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Stuart J. West SBN 202041
West & Associates, A PC
2815 Mitchell Drive, Suite 209
Walnut Creek, CA 94598
Telephone: 925.262.2220
Facsimile: 925.262.2205
Email: swest@westpatentlaw.com
Attorney for Plaintiff Kenneth J. Mallen
E-tiHna
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
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KENNETH J. MALLEN,
Plaintiff,
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EVRIHOLDER PRODUCTS, LLC, and DOES
1-100
Defendants.
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Case No:
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COMPLAINT FOR PATENfr
INFRINGEMENT AND I
UNFAIR COMPETITION
DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL
18 Plaintiff Kenneth J. Mallen (hereinafter, ''Plaintiff'), by and through his unddrsigned
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19 counsel, for his Complaint against Defendant Evriholder Products, LLC, and DOES 1-100
20 (hereinafter, collectively, "Defendant"), states the following. Allegations made on belief are
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premised on the belief that the same are likely to have evidentiary support after a re8$onab1e
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opportunity for further investigation and discovery.
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Complaint - 1
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.J THE PARTIES
2 1. Plaintiff is an individual residing at 205 South Maryland Parkway, Las Vetas, NV
3 89101.
4 2. Upon information and belief, Defendant is a limited liability company organized under
5 the laws of the State of Indiana and has an office and principal place of business at 15Qo South
6 Lewis Street, Anaheim, CA 92805.
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8 NATURE OF ACTION
9 3. This is a civil action for the infringement of United States Patent No. 7,067,73V under
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10 the patent laws of the United States, 35 U.S.C. 1 et seq.
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12 .roRISDICTION AND VENUE
13 4. This Court has jurisdiction over the subject matter of this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
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14 1331 and 1338(a) because this action arises under the patent laws of the United! States,
15 including 35 U.S.C. 271 et seq., and pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1332(a). The in
16 question herein exceeds $75,000.
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5. This Court has personal jurisdiction over Defendant because Defendant has conpnitted
18 acts of infringement in this District in violation of 35 U.S.C. 271 and has placed intnging
19 products into the stream of commerce with the knowledge and/or understanding th4t such
20 products are used and sold in this District. These acts have caused and continue to cause injury
21 to Plaintiff within the District. Defendant derives substantial revenue from the of
22 infringing products distributed within the District, and/or expects or should reasonably I expect
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its actions to have consequences within the District, and derives substantial r e v e n ~ e from
interstate and international commerce.
6. Venue is proper in this judicial district as to Defendants pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1391
and 1400(b ).
INTRADISTRICT ASSIGNMENT
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7. Because thls action is an Intellectual Property Action within the meaning of Civtl Local
Rule 3-2( c), the action is to be assigned on a district-wide basis.
COUNT ONE
PATENT INFRINGEMENT
8. Plaintiff hereby realleges and incorporates by reference the allegations of parawaphs 1
through 7 of this Complaint as if fully set forth herein.
9. On June 27, 2006, United States Patent No. 7,067,737 ('"737 patent"), titled !"Cover
Plate," was duly and properly issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. A
copy of the '737 patent is attached hereto as Exhibit A.
10. The '737 patent is currently valid and enforceable.
11. Plaintiff is the owner of all right, title, and interest in the '73 7 patent, and hqlds the
right to sue and recover damages for infringement thereof, including past infringement. '
12. Upon information and belief, Plaintiff met with Defendant tbr the purpose of exlJloring
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a potential business relationship.
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13. Upon information and belief, Plaintiff disclosed the subject matter of the '737 p ~ t e n t to
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Defendant.
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14. Upon information and belief, Defendant makes and/or causes to be made prod11cts sold
under the name "PLATE HOOK'R," including, but not limited to, products # PHR-,1 and #
PHR-2, photographs of which are attached hereto as Exhibit B.
15. Upon information and belief, Defendant offers to sell products sold under tqe name
'"PLATE HOOK'R," including, but not limited to, products # PHR-1 and # IPHR-2,
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photographs of which are attached hereto as Exhibit B. !
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16. Upon information and belief, Defendant distributes products sold under thf name
"PLATE HOOK'R," including, but not limited to, products # PHR-1 and #
photographs of which are attached hereto as Exhibit B.
17. Upon information and belief, Defendant sells products sold under the name "fLATE
HOOK'R," including, but not limited to, products # PHR-1 and # PHR-2, photogrfphs of
which are attached hereto as Exhibit B.
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18. Upon information and belief, Defendant imports into the United States sold
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under the name "'PLATE HOOK'R," including, but not limited to, products# PHR-] and#
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PHR-2, photographs of which are attached hereto as Exhibit B.
19. Upon information and belief, Defendant induces third parties to offer to sell ptoducts
sold under the name "PLATE HOOK'R," including, but not limited to, products# and
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# PHR-2, photographs of which are attached hereto as Exhibit B.
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QO. Upon information and belief, Defendant induces third parties to sell products under
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the name "PLATE HOOK'R," including, but not limited to, products# PHR-1 and# fHR-2,
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photographs of which are attached hereto as Exhibit B.
