Title:
Greeting card for mailing a consumable product or the like
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention provides a greeting card for mailing at least one consumable product to a recipient and a method for mailing products, especially chewing gum. The package includes a housing including a location for postage and at least one location for an address, where the housing encloses the chewing gum. The package also includes a cover hingedly attached to the housing wherein the cover is movable to reveal information included on the housing to the recipient. Information may also be included on the outside surface of the cover. The information may be a text message such as a greeting, an image or the like. In an embodiment, the housing is inserted into a sleeve to protect and secure the housing. In an embodiment, the cover is affixed to the housing in a closed position by a sealing flap that includes a tear strip for ease of releasing the cover to reveal the information included on the housing of the greeting card.



Inventors:
Siethoff, Sebastian (Chicago, IL, US)
Anderson, Robert W. (Chicago, IL, US)
Application Number:
11/270923
Publication Date:
06/29/2006
Filing Date:
11/11/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/232
International Classes:
B65D71/00; B42D15/04; B65D25/54; C12C1/027; B42D
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20040200750Designer leather/textile toilet tissue holderOctober, 2004Mcandrew
20070051654Packaging, shipping and display systemMarch, 2007Mahoney
20090159483MULTIPLE-COMPARTMENT FOOD PACKAGEJune, 2009Hinze et al.
20040004016Display container with filler and product units and method of assemblyJanuary, 2004Rawat
20100044251CLIP PACKAGE AND CLIP LOADING METHODFebruary, 2010Itoh et al.
20090145791Drill and driver bit organizer and storage caseJune, 2009Panosian et al.
20070227926Portable document organizerOctober, 2007Shapiro
20020130166Packaging constructionSeptember, 2002Goebel
20050155897INDICIA VIEWABLE THROUGH ENCASEMENT OF VACUUM-PACKED DIAPERJuly, 2005Snell
20080230409FLORAL STAND, FRAME KIT AND CONTAINER AND METHOD OF USESeptember, 2008Elfezouaty
20080219751Toothbrush with toothpaste in handleSeptember, 2008Teitelbaum



Primary Examiner:
PARADISO, JOHN ROGER
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BELL, BOYD & LLOYD LLC (P. O. BOX 1135, CHICAGO, IL, 60690-1135, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. A greeting card for mailing consumable products comprising: a housing for mailing at least one consumable product including a location for placing postage and at least one location for placing an address, said housing enclosing the product; a display area included on the housing, the display area including information; and a cover hingedly connected to said housing, wherein said cover is capable of being secured in a substantially closed position for mailing and wherein at least a portion of the cover is movable from the substantially closed position adjacent to the housing to a substantially open position away from the housing to display the information included in the display area.

2. A greeting card for mailing products comprising: a housing for mailing at least one product including a location for placing postage and at least one location for placing an address, said housing enclosing the product; at least one display area included on the housing, the display area including information; a cover hingedly connected to said housing, at least a portion of the cover being movable from a substantially closed position adjacent to the housing to a substantially open position away from the housing to display the information included in the display area; and a sealing flap, said sealing flap including at least one attachment element adapted to affix the cover to the housing in the substantially closed position adjacent to the housing, wherein the sealing flap includes a removable portion operable to release the cover from the housing.

3. The greeting card of claim 2, wherein the sealing flap is configured to extend beyond at least one first wall of said housing to affix the cover to a second wall of said housing.

4. The greeting card of claim 2, wherein the removable portion of the securing flap includes a tear strip.

5. The greeting card of claim 4, wherein the tear strip of the securing flap includes a pull tab.

6. The greeting card of claim 2, wherein the attachment element includes an adhesive.

7. The greeting card of claim 2, wherein the product includes a consumable product.

8. A greeting card for mailing consumable products comprising: a housing defining a receptacle for removably receiving at least one consumable product, said housing including a location for postage, at least one location for an address and a first greeting on an outer surface; a wall pivotally secured to the housing, said wall including a second greeting, wherein the wall pivots between an open position and a closed position that conceals the first greeting; and a sealing flap, said sealing flap including at least one attachment element adapted to affix the wall to the housing in the substantially closed position adjacent to the housing, wherein the sealing flap includes a removable portion operable to release the wall from the housing.

9. The greeting card of claim 8, wherein the removable portion of the securing flap includes a tear strip.

10. The greeting card of claim 9, wherein the tear strip of the securing flap includes a pull tab.

11. The greeting card of claim 8, wherein the attachment element includes an adhesive.

12. A method for providing a greeting to a recipient comprising: selecting a card having a cover and a housing so constructed and arranged to receive at least one product; placing a product in the card; moving a cover pivotally secured to the card to a closed position against the housing; attaching said cover to said housing in the closed position; mailing the card to a recipient; providing a first greeting when the recipient receives the card; enabling the recipient to release the cover from the housing; providing a second greeting when the recipient opens the cover; enabling the recipient to remove the product from the card; and enabling the recipient to maintain the card in a substantially planar form after removing the consumable product from the card.

13. The method of claim 12, which includes attaching said cover to said housing in the closed position with at least one sealing flap.

14. The method of claim 13, wherein the sealing flap includes at least one attachment element.

15. The method of claim 14, wherein the attachment element includes an adhesive.

16. The method of claim 13, which includes enabling the recipient to remove a portion of the sealing flap to release the cover from the housing.

