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Publication numberUS20090288968 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 12/425,799
Publication dateNov 26, 2009
Priority dateApr 17, 2008
Publication number12425799, 425799, US 2009/0288968 A1, US 2009/288968 A1, US 20090288968 A1, US 20090288968A1, US 2009288968 A1, US 2009288968A1, US-A1-20090288968, US-A1-2009288968, US2009/0288968A1, US2009/288968A1, US20090288968 A1, US20090288968A1, US2009288968 A1, US2009288968A1
InventorsRobert M. Wynalda, Jr.
Original AssigneeWynalda Jr Robert M
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Merchandise container
US 20090288968 A1
Abstract
A merchandise container has a merchandise holder that includes an indicator feature that prevents access to the merchandise until the feature is altered. The merchandise may be loaded into the storage chamber of the container after the holder is assembled without altering the indicator feature. The merchandise may be carried by a carrier that may be removed from the holder and separately recycled.
Images(17)
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Claims(19)
1. A merchandise container comprising:
an outer sleeve;
a merchandise holder selectively movably carried by the outer sleeve between retracted and extended positions;
the holder defining a storage chamber and a loading opening;
the holder having a door that prevents access to the storage chamber while the door is connected to the holder; the door being movable between closed and open positions;
the loading opening allowing an item of merchandise to be loaded into the storage chamber behind the door while the door is in the closed position; and
the holder having a locking flange that closes the loading opening.
2. The container of claim 1, wherein the outer sleeve includes a locking flange; the locking flanges cooperating to prevent the holder from sliding completely out of the sleeve.
3. The container of claim 1, further comprising a carrier removably disposed in the storage chamber; the carrier being removable from the holder through the loading opening; and the carrier adapted to hold the item of merchandise.
4. The container of claim 1, wherein the door is completely removed from the holder when the door is in the open position.
5. The container of claim 1, wherein the holder includes a cover movable between open and closed positions; the closed position of the cover overlapping a portion of the door.
6. The container of claim 5, wherein the holder includes a hold-down projection that overlies the door.
7. The container of claim 6, wherein the cover moves about a hinge; the hold-down projection being connected to the cover at a location adjacent the hinge.
8. A method for loading an item of merchandise into a container; the method comprising the steps of:
providing a holder having a storage chamber, a loading opening providing access to the storage chamber, and a door that is removable from the holder to provide access to the storage chamber;
loading the item of merchandise into the storage chamber through the loading opening after the holder is formed and while the door is closed; and
closing the loading opening with a locking flange.
9. The method of claim 8, further comprising the step of inserting the holder into a sleeve having a locking flange that engages the locking flange of the holder to prevent the holder from being readily removed from the sleeve.
10. A merchandise storage container comprising:
an outer sleeve;
a merchandise holder selectively movably carried by the outer sleeve between retracted and extended positions;
the holder defining a storage chamber and a loading opening;
a carrier selectively removably disposed in the storage chamber; the carrier adapted to hold an item of merchandise;
the loading opening allowing the carrier to be loaded into the storage chamber; and
the holder having a locking flange that closes the loading opening.
11. The container of claim 10, wherein the outer sleeve includes a locking flange; the locking flanges cooperating to prevent the holder from sliding completely out of the sleeve.
12. The container of claim 10, wherein the carrier is plastic and the holder is formed from a paper-based material.
13. The container of claim 10, wherein the carrier includes a media disc hub.
14. The container of claim 13, wherein the holder includes a door that covers a portion of the carrier.
15. The container of claim 14, wherein the door defines a slot configured to accommodate the media disc hub.
16. The container of claim 14, wherein the door defines an opening configured to accommodate the media disc hub.
17. The container of claim 10, wherein the holder includes a selectively removably door that covers at least a portion of the carrier.
