Title:
OPTICAL DISC MAILCARD
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention provides packaging and mailable apparatus suitable for a variety of uses, such as in the postal system for the purpose of mailing, mass mailing, or self-mailing of optical discs or other optical and non-optical cards, displaying such discs or cards at point of purchase locations, and/or carrying them in one's wallet or pocket. Such packaging comprises mailcards, such as standard postcards or greeting cards; card-sized gift packaging; or protective packaging of various sizes, which such packages house optical discs or cards that may or may not be visible through the packaging.



Inventors:
Bohlke, Edward H. (New York, NY, US)
Smith, Laura (New York, NY, US)
Brown, David (New York, NY, US)
Wood, Sydney (New York, NY, US)
Goodman, Rachel (New York, NY, US)
Application Number:
11/833772
Publication Date:
06/05/2008
Filing Date:
08/03/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
G9B/33.01
International Classes:
B65D85/57
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ACKUN, JACOB K
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SERIOUS USA, INC. (TORONTO, ON, CA)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A mailable apparatus for an optical card or disc, comprising: a carrier formable to define an interior of the packaging apparatus, the carrier having at least one section of translucent material to permit viewing of the interior of the packaging apparatus; an optical card or disc removably attached to the carrier at a location so as to permit viewing, through the at least one section of translucent material, of the optical card or disc attached to the interior of the packaging apparatus; and one or more perforations on the carrier for permitting access to the interior of the packaging apparatus; wherein the carrier is made of one or more materials that are sufficiently light so that the packaging apparatus can qualify for standard postcard postage for at least one post system.

2. The mailable apparatus of claim 1, wherein the section of translucent material has a shape of the optical card or disc.

3. The mailable apparatus of claim 1, wherein the section of translucent material has a shape of a hub.

4. The mailable apparatus of claim 3, wherein the hub shape of the section of translucent material is convex.

5. The mailable apparatus of claim 3, wherein the hub shape of the section of translucent material is concave.

6. The mailable apparatus of claim 1, wherein the section of translucent material further includes tapered edges.

7. The mailable apparatus of claim 6, wherein the optical card or disc is removably attached by one of a brad, a hub or a pocket provided with the carrier at the location.

8. The mailable apparatus of claim 2, wherein the optical card or disc is removably attached by the translucent material.

9. The mailable apparatus of claim 8, wherein the translucent material is one of a vacu-form or a blister pack.

10. The packaging of claim 6, wherein the carrier is formed into a post-card sized package.

11. The packaging of claim 6, wherein the carrier is formed into a greeting-card sized package.

12. A packaging for an optical card or disc, comprising: a carrier having a snap-on/snap-off attachment for removable attachment of the optical card or disc to the carrier; and a protective layer for the optical card or disc over one or more sections of the carrier.

13. The packaging of claim 12, wherein the protective layer is translucent.

14. The packaging of claim 13, wherein the protective layer is attached to the one or more sections of the carrier, and the one or more sections permit viewing through the protective layer.

15. The packaging of claim 12, wherein the protective layer is opaque.

16. The packaging of claim 15, wherein the protective layer is attached to the one or more sections of the carrier, and the one or more sections permit viewing of the protective layer when the carrier is formed around the optical card or disc.

17. The packaging of claim 16, wherein the snap-on/snap-off attachment is a hub connector.

18. The packaging of claim 16, wherein the carrier is foldable into a post-card sized package.

19. The packaging of claim 16, wherein the carrier is foldable into a greeting-card sized package.

20. A mailable apparatus comprising an optical card or disc attached to a carrier, the carrier having a plurality of portions each foldable with respect to another portion, so that the carrier when fully folded substantially defines an envelope-shape having an interior for the optical card or disc, wherein one or more portions is unfoldable from the fully folded mailable apparatus to expose at least one portion of the optical card or disc.

21. The mailable apparatus of claim 20, wherein at least one of the plurality of portions is used to present viewable information.

