Title:
Easily opened envelope
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An easily opened envelope includes a cutting filament extending across at least one interior edge of the envelope. A tear line that terminates adjacent one end of the cutting filament is torn to expose and thereby permit the user to grasp the thus-exposed end of the cutting element. The edge of the envelope along which the cutting filament extends is severed by pulling the cutting filament along the edge, thereby to provide access to the interior of the envelope.



Inventors:
Parera, Jorge (New Canaan, CT, US)
Application Number:
11/071476
Publication Date:
09/07/2006
Filing Date:
03/04/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D27/38
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20050035185Prevention of biocontamination by mailingFebruary, 2005Goldin
20100001054PACKAGING ASSEMBLY HAVING CASTERSJanuary, 2010Brittain
20060219767Multi-post container and container blankOctober, 2006Philips
20080257942Carton and Two-Part Carton BlankOctober, 2008Lebras
20080245679Carton With Carrying Handle and Blanjk ThereforOctober, 2008Auclair
20050199696Packaging container and blank for producing the sameSeptember, 2005Macconkey et al.
20060255106Variable volume cartonNovember, 2006Green
20030201313Gift-wrap envelope for media holdersOctober, 2003Dudley
20070181659Cup package made of a fibre-based materialAugust, 2007Rasanen et al.
20050269386Food wrapDecember, 2005Fisher et al.
20080290149CARTONS AND METHODS OF ERECTING CARTONSNovember, 2008Sweet



Primary Examiner:
MORGAN JR, JACK HOSMER
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MARVIN N. GORDON (NEW YORK, NY, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An en envelope comprising: a front panel and a rear panel each having a lower edge, an upper edge and opposing side edges; an overlapping closure flap foldably connected to the upper edge of said rear panel at a fold line and having an adhesive provided along its lower end portion; an elongated thin, relatively rigid cutting filament secured at at least its opposite ends to the interior of the envelope and extending along one of said upper or side edges of one of said front and rear panels, and a diagonal tear line that extends from one edge of one of said front and rear panel or closure panel and terminating at its opposite end at a location adjacent to one end of said cutting filament, whereby the tearing of said tear line exposes said one end of said cutting filament and thus enables an individual to grasp said one of said cutting filament and to then move said cutting filament along said one edge, thereby to sever said one edge and provide access to the interior of the envelope.

2. The envelope of claim 1, in which said cutting filament extends along and is secured at least at its ends to the upper edge of said rear panel at said fold line.

3. The envelope of claim 1, further comprising a second diagonal tear line having one end terminating adjacent the opposite end of said cutting filament.

4. The envelope of claim 2, in which said cutting filament extends along and is attached to said lower edge of said rear panel.

5. The envelope of claim 4, in which said cutting filament is secured to and extends along a side edge of said rear panel.

6. The envelope of claim 5, in which said cutting filament extends along at least one side edge and at least the upper or lower edge of said rear panel.

7. The envelope of claim 1, further comprising a plurality of spaced tiny holes disposed along said at least one edge.

8. The envelope of claim 2, further comprising a plurality of spaced tiny holes disposed along said fold line.

9. The envelope of claim 1, in which said cutting filament is made of a yarn, plastic or metal.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to envelopes, and more particularly to an envelope which can be easily opened.

2. Description of the Prior Art

Millions of envelopes are opened each day in homes and offices in the United States and around the world. Typically, the individual inserts his or her index finger or a letter opener under the closure or seal flap which has been previously sealed by an adhesive to the rear panel of the envelope. The index finger or letter opener is then pivoted upward to pry open the seal flap, thereby to allow access to the interior of the envelope and the removal of its contents. It has long been recognized that this is an awkward procedure, which often requires the tearing or cutting of the seal flap or the body of the envelope. This in turn may cause damage to the envelope's contents or injury to the individual.