17. The method of claim 16, wherein enabling the recipient to remove a portion of the sealing flap to release the cover from the housing includes providing a pull tab associated with the sealing flap.

18. The method of claim 17, wherein the pull tab is associated with a tear strip.

Description:

PRIORITY CLAIM

This application is a continuation-in-part of and claims the benefit of U.S. application Ser. No. 10/697,813 filed Oct. 28, 2003, the entire contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to greeting cards. More particularly, the present invention relates to a greeting card for mailing consumable products.

The packaging for consumable or confectionery products is very important to the look, marketing and storage of the product. Very often, in addition to text on the packaging, the packaging also attempts to visually convey a message about the type of product, the taste of the product or the purpose of the product. For example, packages for cinnamon or cherry tasting products are often red, grape tasting product packaging is often purple, etc. Once the consumer has identified a desired brand, the consumer can typically choose a product based solely on the color of the packaging.

In marketing the product, packaging can convey other information besides taste. Namely, products are often displayed in packaging including different colors or images, which convey a theme or themes to a consumer. For example, the packaging may be in the shape of a candy cane during the Christmas season. Moreover, the packaging may include red and green colors and/or images of Santa Claus, wreaths and the like to convey the Christmas theme.

In addition to creating attractive packaging, several different marketing methods are used to promote products. One known marketing method is the mailing of a product or products to potential consumers. These mailings enable product manufacturers to send a sample or samples of their product to a large number of consumers.

Typically, these mailings include promotional material such as flyers, coupons or other incentive materials, which further promote the product to consumers. The promotional material is generally mailed loosely in the product packaging. Because the promotional material is mailed loosely, the promotional material tends to fall out of the packaging when the packaging is opened or thereby gets separated from the product and/or the product packaging. As a result, the promotional material may be lost which eliminates the benefit of sending the promotional material.

Because marketing significantly affects the success and sales of products, there is a need for different mailing packages for products that are attractive to consumers and promote and sell the products. Additionally, there is a need for product packages that are durable for mailing. There is also an additional need for product packages which maintain promotional material with the product contained in the package.

It is therefore desirable to provide a greeting card for mailing consumable products to consumers which conveys a message to the consumers.

It is also desirable to provide a package that is durable and protects consumable products during mailing.

It is also desirable to provide a package for mailing consumable products to consumers which maintains information for consumers.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a greeting card for mailing products to a recipient and a method for mailing the products, especially consumable products. More specifically, the present invention provides a greeting card or mailer for mailing consumable products having a housing and at least one cover hingedly connected to the housing. The housing encloses at least one consumable product and includes a location for postage and at least one location for an address. The cover pivots or moves from a substantially closed position to a substantially open position to reveal information to the recipient. The information may be a text message, an image, an audio message, a visual message, an audiovisual message or the like. The cover can be secured to the housing in a closed position, and, in particular, in a closed position for mailing. A recipient receives the greeting card in the mail, releases the cover from the housing and moves the cover to reveal the information such as a greeting under the cover. The information may be related to the consumable product or products, a theme or themes or any other suitable information. In an embodiment, the information is also included or attached to the outside of the cover to convey information such as a greeting to consumers before the consumers open the greeting card.

To this end, in an embodiment, a greeting card for mailing consumable products is provided. The greeting card includes a housing for mailing at least one consumable product including a location for placing postage and at least one location for placing an address. The housing encloses the consumable product and includes a display area having information. The greeting card also includes a cover hingedly connected to the housing. At least a portion of the cover is movable from a substantially closed position adjacent to the housing to a substantially open position away from the housing to display the information included in the display area.

In an embodiment, the housing includes a closed end and an opposing open end.

In an embodiment, at least a portion of the housing is substantially transparent.

In an embodiment, at least a portion of the cover is substantially transparent.

In an embodiment, the information includes at least one text message.

In an embodiment, the information includes at least one image.

In an embodiment, the information includes at least one greeting.

In an embodiment, the display area is removably attached to the housing.

In an embodiment, the open end includes a first lid and a second securing lid hingedly connected to the housing, wherein the first lid is folded and secured to the housing and the second securing lid is folded and secured to a slot defined by the first lid to secure the first lid.

In an embodiment, a second housing is provided where the second housing includes an open end. The housing is removably inserted into the opening of the second housing.

In an embodiment, the second housing is substantially transparent.

In an embodiment, the consumable product is chewing gum.

In another embodiment, a greeting card for mailing consumable products is provided. The greeting card includes a housing defining a receptacle for removably receiving at least one consumable product. The housing also includes a location for postage, at least one location for an address and a first greeting on an outer surface. In addition, the greeting card includes a wall pivotally secured to the housing. The wall includes a second greeting and pivots between an open position and a closed position that conceals the first greeting.

In an embodiment, at least a portion of the wall is substantially transparent.

In an embodiment the first greeting includes at least one of a text message and an image.

In an embodiment, the second greeting includes at least one of a text message and an image.

In an embodiment, a sleeve having opposing walls and at least one open end is provided. The housing is removably inserted into the opening of the sleeve.

In an embodiment at least a portion of the sleeve is substantially transparent.

