News Column

"Apparatus for Supporting a Tablet" in Patent Application Approval Process

June 12, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Politics & Government Week -- A patent application by the inventors Hennessey, James R. (West Hartford, CT); Robinson, James (Wolcott, CT), filed on January 14, 2014, was made available online on May 29, 2014, according to news reporting originating from Washington, D.C., by VerticalNews correspondents.

This patent application has not been assigned to a company or institution.

The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "A tablet computer, or simply a tablet, is a mobile computer with display, circuitry and battery in a single unit. Tablets are equipped with sensors, such as a camera, microphone, accelerometer, and touchscreen. Tablets may include physical buttons, e.g., to control basic features such as speaker volume and power and ports for network communications and to charge the battery. An on-screen, pop-up virtual keyboard may be used for typing. Tablets are typically larger than smart phones at 7 inches or larger, measured diagonally. Apple, Inc., for example, sells a popular line of tablets under the brand name iPad.

"Tablets are used in a variety of applications including the display of music, the provision of controls for monitoring and adjusting recording equipment or electronic instruments, the display of reading material, and the display of video, to name just a few examples. During use, the tablet is typically held in the user's hand(s) or supported on a flat surface. It is known in the art to receive a tablet in a case. Some known cases are configurable to support the tablet in different positions, for example upright on table, to facilitate use of the tablet.

"As disadvantage of known cases for supporting tablets is that they do not provide a good solution for certain activities, particularly when a user must simultaneously use her hands for another task. For example, during a musical performance a guitar player may stand on a stage. A disadvantage of known cases is that they do not provide a sufficient support for the tablet because it may be too far from the performer, or in an inconvenient position."

In addition to the background information obtained for this patent application, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "The present invention resides in one aspect in an apparatus for supporting a tablet. The apparatus comprises a case configured to receive a tablet, the case having a receiving plate. A swivel comprising a socket and a ball disposed and retained in the socket, the ball being rotatable relative to the socket and having a stud extending from a surface of the ball. A distal end of the stud is coupled to the receiving plate. A mounting post extends along a longitudinal axis between a first end and a second end. The first end of the mounting post is coupled to the swivel. A mounting bar extends along a longitudinal axis between a first end and a second end. The mounting bar defines an elliptical outer surface in a cross sectional plane perpendicular to the longitudinal axis. The mounting bar is hollow and has an inside diameter and an outside diameter. The mounting bar defines a through hole proximate to the second end. The second end of the mounting post is received in the through hole and is releasably fixed relative thereto.

"The mounting bar in the above embodiment defines a mounting slot proximate to the first end. The mounting slot comprises a bottom surface and a first radius of curvature extending from the bottom surface. The first radius of curvature has a first bearing edge defining a first elliptically enveloping surface and a second bearing edge defining a second elliptically enveloping surface. The first bearing edge and the second bearing edge converge to a leading edge. The leading edge is configured to facilitate retention of an item received in the mounting slot against the first and second bearing edges. The mounting bar further comprising a first clamping mechanism, a portion of which extends into the first end of the mounting bar towards the first radius of curvature of the mounting slot. The first clamping mechanism is configured to engage an item having an elliptical outer surface positioned in the mounting slot, thereby urging the elliptical outer surface of the item against the first radius of curvature to releasably fix the mounting bar relative to the item by urging the item against the bearing edges and the leading edge.

"In another embodiment of the present invention, the first clamping mechanism comprises a knob and a threaded shaft extending therefrom. The shaft is threadably engaged with the first end of the mounting bar and extends along an axis parallel to the longitudinal axis of the mounting bar. A distal end of the shaft extends into the mounting slot. A rotation of the knob of the first clamping mechanism relative to the mounting bar in a first direction translates the distal end of the shaft toward the first radius curvature of the mounting slot. A rotation of the knob of the first clamping mechanism relative to the mounting bar in a second direction translates the distal end of the shaft away from the first radius of curvature of the mounting slot.

"In another embodiment of the present invention, a push pad is coupled to a distal end of the shaft of the first clamping mechanism. The push pad defines an elliptical surface configured to engage an item received in the mounting slot.

"In yet another embodiment, an inside surface the mounting bar defines a guide slot extending along a length of the mounting bar proximate to the push pad. The push pad comprises a tab that is configured to travel in the guide slot when the push pad is translated along the longitudinal axis of the mounting bar via a rotation of the knob in the first or second direction.

"In yet another embodiment of the present invention, a second clamping mechanism is coupled proximate to the second end of the mounting bar. The second clamping mechanism is configured to releasably fix the mounting post relative to the mounting bar. The second clamping mechanism comprises a knob and a shaft extending therefrom, the shaft is threadably engaged with the second end of the mounting bar and extends along an axis parallel to the longitudinal axis of the mounting bar. A distal end of the shaft extends into the through hole. A rotation of the knob of the second clamping mechanism relative to the mounting bar in a first direction translates the distal end of the shaft into the through hole to inhibit movement of the mounting post relative to the mounting bar. A rotation of the knob of the second clamping mechanism relative to the mounting bar in a second direction translates the distal end of the shaft away from through hole to facilitate movement of the mounting post relative to the mounting bar.

