Title:
Display strip with non-hanging product attachment
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A point of purchase display strip formed from a single sheet has unitary product attachment features that support the products from their undersides as well as wrap around edges of the products to retain them to the display strip without suspending them. The attachment features may include arch shaped flaps that are arranged in sets to capture the top and bottom edges of a product or two or more corners of a product. The attachment features may also include a single ledge near the bottom of the strip that supports stacked products retained at their side edges by vertically extending straight or bent flaps. The attachment features can be arranged to support and retain products at both front and back faces of the display strip.



Inventors:
Williquette, Jeffrey G. (Neenah, WI, US)
Application Number:
10/882371
Publication Date:
01/13/2005
Filing Date:
07/01/2004
Assignee:
WILLIQUETTE JEFFREY G.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
211/73
International Classes:
A47F5/00; (IPC1-7): A47F5/08
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MAGUIRE, LINDSAY M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
REINHART BOERNER VAN DEUREN S.C. (MILWAUKEE, WI, US)
Claims:
1. A product display strip comprising a single elongated sheet extending from a top end to a bottom end and having a plurality of slits defining at least one product rest for supporting at least one product from an underside and defining at least one non-hanging product retainer for contacting without suspending the at least one product at a portion other than its underside so as to resist separation of the at least one product from the sheet.

2. The display strip of claim 1, wherein the product retainer contacts a top side of the at least one product.

3. The display strip of claim 1, wherein the product retainer contacts a side edge extending between the underside and a top side of the at least one product.

4. The display strip of claim 1, wherein the display strip has a front face and a back face and wherein there is at least one product rest and at least one product retainer at each of the front and back faces.

5. The display strip of claim 1, wherein the slits define matched sets of product rests and product retainers.

6. The display strip of claim 5, wherein the sets are spaced apart along the strip in the direction between the top and bottom ends of the sheet.

7. The display strip of claim 5, wherein each of the sets includes one product rest and one product retainer located on the sheet closer to the top end than the product rest.

8. The display strip of claim 7, wherein the product rest and the product retainer of each set pivot away from a same face of the sheet in opposite directions.

9. The display strip of claim 8, wherein each product rest and product retainer is arch shaped.

10. The display strip of claim 8, wherein each product rest is hinged to the sheet essentially parallel with each product retainer.

11. The display strip of claim 10, wherein each product rest is oriented essentially perpendicular to the direction between the top and bottom ends of the sheet.

12. The display strip of claim 11, wherein each product rest is oriented at an oblique angle to the direction between the top and bottom ends of the sheet.

13. The display strip of claim 1, having a single product rest proximate the bottom end of the sheet and multiple of the product retainers spaced between the rest and the top end of the sheet such that multiple of the products can be stacked one on top of another and supported by the product rest and retained by the product retainers.

14. The display strip of claim 1, wherein the at least one product rest and the at least one product retainer are each hinged to the sheet along at least one edge so that they can be pivoted with respect to the sheet.

15. The display strip of claim 1, wherein the at least one product rest and the at least one product retainer are the same shape.

16. The display strip of claim 15, wherein the at least one product rest and the at least one product retainer are arch shaped.

17. The display strip of claim 1, wherein the at least one product rest is oriented essentially perpendicular to the direction between the top and bottom ends of the sheet.

18. The display strip of claim 17, wherein the at least one product retainer is oriented to extend essentially in the direction between the top and bottom ends of the sheet.

19. The display strip of claim 18, wherein the at least one product retainer includes two flaps spaced apart in the direction perpendicular to the direction between the top and bottom ends of the sheet

20. The display strip of claim 19, wherein the spaced apart flaps are bent to define two inwardly opening channels receiving the at least one product therebetween.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/485,275 filed Jul. 7, 2003.

STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENT SPONSORED DEVELOPMENT

Not Applicable.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to product displays and in particular to product display strips in which the displayed products are supported from underneath rather than suspended from the strip.

