Title:
ANTI-THEFT PACKAGING DEVICE
United States Patent 3828922


Abstract:
An anti-theft packaging device is disclosed including an enclosure having an opening for insertion of the article to be packaged with the enclosure including a lip extending the dimensions of the enclosure and thus the article to be packaged and including resilient projections around and about the opening of the enclosure with the projections allowing the insertion of the article into the enclosure and preventing ease of withdrawal of the article from the enclosure without the use of a removal tool. The removal tool allows the simultaneous bending of all resilient tabs to thus allow removal of the article from the anti-theft device.



Inventors:
HOLKESTAD H
Application Number:
05/276657
Publication Date:
08/13/1974
Filing Date:
07/31/1972
Assignee:
MARSH J INC,US
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
70/63, 206/387.11
International Classes:
E05B73/00; (IPC1-7): B65D55/04; B65D85/67
Field of Search:
206/1.5,387 70
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
1750891Plier caseMarch 1930Jungeman
1356902Combined rule and pencil holderOctober 1920Benyei
1207746N/ADecember 1916Goodnough



Primary Examiner:
Summer, Leonard
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Wicks & Nemer
Claims:
What is claimed is

1. Anti-theft device for packaging small articles, comprising in combination: an article; means enclosing the article, with the enclosure including an enclosure opening for allowing insertion and withdrawal of the article; means attached to the enclosure for extending the enclosure to enlarge the enclosure means beyond the dimensions of the article; means positioned on the means for extending the enclosure, outside of, and adjacent the enclosure opening for releasably maintaining the article within the enclosure, comprising: resilient projections having free ends arranged adjacent, outside of, and projecting from the extension inwardly into the enclosure opening and blocking the opening from the inside of the enclosure for allowing the insertion of the article into the enclosure and for preventing the manual withdrawal of the article from the enclosure without use of a tool by abutment of the free ends with the article.

2. The anti-theft device of claim 1, wherein the resilient projections comprise tabs, with each tab having a first fixed end joining the enclosure adjacent to the enclosure opening and having a second free end arranged to project into the enclosure opening, and with each tab resiliently bendable into the enclosure to allow insertion of the article into the enclosure and to allow the return of the free end of the tabs into the enclosure opening to obstruct the enclosure opening and thus prevent the withdrawal of the article from the enclosure.

3. The anti-theft device of claim 2, including at least five tabs to thus exceed the number of human fingers available for depressing the tabs.

4. The anti-theft device of claim 2, wherein the enclosure comprises a hollow parallelepiped including two parallel faces, two parallel ends perpendicular to the faces and joining the faces, and one side mutually perpendicular to both the faces and the ends and joining the faces and the ends to form an open-sided enclosure, and wherein the extension means comprises at least one extension lip on the enclosure extending from at least one of the faces and ends to enlarge the enclosure beyond the dimensions of the article to be packaged.

5. The anti-theft device of claim 4, including at least five tabs to thus exceed the number of human fingers available for depressing the tabs.

6. The anti-theft device of claim 5, wherein at least one tab is positioned adjacent one end of the enclosure, wherein at least one tab is positioned adjacent the other end of the enclosure, and wherein at least three tabs are positioned in spaced relation adjacent another portion of the enclosure interconnecting with an extension lip.

7. The anti-theft device of claim 2, wherein the enclosure comprises a hollow parallelepiped including two parallel faces, two parallel ends perpendicular to the faces and joining the faces, and one side mutually perpendicular to both the faces and the ends and joining the faces and the ends to form an open-sided enclosure, and wherein the extension means comprises at least one extension lip on the enclosure extending from at least one of the faces and ends to enlarge the enclosure beyond the dimensions of the article to be packaged.

8. The anti-theft device of claim 7 wherein the resilient projections include at least five tabs to thus exceed the number of human fingers available for depressing the tabs.

9. The anti-theft device of claim 8, wherein at least one tab is positioned adjacent one end of the enclosure, wherein at least one tab is positioned adjacent the other end of the enclosure, and wherein at least three tabs are positioned in spaced relation adjacent another portion of the enclosure interconnecting with and extension lip.

