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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
IMPROVEMENTS IN OR RELATING TO PACKAGING
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2003/039999
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
This invention relates to improvements in or relating to packaging. The invention may be particularly suitable for packaging plastic moulded toothpicks, whether singular or in plurality. There is provided a product [2] and its packaging [3], said product and said packaging being formed separately and said packaging being provided with holding means to releasably engage [9], [10] with said product and said packaging being adapted or able to be manipulated, to fold substantially around said product and to thus form a packaged product.

Inventors:
CLARKE ROYCE STEVEN (NZ)
Application Number:
PCT/IB2002/004955
Publication Date:
May 15, 2003
Filing Date:
November 04, 2002
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
CLARKE ROYCE STEVEN (NZ)
International Classes:
A47G21/12; A61C15/02; B65D77/00; B65D77/24; B65D85/24; (IPC1-7): B65D85/20; A47G21/12
Foreign References:
US5165534A1992-11-24
US5775490A1998-07-07
Other References:
DATABASE WPI Derwent World Patents Index; Class Q34, AN 1998-585099/50
DATABASE WPI Derwent World Patents Index; Class W04, AN 1997-200460/18
DATABASE WPI Derwent World Patents Index; Class P24, AN H1983-1634K/22
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Claims:
WHAT I CLAIM IS:
1. A product and its packaging, said product and said packaging being formed separately, and said packaging being provided with holding means to releasably engage with said product, and said packaging being adapted, or able to be manipulated, to fold substantially around said product to thus form a packaged product.
2. A product and its packaging as claimed in claim 1 wherein said holding means is in the form of one or more raised portions adapted to receive and releasably retain a portion of the product.
3. A product and its packaging as claimed in claim 1 or 2 wherein said product and said packaging being integrally formed and said packaging being adapted, or able to be manipulated, to fold substantially around said product to thus form a packaged product.
4. A product and its packaging as claimed in any one of the preceding claims wherein said product and its packaging are comprised of a plastics material.
5. A product and its packaging as claimed in any one of the preceding claims wherein said product and its packaging are formed from injection moulding methods/apparatus.
6. A product and its packaging as claimed in any one of the preceding claims wherein said packaging is provided with one or more lines of weakness to assist in the forming of the packaged product.
7. A product and its packaging as claimed in any one of the preceding claims wherein said packaging is provided with retention means, the arrangement and construction being such that when the packaging is manipulated to form the packaged product, the retention means serves to inhibit a foreign matter from entering from the sides of the packaged product.
8. A product and its packaging as claimed in any one of the preceding claims wherein said retention means is/are in the form of one or more raised flanges on the same side of the packaging, the arrangement and construction being such that one or more raised flanges are adapted to substantially meet and/or abut when the packaged product has been formed.
9. A product and its packaging as claimed in any one of the preceding claims wherein said retention means are provided with releasable attachment means, adapted to engage when the packaged product is formed.
10. A product and its packaging as claimed in any one of the preceding claims wherein said product is a toothpick holder.
11. A product and its packaging as claimed in any one of the preceding claims wherein said product is a toothpick holder, substantially as described in US Patent No. US 5,855, 215.
12. A product and its packaging as claimed in any one of the preceding claims wherein said packaging is provided with releasable locking means adapted to assist in holding together the packaged product, once formed.
13. A product and its packaging as claimed in any one of the preceding claims wherein said packaging and/or said product are further provided with one or more holders adapted to releasably retain a component of the product thereto.
14. A product and its packaging as claimed in any one of the preceding claims wherein said packaged product is in the form of a matchbooktype folder.
15. A. product and its packaging according to claim 1 substantially as herein before described and with reference to any one of the accompanying drawings.
16. A product and its packaging according to any one of claims 1 to 14 substantially as herein before described.
Description:
IMPROVEMENTS IN OR RELATING TO PACKAGING TECHNICAL FIELD This invention relates to improvements in or relating to, packaging. The invention may be particularly suitable for packaging plastic moulded toothpicks, whether singular or in plurality, however it is to be understood and appreciated that the invention is not to be limited to such use.

The prior art and possible applications of the present invention as discussed below are therefore given by way of example only.

BACKGROUND ART US Patent No. 5,855, 215 describes a toothpick holder and toothpicks.

In that US patent, there are described several means for packaging the toothpick holder. One such means is a matchbook-type folder, as illustrated by figure 6 of that US Patent. In this embodiment, the toothpick holder is preferably provided with a base plate which may include holes to enable the base plate, and therefore the toothpick holder, to be stapled into the matchbook-type folder.

