Title:
Apparatus and method for displaying an item
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A display device, comprising a clear-front envelope formed by foldable blank including at least one backing flap folded around a viewing window and leaving an opening for receiving the planar displayed item, such as a photo; postcard; etc. The opening is at least partially closed when a sealing flap integrally formed with said foldable blank is secured to the backing flap. A support flap integral with the sealing flap, the support flap configured to fold at fold line adjacent to the backing flap and having an end for resting on a horizontal surface to support the clear-front envelope at a viewing angle to the horizontal surface. Optional hanging flaps and a hidden magnet may be used to hang or otherwise mount the display device.



Inventors:
Josephson, Steve (Huntington Park, CA, US)
Anderson, Ryan Calvert (Los Angeles, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/407297
Publication Date:
06/28/2007
Filing Date:
04/20/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47G1/16
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
KIM, SHIN H
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BERENATO & WHITE, LLC (BETHESDA, MD, US)
Claims:
1. A display device formed from a foldable blank, comprising: a main window portion defining a frame having an outer perimeter and an inner edge, said inner edge defining a viewing window; at least one foldable backing flap integral with said main window portion and folded along a living hinge connecting said backing flap and said main window portion to sandwich said transparent sheet between said backing flap and said main window portion; and at least one support flap integral with said main window portion and folded along a living hinge connecting said support flap and said main window portion, the support flap configured to fold at fold line and having an end for resting on a horizontal surface to support the main window portion at a viewing angle to the horizontal surface, wherein said at least one foldable backing flap and said main window portion define a pocket for receiving a display item.

2. A display device in accordance with claim 1, wherein the support flap comprises a connection portion adhered to the backing flap and a support portion integrally formed with the connection portion and foldable along a fold line away from the backing flap.

3. A display device in accordance with claim 1, wherein said at least one foldable backing flap comprises three separate foldable flaps disposed on three sides of said main window portion, said separate foldable flaps folded to define said pocket.

4. A display device in accordance with claim 1, further comprising a transparent sheet attached to said main window portion.

5. A display device in accordance with claim 2, wherein the connection portion comprises postal indicia indicating a preferred location for a postage stamp.

6. A display device in accordance with claim 5, wherein the postal indicia comprises a plurality of address lines.

7. A display device in accordance with claim 1, further comprising additional indicia printed on said foldable blank.

8. A display device in accordance with claim 1, further comprising a magnet disposed opposite said viewing window.

9. A display device in accordance with claim 8, wherein said magnet is disposed on said backing flap and exposed by a die-cut window in said support flap.

10. A display device formed by a foldable blank for displaying a planar displayed item, the foldable blank comprising: a main window portion having an outer perimeter and an inner edge, said inner edge defining a viewing window of said display item; at least one foldable backing flap integral with said main window portion and foldable along a living hinge connecting said backing flap and said main window portion; and at least one support flap integral with said main window portion and foldable along a living hinge connecting said support flap and said main window portion, the support flap configured to fold at fold line defined by said living hinge and having an end for resting on a horizontal surface to support the main window portion at a viewing angle to the horizontal surface.

11. The display device in accordance with claim 10, further comprising a transparent sheet attached to the main window portion.

12. The display device in accordance with claim 10, wherein said end of said support flap is oriented at an angle with respect to said outer perimeter.

13. The display device in accordance with claim 10, further comprising indicia printed on the single foldable blank.

14. The display device in accordance with claim 10, wherein the indicia is printed on the transparent sheet.

15. The display device in accordance with claim 10, wherein the indicia is etched on the transparent sheet.

16. A display device in accordance with claim 15, further comprising a picture visible through the transparent sheet.

17. A display device in accordance with claim 10, further comprising a magnet disposed opposite said viewing window.

18. A display device in accordance with claim 17, wherein said magnet is disposed on said backing flap and exposed by a die-cut window in said support flap.

19. A display device, comprising: a clear-front envelope formed by foldable blank including at least one backing flap folded around a transparent sheet leaving an opening for receiving the planar displayed item, the opening at least partially closed when a sealing flap integrally formed with said foldable blank is secured to the backing flap; and a support flap integral with the sealing flap, the support flap configured to fold at fold line adjacent to the backing flap and having an end for resting on a horizontal surface to support the clear-front envelope at a viewing angle to the horizontal surface.