10. Anti-theft device for packaging small articles, comprising in combination: means for enclosing the article, with the enclosure including a hollow parallelepiped including two parallel faces, two parallel ends perpendicular to the faces and joining the faces, one side mutually perpendicular to both the faces and the ends and joining the faces and the ends to form an open-sided enclosure, and an enclosure opening for allowing insertion and withdrawal of the article; means attached to the enclosure for extending the enclosure including an extension on the enclosure extending from one of the faces and the adjacent ends to enlarge the enclosure beyond the dimensions of the article to be packaged; and means positioned adjacent the enclosure opening for releasably maintaining the article within the enclosure means, comprising: at least five resilient tabs on the extension having free ends arranged adjacent and projecting from the extension upwardly into the enclosure opening for allowing the insertion of the article into the enclosure and for preventing the manual withdrawal of the article from the enclosure without use of a tool by abutment of the free ends with the article, wherein at least one tab is positioned upon the extension adjacent one end of the enclosure, wherein at least one tab is positioned upon the extension adjacent the other end of the enclosure, and wherein at least three tabs are positioned in spaced relation upon the portion of the extension interconnecting with the enclosure face.

11. The anti-theft device of claim 10, wherein each tab has a first fixed end joining the extension adjacent to the enclosure opening and having a second free end arranged to project into the enclosure opening, and with each tab resiliently bendable into the enclosure to allow insertion of an article into the enclosure and to allow the return of the free end of the tabs into the enclosure opening to obstruct the enclosure opening and thus prevent the withdrawal of the article from the enclosure.

Description:
BACKGROUND

The present invention relates generally to packaging devices and more specifically to anti-theft packaging devices for small, easily stolen articles.

With the increasing merchandising of small, easily stolen articles, an increasing need has arisen for methods and apparatus to prevent such theft.

For example, cassette tapes have become quite a popular medium for the recording of music and the spoken word in general. Cassette tapes are generally of small dimension, one popular tape case being approximately 4 3/4 inches in length, 2 3/4 inches in width, and approximately five-eighths of an inch in height. As can be easily recognized, a case of this size may be easily slipped into the pocket or purse of a thief or further concealed in packages or outer garments.

Previous anti-theft packaging techniques have included a general approach of attempting to make the small item larger by excessively dimensioning the packaging in which the small article is inserted. This makes theft more difficult but generally requires a non-reuseable package and an additional packaging step to firmly seal the small article to be merchandised within the enlarged packaging, generally performed at a manufacturing level.

SUMMARY

The present invention provides a simple, low cost, easily usable, re-usable, anti-theft packaging device which, in the preferred embodiment, includes a hollow parallelepiped with one open side. An extension of the parallelepiped adjacent the open side gives added dimension to the entire package. Adjacent the opening of the parallelepiped, the preferred embodiment of the present invention includes five resilient tabs arranged to project into the opening in a manner to allow insertion of an article to be packaged into the parallelepiped enclosure and allow the free end of the tabs to return into the enclosure opening and prevent the withdrawal of the article.

A removal tool is also provided for use with the anti-theft packaging device of the present invention which includes a lip and a handle for allowing the insertion of the lip between the article and one face of the enclosure to simultaneously depress all tabs and allow the removal of the packaged article.

It is thus an object of the present invention to provide a novel anti-theft packaging device.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a novel anti-theft packaging device which releasably maintains articles within an enclosure.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a novel anti-theft packaging device which releasably maintains articles within an enclosure by means of resilient projections.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a novel anti-theft packaging device and a tool to allow removeability of articles to be packaged.

These and further objects and advantages of the present invention will become clearer in the light of the following detailed description of an illustrative embodiment of this invention described in connection with the drawings.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows an exploded perspective view of an anti-theft packaging device according to the present invention in association with an article to be packaged and the tool to allow removal of the article.

FIG. 2 shows a top view of the anti-theft device according to the present invention.

FIG. 3 shows a front elevational view of the anti-theft device according to the present invention.

FIG. 4 shows a cross sectional view of the anti-theft device according to the present invention taken according to section lines 4--4 in FIG. 1 with an article in place within the device.

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view similar to that of FIG. 4 which is useful in illustrating the use of the removal tool according to the present invention to remove an article from the anti-theft device of the present invention.