22. The mailable apparatus of claim 21, wherein the viewable information is advertising information.

23. The mailable apparatus of claim 21, wherein the optical card or disc is transactional, and the at least one portion of the optical card or disc that is exposed when the one or more portions of the carrier is unfolded from the fully folded mailing apparatus is readable by a compatible device.

24. The mailable apparatus of claim 23, wherein the carrier comprises at least one translucent window for viewing the interior of the mailable apparatus.

25. The mailable apparatus of claim 24, wherein the optical card or disc is attached to the carrier via a removable attachment.

26. The mailable apparatus of claim 25, wherein the removable attachment is one of a brad, a hub or a pocket.

27. The mailable apparatus of claim 25, wherein the optical card or disc is removably attached by the translucent material.

28. The mailable apparatus of claim 27, wherein the translucent material is one of a vacu-form or a blister pack.

29. The mailable apparatus of claim 25, wherein the envelope-shape defined when the carrier is fully folded is of post-card size.

30. The mailable apparatus of claim 25, wherein the envelope-shape defined when the carrier is fully folded is of greeting-card size.

31. A packaging comprising an attachment device for attaching an optical card or disc attached to a first portion of a carrier, the carrier having a second portion for placement of information and a third section foldable over at least partially the first portion, the third portion being securable in place after its folding over at least partially the first portion.

32. The packaging of claim 31, wherein an adhesive is provided for securing the third portion of the carrier in place after its folding over at least partially the first section.

33. The packaging of claim 32, wherein the third portion of the carrier includes a window.

34. The packaging of claim 33, wherein the window is covered with a translucent material.

35. The packaging of claim 33, wherein the window is covered with an opaque material.

36. The packaging of claim 32, wherein the attachment device provides removable attachment.

37. The packaging of claim 36, wherein the attachment device is one of a brad, a hub or a pocket.

38. The packaging of claim 36, wherein when the third section is folded over at least partially the first portion, the carrier is of post-card size.

39. The packaging of claim 36, wherein when the third section is folded over at least partially the first portion, the carrier is of greeting-card size.

40. A mailable apparatus comprising an optical card or disc removably attached to a carrier, the carrier having a plurality of portions each foldable with respect to another portion, so that the carrier when fully folded substantially defines an envelope-shape having an interior for the optical card or disc, wherein at least one portion of the carrier is shaped to fold into an aperture defined in another portion of the carrier for securing the fully folded mailable apparatus in place in the envelope-shape.

41. The mailable apparatus of claim 40, wherein at least one of the portions of the carrier includes a window.

42. The mailable apparatus of claim 41, wherein the window is covered with a translucent material.

43. The mailable apparatus of claim 41, wherein the window is covered with an opaque material.

44. The mailable apparatus of claim 41, wherein the optical card or disc is removably attached to one of a brad, a hub or a pocket.

45. The mailable apparatus of claim 42, wherein the optical card or disc is removably attached by translucent material.

46. The mailable apparatus of claim 45, wherein the translucent material is one of a vacu-form or a blister pack.

47. The mailable apparatus of claim 42, wherein the envelope-shape of the apparatus when the carrier is fully folded is of post-card size.

48. The mailable apparatus of claim 42, wherein the envelope-shape of the apparatus when the carrier is fully folded is of greeting-card size.

49. A packaging comprising: an attachment device for attaching an optical card or disc attached to a carrier; and a removable reply card attached to the carrier, the reply card having address and postage indicia thereon and a pocket attached thereto for holding one or more objects, the pocket being sealable.

50. The packaging of claim 49, wherein attachment device provides removable attachment of the optical card or disc to the carrier.

51. The packaging of claim 50, wherein at least one portions of the carrier includes a window.

52. The packaging of claim 51, wherein the window is covered with a translucent material.

53. The packaging of claim 51, wherein the window is covered with an opaque material.

54. The packaging of claim 51, wherein the attachment device is one of a brad, a hub or a pocket.

55. The packaging of claim 51, wherein the carrier is foldable into a shape that is of post-card size.

56. The packaging of claim 51, wherein the carrier is foldable into a shape that is of greeting-card size.

Description:

INCORPORATION BY REFERENCE

This application incorporates by reference U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/835,025, entitled Optical Disc Mailcard and filed Aug. 2, 2006.

