The assignee for this patent application is
Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "People often desire to use covers for their portable handheld electronic devices, especially for their cellular phones. Reasons for using covers include protection of the device, improvement of the appearance of the device, incorporation of a certain fashionable look over the device, and generation of variety in the way the device looks.
"The available phone covers have been designed with goals similar to those above in mind; however, upon careful testing, previously unappreciated disadvantages often manifest themselves. For example, a part of the cover may inappropriately dangle after opening the cover; it may be difficult to use the phone without holding it in a hand; the positions that the phone can be used with the cover may be limited; certain features may be inaccessible in certain positions of the cover; or the fit between the phone and the phone cover may be weak or insecure. Therefore, there is a need to develop a phone cover that achieves maximal functionality with a professional design, which simultaneously streamlines the usage of the phone in different positions."
In addition to obtaining background information on this patent application, VerticalNews editors also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent application: "Illustrated embodiments of the present invention enable a user to use a mobile phone in multiple positions with ease. For example, in a closed position, the phone cover can cover the phone when greater protection is needed or when the phone is not being used. In an open position, the phone can be used with full functionality and without superfluous interfering parts, as the lower and upper parts of the phone cover can be compacted behind the phone and further stabilized by magnetism. In a supported-open position, the phone can be used without needing to free hands from other tasks. Disclosed openings of the phone cover enable functionality of various features of the phone without a need for removal of the phone cover. A magnetic fastening mechanism between the phone and the phone cover results in an integrated phone and phone cover that cooperate as a unit. Such integration makes the whole assembly more durable and less prone to slippage. The functional design ensures that there are no superfluous parts, resulting in a satisfying user experience. The integration between the phone cover and the phone, especially when such integration ensues from a distinctly positioned magnet of the flap and a magnet phone-anchor on a distinct side of the phone, ensures that the orientations of the phone and the phone cover are consistent and predictable. This prevents cases in which a user may open the phone cover to answer a call and find out that the phone is upside down, contrary to what would have been desirable.
"Therefore, an embodiment of the invention provides a cover for a mobile telephone. The cover includes a front board having an interior surface and an exterior surface. The cover also includes a back board having an interior surface and an exterior surface. The cover has a spine that is hingedly attached to the front board along a front-spine hinge and hingedly attached to the back board along a back-spine hinge. The front-spine hinge is parallel to the back-spine hinge. In a closed configuration of the cover, the interior surface of the back board faces the interior surface of the front board, and in an open configuration the exterior surface of the back board faces the exterior surface of the front board. The cover further includes a cradle assembly having a front and a back. The front of the cradle assembly is configured to releasably grip the mobile telephone and the back of the cradle assembly is affixed to the interior surface of the back board. The cover also has a flap hingedly attached to the front board along a front-flap hinge that is parallel to the front-spine hinge. Finally, the cover includes attachment means for removably attaching the flap to a portion of the mobile telephone while the mobile telephone is releasably gripped by the front of the cradle assembly, the cradle assembly having an opening for exposing the portion of the mobile telephone to the attachment means.
"The basic cover of the foregoing embodiment may be made from different materials. For example, the front board, the back board, and the spine may be made from paperboard or plastic foam. Each hinge attachment may be made from paper. The cradle assembly may be formed from injection-molded plastic. The attachment means may include a magnet disposed in the flap, so that when the magnet is aligned with the opening in the cradle assembly in the closed configuration, a magnetic attraction is produced that is sufficient to resist relative movement between the rigid flap and the mobile telephone. In other embodiments, the attachment means comprise a mechanical stopper, a clasp, a rivet, or an adhesive.
"The cover may include a liner that conceals the front board, the back board, the spine, and the flap. The liner may be made from fabric. An exterior surface of the liner may be decorated with a pattern, a logo, or a pleasing image. Advantageously, a portion of the liner that conceals the flap may be made from a slip-resistant material, so that the cover is capable of assuming a stable, weight-supported configuration in which an angle of inclination is preserved at least in part due to a portion of the weight of a releasably gripped mobile telephone on the slip-resistant material acting to prevent relative motion of the front board and the back board.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
"The foregoing and other objects, features, and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following more particular description of preferred embodiments of the invention, as illustrated in the accompanying drawings in which parts are referred to by reference characters across views. The drawings are not necessarily to scale, emphasis instead being placed on illustrating the principles of the invention.
"FIG. 1 is perspective view of a phone cover, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, in an open configuration with a phantom view of a phone cradled in the cover.
"FIG. 2 is a front elevation view of the phone cover of FIG. 1, also in an open configuration, showing the inner sides of the phone cover.
"FIG. 3 is a rear elevation view of the phone cover of FIG. 1, in an open configuration, showing the outer sides of the phone cover.
"FIG. 4 is a left side elevation view schematic of the phone cover of FIG. 1.
"FIG. 5 is a perspective view showing the phone cover of FIG. 1 in a closed configuration.
"FIG. 6A is perspective view of the phone cover of FIG. 1 in a nearly closed configuration.
"FIG. 6B is a perspective view of the phone cover of FIG. 1 in an open configuration, which allows a user to talk on the phone without an interruption from a moving part, since the lower and upper portions of the phone cover are held in place by the use of a magnet and a magnet phone anchor.
"FIG. 6C is a perspective view of the phone cover of FIG. 1 in a weight-supported configuration, which enables a user to rest the phone with the phone cover on a supporting surface, such as a desk, and use the phone in a hands-free manner.
"FIG. 7A is a perspective view of the phone cover of FIG. 1 that has been modified to include a first decorative pattern including a message imprinted onto the surface of the upper-outer side of the phone cover.
"FIG. 7B is a perspective view of the phone cover of FIG. 1 that has been modified to include a second decorative pattern including a message imprinted onto the surface of the upper-outer side of the phone cover.
"FIG. 7C is a perspective view of the phone cover of FIG. 1 that has been modified to include a third decorative pattern imprinted onto the surface of the upper-outer side of the phone cover.
"FIG. 7D is a perspective view of the phone cover of FIG. 1 that has been modified to include a fourth decorative pattern including a message imprinted onto the surface of the upper-outer side of the phone cover."
For more information, see this patent application: Toulotte, Jean-Jacques. Cover for Mobile Telephone. Filed
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