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Complaint - 4
.,1 21. Upon information and belief, Defendant induces third parties to use products under
2 the name "PLATE HOOK'R," including, but not limited to, products# PHR-1 and# PHR-2,
3 photographs of which are attached hereto as Exhibit B.
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22. The products sold under the name "PLATE HOOK'R," including, but not li,ited to,
products# PHR-1 and# PHR-2, photographs of which are attached hereto as Exhibit B, are
described by one or more claims of the '737 patent.
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23. Defendant has infringed and/or induced others to infringe the '737 patent,
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and/or under the doctrine of equivalents, by making, using, offering to sell, and/or sellin in the
United States, and/or importing into the United States, products that are described by one or
more claims of the '737 patent without authority and in violation of35 U.S.C. 271.
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24. Upon information and belief, Defendant had knowledge of the '737 patent to
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developing, manufacturing, offering for sale, selling, and importing "PLATE HOPK'R"
products, photographs of which are attached hereto as Exhibit B.
25. Defendant has profited through infringement of the '737 patent. As a of
Defendant's unlawful infringement of the '737 patent, Plaintiff has suffered and will
to suffer damage.
COUNT TWO
CALIFORNIA UNFAIR COMPETITION
26. Plaintiff hereby realleges and incorporates by reference the allegations of paragttaphs 1
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through 25 ofthis Complaint as if fully set forth herein.
21 27. Upon information and belief, Defendant learned about the subject matter of tfle '737
22 patent from Plaintiff and/or investors who had met with Plaintiff.
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J 28. Defendant had constructive notice of the subject matter of the '737 patent as of the
2 issue date of the '737 patent, June 27, 2006.
3 29. Upon information and belief, Defendant incorporated the subject matter of the '737
4 patent into PLATE HOOK'R" products, photographs of which are attached hereto as ,Exhibit
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B.
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30. Upon information and belief, Defendant proceeded with developing, manufa4turing,
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offering for sale, selling, and importing "PLATE HOOK'R" products, photographs ot which
are attached hereto as Exhibit B, without entering into a license agreement with
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regarding the '73 7 patent.
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31. Defendant's activities alleged herein constitute unfair and deceptive acts and
in the conduct of its trade and business in violation of California Business & Professionis Code
17200 et seq.
32. Upon information and belief, Defendant's infringing activities have caused irrepo/able
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injury and other damage to Plaintiff. Plaintiff has no adequate remedy at law.
16 PRAYER FOR RELIEF
17 WHEREFORE, Plaintiff prays for relief as follows:
18 A. For a judgment declaring that Defendant has infringed the '737 patent;
19 B. For a judgment awarding Plaintiff compensatory damages under 35 U.S.C. 284 and
20 California Business and Professions Code 17203 as a result of
21 infringement of the '737 patent, together with interests and costs, and in no less
22 than a reasonable royalty;
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C. For a judgment declaring that Defendant's infringement of the '737 patent Uas been
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willful and deliberate;
D. For a judgment awarding Plaintiff treble damages and pre-judgment interest tJ!nder 35
U.S.C. 284 as a result of Defendant's willful and deliberate infringement ofr e '737
patent;
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E. For a judgment declaring that this case is exceptional and awarding its
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expenses, costs, and attorneys' fees in accordance with 35 U.S.C. 284 and and
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Rule 54(d) ofthe Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. I
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F. For a grant of a permanent injunction pursuant to 35 U.S.C. 283 and cfornia
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Business and Professions Code 17203, enjoining the Defendant from further I acts of
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infringement; ,
G. For such other and further relief as the Court deems just and proper.
REQUEST FOR JURY TRIAL
Plaintiff hereby demands a trial by jury.
Dated this I b day of March, 2012
West & Associates, A Pq
2815 Mitchell Drive I
Suite 209 !
Walnut Creek, CA 9459&
Complaint - 7
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EXHIBIT A:
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Copy of United States Patent No. 7,067,737
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Complaint - 8
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(12) United States Patent
Mallen
(54) COVER PI,ATE
(76) Inventor: Kenneth J. Mallen, 18682 Paseo
Corte1, Irvine, CA (US) 92612
( ) Notice: Subject to any disclaimer, the tem1 of this
patent is extended or adjusted under 35
U.S.C. 154(b) by 0 days.
(21) Appl. No.: 101942,309
(22) Filed: Sep. 16,2004
(65) Prior PubHc:ation Data
US 2005/0109528 AI May 26, 2005
Related U.S. Application Data
(60) Provisional application No. 601503,256, filed on Sep.
16, 2003.
(51) Int. Cl.
H02G 3/U (2006.01)
(52) U.S. CL ........................... 174/66; 174/67; 220/241
(58) Field of Classifk:atlon Seareh .................. 174/66,
174/67; 220/241, 242
Sec application file for complete search history.
(56) References Cited
U.S. PATENr DOCUMENTS
2,438,143 A
2,943,138 A
3!!948 Brown
61 1960 Reaser
/'
(E,
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(10) Patent No.:
(45) Date of Patent:
US 7,067,7371 B2
Jun. 27,
7/1967
5/1977
12/1980
611982
7/1982
1/1984
Lucci
Creamer
Lane
Rapps
3,331,915 A
0244,254 s
4,239,167 A
4,335,863 A
4,339,045 A
4.425,725 A
4,702,709 A
4,921,444 A
5,594,206 A
0402.271 s
0405,347 s
5,914,826 A
0412,886 s
6,130,384 A
6,404,569 Bl
10/1987
S/1990
1/1997
12il998
2/1999
611999
8/1999
Bodin
Mousta.kas et al.
