Package for electronic storage media
Kind Code:

A secure and efficient package for containing a compact electronic storage media device, especially suitable for use in the retail sales environment. The package is, in a preferred embodiment, integrally formed of a semi-rigid plastic material. This package includes a front and a back, both of which form recesses for a receiving media and other items. A media well is formed as a segregated recess within one or both of the front recess and the back recess. Media retaining tabs secure the media device in the media well in such a manner that tends to frustrate surreptitious removal by unauthorized persons.

Wong, Patrick (Vancouver, CA)
Crampton, Jeff (Vancouver, CA)
Application Number:
Publication Date:
Filing Date:
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/303, 206/493
International Classes:
B65D25/10; B65D85/38; B65D85/57; G11B33/04; B65D85/30; (IPC1-7): B65D85/57
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
1. A package for containing electronic storage media, comprising: a first package portion; a second package portion forming a recess; and a hinge member rotatably connecting the first portion and the second portion, such that the first portion and the second portion may be reconfigured between an open configuration and a closed configuration; wherein the second package forms a media well in the recess of the second package portion.

2. The package of claim 1, wherein the second package portion recess is formed in part by a peripheral rim.

3. The package of claim 2, wherein the peripheral rim extends continuously around a substantial portion of the second package portion.

4. The package of claim 2, wherein the second package portion comprises a side wall, and wherein the peripheral rim is formed substantially perpendicular to the side wall.

5. The package of claim 1, wherein the first package portion forms a recess.

6. The package of claim 5, wherein the first package portion recess is formed by a peripheral rim.

7. The package of claim 6, wherein the first portion peripheral rim and the second portion peripheral rim meet to form a package wall when the package is in the closed configuration.

8. The package of claim 7, wherein the first package portion peripheral rim and the second package portion peripheral rim deviate inward to form a recess.

9. The package of claim 8, wherein the recess formed by peripheral rim deviation is disposed opposite the hinge member.

10. The package of claim 1, further comprising at least one media retaining tab for securing media within the media well.

11. The package of claim 10, comprising a plurality of media retaining tabs.

12. The package of claim 11, wherein the media well is formed to contain a plurality of media storage devices.

13. The package of claim 1, further comprising at least one media-case retaining tab for retaining a removable media case.

14. The package of claim 13, wherein the at least one media-case retaining tab comprises a plurality of media case retaining tabs.

15. The package of claim 13, further comprising a removable media case securable by the at least one retaining tab.

16. The package of claim 1, wherein the external dimensions of the package are approximately 1 cm by 9½ cm by 13½ cm.

17. The package of claim 1 wherein the package is integrally-formed of a thermoplastic material.

18. The package of claim 17, wherein the hinge member further comprised a first reduced cross-section hinge region disposed adjacent to the first package portion and a second reduced cross-section hinge region disposed adjacent to the second package portion, such that when the package is manipulated between an open configuration to a closed configuration, each package portion rotates relative to the hinge member about an axis defined by the respection reduced cross-section hinge region.

19. A package for containing electronic storage media, comprising: a front portion comprising a front wall and a first inwardly-extending peripheral rim defining a first recess; a back portion comprising a back wall and a second inwardly-extending peripheral rim defining second recess; a hinge member rotatably connecting the front portion and the back portion; a media well forming a recess defined at least in part by an inwardly-extending struction and disposed in the second recess; and at least one media case retaining tab for retaining a removable media case within one of the first recess on the second recess.



The present invention claims the priority of provisional patent application No. 60/536,539 filed on 14 Jan. 2004, the contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.

This application is related to U.S. patent application Ser. No. ______, filed on Jan. 11, 2005, and entitled “Carry Case for Compact Media,” the contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.


The present invention relates generally to the field of media packaging, and relates more specifically to a secure package for housing a media storage device in related articles intended for retail sale as a unit.


The present invention is directed to a package for compact electronic storage media. These electronic storage media are small, usually solid-state devices that store programs and data that may be used in connection with applications to be executed on various electronic devices. Consumer electronic devices are becoming very popular, especially those devices that are portable. Portable electronic devices are used for many purposes. Cell phones, for example, have come into widespread use. Their popularity is due in part to advances in technology that enable manufacturers to build conveniently-sized instruments with very good communication capabilities. Personal digital assistants (PDAs) are another example. They are becoming very popular as well, being useful for various applications such as generating and keeping appointment calendars, address books, and to-do lists. Many PDAs also have communication capabilities, and may be used for paging, short message service (SMS) messages, e-mail, and even voice communications.

