Title:
Postage window and postage placement method
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention is an assembly and methods for displaying materials through an envelope window to the viewer.



Inventors:
Yu, Da Ming (Gardena, CA, US)
Application Number:
09/729326
Publication Date:
06/13/2002
Filing Date:
12/04/2000
Assignee:
YU DA MING
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
229/74, 229/92.3
International Classes:
B65D5/42; B65D27/04; (IPC1-7): B65D27/04; B65D27/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GARBE, STEPHEN P
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
David T. Bracken (Orange, CA, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. An envelope with a reinforced postage window on a front surface comprising: (a) a first opening through the front surface to the interior of the envelope, whereby clear sheeting is adhered to the front surface about at least part of a periphery of the first opening and extends inward over edges of the first opening thereby defining a reinforced postage window as a second opening to the interior of the envelope, the second opening adapted to be at least large enough to expose at least about 50 percent of a surface of computer generated or printed postage on an enclosed sheet.

2. The envelope of claim 1 wherein the second opening is located on an upper right corner portion of the front surface, the choice of the portion being adapted for automated cancellation by the US Postal Service.

3. The envelope of claim 1 wherein the second opening is rectangular.

4. The envelope of claim 1 wherein the second opening is round or oval.

5. The envelope of claim 1 wherein the second opening comprises an edge of the first opening.

6. A perforated postage window envelope comprising: (a) the envelope comprising a front surface having perforations defining a perforated portion, such that tearable removal of the perforated portion exposes at least a portion of a first opening through the front surface to the interior of the envelope, the first opening being adapted to expose computer generated or printed postage on an enclosed sheet.

7. The envelope of claim 6 wherein the perforated portion is not removed from the envelope and connection of the perforated portion to the envelope is sufficiently strong such that adhesive or printed postage may be applied to the outside of the envelope on at least part of the perforated portion.

8. The envelope of claim 6 wherein the perforated portion consists of the same material as the envelope material.

9. The envelope of claim 6 wherein a second opening is formed in the front surface of the envelope, a clear sheet is adhered to the envelope covering the second opening and the clear sheet comprises the perforated portion.

10. The envelope of claim 9 wherein the clear sheet is adhered to the outside surface of the envelope.

11. A window shipping container comprising: (a) a container having a flat or curved surface adapted to receive sealable adhesive attachment of a window sheet, the window sheet having an inside periphery with adhesive material adapted to adhere sealingly to the flat or curved surface; (b) the window sheet having a first opening adapted to expose computer generated or printed postage or other information on an enclosed sheet, the enclosed sheet bearing computer generated or printed postage or other information; and (c) the window sheet sealingly adhered to the flat or curved surface thereby enclosing the enclosed sheet between the inside surface of the window sheet and the flat or curved surface so that the computer generated or printed postage is exposed or the other information is viewable through the first opening.

12. The container of claim 11 wherein the first opening is without covering.

13. The container of claim 11 wherein the first opening is covered with clear sheeting.

14. The container of claim 13 wherein a second opening is formed in the clear sheeting and is adapted to be at least large enough so that the computer generated or printed postage is exposed or the other information is viewable.

15. The container of claim 13 wherein the clear sheeting has perforations defining a perforated portion removable so that the computer generated or printed postage is exposed or the other information is viewable thereby.

16. A limited motion window envelope comprising: (a) at least one window adapted such that computer generated or printed postage or the other information on an sheet enclosed in the envelope is exposed therethrough; (b) means for reducing motion of the enclosed sheet within the envelope.

17. The envelope of claim 16 wherein a sheet insertion opening of the envelope is wider than an end of the envelope distal to the sheet insertion opening.

18. The envelope of claim 16 wherein the means for reducing motion comprise adhering part of the inside surfaces of the envelope to each other.

19. The envelope of claim 18 wherein the means for reducing motion comprise removable covers for adhesive for adhering part of the inside surfaces of the envelope to each other.

