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Publication numberUS20030085261 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/011,463
Publication dateMay 8, 2003
Filing dateDec 5, 2001
Priority dateNov 6, 2001
Publication number011463, 10011463, US 2003/0085261 A1, US 2003/085261 A1, US 20030085261 A1, US 20030085261A1, US 2003085261 A1, US 2003085261A1, US-A1-20030085261, US-A1-2003085261, US2003/0085261A1, US2003/085261A1, US20030085261 A1, US20030085261A1, US2003085261 A1, US2003085261A1
InventorsMichael Wierer, Robert Parker
Original AssigneeWierer Michael H, Parker Robert S
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Safety and privacy envelope
US 20030085261 A1
Abstract
The present invention is related to a safety and privacy envelope for providing a mail handler and/or recipient to partially view the contents of an envelope without compromising the confidentiality of the contents. This may be an envelope having a front panel comprised of a top edge, bottom edge, left edge and right edge and a rear side comprised of a top edge, bottom edge, left edge and right edge, wherein at least one of said edges has at least one window portion substantially near said edge. The window portion may be along at least one edge including the bottom edge, right edge, left edge and/or top edge of at least one side and the length of the window portion is less than or equal to the length of the bottom edge. The envelope may be further comprised of a single continuous piece of transparent material that is affixed to the window portion. The single continuous piece of transparent material may be folded to form an edge. The window portion may also be further reinforced along at least one said edge.
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Claims(22)
We claim:
1. An safety and privacy envelope comprising;
a front panel in communication with a rear panel so that said front panel and said rear panel provide an opening and closed surfaces on at least one edge;
a rear panel flap sufficient to provide closure to said opening; and
at least one window means located on or near the peripheral margin, said window means adapted to a view of the contents thereof.
2. An envelope as in claim 1, wherein the width of said window means is less than 1.5 inches from said edge.
3. An envelope as in claim 1, wherein the length of said window means is less than or equal to the length of said corresponding edge.
4. An envelope as in claim 1, wherein said window means has a single continuous piece of transparent material affixed to at least one of said window means
5. An envelope as in claim 4, wherein said continuous piece of transparent material is made from a polymer type material.
6. A safety and privacy envelope having a front panel comprised of at least three edges and a rear side comprised of at least three edges, wherein a portion of at least one of said edges has a window portion substantially near said edge.
7. An envelope as in claim 6, wherein the width of said window portion is less than 1.5 inches from said edge.
8. An envelope as in claim 6, wherein the length of said window portion is less than or equal to the length of said edge.
9. An envelope as in claim 6, wherein said window portion has a single continuous piece of transparent material affixed to said window portion.
10. An envelope as in claim 9, wherein said continuous piece of transparent material is made from a polymer type material.
11. An envelope having a front panel comprised of a top edge, bottom edge, left edge and right edge and a rear side comprised of a top edge, bottom edge, left edge and right edge, wherein at least one of said edges has at least one window portion substantially near said edge.
12. An envelope as in claim 11, wherein said window portion is along said bottom edge of at least one side and the length of said window portion is less than or equal to the length of said bottom edge.
13. An envelope as in claim 11, wherein said window portion is along said right edge of at least one side and the length of said window portion is less than or equal to the length of said right edge.
14. An envelop as in claim 11, wherein said window portion is along said left edge of at least one side and the length of said window portion is less than or equal to the length of said left edge.
15. An envelope as in claim 11, wherein said window portion is along said top edge of at least one side and the length of said window portion is less than or equal to the length of said top edge.
16. An envelop as in claim 11, wherein said window portion is further comprised of a single continuous piece of transparent material that is affixed to said window portion.
17. An envelope as in claim 11, wherein said window portion is further reinforced along at least one said edge.
18. An envelope as in claim 11, wherein said window portion is less than 1.5 inches from at least one said edge.
19. An envelope as in claim 11, wherein a multitude of window portions are along at least one edge and provide a portion of at least one edge to be transparent and a portion of same said edge to be opaque.
20. A blank suitable for use in making an envelope, comprising first, second, third, fourth and fifth areas for folding over one upon the other to form front panel and a rear panel, and at least one window portion placed at or substantially near a portion of the area to be folded, where information contained within resulting said envelope should not be visible.
21. A blank as in claim 20, further comprising the use of a transparent material fixedly attached to said window portion.
22. A blank as in claim 21, wherein said transparent material is folded to form an edge of said envelope.
Description

[0001] This patent was originally filed as Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/333,211 filed Nov. 6, 2001 and titled, “Envelope Safety and Privacy System.”

