Title:
Media carrier container
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A front panel having a front to back open section therein is coupled to a rear panel by a hinge. The rear panel has an area on its inside surface. Text and/or a design that characterizes the media carrier appears on the area. The raised area and the open section are sized and positioned relative to each other, such that the text and/or design is visible from the front, when the panels are parallel to each other with the container closed, and when the panels are perpendicular to each other when the container is open. Other embodiments are also described and claimed.



Inventors:
Preece, Mark (Valencia, CA, US)
Picard, Scott M. (Malibu, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/182273
Publication Date:
10/20/2005
Filing Date:
07/15/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/303, G9B/33.011, 206/232
International Classes:
B65D85/57; G11B33/04; (IPC1-7): B65D85/57
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
GEHMAN, BRYON P
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WOMBLE BOND DICKINSON (US) LLP (ATLANTA, GA, US)
Claims:
1. A container for a media carrier, comprising: a front panel having a front-to-back open section therein; and a rear panel coupled to the front panel by a hinge, an inside surface of the rear panel facing an inside surface of the front panel when the panels are positioned parallel to each other when the container is closed, an area on the inside surface of the rear panel having one of text and a design that characterizes the media carrier, the area and the open section being sized and positioned relative to each other such that the text or design is visible from the front, when the panels are parallel to each other with the container closed, and when the panels are perpendicular to each other with the container open.

2. The container of claim 1 further comprising a holder on the inside surface of the rear panel to receive and removably hold a disk-like media carrier flat in relation to the inside surface of the rear panel.

3. The container of claim 2 wherein the holder is designed to removably grip a central, circular opening of a disk-like media carrier.

4. The container of claim 2 wherein the front and rear panels are rectangular, and the open section is located at a top corner of the front panel so that an outside horizontal edge of the front panel at its top is connected to an outside vertical edge of the front panel at its side by a diagonal outside edge of the front panel.

5. The container of claim 2 further comprising a clip on the inside surface of the front panel, the clip having one end affixed to the inside surface and another end in contact with, but not affixed to, the surface and being resiliently liftable off the surface.

6. The container of claim 2 further comprising a spine coupled between the panels by said hinge on one side and by another hinge on another side.

7. The container of claim 5 further comprising a panel, flat on the inside surface of the front panel, above the clip, and bearing one of text and a design that characterizes the media container.

8. A container comprising: a front panel; a rear panel; a hinge that couples the front and rear panels to each other; the front and rear panels being shaped to form a box when the panels are positioned to abut one another at their peripheries, an inside flat surface of the rear panel lying inside the formed box; a raised piece on the inside flat surface of the rear panel; and a front to back opening formed in the front panel to expose the raised piece when the panels are positioned to abut one another at their peripheries.

9. The container of claim 8 wherein the raised piece is located at a top corner of the rear panel.

10. The container of claim 8 further comprising a holder on the inside flat surface of the rear panel to receive and removably hold a disk-like media carrier flat in relation to the inside surface of the rear panel.

11. A container comprising: a front panel; a rear panel coupled to the front panel by a living hinge and shaped together with the front panel to form a box when closed; the front panel having a front to back open section such that a top horizontal edge of the front panel is connected to a vertical edge of the front panel by a diagonal edge of the front panel; and a raised piece on an inside surface of the rear panel, the raised piece being shaped and positioned so that when the front panel has been rotated about the hinge to lie flat in relation to the inside surface in a closed condition of the container, the diagonal edge stops short of contacting the raised piece.

12. The container of claim 11 further comprising a holder on the inside surface of the rear panel to receive and removably hold a disk-like media carrier flat in relation to the inside surface of the rear panel.

13. The container of claim 12 further comprising a logo on a top surface of the raised piece and that describes a type of said media carrier.

14. The container of claim 13 wherein the logo and the top surface of the raised piece are large enough to allow a person to recognize the logo from a distance of up to five feet.

15. The container of claim 11 wherein the raised piece is coextensive with the rear panel along a vertical edge and a top horizontal edge of the rear panel.

16. The container of claim 11 further comprising: a peripheral wall running along a top horizontal edge, a vertical edge, and a bottom horizontal edge of the rear panel and being perpendicular to the inside surface of the rear panel; and a spine coupled between the front and rear panels along another vertical edge of the rear panel.

17. An apparatus comprising: a container having a rectangular front panel hinged to a rectangular rear panel, a holder on an inside surface of the rear panel to removably hold a media carrier, the front panel having a missing section, a raised area on the inside surface of the rear panel that is in part coextensive with the missing section when the panels are parallel to each other in a container closed condition.