Disadvantages associated with such packaging for such toothpick holders include the following: 1. The packaging requires the card to be cut and/or creased which can be a time consuming and/or fiddly operation.

2. The toothpick holder must be physically stapled to the folder, preferably through the base plate. Again, this can be a time consuming and/or fiddly operation.

3. The use of a metallic staple may not be particularly appropriate for the packaging of toothpicks. For example, if the folder and/or staple became wet the staple may rust and tarnish the toothpicks, which as well as being unsightly, poses a health hazard.

4. The toothpick holder may have to be man-handled when stapling the holder to the folder.

5. Foreign bodies are able to enter the packaging's open sides. Again, this may not be particularly desirable for oral hygiene products such as toothpicks or toothpick holders.

One or more of the disadvantages described above in relation to the cardboard matchbook-type packaging for the toothpick holder, which is the subject of US Patent No. 5,855, 215, would also hold for any other type of product packaged in a similar fashion, that is within a matchbook-type folder.

It is an object of the present invention to address the foregoing problems or at least to provide the public with a useful choice.

Further aspects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the ensuing description that is given by way of example only.

All references, including any patents or patent applications cited in this specification are hereby incorporated by reference. No admission is made that any reference constitutes prior art. The discussion of the references states what their authors assert, and the applicants reserve the right to challenge the accuracy and pertinency of the cited documents. It will be clearly understood that, although a number of prior art publications are referred to herein, this reference does not constitute an admission that any of these documents form part of the common general knowledge in the art, in New Zealand or in any other country.

It is acknowledged that the term'comprise'may, under varying jurisdictions, be attributed with either an exclusive or an inclusive meaning. For the purpose of this specification, and unless otherwise noted, the term'comprise'shall have an inclusive meaning-i. e. that it will be taken to mean an inclusion of not only the listed components it directly references, but also other non- specified components or elements. This rationale will also be used when the term'comprised'or 'comprising'is used in relation to one or more steps in a method or process.

It is an object of the present invention to address the foregoing problems or at least to provide the public with a useful choice.

Further aspects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the ensuing description which is given by way of example only.

DISCLOSURE OF INVENTION According to one aspect of the present invention there is provided, in combination, a product and its packaging, said product and said packaging being formed separately, and said packaging being provided with holding means to releasably engage with said product, and said packaging being adapted, or able to be manipulated, to fold substantially around said product to thus form a packaged product.

According to another aspect of the present invention there is provided, in combination, a product and its packaging, substantially as described above, wherein said holding means is in the form of one or more raised portions adapted to receive and releasably retain a portion of the product.

According to an alternative aspect of the present invention there is provided, in combination, a product and its packaging, said product and said packaging being integrally formed and said packaging being adapted, or able to be manipulated, to fold substantially around said product to thus formed a packaged product.

According to a further aspect of the present invention there is provided, in combination, a product and its packaging, substantially as described above, wherein said product and its packaging are comprised of a plastics material.

According to a further aspect of the present invention there is provided, in combination, a product and its packaging, substantially as described above, wherein said product and its packaging are formed from injection moulding methods/apparatus.

According to a further aspect of the present invention there is provided, in combination, a product and its packaging, substantially as described above, wherein said packaging is provided with one or more lines of weakness to assist in the forming of the packaged product.

According to a further aspect of the present invention there is provided, in combination, a product and its packaging, substantially as described above, wherein said packaging is provided with retention means, the arrangement and construction being such that when the packaging is manipulated to form the packaged product, the retention means serves to inhibit foreign matter from entering from the sides of the packaged product.

According to a further aspect of the present invention there is provided, in combination, a product and its packaging, substantially as described above, wherein said retention means is/are in the form of one or more raised flanges on the same side of the packaging, the arrangement and construction being such that the one or more raised flanges are adapted to substantially meet and/or abut when the packaged product has been formed.

According to a further aspect of the present invention there is provided, in combination, a product and its packaging, substantially as described above, wherein said retention means are provided with releasable attachment means, adapted to engage when the packaged product is formed.

According to a further aspect of the present invention there is provided, in combination, a product and its packaging, substantially as described above, wherein said product is a toothpick holder.

According to a further aspect of the present invention there is provided, in combination, a product and its packaging, substantially as described above, wherein said product is a toothpick holder, substantially as described in US Patent No. 5,855, 215.

According to a further aspect of the present invention there is provided, in combination, a product and its packaging, substantially as described above, wherein said packaging is provided with releasable locking means adapted to assist in holding together the packaged product, once formed.

According to a further aspect of the present invention there is provided, in combination, a product and its packaging, substantially as described above, wherein said packaging and/or said

product are further provided with one or more holders adapted to releasably retain a component of the product thereto.

