Title:
RECLOSABLE FLEXIBLE PACKAGING HAVING HEADER WITH CUSTOMER TAKEAWAY
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A package is provided of the type with a tear-away header which is separated from the product contents of the package by a zipper sealed to the interior of the package walls. The space within the header is used to package and an item such as a toy, game card, game token, coupon, or punched foam strip which can be used as a promotional or gift item. In this way, the item packaged within the header is kept separate from the product contents of the package.



Inventors:
Plourde, Eric (Frankfort, IL, US)
Ausnit, Steven (New York, NY, US)
Application Number:
12/486974
Publication Date:
01/28/2010
Filing Date:
06/18/2009
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D33/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
THEIS, MATTHEW T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
McCarter & English LLP (NEW YORK, NY, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A package including: a first wall and a second wall, the first and second walls joined to each other along sides thereof, a closure connected to an interior of the first and second walls, thereby forming a header above the closure and dividing an interior of the package into a product compartment and a header compartment; and the header compartment including a promotional item, separate from the product compartment.

2. The package of claim 1 wherein the closure is a zipper.

3. The package of claim 2 wherein the zipper includes first and second profiles with respective first and second flanges and wherein the first and second flanges are sealed to the respective first and second walls along respective first and second flange seal lines.

4. The package of claim 3 further including lines of weakness in the first and second walls above the respective first and second flange seal lines, thereby allowing the header to be torn from the package.

5. The package of claim 2 further including a slider on the zipper.

6. The package of claim 1 wherein a hard seal between the first and second wall above the closure divides the package into the product compartment and the header compartment.

7. The package of claim 1 wherein the promotional item is chosen from the group consisting of a coupon printed on an interior wall of the header, a coupon on material separate from the header, a toy, a game token, and a foam strip with at least one toy punched therefrom.

8. A package comprising: a front wall and a rear wall joined to each other along sides thereof; a first hard seal between the front wall and the rear wall, thereby separating the package into a product portion and a header portion; and a zipper attached to the front wall thereby providing access to the product portion.

9. The package of claim 8 wherein the first hard seal is separate from a hard seal between a second zipper flange and the rear wall.

10. The package of claim 8 wherein the front wall, the rear wall and the header portion are formed from a single sheet of web.

11. The package of claim 8 wherein the second zipper flange, the rear wall and the header portion are joined at the first hard seal.

12. The package of claim 8 wherein the front wall and rear wall are formed from a single sheet of web.

13. The package of claim 8 wherein said header portion is provided with a promotional item chosen from the group consisting of a coupon printed on an interior wall of the header, a coupon on material separate from that of the header, a toy, a game token, and a foam strip with at least one toy punched therefrom.

14. The package of claim 8 further including a slider on the zipper.

15. The package of claim 8 wherein the zipper includes first and second profiles with respective first and second flanges.

16. The package of claim 8 wherein the first flange is attached to the front wall and the second flange is attached to the rear wall.

17. The package of claim 8 wherein the header portion includes lines of weakness for access to the header portion.

18. A package comprising: a front wall and a rear wall joined to each other along sides thereof; a zipper joining the front wall and the rear wall thereby providing access to the product portion; and the rear wall extending above the zipper and being folded and sealed to itself so as to form a header portion.

19. The package of claim 18 wherein the header portion is provided with a promotional item chosen from the group consisting of a coupon printed on an interior wall of the header, a coupon on material separate from that of the header, a toy, a game token, and a foam strip with at least one toy punched therefrom.

20. The package of claim 18 wherein the header portion includes at least one line of weakness for access to the header portion.

21. The package of claim 18 further including a slider on the zipper.

22. The package of claim 18 wherein the front wall and rear wall are formed from a single sheet of web.

23. The package of claim 18 wherein the zipper includes first and second profiles with respective first and second flanges, and wherein the first flange is attached to the front wall and the second flange is attached to the rear wall.

24. The package of claim 18 wherein the header portion can be detached from the package along a line of weakness.

25. The package of claim 18 wherein the rear wall is folded and attached to itself at a location of attachment of the second flange to the rear wall.

