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1. (WO2019040965) A LATCH AND/OR LOCK ASSEMBLY
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A LATCH AND/OR LOCK ASSEMBLY

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates to a latch assembly or lock assembly, as well as to a method of installing and/or operating such a latch assembly or lock assembly.

[0002] The present invention has particular application to a lock assembly which is able to operate in different modes. In the case of the lock assembly being employed on a door, the modes of operation will typically include a latching mode or passage mode in which the turning of a door handle can move a bolt of the lock assembly between an extended position for latching and/or locking engagement in a complementary recess provided in a frame of the doorway, and a retracted position for disengagement from that recess. The modes of operation typically also include a privacy mode that prevents retraction of the bolt by a door handle on the outer side of the door. It will be convenient to describe the invention with reference to such an embodiment, although it will be appreciated by persons skilled in the art that the invention is not limited to this particular context.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] Locks that are able to function in multiple modes are known. Indeed, the present applicant already markets lock assemblies for doors that are configured to operate in any one of a passage or latching mode, a privacy mode, and/or a deadlock mode. As noted above, in the passage mode, the turning of either door handle withdraws the bolt from a first extended position to a retracted position to enable the door to be opened. In the privacy mode, which may be activated by a button or snib provided on an inner side of the door, retraction of the bolt by the door handle on the outer side of the door is prevented. Turning the inner door handle disables the privacy function, permitting the door to be opened. In a deadlock mode, a key may be used to throw the bolt to a further extended position to lock the door securely and make forced entry more difficult.

[0004] It has been found that conventional lock assemblies have problems with their installation or assembly. For example, the introduction of a spindle between the inner and outer door handles for transferring torque between the handles has proven to be problematic, as the spindle may be mixed-up or incorrectly combined. Furthermore, the installation of the lock assemblies typically requires a substantial intervention in the door itself, with formation of cavities in the door to accommodate both the interconnection of the handles as well as the lock body with the bolt.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0005] It is an object of the present invention to provide a new latch assembly or lock assembly to substantially overcome or at least ameliorate one or more of the above disadvantages.

[0006] According to one broad aspect, the present invention provides a lock assembly that is configured for operatively interconnecting a first handle mechanism and a second handle mechanism. The first handle mechanism comprises a first handle that is manually movable about a handle axis, and the second handle mechanism comprises a second handle that is manually movable about a handle axis. The lock assembly comprises: a bolt configured for latching and/or locking engagement in a respective or complementary recess; and a bolt retractor mechanism for moving the bolt from an extended position for engagement in the recess to a retracted position for disengagement from the recess. The retractor mechanism includes: a retractor member configured to pivot about a retractor axis for moving the bolt between the extended position and the retracted position, a first force receiving part configured for operative connection or engagement with the first handle mechanism for receiving force to pivot the retractor member about the retractor axis, and a second force receiving part configured for operative connection or engagement with the second handle mechanism for receiving force to pivot the retractor member about the retractor axis.

[0007] In this way, in at least one embodiment of the lock assembly the retractor mechanism in the lock assembly is operatively interconnected via first and second force receiving parts with the first and second handle mechanisms for moving the bolt between the extended position and the retracted position; e.g., in a passage mode or latching mode of the lock assembly. Each handle of the first and second handle mechanisms is thus independently operatively connected with the bolt of the lock assembly for moving the bolt from latching or locking engagement in a recess, e.g., of a door frame, to a retracted position to enable the door to be opened. This arrangement allows the lock assembly to operate without any spindle interconnecting the two handles of the first and second handle mechanisms. By eliminating the need for a spindle interconnecting the handles of the handle mechanisms, one can eliminate problems associated

with positioning or installation of the spindle itself. Furthermore, however, one can significantly reduce the intervention required in the door, gate, window, or similar portal, in which the lock assembly is installed, thereby greatly simplifying the installation procedure.

[0008] In a preferred embodiment, the retractor mechanism of the lock assembly is configured for configured direct connection or engagement with at least one of the first handle mechanism and the second handle mechanism. The retractor mechanism of the lock assembly is preferably configured to be arranged axially between the first handle and the second handle.