20. A display device in accordance with claim 19, wherein the support flap comprises a connection portion adhered to the backing flap and a support portion integrally formed with the connections portion and foldable along a fold line away from the backing flap.

21. A display device in accordance with claim 19, wherein said at least one foldable backing flap comprises three separate foldable flaps folded along three sides of said transparent sheet, said separate foldable flaps folded to define said envelope.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This application is a CIP Patent Application of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/315,227 filed Dec. 23, 2005 and is hereby incorporated by reference.

The invention relates in general to display devices and more specifically to an apparatus and method for displaying a picture or postcard or other aesthetic article.

Picture display devices such as picture frames allow the presentation of a photograph or other planar item for easy viewing. Many picture frames can be placed on a flat surface such as table or desk such that the displayed item is positioned at a pleasing viewing angle. Conventional display devices, however, have several limitations. For example, many conventional designs partially obscure the displayed item with a frame or clip. Further, many conventional display devices are heavy, bulky, and relatively expensive. Many picture frames in include a glass panel to protect the displayed device and, therefore, may pose a danger if dropped or otherwise broken.

Postcards provide a mechanism for mailing a message along with a selected picture. Although the selected image may be attractive, humorous, or otherwise entertaining, available images are limited and are not personalized. Often the sending party would prefer to send a personal photograph rather than a generic postcard. Conventional techniques for mailing personal photographs include using an envelope, using a framed postcard device, and applying a sticker to the back of the photograph. Conventional mailing techniques, however, are limited in several ways. For example, some conventional techniques are limited in that the photograph is partially or completely obscured by the article used to mail the photograph. When a photograph is mailed in an envelope, the entire image is covered until the recipient opens the package. Other devices include a frame that covers a portion of the custom photograph or picture. In addition, conventional mailing products are limited in that the photograph or other displayed item can not be easily positioned for display. Mailed photographs must often be displayed by securing the photograph to vertical surface using tacks or magnets or by placing the photograph in a picture frame.

Accordingly, there is need for an apparatus and method for efficiently displaying a displaying a planer display item.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A display device, comprising a clear-front envelope formed by foldable blank including at least one backing flap folded around a transparent sheet leaving an opening for receiving the planar displayed item, such as a photo; postcard; etc. The opening is at least partially closed when a sealing flap integrally formed with said foldable blank is secured to the backing flap. A support flap is integral with the sealing flap, the support flap being configured to fold at fold line adjacent to the backing flap and having an end for resting on a horizontal surface to support the clear-front envelope at a viewing angle to the horizontal surface.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an illustration of an exploded perspective view of an unsealed display device in accordance with the exemplary embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 2 is an illustration of a perspective view of the display device of FIG. 1 shown in a sealed state.

FIG. 3 is an illustration of a perspective view of the display device in use in a landscape orientation in accordance with the exemplary embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 4 is a diagram of a side view of the display device in use in a landscape orientation in accordance with the exemplary embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 5 is an illustration of a perspective view of the display device in use in a portrait orientation in accordance with the exemplary embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 6 is a diagram of side view of the display device in use in a portrait orientation in accordance with the exemplary embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 7 is an exploded perspective bottom view of an unsealed display device in accordance with the exemplary embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 8 is a perspective bottom view of a partially sealed display device in accordance with the exemplary embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 9 is an additional perspective bottom view of a partially sealed display device in accordance with the exemplary embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of a sealed display device in accordance with the exemplary embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 11 is an illustration of a alternate embodiment of the present invention including a pop-up feature.

FIG. 12 shows the die-cut perforations in the connection portion.

FIG. 13 is an illustration of a further modified embodiment of the present invention including an optional magnet for attaching the frame to a suitable metallic surface.