18. The apparatus of claim 17 wherein a top surface of the raised area is coplanar with an outside surface of the front panel, when the container is closed.

19. The apparatus of claim 17 wherein the missing section is at an edge of the rear panel.

20. The apparatus of claim 17 wherein the missing section is entirely spaced inward of the edges of the rear panel, and the raised area is entirely coextensive with the missing section.

21. A method comprising: obtaining a container having a front panel, a rear panel, and a hinge that couples the front and rear panels to each other, the front panel having a front to back open section, a holder on the inside surface of the rear panel to removably grip a compact disc at its central opening; and attaching a piece to an area on an inside surface of the rear panel that is aligned with the open section.

Description:

This application claims the benefit of the earlier filing date of U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/675,535, filed Apr. 27, 2005.

An embodiment of the invention is a container, suitable for storing one or more machine-readable media carriers (e.g., media compact discs, such as a digital video disc, DVD) to be used in a retail, point-of-sale environment. Other embodiments are also described for the sale of discs with stored, digital movies, or other valuable media.

BACKGROUND

The world has seen several different types of packaging for machine-readable media carriers that are commonly known as compact discs. For example, the jewel box design is popular for the sale of music CDs. More recently, cases made out of softer plastic with living hinges, sometimes referred to as Amaray® type cases, have become popular for DVDs. In both cases, the case is a type of box that typically has a front panel and a rear panel that are hinged and that are essentially the same size and shape, and once closed the case resembles a flat box. Advertising or other promotional material may be printed on a sheet of paper or paper board that is held against the inside front panel, or sometimes inserted into a pocket that is formed between the outside surface of the front panel and a transparent plastic sheet. In the latter case, the advertising material is not visible from the front if the box is fully open. With the former, the advertising material is not visible if the box is closed.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The embodiments of the invention are illustrated by way of example and not by way of limitation in the figures of the accompanying drawings in which like references indicate similar elements. It should be noted that references to “an” embodiment of the invention in this disclosure are not necessarily to the same embodiment, and they mean at least one.

FIG. 1 is an elevation view of a preferred embodiment of the invention, looking at the inside surface of an open, media carrier container.

FIG. 2 is an elevation view of the container, looking at the outside surfaces of the front and back panels.

FIG. 3 is a close up view of an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 4 illustrates another embodiment of the invention, with a disc being held inside the open container on one panel and an information booklet to be held on another panel.

FIG. 5 is a front elevation view of the preferred embodiment, with the container closed.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

In this section we shall explain several preferred embodiments of this invention with reference to the appended drawings. Whenever the shapes, relative positions and other aspects of the parts described in the embodiments are not clearly defined, the scope of the invention is not limited only to the parts shown, which are meant merely for the purpose of illustration.

FIG. 1 shows an elevation view of a preferred embodiment of the invention, looking into an open container 104. The container 104 is composed of a front panel 108 that is coupled by a living hinge 110 to a rear or back panel 112. The panels 108, 112 may be of plastic, formed using conventional molding techniques. In the orientation shown, the living hinge 110 runs vertical and is located to the right of the front panel 108 (as viewed into the open container), and to the left of the rear panel 112. A second living hinge that is parallel to the hinge 110 may be added between the panels, on either side of a spine 121 (see FIG. 4) to give more articulation to the two panels. Each of the panels in this example is essentially rectangular and together with peripheral walls 105, 107, and 111 are shaped to form a box when closed (see FIG. 5). The front panel has an open section 113 (open in the sense of front-to-back) that has either been cut out or not formed, such that its top horizontal edge 116 is connected to its left vertical edge 118 by a diagonal edge 117. Note that in this example, the diagonal edge 117 is essentially straight and forms equal obtuse angles with the vertical edge 118 and the horizontal edge 116. The angles may alternatively be different. Also, in another alternative, the diagonal edge may be curved (e.g., semicircle).

Referring now to FIG. 5, with the front and rear panels abutting each other in the closed condition as shown, note how the edge 117 in this example conforms to but stops short of contacting the inside edge 119 of a raised piece 120 (or raised area 120) that is on the inside surface 150 of the back panel 112. The area 120 is “raised” in this embodiment with respect to the substantially flat, inside surface 150. The raised piece 120 and its corresponding open section 113 are shaped and positioned so that the front panel when rotated about the hinge 110 can easily lie flat, i.e. parallel to the inside surface of the back panel 112 in the closed position, with the raised piece 120 preferably filling essentially the entire area of the open section 113. The height of the piece 120 should preferably be such that its top surface is essentially coplanar with the outside of the front panel 108, when the container is closed as seen in FIG. 5.

