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Publication numberUS20030190097 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/118,995
Publication dateOct 9, 2003
Filing dateApr 9, 2002
Priority dateApr 9, 2002
Publication number10118995, 118995, US 2003/0190097 A1, US 2003/190097 A1, US 20030190097 A1, US 20030190097A1, US 2003190097 A1, US 2003190097A1, US-A1-20030190097, US-A1-2003190097, US2003/0190097A1, US2003/190097A1, US20030190097 A1, US20030190097A1, US2003190097 A1, US2003190097A1
InventorsMohammed Hajianpour
Original AssigneeHajianpour Mohammed A.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Hanging bag with a resiliently adjustable opening
US 20030190097 A1
Abstract
A trash bag includes a flexible receptacle having an open top and a closed bottom, a resilient stiffener attached to extend around the open top, and an attachment tab extending from the resilient stiffener for fastening the trash bag to hang from a structure within a vehicle. For example, both the flexible receptacle and the resilient stiffener are composed of a thermoplastic resin, being attached by heat sealing. Alternately, the flexible receptacle may be composed of paper, being adhesively attached to a cardboard or plastic stiffener.
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Claims(20)
What is claimed is:
1. A bag comprising:
a flexible receptacle having an open top and a closed bottom; and
a resilient stiffener including a plurality of flexibly connected segments extending end to end along said resilient stiffener, wherein said segments are fastened to said receptacle to extend essentially around a periphery of said open top, wherein said segments are substantially thicker than an adjacent wall of said flexible receptacle, wherein said segments are moved by flexure between adjacent segments between a closed position holding opposite sides of said open top close to one another and an open position holding said opposite sides of said open top separated from one another.
2. The bag of claim 1, wherein
said flexible receptacle is folded into a plurality of sections, and
each section in said plurality of sections extends downward from a segment in said plurality of segments.
3. The bag of claim 2, wherein an adjacent pair of segments in said plurality of segments extends inward with said segments in said closed position.
4. The bag of claim 3, wherein said plurality of segments include:
front and rear segments, extending along front and rear sections of said flexible receptacle forming said opposite sides of said open top;
a first pair of end segments extending inward with said segments in said closed position from a first end of said front section to an end of said rear section adjacent said first end of said front section with said segments in said closed position; and
a second pair of end segments extending inward with said segments in said closed position from a second end of said front section to an end of said rear section adjacent said end of said front section with said segments in said closed position.
5. The bag of claim 3, wherein
said flexible receptacle and said resilient stiffener are each composed of a thermoplastic resin, and
each section of said flexible receptacle is attached to a segment of said resilient stiffener by heat sealing.
6. The bag of claim 5, wherein
adjacent segments within said resilient stiffener are joined by flexible sections of said resilient stiffener, and
said segments of said resilient stiffener are substantially thicker than said flexible sections thereof.
7. The bag of claim 6, wherein said plurality of segments include:
front and rear segments, extending along front and rear sections of said flexible receptacle forming said opposite sides of said open top;
a first pair of end segments extending inward with said segments in said closed position from a first end of said front section to an end of said rear section adjacent said first end of said front section with said segments in said closed position; and
a second pair of end segments extending inward with said segments in said closed position from a second end of said front section to an end of said rear section adjacent said end of said front section with said segments in said closed position.
8. The bag of claim 7, wherein said bottom of said flexible receptacle is closed by heat sealing said front and rear sections to one another and to sections extending inward between said front and rear sections.
9. The bag of claim 8, wherein said flexible receptacle is composed of a fibrous sheet of material adhesively fastened to form said flexible receptacle, and
