Apple Inc. (Cupertino, CA)
The keyboard is a device utilized to input data from users to electronic devices. It’s possible to make an entire keyboard using components that are attached to a common substrate. This is referred to as a featureplate. A component of a keyboard could comprise a key assembly that comprises many interconnected, discrete pieces positioned below the keycap.
Reliably and quickly fabricating components of a keyboard may be a challenge, especially for keyboards incorporating components made of tiny or intricate components. This means that it could be time-consuming and/or resource intensive to manufacture akeyboard incorporating certain components, such as intricate key assemblies.
The embodiments described herein are related to, include, or can be described as an approach to manufacturing keyboards that include at minimum the process of: making the first key assembly on a primary chassis of a chassis strip; making an additional key assembly on a second chassis from the chassis strip putting the chassis strip onto a feature plate; attaching the first and the second chassis on the feature plate and then removing the interconnecting parts of the chassis strip which divide the first and second chassis.
Certain embodiments may comprise the following steps: molding the switch housing onto the chassis that is first while putting the key mechanism above the switch house and energizing the key mechanism by using the chassis strip; placing the buckling dome inside the switch housing; and engaging the buckling by using the chassis strip.
A variety of embodiments permit the alignment of the first and/or last key assemblies with an aperture made by an electronic device housing. In these examples, the key assemblies may extend at least partially through the apertures. In many cases the apertures could be connected with rows or grids of apertures, but this is not always required.
Sometimes, the process to build a key mechanism can also include the creation of retaining features onto the respective chassis. Retaining elements can be bent to form spring armatures that can be used with key assemblies, for instance keycaps and key mechanisms. In other cases the retaining feature could be designed to work with the buckling dome.
One possible embodiment could include an arrangement in which attaching the first chassis on the featureplate involves connecting the first key assembly to the circuit for electrical power on the featureplate.
Other embodiments are described and could be viewed as a method for manufacturing a keyboard. This involves the following operations: positioning a chassis strip on a featureplate; attaching the chassis strip onto the feature plate; and attaching each prefabricated key assembly to the feature plate. Other operations include removing interconnecting components from the chassis strip.
Additional embodiments are described in the document. They comprise the following: Selecting the panelized substrate, and then populating it with prefabricated row key assemblies; affixing the panelized substrate onto a feature plate of the keyboard and aligning each row prefabricated prefabricated keys assemblies with feature plate attaching each row of key assemblies from the row to the featureplate and then depanelizing the panelized substrate to singulate the key assemblies that are on the feature plates.
Certain embodiments could include a method of depanelizing the substrate consists of taking out the interconnecting parts of the panelized substrate in between each key assembly of the row of key assemblies.
Additional embodiments are described in this document, which include a row interconnected key assemblies. These embodiments include the chassis for each key assembly within the row. The chassis has an initial retaining feature as well as another feature for retaining. The chassis also has an enclosure for the switch as well as a key mechanism within the switch housing that is connected to the first retention feature. A buckling dome within an opening in the switch housing is included. This second retaining feature is also connected to the switch housing. These embodiments show that every chassis that is part of each key assembly in the key assembly row can be connected to at minimum one other chassis by an interconnecting part.
In these embodiments, at a minimum, one key assembly of the key assemblies row is further equipped with an optical film placed over the switch housing.
Still further examples described herein refer to keyboards that include at least the housing that has apertures in a grid, as well as a feature plate placed within the housing. The feature plate is able to accommodate an array of light emitting diodes that are arranged in relation to each of the aperture grid. Key assemblies in a row is also part of the keyboard. A minimum of one of the key assemblies in the row includes an assembly that is connected to the featureplate by a light emitting diode. The key assembly also includes a switch housing formed on the chassis, and optically connected to the one light emitting diode. The key assembly also includes an optical film that is set on top of the switch housing, and is optically linked to the housing of the switch. This creates an optical path from the light emitting device to the switch housing to the optical film.
Additional embodiments are discussed in this article, which include a keyboard with at least one feature plate. In these instances, a row of key assemblies are coupled to the feature plate. The row of key assemblies includes a first key assembly positionedimmediately adjacent to a second key assembly. The key assembly in the first and the second key assembly are separated by the distance defined by an interconnecting component. In these instances the interconnecting piece is movable.Click here to view the patent on USPTO website.
