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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
LUGGAGE SYSTEM
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2020/028164
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A luggage system described herein includes a hard shell body and a soft shell body. The hard shell body includes first and second hard shell body portions. The soft shell body includes first and second soft shell body portions. The first hard shell body portion defines a first hard shell interior storage compartment. The second hard shell body portion defines a second hard shell interior storage compartment. The first soft shell body portion is sized and shaped to fit within and line the first hard shell interior storage compartment. The second soft shell body portion is sized and shaped to fit within and line the second hard shell interior storage compartment. The first and second soft shell body portions are removable, respectively, from the first and second hard shell interior storage compartments to thereby provide a soft shell luggage unit that can be used independent of the hard shell body.

Inventors:
JAWORSKI JOHN (US)
ASKIN ERIK KEITH (US)
AMIT GADI (US)
GEORGIADES CHLOE REKOW (US)
JENSEN MAIYA NARUKO BENNETT (US)
MURALLON BEE JAY MALVEDA (US)
Application Number:
US2019/043621
Publication Date:
February 06, 2020
Filing Date:
July 26, 2019
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
TIMBUK 2 DESIGNS INC (US)
International Classes:
A45C7/00; A45C5/03; A45C13/00; A45C13/02
Domestic Patent References:
WO2017032998A12017-03-02
WO2012068075A22012-05-24
Foreign References:
US5107971A1992-04-28
FR2809690A12001-12-07
US5096030A1992-03-17
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KURIN, Jeffrey R. (US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

What is claimed is:

1 . A luggage system, comprising:

a hard shell body including first and second hard shell body portions;

a soft shell body including first and second soft shell body portions;

the first hard shell body portion defining a first hard shell interior storage

compartment;

the second hard shell body portion defining a second hard shell interior storage

compartment;

the first soft shell body portion sized and shaped to fit within and line the first hard shell interior storage compartment;

the second soft shell body portion sized and shaped to fit within and line the second hard shell interior storage compartment; and

the first and second soft shell body portions removable, respectively, from the first and second hard shell interior storage compartments to thereby provide a soft shell luggage unit while removed therefrom.

2. The luggage system of claim 1 , wherein:

the first and second hard shell body portions are pivotable relative to one another to enable the hard shell body to be selectively opened and closed; and the first and second soft shell body portions are pivotable relative to one another to enable the soft shell body to be selectively opened and closed.

3. The luggage system of claim 2, further comprising:

a first hinge that pivotably connects the first hard shell body portion to the second hard shell body portion to thereby enable the hard shell body to be selectively opened and closed; and

a second hinge that pivotably connects the first soft shell body portion to the second soft shell body portion to thereby enable the soft shell body to be selectively opened and closed;

wherein at least a portion of the second hinge is located adjacent to at least a portion of the first hinge while the first and second soft shell body portions are respectively within and line the first and second hard shell interior storage compartments.

4. The luggage system of any one of claims 1 through 3, further comprising: one or more fasteners configured to enable the first and second soft shell body

portions to be selectively attached to and detached from the first and second hard shell body portions respectively.

5. The luggage system of claim 4, wherein:

at least some of, or a portion of, the same one or more fasteners, which is/are

configured to enable the first and second soft shell body portions to be selectively attached to and detached from the first and second hard shell body portions respectively, is/are also configured to securely close the soft shell body while the first and second soft shell body portions are detached from the first and second hard shell body portions respectively.

6. The luggage system of claim 4, wherein the one or more fasteners comprise: one or more snaps;

one or more buttons;

one or more segments of hook and loop material;

one or more zipper closures; or

one or more magnetic closures.

7. The luggage system of claim any one of claims 1 through 6, wherein:

exteriors of the first and second hard shell body portions are made of a material selected from the group consisting of: polycarbonate; polypropylene;

acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS); and aluminum; and

exteriors of the first and second soft shell body portions are made of a material

selected from the group of: nylon; polyester; and canvas.

8. The luggage system of claim 7, further comprising:

at least one handle connected to at least one of the exteriors of the first or second softshell body portions; and

the at least one handle configured to be grasped by a user to enable the user to pickup and maneuver the soft shell body while the soft shell body is being used as a soft shell luggage unit.

9. The luggage system of any one of claims 1 through 8, wherein:

at least one of the first or second hard shell body portions is transparent and thereby enables at least one of a color or a pattern on an exterior of at least one of the first or second soft shell body portions to be visible while the first and second soft shell body portions are respectively within and line the first and second hard shell interior storage compartments.

10. The luggage system of any one of claims 1 through 9, further comprising: a further soft shell body including third and fourth soft shell body portions;

the third soft shell body portion sized and shaped to fit within and line the first hard shell interior storage compartment, while the first soft shell body portion is removed therefrom;

the fourth soft shell body portion sized and shaped to fit within and line the second hard shell interior storage compartment, while the second soft shell body portion is removed therefrom; and

wherein there is/are one or more aesthetic and/or functional differences between the further soft shell body, which includes the third and fourth soft shell body portions, and the soft shell body portion, which includes the first and second soft shell body portions; and

wherein the one or more aesthetic and/or functional differences comprise one or more of: an interior color, an exterior color, an interior pattern, an exterior pattern, a number of sub-compartments, a shape and location of sub compartments, a number of pockets, a shape and location of pockets, a number of flaps, a shape and location of flaps, a number of straps, or a shape and location of straps.

1 1. The luggage system of claim 10, wherein:

at least one of an appearance or functionality of the luggage system differs

depending upon whether the first and second soft shell body portions of the soft shell body, or the third and fourth soft shell body portions of the further soft shell body, are placed respectively within and line the first and second hard shell interior storage compartments.

