Title:
Light weight, reinforced disc package
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Disclosed is a thin-walled closable storage package for media, which includes a base member and a cover member. The base member includes a thin-walled rear panel having structure for supporting media, such as for example, a compact disc or DVD, associated therewith. The cover member includes a thin-walled front panel and is hingedly connected to the base member. The cover member is movable between an open position wherein media can be engaged with or disengaged from the media supporting structure associated with the base member and a closed position wherein the base member and the cover member cooperate to enclose media engaged with the media supporting means. It is presently preferred that the storage package is unitary plastic structure which has been formed by injection molding. The storage package further includes a mechanism for reinforcing the rear panel and/or the front panel to improve the storage package's ability to withstand an impact force without damaging any media supported therein or dislodging media from the media supporting means.



Inventors:
Freitag, Ken (Cheshire, MA, US)
Peterson, Ralph Scott (Clifton Forge, VA, US)
Philippe, James (Sanford, ME, US)
Application Number:
11/431691
Publication Date:
12/21/2006
Filing Date:
05/10/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/303, 206/310, 206/493, G9B/33.011
International Classes:
B65D85/30; B65D85/57
View Patent Images:
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20080000786Combination Ingestible-Product and Beverage PackagingJanuary, 2008Collotta et al.
20030029755Carrying case for portable electronic equipment and accessories thereofFebruary, 2003Ho



Primary Examiner:
BUI, LUAN KIM
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Meadwestvaco Corporation, Esq. Alexandra Urban B. (299 PARK AVENUE, 13TH FLOOR, NEW YORK, NY, 10171, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A thin-walled closable storage package for media comprising: a base member that includes a thin-walled rear panel and means for supporting media; a cover member that includes a thin-walled front panel, the cover member being hingedly connected to the base member and movable between an open position wherein media can be engaged with or disengaged from the media supporting means and a closed position wherein the base member and the cover member cooperate to enclose media engaged with the media supporting means; and means for reinforcing the rear panel of the base member to improve the storage package's ability to withstand an impact force without damaging any media supported therein or dislodging media from the media supporting means.

2. A closable media storage package as recited in claim 1, further comprising means for reinforcing the front panel of the cover member to improve the storage package's ability to withstand an impact force without damaging any media supported therein.

3. A closable media storage package as recited in claim 2, further comprising means for securing media to the front panel of the cover member.

4. A closable media storage package as recited in claim 3, wherein the means for securing media to the front panel of the cover member includes at least two clip elements for holding printed media.

5. A closable media storage package as recited in claim 4, wherein the means for reinforcing the front panel of the cover member includes a plurality of transversely spaced apart, upstanding ribs which extend between the at least two clip elements.

6. A closable media storage package as recited in claim 1, wherein the storage package is a unitary plastic structure which has been formed by injection molding.

7. A closable media storage package as recited in claim 1, wherein the means for reinforcing the rear panel of the base member includes forming at least one raised or lowered section in the rear panel.

8. A closable media storage package as recited in claim 2, wherein the means for reinforcing the front panel of the cover member includes forming at least one raised or lowered section in the front panel.

9. A closable media storage package as recited in claim 8, wherein the means for reinforcing the front panel further includes arcuate transition sections formed in the cover member which connect the raised or lowered sections of the front panel to the remainder of the front panel.

10. A closable media storage package as recited in claim 8, wherein the front panel includes a plurality of raised or lowered sections arranged such that the front panel has a waffle pattern formed therein.

11. A closable media storage package as recited in claim 1, further comprising a spine member disposed between the base member and the cover member, the spine member being attached to the base member through a first living hinge and attached to the cover member through a second living hinge.

12. A closable media storage package as recited in claim 1, wherein media supporting means associated with the base member includes a rosette which projects from the rear panel of the base member.

13. A closable media storage package as recited in claim 1, wherein media supporting means associated with the base member includes a circumferential rib projecting from the rear panel of the base member for supporting an inner region of a media disc engaged with the media supporting means.

14. A closable media storage package as recited in claim 1, wherein the rear panel of the base member has a thickness of 0.0036 inch.

15. A closable media storage package as recited in claim 2, wherein the front panel of the cover member has a thickness of 0.0036 inch.

16. A storage package for media comprising: a base member that includes a rear panel and means for supporting recording media; a cover member that includes a front panel and means for securing printed media to the front panel, the cover member being hingedly connected to the base member and movable between an open position wherein media can be engaged with or disengaged from the recorded media supporting means and/or the printed media securing means and a closed position wherein the base member and the cover member cooperate to enclose media engaged with the recorded media supporting means and/or the printed media securing means; and means for reinforcing the front panel of the cover member to improve the storage package's ability to withstand an impact force without damaging any media supported therein.