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Patents are granted by the government to protect an invention. It gives the inventor the sole rights to develop, use and market the invention. Society is benefited when new technologies are brought for sale. The benefits may be directly, in that it may allow individuals to achieve previously unattainable things, or indirectly through the economic opportunities (business expansion and job creation) that the innovation offers.
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How to Search for Patents
A patent search is the initial step to getting your patent. You can do a google patent search or do a USPTO search. After the patent application has been filed, the product covered by the application can be called patent-pending, and you can locate the patent application on public pair. When the patent office has endorsed the patent application, you are able to do a patent number search to find the patent issued which means that your product is now patented. Alongside the USPTO search engine, you can also utilize other search engines like espacenet, which is described below. Patent lawyers or a patent attorney can assist you with the procedure. In the US, patents are granted by the US trademark and patent office, also known as the United States patent and trademark office, which is also responsible for examining trademark applications.
Are you interested in similar patents? These are the steps to follow:
1. Think of terms that describe your invention in relation to its intended composition, use, or purpose.
Start by writing down a brief and precise description of your idea. Do not use generic terms like “device”, “process”, and “system”. Instead, consider synonyms to the terms you chose initially. Next, take note of crucial technical terms as well as key words.
Use the questions below to help you find keywords or concepts.
- What is the objective of this invention? Is it a utilitarian device or an ornamental design?
- Is the invention a method of creating something or a function? Are you referring to an object?
- What is the nature and purpose of the invention? What is the physical makeup of the invention?
- What’s the purpose of the invention
- What are the technical terms and terms used to define the nature of an invention? A technical dictionary can help you find the appropriate terms.
2. Use these terms to search for pertinent Cooperative Patent Classifications for your invention at the Classification Text Search Tool. If you’re unable to find the right classification for your invention, go through the class Schemas (class schedules). If you don’t see any results using the Classification Text Search, you might consider substituting your words that describe your invention with synonyms.
3. Examine 3. Check the CPC Classification Definition to confirm the validity of the CPC classification you have found. If the chosen classification has a blue box with an “D” at its left, the link will direct you to the CPC classification definition. CPC classification definitions will help determine the relevant classification’s scope, so you are certain to choose the one that is pertinent. The definitions could also contain research tips or other suggestions which could prove useful in further research.
4. The Patents Full-Text Database and the Image Database allow you to find patent documents that are accompanied by the CPC classification. You can review and select the relevant patent documents by first focusing on abstract and drawings representative of.
5. This selection of patent publication is the most appropriate to check for connections to your invention. Be sure to read the specification and claims. It is possible to find additional patents by referring to the patent examiner as well as the applicant.
6. Retrieve published patent applications with the CPC classification you chose in Step 3 in the Applications Full-Text and Image Database. It is also possible to use the same search strategy that you utilized in Step 4 to narrow down your search results to just the most relevant patents by reading the abstracts and drawings on every page. Next, carefully examine the published patent applications with particular attention paid to the claims as well as additional drawings.
7. You can look up additional US patent publications using keyword searches in AppFT or PatFT databases, as well as classification search to find non-U.S. Patents as described below. Also, you can use web search engines to search non-patent documents that describe inventions in the literature. Here are some examples:
- Add keywords to your search. Keyword searches may turn up documents that are not well-categorized or have missed classifications during Step 2. For example, US patent examiners often supplement their classification searches with keyword searches. Think about the use of technical engineering terminology rather than everyday words.
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- European Patent Office (EPO) provides esp@cenet to access a network of Europe’s patent databases with access to machine translation of European patents.
- Japan Patent Office (JPO) – with access to machine translations of Japanese patents.
- World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) offers PATENTSCOPE with a full-text search of published international patent applications and machine translations for some documents, as well as a list of international patent databases.
- Korean Intellectual Property Rights Information Service (KIPRIS)
- State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) with machine translation of Chinese patents.
- Other International Intellectual Property Offices with online patent databases include Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Israel, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and Taiwan.
- Search non-patent literature. Inventions can be made public in many non-patent publications. It is recommended that you search journals, books, websites, technical catalogs, conference proceedings, and other print and electronic publications.
To review your search, you can hire a registered patent attorney to assist. A preliminary search will help one better prepare to talk about their invention and other related inventions with a professional patent attorney. In addition, the attorney will not spend too much time or money on patenting basics.