18. A method for loading an item of merchandise into a container; the method comprising the steps of:
providing a holder having a storage chamber, a loading opening providing access to the storage chamber, and a carrier that is removably disposed in the storage chamber;
loading the carrier into the storage chamber through the loading opening after the holder is formed; and
closing the loading opening with a locking flange.
19. The method of claim 18, further comprising the step of inserting the holder into a sleeve having a locking flange that engages the locking flange of the holder to prevent the holder from being readily removed from the sleeve.
Description
    CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • [0001]
    This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent applications Ser. No. 61/045,909 filed Apr. 17, 2008; Ser. No. 61/048,763 filed Apr. 29, 2008; Ser. No. 61/051,318 filed May 7, 2008; and Ser. No. 61/079,268 filed Jul. 9, 2008; the disclosures of all four provisional applications are incorporated herein by reference.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0002]
    1. Technical Field
  • [0003]
    The present invention relates generally to merchandise storage containers. One aspect of the invention generally relates to a storage container having a tamper-evident feature. Another aspect of the invention generally relates to a merchandise container having a merchandise carrier that may be removed and reused while allowing the remainder of the container to be recycled.
  • [0004]
    2. Background Information
  • [0005]
    Various merchandise storage containers are known in the art. Some of the most common storage containers for recorded media are injection molded, plastic book-like containers having a lid connected to a base with a hinge. These containers typically allow a printed promotional slip sheet to be connected to the lid, hinge, and base where one surface of the sheet is viewable by the user. The most popular types of these containers include some form of a media disc hub that engages the central opening of the media disc to secure the disc within the container. A wide variety of these hubs exist including passive and active pluck-off hubs and push button hubs. A variety of security locks are provided for these containers. Some security locks are integral to the container while other locks are independent of the containers. These locks prevent access to the items of recorded media until the locks are unlocked or destroyed.
  • [0006]
    Other types of storage containers are made from recyclable paper-based materials such as paperboard. One of these containers is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,845,865. This container has a media disc pocket that is kept closed by a door that must be broken away from the container in order to provide access to the disc pocket. One problem with this type of container is the difficulty in loading the disc into the pocket. Although most of these containers are made entirely from paperboard, some manufacturers have created containers that combined paperboard features with plastic features. One of these containers is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,816,394 wherein a plastic disc holder is carried by a paperboard body.
  • [0007]
    Those who manufacture and sell recorded media desire innovative packaging that attracts the consumer's attention while also providing space for printed information and the opportunity for consumer interaction with the packaging. These users also desire different container configurations in order to provide something new to catch the consumer's eye in a crowded market. These users also desire to provide a container that is recyclable. In some applications, users desire a container feature that immediately reveals if someone has accessed the merchandise in the container. Sellers also wish to know that a customer has not opened an item, used or copied the item, and is then returning the item. This problem occurs with recorded media such as music and software. Those who use containers wish to have a container feature that shows if the product in the container has been accessed.
  • [0008]
    Another problem in the industry is the waste generated by the return of unsold discs. Traditional plastic media disc containers could be reused because the graphics unique to the media disc were printed on a removable slip sheet. Most paperboard containers are printed with the graphics and thus cannot be reused with other discs.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0009]
    The invention provides a merchandise container having a merchandise holder that includes an indicator feature that prevents access to the merchandise until the feature is altered. The merchandise may be loaded into the storage chamber of the container after the holder is assembled without altering the indicator feature.
  • [0010]
    In one configuration, the invention provides a merchandise container having a holder that slides from a retracted position to an extended position with respect to an outer sleeve. The holder defines a storage chamber and a door that prevents access to the storage chamber while the door is connected to the holder. The door is configured to be easily opened but to provide a visual indication that the door has been opened at least once. The merchandise may be loaded into the storage chamber of the holder after the holder is completely assembled by slipping the merchandise through a loading opening defined between the front and rear panels of the holder. A lock flange on the holder blocks the loading opening when the holder is disposed within an outer sleeve. The lock flange also is used to limit the movement of the holder with respect to the outer sleeve.
