Title:
Bound Envelopes
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An envelope package is provided, comprising an upper cover, a lower cover, a plurality of envelopes disposed between the upper cover and the lower cover, and a spiral binding disposed along the spine of the envelope package that joins the upper cover, lower cover, and the plurality of envelopes.



Inventors:
Bettinger, James (Shorewood, MN, US)
Application Number:
12/338638
Publication Date:
06/18/2009
Filing Date:
12/18/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/472, 229/69, 229/76, 229/300, 493/267
International Classes:
B65D27/10; B65D71/50
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
BATTISTI, DEREK J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ST. ONGE STEWARD JOHNSTON & REENS LLC (STAMFORD, CT, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An envelope package, comprising: an upper cover; a lower cover; a plurality of envelopes disposed between said upper cover and said lower cover; and a binding disposed along a spine of the envelope package.

2. The envelope package according to claim 1, wherein said plurality of envelopes are 4⅛″×9½″ envelopes.

3. The envelope package according to claim 1, wherein said plurality of envelopes are 9″×12″ envelopes.

4. The envelope package according to claim 1, wherein said plurality of envelopes are 10″×13″ envelopes.

5. The envelope package according to claim 1, wherein each of said plurality of envelopes comprises: a rectangular front panel; a pair of side flaps at opposite sides of said front panel, each of the side flaps being folded over the front panel along a vertical fold line there between; a back panel extending from and folded over the front panel along a horizontal fold line there between, wherein said back panel is secured to said side flaps by an adhesive to define a pocket of the envelope; and a closure flap extending from the front panel along a horizontal fold line there between for folding over the back panel to close the pocket and seal the envelope.

6. The envelope package according to claim 5, wherein said closure flap comprises a series of punched holes at one end of the closure flap away from and parallel to the horizontal fold line between the closure flap and the front panel.

7. The envelope package according to claim 5, wherein said upper cover and said lower cover each comprise corresponding punched holes along an edge of the covers aligned with the holes in said closure flaps.

8. The envelope package according to claim 5, wherein said closure flap further comprises an adhesive strip on said flap for securing the closure flap to the back panel in order to close the pocket.

9. The envelope package according to claim 8, wherein said closure flap comprises a perforated line that is disposed between and parallel to said punched holes and said adhesive strip.

10. The envelope package according to claim 1, wherein said upper cover further comprises adhesive labels attached to the upper cover by a releasable adhesive.

11. The envelope package according to claim 7, wherein said binding comprises a wire helix that is wound through said holes in said upper cover, said lower cover and said closure flaps to provide a flexible hinge at the spine of the envelope package.

12. An envelope packaging comprising: an upper cover having a series of punched holes at one edge; a lower cover having a series of punched holes at one edge; a plurality of envelopes disposed between said upper cover and said lower cover, each envelope comprising a closure flap having a series of punched holes at one end of the closure flap away from and parallel to a horizontal fold line of the closure flap; and a spiral binding wound through said holes in said upper cover, said lower cover and said closure flaps to provide a flexible hinge at a spine of the envelope package; wherein said closure flap further comprises a perforated line disposed between and parallel to said punched holes; and wherein said upper cover comprises adhesive labels attached to the upper cover by a releasable adhesive.

13. The envelope package according to claim 12, wherein said closure flap further comprises an adhesive strip on said flap for securing the closure flap to a back panel of said envelope in order to close the envelope.

14. A method for manufacturing an envelope package, comprising steps of: providing a plurality of envelopes, each envelope having a closure flap; placing said plurality of envelopes between an upper cover and a lower cover; and securing said plurality of envelopes in the envelope package with the envelopes in an open state by binding said plurality of envelopes with said lower cover and said upper cover along a spine of the envelope package.

15. The method for manufacturing an envelope package according to claim 14, further comprising a step of punching a series of holes along one edge of said upper cover and said lower cover.

16. The method for manufacturing an envelope package according to claim 15, further comprising a step of punching a series of holes at one end of each said closure flap away from and parallel to a horizontal fold line of the closure flap.

17. The method for manufacturing an envelope package according to claim 16, further comprising a step of providing an adhesive strip on each said closure flap for securing the closure flap to a back panel of each envelope in order to close the envelope.

18. The method for manufacturing an envelope package according to claim 17, further comprising a step of providing a perforated line disposed on each said closure flap between and parallel to said punched holes and said adhesive strip.