FIG. 14 shows a thin planar magnet mounted for use on an assembled display device.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

According to this invention, a foldable support flap is affixed to a backing flap of an envelope having a main window portion to form a photograph display device. A user encloses a photograph, postcard or other thin, planar item to be displayed into a pocket formed between the main window portion and the foldable paper backing by folding side flaps and sealing flap relative to the main window portion. A transparent sheet may be disposed at the main window portion. Any combination of indicia such as advertisements, decorative marking, and instructions may be included on either side of the transparent front sheet, the main window portion, the foldable paper backing, and/or the support flap. In the exemplary embodiment, the display device includes postcard indicia such a stamp placement square and address lines allowing the display device to be used as a personalized postcard for mailing photographs or other display items. The foldable blank is typically partially sealed to create the pocket or envelope for receiving a photograph or postcard. As such, a user can easily insert a photograph, seal the display device and mail the display device. In addition to minimizing production costs, an efficient, integrated construction provides a durable display device that requires minimal manipulation and assembly by the user. Although the device may be used for mailing display items, the display device may be used solely as a safe, lightweight, and inexpensive picture frame that allows full view of the display item.

FIG. 1 is an illustration of a perspective view of an unsealed and unfolded display device 100 in accordance with one embodiment of the invention. The display device 100 includes at least one support flap 104 and at least one foldable backing flap 106 connected to a main window portion 108. Further, a pair of side flaps 107, 109 may be disposed along opposite edges of the main window portion 108. Disposed adjacent the main window portion 108 is a protective transparent plastic sheet 112. The foldable backing flap 106 and the support flap 104 are formed from paper stock and connected to the main window portion 108 through respective living hinges 106a, 122a. Likewise, side flaps 107, 109 are connected to the main window portion 108 via living hinges 107a, 109a.

FIG. 2 shows the display device of FIG. 1 in the folded in sealed state. Although in the exemplary embodiment the display device 100 has a rectangular shape, the display device 100 may be square, triangular, oval, circular or any other suitable, preferably planar, shape.

FIG. 3 is an illustration of a perspective view and FIG. 4 is an illustration of a side view of the display device 100 in use in a landscape orientation in accordance with the exemplary embodiment of the invention. Where the display device 100 is designed to display rectangular display items, the display device 100 displays the display item in a landscape orientation by placing a long side 202 of the display device parallel to a horizontal flat surface 300 such as a desk or table. Neither of the short sides 204, therefore, rests on the horizontal surface 300 when the display device 100 is in the landscape orientation. The support flap 104 is folded back to the appropriate distance from the paper backing by the user to set the desired viewing angle, α, 302 of the display item. As the support angle, β, 304 is increased, the viewing angle, α, 302 also increases allowing the display item to be more easily viewed form higher elevation above the horizontal surface 300.

FIG. 5 is an illustration of a perspective view and FIG. 6 is a side view of the display device 100 in use in a portrait orientation in accordance with the exemplary embodiment of the invention. Where the display device 100 is designed to display rectangular display items, the display device can be used to display the display item in a portrait orientation by placing either of the short sides of the display device parallel to the horizontal flat surface. Neither of the long sides, therefore, rests on the flat surface when the display device is in the portrait orientation. The support flap 124 has a shape that allows the display device 100 to present the displayed item at an esthetically pleasing viewing angle, θ, 504 where the viewing angle, θ, 504 is the angle formed between the front face of the display item 100 and the horizontal surface 300. Although any viewing angle between 180 degrees and 90 degrees can be used, an example of a suitable viewing angle is 100 degrees. The viewing angle, θ, 504 is determined by the support flap cut angle, φ 502. In the exemplary embodiment, the support flap 124 is symmetrically cut at each edge to form support flap cut angle, φ, 502 of approximately 11 degrees relative to the short side of the display device 100.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of the display device 100 in the unfolded condition. As discussed above, the display device 100 may have any one of several shapes. In the exemplary embodiment the display device has a shape configured to display a standard size photograph such as for example, 3 inch by 5 inch, 4 inch by 6 inch, 5 inch by 7 inch, and 8 inch by 10 inch photographs. Accordingly, a display device may be manufactured for each of the standard photograph sizes. The dimensions of the paper backing are slightly larger that the dimensions of the intended display item. The main window portion 108 should be sized to allow the display item to be easily inserted or otherwise disposed adjacent the transparent plastic sheet 112 while having dimensions small enough to minimize any movement of the display item after it is sealed. Also, the dimensions should be chosen such that amount of paper backing bordering the display item is minimized. An example of suitable dimensions is having a length and width that is approximately one millimeter larger than the intended display item. In some circumstances the dimensions may be selected to cause the front clear panel to bow slightly outward.

