Title:
In-store plastic bag pad with header
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A plastic bag pad comprising one or more plastic bags including detachable sections, wherein the bags are connected to a plastic header. A portion of each bag may be removed from the header by ripping along a perforated line. Each bag may comprise an overlay panel. Each bag may also include a sleeve to contain a support object. The detachable section of each bag may include an coupon or sample, and each bag may include an advertisement or name.



Inventors:
Farley, Wesley Charles (Pinckney, MI, US)
Hall, Joseph N. (Taylor, MI, US)
Application Number:
11/651963
Publication Date:
11/22/2007
Filing Date:
01/11/2007
Assignee:
VALASSIS COMMUNICATIONS, INC.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
383/9, 383/37, 383/40, 383/105
International Classes:
B65D1/34; B65D30/00; B65D30/22; B65D33/00; B65D33/10
View Patent Images:
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20070272264EYELASH ADORNMENTNovember, 2007Byrne
20090045314Wall mount clip for sheet like material such as paper/picturesFebruary, 2009Lien
20040226841Revolving tool bucketNovember, 2004William Jr.
20070158227Plaster enclosing packaging bagJuly, 2007Amano et al.
20090039124Universal carrying apparatus and attachment for laptop or other equipmentFebruary, 2009Leto
20080087560DISINFECTANT WIPE DISPENSERApril, 2008Kelly
20080099364STACKABLE STEMWAREMay, 2008Niedzwiecki



Primary Examiner:
BYRD, LATRICE CHENELL
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Brooks Kushman (Southfield, MI, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. A plastic bag pad comprising: a plastic header unit; and at least one plastic bag connected to the plastic header comprising: front and back opposing wall panels of equal widths sealed together along a bottom edge of each panel and along a pair of respective side edges of each panel, to define a closed wall panel portion and an open mouth portion, wherein the back wall panel comprises a top portion extending beyond a top edge of the front wall panel; a top perforated line extending horizontally across the back wall panel portion between the mouth of the bag and the height at which the bag is connected to the plastic header; at least one detachable section comprising a front and back detachable panel, wherein: a pair of sides, a base edge, and a top edge, of the front detachable panel are sealed to a pair of sides, a base edge, and a top edge, of the back detachable panel, and at least one perforated line crosses the front detachable panel and directly overlaps a corresponding perforated line crossing the back detachable panel, creating at least one set of perforated lines and at least one separable pocket, wherein the at least one separable pocket extends beyond perforated lines and may be separated from wall panel portion by ripping along said at least one set of perforated lines without compromising closure of the wall panel portion.

2. The plastic bag pad of claim 1, wherein the header further includes at least two apertures.

3. The plastic bag pad of claim 1, wherein the header further comprises two U-shaped cuts that form a foldable U-shaped portion.

4. The plastic bag pad of 1, wherein the plastic bags are connected to the plastic header by staples.

5. The plastic bag pad of claim 1, wherein each plastic bag further comprises a front aperture located on the front wall panel and a back aperture located on the back wall panel, the two apertures being of equal dimensions and at the same distance from the bottom edge of the wall panel portion.

6. The plastic bag pad of claim 1, wherein each bag further comprises at least one printed feature selected from the group consisting of a name, a picture, a design, a trademark, a coupon, an advertisement, a promotion, a prize, and informative material.

7. The plastic bag pad of claim 1, wherein at least one separable pocket of each plastic bag contains a coupon, an advertisement, a promotion, a sample, a prize, an accessory to be used with the product which will be placed in the bag, and informative material.

8. The plastic bag pad of claim 1, wherein each plastic bag further comprises a writable surface on the wall panel portion, created by a film or adhesive finish bonded to at least one of the wall panels.

9. The plastic bag of claim 1, wherein said plastic bag further comprises at least one overlay panel, having at least two edges sealed to the sides of at least one wall panel.

10. The plastic bag pad of 9, wherein said overlay panel overlaps the interior surface of the back wall panel.

11. The plastic bag pad of claim 9, wherein said overlay panel overlaps the exterior surface of the back wall panel.

12. The plastic bag pad of claim 9, wherein at least three edges of said overlay panel are sealed to said back wall panel thereby forming a sleeve, and wherein a support object is inserted into the sleeve; and said support object is selected from the group consisting of cardboard, stiff paper, a booklet, a flyer, a cd, a dvd, a magazine and a catalog, whereby the plastic bag maintains a substantially extended position when propped against another object.