  • [0011]
    The invention provides a method for loading an item of merchandise into a storage chamber of a holder. In one configuration, the method includes the steps of forming a holder having a storage chamber and a loading opening; loading the item of merchandise into the storage chamber through the loading opening after the holder is formed; and closing the loading opening with a locking flange. The item of merchandise may be loaded under this method after the adhesive has been used on the holder so there is little risk of contaminating the merchandise with adhesive. The method also allows the merchandise to be loaded at a location different from the manufacture of the holder.
  • [0012]
    In one configuration, the entire container is fabricated from a recyclable material. The material may be a paper-based material.
  • [0013]
    The invention also provides a merchandise holder with a hold down projection that helps to prevent the merchandise from falling out of the storage chamber while the container is in use. The hold down projection invention may be used in combination with the container configuration described in this application or with other containers.
  • [0014]
    In a different configuration, the invention provides a merchandise storage container that includes a merchandise carrier that is removable from the container and reusable. The carrier is slid into the storage chamber of a merchandise holder and held in place with a lock flange. The lock flange is also used to prevent the merchandise holder that defines the storage chamber from being completely removed from an outer sleeve.
  • [0015]
    In one configuration, the invention provides a paper-based merchandise holder that selectively receives a plastic merchandise carrier. The carrier is held in place within the holder without the use of adhesives so that it may be easily removed and reused.
  • [0016]
    In another configuration, the invention provides a plastic carrier having a media disc hub. The plastic carrier may be slid into a paper-based holder that allows access to a disc carried by the hub without the need to remove the carrier from the holder. A removable door may be provided to cover the disc until the user first accesses the disc. If the container is not used, the plastic carrier may be removed and reused with other holders with another media disc.
  • [0017]
    The invention also provides a method of using a merchandise storage container wherein the container includes a paper-based body and a plastic merchandise carrier. The method includes the steps of printing the paper-based body with information related to a first item of merchandise, forming the container, and loading the first item of merchandise into the container. The container is transferred to a location and placed on sale or given away. Excess or unwanted inventory is transferred to a location where the plastic carrier is removed from the paper-based body. The printed paper-based body is recycled and the plastic carrier is reused with a different product.
  • [0018]
    These configurations are provided individually and in combination with one another to form additional configurations. Examples of the invention are described below. The invention is defined by the claims.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0019]
    FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of a first configuration for a storage container in the closed configuration.
  • [0020]
    FIG. 2 is a front perspective view of the first configuration with the internal holder slid out to an extended position with its cover in the closed position.
  • [0021]
    FIG. 3 is a front perspective view of the first configuration with the internal holder slid out to an extended position with its cover in the open position to expose the door of the holder.
  • [0022]
    FIG. 4 is a view similar to FIG. 3 showing the door moved to an open configuration.
  • [0023]
    FIG. 5 is a view similar to FIG. 3 showing the disc removed from the storage chamber.
  • [0024]
    FIG. 6 is a front perspective view on an alternative configuration for the holder wherein the holder includes a hold-down projection.
  • [0025]
    FIG. 7 is a perspective view showing how an item of merchandise is loaded into the storage chamber of the holder after the holder is fully assembled.
  • [0026]
    FIG. 8 is another perspective view showing an item of merchandise being loaded into the storage chamber of the holder after the holder is fully assembled.
  • [0027]
    FIG. 9 is a perspective view of the locking flange used to close the loading opening after the item of merchandise is loaded into the storage chamber of the holder.
  • [0028]
    FIG. 10 is a view showing the outer sleeve in section with the locking flanges of the sleeve and holder engaged.
  • [0029]
    FIG. 11 is a layout view showing a blank for the holder of the first configuration.
  • [0030]
    FIG. 12 is a front perspective view of a second configuration for a merchandise storage container in the closed configuration.
