Title:
Insertable hinged tray for a multiple disc storage container
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A storage container for holding multiple discs includes a container cover and a container base, the container base including a rosette for supporting a disc within a disc mounting area thereon, a leaf including a rosette for mounting a disc on a first side thereof, the leaf being dimensioned to fit within the base when the container is closed, and a pair of hinges mounting the leaf adjacent the disc mounting area of the base for providing relative rotational movement between the base and the leaf, whereby a disc mounted on the base can be accessed by rotating the leaf about the hinge means when the container is open between an unpivoted rest position overlying the disc mounting area and a pivoted position.



Inventors:
Bolognia, David L. (Lanesboro, MA, US)
Frietag, Ken (Cheshire, MA, US)
George Jr., Rufo F. (Dalton, MA, US)
Application Number:
10/350319
Publication Date:
07/29/2004
Filing Date:
01/24/2003
Assignee:
BOLOGNIA DAVID L.
FRIETAG KEN
RUFO GEORGE F.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
G9B/33.015
International Classes:
G11B33/04; (IPC1-7): B65D85/30
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
RICCI, JOHN A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
NIXON PEABODY, LLP (WASHINGTON, DC, US)
Claims:
1. In a tray for holding multiple discs within a storage container having a container cover and a container base, said container base including disc engagement means for positioning and supporting a disc within a disc mounting area thereon, said container cover and container base being relatively movable between a container open orientation enabling access to the contents of the container and a container closed orientation for storage purposes, said tray comprising: A. a leaf having first and second opposite sides, said first side incorporating a disc engagement means for engaging and holding a disc within a disc mounting area thereon and said second side being supported, directly or indirectly on said base, said leaf being dimensioned to fit within said base when said container is closed; and B. hinge means between the container and the leaf for providing relative rotational movement between said leaf and said base, whereby a disc engaged on said base can be accessed by rotating the leaf about said hinge means when the container is open; the improvement comprising: C. said hinge means pivotally mounting said leaf on said base adjacent said disc mounting area for relative rotational movement between said base and said leaf about a pivot axis between an unpivoted position wherein said leaf overlies said disc mounting area on said base and a pivoted position in which said leaf is rotated about said hinge means through an angle of about 90° to 180° with said base, the unpivoted position of said leaf being the same relative to said base disc mounting area whether said container base and cover are in the container open or container closed orientation.

2. A tray, as claimed in claim 1, including peripheral flanges depending from said leaf for a major length of the perimeter thereof, the depth of said peripheral flanges spacing the second side of said tray from any disc mounted in said disc mounting area of said base.

3. A tray, as claimed in claim 1, further including a plurality of apertures defined in said leaf for reducing the amount of material necessary to form said leaf.

4. A tray, as claimed in claim 1, including at least one pair of diametrically opposed finger wells formed in said base and communicating with said disc mounting area thereof, and further including at least one pair of diametrically opposed apertures formed in said leaf and communicating with the disc mounting area of said leaf, said apertures communicating and being in vertical registry with said finger wells when said leaf is in its unpivoted position.

5. A tray, as claimed in claim 1, wherein said hinge means comprises at least one elongate pivot pin supported from the base adjacent said disc mounting area thereof and at least one tab mounted along one edge of said leaf, said tab having a pivot bore therein for receiving and retaining said pivot pin, whereby said leaf is pivotable about said at least one pivot pin for providing access to any disc mounted in said disc mounting area of said base, said hinge means further comprising: A. said at least one tab having a free end remote from said leaf, the free end of said tab having a downwardly opening pivot bore along the underside thereof, said pivot bore penetrating said tab in a direction substantially parallel to said one edge of said leaf and being dimensioned to receive and pivotally retain said at least one pivot pin inserted therein; and B. said at least one pivot pin having a longitudinal extent which is generally parallel to the edge of said leaf mounting said pivot pin-receiving bore and being supported at least a sufficient distance above said base that said pivot bore can fully engage said pivot pin.

6. A tray, as claimed in claim 5, wherein said leaf comprises two opposite lateral sides and two opposite transverse ends defining a generally planar rectangular body and said tab is cantilevered from one of said transverse ends.

7. A tray, as claimed in claim 5, further including a pair of laterally extending, spaced apart slots formed in said one edge of said leaf for defining a cantilevered tab between each pair of slots.

8. A tray, as claimed in claim 5, including a pair of pivot pin support flanges projecting upwardly from said base for supporting each pivot pin therebetween.

9. A tray, as claimed in claim 5, wherein said downwardly opening pivot bore comprises a generally C-shaped bore having an insertion slot whose width is less than the diameter of said pivot pin.

10. A tray, as claimed in claim 5, wherein said pivot bores are positioned substantially entirely within the dimensional extent of said leaf.

11. A tray, as claimed in claim 1, wherein the pivot axis for said leaf is positioned substantially entirely within the dimensional extent of said leaf.

12. A tray, as claimed in claim 5, wherein said at least one tab is positioned substantially entirely within the dimensional extent of said leaf.

13. In a storage container for holding multiple discs, said container comprising a container cover and a container base, said container base including disc engagement means for positioning and supporting a disc within a disc mounting area thereon, said container cover and container base being relatively movable between a container open orientation enabling access to the contents of the container and a container closed orientation for storage purposes, a leaf having first and second opposite sides, said first side incorporating a disc engagement means for engaging and holding a disc within a disc mounting area thereon and said second side being supported, directly or indirectly, on said base, said leaf being dimensioned to fit within said base when said container is closed and hinge means between the container and the leaf for providing relative rotational movement between said leaf and said base, whereby a disc engaged on said base can be accessed by rotating the leaf about said hinge means when the container is open, the improvement comprising: said hinge means pivotally mounting said leaf on said base adjacent said disc mounting area for relative rotational movement between said base and said leaf about a pivot axis between an unpivoted position wherein said leaf overlies said disc mounting area on said base and a pivoted position in which said leaf is rotated about said hinge means through an angle of about 90° to 180° with said base, the unpivoted position of said leaf being the same relative to said base disc mounting area whether said container base and cover are in the container open or container closed orientation.

