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Publication numberUS20080230410 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/726,713
Publication dateSep 25, 2008
Filing dateMar 22, 2007
Priority dateMar 22, 2007
Publication number11726713, 726713, US 2008/0230410 A1, US 2008/230410 A1, US 20080230410 A1, US 20080230410A1, US 2008230410 A1, US 2008230410A1, US-A1-20080230410, US-A1-2008230410, US2008/0230410A1, US2008/230410A1, US20080230410 A1, US20080230410A1, US2008230410 A1, US2008230410A1
InventorsWesley Steven Jones, Pankaj Patel
Original AssigneeWesley Steven Jones, Pankaj Patel
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Cigarette package
US 20080230410 A1
Abstract
A hard pack cigarette package includes an inner frame with fold-over tabs at the top of the inner frame shoulders that overlap an opposing flap in the hinged lid of the package. When the lid is opened or closed, the tabs and opposing flap disengage with an audible click sound. The force required to disengage the tabs and flap help to retain the lid in a secured closed position.
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Claims(22)
1. A hinged lid container comprising a body portion, an inner frame insert and a lid portion,
the body portion including a front wall, a rear wall, and a pair of side walls defining an interior of the body portion,
the lid portion including a top wall and front wall defining an interior of the lid portion, the lid front wall including a fold over flap adhered to an interior surface of the front wall and terminating with an edge separated from the top wall to define a tab-receiving gap exposing a portion of the front wall interior surface, the lid portion being hingedly connected to the body portion,
the inner frame insert comprising a front panel in the interior of the body portion and disposed substantially parallel to said body front wall, the front panel including a top left side with a hingedly connected left tab at the top left side and a top right side of the front panel with a right tab hingedly connect to the top right side, the tabs being outwardly folded over the front panel,
wherein when the lid portion is moving from an open position to a closed position, the fold over flap of the lid front wall and the tabs of the inner frame insert cooperate such that the flap slides along the tabs until the tabs are received in the tab-receiving gap with a terminal edge of the tab snapping against the exposed interior surface of the lid portion front wall to generate an audible sound.
2. The container of claim 1, wherein the lid portion further includes a par of side walls and the front panel of the inner frame insert further includes a left side friction tab and a right side friction tab each extending in a plane of the front panel to contact the corresponding side walls of the lid portion when the lid portion is in a closed position.
3. The container of claim 1, wherein the top left side and the top right side of the front panel of the inner frame insert is positioned proximate the top wall of the lid portion when the lid portion is in a closed position.
4. The container of claim 1, wherein the lid portion includes a back wall that is hingedly connected to the back wall of the body portion.
5. The container of claim 1, wherein the lid portion includes a back wall that is integrally formed with the back wall of the body portion, and a score line in the material comprising the integral back walls defines a hinged connection between the respective back walls.
6. The container of claim 5, wherein the score line comprises a perforated cut.
7. The container of claim 1, wherein a vertical length of the tabs extending from the top left side and the top right side of the front panel of the inner frame insert is less than a vertical length of the tab-receiving gap.
8. The container of claim 7, wherein the vertical length of the tabs is between 3 mm and 7 mm.
9. The container of claim 1, wherein the front panel of the inner frame insert includes a center portion extending to a first height and a left side shoulder and a right side shoulder on either side of the center portion extending to second height above the first height, the left tab being connected to a top portion of the left shoulder and the right tab being connected to a top portion of the right shoulder.
10. The container of claim 1, wherein the tabs are folded over to form an angle with a front exterior surface of the front panel such that when the lid is closed the lid portion front wall presses the tabs towards the inner insert frame front panel whereby the angle is less than 5 degrees, and when the lid is in a fully open position the tabs deflect away from the inner frame insert whereby the angle is between 20 degrees and 150 degrees.
11. The container of claim 10, wherein when the lid is in a fully opened position the angle is between 30 degrees and 120 degrees.
12. A container for receiving smoking articles, the container comprising a body, an inner frame insert in the body and a lid hingedly attached to the body, the lid including a top wall and a front wall terminating with a flap folded over and against an interior surface of the front wall, the inner frame insert including a front panel with a left shoulder and a right shoulder extending proximate to the front wall and terminating near a top of the lid, wherein the improvement comprises:
a tab depending outwardly down from the top of each of the right shoulder and the left shoulder forming an angle with the shoulders, the flap of the lid front wall and the tabs of the inner frame shoulders being sized and positioned in relation to each other such that when the lid is moved toward a closed position the flap and the tabs are in sliding contact with each other and the tabs slides off an end of the flap and against an interior surface of the lid front wall to generate an audible click to define a closed position of the lid.
13. The container of claim 12, wherein the tabs comprise paperboard and are integrally formed with the inner frame insert.
14. The container of claim 13, wherein a score line between the tabs and the shoulders define a hinged connection.
15. The container of claim 14, wherein the tabs have a horizontal width along the hinged connection of between 5 mm and 10 mm.
16. The container of claim 12, wherein the tabs are biased outwardly whereby an angle is of less than 180 degrees formed between the tab and the shoulder when the lid is in a fully open position.
17. The container of claim 16, wherein the angle is between 20 degrees and 150 degrees when the lid is in a fully open position.
18. The container of claim 12, wherein the tabs have a vertical length between 3 mm and 7 mm.
19. The container of claim 18, wherein the flap on the lid front wall terminates a distance from the lid top wall, the distance being greater than the vertical length of the tabs.
20. The container of claim 12, wherein the flap on the lid front wall has a terminal edge positioned below a terminal edge of tabs when the lid is in a closed position.
21. The container of claim 20, wherein the terminal edge of the flap is proximate to the terminal edge of the tabs whereby, when the lid is moved from a closed position to an open position, the terminal edge of the flap engages the terminal edge of the tabs and rotates the tab away from the inner frame insert front panel until the lid rotates to a position where the terminal edge of the flap disengages from the terminal edge of the tabs.
22. The container of claim 11, wherein the flap on the lid front wall is adhered to the front wall and the tabs are not adhered to the front panel of the inner frame insert.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to tobacco products, such as smoking articles, and in particular, to packages suitable for containing tobacco products.

