Title:
Mail-safe envelope
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A mail-safe envelope includes an envelope, two gloves and a ziplock sealing-strip. The envelope is formed out of two rectangular sheets of flexible and transparent plastic material. The two rectangular sheets are disposed on top of each other to form the envelope with four sides and have two of the four sides being sealed by radio frequency energy. The two gloves are formed out of sheets of flexible and transparent plastic material and are inserted between the two rectangular sheets adjacent a third of the four sides. The two gloves and the third side are sealed by radio frequency energy. The ziplock sealing-strip is disposed between the two rectangular sheets adjacent a fourth of the four sides.



Inventors:
Begim, Moshe Y. (Sharman Oaks, CA, US)
Marom, Guy (Tarzana, CA, US)
Application Number:
09/997294
Publication Date:
08/14/2003
Filing Date:
11/27/2001
Assignee:
BEGIM MOSHE Y.
MAROM GUY
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A61L2/26; B43M7/00; (IPC1-7): B65D85/18
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MAI, LANNA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Edward, Johansen W. (11661 San Vicente Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90049, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A mail-safe envelope comprising: a. a envelope being formed out of two rectangular sheets of flexible and transparent plastic material disposed on top of each other to form said envelope with four sides and having two of said four sides being sealed by radio frequency energy; b. two gloves formed out of sheets of flexible and transparent plastic material and being inserted between said two rectangular sheets adjacent a third of said four sides wherein said two gloves and said third side are sealed by radio frequency energy; and c. a ziplock sealing-strip disposed between said two rectangular sheets adjacent a fourth of said four sides.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] Bags have been used for either protecting articles from contamination or preventing dirty or hazardous articles from contaminating the environment. Plastic bags are used for collecting crime scene evidence, containing food products and disposing either waste or hazardous material. If an article is picked up and placed in the bag by hand, the article will be contaminated by the hand, or vice versa. Although gloves can be used, they must be carried and used separately. After they are used to pick up a dirty or hazardous article, they become a source of contamination and present an additional disposal problem. If a delicate article is picked up and placed in a bag with a tool, such as a pair of tongs, the tool may damage the article. The tool may also require either cleaning or sterilization. Furthermore, when a wet article is inserted into the bag, it will usually touch the rim of the bag on the way in. Contamination may be spread by the wet rim even after the bag is tied, so that clean-up may be necessary. There are glove-like products that are capable of being everted and thus capable of retaining objects therein.

[0002] U.S. Pat. No. 4,937,881 teaches a garment that is capable of fitting upon the hand and arm of the user that can be turned inside out and sealed. The glove is provided with a widened sleeve extending at least part way up the arm of the user. The outer portion of one side of the sleeve is provided with an adhesive band such that when the glove is removed, the adhesive band is on its inner portion and may be used to seal the glove for container disposal.

[0003] U.S. Pat. No. 6,237,971 teaches a sleeved invertible glove for collection and disposal of materials that is disposable, invertible and expandable. The sleeved invertible glove includes an elongated tubular sleeve encasing an interchangeable, symmetrical glove space with an adjacent cover sheet attached harmoniously at the palm. The glove provides the means to grasp and envelop a mass, and then invert to create a bag, to contain and dispose of the mass.

[0004] U.S. Pat. No. 6,203,080 teaches a bag that is sized to accept a hand, wrist and at least a portion of an arm of the user. The bag has an open end and a closed end and two parallel side-walls that extend from the open end towards the closed end. A portion of the bag is sized to fit over a portion of the user's arm and wrist in the profile of either a square or rectangle. The closed end of the polymeric sheet material is configured to accept the thumb and at least two fingers of a user. The bag is specifically adapted to enable a user to pick up and retain an object whereupon the bag can be everted encasing the object in the polymeric sheet material.

[0005] U.S. Pat. No. 5,568,955 teaches a glove-shaped device that is employed for collection of pet excrement. The device is intended to receive a user's hand and is further provided with an extension for receiving a user's thumb.

[0006] U.S. Pat. No. 4,645,251 teaches a glove-like waste disposal device that includes a relatively thick, heat-insulating flexible inner glove which is placed over the hand of a user. An outer glove is then placed over the inner glove, the outer glove being made of a thin, flexible disposable material. The user picks up waste material. The user's hand is contained within the inner glove. The outer glove is pealed or stripped off to an inside-out pouch-forming configuration that contains the picked-up waste material therein. The outer glove and the waste material can then be disposed of. The inner glove is to be made reusable and serves to insulate the user's hand from the temperature and “feel” of the waste material. The glove is intended to be widest at its opening and narrows to conform to the wrist of the user and then widens yet again to accommodate the thumb and fingers of a user's hand.