14. A storage container, as claimed in claim 13, including at least one pair of diametrically opposed finger wells formed in said base and communicating with said disc mounting area thereof, and further including at least one pair of diametrically opposed apertures formed in said leaf and communicating with the disc mounting area of said leaf, said apertures communicating and being in vertical registry with said finger wells when said leaf is in its unpivoted position.

15. A tray, as claimed in claim 13, wherein said hinge means comprises at least one elongate pivot pin supported from the base adjacent said disc mounting area thereof and at least one tab mounted along one edge of said leaf, said tab having a pivot bore therein for receiving and retaining said pivot pin, whereby said leaf is pivotable about said at least one pivot pin for providing access to any disc mounted in said disc mounting area of said base, said hinge means further comprising: A. said at least one tab having a free end remote from said leaf, the free end of said tab having a downwardly opening pivot bore along the underside thereof, said pivot bore penetrating said tab in a direction substantially parallel to said one edge of said leaf and being dimensioned to receive and pivotally retain said at least one pivot pin inserted therein; and B. said at least one pivot pin having a longitudinal extent which is generally parallel to the edge of said leaf mounting said pivot pin-receiving bore and being supported at least a sufficient distance above said base that said pivot bore can fully engage said pivot pin.

16. A tray, as claimed in claim 15, wherein said leaf comprises two opposite lateral sides and two opposite transverse ends defining a generally planar rectangular body and said tab is cantilevered from one of said transverse ends

17. A tray, as claimed in claim 15, further including a pair of laterally extending, spaced apart slots formed in said one edge of said leaf for defining a cantilevered tab between each pair of slots.

18. A tray, as claimed in claim 15, including a pair of pivot pin support flanges projecting upwardly from said base for supporting each pivot pin therebetween.

19. A tray, as claimed in claim 15, wherein said downwardly opening pivot bore comprises a generally C-shaped bore having an insertion slot whose width is less than the diameter of said pivot pin.

20. A tray, as claimed in claim 15, wherein said pivot bores are positioned substantially entirely within the dimensional extent of said leaf.

21. A tray, as claimed in claim 13, wherein the pivot axis for said leaf is positioned substantially entirely within the dimensional extent of said leaf.

22. A tray, as claimed in claim 15, wherein said at least one tab is positioned substantially entirely within the dimensional extent of said leaf.

23. A storage package for holding multiple recording discs comprising: A. a plurality of panels including a pair of end panels, said plurality of panels being movable between an open package orientation enabling access to the contents of the package and a closed package orientation for storage purposes, said plurality of panels in said closed orientation defining at least one spine; B. a holder formed of plastic disposed on one of said end panels for receiving and maintaining a disc on a disc mounting area thereof; C. an end cap formed of plastic pivotally secured to said holder, said end cap including means for releasably engaging said holder when said plurality of panels is in said closed orientation, thereby to preclude accidental movement of said panels out of said closed orientation; D. a leaf having first and second opposite sides, said first side incorporating a disc engagement means for engaging and holding a disc within a disc mounting area thereon and said second side being supported, directly or indirectly, on said holder, said leaf being dimensioned to fit within said holder when said package is closed and hinge means between the package and the leaf for providing relative rotational movement between said leaf and said holder, whereby a disc engaged on said holder can be accessed by rotating the leaf about said hinge means when the package is open, the improvement comprising: E. said hinge means pivotally mounting said leaf on said holder adjacent said disc mounting area for relative rotational movement between said base and said leaf about a pivot axis between an unpivoted position wherein said leaf overlies said disc mounting area on said holder and a pivoted position in which said leaf is rotated about said hinge means through an angle of about 90° to 180° with said holder, the unpivoted position of said leaf being the same relative to said holder disc mounting area whether said panels are in the package open or package closed orientation.

24. A storage package, as claimed in claim 23, including at least one pair of diametrically opposed finger wells formed in said holder and communicating with said disc mounting area thereof, and further including at least one pair of diametrically opposed apertures formed in said leaf and communicating with the disc mounting area of said leaf, said apertures communicating and being in vertical registry with said finger wells when said leaf is in its unpivoted position.

25. A storage package, as claimed in claim 23, wherein said hinge means comprises at least one elongate pivot pin supported from the holder adjacent said disc mounting area thereof and at least one tab mounted along one edge of said leaf, said tab having a pivot bore therein for receiving and retaining said pivot pin, whereby said leaf is pivotable about said at least one pivot pin for providing access to any disc mounted in said disc mounting area of said holder, said hinge means further comprising: A. said at least one tab having a free end remote from said leaf, the free end of said tab having a downwardly opening pivot bore along the underside thereof, said pivot bore penetrating said tab in a direction substantially parallel to said one edge of said leaf and being dimensioned to receive and pivotally retain said at least one pivot pin inserted therein; and B. said at least one pivot pin having a longitudinal extent which is generally parallel to the edge of said leaf mounting said pivot pin-receiving bore and being supported at least a sufficient distance above said base that said pivot bore can fully engage said pivot pin.

26. A storage package, as claimed in claim 25, wherein said leaf comprises two opposite lateral sides and two opposite transverse ends defining a generally planar rectangular body and said tab is cantilevered from one of said transverse ends

27. A storage package, as claimed in claim 25, further including a pair of laterally extending, spaced apart slots formed in said one edge of said leaf for defining a cantilevered tab between each pair of slots.

28. A storage package, as claimed in claim 25, including a pair of pivot pin support flanges projecting upwardly from said base for supporting each pivot pin therebetween.

29. A storage package, as claimed in claim 25, wherein said downwardly opening pivot bore comprises a generally C-shaped bore having an insertion slot whose width is less than the diameter of said pivot pin.