  • [0031]
    FIG. 13 is a front perspective view of the second configuration with the internal holder slid out to an extended position with its cover in the closed position.
  • [0032]
    FIG. 14 is a front perspective view of the second configuration with the internal holder slid out to an extended position with its cover in the open position to expose the door of the holder.
  • [0033]
    FIG. 15 is a view similar to FIG. 14 showing the door moved to an open configuration.
  • [0034]
    FIG. 16 is a perspective view of the locking flange used to close the loading opening after the carrier is loaded into the storage chamber of the holder.
  • [0035]
    FIG. 17 is a view showing the outer sleeve in section with the locking flanges of the sleeve and holder engaged.
  • [0036]
    FIG. 18 is a perspective view showing an item of merchandise loaded on a carrier disposed in a holder without a door.
  • [0037]
    FIG. 19 is perspective view showing a carrier being loaded into the storage chamber of the holder after the holder is fully assembled.
  • [0038]
    FIG. 20 is a view of a blank used to form the holder.
  • [0039]
    FIG. 21 is a view of the blank with the inner panels folded down onto the upper and lower panels.
  • [0040]
    FIG. 22 is another view of a blank used to form the holder.
  • [0041]
    FIG. 23 is a view of an alternative holder with a slot that accommodates a disc hub.
  • [0042]
    FIG. 24 is a view of an alternative holder with an opening that accommodates a disc hub.
  • [0043]
    FIG. 25 is a top plan view of a blank that is used to form the holder of FIG. 23.
  • [0044]
    FIG. 26 is a top plan view of a blank that is used to form the holder of FIG. 24.
  • [0045]
    Similar numbers refer to similar, but not necessarily identical, parts throughout the specification.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • [0046]
    A first configuration of the media storage container is indicated generally by the numeral 2 in FIGS. 1-11. The first configuration of container 2 includes an outer sleeve 4 and an internal merchandise holder 6 that is selectively movable between retracted (FIG. 1) and extended (FIG. 2) positions. Merchandise holder 6 is configured to hold at least one item of merchandise 8 such as, for example, a gift card, batteries, medicine, a computer or camera memory card, or a media disc (such as a recorded or recordable disc, a DVD, a CD, a UMD, and the like). In the exemplary configuration of the invention shown in the drawings, holder 6 is configured to hold a media disc.
  • [0047]
    Outer sleeve 4 may define finger access cutouts 12 in its front and rear panels that allow the user to grasp and pull on internal holder 6. Sleeve 4 may be formed from a single blank that may be cut or punched from material stock, folded, and glued to form sleeve 4. Holder 6 also may be formed from a single blank such as the example depicted in FIG. 11. In the exemplary configuration, the entire container 2 is manufactured from a paper-based product such as a paperboard. When container 2 is to be discarded, the entire container may be recycled.
  • [0048]
    The user may pull holder 6 to the extended position of FIG. 2 and then pivot a cover 14 from a closed position (FIG. 2) to an open position (FIG. 3) to expose the door 16 that limits access to the storage chamber of holder 6. Door 16 is secured in a closed configuration and will provide visual evidence is someone has opened door 16 to access the storage chamber of holder 6. At least the bridges or ticks of material that keep door 16 in place will have to be broken to access the storage chamber. The broken material provides retailers and consumers using container 2 a visual indicator that someone has accessed the merchandise in the storage chamber. Retailers also desire mechanisms that at least slow a shoplifter's access to the merchandise carried by holder 6. Door 16 provides an added layer of protection against such shoplifting. As an alternative to or in addition to the bridges or ticks of material, door 16 may be held in place with an adhesive, a mechanical connector, or an interlocking arrangement of material. Door 16 may be completely removed when it is opened or folded back to an open position while remaining connected to holder 6.
