Title:
ARTICLE FOR SAFELY TRANSPORTING WINE AND SPIRIT GLASS BOTTLES AND THE LIKE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Embodiments of the present invention provide a packaging article for safely transporting wine and spirit bottles and the like. Accordingly, an article is provided comprising one or more layers of material in a general shape of a bottle to be contained therein and an opening in the article for insertion of a bottle to be contained therein, and means for closing the opening for transporting the bottle contained therein.



Inventors:
Snyder, Aaron L. (Venice, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/844783
Publication Date:
05/22/2008
Filing Date:
08/24/2007
Assignee:
FROM THE SOURCE, LLC (Las Vegas, NV, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/521
International Classes:
B65D81/03
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PERREAULT, ANDREW D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SCHWABE WILLIAMSON& WYATT (PORTLAND, OR, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An article comprising: an outer layer of material in a general shape of a bottle to be contained therein; an inner layer of cushioning material generally conforming in shape to said outer layer; an opening in said outer and inner layer for insertion of a bottle to be contained therein such that the bottle may contact the inner layer of cushioning material; and means for closing the opening for transporting the bottle contained therein.

2. The article of claim 1 wherein the means for closing the opening substantially prevents liquids from leaking from within the article.

3. The article of claim 1 wherein the outer layer is fabricated of malleable vinyl or plastic.

4. The article of claim 1 wherein the outer layer is transparent.

5. The article of claim 1 wherein the outer layer is colored.

6. The article of claim 1 wherein the outer layer depicts logos, symbols or decorative features.

7. The article of claim 1 wherein the cushioning material comprises an air-cushioned material.

8. The article of claim 1 wherein at least a portion of the inner layer is attached to the outer layer.

9. The article of claim 1 wherein the means for closing the opening is one or more sections of adhesive.

10. The article of claim 1 wherein the means for closing the opening comprises a first portion of adhesive configured to adhere an inner surface of said article to an opposite facing inner surface of said article.

11. The article of claim 10 wherein the means for closing the opening further comprises a second portion of adhesive on a flap extending from the opening of said article, said second portion of adhesive configured to be folded over and to adhere said flap to an outer surface of said article.

12. The article of claim 11 wherein at least one of said first and said second portion of adhesive is covered by a release liner configured to be removed prior to adhering said first and/or said second portion of adhesive to said article to close said opening.

13. The article of claim 11 wherein said flap includes two holes which form a handle when said second portion of adhesive is folded over and adhered to an outer surface of said article.

14. An article comprising: a member of cushioning material in a general shape of a bottle to be contained therein, said member of cushioning material having an outer surface and an inner surface; an opening in said member for insertion of a bottle to be contained therein such that the bottle may contact the inner surface of cushioning material; and means for closing the opening for transporting the bottle contained therein.

15. The article of claim 14 wherein the cushioning material comprises an air-cushioned material.

16. The article of claim 14 wherein the means for closing the opening comprises a member selected from the group consisting of snaps, hook-and-loop fasteners, zippers, and zip-lock fasteners.

17. The article of claim 14 wherein the means for closing the opening is one or more sections of adhesive.

18. The article of claim 14 wherein the means for closing the opening comprises a first portion of adhesive configured to adhere an inner surface of said article to an opposite facing inner surface of said article.

19. The article of claim 18 wherein the means for closing the opening further comprises a second portion of adhesive on a flap extending from the opening of said article, said second portion of adhesive configured to be folded over and to adhere said flap to an outer surface of said article.

20. The article of claim 19 wherein at least one of said first and said second portion of adhesive is covered by a release liner configured to be removed prior to adhering said first and/or said second portion of adhesive to said article to close said opening.

21. The article of claim 19 wherein said flap includes two holes which form a handle when said second portion of adhesive is folded over and adhered to an outer surface of said article.

22. The article of claim 14, further comprising a housing at least partially surrounding said member.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/866,572, filed Nov. 20, 2006, entitled “Article for Safely Transporting Wine and Spirit Glass Bottles and the Like,” the entire disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

TECHNICAL FIELD

Embodiments of the present invention relate to a packaging article for safely transporting wine and spirit bottles and the like.