COPYRIGHT NOTICE

A portion of the disclosure of this patent document contains material which is subject to copyright protection. The copyright owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent document or the patent disclosure, as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office patent files or records, but otherwise reserves all copyrights whatsoever.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention provides packaging or mailing apparatus suitable for a variety of uses, such as in the postal system for the purpose of mailing, mass mailing, or self-mailing of optical discs or other optical and non-optical cards, displaying such discs or cards at a point of purchase locations, and/or carrying them in one's wallet or pocket. Such packaging comprises mailcards, such as standard postcards or greeting cards; card-sized gift packaging; or protective packaging of various sizes, where such packaging houses optical discs or cards that may or may not be visible through the packaging.

Packaging in accordance with the invention may comprise one or more layers of stock paper, and in various embodiments also may comprise one or more layers made from a variety of materials such as cloth or film, including especially clear or colored translucent films such as PVC or other forms of plastic that may form a protective layer. In various embodiments such films also may be used to hold optical discs or cards in place on the packaging, such as through heat molding to an optical disc's hub. In various embodiments such film layers are provided with tapered or beveled edges in order to facilitate the passage of packaging through transit handling such as the various postal systems without the packaging being torn or damaged in the process.

Alternatively, optical discs may be held in place by an interference-fit retainer, for example a flexible hub attached to a carrier and adapted for engagement of a drive opening in the center of a disc. Such retainers may be attached to any portion of the carrier, and may engage any suitable portion of the disc. For example, a hub according to such embodiments may be either convex or concave. Alternatively, a separate hub need not be attached to the carrier and optical discs may be held in place on a carrier by brads or other means that secure the optical disc to the carrier via the disc's hub.

Packaging according to the invention may comprise a single carrier housing an optical disc or card or may comprise a plurality of foldable parts and/or inserts that allow for varied and flexible uses of the packaging and that enhance the appearance of the packaging.

Packaging and mailable apparatus according to the invention may be used with particular advantage in the transfer of optical discs that have non-round shapes and are approximately wallet-sized, such as credit card- or business card-shaped optical discs.

Optical discs suitable for use with aspects of the invention may have multimedia or other digital content recorded thereon.

Embodiments of this invention are further discussed herein below.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention is illustrated in the figures of the accompanying drawings which are meant to be exemplary and not limiting, in which like references are intended to refer to like or corresponding parts, and in which:

FIGS. 1-7 are schematic perspective diagrams of embodiments of packaging in accordance with the invention.

FIG. 8 is a cross section of an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 9 is a side view of an embodiment of the invention.

FIGS. 10-12 are schematic perspective diagrams of embodiments of packaging in accordance with the invention.

FIG. 13 is a cross section of an embodiment of the invention comprising a concave disc retention hub.

FIGS. 14-20 are schematic plan and perspective diagrams of embodiments of packaging in accordance with the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of an embodiment of a packaging 10 according to the invention. Packaging 10 comprises carrier 16, means 20 for removable attachment of disc 18 to carrier 16, and foldable or removable portion 12 of carrier 16 in the form of a reply card 12 that is removable from the remainder of carrier 16, preferably using a frangible connections such as perforations 14. Carrier 16, which may be a standard sized postcard piece, houses or otherwise supports the optical disc 18. In the embodiment shown, portion 32 of carrier 16 comprises cut-out 34, which may be rectangular or of any other shape suitable for accommodating support, viewing, and any other desirable functions with regard to disc 18, and which may be die cut or provided by any other suitable means consistent with the purposes described herein.

In the embodiment shown, cut-out 34 is located substantially in the middle of support portion 32 of carrier 16 and is provided with a translucent covering 30 such as plastic film, or blister packaging, which may be vacu-formed and/or applied to portion 32 and/or other portion(s) of carrier 16 using adhesive or other attachment means or device. Translucent covering 30 restrains or holds optical disc 18 in place on carrier 16 and is one of many suitable means that may be employed in removably attaching optical disc 18 to carrier 16.