each section in said plurality of sections in said flexible receptacle is adhesively attached to a segment in said plurality of segments in said resilient stiffener.
10. The bag of claim 9, wherein
said resilient stiffener is composed of a thermoplastic resin,
adjacent segments within said resilient stiffener are joined by flexible sections of said resilient stiffener, and
said segments of said resilient stiffener are substantially thicker than said flexible sections thereof.
11. The bag of claim 9, wherein
said resilient stiffener is composed of a fibrous material,
adjacent segments within said resilient stiffener are joined by flexible sections of said resilient stiffener, and
said segments of said resilient stiffener are substantially thicker than said flexible sections thereof.
12. The bag of claim 9, wherein said plurality of segments include:
front and rear segments, extending along front and rear sections of said flexible receptacle forming said opposite sides of said open top;
a first pair of end segments extending inward with said segments in said closed position from a first end of said front section to an end of said rear section adjacent said first end of said front section with said segments in said closed position; and
a second pair of end segments extending inward with said segments in said closed position from a second end of said front section to an end of said rear section adjacent said end of said front section with said segments in said closed position.
13. The bag of claim 1, additionally comprising an attachment tab extending from said resilient stiffener.
14. The bag of claim 13, wherein
said attachment tab is pivotally mounted to said resilient stiffener; and
said attachment tab includes an aperture.
15. The bag of claim 13, wherein said attachment tab extends downward as an integral portion of said resilient stiffener.
16. The bag of claim 13, wherein
said flexible receptacle is folded into a plurality of sections, and
each section in said plurality of sections extends downward from a segment in said plurality of segments.
17. The bag of claim 16, wherein
said flexible receptacle and said resilient stiffener are each composed of a thermoplastic resin,
each section of said flexible receptacle is attached to a segment of said resilient stiffener by heat sealing,
adjacent segments within said resilient stiffener are joined by flexible sections of said resilient stiffener, and
said segments of said resilient stiffener are substantially thicker than said flexible sections thereof.
18. The bag of claim 17, wherein
said plurality of segments include:
front and rear segments, extending along front and rear sections of said flexible receptacle forming said opposite sides of said open top;
a first pair of end segments extending inward with said segments in said closed position from a first end of said front section to an end of said rear section adjacent said first end of said front section with said segments in said closed position; and
a second pair of end segments extending inward with said segments in said closed position from a second end of said front section to an end of said rear section adjacent said end of said front section with said segments in said closed position.
19. The bag of claim 16, wherein said flexible receptacle is composed of a fibrous sheet of material adhesively fastened to form said flexible receptacle, and
each section in said plurality of sections in said flexible receptacle is adhesively attached to a segment in said plurality of segments in said resilient stiffener.
20. The bag of claim 19, wherein
said plurality of segments include:
front and rear segments, extending along front and rear sections of said flexible receptacle forming said opposite sides of said open top;
a first pair of end segments extending inward with said segments in said closed position from a first end of said front section to an end of said rear section adjacent said first end of said front section with said segments in said closed position; and
a second pair of end segments extending inward with said segments in said closed position from a second end of said front section to an end of said rear section adjacent said end of said front section with said segments in said closed position.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] This invention relates to a disposable, flexible bag having features for adjusting and an opening at the top of the bag, and, more particularly, to such a bag additionally having a feature allowing the bag to be conveniently hung from a number of surfaces within an area such as the passenger compartment of an automobile.