20. The envelope of claim 16 wherein the envelope is in a shape other than rectangular.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates to envelopes and postage applied to materials contained therein.

[0002] U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,937,492 describe postage applied to materials beneath the surface of a cover of an envelope whereby a substantially uncovered window is created to display for cancellation the postage residing thereon. U.S. Pat. No. 6,029,773 describes a recent advance in applying postage to surfaces such that a letter bearing a computer generated and printed postage approved by the US Postal Service is visible and available for postal cancellation through the viewing window. The invention of that patent is to provide a window covering with a plurality of apertures as the means for substantial uncovering to provide for cancellation of the postage underneath.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0003] The present invention comprises means for printing postage acceptable to a particular government authority such the US Postal Service on a portion of a paper sheet such that its printed position does not substantially detract from the professional appearance of a communication otherwise on the sheet and after insertion into a postage window envelope substantially only the postage will be visible for a viewer of the closed envelope.

[0004] The invention also comprises a method of applying postage or a business card in a position on a sheet of paper which will be later viewable through a postage window, where the sheet is used as a first page of a business or professional communication such that a colored, embossed, outlined or otherwise defined area is predefined on the sheet prior to printing by computer means, making the printing of postage in a more prominent area on the first page more acceptable for aesthetic purposes.

[0005] It has been discovered that automated postage handling and cancellation moves an envelope in a direction parallel to its longitudinal length by mechanical contact, an impactive contact being made near its leading, right-hand, upper longitudinal edges for cancellation stamping, whereby a postage window with sufficient size may catch and be torn open by such postage handling. The present invention also comprises a substantially reinforced edge of a postage window such that automated postage handling will tend to pass the envelope without tearing a postage window or that reinforcing materials used for reinforcing may tear without adversely affecting the integrity of the envelope. The reinforcing comprises several forms but always presents outside access through a single narrowed slot or opening such that acceptable cancellation may be accomplished by a postal authority. In addition, an invention postage window is oval shaped so that the impactive stamp of cancellation and other handling by hand and machine will not catch and tear the edges, which in effect permits somewhat less precision in postage placement and improves security by allowing a smaller total aperture area.

[0006] The invention also comprises a method for retrofitting prior art non-postage window envelopes to postage window envelopes with a triangular postage window of sufficient size so that computer generated postage on a paper sheet underneath can be viewed and cancelled.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0007] FIGS. 1 and 2 are prior art postage window letter and full size envelopes respectively.

[0008] FIG. 3 is an invention envelope with a reinforced postage window.

[0009] FIG. 3A is a cutaway portion of the postage window section of the envelope of FIG. 3 where clear sheeting covers a portion of the frame hole to form a partially reinforced postage window.

[0010] FIG. 4 is an invention envelope showing oval shaped postage windows.

[0011] FIG. 5 an invention envelope with a reinforced postage window where the reinforcing cover defines an oval postage cancellation opening.

[0012] FIGS. 6, 7 and 8 show printable locations for computer generated postage overlain with postage window invention envelopes.

[0013] FIGS. 9 and 10 show a combination of printing of computer generated postage on a letter and a retrofit postage window for a non-postage window envelope.

[0014] FIGS. 11-13 show a support sheet for a business card or other removable graphic display such as a coupon maintained in a display window of a display window envelope.

[0015] FIGS. 14 and 15 show a generalized shipping box with an invention embodiment attached to a side of the box.

[0016] FIG. 16 is section A-A of FIG. 15 showing the method of enclosing the postage and information bearing sheet between the postage window covering and the outside of the box.

[0017] FIG. 17 shows the front side of the window sheet.

[0018] FIG. 18 shows the back side of the window sheet with an adhesive edge.

[0019] FIG. 19 is a perforated postage window embodiment showing the front of an envelope with a postage window entirely covered by a clear sheet of material displaying the postage underneath.

[0020] FIG. 20 is the envelope of FIG. 19 whereby a perforated section is pulled away from the envelope to expose the postage on the enclosed sheet for cancellation.

