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Title:
PACKAGING SYSTEM
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/173503
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A packaging system, including: a container defining an enclosed space, the container having an opening through which one or more items can pass into the enclosed space; at least two apertures arranged at predetermined locations about the opening; a sealing label having a main panel and a tongue extending from the main panel, the tongue being adapted to pass through the two apertures; wherein a first portion of the main panel is adapted to adhere to at least a portion of the tongue which has passed through the two apertures and a second portion of the main panel is adapted to adhere to an outer surface of the container, thereby to close the opening.

Inventors:
GRIFFIN, James (23A Dress Circle Drive, Lennox Head, New South Wales 2478, 2478, AU)
Application Number:
AU2017/050308
Publication Date:
October 12, 2017
Filing Date:
April 07, 2017
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
J&K TOTES PTY LTD (23A Dress Circle Drive, Lennox Head, New South Wales 2478, 2478, AU)
International Classes:
B65D27/28; B65D27/30
Domestic Patent References:
WO2011116416A12011-09-29
Foreign References:
GB232415A1925-04-23
US5382528A1995-01-17
US1787925A1931-01-06
US6497063B12002-12-24
US2866591A1958-12-30
FR535463A1922-04-15
GB233392A1925-05-12
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SHELSTON IP PTY LTD (Level 21, 60 Margaret StreetSydney, New South Wales 2000, 2000, AU)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims:

1 . A packaging system, including:

a container for receiving one or more items, the container having an opening through which the one or more items can pass into the container;

at least two apertures arranged at predetermined locations about the opening;

a sealing label having a main panel and a tongue extending from the main panel, the tongue being adapted to pass through the two apertures;

wherein a first portion of the main panel is adapted to adhere to at least a portion of the tongue which has passed through the two apertures and a second portion of the main panel is adapted to adhere to an outer surface of the container, thereby to close the opening.

2. A packaging system according to claim 1 , wherein the container includes a releasably securable closure element for closing the opening, the closure element being configured for movement between an open position in which items can be freely placed into or removed from the enclosed space of the container, and a closed position to inhibit removal of items from the container.

3. A packaging system according to claim 2, wherein the closure element extends around the periphery of the opening.

4. A packaging system according to claim 2 or claim 3, wherein the closure member is a fastener with one or more of zips, loop-and-hook type fasteners, snap fit elements, interference fit elements, protrusion and aperture fasteners, magnets, clips, ties for releasably securing the closure element in the closed position.

5. A packaging system according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the main panel and the tongue of the sealing label are separated by a fold line, thereby to provide an overlap when the main panel is folded over the fold line such that the first portion overlies at least a portion of the tongue and the second portion overlies at least a portion of the outer surface of the container.

6. A packaging system according to claim 5, wherein the fold line is a line of weakness, thereby to facilitate removal of the sealing label following delivery of the packaging system.

7. A packaging system according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the main panel of the sealing label is a different shape to a shape of the tongue.

8. A packaging system according to 7, wherein the tongue has one or more cut-outs such that a portion of the main panel can adhere to the outer surface of the container through the cut-outs in the tongue.

9. A packaging system according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein a longitudinal axis of the main panel extends substantially orthogonally to a longitudinal axis of the tongue.

10. A packaging system according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the main panel and tongue are configured such that the sealing label is generally T-shaped.

1 1 . A packaging system according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein a length of the tongue is greater than a height of the main panel, thereby to allow a distal end of the tongue to protrude from underneath the main panel when the main panel is folded about the fold line.

12. A packaging system according to 1 1 , wherein the distal end of the tongue provides a release tab to facilitate release of the sealing label by a recipient of the packaging system.

13. A packaging system according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the side edges of the tongue are arranged inwardly from the side edges of the main panel such that a portion of the lower edge of the main panel is exposed, wherein the exposed lower edge portion of the main panel can engage the container, thereby to align the sealing label relative to the apertures.

14. A packaging system according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein a guide means extends from the side edges of the main panel, thereby to facilitate alignment of the sealing label relative to the apertures.

15. A packaging system according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the main panel has an adhesive applied to at least a portion of a first face of the main panel, thereby to enable the main panel to adhere to the tongue and the outer surface of the container.

16. A packaging system according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the sealing label acts as a tamper evident seal when in its closed position.

17. A packaging system according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein a selectively removable backing sheet is positioned over the first face of the main panel to cover the adhesive, thereby to protect the adhesive against debris.

18. A packaging system according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the adhesive is adapted to provide a substantially permanent seal between the first portion of the main panel and the portion of the tongue to which the first portion of the main panel adheres.

19. A packaging system according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the adhesive is adapted to provide a removable seal between the second portion of the main panel and the outer surface of the container to which the second portion of the main panel adheres.

20. A packaging system according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein adhesive and a backing sheet is applied to the tongue, whereby upon removal of the backing sheet the tongue can adhere to the main panel.

21 . A packaging system according to any one of claims 1 to 19, wherein adhesive and a backing sheet is applied to both the main panel and the tongue.

22. A packaging system according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein two or more sealing labels are formed from a single sheet of material, wherein a backing sheet overlies the face sheet, thereby to cover the two or more labels such that each label is selectively removable from the backing sheet for use.

23. A packaging system according to claim 22, wherein a line of weakness extends between each label on the sheet so that the endmost label can be separated from the other label.

24. A packaging system according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the sealing label includes a tamper evident element adapted to provide a visual indication that an attempt has been made to remove the sealing label from the container in use.

25. A packaging system according to claim 24, wherein the tamper evident element is associated with the main panel.

26. A packaging system according to claim 24 or claim 25, wherein the tamper evidence seal includes a centrally located cut line formed in the main panel, the cut line providing an area of weakness to ensure that the main panel is damaged when an attempt is made to remove the label which has been applied to the container.

27. A packaging system according to claim 26, wherein the centrally located cut line is generally v-shaped.

28. A packaging system according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein a second side of the main panel is adapted to receive printed indicia for carrying delivery information.

29. A packaging system according to claim 28, wherein the printed indicia includes one or more of: contact details, barcodes, QR codes, delivery instructions, usage guidelines, and advertising.

30. A packaging system according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the sealing label incorporate a second tongue extending from the main panel, thereby to facilitate return or on-forwarding of the container with the same sealing label.

31 . A packaging system according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the main panel of the sealing label is formed from a double sheet of material so as to form an envelope.

32. A packaging system according to any one of the preceding claims, including an identification tag, thereby to provide tracking information about the packaging system.

33. A packaging system according to claim 32, wherein the identification tag is releasably mounted to the sealing label or container, thereby to enable reuse of the identification tag for returning or on-forwarding of the container.

34. A packaging system according to claim 32 or claim 33, wherein the identification tag is adapted for communication with an electronic reading device.

35. A packaging system according to any one of claims 32 to 34, wherein the electronic reading device is adapted for communication with a database, thereby to transfer data between the packaging system and the database to manage a delivery.

36. A packaging system according to any one of claims 32 to 35, wherein the identification tag is selected from the group including: RFID chip, NfC chip, magnetic strip, barcode, and QR code.

37. A sealing label for a container, the sealing label including:

a main panel; and

a tongue extending from the main panel, the tongue being adapted to pass through two apertures formed about an opening of the container;

wherein a first portion of the main panel is adapted to adhere to at least a portion of the tongue which has passed through the two apertures and a second portion of the main panel is adapted to adhere to an outer surface of the container, thereby to close the opening.