[0003] 2. Summary of the Background Art

[0004] The accumulation of litter and other forms of trash within an automobile passenger compartment often poses a significant nuisance that becomes worse with each stop at a fast food restaurant to purchase food to be eaten in the car. What is needed is a low-cost and convenient disposable receptacle that can be easily mounted at various places within the passenger compartment.

[0005] U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,897,208 and 3,817,434 describe trash receptacles that are particularly configured for use within the passenger compartment of a vehicle, with U.S. Pat. No. 5,897,208 describing an L-shaped receptacle having a forward-extending leg fitting under a vehicle seat and an upward-extending leg fitting behind the seat. The upward-extending leg includes a slot which is pivoted open by means of a V-shaped interior frame member to expose a disposable, flexible garbage liner to be filled with trash. U.S. Pat. No. 3,817,434 describes a litter receptacle to be placed between two opposing surfaces in an automobile such as between the lower edge of the front seat and the floor area below the seat. The receptacle includes an oval loop to which the open end of a flexible, bag-like container is connected. The flexible bag-like container is one of a series of separable bag-like containers coiled in a roll rotatably supported by a bracket attached within the space between the two opposing surfaces. Still, what is needed is a disposable trash bag that can be conveniently supported in a number of locations within the passenger compartment. As the size of the passenger compartment has been reduced in a number of vehicles, the space for permanently storing a trash receptacle mechanism as described in these prior art patents has been substantially reduced. In particular, the space under the front seats of many automobiles is now filled with rails, wheels, shafts, motors, and wiring harnesses associated with the movement of the seat in various directions.

[0006] U.S. Pat. No. 5,490,623 describes a utility bag for placement within an automobile for dispensing facial tissues and for temporarily storing used tissues and other litter. The utility bag has a number of flexible walls defining a first receptacle having an opening for the insertion of trash and a second receptacle having an opening, facing a direction opposite the opening of the first receptacle, through which tissues are dispensed. When the second receptacle is empty, it can be held in a collapsed condition by hook and loop fasteners. A strap, extending around the opening of the first receptacle, is placed around the headrest of a front seat within an automobile, so that the utility bag extends downward along the back of the seat. What is needed is a trash receptacle that is very low in cost, which is therefore disposable, having a small size and means to hang from a number of structures, which can therefore be placed in a wide variety of locations within a passenger compartment.

[0007] Another type of vehicular trash bag holder is described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,848,709, in the form of a support and retention device for attachment to a top perimeter of a plastic trans bag at its opening, with the bag being positioned at the bumper of a recreational vehicle. What is needed is a device for facilitating the collection and storage of trash within the passenger compartment of a vehicle.

[0008] While plastic bags are used pervasively in modern society, opening them and holding them open often presents problems. Many stores have specialized frames installed at each point of sale for receiving the handle loops of plastic bags and for holding the bags open while they are loaded with purchases. An example of such a frame is described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,152,408.

[0009] A number of patents describe flexible receptacles, such as bags, carry-alls, and boxes, having features causing the top of the receptacle to remain wide open while the receptacle is lying on a flat surface such as a counter or the floor.

[0010] For example, U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,716,138 and 4,848,938 describe bags in which upper flaps are turned downward to form cuffs which stiffen the top edges to help hold the bag open to facilitate loading. In the bag of U.S. Pat. No. 5,716,136, the upper flaps are adapted to be folded inwardly by the user to form one or more cuffs within the opening for maintaining the bag in a maximally open position. The cuffs hold the bag open by applying outward pressure on gusseted sidewalls of two opposing width panels and/or by applying pressure on the corners of the bag. The bag is formed from a blank that is preferably composed of a fibrous substrate having a degree of stiffness, such as paper or spun-bonded HDPE. U.S. Pat. No. 4,848,938 describes a plastic bag with gusseted ends, in which the flaps are folded outwardly to form cuffs along the sides that are not gusseted and around the comers. After the bag is filled, the cuff portions may be unfolded and used in carrying handles, with cutout openings serving as hand holds. What is needed is a bag made out of a very thin and flexible material, with a stiffening member substantially thicker than the bag material extending around the opening at the top of the bag.

[0011] U.S. Pat. No. 5,044,774 describes a plastic bag having a flexible top, with a stiff strip around the mouth of the bag. When the strip is rolled outward, the top of the bag bends to hold the bag open. What is needed is a flexible bag having a stiffening strip that can be more easily deflected, without a need for rolling, between open and closed positions.

