US20110209960A1 - Multi-Function Work Surface for Roll-Along Suitcases - Google Patents

Multi-Function Work Surface for Roll-Along Suitcases Download PDF

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Publication number
US20110209960A1
US20110209960A1 US13/037,562 US201113037562A US2011209960A1 US 20110209960 A1 US20110209960 A1 US 20110209960A1 US 201113037562 A US201113037562 A US 201113037562A US 2011209960 A1 US2011209960 A1 US 2011209960A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
work
center
suitcase
handle
retractable handle
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US13/037,562
Inventor
Charles C. MacLean, III
Heather MacLean
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MACLEAN CHARLES C III
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MACLEAN CHARLES C III
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Priority to US30919910P priority Critical
Application filed by MACLEAN CHARLES C III filed Critical MACLEAN CHARLES C III
Priority to US13/037,562 priority patent/US20110209960A1/en
Assigned to MACLEAN, CHARLES C, III reassignment MACLEAN, CHARLES C, III ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: MACLEAN, HEATHER
Publication of US20110209960A1 publication Critical patent/US20110209960A1/en
Abandoned legal-status Critical Current

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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A45HAND OR TRAVELLING ARTICLES
    • A45CPURSES; LUGGAGE; HAND CARRIED BAGS
    • A45C5/00Rigid or semi-rigid luggage
    • A45C5/14Rigid or semi-rigid luggage with built-in rolling means
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A45HAND OR TRAVELLING ARTICLES
    • A45CPURSES; LUGGAGE; HAND CARRIED BAGS
    • A45C13/00Details; Accessories
    • A45C13/26Special adaptations of handles
    • A45C13/28Combinations of handles with other devices
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A45HAND OR TRAVELLING ARTICLES
    • A45CPURSES; LUGGAGE; HAND CARRIED BAGS
    • A45C15/00Purses, bags, luggage or other receptacles covered by groups A45C1/00 - A45C11/00, combined with other objects or articles
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A45HAND OR TRAVELLING ARTICLES
    • A45CPURSES; LUGGAGE; HAND CARRIED BAGS
    • A45C9/00Purses, Luggage or bags convertible into objects for other use
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A45HAND OR TRAVELLING ARTICLES
    • A45FTRAVELLING OR CAMP EQUIPMENT: SACKS OR PACKS CARRIED ON THE BODY
    • A45F4/00Travelling or camp articles which may be converted into other articles or into objects for other use; Sacks or packs carried on the body and convertible into other articles or into objects for other use
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A45HAND OR TRAVELLING ARTICLES
    • A45CPURSES; LUGGAGE; HAND CARRIED BAGS
    • A45C9/00Purses, Luggage or bags convertible into objects for other use
    • A45C2009/002Purses, Luggage or bags convertible into objects for other use into a seat

Abstract

A work surface for roll-along suitcases that enables the suitcase to convert into a seat or table. The work surface can be permanently attached or removably attachable to the suitcase. The permanently attached work surface is stored in a compartment or recess with the retractable handle of the roll-along suitcase and is pivotally connected to the retractable handle. When the retractable handle is extended, the work surface pivots down away from the top of the handle to rest on the top of the suitcase. The removably attachable work surface is temporarily secured to the handle of the roll-along suitcase preferably with a tongue section that accommodates a variety of sizes of retractable handles. The removably attachable work surface rests on the top of the suitcase. Side sections of the work surface unfold to form a bigger seat or work surface.

Description

    CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This application claims the benefit of co-pending provision application No. 61/309,199, filed Mar. 1, 2010.
  • FIELD OF INVENTION
  • This invention relates to work surfaces and chairs. This invention relates particularly to a multifunction work surface that is adaptable to a roll-along suitcase or other travel item.
  • BACKGROUND
  • Many travelers use suitcases that are sized to be stored in overhead bins of airplanes, trains, and buses. These suitcases are known as carry-on suitcases because the travelers carry the bags onto the plane, train, or bus as opposed to checking the bag with the carrier. Typically these carry-on suitcases have wheels on the bottom to enable the traveler to roll the suitcase instead of having to lift and carry it. Suitcases with wheels are referred to herein as roll-along suitcases.
  • Travel is a hurry-up and wait game these days, meaning that travelers often arrive at a departure gate in advance of a specific departure time, only to have to have to wait to board the plane, train, or bus. Often the waiting area lacks enough seats for all for the travelers at a specific departure gate so many have to stand. Consequently, here is often a need for additional seating for travelers. Further, many business travelers would prefer to do computer work or paperwork while they wait and, even if there are enough seats, there aren't enough work surfaces to allow all travelers to set out laptop computers or papers. Thus, there is a need for additional work surfaces for travelers.