Popular smoking articles, such as cigarettes, conventionally have been sold in packages. Typically, each full package contains about 20 cigarettes. Cigarettes have been packaged in containers known as so-called “soft packs.” See, for example, U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,695,422 to Tripodi; 4,717,017 to Sprinkel, Jr., et al.; and 5,333,729 to Wolfe; which are incorporated herein by reference. Cigarettes also have been packaged in containers known as so-called “hard packs” or “crush proof boxes.” See, for example, U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,874,581 to Fox et al.; 3,944,066 to Niepmann; and 4,852,734 to Allen et al.; which are incorporated herein by reference.

Various modifications have been proposed to the so-called “hard pack” cigarette package designs to enhance the consumer acceptance of the package. For example, it has been disclosed to incorporate a flap or tab on or near the lid of the pack to assist in keeping the lid in a closed position and/or to provide an audible “click” to indicate that the lid is closed, such as has been disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,948,038 to Moeller; 6,105,856 to Kakiuchi; 6,334,532 to Tambo et al.; and 6,889,827 to Stringfield; each of which is incorporated herein by reference. Each of these patents discloses packages with flaps or tabs positioned in the center of the front wall of the lid and the body. See also, the packaging for cigarettes distributed in Europe under the brand name “Marlboro Wides” by Philip Morris Products S.A., Neuchatel, Switzerland, which has a side-opening lid with a tab on the lid and a corresponding receiving slot in the center of a side wall of the body.

It would be highly desirable to provide an aesthetically pleasing cigarette package having with more effective or reliable means to provide an audible click indicative of retaining the lid in a closed position.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to containers for smoking articles, such as cigarettes. A representative hard pack cigarette container includes a body with an inner frame insert in the top opening of the body. The insert includes a front wall with a low cut center portion between two shoulders that extend higher at the sides of the body. The low cut center portion allows greater access to cigarettes in the package. The top of each shoulder includes a tab that depends outwardly from the top of the shoulder. A lid is hingedly connected to the rear of the opening. A front wall of the lid closes over the front wall of the inner frame insert. The bottom of the front wall of the lid includes a flap folded back into the inner portion of the lid. The flap of the lid front wall and the tabs of the inner frame shoulders are sized and positioned in relation to each other such that the flap and the tab slip past each other and overlap with an audible click when the lid is moved to a closed position, and causes the tabs and the flap to engage until moved past a point of release with an audible click when the lid is moved to an open position.