30. A storage package, as claimed in claim 25, wherein said pivot bores are positioned substantially entirely within the dimensional extent of said leaf.

31. A storage package, as claimed in claim 23, wherein the pivot axis for said leaf is positioned substantially entirely within the dimensional extent of said leaf.

32. A storage package, as claimed in claim 25, wherein said at least one tab is positioned substantially entirely within the dimensional extent of said leaf.

33. A storage package, as claimed in claim 23, wherein said end cap is directly pivotally secured to said holder by a living hinge.

34. A storage package, as claimed in claim 23, wherein said end cap and said holder are of a unitary, integral, one-piece construction formed in a single molding operation.

35. A storage package, as claimed in claim 23, wherein said plurality of panels is formed of paper board.

36. A storage package, as claimed in claim 23, wherein said end cap is generally U-shaped and said holder has a generally planar and generally rectangular holder body, including a pair of opposed lateral holder sidewalls and a pair of opposed transverse holder sidewalls.

37. A storage package, as claimed in claim 36, wherein said holder sidewalls extend upwardly above the plane of said holder body for a major length thereof and extend downwardly below the plane of said holder body for substantially the entire length thereof.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The present invention relates generally to compact disc storage containers and, more particularly, to storage containers capable of holding more than one compact disc.

[0003] 2. Description of the Prior Art

[0004] 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 or CD is intended to encompass all such discs, whatever their size, for all known or proposed uses.

[0005] 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.

[0006] Except for the printed matter inserted therein, the “jewel box” is entirely plastic. For this reason, as well as because the typical jewel box requires three separately injection molded elements which must be manually assembled, the use of this type of enclosure is relatively expensive. Moreover, the use of such an enclosure is believed to be ecologically unacceptable by many because the plastic is non-biodegradable and, in view of the huge volume of such enclosures in use today, the disposal of these enclosures poses either a real or potential environmental problem. One solution to both of these problems has been the development of hybrid packages comprising both paper board and plastic components. These hybrid packages provide a CD package which is suitable and attractive for display, sale and storage of compact discs, yet which is both simple and inexpensive to manufacture.

[0007] For example, U.S. Pat. No. 4,709,812—Kosterka discloses a compact disc package formed from a prescored, preprinted unitary blank and at least one injection molded plastic compact disc holder or tray adhesively adhered to one segment of the blank, the blank being adapted to fold along fold lines to position a blank segment over the top of the disc holder to sandwich it, in book style, between the segment to which it is adhered and the overlying segment. The problem with this type of arrangement is that, since no means are provided for securing the package in its closed configuration, the book-style package frequently opens and provides little protection for the CD content therewithin. In addition, the Kosterka hybrid packaging typically gives the visual appearance of inexpensive packaging, which may not be appropriate or desirable for some of the more expensive visual productions provided on DVD.

[0008] In recent years a need has arisen to package more than one, usually two, compact discs in each storage container. The most apparent packaging solution, increasing the length or thickness of the conventional jewel box or other conventional plastic CD storage container to accommodate the additional disc or discs, has proven unacceptable to both industry and the consumer. Industry already has a very substantial investment in automated packaging equipment designed specifically for the conventional sized jewel box or other commonly used plastic CD storage container. Any change in the storage container size would require the construction and installation, at very considerable expense, of a separate automated packaging line designed for the new storage container. It would also require that manufacturers warehouse multiple storage container sizes. Moreover, larger storage containers take up considerably more retail shelf space and, accordingly, reduce the available shelf inventory in retail stores. Consumers, like retailers, find that the larger size storage containers take up more space and are more difficult to store. As a result, there has been a growing consensus that multiple disc storage containers be based upon the identical dimensions of the conventional plastic CD storage containers in use today.

[0009] One of the most commercially popular multiple disc storage containers is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,284,243—Gelardi et al, which discloses a two CD tray for insertion into a conventional jewel box. Such jewel boxes comprise a base provided with raised peripheral edges and a lid, hinged to the base, provided with depending side walls which are complementary to the raised edges of the base. The cover is hinged to the base via lugs which extend inwardly from opposite side walls of the cover and are received in apertures formed in opposite raised edges of the base. Importantly, the lugs extend only part way through the apertures since these same apertures are used for mounting the two CD tray on the base. The tray comprises a generally flat leaf having first and second CD mounting rosettes on opposite faces of the leaf. A shelf is formed along one side of the leaf and includes a rising portion extending upward from the leaf and an elevated portion generally parallel to the leaf, with the two portions hingedly connected via a living hinge. A pair of side plates depend from opposite ends of the elevated portion of the shelf and include outwardly extending stubs for insertion into the aforementioned apertures such that, within the apertures, the stubs extend toward the lugs. With the stubs engaged within the apertures and the bottom surface of the elevated shelf portion in contact with the upper ends of the raised edges, the shelf is rigidly held in place on the base with the tray capable of pivoting 180° about the living hinge.

[0010] The Gelardi et al two CD tray utilizes a living hinge to provide access to both CDs by pivoting of the tray. In order for a living hinge to function it must be formed of a material, such as non-crystalline styrene, styrene-polypropylene and styrene-polyethylene copolymers, which is flexible and can be repeatedly pivoted without breaking. However, such materials are not highly transparent and, for many uses, the marketplace is presently demanding highly transparent storage containers molded from highly transparent materials, such as crystalline polystyrene, to provide additional viewing surfaces for advertising and graphics. The problem with the use of highly transparent materials such as crystalline polystyrene is that the material is extremely brittle and fractures quite easily. Therefore, such a brittle material cannot be used as the living hinge in the Gelardi et al two CD trays.

