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Publication numberUS20050145682 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/058,589
Publication dateJul 7, 2005
Filing dateFeb 15, 2005
Priority dateMay 10, 1994
Publication number058589, 11058589, US 2005/0145682 A1, US 2005/145682 A1, US 20050145682 A1, US 20050145682A1, US 2005145682 A1, US 2005145682A1, US-A1-20050145682, US-A1-2005145682, US2005/0145682A1, US2005/145682A1, US20050145682 A1, US20050145682A1, US2005145682 A1, US2005145682A1
InventorsGlen Auchter, Warren Fabel
Original AssigneeLaser Substrates, Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Document enclosure mailing form for non-impact printing
US 20050145682 A1
Abstract
A mailer is disclosed. The mailer comprises a ply having a front face and a front face, wherein the ply includes at least a first panel, a second panel, and a third panel of substantially the same area, each panel separated by a fold line. The mailer further includes adhesive that attaches the backside of the first panel to the backside of the second panel when the mailer is folded, thereby presenting a variable printing area on the back face of the first panel and the front face of at least the second and third panels. At least part of the adhesive transfers from the first panel to the second panel when unfolded and at least the third panel can be secured between the first and second panels.
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Claims(21)
1. A mailing form for use with a simplex non-impact printer to facilitate the mailing of a document, the form comprising:
a ply having a front face and a back face, wherein the ply includes at least a first panel, a second panel, and a third panel of substantially a same area;
a first fold line separating the first panel from the second panel;
a second fold line separating the second panel from the third panel;
at least one area for receiving variable information disposed on at least one of the back face of the first panel and the front face of the third panel;
at-least a portion of an adhesive/release-type coating pattern disposed on a peripheral edge of at least one of the front face of the first panel and the front face of the second panel; and
at least a portion of a release-type coating pattern disposed on a peripheral edged of at least one of the front face of the first panel and the front face of the second panel, the adhesive/release-type coating pattern substantially corresponding to the locations between the areas of the release-type coating pattern disposed on the at least one of the front face of the first panel and the front face of the second panel so that a temporary seal is formed when the first panel is folded over the first fold line whereby the front face of the first panel is in contact with the front face of the second panel for printing through a simplex non-impact printer,
wherein after printing, the first panel and the second panel are unfoldable by breaking the temporary seal thereby transferring adhesive from at least one of the first panel and the second panel to one of the corresponding second panel and first panel, and the third panel folded over the second fold line so that the third panel adheres to the adhesive pattern on the front face of the second panel and is sandwiched between the first panel and the second panel and securely held there between by the adhesive pattern disposed on the front face of the first panel and the front face of the second panel for mailing.
2. The mailing form of claim 1, wherein the ply includes a fourth panel which is separated from the third panel by a third fold line and wherein after printing, the fourth panel is folded over the third fold line, the third panel is folded over the second fold line, and the first panel is folded over the first fold line so as to sandwich the third and fourth panels between the first panel and the second panel.
3. The mailing form of claim 2, wherein the front face of the fourth panel includes at least one area for receiving variable information thereon.
4. The mailing form of claim 2, wherein a width of the fourth panel is less than a width of the third panel.
5. The mailing form of claim 2, wherein the ply includes a fifth panel which is separated from the fourth panel by a fourth fold line and wherein after printing, the fifth panel is folded over the fourth fold line, the fourth panel is folded over the third fold line, the third panel is folded over the second fold line, and the first panel is folded over the first fold line so as to sandwich the third, fourth, and fifth panels between the first panel and the second panel.
6. The mailing form of claim 5, wherein the front face of the fifth panel includes at least one area for receiving variable information thereon.
7. The mailing form of claim 6, wherein a width of the fifth panel is less than a width of the third panel.
8. The mailing form of claim 1, wherein an overall length of the ply corresponds to one of
11 inches,
11.69 inches (A4), and
14 inches,
when the first panel is temporarily sealed with the second panel.
9. The mailing form of claim 1, further comprising:
release-type coating disposed on the front face of the first panel; and