"In yet another embodiment of the present invention, a third clamping mechanism is configured to selectively fix rotation of the ball relative to the socket. The third clamping mechanism comprises a knob and a shaft extending therefrom. The shaft is threadably engaged with the socket. A rotation of the knob of the third clamping mechanism relative to the socket in a first direction translates the distal end of the shaft into the socket to inhibit rotation of the ball relative to the socket. A rotation of the knob of the third clamping mechanism relative to the socket in a second direction translates the distal end of the shaft out of the socket to facilitate rotation of the ball relative to the socket.

"The present invention resides in another aspect in an apparatus for supporting a tablet as substantially described above. In this embodiment, the mounting post is omitted and the second end of the mounting bar is coupled to the swivel.

"The present invention resides in yet another aspect in a mounting bar that extends along a longitudinal axis between a first end and a second end. The mounting bar defines an elliptical outer surface in a cross sectional plane perpendicular to the longitudinal axis. The mounting bar is hollow and has an inside diameter and an outside diameter. The mounting bar defines a mounting slot proximate to the first end. The mounting slot comprises a bottom surface and a first radius of curvature extending from the bottom surface. The first radius of curvature has a first bearing edge defining a first elliptically enveloping surface and a second bearing edge defining a second elliptically enveloping surface. The first bearing edge and the second bearing edge converge to a leading edge. The leading edge is configured to facilitate retention of an item received in the mounting slot against the first and second bearing edges. The mounting bar further comprising a first clamping mechanism, a portion of which extends into the first end of the mounting bar towards the first radius of curvature of the mounting slot. The first clamping mechanism is configured to engage an item having an elliptical outer surface positioned in the mounting slot, thereby urging the elliptical outer surface of the item against the first radius of curvature to releasably fix the mounting bar relative to the item by urging the item against the bearing edges and the leading edge.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

"FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view of an apparatus for supporting a tablet in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 2 is a perspective view a mounting bar of the apparatus shown in FIG. 1.

"FIG. 3 is a side view of the mounting bar shown in FIG. 2.

"FIG. 4 is a top view of the mounting bar shown in FIG. 2.

"FIG. 5 is a side view of an attachment mechanism of the apparatus shown in FIG. 1.

"FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a case of the apparatus shown in FIG. 1.

"FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a case in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention for use with the apparatus shown in FIG. 1.

"FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a case in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention for use with the apparatus shown in FIG. 1.

"FIG. 9 is an exploded perspective view of an apparatus for supporting a tablet in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 10 is a perspective view of a mounting bar in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 11 is a view of the mounting bar shown in FIG. 10.

"FIG. 12 is a cross sectional view of a mounting bar in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 13 is a cross sectional view of the mounting bar shown in FIG. 12.

"FIG. 14 is a perspective view of a portion of the mounting bar shown in FIG. 13.

"FIG. 15 is a perspective view of a mounting bar in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 16 is a view of a mounting bar shown in FIG. 15.

"FIG. 17 is an exploded perspective view of a portion of an apparatus for supporting a tablet in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 18 is a cross sectional front view of a portion of the apparatus shown in FIG. 17.

"FIG. 19 is a cross sectional side view of a portion of the apparatus shown in FIG. 17.

"FIG. 20 is a perspective view of an anti-rotation male boss (screw) and nut (locking ring) positioned in a cover.

"FIG. 21 is a top view of the screw of FIG. 20.

"FIG. 22 is a top perspective view of the screw of FIG. 20.

"FIG. 23 is a side view of the screw of FIG. 20 showing the locking tabs.

"FIG. 24 is a top view of the nut (locking ring) of FIG. 20.

"FIG. 25 is a perspective view of the nut of FIG. 20 showing a raised lip.

"FIG. 26 is a side view of the nut of FIG. 20.

"FIG. 27 is a perspective view of a mounting bar having a splined assembly in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 28 is view of an apparatus for supporting a tablet in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 29 is a top view of the apparatus shown in FIG. 28.

"FIG. 30 is a partial exploded view of the apparatus shown in FIG. 29.

"FIG. 31A is a view of a portion of the apparatus shown in 30.

"FIG. 31B is a top view of a mounting slot of the apparatus shown in FIG. 30.

"FIG. 31C is a top view of a contoured pad of the apparatus shown in FIG. 30.

"FIG. 32 is a front view of a portion of the apparatus shown in FIG. 30 in which a quick release connector in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention is shown.

"FIG. 33 is a bottom view of quick release connector shown in FIG. 32.

"FIG. 34 is a perspective view of a male portion of the quick release connector.

"FIG. 35 is a perspective view of a male portion of the quick release connector."

URL and more information on this patent application, see: Hennessey, James R.; Robinson, James. Apparatus for Supporting a Tablet. Filed January 14, 2014 and posted May 29, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=5417&p=109&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140522.PD.&OS=PD/20140522&RS=PD/20140522

Keywords for this news article include: Patents.

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Source: Politics & Government Week


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