The container 104 preferably has a retaining mechanism on the front and/or rear panels, to retain the panels abutted to each other in their closed position. For example, a pair of conventional, tongue and groove locks (e.g., the tongue on the front panel near its unhinged vertical edge, the groove on the rear panel near its unhinged vertical edge, or vice versa) may be molded into the plastic panels. Other mechanisms that can be integrated with the front and/or rear panels, during a molding process in which the panels are formed, can alternatively be used.

Returning to FIG. 1, the vertical outside edge 132 and horizontal outside edge 133 of the piece 120 are in this example coextensive with the vertical edge 139 of the back panel 112, as well as the horizontal edge (in this case the top horizontal edge) 140 of the back panel 112. This is apparent in all of the figures of the embodiment illustrated here.

The open section 113 is preferably located at the top of the front panel 108, rather than the bottom or its side. The open section 113 exposes the raised piece 120 that is located in this example at a top corner of the rear panel 112, opposite the hinged side. As an alternative, the open section 113 and the piece 120 may be located not at a corner or edge of the panels, but rather at a location that is spaced inward from the boundary of the panels. For example, an area or location 155 may be an alternative location for the piece 120 (as well as showing an alternative, diamond shape for the piece 120, as opposed to the triangular shape shown in all of the figures here). Yet another alternative is given by the location 157, where this triangular region is located about half way down from the top edge 140, at the side or edge opposite the hinged side. Other locations for the piece 120 are also possible so long as the piece 120 will not interfere with placement and storage of the media carrier inside the container.

The corresponding open section 113 in the front panel 108 allows at least the top surface of the piece 120 to remain in view from the front of the container 104, regardless of whether the container is open as shown in FIG. 1, or closed as shown in FIG. 5. In the examples here, identifying text and/or a logo has been imprinted or otherwise formed on the top surface of the piece 120. For example, the text and/or design on the area 120 might indicate the level of security or copy protection that has been built into the media carrier, for accessing or copying the media. In this case, the identifying text describes the type of media carrier that is contained inside the box, namely high definition digital video disc (HD-DVD). The text, as well as the area of the top surface of the piece 120, is preferably large enough to allow a person to recognize the text from a distance of up to several feet, e.g. five feet. This helps the collector of such media to easily distinguish between the different types of DVDs that may be carried by the same type of container. The invention, however, is not limited to use with DVDs and may alternatively be used with other media carriers, such as other disk-like carriers (e.g., music CDs; computer software discs).

An additional benefit of the open section 113 may be that it renders the box easier to open. For instance, a user may place her thumb of a particular hand on the top surface of the piece 120, while at the same time using one or more other fingers of the same hand to pry open the closed container, by pulling back on the inside of the front panel 108 at either the top horizontal edge 116 or the vertical edge 118.

In another embodiment of the invention, the area or location 155, 157 (or the area at the top corner, over which the raised piece 120 is formed in the figures) could be at essentially the same level, i.e. not raised, relative to the majority of the inside surface 150 of the rear panel 112. Such an area could still bear the text and/or design that characterizes the media carrier being held in the container 104. Such text and/or design would still be visible, for example, from five to ten feet in front of the container, in both open and closed conditions of the container.

Still referring to FIG. 1, the rear panel 112 has a carrier holder 124 located, in this case, substantially in the center of the panel, on the inside surface. The holder 124 may be a conventional rosette that is designed to receive and removably hold a disk-like carrier such as a music CD or DVD via its central, typically circular opening, so that the disc does not fall off when the rear panel 112 is turned upside down or during transport from a distributor to the point-of-sale environment. See, for example, FIG. 4 which shows a single media disc 128 that has been pressed onto and is then gripped by the holder 124 on its circular opening, lying substantially flat, i.e. parallel to the inside of the back panel 112.

FIG. 2 shows an elevation view of the container 104, looking at the outside of the front and rear panels 108, 112. Note the alternative open sections 255 and 257 in the front panel 108. The opening 255 is fully surrounded by portions of the front panel 108, in contrast to opening 257 which is shaped like a triangle whose third side is at an edge of the rear panel 108.

FIG. 1 shows also an alternative embodiment, in which the container 104 is designed to hold two discs, a first one held by the holder 124 flat and close to the inside of the rear panel 112, and a second one held by a holder 144 close to the inside of the front panel 108. The height of the holders 124, 144 in that case should be such that the container can be closed as shown in FIG. 5, with the front panel 108 lying substantially parallel to the rear panel and abutting the peripheral walls of the rear panel 112. In that case, a spine 121 (see FIG. 4) that joins the front and rear panels (running parallel to and flanked by respective living hinges) may need to be made taller to make the container deeper (to accommodate multiple discs).

