The present invention relates to a scored sheet foldable into a container for a disk and, particularly, to such a structure for an optical disk which can be printed with a computer printer to list contents or other information on the container.
It has become common practice to utilize a computer to record music or videos on a disk such as an optical disk (OD) or digital video versatile disk (DVD). This procedure is commonly called “burning a CD or DVD.” Because of this practice, there has become a need for an inexpensive sleeve, envelope or container for such disks which can be easily printed to indicate the contents of the disk or for other purposes, such as advertising. A printable envelope for a computer floppy disk is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,333,780 which issued on Aug. 2, 1994 to John C. Scott. This patent discloses a folded sleeve with interlocking tabs. U.S. Pat. No. 5,348,216 issued Sep. 20, 1994 to John C. Scott discloses a similar type of container for a floppy disk which is formed from two sheets laminated together with an adhesive. The containers in both of these patents are printed with a directory of the contents of the diskette by utilizing a software utility for controlling the application of the printing.
Other types of covers are shown in the following U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,857,707 issued to Devlin; 5,662,217 issued to Durr; 5,690,219 issued to Harrer; 6,220,205 issued to Flynn et al.; 4,708,285 issued to Segall; 5,050,792 issued to Segal; and 2,803,338 issued to Elliott. So-called jewel cases of clear plastic are also used which hinge apart to allow for the insertion of the disk. These cases are normally provided with teeth in the center of the case to secure the disk in place. These teeth, as well as the hinges, have a tendency to break off during use.
- SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Such envelopes or containers of the prior art have a disadvantage since they cannot be securely closed to prevent accidental opening and loss of the disk. Further, the envelope forms are easily torn, especially if they are handled carelessly. In addition, the preparation of the sleeves is complicated and they are constructed from relatively costly materials. This invention overcomes those disadvantages, providing a standard size sheet which can be readily printed and then formed into a secure sleeve or container for holding a CD or DVD. Further, the container is so constructed that it can be printed on its spines.
The invention provides a simple container for an OD which can be printed in a standard computer-directed printer utilizing a flat sheet of conventional size. The container is easy to use and long-wearing. In another aspect the invention solves the problem of providing a useful object that can be separated from a single sheet and assembled by folding and pressing pressure-adhesive parts together into a single-sleeve storage container. Further, two or more sheets can be assembled into a double-sleeve storage unit.
A printable sheet of heavy stock paper, plastic or similar material which can be folded, is provided which is capable of being processed in a conventional computer printer to provide printing on its surface. After printing the sheet, outer breakaway portions are removed, herein termed the selvage edges. When the selvage edges are removed, the portion of the sheet remaining is called a blank, and can be folded to form the container for the OD. The blank comprises an upper portion and a lower portion. Approximately halfway between the lower and upper portion, parallel, horizontal scored lines are pressed into the blank. The distance between these parallel lines corresponds to the approximate thickness of an OD.
Parallel flaps are provided along the outer side edges of the lower portion of the blank. These flaps have vertical, parallel depressed fold lines adjacent to the sides of the lower portion of the blank. The distance between these fold lines allows for the printing of this spine area, is slightly larger than the approximate thickness of the OD and corresponds with the distance between the parallel score lines between the upper and lower portion of the blank. The printed surfaces form the outer surfaces of the container. The sheet is scored between the upper and lower portions to facilitate folding in a similar manner as the flaps are scored.
The sheet can be scored for ease of folding by passing into a press or similar device which presses score lines into the sheet. This press can also perforate the sheet to form the breakaway selvage edges. Since the sheet has to be passed through a computer printer, care has to be exercised in creating the breakaway cuts so the sheet has sufficient strength to pass through the printer and still remain a uniform sheet. The perforations are centered so that either the front or back of the sheet can be imprinted.
The first set of score lines is provided approximately equal distance between the top and lower edges of the blank running in a horizontal direction across the blank for its full width. These score lines separate the upper and lower portions of the blank into approximately equal size. Similar score lines are provided along the side edges of the lower half of the container leaving narrow flaps which can be folded along the score lines to form the side portions of the container. The narrow flaps have vertical pressure sensitive adhesive strips running in a vertical direction for approximately the whole length of each flap. The adhesive is covered by a release paper which allows it to pass through the printer and then can be removed to expose the adhesive. The sheet can be fed through a printer, such as a laser printer, an ink-jet printer, an impact printer, or other similar graphic printing device, intact.
The method for forming the container has only a few simple steps. The approximately rectangular sheet is cut to produce the breakaway edges in a press or the like. In the same operation, the parallel score lines can be formed by compressing the paper at the score lines. In a preferred embodiment, narrow strips with adhesive on both sides are pressed on the paper along the vertical score lines of the flaps and adhesively secured thereto. The upper or outer surface of the strips is covered with a strippable sheet so the adhesive is protected during packaging and the subsequent printing step. The sheet can then be placed in a paper tray of a computer printer. The desired print is created on the computer screen which can be, for example, a directory of the contents of the OD for which the container is to be used. Both the top and bottom portions of the blank can be printed if desired. The printing on the bottom will appear upside-down until the container is formed.