[0011] One approach to providing a highly transparent two CD storage container formed of crystalline styrene is disclosed in PCT International Publication No. WO 96/23304 which discloses the use of a crystalline styrene tray very similar to the tray of Gelardi et al. A line of weakness or fold line, as in Gelardi et al, is defined between the elevated and rising portions of the shelf. However, by the process of overmolding, a flexible sheet of synthetic material is adhered over the line of weakness and to the surfaces of the elevated and rising portions. Since the tray is molded of brittle crystalline styrene, the first time that the tray is pivoted, the line of weakness fractures, leaving only the overmolded flexible sheet to serve as the hinge, permitting the tray to pivot 180°. An important difficulty with this approach is that it makes the molding process difficult and slow and, therefore, is prohibitively expensive.

[0012] Another approach is to configure the two CD tray as in Gelardi et al except, in lieu of a living hinge, utilize a pair of spaced apart molded mechanical hinges to pivotally join the tray to the shelf. One embodiment of this approach is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,915,550—Gartz which shows a two CD tray insert for mounting and nesting within the base of a conventional jewel box. The insert comprises a tray having disc receiving planar surfaces on opposite sides thereof and a rosette centrally disposed on each of the planar surfaces to receive and hold CDs on both sides of the tray. A shelf is non-pivotally, substantially rigidly mounted to the base of the jewel box and the tray is pivotally mounted, via a pair of mechanical hinges, to the shelf. Specifically, a pair of flanges formed integrally with the tray extends rearward from opposite sides thereof, through cutouts in the shelf into pivot able engagement with plates which depend from the shelf. Apertures/pins on the ends of the rearward extending flanges engage pins/apertures on the plates for permitting the tray to pivot 180° for accessing CDs on both sides of the tray. The problem with this approach is that the extreme brittleness of crystalline polystyrene has caused mechanical hinge designs proposed to date to fail as a result of processing on automated packaging lines, frequent opening and closing associated with normal use of a CD storage container, shipping or when inadvertently dropped or struck against a hard surface.

[0013] In still another approach, disclosed in pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/930,473, filed Aug. 16, 2001, and assigned to the same assignee as the instant application, the hinged connection of the tray to the base is formed in a sturdy, reliable arrangement which is highly durable despite the brittleness of the plastic material by providing a pair of rearward extending flanges, similar to those disclosed in Gartz, but which have upwardly opening insertion slots for receiving pivot pins by downward insertion of the pins relative to the slots to minimize breakage of the flanges during insertion.

[0014] In yet another approach, instead of using a multiple CD tray pivotally mounted within an enclosure, one CD is mounted on the enclosure base while a second CD is mounted on a leaf hingedly mounted in the enclosure in such a manner that the second CD is positioned above and in substantially vertical registry with the first CD. In one commercial embodiment utilizing this approach, the enclosure comprises an injection molded, unitary, one-piece blank comprising a base panel and a cover panel separated by a spline panel defined by two living hinges. The cover panel is movable about the living hinges through a rotational angle of about 180° between an open orientation enabling access to the contents of the enclosure and a latched orientation, wherein the cover panel overlies the base panel and is releasably latched thereto to prevent access to the contents of the enclosure. An upstanding wall on the base panel surrounds or partially surrounds the first CD in close proximity to its perimetric edge when the first CD is held within the enclosure so as to define a circular recess, configured and dimensioned to receive a CD, having a sufficient depth to ensure that the upper surface of the first CD does not extend above the surface of the upstanding wall. A rosette for gripping the CD and holding it within the recess is integrally molded on the base panel. The second CD is mounted on a generally flat leaf having raised peripheral walls defining a circular recess, configured and dimensioned to receive a CD and having a sufficient depth to ensure that the upper surface of the second CD does not extend above the surface of the peripheral walls. A rosette for gripping the CD and holding it within the recess of the leaf is integrally molded in the recess of the leaf.

[0015] The leaf is pivotally mounted to the enclosure by providing two pairs of pivot pin receiving flanges projecting upwardly from and spaced apart along the transversely extending spine panel of the enclosure with each flange pair separated a sufficient distance for defining an upwardly opening, transversely extending pivot pin receiving pivot bore therebetween. A pivot pin extends transversely outwardly and is cantilevered from each of the lateral side walls of the leaf along the spine edge thereof. The leaf is mounted within the enclosure by positioning the leaf with its underside resting upon the upstanding wall of the base panel and the pivot pins resting upon the opening of each of the pivot pin receiving pivot bores and applying a downward pressure to the leaf to snap the pivot pins into the pivot bores. As a consequence of positioning the pivot pin receiving flanges on the spline panel, as the cover panel is pivoted about the living hinges from its open position to its latched position, the spline panel rotates through approximately 90°, causing the upwardly opening pivot bores to also rotate and become sidewardly opening pivot bores. At the same time, the spline panel pushes upon the transversely extending spline edge of the leaf, causing the leaf to slide on its underside along the top of the upstanding wall of the base panel and over the first CD, toward the latched edge of the base panel. In order to accomplish this, the pivot pin receiving bores have to be of sufficient depth to allow the requisite sliding movement of the leaf along the base panel. As a consequence of the need for depth in the pivot bores, the pivot pins are slidingly received, i.e., do not seat securely, within the pivot bores and the leaf mounting the second CD rattles within the enclosure when the enclosure is handled. The sliding movement of the pivot pins within the pivot bores subjects both the pivot pins and the pivot pin receiving flanges to undue stress and increases the likelihood that either the cantilevered pins or the flanges will fracture in use. Moreover, the sliding movement of the leaf over the first CD each and every time that the enclosure is opened or closed increases the likelihood that the first CD will be damaged by sliding of a misaligned leaf or debris which attaches itself to the leaf.

[0016] It will be appreciated that despite the marketplace demand for multiple CD storage containers, a fully satisfactory multiple CD storage container which can be made to work with existing automation for existing container sizes has not yet been developed. This is because containers proposed to date have either been uneconomical to manufacture or unreliable in use. Accordingly, there remains a need for a simple, inexpensive to manufacture, relatively sturdy multiple CD storage container suitable for use with existing automation.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0017] It is therefore a primary object of the present invention to provide a multiple CD storage container which can be injection molded of a plastic material yet which is inexpensive to manufacture and sufficiently durable to withstand the rigors of normal manufacturing, packaging, shipping and consumer usage of a CD storage container.