[0009] In a preferred embodiment, the lock assembly comprises a first handle mechanism having a first handle that is manually movable about a handle axis and a first force providing part operatively associated with the first handle for movement in response to movement of the first handle, and a second handle mechanism having a second handle that is manually movable about a handle axis and a second force providing part operatively associated with the second handle for movement in response to movement of the second handle. In this way, the first and second handle mechanisms, the bolt retractor mechanism, and the bolt may be combined in an integrated lock assembly for installation in a door, gate, window, or any such similar portal.

[0010] According to another aspect, therefore, the invention provides a lock assembly comprising a first handle mechanism, a second handle mechanism, a bolt for latching and/or locking engagement in a respective or complementary recess; and a bolt retractor mechanism for moving the bolt from an extended position for engagement in the recess to a retracted position for disengagement from the recess. The first handle mechanism comprises a first handle that is manually movable about a handle axis and a first force providing part operatively associated with the first handle for movement in response to movement of the first handle, and the second handle mechanism comprises a second handle that is manually movable about a handle axis and a second force providing part operatively associated with the second handle for movement in response to movement of the second handle. The retractor mechanism includes: a retractor member configured to pivot about a retractor axis for moving the bolt between the extended position and the retracted position, a first force receiving part configured for operative connection or engagement with the first force providing part of the first handle mechanism for receiving force to pivot the retractor member about the retractor axis, and a second force receiving part configured for operative connection or engagement with the second force

providing part of the second handle mechanism for receiving force to pivot the retractor member about the retractor axis.

[0011] In this way, in at least one embodiment of the lock assembly the retractor mechanism in the lock assembly is operatively interconnected via first and second force receiving parts with the respective first and second force providing parts of the first and second handle mechanisms for moving the bolt between the extended position and the retracted position; e.g., in a passage mode or latching mode of the lock assembly. As noted above, each handle of the first and second handle mechanisms is thus independently operatively connected with the bolt of the lock assembly for moving the bolt from latching or locking engagement in a recess, e.g., of a door frame, to a retracted position to enable the door to be opened.

[0012] In a preferred embodiment, the handle axis and the retractor axis are substantially parallel. Further, the first force receiving part and/or the second force receiving part of the retractor mechanism is/are configured for respective operative connection or engagement with the first force providing part and/or with the second force providing part of the first and second handle mechanisms in a region located between the handle axis and the retractor axis.

[0013] In a preferred embodiment, the first force providing part of the first handle mechanism includes a first drive gear member and the first force receiving part of the retractor mechanism includes a first pinion or driven gear member that is configured for meshed engagement with the first drive gear member. Similarly, the second force providing part of the second handle mechanism includes a second drive gear member and the second force receiving part of the retractor mechanism includes a second pinion or driven gear member configured for meshed engagement with the second drive gear member.

[0014] In a preferred embodiment, the retractor mechanism includes a retractor shaft via which torque from turning the first handle or the second handle is transmitted to the retractor member for moving the bolt. In this regard, the retractor member is typically rigidly, or at least non-rotatably, connected to the retractor shaft. The retractor shaft is typically straight and defines the retractor axis about which the retractor member is configured to pivot. The first force receiving part is preferably mounted on the retractor shaft, and the second force receiving part is preferably mounted on the retractor shaft.

[0015] In a preferred embodiment, the first force receiving part is mounted at one end region of the retractor shaft, and the second force receiving part is mounted at an opposite end region of the retractor shaft. The first and second force receiving parts are configured for pivoting about the retractor axis in response to movement of either handle about the handle axis. Each of the first force receiving part and the second force receiving part is preferably formed as an integral or unitary component of the bolt retractor mechanism.

[0016] In a preferred embodiment, the lock assembly further comprises a privacy mechanism or privacy sub-assembly having a latch member that is movable between an engaging position for engaging with, and blocking movement of, the first force providing part of the first handle mechanism, and a disengaged position in which movement of the first force providing part of the first handle mechanism is unimpeded. The first handle is preferably configured to turn about the handle axis through a dead angle relative to the second handle, in which movement of the first handle produces no movement of the first force providing part or the bolt in response. In this regard, the movement of the first handle through the dead angle about the handle axis may operate to move or release the latch member from the engaging position to the disengaged position. The dead angle is preferably in the range of about 5 degrees to 20 degrees, and more preferably in the range of about 10 degrees to 15 degrees.