[0021] FIG. 21 is a perforated postage window embodiment showing the front of an envelope with a postage window formed by the tearing away of a perforated section which is of the same material as the rest of the envelope.

[0022] FIG. 22 is an envelope substantially as that shown in FIG. 1 although having a reduced height such that displaying computer generated and printed postage is more easily framed in the postage window for cancellation.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0023] The invention is now discussed with reference to the Figures.

[0024] FIG. 1 shows the prior art envelope of U.S. Pat. No. 6,029,883 with a envelope 15 containing one or more paper sheets 10 typically to form a letter. Envelope 15 has an opening lip 14 covered by flap 13. Envelope 15 has a postage window 12 defined in a front surface 11 presenting for cancellation postage 16 mounted on one of the sheets 10. FIG. 2 shows a full size envelope as in the prior art with a postage window similar to that shown in FIG. 1.

[0025] FIG. 3 shows a significant improvement in the prior art postage window. It has been found that mechanical and human handling of postage window envelopes as in the prior art are subject to substantial risk of being torn at the open window edge. Prior art envelopes which are opened about the delivery and return addresses are not subject to the impactive abuse of the postage bearing zones of the envelope as in postage cancellation. A postage window as shown in the figures U.S. Pat. No. 6,029,883 relative to the size of a typical business or personal reply letter envelope is highly at risk of being torn unless it is covered as in the claimed invention with a clear plastic sheet. The efficiency of postage cancellation is greatly diminished as to such an embodiment. It is doubtful the US Postal Service would permit such “holey” cancellation postage to be delivered. The extreme size of the postage window is to permit a wide range of computer generated postage, as available through eStamps® or stamps.com® software, and printable on sheets that are insertable into postage window envelopes. The postage envelope of FIG. 3 shows a postage window 12A in envelope 15 overlapped at its edges with clear plastic sheeting 17 adhered to the outer surface 11 around window 12A and extending peripherally and inwardly over the edges of window 12A to define a single reinforced window 18. As shown in FIG. 3, envelope 15 in automated sorting and cancellation by the US Postal Service would drive envelope 15 to the right, thereby causing frictional mechanical contact over the sheeting 17 in a right to left motion. If one of edges 19 are caught in the machinery, sheet 17 is adhered such that it can be disengaged without tearing the edge of window 12A, leaving it intact. The sheet 17 strengthens the invention postage window but can be sacrificed if needed to the mechanical handler.

[0026] In another embodiment of the invention as in FIG. 4, one of several sizes of oval postage windows 12C through size 12D are formed in the appropriate location of envelope 15. The oval or rounded shape of the postage windows 12C through 12D reduces by about 80% the potential for right to left mechanical contact and tearing of the postage window 12C to 12D by virtue of the fact that the oval presents a much reduced catchable edge than the rectangular one of FIGS. 1 and 2.

[0027] FIG. 5 is a combination of the concepts of FIGS. 3 and 4, whereby envelope 15 has a postage window 12A as in FIG. 3 while applying the sheet 17 of FIG. 4 and thereafter forming in sheet 17 the reinforcing window 12D of the oval shape of FIG. 4. Thus a sacrificial and/or supporting sheet 17 is used in combination with the advantage of the oval window 12D shape. It will be appreciated that in FIG. 4 window 12C is much larger than window 12D. Window 12D is smaller than the postage 16 in FIG. 4 and 5. Even so, cancellation is still substantially completed with 80-90% of the bare face of the postage available for cancellation printing, as opposed to the multi-hole postage window of U.S. Pat. No. 6,029,883.