In another embodiment, a representative cigarette container for receiving smoking articles includes a body, an inner frame insert in the body and a lid hingedly attached to the body, the lid including a top wall and a front wall terminating with a flap folded over and against an interior surface of the front wall, the inner frame insert including a front panel with a left shoulder and a right shoulder extending proximate to the front wall and terminating near a top of the lid. The improvement of such a container includes a tab depending outwardly from the top of each of the left shoulder and the right shoulder forming an angle with the shoulders, the flap of the lid front wall and the tabs of the inner frame shoulders being sized and positioned in relation to each other such that when the lid is moved toward a closed position the flap and the tabs are in sliding contact with each other and the tabs slides off an end of the flap and against an interior surface of the lid front wall to generate an audible click to define a closed position of the lid. Other features and advantages of preferred embodiments will be evident from the following figures and detailed description.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of a representative assembled cigarette package according to the invention that is configured in an open position.

FIG. 2 is a front elevation view of the cigarette package of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a front elevation view of another embodiment of a representative assembled cigarette package according to the invention that is configured in an open position.

FIG. 4 is a representative top plan view of a blank cut-out of a representative inner frame insert shown in FIG. 2.

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view of the top of the cigarette package of FIG. 3 with the lid in a closed position.

FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view of the top of the cigarette package of FIG. 3 with the lid in a partially open position.

FIG. 7 is a front plan view of yet another embodiment of a representative assembled cigarette package having an alternative closure tab.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring to FIG. 1, there is shown a front perspective view of various components of an assembled container 10 that is representative of one embodiment of the present invention. That representative container 10 possesses an outer body portion 20, a lid portion 40 and an inner frame insert 60. The outer body portion 20 comprises a front wall 22, a back wall 24, a left side wall 26 connecting the back wall to the front wall, and a right side wall 28 also connecting the back wall to the front wall. The four side walls of the body preferably join to form a rectangular cross-section defining the interior of the container. The body portion includes a top opening 30. The lid 40 includes a front wall 42, a back wall 44, a left side wall 46 and a right side wall 48. The lid side walls 46 and 48 connect the lid front wall 42 and lid back wall 44 to define a rectangular cross-section of similar shape and dimensions as that of the cross-section of the body portion 20. The front wall 42 of the lid includes an extended inner front lid flap 50 that is folded over into the interior of the lid and preferably adhesively glued against the interior surface 56 of the front wall 42 of the lid. Preferably, the inner front wall flap 50 terminates at an edge 52 that is separated from the top wall 54 of the lid. The space between the edge 52 of the front wall flap 50 and the top wall 54 may be referred to as a tab-receiving gap 58 which exposes a portion of the interior surface 56 of the front wall 42. The lid 40 is hingedly connected to the body portion 20, preferably by the lid back wall 44 being hingedly connected to the body back wall 24. Preferably, the lid 40 is integrally formed with the body 20 and the hinged connection between the lid and the body is formed by a crease or score in the material forming the body back wall 24 and lid back wall 44. The outer body 20 and lid 40 may be formed of a hard cardstock material or a paperboard material and have a similar size shape and dimension as a conventional so-called “hard pack” cigarette container, well known to those skilled in the art. In a preferred embodiment, as is known in the art, suitable adhesive is applied to the face of each tab or glue flap that contacts the inner face of the opposite wall portion to provide construction of the lid and the body portion.