BACKGROUND

Bottle breakage concerning wine and spirits and the like is a significant problem at all levels of transportation. Bottles can break en route from the manufacturer to wholesale, retail outlets or the consumer, from wholesale or retail outlets to the homes of consumers, and/or from the homes of consumers to friends and families. Bottle breakage is problematic for all wine and spirit manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, and consumers because such bottle breakage becomes an expensive cost of doing business, especially when a bottle of rare wine or spirits breaks with the idea of replacement not an option.

Another significant problem with bottle breakage is that the contents of the bottle can damage adjacent items such as clothing, documents, electronics and other items.

While there are some products on the market for preventing wine and spirit bottle breakage, they are either too expensive, unreliable (e.g., leak), unsightly and/or costly.

Therefore, it would be advantageous to provide an article for safely transporting wine and spirit bottles and the like that overcomes the shortcomings of the current products on the market.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Embodiments of the present invention will be readily understood by the following detailed description in conjunction with the accompanying drawings. Embodiments of the invention are illustrated by way of example and not by way of limitation in the figures of the accompanying drawings.

FIG. 1 illustrates a top view of a bottle packaging article in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention without a bottle contained therein;

FIG. 2 illustrates a cross-sectional side view of an end of the bottle packaging article of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 illustrates a cross-sectional side view of an end of the bottle packaging article of FIG. 1 with a bottle contained therein and a first sealing means being utilized;

FIG. 4 illustrates a cross-sectional side view of an end of the bottle packaging article of FIG. 1 with a bottle contained therein and a first and second sealing means being utilized;

FIG. 5 illustrates a cross-sectional side view of an end of the bottle packaging article of FIG. 1 with a bottle contained therein and a first and second sealing means being utilized;

FIG. 6 illustrates a top view of a bottle packaging article in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention without a bottle contained therein;

FIG. 7 illustrates a cross-sectional side view of an end of the bottle packaging article of FIG. 6;

FIG. 8 illustrates a cross-sectional side view of an end of the bottle packaging article of FIG. 6 with a bottle contained therein and a first sealing means being utilized;

FIG. 9 illustrates a cross-sectional side view of an end of the bottle packaging article of FIG. 6 with a bottle contained therein and a first and second sealing means being utilized;

FIG. 10 illustrates a top view of a bottle packaging article in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention without a bottle contained therein and showing an extended flap arrangement;

FIG. 11 illustrates a cross-sectional side view of an end of the bottle packaging article of FIG. 10;

FIG. 12 illustrates a cross-sectional side view of an end of the bottle packaging article of FIG. 10 with a bottle contained therein and a first sealing means being utilized; and

FIG. 13 illustrates a cross-sectional side view of an end of the bottle packaging article of FIG. 10 with a bottle contained therein and a first and second sealing means being utilized forming a handle for grasping.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

In the following detailed description, reference is made to the accompanying drawings which form a part hereof, and in which are shown by way of illustration embodiments in which the invention may be practiced. It is to be understood that other embodiments may be utilized and structural or logical changes may be made without departing from the scope of the present invention. Therefore, the following detailed description is not to be taken in a limiting sense, and the scope of embodiments in accordance with the present invention is defined by the appended claims and their equivalents.

Various operations may be described as multiple discrete operations in turn, in a manner that may be helpful in understanding embodiments of the present invention; however, the order of description should not be construed to imply that these operations are order dependent.

The description may use perspective-based descriptions such as up/down, back/front, and top/bottom. Such descriptions are merely used to facilitate the discussion and are not intended to restrict the application of embodiments of the present invention.

For the purposes of the description, a phrase in the form “A/B” means A or B. For the purposes of the description, a phrase in the form “A and/or B” means “(A), (B), or (A and B)”. For the purposes of the description, a phrase in the form “at least one of A, B, and C” means “(A), (B), (C), (A and B), (A and C), (B and C), or (A, B and C)”. For the purposes of the description, a phrase in the form “(A)B” means “(B) or (AB)” that is, A is an optional element.