Description:

This application claims priority under 35 U.S.C. §119(e) of provisional application Ser. No. 61/083,832 filed on Jul. 25, 2008, the contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention pertains to a reclosable package or bag with a tear-away header, wherein an object such as, but not limited to, a prize, a toy, a coupon or similar item is packaged within the header and available to the consumer after the header has been removed from the package or bag.

2. Description of the Prior Art

In the prior art of reclosable packages or bags, the use of a tear-away header is well-established. Representative examples of reclosable packages with tear-away headers are disclosed in U.S. patent application publication 2004/0058039, entitled “Reclosable Bag for Filing with Food Product(s) and Method” to Strand et al., published on Mar. 25, 2004; U.S. Pat. No. 6,918,234 entitled “Process for Attaching Slider-Operated Closure on Form-Fill-Seal Packaging Machinery”, issued on Jul. 19, 2005 to Thomas et al.; and U.S. Pat. No. 6,939,041, entitled “Fastener Closure Arrangement for Flexible Packages”, issued on Sep. 6, 2005 to Kinigakis et al.

In such packages, the header protects the zipper profile and provides tamper evidence.

Moreover, it is known in the prior art that certain consumer packaged goods have included various small novelty items used to entice a consumer into purchasing the packaged product. Examples include small toys in cereal or candy boxes, including Cracker Jacks boxes. Similarly, it is known to print a coupon on the exterior of a header of a package, so that the coupon is visible to the consumer prior to purchase and prior to the removal of the header.

However, placing such a toy or other customer take-away into the contents of a reclosable package or bag may not be practical if the reclosable package or bag includes such products as cheese or other oily or powdery products. This could even result in the customer perception that the contents had been contaminated.

OBJECTS AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a customer takeaway, such as, but not limited to, a toy, a prize, or a coupon, within a reclosable package or bag without the customer takeaway being placed into the product contents of the reclosable package or bag.

This and other objects are attained by providing a reclosable package or bag with a tear-away header, wherein the customer takeaway is provided within the tear-away header. With this configuration, the customer takeaway can be readily visible to the potential purchaser, thereby possibly even increasing sales of the product.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Further objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent from the following description and from the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a plan view of a first alternative of the first embodiment of the present invention, including a package with a coupon printed on the inside of the header.

FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view along plane 2-2 of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a plan view of a second alternative of the first embodiment of the present invention, including a package or bag with small toy being contained within the header.

FIG. 4 is a plan view of a third alternative of the first embodiment of the present invention, including a package or bag with a game token and a folded game card being contained within the header.

FIG. 5 is a plan view of a fourth alternative of the first embodiment of the present invention, including a package or bag with a toy made from a strip of foam being contained within the header.

FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view of a fifth alternative of the first embodiment of the present invention, including a compartment for a promotional item separated from the zipper.

FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view of a second embodiment of the present invention, including a compartment for a promotional item formed at the upper portion of the package.

FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional view of a third embodiment of the present invention, including a compartment for a promotional item connected to the package.

FIG. 9 is a cross-sectional view of a further alternative to the second embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring now to the drawings in detail wherein like numerals indicate like elements throughout the several views, one sees that FIGS. 1 and 2 illustrate a first alternative of the first embodiment of the present invention. As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the typical package 10 with a header 12 includes front and rear walls 14, 16 which are joined by side seals 18, 20, a bottom seal 22, and a top seal 24. Front and rear walls 14, 16 are typically formed from polymeric material and are typically at least partially transparent in order for the contents to be visible to the consumer. Various alternatives may provide the front and rear walls 14, 16 as a single sheet and replace bottom seal 22 or top seal 24 with a fold. Zipper 30 is provided within the package 10, including first and second profiles 32, 34 with respective first and second flanges 36, 38. A slider 40 is mounted on the zipper 30 to interlock the first and second profiles 32, 34 when moved in a closing direction and to separate the first and second profiles 32, 34 when moved in an opening direction. The first and second flanges 36, 38 are sealed to the interiors of respective front and rear walls 14, 16 downwardly adjacent from top seal 24 along respective seal lines 41, 42 thereby separating package 10 into a product compartment 50 and a header compartment 60. As described below, various promotional items are placed within header compartment 60. Lines of weakness 62 or 62′ are formed in the front and rear walls 14, 16 above seal lines 41, 42 thereby giving the ability of header 12 to be torn from package 10, thereby providing access to header compartment 60 and further providing tamper evidence to package 10. Lines of weakness may be provided above the zipper 30 as illustrated by lines of weakness 62 or may be provided somewhat lower, but still above seal lines 41, 42, as illustrated by lines of weakness 62′.