[0017] In a preferred embodiment, the first handle mechanism includes a release member fixedly connected to the first handle for movement therewith about the handle axis, the release member being configured to push the latch member, preferably along a linear path, from the engaging position to the disengaged position as the first handle turns through the dead angle about the handle axis. The release member is preferably provided on a drive body or drive member fixedly connected for movement with the first handle about the handle axis. The drive body or drive member is configured to engage with and transfer movement to the first force providing part when the first handle turns about the handle axis through an angle that exceeds or is greater than the dead angle.

[0018] In a preferred embodiment, the first force providing part of the first handle mechanism comprises a hub member. The drive body carrying the release member abuts, or is nested within, the hub member to transfer movement thereto when the first handle turns about the handle axis through an angle that exceeds or is greater than the dead angle. To this end, the drive body and the hub member may comprise elements, such as a projecting lug or tab and a

complementary recess or slot, which cooperate to permit relative movement between the drive body and the hub member as the first handle turns through the dead angle, and to abut or engage for transferring force from the drive body to the hub member when the first handle turns beyond the dead angle.

[0019] According to a further aspect, the present invention provides a method of installing a lock assembly having operative connection with a first handle mechanism and a second handle mechanism, wherein the first handle mechanism comprises a first handle that is manually movable about a handle axis and a first force providing part operatively associated with the first handle for movement in response to movement of the first handle, and the second handle mechanism comprises a second handle that is manually movable about a handle axis and a second force providing part operatively associated with the second handle for movement in response to movement of the second handle. The lock assembly comprises: a bolt configured for latching and/or locking engagement in a respective or complementary recess; and a bolt retractor mechanism for moving the bolt from an extended position for engagement in the recess to a retracted position for disengagement from the recess, wherein the retractor mechanism includes a retractor member configured to pivot about a retractor axis for moving the bolt between the extended position and the retracted position. The method comprises operatively connecting or engaging the first force providing part of the first handle mechanism with a first force receiving part of the retractor mechanism for imparting force to pivot the retractor member about the retractor axis, and operatively connecting or engaging the second force providing part of the first handle mechanism with a second force receiving part of the retractor mechanism for imparting force to pivot the retractor member about the retractor axis.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0020] For a more complete understanding of the invention and the advantages thereof, exemplary embodiments of the invention are explained in more detail in the following description with reference to the accompanying drawing figures, in which like reference characters designate like parts and in which:

[0021] Fig. 1 is a perspective view of a lock assembly according to a preferred embodiment showing the lock assembly in a not yet fully installed state in a door;

[0022] Fig. 2 is an exploded perspective view of part of the lock assembly in Fig. 1, including the inner handle mechanism;

[0023] Fig. 3 is another perspective view of part of the lock assembly shown in Fig. 2;

[0024] Fig. 4 perspective view of parts of the lock assembly according to the embodiment in Fig. 1, including the inner handle mechanism and outer handle mechanism, and shown in the privacy mode;

[0025] Fig. 5 is a perspective view of the drive gear member of the lock assembly shown in Fig. 2 and Fig. 3;

[0026] Fig. 6 is a perspective view of the drive plate of the lock assembly shown in Fig. 2 and Fig. 3;

[0027] Fig. 7 is a perspective view of the lock assembly shown in Fig. 1 , in the passage mode or latching mode, with the door and escutcheon plates illustrated transparent, and with both handles in a neutral (unturned) position;

[0028] Fig. 8 is a side view of the lock assembly as shown in Fig. 7, but essentially showing only parts of the lock assembly on the inner side of the door;

[0029] Fig. 9 is a perspective view of the lock assembly shown in Fig. 1, in the privacy mode, with the door and escutcheon plates illustrated transparent, and both handles in a neutral (unturned) position;