In a further embodiment, a method for providing a greeting to a recipient is provided. The method includes the step of selecting a card that is so constructed and arranged to receive at least one consumable product. The following step is placing a consumable product in the card. The next step is mailing the card to a recipient. The following step is providing a first greeting when the recipient receives the card. The next step is providing a second greeting when the recipient opens a cover pivotally secured to the card. The following steps are enabling the recipient to remove the consumable product from the card and then enabling the recipient to maintain the card in a substantially planar form after removing the consumable product from the card.

In an embodiment, the step of providing the first greeting includes providing at least one of an audio greeting, a visual greeting and an audiovisual greeting.

In an embodiment, the step of providing the second greeting includes providing at least one of an audio greeting, a visual greeting and an audiovisual greeting.

In an embodiment, the step of providing the first greeting includes providing a seasonal greeting.

In an embodiment, the step of providing the second greeting includes providing a seasonal greeting.

In another embodiment, a greeting card for mailing consumable products is provided. The greeting card includes a housing for mailing at least one consumable product including a location for placing postage and at least one location for placing an address. The housing encloses the product. The greeting card also includes a display area included on the housing. The display area includes information. The greeting card further includes a cover hingedly connected to the housing. The cover is capable of being secured in a substantially closed position for mailing. At least a portion of the cover is movable from the substantially closed position adjacent to the housing to a substantially open position away from the housing to display the information included in the display area.

In another embodiment, a greeting card for mailing products is provided. The greeting card includes a housing for mailing at least one product including a location for placing postage and at least one location for placing an address, the housing enclosing the product. The greeting card also includes at least one display area included on the housing. The display area includes information. The greeting card further includes a cover hingedly connected to the housing. At least a portion of the cover is movable from a substantially closed position adjacent to the housing to a substantially open position away from the housing to display the information included in the display area. In addition, the greeting card includes a sealing flap. The sealing flap includes at least one attachment element adapted to affix the cover to the housing in the substantially closed position adjacent to the housing. The sealing flap includes a removable portion operable to release the cover from the housing.

In an embodiment, the sealing flap is configured to extend beyond at least one first wall of the housing to affix the cover to a second wall of the housing.

In an embodiment, the removable portion of the securing flap includes a tear strip.

In an embodiment, the tear strip of the securing flap includes a pull tab.

In an embodiment, the attachment element includes an adhesive.

In an embodiment, the product includes a consumable product.

In a further embodiment, a greeting card for mailing consumable products is provided. The greeting card includes a housing defining a receptacle for removably receiving at least one consumable product. The housing includes a location for postage, at least one location for an address and a first greeting on an outer surface. The greeting card also includes a wall pivotally secured to the housing. The wall includes a second greeting. The wall pivots between an open position and a closed position that conceals the first greeting. The greeting card further includes a sealing flap. The sealing flap includes at least one attachment element adapted to affix the wall to the housing in the substantially closed position adjacent to the housing. The sealing flap includes a removable portion operable to release the wall from the housing.

In an embodiment, the removable portion of the securing flap includes a tear strip.

In an embodiment, the tear strip of the securing flap includes a pull tab.

In an embodiment, the attachment element includes an adhesive.

In another embodiment, a method for providing a greeting to a recipient is provided. The method includes selecting a card having a cover and a housing so constructed and arranged to receive at least one product and placing a product in the card. The method also includes moving a cover pivotally secured to the card to a closed position against the housing and attaching the cover to the housing in the closed position. The method further includes mailing the card to a recipient, providing a first greeting when the recipient receives the card, and enabling the recipient to release the cover from the housing. In addition, the method includes providing a second greeting when the recipient opens the cover and enabling the recipient to remove the product from the card. The method includes enabling the recipient to maintain the card in a substantially planar form after removing the consumable product from the card.

In an embodiment, the method includes securing the cover to the housing in the closed position with at least one sealing flap.

In an embodiment, the sealing flap includes at least one attachment element.

In an embodiment, the attachment element includes an adhesive.

In an embodiment, the method includes enabling the recipient to remove a portion of the sealing flap to release the cover from the housing.

In an embodiment, enabling the recipient to remove a portion of the sealing flap to release the cover from the housing includes providing a pull tab associated with the sealing flap.

In an embodiment, the pull tab is associated with a tear strip.

An advantage of the present invention is to provide a greeting card for mailing consumable products to consumers.

Another advantage of the present invention is to provide a durable package which protects and maintains the consumable products during transportation in the mail.

Further, an advantage of the present invention is to provide a greeting card for mailing consumable products that maintains information with the package.

Moreover, an advantage of the present invention is to provide a greeting card for mailing consumable products that promotes the consumable products.

Additionally, an advantage of the present invention is to provide a greeting card for mailing consumable products that includes seasonal greetings.

An advantage of the present invention is to provide a greeting card that effectively secures the cover in a closed position.

Another advantage of the present invention is to provide a greeting card that enables a user to easily seal and enables a receiver to easily open the greeting card.

A further advantage of the present invention is to provide a greeting card that is protected along a vulnerable surface.

Yet another advantage of the present invention is to provide a greeting card that secures the cover in a closed position.

An even further advantage of the present invention is to provide a greeting card that is constructed from a single foldable blank.

Additional features and advantages of the present invention will be described in and apparent from the detailed description of the presently preferred embodiments.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the greeting card of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of an embodiment of FIG. 1 where a message is displayed on the housing of the greeting card.

FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective view of the embodiment of FIG. 1, where products are being removably inserted into the greeting card.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the embodiment of FIG. 3 where the products are fully inserted into the greeting card.

FIG. 5 is an exploded perspective view of an alternative embodiment of FIG. 1 where the greeting card is removably inserted into a second housing.

FIG. 6 is a plan view of another embodiment of the greeting card of the present invention.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of an embodiment of an assembled greeting card of the present invention.

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the greeting card of the present invention in an open position.

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the greeting card of the present invention in a closed position.

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the greeting card of the present invention in a sealed configuration.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring now to the drawings and in particular to FIG. 1, an embodiment of the product mailer or greeting card 10 of the present invention is illustrated. The greeting card 10 in the illustrated embodiment includes a housing 12, which encloses at least one product, and a cover hingedly connected to the housing. The housing includes a location for postage and at least one location for an address to mail the package to one or more recipients. Although the greeting card in a preferred embodiment is designed to be used to house confectionery products, e.g., gum, the greeting card can be used to house other products, e.g., pharmaceuticals.

The housing 12 includes a front wall 14, a rear wall 16, a top wall 18, a bottom wall (not shown), and a cover 17. The front wall 14, rear wall 16, top wall 18 and the bottom wall form the housing. The housing 12 also includes a first lid 20 including a top 22 and a flap 24. The housing further includes side flaps 32. The first lid 20 and more specifically the flap 24 folds over the side flaps 32 to secure the first lid 20 to the housing.

In an embodiment, the housing includes a first securing lid 26 having a top 28 in a flap 30. The first securing lid 26 and more specifically the flap 30 is folded over the first lid 20 and into a slot (not shown) defined by the first lid 20. The first securing lid 26 further secures the first lid 20 to the housing 12 so that any products contained in the housing do not fall out of the housing.

Similarly, at the opposite end of the housing, the housing includes a second lid 34 including a top 36 and a flap 38. The housing also includes second side flaps 46. The flap 38 is folded over the side flaps 46 to secure the second lid 34 to the housing 12. Additionally, the housing includes a second securing lid 40 having a top 42 and a flap 44. The flap 44 is folded over the first lid 34 into a corresponding slot (not shown) defined in the second lid 34.

The housing further includes a cover, wall or door 17 which is hingedly connected or attached adjacent to the rear wall 16 near the top wall 18 of the housing 12. The cover 17 or at least a portion of the cover pivots toward and away from the housing 12 to reveal information displayed by the display area 19. In an embodiment, the cover 17 is integrally formed with the housing 12. In another embodiment, the cover 17 is secured to the housing 12 using a suitable adhesive or the like. In a further embodiment, the cover 17 includes a tab (not shown) which inserts into a corresponding slot (not shown) defined in the top wall 18 of the housing 12. It should be appreciated that any suitable securing device or method may be used to secure the cover 17 to the housing 12.

Although FIG. 1 illustrates the greeting card 10 including two open ends, the present invention may include any suitable number of open ends for receiving products. Additionally, the illustrated embodiment shows cover 17 hingedly attached to the top wall 18 adjacent to the rear wall 16. The cover 17 may be attached to any portion of the housing 12 so that the cover 17 is able to pivot towards and away from the housing.

Additionally, FIG. 1 illustrates greeting card 10 including one cover or door 17 which pivots or moves towards and away from the housing 12. The present invention may also include a plurality of covers 17 which are hingedly connected to the housing 12 where each cover moves towards and away from the housing to reveal information to a consumer. The plurality of covers may be opened independently and in any order.

In an embodiment, the housing 12 includes at least one display area 19a attached to the top wall 18 of the housing 12 and at least one display area 19b attached to the outside surface of the cover 17. The display areas 19a and 19b remain attached or otherwise associated with the housing 12 and the cover 17, respectively, and each displays information to a consumer. The information on display areas 19a and 19b may be information related to a theme or themes such as a seasonal greeting (i.e., a Christmas greeting) or other greeting included in the greeting card 10, information related to the product or products included in the greeting card, or any other suitable information. Additionally, the information may include a text message, an image, an audio message, a visual message, an audiovisual message or any combination thereof. Although the illustrated embodiment shows two display areas 19a and 19b, the greeting card 10 may include one display area such as display area 19a or 19b, or a plurality of display areas to convey information such as a greeting to a consumer. In addition, in accordance with the above embodiment, the number of display areas may be greater than, the same as or less than the number of covers connected to the housing.

In an embodiment, the display area 19b is attached to the outside surface of the cover 17 and the display area 19a is attached to the outside surface of the top wall 18 of the housing 12. Therefore, prior to mailing the greeting card, the door or cover 17 is moved towards the housing and covers or hides the information or greeting displayed in display area 19a. When a recipient such as a consumer receives the greeting card 10, the consumer initially sees the information or greeting attached to the display area 19b. The consumer then lifts or opens the cover 17 and moves or pivots the cover away from the housing 12 to reveal the information or greeting in display area 19a.

In another embodiment, the one or both of the display areas 19a and 19b are removably attached to the housing 12. In this embodiment, the display areas 19a and 19b may be cards, pieces of paper, or any other suitable media which may be attached to and/or removed from the housing 12. For example, a business card or coupon may be attached to one or both of the display areas 19a and 19b to convey information to a recipient.