Still other portable electronic devices are made to be used primarily as game-playing units. While many cell phones and PDAs have been programmed to permit the playing of some simple games, these tend to be secondary to the main purpose of the device. A portable game unit generally includes a user interface suitable for playing a wide variety of games. The device may only play single-player games, but may also include the ability to communicate with other compatible devices so that two or more users may take part in the same game. A communicating game device may also be able to contact game servers to download game data or entire applications to enhance the game playing experience.

It should be noted, however, that nearly all portable electronic devices are increasing in capability, and it is frequently difficult to categorize them and make a distinction between different types of devices. In the future many users may opt for a single device able to perform all of the functions mentioned above, and probably others as well.

Portable electronics devices commonly include a controller or processor for executing the software that makes the device perform its intended function. A memory storage device stores the instructions and a short-term memory device holds data and instructions for imminent processing. Of necessity, portable electronic devices generally include a user interface such as a keypad for allowing the user to input commands and respond to queries. A display and speaker for audio/visual effects are typically present as well.

Many applications, including games, are stored on the portable electronic device as it is sold to the consumer. Others are sold as after-market applications by the manufacturer or by an unrelated supplier. This permits users of portable electronic devices to execute the most current applications, and to acquire games and other applications in greater numbers, than the manufacturer is willing to provide, or that their device would be able to store on its own.

These extra applications are typically stored on storage media that are designed to be read by an appropriate device incorporated into, or accessible to the portable electronic device itself. Frequently, a particular application is executable on the electronic device only when the storage medium has been (and remains) inserted or installed. When the application is executed, the portable electronic device refers to information stored on the media as necessary. This prevents unauthorized use by multiple users who have not themselves purchased the application. In many cases there is also simply too much information to load into the device memory at one time.

As alluded to above, the storage media on which these extra applications are stored are, not unexpectedly, now quite compact. They must, after all, be insertable into the portable electronic devices, and also not inconvenient to be carried around by the user. The user may want to carry a number of separate media devices so as to have a selection of applications to choose from wherever the user happens to be. Modern electronic media storage devices may be only a few cubic centimeters in size.

The compact nature of these application storage media, however, may pose a problem for applications retailers. (That is, retailers selling applications apart from the electronic devices on which they will be used.) Media packaging must be designed to be attractive to the consumer while at the same time convenient for the retailer. Many of these products are displayed on open shelves where consumers are free to pick up the package and peruse the information about the applications that is usually displayed on it. In other words, it is desirable to make the packaged media accessible to the consumer. Unfortunately, theft is not unknown and steps must be taken to prevent it. Packaging that makes it too easy to violate the package and remove the storage media is not acceptable to retailers. In some cases, empty packages may be displayed for consumers to examine. The actual media, which has been stored in a secure location, is given to the consumer only when the purchase is made. This process, though effective, is often cumbersome and even irritating for both the consumer and the retailer, and most would seek to avoid its use if possible.

For example, it is common nowadays to use a package similar to that used for sales of applications that are stored on DVDs or CDs, which in a manner of speaking are predecessors of the compact electronic media popular for use with portable electronic devices. Such packages, which tend to be approximately 20 cm tall and 13 cm wide are of a fairly convenient size that enables sufficient information to be displayed on the outside, and also accommodates the DVD, which has a standard diameter of approximately 12 cm. When such a package contains an actual DVD, the DVD can be mounted on a suitable set of tabs that are designed to accommodate its center opening. The package is then frequently sealed with an adhesive tape and enclosed in a shrink-wrap style clear plastic wrapper. While providing a certain level of security, it has been discovered that this type of package is susceptible to theft by a person armed with a small blade for slitting the protective plastic wrapper and adhesive tape and then sliding the DVD through the small opening that results. The modest obstacle posed to such a removal by the DVD mounting tabs may still be overcome by an upward pressure on the DVD edge.

Naturally, the package's security may be improved by reducing the ease with which it can be opened. Other products, for example, are retailed in stiff plastic containers that can only be opened for product access with considerable difficulty. This is less than acceptable in the software application market because consumers frequently lack special tools such as a knife or scissors but nevertheless want to open the packages upon purchase and, for example, begin playing the purchased game on their portable electronic device immediately.