The description may use the phrases “in an embodiment,” or “in embodiments,” which may each refer to one or more of the same or different embodiments. Furthermore, the terms “comprising,” “including,” “having,” and the like, as used with respect to embodiments of the present invention, are synonymous.

Embodiments of the present invention provide a packaging article for safely transporting individual wine and spirit bottles and the like.

Accordingly, a first embodiment of the present invention is an article comprising: an outer layer of material in a general shape of a bottle to be contained therein; an inner layer of cushioning material generally conforming in shape to the outer layer; an opening in the outer and inner layer for insertion of a bottle to be contained therein such that the bottle may contact the inner layer of cushioning material; and means for closing the opening for transporting the bottle contained therein.

In embodiments, the closure means forms a seal preventing all or most of the leakage of liquids from within the article in the event of breakage of or leakage from the bottle. In one embodiment, the outer layer is a clear malleable vinyl or plastic and the inner layer is a cushioning material such as Bubble Wrap®. In other embodiments, the outer layer may be colored and/or may include logos, symbols or similar elements.

Another embodiment of the present invention is an article comprising: a member of cushioning material in a general shape of a bottle to be contained therein, the member of cushioning material having an outer surface and an inner surface; an opening in the member for insertion of a bottle to be contained therein such that the bottle may contact the inner surface of the cushioning material; and means for closing the opening for transporting the bottle contained therein.

As provided in embodiments of the invention, utilizing material in a general shape of a bottle for packaging a bottle provides better protection of the bottle due to the better conformance of the packaging to the general shape of the product to be contained therein. In an embodiment, this conformance reduces the movement of a bottle within the packaging as compared to certain other shapes of packaging that may be utilized, such as square or rectangular.

For the purposes of describing embodiments of the present invention, the term “cushioning” refers to a material that provides some amount of cushioning with one or more layers of material, air, etc.

While the embodiments of the present invention are described with respect to wine or spirit bottles, those skilled in the art will recognize that any bottle containing a liquid (e.g., olive oil bottles), or any other similar bottle, in particular made of a breakable material such as glass, whether transporting liquid or not, may be transported safely with the embodiments of the present invention.

FIGS. 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 show an embodiment of the present invention generally referred to by reference numeral 100. FIG. 2 shows a cross-sectional view along “2” represented in FIG. 1. Article 100 comprises an outer layer 110, inner layer 120 and opening 130. Ideally, outer layer 110 is fabricated of a malleable material such as a vinyl or plastic while inner layer 120 is a cushioning material such as Bubble Wrap® or other cushioning material, including air-cushioned materials and the like. Outer layer 110 may provide a smooth and/or textured surface, and inner layer 120 may provide a cushioning structure, conducive to safely moving article 100 and a contained bottle 125, represented in an exemplary form in FIG. 1 by bottle outline 115. In one embodiment, outer layer 110 is transparent and in others it is colored and may include logos or other decorative and/or descriptive features.

In an embodiment, outer layer 110 and inner layer 120 may be replaced by a one-piece or one-layer cushioning product having an outer surface and an inner surface as opposed to two independent layers 110, 120. In an alternative embodiment, layers in addition to outer layer 110 and inner layer 120 may be provided.

When not in use, article 100 is generally relatively flat for easy storage, transport, etc.

From FIG. 1, it is evident that outer layer 110 may be formed in a shape of a wine bottle and likewise inner layer 120 may be similarly formed. Other bottle shapes and sizes may also be utilized in embodiments of the present invention.

In an embodiment, at least a portion of inner layer 120 may be attached to outer layer 110 by heat treating/sealing or means of an adhesive such as glue. Those skilled in the art will recognize that other attachment means (e.g., tape) may be used as well. Attaching at least a portion of inner layer 120 to outer layer 110 generally prevents inner layer 120 from moving independently from outer layer 110. Inner layer 120 may be attached to outer layer 110 near opening 130 and/or at points other than near opening 130. As shown, inner layer 120 does not extend the full length of outer layer 110. In other embodiments, inner layer 120 may match outer layer 110 in shape.