38. A packaging system, including:

a container defining an enclosed space, the container having an opening through which one or more items can pass into the enclosed space; at least two apertures arranged at predetermined locations about the opening;

a sealing label adapted to be inserted through the two apertures to close the opening, the sealing label including guide means for engaging an outer surface position of the container, thereby to facilitate alignment of the sealing label relative to the apertures.

39. A sealing label for a container, the sealing label including:

a main panel; and

a tongue extending from the main panel, the tongue being adapted to pass through two apertures formed about an opening of the container and adhere to the main panel, thereby to close the opening;

wherein the sealing label includes a guide means for engaging an outer surface position of the container, thereby to facilitate alignment of the sealing label relative to the apertures.

Description:
PACKAGING SYSTEM

Technical Field

[0001 ] The present invention broadly relates to packaging systems for delivering parcels, documents and other items, and methods of use thereof.

[0002] The invention has been developed primarily as a reusable packaging system to facilitate sending, returning or on-forwarding of goods, documents and other items. The invention will be described predominantly in this context. It should be appreciated, however, that the invention is not limited to these particular applications, being potentially also adaptable for single use packaging systems.

Background of the Disclosure

[0003] The following discussion of the prior art is intended to place the invention in an appropriate technical context and enable its advantages to be more fully appreciated. However, any references to prior art throughout this specification should not be construed as an express or implied admission that such art is widely known or common general knowledge in the relevant field.

[0004] A variety of mailing envelopes and containers are known for distribution of correspondence, goods and the like by way of parcel delivery services. Generally most envelope and container structures can be used only once, or twice with known reusable types, and are thereafter discarded. This practice causes waste and utilises excessive disposable parts and makes adding features unfeasible. Easily reusable envelope and container structures and associated methods for efficiently using those structures are desirable.

[0005] It is an object of the present invention to overcome or ameliorate one or more disadvantages of the prior art, or at least to provide a useful alternative.

Summary of the Disclosure

[0006] According to one aspect of the invention, there is provided a packaging system, including: a container for receiving one or more items, the container having an opening through which the one or more items can pass into the container;

at least two apertures arranged at predetermined locations about the opening;

a sealing label having a main panel and a tongue extending from the main panel, the tongue being adapted to pass through the two apertures;

wherein a first portion of the main panel is adapted to adhere to at least a portion of the tongue which has passed through the two apertures and a second portion of the main panel is adapted to adhere to an outer surface of the container, thereby to close the opening.

[0007] In some embodiments, the container may be in the form of a bag, box, envelope, parcel, satchel, tube, wrapping, or the like having an internal volume or enclosed space in which one or more items may be at least partially received. In some embodiments, the container is composed of a durable material, thereby to enhance the ability of the container to be used in a reusable manner.

[0008] In certain embodiments, the container is formed from a polymer material, preferably a plastic polymer such as, for example, a thermoplastic material. In various embodiments, paper, card, plastic, fibrous or textile material, or combinations thereof.

[0009] In some embodiments, the container may include one or more reinforcing elements either within the material from which the container is made or as separate elements arranged within the container, thereby to enhance the structural integrity and/or load bearing capacity of the container.

[0010] In some embodiments, the container may be formed as a substantially rigid construction. In certain embodiments, the container may be formed as a flexible construction. In some embodiments, the container may include a combination of substantially rigid walls or panels and flexible walls or panels. In some embodiments, the container includes an inflatable bag.

[001 1 ] In some embodiments, the container includes a liner for lining the enclosed space within the container. In some embodiments, the liner provides padding for fragile or sharp items to be delivered in the container. In certain embodiments, the liner may provide a waterproof or water-resistant lining for the container.

[0012] In some preferred embodiments, the container is a satchel formed from a durable material. Preferably, the satchel has flexible side walls.

[0013] In some embodiments, the container includes one or more holes or open areas, thereby to provide a breathable container and/or facilitate visual inspection of the contents of the container. In certain embodiments, the holes or open areas define gripping formations or handles, thereby to facilitate handling of the container. In some embodiments, the container is at least partially formed of a perforated material such as, for example, a mesh or woven material. In some embodiments, the one or more open areas may enable a portion of the item to pass therethrough extend from a position within the internal area to a position outside of the container.

[0014] It will be appreciated that the container is not limited to the exemplary forms or materials listed above, rather the container can be configured in any suitable shape and of any suitable material.

[0015] Preferably, the composition of the adhesive and the material from which the outer surface of the container is formed are such that the main panel of the sealing label releasably adheres to the outer surface of the container. This releasable characteristic advantageously enhances the ability of the container to be used in a reusable manner. In some embodiments, the container can be used with a new sealing label, either to return the container to the original sender or on- forward to another recipient.

[0016] In some embodiments, the container includes a releasably securable closure element for closing the opening. The closure element is preferably configured for movement between an open position in which items can be freely placed into or removed from the enclosed space of the container, and a closed position to inhibit removal of items from the container.

[0017] In certain embodiments, the closure element extends from the container about the opening. Preferably, the closure element extends around the periphery of the opening and is moveable between a closed position and an open position. In some embodiments, the closure element includes one or more fasteners adapted to releasably secure the closure element in the closed position before the sealing label is applied. In some embodiments, the closure element is rigid or semi rigid. In various embodiments, the closure member may include one or more fasteners selected from the group including, but not limited to, zips, loop-and-hook type fasteners, snap lock or snap fit elements (e.g. press studs or buttons), interference fit elements, protrusion and aperture fasteners, magnets, clips, ties, or the like for releasably securing the closure element in the closed position. In certain embodiments, the closure element includes a plurality of fasteners, and may include a combination of various types of fasteners. In some embodiments, the fasteners are positioned such that there is a central fastener and one or more peripheral fasteners. In some embodiments, the fastener may include releasing means such as, for example, one or more tabs, thereby to facilitate ease of opening of the fastener after delivery to a recipient and once the sealing label has been removed.

[0018] It will be readily appreciated by those persons of ordinary skill in the art will be aware that the fastener is not limited to the exemplary forms listed above and that alternative fasteners suitable for releasably securing of the opening could be readily employed.

[0019] In some embodiments, the container includes a pair of mutually opposable flaps extending above the opening, each flap being hingedly connected about the opening for movement between a first position enabling access to the enclosed space within the satchel, and a second position in which the pair of flaps are substantially aligned with one another, thereby to close the opening. In some embodiments, each flap defines a respective one of the apertures, whereby alignment of the flaps positions the apertures such that the tongue of the sealing label can be passed through the aligned apertures.

[0020] In some embodiments, an elongate trim element is connected to each flap, wherein each trim element has one of the apertures formed therein. Preferably, each trim element is connected to the respective flap such that the associated aperture is spaced from (e.g. above) the extreme distal edge of the flap. In some embodiments, each trim element is fixedly attached to the respective flap by a fastener (e.g. staples, stitching, etc) or an adhesive. Preferably, each aperture is an elongate slot or slit.