Although the illustrated embodiment shows display areas 19a and 19b attached to the housing 12 and the cover 17, respectively, the display areas may be attached to the inside surface of the cover 17, the top surface of the cover 17, to the bottom surface of the housing 12 or to any other suitable surface of the housing 12.

In an embodiment, the housing 12 includes a location for postage and at least one location for a recipient's address. For example, the postage and recipient's address may be included on the bottom wall or surface (not shown) of the housing (i.e., the surface opposite to the top wall 18). It should be appreciated that the postage, the recipient's address and/or any other suitable address may be included on the housing 12, the cover 17 or any other suitable location on the greeting card.

Referring now to FIGS. 2 and 4, an embodiment of the greeting card 10 is illustrated where the display areas 19a and 19b include text messages 47a and 47b such as seasonal greetings. For example, the text message 47a in FIG. 2, displays the words “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!” and the text message 47b displays the words “Season's Greetings.” Therefore, the text messages 47a and 47b provide greetings relating to the theme of Christmas. The text messages 47a and 47b may be any suitable message or greeting directed to the recipient of the package.

In another embodiment, the display areas 19a and 19b include one or more images (not shown) which convey information to the package recipient. The images may be associated with a text message 47a and/or 47b or any other suitable message. Although the text messages 47a and 47b display words associated with a theme, the text messages may also convey marketing information such as the information included on a coupon or any other information.

Referring to FIG. 3, a product package 48 including a plurality of consumable products 50 is removably inserted into the housing 12. The product package 48 corresponds to the shape and size of housing 12 and fits into the housing. Next, the flap 24 of the first lid 20 is folded over the first side flaps 32 to secure the first lid 20 to the housing 12. Then, the flap 30 of the first securing lid 26 is folded over the first lid 20 and into a corresponding slot in the first lid 20 to secure the first securing lid 26 to the housing 12.

In FIG. 3, the cover or door 17 is shown in an open position to reveal the display area 19a. Once the product package 48 is inserted into the housing 12, the cover 17 is moved to the closed position adjacent to the top wall 18 of the housing to cover or hide the display area 19a. The cover 17 is then removably secured to the housing 12.

In an embodiment, a manufacturer inserts at least one product such as a consumable product in the product mailer or greeting card 10 and then mails the greeting card to a recipient such as a consumer to promote the consumable product contained in the package.

In another embodiment, the product mailer or greeting card 10 is displayed in a retail location such as a store. For example, the greeting card 10 may be displayed with other greeting cards in the greeting card section of the store. In this embodiment, the greeting card 10 does not include a consumable product or any other product. Instead, the greeting card 10 is displayed in the store in a flat or substantially planar form. A consumer then purchases and constructs and/or folds the greeting card to form a receptacle or cavity for receiving at least one consumable product. After the greeting card is assembled, the consumer inserts their own consumable product or products such as chewing gum into the receptacle or cavity. Then, the consumer transfers or provides the greeting card to a recipient (i.e., a friend, relative, business associate or the like) such mailing the greeting card to the recipient. The recipient reads the greeting on the greeting card and can un-fold or otherwise flatten the greeting card back to its original flat or substantially planar form and display the greeting card such as on a refrigerator, fireplace mantel or any other suitable location.

In an embodiment, the display areas 19a and/or 19b include pre-printed messages such as messages or greetings 47a and 47b. In another embodiment, one or more of the display areas are initially blank or at least partially blank and enable a consumer to include or attach a personal note or greeting to one or more of the display areas.

Referring now to FIG. 4, the greeting card 10 is illustrated where the product package 48 is fully inserted into and secured in the housing 12. As illustrated, the first lid 20 covers the opening of the housing 12 and is secured to the housing. The first securing lid 26 folds over the first lid 20 and is inserted into a corresponding slot in the first lid 20 to further secure the first lid to the housing. The lids 20 and 26 secure the product in the package and prevent the product from falling out of the package during the transportation of the package in the mail. The cover 17 is in the closed position adjacent to the housing 12 so that the information or greeting included in display area 19b is visible to the recipient. However, the cover 17 conceals or hides the information on the display area 19a to prevent this information from being read or damaged prior to being received by the intended recipient. Once the greeting card 10 is received, initially sees the information such as a greeting or image in display area 19b. The recipient the lifts the cover 17 away from the housing 12 by pivoting the cover 17 upward away from the housing. This reveals the information included in display area 19a such as a greeting and/or image to the recipient. This provides a unique method of conveying product, marketing or other suitable information to an intended recipient.

Referring now to FIG. 5, another embodiment of the present invention is illustrated where the housing 12 fits into a second housing or sleeve 52 to further protect the greeting card 10 in the mail. The sleeve also further secures the cover 17 in the closed position so that the cover does not accidentally open in the mail. In an embodiment, the sleeve 52 includes a top wall 54, bottom wall 56, and side walls 58 and 60 that form the sleeve. The sleeve 52 also includes at least one opening corresponding to the size and shape of the greeting card 10 so that the greeting card 10 is removably inserted into the sleeve 52. In an embodiment, the sleeve 52 includes a substantially transparent material. In another embodiment, the sleeve 52 includes a substantially non-transparent material. The sleeve 52 may include images, text, or any combination of text, images, graphics and the like to convey additional information.