In recognition of these drawbacks in envelope designs, the prior art is replete with proposed designs of envelopes that purport to facilitate the opening of the envelopes. As described, for example, in U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,716,150; 6,491,213; 5,791,566; 5,163,612; 4,470,511; and 4,166,539, envelopes have been provided with tear strips, perforations or other self-opening means to facilitate the opening of the envelope to facilitate access to the contents of the envelope. The use of tear guides to provide easier, more controlled access to the envelope's contents is disclosed, for example, in U.S. Pat. No. 2,161,958, which discloses a cutting element secured between the upper and lower edges of the inner rear face of the envelope. Other envelope designs of interest are disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 2,956,727 and 3,392,908.

These prior art designs are, however, relatively complicated and thus relatively expensive to fabricate, and/or are still difficult or inconvenient to use. There thus remains a need for an envelope which can be economically manufactured and which can also be easily opened without injury to the user or damage to the contents of the envelope.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

To these ends, the envelope of the present invention includes a cutting strip in the form of an elongated, thin cutting filament that extends along a vertical or horizontal edge in the envelope interior and is secured at least at its opposite ends to the envelope at or near that edge. In one embodiment of the invention herein described, the cutting filament extends along the fold line defined at the intersection of the closure or seal flap and the rear panel of the envelope. At least one perforated diagonal tear line terminates at its lower end adjacent one end of the cutting filament so that when the tear strip is torn open the user can easily grasp an exposed end of the cutting filament and then pull the cutting filament along and through the edge along which it extends, thereby to easily and reliably sever that edge and permit ready access to the interior of the envelope. In another aspect of the inventions, a plurality of spaced tiny openings are provided along the edge along which the cutting filament extends to weaken it and thus facilitate its severance as the cutting strip is passed through it.

To the accomplishment of the above and such further objects as may hereinafter appear, the present invention relates to an easily opened envelope, substantially as defined in the appended claims as considered in conjunction with the following detailed description of a preferred embodiment thereof along with the accompanying drawings in which:

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an elevation of an envelope form from which an envelope according to one embodiment of the present invention can be made;

FIG. 2 is an elevation of an envelope of the present invention made from the form of FIG. 1 when it is closed and sealed;

FIG. 3 is an elevation of the envelope of FIG. 2 when it is open and unsealed;

FIG. 4 is an elevation of the envelope of FIG. 2 illustrating an initial step in opening and unsealing the envelope;

FIG. 5 is an elevation of an envelope form for use in fabricating an envelope according to a second embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 6 is an envelope made from the envelope form of FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is an elevation of an envelope form for use in fabricating an envelope according to a third embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 8 is an elevation of an envelope form for use in fabricating an envelope according to a fourth embodiment of the invention; and

FIG. 9 is an elevation of an envelope form for fabricating an envelope according to a fifth embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

As illustrated in an exemplary embodiment of FIGS. 2 and 3, made from the form illustrated in FIG. 1, the envelope of the present invention generally designated 10 includes a body having, as is conventional, a rear panel 12 and a front panel 14, each of which has side edges and upper edges. Connected to the upper edge 16 of front panel 14 is a closure flap or seal flap 18, which includes an adhesive along its lower part. The intersection of closure flap 18 and rear panel 12 defines a fold line 20 at which closure flap 18 is folded and sealed to front panel 14 to seal the envelope and its contents, as shown in FIG. 2. Rear panel 12 may, as conventional, include side adhesive flaps 22, 24, which in the assembled envelope illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3, are folded inwards and secured by an adhesive to front panel 14.

In accordance with the present invention, a thin, elongated cutting filament or strip 26 is secured at least at its opposite ends by any suitable adhesive to rear panel 12 near or at the location of the fold line 20, and extends, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 3, along substantially the entire length of the fold line. Cutting filament 26 may be of any relatively rigid and sharp material such as a thread made, for example, of a textile material or nylon; a plastic filament or a metallic wire. A diagonal punched or perforated tear line 28 is formed at each end of the closure flap 18. As seen best in FIGS. 1 and 3, tear lines 28 extend diagonally from one side of closure flap 18 and terminate substantially at fold line 20 at a location slightly inward or adjacent one end of cutting filament 26. A plurality of spaced tiny perforations or microholes 30 are preferably formed in closure flap 18 along the fold line 20.

