual queue to identify the luggage from most other luggage pieces. The identifying panel for luggage includes a body having a front surface and a back surface, a recognizable visual queue disposed on the front surface, and a panel connecting device attached to the body for connecting the panel to a first side of a luggage piece. A kit comprises a removable panel having a front surface and back surface, a connecting device for attaching the removable panel to a first side of a luggage piece, and a visual queue disposed on the front surface for identifying a luggage piece. A method for providing luggage with an identifiable panel includes forming a body having a front surface and a back surface, a recognizable visual queue disposed on the front surface, and a panel connecting device attached to the body for connecting the panel to a first side of a luggage piece and connecting the panel to a side of a luggage piece.

Description

    CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/712,576 filed Aug. 30, 2005, and is a continuation-in-part of U.S. Non-provisional Application No. 11/512,077 filed Aug. 29, 2006, which are herein incorporated by reference.
  • FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention is directed to apparatus and methods for identifying luggage pieces. More particularly, the present invention is directed to a luggage piece (e.g., a suitcase or bag) that includes one or more identifying panels that may be attached to one or more sides of the luggage piece and configured to provide a visual queue to the one or more sides of the luggage, making the luggage piece recognizable among other pieces of luggage.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • Luggage (e.g., suitcases, garment bags, carry-on bags, etc.) have traditionally been manufactured and sold in a very limited range of colors and/or decorative designs. When traveling, one typically brings along at least one piece of luggage, and many times, multiple pieces of luggage. For example, if flying on an airline, one can check his/her luggage into the luggage compartment of the airplane and/or carryon one or more pieces of luggage into the passenger cabin. When arriving at the destination, the luggage that was checked into the luggage compartment are unloaded from the airplane and placed on a baggage conveyor to the baggage claim area, wherein the passengers wait to identify and pick-up their luggage. Generally, the baggage claim area (e.g., baggage terminal) tends to be poorly lit as well.
  • The baggage conveyors transporting all the luggage unloaded from the recently arrived airplane contain a multitude of luggage for the passengers to identify, claim, and/or pick-up. Some luggage includes a small name tag that is typically attached to the handle that includes general personal information such as name, address, and phone number. In addition, when a passenger checks his/her luggage with the airline, the airline connects a small airline tag with the passenger's name, address, flight identification, and/or destination to the luggage (e.g., the handle). Every checked piece of luggage has the same airline tag on it with just different personal information for each passenger.
  • Accordingly, there is a need for improved apparatus and methods to identify luggage.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • Accordingly, the present invention is intended to address and obviate problems and shortcomings and otherwise improve previous luggage.
  • One exemplary embodiment of the present invention is an identifying panel for luggage that comprises a body having a front surface and a back surface, a recognizable visual queue disposed on the front surface, and a panel connecting device attached to the body for connecting the panel to a first side of a luggage piece.
  • Another exemplary embodiment of the present invention is a kit for providing a visual queue for identifying luggage. The kit comprises a removable panel having a front surface and back surface, a connecting device for attaching the removable panel to a first side of a luggage piece, and a visual queue disposed on the front surface for identifying a luggage piece.
  • Yet another exemplary embodiment of the present invention is a method for providing luggage with an identifiable panel that comprises forming a panel according to claim 1, and connecting the panel to a side of a luggage piece.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • The following detailed description of the preferred embodiments of the present invention can be best understood when read in conjunction with the following drawings, where like structure is indicated with like reference numerals and in which:
  • FIG. 1 is a perspective schematic view an exemplary embodiment of a luggage piece according to the present invention;
  • FIG. 2 is a perspective schematic view an exemplary embodiment of a luggage piece according to the present invention; and
  • FIG. 3 is a perspective schematic view an exemplary embodiment of a luggage piece according to the present invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • When you place numerous pieces of luggage that have a similar appearance in a luggage/baggage claim conveyor or pick-up area in a terminal, it has been found that travelers struggle with identifying and/or distinguishing their piece(s) of luggage from the numerous other similar-looking pieces of luggage. As set forth above, compounding the problem of identifying luggage at a baggage claim area is the fact that, in many cases, the airport lighting is poor and the luggage is moving fairly quickly on a conveyor system. Also, it has been found that unless a passenger is next to the luggage, the passenger cannot see the personal information on either the name tag or the airline tag sufficient enough to recognize their luggage a distance.