Referring now to FIGS. 6 to 10, in an embodiment, a greeting card 110 is provided having a sealing flap 126 configured to secure the cover 117 to the housing 112 in a closed position and to enable a recipient to efficiently release the cover 117 from the housing 112.

FIG. 6 illustrates a plan view of the greeting card. The housing 112 includes a front wall 114, a rear wall 116, a top wall 118a, a bottom wall 118b, and a cover 117. In the illustrated embodiment, each of the front wall 114, rear wall 116, top wall 118a, bottom wall 118b, and cover 117 are portions of a single continuous planar structure defined by folds or fold lines. Alternatively, any one of the walls or cover can be associated with other portions of the housing through bonding, adhesion or any other form of physical attachment to the housing.

The housing 112 also includes a first lid 120 and a second lid 134 disposed on opposite sides of the housing 112. The first lid 120 includes a lid top 122 and a lid flap 124. Similarly, the second lid 134 includes a lid top 136 and a lid flap 138.

The housing further includes first side flaps 132a and 132b associated with the first lid 120 of the housing and second side flaps 146a and 146b associated with the second lid 134 of the housing. As illustrated in FIG. 6, side flaps 132a and 146a are extensions of rear wall 116 and are disposed on opposite ends of rear wall 116. Side flaps 132a and 146a are defined by respective fold lines at the junction of cover 117a and bottom wall 118b. Likewise, side flaps 132b and 146b are extensions of rear wall 114 and are disposed on opposite ends of rear wall 114. Side flaps 132b and 146b are defined by respective fold lines at the junction of top wall 118a and bottom wall 118b.

In the illustrated embodiment, the top wall 118a includes the first lid 120 and the second lid 134 disposed on opposite ends of top wall 118a. It should be appreciated, however, that any one of the walls of the housing, 114, 116, 118a and 118b, can include, or otherwise be associated with, either the first lid 120 or the second lid 134, or both. Although the greeting card 110 is described to include two accessible openings in the housing 112, it should be appreciated that the housing 112 may include any suitable number of accessible openings for receiving products.

The greeting card structure illustrated in FIG. 6 is folded along fold lines to form the configuration illustrated in FIG. 7. To this end, the greeting card structure is folded such that the outer portion of tab extension 115 can be affixed to the inner portion of rear wall 116 to join the top wall 118a to the rear wall 116. In addition, the first lid 120, and more specifically the lid flap 124, folds over the side flaps 132a and 132b to secure the lid flap 124 to the housing and to cause lid top 122 to form a wall of the housing 112. Similarly, the lid flap 138 of the second lid 134 is folded over the side flaps 146a and 146b to secure the lid flap 138 to the housing and to cause lid top 136 to form a wall of the housing 112. Accordingly, lid top 122 and lid top 136 combine with front wall 114, rear wall 116, top wall 118a, and bottom wall 118b to define a space or compartment within the housing in which one or more products can be contained.

The housing 112 further includes a pivotal or rotatable wall, door or cover 117. In an embodiment, the cover 117 is integrally formed with the housing 112. As illustrated in FIG. 6, the cover 117 includes two portions 117a and 117b separated by fold line 140. Portion 117b is reflected back onto portion 117a to form an outer cover surface 117a and an inner cover surface 117b, collectively referred to herein as cover 117. The outer cover surface 117a may be attached to the inner cover surface 117b by an integrated structural feature such as a tab or by adhesion, bonding or any other suitable attachment. This reinforced configuration provides a more durable cover for the greeting card and a more finished appearance to the cover when only the top side of the blank is printed as illustrated in FIG. 6.

The cover 117 is hingedly connected to or attached to or otherwise associated with the top wall 118a adjacent to the rear wall 116 of the housing 112. It should be appreciated that the cover 117 may be continuous with or otherwise attached to any portion of the housing 112. The cover 117 or at least a portion of the cover is adapted to pivot toward and away from the housing 112 to reveal information displayed by the display area. It should also be appreciated that the greeting card 110 may also include a plurality of covers 117 which are hingedly connected to the housing 112 where each cover moves towards and away from the housing to reveal information to a consumer. The plurality of covers may be opened independently and in any order.

As previously described, the housing 112 can include at least one display area attached to the top wall 118a of the housing 112 and at least one display area attached to the outside surface of the cover 117a. The display areas remain attached or otherwise associated with the housing 112 and the cover 117, respectively, and each displays information to a recipient or consumer. The information on the display areas may include information related to a theme or themes, such as a seasonal greeting (e.g. a Christmas greeting) or other greeting included in the greeting card 110, information related to the product or products included in the greeting card, or any other suitable information. Additionally, the information may include a text message, an image, an audio message, a visual message, an audiovisual message or any combination thereof. The greeting card 110 may include one display area or a plurality of display areas to convey information such as a greeting to a consumer. In addition, in accordance with the above embodiment, the number of display areas may be greater than, the same as or less than the number of covers connected to the housing.