[0028] FIGS. 6 and 7 are shown on a single sheet 100 which generally represents a single sheet of business size letter stationery (such as 8.5×11 inches or A4 size). FIGS. 6 and 7 are intended to show the sheet 100 as it would be viewed by the intended reader, i.e., the top of the sheet 100 in FIG. 6 is the top of the reader's page and the bottom of sheet 100 is the bottom of the reader's page. In FIG. 6, the envelope 15 of FIG. 3 is imposed on the top part of sheet 100 to show the printing location of postage 16 on sheet 100 in top zone 101 for computer generated postage. It is intended that the present invention comprise a method for producing computer generated postage on novel positions on sheet 100. Sheet 100 is intended to be folded at two folds as is typical of business correspondence to form three layers. Although computer generated postage can be applied in zone 101, it more preferred that the postage be printed, as compared with other text on sheet 100, upside down in the location for postage 16 as in FIG. 7 in zone 103.

[0029] The location of the postage 16 in FIG. 7, while on the face of a business communication page, is intended to be printed in a less noticeable position on the page in zone 103. The printing of computer generated postage upside down on a sheet with the other text in the other direction may be accomplished by minimal re-programming of the current software which accomplishes such tasks, including adapting current business suite applications to accomplish the invention printing requirements for computer generated postage. The necessity for printing postage 16 in FIG. 7 upside down is apparent from the tri-fold requirement for sheet 100 such that postage 16 appear in postage window 12A when sheet 100 becomes letter 10 contained in the overlain envelope 15.

[0030] In a further embodiment of the invention for printing computer generated postage, the sheet 100 of FIG. 8 shows a letter margin zone 102 at the right hand side of the page where computer generated postage 16 may be located in the right margin of a business communication, where the postage may be located without impinging on the text of the communication, as the zone 103 of FIG. 7 can lie in the bottom margin of a communication printed on sheet 100. However, in FIG. 8 a new postage window 12E is shown located at a mid portion of the right edge of envelope 15 to facilitate presentation of postage 16 printed in zone 102. The several zones on sheet 100 in which postage may be located may be highlighted, outlined or otherwise set visually apart from the rest of the communication printing on sheet 100 so that the eye is not drawn to it during reading of sheet 100.

[0031] FIGS. 9 and 10 show postage windows 9 and 10 for computer generated postage in zones 101 and 103 such that unmodified envelopes without postage windows may be made to easily accommodate computer generated postage on a sheet 100. Windows 12F and 12G are formed by using scissors or other cutting implements to cut, respectively, an upper corner or an upper triangular piece from envelope 15 so that postage 16 is exposed for cancellation.

[0032] The invention further comprises an embodiment in FIGS. 11-13 of an envelope 15 having a large display window 21 in front surface 11 such that a support sheet 10A permits presentation in window 21 of a supported card 105, such a business card, phone calling card, or other useful graphic presentation card about the size of a business card which contains return address information but in addition acts to promote the sender's business or interests by interesting the viewer to open the envelope and retrieve the card. A large display window 21 is formed in envelope 15 and may be covered with the clear plastic sheeting described above. Postage 16A may be adhesive, computer generated or otherwise printed.

[0033] FIGS. 12 and 13 show that support sheet 10A has slots 104 to permit secure insertion of card 105 in sheet 10A. As a more specific example, a user may advantageously promote their business in the embodiment of FIG. 11 by including a business card in envelope 15 so that a return address is provided for postal return if needed while drawing the recipient's eye to more information about a business than may be obtained by return address, including an inducement to open the envelope to retrieve the business card and become exposed to additional promotional materials in the envelope.

[0034] FIGS. 14-18 show an alternate embodiment of the invention where a shipping box 200 is provided with postage bearing sheet 10B securely held on a back side against an outer side of the box by a postage window cover 15A. FIG. 14 shows a perspective view of a shipping box 200 having an outside surface whereon the invention is applied for presentation of address and other information as well as display of postage through a postage window 12′. Postage window 12′ is intended to designate the several forms of postage windows described herein, although the invention postage windows are preferable. Cover 15A is a single sheet as opposed to an envelope of material, whereby the outside of the box 200 acts as the other securing and enclosing side of the cavity for sheet 10B. Sheet 10B comprises a shape typical for invoices and/or shipping receipts for shipping boxed materials whereby a sender address 106 and buyer address 108 are displayed through information windows 107 and 109 respectively and as described above a postage 16 on sheet 10B is displayed though postage window 12′.