12. The luggage system of any one of claims 1 through 1 1 , further comprising: a carabiner type handle including a body and a gate;

the body of the carabiner type handle connected to one of the first or second hard shell body portions;

the gate of the carabiner type handle configured to pivoted open to enable at least one further item to be secured to the hard shell body; and

the carabiner type handle configured to be grasped by a user, while the gate is closed, to enable the user to pickup and maneuver the hard shell body.

13. A luggage system, comprising:

a hard shell body including first and second hard shell body portions that are

pivotable relative to one another to enable the hard shell body to be selectively opened and closed;

a soft shell body including first and second soft shell body portions that are pivotable relative to one another to enable the soft shell body to be selectively opened and closed;

the first hard shell body portion having a first hard shell exterior and defining a first hard shell interior storage compartment;

the second hard shell body portion having a second hard shell exterior and defining a second hard shell interior storage compartment;

the first soft shell body portion configured to be selectively placed within and

removed from the first hard shell interior storage compartment;

the second soft shell body portion configured to be selectively placed within and removed from the second hard shell interior storage compartment; the first and second soft shell body portions providing liners respectively for the first and second hard shell body portions while the first and second soft shell body portions are respectively placed within the first and second hard shell interior storage compartments; and

the soft shell body providing a soft shell luggage unit while the first and second soft shell body portions are respectively removed from the first and second hard shell interior storage compartments.

14. The luggage system of claim 13, further comprising:

a first hinge that pivotably connects the first hard shell body portion to the second hard shell body portion to thereby enable the hard shell body to be selectively opened and closed; and

a second hinge that pivotably connects the first soft shell body portion to the second soft shell body portion to thereby enable the soft shell body to be selectively opened and closed;

wherein at least a portion of the second hinge is located adjacent to and covers at least a portion of the first hinge while the first and second soft shell body portions are placed respectively within the first and second hard shell interior storage compartments and respectively provide liners for the first and second hard shell body portions.

15. The luggage system of any one of claims 13 through 14, further comprising: a first zipper closure that attaches and detaches the first soft shell body portion to and from the first hard shell body portion; and

a second zipper closure that attaches and detaches the second soft shell body

portion to and from the second hard shell body portion.

16. The luggage system of claim 15, wherein:

a portion of the first zipper closure and a portion of the second zipper closure can be used to securely close the soft shell body while the first and second soft shell body portions are detached from the first and second hard shell body portions respectively.

17. The luggage system of any one of claims 13 through 16, wherein:

exteriors of the first and second hard shell body portions comprise a material made of at least one of polycarbonate, polypropylene, acrylonitrile-butadiene- styrene (ABS), or aluminum; and

exteriors of the first and second soft shell body portions comprise a material made of at least of nylon, polyester, or canvas.

18. A luggage system, comprising:

a hard shell body defining a hard shell interior storage compartment;

a first soft shell body sized and shaped to fit within and provide a first liner for the hard shell interior storage compartment while the first soft shell body is secured therein; and

a second soft shell body sized and shaped to fit within and provide a second liner for the hard shell interior storage compartment while the first soft shell body is secured therein;

wherein only one of the first or second soft shell bodies is securable within the hard shell interior storage compartment at a time;

wherein one or more aspects of the first and second soft shell bodies differ from one another; and

wherein each of the first and second soft shell bodies, while removed from the hard shell interior storage compartment of the hard shell body, provides a respective soft shell luggage unit that can be used to hold and carry items independent of the hard shell body.

19. The luggage system of claim 18, wherein:

the one or more aspects of the first and second soft shell bodies that differ from one comprise one or more of: a number of pockets, a shape and location of pockets, a number of sub-compartments, a shape and location of sub compartments, a number of flaps, a shape and location of flaps, a number of straps, or a shape and location of straps.

20. The luggage system of any one of claims 18 through 19, wherein:

the one or more aspects of the first and second soft shell bodies that differ from one another comprise an exterior of the second soft shell body having at least one of a different color or a different pattern than an exterior of the second soft shell body.

21. The luggage system of claim 20, wherein:

the hard shell body is transparent and thereby enables the exterior, of whichever one of the first or second soft shell bodies is secured within the hard shell interior storage compartment, to be visible to a user or other observer of the luggage system.

Description:
TITLE

LUGGAGE SYSTEM

INVENTORS

John Jaworski

Erik Keith Askin

Gadi Amit

Chloe Rekow Georgiades

Maiya Naruko Bennett Jensen

Bee Jay Malveda Murallon

FIELD OF TECHNOLOGY

[0001] Embodiments of the present technology generally relate to the field of luggage that is used for carrying items when traveling.

BACKGROUND

[0002] When purchasing luggage, many people have a difficult time deciding between hard shell luggage or soft shell luggage, as each type of luggage has certain benefits over the other.

[0003] Hard shell luggage is typically more durable than soft shell luggage, which is important to many people, especially if they travel with a laptop computer, tablet computer, camera equipment, and/or other expensive and delicate electronic devices. More generally, hard shell luggage is typically better than soft shell luggage at protecting items that are fragile. Additionally, hard shell luggage is typically more water resistant than soft shell luggage, making it easier to protect items from rain, snow, puddles, spills, and the like. Further, hard shell luggage is typically easier to clean than soft shell luggage, as soft shell luggage typically absorbs moisture, smells and stains more readily than hard shell luggage. Hard shell luggage when locked is typically more difficult to break into than soft shell luggage, because soft shell luggage can be relatively easily slashed open with a utility knife, pocket knife, or the like, even if locked.