Santilli
Ca.ma ......................... 43pi528
cited by examiner
10/2000
612002
Klas et al.
Weinberg
Mezey
Smallwood
Doran
ES!eves et al.
Bachschmid et al.
Primary Examiner-Dhiru R. Patel
(74) Attorney, Agent, or Finn-The Webb Law Finn
(57) ABSTRACT
Disclosed is a cover plate for use in connection wil an
electrical box. The cover plate includes a plate elemeJ' that
attaches to and at least partially covers a side of the electrical
box. The plate element includes at least one electricaJi box
orifice to permit access to an electrical appurtenance
ciated with Jhe electrical box. The cover plate also incl es
one or more attachable elements removably attachable to a
portion of the plate element via an attachment stroctureTThe
attachable elements are conligured to retain, display or
interact with an item.
27 Claims, 2 Drawing Sheets i
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U.S. Patent Jun.27,2006 Sheet 1 of 2
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US 7,067, 737
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U.S. Patent Sheet 2 of 2 US 7,067,737, B2

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US 7,067,737 B2
l
COVER PLATE
CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED
APPLICATIONS
2
3,331,915 to Lucci; U.S. Pat. No. 2,438,143 to Brow and
U.S. Pat. No. 2,943,138 to Rcager.
However, these prior art wall-mounted and
modified switch plates have several drawbacks. Firs and
foremost, not everyone has a cellular phone, or a P A or
uses a wallet, etc. Therefore, the prior art pre-mold and
modified switch plates do not allow for any flexibil ty or
consumer options for additional modification. fore,
there remains a need for a switch plate that allows fi r the
This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional
Patent Application No. 60/503,256, filed Sep. 16, 2003 and
United States Provisional Patent Application entitled
"Switch Plate with Cell Phone Holder, Key Accessory
Hooks WitlvWithout Message Center", filed Apr. 23, 2004,
which are herein incorporated by reference in their entirety.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
10 consumer, as opposed to the manufacturer, to make the
decision of what type of retaining element or attacjlable
element to use. In addition, there are certain safety conf:':"ls
when a hook is permanently attached to a modified sy.'itch
plate, or integrally formed therewith. In particular, SJ\Ich a
1. Field of the Inventit1n
The present invention relates in general to cover plates for
use in connection with electrical boxes, such as electrical
boxes that include wall-mounted switch plates and have one
15 hook would pose a hanging hazard and other similar: fety
issues with respect to both pets and small children. Ac ord-
ingly, there remains a need for a modified switch pia . that
includes the appropriate structure to safeguard one's I chil-
or n:iore actuator switches and/or electrical outlets and, in
particular, to a cover plate that is positioned over one or
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more of the electrical appurtenances of the electrical box and
that provides a.dditional storage, display and interactive
functionality.
2. Description of Related Art
According to the prior art, there are many electrical boxes
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available that offer various functions to the end user and
electrical access, lor example switchboxes, electrical
combination boxes and other similar wall-mounted switches
and outlets. Presently, however, the switch plate covers and
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outlet covers for such boxes and outlets are plain plates that
have only a single function, which is to provide a protective
cover over an electrical box. Accordingly, prior art &-witch
plates do not provide any additional functionality with
relation to that specific area around or adjacent to the switch
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plate cover.
Oftentimes, people misplace or forget where they have
placed their keys, cell phones, PDAs, wallets and other
similar items and objects. In particular, these items are
misplaced since people do not generally have a single
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designated place where they habitually place their keys
when they remove them from their person. Accordingly,
these items end up lost and a considerable amount of time
and resources are wasted searching for the item.
In one attempt to solve this problem, and according to the
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prior art, wall-mounted keyholders are available. However,
these holders are designed to be permanently attached to the
wall, either by nails, screws or the like, which require new
holes to be drilled or punched or secured with an anchor.
Next, these screws or nails must be placed into the drilled so
holes and secured with some attachment mechanism in order
to hold the wall-mounted keyholder against the wall.
In addition, certain switch plates have been developed
that may be used in place of the prior art and commonly-
known switch plates used in the vast majority of commercial 55
and residential structures. In addition, some of the.w modi-
fied switch plates evidence integrally formed appurtenances
or projections that allow the switch plate to achieve various
functions. For example, see U.S. Pat. No. 4,335,883 to
Rapps; U.S. Pat. No. 4,425,725 to Moustakas eta!.; U.S. Pat. 60
No. 5,594,206 to Klas et al.; U.S. PaL No. 6,404,569 to
Bachschmid et al.; U.S. Pat. No. 5,914,826 to Smallwood;
and U.S. Pat. No. 4,239,167 to Lane. In addition, certain
switch plates have been developed that include projecting
elements or surfaces that can be used to retain a plug or a 65
cord that is associated with an electrical outlet. For example,
see U.S. No. 4,702,709 to Santilli; U.S. Pat. No.
