CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The present application is a continuation-in-part of application Ser. No. 10/891,702, filed Jul. 14, 2004 which relates to applications Ser. Nos. 60/493,848, filed Aug. 8, 2003 and 60/529,210, filed Dec. 12, 2003. All of these applications are incorporated herein in their entirety for all useful purposes, and the full benefit of all of these prior applications is claimed.
The present invention relates to a cigarette mini-pack with an improved front panel, and more particularly to a cigarette mini-pack with a hinge lid where the front panel of the hinge lid does not include a fold back panel and instead comprises a single thickness of material.
- SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
For the most part cigarettes are sold in packs with twenty cigarettes in each pack. Many pack constructions comprise a cigarette box with a hinge lid that articulates along a horizontal hinge line between open and closed positions. The hinge lid of these pack constructions includes a front panel with a fold back panel on the inside thereof that imparts strength and stability to the hinge lid as it articulates between its open and closed positions. In many instances the blanks for forming these pack constructions are serially cut from a continuous roll of paperboard stock, and the fold back panel of the hinge lid adds to the overall length of each blank by the height of the fold back panel. In the flat condition the fold back panel extends along the lower edge of the front panel of the hinge lid.
In accordance with the present invention, a cigarette mini-pack comprises a box container and an integral hinge lid. Both the box container and hinge lid have a generally square cross section, and the hinge lid includes front, top and back panels with interconnecting side panels. The front panel of the hinge lid does not include a fold back panel and instead comprises a single thickness of material.
The box container of the cigarette mini-pack preferably is constructed and arranged to accommodate ten cigarettes, and one of the preferable cigarette collations is a 2-3-2-3 collation from side-to-side of the box container.
It is significant that a flat blank for the cigarette mini-packs comprises serially arranged segments for forming the box container and the integral hinge lid. Without the fold back panel for the front panel of the hinge lid, the blank includes an upper angled edge and lower angled edge that compliment one another. A single cut between adjacent blanks simultaneously forms the bottom edge of one blank and the top edge of the trailing blank. The upper angled edge extends along the front panel and opposite side panels of the hinge lid while the lower angled edge extends along the front panel and opposite side panels of the box container.
Moreover, the cigarette mini-packs of the present invention may be releaseably connected to one another for sale in pairs. Preferably, the overall dimensions of length, width and depth of each individual cigarette mini-pack is such that when paired, the resultant overall dimensions of the formed pack are compatible with the dimensional requirements of state tax stamp machines and the associated carton recasing equipment, as well as those of point-of-sale displays and display racks at retail. The pair of mini-packs are wrapped together and each pack may include ten cigarettes for a total of twenty cigarettes which is the minimum quantity allowed for sale in certain countries. This overall mini-pack construction allows the consumer to carry only ten cigarettes in one of the packs after the initial purchase of twenty cigarettes. The smaller mini-pack of ten cigarettes easily fits in small purses, pockets and the like.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The box has an inner frame and a bundle of ten foil wrapped cigarettes is placed within the inner frame.
Novel features and advantages of the present invention in addition to those mentioned above will be readily apparent to persons of ordinary skill in the art from a reading of the following detailed description in conjunction with the accompanying drawings wherein similar reference characters refer to similar parts and in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a cigarette mini-pack, according to the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a top plan view of a pair of cigarette mini-packs of FIG. 1 with the cigarettes in one of the packets in phantom outline;
FIG. 3 is a top plan view of a blank for forming the cigarette mini-pack shown in FIG. 1; and
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
FIG. 4 is a top plan view of serially arranged blanks for forming the cigarette mini-packs of the present invention.
Referring in more particularity to the drawings, FIG. 1 illustrates a cigarette mini-pack 10 comprising a box container 12 and an integral hinge lid 14 that articulates along a horizontal hinge line 16 between open and closed positions. Both the box container 12 and the hinge lid 14 have a generally square cross section. An inner frame 18 is positioned within the box container 12, and a foil wrapped bundle of cigarettes 20 is located within the inner frame. The cigarette mini-pack 10 is fabricated from paperboard and the like, as is well known in the industry.
The front panel of the hinge lid does not include a fold back panel and instead comprises a single thickness of material. The smaller size of the mini-pack 10 when compared to 20 count packs has a hinge lid with sufficient strength and stability without a fold back panel.
FIG. 2 illustrates a pair of mini-packs 10 as well as the cigarettes 20 in one of the packs. Normally cigarettes are sold in units of 20 cigarettes per unit, and FIG. 2 comprises a pair of cigarette mini-packs 10 with ten cigarettes in each pack. The packs are releasably connected to one another for sale in pairs. The pair of mini-packs 10 may be wrapped together, and each pack may include ten cigarettes for total of twenty cigarettes which is the minimum quantity allowed for sale in certain countries. This overall construction allows the consumer to carry only ten cigarettes in one of the mini-packs after the initial purchase of twenty cigarettes.
One of the mini-packs may be individually wrapped and then combined with a second pack both of which are then overwrapped with clear overwrap material. When initially opened the separate overwrapped mini-pack retains freshness until the pack is opened at a later time and the cigarettes are consumed. In the alternative, the mini-packs are not individually wrapped, but are combined with a single overwrap, so that when the single overwrap is removed, the separable mini-packs are without clear overwrap.
FIG. 2 also shows one of the preferred cigarette collations where cigarettes are arranged in a 2-3-2-3 collation from side-to-side of the mini-pack 10.
FIG. 3 shows a flat blank for forming a cigarette mini-pack 10. With respect to the hinge lid 14, the blank includes a back panel 24, top panel 26 and a front panel 28. Interconnecting side panels 30, 32 are provided on the left side of the hinge lid while interconnecting side panels 34, 36 are located on the right side of the hinge lid. A top flap 38 is located on the left while a top flap 40 is located on the right side.
The blank portions forming the box container 12 include back panel 42, bottom panel 44 and front panel 46. Side panels 48, 50 form the left side of the box container 12 while side panels 52, 54 form the right side. The box container 12 also includes a bottom flap 56 on the left side and a bottom flap 58 on the right side.
It is significant that the front panel 28 of the hinge lid 14 does not include a fold back panel or any other similar construction. Instead the front panel 28 comprises a single thickness of paperboard material. This has the advantage of reducing the overall length of blank 22 when compared to constructions where the front panel of the hinge lid includes a fold back panel. The blank is shortened by the height of the fold back panel when compared to such a construction.
Another advantage of the present invention is that the upper angled edge of the blank and the lower angled edge of the blank compliment one another. Accordingly, a single cut along line 60 between adjacent blanks 22, 22′ forms the lower angled edge of blank 22 and simultaneously forms the upper angled edge of trailing blank 22′. These features are shown in FIG. 4 where an interconnected column of blanks are illustrated. It is to be understood that a sheet of board material may include several columns or more of the blanks.
Also, without a fold back panel on the inside of the front panel 28 of the hinge lid 14, a smooth transition is provided between front panel 28 of the hinge lid 14 and front panel 46 on the box container 12. On constructions that include a fold back panel, the front panel of the hinge lid is slightly outwardly raised from the front panel of the box container by the thickness of the fold back panel. It has been found that the front panel has sufficient rigidity without a fold back panel, and its absence provides a better closing action and fit when the pack is closed.
Also, the cigarette mini-pack 10 may include beveled or rounded corners, if desired. Otherwise, the construction of such mini-packs is the same as described above.