adhesive disposed on the release-type coating such that when the mailing form is folded along the first fold line so that the front face of the first panel contacts the front face of the second panel, the adhesive secures the mailing form in folded form, and wherein when the mailing form is unfolded along the first fold line, a portion of the adhesive is transferred to the front face of the second panel.
10. The mailing form of claim 1, further comprising:
a first perforation along the top edge of the first panel, spanning the entire length of the first panel;
a second perforation along the bottom edge of the second panel, spanning the entire length of the second panel;
a third perforation along the top edge of the third panel, spanning the entire length of the third panel; and
a fourth perforation along the first fold line.
11. The mailing form of claim 10, wherein when the mailing form is folded along the first fold line, folded along the second fold line, and folded along the third fold line, the first perforation, the second perforation, and the third perforation are substantially aligned.
12. The mailing form of claim 11, wherein when the first perforation, the second perforation and the third perforation are torn, the fourth panel is exposed and may be extracted by tearing the fourth perforation.
13. The mailing form of claim 1, wherein the variable information on the front face of the third panel includes any one of:
a check;
an account statement;
a tax form;
a certified mail form;
a letter;
a notice; and
an invoice.
14. The mailing form of claim 13, wherein the variable information on the back face of the first panel includes at least one of:
a sender address;
a recipient address; and
postage indicia.
15. A mailing form for use with a simplex non-impact printer to facilitate the mailing of a document, the form comprising:
a ply having a front face and a back face, wherein the ply includes at least a first panel, a second panel, and a third panel of substantially a same area;
a first fold line separating the first panel from the second panel;
a second fold line separating the second panel from the third panel;
at least one area for receiving variable information disposed on at least one of the back face of the first panel and the front face of the third panel;
at least a portion of an adhesive pattern disposed on a peripheral edge of the front face of the first panel and a peripheral edge of the front face of the second panel; and
at least a portion of an release-type coating pattern disposed on a peripheral edge of the front face of the first panel and the front face of the second panel, the release-type coating pattern substantially corresponding to locations of the adhesive pattern disposed on the front face of the first panel and second panel so that a temporary seal is formed when the first panel is folded over the first fold line whereby the front face of the first panel is in contact with the front face of the second panel for printing through a simplex non-impact printer,
wherein after printing, the first panel and the second panel are unfoldable by breaking the temporary seal and the third panel folded over the second fold line so that the third panel adheres to the adhesive pattern on the front face of the second panel and is sandwiched between the first panel and the second panel and securely held there between by the adhesive pattern disposed on the front face of the first panel and the front face of the second panel for mailing.
16. The mailing form of claim 15, further comprising:
a first perforation along the top edge of the first panel, spanning the entire length of the first panel;
a second perforation along the bottom edge of the second panel, spanning the entire length of the second panel;
a third perforation along the top edge of the third panel, spanning the entire length of the third panel; and
a fourth perforation along the first fold line.
17. The mailing form of claim 16, wherein when the mailing form is folded along the first fold line, folded along the second fold line, and folded along the third fold line, the first perforation, the second perforation, and the third perforation are substantially aligned.
18. The mailing form of claim 15, wherein at least one of the front face of the first panel and the front face of the second panel include adhesive and wherein at least one of the front face of the first panel and the front face of the second panel contain a release-type coating, so that the front face of the first panel when folded across the first fold line is temporarily sealed against the front face of the second panel for passing the mailing form through a single pass printer.
19. The mailing form of claim 15, wherein the ply includes a fourth panel which is separated from the third panel by a third fold line and wherein after printing, the fourth panel is folded over the third fold line, the third panel is folded over the second fold line, and the first panel is folded over the first fold line so as to sandwich the third and fourth panels between the first panel and the second panel.
20. The mailing form of claim 19, wherein when the first perforation, the second perforation and the third perforation are torn, the fourth panel is exposed and may be extracted by tearing the fourth perforation.
21. The mailing form of claim 20, wherein a width of the fourth panel is less than a width of the third panel.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCED APPLICATIONS

