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Carrying device

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Title: Carrying device.
Abstract: A carrying device for carrying small animals incorporates a pouch. The pouch may be closed by a drawstring or a zipper. A harness assembly secures the device around the carrier's shoulders. A zipper unit may be included to fold the pet pocket into a smaller waist pack. Another zipper unit may be included with an expansion panel to provide an expandable pet pocket by elongating the pouch. A comfort pocket is provided to provide comfort to a pet enclosed within the pouch and who may become frightened by the surrounding environment. ...


- Chicago, IL, US
Inventor: Owen Slater
USPTO Applicaton #: #20080149673 - Class: 224153 (USPTO) - 06/26/08 - Class 224 


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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20080149673, Carrying device.

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Small Animals    CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority of the provisional application No. 60/752,516 filed on Dec. 21, 2005 in the name of Owen Slater, Michael Thompson, Troy Peifer, and Marty Crandall and entitled “Carrying Device for a Small Animal,” which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

FIELD

This patent generally relates to the field of carrying devices and specifically to carrying devices for carrying items by individuals.

BACKGROUND

The present invention relates to animal carriers, and more particularly, to a small animal or pet carrier provided with a harness for maintaining the carried animal in front or back of the carrier's torso, leaving the carrier's hands free.

Carrying devices are generally rigid structures having a frame and a handle that can be engaged by the hand of the carrier in much the same way a suitcase is carried. There are some soft carriers that are available, but these carriers are usually designed to be carried in one position, usually on the back or over one shoulder. Since continuously carrying a small animal in a fixed position, such as on the back, can eventually become tiresome for the person carrying the pet, there is a need for a carrying device that can be supported in multiple positions with even weight distribution.

SUMMARY

In one embodiment, a carrying device for a small animal is a hands-free, vest-style carrier that has a pouch, a harness with adjustable straps and a zipper unit that retains the carrying device in a compact size when the device is folded upon itself, providing a small pack. It is easily fitted when it is worn and can be worn by a person on the front or back of the torso.

In another embodiment, a carrying device for small animals has a pouch that includes an extension panel for enlarging the pouch to accommodate a large animal. A zipper unit unzips, releasing the extension panel and enlarging the pouch. When the zipper unit is zipped, the extension panel is retracted and the depth of the pouch is reduced.

In a further embodiment, a carrying device for small animals provides comfort panels. The comfort panels may each include a comfort pocket that allows a person carrying the small animal to provide a comforting hand or other manual contact to the pet through the comfort pocket. The comfort pocket may have a soft liner that is comforting to the pet. The liner of the pocket may be omitted so that an access opening provides direct contact to the pet.

Other aspects of the invention will become apparent by consideration of the detailed description and accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

While the appended claims set forth the features of the present patent with particularity, the patent, together with its objects and advantages, may be best understood from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, of which:

FIG. 1A is a perspective view of a front of a carrying device;

FIG. 1B is a perspective view of a rear portion of a carrying device;

FIG. 2A is a rear view of a carrying device with the harness disconnected;

FIG. 2B is a rear view of a carrying device with a harness folded inside a pouch;

FIG. 2C is a view of a carrying device folded upon itself;

FIG. 2D is a view of a carrying device with a zipper unit partially zipped;

FIG. 2E is a view of a carrying device with a zipper unit fully zipped;

FIGS. 2F-G are perspective views of the shoulder straps attached to the front of rear panel of the carrying device;

FIGS. 2H-J are perspective views of a carrying device with a mesh front;

FIGS. 2K-T of an alternative method for folding the carrying device;

FIG. 3A is a perspective view of an expanded carrying device;

FIG. 3B is a view of the straps on the carrying device of FIG. 3A;

FIG. 4 is a view of a zipper unit and an expansion panel;

FIG. 5A is a view of an expandable carrying device in an unexpanded configuration;

FIG. 5B is a view of an expandable carrying device in early stages of expansion;

FIG. 5C is a view of a carrying device being unzipped while worn;

FIG. 5D is a view of a carrying device when fully expanded;

FIG. 6A is a perspective view of a carrying device with a comfort pocket;

FIG. 6B is a perspective view of a carrying device with a comfort pocket and a snap fasteners; and

FIG. 7 is a view of a carrying device with a comfort pocket in use.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Before any embodiments of the carrier are explained in detail, it is to be understood that the carrier is not limited in its application to the details of construction and the arrangement of components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the following drawings. The carrying device is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced or of being carried out in various ways. The carrying device may carry items other than pets and may be used to carry books or groceries and the like. Thus, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology used herein is for the purpose of the description and should not be regarded as limiting.