For use in the various figures of the drawings, the same numerals designate the same similar parts. Furthermore, when the terms "vertical," "horizontal," "front," "back," and similar terms are used herein, it should be understood that these terms have reference only to the structure shown in the drawings as it would appear to a person viewing the drawings and are utilized only to facilitate describing the invention.

DESCRIPTION

In the Figures, an anti-theft device for the packaging of small articles, generally designated 10, is shown in the form of an enclosure, designed 12, including an extension 14 extending therefrom to extend and enlarge the enclosure 12 beyond the dimensions of the article to be packaged. Five resilient projections or tabs, 16, 17, 18, 19, and 20 are shown on enclosure 12.

In particular, enclosure 12 comprises a hollow parallelepiped including two parallel faces 22 and 24, two parallel ends 26 and 28, arranged perpendicularly to the faces 22 and 24 and joining the faces, and one side 29 mutually perpendicular to both the faces 22 and 24 and the ends 26 and 28 and joining the faces and ends to form an open sided enclosure with the open side generally designated 30.

Extension 14 further includes an extension lip 31 lying in the plane of face 24 integrally formed therewith and forming an extension thereof. Further, extension 14 includes sides 32 and 33 lying in the planes of sides 26 and 28, respectively, and integrally formed therewith and forming an extension thereof.

Top face 22 of enclosure 12 is more particularly formed of two spaced ribs 34 and 36 and bottom face 24 is similarly formed of two spaced ribs 38 and 40. The ribs 38 and 40 are vertically staggered from the ribs 34 and 36 such that the rib 38 underlies the space between the ribs 34 and 36 and the rib 40 underlies the space between rib 36 and side 29. The use of ribs and the staggering thereof is intended to facilitate the preferred method of fabricating the enclosure of the present invention, that is by injection molding.

Side 29 includes a notch designated 41 formed therein for the purposes explained hereinafter.

Tabs 16-20 are formed out of the material of enclosure 12 adjacent the opening 30 of enclosure 12, and in particular each of the tabs 16-20 includes a first fixed and end 42-46, respectively, the fixed end 45 of tab 19 being specifically shown in section in FIG. 4, and each of the tabs 16-20 includes a second free end 47-51, respectively, the free end 50 of tab 19 specifically shown in section in FIG. 4. Thus, tabs 16-20 include free ends 47-51, respectively, arranged to project into the enclosure opening 30 with the interconnection of the first fixed ends 42-46 of the tabs allowing each tab to be resiliently bendable into the enclosure 12 to allow the insertion of an article generally designated 52 into the enclosure 12 and allow the return of the free ends 47-51 of the tabs 16-20 into the enclosure opening 30 to obstruct the enclosure opening and thus prevent the withdrawal of the article 52 from the enclosure 12, as is best seen in FIG. 4. In particular, tab 16 extends horizontally into enclosure opening 30 from the plane of face 26 while tab 20 similarly extends horizontally into the enclosure opening 30 from the plane of face 28. Tabs 17, 18, and 19 extend from the plane of face 24 and extend vertically into the enclosure opening 30.

Tabs 16-20 include a thickening of material toward the fixed end thereof, the thickening designated 53-57, respectively, and best illustrated in FIG. 4 by thickening 56 at the first fixed end 45 of tab 19. The thickening of material is intended to aid in the resiliency of each of the tabs and strengthen the tabs to avoid the breaking of the tabs by a person attempting to extract the article 52 from enclosure 12 by means other than explained hereinafter.

A further strengthening is to be seen in the rounded nature of the aperture 58 from which tab 16 extends and in the rounded nature of aperture 60 from which tab 20 extends and to thus strengthen the area immediately adjacent these tabs.

As best seen in FIGS. 4, and 5 the length of each tab as measured from the interconnection of the fixed ends to the termination of the free ends is such that upon the bending of the tabs, the free ends thereof descend into the apertures immediately beneath the tabs to allow the removal of the article to be packaged as will be more fully explained hereinafter.

In FIG. 1 the article to be packaged, for example a cassette tape, or the case therefor, is generally designated 52 and is shown as positioned before the enclosure opening 30. Article 52 includes a front or leading edge 53 and a back or trailing edge 54.