[0035] FIG. 17 shows cover 15A as having such windows 107,109 and 12′ so that appropriate information and postage may be displayed. Windows 107 and 109 may be covered with clear plastic sheeting as is typical for such covering in the prior art. FIG. 18 shows the adhesive zone 110 whereby cover 15A is sealingly adhered to the box 200, as shown by the appropriate left arrows in FIG. 16, where the sealing of cover 15A to box 200 at zone 110 thereby secures sheet 10B between them so the appropriate information is displayed in the described windows. The prior art describes several forms of postage windows always in connection with an envelope. This embodiment for shipping boxes allows the user to eliminate the postage application step, preferably computer generating postage on sheet 10B for display and cancellation in postage window 12′.

[0036] Perforated postage window embodiments are disclosed in FIGS. 19-21. It is intended that the sheet 10 bearing computer generated and printed postage 16 be displayed in windows 12A (for FIGS. 19 and 20) and 25 (for FIG. 21) such that perforated sections 24 and 27 respectively may be torn from the invention envelopes to exposed the computer generated and printed postage for cancellation. The clear sheeting material 22 of FIG. 19 is shown with a perforation 23 defining perforated section 24. In FIG. 20, section 24 is shown not entirely torn from material 22, although it is intended, as in FIG. 21, that the section 24 is entirely removed by tearing along the perforation. FIG. 21 shows an equivalent operation to that of FIG. 20 without showing that the section 27 in an initial position is a flat perforated section substantially like section 24 in FIG. 20 although section 27 is of the same material as envelope 11. Thus the two embodiments of FIGS. 19-21 disclose that the envelope adapted to be used for computer generated and printed postage 16 on a sheet 10 may be used for postage applied or printed on the envelope 11 front surface if the perforated sections 24 and 27 are not removed for use of the envelope for sending material through the mails. This is a substantial improvement in the art, where the prior art only discloses envelopes which must be used solely for postage windows or for envelope-applied postage but not both.

[0037] FIG. 22 is a limited size envelope 11′ is enabled with a postage window 12 and where the height 28 is substantially less than the present standard envelope size. It is seen that sheet 10 is limited in up and down movement as to the shifting of postage 16 within window 12. Substantial restriction the up and down and side to side movement of sheet 10 results in the ability to substantially reduce the size of postage window 12 in the up and down or side to side direction in which the envelope has been reduced. It has been found that the tolerance between the width or height of the sheet and the inside width or height of the envelope respectively should be about three fourths of an inch. It is known that the tolerance or clearance for insertion of sheets in an envelope is much larger than that amount in the prior art. However, the present inventor has found that the tolerance in present envelopes was designed to permit inclusion of many pages where no postage window was to be provided. That extra tolerance or clearance causes the postage window 12 to be larger than necessary. The actual size of the width or height of the postage is about 75% of the width or height of the cancelable surface of the postage plus the tolerance or clearance of the flat or folded sheet when inserted in the envelope. Thus, for example, postage with a cancelable surface of about 1 inch by seven eighths of an inch and a width clearance of 1 inch and a height clearance of {fraction (7/16)} inches for a typical trifolded sheet of 8.5×11 inches will require a minimum postage window width of about 1 and {fraction (1/16)} inches. Where the width clearance is reduced to three fourths inches, the postage window width clearance is reduced by 0.25 inches or about three fourths of an inch. The potential for invasion of the envelope with particles or liquids is greatly reduced such a reduced clearance width. The same effect will be achieved in reducing clearance height as in FIG. 22. It is the inventor's experience that at least about 50% of the surface of computer generated and printed postage must be exposed to the outside of the postage window envelope to effect acceptable cancellation by postal authorities.

[0038] The above design disclosures present the skilled person with considerable and wide ranges from which to choose appropriate obvious modifications for the above examples. However, the objects of the present invention will still be obtained by the skilled person applying such design disclosures in an appropriate manner.