For double-sleeve assemblies, two blanks are used which combine together to form the double sleeve.
A conventional label printing program can be used in the computer. The print button is then pressed directing the printer to feed the paper sheet into the printer and the print is applied to the surface of the paper. One of the advantages of the invention is that the adhesive strips on the sheet are in a perpendicular direction to the passage of the paper into the printer thereby minimizing any possibility that the adhesive strips will interfere with the flow of the paper through the printer. As can be seen, the sheet of this invention can be printed on a standard, inexpensive home printer.
For a single-sleeve embodiment, the printed sheet is removed from the printer and the selvage edges removed, leaving the portion of the paper which is the blank and which will form the container. The blank is then folded along the scored lines with the flaps being between the top (front of the container) and bottom portion (back of the container). If spine-labels are desired, the folds are made to form the spine on both center of the sheet and the two sides flaps. The strippable sheet covering the adhesive is removed, and the front and back panels pressed together so the adhesive binds the panels together to form the finished container.
For a double-sleeve embodiment, the printed sheet is removed from the printer and the selvage edges removed leaving the portion of the sheet which is the outside blank. The blank is then folded along the score lines with the flaps being between the front of the container and the back of the container. If the spine-label is desired, the folds are made to form the spine on both the center of the sheet and the two sides. A second sheet is printed and removed from the printer and the selvage edges removed leaving the paper which is the inside blank. The blank is then folded along the scored lines with the flaps being between the front of the contained and the back of the container. The outside blank is placed printed side down and the inside blank is placed over the outside blank. Both the inside and outside blanks are oriented in the same manner, i.e., right side up. The strippable sheets covering the adhesive are removed and the inside and outside panels are pressed together so the adhesive binds the panels together to form the finished unit.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
Accordingly, the invention provides a printed OD container capable of being processed by standard computer printers and manually assembled.
The foregoing summary, as well as the following detailed description of preferred embodiments of the invention, will be better understood when read in conjunction with the appended drawings. For the purpose of illustrating the invention, there are shown in the drawings embodiments which are presently preferred. It should be understood, however, that the invention is not limited to the precise arrangement and instrumentalities shown. In the drawings, which are diagrammatic:
FIG. 1 is a plan view of the back of a sheet showing score lines for removing a portion of the sheet and fold folding lines in the removal portion of the sheet,
FIG. 2 is a perspective view showing the back of a folded and finished container of the invention,
FIG. 3 shows the front of the container made in accordance with the invention,
FIG. 4 is an end view of the container shown in FIG. 3,
FIG. 5 is a perspective view showing the peelable layer on the adhesive.
FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a double-sleeve container, and
FIG. 7 is a perspective view of an assembled container.
Referring to the drawings, FIG. 1 shows the flat sheet of paper or thin cardboard 10 which is preferably of the standard size of paper, such as 8.5 by 11 inches, or A4 paper, 8.3 by 11.7 inches. However, it can be any size which can be fed into a standard computer printer. Although the invention will be described in connection with providing a container or sleeve 20 for the standard size OD, which is approximately 4.75 inches in diameter, it can also be used for the smaller ODs. When sleeves are being produced for smaller ODs, more than one sleeve can be contained on the sheet and printed at one time. Also the invention contemplates that additional parts of the sheet, including the back, can be printed for instructions, advertising or similar sales promotion efforts.
The paper sheet 10 has cut-out lines 12 near the outer edges of the sheet which allows the selvage edge 14 to be readily removed. A blank 11 remains after the edges are removed. Care must be asserted in creating such cutting since the sheet has to maintain its integrity while being handled and printed.
The blank 11 has an upper section 16 which forms the front panel 22 of the container 20 and a lower section 18 which forms the back panel 21 of the container 20. The blank 11 has at its midpoint two parallel score or fold lines 30, 32 which makes the upper section and lower section about the same size. The parallel score lines are separated by a distance which corresponds to slightly larger than the approximate thickness of the container to be produced. This thickness allows the OD to be readily slipped into the container 20.
The lower section 18 which forms the back panel 21 has two flaps 34, 36 running substantially the full vertical length of the blank 11. The flaps are separated from the lower section 18 by parallel score lines 40, 42 and 40′ 42′. The distance between the score lines corresponds to the thickness or space to be allowed for the OD to slide readily into the container. As a general rule, the distance between score lines 40, 42 and score lines 40′, 42′ is the same and as the distance between score lines 30, 32 which separate the upper section 16 and bottom section 18 of the blank 11. The upper section 16 has a curved side or edge 23 allowing easy access to the OD stored in the container.