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The present invention generally relates to envelopes and more specifically it relates to a safety and privacy envelope for providing a means for a mail recipient or mail handler to partially view the contents of an envelope to detect any unwanted materials, such as potentially hazardous substances, without compromising the confidentiality of the legitimate contents.

[0003] It can be appreciated that envelopes have been in use for years. Envelopes are typically comprised of a single, piece of paper and adhesive, which is cut so that there is a flap. It should be understood envelopes may be a number of different sizes and be comprised of more than one piece of paper. Materials are placed within the envelope, and the flap is secured, for instance with glue, so as to contain the materials. Such envelopes provide a manner in which materials can retain their confidentiality. However, such envelopes do not provide sufficient visibility of the contents that may include potentially dangerous chemicals or other hazardous materials unknown to the postal letter carrier and the mail recipient.

[0004] Transparent or translucent envelopes are also known within the art. Such envelopes are not desirable, though, because they allow handlers and mail recipients to view the contents. This is undesirable to many senders and recipients of mail. Confidentiality of the mail is a necessity, as it may be undesirable to allow anyone with access to the mail to read private information.

[0005] U.S. Pat. No. 5,823,423 issued to Murray discloses an envelope, which has a window through which an address can be seen. Such an envelope allows for materials to retain their confidentiality, and to allow for easy labeling of the desired recipient. This is accomplished by allowing the papers inside the transparent window to serve as the address label. However, such a window, because it is placed in the middle does not allow for the recipient to easily ascertain whether certain contents are contained wherein. Rather, the window allows the sender to easily address letters. Further, because the window is placed in the middle it does not easily allow for a person to check for contents that have settled to the bottom.

[0006] It has become more and more important as a matter of safety that mail recipients and handlers be able to assess the integrity of mail prior to and during its handling. Anthrax and other biological weapons sent via the mails are causing a multitude of problems. These include increased mail time, many postal workers fearing for their safety, mail recipients not knowing whether to open packages and letters, and other general fears.

[0007] Currently, solutions are being sought which irradiate biological hazards. For instance, the Postal Service announced it will buy eight electronic pasteurization systems from Titan Corporation, a San Diego-based company that owns the SureBeam technology. These irradiation units generate controlled, non-radioactive electronic beams to kill harmful bacteria. However, such systems can cause a great deal of harm to the mail contents. For instance, it could expose unexposed film, damage plants, and prevent seeds from germinating.

[0008] Also known within the state of the art is the use of radiation from radioactive elements. These, however, are difficult to contain and present a great deal of risks. Such systems are complex, expensive, need be adjusted for different possible hazards and are not practical for every post office in the country. Because of this smaller towns may not receive the protection they too require.

[0009] Accordingly, there is a need for a safety and privacy envelope that substantially departs from the conventional concepts and designs of the prior art, and in so doing provides a means for a mail recipient to partially view the contents of an envelope to detect a potentially hazardous substance without compromising the confidentiality of the contents.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0010] A safety and privacy envelope comprising of front panel in communication with a rear panel so that the front panel and rear panel provide an opening and closed surfaces on at least one edge. Also provided is a rear panel flap sufficient to provide closure to said opening and at least one window means located on the peripheral margin, said window means adapted to provide the user with a view of the contents thereof.

[0011] According to another embodiment, the present invention is directed to a safety and privacy envelope having a front panel or side comprised of at least three edges and a rear panel or side comprised of at least three edges, wherein a portion of at least one of the edges has a window portion. The width of the window portion may be less than 1.5 inches from the corresponding edge. The length of the window portion may be less than or equal to the length of the corresponding edge. It should be understood that the window portion is an opening or cut out and may possess a single continuous piece of transparent material substantially larger than said window portion and glued to the inside of the envelope. This material may be made of a polymer type material. The single continuous piece of transparent material may be affixed to at least one of said edges. It may also be affixed to the window portion, which is folded. According to this embodiment, the folded portion of the single continuous piece of transparent material may act as the edge of the envelope. It should be understood the window portion may also be left open.

[0012] According to a preferred embodiment, an envelope having a front panel comprised of a top edge, bottom edge, left edge and right edge and a rear panel comprised of a top edge, bottom edge, left edge and right edge, wherein at least one of said edges has at least one window portion substantially near said edge. The window portion may be along at least one edge including the bottom edge, right edge, left edge and/or top edge of at least one side and the length of the window portion is less than or equal to the length of the bottom edge. The envelope may be further comprised of a single continuous piece of transparent material that is affixed to the window portion. This may be folded to form an edge. The window portion may also be further reinforced along at least one said edge.