In embodiments, near opening 130 is a means for temporarily closing opening 130 during transport of bottle 125 and preventing or reducing leakage from the article in the event of breakage of the bottle or other leakage from bottle 125. One such means comprises the use of adhesive, such as tape, although other means may be utilized as well.

In an embodiment, a first section of adhesive 140 is attached to an inner surface of outer layer 110 below the area in which inner layer 120 is present. Adhesive 140 may be present on either opposing inner surface of outer layer 110 to allow for a first closure of article 100. In an embodiment, as desired, adhesive 140 may be present on portions of or all of one or both opposing inner surfaces of outer layer 110. A second section of adhesive 150 is attached to another portion of the inner surface of outer layer 110, which acts as a flap 160, below the first section of adhesive 140. In an embodiment, flap 160 may not contain cushioning, or in an alternative embodiment, flap 160 may be substantially similar to or the same as the rest of outer layer 110 such that cushioning may be present.

Accordingly, article 100 may be used as follows: 1) bottle 125 is placed into article 100 with the neck of bottle 125 being first inserted completely into article 100; 2) a non-sticky paper strip or other release liner 145 is then peeled away from the first section of adhesive 140 revealing a sticky surface; 3) the sticky surface of the first section of adhesive 140 is then pressed against an opposite portion of the inner surface of outer layer 110 thereby closing opening 130 (see FIG. 3); 4) a non-sticky paper strip or other release liner 145 is then peeled away from the second section of adhesive 150 revealing a sticky surface; and 5) flap 160 is folded over such that the second section of adhesive 150 adheres to an outer surface of outer layer 110 thereby further closing opening 130 (see FIGS. 4 and 5). With this dual closure means, opening 130 is substantially sealed such that liquids, in the event of breakage, may be unable to escape the confines of article 100 thereby preventing clothing, documents, electronics and the like from being damaged.

In an embodiment, adhesive 140 may be present across the inner surface of outer layer 110 as well as partially present on the opposing inner surface of outer layer 110 near the edges of opening 130 of article 100. Such an embodiment provides extra adhesive 140 at the edges of opening 130 of article 100 to ensure adequate closure of article 130 when closed. In such an embodiment, one or more release liners 145 may be used on adhesive 140. In an embodiment, a single release liner 145 may be used on adhesive 140 such that release liner 145 is folded at least partially back on itself so that a single release liner 145 may engage adhesive 140 on both opposing inner surfaces of outer layer 110.

FIGS. 4 and 5 illustrate two exemplary locations at which adhesive 150 may be adhered to the outer surface of outer layer 110. In FIG. 4, flap 160 is folded over onto the outer surface of outer layer 110 substantially above flap 160. In FIG. 5, flap 160 is lifted and secured along the outer surface of outer layer 110 in the region in which bottle 125 is present. Other locations for securing adhesive 150 may be utilized as desired and/or to accommodate different sizes and shapes of bottles.

In an embodiment, although opening 130 may be closed, the closure may be temporary depending on the closure means utilized such that with human intervention opening 130 may be opened, when desired, to permit the contained bottle to be removed. In an alternative embodiment, the adhesive or other closure means utilized may be such that the closure may not be reversed without damaging the article in some way, such as by ripping or cutting the article.

In embodiments, a single layer or multi-layer article may function substantially as described above.

While adhesive is described generally herein, other closure means that provide a substantially leak-proof seal may also be used. Such additional closure means may include tape, snaps, hook and loop fasteners, zippers, zip-lock fasteners and the like.