As discussed above, the support flap 124 is cut and angle, (P, that allows the display device 100 to have an appropriate viewing angle when positioned in the portrait display position. In the exemplary embodiment, the angles on the both sides of the support flap 124 are the same. In some circumstances, however, the angles may be different allowing the display device to have different viewing angles depending on which short side 204 is placed on the horizontal display surface.

As will be described below with reference to FIGS. 7-10, the folding and sealing method employed by this invention will now be described. Starting with the flat panel or blank 100 shown in FIG. 7, the transparent plastic sheet 112 is first disposed adjacent the main window portion 108 of flat foldable panel 100 and secured in place by adhesive or other suitable fastening means known to those of skill in the art. Next, the side panels 107, 109 are folded along fold lines (living hinges) 107a, 109a to the positions shown by arrows A, B in FIG. 8. Then, the foldable backing flap 106 is folded to secure the side flaps 107, 109 in place as shown by arrow C in FIG. 8; the backing flap 106 is preferably secured by adhesive of other suitable retention system to retain the display device 100 in the shape shown in FIG. 9.

By following this methodology, a clear front envelope assembly shown in FIG. 9 is formed by folding the plurality of foldable flaps 106, 107 and 109 relative to the main window portion 108 and around the transparent plastic sheet 112. Suitable adhesive or any other fastening mechanism adheres the transparent sheet 112 and the foldable flaps 106, 107 and 109 relative to the main window portion 108.

With the configuration of FIG. 9, a photograph, postcard or other aesthetic display item may be inserted into the envelope arrangement shown in FIG. 9.

As will be apparent to those of skill in the art, the sealing flap 118 is not adhered to the paper backing 116 until after a photograph or other display item is inserted into the clear front envelope or pocket defined by the foldable flaps 106-109.

At least one sealing strip 120 may be disposed on the connection portion 122 of the support flap 104 and/or backing flap 106 to allow the user to peal off a protective tape, fold the support flap 104 and adhere the connection portion 124 of the support flap 104 to the backing flap 106 to seal the display item (e.g., photo, postcard or other item) inside the clear front envelope or pocket 133 of the display device 100. Once the support flap 104 is adhered to the backing flap 106, the display item is retained in the display device 100 and the article assumes the configuration shown in FIG. 2.

The transparent sheet 112 may be adhered to the flaps 106, 107, 109 with adhesive that is applied at least along the perimeter of the main window portion 108 and/or the transparent sheet 112. It is also contemplated by this invention that the transparent sheet is retained within the envelope or pocket without the use of adhesive.

In use, the connection portion 122 meets the stand portion 124 at a fold line 126. The stand portion 124 is folded away from the backing flap 106 when the display device 110 is used to display the display item on a horizontal surface (not shown). The display device 100 may be used to display the display item in a portrait or in a landscape position.

As described above, a plurality of edges 106, 110 of the transparent sheet 112 is adhered to the back 114 of the backing flap to form a clear front envelope 102. An adhesive, such as a spray adhesive, is applied the back of the main window portion 108 and edges of the transparent sheet 112 are attached by the adhesive. A pocket 133 is formed between the front of the backing flap 106 and the transparent sheet 112. A display item such a photograph is inserted into the pocket 133.

In the exemplary embodiment, a section or peal of adhesive tape forms the adhesive strip 120 on one or both of the connecting portion 122 or backing flap 106. Accordingly, the user removes a protective strip from the adhesive strip and presses the connecting portion 122 of the support flap 104 to the paper backing. User instructions in the form of printed indicia are included on the display device to assist the user in properly using the display device 100 as a display device and a personalized postcard mailer. The instructions may include directions on applying the sealing flap to the backing flap 106 and not to the support flap 104.

FIG. 10 shows one example of the display item in the final sealed state with a display article mounted in the pocket 133 at the window frame defined by the window portion 108.