A paper strip 50, 51 containing pressure sensitive adhesive 46, 48 on both sides is applied along the two flaps 34, 36 in the vertical direction. This adhesive is used to secure the flaps, when folded, to the front panel 16 so the combination of the back panel and front panel are securely fastened together. In order to prevent the adhesive from being activated too soon, as illustrated in FIG. 5, a strippable sheet 50 is applied over the adhesive 46 to completely cover the adhesive. As an alternative, the adhesive can be applied directly to the lower section 18. Further, the adhesive rather than being of the pressure sensitive type can be solvent-activated, such as by water or an organic solvent.
The container 20 formed presents the appearance of a single sheet of paper printed on both sides, although in practice, it is a more complex construction. The container 20 holds a CD or DVD disk, for example, a 4.75 inch in diameter music OD. The inventive envelope can replace the sleeves customarily used with such an OD. A notable feature of the envelope is that on both sides it comprises a single, coherent sheet of paper fully occupying the space between its rectangular edges without openings or extensions and without additional elements such as protective strips for adhesive areas. All required adhesive lies concealed between front and back panels.
The front panel of the envelope or container preferably comprises an upper slightly concaved top edge 23 of the front panel which allows ready access to the OD for removal from the container. The upper section of each sleeve has a curved or slightly concave edge 86, 66 allowing easy access to the ODs stored in the container. The front and back surfaces of panels provide an unobstructed area on which a directory listing or the like can be printed.
Such a computer printed listing can be aligned to a margin and is preferably printed in, or at least begun in, the front panel.
Standard operating system software such as MS-DOS (Microsoft Corp.) or from Apple Computer, Inc., or an application program such as WordPerfect (Corel Corp.) which all have label printing programs.
The method of forming the container is as follows: After printing the directory listing and any other desired information on the sheet, the blank is separated from the selvage edges. The deep perforations or scoring of the sheet enables it to be cleanly and easily broken or separated from the sheet. The container is then assembled by folding along fold lines 30, 32, with side flaps 34, 36 being folded inwardly on the surface of the back panel. The unit is pressed together which binds the front and back panel together with the flaps between the two panels. The container thus formed is ready for use.
The method of forming the double-sleeve container is as follows: After printing the directory listing or any other desired information on the sheet, the outside blank 80 is separated from the selvage edges. A separate sheet 82 is printed for the inside blank and the selvage edges removed. The deep perforations or scoring of the sheet enables it to be clearly and easily broken or separated. The two sheets 80, 82 are then prepared for assembly by folding along lines 84, 85, and the side tabs 94, 96, 98, 100 folded inwardly on the surface of the sheets 80, 82. The inside sheet 82 is inverted and aligned on top of the outside sheet 80. The units are pressed together which binds the inside sheet with the outside sheet with the four flaps or tabs between the two sheets. The container thus formed is generally indicated by 102 in FIG. 7 with the two OD disks 90, 92 shown partially in place.
This assembly has some distinct advantages over that provided by the prior art construction. As compared with prior art constructions, the novel OD container provided by the present invention is thus easier to use, and better wearing, being less likely to tear because of its better proportioned OD pocket. It is to be noted that the OD insertion and wear advantages provided by the present invention are attained without impairing the ability of the container to be filed in conventional OD files, and the three-dimensional advantages are obtained from a planar container form. Additional, having the information recorded on the spines of the assembly allows easy identification.
The printable surface on the sheet provides an excellent saleable advertising space which will come to the attention of users as well as instructions, many of whom are computer administrators making buying decisions and therefore a valuable target audience. After bringing itself to the attention of a user engaged in assembling an envelope form, the message is then substantially concealed in the assembled OD container, and accordingly is not annoying or confusing.
Preferably, the directory listing is printed by means of a custom print software utility as indicated comprising a program, or suite of programs with information and tutorial files and the like, which software can be furnished to users on OD along with a supply of the sheets to form the containers. This print utility feature of the invention preferably comprises means to align a printed listing in the selected area on the envelope form and means to edit and conform the data to the area. The alignment features should take account of the variations in top of form alignment displayed by conventional dot-matrix, ink-jet, laser and the like computer printers, by permitting user adjustment or configuration. Preferably users are offered selections as to font sizes, the level of detail, for example the ability to select the date or time of the files for printing, the number of columns of file names to print, whether or not to print file extensions, and so on. Noting that, in some cases the number of files can exceed what can be legibly printed in the available readable space on the front of the container the listing can be continued on the back of the container. The paper used can be suitably treated stock laser-printer paper, for example, 80 pound. The outer surfaces can be uncoated, glossy or satin finished, as desired. The preferred weight of paper is from 16 to 28 pound (60-105 g/m2) in weight.
The container provided by this invention also can be adapted to provide a novel, single-sheet mailer with a built-in return envelope and movable labels to enable a customer or consumer to effect a reply.
While the invention has been described in its preferred embodiment, it is to be understood that the words which have been used are words of description rather than limitation and that changes may be made within the purview of the appended claims without departing from the true scope and spirit of the invention in its broader aspects. As an illustration, the vertical pressure sensitive adhesive strips can be replace with glue or rubber cement which are added in a step after printing.