Producers and suppliers of goods seek to have their products displayed in prominent locations in an eye-catching manner likely to attract consumers. Retail outlets typically wish to maximize the quantity of products displayed for sale, and thus, premium shelf and floor space is limited. One way to increase the available space for display of certain products in high traffic areas, such as aisle end caps and check out lanes, is to attach the products to display strips. Such strips typically mount to the front of a shelf and sometimes project out into the aisle to make them more visible.

Many conventional product display strips have numerous hangers on which the products are suspended. One example of such a product display strip can be found in U.S. Pat. No. 6,286,690. This display strip includes a vertical support that mounts to the front of shelving and holds a wire bracket suspending a metal strip. The strip has a number of vertically spaced tabs or tongues cut out at all but one side on which the products are hung. Each tongue is bent at angle away from the strip so that products can hang on the strip by simply slipping the tongue in a slot formed in the product package.

Such devices require separate mounting hardware and connecting tabs that are oriented vertically in the direction of elongation of the strip so that the attached products cannot readily fall from the strip. However, when the display strip is tipped forward or sideways the products can readily fall off of the strip. Moreover, when the tabs are oriented this way, the products must be lifted up and slid off of the tongues, which is likely to dislodge one or more products suspended above the selected product, since it is customary to overlap adjacent products mounted on such strips.

Conventional hanging product display strips are also disadvantageous because they require the products being displayed to be adapted for hanging, such as by attaching a hanger to the product or by having packaging with a hanger feature. And, because the products are suspended, they are susceptible to falling from the display and being damaged, for example in the event the hanger breaks or the hanger is not properly seated on the hook. This problem is exacerbated when the display is loaded with many products suspended closely together and overlapping each other (as is common), which makes it likely that the consumer will inadvertently knock off one or more products adjacent the product being taken from the display.

Accordingly, a product display strip is desired with an improved construction for supporting and retaining products to the display strip.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In one aspect the invention provides a product display strip formed of a single elongated sheet extending from a top end to a bottom end and having a plurality of slits defining at least one product rest for supporting at least one product from an underside and defining at least one non-hanging product retainer for contacting without suspending the at least one product at a portion other than its underside so as to resist separation of the at least one product from the sheet.

In one preferred form multiple products are held on the display strip at the top and bottom of each product or product packaging. Preferably, the slits in the sheet define sets of product rests and product retainers. The sets are spaced apart along the strip from top to bottom with each product rest closer to the bottom end of the strip than its associated product retainer. Each product rest and product retainer is hinged to the sheet parallel to each other and essentially perpendicular to the direction between the top and bottom ends of the strip. Preferably, each product rest and product retainer is arch shaped and are pivoted away from the same face of the sheet in opposite directions to secure the product to the strip.

In another preferred form the products are attached to the display strip at the corners, preferably at diagonal corners for two sided displays or at all four corners for single sided displays. The rests and retainers are arch shaped, with the product rests below the product retainers and arranged to be hinged at an oblique angle (such as 45 degrees) with respect to the length of the display strip to capture the corners of the products.

In still another preferred form the products are stacked one on top of another with the bottommost product resting directly on a single product rest near the bottom end of the display strip, which thus indirectly supports all of the products on the strip. Preferably, the rest is formed with fold down walls that provide a gusset contacting the strip and supporting it essentially perpendicular to the strip. The strip is formed with multiple product retainers spaced between the rest and the top end of the sheet. The retainers are hinged to the sheet in parallel and extending in the direction between the top and bottom ends of the sheet. Preferably, the product retainers define sets of straight or bent flaps spaced apart in the direction perpendicular to the direction between the top and bottom ends of the sheet, in the case of bent flaps defining two inwardly opening channels, receiving the at least one product therebetween.

Thus, the present invention provides an improved product display strip in which, rather than being hung, the products are supported from underneath and retained along one or more top, bottom or side edges. This ensures that the products are securely supported and retained to the strip. The display strip of the present invention can be made of a single sheet construction with the rest and retainer features being a unitary part of the sheet formed by simply cutting slits into the sheet and folding the features out away from the sheet. As such, the display strip is easily customizable so as to be of any capacity and accommodate a wide variety of sizes and configurations of products or product packages. Since they are in sheet form, the are readily printed on and can be cut to any desired size or shape. It can also be efficiently manufactured on automated lines, requiring no assembly or manual processes. Multiple display strips can be sold and shipped in stacks with the retailer needing only to fold out the attachment features and attach the products to the individual strips.