The raised area 120 may be molded in the same process of molding the rear panel 112 itself so that it is integral with the rear panel. This may be a more cost effective approach. Turning now to FIG. 3, a close up view of an embodiment of the invention is shown, illustrating an alternative for how the raised area 120 may be created. The area 120 in this case comprises a separate component, a plastic cap 320 that has been separately manufactured, e.g. from a separate molding process than one used for creating the front or back panels 108, 112. The cap 320 is designed and sized in this case to be snap fitted, locked or glued into an area that is formed on the inside of the back panel 112. This area is bounded, in this example, by a diagonal wall 340 that extends out from the inside of the back panel 112 and runs until the horizontal wall 344 that, in this example, defines the top edge 140 of the box container. The wall 340 also runs in the other direction until it abuts a vertical wall 345 that, in this example, defines the vertical edge 139 of the container. This area may alternatively be located away from the edge of the back panel 112 (e.g., at location 155 or 157, see FIG. 1).

The piece 120 could be made in a different color than the rest of the container and could be in different colors and textures. It could also have a pocket, e.g. on its top surface, to receive therein an insert of images or text. The raised piece 120 could also be molded with dynamic graphics, such as lenticular or in-mold holograms.

Turning now to FIG. 4, yet another embodiment of the invention is shown. An insert 168 lies against the inside surface of the front panel 108 (where the second disc was held by the holder 144, in the embodiment of FIG. 1). The insert 168 may be a piece of advertising material or descriptive material, describing the nature and contents of the disc 128. The insert 168 may be one or more sheets of paper or other material suitable for printing, folded into a booklet form, and that is removably held in place against the inside of the front panel 108 by two or more clips 170. In this example, only one of the two clips 170 is shown, namely an upper clip, where a lower clip would be positioned closer towards a bottom edge 115 of the front panel 108 (see FIG. 1). These clips 170 are preferably located closer to the left edge 118 of the front panel 108 as shown, to allow greater use of the area between the left edge and the right edge of the front panel 108.

A panel 160 is flat on the inside of the front panel near its top. The panel 160 starts, in this example, from a top edge 116 of the container and extends down towards a position that is slightly above the top edge of the insert 168. The panel 160 may be a separate piece (e.g., a plate) that can be glued onto or otherwise affixed to the inside of the front panel 108. As an alternative, the panel 160 may be molded plastic (during the same process as the one used for making the front panel). The panel 160 may be further enhanced with text or a logo on its top surface that refers to the source of the digital content in the disc 128 (e.g., the name of the movie production studio which released the movie that is digitally stored in the disc 128). The panel 160 may extend horizontally essentially the full width of the front panel as shown in FIG. 4. To achieve different logos between containers, in the case where the panel 160 is of molded plastic, different slugs may be used in the injection mold chamber to form different logos.

Referring back to FIG. 5, a printed graphic depicting features of the media content inside the container 104, e.g. part of a scaled down movie poster, may be inserted into a pocket 546 on the outside surface 550 of the front panel 108. The pocket 546 may be formed by a clear/transparent sleeve sheet 548 that is sealed or otherwise bonded to the outside surface 550 and/or to the bottom, left and right edges of the front panel 108 while leaving the top edge 554 of the sheet 548 unsealed (for the printed graphic to be inserted). As an alternative, the sheet 548 may span the entire width from an outside vertical edge of the rear panel to the outside vertical edge of the front panel. The sheet in that case would be sealed at those edges, leaving its top and bottom ends unsealed. In another embodiment, the sheet 546 is as tall as the front and rear panels with a top diagonal edge that is coextensive with the diagonal edge 117 of the front panel (in the embodiments shown). Other ways of forming a clear pocket on the outside surface are possible.

Note that the embodiment of FIG. 4 may be further modified to contain two discs, by, for example, adding a swinging, hinged panel (not shown) to the spine 121 that holds the second disc. This allows the spine dimensions and the rest of the elements in FIG. 4, including the location of insert 168 and the panel 160, to remain unchanged.

The invention is not limited to the specific embodiments described above. For example, the illustrated container has peripheral walls, on both of its front and rear panels, that abut each other in the container closed position. An alternative there is to not have any peripheral walls on the front panel, such that the box is formed with peripheral walls only on the rear panel. Accordingly, other embodiments are within the scope of the claims.