[0030] Fig. 10 is a side view of the lock assembly as shown in Fig. 9, but essentially showing only parts of the lock assembly on the inner side of the door;

[0031] Fig. 11 is a perspective view of the lock assembly shown in Fig. 1, in the privacy mode, with the door and escutcheon plates illustrated transparent, and with the inner handle in a slightly turned position;

[0032] Fig. 12 is a side view of the lock assembly as shown in Fig. 1 1 , but essentially showing only parts of the lock assembly on the inner side of the door;

[0033] Fig. 13 is a perspective view of the lock assembly shown in Fig. 1, moved back into the passage mode or latching mode, with the door and escutcheon plates illustrated transparent, and with the inner handle in a third- or half-turned position;

[0034] Fig. 14 is a side view of the lock assembly as shown in Fig. 13, but essentially showing only parts of the lock assembly on the inner side of the door;

[0035] Fig. 15 is a perspective view of the lock assembly shown in Fig. 1 , in the passage mode or latching mode, with the door and escutcheon plates illustrated transparent, and with the inner handle in a fully-turned position;

[0036] Fig. 16 is a side view of the lock assembly as shown in Fig. 15, but essentially showing only parts of the lock assembly on the inner side of the door;

[0037] Fig. 17 is a perspective view of the lock assembly shown in Fig. 1 , in the passage mode or latching mode, with the door and escutcheon plates illustrated transparent, and with the outer handle in a fully-turned position; and

[0038] Fig. 18 is a side view of the lock assembly as shown in Fig. 17, but essentially showing only parts of the lock assembly on the inner side of the door.

[0039] The accompanying drawings are included to provide a further understanding of the present invention and are incorporated in and constitute a part of this specification. The drawings illustrate particular embodiments of the invention and together with the description serve to explain the principles of the invention. Other embodiments of the invention and many of the attendant advantages of the invention will be readily appreciated as they become better understood with reference to the following detailed description.

[0040] It will be appreciated that common and/or well understood elements that may be useful or necessary in a commercially feasible embodiment are not necessarily depicted in order to facilitate a more abstracted view of the embodiments. The elements of the drawings are not necessarily illustrated to scale relative to each other. It will also be understood that certain actions and/or steps in an embodiment of a method may be described or depicted in a particular order of occurrences while those skilled in the art will understand that such specificity with respect to sequence is not actually required.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS

[0041 ] With reference firstly to Figs. 1 to 4 of the drawings, a preferred embodiment of a lock assembly 100 for installation in and/or on a door D is shown. The lock assembly 100 comprises a housing 10 upon and/or within which two handle mechanisms 20, 20' and a lock body unit 50 of the lock assembly 100 are mounted and supported. The housing 10 comprises a two escutcheon plate members 1 1 , 12 that enclose various components of the handle mechanisms 20. 20' and cover a cavity C formed in the door D in which the lock body unit 50 is held. In this regard, the plate members 11, 12 are fixed via screws 13 on an inner side Si and an outer side So of the door D, respectively, such that they cover and securely enclose components of the handle mechanisms 20, 20' and the lock body unit 50. Each of the inner and outer plate members 1 1 , 12 has an inwardly projecting rim 14 which surrounds or circumscribes a space for housing the components of the handle mechanisms 20, 20' and the lock body unit 50, when the plate members 11, 12 are fixed to the door D.

[0042] The first or inner handle mechanism 20 is arranged on the inner side Si of the door D and comprises an inner handle 21. The second or outer handle mechanism 20' is arranged on the outer side So of the door D and has essentially the same design or configuration as the inner handle mechanism 20 and includes an outer handle 21 '. Each of the handles 21, 2 is mounted and supported on a respective one of the inner and outer plate members 11, 12 of the housing 10 for manual movement or rotation about a common handle axis 22. The construction or arrangement of the inner handle mechanism 20 will now be described with reference to Figs. 2 and 3 and Figs. 4 to 6. It will be appreciated that some of the features of the inner handle mechanism 20 are also present in the construction or arrangement of the outer handle

mechanism 20', although the outer handle mechanism 20' does differ in some important respects, as will be explained later.