  • Conveniently, roll-along suitcases are about as tall as the seat of a standard chair. Unfortunately, however, the top of a suitcase is not large or stable enough for most adults to sit comfortably and there are usually handles, buckles, tags and other obstructions that would prevent even a small person from sitting comfortably on the top of a roll-along suitcase. These obstructions also prevent the use of the top of a suitcase as a smooth work surface. It would be desirable to be able to convert the top of a roll-along suitcase to a more comfortable seat or multifunction work surface.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention is work surface for roll-along suitcases that enables the suitcase to convert into a seat or table. The work surface can be permanently attached or removably attachable to the suitcase. The permanently attached work surface is stored in a compartment with the retractable handle of the roll-along suitcase and is pivotally connected to the retractable handle. When the retractable handle is retracted, the work surface is secured substantially parallel with the legs of the handle. When the retractable handle is extended, the work surface pivots down away from the top of the handle to rest on the top of the suitcase. The removably attachable work surface is temporarily secured to the retractable handle of the roll-along suitcase with attachment means such as a tongue section defining opposing notches so that the work surface rests on the top of the suitcase. Side sections of the work surface unfold to form a bigger seat or work surface. The work surface additionally can define holes for ventilation or to hold items such as beverage containers, ID tags, or other accessories, can define ribs for accommodating hardware and for increasing durability, and can include risers for raising the work surface slightly to accommodate conventional suitcase hardware.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1A is a perspective view of a roll-along suitcase of the prior art with the handle in an open position.
  • FIG. 1B is a rear view of a roll-along suitcase of the prior art with the handle in a closed position
  • FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the suitcase of the present invention with the handle in an open position and a folded work surface between the legs of the handle.
  • FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the suitcase of the present invention with the handle in an open position and the folded work surface resting on the top of the suitcase.
  • FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the suitcase of the present invention with the handle in an open position and the unfolded work surface resting on the top of the suitcase.
  • FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the suitcase of the present invention with the handle in an open position, an unfolded work surface resting on the top of the suitcase, and a retractable stability bar underneath the suitcase.
  • FIG. 6 is a rear view of an embodiment of the suitcase of the present invention illustrating the handle and work surface in a closed position inside the suitcase.
  • FIG. 7 is a rear view of an embodiment of the suitcase of the present invention illustrating the handle and work surface in a closed position on the outside of the suitcase.
  • FIG. 8 is a rear view of the preferred embodiment of the suitcase of the present invention illustrating the handle and work surface in a closed position inside the suitcase, wherein the suitcase has a recess in its top to accommodate the suitcase handle.
  • FIG. 9 is a side view of an embodiment of the suitcase of the present invention illustrating the handle and work surface in an open position, wherein the work surface can be stored in a closed position inside the suitcase.
  • FIG. 10 is a side view of an embodiment of the suitcase of the present invention illustrating the handle and work surface in an open position, wherein the work surface can be stored in a closed position on the outside of the suitcase.
  • FIG. 11 is a side view of the preferred embodiment of the suitcase of the present invention illustrating the handle and work surface in an open position, wherein the suitcase has a recess in its top to accommodate the suitcase handle.
  • FIG. 12 is a side view of an embodiment of the suitcase of the present invention illustrating the handle and work surface in an open position, wherein the work surface has a recess in its top to accommodate the arch of the handle.
  • FIG. 13 is a side view of the pulling handle of the suitcase of the present invention illustrating the work surface as it is stored folded in the pulling handle.
  • FIG. 14 is a side view of an alternative embodiment of the pulling handle of the suitcase of the present invention illustrating the work surface as it is stored folded in the pulling handle.
  • FIG. 15 is a side view of the pulling handle and top surface of the suitcase of the present invention illustrating the work surface as it rests on the top surface of the suitcase.
  • FIG. 16 is a perspective view of the top of the preferred embodiment of the roll-along suitcase of the present invention with the pulling handle removed.
  • FIG. 17 is a back view of the pulling handle of the preferred embodiment of the suitcase and work surface of the present invention illustrating the work surface as it is stored folded in the pulling handle.
  • FIG. 18 is a front view of the pulling handle of the preferred embodiment of the suitcase and work surface of the present invention illustrating the work surface as it is stored folded in the pulling handle.
  • FIG. 19 is a perspective view of a roll-along suitcase with a removable work surface of the present invention as it is anchored to the pulling handle of the suitcase and resting on the top surface of the suitcase.
  • FIG. 20 is a top view of a preferred embodiment of the removable work surface of the present invention in an unfolded position.
  • FIG. 21 is a side view of the preferred embodiment of the removable work surface of the present invention in a folded position.
  • FIG. 22 is a top view of an alternative embodiment of the removeable work surface of the present invention in an unfolded position wherein the work surface defines a beverage holder.
  • FIG. 23 is a top view of the preferred embodiment of the removable work surface of the present invention in a folded position.
  • FIG. 24 is a top view of an alternative embodiment of the removable work surface of the present invention in an unfolded position.
  • FIG. 25 is a top view of an alternative embodiment of the removable work surface of the present invention in an unfolded position.
  • FIG. 26 is a top view of an additional alternative embodiment of the removable work surface of the present invention in an unfolded position.
  • FIG. 27 is a cutaway side view of the preferred embodiment of the removable work surface of the present invention in an unfolded position.
  • FIG. 28 is a cutaway side view of a first alternative embodiment of the removable work surface of the present invention in an unfolded position.
  • FIG. 29 is a top view of a hinge of the first alternative embodiment of the removable work surface.
  • FIG. 30 is a partial cutaway side view of the first alternative embodiment of the removable work surface in a folded position.
  • FIG. 31 is a partial cutaway side view of a second alternative embodiment of the removable work surface in an unfolded position.