  • [0049]
    FIGS. 9 and 10 depict the lock flanges 18 and 20 that interact to prevent internal holder 6 from being completely pulled from sleeve 4 during normal use. Flanges 18 and 20 are sized to stop holder 6 from being pulled out of sleeve 4 immediately after cover 14 is free of sleeve 4. As such, cover 14 has a width that is less than the width of holder 6 but wide enough to cover door 16 as shown in FIG. 2. Cutout 12 is partially defined by flange 18 to provide access to holder 6 as shown in FIG. 1. Lock flange 20 defines a central notch 22 that is in alignment with cutout 12 when holder is extended as shown in FIGS. 2-5. Notch 22 keeps lock flange 20 hidden when holder 6 is extended.
  • [0050]
    FIG. 11 shows the use of multiple panels to define the storage chamber of holder 6. The storage chamber is designed to receive merchandise 8 without pinching or binding. As such, the combined thicknesses of the first 30 and second 32 inner panels is thicker than the thickness of merchandise 8. Each inner panel 30 and 32 defines a portion of the storage container and a portion of a loading opening 34 (depicted in dashed lines in FIGS. 7 and 8). The portions function as one unit when panels 30 and 32 are folded against each other about fold line 36.
  • [0051]
    Upper holder panel 38 is folded about fold line 40 over the top of panel 32 to align door 16 with a portion of the storage chamber. Door 16 may be formed directly in panel 38 by not completely cutting or punching the profile of door 16 from panel 38. This leaves door 16 connected with a plurality of material bridges or material ticks that must be broken to completely remove door 16 from panel 38. In other configurations, door 16 may be connected to panel 38 with a living hinge that allows door 16 to remain connected to panel 38.
  • [0052]
    Upper holder panel 38 may define a notch 42 that exposes the central opening 44 of a media disc when door 16 is removed as shown in FIG. 4. Apper holder panel 38 and panels 30/32 may define finger access notches 43 that provide access to the edge of merchandise 8. Door 16 may include tabs 45 that partially fill notches 43 to protect the edge of a media disc.
  • [0053]
    Lower holder panel 46 is folded about fold line 48 under panel 30 to define the bottom of the storage chamber. Lower panel 46 may be embossed with concentric ridges 50 that may be used to help hold a media disc in place. Panels 30, 32, 38, and 46 may be secured together in the configuration of FIG. 9 with adhesive or mechanical connectors.
  • [0054]
    Cover 14 is defined by a pair of cover panels 52 and 54. Panel 54 is connected to the outer edge of lower holder panel 46 with a spine 56 and a pair of folds 58 that allows holder 6 to fill sleeve 4 when holder is retracted as shown in FIG. 1.
  • [0055]
    Locking flange 20 is connected to lower holder panel 46 with a spine 60 and a pair of folds 62 that allow flange 20 to fold up over the four panels 30, 32, 38, and 46 that define the storage chamber of holder 6. FIG. 11 shows that the location of the storage chamber is moved over to be essentially tangential to fold 48. This allows spine 60 to limit movement of a media disc within the storage chamber. In another configuration, the storage chamber may be moved toward folds 58 and loading opening 34 may be lengthened. In such a configuration, an embossed hub or shoulders may be used to secure the position of a media disc within the storage chamber to eliminate any undesirable movement of the media disc.
  • [0056]
    FIG. 6 depicts an alternative configuration wherein a hold-down projection 64 extends from cover 14. Projection 64 extends over the storage chamber after door 16 is removed to help hold merchandise 8 in place while holder 6 is being used.
  • [0057]
    In both configurations, upper holder panel 38 covers a portion of the storage chamber after door 16 has been removed. Panel 38 may cover over one third of the chamber and up to half of the chamber. This prevents merchandise 8 from readily falling out of holder 6 and allows holder 6 to be reused by the end user to store merchandise 8 after door 16 has been removed.
