Title:
Composite Hinged-Lid Packet of Cigarettes
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A packet (1) of cigarettes having a cup-shaped, parallelepiped-shaped outer first container (2); a first lid (4) is hinged to the outer first container (2) to rotate between an open position and a closed position; the outer first container (2) houses two to four inner second containers (18), each of which is cup-shaped, houses a group (19) of cigarettes, and is parallelepiped-shaped; a second lid (21) is hinged to each inner second container (18) to rotate between an open position and a closed position; and the inner second containers (18) are housed inside the outer first container (2) so that, when the first (4) is in the closed position, a top wall (30) of each second lid (21) directly contacts a top wall (13) of the first lid (4), and at least one lateral wall (29) of each second lid (21) directly contacts a lateral wall (12) of the first lid (4).



Inventors:
Ghini, Marco (Monte San Pietro, IT)
Petrucci, Luca (Castelfranco Emilia, IT)
Polloni, Roberto (Modigliana, IT)
Negrini, Stefano (Calderara Di Reno, IT)
Application Number:
11/816929
Publication Date:
06/18/2009
Filing Date:
02/23/2006
Assignee:
G.D Societa'Per Azioni (Bologna, IT)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/268, 206/273, 206/514
International Classes:
B65D85/10; A24F15/00; B65D77/04
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
REYNOLDS, STEVEN ALAN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MARSHALL, GERSTEIN & BORUN LLP (CHICAGO, IL, US)
Claims:
1. A packet of cigarettes, comprising: an outer first container (2), which is cup-shaped, is parallelepiped-shaped, and has a rear wall (6), a front wall (7), two lateral walls (8), a bottom wall (9), and an open top end (3); a first lid (4) is hinged to the outer first container (2) along a first hinge (5) to rotate between an open position and a closed position opening and closing the open top end (3) respectively, and has a rear wall (10), a front wall (11), two lateral walls (12), and a top wall (13); and a number of inner second containers (18), each of which is housed inside the outer first container (2), is cup-shaped, houses a group (19) of cigarettes, is parallelepiped-shaped, and has a rear wall (23), a front wall (24), two lateral walls (25), a bottom wall (26), and an open top end (20); a second lid (21) is hinged to each inner second container (18) along a second hinge (22) to rotate between an open position and a closed position opening and closing the open top end (20) respectively, and has a rear wall (27), a front wall (28), two lateral walls (29), and a top wall (30); the packet (1) of cigarettes is characterized in that the inner second containers (18) are two to four in number, and are housed inside the outer first container (2) so that, when the first lid (4) is in the closed position, the top wall (30) of each second lid (21) directly contacts the top wall (13) of the first lid (4), and at least one lateral wall (29) of each second lid (21) directly contacts a lateral wall (12) of the first lid (4).

2. A packet of cigarettes as claimed in claim 1, wherein each second hinge (22) is parallel to the first hinge (5).

3. A packet of cigarettes as claimed in claim 1, wherein each second hinge (22) is crosswise to the first hinge (5).

4. A packet of cigarettes as claimed in claim 1, wherein the inner second containers (18) are housed inside the outer first container (2) so as to be arranged side by side at the respective lateral walls (25); the front wall (24) of each inner second container (18) is positioned directly contacting the front wall (7) of the outer first container (2), and the rear wall (23) of each inner second container (18) is positioned directly contacting the rear wall (6) of the outer first container (2).

5. A packet of cigarettes as claimed in claim 1, wherein the inner second containers (18) are housed inside the outer first container (2) so as to be arranged side by side at the respective front (24) and rear (23) walls; both the lateral walls (25) of each inner second container (18) are positioned directly contacting respective lateral walls (8) of the outer first container (2).

6. A packet of cigarettes as claimed in claim 1, wherein the groups (19) of cigarettes in the inner second containers (18) differ as to the number of cigarettes and/or type of cigarettes.

7. A packet of cigarettes as claimed in claim 1, wherein the group (19) of cigarettes housed inside each inner second container (18) is wrapped in a sheet of foil packing material or similar.

8. A packet of cigarettes as claimed in claim 1, wherein the group (19) of cigarettes housed inside each inner second container (18) directly contacts the inner second container (18), with no further packing material in between.