17. A storage package as recited in claim 16, further comprising means for reinforcing the rear panel of the base member to improve the storage package's ability to withstand an impact force without damaging any media supported therein or dislodging media from the media supporting means.

18. A storage package as recited in claim 16, wherein the means for securing printed media to the front panel of the cover member includes at least two clip elements.

19. A storage package as recited in claim 18, wherein the means for reinforcing the front panel of the cover member includes a plurality of transversely spaced apart, upstanding ribs which extend between the at least two clip elements.

20. A storage package as recited in claim 16, wherein the storage package is a unitary plastic structure which has been formed by injection molding.

21. A storage package as recited in claim 17, wherein the means for reinforcing the rear panel of the base member includes forming at least one raised or lowered section in the rear panel.

22. A storage package as recited in claim 16, wherein the means for reinforcing the front panel of the cover member includes forming at least one raised or lowered section in the front panel.

23. A storage package as recited in claim 22, wherein the means for reinforcing the front panel further includes arcuate transition sections formed in the cover member which connect the raised or lowered sections of the front panel to the remainder of the front panel.

23. A storage package as recited in claim 22, wherein the front panel includes a plurality of raised or lowered sections arranged such that the front panel has a waffle pattern formed therein. cm 23. A storage package as recited in claim 16, wherein recorded media supporting means associated with the base member includes a rosette which projects from the rear panel of the base member.

24. A storage package as recited in claim 16, wherein media supporting means associated with the base member includes a circumferential rib projecting from the rear panel of the base member for supporting an inner region of recorded media engaged with the media supporting means.

25. A storage package as recited in claim 16, wherein the rear panel of the base member has a thickness of 0.0036 inch.

26. A storage package as recited in claim 16, wherein the front panel of the cover member has a thickness of 0.0036 inch.

27. A thin-walled closable storage package for media comprising: a base member that includes a thin-walled rear panel having at least one raised or lowered section formed therein; a cover member that includes a thin-walled front panel having at least one raised or lowered section formed therein, the cover member being hingedly connected to the base member and movable between an open position wherein the base member and cover member are positioned in substantially the same plane and a closed position wherein the base member and the cover member cooperate to define an interior chamber for storing media; and wherein the storage package is a unitary plastic structure which has been formed by injection molding and includes a media support means projecting from an interior surface.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/679,338 filed May 10, 2005, entitled “LIGHT WEIGHT, REINFORCED DISC PACKAGE,” the disclosure of which is herein incorporated by reference in its entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to a closable storage package for a disc-shaped recording medium and, more particularly, to an inexpensive, high-strength. injection molded, plastic package for storing disc-shaped recording media.

1. Background of the Invention

Various types of planar discs are in use at the present time to record and store information which is to be retrieved by various means, such as by optical or magnetic means. Typical of such discs are compact discs in which information is digitally recorded by use of a laser beam and then read optically by a laser beam. Such discs are used to record audio information, such as musical renditions, video information such as visual images and digital information for use as read only and other memories for use in various applications, such as computer applications. In most instances, at the present time, such discs are sold with information already recorded thereon. In other applications, such discs are sold in blank form and are used by the customer to record information thereon. In the latter case, for example, optical discs are sold for use as computer storage media and are used in hard disc storage systems. As used herein. the term compact disc, CD or disc is intended to encompass all such discs. whatever their size, for all known or proposed uses.

Compact discs containing laser recorded information are typically packaged in injection molded plastic enclosures designed to hold one or more CDs for protecting the discs during storage and shipment. Enclosures commonly used at the present time, such as the well known “jewel box.” comprise a three piece assembly consisting of a base or bottom element, an insert or tray in the base/bottom element for positioning and supporting the disc in the base/bottom element, e.g., by a center projection (commonly referred to as a “rosette”) which engages the periphery of the aperture in the center of the disc, and a lid or cover which is hinged to the base/bottom element and is closed thereon after the disc is mounted therein on the tray. Other enclosures utilize only two pieces, omit the tray, and position and support the disc via the center projection directly on the base/bottom element. The enclosure is, typically, at least partially transparent and graphics relating to the disc and containing trademark and sales promotional information are usually inserted in such a manner as to be visible through the enclosure. Other enclosures in common use are unitary, molded plastic enclosures having a base panel, a cover panel and a spine panel interconnecting the base and cover panels via living hinges to allow the enclosure to assume an open position, in which all of the panels are essentially coplanar, or closed position, in which the cover and/or base panels pivot about the living hinges and overlie one another and enclose a disc-shaped media therein. Typically, the base panel includes a rosette for mounting a disc-shaped media thereon and the cover panel includes clips for holding advertising or informational booklets relating to the content of the disc.