  • [0058]
    FIGS. 7-10 depict how holder 6 may be loaded with merchandise 8. Before merchandise 8 is loaded, holder 6 is folded from the blank shown in FIG. 11. The panels of holder 6 are adhered together or secured with fasteners before merchandise 8 is placed into the storage container. As described above, holder 6 defines a loading opening 34 that allows merchandise 8 to be loaded into the storage chamber after holder 6 is formed. Merchandise 8 may thus be loaded behind a closed door 16. This loading method protects merchandise 8 from the process of folding holder 6, protects merchandise 8 from the adhesives or fasteners used to assembly holder 6, and allows merchandise 8 to be loaded at a location separate from the location where holder 6 is fabricated.
  • [0059]
    FIGS. 7 and 8 depict merchandise 8 being slid into the storage chamber. FIG. 9 shows locking flange 20 being folded up to block loading opening 34. When in use within sleeve 4 as shown in FIG. 10, locking flange 20 remains folded up over loading opening 34 and thus prevents merchandise 8 from sliding out of loading opening 34. Loading opening 34 is this automatically and continuously closed by flange 20 while holder is in use. The use of flange 20 to close loading opening 34 obviates the need to close loading opening 34 with an adhesive or a fastener after merchandise 8 is loaded. The closure method also eliminates an additional step of sealing opening 34 after disc 34 is loaded.
  • [0060]
    A second configuration of the media storage container is indicated generally by the numeral 102 in the accompanying drawings. The second configuration of container 102 includes an outer sleeve 4 and an internal holder 106 that moves between retracted (FIG. 12) and extended (FIG. 13) positions. Media holder 106 is configured to hold at least one item of merchandise 8 such as, for example, a gift card, batteries, medicine, a computer or camera memory card, or a media disc (such as a recorded or recordable disc, a DVD, a CD, a UMD, and the like). In the exemplary configuration of the invention shown in the drawings, holder 106 is configured to hold a media disc.
  • [0061]
    Outer sleeve 4 may define finger access cutouts 12 in its front and rear panels that allow the user to grasp and pull on internal holder 106. Sleeve 4 may be formed from a single blank that may be cut or punched from material stock, folded, and glued to form sleeve 4. Holder 106 also may be formed from a single blank such as the example depicted in FIG. 20, 21, 22, 25, or 26. In the exemplary configuration, sleeve 4 and holder 106 are manufactured from a paper-based product such as a paperboard. When container 2 is to be discarded, sleeve 4 and holder 106 may be recycled.
  • [0062]
    The user may pull holder 106 to the extended position of FIG. 13 and then pivot an optional cover 14 from a closed position (FIG. 13) to an open position (FIG. 14). In one optional configuration, a door 16 controls access to the storage chamber of holder 106. Door 16 is secured in a closed configuration and will provide visual evidence if someone has opened door 16 to access the storage chamber of holder 106. At least the bridges or ticks of material that keep door 16 in place will have to be broken to access the storage chamber. Retailers and consumers of container 2 desire such a visual indicator. Retailers also desire mechanisms that at least slow a shoplifter's access to the merchandise carried by holder 106. Door 16 may be completely removed from holder 106 when door 16 is in the open position or door 16 may be folded back. In another configuration such as that depicted in FIG. 18, door 16 is not used and the merchandise carried by holder 106 is immediately exposed when holder 106 is slid out to the extended position.
  • [0063]
    FIGS. 16 and 17 depict the lock flanges 18 and 20 that interact to prevent internal holder 106 from being completely pulled from sleeve 4 during normal use. Flanges 18 and 20 are sized to stop holder 106 from being pulled out of sleeve 4 immediately after cover 14 is free of sleeve 4. As such, cover 14 has a width that is less than the width of holder 106 but wide enough to cover door 16 as shown in FIG. 13. Cutout 12 is partially defined by flange 18 to provide access to holder 106 as shown in FIG. 12. Lock flange 20 defines a central notch 22 that is in alignment with cutout 12 when holder 106 is extended as shown in FIGS. 14-15. Notch 22 keeps lock flange 20 hidden when holder 106 is extended.