The inner frame insert 60 of the assembled container 10 includes a left side wall 62, a right side wall 64 and a front wall 66 connecting the left side and right side walls. The front wall 66 includes a low height center portion 68, a right shoulder 70 and a left shoulder 72. The low height center portion provides for exposure of the wrapping material (not shown) to allow removal of the wrapping material and easier removal of the smoking articles (not shown), such as cigarettes, contained in the wrapping material in the interior of the container. The right and left shoulders extend to a height above the low height center portion 68 of the front wall 66. The inner frame insert 60 is positioned inside the top opening 30 of the body. The inner frame insert 60 is adhered to the interior portion of the body in a position such that the top of the right and left shoulders 70 and 72 extend above the body top opening 30 and are at a height just below the top wall 54 of the lid when the lid 40 is in a closed position. In a preferred embodiment, suitable adhesive applied to a portion of the walls of the inner frame insert 60 that contacts the inner face of the walls of the body portion 20 acts to secure the insert. The inner frame insert 60 further includes a right friction tab or ear 74 and a left friction tab or ear 76 extending outwardly in the plane of the front wall past each of the right side and left side walls. The friction tabs or ears provide a frictional contact between the inner frame insert and the lid 40 to assist in retaining the lid in a closed position against the inner frame insert 60 and body portion 20, as is conventionally known in the art. The right and left shoulders 70 and 72 further include a folded over tab 80 and 82 outwardly extending from the top of the shoulders away from the interior of the container. Preferably the tabs are not adhered to the exterior surface of the front wall of the inner frame insert, such that the tabs are free to rotate about a hinged connection with the shoulders. Preferably, the tabs are hingedly connected at the top of the shoulder of the front wall by a creased score 90 and 92, as shown in FIG. 4, in the material comprising the inner frame insert. More preferably the hinged connection is of a resilient nature such that the tabs resiliently deflect or are biased outwardly away from the front wall. Preferably, the biased angle of deflection is greater than 10 degrees and less than 180 degrees. More preferably, the angle deflection is greater than 20 degrees and the less than 150 degrees. Even more preferably, the angle of deflection is more than 30 degrees and less than 120 degrees. Most preferably, the angle of deflection is an acute angle. The closer the hinged connection is to the top wall of the lid, the larger the angle may be. Preferably, the hinged connection of the tab to the shoulders is sufficiently resilient to maintain this range of angle of deflection after repeated bending of the tab back and forth and away from the front wall of the inner frame insert during repeated opening and closing of the lid. Alternatively, the container may include a spring element (not shown) between the tab and the inner frame insert front wall to outwardly bias the tabs.

During operation, when the lid 40 is in a closed position each of the tabs 80 and 82 preferably slide into position in the tab-receiving gap 56 against the interior surface 58 of the lid front wall 42. When a user closes the lid 40, the tabs 80 and 82 slide across the interface of the front wall flap 50. When the lid moves to a near closed position, the tabs slide off the edge of the front wall flap 50 into the tab-receiving gap 58 and snap against the interior surface 56 of the front wall with an audible click that may be heard by the user. This audible click is a sensory feedback to the user indicating that the lid is in a fully closed position. In addition to the feedback of the audible click, the action of the tab snapping against the front wall of the lid also provides a tactile sensory feedback to the user holding the container 10 indicating that the lid is in a fully closed position.

The lid 40 most preferably is integrally connected to the body portion 20 so it may be movable in an open and closed position without physical separation from the outer body portion. Alternatively, for an embodiment not shown, the hinged connection can be provided as separate tabs, each of which can be adhered or otherwise secured or attached to appropriate inner surfaces of the upper outer lid portion and outer body portion; or as separate ring-type spiral-type connectors that extend through perforations located in corresponding regions of the lower back wall of the lid and the upper back wall of the body portion. The lid most preferably is adapted to cooperate with the body portion, and hence, act to cover the top region of the body portion (e.g., the lid can fit over the top region of the body portion, and can be maintained in place, such as by friction fit between the outer face of the inner frame insert and the inner face of the side walls of the lid, such as in the manner described above), and hence, provide the container 10 in a closed configuration. The top lid 40 most preferably is movable relative to body portion 20, in order to provide a container that is in an opened position or closed configuration.