Currently used media enclosures are comparatively expensive to manufacture in order to produce a sufficiently strong and durable enclosure which, when loaded with a disc and booklets, will pass stringent drop tests without fracturing or damaging the stored disc. Previous efforts to make enclosure walls thinner have been unsuccessful because the increased injection pressures necessary to force plastic into the molds has caused warpage or oil canning in the resulting plastic enclosures. Competitive pressures in the media packaging industry are driving the industry toward enclosures which reduce manufacturing time and/or use less plastic, and are therefore less expensive to Manufacture.

It should be apparent, therefore, that efforts to date directed at manufacturing less expensive plastic media enclosures for storing discs suffer from one or more shortcomings which make the resulting CD packaging unsatisfactory. Accordingly, there remains a need for a simple, inexpensive to manufacture, inexpensive to ship and display CD package which is strong, durable and reliable for use over the long term.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The subject invention is directed to a thin-walled closable storage package for media, which includes a base member and a cover member. The base member includes a thin-walled rear panel having structure for supporting media, such as for example, a compact disc or DVD, associated therewith.

The cover member includes a thin-walled front panel and is hingedly connected to the base member. The cover member is movable between an open position wherein media can be engaged with or disengaged from the media supporting structure associated with the base member and a closed position wherein the base member and the cover member cooperate to enclose media engaged with the media supporting means. It is presently preferred that the storage package is unitary plastic structure which has been formed by injection molding.

The storage package further includes a mechanism for reinforcing the rear panel of the base member to improve the storage package's ability to withstand an impact force without damaging any media supported therein or dislodging media from the media supporting means. Additionally, in a preferred embodiment, the storage package further includes a mechanism for reinforcing the front panel of the cover member. It is envisioned that in such embodiments, the cover member includes a mechanism for securing media, such as for example print media, to the front panel. In certain embodiments, the mechanism for securing media to the front panel of the cover member includes two clip elements for holding the printed media.

In an exemplary embodiment, the mechanism for reinforcing the front panel of the cover member includes a plurality of transversely spaced apart, upstanding ribs which extend between the at least two clip elements. Moreover, the means for reinforcing the front panel of the cover member can include forming at least one raised or lowered section in the front panel in addition to or separate from the addition of the ribs discussed above.

In certain embodiments of the storage package disclosed herein, the means for reinforcing the rear panel of the base member includes forming at least one raised or lowered section in the rear panel.

It is further envisioned that the mechanism for reinforcing the front panel or rear panels can further include arcuate transition sections formed in the cover member or base member which connect the raised or lowered sections to the front or rear panels, respectively. In certain embodiments the front panel and or rear panels can include a plurality of raised or lowered sections arranged such that the front panel and/or rear panel has a waffle pattern formed therein.

In certain embodiments, it is preferred that the storage package further includes a spine member disposed between the base member and the cover member. It is envisioned that the spine member is attached to the base member through a first living hinge and attached to the cover member through a second living hinge.

Preferably, the media supporting mechanism associated with the base member includes a rosette which projects from the rear panel of the base member. Moreover, the media supporting means associated with the base member can further includes a circumferential rib projecting from the rear panel of the base member for supporting an inner region of a media disc engaged with the media supporting means.

In certain preferred embodiments, the closable media storage package of the present invention has a rear panel with a thickness of as small as 0.0036 inch. Additionally, the front panel of the cover member can have a thickness of as small as 0.0036 inch.

The present invention is also directed to a storage package for media a base member and a cover member. The base member includes a rear panel and a mechansims for supporting recording media. The cover member includes a front panel and a mechanism for securing printed media to the front panel. The cover member is hingedly connected to the base member and movable between an open position, wherein media can be engaged with or disengaged from the recorded media supporting means and/or the printed media securing means, and a closed position, wherein the base member and the cover member cooperate to enclose media engaged with the recorded media supporting means and/or the printed media securing means. The storage package further includes a mechanism for reinforcing the front panel of the cover member to improve the storage package's ability to withstand an impact force without damaging any media supported therein. Preferably, the storage package is unitary plastic structure which has been formed by injection molding.