  • Another issue with luggage is that the baggage handlers can be extremely hard on luggage. Often times, the sides and/or outer surface of luggage may be may be torn, marred, stained, scratched, and/or marked-up. Although the luggage may still be usable, the damaged side(s) or outer surface provides the luggage with a less than desirable appearance until the luggage is replaced, thus shortening the life of the luggage. In addition, once a traveler picks luggage with a certain color or decorative design, the traveler is stuck with that color and/or decorative design until the luggage is replaced. In other words, current luggage does not permit the owner to change the decorative scheme, color, texture, image, etc., of their luggage.
  • In one exemplary embodiment, the present invention may include a piece of luggage configured to receive one or more interchangeable panels and one or more interchangeable panels configured to be attached to the piece of luggage. Luggage, as used herein, is defined as any bag, suitcase, garment bag (e.g., suit bag hangers), carry-on bag or case, back packs, briefcase, satchel, purse, computer case, or any other bags/cases designed to carry clothes, garments, or other items as known to one of ordinary skill in the art.
  • Referring to FIG. 1, an exemplary embodiment of a piece of luggage is shown as 10 and including a top side 12, a bottom side 14, a front side 20, a back side 22, a left side 16, and a right side 18. In the exemplary embodiment, the front and back sides have a surface area that is generally larger than the other sides. However, it is understood that the luggage piece may comprise numerous variations in configuration, design, size, shape, and/or materials as known to one of ordinary skill in the art, including, for example, wherein front side 20, back side 22, left side 16, and right side 18 are the same size and/or have the same surface area.
  • In an exemplary embodiment of the present invention shown in FIG. 1, an identifying panel 24 is shown connected to luggage 10. Front side 20 and back side 22 are each configured to removably receive one of panel 24, respectively, for permanent or removable connection. However, it is understood that left side 16, right side 18, top side 12, and/or bottom side 14 may also be configured to separately receive panels 24 for permanent or removable connection.
  • Panel 24 may include a front surface 25 and a back surface (not shown). Also, panel 24 may be fabricated from a variety of conventional or yet-to-be developed materials as known to one of ordinary skill in the art, including but not limited to, plastics (e.g., polymers such as polyolefins, vinyl, elastomers, etc.), metals, wood products, paper products, photos, composite materials, woven or non-woven fabrics/substrates, other fabrics, substrates, or any combinations thereof. Panel 24 may be a rigid, semi-rigid, or flexible material. The panels may be any size and/or shape without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. The panels may be pre-fabricated to a variety of standard or commercially available luggage sizes. Also, the panels may be sized based upon a consumer order such that the panels are customized to a certain set of specifications.
  • In one exemplary embodiment, a material different than the material used for the luggage's sides (i.e., outer surfaces) may be used to cause a visual queue via a contrast between the material of the luggage and the material of the interchangeable panel(s) of the present invention. For example, generally luggage is fabricated from conventional luggage materials such as plastic, metal, woven or non-woven fabrics/substrates, or nylon. Thus, the interchangeable panels may be fabricated from non-traditional luggage materials such as suede, ultra-suede, fur (e.g., real or artificial), transparent plastic, and any other fabric or material known to one of ordinary skill in the art to create a visual contrast between luggage 10 and panel 24.
  • Panels 24 may comprise a visual queue. As shown in FIG. 1, panel 24 includes a visual queue, i.e., a decorative design 26 disposed along front surface 25. Visual queue, as used herein, is defined as a color (e.g., red, green, yellow, orange, lime green, chartreuse, pink, etc.), a texture (e.g., velvet, suede, ultra-suede, leather, fur (e.g., real or artificial)), image/design, particularly unique or extravagant images/design (e.g., zebra striped, sport team logo(s), unique or personalized images (e.g., a photo or graphic of the luggage owner/user, his/her pet, etc.), image of a celebrity or athlete, quotes or sayings, graphics (e.g., laminated graphics), photo, logo, work of art, or any other visual stimuli that causes the panel, and the luggage the panel is connected to, to be personalized, distinguished, identifiable, and/or recognizable (e.g., attract the attention of) to the user/owner of luggage 10, particularly when luggage 10 is amongst other luggage. For example, if the visual queue is a color, the color may be chosen because it contrasts with the color(s) of luggage (e.g., Orange panel contrasting with black luggage). If the visual queue is a texture, the texture of panel 24 may be chosen due to its contrast (e.g., velvet, suede, ultra-suede, fur, etc.) with most common textures of luggage materials (e.g., rough or smooth plastic, cloth (woven), etc.). Visual queue, as used herein, does not include personal ID/name tags, airline ID/name tags, and airline flight identification/destination stickers/tags. The visual queue of the present invention is configured such that the luggage is easily recognizable/identifiable to the owner amongst other luggage pieces at a terminal baggage/luggage claim area. The visual queue, in one exemplary embodiment, may be visible such that a user recognizes the luggage as his/her own from greater than 5 feet. In another exemplary, the visual queue may be visual such that the user recognizes the luggage from greater than 10 feet, or in yet another embodiment, from greater than 15 feet.