Referring to FIG. 2, there is shown a front perspective view of various components of an assembled container 10 as shown in FIG. 1. In this embodiment, the lid 40 is shown in an open position. The inner frame insert 60 is assembled in position in the outer interior of the outer body portion 20. The front wall 66 of the inner frame insert has a low-cut center portion 68 and two shoulders 70 and 72 on the right side and left side of the front wall on either side of the low-cut center portion 68. The right and left tabs 80 and 82 extend outwardly from the top of the right and left shoulder 70 and 72, respectively. The right and left ears 74 and 76 extend outwardly from the front wall of the inner frame insert 60 just a small amount to provide a fictional contact with the lid 40 as the lid closes. In this embodiment, the low-cut center portion of the inner frame insert 68 includes a relatively low-cut height to define to define a low and relatively wide opening in the front wall 66 of the inner frame insert 60 to provide large and easy access to the wrapping material and smoking articles (not shown) positioned in the interior of the assembled container 10. Suitable representative wrapping materials are foil-type materials (e.g., laminated metal foil/paper inner-liner materials). See, for example, US Pat. Pub. No. 2006/0168909 to Miyaoka et al., which is incorporated herein by reference. In addition, the opening in the front wall 66 of the inner frame insert may optionally be adjusted in size to allow for greater or less exposure of wrapping material to facilitate removal of the wrapping material and the smoking articles contained in the packet while still retaining sufficiently sized tabs at the top of the shoulders. With the wider opening of the inner frame insert, the shoulders 70 and 72 and their respective tabs 80 and 82 are relatively narrow. Preferably, the vertical length of the tabs 80 and 82 are sufficiently small to fit within the tab-receiving gap 56 in the lid.

Referring to FIG. 3, there is shown a front perspective view of another embodiment of an assembled container 10. Like the prior embodiment, this embodiment includes an outer body portion 20, a lid 40 and an inner frame insert 60. However, relative to the embodiment shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the inner frame insert 60 of this embodiment includes a center portion 68 of the front wall 66 that is relatively higher and provides a narrower opening 86 in the front wall of the inner frame insert relative to the wider larger opening 84 as shown in the embodiment of FIG. 2. Correspondingly, the right and left shoulders 70 and 72 of the embodiment of FIG. 3 are relatively wider. Likewise, the respective tabs 80 and 82 at the top of the shoulders are also wider. However, the vertical length of tabs 80 and 82 are preferably sized to fit within the respective tab-receiving gap 58 shown in the lid 40. It is believed that the wider shoulders 70 and 72 of this embodiment, along with the wider tabs 80 and 82, provide a much stiffer resistance to deflection, thus creating a tighter closure of the lid against the inner frame insert. When the embodiments are manufactured from similar materials, such as a paperboard type of material conventionally used for so-called “hard pack” cigarettes, it is believed that greater amount of force is required to open the lid of the embodiment shown in FIG. 3 compared to the embodiment shown in FIG. 2, due to the resistance from wider tabs. The container 10 after being constructed and filled with smoking articles may be overwrapped with polypropylene film, or other suitable overwrap material, such as a type conventionally used for overwrapping cigarette packages; and further equipped with tear tape to assist in the removal of that overwrap material for use.

Referring to FIG. 4, there is shown a representative blank cut-out of an inner frame insert 60 similar to the inner frame insert depicted in FIG. 3. This is preferably manufactured from a paperboard type of material. The solid lines indicate the cut edges of the blank and the dotted lines represent the depressed or scored portions of the blank with cut-through perforations. The blank includes a left side wall 62 and a right side wall 64 on either side of the front wall 66. Score lines 94 and 96 along with the cut-out friction tabs 74 and 76 separate the side walls from the front wall line. The low height center portion 68 of the front wall 66 define the center opening 86 of the inner frame insert as well as the right and left shoulders 70 and 72 respectively. Score lines 90 and 92 separate the shoulder tabs 80 and 82 from their respective shoulders. The inner frame insert blank may be designed to be cut from a continuous strip of rolling paperboard material such that the opening 86 defines the edge of the complimentary extension 100 that matches the outline of the opening and respective tabs 80 and 82.

The vertical length or height 98 of a representative tab 80 is preferably at least 2 millimeters in height. Preferably, the height 98 is less than 8 millimeters. More preferably, the height of the tab is at least 4 millimeters and less than 7 millimeters. Even more preferably, the height of the tab is between 5 millimeters and 6 millimeters. Most preferably, the height of the tab is 5.5 millimeters. It has been found that with this embodiment, if the height 98 of the tab is less than 2 millimeters, then the force of deflection of the tab when the lid closes is insufficient to provide a sufficiently loud, audible click. In contrast, when the height of the tab is more than 8 millimeters, it has been found that the shoulders and lid require too much deflection to allow the tab to flex and release the lid to allow it to open without damage to the container elements.