dren, pets, etc. i
SUMMARY OF HiE INVENTION
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It is, therefore, an object of the present inventiqn to
provide a cover plate that overcomes the deficiencies qfthe
prior art. It is another object of the present to
provide a cover plate that allows for the variable positit)ning
of different retaining elements and attachable cleoJents,
which allows the to choose bow to tbe
cover plate. It is another object of the present to
provide a cover plate that breaks away or otherwise <lisen-
gages :from the wall in order to ensure the safety of vapous
persons and pets. It is a still further object of the
invention to provide a cover plate that allows foJ the
retainment, storage, display or interaction with various jtems
and objects. It is yet another object of the preseat invCfition
to provide a cover plate that is simple in its manu and
easy in its installation. 1
Accordingly, the present invention is directed to a
plate for use in connection with an electrical boa for
example a switchbox, an outlet box, a combined swit and
outlet box, etc. The cover plate of the presenf,inv tion
includes a plate element that attaches to and at least pru-fially
covers a side of the electrical box, typically the side tlult has
electrical appurtenances extending therefrom, suclt as
switches, outlets, knobs, etc. The plate element
or more electrical box orifices that would permit ace s to
these electrical appurtenances. The cover plate also inc udes
one or more attachable elements that are removably a; h-
able to a portion of the plate element via an attac ent
structure. The attachable element is coofigured to in,
display and/or interact with an item or object.
The attachable element may be a variety of vapous
structures, equipment, devices, etc. For example, the a$1ch-
able element may be a clock, a messaging devicct, an
electronic device, a computing device, a tray, a therrncpstat,
a thermometer, a hook., an enclosure, a container, a hqlder,
a bin, a change holder, a mace holder, a bathroom appljance
holder, an electrical cord retainer, a kitchen appliance hqlder,
a household item holder, a remote control holder, an
tronic device holder, etc. In addition, the attachable el!tent
may retain an electronic device, a computing devi e, a
cellular phone, mail, currency, a wallet, money, a y, a
keyring, an item, an object, a remote cootrol, a wi!iting
utensil, etc. Therefore, the cover plate of the present iq.ven-
tion allows a user to contain, display and/or interact a
variety of items of the user's choice. !
US 7,067,737 B2
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The present invention, both as to its construction and its
method of opcr&tion, together with the additional
and advantages thereof, will best be understood from the
following description of exemplary embodiments when read
in connection with the accompanying dlawings.
BRIEF DESCRlPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
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devices into the electrical box 200. The knob 208 wmlld be
used to provide thermostat or ac:ljustable control of v$rious
electrical devices.
The cover plate 10 of the present invention is illuslrated
in various embodiments in FIGS. 1-10. In general, the bover
plate 10 includes a plate element 12 that is attacbabld to or
at least partially covers a side 210 of the electrical 200.
In addition, the plate element 12 includes at least oland
FIG. 1 is a schematic view of the preferred embodiment typically multiple, electrical box orifices 14 that rmit
of a cover plate according to the present invention;
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access to the electrical appurtenances 202 of the e cal
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a further embodiment of box 200. Therefore, the electrical box orifices 14 ar con-
a cover plate according to the present invention and an figured to allow a switch 204 or knob 208 to pass
electrical box according to the prior an; through, or to otherwise allow access to an outlet 20 . The
FIG. 3 is a side sectional view of an attachable element cover plate 10 also includes at least one attachable el nt
attached to a plate element according to the present inven
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16 that is removably attachable and engageable ith a
tion; portion of the plate element 12 via an attachments ture
FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a further embodiment of 18. Further, the attachable element 16 is sized and sbaJ:jed so
a cover plate according to the present invention as attached that it may retain, display and/or interact with an or
to an electrical box;
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object, as discussed in detail hereinafter. f.
FIG. S is a perspective view of an attachable element In order to attach the cover plate 10 to the electric box
according to the present invention for retaining an electronic 200, the cover plate 10 also includes a securing mech ism
device; 20 for removably attaching the plate element 12 at least
FIG. 6 is a fiont view of a cover plate according to the partially over the open side 210 of the electrical box 2p0. In
present invention as attached to an electrical box and retain 2S particular, and according to the prior art, the box
ing and displaying various items; :ZOO includes multiple orifices 212, and these orificej; 212
FIG. 7 is a front view of a further embodiment of a cover threadedly engage with the securing mechanism 20 <l>f the
present invention. Therefore, in one preferred and:, non
plate according to the present invention;
limiting embodiment, the securing mechanism 20 is qne or
FIG. 8 is a front view of a still further embodiment of a
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more screws 22 to allow a user to insert the screw 12 thj-ough
cover plate according to the present invention; the plate element 12 and further through the orifices of
FIG. 9 is a side and partial sectional view of an attachable the electrical box 200, and subsequently securely attafh the
clement for attachment to a plate element according to the cover plate 10 over the electrical box 200.