[0004] Soft shell luggage is typically lighter than hard shell luggage, and thus, is typically easier for a person to pick up, carry and otherwise maneuver than hard shell luggage. Further, soft shell luggage, because it is made of flexible fabric, can typically be squeezed more easily into tight spaces within a trunk, closet or overhead travel compartment on a plane, train or bus. Also, soft shell luggage can typically hold more items than similarly sized hard shell luggage, because soft luggage can typically stretch more around its edges.

[0005] Some people may purchase both hard shell luggage and soft shell luggage so that, depending on their specific need for a specific travel occasion, they may use the best luggage for the occasion. However, purchasing both hard shell luggage and soft shell luggage can be significantly more expensive than purchasing just one type of luggage, potentially doubling the cost. Additionally, if a person owns both hard shell luggage and soft shell luggage that would likely double the amount of storage space required to store the luggage when it is not in use. This is especially a problem for people who live in relatively small housing units, e.g., in cities, colleges, or the like.

[0006] When purchasing new luggage, people often also have a difficult time deciding between what features they want included in their luggage, since certain features may be better for business travel, while other features may be better for leisure travel. Further, people often have a difficult time deciding on what color and/or pattern they want their luggage to have.

SUMMARY

[0007] A luggage system, according to an embodiment of the present technology, includes a hard shell body and a soft shell body. The hard shell body includes first and second hard shell body portions. The soft shell body includes first and second soft shell body portions. The first hard shell body portion defines a first hard shell interior storage compartment. The second hard shell body portion defines a second hard shell interior storage compartment. The first soft shell body portion is sized and shaped to fit within and line the first hard shell interior storage compartment. The second soft shell body portion is sized and shaped to fit within and line the second hard shell interior storage compartment. The first and second soft shell body portions are removable, respectively, from the first and second hard shell interior storage compartments to thereby provide a soft shell luggage unit while removed therefrom.

[0008] In accordance with certain embodiments, the first and second hard shell body portions are pivotable relative to one another to enable the hard shell body to be selectively opened and closed, and the first and second soft shell body portions are pivotable relative to one another to enable the soft shell body to be selectively opened and closed.

[0009] In accordance with certain embodiments, a first hinge pivotably connects the first hard shell body portion to the second hard shell body portion to thereby enable the hard shell body to be selectively opened and closed. Further, a second hinge pivotably connects the first soft shell body portion to the second soft shell body portion to thereby enable the soft shell body to be selectively opened and closed. At least a portion of the second hinge is located adjacent to at least a portion of the first hinge while the first and second soft shell body portions are respectively within and line the first and second hard shell interior storage compartments.

[0010] In accordance with certain embodiments, the luggage system also includes one or more fasteners that is/are configured to enable the first and second soft shell body portions to be selectively attached to and detached from the first and second hard shell body portions respectively. In certain such embodiments, the same one or more fasteners, which is/are configured to enable the first and second soft shell body portions to be selectively attached to and detached from the first and second hard shell body portions respectively, is/are also configured to securely close the soft shell body while the first and second soft shell body portions are removed from the first and second hard shell interior storage compartments respectively. Such fasteners can include one or more snaps, one or more buttons, one or more segments of hook and loop material, one or more zipper closures, and/or one or more magnetic closures, but are not limited thereto. [0011] In accordance with certain embodiments, the luggage system includes a first zipper closure that attaches and detaches the first soft shell body portion from the first hard shell interior storage compartment, and a second zipper closure that attaches and detaches the second soft shell body portion from the second hard shell interior storage compartment. In certain such embodiments, a portion of the first zipper closure and a portion of the second zipper closure can be used to securely close the soft shell body while the first and second soft shell body portions are removed from the first and second hard shell interior storage compartments respectively.

[0012] In accordance with certain embodiments, the first soft shell body portion has a first soft shell exterior and defines a first soft shell interior storage compartment. Similarly, the second soft shell body portion has a second soft shell exterior and defines a second soft shell interior storage compartment.

[0013] In accordance with certain embodiments, the hard shell exteriors of the first and second hard shell body portions are made of polycarbonate, polypropylene, acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS), or aluminum, or any combination thereof.

[0014] In accordance with certain embodiments, the soft shell exteriors of the first and second soft shell body portions are made of nylon, polyester, or canvas, or any combination thereof.

[0015] In accordance with certain embodiments, at least one handle is connected to at least one of the first or second softshell exteriors. Such handle(s) is/are configured to be grasped by a user to enable the user to pickup and maneuver the soft shell body while the soft shell body is being used as a soft shell luggage unit.

[0016] In accordance with certain embodiments, at least one of the first or second hard shell body portions is transparent and thereby enables a color and/or a pattern on an exterior of at least one of the first or second soft shell body portions to be visible while the first and second soft shell body portions are respectively within and line the first and second hard shell interior storage compartments.

[0017] In accordance with certain embodiments, the luggage system also includes a further soft shell body including third and fourth soft shell body portions. The third soft shell body portion is sized and shaped to fit within and line the first hard shell interior storage compartment, while the first soft shell body portion is removed therefrom. The fourth soft shell body portion is sized and shaped to fit within and line the second hard shell interior storage compartment, while the second soft shell body portion is removed therefrom. There is/are one or more aesthetic and/or functional differences between the further soft shell body, which includes the third and fourth soft shell body portions, and the soft shell body portion, which includes the first and second soft shell body portions. The aesthetic and/or functional differences can include differences in interior color, exterior color, interior pattern, exterior pattern, number of pockets, shape and location of pockets, number of flaps, shape and location of flaps, number of straps, and/or shape and location of straps, but are not limited thereto. Accordingly, in certain embodiments, an appearance and/or functionality of the luggage system differs depending upon whether the first and second soft shell body portions of the soft shell body, or the third and fourth soft shell body portions of the further soft shell body, are placed respectively within and line the first and second hard shell interior storage compartments.

