US 20050045503 A1
A convenient, effective closure device for use on packages such as those used to enclose games distributed on CDs, DVDs, or similar media. A preprinted edge label is selectively coated with adhesive and affixed to a package in such a manner that the package may not be opened without violating the edge label. To facilitate opening, a tear strip is at least in part defined by two rows of obtuse perforations. The obtuse perforations, or at least a subset of them, are formed to be of uniform size and shape of a pair of slits that intersect at their respective end points, forming the obtuse angle.
1. A package closure device, comprising:
a label having a package side and an exterior side; and
means for attaching the label to the package;
wherein the label forms a plurality of perforations; and
wherein the perforations in at least one subset of the plurality of perforations are formed as obtuse perforations.
2. The package closure device of
3. The package closure device of
4. The package closure device of
5. The package closure device of
6. The package closure device of
7. The package closure device of
8. The package closure device of
9. The package closure device of
10. The package closure device of
11. The package closure device of
12. A tamper-resistant package for enclosing an item, comprising:
a first package portion;
a second package portion that can be moved into a closed configuration adjacent to the first package portion so as to form an interior recess for receiving the item when it is enclosed in the package; and
at least one label for securing the first package portion and the second package portion when they are in the closed configuration;
wherein the label forms a plurality of perforations; and
wherein at least one subset of the perforations of the plurality of perforations are formed as obtuse perforations.
13. The tamper-resistant package of
14. The tamper-resistant package of
15. The tamper-resistant package of
16. The tamper-resistant package of
The present invention claims the priority of provisional patent application 60/498,119, filed on Aug. 26, 2003, the contents of which are incorporated herein.
The present invention relates generally to tamper-resistant packaging for games that are distributed on media such as CDs or DVDs, and more specifically relates to a tamper-resistant package closure system uniquely configured to facilitate the opening of such a package in an intended manner with unnecessary tearing of the package or use of tools.
Computers, mobile phones, and other electronic devices are in widespread use today. Originally developed for business-related uses, the ubiquitousness of these devices provides nearly everyone with access to any number of package closure communications and electronic computing devices. The very popularity of these devices has, in turn, contributed to extensive efforts to make them more affordable and easier to use. These efforts have largely succeeded, meaning that a greater segment of the population has begun using these electronic devices for a wide variety of applications. The applications available for use on electronic devices vary widely. As mentioned above, many applications are for business and educational purposes. Increasingly popular, however, are games and other forms of amusement that can be played on the devices—whether or not the devices were originally intended for such use.
Some of these applications are installed on the computer, mobile phone, or other device before the consumer even orders them. Other applications are made available for separate purchase, and a wide array of these additional applications are now available. Not unexpectedly, game applications are among the most widely sold, owing in part to the fact that users may only buy, for example, one or two word-processing or business applications, but on the other hand appreciate a great variety in the types of games that they play on their product.
Games that may be played on an electronic device are typically computer programs that may be copied onto a compact disk (CD), digital versatile disk (DVD), or some other storage media. CDs and DVDs are widely accepted and recognized. As a consequence, they often may be used to install or to play a game application on a wide variety of different computing devices, so long as the device is capable of reading instructions from the particular media purchased. For some other devices, only PCMCIA cards or similar storage media may be used. In some cases, the storage media will be unique to a particular type of device, meaning that the use of the game sold in such a manner is not interchangeable between different devices.
Some games may simply be installed on a device by inserting the media into an appropriate media reader, after which the storage media may be discarded or saved in case the installed game is for some reason deleted. In other cases, the media must be placed in a particular drive, slot, or other peripheral reading device so that the electronic device may refer to the instructions stored there from time to time during game play. Making the media necessary for game play increases the probability that consumers will not simply purchase one game and install copies of it on various electronic devices, thereby reducing the total sales of the games.
Whatever media is used, however, modern storage media tends to be compact and easily transportable. Unfortunately, this also means that the media could be easily purloined if displayed in an unsecure area of a retail outlet. In order to reduce theft, media are therefore often sold in somewhat larger, harder to conceal packages. While these boxes or packages are typically not extremely large themselves, they are large enough to be noticeable should a user try to conceal one in the palm of his hand or pants pocket.