13. The plastic bag of 9, wherein a top portion of the overlay panel is folded to the interior surface of the overlay panel, and a pair of sides of the top portion of the overlay panel are sealed to a pair of sides of the overlay panel, such that a hidden flap containing a top edge of the support object is created on the interior surface of the overlay panel.

14. The plastic bag of claim 1, wherein the at least one detachable section extends beyond the bottom edge of the wall panel portion, the top edges of both detachable panels are joined to the bottom edge of the wall panel portion, and the at least one set of perforated lines on the detachable section crosses the detachable section horizontally.

15. The plastic bag of claim 1, wherein the at least one detachable section further comprises sides sealed to a portion of the sides of the wall panel portion, such that the detachable section extends across the front wall panel, and wherein the at least one set of perforated lines crosses the detachable section vertically and is parallel to a second set of perforated lines.

16. The plastic bag of claim 1, wherein the front detachable panel further comprises: a second horizontal perforated line that directly overlaps a corresponding horizontal perforated line on the back detachable panel, thereby forming a set of perforated lines; and a horizontal line sealing the back and front detachable panels extending along at least one side the second horizontal line, such that at least two separable pockets are formed within the detachable section.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The subject matter presented herein relates to a plastic bag, and more specifically, to a plastic bag for consumer items that also deliver samples, coupons, or other promotional or informative material.

BACKGROUND

Most plastic bags are formed by sealing together two indentically-sized retangular wall panels on three edges and leaving an open top. Plastic bags are typically made from polyethylene. High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) is typically used to manufacture plastic bags ranging from translucent to opaque plastic bags, whereas Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) is used to manufacture plastic bags ranging from near-transparent to translucent.

Bags are conveniently dispensed when a large group of bags can be held in one place for quick use. For example, a store may keep a roll of plastic bags separable from one another along detachable lines in the produce section of a store. Dispensing systems which allow a plastic bag to be loaded with goods while the bags are externally supported, for example by a rack, are useful for quickly loading a consumer's goods into a bag. There exist a need for a novel means to dispense bags which can be loaded while externally supported, for example by a rack.

Plastic bags are used in the consumer industry not only to carry purchased products, but also to distribute samples, coupons and promotional messages. Samples, coupons and promotional messages are conventionally delivered in the retail environment by inserting loose coupons or samples inside plastic bags, by printing promotional messages directly onto plastic bags, or by distributing the coupons from a store shelf. However, loosely inserted items require costly separate insertion into the plastic bags. Ultimately, the loose items may also be lost or overlooked by consumers. A coupon or promotional message is less likely to be lost or overlooked by the consumer if it is printed directly onto the plastic bag. However, for a consumer to remove a coupon printed onto the bag, the bag must be cut and thereby damaged. Coupons distributed from a store shelf will go unnoticed by customers unless they walk by that specific area of the store.

In addition to being loosely inserted into a bag, another conventional method of distributing a sample is to include a blank form on a product's packaging for the consumer to fill in and request a sample by mail. Plastic bags conventionally do not offer this method of acquiring samples to consumers, because polyethylene cannot be written upon by most common writing instruments. When the blank form method is used to distribute samples, a small customer base is reached because many people will not take the steps to complete and mail the forms.

Samples may also be distributed by handing them out at a store. One drawback to this method is that not all customers will take a sample, especially if the sample being offered is not an item for immediate use. Typically a store clerk must spend time distributing the samples, thus diminishing the clerk's ability to perform other necessary tasks.

Coupons are often delivered to consumers in mass mailings, which require expensive postage, and which are often thrown away as junk mail by the consumer without ever opening the envelopes. Samples delivered in mass mailings require even more costly postage, due to their increased weight. The ideal delivery method of coupons or samples would reach the largest suitable target audience at the lowest cost. Even small incremental improvements in the cost and control of coupon or sample distribution would result in impressive overall costs savings.