This present U.S. patent application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/752,477, filed Jan. 6, 2004, which is a continuation in part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/557,492, filed Apr. 24, 2000, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,672,624, which is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/243,003, filed Feb. 2, 1999, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,173,888, which is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 08/480,161, filed Jun. 7, 1995, now U.S. Pat. No. 5,865,717, which is a divisional of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 08/240,869, filed May 10, 1994 now abandoned, and U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/557,492 is also a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/132,036, filed Aug. 11, 1998, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,155,476, which is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application 08/434,416, filed May 3, 1995, now U.S. Pat. No. 5,791,553. Also, this present U.S. patent application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/752,477, filed Jan. 6, 2004, which is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/864,753, filed May 24, 2001, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,481,754, which is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/488,067, filed Jan. 19, 2000, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,482,085, which is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/179,224 filed Oct. 27, 1998, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,095,919. The aforementioned U.S. patents and U.S. patent applications are herein incorporated by reference in their entirety.

PARTIAL WAIVER OF COPYRIGHT

All of the material in this patent application is subject to copyright protection under the copyright laws of the United States and of other countries. As of the first effective filing date of the present application, this material is protected as unpublished material. However, permission to copy this material is hereby granted to the extent that the copyright owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent documentation or patent disclosure, as it appears in the United States Patent and Trademark Office patent file or records, but otherwise reserves all copyright rights whatsoever.

1. Field of the Invention

This invention generally relates to the field of mailing forms and more specifically to mailing forms that, after information has been printed theron by a simplex, non-impact printer, can be folded into an outgoing mailer containing a printed document.

2. Description of the Related Art

As technology progresses, the business office is becoming more and more automated. Faxes, file servers, email, teleconferencing and cell phones have revolutionized the way firms do business. Mailers, in particular, have enjoyed increasing popularity. A mailer is a consumable paper product that allows for quick and easy printing and mailing of information. A mailer can include one or more inserts and a return envelope, which may be created by folding the original document. For example, mailers are used to send account statements, invoices, checks, and tax forms to customers and employees of a business. The commonly owned U.S. patents and U.S. patent application described above provide more information on mailers. A mailer allows a firm or business to print directly onto one product all of the information necessary for mailing to a customer, client or employee. This is advantageous as it eliminates the separate printing of the insert(s) and envelope. Mailers, however, do not come without their drawbacks.

One problem with the use of a mailer is producing the mailer. Mailers often require folding and sealing before sending out. Current folding/sealing machines are bulky and costly. Thus, businesses are forced to buy additional equipment, apart from software and printers, in order to produce a mailer. This is cost prohibitive for many businesses. Therefore, a need exists to provide a cost effective method of producing mailers for small and medium businesses.

Another problem with the production of mailers is that current mailers require duplex or multiple pass printers. This is disadvantageous, as the current installed base of printers substantially comprises simplex, or single pass, printers. It would be advantageous for mailers to support the current installed base of simplex printers, as it is cost effective for those recipients to continue using their current printers, as opposed to purchasing new printers. Therefore, a need exists for mailers that support simplex printers.

Furthermore, previously available mailers often must be processed through automatic folding/sealing machines to be used in a practical manner. Such automatic folding machines and other specialty equipment are often times too expensive for many small business organizations to afford. Additionally, recipients of the prior-available mailers usually do not read opening instructions printed on the exterior of the mailer. This resulted in frustration on the part of the recipient as well as damage or destruction of the contents of the mailer. This is especially problematic when the contents include a check.

Furthermore, none of these previous embodiments described above allowed for printing of PC postage on a simplex printer. Each PC postage indicia is unique and therefore cannot be pre-printed.

Therefore, a need exists to overcome the problems with the prior art as discussed above.

SUMMARY INVENTION

Briefly, in accordance with the present invention, disclosed is a mailing form for facilitating the mailing of a document. In an embodiment of the present invention, the mailing form includes a ply having a front face and a back face, wherein the ply includes at least a first panel, a second panel, and a third panel of substantially the same area, each panel separated by a fold line. The mailing form can also include at least a fourth panel of less width than the first, second and third panels. The mailing form further includes a variable printing area on the front side of the second, third, and fourth panels.

A third fold line between the third panel and the fourth panel allows the fourth panel to be folded so that the back face of the fourth panel contacts the back face of the third panel. The mailing form further includes a second fold line between the second panel and the third panel that allows the third panel to be folded so that the front face of the third panel contacts the front face of the second panel and a first fold line between the first panel and the second panel that allows the first panel to be folded so that the front face of the first panel contacts the front face of the fourth panel. The mailing form further includes adhesive that secures the mailing form in folded form.

In an embodiment of the present invention, the first fold line between the first panel and the second panel allows the first panel to be folded so that the front face of the first panel contacts the front face of the second panel. When the mailing form is folded along the first fold line so that the front face of the first panel contacts the front face of the second panel, information can be printed onto the back face of the first panel and the front face of the third, fourth, and fifth panels.

