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1. (WO2018226835) LEVER RETURN MECHANISM USING MAGNETS
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CLAIMS

What is claimed is:

1. A handle assembly, comprising:

a mounting plate connectable to a structure;

a handle rotatably mounted to the mounting plate;

a first magnet coupled to the mounting plate;

a second magnet coupled to the handle;

wherein the first and second magnets are rotatable relative to one another and are configured to generate a return torque in response to rotation of the handle from a first position.

2. The handle assembly of claim 1, wherein the first magnet is fixed and the second magnet is rotatable.

3. The handle assembly of claim 1, further comprising a magnet cage configured to hold the first magnet, the magnet cage having a plurality of projections extending away from an outer perimeter and across a portion of the first magnet.

4. The handle assembly of claim 3, wherein the first magnet includes a circular perimeter with one or more extension ears extending therefrom.

5. The handle assembly of claim 4, wherein the one or more extension ears of the first magnet are positioned between the projections of the magnet cage.

6. The handle assembly of claim 3, wherein the magnet cage is formed from a nonmagnetic material.

7. The handle assembly of claim 3, wherein the magnet cage is formed from a plastic material.

8. The handle assembly of claim 1, further comprising a spindle connected to the lever and the second magnet.

9. A lever handle apparatus, comprising:

a lever connected to a latch assembly, the lever operable to open the latch when rotated to a second position from a first position under an actuation torque;

a magnet assembly including first and second magnets operably coupled to the lever; and wherein the magnet assembly is operable to generate a return torque opposite of the actuation torque to return the lever to the first position after the actuation torque is removed from the lever.

10. The lever handle apparatus of claim 9, wherein the first and second magnets are configured to rotate relative to one another.

11. The lever handle apparatus of claim 9, further comprising a magnet holder positioned between the first and second magnets.

12. The lever handle apparatus of claim 11, wherein the magnet holder is formed from a nonmagnetic material.

13. The lever handle apparatus of claim 11, wherein the magnet holder is further defined by: an arcuate disk with an aperture formed therethrough;

at least one post projecting outward from one side of the disk; and

a plurality of arcuate projections extending from an outer perimeter of a second opposing side of the disk.

14. The lever handle apparatus of claim 13, wherein the first magnet includes an arcuate outer perimeter wall with one or more extension ears projecting therefrom.

15. The lever handle apparatus of claim 14, wherein the extension ears of the first magnet are positioned between the arcuate projections of the magnet holder to prevent rotation of the first magnet relative to the magnet holder.

16. The lever handle apparatus of claim 13, wherein the at least one post of the magnet holder is engaged with a fixed mounting plate.

17. The lever handle apparatus of claim 9, further comprising a spindle connected to the lever handle.

18. The lever handing apparatus of claim 17, wherein the second magnet is coupled to the spindle such that as the lever handle is rotated under an actuation torque, the second magnet rotates relative to the first magnet and a magnetic force between the first and second magnets generates a torque on the spindle in an opposite direction to that of the actuation torque.

19. A method, comprising:

coupling a magnet assembly to a lever handle;

moving the lever handle from an initial position to another position;

rotating a spindle during the moving of the lever handle;

generating a magnetic force within the magnet assembly when the lever handle is moved from the initial position; and

returning the lever spindle to the initial position with the magnetic force.

20. The method of claim 19, wherein the magnet assembly includes at least two magnets rotatably coupled to one another such that the magnetic force generated between the magnets is minimized when the lever handle is at the initial position and the magnetic force increases as the lever moves away from the initial position.

21. The method of claim 20, further comprising positioning a nonmagnetic magnet holder between the first and second magnets, the magnet holder configured to permit rotation of one of the first and second magnets relative to one another.

22. The method of claim 19, wherein the magnet assembly includes at least two magnets linearly movable relative to one another such that the magnetic force generated between the magnets is minimized when the lever handle is at the initial position and the magnetic force increases as the lever moves away from the initial position.

23. The method of claim 19, further comprising varying the magnetic force as a function of a position of the lever handle.

24. The method of claim 23, wherein the varying of the magnetic force includes an increasing force over a first range of lever rotation angles and a constant force over a second range of lever rotation angles.

25. A handle assembly, comprising:

a mounting plate connectable to a structure;

a handle rotatably mounted to the mounting plate;

a first magnet coupled to the mounting plate;

a second magnet coupled to the handle;

wherein at least one of the first and second magnets are movable at least partially in a linear direction relative to the other when the handle is rotated; and

wherein a magnetic force between the first and second magnets acts to provide a torque in the opposite direction to an actuation torque on the handle.

26. The handle assembly of claim 25, wherein the magnetic force is either an attractive force or a repulsive force.