[0018] It is another object of the present invention to provide a multiple CD storage container which utilizes a plastic, injection moldable CD mounting leaf which fits and is mountable within a substantially unmodified conventional single disc CD storage container and which includes means for maintaining the storage container in its closed configuration.

[0019] It is also an object of the present invention to provide a multiple CD storage container including a plastic, injection moldable CD mounting leaf mounted to a conventional single CD storage container in a particularly sturdy and reliable pivotable arrangement which is highly durable and minimizes breakage in use.

[0020] It is another object of the present invention to provide a sturdy, durable mounting arrangement for a plastic, injection moldable CD mounting leaf in the base of a conventional single CD storage container including mounting tabs on the leaf having downwardly opening pivot bores positioned within the dimensional extent of the leaf for receiving and pivotally retaining pivot pins therein.

[0021] It is still another object of the present invention to provide a multiple CD storage container including a first CD mounting and storage means formed in the base of a conventional CD storage container and a plastic, injection moldable second CD mounting leaf pivotally mounted on the base in such a manner that the leaf is pivotable through a 90°-180° arc for providing access to CDs mounted on the first CD mounting and storage means. The foregoing and other objects are achieved in accordance with the present invention by providing a tray for holding multiple discs within a storage container having a container cover and a container base, the container base including disc engagement means for positioning and supporting a disc within a disc mounting area thereon, the container cover and container base being relatively movable between a container open orientation enabling access to the contents of the container and a container closed orientation for storage purposes, the tray comprising:

[0022] A. a leaf having first and second opposite sides, the first side incorporating a disc engagement means for engaging and holding a disc within a disc mounting area thereon and the second side being supported, directly or indirectly on the base, the leaf being dimensioned to fit within the base when the container is closed; and

[0023] B. hinge means between the container and the leaf for providing relative rotational movement between the leaf and the base, whereby a disc engaged on the base can be accessed by rotating the leaf about the hinge means when the container is open;

[0024] the improvement comprising:

[0025] C. the hinge means pivotally mounting the leaf on the base adjacent the disc mounting area for relative rotational movement between the base and the leaf about a pivot axis between an unpivoted position wherein the leaf overlies the disc mounting area on the base, and any disc mounted thereon, and a pivoted position in which the leaf is rotated about the hinge means through an angle of about 90° to 180° with the base, the unpivoted position of the leaf being the same relative to the disc mounting area whether the container base and cover are in the container open or container closed orientation.

[0026] In another aspect of the invention the tray includes at least one pair of diametrically opposed finger wells communicating with the disc mounting area of the base, and further including at least one pair of diametrically opposed apertures communicating with the disc mounting area of the tray, the apertures communicating and in vertical registry with the finger wells when the tray is in its unpivoted position.

[0027] In still another aspect of the invention the hinge means comprises at least one elongate pivot pin supported from the base adjacent the disc mounting area and at least one tab mounted along one edge of the tray, the tab having a pivot bore therein for receiving and retaining the pivot pin, whereby the leaf is pivotable about the at least one pivot pin for providing access to any disc mounted in the disc mounting area of the base, the hinge means further comprising:

[0028] A. the at least one tab having a free end remote from the leaf, the free end of the tab having a downwardly opening pivot bore along the underside thereof, the pivot bore penetrating the tab in a direction substantially parallel to the one edge of the tray and being dimensioned to receive and pivotally retain the at least one pivot pin inserted therein; and

[0029] B. the at least one pivot pin having a longitudinal extent which is generally parallel to the edge of the tray mounting the pivot pin-receiving bore and being supported at least a sufficient distance above the base that the pivot bore can fully engage the pivot pin.

[0030] In another embodiment of the invention, a storage container for holding multiple discs includes a tray as hereinbefore described.

[0031] In still another embodiment of the invention, the storage container comprises a plurality of panels, including end panels, desirably formed of paper board, which are movable between an open orientation enabling access to the contents of the container and a closed orientation for storage purposes, the plurality of panels in the closed orientation defining at least one spine, a holder formed of plastic disposed on one of the end panels for receiving and maintaining a disc on a disc mounting area thereof and an end cap formed of plastic pivotally secured to the holder, the end cap including means for releasably engaging the holder when the plurality of panels is in the closed orientation.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0032] FIG. 1 is a top plan view of a blank for the paper board component of the present invention.

[0033] FIG. 2 is a top plan view of one embodiment of the improved CD package of the present invention in its open orientation showing the plastic CD holder mounted in place on one end panel of the paper board component with the hinged leaf element in its unpivoted rest position.

[0034] FIG. 3 is a perspective view, viewed from above, of the improved CD package of the present invention in its open orientation showing the plastic CD holder with the hinged leaf element pivoted to reveal the underlying tray of the plastic CD holder of FIG. 2.

[0035] FIG. 4 is a perspective view, viewed from above, of the improved CD package of the present invention in its closed orientation.

[0036] FIG. 5 is a top elevation view of the improved CD package of the present invention in its closed orientation.

[0037] FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the CD-mounting upper surface of the hinged leaf element of the plastic CD holder.

[0038] FIG. 7 is a top plan view of the plastic CD holder with the hinged leaf element mounting a CD thereon unpivoted in its rest position to cover the underlying tray of the improved CD package of FIG. 2.

[0039] FIG. 8 is a side elevation of the plastic CD holder with the hinged leaf element pivoted between its fully closed, intermediate and fully open positions

[0040] FIG. 9 is a front sectional view taken along line 9-9 of FIG. 2 of the hinged leaf element of the plastic CD holder.

