Title:
Clamshell Package and Method of Forming Same
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A package includes: (a) a base having a first perimeter; (b) a cover having a second perimeter; (c) a hinge pivotally coupling the base and the cover and located at a first portion of the first perimeter and at a first portion of the second perimeter; and (d) a first non-reusable security element capable of keeping the base and the cover in a closed position and located at a second portion of the first perimeter and a second portion of the second perimeter.



Inventors:
Vassigh, Ali (Bellevue, WA, US)
Quinteros, Ernesto Victor (Los Angeles, CA, US)
Suckle, Mitchell (Long Beach, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/952851
Publication Date:
06/11/2009
Filing Date:
12/07/2007
Assignee:
Belkin International, Inc. (Compton, CA, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
220/793, 220/795, 220/4.22
International Classes:
B65B43/08; B65D6/06; B65D25/00; B65D41/16
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20030052033Retail sales packageMarch, 2003Schwester
20090260334Produce WrappingOctober, 2009Bubar
20090139188Separate Packing StationJune, 2009Schafer
20090084075Carton Packaging Machine Having Trailing Article Pusher AssembliesApril, 2009May et al.
20060096882Shrink wrapping with product touch apertureMay, 2006Kam
20040159567Promotional cartonAugust, 2004Miziolek et al.
20090230079Sealable ContainersSeptember, 2009Smolko
20090028470FLEXIBLE POUCH WITH CURVILINEAR SHAPE AND METHOD OF FORMINGJanuary, 2009Murray
20040206052Food packaging systemOctober, 2004Shean et al.
20080168697MODULAR SHOOTING RESTS AND SHOOTING REST ASSEMBLIESJuly, 2008Potterfield et al.
20080034711Process for Producing Packaging Items for Light GoodsFebruary, 2008Rietjens



Primary Examiner:
BUI, LUAN KIM
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BRYAN CAVE LEIGHTON PAISNER LLP (PHOENIX) (PHOENIX, AZ, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A clamshell package comprising: a base having a first perimeter; a cover having a second perimeter; a hinge pivotally coupling the base and the cover and located at a first portion of the first perimeter and at a first portion of the second perimeter, and a first non-reusable security element configured to keep the base and the cover in a closed position and located at a second portion of the first perimeter and at a second portion of the second perimeter, wherein: the hinge and the first non-reusable security element are absent from third portions of the first and second perimeters.

2. The clamshell package of claim 1 wherein: at least a portion of the first non-reusable security element is removable from the clamshell package to permit the base and the cover to move from the closed position to an open positron; and the clamshell package is reusable after the removal of the at least a portion of the first non-reusable security element.

3. The clamshell package of claim 1, wherein: the first non-reusable security element comprises: a first flange coupled to the base; and a second flange coupled to the cover; and the first and second flanges are coupled together to form a seal for the first non-reusable security element.

4. The clamshell package of claim 3, wherein: the first flange extends outward from the first perimeter; and the second flange extends outward from the second perimeter.

5. The clamshell package of claim 3, wherein: the base comprises a first cavity; the first flange is absent over the first cavity; and the first non-reusable security element is outside of the first cavity.

6. The clamshell package of claim 5, wherein: the cover comprises a second cavity; the second flange is absent over the second cavity; and the first non-reusable security element is outside of the second cavity.

7. The clamshell package of claim 5, wherein: the cover is devoid of a cavity; and the second flange is absent over the first cavity.

8. The clamshell package of claim 1, wherein: the base further comprises: an overhang portion extending from the second portion of the first perimeter; and at least a portion of the overhang portion and at least a portion of the second portion of the second perimeter are coupled together to form a seal for the first non-reusable security element.

9. The clamshell package of claim 1, wherein: the cover further comprises: an overhang portion extending from the second portion of the second perimeter; and at least a portion of the overhang portion and at least a portion of the second portion of the first perimeter are coupled together to form a seal for the first non-reusable security element.