[0021 ] In certain embodiments, the trim elements are formed of a material having greater rigidity relative to material from which the flaps are formed. In some embodiments, each trim element is formed from a plastic material. In some embodiments, each trim element has an elongate trim member extending along the distal edge of the respective flap and an extension member extending from the trim member, wherein the aperture is formed between the trim member and the extension member. Preferably, each extension member is generally U- or C- shaped, thereby to define the aperture by an open area between the trim element and the extension member. The aperture formed in each trim element is preferably rectangular in shape. It will be appreciated that each aperture is not limited to a single open area, rather each aperture may include a plurality of discrete open areas. For example, one or more webs may be arranged to divide the aperture into two or more open areas.

[0022] In some preferred embodiments, the closure element is associated with the flaps. Preferably, the closure element is associated with the trim elements. In some preferred embodiments, the closure element includes two elongate members, each member being attached to and extending along a distal edge of a respective flap.

[0023] In some embodiments, the main panel and the tongue of the sealing label are separated by a fold line. The fold line is preferably a line of weakness or a perforated line, thereby to facilitate removal of the sealing label following delivery of the packaging system to a recipient. In other embodiments, the fold line may be formed by a score or a crease or by a marking (e.g. a broken line marking). In yet other forms, the fold line may be naturally apparent from the configuration of the sealing label and the relative shapes of the main panel and tongue (e.g. an imaginary line separating the main panel from the tongue). In some embodiments, the fold line may include a score or broken line extending only partially along the full length of the fold line or a plurality of score or broken lines of predetermined lengths, such that the fold lines has weakened portions interrupted by intermediate non- weakened portions. [0024] Preferably, the main panel of the sealing label is configured to be of a different shape compared to that of the tongue. In some preferred embodiments, the main panel is larger in size compared to the tongue (at least in one dimension, for example, width), thereby to provide an overlap when the main panel is folded over the fold line such that the first portion overlies at least a portion of the tongue and the second portion overlies at least a portion of the outer surface of the container.

[0025] In other embodiments, the main panel may be the same size as or smaller than the tongue, wherein the tongue has one or more cut-outs whereby a portion of the main panel can adhere to the outer surface of the container through the cut-outs in the tongue.

[0026] Preferably, the main panel is generally rectangular in shape. In some embodiments, the tongue may be generally rectangular in shape. In some embodiments, the longitudinal axis of the main panel extends substantially orthogonally to the longitudinal axis of the tongue.

[0027] Preferably, the main panel and tongue are configured such that the sealing label is generally T-shaped or L-shaped. In other embodiments, the sealing label may be substantially square or rectangular.

[0028] In some embodiments, the sealing label may include two or more tongues. In such embodiments, the sealing label may be generally F-shaped, E-shaped, or any other suitable shape. The two or more tongues may be evenly spaced apart along the fold line, or variably spaced. The outer most of the two or more tongues may be inset from the side edges of the main panel, aligned with the side edges, or one tongue may be aligned with a respective edge and the other tongue may be inset from the respective edge of the main panel.

[0029] Preferably, the length of the tongue is greater than the height of the main panel, thereby to allow the distal end of the tongue to extend or protrude from underneath the main panel when the main panel is folded about the fold line. In such embodiments, the distal end of the tongue provides a release tab to facilitate release of the sealing label by a recipient of the packaging system. In particular, due to the main panel overlapping the tongue, the release tab may be used to peel the main panel away from the outer surface of the container to which it is adhered. In some embodiments, the free distal end of the tongue may be rounded, triangular, chamfered or otherwise shaped, thereby to facilitate hand manipulation of the release tab.

[0030] Preferably, the side edges of the tongue are arranged inwardly from the side edges of the main panel such that a portion of the lower edge of the main panel is exposed, wherein the exposed lower edge portion of the main panel can engage the container, thereby to align the sealing label relative to the apertures. The exposed lower edge portion of the main panel preferably acts to align the sealing label relative to the container such that the longitudinal axis of the main body is substantially parallel to the longitudinal axis of the apertures (and the longitudinal axis of the tongue is substantially orthogonal to the longitudinal axis of the apertures). In some preferred embodiments, the exposed lower edge portion of the main panel engages the flap or trim element.

[0031 ] In other embodiments, a guide means may extend from the side edges of the main panel, thereby to facilitate alignment of the sealing label relative to the apertures.

[0032] In some embodiments, the main panel has an adhesive applied to at least a portion of a first face of the main panel, thereby to enable the main panel to adhere to the tongue and the outer surface of the container. Preferably, the adhesive is applied so as to substantially cover all of the first face of the main panel. In some embodiments, the adhesive is applied in selected discrete positions on the first face of the main panel. The adhesive is preferably positioned to allow the tongue to be inserted through the apertures so that the main panel can adhere to the tongue, forming a loop extending through the apertures to close the opening. The adhesive is further positioned to advantageously allow the main panel to also adhere to the outer surface of the container.

[0033] In some embodiments, the sealing label acts as a tamper evident seal when in its closed position, when the main panel is adhered to the tongue. [0034] Preferably, a selectively removable backing sheet is positioned over the first face of the main panel to cover the adhesive, thereby to protect the adhesive against dust and debris and the like until it is desired to attach the label to the container. In some embodiments, the backing sheet is formed from a single piece of paper. In other embodiments, the backing sheet may be formed of multiple sections, whereby each section is independently removable to facilitate ease of removal of the entire backing sheet.

[0035] In some embodiments, the backing sheet may have one or more score lines, thereby to facilitate removal of the backing sheet when required. For example, a score line could be formed in the vicinity of one or more corners of the backing sheet.

[0036] The adhesive is preferably a pressure-sensitive adhesive.

[0037] Preferably, the adhesive is adapted to provide a substantially permanent seal between the first portion of the main panel and the portion of the tongue to which the first portion of the main panel adheres. In some embodiments, the permanent seal may be achieved by the characteristics of the material from which the sealing label (main panel and tongue) is formed, together with the formulation of the adhesive.

[0038] It will be appreciated that the substantially permanent seal between the main panel and the tongue advantageously provides a tamper evident seal or characteristic to the sealing label, whereby the sealing label must be torn to enable it to be removed from the container. The removal of the sealing label is most readily achieved by tearing along the fold line.

[0039] Preferably, the adhesive is adapted to provide a removable seal between the second portion of the main panel and the outer surface of the container to which the second portion of the main panel adheres. In some embodiments, the permanent seal may be achieved by the characteristics of the material from which the container is formed, together with the formulation of the adhesive.

[0040] The removable seal is preferably adapted to form a temporary bond with the outer surface of the container. Preferably the adhesion between the main panel and the container is such that the main panel can be peeled back and removed without leaving residue on the container.

[0041 ] In certain embodiments, the adhesive and backing sheet may be applied to the tongue, whereby upon removal of the backing sheet the tongue can adhere to the main panel. In some embodiments, adhesive and a backing sheet may be applied to both the main panel and the tongue. In certain embodiments, the backing sheet covers selected portions or all of the corresponding face of the tongue, whereby again all or selected portions (by way of appropriate score lines) of the backing sheet associated with the tongue may be selectively removed in use to facilitate attachment of the label to the container.