9. A packet of cigarettes as claimed in claim 1, wherein the outer first container (2) comprises a first collar (37) folded into a U and connected to the inside of the outer first container (2) so as to project partly outwards of the open top end (3) and engage a corresponding inner surface of the first lid (4) when the first lid (4) is in the closed position.

10. A packet of cigarettes as claimed in claim 9, wherein the first collar (37) comprises two projections (38), which project outwards to engage the first lid (4) with a given amount of interference when the first lid (4) is in the closed position.

11. A packet of cigarettes as claimed in claim 9, wherein the outer first container (2) is made from a flat blank (45), of which the first collar (37) forms an integral part.

12. A packet of cigarettes as claimed in claim 11, wherein the first collar (37) comprises a front wall (39) parallel to and slightly offset with respect to the front wall (7) of the outer first container (2); and two lateral walls (40), each parallel to and slightly offset with respect to a respective lateral wall (8) of the outer first container (2).

13. A packet of cigarettes as claimed in claim 12, wherein, employing a “debossing” technique, the front wall (39) and lateral walls (40) of the first collar (37) are depressed with respect to the front wall (7) and lateral walls (8) of the outer first container (2).

14. A packet of cigarettes as claimed in claim 9, wherein the first lid (4) comprises two seats (41), each of which is located at a respective lateral wall (12) of the first lid, and has an opening (42) facing the outer first container (2) and parallel to the lateral walls (12) of the first lid; a top portion (43) of each lateral wall (40) of the first collar (37) is designed to fit inside a respective seat (41), through the opening (42) in the seat (41), when the first lid (4) is in the closed position.

15. A packet of cigarettes as claimed in claim 14, wherein the opening (42) in each seat (41) and a top edge (44) of each lateral wall (40) of the first collar (37) are designed so that the top edge (44) fits gradually inside the opening (42) as the first lid (4) is rotated into the closed position.

16. A packet of cigarettes as claimed in claim 1, wherein each inner second container (18) comprises a second collar (35) folded into a U and connected to the inside of the inner second container (18) so as to project partly outwards of the open top end (20) and engage a corresponding inner surface of the second lid (21) when the second lid (21) is in the closed position.

17. A packet of cigarettes as claimed in claim 1, wherein the outer first container (2) has four longitudinal edges (14) defined between the lateral walls (8) and the front wall (7) and rear wall (6), and four transverse edges (15) defined between the bottom wall (9) and the lateral walls (8), front wall (7), and rear wall (6); the first lid (4) has four longitudinal edges (16) defined between the lateral walls (12) and the front wall (11) and rear wall (10), and four transverse edges (17) defined between the top wall (13) and the lateral walls (12), font wall (11), and rear wall (10); each inner second container (18) has four longitudinal edges (31) defined between the lateral walls (25) and the front wall (24) and rear wall (23), and four transverse edges (32) defined between the bottom wall (26) and the lateral walls (25), front wall (24), and rear wall (23); and each second lid (21) has four longitudinal edges (33) defined between the lateral walls (29) and the front wall (28) and rear wall (27), and four transverse edges (34) defined between the top wall (30) and the lateral walls (29), front wall (28), and rear wall (27).

18. A packet of cigarettes as claimed in claim 17, wherein the longitudinal edges (16) and transverse edges (17) of the first lid (4) are the same shape and substantially the same size as the longitudinal edges (14) and transverse edges (15) of the outer first container (2); and the longitudinal edges (33) and transverse edges (34) of each second lid (21) are the same shape and substantially the same size as the longitudinal edges (31) and transverse edges (32) of the respective inner second container (18).

19. A packet of cigarettes as claimed in claim 17, wherein at least some of the longitudinal edges (14, 16, 31, 33) are rounded or bevelled.

20. A packet of cigarettes as claimed in claim 17, wherein at least some of the transverse edges (15, 17, 32, 34) are rounded or bevelled.

21. A packet of cigarettes as claimed in claim 1, wherein the outer first container (2) is made from a flat blank (45) comprising two longitudinal fold lines (46), and a number of transverse fold lines (47) defining between the longitudinal fold lines (46): a first panel (7′) forming the front wall (7) of the outer first container (2); a second panel (9′) forming the bottom wall (9) of the outer first container (2); a third panel (6′) forming the rear wall (6) of the outer first container (2); a fourth panel (10′) forming the rear wall (10) of the first lid (4); a fifth panel (13′) forming the top wall (13) of the first lid (4); a sixth panel (11′) forming the front wall (11) of the first lid (4); and an inner first tongue (48) for reinforcing the front wall ( 11) of the first lid (4).