It is presently envisioned that the storage package further includes a mechanism for reinforcing the rear panel of the base member to improve the storage package's ability to withstand an impact force without damaging any media supported therein or dislodging media from the media supporting means. In a preferred embodiment, the mechanism for securing media to the front panel of the cover member includes at least two clip elements for holding printed media. It is also envisioned that in certain embodiments, the mechanism for reinforcing the front panel of the cover member includes a plurality of transversely spaced apart, upstanding ribs which extend between the at least two clip elements.

In certain embodiments, the mechanism for reinforcing the rear panel and/or front panels includes forming at least one raised or lowered section in the rear and/or front panels. Preferably, in these embodiments, arcuate transition sections are provided between the raised and/or lowered sections of the rear/front panel and the remained of the panel(s). These arcuate transition sections facilitate the injection of molten plastic into the mold for the storage package.

The subjection invention is also directed to a thin-walled, closable storage package for media that includes a base member that has a thin-walled rear panel with at least one raised or lowered section formed therein. The storage package also includes a cover member having a thin-walled front panel with at least one raised or lowered section formed therein. The cover member is hingedly connected to the base member and movable between an open position wherein the base member and cover member are positioned in substantially the same plane and a closed position wherein the base member and the cover member cooperate to define an interior chamber for the storage of media. The storage package is a unitary plastic structure which has been formed by injection molding and includes a media support means projecting from an interior surface.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

So that those having ordinary skill in the art will better understand how to make and use the disc package of the subject invention, embodiments thereof will be described below with reference to the drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of one embodiment of the improved CD package of the present invention in its open position;

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the improved CD package of FIG. 1 in its open position;

FIG. 3 is a front elevation view of the improved CD package of FIG. 1 in its open position;

FIG. 4 is a sectional view of the improved CD package of the present invention in its open position taken along line 4-4 in FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 is a sectional view of the improved CD package of the present invention in its open position taken along line 5-5 in FIG. 2;

FIG. 6 is a bottom plan view of the improved CD package of the present invention in its open position;

FIG. 7 is a detail view within region 7 of FIG. 6;

FIG. 8 is a sectional view of the improved CD package of the present invention in its open position taken along line 8-8D in FIG. 2;

FIG. 9 is an enlarged detail view of region 9 in FIG. 2; and

FIG. 10 is an enlarged detail view of region 10 in FIG. 2.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Reference is now made to the accompanying figures for the purpose of describing, in detail, preferred and exemplary embodiments of the present disclosure. The figures and detailed description are provided to describe and illustrate examples in which the disclosed subject matter may be made and used, and are not intended to limit the scope thereof.

Referring now to the figures where there is illustrated in FIGS. 1-10 an improved CD package for housing a disc and the information and/or promotional booklets provided therewith, which has been constructed in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention and designated by reference numeral 10. The package 10 includes a base 12, a lid 14 and a spine 16 that hingcdly connects the base 12 and lid 14. In the open position the base 12, lid 14 and spine 16 are essentially coplanar, and in the closed position, the lid 14 overlies the base 12. In a preferred embodiment, the package 10 is an integrally formed, injection molded article which includes a pair of living hinges 18, 20 formed along opposite edges of the spine 16. Living hinge 18, 20 hingedly connect the base panel 22 of base 12 and the lid panel 24 of lid 14 to the spine 16. The base panel 22 and lid panel 24 include upstanding perimetric side walls 26 and 28, respectively, formed along opposite lateral sides and along the transverse side opposite the spine 16. In the closed position, the side walls 26 and 28 overlappingly engage along their edges as will be discussed more fully hereinafter. The spine 16 and the side walls 26, 28 form four side walls of package 10, the lid panel 24 forming a top wall, the base panel 24 forming a rear wall. Mating pairs of snap fasteners 30, 32 on the transverse side walls 26a, 28a of the perimetric side walls 26, 28 of the base and lid panels 22, 24 snap together and secure the package in its closed position.

Base panel 22 is a generally rectangular, relatively thin, plate-like member having a disc-receiving area 34 which is formed integrally with a rosette 36 for gripping a CD and holding it within disc-receiving area 34. Rosette 36 may be any one of many well known rosettes having radially outwardly biased portions for engaging the central opening of a CD placed thereon. In a preferred embodiment, the rosette is the rosette of U.S. Pat. No. 6,523,685, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference. A circumferential raised rim 38 surrounds the disc-receiving area 34 and has a size and shape suitable for receiving a disc therewithin. A circumferential raised flange 40 surrounds the rosette. Raised flange 40 provides a circumferential seat on which the annular area of the CD which is immediately adjacent the central disc aperture can be supported above the base panel 22. This area of the CD typically contains no recorded information and, therefore, contact between the CD in this area and the raised flange will not damage the CD. The CD may also be peripherally supported at its outer edges by peripheral shelf 42 formed in the circumferential raised rim 38. The outer edges of a CD also, typically, contain no recorded information in order to provide further assurance that contact of the recorded areas of the CD with the base will be avoided. Desirably. circumferential raised rim 38 comprises a series of spaced apart arcs 38a with the spaces between the arcs 38a providing finger wells to facilitate a user removing a CD from the disc-receiving area 34.