[0013] According to preferred embodiment the window portion may be less than 1.5 inches from at least one said edge. A multitude of window portions may be along at least one edge and provide a portion of at least one edge to be transparent and a portion of same said edge to be opaque.

[0014] Also disclosed is a blank suitable for use in making an envelope, comprising a first, second, third, fourth and fifth contiguous areas for folding over one upon the other to form front side and a rear side, and at least one window portion placed at or substantially near a portion of the area to be folded, where information contained within the envelope should not be visible. The blank may be further comprised of a transparent material fixedly attached to said opening.

[0015] These and other features, aspects and advantages of the present invention will become better understood with reference to the following drawings, description and claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0016]FIG. 1 is a front view of an envelope according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

[0017]FIG. 2 is a back view of an envelope according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

[0018]FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an envelope according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

[0019]FIG. 4 shows a blank, which can be used to make an envelope according to the present invention;

[0020]FIG. 5 is a front view of an envelope according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

[0021]FIG. 6 is a back view of an envelope according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

[0022]FIG. 7 is a front view of an envelope according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

[0023]FIG. 8 is a back view of an envelope according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

[0024]FIG. 9 is a front view of an envelope according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

[0025]FIG. 10 is a back view of an envelope according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

[0026]FIG. 11 is a front view of an envelope according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

[0027]FIG. 12 is a back view of an envelope according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

[0028]FIG. 13 is a front view of an envelope according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

[0029]FIG. 14 is a back view of an envelope according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

[0030]FIG. 15 is a front view of an envelope according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

[0031]FIG. 16 is a back view of an envelope according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

[0032]FIG. 17 is a front view of an envelope according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

[0033]FIG. 18 is a back view of an envelope according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

[0034]FIG. 19 is a front view of an envelope according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention; and

[0035]FIG. 20 is a back view of an envelope according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0036] Turning now descriptively to the drawings, wherein similar reference numbers denote similar elements throughout the several views, the attached figures illustrate a safety and privacy envelope, which comprises an envelope equipped with transparent viewing portions permitting the viewing of certain contents while retaining the integrity and confidentiality of other items contained therein. Previously, envelopes did not allow for the viewing of possible substances within the envelope without opening the envelope and exposing oneself to anything contained therein.

[0037] Provided is a safety and privacy envelope comprising a front panel in communication with a rear panel so that the front panel and rear panel provide an opening and closed surfaces on at least one edge. Also provided is a rear flap sufficient to provide closure to said opening and at least one window means located on the peripheral margin, said window means adapted to provide the user with a view of the contents thereof. The peripheral margin is defined as the area near the edge of the envelope. The edge of the envelope may be comprised of folded material, at least two pieces affixed to each other or an opening or window portion which is covered by a transparent piece of material and folded.

[0038]FIG. 1, FIG. 2, FIG. 3 and FIG. 4 depict a front panel 10, back panel 18, 20, 22 and 24, unfolded blank 146 and perspective view of an envelope according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention. According to this embodiment, a single piece of paper or other material can be folded so as to form a front panel 10 and back panel 18, 20, 22 and 24. It should be understood that a number of pieces may also be used to form a similar invention without departing from the spirit contained herein, also a number of different materials may be used to make the envelope. These may include paper that is capable of detecting contaminants, and paper that performs other duties. As shown the front panel 10 of the envelope may be opaque and may have a first window portion 149, second window portion 148 and third window portion 147. It is also envisioned that the window portion may be substantially along an edge, including being just inside the edge portion such that the envelope is sturdy. A single continuous piece of material, such as plastic may be affixed within said window portion to contain materials within the envelope. As shown a first piece of transparent material 12 is affixed to said first window portion 149, a second piece of transparent material 14 is affixed to the second window portion 148 and a third piece of transparent material 16 is affixed to a third window portion 147. The window portions, 147, 148 and 149 should be substantially close to the edge, though, preferably within a half an inch from said edge. Where the window portion is open on both sides and a piece of transparent material affixed it should be understood the transparent material is folded and comprises an edge. The edge may also be reinforced. The length of the window portion should be less than the length of the corresponding edge of the envelope. By way of example, the length of second window portion 148 is less than the length 21 of the bottom edge. Also, according to a preferred embodiment, the width of the window portion, as measured from the edge may be less than 1.5 inches. By way of example, the width 23 of the second window portion 148 is less than 1.5 inches.