In yet another embodiment of the present invention, the mailing form further includes a first perforation along the top edge of the first panel, spanning the entire length of the first panel and a second perforation along the bottom edge of the second panel, spanning the entire length of the second panel. The mailing form further includes a third perforation along the top edge of the third panel, spanning the entire length of the third panel and a fourth perforation along the fourth fold line. When the mailing form is folded along the first fold line, folded along the second fold line, and folded along the third fold line such that the front face of the first panel contacts the front face of the fourth panel, the first perforation, the second perforation and the third perforation are substantially aligned.

In another embodiment, the present invention includes release-type coating disposed on the front face of the first panel and adhesive disposed on the release-type coating such that when the mailing form is folded along the first fold line so that the front face of the first panel contacts the front face of the second panel, the adhesive secures the mailing form in folded form, and wherein when the mailing form is unfolded along the first fold line, at least a portion of the adhesive is transferred to the front face of the second panel.

The features of the present invention are advantageous as all printed information is printed on one face of the mailer (when the mailer is in an initial folded form) and thus it allows the mailer to be printed in a typical sheet-fed non-impact printer. Additionally, certain embodiments allow the postage indicia and Facing Identification Mark to be printed within ⅛ of an inch of the top edge of an envelope, as required by the many postal services including the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) and other entities.

In another embodiment, the information printed on the mailer may be rotated 90°, 180°, 270° and more independent of the postage indicia

Further, the mailing form in the temporarily folded form has a given length and a given width which is usable with a vast majority of the non-impact, simplex printers available today including 8.5″×11″, legal (8″×14″), and A4 (210 mm×297 mm).

Another advantage of the present invention is that it results in at least one document being situated between outer layers of paper of the mailer. The documents are sealed along the edges by adhesives contacting receiving areas of the first panel and the second panel. This produces a robust envelope that carries the documents and is able to survive the rigors of mail processing by the various postal services including the USPS and other entities.

Another advantage of the present invention is that the mailer is easily printable by a standard non-impact printer. Printing of the mailer does not require the adjustment of the printer. This is beneficial to the consumer as it results in a more efficient printing process.

The foregoing and other features and advantages of the present invention will be apparent from the following more particular description of the preferred embodiments of the invention, as illustrated in the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The subject matter, which is regarded as the invention, is particularly pointed out and distinctly claimed in the claims at the conclusion of the specification. The foregoing and other features and also the advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

FIG. 1 shows a top view of the back face of a five-panel mailing form in one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 shows a top view of the front face of the mailing form of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 shows a top view of the back face of a five-panel mailing form including an invoice and letter, in one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is an illustration of adhesive and release-type coating deposits, in one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5 shows a side view of the mailing form of FIG. 1.

FIG. 6 shows a side view of the mailing form of FIG. 1 during the first step of the folding process.

FIG. 7 shows a side view of the mailing form of FIG. 1 during the second step of the folding process.

FIG. 8 shows a side view of the mailing form of FIG. 1 during the third step of the folding process.

FIG. 9 shows a side view of the mailing form of FIG. 1 during the fourth step of the folding process.

FIG. 10 shows an angled view of the back of the mailing form of FIG. 9 during the fourth step of the folding process.

FIG. 11 shows a top view of the mailing form of FIG. 1 in fully folded form.

FIG. 12 shows a top view of the mailing form of FIG. 1 in fully folded form, during the first step of the document extraction process.

FIG. 13 shows a top view of the mailing form of FIG. 1 in fully folded form, during the final step of the document extraction process.

FIG. 14 shows a top view of the back of a general four-panel mailing form, in one embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

It should be understood that these embodiments are only examples of the many advantageous uses of the innovative teachings herein. In general, statements made in the specification of the present application do not necessarily limit any of the various claimed inventions. Moreover, some statements may apply to some inventive features but not to others. In general, unless otherwise indicated, singular elements may be in the plural and vice versa with no loss of generality. In the drawing like numerals refer to like parts through several views.

The present invention solves the problems with the prior art by providing a mailer that (a) provides a combination outgoing mailer envelope and a document (b) is easily opened and allows for convenient extraction of the contents, (c) can be simplex printed to include all addressing, check information, and MICR encoding and electronic PC postage, including Information-Based Indicia (IBI) and FIM indicia and automatic positioning of same, in a single pass through the simplex printer, and (d) provides these in a mailing form which can be sealed by adhesive sealing means.