[0018] In accordance with certain embodiments, a carabiner type handle is connected to at least one of the first or second hard shell body portions. The carabiner type handle is configured to be grasped by a user to enable the user to pickup and maneuver the hard shell body. Additionally, the carabiner type handle is configured to secure one or more further items to the hard shell body.

[0019] A luggage system, according to an embodiment of the present technology, can include a hard shell body, a first soft shell body, and a second soft shell body. The hard shell body defines a hard shell interior storage compartment. The first soft shell body is sized and shaped to fit within and provide a first liner for the hard shell interior storage compartment while the first soft shell body is secured therein. Similarly, the second soft shell body is sized and shaped to fit within and provide a second liner for the hard shell interior storage compartment while the first soft shell body is secured therein. Only one of the first or second soft shell bodies is securable within the hard shell interior storage compartment at a time. In such embodiments, one or more aspects of the first and second soft shell bodies differ from one another. Additionally, in such embodiments, each of the first and second soft shell bodies, while removed from the hard shell interior storage compartment of the hard shell body, provides a respective soft shell luggage unit that can be used to hold and carry items independent of the hard shell body.

[0020] In accordance with certain embodiments, the aspect(s) of the first and second soft shell bodies that differ from one another can be a number pockets, a shape of pockets, a different number, type and/or location of flaps, and/or a different number, type and/or location of straps, but are not limited thereto. Additionally, or alternatively, the aspect(s) of the first and second soft shell bodies that differ from one another can include an exterior of the second soft shell body having a different color and/or a different pattern than an exterior of the first soft shell body. In accordance with certain embodiments, the hard shell body (or at least a portion thereof) is transparent and thereby enables the exterior, of whichever one of the first or second soft shell bodies is secured within the hard shell interior storage compartment, to be visible to a user or other observer of the luggage system.

[0021] This Summary is provided to introduce a selection of concepts in a simplified form that are further described below in the Detailed Description. This Summary is not intended to identify key features or essential features of the claimed subject matter, nor is it intended to be used as an aid in determining the scope of the claimed subject matter. The claimed subject matter is not limited to implementations that solve any or all disadvantages noted in the Background. Nevertheless, many embodiments described herein solve at least some or all of the disadvantages noted in the Background.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0022] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a luggage system, according to an embodiment of the present technology, while a hard shell body of the luggage system is closed.

[0023] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the luggage system, introduced in FIG. 1 , while the hard shell body of the luggage system is opened.

[0024] FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the luggage system, also shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, while a soft shell body of the luggage system is open and removed from interior storage compartments defined by the hard shell body.

[0025] FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the soft shell body of the luggage system (in its closed position) completely removed from the hard shell body and useful as a soft shell luggage unit independent of the hard shell body.

[0026] FIGS. 5, 6, and 7 illustrate how different versions of the soft shell body can have different functional features than one another.

[0027] FIG. 8 illustrates details of a carabiner type handle initially shown in and described with reference to FIG. 1 .

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0028] FIGS. 1 -3 will initially be used to describe a luggage system 102, according to an embodiment of the present technology. FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the luggage system 102 while a hard shell body 1 10 of the luggage system 102 is closed. FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the luggage system 102 while the hard shell body 1 10 of the luggage system 102 is opened. FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the luggage system 102 while a soft shell body 130 of the luggage system 102 is removed from an interior storage compartment defined by the hard shell body 1 10.

[0029] The hard shell body 1 10 is shown as including a first hard shell body portion 1 12 and second hard shell body portion 122. The first and second hard shell body portions 1 12, 122 are pivotable relative to one another to enable the hard shell body 1 10 to be selectively opened and closed. The first hard shell body portion 1 12 has a first hard shell exterior 1 14 and defines a first hard shell interior storage compartment 1 16. The second hard shell body portion 122 has a second hard shell exterior 124 and defines a second hard shell interior storage compartment 126. In accordance with an embodiment, the interior storage compartment of the hard shell body 1 10 includes both the first and second hard shell interior storage compartments 1 16, 126. In the embodiment shown, volumes of the first and second hard shell interior storage compartments 1 16, 126 are substantially the same (i.e., within +/- 10% of one another), however that need not be the case. In other words, in an alternative embodiment, a volume of one the first and second hard shell interior storage compartments 1 16, 126 can be significantly greater than or less than a volume of the other.

[0030] In the embodiment shown, the soft shell body 130 includes a first soft shell body portion 132 and second soft shell body portion 142. The first and second soft shell body portions 132, 142 are pivotable relative to one another to enable the soft shell body 130 to be selectively opened and closed. The first soft shell body portion 132 has a first soft shell exterior 134 and defines a first soft shell interior storage compartment 136. The second soft shell body portion 142 has a second soft shell exterior 144 and defines a second soft shell interior storage compartment 146. In accordance with an embodiment, an interior storage compartment of the soft shell body 130 includes both the first and second soft shell interior storage compartments 136, 146. In the embodiment shown, volumes of the first and second soft shell interior storage compartments 136, 146 are substantially the same (i.e., within +/- 10% of one another), however that need not be the case. In other words, in an alternative embodiment, a volume of one the first and second soft shell interior storage compartments 136, 146 can be significantly greater than or less than a volume of the other. As will be described in additional detail below, one or both of the first and second soft shell interior storage compartments 136, 146 can be divided into sub-compartments so that items (e.g., clothes, electronics, toiletries, etc.) being stored therein can be segregated from one another in different sub-compartments, and/or stored in specifically designed sub-compartments, or the like. One or both of the first and second soft shell interior storage compartments 136, 146 can also include one or more pockets, flaps, straps, and/or other functional physical features.