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present invention; and In one preferred embodiment, the attachment 18
fiG. 10 is a side and partial sectional view of an attach-
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includes a first attaching structure 24 and a second a hing
able element attached to a plate element according to the structure 26. The first attaching structure 24 is in opera anal
present invention. communication with the attachable element 16, a the
DESCRlPTION OF THE PREFERRED
EMBODIMENTS
second attachment structure 26 is in operational co
cation with the plate element 12. In a further prefi
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non-limiting embodiment, and as illustrated in FIG. , the
first attaching structure 24 is one or more projectin ele-
For purposes of the description hereinafter, the terms rnents 28 that extend from a surface 3 0 of the att hable
"upper", "lower", "right", "left", "vertical", "horizontal", element 16. In addition, the second attaching struc 26 is
"top", "bottom", "lateral", "longitudinal" and derivatives one or more orifices 32 that extend through the plate el ent
thereof shall relate to the invention as it is oriented in the
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12 and arc configured to engage with and at least ially
dlawing figures. However, it is to be understood that the accept the projecting element 28. In yet another
invention may assume various alternative variations and step embodiment, multiple projecting elements 28 exten from
sequences, except where expressly specified to the contrary. the surface 30 of the attachable element 16, and m tiple
It is also to be understood that the specific devices and orifices 32 are configured to engage and at least ially
processes illustrated in the attached dlawings, and described so accept a respective projecting element 28. i
in the following specification, are simply exemplary In order to provide the maximum flexibility to con-
embodiments of the invention. Hence, specific dimensions sumcr regarding the attachment and positioning t the
and other physical characteristics related to the embodi- attachable element 16 on the plate element 12, multip and
rnents disclosed herein are not to be considered as limiting. spaced orifices 32 extend through the plate element 2 for
The present invention is directed to a cover plate 10 for 5$ engaging with and accepting a projecting element 2fl in a
use in connection with an electrical box 200. The electrical removable manner. See FIG. 2. Accordingly, a us4r can
box 200 is an electrical junction location that provides simply disengage the attachable element 16 from of
various electrical services to the consumer. For example, the orifices 32, and re-engage either a different attachab e ele-
electrical box 200 may be a switchbox, an outlet box, an ment 16 in the same orifices 32, or alternatively the same
electrical utility box, a combined switch and outlet box, etc. 60 attachable element 16 to a different set of orifices 3 . This
As is known in the art, the electrical box 200 would include allows the user to choose the various functions they ish to
various clcctrieal appurtenances 202 that are associated achieve with the various attachable elements 16 offered.
therewith. For example, the electrical appurtenance 202 may Therefore, since the attachable element 16 is and
be a switch 204, an outlet 206, a knob 208, etc. Again, as is re-attachable to the plate element 12 via the attf<:hent
known in the art, the switch 204 would be used to tum the 6S structure 18, the same attachable element 16 posi-
electricity on and off, for example, turning the lights on and tioned on multiple areas of the plate element 12 to
off. The outlet 206 would be used to plug various electrical the user's needs:.
US 7,067,737 B2
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As seen in FIG. 3, the attachable element 16 may be a
hook 34 extending from a hook base portion 36. The hook
34 would allow a user to hang an item on the hook 34, such
as keys and the like. In addition, the hook 34 may be
positioned on various portions of the plate element 12 using
the various orifices 32 available.
In one ar.'Jll!Ct of the present invention, the attachable
element 16, _Jhe attachment structure 18 and/or the plate
element 12 lllclude a breakaway portion 38. In particular,
this breakaway portion 38 allows the attachable element 16 10
to break away from the plate element 12 upon the occurrence
of a predetermined break force. Further, the breakaway
portion 38 may be a notch, a weakened area or a releasable
adhesive material 40. Of course, any combination of break-
away portions 38 may be used to achieve the appropriate 15
breakpoint at the predetermined break force. For example,
the notch, weakened area or releasable adhesive material 40
may be configured to allow the attachable element 16, such
as the hook 34, to break: away from the plate element 12
when a five-pound force is applied. Any predetermined 20
break force may be used.
In a further preferred and non-limiting embodiment, the
attachable element 16 includes a frame portion 42 and a door
portion 44, which is movably attached or attachable to the
frame portion 42. In this manner, the door portion 44 is 2S
removable away from and towards the frame portion 42,
thereby providing access to an attachable element inner
retaining area 46. As seen in FIGS. 5 and 6, the frame
portion 42 may be sized and shaped so as to removably
retain an electronic device 300 therein. For example, the 30
electronic device 300 may be a cellular phone or a PDA,
which can be inserted into the inner retaining area 46 of the
frame portion 42. In order to easily remove and/or insert the
electronic device 300 into the frame portion 42, the door
portion 44 is moved and away from the frame 35
portion 42 in the direction of arrow A. This provides the user
easy aceess to the electronic device 300.
In another embodiment, the frame portion 42 includes a
gripping structure 48 for engaging and securely holding the
electronic device 300 within the frame portion 42, and 40
specifically within the inner retaining area 46 of the frame
portion 42. In one embodiment, the gripping structure 48 is
one or more padding elements 50 that are positioned on an
inner surface 52 of the frame portion 42. Accordingly,
electronic device 300 is frictionally engaged with the frame 4S
portion 42 by inserting and contacting the electronic device
300 with one or more of the padding elements 50. The
padding elements SO may be flexible and have certain shape
memory retention characteristics, such that the padding
elements 50 are deformed when the electronic device 300 is so
inserted in the frame portion 42, and return to the original
state after the electronic device 300 is removed from the
frame portion 42.