10. The clamshell package of claim 1, further comprising: a second non-reusable security element configured to keep the base and the cover in the closed position, wherein: the first non-reusable security element comprises: a first seal located at the second portion of the first perimeter and the second portion of the second perimeter; the second non-reusable security element comprises: a second seal located at a fourth portion of the first perimeter and a fourth portion of the second perimeter; the third portions of the first and second perimeters separate the hinge and the first non-reusable security element; fifth portions of the first and second perimeters separate the first non-reusable security element and the second non-reusable security element; and sixth portions of the first and second perimeters separate the second non-reusable security element and the hinge.

11. The clamshell package of claim 1, further comprising: a second non-reusable security element configured to keep the base and the cover in the closed position; and a third non-reusable security element configured to keep the base and the cover in the closed position, wherein: the first non-reusable security element comprises: a first seal located at the second portion of the first perimeter and the second portion of the second perimeter; the second non-reusable security element comprises: a second seal located at a fourth portion of the first perimeter and a fourth portion of the second perimeter; the third non-reusable security element comprises: a third seal located at a fifth portion of the first perimeter and a fifth portion of the second perimeter; the third portions of the first and second perimeters separate the hinge and the first non-reusable security element; sixth portions of the first and second perimeters separate the first non-reusable security element and the second non-reusable security element; seventh portions of the first and second perimeters separate the second non-reusable security element and the third non-reusable security element; and eighth portions of the first and second perimeters separate the third non-reusable security element and the hinge.

12. The clamshell package of claim 1, wherein: the first non-reusable security element comprises a radio frequency seal.

13. The clamshell package of claim 1, wherein: the first non-reusable security element comprises an adhesive.

14. The clamshell package of claim 1, wherein: the first non-reusable security element comprises a heat seal.

15. The clamshell package of claim 1, wherein: the first perimeter includes a first aperture; the second perimeter includes a second aperture; and the first aperture is aligned with the second aperture when the base and the cover are in the closed position.

16. The clamshell package of claim 1 wherein: a size and a shape of the first perimeter is substantially the same as a size and a shape of the second perimeter.

17. The clamshell package of claim 1 wherein: a thickness of the second portion of the first perimeter is less than a thickness of a body portion of the base; and a thickness of the second portion of the second perimeter is less than a thickness of a body portion of the cover.

18. A package comprising: a product-containing portion defining an interior space, wherein the product-containing portion comprises: abase having a first perimeter; and a cover having a second perimeter and capable of movement between a first position relative to the base, in which the cover encloses the interior space, and a second position relative to the base, in which the interior space is exposed; a first tab extending from the base away from the interior space; a second tab extending from the cover away from the interior space; and a non-reusable seal securing together the cover and the base in the first position and located between at least a first portion of the first tab and at least a first portion of the second tab, wherein: first portion of the first perimeter is separated from a first portion of the second perimeter when the cover is in the second position; the first portion of the first perimeter is adjacent to the first portion of the second perimeter when the cover is the in first position; the non-reusable seal is absent at a portion of the first portion of the first perimeter; and the non-reusable seal is absent at a portion of the first portion of the second perimeter.

19. The package of claim 18 further comprising: one or more third tabs extending from the base away from the interior space; one or more fourth tabs extending from the cover away from the interior space, each of the one or more fourth tabs corresponding to at least one of the one or more third tabs; and an additional non-reusable seal between a at least a portion of each of the one or more third tabs and at least a corresponding portion of the one or more fourth tabs, wherein: each of the non-reusable seals is located outside of the interior space; and each of the first tab, the second tab, the one or more third tabs, and the one or more fourth tabs are non-contiguous with each other.

20. A package comprising: a first means for defining a periphery of an interior space comprising: a second means for defining a first portion of the periphery of the interior space; and a third means for defining a second portion of the periphery of the interior space; fourth means for hingedly attaching the second means to the third means; and a non-reusable means for securing together the first means and the second means in a closed position and to enclose the interior space, wherein: the fourth means is located a first portion of a perimeter of the first means; the non-reusable means is located at second portion of the perimeter of the first means; and the fourth and non-reusable means are absent at third portions of the perimeter of the first means.