[0042] In some embodiments, two or more sealing labels are formed from a single sheet of material (e.g. a face sheet), wherein a backing sheet overlies the face sheet, thereby to cover the two or more labels such that each individual label can be selectively removed from the backing sheet for use. Preferably, a line of weakness (e.g. perforated line) extends between each label on the sheet so that the endmost label can be separated from the other or others as required. This arrangement advantageously allows the first label to be used for a first delivery, and the second label to be placed inside the container so that the recipient may use the second label to on forward or return the container via a second delivery. Preferably, each label is formed or defined by score lines (e.g. die cuts) in the face sheet to define the outer profile of each label. In some embodiments, the backing sheet is cut (e.g. die cut) to form a cut out shape in the backing sheet corresponding to the cut associated with the distal end of the tongue in the face sheet (e.g. a triangular cut out in the backing sheet corresponding to a triangular end portion of the tongue in the face sheet). In such embodiments, the triangular cut out in the backing sheet remains adhered to the tongue as the label is removed from the backing sheet.

[0043] In some embodiments, the backing sheet includes one or more further cut lines to enable one or more predetermined additional portions of the backing sheet to remain adhered to the label as the label is removed from the backing sheet for use. These additional portions of the back sheet which remain adhered to the label can advantageously facilitate the application of the label to the container by providing areas in which no adhesive is exposed. In certain embodiments, the backing sheet has cut lines defining an area which at least partially overlies the fold line between the main panel and the tongue such that the associated portion of the backing sheet remains adhered to the label as it is peeled off and removed from the backing sheet for use. Preferably, this area of the backing sheet has one or more additional score lines to further define or assist in folding the label about the fold line. In certain embodiments, these additional score lines extend from respective side edges of the additional area of the backing sheet towards the centre, with a central unscored section extending therebetween.

[0044] In one particularly preferred embodiment, the face sheet and backing sheet are rectangular in shape and standard A4 paper size (i.e. 210 x 297 mm) with two sealing labels formed in side-by-side relation thereon, preferably with the sheets arranged in a landscape orientation. This preferred size and orientation advantageously allows the face and backing sheet label system to be readily fed through a printer for printing recipient contact details and related delivery instructions on each label, as required. It will of course be appreciated that the face and backing sheets are not limited to the A4 size, but could be any suitable size including, but not limited to, A3, A5, A6, A7, and other sizes including custom sizes.

[0045] In some embodiments, the sealing label includes a tamper evident element adapted to provide a visual indication that an attempt has been made to remove the sealing label from the container in use. In some embodiments, the tamper evident element is associated with the main panel. Preferably, the tamper evidence seal includes a generally centrally located cut line formed in the main panel, the cut line providing an area of weakness to ensure that the main panel is damaged when an attempt is made to remove the label which has been applied to the container. In some preferred embodiments, the centrally located cut line is generally v-shaped or an inverted v-shape (i.e. Λ).

[0046] Preferably, a second side of the main panel is adapted to receive printed indicia for carrying delivery information. In some embodiments, the printed indicia may include: contact details, including for example recipient and sender name, address and telephone details; barcodes, QR codes, delivery instructions, usage guidelines, advertising, and the like. The indicia may be applied to a secondary printed label adapted to be affixed, preferably permanently affixed, to the main panel, thereby to display the indicia.

[0047] In some embodiments, the sealing label may incorporate a second tongue extending from the main panel, thereby to facilitate return or on-forwarding of the container with the same sealing label. In such embodiments, a separate portion of the main panel may be provided for inserting details of the next recipient, or a separate label may be applied over the second face of the main panel with the new recipient details.

[0048] In some embodiments, the main panel of the sealing label is formed from a double sheet of material so as to form an envelope. Preferably, the envelope has an envelope opening adjacent to the fold line extending between the main panel and the tongue, whereby the envelope is adapted to be sealed when the tongue adheres to the main panel. That is, the tongue can additionally and advantageously act as a closure flap for the envelope.

[0049] In some embodiments, the envelope may have a transparent window to enable viewing of printed details held within the envelope, when sealed. For example, the window may allow viewing of delivery information contained on a folded document, invoice or receipt received within the envelope.

[0050] In some embodiments, the closure element of the reusable container has a first (e.g. top) closure component configured to fold over itself, preferably at least twice, before aligning and connecting with a second (e.g. front) closure component. In such embodiments, the top of both sides of the container can double over at the opening to form an impenetrable closure at or beyond the area sealed by the sealing label.

[0051 ] In some embodiments, the sealing label is adapted for use in at least two deliveries. In such embodiments, the sealing label may include a second tongue extending from the main panel. Preferably, the second tongue extends from the opposite side of the main panel to the side from which the first tongue extends. The second tongue is preferably adapted to be placed in a storage position during a first delivery in which the first tongue is adhered to the main panel. For example, at least a portion of the second tongue can be tucked underneath the main panel during the first delivery. In some embodiments, a first line of weakness (e.g. a perforated line) extends between the main panel and the first tongue to facilitate ease of removal of the sealing label after a first delivery, and a second line of weakness (e.g. a perforated line) extends between the main panel and the second tongue to facilitate ease of removal of the sealing label after a second delivery. In some embodiments, the main panel may have two or more back sheets covering the adhesive on the main panel, wherein one backing sheet can be removed to apply the sealing label for the first delivery, and a second backing sheet can be removed to apply the sealing label for the second delivery.

[0052] In some embodiments, the container includes one or more gussets for holding the walls of the container in predetermined spaced apart relation in the closed position. It will be appreciated that the use of one or more gussets in this manner is particularly advantageous for inserting and sending large or bulky items.

[0053] In some embodiments, the packaging system includes a communication element or identification tag, thereby to provide (tracking) information about the packaging system (e.g. location, delivery status, delivery instructions, etc).

[0054] In some embodiments, the identification tag is mounted on the sealing label. In such embodiments, the sealing label may include a mounting formation such as, for example, a pocket in which the identification tag can be mounted. In some embodiments, the identification tag may be fixedly mounted to the sealing label. In some embodiments, the identification tag may be releasably mounted to the sealing label, thereby enabling reuse of the identification tag with a new label when returning or on-forwarding of the container. In some embodiments, the mounting formation for mounting the identification tag to the sealing label is arranged on the main panel of the sealing label.

[0055] In some embodiments, the identification tag is mounted on the container. In such embodiments, the container may include a mounting formation such as, for example, a pocket in which the identification tag can be mounted. In some embodiments, the identification tag may be fixedly mounted to the container. In some embodiments, the identification tag may be releasably mounted to the container, thereby enabling reuse of the identification tag with different containers.

[0056] Preferably, the identification tag is an electronic tag. In some embodiments, the identification tag is one of a RFID chip, NfC chip, magnetic strip, barcode, QR code, or the like. The identification tag is preferably adapted to provide wireless communication with a reader or scanner (i.e. transmit and receive information). Preferably, the reader or scanner is a portable handheld device such as, for example, a smart mobile phone. The reader or scanner is preferably adapted for communication with a primary or central database, or a secondary database or hub in a networked series of computers or otherwise directly or indirectly linked to the primary or central database, thereby to transfer data between the packaging system and a database to facilitate overall strategic management, control and processing of delivery instructions for the packaging system, including for example return, on-forwarding, and storage actions.

[0057] According to another aspect of the invention, there is provided a packaging system, including:

a container defining an enclosed space, the container having an opening through which one or more items can pass into the enclosed space;

at least two apertures arranged at predetermined locations about the opening;

a sealing label adapted to be inserted through the two apertures to close the opening, the sealing label including guide means for engaging an outer surface position of the container, thereby to facilitate alignment of the sealing label relative to the apertures.