22. A packet of cigarettes as claimed in claim 21, wherein the first panel (7′) has two first tabs (8′), which form respective outer portions of the lateral walls (8) of the outer first container (2), are located on opposite sides of the first panel (7′), and are separated from the first panel (7′) by the longitudinal fold lines (46); the third panel (6′) has two second tabs (8″), which form respective inner portions of the lateral walls (8) of the outer first container (2), are located on opposite sides of the third panel (6′), and are separated from the third panel (6′) by the longitudinal fold lines (46); the fourth panel (10′) has two third tabs (12″), which form respective inner portions of the lateral walls (12) of the first lid (4), are located on opposite sides of the fourth panel (10′), and are separated from the fourth panel (10′) by the longitudinal fold lines (46); and the sixth panel (11′) has two fourth tabs (12′), which form respective outer portions of the lateral walls (12) of the first lid (4), are located on opposite sides of the sixth panel (11′), and are separated from the sixth panel ( 11′) by the longitudinal fold lines (46).

23. A packet of cigarettes as claimed in claim 22, wherein each second tab (8″) is connected along a transverse fold line (47) to an inner second tongue (49) for reinforcing the bottom wall (9) of the outer first container (2); and each third tab (12″) is connected along a transverse fold line (47) to an inner third tongue (50) for reinforcing the top wall (13) of the first lid (4).

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to a hinged-lid packet of cigarettes.

BACKGROUND ART

Rigid hinged-lid packets of cigarettes are now the most widely marketed, by being easy to produce, easy and practical to use, and providing good protection of the cigarettes inside.

A rigid hinged-lid packet of cigarettes comprises a cup-shaped container having an open end; and a cup-shaped lid hinged to the container along a hinge to rotate, with respect to the container, between an open position and a closed position opening and closing the open end respectively.

The container houses an orderly group of cigarettes wrapped in a sheet of foil wrapping material and normally comprising 20 cigarettes arranged in three rows of 7, 6, 7 cigarettes respectively. Some consumers prefer groups comprising fewer (normally 6 to 10 standard-size) cigarettes, the reason usually being to reduce the number of cigarettes smoked a day, which is obviously easier to do if only the target number is available.

To meet this demand, small rigid packets of cigarettes containing groups of 8-10 cigarettes, and rigid packets of cigarettes comprising a number of containers, connected to one another and each containing a group of 6-10 cigarettes, are now marketed.

Currently marketed rigid packets of cigarettes comprising a number of connected containers (known commercially as “folding packets”), however, are fairly expensive, by being complicated to produce, and requiring the use of both specially designed packing machines and L-shaped blanks which are difficult to store and fold.

Even small rigid packets of cigarettes (i.e. containing a group of at most 10 standard-size cigarettes) are fairly expensive, in that, despite containing at most half the number of cigarettes in a conventional rigid packet of cigarettes, 70-80% of the packing material in conventional rigid packets of cigarettes is still required. Moreover, while consumers prefer groups comprising a small number of cigarettes, frequent purchasing of 8-10 cigarettes at a time is an obvious inconvenience (particularly if the retailer is not conveniently located), so consumers tend to purchase a number of packets of cigarettes, possibly in the form of a carton normally comprising ten packets.

Patent Application US2003183541A1 describes a hinged-lid carton of cigarettes of the same hinged-lid design as the packets of cigarettes inside, and which contains ten packets of cigarettes arranged in two superimposed rows, each comprising five packets of cigarettes arranged side by side with the front wall of one packet contacting the rear wall of an adjacent packet. A carton of cigarettes of the type described in Patent Application US2003183541A1, however, is extremely bulky and therefore difficult to carry in a pocket or bag.

DISCLOSURE OF INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to provide a hinged-lid packet of cigarettes, which is more practical than known packets of cigarettes, eliminates the aforementioned drawbacks, and, at the same time, is cheap and easy to produce.