21. A method of packaging a product in a package comprising: providing a base having a first perimeter; providing a cover having a second perimeter; and securing together the cover and the base by sealing together a first portion of the first perimeter and a first portion of the second perimeter, wherein: a second portion of the first perimeter is located apart from a second portion of the second perimeter when the cover is in an open position relative to the base; the second portion of the first perimeter is adjacent to the second portion of the second perimeter when the cover is in a closed position relative to the base; the first portion of the first perimeter is a portion of the second portion of the first perimeter; and the first portion of the second perimeter is a portion of the second portion of the second perimeter.

22. The method of claim 21 further comprising: inserting the product between the base and the cover before securing together the base and the cover.

23. The method of claim 22 further comprising: removing at least a portion of the first portion of the first perimeter and at least a portion of the first portion of the second perimeter from the package to open the package; and thereafter, removing the product from the package.

24. The method of claim 23 wherein: removing the at least a portion of the first portion of the first perimeter and the at least a portion of the first portion of the second perimeter does not damage the base, the cover, or the product.

25. The method of claim 21 wherein: securing together the base and the cover comprises: heat sealing the first portion of the first perimeter and the first portion of the second perimeter.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to packaging, and relates more particularly to clamshell packages and methods of forming such packages.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

A form of packaging commonly used in retail merchandising is the clamshell package. This type of packaging is used with numerous and varied types of items including such things as quantities of electronics, electronic accessories, batteries, cables, cords, food products, and, many other items.

Typically, clamshell packages are used when it is desirable to provide a convenient way of merchandising, which is easily loaded with product, readily mounted for display, and attractive in appearance. A second object of the conventional clamshell package is to provide security for the product. The clamshell package is substantially bigger than the goods themselves, which makes theft much more difficult. For example, a ballpoint pen, which if offered for sale in bulk and contained in a shelf bin, could easily be pilfered merely by picking up and inserting the pen into the thief's pocket. On the other hand, if the ballpoint pen is held in a clamshell package, theft is a more difficult and riskier task, because the thief must break open the package to remove the contents or conceal the larger package.

As a result of stores' and manufactures' concern about theft, most of the development work related to clamshell packages is directed toward providing packages that are very difficult to open and steal. However, these difficult-to-open clamshell packages cause much consumer annoyance when the consumer tries to open the packaging. Opening clamshell packages without proper care is also an injury-prone procedure, and serious hand injuries (including tendon and nerve damage) regularly occur during the opening of this type of packaging.

Therefore, a need exists for packaging that provides an attractive display with formidable security against theft, but also allows the consumer easy access to the product inside the packaging.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention will be better understood from a reading of the following detailed description of examples of embodiments, taken in conjunction with the accompanying figures in the drawings in which:

FIG. 1 illustrates a first package in an open position, according to a first embodiment;

FIG 2 illustrates the first package of FIG. 1 in a closed position, according to the first embodiment;

FIG. 3 illustrates the first package of FIG. 1 during the process of removing a portion of a non-reusable security element, according to the first embodiment;

FIG. 4 illustrates the first package of FIG. 1 after a portion of the non-reusable security element has been removed, according to the first embodiment;

FIG. 5 illustrates an isometric view of a second package in an open position, according to a second embodiment;

FIG. 6 illustrates an isometric view of a base of a third package, according to a third embodiment;

FIG. 7 illustrates a top view of a cover of the third package, according to the third embodiment;

FIG. 8 illustrates an isometric view of cover for a fourth package, which can be used with the base of FIG. 6, according to a fourth embodiment;

FIG. 9 illustrates an isometric view of a fifth package, according to a fifth embodiment;

FIG. 10 illustrates an isometric view of a sixth package, according to a sixth embodiment; and

FIG. 11 illustrates a flow chart for a method of packaging a product in a package, according to an embodiment.