The advantages of the invention will appear from the following description. In this description, reference is made to the accompanying drawings which form a part hereof and in which there are shown by way of illustration preferred embodiments of the invention. These embodiments do not represent the full scope of the invention. Thus, the claims should be looked to in order to ascertain the scope of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of a display strip with non-hanging product attachment features according to a first embodiment of the present invention with products on display shown in phantom;

FIG. 2 is a front plan view of a blank for the display strip of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a partial cross-sectional view taken along line 3-3 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a front perspective view of a display strip according to another embodiment of the present invention again with products on display shown in phantom;

FIG. 5 is a front plan view of a blank for the display strip of FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 6-6 of FIG. 4;

FIG. 7 is a front perspective view of a display strip according to yet another embodiment of the present invention again with products on display shown in phantom;

FIG. 8 is a front plan view of a blank for the display strip of FIG. 7;

FIG. 9 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 9-9 of FIG. 7;

FIG. 10 is a front plan view of still another embodiment of the display strip of present invention similar to the preceding embodiment; and

FIG. 11 is a cross-sectional view take along line 11-11 of FIG. 10.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

A first embodiment of a point of purchase display 10A according to the present invention is shown in FIGS. 1-3 to have two attachment features for each product, a bottom one on which the product rests and a top one capturing the top edge of the product. A second embodiment 10B is shown in FIGS. 4-6, being similar to the previous embodiment, however, having two attachment features supporting and retaining two diagonal or all four corners of the product. A third embodiment 10C is shown in FIGS. 7-9 in which the products are stacked vertically, supported by a single rest at the bottom of the strip and retained at side edges. FIGS. 10-11 show an embodiment 10D similar to the preceding embodiment but with a slightly different product retainers.

All four embodiments have in common that they include a display strip 12A-12D of single sheet construction, preferably a paperboard or plastic sheeting, with the attachment features being defined by slits cut into the sheet. Preferably, the slits are formed with a punch cut technique without removing material. In addition, all four embodiments support products 14A-14D from underneath and retain them by capturing one or more top, bottom or side edges. None of the embodiments described herein suspend the products on the display strips 12A-12D. Note, however, the display strips 12A-12D themselves are intended to be suspended.

More specifically, each embodiment is preferably in strip form having a narrow-width, elongated configuration extending from a top end 16A-16D to a bottom end 18A-18D between opposite sides 20A-20D and 22A-22D. Preferably, there is a display area 24A-24D free of attachment features, such as near the top end 16A-16D, where printing or decals can be placed containing text and graphics promoting the associated products. Also, preferably, the display strip 12A-12D includes some type of mounting feature, which in one form can be a simple hole 26A-26D for suspending the display strip 12A-12D from a clip, nail or other post like element. Other mounting features (not shown), such as adhesives, magnets, or clips, can be attached at any suitable location, such as at the back side of the sheet slightly above center.

The primary difference between the embodiments is the configuration, number, orientation and location of the attachment features, which for all embodiments include at least one product rest 28A-28D and at least one product retainer 30A-30D.

Referring now to FIGS. 1-3, the product display 10A is designed to be double-sided, that is to display products 14A at both front and back faces of the display strip 12A. Each product 14A is individually held on the strip by match pairs of product rests 28A and retainers 30A. The sets are spaced apart along the length of the strip 12A. The rests 28A and retainers 30A have an identical arch or rainbow shape having ends hinged to the strip sheet along lines parallel to each other and perpendicular to the direction between the top 16A and bottom 18A ends. As shown in FIG. 2, the strip sheet is cut to define from bottom to top two upwardly arched product rests 28A and two downwardly arched product retainers 30A spaced vertically so that the spacing between the upper matched pair of rest 28A and retainer 30A is the same as the spacing between the lower matched pair of rest 28A and retainer 30A and essentially the same as the length (or height) of the product 14A (or product package) to be displayed. As shown in FIG. 3, the lower pair of product rest 28A and product retainer 30A can hinge away from the strip sheet toward the front face of the strip and the upper pair of product rest 28A and product retainer 30A can hinge toward the back face of the strip. Note that because the product retainers 30A are inverted with respect to the product rests 28A, they will hinge or fold out in the opposite (in this case counterclockwise) direction as the associated product rest 28A.

