|Publication number||US20050252955 A1|
|Application number||US 10/846,678|
|Publication date||Nov 17, 2005|
|Filing date||May 17, 2004|
|Priority date||May 17, 2004|
|Also published as||CA2507466A1|
|Publication number||10846678, 846678, US 2005/0252955 A1, US 2005/252955 A1, US 20050252955 A1, US 20050252955A1, US 2005252955 A1, US 2005252955A1, US-A1-20050252955, US-A1-2005252955, US2005/0252955A1, US2005/252955A1, US20050252955 A1, US20050252955A1, US2005252955 A1, US2005252955A1|
|Inventors||Kiyoshi Sugai, Kenji Abe|
|Original Assignee||Kiyoshi Sugai, Kenji Abe|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (16), Referenced by (16), Classifications (17)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to mailers and envelopes, and particularly to single-sheet mailers that may serve both as a billing statement and a built-in reply envelope.
2. Description of the Related Art
Single-sheet mailers are popular with businesses because they offer companies a convenient means of transmitting statements to customers. Mailers include both one-way mailers and mailers with built in pre-addressed envelopes, which have been developed for the situations where the customer needs to respond back or send back a check to the original business concern.
It is desirable to produce mailers that comprise a single sheet of paper, thereby making the production and printing of the mailer simple and economical. While such mailers have been for the most part successful, most varieties have suffered from the requirement of two-sided printing or the necessity of having a window opening or transparent patch exposing the mailing address. Furthermore, transparent patches such as those composed of cellophane, glassine, and polystyrene render the mailer non-recyclable, and entertain possible registration issues with the addressee indicia disposed on the underlying panel.
Single-sheet mailers without addressee area cutouts or transparent window areas are well represented in the art. A subset of these devices are shown in U.S. Patent Publication No. 2002/0125306, published in September 2002; U.S. Patent Publication No. 2002/0008135, published in January 2002; U.S. Pat. No. 4,669,652, issued to S. Seguin in January 1987; and U.S. Pat. No. 6,027,014, issued to W. Cochran in February 2000.
Mailers with windowed addressee areas composed of cellophane or other transparent material are described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,224,647, issued to J. Yanow in July 1993, which discloses an envelope having top, middle, and bottom portions, where the bottom portion has side flaps, a bottom flap and a window. Folding the single sheet into thirds and sealing the side and bottom flaps of the bottom portion seals the mailer. The window is located on the front panel as a means to show the addressee information therethrough.
Similarly, U.S. Pat. No. 5,687,904, issued to R. Potter in November 1997, discloses a single-sheet envelope that is folded over in several portions and is sealed by side flaps and a top flap, where the preprinted address shows through a window. Additional mailers with see-through windows are disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,271,554, issued to D. Sauerwine in December 1993; U.S. Pat. No. 5,598,970, issued in February 1997 to Mudry et al.; and U.S. Pat. No. 6,129,389, issued to Z. Younger, issued in October 2000. All of the above devices require a window cutout or a transparent patch attached to the surface of the paper.
Open or covered windows may be used for addresses and address block barcodes. In order for the U.S. Postal Service high-speed barcode sorters (BCS) to function, the material for covered windows must be clear or transparent and securely attached on all edges. Typically, cellophane, glassine, and polystyrene have been used successfully.
None of the above inventions and patents, taken either singly or in combination, is seen to describe the instant invention as claimed. Thus, a recyclable single-sheet mailer solving the aforementioned problems is desired.
The recyclable single-sheet mailer of the present invention is a single sheet of predominantly opaque paper stock having a front face, a rear face, first and second opposite end edges, and a plurality of transverse fold lines formed perpendicular to the parallel longitudinal edges, dividing the sheet into a plurality of panels configurable as either a one-way mailer or as a mailer with a business or courtesy reply envelope. Transparent addressee and return address window areas are defined in one or more panels, permitting the underlying addressee information to be viewable from outside of the envelope.
The present invention has been designed to simplify the manufacturing process of single-sheet mailers. One means by which this is accomplished is by having all printed indicia applied to the rear face of the mailer. Furthermore, the transparent window areas are neither cutouts nor transparent patches attached to the face of the mailer. Composed of paper stock that forms the opaque portion of the mailer, the window areas have been made transparent by the application of a chemical agent, thereby providing a seamless transition between the opaque portion of the envelope and the transparent window portion. The transparent windows have sufficient clarity that Postal Service automated equipment may properly process the mailer.
The Postal Service uses two basic types of automated equipment to process letter-size mail: a multiline optical character reader (MLOCR) which scans the address block on each letter-size mailpiece to determine the ZIP+4 code, and the delivery point information and a barcode sorter (BCS) to read POSTNET (POSTal Numeric Encoding Technique) barcodes on letter-size pieces and sort the mail accordingly. Towards this end, the single-sheet mailer incorporates POSTNET barcodes disposed on both the one-way mailer and the return envelope of the two-way mailer.
Furthermore, a two-dimensional barcode containing addressee specific account information may be printed on the reply envelope to facilitate handling when returned to the sender.
Finally, window viewable indicia, including addressee information and bar-coded POSTNET data. may, as an alternative to being printed on an underlying panel, be printed in mirror image on the rear surface of the transparent window area to improve reliability when scanned by U.S. Postal service BCS equipment.