Unfortunately, the ease with which media theft can be accomplished is even greater where small, compact storage media are used. At the same time, the smaller items, such as multimedia cards (MMCs) or other compact storage media, do not require packaging that is as large even as that generally used for selling standard sized DVDs (or CDs). Retailers would therefore prefer a smaller, not a larger package. Needed, then, is a secure package that is attractive and convenient to both consumer and retailer. The present invention provides just such a solution.


The present invention is directed to a package for enclosing compact electronic storage media and related items intended for retail sale.

In one aspect, the present invention is a package having a front side and a back side, with at least one of the front side and the back side forming a recess into which the media may be received. A media well formed in the recess consists of a perimeter barrier, which itself forms the recess into which the media will be received. The perimeter barrier includes one or more semi-rigid retaining tabs that are biased to securely hold the media, but which can be manipulated by the user to remove the media for use after the package has been completely opened. The retaining tabs are of sufficient extension, however, so that they may not easily be manipulated while the package is in a substantially closed configuration. The media well may be able to hold one, two, or more media devices.

In a preferred embodiment, there are also included a set of retaining tabs for securing within the package a removable multimedia case that may be used by the purchaser to store the media device after purchase. The media may be sold with such a case installed. The package may also include tabs for retaining any literature or product guide, in paper or other form that is distributed along with the media.


FIG. 1 is an isometric illustration of a typical game device that may utilize compact storage media in order to receive and execute certain applications.

FIG. 2 is an isometric illustration of an exemplary compact media device.

FIG. 3 is an isometric illustration of a package for containing electronic media according to am embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is an isometric illustration of the package of FIG. 3, shown in a closed configuration.

FIG. 5 is a multimedia card (MMC) case, that may be used in association with the package of FIG. 3.

FIG. 6 is an isometric illustration of a package according to an embodiment of the present invention shown in an open configuration with the MMC case of FIG. 5 installed.


The present invention is directed to a package that may be used for enclosing compact storage media for retail sale. Such storage media may be used to store applications, which are basically device-readable instructions for performing certain functions on portable electronic devices such as mobile gaming units.

FIG. 1 is an isometric illustration of a typical game device that may utilize compact storage media in order to receive and execute certain applications. Portable gaming device 100 includes a relatively-large visual display 120, which will normally be an LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) screen or similar device. The display 120 is naturally used for visual presentations associated with the game that is being played, or with other functions the device is able to perform. A set of openings 115 are ports through which sounds made by an internal speaker (not shown) are presented to the user for similar reasons. A microphone port 145, is an opening formed in the housing of portable device 100 to allow sound to enter and be picked up by an internal microphone (not shown). Typically, the user will input instructions using keypad 125 that is prominent on one side of the portable device 100. Because this is a device for game play, a pointing device such as rocker switch 130 may also be used for manipulating items visible on display 120. A mode-selection selection switch 110 may also be present, for example to toggle between different functions that the device may be able to perform, which is mentioned above may include game play, telephone communications, and use as a personal digital assistant. A power key 105 permits the user to switch the device on and off.

Power for mobile device 100 is typically supplied by internal battery (not shown), which can be recharged by an external adapter that can be plugged in to power port 135. Other external devices may also be connected via peripheral device port 140, such as a cable connecting mobile device 100 to a personal computer or to another user.

If the user wishes to play a game, or perform some other application, that is not already stored on the internal memory of the mobile device 100, they may do so if the program is otherwise available. Such applications will often be stored, for example, on a multimedia card (MMC) or some similar device. In the mobile gaming device of FIG. 1, MMC slot 150 is formed to receive an MMC containing such an application.

FIG. 2 is an isometric view illustrating a typical compact removable storage-media device 200. In this example, media 200 has a top 205, a bottom 230, and sides 210, 215, 220, and 225. Note that these designations are arbitrary, and are made for convenience in illustration only. Together, the top, bottom, and sides form a housing for the internal solid-state components (not shown) that are capable of storing data. A plurality of electrical contacts 250 connected to the internal circuitry is positioned on the bottom 230 of media 200, in this embodiment proximate to side 210. As should be apparent, when inserted into an electronic device, side 210 is the leading edge and when the device is properly inserted, the contacts 250 of media device 200 form an electrical connection with corresponding contacts inside the electronic device (not shown), enabling electronic-signal communication between the electronic device and the media 200. In this illustration, a clipped corner 235 is present to make the device asymmetrical and more easily oriented properly for insertion into the gaming (or other) device. The size of media device 200 may vary, but a length and width of two to three centimeters, and a thickness of less than two millimeters, would not be uncommon.