[0039] The back panel of the envelope may be comprised of a left flap 24, bottom flap 22, right flap 20 and top flap 18. Left flap 24, right flap 20 and bottom flap 22 are folded and affixed. The top flap 18 is affixed by the user upon placement of materials within the envelope by means of a sealing means like an adhesive. This results in an envelope with four edges. In accordance with FIGS. 1 and 2 top edge 13, right edge 15, bottom edge 17 and left edge 19. It should be understood that a number of different envelopes may be utilized, including triangular, circular, and rectangular envelopes with a number of different edges. Also, as stated previously the transparent material may fold to form a portion of the edge.

[0040]FIG. 3 shows a perspective view according to the preferred embodiment shown in FIG. 1 and FIG. 2. As shown, the first piece of transparent material 12 may be affixed to the first window portion 149, second piece of transparent material 14 may be affixed to the second window portion 148 and third piece of transparent material 16 may be affixed to the third window portion 147. The respective transparent materials should be larger than the corresponding window portion and fixed to the inside of the envelope. As shown, the envelope is closed and contained when the top flap 18 is folded over the left flap 24, right flap 20 and bottom flap 22. The first window portion 149, second window portion 148 and third window portion 147 allow material along the edge to be viewed. This may be particularly useful to detect the presence of a powder. The powder may be contained, and the envelope quarantined so that any potential hazard is contained. By way of example, any biological hazard contained within could be detected. This may also be useful to detect the presence of drugs or other contraband. The envelope shown in FIG. 3 is opaque or, at least, much less transparent than the window portions.

[0041]FIG. 4 depicts a blank suitable for making an envelope. An envelope suitable for use in making an envelope may comprise contiguous areas. First area may be comprised of right flap 20, second area may be comprised of top flap 18, third area may be comprised of left flap 24, fourth area may be comprised of bottom flap 22 and fifth area may be comprised of front panel 10 folded over one upon the other to form a front side and a rear side. The envelope may be generally rectangular when folded and comprised of opposing flaps, left flap 24 opposes right flap 20 and bottom flap 22 opposes top flap 18. There may be at least one opening placed at or substantially near a portion of at the area to be folded. The window portions may also be substantially near the folds or edges. As shown a first piece of transparent material 12 is within left flap 24, a second piece of transparent material 14 is within the bottom flap 22, and a third piece of transparent material 16 is within the right flap 20. The transparent materials are affixed to window portions substantially covering the window portions, yet allowing the contents in that area to be viewed. According to one embodiment, the transparent portion are affixed to the inside of the envelope.

[0042]FIG. 5 and FIG. 6 depict another embodiment according to the present invention. As shown, the window portion may be along the folded portion of at least one side of the envelope 31. According to the embodiment shown, the front panel 30 of the envelope may have a first piece of transparent material 28, second piece of transparent material 32 and third piece of transparent material 36. According to a preferred embodiment the transparent materials are fixed to the inside of the envelope and are larger than their corresponding window portions. The front panel 30 may be the area where one places the address of an intended recipient. The back area may be formed by folding the left flap 40, right flap 36, bottom flap 38 in any order and preferably the top flap 34 over the other flaps.

[0043]FIG. 7 and FIG. 8 depict another embodiment according to the present invention. As shown, the window portion may be along the folded portion of at least one side of the envelope 41. According to the embodiment shown, the back of the envelope 41 may have a first piece of transparent material 44, second first piece of transparent material 46 and third first piece of transparent material 48. The front panel 42 may be formed of a solid opaque material and act as the area where one places the address of the intended recipient. The back area may be formed by folding the left flap 52, right flap 56, bottom flap 54 in any order and preferably the top flap 50 over the other flaps. According to the embodiment shown, the back panel of the envelope may have a first piece of transparent material 48, second piece of transparent material 46 and third piece of transparent material 44. The front panel 42 may be the area where one places the address of an intended recipient. The back panel or area may be formed by folding the left flap 52, right flap 56, and bottom flap 54 in any order and preferably the top flap 50 over the other flaps.

[0044]FIG. 9 and FIG. 10 depict another embodiment according to the present invention. As shown, the window portion may be placed in a multitude of positions and a number of windows or portions along or substantially along the folded portion of at least one side of the envelope 61. According to the embodiment shown, the back 60 of the envelope 61 may have a first piece of transparent material 62, second first piece of transparent material 64, third piece of transparent material 66, fourth piece of transparent material 68, fifth piece of transparent material 70, and sixth piece of transparent material 72. The front panel 60 may be formed of a solid opaque material and act as the area where one places the address of the intended recipient. The back area may be formed by folding the left flap 74, right flap 78, bottom flap 76 in any order and preferably the top flap 80 over the other flaps.