According to a further aspect of the present invention there is provided, in combination, a product and its packaging, substantially as described above, wherein said packaged product is in the form of a matchbook-type folder.

In one embodiment, the product and its packaging may be formed separately, with the packaging being adapted, or able to be manipulated, to fold substantially around the product, to thus form a packaged product.

In such an embodiment, the packaging may preferably be provided with holding means in order to releasably retain the product (for example, to stop the product from sliding loosely around within the packaging once the packaged product has been formed). Any suitable holding means may be utilised as required or as desired.

For example, the holding means may be in the form of one or more raised portions or clips adapted to receive a portion of the product. In such an embodiment, the product may be releasably clipped into and removed from the holding means as or when required or desired.

Alternatively, the holding means may be in the form of VELCROTM fastening strips, a snap-lock type arrangement, a dome and rivet type arrangement, and so on.

In this specification, the term"product"is understood to include both the actual product which is to be packaged (for example toothpicks) as well as any supporting frame or like means for the product itself (for example the toothpick holder described in US Patent No. 5, 855, 215.

In an alternative embodiment, the present invention may provide, in combination, a product and its packaging, the product and the packaging being integrally formed, and the packaging being adapted, or able to be manipulated, to fold substantially around the product, to thus form a packaged product.

It is envisaged that the product and/or its packaging may be comprised of any suitable material or materials, as required or as desired or as dictated by the nature of the product and/or packaging or the intended uses of same.

Given that the product and its packaging may be integrally formed, it is envisaged that the product and its packaging may preferably be comprised of a plastics material, and preferably one which may be formed by injection moulding methods/apparatus.

Injection moulding methods/apparatus are well known, and need not be further described herein.

It is envisaged that any suitable plastics material for use in presently known injection moulding methods/apparatus may be utilised.

Alternatively, the product and its packaging may be comprised of a metallic material, and, for example, may be stamped out of a suitable sheet of metal, preferably a relatively thin sheet of metal.

As a further alternative, the product and its packaging may be comprised of, wood, although it is envisaged that wood would be less practical.

Preferably, the packaging may be provided with one or more lines of weakness to assist in the manipulation or folding of the packaging and/or the forming of the packaged product. For example, the packaging may be provided with one or more lines of scoring, or portions of a lesser thickness.

The packaging may preferably be provided with retention means, the arrangement and construction being such that when the packaging is manipulated to form the packaged product, the retention means may inhibit foreign matter from entering from the sides of the packaged product.

Any suitable retention means may be utilised. For example, one or more sides of the packaging may be provided with a flap or flexible cover which is adapted to hang over the sides of the packaged product, thus formed.

Alternatively, the retention means may be in the form of one or more raised flanges formed along the same sides of the packaging, the arrangement and construction being such that the one or more raised flanges of the packaged product are adapted to substantially meet and/or abut when the packaged product is formed.

The retention means may be provided with releasable attachment means adapted to engage when the packaged product is formed. Any suitable releasable attachment means may be utilised, for example it may comprise a male/female-type engagement, snap-lock type arrangement, fastening strips such as VELCROTM brand fastening strips, or there may be provided domes and rivets, and so on.

It is envisaged that any suitable type of product for use in or with the present invention may be utilised.

The product may preferably be one which may be formed within a supporting peripheral frame whereby individual products may be removed from the frame, preferably by use of minimal force.

Examples of such products that could be presented in this way include knitting needles, buttons, frames for models or kitsets (that is, those which are contained within a substantially rectangular frame and whereby the various components may be broken off and assembled into a model-for example an aeroplane or vehicle), plastic knife, fork and spoon sets, and so on.

It is envisaged that a particularly suitable product may be a toothpick holder, and preferably one substantially as described in relation to US Patent No. 5,855, 215.

The packaging and/or product may also be provided with releasable locking means adapted to assist in holding together the packaged product, once formed. Any suitable releasable locking means may be utilised, for example the use of VELCROTM strips, the use of a barb and slot type arrangement, a male/female-type engagement, the use of domes and rivets and so on.

It is envisaged that the packaging may be further provided with one or more holding means adapted to releasably retain a component of the product thereto. For example, if the product was

a plastic knife, fork and spoon set contained within a substantially rectangular frame, the packaging may be provided with a slot, aperture or receptacle into which a used utensil may be temporarily held.

It is envisaged that the product and its packaging may be of any suitable size, shape, and configuration as required or as desired, or as dictated by the type of product to be packaged.