[0031]The hard shell exteriors 1 14, 124 of the first and second hard shell body portions 1 12, 122 can be made of a hard material that maintains its form, such as, but not limited to, polycarbonate, polypropylene, acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS), aluminum, or a combination of the aforementioned materials. The soft shell exteriors 134, 144 of the first and second soft shell body portions 132, 142 can be made of a flexible fabric material, such as, but not limited to nylon, polyester, or canvas, or a combination thereof. Various different types of nylons can be used, such as, but not limited to, ballistic nylon, or nylon ripstop CORDURA (TM) (manufactured by INVISTA, which headquartered in Wichita, Kansas, United States), just to name a few. The term nylon, as used herein, also encompasses nylon blends. Exemplary fabric coatings that can be used to increase waterproofing of the flexible fabric material of the soft shell exteriors 134, 144 include coatings such as polyvinylchloride (PVC), polyurethane (PU), polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) types of coatings, but are not limited thereto.

[0032] In accordance with an embodiment, the first soft shell body portion 132 is sized and shaped to fit within and line the first hard shell interior storage compartment 1 16. Similarly, the second soft shell body portion 142 is sized and shaped to fit within and line the second hard shell interior storage compartment 126. Explained another way, the first and second soft shell body portions 132, 142 provide liners respectively for the first and second hard shell body portions 1 12, 122 while the first and second soft shell body portions 132 and 142 are respectively placed within the first and second hard shell interior storage compartments 1 16 and 126. In order for the first soft shell body portion 132 to be sized and shaped to fit within and line the first hard shell interior storage compartment 1 16, the dimensions of the first soft shell exterior 134 are slightly smaller than the dimensions of the first hard shell interior storage compartment 1 16, and thus, the volume of the first soft shell interior storage compartment 136 will be slightly less than the volume of the first hard shell interior storage compartment 1 16. Similarly, in order for the second soft shell body portion 142 to be sized and shaped to fit within and line the second hard shell interior storage compartment 126, the dimensions of the second soft shell exterior 144 are slightly smaller than the dimensions of the second hard shell interior storage compartment 126, and thus, the volume of the second soft shell interior storage compartment 146 will be slightly less than the volume of the second hard shell interior storage compartment 126. Accordingly, the overall volume of the interior storage compartment of the soft shell body 130 will be slightly smaller than the overall of the interior storage compartment of the hard shell body 1 10. Nevertheless, the soft shell body 130, while removed from the hard shell body 1 10, and used as a soft shell luggage unit, may be able to store more items than the hard shell body 1 10. This is because the soft shell body 130 is flexible and stretchable, while the hard shell body 1 10 is not, which is the reason that soft shell luggage can typically hold more items than hard shell luggage of the same dimensions. -I Q-

10033] As shown in FIG. 3, a hinge 120 pivotably connects the first hard shell body portion 1 12 to the second hard shell body portion 122 to thereby enable the hard shell body 1 10 to be selectively opened or closed. The hinge 120 can be one continuous hinge, or can be made up of one or more hinge segments that are discontinuous from one another. As shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, a hinge 140 pivotably connects the first soft shell body portion 132 to the second soft shell body portion 142 to thereby enable the soft shell body 130 to be selectively opened or closed. The hinge 140 can be one continuous hinge, or can be made up of one or more hinge segments that are discontinuous from one another. In the embodiment shown, while the first and second soft shell body portions 132, 142 are placed respectively within the first and second hard shell interior storage compartments 1 16, 126, the hinge 140 is located adjacent to the hinge 120, and both hinges 120, 140 can be pivoted in unison.

[0034] In accordance with an embodiment, the soft shell body 130 includes a zipper closure that enables the soft shell body 130 to be selectively opened and closed when the soft shell body 130 is removed from the hard shell body 1 10 and is useful as a soft shell luggage unit. The zipper closure includes a first strip of teeth 152 and a second strip of teeth 154 and a slide 156. The slide 156 can includes a slider body and a pull tab, as is typical of a slide of a zipper closure. The first strip of teeth 152 is located about a peripheral rim of the first soft shell body portion 132, and the second strip of teeth 154 is located about a peripheral rim of the second soft shell body portion 142. In the embodiment shown, where a peripheral shape of each of the first and second soft shell body portions 132, 142 has a generally rectangular shape with rounded corners, the strips of teeth 152, 154 extend about an entirety of three of the four sides of the rectangular shape. The strips of teeth 152, 154 are also shown as extending along small portions of the fourth sides of each rectangular shape, but that need not be the case. By sliding the slide 156 in a first direction, while the soft shell body 130 is removed from the hard shell body 1 10, the strips of teeth 152, 154 intermesh with one another causing the soft shell body 130 to be securely closed and thereby secure within the interior storage chamber thereof one or more items packed therein. By sliding the slide 156 in a second direction, opposite the first direction, while the soft shell body 130 is removed from the hard shell body, the strips of teeth 152, 154 un-mesh from one another, enabling the soft shell body 130 to be opened, and thereby enabling items to be removed from and/or placed within the interior storage chamber thereof.