Any type of translucent film or other covering 30 consistent with the purposes suggested herein is suitable for use in implementing the invention. For example, translucent films may be provided using ultra-thin polymer sheets of 0.02 mm thickness or less. A wide variety of such films and other coverings, including a wide variety of blister packs, are now available commercially; doubtless others will hereafter be developed.

In the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, foldable reply portion 12 of carrier 16 further comprises indicia 42 printed or otherwise provided thereon. Indicia 42 can comprise pre-addressed delivery information suitable for, for example, facilitating early return of reply portion 12. For example, indicia 42 can comprise suitably-adapted delivery and return address fields, locators for affixing postage, pre-paid postage markings, etc.

As shown in FIG. 2, carrier 16 can comprise a foldable tab 22, for providing viewing access to or means for removal of optical disc 18 from packaging 10. Tab 22 can for example be provided with frangible means of preventing it from deployment until desired. As will be clear to those skilled in the relevant arts, access to optical disc 18 can be provided in other ways. For example, optical disc 18 may be accessed by ripping a plastic layering or other covering 30 holding such disc in place. While less convenient for the user, this option can in some cases be more economical from the standpoint of production costs. In order to ensure that the weight of packaging 10 is sufficiently low to qualify for postcard mailing rates, carrier 16 can be composed of two layers of light stock paper and one layer of ultra-thin plastic covering; and reply portion 12 can comprises a single layer of light stock paper. A wide variety of construction variations are suitable for use in implementing the invention, and will occur immediately to those skilled in the relevant arts once they have been made familiar with this disclosure.

FIGS. 3-4 show another embodiment of a packaging 10 according to the invention. In the embodiment shown, packaging 10 comprises a carrier 16 adapted to support optical disc 18 by housing it inside translucent cover 30 in the form of a blister pack or vacu-formed plastic seal. Carrier 16 comprises one solid side made of stock paper and one side comprising a blister pack 30 front, preferably made of a plastic or other light, strong, translucent material, which can have substantially the same dimensions as carrier 16, and therefore cover all or a large portion of one side of carrier 16. Blister pack 30 houses optical disc 18, and restrains or holds it in place and is one means for removably attaching optical disc 18 to carrier 16. The back of carrier 16 can comprise a perforation, of any size or shape that allows for safe passage through the post system without snagging or damaging packaging 10, for access to and/or removal of optical disc 18. Access to optical disc 18 need not be solely through a perforation. For example, optical disc 18 may be accessed by ripping the plastic layering holding such disc in place. While less convenient for the user, this option can be more economical from the standpoint of production costs.

FIGS. 5-9 show another embodiment of a packaging 10 according to the invention. Packaging 10 comprises a carrier 16 which houses or otherwise supports an optical disc 18. Carrier 16 comprises one side that may be substantially solid and one side with a rectangular cutout 34, preferably in the middle, said rectangle housing a plastic layer covering 30, preferably a vacu-form plastic. As shown in FIG. 8, such plastic layer comprises an integrally-formed interference-fit retainer in the form of hub 20. Layer 30 holds optical disc 18 in place. As shown in FIG. 9, when both sides 32, 12 of carrier 16 are closed or sealed, by any means known in the art, there is a taper or bevel from the edges of postcard piece 16 to the edges of optical disc 18, such that the front side 32 of packaging 10 has tapered edges. Such tapering helps packaging 10 to pass through the post system without being snagged or damaged during handling. The back of carrier 16 can comprise a perforation or tear strip 52 (see e.g., FIG. 17) or other frangible device of any size, shape, or configuration that allows for safe passage through the post system without snagging or damaging packaging 10 and access to optical disc 18. Optionally, optical disc 18 may be accessed by simply ripping the plastic layering 30 holding optical disc 18 in place. Optionally, a reply card 12 may be removably attached, for example as a flap or other folded portion via a perforation, to the back of carrier 16. Packaging 10 according to such embodiments can comprise two layers of light stock paper and one layer of a plastic material.