[0007] U.S. Pat. No. 6,168,019 teaches an assembly of a plurality of material-containment devices that is provided in either roll or stack form. The individual material-containment devices have a material for absorbing waste product and a flexible bag. The bag may be everted through its opening after use to contain the absorbent material and waste. The individual devices each also have a hand-receiving structure for receiving a user's hand during use. Connection structure is associated between each device to interconnect the plurality of devices in an array or stack form. Additionally, the bag openings are non-parallel to the connection structure to facilitate use of the devices. The individual devices may each also have a closure structure for closing and sealing the everted bag after use and prior to disposal.

[0008] Many types of hand-held disposable devices for waste material cleanup and containment have been developed. A number of waste handling articles have been proposed in which a glove or mitt-like article is first placed upon a user's hand and used to pick up and/or absorb the waste, and then is “everted” (turned inside-out) to form either a “container” or a “receptacle” to enclose waste within for disposal. Some of these waste handling articles may be tied or otherwise sealed to provide a closed container for disposal of the waste. Such waste handling articles may be found in U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,186,445, 4,768,818; 3,596,798; 4,034,853, 4,788,733, 4,677,697, 4,964,188 and 5,301,806.

[0009] U.S. Pat. No. 4,964,188 teaches a hand-held clean up-device that includes a flexible plastic bag. A glove or hand recess for receiving a user's hand is disposed within the flexible bag prior to use. An absorbent pad is provided to absorb liquid or semi-liquid waste. The flexible bag is evertible after use to form a container to facilitate subsequent disposal of the waste material and absorbent pad. The clean-up device includes drawstrings or similar closures to seal the bag prior to disposal.

[0010] U.S. Pat. No. 5,301,806 teaches disposal devices that are particularly adapted for the clean-up and subsequent disposal of hazardous, infectious, and toxic wastes.

[0011] U.S. Pat. No. 6,116,668 teaches that solid animal waste can be removed from a carpet or other surface by a flexible garment worn on a person's hand and fore-arm. The garment includes a glove that is adapted to be worn on the person's hand and an open-mouthed bag extended from the glove for disposition around the person's forearm. When the animal waste is within the grasp of the glove, the bag can be turned inside out to enclose the glove and animal waste. Ties on the bag can be tied together to close the bag around the animal waste.

[0012] U.S. Pat. No. 6,050,726 teaches a plastic bag that is constructed to include an integral glove or mitten. The glove extends from a bag surface that facilitates the fitting of the glove to the hand, yet permits objects to be gripped and deposited or withdrawn from a container portion of the bag. A closure fastener seals the bag to contain he collected materials and the soiled surface of the glove inside the bag. In various constructions, the glove extends from the bottom of the bag or a tapered surface that lies above the bottom. A hand can be fitted into the glove from the exterior or interior and is positioned to facilitate collection and access to an open mouth. Bags including a drawstring closure, interlocking seals and one or more rigid scraper edges are disclosed.

[0013] U.S. Pat. No. 5,704,670 teaches a glove bag that includes a glove portion, an enlarged cuff portion, and a sealing strip that is arranged on an open rear end of the cuff portion. To use, the bag is worn over a hand, and the hand is used to pick up an article. The glove portion provides complete freedom of movement for the fingers to handle the article with precision. The glove bag is everted over the article to contain it, and the open rear end is sealed with the sealing strip. The article is thus isolated in the glove bag without being contaminated by the hand, and without contaminating the hand. The cuff portion is large enough to hold a variety of articles.

[0014] U.S. Pat. No. 5,342,121 teaches an impermeable barrier and self-contained environment for manipulation, transportation and storage of biohazardous materials that is formed of tubular flexible sheeting, opaque or transparent, or a combination thereof. The device is fitted with gloved tubular sleeves and optional iris-type access ports for access to the materials contained within the device. The particular gloves used on the tubular sleeves depend upon the procedures intended. Optional gloves are surgical-quality, examination-quality or heavy-duty. The iris ports for access permit necessary bulky equipment to be passed into the field. The closure of the containment is taped, heat sealed or fitted with a reusable seal such as a ZIPLOC seal. Optional pouches assist in performing the procedures. A pack of disposable tools or instruments and chemicals such as disinfectants and embalments permit an infectious cadaver to be sealed at the site of an accident, transported to an autopsy site, then transported to a morgue. After autopsy and embalming procedures are completed and all potentially hazardous bodily fluids have been removed and safely stored in containers, the containment may be opened without causing contamination. This is a great improvement over current methods that require disinfection of ambulance, autopsy room and embalming area each time such a procedure is performed on an infectious person. However, the containment is not limited to such use. It has general application to manipulation of any portable hazardous waste materials