As is known in the prior art, the vast majority of electronic
devices 300 include electrical cords 302 that are used to 55
either operate or recharge the battery assodated with elec-
tronic device 300. Therefore, and as best seen in FIG. S, the
frame portion 42 may include one or more plug orifices 54
that provide passage of a portion of the electrical cord 302
6
frame portion 42 without first connecting the electrical,cord
302 to the electronic device 300. In essence, the ffame
portion 42 would act as a docking station and alloW the
electronic device 300 to be charged whenever it is
in the frame portion 42. While discussed in connectioniwith
a cellular phone or a PDA, the electronic device 300 m4Y be
a variety of devices. For example, the electronic 300
may be a palmtop, a computing device, an electric a
hairdryer, a toothbrush, a curling iron, etc. I
In a still further preferred and non-limiting embodirPem,
the cover plate 10 may include an ancillary element 56,
which is remnvably attachable to the plate element 12 ;lor
the attachable element 16. As shown in one embodim t in
FIG. 4, the attachable element 16 may include a e
portion 42 that includes a slot 58 extending across a foe
of the frame element 42. In this embodiment, the anci ary
element 56 is a hook 34 having a hook base portion 3 , as
discussed above in connection with the attachable el+ent
16. However, the hook 34 of this embodimen. t inclui a
modified projecting element 60 extending from the ook
base portion 36. This modified projecting element 0 is
receivable within and along the slot 58, such that
may simply engage the modified projecting element 60 'th
the slot 58 and slide (in direction of an'OW B) the hoo 34
to an appropriate location along the slot 58 and attac able
element 16. Further, multiple hooks 34 may be used an slid
along the slot 58 to provide greater customizability ith
respect to the ancillary element 56 and the attac ble
element 16. Still further, as opposed to a hook 34,! any
number of various attachable elements 16 (and ancipary
elements 56) may include the modified projecting eleJ\nent
60 extending therefrom. In this manner, as opposed to using
the orifices 32 to customize the cover plate 10, the user lmay
simply use the slot 58 structure discussed above with v 'ous
ancillary elements 56, such as a hook, a tray, a conta'
bin, etc.
In the further embodiment. the ancillary clement 56 is a
clock 62. As with the previously-discussed hook 34 ( hen
used as an ancillary element 56), the clock 62 inc!
appropriate attaching structure to removably attach the lock
62 to a portion of the attachable element 16. In operatio the
user may simply press and engage the clock 62 against a I face
of the attachable element 16 in the direction of arrow c; and
similarly the user may also remove the clock 62 ftonj the
attachable element 16. In this embodiment, the anci1Jary
element 56 is a clock 62 with a thermometer reading, the
attachable element 16 is an electronic device holder 6*.
As seen in FIG. 6 in use, various items may be
by, attached to or otherwise displayed by the attacliable.
element 16, as connected to the plate element 12. inf
the embodiment of FlG. 6, the plate element 12 is atta bed
to the electrical box 200, with the various appurtenanc 202
extending therethrough, including a switch 204 and mul iple
outlets 206.
FIG. 7 illustrates a cover plate 10 withmultipleattac ble
of the electronic device 300. In this manner, the electronic
device 300 may be docked or otherwise placed in and
subsequently charged when positioned in the frame portion
42 and connected to the electrical cord 302 (which is
connected to an outlet 206 accessible through the plate
element 12). It is also envisioned that the frame portion 42 65
may have some other positioning structure that allows the
user to simply engage the electronic device 300 with the
elements 16 attached thereto prior to installation an
electrical box 200. In this embodiment, ooe ofthe attac ble
elements 16 is a messaging device 66. In particular the
messaging device 66 allows a user to record and
61) messages which provides even greater functionality o the
cover plate 1 0. When used in connection with an attac ble
element 16 that is an electronic device holder 64, such as a
cellular phone holder, the messaging device 66 is cu-
larly useful to quickly record and play back messages !as a
user is utilizing the cellular phone. As with the qther
attachable element 16, the messaging device 66 mat be
removable from the plate element 12 and placed on vaztious
US 7,067,737 B2
7
cover plates 10 throughout the household that are located at
or ncar a position that the user would like to record or play
back messages.
8
the preceding detailed description. It is intended the
invention be construed as including all such
and alterations. '
The invention claimed is: As seen in FIG. 8, the plate element 12 includes appro-
priate orifiCes 32 for attaching multiple attachable elements
16, as well as electrical box orifices 14 for placemem over
the various electrical appurtenances 202, but providing
access thereto. Of course, the plate element 12 may be
manufactured to include a variety of separately positioned
10
orifices 32, and matching electrical box orifices 14 for
attachment to a specifically designed electrical box 200, as
5
1. A cover plate for use in connection with an eleclrical
box, the <..'Over plate comprising; !
is known in the art. The attachment structure 18 of the cover
plate 10, as discussed above, may take various shapes and
sizes. For example, see FIGS. 9 and 10. Specifically, FIG. 9 15
illustrates a frame portion 42 in the form of a tray, and FIG.