  • FIG. 32 is a partial cutaway side view of a third alternative embodiment of the removable work surface in a folded position.
  • FIG. 33 is a top view of a fourth alternative embodiment of the removable work surface.
  • FIG. 34 is a partial cutaway side view of the fourth alternative embodiment of the removable work surface in a folded position.
  • FIG. 35 is a top view of an embodiment of the work surface constructed of vacuum-formed plastic with ribs for permanently attaching to the retractable handle of the roll-along suitcase.
  • FIG. 36 is a side view of the embodiment shown in FIG. 35.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • FIGS. 1A and 1B show a conventional roll-along suitcase, as known in the prior art. FIGS. 2-36 show the present invention. A typical roll-along suitcase 11 has a front, back, right side, left side, top, bottom (not shown), and optionally a pocket 5. There are at least two wheels 16 attached near the back and near the bottom. The suitcase 11 also has a handle 12 in an inverted U-shape comprising a first leg 12 c, a second leg 12 d and a top section, crossbar, or arch 12 a connecting the first and second legs. The arch can be curved or straight. The handle 12 is attached to the back of the suitcase 11, either on the outside, on the inside, or with a handle housing 15, such that it can be moved from a closed position, in which no part of the handle 12 or only a small portion of the handle 12 extends beyond the perimeter of the suitcase 11, to an open position. In an open position, at least part of handle 12 extends beyond the top of the suitcase 11 so that the traveler can easily grasp it and pull the suitcase 11 along on its wheels 16. Usually the handle 12 moves parallel to the back of the suitcase 11 and is connected to the frame of the suitcase 11. Alternatively, the handle can be hinged to the back of the suitcase 11 and rotated into an open position. A release button 12 b may be located on the handle lock or unlock the handle or otherwise control its movement relative to the suitcase 11.
  • The present invention is a work surface 10 that is formed from two optional side sections 52 pivotally connected to opposing outer edges of a center section 51 with a hinge 54 or other connector that permits pivoting motion such that the side sections are foldable over the center section 51. The work surface 10 attaches to a suitcase either substantially permanently or removably. In a first embodiment of the present invention, the work surface 10 is secured substantially permanently to a roll-along suitcase 11 so that it remains secured in the handle 12 of suitcase 11 when the handle is retracted. The first embodiment is detailed in FIGS. 2-18 and 35-36. In a second embodiment of the present invention, the work surface 10 is configured to be removably attachable to the handle 12 of suitcase 11 so that when the handle 12 is retracted, the work surface 10 may be removed and stowed elsewhere. The second embodiment is detailed in FIGS. 19-26. The details of the work surface 10 which are common to both embodiments are further detailed in FIGS. 20-31. For both embodiments, the work surface 10 can also be used as a seat provided the work surface 10 and the roll-along suitcase 11 are constructed of materials sufficient to support a person's body weight and provided the roll-along suitcase 11 is structurally sufficient to support a person's body weight without tipping or collapsing.
  • With respect to the first embodiment, FIGS. 2 and 6-8 illustrate a closed position of the work surface 10. The side sections of work surface 10 are foldable over the center flap 51 to a size and shape that fits below the arch 12 a and between the first and second legs 12 c and 12 d of retractable handle 12 of suitcase 11. Any size suitcase can be used, although carry-on sized suitcases are preferred. Preferably, the legs 12 c and 12 d are spaced at least eight inches apart; although the embodiment works equally well with legs spaced closer together or farther apart. When the work surface 10 is folded, the work surface 10 can be positioned between the legs 12 c and 12 d of handle 12 so that work surface 10 is substantially parallel to the handle 12 and moves with it.
  • FIGS. 3-5 illustrate an open position of the work surface, with FIG. 3 illustrating a folded open position and FIGS. 4-5 illustrating an unfolded open position. The work surface 10 is pivotally connected with a connector 17 to the legs 12 c and 12 d of handle 12. When the retractable handle 12 is extended, the work surface 10 may be rotated about the connector 17 to rest on top of the suitcase 11 as shown in FIGS. 3-5 and 9-12. Preferably, the work surface 10 rests on an enlarged handle housing 15 that comprises at least a portion of the top of the suitcase 11. The connector 17 may be fixed to the handle 12 at the point where, when the handle 12 is fully extended, the work surface 10 lies parallel to the top of the suitcase 11. Alternatively, the connector 17 may be slidable vertically along handle 12 so that the work surface 10 can be rotated to or maintained in an open position without the handle 12 being fully extended. The optional side sections 52 can be unfolded to form a larger work surface 10. To close handle 12, side sections 52 are refolded over center section 51, and the folded work surface 10 is returned to the closed position, which is its position parallel to the handle 12. Handle 12 can then be lowered or placed in its closed position on or in the suitcase or handle housing 15.
  • The open and unfolded work surface 10 provides a surface large enough for an adult to more comfortably sit on the suitcase 11 or large enough to use as a work surface. FIGS. 4 and 5 show a work surface 10 that is larger than the top of the suitcase 11, which is preferred. The work surface 10 can be any size such that, when folded and closed, it fits between the legs 12 c and 12 d of handle 12. For a suitcase with a handle having legs spaced at least eight inches apart, the center section 51 preferably is approximately 8 inches wide and at least 12 inches tall with a thickness of 3/16th of an inch. Also preferably, the side sections 52 each are approximately 4 inches wide, 12 inches tall and ⅛th of an inch thick. It is important that side sections 52 are slightly smaller in length than center section 51 to enable the side sections to fold open without interfering with handle 12. The center section and side sections can be larger or smaller as necessary to fit suitcases of different sizes, however. The thickness of the work surface 10 will vary according to the type of material from which it is constructed.