[0058] According to another aspect of the invention, there is provided a sealing label for a container, the sealing label including:

a main panel; and

a tongue extending from the main panel, the tongue being adapted to pass through two apertures formed about an opening of the container;

wherein a first portion of the main panel is adapted to adhere to at least a portion of the tongue which has passed through the two apertures and a second portion of the main panel is adapted to adhere to an outer surface of the container, thereby to close the opening.

[0059] According to another aspect of the invention, there is provided a sealing label for a container, the sealing label including:

a main panel; and

a tongue extending from the main panel, the tongue being adapted to pass through two apertures formed about an opening of the container and adhere to the main panel, thereby to close the opening;

wherein the sealing label includes a guide means for engaging an outer surface position of the container, thereby to facilitate alignment of the sealing label relative to the apertures.

[0060] According to another aspect of the invention, there is provided a sheet of material, the sealing label adapted to carry a plurality of sealing labels as described herein, wherein each sealing labels is independently removable from the sheet of material.

[0061 ] In some embodiments, the sheet of material may be a planar sheet. In some embodiments, the sheet of material may be in the form of a roll sheet.

[0062] According to another aspect of the invention, there is provided a method of sealing a container, the container having at least one opening for inserting contents into the container, and at least two apertures formed about the opening, the method including the steps of:

inserting a portion of a sealing label through the two apertures; and folding the sealing label such that the sealing label adheres to itself to form a loop extending through the apertures, thereby to close the opening.

[0063] According to another aspect of the invention, there is provided a packaging system, including:

a container defining an enclosed space, the container having an opening through which one or more items can pass into the enclosed space;

at least two apertures arranged at predetermined locations about the opening; a sealing label having a main panel with adhesive and a tongue extending from the main panel, the tongue being adapted to pass through the two apertures;

wherein a first portion of the main panel is adapted to adhere to at least a portion of the tongue which has passed through the two apertures and a second portion of the main panel is adapted to adhere to an outer surface of the container, thereby to close the opening and sealingly retain the one or more items within the enclosed space.

[0064] According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a sealing label for a container having an opening for receiving an item therein, the sealing label including:

a body panel adapted to be applied to the container, thereby to close the opening; and

a communication element associated with the body panel, the

communication element including a receiver and a transmitter configured in use to receive and transmit delivery data relating to a delivery of the container.

[0065] The body of the sealing label preferably includes a main panel, and a tongue extending from the main panel, the main panel and tongue being adapted to be applied to the container, thereby to close the opening. Preferably, the sealing label has a mounting formation such as, for example, a pocket for mounting the communication element to the sealing label. The mounting formation is preferably adapted to enable releasable mounting of the communication element to the sealing label.

[0066] In some embodiments, the communication element is in the form of a control card or chip. Preferably, the communication element is configured to receive and transmit the delivery data by wireless means for communication with a portable device and/or integrated computer network either directly or indirectly via the internet or other dedicated communication pathway, thereby to enhance efficiencies in planning, tracking, and overall strategic control and management of delivery requests and related operations.

[0067] In certain embodiments, the communication element may include an embedded NFC or RFID tag or similar device for wireless communication (e.g. scanning) with a handheld electronic device (e.g. a smart mobile phone), wherein the handheld device preferably forms part of, or is otherwise able to communicate with, the integrated computer network. In other embodiments, the communication element may incorporate a QR code or a barcode, or similar.

[0068] In some embodiments, the delivery data includes data relating to a location of the container (e.g. GPS coordinate tracking data), sender and receiver contact details (address, telephone and email details, etc), and related delivery requests (e.g. item type, size, sensitivity, urgency, etc), and the like.

[0069] In some embodiments, at least a portion of the delivery data is provided by the handheld electronic device at the time of scanning the communication or identification tag. For example, real-time data such as the GPS coordinates of the container could be taken to be the same as those of the handheld electronic device. In such cases, the GPS coordinates may be obtained from a processing unit of the handheld electronic device rather than from data associated with the identification tag.

[0070] According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a packaging system, including:

a container having an opening for receiving an item therein; and a communication element releasably mountable to the container, the communication element configured for receiving and/or transmitting delivery data relating to a delivery of the container upon communication with a reading device; and

a delivery label adapted to be applied to the container.

[0071 ] In some embodiments, the label may be used to close the opening of the container. In other embodiments, the label may be applied to a wall of the container, thereby to display delivery information for the container. Preferably, the label is adapted to be applied to the container so to securely hold the communication element in a predetermined position relative to the container.

[0072] Preferably, the communication element is mounted on the container. The container may include a mounting formation such as, for example, a pocket or two or more corner slits, whereby the communication element can be mounted to the wall of the container. Preferably, the communication element is releasably mounted to the container, thereby enabling reuse of the identification tag with different containers.

[0073] According to another aspect of the invention, there is provided a label system, including:

a face sheet, ;

a backing sheet overlying the face sheet in face to face relation; wherein an adhesive is applied to the face of the face sheet which is in face to face contact with the backing sheet;

wherein the face sheet has cut lines defining the periphery of two or more sealing labels;

wherein the backing sheet has one or more cut lines defining one or more removable areas of the backing sheet, and

wherein each label can be selectively removed from the backing sheet with the removable areas of the backing sheet remaining adhered to the label following removal from the backing sheet.

[0074] According to another aspect of the invention, there is provided a closure element for a container, the closure element including:

a first portion connectable to the container adjacent an opening of the container, the first portion having a first aperture; and

a second portion connectable to the container adjacent the opening of the container, the second portion having a second aperture;

wherein a sealing label can pass through the first aperture and the second aperture to releasably close the opening.

[0075] It will be appreciated that the closure element can advantageously be supplied for the purpose of retrofitting to a container, thereby to accommodate the sealing address label and make the container readily securable and reusable.

[0076] Preferably, the first portion includes a body portion for connection to the container and a flap hingedly connected to and extending from the body portion, wherein the first aperture is formed in the flap. Preferably, the second portion includes body portion for connection to the container and a flap hingedly connected to and extending from the body portion, wherein the second aperture is formed in the flap. The hinged connections enable the flaps to be moved towards and away from each other to facilitate insertion of the sealing label through the apertures. In certain embodiments, only one of the first and second apertures may be movable relative to the other aperture.

[0077] Preferably, a connector such as for example a fastener or adhesive or a combination thereof is used to connect the first portion to the container about the opening. Preferably, a connector such as for example a fastener or adhesive or a combination thereof is used to connect the second portion to the container about the opening. In some embodiments, the first portion includes an adhesive applied to its body portion for connecting the first portion to the container. Preferably, the first portion includes a removable backsheet covering the adhesive. In some embodiments, the second portion includes an adhesive applied to its body portion. Preferably, the second portion includes a removable backsheet covering the adhesive for connecting the second portion to the container. In certain embodiments, the connector provides a permanent connection between the first portion and the container. In certain embodiments, the connector provides a permanent connection between the second portion and the container.