Also shown in FIG. 1 is the removal tool for use of the present invention and generally designated 62. Removal tool 62 comprises a lip portion 64 and a handle portion 66. The lip portion 64 of removal tool 62 is of a size to allow the simultaneous bending of all tabs 16-20 and is of a thickness to allow the insertion of lip 64 between the article 52 to be contained within the enclosure 12 and face 24 of enclosure 12.

OPERATION

In using the anti-theft packaging device of the present invention, the user would first insert an article 52 to be packaged into the anti-theft device 10 by inserting the leading edge 53 thereof, adjacent the enclosure opening 30, into enclosure opening 30 past ribs 34, 36, 38, and 40 to end 29.

It can now be understood that in so inserting article 52, the dimensions of article 52 themselves depress tabs 16-20 into the openings beneath these tabs. That is, because each of the tabs 16-20 is pointed into the opening 30 of enclosure 12, the exterior casing of article 52 rides up the slope presented by the tabs 16-20 to an article exterior of enclosure 12 and the exterior dimensions of article 52 cause the bendings of the free ends 47-51 of tabs 16-20 into the enclosure opening and into the space beneath the tabs to thus allow the passage of article 52 over the tabs.

As can best be seen in FIG. 4, the dimensioning of enclosure 12 is designed to fit the exterior dimensioning of article 52 to be packaged, and as leading edge 53 of article 52 reaches end 29 of enclosure 12, the free ends 47-51 of tabs 16-20 are no longer held in a depressed condition by the exterior dimensions of article 52, and the free ends return to their normal position obstructing the enclosure opening 30 to thus prevent the withdrawal of article 52 from the enclosure 12.

That is, because the free ends 47-51 of tabs 16-20 resiliantly return to their normal position extending into enclosure opening 30, the free ends 47-51 abut back edge 54 of article 52 and hold article within enclosure 12.

To remove article 52 from enclosure 12, the user grasps handle 66 of removal tool 62, inserts lip 64 between article 52 and face 24 of the enclosure to cause a simultaneous bending of all tabs 16-20 in the like manner to the insertion of articles. In inserting lip 64 the user must use some care to avoid ribs 38 and 40. As is best seen in FIG. 5.

Once the lip 64 of removal tool 62 is fully inserted to back wall 29 of enclosure 12, the user can begin to push back edge 54 of article 52 outward through enclosure opening 30 by light finger pressure through notch 41 formed in side 29 of enclosure 12.

Now that the basic teachings of the present invention have been explained, many extensions and variations will be obvious to the one having ordinary skill in the art. For example, the extent and placement of the enlargement provided by extension 14 may be varied to suit the taste of the designer In fact a second extension in the plane of face 22 and extending therefrom may be found advantageous, or further lips or sides extending from any of the sides of faces may provide the extension necessary on enclosure 12 to enlarge the enclosure 12 beyond the dimensions of the article to be packaged.

Also, while five tabs are preferred because five is a number exceeding the number of fingers, exclusive of the thumb, available to simultaneously depress the tabs an attempt to extract the article to be packaged from the enclosure surreptitiously, no limitation to this number of tabs is intended. Fewer or greater numbers of tabs are envisioned.

Additionally, while the placement of three tabs on face 24, a tab on end 26, and a tab on end 28, are deemed most advantageous, again to provide a maximum difficulty in manipulating the tabs and to thus foil attempts to surreptitiously remove the article 52 to be packaged from the enclosure without the use of the removal tool, it is envisioned that once the present invention has been explained, other placements are within the skill of the art.

Further, while a slatted design dictated primarily by fabrication techniques has been presented, enclosure 12 may as well have solid faces. In fact, enclosure 12 is strengthened by including solid faces.

Furthermore, notch 41 may be less extensive in nature to again provide less opportunity for a surreptitious removal of an article from enclosure 12, i.e., notch 10 may take the form of a simple circular hole.

Thus, since the invention disclosed herein may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from the spirit or general characteristics thereof, some of which forms have been indicated, the embodiments described herein are to be considered in all respects illustrative and not restrictive. The scope of the invention is indicated by the appended claims, rather than by the foregoing description, and all changes which come within the meaning the range of equivalency of the claims are intended to be embraced therein.