FIGS. 10-13 show another embodiment of a packaging 10 according to the invention. Packaging 10 comprises a standard-sized postcard carrier piece 16 which houses or otherwise supports an optical disc 18. Carrier 16 comprises one side 12 that may be substantially solid and one side 32 with a cutout 34 having a size slightly smaller than optical disc 18. As shown in FIG. 13, the at least substantially solid side 32 of carrier 16 comprises attached thereto an interference-fit retaining device such as concave hub 40. Optical disc 18 is held in place, or restrained, on carrier 16 by concave hub 40. Although concave hub 40 is shown as restraining optical disc 18, other means for removably attaching optical disc 18 to carrier 16 are contemplated, as disclosed, for example, herein, in connection with other embodiments of the invention. The two sides of carrier 16 may adhered or otherwise fastened together using any suitable adhesive or fastener, such as for example, any type of glue, staple, or other fastener consistent with the purposes for which the disc 18 is to be packaged. The back of carrier 16 can comprise a perforation or other frangible device 52, of any size or shape that allows for safe passage through the post system without snagging or damaging packaging 10, for access to optical disc 18. Other means of accessing optical disc 18 will be apparent to those of skill in the art. Packaging 10 according to this embodiment comprises, in addition to concave hub 40, two layers of light stock paper.

FIG. 14 shows a plan view of an embodiment of a packaging 10 according to the invention, comprising a carrier 16 having a plurality (at least two) of tabs 50 and an optional protective layer 52, 30, wherein such layer may be made of plastic or any other suitable opaque or translucent material. Tabs 50 on carrier 16 may be attached to plastic layer 52 or may be attached directly to carrier 16. Tabs 50 are preferably frangible, and may be made of any suitable material, and preferably are flexibly rigid to allow deformation under adequate force. Optionally, tabs 50 may be rigid and substantially inflexible prior to fracture. Tabs 50 may be attached at any location(s) along a cutout 34 provided in carrier 16. Tabs 50 provide a means of removably attaching optical disc 18 to carrier 16; and may be frangible or may restrain optical disc 18 by, for example, folding over a portion of optical disc 18 or by being suitably sized to frictionally engage optical disc 18 or engage it by interference. Optical disc 18 may be removed from carrier 16 by, for example, being snapped off from the restraints of tabs 50. Protective layer 52 may be a clear or colored translucent plastic layer that allows a user to see through carrier 16, or may be opaque. Such plastic layer may be a blister pack or it may be vacu-sealed to carrier 16. Alternatively, the packaging shown in FIG. 14 may not have a protective layer 52. FIG. 14A shows optical disc 18 removed from packaging 10 and FIG. 14B shows optical disc 18 secured within packaging 10 and protected by a clear plastic protective layer 52.

In another embodiment of packaging 10 according to the invention, optical disc 18 may be removably attached to carrier 16 by brads or other deformable fasteners that are attached to, or project through, carrier 16 and project through the hub 20 of optical disc 18 to restrain it on carrier 16.

In different embodiments, removable attachment can be provided, for example, by one or more of a brad, hub, vacu-form, blister pack, a pocket, any other attachment means known in the art, or a combination thereof. In embodiments with vacu-form or blister pack, removable attachment can be provided by the breaking of one or more sections of a packaging.

FIG. 15 shows an embodiment of a packaging 10 according to the invention, wherein such packaging is particularly suitable to housing an optical or non-optical transaction card such as a loyalty, gift, or redemption card. Referring to FIG. 15A, packaging 10 comprises a carrier 16 having foldably-connected front side 32 and back side 12, and sealing/opening portion 52. The front side 32 of carrier 16 comprises concave hub 20, as described with respect to FIGS. 1, 5-9, for holding optical disc 18. Although concave hub 20 is shown, any other embodiments of means for removably attaching optical disc 18 to carrier 16 may be used separately or in combination, such as for example using brads, tabs, suitable glue, vacu-form, blister pack, or just a plastic window.

The foldable connections of this and various other embodiments can be achieved by any means known in the art, such as for example perforations 14, folds, and/or scored lines in the carrier stock. Such connection means may be frangible but preferably are sufficiently rigid to allow for movement while remaining attached.