For simplicity and clarity of illustration, the drawing figures illustrate the general manner of construction, and descriptions and details of well-known features and techniques may be omitted to avoid unnecessarily obscuring embodiments of the invention. Additionally, elements in the drawing figures are not necessarily drawn to scale. For example, the dimensions of some of the elements in the figures may be exaggerated relative to other elements to help improve understanding of embodiments of the present invention. The same reference numerals in different figures denote the same elements.

The terms “first” “second,” “third,” “fourth,” and the like in the description and in the claims, if any, are used for distinguishing between similar elements and not necessarily for describing a particular sequential or chronological order. It is to be understood that the terms so used are interchangeable under appropriate circumstances such that the embodiments of the invention described herein are, for example, capable of operation in sequences other than those illustrated or otherwise described herein. Furthermore, the terms “include,” and “have,” and any variations thereof, are intended to cover a non-exclusive inclusion, such that a process, method, system, article, or apparatus that comprises a list of elements is not necessarily limited to those elements, but may include other elements not expressly listed or inherent to such process, method, article, or apparatus.

The terms “left,” “right,” “front,” “back,” “top,” “bottom,” “over,” “under,” and the like in the description and in the claims, if any, are used for descriptive purposes and not necessarily for describing permanent relative positions. It is to be understood that the terms so used are interchangeable under appropriate circumstances such that the embodiments of the invention described herein are, for example, capable of operation in other orientations than those illustrated or otherwise described herein. The term “on,” as used herein, is defined as on, at, or otherwise adjacent to or next to or over.

The terms “couple,” “coupled,” “couples,” “coupling,” and the like should be broadly understood and refer to connecting two or more elements or signals, electrically and/or mechanically, either directly or indirectly through intervening circuitry and/or elements. Two or more mechanical elements may be mechanically coupled, either direct or indirectly, but not be electrically coupled; two or more electrical elements may be mechanically coupled, directly or indirectly, but not be electrically coupled. Coupling (whether only mechanical, only electrical, or both) may be for any length of time, e.g., permanent or semi-permanent or only for an instant. The absence of the word “removably,” “removable,” and the like near the word “coupled,” and the like does not mean that the coupling, etc. in question is or is not removable.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EXAMPLES OF EMBODIMENTS

In one embodiment, a clamshell package includes: (a) a base having a first perimeter; (b) a cover having a second perimeter; (c) a hinge pivotally coupling the base and the cover and located at a first portion of the first perimeter and at a first portion of the second perimeter; and (d) a first non-reusable security element capable of keeping the base and the cover in a closed position and located at a second portion of the first perimeter and at a second portion of the second perimeter.

In another embodiment, a method of packaging a product in a package includes: (a) providing a base having a first perimeter; (b) providing a cover having a second perimeter; and (c) securing together the cover and the base by sealing together a first portion of the first perimeter and a first portion of the second perimeter.

Turning to the drawings, FIG. 1 illustrates a package 100 in an open position, according to a first embodiment. FIG. 2 illustrates package 100 in a closed position, according to the first embodiment. It should be understood that package 100 is merely exemplary and that the present invention may be employed in many different packages not specifically depicted herein. In the illustrated embodiment, package 100 is a clamshell package. However, package 100 can be many different types of packaging including clamshell packaging.

As an example, package 100 can include: (a) a base 101 with a perimeter 115; (b) a cover 102 with a perimeter 116; (c) a hinge 110; and (d) a non-reusable security element 120. In one embodiment, the size and shape of perimeter 115 is substantially the same as the size and shape of perimeter 116.

As used herein, “non-reusable security element” is defined as a security element that is non-reusable for its intended purpose of securing the package or preventing the package from being opened. Use of non-reusable security element 120 allows package 100 to be securely closed to prevent theft while allowing the consumer easy access to products contained within package 100.

A product-containing portion 209 (FIG. 2) can define an interior space of package 100 and be formed by base 101 and cover 102. Package 100 also defines a periphery of the interior space, and more specifically, base 101 and cover 102 define portions of the periphery of the interior space.