Overview of Mailer Construction

FIG. 1 shows a top view of the back face of a five-panel mailing form, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention. The mailing form includes a first panel 101, a second panel 102, and a third panel 103, all of substantially the same size. The mailing form of FIG. 1 also includes a fourth panel 104 and a fifth panel 105, both of substantially the same size and both of a smaller width and height than the first panel 101, the second panel 102, and the third panel 103.

As shown in FIG. 1, a fold line 111, 112, 113, and 114, each separates the panels 101-105. More specifically, the first panel 101 and the second panel 102 are separated by a fold line 111, the second panel 102 and the third panel 103 are separated by a fold line 112, the third panel 103 and the fourth panel 104 are separated by a fold line 113 and the fourth panel 104 and the fifth panel 105 are separated by a fold line 114.

FIG. 1 also shows a perforation 121 extending at least partially across the top edge of the first panel 101. In one embodiment of the present invention, the perforation 121 is interrupted by an optional semicircular die cut 130 which allows for holding of the first panel 101 at the die cut 130 by a user's thumb. A die cut is a continuous or substantially continuous cut of a ply or sheet of paper. Other similar die cuts or extensions have been shown to be used advantageously within the true scope and spirit of the present invention, as will be explained, to allow a user to open the mailer after the mailer has been sealed.

FIG. 1 further shows a perforation 122 extending across the bottom edge of the second panel 102. In one embodiment of the present invention, the perforation 122 is interrupted by an optional semicircular die cut 135 which, along die cut 130, allows for holding of the second panel 102 at the die cut 135 along with die cut 130, by a user's thumb during an opening process as explained in FIGS. 11-13 below. A perforation 123 is also shown extending across the top edge and the entire length of the third panel 103.

A perforation is a periodic series of small cuts or holes in a ply or sheet of paper. Various well-known form manufacturing processes can be used to form die cuts and perforations. In one embodiment, the fold lines 111, 112, 113 and 114 are perforations.

Note that the widths of the first panel 101, the second panel 102 and the third panel 103 are congruent. The width of the fourth panel 104 is narrower than the widths of the first through third panels 101-103. The width of the fifth panel 105 is congruent with the width of the fourth panel 104. Also shown in FIG. 1 is a perforation 134 extending inside the left edge of the first panel 101 from perforation 121 to the top of the second panel 102. A perforation 133 extending inside the left edge of the second panel 102 extends from the top of the second panel 102 to the perforation 122. A perforation 131 extends inside the left edge of the third panel 103 from perforation 123 to the bottom of the third panel 103. Note that perforations 131, 133, and 134 are collinear with the left edges of fourth panel 104 and fifth panel 105. Further shown is a perforation 132 extending inside the right edge of the third panel 103 from perforation 123 to the bottom of the third panel 103. Note that perforation 132 is collinear with the right edges of fourth panel 104 and fifth panel 105.

FIG. 2 shows a top view of the front face of the mailing form of FIG. 1. In FIG. 2, shown is a continuous line of adhesive 204 applied to the right and left inside edges and along the top inside edge of the first panel 101. Also shown is a release-type coating 202, such as silicon, applied in a recurring pattern to the right and left inside edges of the first 101 and second panels 102 and applied in a continuous line along the bottom inside edge of the second panel 102. Between the areas of release-type coating 202 are areas of paper 208.

FIG. 2 further shows an adhesive/release-type coating combination 206 on the right and left inside edges of the front face of the first panel 101. The adhesive/release-type coating combination 206 is created by the layer of adhesive 204 layered on top of each area of the release-type coating 202.

Note that the position of the release-type coating 202 mirrors the position of the adhesive/release-type coating combinations 206 on the first panel 101. This is described in more detail with reference to FIGS. 4 and 5 below. The release-type coating 202 and the adhesive 204 are positioned such that when the first panel 101 is folded along the fold line 111 so that the front face of the first panel 101 contacts the front face of the second panel 102. In this folded configuration, the adhesive 204 is laid on top of and substantially contacts, the areas of release-type coating 202 and the areas of exposed paper 208 between the areas of release-type coating 202. In folded form, the mailer is held secure by the adhesive 204 and the release-type coating 202.