Preferably, the product, and its packaging, may be substantially rectangular prior to the packaged product being formed. Furthermore, the packaged product, once formed, may preferably be in the form of a matchbook-type folder.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS Further aspects of the present invention will become apparent from the ensuing description which is given by way of example only and with reference to the accompanying drawings in which: Figure 1 is a plan view of a product and its packaging, being one possible embodiment of the present invention; Figure 2 is a side view of the embodiment shown in figure 1, and Figure 3 is a view showing the packaged product thus formed from the embodiment shown in figures 1 and 2.

BEST MODES FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION

Having regard to figure 1, there is shown, in combination, a product and its packaging, generally indicated by arrow 1. The product is generally indicated by arrow 2 and the packaging is generally indicated by arrow 3.

The product 2 and its packaging 3 are integrally formed of a plastics material, and is manufactured using injection moulding methods/apparatus. Any suitable plastics material which is suitable for the injection moulding method/apparatus may be utilised.

The product 2 and its packaging 3 are integrally formed and the packaging 3 is adapted, or able to be manipulated, to fold substantially around the product 2 to thus form the packaged product, generally indicated by arrow 4 (figure 3).

The product 2 is in the form of a toothpick holder and toothpicks, substantially the same as that described in US Patent No. 5,855, 215.

The packaging 3 is provided with two pre-formed (that is, pre-formed within the injection moulding methods/apparatus) lines of weakness in the form of a scored line 6 and a thinner portion 5. The lines of weakness 5,6 assist in the packaging 3 being folded and/or manipulated in order to form the packaged product 4. The scored line 6 is effectively the region joining the product 2 to the packaging 3.

To assemble the packaged product 4, the product is folded or bent about the scored line 6 until it rests against the face 12. The face 11 is then bent or folded about the line of weakness 5 until it covers the product 2-which will therefore be retained between the respective faces 11,12.

The packaging 3 is provided with retention means in the form of 2 pairs of raised flanges 7A, B and 8A, B, which are formed along same sides of the packaging 3.

With reference to figure 3, it may be appreciated that the flanges 7A, B and 8A, B are adapted to substantially meet and/or abut when the packaged product 4 is thus formed. In the embodiment shown in figure 3, the packaged product 4 is not completely formed, but it can be seen that the two nearest flanges 7A, B will eventually meet and/or abut.

The purpose of the retention means is to inhibit foreign matter from entering the sides of the packaged product 4.

The product and its packaging 1 is provided with releasable locking means in the form of a flexible tab 9 and catch 10. The tab 9 is adapted to engage with the catch 10 by the use of only gentle pressure and similarly gentle pressure is only required to release the tab 9 from the catch 10.

It will be appreciated from figure 3 that once the tab 9 has engaged with the catch 10, that the faces 11,12 of the packaging 3 are securely held together, and hence the tab 9 and catch 10 assist in holding the packaged product 4 together, once formed.

The product 2 includes a holder 13 adapted to releasably retain a toothpick once it has been removed from within the frame 15 of the product 2.

In the embodiment shown in the drawings, there is no like holder disposed upon the packaging 3, but it is envisaged that one or more of similar such holders may be formed at any point on or within the packaging 3 to similarly releasable retain a toothpick 14 as or when required.

We believe the advantages of the present invention, in respect of the embodiment shown in the drawings, to include, but to not be limited to, the following: 1. The product and its packaging 1 are comprised of a plastics material which is more hygienic than cardboard matchbook-type packaging.

2. The product and its packaging 1 are formed from injection moulding methods/apparatus which allows for a significant volume of production to be maintained, as well as consistent quality of product and its packaging 1.

3. Because the lines of weakness 5,6 are formed within the injection mould, there is no need to separately or manually crease the packaging 3. Hence, this ultimately shortens assembly time, and renders the manufacturing process more efficient than cardboard matchbook-type folders.

4. The product and its packaging 1 eliminates the need for the toothpick holder to be stapled to the folder-as described in US Patent No. 5, 855, 215. This has advantages in that it saves the time required to manually or automatically staple each toothpick holder onto the folder.

5. Doing away with the staple minimises any hygiene risk which may occur should the staple have become rusty or otherwise tarnished or deteriorated.

6. Because the toothpick holder is no longer required to be stapled to the folder, it eliminates the handling of the toothpick frame 15 when otherwise stapling.

7. The retention means 7A, B and 8A, B serve to effectively close off or seal the packaged product 4, and particularly having regard to the entry of any foreign matter from the sides of the packaged product 4. Hence, the retention means increase the overall hygiene of the packaged product 4, given that the toothpicks 14 are less susceptible to contamination.

Aspects of the present invention have been described by way of example only and it should be appreciated that modifications and additions may be made thereto without departing from the scope thereof as defined in the appended claims.