[0041] FIG. 10 is a top plan view of the improved CD package of the present invention with the leaf hinged along a lateral sidewall of the plastic CD holder.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0042] Referring now to the drawings, and in particular to FIGS. 1 to 5 thereof, there is illustrated a storage package for CDs according to the present invention, generally designated by the reference numeral 10. The storage package 10 is composed of a plurality of non-plastic panels 12, a holder 14 formed of plastic. and a plastic end cap 16. Unlike the all-plastic jewel box conventionally used for the storage of CDs, the packaging of the present invention is to a large degree formed of the non-plastic panels 12, the latter preferably being formed of paper board which readily decomposes under landfill conditions and is thus more ecologically acceptable than plastic. Moreover, both the paper board and plastic components of the present invention may be made from recycled materials and are themselves recyclable, thereby rendering the package not only ecologically, but also economically, sound.

[0043] Referring now to FIG. 1, the plurality of non-plastic panels 12 may be formed from a prescored, pre-printed unitary blank 50. In one preferred embodiment of the invention, blank 50 defines two panels, a base panel 52 and a cover panel 54 separated by a spline panel 56 defined by fold lines or creases 58a, 58b. In this embodiment the blank 50, i.e., the base panel and cover panel, are single ply although, in some instances, it may be desirable for one or both of these panels to be two or multiple ply. For example, as shown in phantom in FIG. 1, either or both of the base and cover panels may be formed as a two ply panel by providing one or more additional sections 60, 62 of the same or different shape as, and substantially the same size as or smaller than, the panel area it is to reinforce and joined along one side thereof by fold line or crease 64, 66. Sections 60 and/or 62 may be folded over crease 64, 66 and glued to the adjacent section 52, 54 to form a two ply panel which may be desirable for aesthetic reasons or to enhance the rigidity of the base or cover for protecting the CD within the package. In like manner, panels which are greater than 2 ply can similarly be formed by providing additional sections (not shown) joined along one side of panels 52, 54 or sections 60, 62. Moreover, while a two panel embodiment of a CD package is illustrated and described, it will be appreciated that similar packages utilizing the principles of the present invention may be formed from a greater number of panels by the inclusion of optional panels (not shown) intermediate the base and cover panels, all as is well known in the art. Various paperboard panel arrangements are described and illustrated, for example, in U.S. Pat. No. 5,188,230—O'Brien et al, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference. Blank 50 is typically printed with graphics on both sides of cover panel 54 and on the outside of base panel 52. In the event additional reinforcing sections are used, they are also typically printed with graphics on the surfaces thereof which will be viewed after the panels are assembled. If desired, the inside and/or outside of the spline panel may also be printed with graphics. If tray 12 is formed of transparent plastic, then it may be desirable to print the inside of the base panel 52 as well.

[0044] Referring now to FIGS. 1-2, the plurality of non-plastic panels 12 formed from the blank 50, after folding and gluing of the reinforcing sections to adjacent sections, define at least a pair of end panels 52, 54 which are alternatively referred to herein as the base and cover panels. The plurality of non-plastic panels 12 define a pair of opposed transversely extending free ends 18 and a pair of opposed lateral sidewalls 20. The plurality of panels 12 is movable between an open orientation enabling access to the contents of the package (see FIG. 2) and a closed or latched orientation, for storage purposes, wherein cover panel 54 overlies holder 14 to prevent access to the contents of the package (see FIGS. 4-5). The non-plastic panels 12 may be releasably attached to the plastic holder 14 by any of a number of well known techniques for mechanically attaching plastic and paper board components. Thus, for example, attachment techniques may be used such as are disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5, 366, 074—O'Brien et al, U.S. Pat. No. 5,630,504—Fitzsimmons et al, U.S. Pat. No. 5,236,081—Fitzsimmons et al, U.S. Pat. No. 5,884,761—Gelardi et al and U.S. Pat. No. 6,283,283—Rufo, Jr. et al. The disclosure of attachment techniques appearing in the foregoing patents is incorporated herein by reference.

[0045] Referring now to FIGS. 3, 5 and 7, the holder 14 preferably comprises an injection molded plastic element which is adapted to be releasably mounted on the base panel 52. Holder 14 has a generally planar rectangular body 22 including a circular recess 24, configured and dimensioned to receive a centrally apertured CD, defined by a circular side wall 26 and extending downwardly from surrounding planar surface 28 to base 30 of holder 14. The depth of the recess 24 is sufficient to ensure that the upper surface of the CD does not extend above the surface of the holder body 22 about the recess 24. A rosette 32 for gripping a CD and holding it within recess 24 is molded on raised CD seat 34 which, itself, is molded on base 30. Rosette 32 is, typically, a vertical cylindrical section including radially outwardly biased gripping fingers for engaging the central opening of a CD placed thereon. Raised seat 34 provides a circular surface on which the annular area of the CD which is immediately adjacent the central disc aperture can be supported above the base 30. This area of the CD typically contains no recorded information and, therefore, contact between the CD in this area and the raised seat will not damage the CD. The CD may also be peripherally supported at its outer edges by peripheral shelf 36 formed in circular side wall 26. 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. Planar surface 28 of holder 14 includes at least one pair of diametrically opposed finger wells 38 which communicate with the base 30 of recess 24 to facilitate a user removing a recording medium from the recess 24. Recess 24, rosette 32 and finger wells 38 are all well known in the CD packaging art and need not be described in detail herein.

[0046] Holder 14 further includes a pair of opposed lateral sidewalls 70, disposed slightly outwardly from the sidewalls 20 on panel 52 on which holder 14 is disposed. In like manner, holder 14 includes a transverse end wall 72 adjacent end cap 16 which is also disposed slightly outwardly from the corresponding transverse end wall on panel 52. Each holder sidewall 70 and end wall 72 extends substantially upwardly above the plane of the holder body 22 for substantially the entire length of the holder sidewall/end wall length. Additionally, holder sidewalls 70 and end wall 72 extend appreciably downwardly below the plane of the holder body 22 for substantially the entire length thereof. As best illustrated in FIG. 5, the holder sidewalls 70 and end wall 72 extend downwardly below the plane of the holder body 22 a distance at least equal to the thickness of the base panel 52 on which the holder 14 is disposed. Thus, the holder sidewalls 70 and end wall 72 essentially overlap and protect the sidewalls 20 and end wall 18 of panel 52. In addition, opposite end wall 74 extends substantially upwardly above the plane of the holder body 22 for substantially the entire length of the holder end wall length but does not extend downwardly below the plane of the holder body. This is because end wall 74 is immediately adjacent spline panel 56 which overlies and wraps about end wall 74 when the package is in the closed orientation, as can be best seen in FIG. 5.