  • FIG. 4 also shows optional feet 19 attached near the front and near the bottom of suitcase 11. The feet are used to brace the suitcase 11 in an upright position. The positions of the feet 19 can be adjustable to improve stability of the suitcase when used as a seat or work surface. For example, the feet 19 may be extendable beyond the front or sides of the suitcase 11. Alternatively, a retractable stabilizer 13 may be attached to the bottom of suitcase 11 so that it can be pulled out near the front of suitcase 11 to brace suitcase 11 in its upright position as shown in FIG. 5. Any structure near the bottom of the suitcase that can be used to keep it from tilting can be used as well, including additional rolling wheels, as will be understood by someone skilled in the art.
  • The connector 17 that pivotally connects the work surface 10 to handle 12 can be any type of connector that allows for pivoting movement as is known in the art. For example, the connector can be a simple pin 41 that extends through the center section 51 of work surface 10 and into anchors 51 on the opposing legs of handle 12, as shown in FIGS. 17 and 18. Center section 51 includes a tongue section 80 where connector 17 or other attachment means is positioned. Tongue section 80 fits directly between the legs 12 c and 12 d of handle 12. Alternatively, connector 17 can be two separate retractable or non-retractable pins on opposite edges of center section 51. Center section 51 may be thicker at the tongue section 80 to further accommodate connector 17 as shown in the Figures. Anchors for connector 17 can be simple holes in legs 12 c and 12 d, dedicated anchors fixably secured to legs 12 c and 12 d, or slidable anchors on handle legs 12 c and 12 d. Preferably, connector 17 does not interfere with the components controlling the locking or retracting mechanisms of the retractable handle. Connector 17 also does not interfere with side sections 52 or otherwise hinder the ability of work surface 10 to unfold.
  • FIGS. 6-8 show how handle 12 and work surface 10 can be stowed in folded and closed positions on various configurations of roll-along suitcases. FIG. 6 shows the handle 12 and work surface 10 in closed position on the inside of suitcase 11. Alternatively the handle 12 and work surface 10 may fit inside a pocket (not shown) on the back of suitcase 11. FIG. 7 shows the handle 12 and work surface 10 in a closed position on the exterior of suitcase 11. FIG. 8 shows the handle 12 and work surface 10 in a closed position in a suitcase 11 with a recess 14 in the top that accommodates the arch of the handle. Alternatively, the handle can be hinged to the back of the suitcase, for suitcases that do not have a roll-along handle. The handle slides from the back of the suitcase, either from a pocket or along rails, and is rotated about the hinge to rest on top of the suitcase. Work surface 10 can be sized and configured to work with any type of fixed or retractable handle on a suitcase, backpack, rolling locker, luggage cart, or dolly.
  • FIGS. 9-12 show how handle 12 and work surface 10 can be positioned in open positions on various configurations of roll-along suitcases. FIG. 9 shows work surface 10 lying flat against the top of the suitcase 11 where handle 12 retracts into suitcase 11. FIG. 10 shows work surface 10 lying flat against the top of the suitcase 11 where handle 12 retracts to a position on the exterior of suitcase 11. FIG. 11 shows a preferred embodiment where work surface 10 lies flat against the top of suitcase 11 with a recess 14 that holds the suitcase handle 18. FIG. 12 shows work surface 10 lying flat against the top of the suitcase 11 wherein the work surface 10 has a recess 18 a which accommodates the suitcase handle 18. Alternatively, risers can be adhered to bottom of work surface 10, as shown I FIG. 24, to create enough clearance for suitcase handle 18.
  • FIGS. 12-18 illustrate in detail how work surface 10 cooperates with handle 12. FIGS. 13 and 14 are side views of two embodiments of work surface 10 in a folded and closed position within handle 12. In both embodiments, an optional crossbar 42 extends between the legs of handle 12. The crossbar 42 is preferably positioned far enough below the arch 12 a of handle 12 so that a traveler can easily place their hand around the arch 12 a of handle 12. Crossbar 42 is preferably has an L-shaped cross-section to provide a rigid abutment to prevent the work surface from over-rotating. FIG. 12 details an embodiment where side sections 52 abut crossbar 42. FIG. 13 details the preferred embodiment where center section 51 abuts crossbar 42, which minimizes the depth of handle 12. In the preferred embodiment, the legs 12 c and 12 d of handle 12 provide resistance to the side sections 52 opening when work surface 10 is in a closed position. FIG. 15 is a side view of the preferred embodiment of the handle, workstation, and suitcase when the work surface is in an open and folded position. As shown, the work surface pivots on pin 41 so that it lies flat on the top surface of the suitcase and handle housing 15 having a recess 14 for suitcase handle 18. FIGS. 17 and 18 show the back and front views respectively of work surface 10 folded and closed in handle 12 and against crossbar 42.