To open the envelope, the user lifts either the left or right lower corner of closure flap 18, depending on whether the user is right- or left-handed, to tear the closure flap along one of the tear lines 28. This operation raises an upper corner 32 of closure flap 18 (FIG. 4), thereby to expose an end of cutting filament 26, as also shown in FIG. 4. The user then holds the envelope in one hand, and with the thumb and forefinger of the other hand grasps this free end of the cutting filament 26 and pulls it first upwards and then toward the right, as viewed in FIG. 4, or to the left if the left-hand tear line were severed. As the cutting filament 26 is pulled in the direction of the arrow 34 it acts against the closure flap 18 along the fold line 20 to easily cut through the closure flap, which is weakened, and thus more easily severed from the body of the envelope as a result of the provision of the microholes 30. In this manner, closure flap 18 is easily and safely separated and removed from the envelope body, thereby permitting ready access to the contents of the envelope, as desired.

In the embodiment of the invention illustrated in FIGS. 5 and 6, in which elements corresponding to those of the first embodiment of FIGS. 1-4 are identified by corresponding reference numerals, the cutting filament 26a is secured and extends along a lower fold line 36 defined at the intersection of the lower edge of rear panel 12 and the upper edge of front panel 14. Perforated diagonal tear lines 28a and 28c extend respectively from the lower parts of the opposing side edges of rear panel 12 and terminate at the lower fold line 36 inwardly of the opposing ends of cutting filament 26a. Other diagonal tear lines 28b and 28d extend from the upper parts of the opposing side edges of front panel 14 and also terminate at the fold line 36 at the terminations of tear lines 28a and 28c. As seen best in FIG. 6, the envelope may be opened by tearing the bottom of the envelope 10a at one of the tear lines 28a-d to expose one end of the cutting filament 26a, which is then pulled along the lower fold line 36 to sever it and provide access to the interior of the envelope.

In the envelope 10b illustrated in FIG. 7, the cutting filament 26b is secured to and extends along the inner left edge (as viewed in FIG. 7) of rear panel 12. Diagonal tear lines 28e and 28g extend respectively from the upper and lower edges of rear panel 12 and terminate adjacent the opposite ends of the cutting filament 26b. Other diagonal tear lines 28f and 28h extend from the upper and lower ends of side flap 22 and terminate adjacent the opposing ends of the cutting filament 26b.

The envelope 10c illustrated in FIG. 8 is similar to that of FIG. 7 except that the cutting filament 26c is secured to and extends along the right edge of rear panel 12. Tear holes 28j and 28k respectively extend from the upper and lower edges of rear panel 12 to the opposing ends of the cutting filament 26c. Diagonal tear lines 28i and 281 extend respectively from the upper and lower ends of side flap 24 to terminate adjacent the opposing ends of the cutting filament 26c.

The envelope 10d illustrated in FIG. 9 includes four cutting filaments 26d, 26e, 26f and 26g, respectively secured to and extending along the opposing side and upper and lower edges of rear panel 12. Diagonal tear lines 28m-28t extend respectively from the outer edges of the closure flap 18 and front panel 14 and from the upper and lower portions of the opposing side edges of rear panel 12; all terminate adjacent or inwards of one of the opposite ends of their associated cutting filament 26d,26e,26f or 26g.

It will be appreciated from the foregoing description of a presently preferred embodiments thereof that the present invention, as described hereinabove, provides an envelope that is easily and safely opened. It will also be appreciated by those of ordinary skill in the art that modifications may be made to the embodiments specifically described above without necessarily departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.