Referring to the drawings and particularly to FIGS. 1A and 1B, a carrying device 100 has a front panel 120 and a rear panel 116 that are stitched together along the edges 118 of the panels 112, 116 to form a pouch 120 with a closed bottom and open top. A folded over top 122 may be included to house a drawstring 24 encircling the top of the bag and making it possible to tighten the top of the bag around the animal carried inside. An upper rear panel or bib 126 connects to carrying straps 128 and provides a rear support for the pouch 120. The bottom panel 142 of the pouch 120 is secured to the front panel 112 and the rear panel 116 along a seam or edge 143. A zipper coil 156 of a zipper unit 150 (FIG. 2E) is placed adjacent to the edge 143. The bottom panel 142 may include reinforcement and padding along the interior surface for the animal's comfort. A pocket 130 may be affixed to one side of the pouch 120 and includes an elastic closure 132 within its upper folded edge to hold the pocket 130 closed.

As shown in FIG. 1B, a shoulder harness for the carrying device 100 may be formed by crossing straps 128 that connect midway along the back at a slip ring 134. The straps 128 may be padded over the shoulder area for comfort during use. The straps 128 are joined to the pouch 120 along the connected edges 118 of front panel 112 and rear panel 116 on the inside of the pouch 120. The straps 128 extend through a latching member 136 and may be shortened or lengthened by adjustment of member 136.

A girth belt 144 is joined to the pouch at edges 118. The ends of the girth strap 144 are engageable with a latching member 146 and adjustable in length through the latching member 146. A loop (not shown) may be added to hold the extra length of strap tight against the girth strap 144. The girth belt 144 secures the pouch 120 around the waist of the person wearing the carrier and provides stabilization to the pouch 120.

An inside safety strap and ring 140 may be included on the inside of the pouch 120 and provides additional security for and control of the pet since the safety strap and ring 140 can be connected to a leash or a collar (not shown) on the animal being carried.

As shown in FIGS. 2A-2E, an embodiment of a carrying device 100 includes the zipper unit 150 that retains the carrying device 100 in a compact size when the carrying device 100 is folded upon itself. The carrying device 100 may include a lower rear panel 166 that is formed in the rear panel 116. The outer periphery of the lower rear panel 166 may be defined by a zipper coil 155 (one side of a zipper). Along and adjacent to the lower edge 143 of the pouch 120 is another zipper coil 156. This zipper coil 156 extends all the way around the bottom panel 142. The zipper coils 155, 156 are of the same length. A slider 157 for the zipper unit 150 rides along the zipper coils 156, 157 and is located where the lower edge 143 connects to the bottom of the lower rear panel 166. FIGS. 2F-G show an alternative carrying device 100 with the carrying straps 128 attached to the front of the rear panel 126. FIGS. 2H-J show a carrying device with a front panel 112 with a mesh front.

When the carrying device 100 is not in use, it may be folded in the following manner. Referring first to FIG. 2A, the shoulder straps 128 are released and disconnected from the sides of the carrying device 100 at the latching members 136. In FIG. 2B, the shoulder straps 128 are folded and stowed inside the pouch 120. The carrying device 100 is then collapsed toward the bottom panel 142, folding the front panel 112 and the rear panel 116 upon themselves (See FIG. 2C). Once the carrying device 100 is completely collapsed, the slider 157 is moved along the zippers coils 155, 156 connecting the teeth of the zipper coils 155, 156 together as illustrated in FIG. 2D. When the slider 157 has joined the zipper coils 155, 156 together, the carrier device 100 resembles the form of a waist pack 160 as illustrated in FIG. 2E and the pack 160 may be worn around the waist or over the shoulder using the girth belt 144 which remains outside the carrying device 100. FIGS. 2K-2T show most of the above steps being performed while the carrying device 100 is being worn.