Cover 102 and base 101 are configured to move between a closed position, in which cover 102 and base 101 enclose the interior space, and an open position, in which the interior space is exposed. Before closing package 100, products, instruments, labels, advertisements, and other related items can be inserted into the product containing portion 209 (FIG. 2). In one embodiment, hinge 110 pivotally couples together base 101 and cover 102. Hinge 110 is located at a portion 113 of perimeter 115 and at a portion 114 of perimeter 116. In some embodiments, hinge 110 can he integrally formed with base 101 and cover 102.

Non-reusable security element 120 is configured to keep base 101 and cover 102 in a closed position and is located at a portion 107 of perimeter 115 and a portion 108 of perimeter 116. In the illustrated embodiment, non-reusable security element is located outside of product-containing portion 209 (FIG. 2). In the same or different embodiment, each of hinge 110 and non-reusable security element 120 are absent from at least one portion of perimeters 115 and 116. For example, portions 107 and 108 can be located at portions of perimeter 115 and 116 opposite portions 113 and 114, respectively. Furthermore, portions 117 could exist between portions 107 and 113, and portion 118 between portions 108 and 114.

In the same or different embodiment, base 101 and cover 102 are only secured in the closed position by non-reusable security element 120. That is, no security elements or seals, other than non-reusable security element 120, exist between base 101 and cover 102. In further embodiments, a second non-reusable security element could serve as the hinge for package 100, or vice versa.

In one embodiment, non-reusable security element 120 includes a flange 124 coupled to cover 102 and a flange 125 coupled to base 101. In one example, flanges 124 and 125 can extend outward from cover 102 and base 101, respectively.

In one embodiment flanges 124 and 125 are an integral part of cover 102 and base 101 (i.e., flanges 124 and 125 are not separate pieces from cover 102 and base 101 and/or are formed from the same material and at the same time as cover 102 and/or base 101). In some embodiments, the flanges can be referred to as lips, and in other embodiments, the flanges can be referred to as overhangs, and in yet other embodiments, the flanges can be referred to as tabs.

In one embodiment, non-reusable security element 120 includes a seal 222. Portions of flanges 124 and 125 are coupled together to form seal 222. Seal 222 can be formed using a variety of techniques. As an example, seal 222 can be formed by a heat seal between portions of flanges 124 and 125. A heat seal can be a seal bonded by heat and pressure to form a closure. In another embodiment, seal 222 can be formed by radio frequency (RF) bonding. In a third embodiment, seal 222 can be formed by placing an adhesive (e.g., glue) between portions of flanges 124 and 125. In other embodiments, seal 222 can be formed by any other method that securely couples a portion of flange 124 to a portion of flange 125.

In the same or different embodiments, one or more labels (not shown) can be placed in or between flanges 124 and 125 at or around seal 222. The labels can instruct a user how to open the package. In various examples, a label with the words “Cut Here” can be placed between the flanges 124 and 125 at seal 222.

In one embodiment, at least a portion of non-reusable security element 120 is removable from package 100 to permit base 101 and cover 102 to move from the closed position to the open position. For example, after sealing package 100 in the closed position, one method of opening package 100 includes removing the portion of non-reusable security element 120 containing seal 222.

FIGS. 3 and 4 illustrate a method of removing non-reusable security element 120 from package 100. FIG. 3 illustrates package 100 during the process of removing a portion of non-reusable security element 120 according to the first embodiment. FIG. 4 illustrates package 100 after a portion of non-reusable security element 120 has been removed according to the first embodiment. As shown in FIG. 3, seal 222 can be removed using a sharp object 352. Sharp object 352 disconnects a portion of flanges 124 and 125 from the rest of package 100. A variety of sharp objects 352 can be used including scissors, knives, or devices designed especially for opening a clamshell package. In other embodiments, a portion of non-reusable security element 120 can be removed by twisting the portion, of non-reusable security element 120 off.

After non-reusable security element 120 is removed, package 100 can be opened, and any of products 450 stored within package 100 can be removed, as shown in FIG. 4. Additionally, after removing portions of non-reusable security element 120, package 100 is reusable. In some embodiments, package 100 includes a reusable closing mechanism to allow base 101 to be secured to cover 102 after removal of all or a portion of non-reusable security element 120.