[0012] A number of other patents describe flexible storage bags having relatively expensive closure mechanisms suitable for long term and repeated use. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 6,164,821 describes such a bag having a sealable hinged-flange closure mechanism. U.S. Pat. No. 6,234,674 describes such a bag having closure mechanism including a substantially rigid member with a pair of pivotable seats receiving a substantially flexible member that is flipped from a closed position resting against the substantially rigid member to an open position extending away from the substantially rigid member. U.S. Pat. No. 5,524,990 describes such a bag having an opening with a closure flap extending from one side of the opening to form a continuation of the body that is pivotable to close and open the body. A first stiffened portion is disposed around a peripheral portion of the opening opposite one side of the opening, and a second stiffened portion is disposed around a peripheral portion of the flap. These stiffened portions are hinged at opposite ends of the one side of the opening. Still, for disposal of trash, what is needed is a very low cost disposable container having a feature for hanging attachment.

[0013] U.S. Pat. No. 6,065,873 describes a carry-all in the form of a soft-sided fabric container, which in an open position is parallelepiped-shaped, and which has opposed side walls, opposed end walls mounted to the end walls at opposed longitudinal ends of the of the side walls, and a bottom wall opposite an open top of the container. The upper sidewall edges are sewn to form sleeves in which dowels extend as elongate rigid members. Handle apertures are formed in the side walls adjacent these rigid members. Resilient stiffeners are mounted along longitudinally opposite edges of the sidewalls from the bottom wall to the rigid members for resiliently urging the sidewalls each into a generally planar shape.

[0014] U.S. Pat. No. 6,206,289 describes a reclosable, stackable, standable package for food products, such as baked goods, which easily converts from a parallelepiped form to a widened shape on top for easy access to a snack within an inner liner bag. The outer carton of the package has score lines on the front and the back panels of the carton extending from the lower corners of the front and back panels to the center of the upper edge of the front and back panels. Score lines also extend across the center of the top front and back flaps. The score lines in combination with the disconnected top flaps design not only allows the top of the package to form a wide oval-shaped opening, but also allows the package to stay opened while snacking.

[0015] U.S. Pat. No. 4,753,489 describes a disposable bag mouth opener that can be attached to a bag after it is filled. The opener can be manipulated to adjust its degree of opening and closed by clamping a holding device over the mouth end. U.S. Pat. No. 5,184,896 describes a self-expanding flexible pouch that can be used as the measuring device for reconstituting a concentrated product contained therein. The pouch includes a one-piece extensible stay located in the throat area of the pouch that is biased toward a relaxed, expanded, circular configuration, but that is initially held substantially flat in a stressed condition by the sealed top portion of the pouch. The stay expands when this top portion is removed.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0016] According to a first aspect of the invention a bag is provided, including a flexible receptacle and a resilient stiffener. The flexible receptacle has an open top and a closed bottom. The resilient stiffener includes a number of flexibly connected segments extending end to end along the resilient stiffener. The segments are fastened to the receptacle to extend essentially around a periphery of the open top, The segments are substantially thicker than an adjacent wall of the flexible receptacle. The segments are moved by flexure between adjacent segments between a closed position holding opposite sides of the open top close to one another and an open position holding the opposite sides of the open top separated from one another.

[0017] Preferably, the flexible receptacle is folded into a number of sections, and each section in the number of sections extends downward from a segment in the number of segments.

[0018] The flexible receptacle and the resilient stiffener may each be composed of a thermoplastic resin, with each section of the flexible receptacle being attached to a segment of the resilient stiffener by heat sealing, with adjacent segments within the resilient stiffener being joined by flexible sections of the resilient stiffener, and with the segments of the resilient stiffener being substantially thicker than the flexible segments thereof. Alternately, the flexible receptacle may be composed of a fibrous sheet of material, such as paper, adhesively fastened to form the receptacle, with a cardboard or plastic resilient stiffener being adhesively fastened to the receptacle.