[0035] In accordance with an embodiment, the same zipper closure that is used to selectively open and close the soft shell body 130 (while the soft shell body 130 is removed from the hard shell body 1 10 and useful as a soft shell luggage unit) can also used to attach the first and second soft shell body portions 132, 142 of the soft shell body 130 respectively to the first and second hard shell body portions 1 12, 122 of the hard shell body 1 10. This is achieved by including a strip of teeth 153 adjacent to and slightly in from a peripheral rim of the first hard shell body portion 1 12, and the strip of teeth 155 adjacent to and slightly in from a peripheral rim of the second hard shell body portion 122. While the first soft shell body portion 132 is placed within the first hard shell interior storage compartment 1 16, the slide 156 can be used to intermesh the strip of teeth 152 (included on the first soft shell body portion 132) with the strip of teeth 153 (included on the first hard shell body portion 1 12), to thereby securely attach the first soft shell body portion 132 within the first hard shell interior storage compartment 1 16. Similarly, while the second soft shell body portion 142 is placed within the second hard shell interior storage compartment 126, another slide 158 can be used to intermesh the strip of teeth 154 (included on the second soft shell body portion 142) with the strip of teeth 155 (included on the second hard shell body portion 122), to thereby securely attach the second soft shell body portion 142 within the second hard shell interior storage compartment 126.

[0036] In an embodiment, the strips of teeth 152, 153 and the slide 156 can collectively provide a first zipper closure that attaches and detaches the first soft shell body portion 132 to and from the first hard shell body portion 1 12. The strips of teeth 154, 155 and the slide 158 can collectively provide a second zipper closure that attaches and detaches the second soft shell body portion 142 to and from the second hard shell body portion 122. The strip of teeth 152 and the strip of teeth 154, and at least one of the slides 156, 158, can be used to securely close the soft shell body 1 10 while the first and second soft shell body portions are detached from the first and second hard shell body portions 1 12, 122. More generally, at least some or a portion of the same one or more fasteners, which is/are configured to enable the first and second soft shell body portions 132, 142 to be selectively attached to and detached from the first and second hard shell body portions 1 12, 122 respectively, can also be configured to securely close the soft shell body 130 while the first and second soft shell body portions 122, 132 are detached from the first and second hard shell body portions 1 12, 122.

[0037] Alternative types of fasteners, besides zipper closures, can be used to attach the first and second soft shell body portions 132, 142 of the soft shell body 130 respectively to the first and second hard shell body portions 1 12, 122 of the hard shell body 1 10. For example, one or more snaps can be used. For other examples, buttons, magnetic closures, or segments of hook and loop material can instead be used. Combinations of the aforementioned types of fasteners and/or one or more different types of fasteners can alternatively be used to attach the first and second soft shell body portions 132, 142 of the soft shell body 130 respectively to the first and second hard shell body portions 1 12, 122 of the hard shell body 1 10. Thus, it should be appreciated that the one or more fasteners that is/are used to selectively open and close the soft shell body 130 (while the soft shell body 130 is removed from the hard shell body 1 10 and useful as a soft shell luggage unit) can be the same as, or different than, the one or more fasteners that is/are used to attach the first and second soft shell body portions 132, 142 of the soft shell body 130 respectively to the first and second hard shell body portions 1 12, 122 of the hard shell body 1 10.

[0038] In certain embodiments, a gasket or other seal can extend around a peripheral rim of the first hard shell body portion 1 12 and/or the peripheral rim of the second hard shell body portion 122, so that when the hard shell body 1 10 is closed the gasket or other seal prevents water or other moisture from seeping into the interior storage compartment of the hard shell body 1 10, and thereby helps protect the items stored therein. The hard shell body can be secured in its closed position using a zipper closure, or one or more alternative types of fasteners, such as, but not limited to, one, two, three or more buckles. For example, a pair of buckle portions can be rivetted or otherwise attached to the first hard shell body portion 1 12 and a pair of mating buckle portions can be rivetted or otherwise attached to the second hard shell body portion 122, to thereby enable the hard shell body 1 10 to be selectively opened and closed. In FIG. 1 , a pair of buckles 1 18 is shown. Additionally, the hard shell body 1 10 can have a lock 128 attached thereto that enables the hard shell body 1 10 to be locked in its closed position. The lock 128 can be or include a combination lock or a key lock, and may also include a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) key lock that enables TSA agents to unlock the lock 128, as required by most airports.

[0039] The hard shell body 1 10 is shown as having four wheels 170 that enable it to be rolled along a surface. In the embodiment shown, two of the wheels 170 extend from a lower portion of the exterior 1 14 of the first hard shell body portion 1 12, and the other two wheels 170 extend from a lower portion of the exterior 124 of the second hard shell body portion 122. More or less than four wheels 170 can alternatively be included. In an embodiment, the wheels 170 can be removable and replaceable so that different types (e.g., hardness, material, bearings, etc.), colors, sizes, designs, etc. of wheels can be attached to the hard shell body 1 10. In other words, the wheels can be a customizable feature of the luggage system 102.

[0040] The hard shell body 1 10 is also shown as having a telescopic handle 180 that extends from a side of the hard shell body 1 10 that is opposite the side from which the wheels 170 extend. In an embodiment, the telescoping handle 180 is connected to the second hard shell body portion 122, but can alternatively be connected to the first hard shell body portion 1 12.