FIG. 3 is an isometric illustration of a package 300 for containing electronic media according to an embodiment of the present invention. Package 300 includes a front portion 315 and a back portion 325, which are preferably integrally formed with a hinge member 320. Note that hinge member 320 actually forms the spine of the closed package. In between hinge member 320 and front portion 315 is an actual hinge 318, that is formed by a reduced cross-section portion of the same material. By the same token, back portion 325 is formed with hinge member 320, and connected by a reduced cross-section hinge 323. Package 300 is preferably made of a semi-rigid thermo plastic material, and the reduced cross-section of each hinge permits the package to more easily bend in that area. The construction described above and shown in FIG. 3 therefore will permit the first front portion 315 and the back portion 325 to be rotated from an open configuration as shown in FIG. 3 to a closed configuration (shown in FIG. 4). In the embodiment of FIG. 3, hinge member 320 forms an end tab 326 and an end tab 328 for closing any gap that may exist when the package is moved into a closed configuration.

At least one of the front portion 315 and the back portion 325 will form a recess into which the media and other items may be placed. In the embodiment of FIG. 3, back portion 325 includes back-portion recess 350. Recess 350 is actually formed by side wall 345 of back portion 325 and a peripheral rim 324. Package 300 is, in this embodiment, suitable for enclosing a MMC card, such as the one shown in FIG. 2. To provide additional security, media recess 340 is formed by back wall 345 and the rim 341 extending inwardly from it. In this embodiment, media recess 340 is wide enough to easily hold more than one MMC card, and in fact it is in this configuration equipped to hold two. The two media cards, if present, are separated by media dividers 342 and 343. Note that these dividers are present for convenience, and there is no requirement that the media be maintained in such an arrangement. A third MMC cord, if desired, may be placed over media dividers 342 and 343, where it can be retained adjacent to the MMC card or cards placed to the side of the media dividers in the media well.

When in place, a first media card (not shown in FIG. 3) is retained in place by retaining tabs 335 and 338. Media retaining tabs 335 and 338 are also formed so as to extend inwardly from back wall 345, and include media-facing projections at their extreme end, such that when the media is inserted it presses against these projections and forces the retaining tabs to flex slightly outward. When the media is in place against back wall 345, the retaining tabs relax and projections hold the media card securely in place. Media retaining tabs 336 and 337 perform a similar function with respect to a second MMC card, if present. If a third media device is present, it may be retained by one or both sets of retaining tabs, or by a separate set of retaining tabs (not shown).

As should be apparent, the one or two MMC cards, if present, are not permitted to move laterally because of the presents of rim 341, and may not be removed from media recess 340 without some pressure to flex the appropriate media retaining tabs outwardly to permit removal. This configuration will help frustrate any attempts at unauthorized removal because the package 300 must be substantially opened in order to perform this MMC card removing operation. While no package can realistically be used that is completely theft-proof, the more noticeable the act of media removal is, the less likely such theft is to occur. Note that the exemplary use of an MMC card is for purposes of illustration, in many other types of storage media may be retained securely in an analogous fashion. In this embodiment, back portion 325 also includes case retaining clip 352 in case retaining clip 354, which along with retaining bars 329 and one side of rim 341 may be used to hold a case that can be used for more convenient storage of a purchased MMC card. (See FIG. 6.)

The package 300 of FIG. 3 is also configured to hold a small instruction booklet or guide (not shown), that contains instructions on how to use the media device and to run the application contained upon it. The guide may also be in the form of a small-sized CD. To this end, front portion 315 forms a peripheral rim 310 that extends in a substantially perpendicular direction from the front portion side wall 316. Rim 310 and side wall 316 form a recess 317 into which the booklet may be received. Clips 303, 304, and 305 are formed to hold the guide or booklet when it has been placed into front recess 317. In this embodiment, an opening 306 is formed beneath clip 303 primarily for ease of fabricating the clip itself. Likewise, opening 307 is formed below clip 304, and opening 308 is formed below clip 305. A clasp 311 and a clasp 312 are formed in front portion 315 in such a manner as to meet and engage clasp 332 and clasp 334, respectively, when the package 300 has been operated into a closed configuration.