  • FIG. 16 is a partial perspective view of the preferred embodiment of suitcase 11 showing the handle housing 15 for the retractable handle 12. Handle housing 15 includes a recess or slot 62 for storing the retractable handle, which may be either integral with housing 15 or a separate component. Housing 15 also preferably defines a recess 14 for suitcase handle 18 and a lock recess 61 to accommodate a lock or fastener 43 attached to crossbar 42 when handle 12 is retracted. As shown in FIGS. 12-18, a fastener 43 holds secure the work surface in its closed position. Fastener 43 can be any type of fastening or locking mechanism as is known in the art. As shown, fastener 43 is a pivoting rigid bar. Optionally, various other fasteners can be used to secure the work surface in various positions. Fasteners can be used to secure the folded work surface in the handle. Fasteners can be used to secure the flaps of the work surface to each other. Fasteners can be used to secure the unfolded work surface to the suitcase. Appropriate locks and fasteners will be known to someone skilled in the art. Handle housing 15 can further define storage compartments 15 a having one or more access doors 15 b or accessory ports 15 c that can be accessed from either inside or outside of suitcase 11. FIG. 15 illustrates a preferably location for a storage compartment 15 a; although handle housing 15 can define one or more of such compartments in other locations as well. Handle housing 15 is constructed from a rigid material and can be one solid piece or several attached pieces. Preferably handle housing 15 is constructed of vacuum-formed plastic.
  • FIGS. 19-26 illustrate the second embodiment of the present invention, the removably attachable work surface. The removable work surface 10 further includes a tongue portion 80 configured to cooperate with retractable handle legs 12 c and 12 d. FIGS. 19-24 illustrate the preferred tongue portion 80 comprising an elongated T-shape 81 that defines opposing notches 82. Notches 82 are sized to cooperate with handle legs 12 c and 12 d as shown in FIG. 19. Preferably, notches 82 are sized to accommodate the legs of most retractable handles. In particular, the T-shape 81 defines notches deep enough to accommodate both narrowly spaced retractable handle legs and widely spaced retractable handle legs. Preferably, the notches are 4¼ inches long and ⅞ inches wide. FIG. 25 illustrates an alternative embodiment where the tongue 80 further comprises clasps that secure around handle legs 12 c and 12 d. FIG. 26 illustrates an alternative embodiment where the tongue is minimal or absent and the work surface 10 is secured with hook and loop closures such as Velcro®. Other attachment means such as spring clips, snap fit resilient plastic clasps, or ties are acceptable. For optimal fit, stability, and durability, however, the embodiment detailed in FIGS. 19-24 is preferred. When in use, the retractable handle 12 of the roll-along suitcase can be lowered or placed into a closed or nearly closed position to further anchor, lock, or hold in place the removable work surface 10.
  • The work surface 10 as described below can be either the work surface as part of the first embodiment described with respect to FIGS. 2-18 or as part of the second embodiment described with respect to FIGS. 19-26. The work surface 10 can be made of any substantially rigid materials, such as metal, plastic, plastic acrylic, foam board, particle board, wood, or cardboard. Preferably, the work surface is vacuum-formed plastic. Additional details about a vacuum-formed plastic work surface are described below with respect to FIGS. 33 and 34. The work surface may be formed with indentations to accommodate any handles, buckles, or other obstructions on the top of the suitcase, so that it fits snugly against the top of the suitcase. The outer perimeter of the work surface can also be varied as desired. For example, the perimeter can have straight edges and sharp ninety-degree corners or it can be curved with rounded corners. Additionally, the work surface can define holes 83 for ventilation or weight reduction, indentations 84 for identification tags or labels, holes or recesses 85 for other accessories or to increase portability, and recesses or holes 86 for beverages, as shown in FIGS. 20 and 22-26. While the optional holes illustrated in the Figures are round, the holes can be any shape or size such as square, triangular, oval, rectangular, or irregular, as will be understood by someone skilled in the art. Optionally, as shown in FIG. 24, the bottom of the work surface can include risers 89 or legs to raise the work surface sufficiently to avoid interference from any hardware on the top of a suitcase, such as a suitcase handle. Preferably five risers 89 are positioned as shown in FIG. 24, however any number, size, shape, or configuration of risers can be used. The risers can be placed only one center section 51 as shown, or spaced across center section 51 and side sections 52.
  • The two side sections 52 of work surface 10 are pivotally connected to the center section 51 with two or more hinges. As shown, where the edge 52 a of a side section 52 abuts the edge 51 a of the center section 51, there are two identical hinges. One hinge or several hinges can be used alternatively. The preferred hinge is a self-supporting twin-pin sewing machine hinge 54 as shown in FIGS. 23-24 and 27, which prevents the side sections 52 from over-rotating. Preferably the twin-pin sewing machine hinge 54 is secured in place with one or more rivets 54 a. Alternatively, screws or other fasteners can be used, or the hinge can be secured to the side sections and center section with adhesive. FIGS. 28-31 illustrate an alternative twin-pin hinge that can be integrated and secured by the side and center sections themselves. The pins 55 a extend through the hinge 55 and into a slot formed in the material of the side and center sections. Any hinge that allows the side sections 52 to be completed folded over the center section 51 can be used, as will by understood by someone skilled in the art.
