Title:
Shaped container and method of making
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention provides a container including a front panel and a back panel spaced from the front panel. The container also includes first and second side panels connecting the front and back panels. The container also includes at least one area of weakness on at least one of the front back and side panels. The container also includes a wrapping material extending around a portion of the container deforming the at least one area of weakness relative to the other of the panels. After wrapping, the container has a predetermined shape formed by deforming the area of weakness relative to the remainder of the container.



Inventors:
Ours, David (Marshall, MI, US)
Application Number:
11/262630
Publication Date:
07/06/2006
Filing Date:
10/31/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D65/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PICKETT, JOHN G
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Dickinson Wright PLLC - Troy (Troy, MI, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A container comprising: a front panel; a back panel spaced from said front panel; first and second side panels connecting said front and back panels; at least one area of weakness on at least one of said front back and side panels; and a wrapping material extending around a portion of said container deforming said at least one area of weakness relative to the other of said panels whereby said container has a predetermined shape formed by deforming said area of weakness relative to the remainder of said container.

2. The container of claim 1, wherein said container includes a top panel and bottom panel connecting said front, back and side panels.

3. The container of claim 1, wherein said wrapping material is a plastic film.

4. The container of claim 1, wherein said wrapping material is plastic shrink wrap, said shrink wrap deforming said at least one area of weakness relative to the remainder of said container when heat is applied to said shrink wrap.

5. The container of claim 1, wherein said area of weakness is defined by at least one line of weakness relative to the remainder of said container.

6. The container of claim 1, wherein said wrapping material envelops said container.

7. The container of claim 6, wherein said wrapping material is plastic shrink wrap, said shrink wrap deforming said at least one area of weakness relative to the remainder of said container when heat is applied to said shrink wrap.

8. The container of claim 1, wherein said area of weakness is defined by a plurality of lines of weakness relative to the remainder of said container.

9. The container of claim 1, wherein said area of weakness is defined by at least two pair of opposed curved lines, one of said pairs extending generally longitudinally along said front panel closely adjacent said side panels, said other of said pairs extending generally longitudinally along said back panel closely adjacent said side panels, said wrapping material deforming said area of weakness relative to the remainder of said container to define a generally hour glass shape to said container.

10. The container of claim 9, wherein said lines are slits cut into said container.

11. The container of claim 9, wherein said lines are perforations formed in said container.

12. The container of claim 9, wherein said lines are deformations formed in said container.

13. The container of claim 9, wherein said area of weakness is defined by a plurality of closely adjacent fold lines.

14. The container of claim 13, wherein said lines are slits cut into said container.

15. The container of claim 13, wherein said lines are perforations formed in said container.

16. The container of claim 13, wherein said lines are deformations formed in said container.

17. The container of claim 1, wherein said wrapping material has information printed thereon.

18. A method for making a container comprising: providing a blank having at least a front panel, back panel and side panels, said side panels connecting said front and back panels; assembling said blank by connecting said side panels; forming at least one area of weakness on at least one of said front back or side panels; providing a wrapping material; wrapping said wrapping material around at least a portion of said container; and deforming said at least one area of weakness relative to the remainder of said container by squeezing said container with said wrapping material whereby said container has a predetermined shape formed by deforming said area of weakness relative to the remainder of said container.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/624,027 for a SHAPED CONTAINER AND METHOD OF MAKING, filed on Nov. 19, 2004, which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention generally relates to shaped containers and more specifically to a container that has areas of weakness that are deformed relative to the remainder of the container by a wrap material.

2. Description of the Related Art

In the marketing of products, it is important to quickly catch the consumers' attention. This is particularly important in retail marketing when numerous competing products are stacked closely together on store shelves. Unique packaging is one method to catch the consumer's attention. Traditionally, unique graphics on product packaging have been employed to garner the consumer's attention.

In addition to graphics, there have been attempts to provide unique shapes to containers. These attempts are not believed to have been successful for several reasons. First, shaped containers are hard to manufacture on a commercial basis. The various shapes can be difficult to assemble in traditional carton manufacturing equipment. Further, shaped containers can add significant costs to the container. Many times, these shaped containers have to be assembled by hand, because of their unique shapes. What is needed is a method for shaping a normal carton with a wrapping material to get a unique shaped carton.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention provides a container including a front panel and a back panel spaced from the front panel. The container also includes first and second side panels connecting the front and back panels. The container also includes at least one area of weakness on at least one of the front back and side panels. The container also includes a wrapping material extending around a portion of the container deforming the at least one area of weakness relative to the other of the panels. After wrapping, the container has a predetermined shape formed by deforming the area of weakness relative to the remainder of the container.

