Title:
Container and locking sleeve and method for locking a sleeve relative to a container
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A sleeve including a locking tab and a method for locking the sleeve on a container having a tab window are disclosed. The locking tab can be integral with or fastened to the sleeve. The sleeve encircles a portion of one or more largely conventional containers. The tab moves between a biased position where it doesn't prevent movement of the sleeve relative to the container and an extended position where it extends into a tab window on the container. When the tab registers with the tab window, it moves from the biased position to the extended position in which a portion of the tab extends into the tab window of the container. Engagement between the tab and one or more edges that define the tab window will prevent or restrict further movement of the sleeve relative to the container.



Inventors:
Mehling, Charles (Sandusky, OH, US)
Application Number:
10/998117
Publication Date:
06/23/2005
Filing Date:
11/26/2004
Assignee:
MEHLING CHARLES
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D5/38; B65D5/42; (IPC1-7): B65D85/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GEHMAN, BRYON P
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PURDUE LAW OFFICES (TOLDEO, OH, US)
Claims:
1. A sleeve for a container including a tab window, said sleeve comprising at least three panels, a tab, and a hinge connection between said tab and one of said panels wherein said tab is moveable about said hinge connection between a biased position and a locking position and wherein, when said tab is in the biased position and it aligns with the tab window in the container, said tab moves from the biased position into a locking position in which it engages at least one edge of the tab window in the container.

2. A sleeve as claimed in claim 1 which has a central cavity in which the container is longitudinally slidable relative to the sleeve between a position in which said tab is outside the cavity and a position in which said tab is inside the cavity and is aligned with the tab window, and wherein, when said tab is in the biased position, the container can be caused to slide, relative to said sleeve, inside said sleeve to the position in which said tab is aligned with the tab window, said tab being sufficiently resilient that, when it is aligned with the tab window, it moves to the locked position.

3. A sleeve as claimed in claim 2 wherein an exterior surface of the container is operable to keep said tab in the biased position as the container slides relative to said sleeve until the position is reached in which said tab is aligned with the tab window.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention is a sleeve that covers a portion of a container and includes a tab for locking the sleeve relative to the container.

2. Description of the Prior Art

Cardboard, paperboard, corrugated and chipboard containers are well known. Sleeves that cover a portion of such containers are also known. Such sleeves sometimes include graphics and typically are held in place on containers by friction, tape or the like. Graphics are applied to containers in a variety of ways including printing graphics directly on the containers as well as printing graphics on paper that is adhered to the containers.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is based on the discovery of an elegantly simple sleeve for use with a container. More specifically, the invention is concerned with such a sleeve including a locking tab and a method for locking the sleeve on a container that is provided with a tab window.

The sleeve includes a locking tab that can be integral with the sleeve and defined by a cut out in the sleeve or by scoring of the sleeve, for example. Alternatively, a tab according to the invention can be secured adhesively or otherwise to the sleeve. The sleeve is adapted to encircle a portion of a largely conventional container. The container can be a generic container in the sense that it might be used for several different products. A specific sleeve that, for example, has graphics that relate to one of those products or a group of those products can be used with the generic container and a second sleeve that, for example, has graphics that relate to a different product or group of products can also be used with the generic container. Different sleeves may be rotated on a seasonal basis, as well. The sleeve of the invention is held fast on the container by a locking tab.

The tab on a sleeve according to the present invention, in one embodiment, is movable between a biased position in which it will not interfere with movement of the sleeve along the outside of a container, and an extended position. In this embodiment, the tab can be manually moved to the biased position and the sleeve can be slid onto the container until the tab contacts an outside surface of the container. At that point, the outside surface of the container will keep the tab in the biased position even as the sleeve is slid further along the container. Co-action between the tab and an outside surface of the container keep the tab in the biased position, between the sleeve and the container, until the sleeve is removed from the container or the tab aligns with or registers with a tab window formed in the container. When the tab aligns with the tab window, it will move from the biased position to an extended position in which the tab, or a portion of the tab, extends into the tab window of the container and, by engagement with one or more edges that define the tab window in the container, the tab will prevent or restrict further movement of the sleeve relative to the container.

OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION

It is, therefore, an object of the invention to provide a sleeve that can be locked to a container by engagement between a locking tab on the sleeve and a tab window on the container.

It is a further object of the invention to provide a graphics sleeve that can be secured to a largely generic container so that sleeves with different graphics can be used with a single type of container.

These and other objects and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the disclosure herein of preferred embodiments, reference being made to the attached drawing figures.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a plan view of a blank for forming a sleeve including a locking tab according to the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a plan view of a blank for forming a largely conventional container modified to include a tab window according to the present invention.

FIG. 3 is perspective exploded view showing a sleeve formed from the blank of FIG. 1 aligned with a container formed from the blank of FIG. 2 for sliding of the sleeve onto the container.