  • Any connecting device may be used to connect or attach, permanently or removably, panel(s) 24 to one or more of the sides (e.g., front side 20, back side 22, etc.) of luggage 10, including but not limited to adhesives (e.g., pressure-sensitive adhesive, semi-permanent adhesive, permanent adhesives, etc.), magnets (e.g., multiple magnets, a magnetic sheet layer), snap-fit connections, conventional snaps, clamps, clips, VELCRO, zipper connections, straps, and any other types of connection/attachment devices as known to one of ordinary skill in the art. Panels 24, in the exemplary embodiment, are removably attached to front and back sides 20 and 22, respectively, such that the panels may be removed and/or either the same panel or a new panel may be re-attached to the luggage's side. The connecting device may be permanently connected to panel 24 and removably connectable to one or more sides of luggage 10, removably connectable to panel 24 and permanently connected to one or more of the luggage's sides, or removably or permanently connectable to both panel 24 and one or more of the luggage's sides.
  • In this exemplary embodiment, interchangeable panels 24 have a pressure sensitive adhesive layer (not shown) on the back surface (i.e., non-exposed side) of panel 24. The adhesive layer is provided with an adhesiveness sufficient to hold panels 24 to sides 20 and 22 during handling, loading and unloading from vehicles, and any other physical contact against the panels 24, yet capable of permitting panels 24 to be removed without destroying the sides of luggage 10. In another alternative embodiment, the attachment device (e.g., layer of pressure sensitive adhesive) may instead be placed on the sides of luggage 10 (e.g., sides 20 and 22) and panel 24 may or may not include an additional connecting device such as adhesive. For example, in yet another exemplary embodiment of the present invention, a kit may include panel 24 with a visual queue and a container holding spray adhesive that may be sprayed onto the back surface of panel 24 or onto one or more of the sides (e.g., front side 20 and back side 22) in order to attach panel 24 to luggage 10.
  • In yet another exemplary embodiment, panel 24 includes front surface 25 that is elastomeric and the visual queue (e.g., decorative design 26) may be adhered to front surface 25 by such techniques as silk screening, painting or other techniques well known to those skilled in the art. Alternatively, panel 24 may comprise a vinyl sheet (not shown) or alternative print sensitive film (not shown) that may be laminated to a flexible magnetic elastomeric sheet (not shown) to define a laminated sheet and facilitate printing, silk screening or other application of desired decorative pattern/design 26 as shown and described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,840,773 to Anderson et al. and herein incorporated by reference in its entirety. Decorative design 26 may be applied to the magnetic sheet (the connecting device) or to the vinyl overlay (e.g., front surface 25 of panel 24) in a continuous process by paint or silk screen rollers or a preprinted vinyl sheet can be laminated on the underlying magnetic surface in a continuous process by pressure roller or rollers, further according to the knowledge of those skilled in the art. In an alternative embodiment, decorative pattern 26 may be applied to a roll of laminate (e.g., multiple layer sheet comprising a vinyl front surface 25 and a magnetic layer back surface). Once decorative pattern 26 is applied to the sheet, varying sizes of panels 24 are cut from the laminate roll. Alternatively, front surface 25 may also comprise a paintable or markable surface so that a person can create his own design or to provide a surface for written messages, educational children's games or prints, for example.
