News Column

Patent Issued for One Piece Co-Formed Exterior Hard Shell Case with an Elastomeric Liner for Mobile Electronic Devices

July 2, 2014

By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Journal of Engineering -- According to news reporting originating from Alexandria, Virginia, by VerticalNews journalists, a patent by the inventors Hynecek, Bryan Lee (Redwood City, CA); Weis, Jarrel (San Francisco, CA); Myers, Stephen Reiger (Redwood City, CA); Law, David (Seattle, WA), filed on February 6, 2009, was published online on June 17, 2014.

The assignee for this patent, patent number 8755852, is Speculative Product Design, LLC (Mountain View, CA).

Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "There are many cases for handheld electronic devices. They fall into four main categories: Elastomeric/Rubber skins, hard plastic shells, cut and sew materials and combinations of these. In general the elastomeric cases are a single skin which, because of the flexible nature of the material, can easily be stretched over the device and then once installed conform closely to the shape of the device. The rubbery material can provide very good shock resistance. The downside of these types of cases is that the elastomeric material has a high surface friction coefficient. This makes this type of case difficult to place in and remove from pockets and other tight places. What is needed is a device that offers the very good shock resistance of an elastomeric case without the high surface friction coefficient making it more convenience for use.

"Hard plastic shells normally are manufactured as more than one piece to allow the device to slide into the case before being closed in with a secondary piece. Additionally they will often have a liner of elastomeric material, which helps to cushion the device. This can be co-molded, permanently attached or floating with the assembly. Cut and Sew cases are normally made from flat stock material, which is cut into patterns and then sewn into a shape that the device can slide into. The device is then held in place, by friction or a strap of some form. The downside to these devices is that it can be difficult to attached a device to a rigid case, or where a case has a secondary piece for securing a device, it can add bulk to the combination of the device and case, making it impractical. Additionally, the manufacture of cases which are required to be cut and sewn together greatly increases cost. What is needed is a case that combines both hard shell cases and elastomeric materials that is easy to produce and requires minimal material in its production."

In addition to obtaining background information on this patent, VerticalNews editors also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "The present invention is an improvement over the existing cases because it combines the best features of both hard cases and the elastomeric cases while being only a single part, which is particularly useful from a consumer viewpoint. The present invention provides a hard protective exterior shell. This hard protective exterior shell allows the device maximum protection from impacts with sharp objects. The hard protective exterior shell mimics the finish of existing phones, MP3/4 players, and other mobile electronic devices. Many users like the feel of the original phone and would like to maintain that feel but still want protection for their device. The hard protective exterior shell of the present invention has a low coefficient of friction. This allows the device to easily be slipped in and out of pockets easily without becoming attached or without great resistance to clothing materials. A major complaint from current elastomeric case users.

"The case taught by the present invention has an interior elastomeric portion that provides shock protection for the device from dropping, falls, or other impacts. The interior elastomeric portion also ensures the device and the case fit together with no gaps as the case is a single piece assembly. The case has a very solid connection to the phone and feels extremely high quality and lightweight.

"What makes this case different is the geometry and manufacturing of the case. The exterior hard shell part is formed to fit the device closely with a small offset from the device's surface. The exterior hard shell wraps around the edges of the device it is formed for. To allow the shell to be able to be mounted on the device the corners of the hard shell are cut open. This allows each sidewall to flex away when a device is inserted and snap back once it is in place. The unique aspect of this case is that the elastomeric material is formed in addition to the exterior hard shell on the interior of the exterior hard shell. The elastomeric material fills in the gaps created at the corners of the exterior hard shell to allow the hard shell to flex for mounting. The elastomeric material is provided in this location because it has much greater inherent flexibility than the plastic or metal of the exterior hard shell and it stretches sufficiently to allow the sidewalls of the exterior hard shell to still flex away on mounting. This creates a one-piece case that wraps around a phone or other mobile electronic device even on corners and prevents dirt and fluids from entering wherever possible. The elastomeric liner also can be formed over the buttons on the phone wherein a user simply presses the elastomeric liner corresponding to the portion of the mobile electronic device input that is desired."

For more information, see this patent: Hynecek, Bryan Lee; Weis, Jarrel; Myers, Stephen Reiger; Law, David. One Piece Co-Formed Exterior Hard Shell Case with an Elastomeric Liner for Mobile Electronic Devices. U.S. Patent Number 8755852, filed February 6, 2009, and published online on June 17, 2014. Patent URL:

Keywords for this news article include: Speculative Product Design LLC.

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Source: Journal of Engineering

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