19. The method for manufacturing an envelope package according to claim 16, further comprising a step of winding a wire helix through said punched holes in said upper cover, said lower cover and said closure flaps in order to secure said plurality of envelopes in the envelope package.

20. The method for manufacturing an envelope package according to claim 14, further comprising a step of providing a plurality of adhesive labels attached to said upper cover by a releasable adhesive.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application claims the benefit under 35 U.S.C. §119(e) of the U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/014,616, filed on Dec. 18, 2007, the content of which is incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to envelope packaging, in particular to packaging of envelopes in a book or notebook manner.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Traditionally envelopes are distributed or packaged by packing envelopes in a cardboard shell, such as a box. The cardboard shell forms a fixed volume that receives the envelopes. When the envelope package is sold, typically the capacity of the cardboard shell is filled with envelopes. In use, when a customer removes the envelopes the cardboard shell retains its shape. Thus, for a cardboard shell that has a capacity of 40 envelopes the cardboard shell will continue to occupy a volume of space necessary to hold 40 envelopes even though the cardboard shell may only have one or two envelopes remaining in the cardboard shell. Another deficiency with the cardboard shell is that it is opaque. As a result, a customer cannot look at the cardboard shell and determine how many envelopes are left. The customer is required to open and inspect the contents of the cardboard shell to make such a determination. If the customer fails to inspect the cardboard shell, the customer may learn that it does not have a sufficient number of envelopes available. Thus, while a cardboard shell may be effective for distributing a fixed volume of envelopes prior to sale, the cardboard shell serves as a poor storage container while the customer uses the envelopes.

The use of a cardboard shell to distribute envelopes also has disadvantages. Due to the needs of manufacturers to stream line production processes and minimize costs, envelopes are typically sold in standard quantities of 50 or 100 envelope packages. This can be undesirable to customers who want to purchase intermediate quantities of envelopes, such as 25 or 75 envelope packages.

Another problem with cardboard shell packaging is that envelopes also require additional elements such as stamps, return address labels and mailing labels that are combined with the envelopes for the typical use of mailing a letter. A customer is typically required to have separate containers for each of these elements.

It is also important that the envelopes are packaged in a completely assembled form, so that a consumer does not need to perform any additional steps before mailing the envelope. U.S. Pat. No. 6,419,150 to Papageorge teaches an envelope/page and mailer combination that functions as a sign-in quest book or ledger. The envelopes are provided in a flat disassembled state in order to give them an appearance of pages of a typical guest book. After guests write down their name and address on a page, a user is required to tear the page out of the book and then assemble the envelope by bending the page and adhering the sides of the page to each other. Similarly, U.S. Pat. No. 2,803,338 to Elliott teaches a mailing booklet with a plurality of leaves each constituting a record retaining stub and a detachable envelope blank attached to the stub. Each envelope blank requires additional folding and sealing by a user before it is ready for mailing. Likewise, U.S. Pat. No. 3,759,372 to Venema discloses a book of glueless envelope blanks, wherein each blank needs to be folded to form an envelope. However, one of the problems associated with the envelope blanks described above is that a customer is required to assemble the blanks himself or herself before mailing, which is inconvenient because it takes much longer for the customer to prepare the envelope for mailing. Additionally, older people with poor vision or children might find it difficult to assemble the envelopes.

What is desired therefore is an envelope package that adjusts in size according to the number of envelopes retained in the package. It would be beneficial if the envelope package enabled a customer to gauge the number of envelopes retained in the package. Further, it would be beneficial if the envelope package enables a manufacturer to increase the number of envelope packages available for customers.

Also desired is an envelope package that includes all-purpose envelopes in a pre-assembled form and that incorporates additional elements that are typically used in connection with envelopes.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide an envelope packaging that overcomes the deficiencies of the prior art. It is also an object of the present invention to provide an envelope package that provides retail envelopes in a pre-assembled, ready to mail form and also incorporates other elements typically used for mailing, such as address labels, mailing labels, stamps, etc. It is further an object of present invention to provide an envelope package that may be adjusted in size according to the number of envelopes retained in the package and also allows customers to easily determine the number of envelopes retained in the package.

These and other objects are achieved by providing an envelope package, including an upper cover, a lower cover; a plurality of envelopes disposed between said upper cover and said lower cover, and a binding disposed along a spine of the envelope package.

The envelope package may include a plurality of 4⅛″×9½″ envelopes, 9″×12″ envelopes, or 10″×13″ envelopes.