  • Referring to FIG. 2, yet another exemplary embodiment of the present invention is shown as panel 54 having a front surface 55 and a back surface (not shown), a connecting device (e.g., corresponding zipper components 56 and 57), and a visual queue 53. Panel 54 is connected to a front side 52 of a luggage piece 50. Zipper component 57 is disposed along the perimeter of panel 54 and is matingly engagable with a zipper component 56 that is attached to front side 52. Luggage 50 also includes a back side 58, which may also be configured to include a zipper component 56 to removably receive a panel 54. Zipper 56 and zipper 57 matingly engage and connect to one another in order to removably connect panels 54 to front and back sides 52 and 58. Zipper 56 and zipper 57 may be disengaged (“unzipped”) in order to remove or un-connect panels 54 from front and back sides 52 and 58. Visual queue 53 may comprise any of the visual queues as described and defined above herein to identify luggage 50 to the user/owner of the luggage piece.
  • Referring to FIG. 3, still yet another exemplary embodiment of the present invention is shown as including panel 124 with visual queue 123 disposed along a front surface 125 of panel 124 and a connecting device 120 designed to removably connect panel 124 to one or more sides (e.g., a front side 102, a back side 104, etc.) of luggage piece 100. In this exemplary embodiment, connecting device 120 is a pocket comprising an outer panel 122 connected to an inner panel 121 to form a pouch 126. Pocket 120 may be permanently or removably connected to front side 102 and back side 104 of luggage piece 100 (e.g., inner panel 121 may be sewn, adhered, riveted, screwed, bolted, crimped, or any other conventional manner known to one of ordinary skill in the art, to front surface 102). Pocket 120 is configured such that panel 124 is easily slid into and out of pouch 126, and such that panel 124 may be held within pouch 126 until removed. Outer panel 122 may comprise a transparent material such as transparent plastic or polymer material in order to permit interchangeable panel 124 to be viewable from outside the pocket when the panel is positioned within pouch 126. It is also understood that outer panel 122 may be connected directly to one or more of the sides (e.g., front side 102, etc.) of the luggage to form pouch 126 rather than including an inner panel 121.
  • Panel 124 may include surface 125 that is configured to include visual queue 123 as shown, described, and defined herein to cause luggage 100 to be easily recognizable or identifiable as the owner/user's. In particular, panel 124 may comprise a photo such as, for example, a photo of the user of the luggage, of his/her pet, or of his/her favorite celebrity, sport figure, sport mascot, sport logo, etc., that may then be placed into and held within pouch 126.
  • In still another exemplary embodiment a piece of luggage may comprise one or more sides that include a panel with a visual queue sewn directly onto the sides. Also, in yet another embodiment, one or more sides of the luggage may have the visual queues placed directly on or in the sides, permanently or temporarily. In still yet another embodiment, the present invention may include a kit, wherein the kit may include one or more identifiable panels comprising a visual queue and a connecting device to permanently or removably connect the panel(s) to a side of the luggage. Exemplary connecting devices may include, but not be limited to adhesive, magnets, VELCRO, conventional snaps, snap fit connections, clamps, clips, etc.). This kit permits a user/owner to attach the luggage connecting device to one of the luggage's sides and then removably attach and/or connect the panel to the luggage.
  • In a further exemplary embodiment, the present invention may include a kit, wherein one or more pieces of luggage are fabricated from a standard color and/or design (e.g., black color and hard plastic outer sides), a luggage connecting device (e.g., adhesive, VELCRO, snaps, clamps, clips, etc.) connected to the luggage sides, and one or more interchangeable panels that include panel connecting devices (e.g., adhesive, VELCRO, snaps, clamps, clips, etc.) configured to mate with the luggage connecting device. The interchangeable panel is configured with a color, texture, and/or a decorative designs/images that distinguishes the panel from the luggage's original sides/surfaces, such as described above herein.

Claims (20)

1. An identifying panel for luggage comprising:
a body having a front surface and a back surface;
a recognizable visual queue disposed on the front surface; and
a panel connecting device attached to the body for connecting the panel to a first side of a luggage piece.
2. The panel of claim 1, wherein the panel connecting device is adhesive disposed along the back surface.
3. The panel of claim 1, wherein the panel connecting device is a magnet.
4. The panel of claim 1, wherein the panel connecting device is a magnetic sheet attached to the back surface of the body.
5. The panel of claim 1, wherein the panel connecting device is a panel zipper configured to matingly engage and connect to a luggage zipper on the side of the luggage piece.