[0019] Preferably, the bag also includes an attachment tab for hanging the bag from a surface within the passenger compartment of an automobile. The attachment tab may be pivotally mounted on the resilient stiffener, or it may extend downward as a portion of the resilient stiffener.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

[0020]FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a bag made in accordance with a first embodiment of the invention;

[0021]FIG. 2 is a plan view of the bag of FIG. 1 in a closed configuration;

[0022]FIG. 3 is a plan view of the bag of FIG. 2 in an open configuration;

[0023]FIG. 4 is a rear elevation of a bag made in accordance with a second embodiment of the invention;

[0024]FIG. 5 is a right side elevation of the bag of FIG. 4;

[0025]FIG. 6 is a rear elevation of a bag made in accordance with a third embodiment of the invention; and

[0026]FIG. 7 is a right side elevation of the bag of FIG. 6.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0027]FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a bag 10 made in accordance with a first embodiment of the invention. The bag 10 includes a flexible receptacle 12, a resilient stiffener 14, and an attachment tab 16. The flexible receptacle 12 is composed of a thermoplastic film material, such as a polyethylene film having a thickness of 0.08 mm (0.003 inch), with a bottom edge 16 closed by heat sealing and with an open upper edge 20. Before the application of heat to seal the bottom edge 16, side surfaces 22 of the material for the flexible receptacle 12 are folded to extend inward between flat front and rear surfaces 24. Preferably, the thermoplastic film material is formed as an extruded sleeve that is cut into sections of suitable length, so that a receptacle open at one end and closed at the other can be formed by heat sealing only the bottom edge 18.

[0028] The resilient stiffener 14 is attached to the flexible receptacle 12 to extend downward from its upper edge 20. The resilient stiffener 14 is preferably composed of a thermoplastic resin strip that is substantially thicker than the film material of the flexible receptacle 12. For example, the resilient stiffener 14 is composed to a 0.8 mm (0.030 inch) thick polyethylene strap, which is attached to the flexible receptacle 12 by means of heat sealing. Preferably, the flexible receptacle 12 and the resilient stiffener 14 are thus composed of a similar material, so that heat sealing can be used in this way. Additionally, the resilient stiffener 14 is preferably disposed inside, rather than outside, the flexible receptacle 12, simplifying the application of heat for sealing through the relatively thin material of the receptacle 12 from the outside. The resilient stiffener 14 is formed with a number of edges 26 aligned with corresponding edges 28 of the flexible receptacle 12.

[0029]FIGS. 2 and 3 are plan views of the bag 10, with FIG. 2 showing the bag 10 in a closed configuration, and with FIG. 3 showing the bag 10 in an open configuration. In the closed configuration of FIG. 2, the front and rear segments of the resilient stiffener 14 are folded together to take up a minimum space. In the open configuration of FIG. 3, the front and rear segments 30 of the resilient stiffener 14 are held apart to open the top of the flexible receptacle 12. The adjacent side segments 32 are flexed together, extending inward in the closed configuration and pulled apart in the open configuration. When the bag 10 is fully open, the segments 30, 32 of the resilient stiffener 14 are held in a rectangular pattern. Preferably, a number of these bags 10 are packaged together and supplied in the closed position of FIG. 2, with the overall size of the package being further reduced by folding the flexible bag portions 12 one or more times. An individual bag is opened to insert trash and is then either left open or shut until more trash is to be deposited.

[0030] The resilient stiffener 14 may have indentions or score marks, formed as a part of a molding process or by cutting into the material of the stiffener 14 in line with the edges 26 to facilitate forming the stiffener 14 into the shape of the top edge 20 of the flexible receptacle 12. These indentions or score marks may reduce the local thickness of the resilient stiffener 14 from the inside of the stiffener 14, from the outside, or from both sides. The resilient stiffener 14 may be formed from a flat sheet of material, having ends 34 that are joined only through mutual attachment to the flexible receptacle 12. While such an arrangement may result in unsymmetrical deflection of the resilient stiffener 14 as it is opened or closed, the function of the stiffener 14 is retained.

[0031] Referring again to FIG. 1, the attachment tab 16 is pivotally mounted on the resilient stiffener 14 by means of a snap rivet 36. Alternately, the attachment tab 16 may be pivotally mounted on the resilient stiffener by means of an eyelet (not shown. The attachment tab 16 includes a hole 38 and a slit or slot 40 extending from the hole 38 to an adjacent exterior edge of the tab 16.