Lid panel 24 is a generally rectangular, relatively thin, plate-like member having a booklet-receiving area 44 on one side 45 thereof (the inside of lid panel 24 when package 10 is closed) which includes a pair of integrally formed, transversely spaced apart S-shaped booklet holding clips 46 positioned adjacent lid transverse side wall 28a. A plurality of transversely spaced apart, upstanding ribs 48 extend linearly along a line between clips 46. In prior art booklet-receiving areas, only two clips were typically provided and these clips, typically, fracture under the weight and momentum of the booklets when package 10 was dropped. Some prior art booklet-receiving areas included a solid wall linearly extending between the clips. However, it was found that such a wall was, typically, too rigid and also easily fractured when the package was dropped. With the spaced, apart, upstanding ribs of the present invention, the ribs act as shock absorbers, flexing under the weight and momentum of the booklets, when package 10 is dropped, to absorb the impact of the booklets. Those skilled in the art will readily appreciate that media packages must pass stringent drop tests in order to be commercially acceptable. Ribs 48 allow package 10 to pass the stringent drop tests while loaded with the media and booklets.

Lid panel 24, in accordance with the present invention, is molded as thin as possible. e.g., as small as about 0.036 inches. However, in order to injection mold a package having walls this thin, while achieving rapid cycling times, the injection pressure must be increased in order to properly fill that part of mold. Traditionally, the use of higher injection pressures tended to cause warpage and oil canning of the lid panel 24, which are detrimental to automated filling of the packages with discs and booklets. To overcome this tendency to warp and/or oil can, lid panel 24, on its top side 47 (the outside of lid panel 24 when package 10 is closed), includes at least one reinforcing element in the nature of at least one raised or lowered panel 50, supported by vertical walls 52, above or below lid panel 24.

In the preferred form of this invention, the panel 50 is raised relative to the topside 47 of lid panel 24. It will be appreciated that by incorporating level changes in the lid panel 24, additional vertical walls must also be incorporated for supporting the raised panel(s), which structurally reinforces lid panel 24. The design and shape of these reinforcing structures can be as simple as rectangular raised panel 50 or arcuate panel 51, as is illustrated FIGS. 1, 2 and 6, or as complex as a series of raised or lowered panels or a waffle pattern across the entire surface of lid panel 24.

It is noteworthy that the side walls 26, 28 are designed to releasably lock together. Thus, in a preferred embodiment, as can be seen in FIGS. 9 and 10, the side walls 26, 28 are formed for overlapping engagement by providing an inwardly displaced upper wall portion 28b on the lid side walls and an outwardly displaced upper wall portion 26b on the base side walls. When package 10 is closed, the opposite offset of the upper wall portions causes the inwardly displaced upper wall portion 28b to nest within outwardly displaced upper wall portion 26b. At the same time the upper surfaces 28e, 26e of the upper wall portions 28b, 26b seat upon the exposed upper surfaces 26d, 28d of the lower wall portions 26c, 28c. In addition, the transverse side walls 26a, 28a are each displaced inwardly along an intermediate portion thereof, as indicated at 54, 56 to define a rectangular recess in the transverse side walls when the package 10 is closed. This recess provides a finger grip for facilitating opening of a closed package.

In order to conserve further the amount of plastic used, the base panel thickness is comparable to the lid panel thickness and the side wall thickness are correspondingly reduced, e.g., to about 0.048 inches. At the same time the side wall height is reduced all around the package to give the package a lower profile and the rosette is correspondingly compressed. Not only does this economize the use of plastic, but also it facilitates loading a disc onto the rosette since the disc insertion stroke distance is thereby shortened. In addition, it allows the incorporation of thicker booklets or promotional literature into the same thickness package. Additional ribbing 58 has been added on the underside of the rosette to improve strength. Further, sharp corners have been eliminated and rounded features have been substituted. This reduces injection pressure and, correspondingly, reduces warpage and oil canning.

Although the subject invention has been described with respect to preferred embodiments, those skilled in the art will readily appreciate that changes and modifications may be made thereto without departing from the spirit and scope of the subject invention as defined by the appended claims.