In an embodiment, a display area can be attached to the outside surface of the cover 117a and a display area can be attached to the outside surface of the top wall 118a of the housing 112. Therefore, prior to mailing the greeting card, the door or cover 117 is moved or pivoted towards the housing and covers or hides the information or greeting displayed in display the area on the top wall 118a. When a recipient such as a consumer receives the greeting card 110, the recipient initially sees the information or greeting attached to the display area on the cover 117a. The recipient then lifts or opens the cover 117 and moves or pivots the cover away from the housing 112 to reveal the information or greeting in display area on the top wall 118a.

In another embodiment, one or more of the display areas are removably attached to the housing 112. In this embodiment, the display areas may be cards, pieces of paper, or any other suitable media which may be attached to and/or removed from the housing 112. For example, a business card or coupon may be attached to one or more of the display areas to convey information to a recipient. It should be appreciated, therefore, that the display areas may be attached to the inside surface of the cover 117b, the top surface of the cover 117a, the bottom surface 118b of the housing 112 or to any other suitable surface of the housing 112.

As illustrated in FIGS. 6 and 10, in an embodiment, the housing 112 includes a location for postage and at least one location for a recipient's address. The locations for postage and recipient address may be identified or indicated with printed indicia. For example, the postage and recipient's address may be included on the bottom wall 118b or surface of the housing. It should be appreciated that the postage, the recipient's address and/or any other suitable address may be included on the housing 112, the cover 117 or any other suitable location on the greeting card.

In an embodiment, the cover 117 is secured to the housing 112. In the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 6 to 10, the greeting card includes at least one sealing flap 126 which is adapted to substantially maintain the cover in a closed or sealed position over the top wall 118a of the housing of the greeting card. As illustrated in FIG. 6, the sealing flap includes a first end associated with or hingedly attached to the cover of the greeting card and a second end adapted to affix the sealing flap to the housing.

As further illustrated in FIG. 6, in an embodiment, the sealing flap 126 is continuous with the housing 112 of the greeting card 110. Alternatively, the sealing flap 126 can be a separate structure independent of the housing and secured or otherwise fixedly attached to the housing. In the illustrated embodiment, a first end of the sealing flap 126 is continuous with the outer cover 117a substantially along fold line 140 at the junction between the outer cover 117a and the inner cover 117b. Attachment of at least a portion of the sealing flap 126 to the cover 117 enables the sealing flap 126 to be moved or rotated to an attachment site on the housing to secure the cover in a substantially closed position.

The sealing flap 126 can include any suitable shape or dimensions that allow the sealing flap 126 to extend along a surface of the greeting card 110 to protect the structure of the greeting card where the cover is most vulnerable to being pivoted away from the housing. The sealing flap 126 can also include any suitable shape or dimensions that allow the sealing flap 126 to extend over, and effectively engage, at least one of the walls of the housing. As illustrated in FIG. 10, the sealing flap 126 is dimensioned to extend from the free edge of the outer cover 117a, beyond the front wall 114, to engage at least a portion of bottom wall 118b to maintain the cover in a substantially closed or sealed position over the top wall 118a of the housing 112. To this end, the sealing flap 126 includes a front wall portion 128 and a bottom wall portion 130. As illustrated in FIG. 7, the front wall portion 128 includes a dimension d1 that is substantially equal to the depth of the housing d1 defined by the width of front wall 114. The bottom wall portion 130 is dimensioned to engage a portion of the bottom wall 118b sufficient to create a secure attachment to the bottom wall 118b. In an embodiment, the front wall portion 128 and the bottom wall portion 130 of the sealing flap 126 are separated by and, therefore, further defined by a fold line 142 extending the length of the sealing flap 126. The fold line 142 enables the sealing flap 126 to conform to the shape of the housing 112 and, particularly, to the corner formed at the intersection of the front wall 114 and the bottom wall 118b. To this end, the bottom wall portion 130 is adapted to pivot or rotate at an angle to the front wall portion 128.

As illustrated in FIG. 8, in one embodiment, a portion of the inner cover 117b includes the sealing flap 126. A plurality of sides of the sealing flap 126 are defined by weakened or cut-through portions of inner cover 117b that allow separation of the plurality of the sides of sealing flap 126 from inner cover 117b along the weakened portions of inner cover 117b. The weakened portions of the inner cover 117b may include perforations, thinning of the material, a weaker material or any other suitable structural feature for enabling release of a plurality of sides of the sealing flap 126 from inner cover 117b. It should be appreciated that at least one of the sides of the sealing flap 126 can be cut through (die cut) to release a plurality of sides of the sealing flap 126 from inner cover 117b.

To further facilitate the separation of the sides of the sealing flap 126 from inner cover 117b, a portion of inner cover 117b can be removed or recessed to form a recessed portion 172. The recessed portion 172 is formed according to dimensions sufficient to enable a user to leverage at least a portion of the sealing flap 126 with a finger or other implement. Upon release of the plurality of sides of sealing flap 126 from inner cover 117b, a portion of the sealing flap 126 remains attached to, or otherwise connected to, the housing 112.