[0043] The handle 21 of the inner handle mechanism 20 has a stub shaft 23 which is received and seats within a respective aperture 15 formed in the inner plate member 11. As can be seen in Figs. 2 and 3 of the drawings, the handle mechanism 20 includes a torsion spring 24 inside the housing 10 for resiliently biasing the inner handle 21 about the handle axis 22 to a neutral or non-rotated position. That is, when the inner handle 21 is manually turned about the axis 22, it is turned against the bias of the torsion spring 24, which acts to return the handle 21 to the neutral or non-rotated position when it is released. Further, the handle mechanism 20 comprises a drive member 25, configured here generally disc-shaped, that is non-rotatbaly fixed on the stub shaft 23 by means of an arrangement of a washer 26 and a circlip 27 specifically designed for this purpose. The washer 26 has two opposed, inwardly directed rectangular tongue -elements 28 integrally formed therewith which are received and engage in complementary slots 29 formed in the stub shaft 23. The washer 26 also has a lateral projection 30 which seats and bears against a respective shoulder 31 on a facing side of the drive member 26. When the circlip 29 is then set in a groove 32 at an end of the stub shaft 24, the washer 28 is locked against the generally discshaped drive member 25 such that the drive member 25 is fixedly connected to the stub shaft 24 for rotation therewith.

[0044] With reference to drawing Figs. 2 to 6, the handle mechanism 20 further comprises a hub member 33 that is mounted and supported on the stub shaft 23 via the drive member 25. In other words, hub member 33 is not itself directly secured to the stub shaft 23. Rather, the rotational movement of the stub shaft 23 upon turning the inner handle 21 about the handle axis 22 is transferred to the hub member 33 via the drive member 25. To this end, as seen in Fig. 5, the hub member 33 includes a rim 34 which partially surrounds and defines a generally circular recess for accommodating the drive member 25, which nests within that recess and abuts a face of the hub member 33. Further, as seen in Fig. 5 and Fig. 6, the side of the drive member 25 facing the hub member 33 includes a projecting lug 35 that presents a shoulder 35-1 for engaging a complementary tab or lug 36 provided on a facing side the hub member 33 after the drive member 25 is turned or rotated by the handle 21 from the neutral or non-turned position through an initial dead angle a (or angle of "play"). In this regard, a shaded area A shown on the drive member 25 at the "6 o'clock" position or "bottom dead centre" position in Fig. 6 corresponds to the relative position of the tab or lug 36 of the hub member 33 when the handle 21 is in the neutral or non-turned position. It will be noted that the drive member 25 includes another projecting lug 34' with another respective shoulder 35-1 ' for engaging the tab or lug 36 of the hub member 33 when the drive member 25 is turned or rotated by the handle 21 in the opposite direction about the handle axis 22. This other projecting lug 34' only finds application, however, when the lock assembly 100 is installed on the opposite edge of the door D to that shown in Fig. 1 (i.e., not the left-hand edge shown in Fig. 1, but the right-hand edge), such that the handle 21 is then arranged to turn in the anti-clockwise direction. In that case, then, the shoulder 35' engages the tab or lug 36 on the facing side the hub member 33 after the drive member 25 is turned or rotated by the handle 21 through the same initial dead angle (or angle of "play") a. The hub member 33 of the handle mechanism 20 further includes an integrally

formed drive gear member 37 for transferring the movement imparted to the hub member 33 by the drive member 25 to the lock body unit 50, as will be described in more detail below. In this context, the hub member 33 forms a "force providing part" of the handle mechanism 20 for imparting the actuating force to move the bolt of the lock body unit.