According to the present invention, there is provided a packet of cigarettes as recited in the accompanying Claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

A number of non-limiting embodiments of the present invention will be described by way of example with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 shows a front view in perspective of a rigid packet of cigarettes in accordance with the present invention and in a closed configuration;

FIG. 2 shows a rear view in perspective of the FIG. 1 rigid packet of cigarettes in a closed configuration;

FIG. 3 shows a front view in perspective of the FIG. 1 rigid packet of cigarettes in an open configuration;

FIG. 4 shows a further front view in perspective of the FIG. 1 rigid packet of cigarettes in an open configuration with an inner package partly extracted;

FIG. 5 shows a front view in perspective, and in a closed configuration, of an inner package of the FIG. 1 rigid packet of cigarettes;

FIG. 6 shows a rear view in perspective of the FIG. 5 inner package in a closed configuration;

FIG. 7 shows a front view in perspective of the FIG. 5 inner package in an open configuration;

FIG. 8 shows a front view in perspective of a further embodiment of the FIG. 1 rigid packet of cigarettes in an open configuration;

FIG. 9 shows a front view in perspective of the FIG. 8 rigid packet of cigarettes in an open configuration and with the inner packages partly extracted;

FIG. 10 shows a front view in perspective of a further embodiment of the FIG. 1 rigid packet of cigarettes in an open configuration;

FIG. 11 shows a front view in perspective of the FIG. 10 rigid packet of cigarettes in an open configuration and with an inner package partly extracted;

FIG. 12 shows a view in perspective of a detail of the FIG. 10 packet;

FIGS. 13 and 14 show two side views of the FIG. 12 detail in two different lid positions;

FIG. 15 shows a plan view of a blank by which to produce an outer container of the rigid packet of cigarettes in FIGS. 1-4, 8 and 9;

FIG. 16 shows a plan view of a blank by which to produce an outer container of the rigid packet of cigarettes in FIGS. 10 and 11.

BEST MODE FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION

Number 1 in FIGS. 1 to 4 indicates as a whole a rigid packet of cigarettes comprising a cup-shaped outer container 2 having an open top end 3; and a cup-shaped lid 4 hinged to outer container 2 along a hinge 5 to rotate, with respect to outer container 2, between an open position (FIGS. 3 and 4) and a closed position (FIGS. 1 and 2) opening and closing open end 3 respectively.

Outer container 2 is cup-shaped, is in the form of a parallelepiped, and comprises a rear wall 6, a front wall 7, two lateral walls 8, a bottom wall 9, and said open top end 3. Lid 4 is cup-shaped, is hinged to outer container 2 along hinge 5 on rear wall 6 of outer container 2, and comprises a rear wall 10, a front wall 11, two lateral walls 12, and a top wall 13. Hinge 5 is normally located between rear wall 6 of outer container 2 and rear wall 10 of lid 4. In an alternative embodiment not shown, hinge 5 is located between a lateral wall 8 of outer container 2 and a lateral wall 12 of lid 4.

Outer container 2 has four longitudinal edges 14 defined between lateral walls 8 and front wall 7 and rear wall 6; and four transverse edges 15 defined between bottom wall 9 and lateral walls 8, front wall 7, and rear wall 6. Lid 4 has four longitudinal edges 16 defined between lateral walls 12 and front wall 11 and rear wall 10; and four transverse edges 17 defined between top wall 13 and lateral walls 12, front wall 11, and rear wall 10. Longitudinal edges 16 and transverse edges 17 of lid 4 are normally the same shape and size as longitudinal edges 14 and transverse edges 15 of outer container 2 respectively.

As shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, outer container 2 houses two inner containers 18, each of which is cup-shaped, is in the form of a parallelepiped, and contains a group 19 of cigarettes (FIG. 7) wrapped in a sheet of foil wrapping material and projecting from an open top end 20 (FIG. 7) of inner container 18. In an alternative embodiment not shown, each group 19 of cigarettes is in direct contact with inner container 18, with no further packing material in between.