As further illustrated in FIG. 8, in an embodiment, the sealing flap 126 includes an attachment element 170 such as an adhesive, glue, bonding agent or any other suitable attachment element affixing the sealing flap 126 to the housing 112 at an attachment site. In an embodiment, the attachment element is adapted to affix the sealing flap to the housing upon contact of the attachment element to the attachment site. It should be appreciated that the attachment element 170 may allow reversible attachment or irreversible attachment of the sealing flap 126 to the housing 112 at the attachment site. It should be further appreciated that attachment elements may be associated with the sealing flap 126, the housing 112 or both the housing 112 and sealing flap 126 as interacting attachment elements such as Velcro™. Alternatively, the attachment element may be initially detached from the greeting card and be applied to or attached to the sealing flap 126 and the housing 112 by a user to join same.

To protect the attachment elements from prematurely affixing the cover to the housing or any other object, a protective element may be included with the attachment element. Examples may include, but are not limited to, a removable non-adhesive protective strip that is adapted to expose a non-adherent surface while selectively adhering to, and thereby protecting, the attachment element. Other examples can include attachment elements which require activation or manipulation to affix the sealing flap to the housing such as a glue requiring moisture to become adherent.

In a further embodiment, the sealing flap 126 may include a tab which inserts into a corresponding slot in a similar manner as the securing lid described above. For example, the bottom wall portion 130 of the sealing flap 126 can be inserted into a corresponding receiving slot located along the front wall 114, the bottom wall 118b or substantially near the junction of the front wall 114 and bottom wall 118b of the housing.

It should be appreciated that, in alternative embodiments, the sealing flap 126 can be associated with one or more other walls such as the bottom wall 118b of the housing 112. In such an embodiment, the sealing flap 126 can be configured in a similar manner as described above, alternatively, having a portion that attaches to an attachment site on the cover 117 of the greeting card. It should also be appreciated that any suitable number of sealing flaps, securing devices, methods or combinations thereof may be used to secure the cover 117 to the housing 112. It should further be appreciated that, in alternative embodiments, the greeting card may not include any sealing flap. In such an embodiment, the cover may be secured in a closed position for mailing by adhesive, bonding agent, mechanical linkage, interactive elements such as Velcro™, or any other suitable attachment element. The attachment element may be between or otherwise associated with inner cover surface 117b and the top wall 118a to secure the cover in a closed position.

In an embodiment, the sealing flap 126 includes a release mechanism such as a removable portion of the sealing flap which allows the user to efficiently release the cover from the housing and enable the cover to be rotated away from the housing to an open position. One embodiment includes a tear strip 129 associated with the sealing flap 126 that enables the sealing flap 126 to be torn divided or transected. For example, as illustrated in FIGS. 6 to 10 the tear strip 129 is associated with the front wall portion 128 of sealing flap 126. It should be appreciated that the tear strip 129 can be associated with any portion of the sealing flap 126.

As illustrated in FIG. 8, in one embodiment, at least a portion of the front wall portion 128 of the sealing flap 126 includes weakened portions defining the tear strip 129. The weakened portions of the front wall portion 128 may include perforations, thinning of the material, a weaker material or any other suitable structural feature for enabling transection of the sealing flap 126. In an embodiment, at least one of the weakened portions defining the tear strip 129 can be positioned along or include a fold line such as fold lines 140 and 142.

To further facilitate the transection of the sealing flap 126, the tear strip 129 can include a grasping tab 144 or any other suitable structural feature adapted to enable a user to remove the tear strip 129 from the sealing flap 126, thereby transecting the sealing flap 126. The grasping tab 144 is dimensioned to enable a user to grip at least a portion of the grasping tab 144 with fingers or other implement and to sustain the grip while removing the tear strip 129 from the sealing flap 126. Alternatively, the tear strip is not defined by weakened portions of the sealing flap 126 and is associated with the portion of the sealing flap 126 to be transected. In such an embodiment, the grasping tab 144 may be included to facilitate transection of the sealing flap 126.

In use, therefore, as illustrated in FIGS. 8 to 10, an embodiment of the described greeting card 110 is prepared by a user to be mailed to a recipient. The user encloses at least one product in the housing 112. The user removes the sealing flap 126 from the inner cover 117b as illustrated in FIG. 8. As illustrated in FIG. 9, the sealing flap 126 is pivoted at least 90 degrees away from the cover to a position that allows the cover 117 to be pivoted to a closed position. Specifically, the cover 117 is pivoted to a position substantially parallel to the top wall 118a of the housing 112 such that the inner cover 117b and top wall 118a surfaces are brought together in a closed position. The user folds the sealing flap 126 over the front wall 114 such that the front wall portion 128 of the sealing flap 126 is parallel to and co-planar with the front wall 114. The user removes any protective elements or activates the attachment elements 170. The user further bends or rotates the sealing flap 126 along the fold line 142 such that the bottom wall portion 130 of the sealing flap 126 is parallel to and co-planar with the bottom wall 118b and such that the attachment element 170 is enabled to be brought into contact with an attachment site. Accordingly, the greeting card illustrated in FIG. 10 is secure for mailing. To open the greeting card 110, a recipient grips the pull tab of the tear strip 129 and applies sufficient force to transect the sealing flap 126 along the weakened portions of the sealing flap 126. The free edge of the cover 117 of the greeting card 110 is then released from the housing 112 enabling the recipient to pivot the cover 117 to an open position.

It should be understood that various changes and modifications to the presently disclosed embodiments described herein will be apparent to those skilled in the art. Such changes and modifications can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the present disclosure and without diminishing its intended advantages. It is therefore intended that such changes and modifications be covered by the appended claims.