[0045] With reference now to Figs. 1, 4 and 7 of the drawings, it will be noted that the lock body unit 50 is formed as a separate or independent sub-assembly or unit of lock assembly 100 and includes a casing 51 and a sleeve or tube 52 that extends from the casing 51 to an end plate 53 that is configured to be fastened via a fascia plate P and screws S at the edge of the door D. The lock body unit 50 has a key barrel 54 that projects through a correspondingly shaped opening 16 in each of the inner and outer plate members 1 1 , 12 of the housing 10 and is operable from both sides of the door D by a key (not shown) inserted into the key barrel 54. In particular, by turning the key in the key barrel 54, a cam (not shown) located in the casing 51 and operatively associated with the key barrel turns with the key. The lock body unit 50 further includes a bolt 55 configured for latching and/or locking engagement in a complementary recess (not shown) which is provided in a door frame for alignment with the bolt 55 when the door D is closed. The bolt 55 is accommodated within the sleeve or tube 52 for generally linear movement in or along an axial direction of sleeve or tube 52. In this embodiment, the bolt 55 is designed for movement at least between a first extended position as shown in Figs. 1 and 7, and a retracted position as shown in Figs. 15 and 17 so that the lock assembly 100 is able to operate in a passage mode or latching mode. In the passage mode or latching mode, the turning of the key (not shown) or the turning of either of the door handles 21, 21 ' operates to withdraw or retract the bolt 55 from the first extended position (Fig. 7) where it is positioned for latching engagement in a recess (not shown) in a door frame, to the retracted position (Fig. 15) such that the bolt 55 disengages the recess to enable the door to be opened. The lock assembly 100 of this embodiment may optionally also be configured for movement of the bolt 55 to a second, more extended position in response to turning of the key (i.e., in response to movement of the cam) for operation in a deadlock mode. This aspect of the lock assembly 100 will not be further described here, however.

[0046] The lock assembly 100 includes a bolt retractor mechanism 40 for moving the bolt 55 from the extended position (in Fig. 7) into the sleeve or tube 52 to the retracted position (in Fig. 15). The retractor mechanism 40 includes a retractor shaft 41 for pivoting or turning about a retractor axis 42 and a retractor member 43 (seen in Fig. 4) which is integrally formed with, or non-rotatably connected to, the retractor shaft 41 and extends radially away from the retractor axis 42 of the shaft 41 into the casing 51 of the lock body unit 50 and ends in a curved nose (not shown) which abuts and engages a bolt drive member (not shown) within the casing 51 for moving or retracting the bolt 55. The retractor mechanism 40 further comprises a first force receiving part 44 via which torque from turning of the inner door handle 21 is then transmitted to the retractor shaft 41 for moving the bolt 55 in the passage mode or latching mode. The first force receiving part 44 comprises a hollow or ring-shaped hub 45 for non-rotatably receiving and engaging with the retractor shaft 41, and a pinion or driven gear member 46 provided integrally around a periphery of the hub 45 having teeth configured to mesh with the teeth of the drive gear member 37 on the hub member 33. In this context, the hub member 33 with its drive gear member 37 forms a "force providing part" of the inner handle mechanism 20 for imparting the actuating force from the inner handle 21 to the retractor mechanism 40 to move the bolt 55 of the lock body unit 50 between the extended and retracted position in the latching mode. The first force receiving part 44 is typically formed as an integral or unitary component and may be fabricated from steel, or some other similarly robust and durable material.

[0047] Referring to Fig. 4 of the drawings, it will be appreciated that the retractor mechanism 40 also includes a second force receiving part 47 with which torque from turning of the outer door handle 2 is transferred to the retractor shaft 41 for moving the bolt 55 in the passage mode or latching mode. The second force receiving part 47 has a design or configuration corresponding to the first force receiving part 44 and comprises a hollow or ring-shaped hub 48 for non-rotatably receiving and engaging with the retractor shaft 41, and a pinion or driven gear member 49 provided integrally around a periphery of the hub 48 with teeth configured to mesh with the teeth of the drive gear member 37' on the hub member 33' of the outer handle mechanism 20'. In this way, the hub member 33' and drive gear member 37' form a "force providing part" of the outer handle mechanism 20' for imparting the actuating force from the outer handle 21 ' to the retractor mechanism 40 to move the bolt 55 of the lock body unit 50 between the extended and retracted position in the latching mode. As is apparent from Fig. 1 and Fig. 4 of the drawings, the assembly 100 requires no latch spindle interconnecting the inner and outer handles 21 , 21 '.