The width of the tabs may vary. Preferably, the terminal edge of the tab should have a width of at least 4 mm to generate a sufficiently loud audible click. The proximal edge of the tab along the hinge should be at least as wide to have a hinge with sufficient strength to prevent the tabs from being torn or distorted during operation. Preferably the width of the terminal edge of the tabs is less than 12 mm to be able to have a sufficiently wide low height center portion of the front panel to define a large enough accessible opening to remove cigarettes easily from the container. More preferably, the tab has a width at least 5 mm and less than 12 mm. Even more preferably, the width of the tabs is about 7 mm. Preferably, the tab hinges are formed by the score lines 90 and 92 are perforated to provide a crisply folded hinge that retains the tabs 80 and 82 in a biased position forming an angle with the front panel 66 of less than 180 degrees, preferably, less than 150 degrees, and more preferably less than 120 degrees when the lid is open. Preferably, the tabs forms an acute angle less than 90 degrees as described above.

Referring to FIG. 5, there is shown a cross-sectional view of an assembled container 10 in a closed position along the line 5-5 of FIG. 3. The lid 40 is shown in a closed position with the back wall 44 of the lid in line with the plane of the back wall 24 of the body portion 20. The front wall 42 of the lid 40 is shown in line with the plane of the front wall 22 of the body. The front wall 42 of the lid has a fold over flap 50 proximate the front wall 66 of the inner frame insert. The top of the shoulder 70 extends up near the top wall 54 of the lid. The closer the top of the shoulder to the lid, the less clearance there is for the tab to properly operate, and hence a correspondingly shorter tab should be used. The tab 80 extending outwardly from the shoulder 70 is folded over against the outer surface of the shoulder and in contact against the inner surface 56 of the front wall 42. The tab 80 is shown to be of a vertical length that is less than the vertical length of the tab-receiving gap 58 such that the tab 80 does not overlap with the lid front wall fold over flap 50. The side panels 62 and 64 of the inner frame insert (see FIG. 4), are preferably a sufficient width to fit between and in contact with both the body front wall 22 and the body back wall 24. The width of the side panels may be reduced slightly to allow the shoulders more flexibility to deflect rearwardly more when the lid is opened which presses the tabs and shoulders toward the back of the package. Hence, longer vertical length tabs may be preferably used with inner frame inserts having side panels with a slightly shorter width.

Referring now to FIG. 6, there shown a cross-sectional view along the line 5-5 of the assembled container 10 of FIG. 5 with the lid in a partially open position at the moment of release or disengagement between the tab 80 and the fold over flap 50. In this embodiment, the front wall 66 of the inner frame insert is adhered against the front wall 22 of the body portion. The back wall 44 of the lid is hingedly connected to back wall 24 of the body.

When the lid 40 is rotated from a fully closed to an open position, the top wall 54 of the lid moves up and away from the top of the shoulder 70 of the inner frame insert. The front wall 42 of the lid slides along the top of the shoulder and then lifts away. The folded over flap 50 of the front wall moves upward and slightly outwardly as the lid is rotated open. The terminal edge 51 of the front wall flap 50 is shown engaging or catching the terminal edge 81 of the tab 80. The force of the lid rotating open with edge 51 of the front wall flap 50 against the edge 81 of the tab forces the shoulder 70 slightly inwardly and correspondingly deflects the front wall 42 of the lid outwardly. The components must deflect apart inwardly and outwardly a sufficient distance equal to the height of the tab 80 such that the end 81 of the tab disengages from the edge 51 of the front wall flap 50 to allow the lid to continue moving in an opening direction. At the point where the tab edge 81 and front wall edge disengage, an audible snap or click may be discerned by the user in addition to a tactile sensory click of the components disengaging and the parts deflecting back to an original unstressed position.

When moving the lid in the opposite direction from a open position to a closed position, the terminal edge 81 of the tab 80 slides along the interior face 53 of the fold over flap 50 until the point of release as shown in FIG. 6. At the point of release, the terminal edge 81 of the tab slides past the terminal edge 51 of the front wall flap 50. The terminal edge 81 of the tab snaps against the interior surface 56 of the lid front wall 42 with sufficient force to create an audible click in a tactile sensory feedback for a user holding the container tent. Optionally, the lid may be constructed such that during use of an assembled container, a portion of the top wall of the lid can be removed, and hence, the package can be employed in the general manner set forth in U.S. Pat. No. 5,139,140 to Burrows et al., which is incorporated by reference herein.

