Title:
Retail Theft-Deterrent Device and Method of Making
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A mechanism for deterring theft of an article has a dagger 10 including a dagger base and an elongated member extending therefrom and a dagger receptacle 60 affixable in close proximity to the article adapted for selectively, removably receiving the dagger.



Inventors:
Freitag, Kenny (Cheshire, MA, US)
Bertram, Ken (Hillsborough, NC, US)
Williams, Ricky N. (Pittsfield, MA, US)
Kostyun, James (Pittsfield, MA, US)
Hand, Brian (Fairfield, CT, US)
Vanessa, Preston (Sound Beach, NY, US)
Application Number:
10/570713
Publication Date:
04/24/2008
Filing Date:
09/07/2004
Assignee:
MEADWESTVACO CORPORATION (Stamford, CT, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F41B13/08
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
VERMA, RISHI GOPAL
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WESTROCK COMPANY (Richmond, VA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A mechanism for deterring theft of an article, the mechanism comprising: a dagger including a dagger base and an elongated member extending therefrom; and a dagger receptacle affixable in close proximity to the article adapted for selectively, removably receiving the dagger.

2. The invention of claim 1, wherein the dagger receptacle is affixable directly to the article.

3. The invention of claim 1, wherein the dagger receptacle is affixable to primary packaging for the article.

4. A package including at least one surface, the package comprising: a dagger including a dagger base and an elongated member extending therefrom; and a dagger receptacle affixed to the at least one surface adapted for selectively, removably receiving the dagger.

5. The package of claim 4, wherein the at least one surface lies within an interior of the package.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to devices and methods for deterring thefts of articles, and more particularly to devices and methods for deterring thefts of articles in a retail environment.

Manufactures and retailers desire to deter theft of articles sold in a retail environment to the greatest extent possible. Theft of relatively small but higher priced items is a particular problem. One known method of theft deterrence involves encasing retail articles in an outer covering that is too cumbersome for a thief to conceal and remove from the premises. So-called “clam-shell” cases or “keepers” are examples of such outer coverings. A problem with this method is that the encasing apparatus typically requires more shelf space than the article itself. Another problem with this method is that if the encasing devices are removable, they have to be stored and handled for re-use. Thus, it can be appreciated that it would be desirable to have a means for deterring theft of articles in a retail environment, which means does not substantially increase the amount of space required to display the article. It can also be appreciated that it would be desirable to have a means for deterring theft of articles in a retail environment, which means is not in and of itself cumbersome to store and handle.

Another method of theft deterrence is to simply display the articles in a locked case. A drawback to this approach is that an employee must be available to give access to the article—unlocking the case, handling the article, and then relocking the case. A drawback to this method of deterrence is the need for an employee to provide access, thus increasing operating expenses for the business. A further drawback is that customers are often dissuaded from a purchase of this nature because of the time and effort in obtaining help from a store employee to view the article. Thus, it can be appreciated that it would be desirable to have a means for deterring theft of articles that does not inhibit customers' access to the articles.

Manufactures and retailers desire to deter theft of multiples of an article in a single event in particular. So-called “shelf sweep” is a particular type of multiple-article theft that manufactures and retailers desire to deter. In shelf sweep, a thief engulfs a quantity of articles on a store shelf or similar display in a single motion, such as by sweeping his or her arm across a shelf, thereby sweeping the articles into a bag or similar container. In this type of theft, the thief may not be concerned about being detected but plans to rapidly escape. Articles taken in this manner are often sold through retail channels such as a regular retail outlet, flea markets and merchandising websites. Thus, it can be appreciated that it would be desirable to have a means for deterring theft of articles in a retail environment, which means can readily identify an article as being stolen.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with a preferred embodiment, the present invention provides a base attachable to an article to be sold. The base is adapted to receive a spear, or dagger, that can only be removed by a special apparatus. Such a spear/dagger is disclosed in applicant's co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/416,767, which application is hereby incorporated by reference. The spear/dagger is configured and colored to be easily and readily perceived.

In accordance with another aspect of the preferred embodiment, the base is adapted for adherence to the bottom of an article or article package.

In accordance with a further aspect of the preferred embodiment, the base is adapted to be secured within an article or packaging for the article.

In accordance with still an additional aspect of the preferred embodiment, the base is adapted to be adhered to more than one face of the article or packaging for the article.

In accordance with a second, broader, preferred embodiment of the invention, a receptacle for selectively, removably receiving a dagger is affixable to either an article or the primary packaging for an article.

Other advantages and objects of the present invention will be apparent from the following description, the accompanying drawings, and the appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an isometric illustration of an article package having of a theft-deterrent device in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2 is an isometric illustration from a view point looking upward at the bottom of the preferred embodiment of the invention shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is an isometric illustration from a view point looking forward from the rear of the preferred embodiment of the invention shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is an isometric illustration of a second preferred embodiment of the invention showing an article package having a theft-deterrent device;

FIG. 5 is an isometric illustration from a view point looking rearward from the front of the preferred embodiment shown in FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is an isometric illustration of a third preferred embodiment of the invention showing an article package having a theft-deterrent device;

FIG. 7 is an isometric illustration from a view point looking forward from the rear of the preferred embodiment of the invention shown in FIG. 6, with a side wall of the article package removed to reveal the interior;

FIG. 8 is an isometric illustration from a view point looking upward at the bottom of the preferred embodiment of the invention shown in FIG. 6;

FIG. 9 is an isometric illustration from a view point from one side of the preferred embodiment of the invention shown in FIG. 6, with a portion of the side wall removed revealing the interior of the article package and all of the components of the invention;

FIG. 10 is a partial sectional illustration of the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, taken along line A-A of FIG. 2;

FIG. 11 is an isometric illustration of an article package having of a theft-deterrent device in accordance with a second preferred embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 12 is a partial sectional view of the invention of FIG. 11 showing a cross-section of the receptacle and dagger.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Throughout the drawings, the same reference numerals are used to denote the same or like features of the invention.