Referring to FIG. 15B, when packaging 10 is fully assembled, third foldable portion 52 may be removably or permanently adhered, attached or otherwise secured to foldable portion 12, or alternatively to other portion(s) of carrier 16, by any means known in the art, such as via tape, glue or the like, or via mechanical means such as a tab and groove (not shown) or magnetic means (not shown). Other means for closing packaging 10 will be apparent to those of skill in the art. The specific shape and size of third foldable portion 52 allows for many variations to be selected while remaining within the scope of the present invention.

Referring to FIG. 15C, packaging 10 may be assembled by folding foldable portion 12 on top of the front side of carrier 16 (and optical disc 18 housed therein) as well as attached foldable portion 32, and then folding foldable portion 52 over the back side of carrier 16 and attaching first foldable portion 12 such that third foldable portion 52 is secured to foldable portion 12 or alternatively to the back side of carrier 16. The orientation of third portion 52 with respect to the other foldable portions in order to fold or unfold packaging 10, as well as the sequence in which packaging 10 may be folded, may be varied as will be apparent to those skilled in the art.

Further referring to FIG. 15C, when packaging 10 is open, foldable portion 17 may be folded back such that a portion of optical disc 18 is exposed. The exposed portion of disc 18 can be used on a transactional basis. Thus, whereas packaging 10 shown in FIG. 15 may be suitable for a variety of uses, it is particularly suitable to house optical disc 18 having a bar code, a magnetic stripe, a smart chip, an RFID, or any other means of storing value or information thereon, such that disc 18 may be used with a compatible device/reader, such as by swiping through a magnetic reader or passed by an RFID reader or ready by other suitable means without any need to remove such disc from packaging 10.

FIG. 16 is a plan view of an embodiment of a postcard-type packaging 10 according to the invention. Referring to FIG. 16A, Packaging 10 comprises carrier 16 which comprises foldable portion 17. Preferably, the size of carrier 16 is substantially the same as that of a postcard (although many other shapes and sizes are within the scope of this invention) and preferably carrier 16 has postage and address indicia commonly found on post cards. Carrier 16 comprises die cut rectangle (or a rectangle or other opening shaped to accommodate optical disc 18, whether made by means of a die cut or by any other means known in the art), which houses optical disc 18 and which is preferably located in the right or left hand side of carrier 16. Optical disc 18 may be secured within such housing by any means known in the art, such as for example, brads, suitable glue, a hub, or tabs, or it may be secured by means of a vacu-form layer or a blister pack. Foldable portion 17 is connected to carrier 16 by any means known in the art, such as for example perforations 14, folds, or scored lines. Such connection means may be frangible but preferably are sufficiently rigid to allow for movement while remaining attached. Foldable portion 17 comprises a translucent window 19, 30 having a size and shape suitable to accommodate optical disc 18, wherein window 19 preferably is slightly larger than the housing located on carrier 16. Optionally and preferably window 19 comprises a protective layer, such as clear or colored plastic or any other suitable material. Preferably, such material is transparent so that one may see optical disc 18 through packaging 10. Alternatively, such material may be non-transparent, such as cloth, and may be used as a special touch for marketing or promotional activities.

Foldable portion 17 preferably is connected adjacent to the side of carrier 16 that is closest to the housing and is appropriately sized to fold over carrier 16 such that window 19, 30 overlaps at least a portion of the housing and covers at least a portion, but preferably all, of optical disc 18, for example as shown in FIG. 16B. Foldable portion 17 may comprise means 58 to adhere to carrier 16, or the means may be a separate member. Such means may be via tape, glue or other adhesive, or may be mechanical such as a tab and groove (not shown) or magnetic means (not shown) or via a vacu-form or blister pack. Additionally, such means 58 may perimetrically adhere to reply card 12, not simply along one edge as shown. In an alternative embodiment, foldable portion 17 may not have a window 19, 30 and may be made of a non-transparent material, such that optical disc 18 will not be seen once foldable portion 17 is secured to carrier 16. In an alternative embodiment (not shown), foldable portion 17 instead may be made entirely or substantially of transparent material that allows one to see optical disc 18 after foldable portion 17 is secured to carrier 16.