[0041] In accordance with an embodiment, the hard shell body 1 10 also includes a further handle 190, which is a carabiner type handle. The carabiner type handle 190 can be grasped by a user to enable the user to pickup and maneuver the hard shell body 1 10. The carabiner type handle 190 can also be used to secure one or more further items (e.g., a purse, a shopping bag, etc.) to the hard shell body 1 10. Additionally details of the carabiner type handle 190 are described below with reference to FIG. 8.

[0042] The luggage system 102 beneficially provides a person with the benefits of both hard shell luggage and soft shell luggage. When a person is concerned with protecting the items with which they are traveling from breaking and/or moisture, the person can choose to travel with the soft shell body 130 positioned within and lining the hard shell body 1 10. When the person is primarily traveling with soft goods that will be placed in a small overhead compartment, or the like, the person can choose to remove the soft shell body 130 from the hard shell body 1 10 and just travel with the soft shell body 130, which when removed from the hard shell body 1 10 can function is soft shell luggage independent from the hard shell body 1 10. The person may also choose to just travel with the soft shell body 130 if they know they will be traveling where it is not practical to utilize wheels (e.g., on stairs or a cobble stone road) and/or where the person wants to travel light. It would also be possible for a person to travel to a destination with the soft shell body 130 positioned within and lining the hard shell body 1 10, and their items packed within the soft shell body 130. Thereafter, if the person purchases or otherwise obtains additional items while on their trip, the person can remove the soft shell body 130 from the hard shell body 1 10 and have two luggage items (i.e., a hard shell luggage item, and a soft shell luggage items) into which they can pack their items when returning from their trip. For the above reasons, the luggage system 102 may also be referred to as a 2-in-1 luggage system, or more succinctly as 2-in-1 luggage.

[0043] FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the soft shell body 130 in its closed position completely removed from the hard shell body 1 10 and useful as a soft shell luggage unit independent of the hard shell body 1 10. As shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, a handle 160 is attached to a portion of the exterior 134 of the first soft shell body portion 132 to assist a person with carrying the soft shell body 130 on its own. The handle 160 should be designed to not obstruct the ability of the first soft shell body portion 132 to fit within the first hard shell interior storage compartment 1 16. To achieve this, the handle 160 can be made of webbing. In an embodiment, a portion of the webbing of which the handle 160 is made can be folded and/or covered with a thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), some other heat shrinkable plastic, or some other covering to make the handle 160 more comfortable to hold. The handle 160 can alternatively be made of a more rigid material and fit within a recess within the soft shell exterior 134 of the first soft shell body portion 132. Alternatively, or additionally, a handle can be attached to a portion of the exterior 144 of the second soft shell body portion 132.

[0044] Beneficially, when a person is not traveling, the soft shell body 130 can be placed within the hard shell body 1 10, and the entire luggage system 102 (that includes both a soft shell luggage item and a hard shell luggage item) can be stored in a closet, attic, under a bed, etc., in the same amount of space that it takes to store just one similarly sized hard or soft shell piece of luggage. In other words, the luggage system 102 essentially provides a person with two pieces of luggage that can be stored in the same amount of space typically required to store one piece of luggage. The luggage system 102 also provides a person with the benefits of both wheeled luggage and non-wheeled luggage. The luggage system 102 also enables a person to travel to a destination using rugged hard shell luggage (with the soft shell body 130 within and lining the hard shell body 1 10), and then take short excursions from the destination using easier to carry and maneuver soft shell luggage (by removing the soft shell body 130 and just traveling on the short excursions using the soft shell body 130).

[0045] In accordance with an embodiment, a manufacturer and retailer of the luggage system 102 can offer the hard shell body 1 10 in two or more different colors (e.g., black, red, pink, etc.). Additionally, or alternatively, the hard shell body 1 10 can be offered in two or more different patterns (e.g., e.g., stripes, polka dot, floral, etc.). The hard shell body 1 10 may also be made available in various different types of material. For example, a polycarbonate version of the hard shell body 1 10 can be made available, and an aluminum version of the hard shell body 1 10 can also be made available. A manufacturer and retailer of the luggage system 102 can additionally or alternatively offer the soft shell body 130 in two or more different colors, patterns, and/or materials. Additionally, different versions of the soft shell body 130 may have different functional features. For example, various different version of the soft shell body 130 can have a different number of internal pockets and/or sub-compartment, and the shapes and locations of the pockets and/or sub compartments can differ from one another. Additionally, or alternatively, the various different versions of the soft shell body 130 can have a different number of flaps and/or straps, and the shapes and/or locations of the flaps and/or straps can differ between the different versions. Colors and/or patterns of the interiors of the and/or exteriors of the different versions of the soft shell body 130 can also differ from one another. These are just a few examples of the differences between the different versions of the soft shell body. More generally, the hard shell body 1 10 and/or the soft shell body 130 can have or be customizable features of the luggage system 102. [0046] In accordance with an embodiment, the hard material from which the first hard shell body portion 1 12 and/or the second hard shell body portion 122 can be transparent to thereby enable the color and/or pattern on the exterior(s) 134 and/or 144 of the first soft shell body portion 132 and/or the second soft shell body portion 142 to be visible while the first and second soft shell body portions 132, 142 are within the first and second hard shell interior storage compartments 1 16, 126. For example, the first hard shell body portion 1 12 and/or the second hard shell body portion 122 can be made of a clear or semi-clear polycarbonate, polypropylene, or ABS.