[0048] In this embodiment, it will be appreciated from Figs. 1 to 10 that the lock assembly 100 of this embodiment includes a privacy sub-assembly 60 in the housing 10 adjacent the inner plate member 1 1. This privacy sub-assembly 60 includes a button 61 which seats within and projects through a rectangular opening 17 in the inner plate member 1 1 for operation by a user.

The privacy sub-assembly 60 further includes a latch member in the form of a latch plate 62 having a downwardly projecting nose 63. This latch plate 62 is vertically movable under spring bias provided by two leaf spring elements 64 between an upper, disengaged position (shown in Figs. 7 and 8) and a lower, engaging position (shown in Figs. 9 and 10). Thus, when the button 61 of the privacy sub-assembly 60 is actuated or pressed, the latch member or plate 62 is moved vertically downwards under the bias of the spring elements 64 from the disengaged position (in Figs. 7 and 8) to the engaging position (in Figs. 9 and 10) in which the projecting nose 63 is received in and latches with a complementary recess 38 in an edge or periphery of the hub member 33. In this way, the latch plate 62 via the projecting nose 63 engages the hub member 33 and fixes it against rotation. This, in turn, fixes the integrally formed drive gear member 37, the pinion or driven gear member 46 with which drive gear member 37 meshes, and therefore also the retractor shaft 41 non-rotatably fixed with the first force receiving part 44, and necessarily then also the second force receiving part 47 and the second handle mechanism 20' which are all in direct meshed engagement with one another. In other words, the interaction between the nose 63 of the latch plate 62 and the hub member 33 of the inner handle mechanism 20 interrupts and prevents the outer door handle 2Γ from turning and moving the bolt 55.

[0049] With reference now to drawing Figs. 11 to 16, however, it will be explained how turning the inner door handle 21 operates to disable this privacy function, thereby permitting the door D to be opened by the outer door handle 22 again. In this regard, we refer briefly back to Fig. 6 of the drawings, which shows that the drive member 25 rigidly fixed to the stub shaft 23 of the inner handle 21 includes an upwardly extending lobe 39 presenting an inclined camming surface 39-1. This lobe 39 and the camming surface 39-1 are configured and arranged for interaction with a cam follower 65 provided on a side of the latch plate 62 opposite the projecting nose 63. (While it will be noted that drive member 25 also includes another upwardly extending lobe 39' presenting another inclined camming surface 39-1 ', these only find application when the lock assembly 100 is installed on an opposite edge of the door D to that shown in Fig. 1, such that the inner handle 21 is then arranged to turn in the anti-clockwise direction.)

[0050] When the lock assembly 100 is in privacy mode, as shown in Figs. 9 and 10, and the inner door handle 21 is turned slightly from the neutral position, as shown in Figs. 11 and 12, the drive member 25 turns with the inner door handle 21 and moves the upwardly extending lobe 39 such that the cam follower 65 on the latch plate 62 comes into engagement with the camming surface 39-1. Significantly, during this initial turning of the inner handle 21 , the hub member 33 remains unmoved because the drive member 25 is still moving within the dead angle a, and that the shoulder 35 has not yet engaged the lug 36. Further turning the inner door handle 21 through the full extent of the dead angle a (in this case about 25 degrees) as shown in Figs. 13 and 14 operates to move the camming surface 39-1 further into contact with or against the follower 65, which thus pushes the latch plate 32 upwards into the disengaged position. By designing the components appropriately, the nose 63 of the latch plate disengages the hub member 33 just before the drive member 25 finishes moving through the dead angle a. In this way, as the inner handle 21 is turned through an angle greater than the dead angle a, the latch member 62 of the privacy sub-assembly 60 is moved out of the privacy mode back into the passage mode or latching mode and the inner handle 21 can be turned through its full range of movement to withdraw or retract the bolt 55 from the extended position shown in Fig. 7 to the retracted position shown in Figs. 15 and 16. In so doing, the drive gear member 37 cooperates with the pinion 46 on the hub 45 of the first force receiving part 44 to turn the retractor shaft 41, and pivot the retractor member 43 about the retractor axis 42, as already described above. It will be noticed in Fig. 15 that the outer door handle 21 ' has not turned through as great an angle as the inner door handle 21, because the outer door handle 21 ' did not commence turning until after the inner door handle 21 had already turned through the dead angle a. Accordingly, the inner door handle 21 has turned about 25 degrees more than the outer door handle 2Γ.