  • FIGS. 28-31 also show alternative configurations of the abutting edges of side sections 52 and center section 51, which is desirable to prevent over-rotation if the hinge used is not self-supporting. The abutting edges 52 a and 51 a can be smooth or irregular, angled or straight, or formed with grooves and notches to create a stable and substantially flat surface with work surface 10 is unfolded. FIGS. 28-30 illustrate cooperating angled abutting edges 51 a and 52 a. FIG. 31 illustrates cooperating irregular abutting edges 51 a and 52 a.
  • FIG. 32 illustrates an additional alternative embodiment where side sections 51 of work surface 10 overlap when the work surface 10 is folded. As shown, two different size hinges 55 accommodate folding side sections 52 that are substantially similar in size to each other and to center section 52. Work surface 10 can further include additional side sections 52 that can be folded onto center section 51. Work surface 10 can include one side section 52, two side sections 52, or three or more sections 52.
  • FIGS. 33 and 34 illustrate am embodiment of work surface 10 constructed from vacuum-formed plastic. Using vacuum-formed plastic, work surface 10 can be thinner and preferably has a thickness as small as 1/16th of an inch. For this embodiment, preferably both the side sections 52 and the center section 51 include a ridge or ribs 90 for added strength or for accommodating hinges or other hardware. As shown, rib 90 is formed around the perimeter of each section and is sized to accommodate hinge 55. The thickness of each section will be larger at the ribs 90, as shown in FIG. 34. Ribs 90 can be formed on the top surface, the bottom surface, or both surfaces of the side sections 52 and center section 52. Additionally, ribs 90 can be any shape, size or configuration as needed for strength, stability, or any other purpose.
  • For both the first and second embodiments of work surface 10, the work surface can be adapted to secure to retractable handles having only one leg 12 c. For example, with respect to the first embodiment, rather than being stowed between legs 12 c and 12 d, the work surface is pivotally connected to and stowed in front of a single center leg. Similarly, with respect to the second embodiment, the tongue 80 is designed to wrap around one center leg rather than to fit between two side legs 12 c and 12 d.
  • While there has been illustrated and described what is at present considered to be the preferred embodiment of the present invention, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes and modifications may be made and equivalents may be substituted for elements thereof without departing from the true scope of the invention. Therefore, it is intended that this invention not be limited to the particular embodiment disclosed, but that the invention will include all embodiments falling within the scope of the description, drawings, and their equivalents.

Claims (25)

1. A suitcase comprising:
a. a retractable handle comprising an arch, a first leg connected to the arch, and a second leg connected to the arch and spaced a predetermined distance from the first leg; and
b. a work surface pivotally connected to the retractable handle between the first leg and second leg, wherein the work surface is configured to rest on, and substantially parallel with, a to surface of the suitcase when the retractable handle is at least partially extended and is configured to be maintained substantially parallel to the retractable handle when the handle is retracted.
2. The suitcase of claim 1 wherein the work surface further comprises a first side section pivotally connected to the center section, and a second side section pivotally connected to the center section and wherein the first side section can be folded onto the center section or can be unfolded to be substantially planar with the center section and wherein the second side section can be folded onto the center section.
3. The suitcase of claim 2 wherein the retractable handle further comprises a fastener positioned near the arch of the retractable handle, wherein the fastener engages the center section of the work surface when the work surface is positioned parallel to the first and second legs.
4. The suitcase of claim 2 wherein the retractable handle further comprises an abutment fixedly connected to at least the first or second leg such that the abutment prevents the work surface from over-rotating.
5. The suitcase of claim 2 further comprising:
a. a back, a top, and a bottom, wherein the retractable handle retracts along the back of the suitcase;
b. two or more wheels attached to the back of the suitcase near the bottom of the suitcase; and
c. one or more feet attached to the bottom.
6. The suitcase of claim 5 further comprising:
a. a retractable handle housing attached to the top of the suitcase and defining a first housing recess configured to accommodate the retractable handle when retracted and a second housing recess; and
b. a suitcase handle disposed in the second housing recess; wherein the work surface can rest substantially flat on the retractable handle housing.
7. The suitcase of claim 6 wherein the retractable handle housing further defines one or more storage compartments.
8. The suitcase of claim 2 wherein the work surface further comprises one or more first twin-pin hinges pivotally connecting the first side section to the center section and one or more second twin-pin hinges pivotally connecting the second side section to the center section.
9. The suitcase of claim 8 wherein the first and second side sections are each substantially one half the width of the center section and wherein the first and second twin-pin hinges pivotally connect the first and second side sections to the center section such that each of the first and second side sections substantially fold over one half of the center section.
10. A work surface for a suitcase comprising:
a. a center section;
b. a first side section pivotally connected to the center section;
c. a second side section pivotally connected to the center section; and
d. attachment means attached to the center section for securing the work surface to a retractable handle of the suitcase;
wherein the first side section can be folded onto the center section and can be unfolded to be substantially planar with the center section and wherein the second side section can be folded onto the center section and can be unfolded to be substantially planar with the center section.
11. The work surface of claim 10 wherein the attachment means comprises a tongue section integral with the center section and comprising one or more fasteners configured to removably secure the work surface to the retractable handle.