Package 10 is typically manufactured by a form fill and seal (FFS) process although other processes may be used. Packages can be made using methods commonly referred to as machine direction applied zipper, or transversely applied zipper. Transversely applied zipper methods including, but not limited to, the commercially available Inno-Lok® process may be used. Typically, the various promotional items can be placed into the header compartment 60 during manufacture of the package 10 by inserting discrete promotional items into the header area where the promotional items are affixed. Alternatively, a promotional item can be affixed to the packaging material while it is in a flat state and the item incorporated into the package header as the package 10 is formed.

As illustrated in FIG. 1, a coupon 70 is printed on the interior surface 64 of header 12, typically so as not to be visible to the consumer until the header 12 is removed by tearing along lines of weakness 62 or 62′ thereby gaining access to header compartment 60.

As illustrated in FIG. 3, a toy 72, such as, but not limited to a toy car, truck, airplane or other vehicle; a figure of an animal; a figure of a cartoon, superhero or other fanciful character; or a decorative element such as a piece of plastic jewelry, is packaged within the header compartment 60. Access to the toy 72 is gained by purchasing the package 10 and removing the header 12 thereby gaining access to header compartment 60.

As illustrated in FIG. 4, a game token 74 and/or a game card 76 (typically folded so that at least a portion of the operative information is obscured from the consumer until after purchase and removal of the header 12) is packaged within the header portion 60. A folded structure similar to that of game card 76 can be used in the alternative of FIG. 3 to obscure toy 72. Access to the game token 74 and/or game card 76 is gained by purchasing the package 10 and removing the header 12 thereby gaining access to header compartment 60.

As illustrated in FIG. 5, a strip of foam rubber 78 or similar material is packaged within the header portion 60. The strip of foam rubber 78 contains at least one punched element 80, such as, but not limited to an airplane, car or element similar to those described for toy 72. Access to the strip of foam rubber 78 and the associated punched elements 80 is gained by purchasing the package 10 and removing the header 12 thereby gaining access to header compartment 60.

As illustrated in the alternative in FIG. 6, the contents of the header portion 60 may be separated from the zipper 32 by use of a hard seal 61 between front and rear walls 14, 16, above zipper 30. Lines of weakness 63, 65 may be formed above hard seal 61 to provide for access to the contents of header portion 60. Header portion 60 is illustrated as being formed by the looping of a sheet of web. Additional tear lines 62 can be provided to permit removal of the entire header from the package 10.

As illustrated in FIG. 7, a second embodiment of package 10 can be formed wherein a single sheet of web is folded to form the front and rear walls 14, 16. The interior of first zipper flange 36 of zipper 30 is sealed to the single sheet of web at hard seal 41. Zipper 30 typically includes slider 40. The single sheet of web is then folded at fold 90 and sealed to second zipper flange 38 at hard seal 42. A free end of the single sheet of web above hard seal 41 is then folded at fold 92 and sealed back to the single sheet of web at hard seal 93 thereby forming header compartment 60. Alternately, the free end when folded back can be sealed at hard seal 41 instead of hard seal 93 as shown in FIG. 9. Lines of weakness 96, 98 are formed in the single sheet of web above hard seal 93 to provide access to header compartment 60, which may contain any of the previous items 70, 72, 74, 76, 78, 80.

FIG. 8 includes the various elements of FIG. 7, but the exterior (rather than the interior) of first zipper flange 36 of zipper 30 is sealed to the single sheet of web at hard seal 41. Additionally, line of weakness (tear line) 94 can be provided to permit removal of the entire header from the package 10.

Thus the several aforementioned objects and advantages are most effectively attained. Although preferred embodiments of the invention have been disclosed and described in detail herein, it should be understood that this invention is in no sense limited thereby and its scope is to be determined by that of the appended claims.