  • [0064]
    In the configuration of FIG. 18, the media disc is carried by a disc hub 130 that projects from a merchandise carrier 132 disposed within a slot-shaped storage chamber of holder 106. Carrier 132 may be configured to hold different items of merchandise depending on the intended use of container 2. For example, carrier 132 may be configured to hold a gift card, a memory card, batteries, or medicine. In the exemplary configuration of FIG. 18, holder 106 does not cover any portion of the media disc—although a portion of the media disc remains inside sleeve 4 when holder 106 is extended. In other configurations, holder 106 may include an overlapping tab portion 134 that covers a portion of the storage chamber such as shown in FIG. 15.
  • [0065]
    Hub 30 may be integrally molded with carrier 132 from a plastic material. Carrier 132 is configured to be inserted into the storage chamber of holder 106 after holder 106 is formed. Carrier 132 may be removed from the storage chamber and reused. The exemplary configuration of holder 106 receives and holds carrier 132 in a manner that does not require adhesive to secure carrier 132 in place.
  • [0066]
    FIG. 19 depicts how carrier 132 is loaded into and out of holder 106. In this configuration, carrier 132 includes a thin base that is slides at least between upper 140 and lower 142 holder panels. Carrier 132 may be sized to abut first 144, second 146, third 148, and fourth 150 inner holder panels when carrier 132 is fully inserted within holder 106 to limit the movement of carrier 132 with respect to holder 106. Panels 140-150 define the slot-shaped storage chamber of holder 106 when panels 140-150 are folded together as shown in FIG. 19. Lock flange 20 is folded up to prevent carrier 132 from backing out of the storage chamber.
  • [0067]
    As shown in FIGS. 20, 21, 22, and 25 inner holder panels 144 and 146 are larger than inner panels 148 and 150 such that the upper and lower edges 151 of carrier 132 actually slide between inner panels 144, 146 and lower panel 142. In this configuration, the base of carrier may be slightly thinner than the thickness of inner panels 148, 150. When holder 106 is assembled, inner panels 144, 146 and panel 142 define a thin slot extension that receives the upper and low edge portions 151 of carrier 132. In another configuration, the base of carrier 132 is thicker than inner panels 148 and 150. When the base is thicker, carrier 132 is slightly pinched by panels 144-150 to help hold it in place. The base of carrier 132 may include a plurality of stiffening ribs to add rigidity to carrier 132. A further configuration is depicted in FIG. 26 wherein inner holder panels 144-150 are the same size.
  • [0068]
    In the exemplary configuration, optional openings or indentations 152 may be defined by inner panels 144 and 146. Openings 152 receive optional protruding fingers 154 on carrier 132 (see FIG. 19) to secure carrier 132 in place. Fingers 154 also may extend from the bottom of carrier 132 to be received in indentations defined by panel 142.
  • [0069]
    Each inner panel 144-150 defines a portion of the storage chamber and a portion of a loading opening 156.
  • [0070]
    FIGS. 20-22 and 25-26 show the use of multiple panels to define the storage chamber of holder 106. The storage chamber may be designed to receive carrier 132 without pinching or binding. Carrier may be configured with a low profile such that the upper surface of the media disc will be disposed even with or slightly below the upper surface of outer holder panel 140.
  • [0071]
    When door 16 is used, door 16 is formed integrally with panel 140. Door 16 may be formed directly in panel 140 by not completely cutting or punching the profile of door 16 from panel 140. This leaves door 16 connected with a plurality of material bridges or material nicks that must be broken to completely remove door 16 from panel 140. In other configurations, door 16 may be connected to panel 140 with a living hinge that allows door 16 to remain connected to panel 140. Door 16 may be configured to completely cover carrier 132 and hub 130. Door 16 and panel 140 also may be configured with a slot 158 (FIG. 23) or an opening 160 (FIG. 24) that are configured to accommodate a hub 130 that protrudes upwardly through door 16.