[0045]FIG. 11 and FIG. 12 depict another embodiment according to the present invention. As shown, the window portion and transparent materials may be placed in a multitude of positions and sizes along or substantially along the folded portion of at least one side of the envelope 81. According to the embodiment shown, the front panel 86 of the envelope may have a first piece of transparent material 82, second piece of transparent material 84, third piece of transparent material 88, fourth piece of transparent material 90, fifth piece of transparent material 92, and sixth piece of transparent material 94. The front panel 86 may be formed of a solid opaque material and act as the area where one places the address of the intended recipient. The back area may be formed by folding the left flap 102, right flap 98, bottom flap 100 in any order and preferably the top flap 96 over the other flaps.

[0046]FIG. 13 and FIG. 14 depict another embodiment according to the present invention. As shown, the window portion may be placed in a multitude of positions and a number of windows or portions along or substantially along the folded portion of at least one side of the envelope 103. According to the embodiment show, the front panel 104 of the envelope may be solid. The back panel may have a first piece of transparent material 106, second piece of transparent material 108, third piece of transparent material 110, fourth piece of transparent material 112, fifth piece of transparent material 114, and sixth piece of transparent material 116. The front panel 104 may be formed of a solid opaque material and act as the area where one places the address of the intended recipient. The back area may be formed by folding the left flap 120, right flap 124, bottom flap 122 in any order and preferably the top flap 118 over the other flaps.

[0047]FIG. 15 and FIG. 16 depict another embodiment according to the present invention. As shown, the window portion may be a single continuous opening placed in a multitude of positions along at least one side of the envelope 129. According to the embodiment show, the front panel 126 of the envelope may have a first piece of transparent material 131. The front panel 126 may be formed of a solid opaque material with an opening which is covered by said first piece of transparent material 131. The back area may be closed by folding the top flap 128 over a bottom flap 130. Previously mentioned embodiments are envisioned as being incorporated into an envelope comprised of at least two flaps.

[0048]FIG. 17 and FIG. 18 depict another embodiment according to the present invention. As shown, the window portion may be a single continuous opening placed in a multitude of positions along at least one side of the envelope 131. According to the embodiment shown, the front panel 132 of the envelope may have a first piece of transparent material 134. The front panel 132 may be formed of a solid opaque material, with a window portion or opening covered by the first piece of transparent material 134. The transparent material 134 may comprise the edge of the envelope. The back area may be closed by folding the top flap 136 over a bottom flap 138. Previously mentioned embodiments are envisioned as being incorporated into an envelope comprised of at least two flaps.

[0049]FIG. 19 and FIG. 20 depict another embodiment according to the present invention. As shown, the window portion may be a single continuous opening placed along the perimeter of the envelope 141. According to the embodiment show, the back of the envelope may have a first window portion covered by a piece of transparent material 146. The front panel 140 may be formed of a solid opaque material and act as the area where one places the address of the intended recipient. The back area may be closed by folding the a top flap 142 over a bottom flap 144. Previously mentioned embodiments are envisioned as being incorporated into an envelope comprised of at least two flaps.

[0050] A number of different envelope types may be used and are envisioned, and the previously mentioned examples are merely representative. Envelopes may be of a multitude of different sizes and shapes. The present invention may be used with traditional window envelopes, where the window is used to show the address or other information. Also, a number of different manners may be used to affix the flaps to one another. This may include glue, tape, folds or any other manner known within the art.

[0051] It should be understood, of course, that the foregoing relates to preferred embodiments of the invention and that modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as set forth in the following claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US6709018 *Oct 31, 2001Mar 23, 2004Verify First Technologies, Inc.Security envelope detectable for foreign substances
US8051984Jul 20, 2010Nov 8, 2011Livingston Seed, Inc.Windowed seed pack envelope with wrap around window
US8534535 *Nov 10, 2009Sep 17, 2013Victor Envelope Manufacturing CorporationEnvelope with sealed display rack hole
US20110108612 *Nov 10, 2009May 12, 2011Victor Envelope Manufacturing CorporationEnvelope with sealed display rack hole
EP1809545A2 *Oct 11, 2005Jul 25, 2007James T. WoodMail container with contaminant indicator
Classifications
U.S. Classification229/71
International ClassificationB65D27/04
Cooperative ClassificationB65D27/04
European ClassificationB65D27/04
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jan 24, 2002ASAssignment
Owner name: RPMW,LLC, NEW YORK
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:WIERER, MICHAEL H.;PARKER, ROBERT S.;REEL/FRAME:012833/0768
Effective date: 20011210