To ensure that the storage media are not simply removed from the package in the store, or otherwise tampered with, various measures have been employed to make the packages they are sold in tamper-resistant. Note that herein the phrases “tamper-resistant” and “tamper-proof” may be used interchangeably, with the understanding that no package may practically be made completely un-openable. That is, when a package is referred to as tamper-resistant or tamper-proof, it is simply being described as relatively more difficult, or much more difficult to open, except in the intended fashion. It is not a requirement of the present invention that a package be unopenable in any undesirable way.
Media packages for games may come in a wide variety of styles, but certain package types are becoming popular.
In the package 100 of
Without some closure device, however, regardless of the strength of its construction the package 100 of
To prevent unauthorized opening of the package 100, label 200 forms a seal across seam 220, typically across the entire face 250. To fasten it in place, label 200 may be coated with an adhesive. The adhesive that is used to secure label 200 to package 100 is strong enough to prevent the label's easy removal, but may be of a nature that sufficient force may be applied to remove it intact. In addition, the entire assembly may be enclosed in a flexible clear plastic wrap (not shown) that would in practice have to be torn off or cut through in order to gain access to the label 200. The intent of this packaging system, as may be apparent, is to make more noticeable the active opening of the package in order to discourage unauthorized persons from doing so. When the package is purchased by a consumer, he will simply tear off the enclosing plastic wrap, if it is present, and either go through the effort to remove the label 200, or simply cut it with a knife or other sharp object.
In this regard, note that in addition to discouraging outright theft, the label 200 also serves another purpose. Namely, it provides evidence of the package's opening, evidence that is difficult to alter. In our modern retail environment, it is not unusual for consumers to return products that they have purchased in expectation of a refund of the purchase price. While many retailers, in the name of good customer relations, are happy to oblige, providing the goods are in a condition for resale, a game stored media such as a CD presents a different problem. Because CDs simply store digital data, consumers with the proper equipment can often sometimes copy the CDs with very little trouble. In doing so, they could return the game and avoid paying the purchase price while retaining the game. While it is possible, in some cases, to design the software stored on the media in such a way as to reduce this possibility, another strategy is simply to not permit consumers to return opened merchandise for a refund. If label 200 is constructed so that the package 100 may not be open without noticeably damaging the label, then it will be evident when the user has in fact opened the package and gained access to the media inside. In many cases, even if the label is intact, it will not be possible to replace it without a substantial alteration in its appearance so that it may be distinguished from a label that has not been removed.
Edge labels are often preprinted. They may present instructions on how to open the package or, more commonly, present the name of the game or other product, or of its manufacturer. Printing also prevents an unscrupulous consumer from easily replacing label (after it has been removed) with another one very similar in appearance to the original. To enhance this protection, holograms are sometimes employed. A hologram is an image that is produced using a specialty technique that lends the image a three-dimensional appearance. In
The use of edge labels, with or without an enclosing plastic wrap, has been proven effective. There are still problems, however, associated with its application. At times, the labels are fairly difficult for even legitimate purchasers to remove, and as such present an irritating inconvenience to the consumer. In some ways, the more effective the label is at reducing the risk of theft, the more difficult it will be for the legitimate purchaser to remove. While a knife or other sharp object is quite effective at slicing through the label, one is not always available and even when it is, there is the risk of injury resulting to a purchaser who is not careful. This is especially a problem with games, which are always often purchased by young children who will frequently want to open the game as quickly as possible. Needed, therefore, is a system for applying a tamper resistant label to a package in such a manner that is attractive to consumers, but will at the same time providing a measure of security to the retailer. The present invention provides just such a solution.