As shown in FIGS. 5, 6 and 7, a lid 21 is hinged to each inner container 18 along a hinge 22 to rotate, with respect to inner container 18, between an open position (FIG. 7) and a closed position (FIGS. 5 and 6) opening and closing open end 20 respectively. Each inner container comprises a rear wall 23, a front wall 24, two lateral walls 25, a bottom wall 26, and said open top end 20. Each lid 21 is cup-shaped, is hinged to inner container 18 along hinge 22 on rear wall 23 of inner container 18, and comprises a rear wall 27, a front wall 28, two lateral walls 29, and a top wall 30. Hinge 22 is normally located between rear wall 23 of inner container 18 and rear wall 27 of lid 21. In an alternative embodiment not shown, hinge 22 is located between a lateral wall 25 of inner container 18 and a lateral wall 29 of lid 21.

Each inner container 18 has four longitudinal edges 31 defined between lateral walls 25 and front wall 24 and rear wall 23; and four transverse edges 32 defined between bottom wall 26 and lateral walls 25, front wall 24, and rear wall 23. Each lid 21 has four longitudinal edges 33 defined between lateral walls 29 and front wall 28 and rear wall 27; and four transverse edges 34 defined between top wall 30 and lateral walls 29, front wall 28, and rear wall 27. Longitudinal edges 33 and transverse edges 34 of lid 21 are normally the same shape and size as longitudinal edges 31 and transverse edges 32 of inner container 18 respectively.

A collar 35 (FIG. 7) is glued to the inside of each inner container 18, is folded into a U, and projects partly outwards of open top end 20 to engage a corresponding inner surface of lid 21 when lid 21 is in the closed position. The function of collar 35 is to hold lid 21 in the closed position by requiring a certain amount of force to open lid 21. For which purpose, collar 35 preferably comprises two projections 36, which project outwards to engage lid 21 with a given amount of interference when lid 21 is in the closed position.

In the embodiments shown in the accompanying drawings, hinge 22 of each inner container 18 is parallel to hinge 5 of outer container 2. In an alternative embodiment not shown, hinge 22 of each inner container 18 is crosswise to hinge 5 of outer container 2.

As shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, outer container 2 houses two inner containers 18 of different sizes to house respective different groups 19 of cigarettes. The two inner containers 18 are arranged side by side at front and rear walls 24 and 23, so that both the lateral walls 25 of each inner container 18 directly contact respective lateral walls 8 of outer container 2.

As shown in FIGS. 8 and 9, outer container 2 houses three inner containers 18 of the same size to house respective identical groups 19 of cigarettes. The three inner containers 18 are arranged side by side at front and rear walls 24 and 23, so that both the lateral walls 25 of each inner container 18 directly contact respective lateral walls 8 of outer container 2.

As shown in FIGS. 10 and 11, outer container 2 houses two inner containers 18 of the same size to house respective identical groups 19 of cigarettes. The two inner containers 18 are arranged side by side at lateral walls 25, with front wall 24 of each inner container 18 directly contacting front wall 7 of outer container 2, and with rear wall 23 of each inner container 18 directly contacting rear wall 6 of outer container 2.

In an alternative embodiment not shown, outer container 2 houses four inner containers 18, which may be arranged side by side at front and rear walls 24 and 23, or may be arranged side by side in pairs at front and rear walls 24 and 23, and side by side in pairs at lateral walls 25.

It should be pointed out that inner containers 18 of the same rigid packet 1 of cigarettes may house identical or different groups 19 of cigarettes. In the latter case, groups 19 of cigarettes may differ as to the number and/or type of cigarettes (different type of tobacco and/or different cigarette sizes).

In the accompanying drawings, longitudinal edges 33 and transverse edges 34 of each lid 21 are substantially the same shape and size as longitudinal edges 16 and transverse edges 17 of lid 4 respectively, and longitudinal edges 31 and transverse edges 32 of each inner container 18 are substantially the same shape and size as longitudinal edges 14 and transverse edges 15 of outer container 2. In an alternative embodiment not shown, longitudinal edges 33 and transverse edges 34 of each lid 21 are shaped differently from longitudinal edges 16 and transverse edges 17 of lid 4 respectively, and longitudinal edges 31 and transverse edges 32 of each inner container 18 are shaped differently from longitudinal edges 14 and transverse edges 15 of outer container 2 respectively.