Two products 14A can be displayed at nearly the same (slightly offset vertically) height on the display strip 12A at the front and back faces. This arrangement is repeated along the length of the strip, three more times in the preferred embodiment shown to define four matched pairs of product rests 28A and retainers 30A at each face of the strip (see FIGS. 1 and 2). As shown in FIG. 3, the underside of each product 14A will be supported from underneath by the product rest 28A which will also capture the bottom edge, particularly if the product rest 28A is hinged to be less than perpendicular to the strip sheet. And, the top edge of the product 14A will be captured by the product retainer 30A. Preferably, the product rests 28A and retainers 30A in each pair will be spaced so that the product 14A (or its package) abuts or lies very near the hinge areas so that there is little play when the product 14A is attached to the strip 12A. Note that, depending on the composition of the sheet material selected for the display strip 12A, internal stresses in both the product rests 28A and retainers 30A may tend to return them to their original pre-cut position, thereby acting to close in on the products and further resist separation of the products 14A from the strip 12A.

A product 14A can be quickly and easily installed on the display strip 12A by folding down a rest 28A and setting the bottom edge of the product 14A on top of it. Then, the associated retainer 30A is folded up so that the product 14A can fit beneath it with the back of the product 14A against the display strip 12A. After it they are released, gravity and/or internal stresses will cause each rest 28A and retainer 30A to bend inwardly onto the bottom or top edge of the product 14A. The product 14A can be removed simply by pulling it away from the strip 12A either straight out or at an angle. The product rest 28A and retainer 30 (and possibly the product/packaging) will flex momentarily to free the product 14A. Note that depending on the configuration of the product 14A or its packaging it may be possible to install and remove a product 14A by sliding it sideways until its top and bottom edges are free from the product rest 28A and retainer 30.

Referring now to FIGS. 4-6, the second embodiment 10B has product rests 28B and retainers 30B that are of a similar but slightly smaller arch shape and in a different arrangement on the strip 12B so as to support and capture the corners of the product 14B. In particular, each product rest 28B and retainer 30B is oriented at an oblique angle, such as approximately 45 degrees, to the length of extension of the strip 12B between the ends 16B an 18B. Like the preceding embodiment, here the product rests 28B and retainers 30B are arranged in matched sets, preferably pairs or sets of four. Going from bottom to top, there are alternating rows of two product rests 28B and two product retainers 30B spaced apart vertically the height of the product 14B. The two product rests 28B in each row are spaced apart laterally, oriented 90 degrees apart, and arched upward and inward. The two product retainers 30B in each row are spaced apart laterally the same as the product rests 28B, oriented 90 degrees apart, and arched downward and inward. In this way diagonal product rests 28B and retainers 30B are hinged to the strip sheet essentially parallel to each other. In the preferred embodiment shown, there are four rows of each of the product rests 28B and retainers 30B defining four groups of attachment features.

If products 14B are to be displayed at only one face of the display strip 12B, each product will be held by two product retainers 30B at its upper two corners and supported underneath by two product rests 28B at its lower two corners. Alternatively, and more preferably, when products 14B are displayed at both the front and back faces of the display strip 12B, each product 14B is held at one lower corner by one product rest 28B and a diagonal upper corner by one product retainer 30B. In this way, two products 14B can be displayed at essentially the same height (without vertical offset) at both faces of the display strip 12B. Like above, the preferred embodiment shown can thus hold eight products, four at each face. The products are installed and removed in much the same way as described above, differing only in that the rests 28B and retainers 30B capture the corners of the products 14B, rather than the top and bottom edges.