Accordingly, there exists a current need to dispense plastic bags offering the advantage of offering merchants a method to efficiently and effectively reach many costumers with promotional materials such as coupons or samples which will not necessarily require consumers to damage or destroy the bags.

SUMMARY

In one embodiment, the claimed subject matter provides a plastic bag pad including one or more plastic bags connected to a plastic header. In this embodiment, a disclosed plastic bag includes front and back opposing wall panels of equal widths sealed together along a bottom edge of each panel and along a pair of respective side edges of each panel, to define a closed wall panel portion and an open mouth portion. A top portion of the back wall panel extends beyond the top edge of the front wall panel. The bag is connected to the header in the top portion of the back wall panel to the header. A perforated line crosses the back wall panel, between the mouth of the bag and the height at which the back wall panel is connected to the header. The bags include a detachable section with at least one separable pocket, wherein at least one edge of the separable pocket may be separated from the wall panel portion without compromising closure of the wall panel portion.

In one aspect of this embodiment, the header may contain apertures or U shaped cuts. In a further aspect, the bag may be connected to the header by staples. In yet another aspect, the bag may include apertures on the front and back wall panels. The bags may include a printed feature. The separable pocket may contain an item such as a coupon, advertisement, sample, prize, informative material, or accessory to be used with the product which will be placed in the bag. In a further aspect of this embodiment, the bag may include a writable surface.

In another aspect of this embodiment, the plastic bag may include an overlay panel which crosses either the interior or exterior surface of the back wall panel. An object may be inserted into a sleeve created by the overlay panel.

In a further aspect, the detachable section may extend across the front wall panel. Alternatively, the detachable section may extend below the wall panel portion. In a further aspect, the detachable section may include at least two separable pockets.

Additional advantages and aspects of the present subject matter will become readily apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description, wherein embodiments of the present subject matter are shown and described, simply by way of illustration of examples contemplated for practicing the present subject matter. As will be described, the present subject matter is capable of other and different embodiments, and its several details are susceptible of modification in various obvious respects, all without departing from the spirit of the present subject matter. Accordingly, the drawings and description are to be regarded as illustrative in nature, and not limitative.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The following detailed description can best be understood when read in conjunction with the following drawings, in which the various features are not necessarily drawn to scale but rather are drawn as to best illustrate the pertinent features, and in which like reference numerals are employed throughout to designate similar features.

FIG. 1 is a front view of a pad of plastic bags, with each bag having a detachable section.

FIG. 2 depicts the back view of a pad of plastic bags.

FIG. 3 illustrates an example of plastic bag pad having a bag that includes a detachable section;

FIG. 4 depicts a plastic bag pad in which a bag includes a detachable section containing two separable pockets;

FIG. 5 shows an example of a plastic bag pad in which the bag includes a detachable section overlaying the front wall panel;

FIG. 6 is view of a pad depicting a bag's back wall panel interior surface, including an overlay panel forming a sleeve that contains a support object.

FIG. 7a depicts a view of the exterior surface of a back wall panel of a bag in a plastic bag pad, including an overlay lay panel forming a sleeve that contains a stiff object for support of the bag.

FIG. 7b of the drawings depicts an interior surface of an overlay panel, where a top portion of the overlay panel has been folded over to create a hidden flap.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

In the following detailed description, numerous specific details are set forth by way of examples in order to provide a thorough understanding of the relevant teachings. However, it should be apparent to those skilled in the art that the present teachings may be practiced without such details. In other instances, well known methods, procedures, and components have been described at a relatively high-level, without detail, in order to avoid unnecessarily obscuring aspects of the present teachings.

Referring now to the drawings, FIG. 1 shows the embodiment of a pad of plastic bags 1. The pad has a plastic header 2 to which at least one plastic bag 3 is connected. The plastic header may be manufactured by either injection molding or by cutting the header out of a sheet of plastic. The bag is connected to the header by two staples 4 and 5. The header includes two apertures 6 and 7 which may be used to hang the bag from a rack. The header also contains a U-shaped member 8 that may be used to hang the pad from or stabilize a pad on a rack.