To extract the carrying device 100 from the waist pack 160, the above steps are reversed. The slider 157 is moved in a direction that releases the zipper coils 155, 156 from one another and the carrying device 100 is unfolded. The shoulder straps 128 are removed from the pouch 120 and connected to the side of the carrier with the latching members 136.

In another embodiment, a carrying device 300 has a pouch that can be expanded and enlarged. FIGS. 3A and 3B illustrate the carrying device 300 in an expanded configuration. The carrying device 300 may find applications for a small animal that may be growing. The carrying device 300 may include a front panel 312 and a rear panel 316 that are stitched or otherwise secured together along the edges 318 to form a pouch 320. A folded over top 322 may be provided along the top edge of the pouch 320 for housing a drawstring 324 and making it possible to tighten the top of the pouch 320 around the neck of an animal carried inside. The shoulder straps 328 may be connected to the top edge of the rear panel 316.

An expansion panel 314 is attached to a bottom edge 327 of the two upper panels, front panel 312 and rear panel 316. These panels 312, 316 define the circumference of the pet pouch 320. A bottom panel 342 is attached to the lower edge 343 of the expansion panel 314. A zipper unit 350 (see FIG. 5A) is connected in parallel to the expansion panel between the bottom edge 324 of the upper panels 312, 314 and the lower edge 343 of the expansion panel. The zipper unit 350 includes at least two zipper coils 355, 356 and a slider 357. The lower zipper coil 356 is adjacent to the lower edge 343. The zipper coil 356 extends all the way around the pouch 320 and overlaps an end point 358 of the zipper coil 356 as the zipper coil 356 continues around the pouch 320 (See FIG. 4).

At the end point 358 of the zipper coil 356 adjacent to the lower edge 343, the overlapping portion of the zipper coil 356 may be attached to a fabric tape 455 that gradually widens as the zipper coil 356 continues around the pouch 320 to a distance halfway across the back of the pouch 320, placing the other end 361 of the zipper coil 356 near the center of the expansion panel 414. Alternatively, the fabric tape 455 may remain at a constant width, but is sewn into the expansion panel 414 gradually moving towards the middle of the expansion panel 414 where the end 361 of the zipper coil 356 is placed. At the back of the pouch 320 may be a seam 460 that is formed where the longitudinal ends of the extension panel 314 meet. The end 361 of the zipper coil 356 may be located about half-way up the seam 460.

Adjacent to the bottom edge 324 of the upper panels 312, 314 (and the upper edge of the expansion panel 314) is the other zipper coil 355. The zipper coil 355 extends all the way around the pouch 320 and overlaps an end point 359 of the zipper coil 355. The end point 359 of zipper coil 355 coincides with the position of the end point 358 of zipper coil 356. The endpoints 358, 359 may be located at any point around the circumference of the pouch 320. Preferably though, the endpoints 358, 359 are located at a position approximately 90 degrees from the beginning of the zipper unit (approximately 450 degrees in rotational travel from the beginning of the zipper to the end points 355, 356).

At the end point 359 of the zipper coil 355, the overlapping portion of the zipper coil 355 is attached to a fabric tape 457 that gradually widens in a direction towards the middle of the expansion panel 314, as the zipper coil 355 continues around the back of the pouch 320 to the seam 460 that may be formed by the longitudinal ends of the expansion panel 314. Alternatively, the fabric tape 457 may have a continuous width, but may be sewn into the expansion panel as described above, gradually progressing towards the middle of the expansion panel 414 where the end 362 of the zipper coil 355 is placed.