  • [0072]
    FIGS. 20 and 21 show the steps of folding inner panels 144-150 inwardly onto the inner surfaces of upper 140 and lower 142 holder panels. Upper holder panel 140, inner panel 144, and inner panel 146 are then folded about a fold line over the top of panels 142, 148, and 150 with adhesive joining panel 144 to panel 148 and panel 146 to panel 150.
  • [0073]
    Cover 14 is defined by a pair of cover panels 162 and 164. Panel 162 is connected to the outer edge of lower holder panel 142 with a spine 166 and a pair of folds 168 that allows holder 106 to fill sleeve 4 when holder is retracted as shown in FIG. 12.
  • [0074]
    Locking flange 20 is connected to lower holder panel 142 with a spine 170 and a pair of folds 172 that allow flange 20 to fold up over the four-thicknesses of holder 106 that define the storage chamber of holder 106.
  • [0075]
    FIG. 19 depicts how holder 106 may be loaded with an item of merchandise on carrier 132. In this example, the item of merchandise is a media disc and carrier 132 includes a media hub 130. Before the merchandise is loaded, holder 106 is folded from the blank shown in FIG. 20. The panels of holder 106 are adhered together or secured with fasteners before carrier 132 is placed into the storage chamber. As described above, holder 106 defines a loading opening 156 that allows carrier 132 to be loaded into the storage chamber after holder 106 is formed. Carrier 132 may thus be loaded behind a closed door 16. This loading method protects the merchandise and carrier 132 from the process of folding holder 106, protects merchandise and carrier 132 from the adhesives or fasteners used to assembly holder 106, and allows the merchandise and carrier 132 to be loaded at a location separate from the location where holder 106 is fabricated.
  • [0076]
    FIG. 19 depicts carrier 132 being slid into the storage chamber. FIG. 16 shows locking flange 20 folded up to block loading opening 156. When in use within sleeve 4 as shown in FIG. 17, locking flange 20 remains folded up over loading opening 156 and thus prevents carrier 132 from sliding out of loading opening 156. Loading opening 156 is this automatically and continuously closed by flange 20 while holder is in use. The use of flange 20 to close loading opening 156 obviates the need to close loading opening 156 with an adhesive or a fastener after carrier 132 is loaded. The closure method also eliminates an additional step of sealing opening 156 after carrier 132 is loaded.
  • [0077]
    Holder 106 secures carrier 132 without fasteners or adhesives so that one may easily remove carrier 132 and reuse carrier 132 while the remaining portions of container 102 are recycled. Typically, sleeve 4 and holder 106 will be custom printed with information related to the item of merchandise carried by carrier 132 within holder 106. Carrier 132, however, is almost completely hidden from view and can be a generic carrier reusable for different items of merchandise. When one wishes to remove carrier 132, holder 106 is removed from sleeve 4, flange 20 is folded open, and carrier 132 is slid out of holder 106. This allows carrier 132 to be reused with a different item of merchandise in a different holder 106 and sleeve 4 with different printing.
  • [0078]
    FIG. 15 depicts flaps 174 that extend from door 16 and project partially into the finger access areas. Flaps 174 ensure that the edge of the disc is fully covered when door 16 is closed.
  • [0079]
    In the foregoing description, certain terms have been used for brevity, clearness, and understanding. No unnecessary limitations are to be implied therefrom beyond the requirement of the prior art because such terms are used for descriptive purposes and are intended to be broadly construed.
  • [0080]
    Moreover, the description and illustration of the invention is an example and the invention is not limited to the exact details shown or described.
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Referenced by
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Classifications
U.S. Classification206/308.1
International ClassificationB65D85/57
Cooperative ClassificationG11B33/0422, G11B33/0444, G11B33/0494
European ClassificationG11B33/04D2B, G11B33/04D1B, G11B33/04D5