Each plastic bag 3 has a back wall panel having a top portion 9 that extends beyond a front wall panel 10. The two wall panels are joined along their sides 11, and along their bottom edge 12, forming a closed wall panel portion and an open mouth portion 13. On the front wall panel there is a aperture 14 of equal dimensions and distance from the bottom edge 12 as a corresponding aperture on the back wall panel. Below the bottom edge 12, there is a detachable section 15. The section is composed of a front detachable panel 16 sealed along its side edges 17 and along its base edge 18 to the corresponding side edges and base edge of a back detachable panel. The portion of the detachable section demarcated by the perforated line 19, the sealed sides 17, and the sealed base edge 18, form the edges of a separable pocket 20 which may be removed from the wall panel portion by ripping along perforated line 19 without compromising closure of the wall panel portion.

The back wall panel's top portion 9 includes a perforated line 21 in between the mouth of the bag 13 and the height of the staples 4 and 5. The consumer portion of the bag 22 which extends below the perforated line 21, and may be removed from the plastic header 2 by ripping along the perforated line 21.

FIG. 1 also displays a sample 23 contained in a separable pocket as seen through near-translucent polyethylene. The plastic bag may also comprise a writable surface 24. The writable surface may created by treating a portion of the bag with a film or finish capable of being written upon by common writing instruments when bonded to the plastic material of the bag. Common writing instruments include ballpoint pens, felt tip pens, pencils, and markers. A bag with a writable surface offers the advantage of labeling bags at the store, for example, labeling bags with names of pharmacy customers. FIG. 1 also illustrates that a printed feature 25 on the bag may be located either on the wall panel section or the detachable section. The printed feature may be a design, such as a store logo, or a promotion, such as a promotional message. In all embodiments, printed features may be printed directly on the bag using technology well known in the art, such as 4-8 color flexographic printing. Three plastic bags 3, 27, and 28 are shown in the pad, by way of example.

The plastic bag according to the several embodiments can be manufactured from a continuous polyethylene plastic web using machinery well known in the art to fold, cut, thermoseal and perforate the bag as required.

In all embodiments, the uses of the aperture include using the aperture as a handle and inserting a structure, such as a hook, through the aperture for the purpose of hanging the bag. The sealable member may be created by a sticky band, possibly covered by a removable strip of paper or plastic. The separable pocket may be removed from the wall panel portion by ripping along the perforated lines on the detachable section. Each separable pocket may contain among other items, coupon, an advertisement, a promotion, a sample, a prize, an accessory to be used with the product which will be placed in the bag, or informative material. Printed upon the detachable section may be a coupon, an advertisement, a promotion, a prize, or informative material.

FIG. 2 corresponds to FIG. 1 by showing the back view of the plastic bag pad. As illustrated from a back view, the U-shaped member 8′, is created from two U-shaped cuts 29 and 30 in the header 2′ displayed. The U-shaped member 8 may be folded upward to hang the pad from a rack. The perforated line 19′ is also displayed on the exterior of the back detachable panel 32, and the perforated line 21′ is displayed on the exterior of the back wall panel 47. A rear view of the aperture 14′ in the back wall panel is also illustrated.

FIG. 3 shows a perspective drawing of a plastic bag pad comprising a plastic bag attached to a header. The front and back wall panels are joined along their sides 11, and along their bottom edge 12, forming a closed wall panel portion and an open mouth portion 13. On the front wall panel there is a aperture 14 of equal dimensions and distance from the bottom edge 12 as a corresponding aperture on the back wall panel.

FIG. 4 corresponds to FIG. 1 but illustrates an additional aspect of the plastic bag pad, in which each bag comprises multiple separable pockets 20 and 33 within the detachable section. The separable pocket 20 can be removed from the wall panel portion of the bag by ripping along perforated line 19 which directly overlaps a perforated line on the back detachable panel. Pockets 19 and 33 both have a sealed base edge 18 and 34, respectively. The pockets 20 and 33 may be separated from one another by ripping along the lower perforated line 35 that overlaps a corresponding perforated line on the back detachable panel. Pocket 33 is further enclosed by an lower horizontal line 36 that seals the front and back detachable panels, such that when pocket 33 is separated from the other pocket 20 along perforated line 35, four of its edges remain sealed. Pockets sealed on all four edges offer the advantage of containing samples of gels, liquids, or multiple small items which the customer may wish to keep contained until a later point. For instance, the pocket could offer a sample of a lotion, toothpaste, or a multitude of small pills.