The design of package 100 makes opening package 100 by any method other than removal of a portion of non-reusable security element 120 difficult. Package 100 can be opened by cutting through other portions of package 100. However, the person opening package 100 in this manner risks seriously injuring himself or damaging the product inside package 100 if portions of package 100 other than non-reusable security element 120 are cut.

Referring back to FIG. 1, base 101 has a cavity 103 in one embodiment. Flange 125 is absent over or under cavity 103, and perimeter 115 can be defined or formed by the periphery or edges of cavity 103. Non-reusable security element 120 can be located outside of cavity 103. In one example, cavity 103 can have a single wall and be shaped similar to a hemisphere. In other embodiments, cavity 103 can be formed by two or more walls and, in some embodiments, be shaped similar to an oblong tube. In another example, cavity 103 can be formed by four side walls and a bottom wall and have a shape similar to a square, rhombus, or rectangular box. In a further example, cavity 103 can be shaped to mirror a general or detailed exterior surface or shape of the products to be placed within package 100. Shaping cavity 103 to mirror the exterior surface or shape of the products allows the products to be securely and attractively packed within package 100 with a lessened need for cushioning or other protective materials. In further embodiments, base 101 can have multiple cavities.

In the same or a different embodiment, cover 102 can have a cavity 104. Flange 124 is absent over or under cavity 104, and perimeter 116 can be defined or formed by the periphery or edges of cavity 104. Non-reusable security element 120 can be located outside of cavity 103. Cavities 103 and 104 can define product-containing portion 209. In the example shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, cavity 104 has a single wall and is shaped similar to a hemisphere. In other embodiments, cavity 104 can be formed by two or more walls and, in some embodiments, be shaped similar to an oblong tube. In yet another example, cavity 104 can be formed by four side walls and a bottom wall or be shaped to mirror a detailed or general exterior surface shape of the products. In other embodiments, cover 102 can have multiple cavities or be devoid of a cavity.

In one embodiment, hinge 110, non-reusable security element 120, and flanges 124 and 125 can be part of base 101 and cover 102, instead of being separate elements from base 101 and cover 102. For example, base 101, cover 102, non-reusable security element 120, flanges 124 and 125, and hinge 110 can be formed from a thin sheet of transparent thermoplastic material using a single sheet thermoforming process. In other embodiments, injection molding, transfer molding, or other formation processes can be used to form package 100. Package 100 can be composed of PET (polyethylene terephthalate), RPET (recycled polyethylene terephthalate), HIPS (high-impact polystyrene), high density polyethylene, polyurethane, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), or other suitable materials. These materials can be opaque, translucent, and/or transparent. Package 100 can be formed from a plastic material with a thickness that is appropriate to use and structure of the package. In some embodiments, the thickness of flanges 124 and 125 can he less than the thickness of base 101 and/or cover 102.

FIG. 5 illustrates an isometric view of a package 500 in an open position, according to a second embodiment. Package 500 can be similar to package 100 (FIG. 1). Package 500 can include a base 501, a cover 502, a hinge 110, and a non-reusable security element 520. Base 501 and cover 502 can be substantially similar to base 101 and cover 102 (FIG. 1). However, a cavity 503 of base 501 contains four side walls and bottom wall instead of being hemispherically shaped. Base 501 also has a tab 541 extending outward from a perimeter 515 of base 501. Cover 502 includes a tab 540 extending outward from a perimeter 516 of cover 502. Cover 502 is devoid of a cavity and has a flat, substantially one-dimensional shape.

In this embodiment, non-reusable security element 520 is similar to non-reusable security element 120 (FIG. 1). Non-reusable security element 520 includes a seal (not shown), which couples a portion of tab 540 to a portion of tab 541. The seal is applied after products and any inserts or other items have been placed inside the interior space of package 500.