10 illustrates a frame portion 42 together with a door portion
44 that is openable and closeable.
In order to provide maximum flexibility, the ancillary
element 56 and the attachable element 16 may take a variety 20
of shapes, sizes, forms and functions. For example, the
ancillary element 56 and/or the attachable element 16 may
a plate element configured to attach to and at 'least
partially cover a side of the electrical box, where' the
plate element includes at least one electrical box o 'fice
configured to permit access to at least one elec rical
appwtenance associated with the electrical box; d
at least one attachable clement removably anachabl to a
portion of the plate element via an attachment s ture
comprising a first attaching structure in opera onal
communication with the attachable element and sec-
ond attaching structure in operational communi ' tion
with the plate element,
wherein the at least one attachable element is confi
to at least one of retain, display and interact wi
item.
2. The cover plate of claim 1, wherein the electrica box
is at least one of a switch box, an outlet box, an el rica!
be a clock 62, a messaging device 66, an electronic device
300, a computing device, a a thermostat, a thermometer,
a hook 34, an enclosure, a container, a holder, a bin, a change
holder, a mace holder, a bathroom appliance holder, an
electrical cord retainer, a kitchen appliance holder, a house-
hold item holder, a remote control holder, an electronic
device holder, etc. Accordingly, either the attachable ele
ment 16 and/or the ancillary element 56 may be !lpecifically
configured to retain an electronic device 300, a computing
device, a cellular phone, mail, currency, money, a wallet, a
key, a keyring, an item, an object, a remote control, a writing
utensil, etc.
utility box and a combined switch and outlet box. ,
3. The cover plate of claim 1, further comprisihg a
25
securing mechanism for securing the plate element at lleast
partially over an open side of the electrical box. !
4. The cover plate of claim 3, wherein the
mechanism is at least one screw configured to tbreaqedly
30
engage a corresponding orifice of the electrical box. I
5. The cover plate of claim 1, wherein the first a bing
structure is at least one proje<-1ing element extending f: m a
surface of the attachable element and the second atta bing
structure is at least one orifice extending through the late
Turning to the manufacture of the present invention, the
cover plate 10, the plate element 12, the attachable element
35
element and configured to engagingly and at least p ially
accept the projecting element.
16 and/or the attachment structure 18 may be manufactured
from a variety of materials. For example, these items may be
manufactured from a plastic, a synthetic material, a polymer,
40
a metallic material, wood, etc. In one preferred and non-
limiting embodiment, the attachable element 16, together
with the attachment structure 18, are manufactured in a
molded process using a polymeric materiaL Accordingly, the
attachment element 16 and the attachment structure 18,
45
specifically the first attaching structure 24, are manufactured
as an integral unit. Still further, as discussed above, various
portions of the attachable element 16 and/or the first attach
ing structure 24 include appropriate breakaway portions 38,
which provides important safety precaution functions. How-
50
ever, any material of construction of the various components
and subcomponents of the cover plate 10 are envisioned.
In this manner, the present invention provides a cover
plate 10 that is modified for use in <connection with an
electrical box 200. The cover plate 10 includes a removable 55
attachable element 16, and typically multiple attachable
elements 16, that provide a variety of functions for retaining,
displaying or otherwise interacting with an item or object. In
addition, the multiple sets of orifices 32 allow a user to
customize the look and function of the cover plate 10
60
according to their own Further, when used in con-
nection with the breakaway portions 38, the cover plate 10
includes the necessary safety precautions to prevent injury
of children, pets, etc.
This invention has been described with reference to the 65
preferred embodiments. Obvious modifications and alter
ations will occur to others upon reading and understanding
6. The cover plate of claim 1, wherein the first ana bing
structure is a plurality of projecting elements extending rom
a surface of the attachable element and the second alta bing
structure is a plurality of spaced orifices extending ugh
the plate element and configured to engagingly and at least
partially accept a respective projecting element. i
7. The cover plate of claim 1, wherein the second
ing structure is a plurality of spaced orifices exter\ding
through the plate element and configured to and
at least partially accept a projecting element in a
manner. :
8. The cover plate of claim 1, wherein the attac '
element is removable and attachable to the portion o
plate element via the attachment structure, such tha
attachable element may be positioned on a plurality of
on the plate element.
s
9. The cover plate of claim 1, wherein the attac able
element is a hook extending from a hook base portio and
configured to permit a user to hang the item on the h k.
10. The cover plate of claim 9, wherein at least a 'on
of the book is notched, such that the hook breaks away rom
the hook base portion upon the occurrence predet 'ned
break force.
11. The cover plate of claim 1, wherein the ana ble
element includes a frame portion configured to remo ably
retain an electronic device therein.
12. The cover plate of claim 11, wherein the frame po on
includes a gripping structure configured to engage' and
securely hold the electronic device.