This and other features of the present invention will become readily apparent upon further review of the following specification and drawings.
Similar reference characters denote corresponding features consistently throughout the attached drawings.
The present invention is a recyclable single-sheet mailer having four embodiments generally described in the drawings as 100, 200, 300, and 400. All four embodiments are similar, being comprised of a single opaque sheet of recyclable paper stock having a plurality of panels folded in a specific pattern to create either a one-way mailer 100, 200 or a two-way mailer 300, 400. Furthermore, all embodiments are similar in having transparent window areas 104, 106 formed in a panel for displaying the addressee and sender address disposed on an underlying panel. Unlike transparent patches used by other mailers, the mailers of the present invention are formed using a chemical process by which the opaque paper is made transparent in order to form the transparent windows 104, 106.
In order that all address and barcode information be readable through the window, the United States Postal Service requires that the material for covered windows must be securely attached on all edges and satisfy the following minimum reflectance and contract guidelines: (1) A print contrast ratio (PCR) equal to or more than 40 percent in the red and green portions of the optical spectrum is necessary for an MLOCR to recognize address information; and (2) A print reflectance difference (PRD) equal to or more than 30 percent in the red and the green portions of the optical spectrum is necessary for a BCS to recognize POSTNET barcodes.
Cellophane, glassine, and polystyrene have been used successfully to form the window. Postal Service requirements for window coverings and barcode indicia are known to those skilled in the art and are published by the Postal Service.
The present invention uses a chemical process disclosed in Japanese Patent No. 2002-327,397, published in November 2002, to make the addressee and return address portions of the envelope transparent. A translated abstract of the aforementioned Japanese patent is included by reference in this application and is described below.
The mailer sheet of the present invention is composed of paper stock that is normally opaque because of a substantial amount of air retained in the fiber of the paper. The air imbedded within the fibers reflects and diffuses light, resulting in the opaque appearance common to an unbleached sheet of paper. However, once the chemical agent disclosed in the '397 is applied to, and penetrates the fiber, the air imbedded within the fibers is absorbed by the solution making the paper transparent.
The chemical agent used in the present invention, as described in the above-referenced Abstract, has the general formula R1O(AO)nR2, wherein R1 and R2 are hydrogen, a C1-C22 hydrocarbon, or an acyl group and A is a C2-C4 alkylene, and has a melting point greater than or equal to 40° C. or is a reaction product of a polyisocyanate with a compound of the above formula in which R1 and R2 are hydrogen. The chemical agent is in solid form at room temperature and must be heated to attain liquid state. The process by which the addressee area 104 and the return address area 106 is made transparent comprises the steps of (1) heating the paper to the material's melting temperature; (2) stamping a sponge like material absorbed with the solution stamps onto the paper; (3) maintaining the stamp against the paper until the chemical agent in solid form melts and the liquefied agent thoroughly penetrates the paper's fibers; and (4) removing the heat source and stamp, thereby allowing the paper to dry and the solution to cool down and retake it's solid state.
Facing Identification Mark (FIM) disposed on the front face of Business Reply Mail (BRM) and Courtesy Reply Mail (CRM) permits computerized cancellation equipment to align, postmark, and direct the mailpiece properly, and is incorporated into the design of the two-way single-sheet mailer.
The U.S. Post Office uses a barcode sorter (BCS) to read POSTNET (POSTal Numeric Encoding Technique) barcodes on letter-size pieces and sort the mail accordingly. Among other requirements, the barcode must always be printed within 4 inches of the bottom edge of the piece, either as part of the address block or within the barcode clear zone in the lower right corner.
In order to ensure successful automated processing, the transparent window and the placement of the address information are designed so that the entire address and postal barcode appear in the window area during any movement of the panels. POSTNET barcodes printed as part of the address block of the addressee, as well as on the return envelope portion, must maintain the minimum clearances as specified by the U.S. Post Office.
Referring to the first embodiment of the present invention,
The mailer 100 is comprised of four panels 116, 118, 120, 122 having front faces as shown in
Referring again to
The mailer 100 is provided with a pair of perforated or weakened tear strips 112 defined on the left and right sides of the mailer 100 to facilitate opening by the addressee. Tear strips 112 are commonly formed by means of a line of perforations 148 along the tear line. Opening instructions 126, intended for the addressee, are provided on the front face of the second panel 118.
In addition to the fold line 146 for the sealable flap 110, fold lines 128, 130, and 132 are provided between the first and second panels 116, 118, the second and third panels 118, 120, and the third and fourth panels 120, 122, respectively. Cutouts or notches 114 are defined in the edges of the fourth panel 122 and serve to present underlying adhesive areas 150 to the overlying panel 120, as shown in
Still referring to
As shown in
Referring now to
When received by the initial addressee, the addressee tears off the perforated edges 112 and peels off inside flap 110′ as shown in
The fourth and final embodiment, shown in
It is to be understood that the present invention is not limited to the embodiments described above, but encompasses any and all embodiments within the scope of the following claims.
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|U.S. Classification||229/92.3, 229/304, 229/306|
|International Classification||B65D27/06, B65D27/14, B65D27/00, B65D27/04, B42D5/02, B42D15/08|
|Cooperative Classification||B42D5/026, B42D15/08, B65D27/06, B65D27/04|
|European Classification||B42D5/02C2B, B65D27/06, B42D15/08, B65D27/04|