In this embodiment, non-reusable security element 520 holds package 500 in a closed position. No other permanent seals exist between base 501 and cover 502. Package 500 can be opened without damaging base 501, cover 502, or any products therewithin by removing a portion of non-reusable security element 520. In one embodiment, the portion of non-reusable security element 520 removed includes the seal 522 between tabs 540 and 541.

Package 500 can be displayed in a retail environment by suspending package 500 from a frontwardly extending rod or peg. In one embodiment, to facilitate this mode of support, tabs 540 and 541 can include apertures 544 and 543, respectively. When base 501 and cover 502 are in the closed position, aperture 543 is aligned with aperture 544. In the illustrated example, apertures 543 and 544 can be triangular holes. Apertures 543 and 544 can also have other geometric or round shapes. In a further embodiment, apertures 543 and 544 can be referred to as openings.

FIG. 6 illustrates an isometric view of a base 601 of a package 600, according to a third embodiment. FIG. 7 illustrates a top view of a cover 702 of package 600, according to the third embodiment. Package 600 can be similar to package 100 (FIG. 1)

As an example, base 601 includes a cavity 603 with a perimeter 615 and four tabs 640, 650, 652, and 654 extending away from cavity 603. Cavity 603 is formed by a bottom wall 655 and four side walls 656, 657. 658, and 659.

Also, in this example, cover 702 with a perimeter 716 also includes four tabs 740, 750, 752, and 754 extending away from the interior space defined by cover 702 and base 601. In this embodiment, base 601 and cover 702 are not coupled by a hinge, and therefore, two or more tabs are necessary to secure the package 700 in a closed position. If multiple tabs are not used, package 600 would not be securely closed, and the products stored inside the package could easily fall out or be stolen from package 600.

After the products are placed inside cavity 603, the interior of package 600 can be enclosed by placing cover 702 on top of the opening in base 601. When package 600 is in a closed position, tabs 640, 650, 652, and 654 are adjacent to tabs 740, 750, 752, and 754, respectively. Tabs 640 and 650 can be sealed to tabs 740 and 750, respectively, and tabs 652 and 654 can be sealed to tabs 752 and 754, respectively, to form four non-reusable security elements. As in the previous embodiments, package 600 can be opened by removing at least a portion of at least one of the four non-reusable security elements. In a further embodiment, one or more pairs of tabs 640 and 740, 650 and 750, 652 and 752, and 654 and 754 can be used as hinges. In FIGS. 6 and 7, four tabs are shown on base 601 and cover 702, but any number of tabs could be used as long as the number of tabs used securely couple base 601 to cover 702.

FIG. 8 illustrates an isometric view of a cover 802 with a perimeter 816, which can be used with base 601 (FIG. 6), according to a fourth embodiment, to form a package 800. Package 800 can be similar to package 100 (FIG. 1) Cover 802 includes an insert portion 860. In one embodiment, insert portion 860 includes four walls 862, 864, 866, and 868 extending outward and substantially perpendicular to a top side 870 of cover 802. When cover 802 is mated with base 601, walls 862, 864, 866, and 868 slide inside side walls 656, 657, 658, and 659 (FIG. 6), respectively. Walls 862, 864, 866, and 868 provide increased security by making theft of the product stored Inside package 800 more difficult.

In a non-illustrated embodiment, dimples or grooves can be formed on side walls 656, 657, 658, and 659 (FIG. 6). Protrusions corresponding to the dimples or grooves can be formed on walls 862, 864, 866, and 868. When cover 802 is mated with base 601 (FIG. 6), the protrusions can snap into the corresponding dimples to lock cover 802 to base 601. The usage of dimples and grooves can make package 800 reusable while provide extra security against theft.