As shown in FIG. 14, the mailer of the present invention does not necessarily have to include five panels, but can include any number of panels. The mailer of FIG. 14 shows a top view of the back of a general four-panel mailing form, in one embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 14 shows a first panel 101, a second panel 102, a third panel 103 and a fourth panel 104, all of substantially the same area. A fold line, 111, 112, 113 and 114, separates each panel respectively. The mailer of FIG. 14 includes perforations and dies cuts similar to those of the mailer of FIG. 1.

Mailer Being Printed in Temporary Folded Form on Back and Front Face

Referring now to FIG. 3, the mailer is shown in folded form, where the front face of the first panel 101 is folded against the front face of the second panel 102. In this configuration, the first and second panel combination 101/102, the third panel 103, the fourth panel 104, and the fifth panel 105 of the mailing form, or mailer, as shown in FIG. 3, comprise a ply, which is a rectangular sheet of paper having dimensions of a standard sheet of paper, e.g., 8.5×11 inches, 8.5×14 inches, A4 and more. It is important to note, that other paper dimensions have been shown to be used advantageously with the present invention. The ply is composed of any number of paper materials and composites that are used as paper substitutes. Either side of the ply can receive printed information when passed through a simplex non-impact printer.

The exposed panels of the mailer now present variable printing areas to a user. A user can print any combination of text and graphics as further described below on the panels to suit his/her specific needs. The adhesive, now sandwiched between the front face of the first panel 101 and the front face of the second panel 102, prevents the panels from shifting, wrinkling or bending while traveling through the printer.

The mailer as shown in FIG. 3 includes variable printed information 301 on the back face of the first panel 101. The variable information printed on first panel 201 can include, among other things, a sender's address, a recipient address, certified mail information, postage indicia, a FIM, and others. Note that the variable information printed on first panel 201 can be printed in a downwards-facing-or in an upwards facing orientation. The mailer further includes printing 303 on the front face of the third panel 103, printing 304 on the front face of the fourth panel 104, and printing 305 on the front face of the fifth panel 105. The printing can be one continuous document that spans multiple panels, or separate documents, each taking a single panel. Advantageously, the printed areas shown in FIG. 3 are all printing during a single pass through a non-impact printer. FIG. 3 also shows that the printing 303 on the front face of the third panel 103, printing 304 on the front face of the fourth panel 104, and printing 305 on the front face of the fifth panel 105 are positioned in such a way that a user may tear along perforations 132, 131 and 123 to release and retain it. In addition, the panels can be separated from each other by tearing along perforated fold lines 113 and 114.

In an embodiment of the present invention, postage indicia and FIM are printed on first panel 101 near fold line 111. Various postal services, including the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) and others, require that postage indicia and FIM be printed within ⅛ of an inch of the top edge of an envelope. The direction of printing in a sheet-feed printer is upwards. That is, a sheet enters the printer top-first and printing is performed from top to bottom. Typically, it is difficult, if not impossible, to program a sheet-fed printer to print data precisely near the top edge of paper, as the top edge is the first portion of the paper that is fed into the printer known as the gripper portion. If the postage indicia and FIM were located near the top of the first panel 101 (such as above the perforation 121 as shown in FIG. 1), it would be problematic to print the postage indicia and FIM within ⅛ of an inch of the top edge of the first panel 101. Thus, the postage indicia and FIM are printed near the horizontal fold line 111, which is away from the edge of the sheet of the first panel 101. Typically, it is possible to program a sheet-fed printer to print data precisely in areas away from the edges of the paper.

Note that the variable information printed on first panel 101 can be printed in a downwards-facing or in an upwards facing orientation. The foregoing features of the present invention are advantageous as it allows the mailer to be printed in a typical sheet-fed non-impact printer. Additionally, it allows the postage indicia and FIM to be printed within ⅛ of an inch of the top edge of the mailer, as required by the USPS.

Overview of Release-Type Coatings

FIG. 4 shows a magnified view of the release-type coating 202, adhesive 204, and the adhesive/release-type coating combination 206 of FIG. 2. FIG. 4 shows an adhesive/release-type coating combination 206 applied in a recurring pattern to a section of the first panel 101 that is to the left of the fold line 111. The adhesive/release-type coating combination 206 includes of a layer of adhesive 204 layered on top of an area of release-type coating 202. The adhesive/release-type coating combination 206 is placed in a repeated pattern on the paper 208, with a layer of adhesive 204 spanning between each combination 206. The areas of adhesive/release-type coating combination 206 are positioned such that when the adhesive/release-type coating combinations 206 on the left of the fold line 111 are folded along the fold line 111, the adhesive/release-type coating combinations 206 contact, and are laid on top of, exposed paper areas 208, between the areas of release-type coating 202, on the right of the fold line 111. The adhesive 252 contacts and bonds with, or sticks to, the paper areas 208 and creates a slight bond with the release-type coating areas 202.