FIG. 17-19 are plan views of embodiments of envelope-type packaging according to the invention. Each of the embodiments may be of any size, and are preferably the size of optical disc 18, optical disc 18 preferably being the size of a regular credit card. As with all embodiments disclosed herein, such packaging may be postcard-sized. As will be further described below, with reference to specific figures, packaging envelopes may have a clear portion, optionally made of plastic, that allows optical disc 18 to be visible through the packaging when located therein. As with all embodiments disclosed herein, any of the envelope-type packaging embodiments may further comprise means for removably attaching optical disc 18, such as concave hub 20, 40, an adhesive, brads, suitable glue, vacu-form, or blister packs. As with all embodiments disclosed herein, envelope-type packaging embodiments can be folded, preferably along perforated, scored or otherwise marked lines 14 that ease or guide folding.

Referring to FIG. 17A, packaging 10 comprises carrier 16 having a front side and a back side. Optical disc 18 is housed on the front side of carrier 16 and may be secured to carrier 16 by any means known in the art, including those disclosed herein. Carrier 16 optionally may comprise a protective layer, such as a clear plastic layer, that at least partially, and preferably completely, covers optical disc 18. Packaging 10 further comprises first foldable portions 61 and 62 and second foldable portions 63 and 64. Portion 63 comprises an opening, such as a slot, and portion 64 comprises a tab, both of a size and shape sufficiently compatible to allow closure. Preferably, packaging 10 is assembled by folding portions 61 and 62 onto the back side of carrier 16 and then folding portions 63 and 64 over portions 61 and 62 such that the tab of portion 64 is engaged in the slot of portion 63. It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that other closure mechanisms are within the scope of this invention. FIG. 17B shows the front view of an embodiment of assembled packaging, with optical disc 18 seen through such packaging.

Referring to FIG. 18A, packaging 10 comprises carrier 16 having a front side and a back side. Optical disc 18 is housed on the back side of carrier 16 and may be secured to carrier 16 by any means known in the art, including those disclosed herein. Carrier 16 optionally may comprise a protective layer, such as a clear plastic layer, that at least partially, and preferably completely, covers optical disc 18. Packaging 10 further comprises foldable portions 71 and 72 and portion 73. Portion 73 comprises a window 19, 30 having a size and shape suitable to accommodate optical disc 18. Foldable portion 71 comprises an opening means 52, such as a ripping seam that allows a user to open packaging 10 after it has been closed using an adhesive or other means for closing such packaging. It will be apparent to those of skill in the art that any other securing means known in the art, such as adhesive or mechanical means, are within the scope of this invention. Preferably, packaging 10 is assembled by folding the back side of carrier 16 (together with optical disc 18 housed therein) onto portion 73 such that optical disc 18 may be lined up with window 19 to be at least partially visible through it. Foldable portion 71 may then be folded onto the front side of carrier 16, and foldable portion 72 may be folded on top of foldable portion 71. The securing means comprised in foldable portion 72 allow closure of packaging 10. It will be apparent to one skilled in the art that many possible variations to the folding sequence disclosed herein are within the scope of this invention. FIG. 18B shows the back view of an embodiment of assembled packaging and FIG. 18C shows the front view of such packaging with optical disc 18 seen through such packaging.