12. The work surface of claim 10 wherein the attachment means comprises a pivoting connector configured to secure the center section of the work surface between two legs of the retractable handle.
13. The work surface of claim 10 wherein the first side section is substantially one half the width of the center section and wherein the second side section is substantially one half the width of the center section.
14. The work surface of claim 11 wherein the first side section is pivotally connected to the center section with one or more twin-pin hinges and wherein the second side section is pivotally connected to the center section with one or more twin-pin hinges.
15. The work surface of claim 14 wherein the twin-pin hinges are self-supporting.
16. The work surface of claim 15 wherein the twin-pin hinges are fastened to the first and second side sections and the center section with rivets.
17. The work surface of claim 10 wherein the center section further comprises a first irregular edge where the first side section and center section abut and a second irregular edge where the second side section and center section abut.
18. The work surface of claim 11 wherein the tongue section comprises an elongated t-shape defining two opposing notches.
19. The work surface of claim 18 wherein the opposing notches are configured to accommodate suitcases having retractable handles with substantially narrowly spaced legs and suitcases having retractable handles with substantially widely spaced legs.
20. The work surface of claim 10 wherein the center section, first side section, and second side section each comprise vacuum-formed plastic.
21. The work surface of claim 20 wherein the center section, first side section, and second side section each further comprise one or more ribs.
22. The work surface of claim 10 wherein the center section, the first side section, and the second side section each define one or more apertures.
23. The work surface of claim 11 wherein the tongue section further defines an aperture sized to accommodate a cup.
24. The work surface of claim 10 wherein the work surface further comprises one or more risers fixedly attached to the center side section.
25. A work surface for a suitcase comprising:
a. a center section;
b. a tongue section connected to the center section a first side section; and
c. attachment means for securing the tongue section to a retractable handle of the suitcase;
wherein the attachment means is configured to secure the work surface resting on, and substantially parallel with, a to surface of the suitcase.
US13/037,562 2010-03-01 2011-03-01 Multi-Function Work Surface for Roll-Along Suitcases Abandoned US20110209960A1 (en)

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US20120217109A1 (en) * 2011-02-24 2012-08-30 Samsonite Ip Holdings S.A R.L. Retractable table for luggage
US20120273314A1 (en) * 2011-04-27 2012-11-01 Raymond Lindsey M Wheeled luggage assembly
CN103637523A (en) * 2013-11-22 2014-03-19 无锡睿网科技有限公司 Pulling-rod box
US20140238799A1 (en) * 2014-04-21 2014-08-28 Sandeep K. Sharma Hand Truck/ Briefcase Mobile Table
US20140299428A1 (en) * 2013-04-06 2014-10-09 Anthony Michael Gadbois Retractable table and handle system and method of use
CN104433508A (en) * 2014-11-12 2015-03-25 丁小铁 Integrated supporting seat for travel suitcase
CN104433086A (en) * 2014-11-12 2015-03-25 丁小铁 Supporting-sitting square suitcase
CN104433085A (en) * 2014-11-12 2015-03-25 丁小铁 Square pedal type travelling suitcase with supporting seat
CN104433075A (en) * 2014-11-12 2015-03-25 丁小铁 Detachable baby supporting-sitting suitcase with footboards
CN104433076A (en) * 2014-11-12 2015-03-25 丁小铁 Pedal type traveling square case with safe supporting and sitting functions
CN104433087A (en) * 2014-11-12 2015-03-25 丁小铁 Square integrated travelling suitcase with supporting seat
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WO2016130758A1 (en) * 2015-02-14 2016-08-18 Idea Potent, Inc. A luggage extension handle having a pocket
WO2016130756A1 (en) * 2015-02-14 2016-08-18 Idea Potent, Inc. An item of luggage with a fold-out tray
US9498055B2 (en) * 2014-10-22 2016-11-22 John C. Distefano Portable tray for luggage
WO2016200982A1 (en) * 2015-06-08 2016-12-15 Idea Potent, Inc. A fold-out tray for use with an item of luggage
US20170013927A1 (en) * 2015-07-14 2017-01-19 Michael Charles Boland, III Luggage with fold out table
US9723902B2 (en) 2015-02-14 2017-08-08 Boban Jose Collapsible suitcase, and a method for its use
US9743721B1 (en) 2016-06-01 2017-08-29 Boban Jose Locking slider assembly and a method for its manufacture
US9767673B1 (en) 2016-06-07 2017-09-19 Paul Clip System and method for detecting that an open bag is being carried
US9833047B1 (en) 2016-06-01 2017-12-05 Boban Jose Locking slider assembly and a method for its manufacture