When the first panel 101 is unfolded from the second panel 102, the release-type coating 202 of the first panel 101 is not able to adhere to the adhesive 204 of the adhesive/release-type coating combinations 206 as strongly as does the paper areas 208 between the release-type coating areas 202 on the second panel 102. Similarly, the release-type coating areas 202 of the second panel 102 are not able to adhere to the adhesive 204 attached to the areas of paper 208 on the first panel 101. Therefore, adhesive 204 separates from the areas of release-type coating 202 and remains on the paper areas 108 between the release-type coating areas 202 on the first 101 and second panels 102. The areas of release-type coating 202 of the adhesive/release-type coating combinations 206 remains on the panels. The result is that both sides have areas of adhesive 204 for bonding with the edges of the third panel 103 as will be described below.

It should be noted that other adhesive/release-type coating configurations are possible and are within the spirit and scope of the invention. As an initial configuration, everything on the front face of the panel 101 can be swapped or substituted with coatings on the front face of panel 102. In another embodiment, the front faces of the first panel 101 and second panel 102 can each be provided with two or more continuous adjacent lines of adhesive 204 and release-type coating 202. In another embodiment, the areas are arranged so that when the first panel 101 and the second panel 102 are folded together, the areas of adhesive 204 on the front face of the first panel 101 fall on top of only the areas of release-type coating 202 on the front face of the second panel 102. Similarly, the areas of release-type coating 202 on the front face of the first panel 102 fall on only the areas of adhesive 204 on the front face of the second panel 102. In this way the first and second panels can be unfolded, however, when the third panel 103 are permanently fixed in a sandwiched configuration between the first and second panels, the edges of the third panel 103 will be sandwiched between adhesive on both the first panel 101 and second panel 102, thereby creating a secure seal.

One of ordinary skill in the art will recognized that many other arrangements of adhesive/release-type coating combinations will work equally as well and are within the true spirit and scope of the present invention. It is important to note that the areas of adhesive and release-type coating do not have to be uniform and can be varied to adjust the amount of adhesion between the panels.

Folding the Mailer After Printing on a Simplex Printer

FIG. 5 shows a side view of the mailer as the first panel 101 is being unfolded from the second panel 102. The unfolding typically happens after the mailer has passed through a simplex, non-impact printer where portions of both the back face and the front face are printed with variable information as shown in FIG. 3. It should be noted that the mailer can also be run through the printer upside down, so that printing is placed on the back face of the second through fifth panels 102-105.

FIG. 5 shows that the first panel 101 is folded along the fold line 111 to overlap with the second panel 102. As has been explained above, and shown in FIG. 2, initially, the second panel 102 was not provided with adhesive 204. However, after the initial folding of the first panel 101 against the second panel 102, the adhesive 204 has transferred from the adhesive/release-type coating combinations 206 on the first panel 101 to the paper areas 208 between the release-type coating areas 202 on the second panel 102. Now the mailer includes adhesive on both the first panel 101 and the second panel 102. As will be explained in the following paragraphs, the outer edges of the third panel 103 will be placed between the first and second panels 101 and 102 during a subsequent folding stage. The outer edges of the third panel 103 will then be securely adhered to from both their front and back faces.

Referring now to FIGS. 6-9, a folding process for the present invention is shown. The folding process is to be followed after the mailer has been passed through a non-impact printer and variable printing has been printed on any of the mailer's available panels. In addition, before folding the mailer as illustrated in FIGS. 6-9, the first section 101 is separated from the second section 102, leaving adhesive 204 on both the first section 101 and the second section 102, as described above. The mailer is oriented in each of FIGS. 6-9 so that the front face (containing the adhesive) of the mailer is facing up and the back face is facing down.

The first step of the folding process is shown in FIG. 6. In the first step, the front face of the fifth panel 105 is folded against the front face of the fourth panel 104 by folding at fold line 114. In the second step, the back face of the fourth panel is folded against the back face of the third panel 103 by folding at fold line 113. The fourth panel 10 is now sandwiched between the third panel 103 and the fifth panel 105.