[0047] In accordance with an embodiment, a manufacturer and a retailer of the luggage system 102 can make and sell various different versions of the soft shell body 130 each of which includes different features. For example, there can be a business travel version, a leisure travel version, and/or an urban travel version, just to name a few possible versions. The business travel version can include, e.g., pockets and/or other sub-compartments specifically sized and designed to hold and protect laptop computers and/or tablet computers, and may include pockets and/or other sub-compartments specifically sized and designed to hold pens, business cards, power cords, and/or the like. The leisure travel version can include sub compartments specifically designed to store various different types of clothing items, such as shirts, pants, socks, and/or various different types of accessories, such as, hats, ties, sun glasses, etc. The urban travel version can include sub-compartments specifically designed to store headphones, skateboards, etc. One or more of the versions of the soft shell body 130 can include a sealable wet bag that can be used to store wet bathing suits and/or towels without getting the other items stored in the interior storage compartment of the soft shell body wet. A person may choose to purchase the version of the soft shell body 130 that most suits them. A person may alternatively choose to purchase more than one version of the soft shell body 130 and choose which one they want to place within and used to line the hard shell body 1 10 (or use on its own independent of the hard shell body 1 10) when traveling, depending upon the specific type of travel, destination, and/or items that the person will be packing. [0048] FIGS. 5, 6, and 7 illustrate how different versions of the soft shell body 130, labeled 130a, 130b, and 130c, can have different aesthetic and/or functional features than one another. For example, the various different version of the soft shell body can have a different number of internal pockets and/or sub-compartments, and the shapes and locations of the pockets and/or sub-compartments can differ from one another. Additionally, the various different versions of the soft shell body can have a different number of flaps and/or straps, and the shapes and/or locations of the flaps and/or straps can differ between the different versions. Colors and/or patterns of the interiors and/or exteriors of the different versions of the soft shell body can also differ from one another. These are just a few examples of the differences between the different versions of the soft shell body. By offering different versions of the soft shell body 130, a person can customize the luggage system 102. Further, as noted above, different versions of the hard shell body 1 10 and/or wheels 170 can also be offered, allowing for further customization. The soft shell bodies 130a, 130b and 130c shown in FIGS. 5, 6 and 7 are just some examples of the different versions of the soft shell body 130 that can be made and sold. Additional and/or alternative versions of the soft shell body 130 can also be made and sold.

[0049] FIG. 8 will now be used to describe additional details of the carabiner type handle 190, initially discussed above with reference to FIG. 1 . Referring to FIG. 8, the carabiner type handle 190 includes a C-shaped body 802 that is attached to a side of the hard shell body 1 10 (and more specifically, to an upper side of one of the first and second hard shell body portions 1 12, 122) such that the handle 190 can rest flat against the side of the hard shell body 1 10, and can be swiveled such that it is generally perpendicular to the side of the hard shell body 1 10 when grasped by a person’s hand. The C-shaped body 802 provides the spine and frame (also known as basket) of the carabiner. The carabiner handle 190 also includes a gate 804 that is attached to one end of the C-shaped body 802 by a rivet pin 805. A nose 806 at the other end of the C-shaped body 802 prevents the gate 804 from opening outward, but allows the gate 804 to be pivoted inward (as represented by the dashed arrowed line in FIG. 8) to provide a gate opening so that one or more items (e.g., a purse or other small bag) can be attached via the carabiner type handle 190 to the hard shell body 1 10. The gate 804 of the carabiner handle 190 can be spring loaded or otherwise biased to return to a closed position with its free end against the nose 806. In other embodiments, alternative or additional types of handles can be attached to the hard shell body portion(s) 1 12 and/or 122.

[0050] As explained in more detail above, various embodiments of the present technology provide a luggage system that provides the benefits of both hard shell and soft shell luggage, enables customization, and enables efficient storage of the luggage system.

[0051] The description of the present disclosure has been presented for purposes of illustration and description, but is not intended to be exhaustive or limited to the disclosure in the form disclosed. Many modifications and variations will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art without departing from the scope and spirit of the disclosure. The aspects of the disclosure herein were chosen and described in order to best explain the principles of the disclosure and the practical application, and to enable others of ordinary skill in the art to understand the disclosure with various modifications as are suited to the particular use contemplated.

[0052] The disclosure has been described in conjunction with various embodiments. However, other variations and modifications to the disclosed embodiments can be understood and effected from a study of the drawings, the disclosure, and the appended claims, and such variations and modifications are to be interpreted as being encompassed by the appended claims. In the claims, the word“comprising” does not exclude other elements or steps, and the indefinite article“a” or“an” does not exclude a plurality.

[0053] For purposes of this document, it should be noted that the dimensions of the various features depicted in the figures may not necessarily be drawn to scale.

[0054] For purposes of this document, reference in the specification to “an embodiment,”“one embodiment,”“some embodiments,” or“another embodiment” may be used to describe different embodiments or the same embodiment.

[0055] For purposes of this document, without additional context, use of numerical terms such as a“first” object, a“second” object, and a“third” object may not imply an ordering of objects, but may instead be used for identification purposes to identify different objects. [0056] The foregoing detailed description has been presented for purposes of illustration and description. It is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the subject matter claimed herein to the precise form(s) disclosed. Many modifications and variations are possible in light of the above teachings. The described embodiments were chosen in order to best explain the principles of the disclosed technology and its practical application to thereby enable others skilled in the art to best utilize the technology in various embodiments and with various modifications as are suited to the particular use contemplated. It is intended that the scope be defined by the claims appended hereto.

[0057] Although the subject matter has been described in language specific to structural features and/or methodological acts, it is to be understood that the subject matter defined in the appended claims is not necessarily limited to the specific features or acts described above. Rather, the specific features and acts described above are disclosed as example forms of implementing the claims.