FIG. 3A is a view in perspective showing the sleeve of FIG. 3 slipped over and engaged with the container of FIG. 3

FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken along the line 4-4 of FIG. 3A, and showing the sleeve slipped over and engaged with the container.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring now in more detail to the drawing figures, FIG. 1 shows a blank, indicated generally at 10, for producing a sleeve according to the instant invention. The blank 10 comprises a first side panel 12, a second side panel 14, a third side panel 16, an inner fourth side panel 18 and an outer fourth side panel 20. A locking tab 22, which is a part of the inner fourth side panel 18, has three cut edges 24 and a fold line 26. An arcuate protrusion 28 on one side of the tab 22 leaves a thumb/finger cut out which facilitates the operation and manipulation of the tab 22, as is described in more detail below.

The blank 10 is folded along fold lines 30 to produce a sleeve 32, which is shown in FIG. 3. The outer fourth side panel 20 (a portion of which is broken away in FIG. 3) overlays the inner fourth side panel 18 and is secured thereto by adhesive, mechanical fasteners or other suitable means (not shown). In FIG. 3, the locking tab 22 has been folded downwardly about the fold line 26 from a neutral position shown in FIG. 1 to what is subsequently herein called “a biased position”.

Referring now to FIG. 2, a blank indicated generally at 34 is used to form a container indicated generally at 36 in FIG. 3. So far as the present invention is concerned, a tab window, indicated at 38, is the significant aspect of the container blank 34 and of the container 36. Like many known containers, the container 36 has a first side panel 40, a second side panel 42 (FIG. 2), a third side panel 44 (FIG. 2) and a fourth side panel 46. The blank 34 for the particular container 36 further comprises a first inner end panel 48, a second inner end panel 50, a first outer end panel 52 and a second outer end panel 54. The blank 34 also comprises various and sundry commonly known end tabs and edge tabs that do not relate to the present invention and will not be described further.

The tab window 38 is an opening that extends through the fourth side panel 46 of the blank 34 and of the container 36. According to the invention, the tab window 38 is at least as large as, and, preferably, slightly larger than, the locking tab 22 of the blank 10 and on the container 36. Preferably, the window 38 is slightly larger than the locking tab 22. The sleeve 32 is sized, relative to the container 36, so that an open end of the former can be positioned around a given end of the container 36 and slid along the outside of the container 36 towards the opposite the container 36. Prior to or during the placement of the sleeve 32 around the container 36, the locking tab 22 is manually folded about the fold line 26 to the biased position where it is adjacent the under side of the panel 18, and extends away from the panel 12 from the fold line 26. The tab 22 is held in the biased position as the sleeve 32 is slid toward the opposite end of the container 36 until the tab 22 engages the outside of the container and, specifically, the outside of the fourth side panel 46 in which the tab window 38 is formed. As the sleeve 32 is slid further toward the opposite end of the container 36, the locking tab 22, in the biased position, is held captive between the fourth side panel 46 and the inner surface of the fourth side panel 18 of the sleeve 22. The locking tab 22 will thus be maintained and retained in the biased position until the tab 22 registers or is aligned with the tab window 38. When this registration occurs, the locking tab 22 will enter the tab window 38 under its own bias which is imparted to the tab 22 when it is folded along the fold line 26 to the biased position. The material which forms the tab 22, whether it is corrugated cardboard, cardboard, paperboard or some other packaging material, can be folded so that the tab 22 is in the biased position but the material will cause the tab 22 to move from the biased to a locking position when the tab isn't held or otherwise maintained in the biased position.

When the tab 22 registers with the tab window 38 and the tab 22 moves from the biased position (in which it is adjacent the under side of the fourth side panel 18) to the locking position, shown in FIG. 4, the tab 22 or a portion of it extends through the window 38 and into the interior of the container 36, as shown in FIG. 4. Engagement between the edges of the tab 22 of the sleeve 32 and the edges that define the tab window 38 in the container 36 prevent relative longitudinal movement between the sleeve 32 and the container 36 when the locking tab 22 is in the locking position. If necessary or desired, the tab 22 can be manually moved from the locking position to the biased position, where it no longer engages the edges that define the tab window 38, thereby unlocking the sleeve 32 from the container 36 so that the sleeve 32 may be removed from the container 36.

It will be appreciated that, so far as the function of a tab to lock a sleeve relative to a container is concerned, the position of the tab on the sleeve is a matter of choice, as is the position of a, tab window on the container, so long as the tab and the window register when the tab is in the biased position, and the sleeve and the container are in their desired relative positions. Although the tab 22 is illustrated in the drawing Figures as being carried on the panel 18, it could function just as well if it was carried on the panel 12, the panel 16 or the panel 14. Primarily for aesthetic reasons, however, it is preferred that the tab be carried on an inner sleeve panel which is covered by another sleeve panel when the sleeve is assembled.

For purposes of the present invention, a container having at least three side panels, i.e., one that is polygonal in cross section, is suitable for use with a sleeve according to the invention. The sleeve should have a like number of side panels and be sized to fit, fairly snugly, over the side panels of the container. It will be appreciated that a single sleeve with a plurality of locking tabs might be used with a plurality of containers including tab windows and that the sleeve could be locked to any of the containers.

It will be appreciated that various changes and modifications are possible from the specific details of the invention shown in the attached drawing figures and described above with reference thereto, and can be made without departing from the spirit thereof as defined in the attached claims.