13. The cover plate of claim 11, further
portion movably attached to the frame po.ttion, such LIU!t the
I
I
US 7,067,737 B2 j
9 10
door portion is movable away from and towards the frame wherein the at least one attachable element is confi ured
portion, thereby providing access to the electronic device. to at least one of retain, display and interact with an
14. The cover plate of claim 11, wherein the frame portion item,
includes at least one plug orifice extending through a surface wherein the attachable element includes a frame pdrtion
of the frame portion, the plug orifice configured to provide s and a door portion that is movably attached to the frame
passage of at least a portion of the electrical cord of the portion, such that the door portion is movable way
electronic device. from and towards the frame portion, thereby provjding
.15. The cover plate of claim 11, wherein the electronic access to an attachable element inner retaining r
device is at least one of a cellular phone, a personal digital 24. A cover plate for use in coiUlection with an elec cal
assistant, a palmtop, a computing device, an electric razor, a 10 box, the cover plate comprising:
hair dryer, a toothbrush and a curling iron. a plate elemem configured to attach to and at least
16. The cover plate of claim 1, wherein the attachable partially cover a side of the electrical box, whereih the
element is at least one of a clock, a messaging device, an plate element includes at least one electrical box o#fice
electronic device, a computing device, a tray, a thermostat, configured to permit access to at least one
a thermometer, a hook, an enclosure, a container, a holder, IS appurtenance associated with the electrical box; ;l.nd
a bin, a change holder, a mace holder, p bathroom appliance at least one attachable element removably a
holder, an electrical cord retainer, a kitchen appliance holder, portion of the plate element via an attachment stru ture,
a household item holder, a remote control holder and an wherein the at least one attachable element is confi
electronic device holder. to at least one of retain, display and interact wi an
17. The cover plate of claim 1, wherein the attachable 20 item, *
element is configured to retain at least one of an electronic wherein the attachable element includes a frame po ion
device, a computing device, a cellular phone, mail, currency, configured to removably retain an electronic vice
money, a wallet, a key, a keyring, an item, an object, a therein,
1
remote control and writing utensil. wherein the frame portion includes a gripping struture
18. The cover plate of claim 1, wherein the cover plate, 2S to engage and securely hold the elec!fnic
the plate element, the attachable element, the attachment device, ,
structure or any combination thereof is manufactured from wherein the gripping structure is at least one
at least one of a plastic material, a synthetic material, a element positioned on an inner surface of the tfame
polymeric material and a metallic materiaL portion, wherein the electronic device is
19. The cover plate of claim 1, wherein the attachable 30 engaged within the frame portion via contact the
element and the attachment structure are formed as an at least one padding element.
plate of claim l, wherein the electrical 25. A cover plate for use in coiUlection with an electcal
box, the cover plate comprising: '
appurtenance is at least one of an electrical outlet, a switch, a plate element configured to attach to aeast
a knob and an actuator.
35
partially cover a side of the electrical box, where' the
21. A cover plate for use in I."'Onnection with an electrical plate element includes at least one electrical box
0
fice
box, the cover plate comprising: configured to permit access to at least one el cal
a plate element configured to attach to and at least appurtenance associated with the electrical box;
partially cover a side of the electrical box, wherein the at least one attachable element removably
plate elemem includes at least one electrical box orifice 40 portion of the plate element via an attachment stru ;
configured to permit access to at least one electrical and J
appurtenance associated with the electrical box; and at least one ancillary-element configured to be remo ably
at least one attachable element removably attachable to a attachable to at least one of the plate element at
portion of the plate element via an attachment structure, least one attachable element, r
wherein the at least one attachable elemem is configured 4S wherein the at least one attachable element is confit='
to at least one of retain, display and interact with an
item, to at least one of retain, display and interact wi an
wherein the attachable element, the attachment structure, item.
the plate element or any combination thereof include a 26. The cover plate of claim 25, wherein the a
breakaway portion, such that the attachable element so element includes a frame portion and a slot extending at
breaks away from the plate element upon the occur- partially across a surface of the frame element, and w in
renee of a predetermined break force. the ancillary elemem is at least one hook having a proj ting
22. The cover plate of claim 21, wherein the breakaway element extending therefrom, which is configured to age
portion is at least one of a notch, a weakened area and a and slide along the slot.
releasable adhesive material. ss 27. The cover plate of claim 25, wherein the an 1ary
23. A cover plate for use in connection with an electrical element is at least one of a clock, a messaging devi , an
box, the cover plate comprising: electronic device, a computing device, a tray, a th stat,
a plate element configured to attach to and at least a thermometer, a hook, an enclosure, a container, a lder,
partially cover a side of the electrical box, wherein the a bin, a change holder, a mace holder, a bathroom app ce
plate element includes at least one electrical box orifice 60 holder, an electrical cord retainer, a kitchen appliance der,
configured to permit access to at least one electrical a household item holder, a remote control holder an
appurtenance associated with the electrical box; and electronic device bolder.
at least one attachable element removably attachable to a
portion of the plate element via an attachment structure, * * *
' . .
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EXHIBITB:
Photographs of Defendant Evriholder's PLATE HOOK'R products
Complaint - 9

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PLATE HOOK'R Models PHR-1 (left) and PHR-2 (right)
PLATE HOOK'R Models PHR-1 (left) and PHR-2 (right)
Complaint - 1 0