Referring now to FIGS. 7-9, this embodiment 10C is designed for the products 14C to be stacked directly one on top of each other so that the entire stack of products 14C can be supported for underneath by a single product rest 28C located near the bottom of the display strip 12C. The single, generally triangular, product rest 28C is hinged to the strip 12C essentially perpendicular to the direction between the top 16C and bottom 18C ends. The product rest 28C has one or more (shown with two) fold down walls 40C that act as a gusset, contacting the strip 12C and supporting the rest 28C to keep it generally perpendicular to the strip 12C. Here, the rest 28C will act more as a shelf or ledge and not capture the bottom edge of the abutting product 14C.

The product retainers 30C here are also configured and arranged differently. In particular, the retainers 30C take on a rectangular flap configuration, being attached to the strip sheet along only one edge and bent approximately 90 degrees to define a channel 42, preferably of thickness approximately equal to the side edges of the products being displayed (see FIG. 9). Note that a perforated or non-perforated fold line can be formed during manufacturing to define the bend. The retainers 30C are oriented vertically along the strip 12C and arranged in two columns symmetric about the vertical centerline of strip 12C so that the channels 42 open toward each other. There could be two full length parallel retainers 30C, or multiple same or various sized vertically aligned retainers 30C, as shown. Having columns of multiple retainers 30C is preferable because it facilitates loading and removal of the products 14C. Also, depending on the product configuration, the bottom edges of the retainers 30C can act as a rest surface to directly support the underside of products 14C located higher up on the strip 12C. In either case, the retainers 30C need to be spaced vertically from the rest 28C no more than the height of the product 14C.

The number of products 14C that this embodiment will hold depends on the height of the products as well as the height and quantity of vertical “slots” formed by the columns of product retainers 30C. The embodiment illustrated in the drawings is single sided, however, like the embodiments described above, this could be made two sided by including a second set of product rests and retainers bent out away from the back face of the strip 12C.

Products 14C can be loaded by sliding them down the slot formed between the channels 42 of the product retainers 30C one at a time, with the bottom product sitting directly on the product rest 28C and additional products stacked one on top of another. The products 14C can be removed by sliding the uppermost product 14C upward toward the top end 16C until free of the retainers 30C. Alternatively, the products 14C, especially the bottommost product 14C, could simply be pulled away from the strip 12C with the retainers 30C flexing out of the way.

Referring now to FIGS. 10 and 11, this embodiment 10D is very similar to the preceding embodiment 10C with the principal exception being the configuration of the product retainers 30D. Here, the retainers 30D are simple vertical flaps (with no bends) so that they tend to press the products toward the strip 12D. Also, the retainers 30D have a trapezoidal configuration. As shown in FIG. 10, one or more retainers 30D (the longer lower two) can have the tips cut off to reduce the likelihood of getting snagged during loading and removal of the products 14D. Otherwise, this embodiment 10D has all the features of the preceding embodiment including being able to display products at one or both faces and including a single product rest 28D with a support gusset, albeit here formed by a single fold down wall 40D.

Thus, the present invention provides an improved product display strip in which, rather than being hung, the products are supported from underneath and retained along one or more top, bottom or side edges. This ensures that the products are securely supported and retained to the strip. The display strip of the present invention can be made of a single sheet construction with the rest and retainer features being a unitary part of the sheet formed by simply cutting slits into the sheet and folding the features out away from the sheet. As such, the display strip is easily customizable so as to be of any capacity and accommodate a wide variety of sizes and configurations of products or product packages. Since they are in sheet form, the are readily printed on and can be cut to any desired size or shape. It can also be efficiently manufactured on automated lines, requiring no assembly or manual processes. Multiple display strips can be sold and shipped in stacks with the retailer needing only to fold out the attachment features and attach the products to the individual strips.

While there have been shown and described what is at present considered to be the preferred embodiments of the invention, it will be obvious to those skilled in the art that various changes and modifications can be made to the described embodiments without departing from the scope of the present invention. For example, the particular shape of the product rests and retainers can be altered significantly, for example, being round, square, triangular or any other suitable shape than an arch or rectangular or trapezoidal flap. Accordingly, to ascertain the full scope of the invention, reference must be had to the following claims.