Referring now to FIG. 7, a front perspective view of an alternative embodiment of an assembled container is shown. This embodiment includes some similar functionality as the embodiments described in FIGS. 1-6, yet is implemented in a substantially different way. The assembled container for a smoking article 110 includes an outer body portion 120 with a lid 140 hingedly connected to the rear of the body portion. An inner frame insert 160 is adhered to the interior surface of the body portion 120. The lid 140 includes a fold over flap 150 that is integrally formed with the front wall 142 of the lid with a scored deformation of the material from which it is manufactured, such as a typical paperboard material, forming a hinged connection. The fold over flap 150 is preferably free to rotate and not adhered to the front wall 142. The fold over flap 150 is preferably resiliently biased to form an angle less than 150 degrees, and more preferably an acute angle between 10 degrees and 80 degrees with the front wall 142 of the lid. The terminal edge of the fold over flap 151 is preferably an arcuate shape. The inner frame insert 160 includes a front wall having a cut-out slot 180. The cut-out slot includes a top edge 181. When the lid 140 is moved to a closed position the terminal edge 151 of the lid front wall fold over flap 150 slides down along the front wall of the inner frame insert. As the terminal edge 151 passes by the top edge 181 of the slot 180 the fold over flap 150 snaps into the slot 180 with an audible click and a tactile sensory feedback for a user holding the container. Preferably, the slot 180 is positioned within the front wall of the inner frame inserts such that when the lid is in a closed position the terminal edge 151 of the lid front wall flap 150 is tucked inside the tab and is positioned against the top edge 181 of the slot. Thereby one of ordinary skill in the art may conceive of alternative shapes of the fold over flap 150 that provides similar functionality as the embodiment depicted in FIG. 7.

Components of the container can be constructed from materials of the type traditionally used for cigarette packaging manufacture. For example, the container can be constructed form resilient, durable paperboard-type material (e.g., low density solid bleached sulfate paperboard). Typically, the thickness of the paperboard-type material is in the range of about 0.010 inch to about 0.015 inch. Preferably, the thickness of paperboard-type material that is used to construct the outer body and lid portions of the container is about 0.011 inch to about 0.014 inch, preferably about 0.012 inch. Preferably, the thickness of paperboard-type material that is used to construct the inner frame insert portion of the container is the same as the body and lid portions. The thicker paperboard material provides a container with a firmer feel.

The adhesive material used to assemble the various components of the container can vary. Preferred adhesives are water-based polyvinylacetate-type adhesives. Adhesive materials useful for assembling paperboard cigarette packages will be apparent to those skilled in the art of cigarette package design and assembly.

The maximum height of each container can vary. The height of each container typically is dependent upon factors such as the lengths of the cigarettes that are contained therein. Generally, the height of each container is within the range of about 70 mm to about 130 mm. For example, for a container designed to contain 20 cigarettes, each about 99 mm in length, a representative container can have a height of about 100 mm to about 103 mm. Alternatively, for example, for a container designed to contain 20 cigarettes, each about 84 mm in length, a representative container can have a height of about 85 mm to about 89 mm.

A representative assembled container has a maximum height of about 87 mm, a width of about 67 mm, a maximum depth of about 33 mm, and a minimum depth of about 23 mm. The outer body container and the top outer lid portion each are constructed from paperboard having a thickness of about 0.012 inch. The inner frame insert is constructed from paperboard having a thickness of about 0.012 inch. A typical cigarette is about 84 mm in length and about 24.5 mm in circumference. The containers are generally rectangular in cross-sectional shape, and generally rectangular box shape in overall appearance of dimensions to contain two rows of ten cigarettes in each row, though the dimensions may vary depending on the desired number of cigarettes to be packaged in the container. Thus, such an assembled container has a height slightly greater than the smoking articles container therein, and the width of the container is preferably greater than its depth. However, the container may be constructed to resemble other nonrectangular shapes. Although the preferred container possesses vertically extending walls that extend in a virtually truly vertical direction, those vertically extending walls can be adapted so as to extend generally vertically, and hence, provide a container that can be considered to be somewhat frusto-pyramidal in shape (e.g., the side walls can extend slightly outward from top to bottom, or the side wall can extend slightly inward from top to bottom), or form other geometric shapes.