The seam 460 for the ends of the expansion panel 414 is shown halfway across the back of the pouch 320, but it may occur anywhere. The zipper coils 355, 356 may be joined at the seam 460. When the pouch 320 is fully extended and the zipper unit 350 is unzipped, the slider 357 is preferably located at the ends 361, 362 where the zipper coils 355, 356 may be permanently joined.

To shorten the pouch 320, the expansion panel 314 is folded inward and the slider 357 is moved along the zipper coils 355, 356 until the zipper coils 355, 356 are fully joined together at the ends 358, 359 of the coils 355, 356. The adherence strength of the zipper coils 355, 356 is sufficient to support the weight of the pet or objects that are carried in the carrier device 300 when in the retracted position. The retracted state of the carrying device 300 is shown in FIG. 5A.

When the carrying device 300 is used to carry a pet, a larger pet may dictate that the carrying device 300 be in the extended state. The extended state is easily achieved by reversing the travel of the slider 357 around the zipper unit 350 from that described above. The procedure and result are shown in FIGS. 5B-5C. As the slider 357 proceeds around the expandable carrier device 310, the expansion panel 314 unfolds under the force of gravity and extends, effectively lengthening the pouch 320.

In some embodiments, a storage pocket 330 may be affixed to at least one side of the carrying device 310. The pocket 330 may provide a small opening 331 for carrying useful items. Alternatively, an additional pocket 330 may be affixed to the other side of the carrying device 310. The pocket 330 may use fastening means such as a zipper, buttons, elastic closures, hook and loop strips or some other means to enclose the pocket 330 so that items within do not fall out.

In a further embodiment, FIG. 6A illustrates another carrying device 610 that may be used for a pet. This embodiment includes a front panel 612 and a rear panel 616 that are stitched together along multiple edges 618, 619. The edge 618 may be a long edge or seam for forming a deep end 621 of the pouch 620. A shorter edge 619 or seam forms a shallower end 622 of the pouch 620. Along the top of the pouch 620, a zipper 623 may be provided that encloses the top of the pouch 620, making it possible to completely contain the animal inside the pouch 620. Alternatively, the pocket 330 may have snaps 624 for closing the pouch 620, as shown in FIG. 6B. These fasteners provide advantages of additional security when the surrounding environment might cause the animal to become excited or frightened and attempt to escape the carrier device 610. Such environments can include, but are not limited to, an airport, a loud noisy street and a veterinarian's office.

The front panel 612 may include smaller panels that are joined together to form the front panel 612. Such other panels may include a panel 640 of a mesh material, so that a pet which may be totally enclosed within the pouch can have visual contact with the outside environment.

A comfort pocket 630 may be located anywhere on the carrying device 610 to provide the handler or person carrying the carrier device 610 with access to an animal inside. The comfort pocket 630 may be lined with a soft material. The soft material may provide additional comfort to the animal or pet when the pet carrier's hand is inserted into the comfort pocket 630 to provide a soothing, comforting contact to the pet. In some embodiments of the carrier device 610, the lining may be omitted to provide immediate contact and access between the pet and the pet carrier's hand. The comfort pocket 630 may include an elastic enclosure 632 surrounding the comfort pocket opening for easy hand entry, but it maintains the comfort pocket 630 in a closed state when the pet carrier's hand is removed. The comfort pocket 630 may be provided on other embodiments of a carrier device.

Thus, the carrying device may be used to carry small animals and may be easily folded and stored upon itself in the form of a waist pack. Further, the carrying device can be lengthened or expanded to accommodate a pet which is growing or various sized animals has been provided. Additionally, a comfort pocket on a carrying device with an animal carried within the carrier allows a person carrying the animal to comfort the animal, which has become distressed or is afraid of its surroundings is also provided.

The foregoing is considered as illustrative only of the principles of the invention. Numerous modifications and changes will readily occur to those skilled in the art, and it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation shown and described. All suitable modifications and equivalents that fall within the scope of the appended claims are deemed within the present inventive concept.

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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20080149673 A1
Publish Date
06/26/2008
Document #
11614686
File Date
12/21/2006
USPTO Class
224153
Other USPTO Classes
International Class
45F4/02
Drawings
18


Small Animals


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