[0078] The first and second portions are preferably permanently attached to opposite sides of the container and around the opening. In some embodiments, the first and second portions are made of a rigid, semi-rigid or flexible material (e.g.cardboard, plastic, etc.). Preferably, the material from which the portions of the closure element is formed is durable to ensure its structural integrity and/or shape is maintained over multiple uses, handling and delivery cycles, and may include one or more reinforcing elements or fibres integrated within or otherwise connected or associated with the respective body portion to enhance its durability. In some embodiments, the first portion and/or the second portion may include an area on which the sealing label can be located during delivery (and subsequently removed for subsequent deliveries). Brief Description of the Drawings

[0079] Preferred embodiments will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:-

[0080] Figure 1 is a plan view of one embodiment of a container for a packaging system according to the invention, showing the container in an open position;

[0081 ] Figure 2 shows the container of Figure 1 in a closed position;

[0082] Figure 3 shows a sealing label partially inserted through aligned apertures of the closed container of Figure 2;

[0083] Figure 4 shows the sealing label of Figure 3 with the tongue fully inserted through the apertures, with a backing sheet partially removed from the main panel;

[0084] Figure 5 shows the sealing label applied to the container;

[0085] Figure 6 is schematic view of the packaging system showing the adhesive zones between the main panel and tongue, and the main panel and the container;

[0086] Figures 7A-7B shows a rear view and a front view of the sealing label, respectively;

[0087] Figure 8 is a plan view of another embodiment of a container for a packaging system according to the invention, with the apertures formed in the walls of the container;

[0088] Figure 9 is a plan view of yet another embodiment of a container for a packaging system according to the invention, with a double fold flap for enhancing the extent of closure of the opening;

[0089] Figure 10 is a perspective view of a further embodiment of a container for a packaging system according to the invention, in which the container is in the form of a box; [0090] Figure 1 1 is a perspective view of a yet further embodiment of a container for a packaging system according to the invention, in which the container is in the form of a bag and includes a gusset;

[0091 ] Figures 12A-12B show a rear view and a front view another embodiment of the sealing label, respectively, where the main panel of the sealing label forms an envelope and the rear face includes a transparent window;

[0092] Figures 13A-13F show a series of further alternative embodiments of the sealing label;

[0093] Figure 14 is a plan view of one alternative embodiment of a packaging system according to the invention in which the container has a tab associated with its aperture and the sealing label has a catch for cooperating with the tab;

[0094] Figure 15 shows a plan view of the packaging system of Figure 14 with the sealing label applied to the container;

[0095] Figure 16 is a schematic flowchart showing various communication flowpaths for a packaging system used within a networked tracking and delivery system;

[0096] Figures 17A and 17B show a further embodiment of the packaging system in which a delivery label is applied to a side wall of the container, and a reusable communication element is releasably mountable therebetween;

[0097] Figure 18 shows an embodiment of a label system having face and backing sheets, with two labels forms in side by side relation;

[0098] Figure 19 shows the cut lines in the face sheet of the label system of Figure 18;

[0099] Figure 20 shows the cut lines in the backing sheet of the label system of Figure 18; and [00100] Figures 21 A and 21 B show an embodiment of a closure element connectable to a container and adapted to receive a sealing label.

Detailed Description of the Preferred Embodiments

[00101 ] Referring to the figures, the invention in the illustrated embodiment provides a reusable packaging system 1 for delivering, returning and/or on- forwarding documents and other items which are required to be transported from one location to another.

[00102] The packaging system 1 includes a container 2 and a sealing label 3. Figure 1 shows one embodiment of the container 2. In this embodiment the container is in the form of a satchel having upper and lower walls 4 arranged to define an enclosed space or volume for holding an item (not shown) during transit. The satchel 2 has an opening 5 through which one or more items can pass into the enclosed space.

[00103] The satchel 2 is preferably formed from a durable material to maintain the structural integrity of the satchel 2 throughout multiple uses of the satchel, and in particular to provide the satchel 2 with a reusable characteristic. In the embodiment of Figure 1 , the durable material used to form the walls 4 of the satchel 2 is also a flexible and lightweight material.

[00104] It will be appreciated that the container 2 is not limited to applications in the form of a flexible satchel construction, rather the container can take any one of a range of different forms including, for example, the box and bag-type containers illustrated in Figures 10 and 1 1 , respectively. In contrast to the flexible satchel 2, the box-type container 2 of Figure 10 may be formed so as to have a relatively rigid base, top and walls 4.

[00105] The container 2 may include a liner (not shown) for lining the enclosed space within the container. For example, the liner could be used to provide padding for fragile or sharp items to be delivered in the container, and/or may provide a water-resistant lining to the container for delivering, for example, foodstuffs or liquids. [00106] As best seen in Figure 1 , the container 2 includes a releasably securable closure element in the form of a pair of flaps 6 extending about the periphery of the opening 5 of the satchel. Each flap 6 is hingedly connected about the opening 5 for movement between an open position in which items can be freely placed into or removed from the enclosed space of the satchel as shown in Figure 1 , and a closed position to inhibit removal of items from the satchel as shown in Figure 2.

[00107] In the illustrated embodiment of Figure 1 , the closure element includes a pair of fasteners 7 for releasably securing the flaps in the closed position, and thereby closing the opening 5 of the satchel 2.

[00108] In the illustrated embodiment, the fasteners 7 are in the form of press-fit elements with a protrusion 8 extending from one flap 6 and a mutually opposed aperture or hole 9 in the other flap 6 for releasably receiving the protrusion in a secure press-fit or interference manner.

[00109] It will be readily appreciated that the fastener is not limited to the exemplary form illustrated in Figure 1 and may, for example, include zips, loop-and- hook type fasteners, press studs or buttons, magnets, clips, ties, or the like for releasably securing the flaps 6 together to close the opening of the satchel 2.

[001 10] Again referring to Figure 1 , an elongate trim element 10 is connected to the distal edge 1 1 of each flap 6. The trim elements 10 may be connected to the respective flap 6 by way of mechanical fasteners (e.g. staples) and/or an adhesive adapted to provide a permanent bond. The trim elements 10 are formed from a plastic material having relatively greater rigidity compared to that of the material used to form the walls 4 and flaps 6 of the satchel 2. The walls 4 and flaps 6 are preferably formed of the same material.

[001 1 1 ] Each trim element 10 has an elongate trim member 12 extending along the distal edge 1 1 of the respective flap 6. A generally U- or C-shaped extension member 13 extends from the respective trim member 12 such that an aperture in the form of an elongate, generally rectangular slot 14 is formed as an open area between the trim member 12 and the extension member 13. [001 12] In the illustrated embodiment, it will be seen that the snap fit fasteners 7 are arranged on the trim members 12 of the trim elements 10. It will be appreciated that the fasteners need not be located on the trim elements 10, but can be positioned at any suitable location for closing the opening 5 of the satchel 2.

[001 13] Each trim element 10 is connected to the respective flap 6 and positioned so that the associated slot 14 is spaced from (e.g. above) the extreme distal edge 1 1 of the flap and such that, when the flaps are moved to the closed position, the two slots 14 are substantially aligned, thereby to define an open passageway therethrough (as best seen in Figures 2-4). In some embodiments, the flaps 6 may be configured to have different effective lengths to provide the desired alignment between the two slots 14 such as, for example, when the flaps 6 are folded to overlie the upper wall of the satchel in the closed position.