For a more complete understanding of the present invention, including its features and advantages, reference is made to the Detailed Description of the invention, together with the accompanying Drawings, of which:
The present invention is directed to a closure system for closing packages containing storage media on which games or other applications are frequently stored. The closure system of the present invention has several advantages, including a optimum balance between convenience from the consumer's point of view and tamper-resistance, which protects the interest of the retailer. The present invention is intended for use with plastic packaging (such as those shown in
Each of the perforations in the series of perforations 310 and 320 represent a recess or opening formed in label 300. In most embodiments, each perforation will be formed by an appropriately-shaped object that is used to penetrate label 300 from its exterior side 335 through to its interior side 345. (As interior side 345 will generally be the side facing the package, it will also be referred to as “package-side” 345.) Although the perforating tool will typically pass all of the way through label 300 when making the perforations, forming an opening from one side to the other, a partial-penetration technique may also be used if considered desirable. In either case, an elongated perforation will sometimes be referred to as a “slit”. Generally speaking, none of the material of Label 300 will be removed during the perforating process, although again this is not necessarily the case. Naturally, where label 300 is itself cut from a larger sheet of material, it can be cut and perforated in a single operation.
As should be apparent from the illustration of
Before explaining this in any more detail, it is also noted here that the label 300 also may include two additional features. The hologram 340 that will often be preprinted on the exterior surface 335 of label 300 is used, as explained above, to enhance the tamper-resistance of the label. Preferably, it is placed on label 300 at the end opposite pull tab 360, meaning if the hologram 340 is violated it will normally indicate that the package has been opened by a consumer. Also, it may be desirable to place a logo or other name in logo area 350. In this embodiment, logo 350 is printed only on tear strip 330, and will be removed when the package is opened by the consumer.
In this embodiment, the perforations in each (of the two illustrated) series of perforations are arranged so as to form a substantially straight line, which also delineates the sides of tear strip 330. Most, but not all of the perforations are shaped as an obtuse angle. In other words, with few exceptions, each perforation is formed of a first slit and a second slit that intersect at a respective end of each slit. For purposes of describing the present invention, an “obtuse perforation” will be a perforation that includes at least a first slit and a second slit that intersect forming an obtuse angle. Preferably, though not necessarily, this intersection will take place at respective endpoints of the two slits. In some embodiments, the obtuse perforation need not be limited to two slits, although these alternate embodiments are not shown in any of the figures.
At this point, it should be noted that the obtuse perforations illustrated in
In the embodiment of
In general, it may be noted that a series of perforations that help to form a tear strip on the label of a package closure device according to the present invention will include perforations that are mostly uniform in size, shape, and orientation. Complete uniformity, however, is not required. In fact, it may be desirable to form some of the perforations differently, for example those near the beginning or end of tear strip 330. In this case, only a “subset” of the perforations in the series of perforations are uniformly-shaped or arranged in a linear arrangement. Such a subset of perforations may include any number of individual perforations, not all of which may be adjacent to each other. Where more than one series of perforations is present, each may have a subset of uniform perforations, which may include perforations that are identical to perforations in other subsets, and which may in some embodiments by identically or analogously oriented.
Several applications of the package closure device of the present invention will now be illustrated and described.
In a preferred embodiment, the label 300 will normally occupy a majority of the surface area of front side 250 to which it is affixed, although this is not a requirement of the invention.
Label 300 is typically affixed to package 100 with using some form of adhesive applied to package side 345 of label 300. This adhesive may be applied to the entire package side 345, which may be convenient for application. In another embodiment, the adhesive may be selectively applied (as illustrated in
In another embodiment, alternate means of attaching label 300 to package 100 may also be used, in lieu of, or in addition to, and adhesive applied to the package side 345 of label 300. For example, strips of adhesive tape (not shown) could be used to anchor each side of label 300 to the top 230 and bottom 240, respectively, of package 100. Label 300 could also extend completely around package 100, and be affixed to itself at the extreme ends of label 300, again using adhesive, tape, or both, or even a mechanical fastener (also not shown).
Although extended across the front 250 of package 100 in
Package closure labels according to the present invention could also be applied to differently-shaped packages. For example,
In yet another embodiment, shown in
The previous descriptions are of preferred examples for implementing the invention, and the scope of the invention should not necessarily be limited by this description. The scope of the present invention is defined by the following claims.