[0051 ] Drawing Figs. 17 and 18 illustrate the lock assembly 100 when the outer door handle 21 ' is used to retract the bolt 55 and open the door D in the passage mode or latching mode. In this case it will be noticed that the inner door handle 21 has not turned through as great an angle as the outer door handle 2 . This is because, in moving to this position, the inner door handle 2 did not commence turning until after the hub member 33 had been turned through the dead angle a to engage the drive member 25. Accordingly, the inner door handle 21 has turned about 25 degrees less than the outer door handle 21 '. In this regard, it will be understood by skilled practitioners that the outer handle mechanism 20' does not include an arrangement of drive member and hub member having a dead angle of relative movement. Rather, the outer handle mechanism 20' simply has the hub member 33' with its integrally formed drive gear member 37' securely and non-rotatably fixed on the stub shaft 23' via a corresponding washer 26' and circlip 27' for turning directly with the outer handle 21 '. That is, a washer 26', with tongue elements 29' and lateral projection 30', is fixed for engagement with a shoulder 3 Γ on a face of the hub member 33' via the circlip 27'. In this way, the hub member 33' and its integrally formed drive gear member 37' turn about the handle axis 22 as soon as the outer handle 21 ' is

turned to operate the retractor mechanism 40 via the second force receiving part 47 in the passage or latching mode.

[0052] Although specific embodiments of the invention are illustrated and described herein, it will be appreciated by those of ordinary skill in the art that a variety of alternative and/or equivalent implementations exist. It should be appreciated that the exemplary embodiment or exemplary embodiments are examples only and are not intended to limit the scope, applicability, or configuration in any way. Rather, the foregoing summary and detailed description will provide those skilled in the art with a convenient road map for implementing at least one exemplary embodiment, it being understood that various changes may be made in the function and arrangement of elements described in an exemplary embodiment without departing from the scope as set forth in the appended claims and their legal equivalents. Generally, this application is intended to cover any adaptations or variations of the specific embodiments discussed herein.

[0053] It will also be appreciated that in this document the terms "comprise", "comprising", "include", "including", "contain", "containing", "have", "having", and any variations thereof, are intended to be understood in an inclusive (i.e. non-exclusive) sense, such that the process, method, device, apparatus or system described herein is not limited to those features or parts or elements or steps recited but may include other elements, features, parts or steps not expressly listed or inherent to such process, method, article, or apparatus. Furthermore, the terms "a" and "an" used herein are intended to be understood as meaning one or more unless explicitly stated otherwise. Moreover, the terms "first", "second", "third", etc. are used merely as labels, and are not intended to impose numerical requirements on or to establish a certain ranking of importance of their objects.

LIST OF REFERENCE SIGNS

100 lock assembly 38 recess

10 housing 39 lobe

11 plate member 39-1 camming surface

12 plate member 40 retractor mechanism

13 screw 41 retractor shaft

14 projecting rim 42 retractor axis

15 aperture 43 retractor member

16 opening 44 first force receiving part

17 opening 45 hub

18 stub shaft 46 pinion or driven gear member

20 inner handle mechanism 47 second force receiving part

20' outer handle mechanism 48 hub

21 inner handle 49 pinion or driven gear member

2V outer handle 50 lock body unit

22 handle axis 51 casing

23 stub shaft 52 sleeve or tube

24 torsion spring 53 end plate

25 drive member 54 key barrel

26 washer 55 bolt

27 circlip 60 privacy sub-assembly

28 tongue element 61 button

29 slot 62 latch plate

30 lateral projection 63 projecting nose

31 shoulder 64 spring element

32 groove 65 follower

33 hub member D door

34 rim C cavity

35 lug Si inner side

35-1 shoulder So outer side

36 tab or lug P fascia plate

37 drive gear member A shaded area