FIGS. 6, 7, 8, and 9 show an embodiment of the present invention generally referred to by reference numeral 200. FIG. 7 shows a cross-sectional view along “7” represented in FIG. 6. Article 200 comprises a single-layered member 220 and an opening 230. Ideally, member 220 is a cushioning material, including air-cushioned materials, such as Bubble Wrap® and other cushioning materials. Member 220 may provide a cushioning structure conducive to safely moving article 200 and a contained bottle 225, represented in an exemplary form in FIG. 6 by bottle outline 215. In one embodiment, member 220 is transparent and in others it is colored and may include logos or other decorative and/or descriptive features.

In embodiments, near opening 130 is a means for temporarily closing opening 130 during transport of bottle 125 and preventing or reducing leakage from the article in the event of breakage of the bottle or other leakage from bottle 125. One such means comprises the use of adhesive, such as tape, although other means may be utilized as well.

In an embodiment, a first section of adhesive 240 is attached to an inner surface of member 220. Adhesive 240 may be present on either opposing inner surface of member 220 to allow for a first closure of article 200. In an embodiment, as desired, adhesive 240 may be present on portions of or all of one or both opposing inner surfaces of member 220. A second section of adhesive 250 is attached to another portion of the inner surface of member 220, which acts as a flap 260, below the first section of adhesive 240.

Accordingly, article 200 may be used as follows: 1) bottle 225 is placed into article 200 with the neck of bottle 225 being first inserted completely into article 200; 2) a non-sticky paper strip or other release liner 245 is then peeled away from the first section of adhesive 240 revealing a sticky surface; 3) the sticky surface of the first section of adhesive 240 is then pressed against an opposite portion of the inner surface of member 220 thereby closing opening 230 (see FIG. 8); 4) a non-sticky paper strip or other release liner 245 is then peeled away from the second section of adhesive 250 revealing a sticky surface; and 5) flap 260 is folded over such that the second section of adhesive 250 adheres to an outer surface of member 220 thereby further closing opening 230 (see FIG. 9). With this dual closure means, opening 230 is substantially sealed such that liquids, in the event of breakage, may be unable to escape the confines of article 200 thereby preventing clothing, documents, electronics and the like from being damaged.

In various embodiments, an article may be further surrounded by a housing constructed of, for example, a substantially rigid material such as a hard plastic. In such an embodiment, the housing may be provided with a variety of closure means included adhesive, snaps, screw-tops, press fit engageable elements, etc. In such an embodiment, an article may be configured to fit inside the housing such that the housing may provide additional structural support and protection.

In an embodiment of the present invention as shown in FIGS. 10, 11, 12, and 13, an article 300 is provided having a handle 375. In an embodiment, handle 375 may be formed from a flap in a manner similar to that described above for flap 160 or flap 260. FIG. 11 shows a cross-sectional view along “11” represented in FIG. 10.

Article 300 comprises an outer layer 310, inner layer 320 and opening 330. Ideally, outer layer 310 is fabricated of a malleable material such as a vinyl or plastic while inner layer 320 is a cushioning material, including air-cushioned materials and other cushioning materials. Outer layer 310 may provide a smooth and/or textured surface, and inner layer 320 may provide a cushioning structure, conducive to safely moving article 300 and a contained bottle 325, represented in an exemplary form in FIG. 10 by bottle outline 315. In one embodiment, outer layer 310 is transparent and in others it is colored and may include logos or other decorative and/or descriptive features.

As shown in FIG. 10, in its open position, article 300 and handle 375 lay relatively flat. In the flat position, in an embodiment, it may be seen that handle 375 has a first hole 380 and a second hole 390 configured for holding or grasping by an individual. In an embodiment, hole 380 and hole 390 may be separated by a space 385. In an embodiment, space 385 may be divided by a fold line or other separator (not shown), which may be a crease or partially perforated line.

In an embodiment, outer layer 310 and inner layer 320 may be replaced by a one-piece or one-layer cushioning product having an outer surface and an inner surface as opposed to two independent layers 310, 320. In an alternative embodiment, layers in addition to outer layer 310 and inner layer 320 may be provided.