In certain embodiments, each of the plurality of envelopes may include a rectangular front panel, a pair of side flaps at opposite sides of the front panel, each of the side flaps being folded over the front panel along a vertical fold line there between, a back panel extending from and folded over the front panel along a horizontal fold line there between, wherein the back panel is secured to the side flaps by an adhesive to define a pocket of the envelope, and a closure flap extending from the front panel along a horizontal fold line there between for folding over the back panel to close the pocket and seal the envelope.

The closure flap may include a series of punched holes at one end of the closure flap away from and parallel to the horizontal fold line between the closure flap and the front panel.

In certain embodiments, the upper cover and the lower cover may each comprise corresponding punched holes along an edge of the covers aligned with the holes in the closure flaps.

The closure flap may also comprise an adhesive strip for securing the closure flap to the back panel in order to close the pocket. The closure flap may further include a perforated line disposed between and parallel to the punched holes and the adhesive strip on the closure flap.

In some embodiments, the upper cover may further include adhesive labels attached to the upper cover by a releasable adhesive.

In certain embodiments, the binding consists of a wire helix that is wound through the punched holes in the upper cover, the lower cover and the closure flaps to provide a flexible hinge at the spine of the envelope package.

In another embodiment, an envelope packaging is provided including an upper cover having a series of punched holes at one edge, a lower cover having a series of punched holes at one edge, a plurality of envelopes disposed between the upper and the lower covers, each envelope comprising a closure flap having a series of punched holes at one end of the closure flap away from and parallel to a horizontal fold line of the closure flap, and a spiral binding wound through the holes in the upper cover, the lower cover and the closure flaps to provide a flexible hinge at a spine of the envelope package. The closure flap has a perforated line disposed between and parallel to the punched holes for tearing off each envelope. The upper cover also includes adhesive labels attached to the upper cover by a releasable adhesive.

The closure flap may further include an adhesive strip for securing the closure flap to a back panel of the envelope in order to close the envelope.

Other objects of the present invention are achieved by a method for manufacturing an envelope package. The method comprises the steps of providing a plurality of envelopes, each envelope having a closure flap, placing the plurality of envelopes between an upper cover and a lower cover, and securing the plurality of envelopes in the envelope package with the envelopes in an open state by binding the plurality of envelopes with the lower and the upper covers along a spine of the envelope package.

The method may further include a step of punching a series of holes along one edge of the upper cover and the lower cover.

In some embodiments, the method also includes a step of punching a series of holes at one end of each closure flap away from and parallel to a horizontal fold line of the closure flap.

In certain embodiments, an adhesive strip may be provided on each closure flap for securing the closure flap to a back panel of each envelope in order to close the envelope.

The method may further include a step of providing a perforated line disposed on each closure flap between and parallel to the punched holes and the adhesive strip.

In some embodiments, the method may further include a step of winding a wire helix through the punched holes in the upper cover, the lower cover and the closure flaps in order to secure the plurality of envelopes in the envelope package.

The method for manufacturing an envelope package according to claim 14, further comprising a step of providing a plurality of adhesive labels attached to said upper cover by a releasable adhesive.

Other objects of the invention and its particular features and advantages will become more apparent from consideration of the following drawings and accompanying detailed description.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a one-dimensional top view of the envelope package showing the package in open position according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a one-dimensional top view of the envelope package showing the package in open position according to another exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The above-discussed objects of the invention are achieved by an envelope package 100 as shown in FIG. 1. The envelope package comprises an upper cover 110, a lower cover 120, a plurality of envelopes 130 disposed between the upper cover and the lower cover, and a spiral binding 140 disposed along the spine of the envelope package. The plurality of envelopes 130 are standard #10 envelopes with dimensions 4⅛″×9½″. It should be appreciated, however, that any type of envelope may be used according to the present invention.

In one embodiment, the plurality of envelopes can comprise a standard envelope construction. Each envelope can comprise a rectangular front panel 132, a pair of side flaps at opposite sides of the front panel, each of the side flaps being folded over the front panel along a vertical fold line there between, a back panel 134 extending from and folded over the front panel along a horizontal fold line there between, the back panel is secured to the side flaps by an adhesive to define a pocket or throat of the envelope, and a closure flap 136 extending from the front panel along a horizontal fold line there between for folding over the back panel to close the pocket/throat and seal the envelope.