[0047] Plastic end cap 16 is directly pivotally secured to the holder 14 and, more particularly, to the adjacent end wall 72 of holder 14. End cap 16 is secured to the holder end wall 72 by a living hinge 40 and is of unitary, one-piece, integral construction with the holder 14, both being formed together in a single molding operation. The plastic utilized for the holder 14 and end cap 16, including living hinge 40, must be strong, yet substantially flexible when thin so as to be capable of forming a living hinge. Polypropylene is the preferred polymer. The living hinge 40 extends substantially the entire width of the holder along end wall 72 between lateral side walls 70. Living hinge 40 is preferably formed as a line of reduced thickness in the plastic and is positioned between holder 14 and end cap 16. As a result, end cap 16 is able to pivotally move about the living hinge 40 through a rotational angle of at least 90° to enable end cap 16 to latch the CD package in the closed orientation.

[0048] As can best be seen in FIGS. 2, 3 and 4, end cap 16 is generally L-shaped in cross section and includes a bight portion 42 and an upstanding end wall 44 which is perpendicular to bight portion 42. The end wall 44 is configured and dimensioned to serve as a latch and preferably includes a lip 46 on its free end 44a to facilitate grasping of the end cap 16 in order to improve the leverage exertable thereon by a user. End cap 16 is pivotable about the living hinge 40 from a non-latching orientation wherein the bight portion 42 is in generally the same plane as the holder 14 and the end wall 44 is transverse thereto (as illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3) and a latching orientation wherein the bight portion 42 is substantially transverse to the plane of the holder 14 and the end wall 44 is generally parallel thereto (as illustrated in FIG. 4).

[0049] With the CD package of the present invention in its closed or latched orientation, as best shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, the end cap 16 serves to latch the package in the closed orientation in order to prevent inadvertent or accidental opening and access to the contents of the package. Generally speaking, any of a number of well known engagement means may be employed, such as are disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,188,230—O'Brien et al, which utilize outwardly projecting lugs on the end cap adapted to releasably engage cooperating apertures or recesses on the holder, or vice versa. With reference to FIGS. 2 and 3, in a preferred embodiment of the present invention, a pair of latching lugs 48 project outwardly from end wall 44 into the angle defined by the L-shape of end cap 16. Desirably the lugs are transversely spaced apart along the end wall 44 between the intersection of the bight portion 42 and the end wall 44 and the free end 44a of the end wall. Most desirably, the lugs are positioned very close to the intersection angle such that, when the CD packaging is in its closed orientation, as shown in FIG. 4, with the bight portion 42 outwardly adjacent and parallel to end wall 72 and end wall 44 is urged to a position overlying the outer surface of cover panel 54, the lugs 48 encounter the upper margin 72a of end wall 72. With continued urging, end wall 44 deflects sufficiently to allow lugs 48 to snap over upper margin 72a and to latch the CD package in the closed orientation, with the upper margin 72a snugly received in the space between lugs 48 and the intersection angle formed with bight portion 42.

[0050] The ability of holder 14 to mount and store multiple CDs is attributable to the provision of a generally flat leaf 100 having opposite lateral sides 102, 104 and opposite transverse ends 106, 108 defining a generally planar rectangular body 110 which is sized to be supported on the planar surface 28 of holder body 22 while nesting within the space defined by opposed lateral sidewalls 70 and end walls 72, 74. Leaf 100 preferably comprises an injection molded plastic element which is pivotally mounted on holder 14. Generally planar rectangular body 110 of leaf 100 includes a circular recess 112, defined by a circular side wall 114 and extending downwardly from surrounding planar surface 116 to base 118, the recess 112 being configured and dimensioned to receive a centrally apertured CD therein. The depth of the recess 112 is sufficient to ensure that the upper surface of the CD does not extend above the surface of the leaf body 110 about the recess 112. A rosette 120, functionally similar to rosette 32, for gripping a CD and holding it within recess 112 is molded on raised CD seat 122 which, itself, is molded on base 118. The CD may also be peripherally supported at its outer edges by peripheral shelf 124 formed in circular side wall 114. Planar surface 116 of holder 14 includes at least one pair of diametrically opposed apertures 126 which, when leaf 100 is hingedly mounted on holder 14 with its underside overlying the planar surface 28 of holder 14, communicate and are in vertical registry with the finger wells 38 of holder 14 to facilitate a user removing a recording medium from the recess 112 as well as from the recess 24. In addition, a plurality of apertures 128 are defined in base 118 to reduce the amount of plastic necessary to form leaf 100 and to improve the efficient use of molding machines by reducing the time to cool this molded part. Although, FIG. 6 illustrates apertures 128 as having a triangular shape and arranged generally symmetrically about the annular space defined between raised seat 122 and circular side wall 114, in fact, apertures 128 may be of any size or shape and need not be symmetrically arranged in the base.