From FIG. 10, it is evident that outer layer 310 may be formed in a shape of a wine bottle and likewise inner layer 320 may be similarly formed. Other bottle shapes and sizes may also be utilized in embodiments of the present invention.

In an embodiment, at least a portion of inner layer 320 may be attached to outer layer 310 by heat treating/sealing or means of an adhesive such as glue. Those skilled in the art will recognize that other attachment means (e.g., tape) may be used as well. Attaching at least a portion of inner layer 320 to outer layer 310 generally prevents inner layer 320 from moving independently from outer layer 310. Inner layer 320 may be attached to outer layer 310 near opening 330 and/or at points other than near opening 330. As shown, inner layer 320 does not extend the full length of outer layer 310. In other embodiments, inner layer 320 may match outer layer 310 in shape.

In embodiments, near opening 330 is a means for temporarily closing opening 330 during transport of bottle 325 and preventing or reducing leakage from the article in the event of breakage of the bottle or other leakage from bottle 325. One such means comprises the use of adhesive, such as tape, although other means may be utilized as well.

In an embodiment, a first section of adhesive 340 is attached to an inner surface of outer layer 310 below the area in which inner layer 320 is present. Adhesive 340 may be present on either opposing inner surface of outer layer 310 to allow for a first closure of article 300. In an embodiment, as desired, adhesive 340 may be present on portions of or all of one or both opposing inner surfaces of outer layer 310. A second section of adhesive 350 is attached to another portion of the inner surface of outer layer 310, which acts as a handle 375, below the first section of adhesive 340. In an embodiment, handle 375 may not contain cushioning, or in an alternative embodiment, handle 375 may be substantially similar to or the same as the rest of outer layer 310 such that cushioning may be present.

Accordingly, article 300 may be used as follows: 1) bottle 325 is placed into article 300 with the neck of bottle 325 being first inserted completely into article 300; 2) a non-sticky paper strip or other release liner 345 is then peeled away from the first section of adhesive 340 revealing a sticky surface; 3) the sticky surface of the first section of adhesive 340 is then pressed against an opposite portion of the inner surface of outer layer 310 thereby closing opening 330 (see FIG. 12); 4) a non-sticky paper strip or other release liner 345 is then peeled away from the second section of adhesive 350 revealing a sticky surface; and 5) handle 375 is folded over such that the second section of adhesive 350 adheres to an outer surface of outer layer 310 thereby further closing opening 330 (see FIG. 13) and forming graspable handle 375. With this dual closure means, opening 330 is substantially sealed such that liquids, in the event of breakage, may be unable to escape the confines of article 300 thereby preventing clothing, documents, electronics and the like from being damaged. In an embodiment, when handle 375 is folded, it may be preferentially folded to ensure proper alignment of holes 380 and 390 with each other. In an embodiment, a line or other indicator may be provided in space 385 to assist in aligning holes 380 and 390 during folding.

In an embodiment, while the articles shown in the Figures are in an individual form, a plurality of articles may be coupled together to allow for the packaging and transport of a plurality of bottles, or a single article may be constructed with multiple sleeves in accordance with the teachings provided herein. In an embodiment, each bottle of a plurality of bottles may be provided with a separate packaging article or a separate sleeve, where each packaging article or sleeve may be coupled together in some fashion, and one or more closing means provided to secure the articles. In addition, in an embodiment, one or more handles may be provided for easier grasping of a plurality of articles or sleeves carrying a plurality of bottles.

Although certain embodiments have been illustrated and described herein for purposes of description of the preferred embodiment, it will be appreciated by those of ordinary skill in the art that a wide variety of alternate and/or equivalent embodiments or implementations calculated to achieve the same purposes may be substituted for the embodiments shown and described without departing from the scope of the present invention. Those with skill in the art will readily appreciate that embodiments in accordance with the present invention may be implemented in a very wide variety of ways. This application is intended to cover any adaptations or variations of the embodiments discussed herein. Therefore, it is manifestly intended that embodiments in accordance with the present invention be limited only by the claims and the equivalents thereof.