In the embodiments shown in the accompanying drawings, longitudinal edges 14, 16, 31, 33 and transverse edges 15, 17, 32, 34 are all square. In alternative embodiments not shown, at least some of longitudinal edges 14, 16, 31, 33 or at least some of transverse edges 15, 17, 32, 34 are rounded or bevelled. For example, longitudinal edges 14, 16, 31, 33 may all be non-square rounded or bevelled edges, or (as in the packet of cigarettes described in Patent Application EP-A1-0764595), some transverse edges 15, 17, 32, 34 may be non-square rounded or bevelled edges. Alternatively, some longitudinal edges 14, 16, 31, 33 and some transverse edges 15, 17, 32, 34 may be non-square rounded or bevelled edges, so as to have both non-square rounded or bevelled longitudinal edges 14, 16, 31, 33 and transverse edges 15, 17, 32, 34.

In an alternative embodiment not shown, packet 1 may resemble the packet of cigarettes described in Patent Application EP-A1-1066205; in which case, rear wall 6 of outer container 2, front wall 7 of outer container 2, rear wall 10 of lid 4, and front wall 11 of lid 4 are outwardly convex, and each have a flat central portion, and two curved lateral fold strips connecting the flat central portion to lateral walls 8 or 12 at respective sharp, non-square longitudinal edges 14 or 16. In the above embodiment, rear wall 23 of each inner container 18, front wall 24 of each inner container 18, rear wall 27 of each lid 21, and front wall 28 of each lid 21 are also preferably outwardly convex, and each comprise a flat central portion, and two curved lateral fold strips connecting the flat central portion to lateral walls 25 or 29 at respective sharp, non-square longitudinal edges 31 or 33.

In the embodiments shown in FIGS. 3, 4, 8 and 9, outer container 2 has no collar, in that the small amount of mechanical interference created between lid 4 and inner containers 18 is sufficient to require a certain amount of force to open lid 4, and therefore to hold lid 4 in the closed position. A collar fitted to outer container 2 is still useful, however, in that, removal of one or more inner containers 18 from outer container 2 in use (typically, when the inner containers are empty), would eliminate the small amount of mechanical interference between lid 4 and inner containers 18. For this reason, in the FIG. 10 and 11 embodiment, outer container 2 comprises an integral collar 37, i.e. forming part of the blank from which outer container 2 is made, and an equivalent collar may also be provided in the FIG. 3, 4, 8 and 9 embodiments.

As shown in FIGS. 10 and 11, collar 37 projects outwards of open top end 3 to engage a corresponding inner surface of lid 4 when lid 4 is in the closed position. The function of collar 37 is to hold lid 4 in the closed position by requiring a certain amount of force to open lid 4. For which purpose, collar 37 preferably comprises two projections 38, which project outwards to engage lid 4 with a given amount of interference when lid 4 is in the closed position.

Collar 37 comprises a front wall 39 parallel to, connected to, and defining an extension of front wall 7 of outer container 2; and two lateral walls 40, each of which is parallel to, connected to, and defines an extension of a lateral 8 of outer container 2. Projections 38 preferably form an integral part of front wall 39 of collar 37, and project laterally on opposite sides of front wall 39.

As shown in FIGS. 12, 13 and 14, lid 4 comprises two seats 41 (only one shown in FIGS. 12, 13, 14), each of which is formed at a respective lateral wall 12 and comprises an opening 42 facing outer container 2 and parallel to lateral walls 12. A top portion 43 of each lateral wall 40 of collar 37 is shaped to fit inside a respective seat 41, through opening 42 of seat 41, when lid 4 is in the closed position; and the friction between top portion 43 of each lateral wall 40 of collar 37 and the inner surfaces of respective seat 41 requires the application of a certain amount of force to open lid 4, and so helps to keep lid 4 in the closed position.

Preferably, opening 42 of each seat 41 and a top edge 44 of each lateral wall 40 of collar 37 are designed so that, as lid 4 is rotated into the closed position, top edge 44 fits gradually inside opening 42 (e.g. in a sort of scissor cut movement), thus preventing top edge 44 from jamming against respective seat 41 as lid 4 is rotated into the closed position.

FIGS. 12 and 14 show lid 4 in an open position, in which top portion 43 of each lateral wall 40 of collar 37 is outside respective seat 41 formed at a respective lateral wall 12; and FIG. 13 shows lid 4 in a closed position, in which top portion 43 of each lateral wall 40 of collar 37 is located inside respective seat 41 formed at a respective lateral wall 12.