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

[0015] The present invention is generally directed to an mail-safe envelope that is formed out of two rectangular sheets of flexible and transparent plastic material. The two rectangular sheets are disposed on top of each other to form the envelope with four sides and have two of the four sides being sealed by radio frequency energy.

[0016] In a first aspect of the present invention, two gloves are formed out of sheets of flexible and transparent plastic material and are inserted between the two rectangular sheets adjacent a third of the four sides. The two gloves and the third side are sealed by radio frequency energy.

[0017] In a second aspect of the present invention, a ziplock sealing-strip is disposed between the two rectangular sheets adjacent a fourth of the four sides.

[0018] Other aspects and many of the attendant advantages will be more readily appreciated as the same becomes better understood by reference to the following detailed description and considered in connection with the accompanying drawing in which like reference symbols designate like parts throughout the figures.

[0019] The features of the present invention which are believed to be novel are set forth with particularity in the appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0020] FIG. 1 is a top plan of a mail-safe envelope according to the first embodiment.

[0021] FIG. 2 is a side elevation of the mail-safe envelope of FIG. 1.

[0022] FIG. 3 is a top plan of a mail-safe envelope of FIG. 1 in which a user has placed a suspected letter and is manipulating the suspected letter with both hands.

[0023] FIG. 4 is a first photograph of the mail-safe envelope of FIG. 1.

[0024] FIG. 5 is a second photograph of the mail-safe envelope of FIG. 1.

[0025] FIG. 6 is a third photograph of the mail-safe envelope of FIG. 1.

[0026] FIG. 7 is a fourth photograph of the mail-safe envelope of FIG. 1.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0027] Referring to FIG. 1 a mail-safe envelope 10 includes an envelope 11, two gloves 12 and a sealing-strip 13. The envelope 11 is formed out of two rectangular sheets of flexible and transparent plastic material. The two rectangular sheets are disposed on top of each other to form the envelope with four sides and have two of the four sides being sealed by radio frequency energy.

[0028] Referring to FIG. 2 in conjunction with FIG. 1 the two gloves 12 are formed out of sheets of flexible and transparent plastic material. The two gloves are inserted between the two rectangular sheets adjacent a third of the four sides. The two gloves 12 and the third side are sealed by radio frequency energy. The sealing-strip 13 is disposed between the two rectangular sheets adjacent a fourth of the four sides.

[0029] Referring to FIG. 4 in conjunction with FIG. 5, FIG. 6 and FIG. 7 the mail-safe envelope 10 is a reliable, reusable and disposable practical device that keeps a user out of harms way when handling mail, packages and any other content that may be contaminated. The mail-safe envelope 10 isolates objects in a sealed environment where they can be opened without the mail coming into direct contact with the user. The mail-safe envelope 10 protects the user from harmful exposure via physical skin contact and/or from inhalant contaminants. Unlike other alternatives that are not only costly and bulky, but also may be difficult, if not impossible, to decontaminate after being exposed to Anthrax or other such foreign toxic matters, the mail-safe envelope 10 is cost-effective and compact. The mail-safe envelope 10 can be reused, quarantined, or discarded with ease.

[0030] The mail-safe envelope 10 is constructed of durable polymers using a radio frequency (RF) sealing process for added protection. In order to use the mail-safe envelope contents for inspection are top-loaded into the mail-safe envelope 10 through a ziplock closure-mechanism and is then sealed. The user is able to insert his hands into the sealed gloves to handle and inspect its contents. If the packages or mail prove suspicious, the user is able to quarantine the sealed unit for further inspection by the authorities. There are many industry applications and uses for the mail-safe envelope 10 and they include the home, business, law enforcement, correction facilities and insurance.

[0031] From the foregoing it can be seen that a mail-safe envelope has been described. It should be noted that the sketches are not drawn to scale and that distances of and between the figures are not to be considered significant.

[0032] Accordingly it is intended that the foregoing disclosure and showing made in the drawing shall be considered only as an illustration of the principle of the present invention.