Referring to FIG. 19A, packaging 10 comprises carrier 16 having a front side and a back side. Optical disc 18 is housed on the front side of carrier 16 and may be secured to carrier 16 by any means known in the art, including those disclosed herein. Carrier 16 optionally may comprise a protective layer, such as a clear plastic layer, that at least partially, and preferably completely, covers optical disc 18. Packaging 10 further comprises foldable portions 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, and 86. Foldable portion 82 comprises a front side and a back side and an opening, such as a slot, on the front side thereof and foldable portion 86 comprises a tab, wherein the opening and the tab are of a size and shape sufficiently compatible to allow closure. Preferably, packaging 10 is assembled by folding the back side of carrier 16 (and optical disc 18 housed therein) onto foldable portion 81, which is then folded onto foldable portion 82 such that the back side of carrier 16 is at least partially touching the back side of foldable portion 82. As shown in FIG. 19B, foldable portions 83 and 84 are then folded over the front side of carrier 16, foldable portion 85 is folded over foldable portions 83 and 84, and foldable portion 86 is folded over the front side of foldable portion 82 such that the tab of portion 86 engages in the slot 67 of portion 82 thereby closing packaging 10 as shown in FIG. 19C. It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that many other folding sequences and closing mechanisms are encompassed within the scope of this invention.

In various embodiments packaging 10 according to the invention may be provided with one or more extra foldable portions allowing for additional advertising or marketing or other informational material to be included in package 10. It will be apparent to one skilled in the art that alternative embodiments of the present invention may comprise a plurality of additional foldable or insertable sections providing for increased potential to include advertising, educational, or other material with or as part of packaging 10. Although the folding sequence may change with each additional foldable or insertable section, such sequences will be apparent to one of skill in the art.

FIG. 20 is a perspective view of an embodiment of a packaging according to the invention, wherein the packaging is particularly suitable to charitable causes and other applications. Packaging 10 comprises a carrier 16 housing optical disc 18 by any means disclosed herein, a reply card 12 having a front side and a back side, wherein the front side has address and postage indicia 42 such as those found on a return envelope for example. Reply card 12 further comprises a flap 91. Reply card 12 may be removably attached to carrier 16 via, for example a perforation 14 such as shown for example in FIG. 1. Packaging 10 further comprises a pocket 90 such as, for example, a concertina flap, wherein pocket 90 may be affixed to the back side of reply card 12. Packaging 10 may be closed by folding flap 91 of reply card 12 over pocket 90 and securing flap 91 by any means known in the art, such as for example a resealable tab, or any adhesive, mechanical or other suitable means.

Pocket 90 may, as will be apparent to those skilled in the relevant arts, be used for delivery and/or return of objects such as cards 18, currency, and other documents or items. For example, the packaging shown in FIG. 20 enables a recipient of the packaging to detach carrier 16, with optical disc 18 therein, insert a donation into pocket 90, secure flap 91 and send such donation to the addressee named on reply card 12. Such packaging allows an attractive option for soliciting donations, where optical disc 18 may offer interactive materials regarding the charity and its causes. Such packaging also offers an easy means for the recipient of a donation request to mail such donation back to the charity. It will be apparent to one skilled in the art that in addition to money or other financial instruments for making a donation, pocket 90 may contain many other materials, such as marketing materials, business cards, additional optical discs, etc, and that packaging illustrated by FIG. 20 may be used for a variety of different uses that are within the scope of this invention.

Packaging 10 according to the invention can be produced automatically, such as for example on an assembly line. Packaging 10 also can be produced by hand and can be a self-mailer, wherein a consumer places an optical disc 18 into packaging 10 and seals such packaging.

Packaging 10 according to the invention may come in many different sizes, including those of a postcard and is suitable for both optical and non-optical objects, such as for example cards.

This scope of this invention encompasses a great variety of means for attaching an optical disc to packaging, including for example, brads, tabs, suitable glue, vacu-form, blister pack, or using a plastic window to cover an optical disc such that the disc moves freely within the window.

It will be understood that the specification is illustrative of the present invention and that other embodiments within the spirit and scope of the invention will suggest themselves to those skilled in the art.

While the foregoing invention has been described in some detail for purposes of clarity and understanding, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the relevant arts, once they have been made familiar with this disclosure, that various changes in form and detail can be made without departing from the true scope of the invention in the appended claims. The invention is therefore not to be limited to the exact components or details of methodology or construction set forth above. Except to the extent necessary or inherent in the processes themselves, no particular order to steps or stages of methods or processes described in this disclosure, including the Figures, is intended or implied. In many cases the order of process steps may be varied without changing the purpose, effect, or import of the methods described.