As shown in FIGS. 15 and 16, each rigid packet 1 of cigarettes in FIGS. 1 to 14 is formed from a flat, substantially elongated rectangular blank 45, the component parts of which are indicated, where possible, using the same reference numbers, with superscripts, as for the corresponding parts of rigid packet 1 of cigarettes. More specifically, the rigid packets 1 of cigarettes in FIGS. 1-4, 8 and 9 are formed by folding blank 45 in FIG. 15, and the rigid packet 1 of cigarettes in FIGS. 10 and 11 is formed by folding blank 45 in FIG. 16.

Blank 45 has two longitudinal fold lines 46; and a number of transverse fold line 47, which define, between the two longitudinal fold lines 46, a panel 7′ forming front wall 7 of outer container 2; a panel 9′ forming bottom wall 9 of outer container 2; a panel 6′ forming rear wall 6 of outer container 2; a panel 10′ forming rear wall 10 of lid 4 (in this case, hinge 5 coincides with a transverse fold line 47); a panel 13′forming top wall 13 of lid 4; a panel 11′ forming front wall 11 of lid 4; and an inner tongue 48 for reinforcing front wall 11 of lid 4. Panel 7′ comprises two tabs 8′, which form respective outer portions of lateral walls 8 of outer container 2, are located on opposite sides of panel 7′, and are separated from panel 7′ by longitudinal fold lines 46.

Panel 6′ comprises two tabs 8″, which form respective inner portions of lateral walls 8 of outer container 2, are located on opposite sides of panel 6′, and are separated from panel 6′ by longitudinal fold lines 46. Each tab 8″ is connected along a transverse fold line 47 to an inner tongue 49 for reinforcing bottom wall 9 of outer container 2.

Panel 10′ comprises two tabs 12″, which form respective inner portions of lateral walls 12 of lid 4, are located on opposite sides of panel 10′, and are separated from panel 10′ by longitudinal fold lines 46. Each tab 12″ is connected along a transverse fold line 47 to an inner tongue 50 for reinforcing top wall 13 of lid 4.

Panel 11′ comprises two tabs 12′, which form respective outer portions of lateral walls 12 of lid 4, are located on opposite sides of panel 11′, and are separated from panel 11′ by longitudinal fold lines 46.

In the FIG. 15 embodiment, collar 37 is not integral with blank 45 and, if required, must therefore be glued to panel 7′ and tabs 8′ of outer container 2 when forming outer container 2.

In the FIG. 16 embodiment, collar 37 is integral with, i.e. forms an integral part of, blank 45.

In one embodiment, front wall 39 of collar 37 integral with blank 45 is coplanar with front wall 7 of outer container 2, and lateral walls 40 are coplanar with respective lateral walls 8 of outer container 2. In which case, top wall 13 of lid 4 is slightly larger than bottom wall 9 of outer container 2, so that, when lid 4 is in the closed position, front wall 11 of lid 4 fits over front wall 39 of collar 37 (and therefore over front wall 7 of outer container 2), and lateral walls 12 of lid 4 fit over respective lateral walls 40 of collar 37 (and therefore over respective lateral walls 8 of outer container 2).

In an alternative embodiment, front wall 39 of collar 37 integral with blank 45 is parallel to and slightly offset with respect to front wall 7 of outer container 2, and lateral walls 40 are parallel to and slightly offset with respect to respective lateral walls 8 of outer container 2. This is achieved by “debossing” to depress front wall 39 and lateral walls 40 with respect to the rest of blank 45, i.e. with respect to panel 7′ and tabs 8′ (corresponding to front wall 7 and lateral walls 8 of outer container 2).

As shown in FIGS. 12-14 and 16, each seat 41 is formed by folding a tab 12″ over the corresponding tab 12′, so that tab 12″ is maintained a given distance from corresponding tab 12′, and seat 41 is therefore defined between tab 12′ (forming an outer portion of a lateral wall 12 of lid 4) and tab 12″ (forming an inner portion of a lateral wall of lid 4).

Rigid packet 1 of cigarettes as described above has several advantages: it is cheap and fast to produce, and contains a relatively large number of cigarettes; the cigarettes are divided into a number of separate, independent groups, each comprising a small number of cigarettes; and rigid packet 1 of cigarettes itself is compact and therefore easy to carry in a pocket or bag.