Overwrap materials can be used in association with the types of containers set forth herein. Suitable overwrap materials include polypropylene films, such as films characterized as “cellophane-type films” that traditionally have been employed for wrapping packaged cigarettes. See, also, the types of overwrap materials that are set forth in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,139,140 to Burrows et al.; and 5,542,529 to Hein, III et al., each of which is incorporated herein by reference.

The outer wrapping material assembly can be equipped with tear tape. See, for example, U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,717,017 to Sprinkel, Jr. et al.; 4,836,378 to Lephardt; 5,192,262 to Amendola et al.; 5,595,803 to May et al.; and 7,118,792 to Hewitt et al.; each of which is incorporated herein by reference. Representative types of tear tape materials suitable for use in association with other cigarette packaging materials are available from sources such as Arlin Mfg. Co., Inc. and P. P. Payne Limited.

The assembled container can be used in a variety of ways. In use, outer wrapping materials (e.g., clear, colorless polypropylene film) are removed from the assembled outer container, and those outer wrapping materials are discarded. The top lid is moved to an open position to expose the relevant wrapping materials (e.g., an optional overwrap material, and the preferred piece of embossed paper/foil laminate that overlies the ends of the cigarettes) that cover the cigarettes contained in that packet.

Although the preferred container and associated components are constructed from paperboard-types of materials, the container and other certain other associated components can be constructed from a variety of other materials. For example, those components can be constructed from composite materials, laminated materials, or the like. Alternatively, those components can be molded from plastic materials, fashioned from metal, or the like.

It is therefore intended that the foregoing detailed description be regarded as illustrative rather than limiting, and it should be understood that the following claims, including all equivalents, are intended to define the spirit and scope of this invention.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8118161Aug 20, 2009Feb 21, 2012R.J. Reynolds Tobacco CompanyPressurized cigarette packages and methods
US20130341219 *Jan 31, 2012Dec 26, 2013British American Tobacco (Investments) LimitedPackage for smoking articles
EP2423128A1 *Aug 27, 2010Feb 29, 2012Reemtsma Cigarettenfabriken GmbHPackage for tobacco
EP2594507A1 *Nov 21, 2011May 22, 2013Philip Morris Products S.A.Container with hinged lid formed of a single laminar blank
EP2765086A1 *Feb 11, 2013Aug 13, 2014Reemtsma Cigarettenfabriken GmbHPackage for tobacco related articles
WO2009135837A1 *May 5, 2009Nov 12, 2009British American Tobacco (Investments) LimitedSmoking article pack and associated blank
WO2011022248A1Aug 10, 2010Feb 24, 2011R.J. Reynolds Tobacco CompanyPressurized cigarette package and method of producing it
WO2011060623A1 *Nov 23, 2010May 26, 2011Alere Switzerland GmbhDevice for detecting analyte in sample
WO2012025194A1 *Aug 8, 2011Mar 1, 2012Reemtsma Cigarettenfabriken GmbhPackage for tobacco
WO2012082907A1 *Dec 14, 2011Jun 21, 2012Altria Client Services Inc.Hinged lid packaging
WO2012120273A1 *Feb 22, 2012Sep 13, 2012British American Tobacco (Investments) LimitedA package for smoking articles
WO2013076012A1 *Nov 15, 2012May 30, 2013Philip Morris Products S.A.Container with hinged lid formed of a single laminar blank
Classifications
U.S. Classification206/268
International ClassificationB65D85/10
Cooperative ClassificationB65D2203/12, B65D85/1045, B65D5/6691, B65D5/4291
European ClassificationB65D5/66E6, B65D85/10G4, B65D5/42K
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
May 17, 2007ASAssignment
Owner name: R.J. REYNOLDS TOBACCO COMPANY, NORTH CAROLINA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:JONES, WESLEY STEVEN;PATEL, PANKAJ;REEL/FRAME:019310/0293
Effective date: 20070508