6. The panel of claim 5, wherein the panel zipper is disposed along a portion of the perimeter of the body.
7. The panel of claim 1, wherein the visual queue is in contrast with the luggage piece.
8. The panel of claim 1, wherein the visual queue comprises a bright color.
9. The panel of claim 1, wherein the visual queue comprises a color in contrast with a color of the luggage piece.
10. The panel of claim 1, wherein the visual queue comprises a texture that is in contrast to a texture of the luggage piece.
11. The panel of claim 1, wherein the visual queue comprises a decorative design.
12. The panel of claim 1, wherein the visual queue is such that a user recognizes the visual queue from greater than 10 feet.
13. A kit for providing a visual queue for identifying luggage, comprising:
a removable panel having a front surface and back surface;
a connecting device for attaching the removable panel to a first side of a luggage piece; and
a visual queue disposed on the front surface for identifying a luggage piece.
14. The kit of claim 13, wherein the connecting device is attached to the back surface of the panel.
15. The kit of claim 13, wherein the connecting device is attached to the first side of the luggage piece and removably connectable to the back surface of the panel.
16. The kit of claim 13, wherein the connecting device is a pocket attached to the first side of the luggage piece and comprises a transparent outer panel, and wherein the pocket is configured to hold the panel.
17. The kit of claim 13, wherein the connecting device comprises adhesive.
18. The kit of claim 13, wherein the connecting device comprises a magnet.
19. The kit of claim 13, wherein the connecting device comprises a first zipper disposed on the first side of the luggage pieces and a second zipper disposed on the panel for matingly engaging the first zipper.
20. A method for providing luggage with an identifiable panel, comprising:
forming a panel according to claim 1; and
connecting the panel to a side of a luggage piece.
US11/559,135 2005-08-30 2006-11-13 Apparatus and methods for identifying luggage Abandoned US20070108005A1 (en)

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US51207706A true 2006-08-29 2006-08-29
US11/559,135 US20070108005A1 (en) 2005-08-30 2006-11-13 Apparatus and methods for identifying luggage

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FR2936643A1 (en) * 2008-09-29 2010-04-02 Daniel Cholet Acoustic enclosure for musical instrument, has exterior case covered with unique artistic patterns, where aspect of enclosure is associated to certificate with unique code that is conserved in database, to confer anti-theft operation
US20100175633A1 (en) * 2009-01-12 2010-07-15 Allure Pet Products LLC Pet carrier
US20110016018A1 (en) * 2009-11-04 2011-01-20 Tim Smith Customizable luggage and method of forming same
US20110163529A1 (en) * 2010-01-07 2011-07-07 Peter Rossing Luggage Tag System, Device and Method
US20150114978A1 (en) * 2011-07-27 2015-04-30 Lewis William James, JR. Magnetic thermally insulated enclosure
DE102014102613A1 (en) * 2014-02-27 2015-08-27 Greenland Nature Gmbh Bag with interchangeable front elements
US20160307480A1 (en) * 2014-01-10 2016-10-20 Rodolphe CARLUS System for disseminating visual information and luggage item for such a system
US20170156462A1 (en) * 2015-12-04 2017-06-08 Travelers Club Luggage, Inc. Suitcase with magnetic display compartment
US10070709B1 (en) 2017-06-12 2018-09-11 2Case, Llc Briefcase with interchangeable panels
US10221005B2 (en) 2011-07-27 2019-03-05 Lewis William James, JR. Magnetic thermally insulated enclosure

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US10279980B2 (en) * 2011-07-27 2019-05-07 Lewis William James, JR. Magnetic thermally insulated enclosure
US20160307480A1 (en) * 2014-01-10 2016-10-20 Rodolphe CARLUS System for disseminating visual information and luggage item for such a system
DE102014102613B4 (en) * 2014-02-27 2015-10-22 Greenland Nature Gmbh Bag with interchangeable front elements
DE102014102613A1 (en) * 2014-02-27 2015-08-27 Greenland Nature Gmbh Bag with interchangeable front elements
US20170156462A1 (en) * 2015-12-04 2017-06-08 Travelers Club Luggage, Inc. Suitcase with magnetic display compartment
US10070709B1 (en) 2017-06-12 2018-09-11 2Case, Llc Briefcase with interchangeable panels

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