[0051] At least two opposite lateral sides 102, 104, one transverse end 108 and the other transverse end 106 outboard of slots 84 include depending peripheral flanges 130 for conferring enhanced rigidity on leaf 100. To facilitate shipping of the leafs 100 in stacks and to simplify the automated loading of a CD onto leaf 100 and the assembly of leaf 100 to holder 14, it is important that leaf 100 be amenable to easy shipping and handling by automated assembly equipment. To that end, leafs 100 are desirably shipped and introduced into the automated equipment in stacks, with the individual leafs spaced apart from top to bottom a sufficient distance to allow them to be easily handled by the automated equipment. To facilitate this, each leaf 100 includes, on its underside, a downwardly extending peripherally elongate lug 132 projecting from the underside 130a of the depending flanges 130, preferably at a position corresponding to each of the corner bevels 134 of leaf 100. A corresponding peripherally elongate slot 136 is formed on the exposed opposite planar surface 116 of leaf 100 at positions on the corner bevels 134 corresponding to the positions of the depending lugs 132 on the opposite surface of the leaf body 110. The slots are of a size and shape to receive lugs 132 therewithin when the leafs 100 are stacked one upon the other. Most desirably, slots 136 comprise a notch defined in the marginal edge of the exposed upper surface of corner bevels 134. In this way, as leafs 100 are stacked one atop the other, the depending lugs 132 of one leaf 100 are received in the slots 136 of the next lower leaf, etc.

[0052] As can be most clearly seen in FIG. 3, leaf 100 is pivotally mounted to holder 14 by providing two pair of pivot pin support flanges 80 projecting upwardly from planar surface 28 of holder 14 along transverse end wall 74 adjacent recess 24 with each flange pair supporting a pivot pin 82 therebetween. Referring to FIG. 6, two pair of laterally extending, transversely spaced apart slots 84 are formed in end wall 106 for defining a cantilevered flexible tab 86 between each pair of slots. The free end of each of the flexible tabs 86 has a downwardly opening, generally C-shaped pivot bore 88 formed along the underside thereof. The opening in the C-shape defines an insertion slot 90 having an opening or width which is less than the diameter of pivot pin 82. To mount leaf 100 onto holder 14, leaf body 110 is positioned upon planar surface 28 of holder body 14 in nesting relation with the generally rectangular area defined by lateral sidewalls 70 and end walls 72 and 74 with the insertion slots 90 aligned with and resting upon pivot pins 82. A mild downward pressure on leaf 100 forces the C-shaped insertion slots 90 to spread apart as the leaf moves downwardly until the pivot pins 82 move past the narrowest diameter portion of the insertion slots 90 and snap into the pivot bores 88. With the leaf 100 mounted on pivot pins 82 as shown in FIG. 2, in its unpivoted, rest position, leaf 100 overlies recess 24 and any CD mounted therein with depending peripheral flanges 130 resting on planar surface 28 of holder body 22. In this way, the depth of the peripheral flanges 130 together with the depth of holder recess 24 space the underside 112a of leaf recess 112 from the CD mounted in holder recess 24. In order to pivot leaf 100 about the pivot pins 82, an ear 92 projecting from end wall 108 may be grasped to readily pivot the leaf 100 in much the same manner as a page is turned. Ear 92 seats on planar surface 28 in a gap 72b formed in end wall 72 when leaf 100 is in its unpivoted, rest position with the free end 92a of ear 92 aligned with the segments of end wall 72 on either side of gap 72b. As can be seen in FIG. 8, leaf 100 can be pivoted from the fully closed orientation of FIG. 2 to a fully open orientation, as shown in FIG. 3, and, in so doing, passes through a number of intermediate pivoted leaf positions. Desirably, leaf 100 is pivotable through an angle of about 90° to 180°, preferably about 115°. In the fully open orientation, with leaf 100 pivoted out of the way, full access can be had to the recess 24 of holder 14 and to any CD mounted thereon. Due to the manner in which the leaf is pivotally mounted, the unpivoted position of leaf 100 is the same relative to recess 24 whether the panels 52, 54 are in their open or closed configuration. As a result, unlike prior art packages, there is no sliding movement of one CD over another each time the package is opened and/or closed.

[0053] It will be appreciated that pivot pin support flanges 80 may be positioned on planar surface 28 of holder 14 along either of the lateral sidewalls 70 instead of along end wall 74. In such a case, the slots 84 would be formed in one or the other lateral sides 102, 104 of leaf 100 for defining cantilevered flexible tabs 86 between each pair of slots. An embodiment of the invention wherein support flanges project upwardly from planar surface 28 along lateral wall 70 and wherein flexible tabs 86 are cantilevered from leaf lateral side 104 is illustrated in FIG. 10.

[0054] As can be most clearly see in FIG. 6, pivot bores 88 are desirably positioned substantially entirely within the dimensional extent of leaf 100 for receiving pivot pins 82 therewithin and positioning the pivot axis for leaf 100 substantially entirely within the dimensional extent of leaf 100. Thus, tabs 86 in which pivot bores 88 are formed are positioned along end wall 74 between lateral sides 102 and 104 and are, therefore, entirely or substantially entirely within the transverse dimensional extent of leaf 100. Likewise, tabs 86 are positioned along end wall 106 with pivot bores 88 between transverse ends 106 and 108, which is entirely or substantially entirely within the lateral dimensional extent of leaf 100. The downwardly opening pivot bores 88 in the free ends of tabs 86 are formed between the exposed planar surface 116 of leaf body 110 and the bottom edge 130a of depending peripheral flanges 130, which is entirely or substantially entirely within the depth dimensional extent of leaf 100. In addition, pivot pins 82 are supported by pivot pin support flanges 80 at least a sufficient distance above planar surface 28 that pivot bores 88 can fully engage pivot pins 82 while leaf 100 is supported along the bottom edges 130a of depending peripheral flanges 130 on the exposed planar surface 28 of holder body 22. By maintaining the pivot bores 88 within the dimensional extent of leaf 100 with leaf 100 supported on the planar surface 28 of holder body 22, a secure and stable hinged connection is assured which does is not subjected to undue stresses. As a result, the likelihood of fracturing either the pivot pin support flanges 80 or the pivot pins 82 is minimized and the possibility of causing damage to either leaf 100 or either of the CDs supported within the CD package is remote.

[0055] While the present invention has been described in terms of specific embodiments thereof, it will be understood that no limitations are intended to the details of construction or design other than as defined in the appended claims