FIG. 5 illustrates an aspect of the plastic bag pad wherein each plastic bag comprises a detachable section that extends across the front wall panel. The front and back detachable panels are sealed together along their sides 17 to the sides 11 of the wall panel portion. The front and back detachable panels are sealed to each other but remain unattached to the front wall panel along their top edge 36 and along their bottom edge 37. Separable pockets 38 and 39, are formed within the detachable section by vertical sealing lines 40, 41, 42, and 43, and by vertical perforated lines 44, 45, and 46.

This aspect as well as other aspects comprising panels extending across a wall panel can be manufactured from a continuous polyethylene plastic web in addition to a second continuous polyethylene plastic sheet or web to form the overlay panels using machinery well known in the art to fold, cut, thermoseal and perforate the bag as required.

FIG. 6 corresponds to FIG. 2 but reveals a view of a possible interior surface 47′ of the back wall panel of each plastic bag in the pad. The back panel includes an aperture 14″ An overlay panel 48 is sealed along its side edges 49 to the two interior side edges 11″ of the back wall panel. In this example, the overlay panel is made of a translucent material. The overlay panel is also sealed along it bottom edge 50 to the interior surface of the back wall panel. The overlay panel creates a sleeve 52 which contains a stiff, sheet-like support object 51 that gives the bag the ability to maintain a substantially extended position when propped against another object. In maintaining a substantially extended position the wall panel portion of the bag would not collapse but would maintain a largely rectangular shape if the bottom edge of the wall panel portion of the bag were placed on a surface and leaned against a perpendicular object or surface, such as a wall. The sheet-like object 51 contained in the sleeve may be selected from the group including a piece of cardboard, a piece of stiff paper, a booklet, a flyer, a cd, a dvd, a magazine, a catalog or other stiff sheet-like object.

The embodiment of FIG. 6 can be manufactured from a continuous polyethylene plastic web in addition to a continuous polyethylene plastic sheet to form the overlay sheet using machinery well known in the art to fold, cut, thermoseal and perforate the bag as required. The bag could be manufactured initially with the inside of the bag facing out, and once the overlay sheet is sealed on the back panel, the tubing for that bag may be turned or blown such that the overlay panel appears on the inside of the bag.

FIG. 7a, portrays an aspect of the plastic bag pad in which for each plastic bag, an overlay panel 48 that extends across the exterior surface 47 of the back wall panel. The overlay panel 48 is sealed along its side edges 49 to the two exterior side edges 11″ of the back wall panel. The overlay panel is also sealed along it bottom edge 50 to the exterior surface of the back wall panel. The overlay panel creates a sleeve 52, which as illustrated with a near-transparent overly panel, contains a sheet-like support object 51. This support object may be selected from the group comprising a piece of cardboard, a piece of stiff paper, a booklet, a flyer, a cd, a dvd, a magazine, a catalog and other stiff sheet-like object. In this example, the overlay panel is transparent. The advantage of either a translucent or transparent overlay panel attached to the exterior surface of the wall panel portion, is that the object inserted into the sleeve will be visible through the overlay panel.

FIG. 7b corresponds to FIG. 7a, but displays an interior view of the overlay panel 48′. In this view, a top portion 53 of the overlay panel is folded over, and the sides 54 of the top portion of the overlay panel are sealed to the side edges 49 of the overlay panel to form a hidden flap 55 to contain the top edge of the sheet-like object 51. The advantage of the hidden flap containing the top edge of the support object is that the bag is prevented from collapsing around the support object and remains substantially extended when propped against another object.

In the previous description, numerous specific details are set forth, such as specific materials, structures, processes, etc., in order to provide a better understanding of the present subject matter. However, the present subject matter can be practiced without resorting to the details specifically set forth herein. In other instances, well-known processing techniques and structures have not been described in order not to unnecessarily obscure the present subject matter.

Only the preferred embodiments of the present subject matter and but a few examples of its versatility are shown and described in the present disclosure. It is to be understood that the present subject matter is capable of use in various other combinations and environments and is susceptible of changes and/or modifications within the scope of the inventive concept as expressed herein.