As can be seen in FIGS. 1, 2, and 3, the fourth 104 and fifth 105 panels are smaller in size than the first 101, second 102, and third 103 panels. The fourth 104 and fifth 105 panels, now folded against the third panel 103, fit within the perforations 131,132, and 123 of the third panel 103.

In the third folding step, the third panel 103 is folded at fold line 112 so that the front face of the third panel 103 meets the front face of the second panel 102. The outer edge of the third panel 103 makes contact with the adhesive-coated edges of the second panel 102, thereby adhering the right and left edges of the third panel 103 to the second panel 102. Because the second panel 102 and third panel 103 share fold line 112, the third panel 103 is now securely held on three of its sides. In the final step, shown in FIG. 9, the front face of the first panel 101 is folded against the back face of the fifth panel 105.

Referring now to FIG. 10, it can be seen that the perforations 122 and 123 and perforations 131 and 133 are substantially aligned. Also note that fold line 114 is substantially aligned with the fold line 112. Further note that the sides of the fourth panel 104 and the fifth panel 105 are substantially aligned with the perforations 131 and 132. Thus, the right panel of the illustration of FIG. 10 shows the back face of the fifth panel 105 and the outer edges of the back face of the third panel 103.

As a result, the adhesive 204 on the right 1002, left 1004, and upper 1006 edges of the first panel 101 will make contact with the right 1012, left 1014, and upper 1016 edges of the back face of the third panel 103 when the mailer is closed. The mailer is then securely sealed at all edges.

Opening the Mailer Once Sealed for Mailing

FIG. 11 shows a top view of the mailing form of FIG. 1 in fully folded form, wherein the mailing form is prepared for mailing. FIG. 11 also shows the result of the folding steps described in FIGS. 6-10. Note that in FIG. 11, the perforations 121, 122, and 123 and perforations 131, 133, and 134 are substantially aligned. FIG. 11 shows the back face of the first panel 101.

FIG. 12 shows a top view of the mailing form of FIG. 1 in fully folded form, during the first step of the document extraction process. FIG. 12 shows the tearing of the perforations 221, 222, 223, 131, 133, and 134, which are substantially aligned. Note that in the embodiment of the present invention, as shown in FIG. 12, the perforations 221, 222, and 223 do not meet the perforations 131, 133, and 134 at a right angle, but instead include a diagonal perforation section 1202. By including a diagonal perforation section 1202, when the tearing step is complete, the documents inside the mailer, i.e., the third through fifth panels 103-105 will be exposed at a corner 1204. Other methods of providing an opening for grasping the documents can be used without departing from the true spirit and scope of the present invention.

FIG. 13 shows a top view of the mailing form of FIG. 1 in fully folded form, during the final step of the document extraction process. In this step, a recipient pulls on the third through fifth panels 103-105, specifically on the corner area 1204 of those panels that are exposed. Upon pulling by the recipient, the third through fifth panels 203-205 are released as the perforation 132 is broken. This allows the recipient to extract the document.

Conclusion and Non-Limiting Examples

Although specific embodiments of the invention have been disclosed, those having ordinary skill in the art will understand that changes can be made to the specific embodiments without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. The scope of the invention is not to be restricted, therefore, to the specific embodiments. Furthermore, it is intended that the appended claims cover any and all such applications, modifications, and embodiments within the scope of the present invention.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7357423 *Dec 18, 2003Apr 15, 2008Laser Substrates, Inc.Multi-label mailing form including certified self-mailer
US7717329 *Apr 24, 2007May 18, 2010Bank Of America CorporationCheck carrier
US8272564Mar 18, 2010Sep 25, 2012Bank Of America CorporationCheck carrier
WO2013055299A2 *Oct 8, 2012Apr 18, 2013Ben Mahjoub SoufianAll-in-one stationery - envelope and writing paper
Classifications
U.S. Classification229/92.1
International ClassificationB41L1/22, B42D15/00, B42D15/08, B42D5/00
Cooperative ClassificationB42D15/08, B42D15/008, B42D5/00, B41L1/22
European ClassificationB42D5/00, B41L1/22, B42D15/00H2, B42D15/08
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Feb 15, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: LASER SUBSTRATES, INC., FLORIDA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:AUCHTER, GLEN A.;FABEL, WARREN M.;REEL/FRAME:016332/0063
Effective date: 20050215