[001 14] Referring to Figures 3-5, 7A-7B, the packaging system 1 further includes a sealing label 3 for sealing the container 2 during delivery. The sealing label 3 has a main panel 15 and a tongue 16 extending from the main panel 14.

[001 15] In the illustrated embodiment, the main panel 15 is generally rectangular in shape and separated from the tongue 16 by a fold line 17. The fold line 17 is preferably a line of weakness such as, for example, a perforated line, thereby to facilitate ease of removal of the sealing label 3 following delivery of the packaging system 1 to a recipient.

[001 16] The main panel 15 preferably has a different size and/or shape to that of the tongue 16. The difference in configuration between the main panel and the tongue advantagously provide a predetermined degree of overlap when the main panel 15 is folded over the fold line 17 such that a first portion or zone 18 of the main panel 15 overlies at least a portion of the tongue 16 and a second portion 19 overlies at least a portion of the outer surface 20 of the container 2.

[001 17] To facilitate alignment between the sealing label 3 relative to the slots 14, the longitudinal axis of the main panel 15 extends substantially orthogonally to the longitudinal axis of the tongue 16. In the embodiment of Figures 3-5, 7A-7B, the main panel 15 and tongue 16 are configured such that the sealing label 3 is generally T-shaped.

[001 18] The tongue 16 is configured to pass through the two aligned slots 14. To apply the sealing label 3 to the satchel 2, the main panel 15 has a pressure- sensitive adhesive applied to it so as to substantially cover all of a first face 21 of the main panel 15. As will be described in further detail below, the adhesive is applied to the main panel 15 such that the first portion 18 can adhere to the tongue 16, and the second portion 19 can adhere to the outer surface 20 of the container 2. The first and second portions (18, 19) defining the zones where the main panel 15 adheres to the tongue 16 and to the container 2, respectively, are best seen in Figure 6. In this way, the sealing label 3 can be applied to the container 2 in a manner so as to form a loop extending through the slots 14 to close the opening 5.

[001 19] Advantageously, the composition of the adhesive and the material from which the outer surface of the container 2 is formed are such that the main panel 15 of the sealing label 3 releasably adheres to the outer surface of the container 2. This releasable characteristic advantageously allows the container 2 to be used in a reusable manner, following removal of the label. The reopened container 2 then can be used with either a new sealing label 3 to return the container to the original sender or on-forward to another recipient.

[00120] Alternatively, the sealing label 3 may be adapted for at least a second use by incorporating a second tongue 16' such as, for example, that illustrated in the embodiment of Figure 13D. In some embodiments, the sealing label may incorporate a second label extending from the main panel, thereby to facilitate return or on-forwarding of the container with the same sealing label. In such embodiments, a separate portion of the main panel 15 may be provided for inserting details of the next recipient, or a separate auxiliary label (not shown) may be applied over the second face 27 of the main panel 15 with the new recipient details.

[00121 ] In other embodiments, the main panel may be the same size as or smaller than the tongue, wherein the tongue has one or more cut-outs whereby a portion of the main panel can adhere to the outer surface of the container either extending past the main body and/or through the cut-outs in the tongue. Figures 13A-13F show an assortment of possible alternative forms of the sealing label 3. For example, the sealing label may include two or more tongues. In such embodiments, the sealing label may be generally F-shaped, E-shaped, or any other suitable shape. The two or more tongues may be evenly spaced apart along the fold line, or variably spaced. The outermost of the two or more tongues may be inset from the side edges of the main panel, aligned with the side edges, or one tongue may be aligned with a respective edge and the other tongue may be inset from the respective edge of the main panel. The sealing label is not limited to these forms which have been provided by way of illustrative example only.

[00122] As best seen in Figures 5 and 6, the length of the tongue 16 is greater than the height of the main panel 15 such that the distal end of the tongue 16 extends or protrudes from underneath the main panel 15, when the main panel 15 is folded about the fold line 17. In this way, the distal end of the tongue 16 provides a release tab 22 readily operable by hand manipulation to facilitate peeling the main panel 15 away from the outer surface of the container 2 to which it is adhered. In the illustrated embodiments, the free distal end of tongue 16 is generally triangular in shape. This configuration facilitates the ease of hand manipulation of the release tab, and also advantageously, increases the effective size of the second portion or zone 19 of main panel 15 which can adhere to the outer surface of the container 2.

[00123] As clearly shown in Figures 7A-7B, the side edges 23 of the tongue 16 are arranged inwardly from the side edges 24 of the main panel 15 such that a portion 25 of the lower edge of the main panel 15 is exposed. The exposed lower edge portion 25 of the main panel 15 can advantageously engage the container, in particular an outer surface of the trim element 10, to align the sealing label relative to the apertures. The exposed lower edge portion 25 of the main panel preferably acts to align the sealing label 3 relative to the container 3 such that the longitudinal axis of the main body 15 is substantially parallel to the longitudinal axis of the slots 14 (and the longitudinal axis of the tongue 16 is substantially orthogonal to the longitudinal axis of the slots 14).

[00124] Figures 14 and 15 show another embodiment of the packaging system 1 incorporating a locating means for locating and positioning the sealing label 3 in use relative to the slots 14 of the container 2. In this embodiment, the locating means includes a protruding tab 28 extending inwardly from a side edge of the slot 14 in the trim element 10. A protruding tab 28 may be provided on one or both of the trim elements 10. A corresponding catch 29 is provided centrally along the fold line 17 of the sealing label 3 so as to align with the tab 28 when the tongue 16 of the sealing label 3 is fed through the slots 14. The catch 29 is complementary in shape to that of the tab 28 and is in the form of an elongate rectangular opening of slightly greater width than that of the tab 28. By this configuration, the tab 28 can be received in the slot 29 and protrude therethrough when the sealing label 3 is applied to the container 2 as shown in Figure 15. It will be appreciated that the engagement between the tab 28 and catch 29 advantageously assists to locate, position and hold the sealing label 3 in a predetermined desired position relative to the container, and in particular such that the fold line 17 is substantially aligned with the extension member 13 of the trim member 12.

[00125] As best seen in Figure 4, a selectively removable backing sheet 26 is positioned over the first face 21 of the main panel 15 to cover and protect the adhesive prior to use of the sealing label 3. The backing sheet 26 protects the adhesive against dust and debris and the like until it is desired to attach the label to the container. When the sealing label 3 is to be applied to the container 2, the backing sheet 26 can be simply peeled back by hand and removed to expose the underlying adhesive on the first face 21 of the main panel 15. In the illustrated embodiment, the backing sheet 26 is formed from a single piece of paper.

[00126] The adhesive is adapted to provide a substantially permanent seal between the first portion 18 of the main panel 15 and the portion of the tongue 16 to which the first portion 18 of the main panel 15 adheres. It will be appreciated that the substantially permanent seal between the main panel 15 and the tongue 16 advantageously provides a tamper evident seal or characteristic to the sealing label 3, where the sealing label 3 must be ripped or torn to enable it to be removed from the container 2. The removal of the sealing label 3 is most readily and advantageously achieved by tearing along the perforated fold line 17.

[00127] The adhesive is adapted to provide a removable seal between the second portion 19 of the main panel 15 and the outer surface of the container 2 to which the second portion 19 of the main panel 15 adheres. The removable seal is preferably adapted to form a temporary bond between the main panel 15 and the outer surface of the container 2 such that the main panel 15 can be peeled back and removed without leaving residue on the container 2.