FIG. 4 is an isometric illustration of the package 300 of FIG. 3, shown in a closed configuration. Several features already discussed in relation to FIG. 3 are visible in FIG. 4 as well. For instance, clips 303, 304, and 305, are visible through openings 306, 307, and 308, respectively, formed in the side wall 316 of front portion 315. In the closed configuration, peripheral rim 310 of front portion 315 and peripheral rim 341 of back portion 325 meet at seam 415, which extends around three sides of package 300. Hinge member 320 forms the fourth wall of the package, and end tab 326 extends to close up any gap between the peripheral rims 310 and 341 and the hinge member 320. At the outer end of package 300 in the closed configuration, that is the end here designated 410 and opposite the hinge member 320, the peripheral rims 310 and 341 deviate slightly inward, forming recess 405. (As can bee seen in FIG. 3, the recess 405 is actually a combination of the front-portion recess 313 and the back-portion recess 339, which are visible separately in FIG. 3.) Recess 405 creates extending edges 314 and 319, that are available to aid a user attempting to open the media package 300 by providing a small surface to which an opening force may be applied.

FIG. 5 is a multimedia card (MMC) case 500, that may be used in association with the package of FIG. 3. In FIG. 5, media case 500 is shown in its fully-open configuration. In the embodiment of FIG. 5, media case 500 includes a first portion 510, a second portion 550, and a hinge member 570 positioned therebetween. In one embodiment, media case 500 is formed of a semi-rigid thermoplastic material, such as polypropylene. Media case 500 forms a first hinge recess 572 between hinge member 570 and first portion 510. The first hinge recess 572 creates an elongated first hinge region 574 of reduced thickness, disposed between and connecting first portion 510 with hinge member 570. First hinge region 574 is of sufficiently-reduced thickness so as to permit the material to bend, allowing first portion 510 and hinge member 570 to move rotationally with respect to each other about an axis defined by a first reduced portion 574.

Similarly, media case 500 forms a second hinge recess 576 between hinge member 570 and second portion 550, creating an elongated second hinge region 578, disposed between and connecting second portion 550 with hinge member 570. Second hinge region 578 is also sufficiently narrow to permit the material to bend, allowing second portion 550 and hinge member 570 to move rotationally with respect to each other about an access defined by a second reduced portion 578. Clasp tabs 522 and 524 of first portion 510 engage corresponding clasp tabs 562 and 564 of second portion 550, respectively, to secure the case 500 in its closed configuration.

Peripheral rim 520 is formed along the periphery of first portion 510, and peripheral rim 560 is formed along the periphery of second portion 550. In this embodiment, each peripheral rim extends generally perpendicularly from the sidewall in an inward direction, creating recesses for media storage. Peripheral rim 510 forms a first media recess 511 in first portion 510, and peripheral rim 560 forms a second media recess 551 in second portion 550. In use, the various media stored in media case 500 will be received into these recesses and preferably secured into place. As can be seen in FIG. 5, each portion of media case 500 includes plurality of retaining tabs extending from the side wall into their respective media recesses.

End tab 580 and end tab 582 are formed near respective ends of hinge member 570 and extend inwardly toward the interior of the media case 500 (when it is closed). Like peripheral rim 520 and peripheral rim 560, hinge end tabs 580 and 582 are preferably integrally formed with the media case 500, and are disposed to lie just inside the peripheral rims when media case 500 is closed.

A recess 540 formed by an inward deviation second peripheral rim 560 creates a sidewall extension 545. A similar extension is created in first portion 510 but not shown in FIG. 5. As should be apparent, the sidewall extensions can be used as an aid to opening media case 500 when it is held in the closed configuration by clasping tabs 522, 524, 562, and 564.

Media case 500 is not used for retail display, because being only slightly larger than of the media 200 it is intended to hold, it would not be adequately secure. It is, however, much more convenient for use by a purchaser and may be included in the package 300 along with the media and other items related to the application.

Further details concerning the structure and function of media case 500 shown in FIG. 5 may be found in the related application (referenced and incorporated above).

FIG. 6 is an isometric illustration of a package 300 according to an embodiment of the present invention shown in an open configuration with the MMC case 500 of FIG. 5 installed. Note that configuration shown in FIG. 6 is advantageous for use in the retail environment. The same package 300 may be used regardless of whether media case 500 is included or not. When it is included, it is early contatined in an unobtrusive manner without the need for alteration of package 300.

The description of various embodiments above provides examples for implementing the present invention. Other embodiments are possible, and so the invention is not limited to the description above, and accompanying figures, but rather is set forth in the claims that follow.