US9845915B2 (en) 2015-09-02 2017-12-19 Boban Jose Collapsible stand attached to a baggage item and a method for its use
US9907378B2 (en) 2015-02-14 2018-03-06 Boban Jose Retractable luggage extension handle with a ring-shaped grip
US9918536B2 (en) 2015-02-14 2018-03-20 Boban Jose Luggage extension handle having a ring-shaped grip
CN107822285A (en) * 2017-10-20 2018-03-23 朱娟 A kind of portable luggage case computer desk
EP3298925A1 (en) 2016-09-26 2018-03-28 Samsonite IP Holdings S.ÀR.L. Luggage handle
US9999283B2 (en) 2015-12-31 2018-06-19 Boban Jose Collapsible luggage and a method for its use
US10034537B2 (en) 2016-11-16 2018-07-31 Robert Ernest Long, JR. Desktop accessory for luggage
US10085526B2 (en) 2016-06-01 2018-10-02 Boban Jose Locking slider assembly and a method for its manufacture
US20190059537A1 (en) * 2017-08-25 2019-02-28 Sandy H. LIANG Collapsible luggage
CN110754757A (en) * 2019-12-10 2020-02-07 安徽省天和鞋服有限责任公司 Large-capacity folding case
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US20120217109A1 (en) * 2011-02-24 2012-08-30 Samsonite Ip Holdings S.A R.L. Retractable table for luggage
US9282795B2 (en) * 2011-02-24 2016-03-15 Samsonite Ip Holdings S.A.R.L. Retractable table for luggage
US20120273314A1 (en) * 2011-04-27 2012-11-01 Raymond Lindsey M Wheeled luggage assembly
US20140299428A1 (en) * 2013-04-06 2014-10-09 Anthony Michael Gadbois Retractable table and handle system and method of use
CN103637523A (en) * 2013-11-22 2014-03-19 无锡睿网科技有限公司 Pulling-rod box
US20140238799A1 (en) * 2014-04-21 2014-08-28 Sandeep K. Sharma Hand Truck/ Briefcase Mobile Table
US20160081469A1 (en) * 2014-09-24 2016-03-24 John UNDESSER Laptop carry on luggage tray
US9498055B2 (en) * 2014-10-22 2016-11-22 John C. Distefano Portable tray for luggage
CN104433075A (en) * 2014-11-12 2015-03-25 丁小铁 Detachable baby supporting-sitting suitcase with footboards
CN104433085A (en) * 2014-11-12 2015-03-25 丁小铁 Square pedal type travelling suitcase with supporting seat
CN104433087A (en) * 2014-11-12 2015-03-25 丁小铁 Square integrated travelling suitcase with supporting seat
CN104433508A (en) * 2014-11-12 2015-03-25 丁小铁 Integrated supporting seat for travel suitcase
CN104433086A (en) * 2014-11-12 2015-03-25 丁小铁 Supporting-sitting square suitcase
CN104433076A (en) * 2014-11-12 2015-03-25 丁小铁 Pedal type traveling square case with safe supporting and sitting functions
WO2016130756A1 (en) * 2015-02-14 2016-08-18 Idea Potent, Inc. An item of luggage with a fold-out tray
WO2016130758A1 (en) * 2015-02-14 2016-08-18 Idea Potent, Inc. A luggage extension handle having a pocket
US9918535B2 (en) 2015-02-14 2018-03-20 Boban Jose Luggage extension handle having a pocket
US9918536B2 (en) 2015-02-14 2018-03-20 Boban Jose Luggage extension handle having a ring-shaped grip
US9907378B2 (en) 2015-02-14 2018-03-06 Boban Jose Retractable luggage extension handle with a ring-shaped grip
US9723902B2 (en) 2015-02-14 2017-08-08 Boban Jose Collapsible suitcase, and a method for its use
WO2016200982A1 (en) * 2015-06-08 2016-12-15 Idea Potent, Inc. A fold-out tray for use with an item of luggage
US10405627B2 (en) * 2015-07-14 2019-09-10 Michael Charles Boland, III Luggage with fold out table
US20170013927A1 (en) * 2015-07-14 2017-01-19 Michael Charles Boland, III Luggage with fold out table
US9845915B2 (en) 2015-09-02 2017-12-19 Boban Jose Collapsible stand attached to a baggage item and a method for its use
US9999283B2 (en) 2015-12-31 2018-06-19 Boban Jose Collapsible luggage and a method for its use
US9833047B1 (en) 2016-06-01 2017-12-05 Boban Jose Locking slider assembly and a method for its manufacture
US9743721B1 (en) 2016-06-01 2017-08-29 Boban Jose Locking slider assembly and a method for its manufacture
US10085526B2 (en) 2016-06-01 2018-10-02 Boban Jose Locking slider assembly and a method for its manufacture
US9767673B1 (en) 2016-06-07 2017-09-19 Paul Clip System and method for detecting that an open bag is being carried
EP3298925A1 (en) 2016-09-26 2018-03-28 Samsonite IP Holdings S.ÀR.L. Luggage handle
US10292473B2 (en) 2016-09-26 2019-05-21 Samsonite Ip Holdings S.A R.L. Luggage handle
US10034537B2 (en) 2016-11-16 2018-07-31 Robert Ernest Long, JR. Desktop accessory for luggage
US20190059537A1 (en) * 2017-08-25 2019-02-28 Sandy H. LIANG Collapsible luggage
US10299552B2 (en) * 2017-08-25 2019-05-28 Sandy H. LIANG Collapsible luggage
CN107822285A (en) * 2017-10-20 2018-03-23 朱娟 A kind of portable luggage case computer desk
US11140958B1 (en) * 2019-01-04 2021-10-12 Robert Baldwin Travel suitcase
CN110754757A (en) * 2019-12-10 2020-02-07 安徽省天和鞋服有限责任公司 Large-capacity folding case

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Effective date: 20110222

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