[00128] Figures 18-20 show an embodiment of a label system 35 in which two sealing labels 3 are formed in side by side relation on a single face sheet 36. A backing sheet 37 overlies the rear of the face sheet 35, with each individual label 3 able to be selectively removed from the backing sheet 37 for use.

[00129] A line of weakness shown as perforated line 45 extends between each label 3 of the system 35 to facilitate detachment of the endmost label 3' from the remainder of the sheet, as required. This arrangement advantageously allows the first label 3 to be used for a first delivery, and the second label 3' to be placed inside the container 2 so that the recipient may use the second label 3' to on forward or return the container 2 via a second delivery.

[00130] In the label system 35, each label (3, 3') is formed or defined by score lines (e.g. die cuts) in the face sheet 35 to define the outer profile of each label. Figure 19 shows the cut lines in the face sheet 35.

[00131 ] In the embodiment of Figures 18-20, the backing sheet 37 is cut (e.g. die cut) to form a triangular cut out shape 38 in the backing sheet 37. The triangular cut out shape 38 substantially corresponds to the shape of the distal end of the tongue 16 formed in the face sheet 35. Accordingly, the triangular cut out shape 38 in the backing sheet 37 remains adhered to the tongue 16 as the label 3 is removed from the backing sheet 37.

[00132] As most clearly seen in Figure 20, the backing sheet 37 includes further cut lines to define a second cut out shape 39 associated with the fold line 17 and which also remains adhered to the label 3 when the label is removed from the backing sheet for use. These additional portions (38, 39) of the back sheet 37 which remain adhered to the label 3 advantageously facilitate the application of the label to the container by providing areas in which no adhesive is exposed.

[00133] In the illustrated embodiment, the second cut out shape 39 has two additional score lines 40 to provide enhanced flexibility in this region and thereby assist in folding the label 3 about the fold line 17. These additional score lines 40 extend from respective side edges of the second cut out area 38 of the backing sheet towards the centre, with a central unscored section extending therebetween.

[00134] The label system 35 of Figures 18-20, including the face sheet 36 and backing sheet 37, is ideally rectangular in shape and of standard A4 paper size (i.e. 210 x 297 mm). This preferred size advantageously allows the face and backing sheet label system to be readily fed through a printer for printing recipient contact details and related delivery instructions on each label, as required. It will of course be appreciated that the face and backing sheets are not limited to the A4 size, but could be any other suitable size, including custom sizes.

[00135] With reference to Figures 18 and 19, the profile of each label 3 of this embodiment is clearly illustrated. In particular, it can be seen that the tongue 16 of each label 3 has a contoured outer profile with three distinct regions. The first region, being that closest to the main panel 15, includes a pair of mutually opposed J-shaped cut-outs 41 which define a lip 42. Each lip 42 acts as a catch in use to inhibit the label from sliding back out from the apertures 9. The second or middle region has inwardly curved side edge portions 43, providing the label with a general overall appearance of a locking key. The narrowing of the tongue provided by these curved edges 43 in this region also provides an adhesive pattern that promotes enhanced adhesion to the container whilst facilitating ease of removal when required. The third region 46 is triangular in form and defines the free distal end of the tongue in a way that it facilitates ease of initial peeling of the labels (3 & 3') out and away from the backing sheet 37 and subsequently ease of insertion through the apertures 9, via the tapered profile. The tip of the triangular region 46 preferably creates a release tab protruding from underneath the main panel. The tapered profile also increases the active area of the adhesive pattern, against which the release tab can be used to guide the removal of the label by intentionally peeling and permanently tearing away the label via the release tab.

[00136] Referring again to Figures 18 and 19, the main panel 15 has a tamper evident element in the form of a centrally located inverted v-shape (i.e. Λ) cut line 44 to ensure the main panel is damaged in the event of attempting to peel apart a label that has been applied to the container. [00137] Referring to Figure 5, the second side 27 of the main panel 15 is adapted to received printed indicia for carrying delivery information, including for example recipient and sender names, address and telephone details; barcodes, delivery instructions, usage guidelines, advertising, and the like.

[00138] With reference to Figure 16, the container 2 may have a communication element in the form of an identification tag 30 mounted to a wall 4 of the container. The identification tag 30 is preferably configured to receive and/or transmit delivery data by wireless means for communication with a portable scanning device in the form of a handheld electronic device 31 (e.g. a smart mobile phone). The tag 30 may include an embedded NFC or RFID chip to enable the wireless communication with the handheld electronic device.

[00139] The delivery data may include data relating to a location of the container (e.g. GPS coordinate tracking data), sender and receiver contact details (address, telephone and email details, etc), and related delivery requests (e.g. item type, size, sensitivity, urgency, etc), and the like.

[00140] By incorporating an identification tag 30, the packing system 1 may be adapted to form part of a centrally controlled delivery network for managing delivery of the packaging system 1 . In such a network, the handheld electronic device 31 may be wirelessly connected to a satellite system 32 such that information obtained from the satellite system about the handheld electronic device 31 (e.g. GPS coordinates, etc) can be used to obtain corresponding information about the delivery status of the container 2.

[00141 ] For example, real-time data of the location of the handheld electronic device 31 at the time of scanning the identification tag 30 could be used to obtain the location of the container. In such cases, the GPS coordinates of the location of the container may be obtained from a processing unit of the handheld electronic device rather than from data associated with the identification tag.

[00142] In the embodiment of Figure 16, the handheld electronic device 31 is also be wirelessly connected to a via the internet computer network 33 having multiple interconnected computer units which can manage, coordinate, plan and track delivery of the packaging system 1 and other assets within the delivery network. The computer network 33 can then communicate with other devices such as an electronic device 34 used by a driver of a courier vehicle (e.g. a handheld device or a device installed in a vehicle).

[00143] Accordingly, the present invention, at least in its preferred embodiments, provides an easy to use and robust reusable packaging system for securely containing, sending, returning and/or on-forwarding items with a courier, freight carrier or other postal service. In its preferred forms the packaging system includes a sealing label adapted to releasably and securely close the opening of a container until a user intentionally removes the label after completion of a delivery by peeling and tearing the label away from the container and thereby leaving the container in a condition for reuse.

[00144] The packaging system advantageously comprises a reusable container made of durable material that allows for a sealing label to be adhered thereto. The container is further adapted to fit and guide the sealing label into position for sealing and adhering the label to itself to form a tamper evident seal to close the opening of the container, and to adhere to the container to enhance the seal, protect the seal against inadvertent damage during transit, and to position information contained on the label in a predetermined position relatively flush with the outer surface of the container such the label remains in its desired position and the information is not obstructed from view.

[00145] In preferred forms, the container and the sealing label are advantageously configured such that the bond between the main panel and the container can be easily and cleanly removed following delivery substantially without leaving any residue. Furthermore, the reusable nature of the packaging system makes it readily adaptable to incorporate additional add-on features or enhancements such as, for example, an electronic identification tag for scanning with a hardware device to transfer data within an electronic system. It will therefore be appreciated that the present packaging system readily lends itself for use with new features and other advances in technology over time. [00146] In these and other respects, the invention represents a practical and commercially significant improvement over the prior art. Although the invention has been described with reference to specific examples, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the invention may be embodied in many other forms.