FIG. 2 is an illustration of a perspective view of a sealed display device 100 with indicia indicating the appropriate location for postage 1102 is printed on the connection portion 122 of the support flap 104. In some situations, the postage may be provided on the display device 100. In addition to postcard indicia, the display device includes other indicia on one or more components of the display device 100 in the exemplary embodiment. For example, indicia such as advertising indicia, decorative indicia, logos, letters, numbers, symbols, or other types of printed or etched items may be included on the transparent sheet 112, the paper backing 116, the sealing flap 118, or the support flap 104. When included on the back side of the display device 100, the indicia may be printed on the connection portion 122 of the support flap 104, on the stand portion 124 of the support flap, or on the paper backing 114 as well as on any portion of the sealing flap 18 or the transparent sheet edges 106, 108, 110. In some circumstances, the indicia may be included on the transparent sheet 112 such that it can be viewed when the display item is sealed with the clear front envelope 102. Etching techniques may be used to form a logo, lettering or other design on the front face of the clear front envelope to allow the display item to be viewed with minimal interference. In some circumstances, the indicia may be included on the front of the paper backing 116 such that it can be viewed through the clear front envelope before a display item is inserted. For informational or decorative purposes, the display item 100 may include other features by using particular materials such as colored paper stock or colored transparent sheets 112.

The indicia may be a generic decorative designs or images such as representations, for example, of historical or natural landmarks, seasonal or holiday depictions, or religious symbols. The representations may include any level of complexity and color and may be full color photos such as traditional photos found on postcard or may be single color sketch. For example, the back of the display device 100 may include a full color photograph of a beach or may simply include a single color image of a palm tree to express a vacation theme. Examples of holiday and seasonal indicia include depictions of Christmas trees, Santa Claus, hearts, clovers, snowmen, flags, winter scenes, flowers, witches, pumpkins, turkeys, colored leaves, as well as text. In some situations the indicia may express an invitation to an event such as a party or wedding and may include customized information. For example, the indicia may include date, time, location and other event specific information.

The display device may be used as a promotional mechanism or for advertising. For example, company logos, names, slogans, trademarks and other company identifiable symbols may be etched or printed in the clear envelope or on the back of the display device 100. The promotional aspects of the exemplary display device 100 may be particularly useful at theme parks where symbols or marks may indicate the source of the picture. For example, an image of famous whale may be included on the display device to indicate that a photograph contained in the display device was taken at an aquatic adventure park. Further, famous cartoon characters may enhance the attractiveness of the display device when sold or otherwise provided at a well known theme park associated with those characters.

Additionally, the display device 100 may include a die-cut flap that serves as a pop-up feature to enhance the appearance and promotional aspects of the invention. With reference to FIG. 11, the display device 100 may include the optional pop-up flap 140 die cut into the connection portion 122 between the sealing/adhesive strips 120. FIG. 12 shows the die-cut perforations in the connection portion 122. The user may optionally pivot the flap. 140 to be visible from the front side above the main window portion 108 to enhance the visual or promotional aspects of the invention. As will be understood by those of skill in the art, the pop-up flap 140 may be designed to promote a particular event or simply enhance the item being displayed in the viewing window. Further, a flat planar magnet may be disposed behind the pop-up flap 140 for mounting the display device on a metal surface such as a refrigerator.

In some circumstances, a thin planer magnet is attached to the display device 100 to allow the display device to be mounted on a metal surface such as a refrigerator. A suitable technique for attaching a magnet includes sealing a strip of thin, planar magnetic material between the paper backing and the connection portion of the support flap 104.

To this end, the present invention further provides a modified design where a thin, planar magnetic 150 may be disposed on the backing flap 106 with a die-cut window 155 provided on the connection portion 122. With reference to FIG. 13, the magnet 150 is disposed to be selectively exposed by the user via the optional die-cut window 155, which the user can tear off to expose the magnet 150. FIG. 14 shows the magnet 150 mounted for use on an assembled display device 100 behind the die-cut window 155. Also, optional hanging flaps 157, 158 are provided for hanging the display device 100 in one of a portrait or landscape orientation.

The display device 100, therefore, allows a display item such a photograph to be displayed in either a landscape or portrait orientation. The clear front envelope formed by the paper backing and the transparent sheet secures the display item without obscuring the image with a frame. The display device 100 is easy to use as an inexpensive, safe picture frame and also as a convenient envelope for forming a personalized postcard.

Clearly, other embodiments and modifications of this invention will occur readily to those of ordinary skill in the art in view of these teachings. The above description is illustrative and not restrictive. This invention is to be limited only by the following claims, which include all such embodiments and modifications when viewed in conjunction with the above specification and accompanying drawings. The scope of the invention should, therefore, be determined not with reference to the above description, but instead should be determined with reference to the appended claims along with their full scope of equivalents.