Other applications of the present invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art when the following description of the best mode contemplated for practicing the invention is read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the container of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a blank of the container of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a flow chart of the method of making the container of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a further embodiment of a container of the present invention before deformation; and

FIG. 5 is the container of FIG. 4 deformed to its desired shape.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The present invention discloses a container having a front panel, back panel and side panels, with the side panels connecting the front and back panels. It should be understood that the container can be of any basic design, such as for example fifth panel cartons, bag in box, tri-seal, wrap around, horizontal, vertical, linerless, square, rectangular, oblong, round, etc. The container has at least one area of weakness on at least one of the front back or side panels. Wrapping material extends around a portion of the container deforming at least one area of weakness relative to the remainder of the container. In this way, the container is deformed into a predetermined shape along the area of weakness relative to the remainder of the container.

The area of weakness in the preferred embodiment is defined by at least two pair of opposed curved lines, one of the pairs extending generally longitudinally along the front panel closely adjacent the side panels, the other of the pairs extending generally longitudinally along the back panel closely adjacent the side panels. The wrapping material deforms the area of weakness relative to the remainder of the container to define a generally hour glass shape to the container.

It will be appreciated by those of ordinary skill in the art that numerous other shapes can be obtained with the teachings of this invention. To create a carton with a different shape merely requires creating areas of weakness, that when deformed, will result in the desired shape. In this way, diverse shapes such as stars, moons, letters, numbers, characters etc. can be created. In another embodiment by way of example, a rabbit head and body are created using the teachings of this invention.

The areas of weakness are generally defined by one or more lines that are formed in the container. These lines may be slits cut into the container, perforations formed in the container, or a plurality of lines to make an accordion like region that can fold upon itself to form the deformed area etc. In addition, the wrapping material can have graphics and information printed on it. These graphics and information, can be all the information or a portion of the containers' information which mates with the other information on the container.

With reference to FIG. 1, the container of the present invention is shown generally at 10. The container 10 has a front panel 12, a back panel 14, side panels 16 and 18, a top 20 and a bottom 22. It should be understood that the container could have numerous variations with more or less than two sides, fronts, or backs or any desired geometric shape. For example, the container could have six panels, three panels etc., or be oblong, square, or rectangular. The container could also not have a bottom or top.

With reference to figures land 2, the container 10 of FIG. 1 has two areas of weakness 24. The areas of weakness 24 are defined by two pair of opposed curved lines 26 and 28. Line 29 is on the side flap 18 and joins line 28 when container 10 is assembled. One of the pairs 26 extends generally longitudinally along the front panel 12 closely adjacent the side panels 16 and 18. The other pair 28 extends generally longitudinally along the back panel 14 closely adjacent the side panels 16 and 18.

Wrapping material 30 deforms the area of weakness 24 relative to the remainder of the container 10 to define a generally hour glass shape to the container 10. The wrapping material 30 can be of any material that can be pulled together to deform the container 10, including paper, plastic, cloth, etc. In the preferred embodiment, plastic shrink wrap material is used.

The wrapping material 30 can be used to fully envelop the container 10 or only wrap the area 24 to be deformed. Additionally, the wrap material 30 can include graphics and printing that either provide all the graphics associated with the container or mate with graphics and printing already on the container 10.

With reference to FIG. 3, a process for making the container 10 of the present invention is illustrated. In the first step 32, a container blank 34 is formed with the curved lines 26 and 28. The container blank 34 is made of any common container material such as for example, paper, cardboard, or plastic. In the preferred embodiment, the blank is cardboard of the type used to make cereal boxes. In the second step 36, the blank 34 is folded and glued as is common in container manufacture. Once formed into a container, during the third step 38 wrap material 30 is placed around the container 10. In the disclosed embodiment, the wrap material 30 is wrapped around the mid-portion of the container 10, but could have enveloped the entire container if desired. Once in place, the wrap material 30, which in this embodiment is shrink wrap material, is heated to shrink it around the container 10 to form the desired hour glass shape.

With reference to FIGS. 4 and 5, another container 50 is illustrated which was formed by the method of the present invention. FIG. 4 illustrates an animal head formed in the container 50. The container 50 has a first portion 52 that is removed or scored so that it can fold in. Lines 54 are created to provide the desired shape. Lines 54 can be cut through, scored or perforated, etc. Once the wrapping material 30, in this embodiment it would preferably be shrink wrap, squeezes the container 10, the desired shape appears.

The foregoing invention has been described in accordance with the relevant legal standards, thus the description is exemplary rather than limiting in nature. Variations and modifications to the disclosed embodiment may become apparent to those skilled in the art and do come within the scope of the invention. Accordingly, the scope of legal protection afforded this invention can only be determined by studying the following claims.