[0032]FIGS. 4 and 5 are elevations of a bag 46 built in accordance with a second embodiment of the invention, with FIG. 4 being a rear elevation, and with FIG. 5 being a right side elevation. The bag 46 includes a flexible receptacle 12, built as described above in reference to FIG. 1, and an alternative stiffening member 48, which is generally similar to the stiffening member 14 described above in reference to FIGS. 1-3, except that a downward-extending attachment tab 50 is provided as a portion of the alternative stiffening member 48 in place of the previously-described pivotally-mounted attachment tab 16. The stiffening member 48 preferably extends outside the flexible receptacle

[0033] The downward-extending attachment tab 50 is particularly suited for hanging the bag 46 from a surface presenting a horizontal edge within the passenger compartment of a vehicle, such as a horizontally extending strap or door handle or the edge of a pocket in a door or in the dashboard. Referring again to FIG. 1, the pivotally-mounted attachment tab 16 can also be pivoted to extend downward for use in the same manner, or may extend upward for attachment to a post, such as the post often provided for locking a door or a hook generally provided for hanging garments within the vehicle. The slit 40 can be used to place the hole 38 over an elongated structure that cannot otherwise pass into the hole 38. FIGS. 6 and 7 elevations of a bag 56 built in accordance with a third embodiment of the invention, with FIG. 6 being a rear elevation, and with FIG. 7 being a right side elevation. The bag 56 includes a flexible receptacle 58, formed from a blank composed of a fibrous material, such as paper. The blank is closed by adhesive attachment along a rear side 60 and along a flat bottom surface 62 to provide a flat front side 64, and gusseted left and right sides 66. The top edge 68 of the flexible receptacle 58 remains open. The process of manufacturing the flexible receptacle 58 is well understood by those skilled in the art of making paper bags. The bag 56 additionally includes a resilient stiffener 70, which may be composed of a fibrous material, such as cardboard, or of a thermoplastic material. In either case, the resilient stiffener 70 is preferably adhesively attached to flexible receptacle 58 to extend downward from its top edge 68. The resilient stiffener 70 is composed of sections 72, 74, which flex relative to one another as the bag is opened and closed, in the manner generally described above with reference to FIGS. 2 and 3. The resilient stiffener 70 may be disposed outside the flexible receptacle 58, as shown in the example of FIGS. 6 and 7, or inside the flexible receptacle 58, is shown in the example of FIGS. 2 and 3. The bag 56 further includes an attachment tab, which may be pivotally attached to the resilient stiffener 70, in the manner of the attachment tab 76 shown in FIGS. 6 and 7, or which may extend downward as a portion of the resilient stiffener, in the manner shown in FIGS. 4 and 5.

[0034] While the invention has been described in terms of its preferred embodiments with some degree of particularity, it is understood that this description has been given only by way of example, and that many variations in the configuration and arrangement of parts may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8568030 *Oct 4, 2010Oct 29, 2013Kenneth MartinUtility bag
US8695793Oct 22, 2004Apr 15, 2014The Procter & Gamble CompanyFlexible stable easily opened package
US20120082402 *Oct 4, 2010Apr 5, 2012Kenneth MartinUtility Bag
WO2006047281A1 *Oct 20, 2005May 4, 2006Procter & GambleFlexible stable easily opened package
WO2012045991A1 *Oct 4, 2010Apr 12, 2012Poorly Pouch LimitedSick bag carrier apparatus
Classifications
U.S. Classification383/9, 383/34.1
International ClassificationB65D33/14, B65D33/00, B65F1/14, B65F1/00
Cooperative ClassificationB65D33/14, B65D33/007, B65F1/1415, B65F1/0006
European ClassificationB65D33/14, B65F1/00A, B65F1/14C1, B65D33/00G