Referring first to FIG. 1, therein is illustrated an article package 1 with theft-deterrent device in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention. A base 20 and the article package 1 are in affixed relationship with respect to one another. A dagger, or spear, 10 is shown protruding upwardly from the base 20 through the top of the package 1. The same elements are shown in FIGS. 2 and 3. In addition, there can be seen in FIGS. 2 and 3 the manner in which the base of the dagger/spear 10 is received by the seating and locking mechanism 22 of the base 20.

Referring now simultaneously to FIGS. 4 and 5, therein can be seen a second preferred embodiment wherein the base 30 has an orthogonal support member 34. Both the base 30 and support member 34 are disposed in flat-face relation with respect to two sides, respectively, of the article package 2. In this embodiment, the spear/dagger 10 extends upwardly from the base 30 seating and locking mechanism 32 through support member 34 and ultimately exteriorly of the article package 2.

Referring now simultaneously to FIGS. 6, 7,8 and 9, therein is illustrated a third preferred embodiment of the invention wherein a base 40 is encased within the article package 3 and the dagger/spear 10 is inserted through an opening in the bottom of the article package 3 to seat within the seating receptacle 42 base and extend upwardly through the top region of the package 3.

The dagger/spear 10 component of the invention is the same in all of the embodiments illustrated. The explanation of the operation of the locking mechanism is application to each preferred embodiment. The dagger/spear 10 seats and locks within each base's 20, 30, 40 seating and locking mechanism 22, 32, 42. The dagger/spear 10 interacts in the same manner with each seating and locking mechanism 22, 32, 42 as illustrated in FIG. 10 and described in more detail below. In addition, the operation of the dagger/spear 10 and seating and locking mechanism and unlocking thereof is described in applicant's co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/416,767, which application is hereby incorporated by reference.

Referring now to FIG. 10, in a cross-sectional view taken along line A-A of FIG. 2, therein can be seen the base 12 of the dagger/spear 10 engaged by the seating and locking mechanism 22 of the base 20. The dagger/spear base 12 is locked through the interaction of spring 16 of the dagger/spear 10 and detent 24 of the base 20. The elongated projection 14 of the dagger/spear 10 is shown extending upwardly and sandwiched (in the embodiment shown) between outer 5 and inner 4 walls of the article package 1.

Once seated and locked in placed, the dagger/spear can be removed by causing the spring 16 to deflect away from the detent 24 together with retraction of the dagger/spear 10 from the base 20. Deflection of the spring 16 can be achieved by direct mechanical means such as insertion of a tool or by means of application of a magnetic filed as described in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/416,767.

The dagger/spear is made in a length and color suitable to be readily detected by a purchaser or other observer. The spear/dagger may also be imprinted with indicia indicating that its presence in the package is indicative of unlawful sale thereof. Because the base in each embodiment is made an integral part of the package, without use of an authorized removal device, the dagger/spear would typically have to be removed by removal of the base. Removal of the base in turn defaces the package. Because a defaced package is less salable, the invention operates as a deterrent to theft.

An electronic monitoring device such as a transponder or electronic article surveillance mechanism can be incorporated into the invention by placement of such mechanism upon or within the dagger/spear 10 or the base.

The dagger/spear 10 may contain an aperture for hanging the article package on a hook.

Referring now to FIGS. 11 and 12, therein are shown an article package having of a theft-deterrent device in accordance with a second, more broad, preferred embodiment of the invention. The same dagger/spear 10 having a dagger base and cooperating locking mechanism as described above is used. However, the dagger 10 is received by a dagger receptacle 60 rather than a base. The receptacle 60 contains the cooperating elements for selectively locking and releasing the dagger base as described above. The receptacle 60 is actually a smaller, simpler version of the bases 20, 30, 40 described above but the term receptacle is applicable to all of the receiving components. However, the receptacle 60 of the second preferred embodiment can be affixed in extremely close proximity to an article to be sold, that is, it can be affixed either directly to an article or to primary packaging 7 for an article. Thus it can be seen that the second preferred embodiment minimizes the space needed for the addition of the security device to deter theft of the article.

The invention enables products to be made accessible to customers while containing theft-deterrent features that are non-cumbersome and easily removable by lawful means only.

Modifications may be made in the foregoing without departing from the scope and spirit of the claimed invention.

The figures forming a part of this specification convey the best mode for carrying out the invention known to the inventor at the time of filing the patent application. The figures are further presented to enable those skilled in the art to make and use the invention. After learning of the details of the invention as presented herein, including the figures, it is likely that alternative embodiments could be devised according to the invention, which have a much different appearance than the embodiments disclosed in the accompanying figures. The figures forming a part of the specification convey utilitarian aspects of the invention and the preferred embodiments, and also include ornamental features which are not necessary to the utilization of the invention.