As shown in FIG. 1, the envelopes are secured in the envelope package with the envelopes 130 in an open state. The closure flap comprises a series of punched holes 150 at the end of the closure flap away from and parallel to the horizontal fold line between the closure flap and the front panel. Similarly, the upper cover 110 and lower cover 120 comprise corresponding punched holes 160 along the edge of the covers aligned with the closure flaps. A wire helix 140 is wound (like a spring) through the holes to provide a flexible hinge at the spine of the envelope package.

The closure flaps further comprises means for securing 170 the closure flap to the back panel in order to close the pocket/throat. The securing means can be in the form of an adhesive strip 172 that is covered over by a releasable barrier strip 174 of known construction. In this respect, once the barrier strip 174 is removed, the adhesive strip 172 is exposed and can be used to seal the envelope construction in a closed condition. Alternatively, the securing means can be a standard envelope adhesive layer known in the art that is activated upon moistening.

An envelope package 200 of similar construction for 9″×12″ and 10″×13″ envelopes 230 is shown in FIG. 2. The envelope package 200 comprises an upper cover 210, a lower cover, a plurality of envelopes 230 disposed between the upper cover and the lower cover, and a spiral binding 240 disposed along the spine of the envelope package.

Each envelope 230 can comprise a rectangular front panel 231, a pair of side flaps 232, 233 at opposite sides of the front panel 231, each of the side flaps being folded over the front panel along a vertical fold line there between, a back panel 234 extending from and folded over the front panel along a horizontal fold line there between, the back panel is secured to the side flaps by an adhesive to define a pocket/throat, and a closure flap 235 extending from the front panel along a horizontal fold line there between for folding over the back panel to close the pocket/throat and seal the envelope.

The closure flap comprises a series of punched holes 250 at the end of the closure flap away from and parallel to the horizontal fold line between the closure flap and the front panel. Similarly, the upper cover 210 and lower cover comprise corresponding punched holes 260 along the edge of the covers aligned with the closure flaps. A wire helix 240 is wound (like a spring) through the holes to provide a flexible hinge at the spine of the envelope package.

The closure flap further comprises means for securing 270 the closure flap to the back panel in order to close the pocket/throat. The securing means can be in the form of an adhesive strip 272 that is covered over by a releasable barrier strip 274 of known construction. In this respect, once the barrier strip 274 is removed, the adhesive strip 272 is exposed and can be used to seal the envelope construction in a closed condition. Alternatively, the securing means can be a standard envelope adhesive layer known in the art that is activated upon moistening.

FIG. 2 shows that closure flap 235 can comprise a perforated line 280 that is disposed between and parallel to punched holes 250 and the securing means 270. The perforated line 280 enables the upper edge of closure flap 235 to be detached from envelope package 200 with a smooth, clean upper surface. Without the perforated edge, detaching the envelope from the package by tearing closure flap 235 from the wire helix 240 can be undesirable due to the creation of a visually unappealing frayed surface. The perforated edge depicted in FIG. 2 can be incorporated in the envelopes 130 of package 100.

FIG. 2 further shows that the upper cover 210 incorporates adhesive labels 290. Labels 290 are attached to upper cover 210 by a releasable adhesive that permits the labels 290 to be detached from upper cover 210 and attached to envelopes 230. Labels 290 can be labels typically attached to envelopes such as return address labels, mailing labels, handling instructions, confidentiality labels, or stamps. The labels incorporated in the envelope package of FIG. 2 can be incorporated in the envelope package of FIG. 1.

FIG. 2 still further shows that the envelope package can comprise envelopes of a different type of construction.

Even though the example identified in this application depicts a spiral bound spine for the envelope package, it is envisioned that the envelope package could incorporate other types of spines such as a single or double wire spine, an adhesive bound spine, a sewn spine, a staple bound spine, a velo bound spine and other types of spine binding known to those skilled in the art.

The envelope package according to the present invention may also include note cards, writing paper, holiday cards or other stationary disposed between the upper and the lower cover and bound together with the plurality of envelopes. A user can write a note on a sheet of paper provided in the package, detach the sheet from the package, insert it into one of the envelopes, detach the envelope and attach an address label and a stamp also provided in the package. Thus, the present invention provides a convenient all-in-one mailing package eliminating the need to purchase additional items.

The upper cover and the lower cover may include any desirable printing, such as advertising material or holiday themes. Each of the plurality of envelopes may also include any kind of printing.

Although the invention has been described with reference to a particular arrangement of parts, steps, features and the like, these are not intended to exhaust all possible arrangements, parts, steps or features, and indeed many other modifications and variations will be ascertainable to those of skill in the art.