FIG. 9 illustrates an isometric view of a package 900, according to a fifth embodiment. Package 900 can be similar to package 100. (FIG. 1) In this example, package 900 has base 501, cover 502, rims 905 and 906, tabs 941 and 940, and a non-reusable security element 920. Rim 905 protrudes from base 501, and tab 941 extends outward from rim 905. Rim 905 and tab 941 are located exterior to cavity 503. Cover 502 is hingedly attached to base 501 by hinge 110. Rim 906 protrudes from cover 502, and tab 940 extends outward from rim 906. Rim 906 and tab 940 can be located exterior to cover 502. In some embodiments, portions of rims 905 and 906 and tabs 941 and 940 are part of non-reusable security element 920. For example, non-reusable security element 920 can include a portion of rims 905 and 906. When package 900 is in a closed position, a seal is formed between portions of rims 905 and 906 to securely couple base 501 and cover 502.

In another example, non-reusable security element 920 can include portions of tabs 940 and 941. When package 900 is in a closed position, a seal is formed between portions of tabs 940 and 941 to securely couple base 501 and cover 502. In a further example, non-reusable security element 920 can include portions of rims 905 and 906 and portions of tabs 940 and 941. When package 900 is in a closed position, a seal can be formed to securely couple base 501 and cover 502. The seal securely attaches portions of rims 905 and 906 together as well as portions of tabs 940 and 941.

FIG. 10 illustrates an isometric view of a package 1000, according to a sixth embodiment. In this embodiment, package 1000 is similar to package 900, except that package 1000 includes a locking mechanism 1080. A portion 1082 of locking mechanism 1080 is located between cover 502 and rim 906, and a portion 1081 of locking mechanism 1080 is located between rim 905 and a side wall 1058 of base 501. In one example, portion 1082 can be an outwardly curving section, size and shaped to fit snuggly inside portion 1081 when package 1000 is in a closed position.

FIG. 11 illustrates a flow chart 1100 for a method of packaging a product in a package according to an embodiment.

Flow chart 1100 includes a step 1110 of providing a base having a first perimeter. As an example, the base and the first perimeter of step 1110 can he identical or similar to bases 101, 501, and 601, and perimeters 115, 515, and 615 of FIGS. 1, 5, and 6, respectively.

Next, flow chart 1100 includes a step 1120 of providing a cover having a second perimeter. As an example, the cover and the second perimeter of step 1120 can be identical or similar to covers 102, 502, 702, and 802 and perimeters 116, 516, 716, and 816 of FIGS. 1, 5, 7, and 8, respectively.

Subsequently, flow chart 1100 in FIG. 11 continues with a step 1130 of securing together the cover and the base by sealing together a first portion of the first perimeter and a first portion of the second perimeter. As an example, a first portion of the first perimeter sealed to a first portion of the second perimeter of step 1130 can be identical or similar to non-reusable security elements 120 and 520, of FIGS. 1 and 5, respectively, and or the security elements of FIGS. 6-8. In a different embodiment, step 1130 can perform the securing process described with reference to FIGS. 9 and 10.

Although the invention has been described with reference to specific embodiments, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes may be made without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention. Various examples of such changes have been given in the foregoing description. Accordingly, the disclosure of embodiments of the invention is intended to be illustrative of the scope of the invention and is not intended to be limiting. It is intended that the scope of the invention shall be limited only to the extent required by the appended claims. For example, to one of ordinary skill in the art, it will be readily apparent that the system discussed herein may be implemented in a variety of embodiments, and that the foregoing discussion of certain of these embodiments does not necessarily represent a complete description of all possible embodiments. Rather, the detailed description of the drawings, and the drawings themselves, disclose at least one preferred embodiment of the invention, and may disclose alternative embodiments of the invention.

All elements claimed in any particular claim are essential to the invention claimed in that particular claim. Consequently, replacement of one or more claimed elements constitutes reconstruction and not repair. Additionally, benefits, other advantages, and solutions to problems have been described with regard to specific embodiments. The benefits, advantages, solutions to problems, and any element or elements that may cause any benefit, advantage, or solution to occur or become more pronounced, however, are not to be construed as critical, required, or essential features or elements of any or all of the claims.

Moreover, embodiments and limitations disclosed herein are not dedicated to the public under the doctrine of dedication if the embodiments and/or limitations: (1) are not expressly claimed in the claims; and (2) are or are potentially equivalents of express elements and/or limitations in the claims under the doctrine of equivalents.