Multi Packaging Solutions' US patent for 'Foldable Container and Attachments' cleared for further review; packaging invention provides article retention structure

ATLANTA , December 6, 2012 () – By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Politics & Government Week -- A patent application by the inventors Smith, Daniel T. (Battle Creek, MI); Rosendall, Eric A. (Grand Ledge, MI); Kaltman, Dennis M. (Princeton, NJ); Thibault, Richard C. (Westchester, PA); Widener, John R. (Haslett, MI); Moore, Carol J. (Grand Rapids, MI), filed on May 20, 2011, was cleared for further review on November 29, 2012, according to news reporting originating from Washington, D.C., by VerticalNews correspondents.

Patent serial number 112639 is assigned to Multi Packaging Solutions, Inc.

The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Paper based packaging materials are frequently utilized for containing and/or transporting a wide range of consumer goods. The paper based nature of these packaging materials results in products that are relatively lightweight, inexpensive, reasonably sturdy and can be easily disposed of and/or recycled. Many of these packaging materials are produced in a flat format and can be folded to create a container. However, there are a number of disadvantages to foldable paper packaging. Any paper material that is pliable enough for easy folding is usually not strong enough to withstand substantial weight or pressure. Further, many paper packaging products are incapable of containing liquids given the risk of degradation to the paper material upon extended liquid contact or the risks associated with paper's propensity for tearing. Paper packaging also tends to be imprecise in adjusting to fit a range of product sizes such that additional packing materials and/or lids are required to ensure that a product is maintained within the packaging. In addition, most foldable paper packaging includes no handling device for carrying the packaging. Those that do include a handle generally have a rigid handle that requires separate external attachment mechanisms for attaching the handle to the packaging or alternatively, a handle that is integrated and cannot be removed from the packaging.

"To facilitate folding and carrying, many foldable paper packages will employ external features, such as gussets to help define corners and rigid external attachment mechanism to connect handles to the packaging. In some instances such external gussets and attachment mechanisms have the potential to detract from the aesthetic appeal of the container. These external structures also have a relatively large potential to snag against an object when moved and cause disassembly to occur. The presence of external gussets and attachment mechanisms further has the potential to attract and accumulate externally visible dust or other matter when stored over extended periods.

"It is also common that paper based packaging products are shaped in a way that renders them un-stackable in folded format and un-stackable upon addition of a handle. Further, many paper based containers include an integrated lid for maintaining contents within the container.

"U.S. Pat. No. 5,853,121 discloses a foldable packaging product purporting to have a leak proof corner construction to act as a temporary cooler for carrying food products. The paperboard cooler includes externally visible locking tabs and no mechanism for maintaining a product securely within the cooler, other than an integrated lid and handle portion. Further, as the drawings depict, the corner gussets are folded on the exterior of the cooler to prevent food and other contents from slipping between folds and possibly contaminating the cooler.

"U.S. Pat. No. 4,119,265 discloses a foldable packaging purporting to be leak-proof. However, the packaging includes gussets that are folded along the exterior surface of the packaging (as shown in the drawings) and an integrated attached closure structure. Further, the box includes no handle and no mechanism for maintaining any items within the packaging, other than a standard integrated lid. The packaging is intended for food shipment.

"U.S. Pat. No. 3,559,869 discloses a foldable beverage cooler having an open top portion. The cooler includes no handle and no means for maintaining items within the cooler.

"Paper based foldable carrying and packaging solutions may be designed to house one or more specific articles of a known size. This may be acceptable for applications in which the contents are of a standardized size and/or geometry. However, for containing some items, use of these is impractical due to wide variations in content configuration. For example, in the packaging and sale of horticulture products, such as potted plants, floral arrangements or other bouquet arrangements, additional considerations are raised. First, the arrangements tend to be placed in a pot having no handle for carrying which may often be shaped plastic container. Such containers come from a wide range of sources and the industry is not standardized. As a result, pots are manufactured in an untold number of varying heights, diameters, or other sizes.

"Accordingly, in view of the above, there exists a need for product packaging which overcomes some or all of the above drawbacks in the art. For example, there is a need for a packaging that includes a carrying means and an attractive exterior surface that contains no externally visible folds, tabs, attachment mechanisms or other structural features. There is also a need for a product packaging that can contain an article without an integrally attached lid. There is a further need for packaging that can maintain contact with liquids for extended periods of time without material degradation or leaking."

In addition to the background information obtained for this patent application, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "The present invention meets some or all of the above needs by providing a packaging that includes a base portion, a plurality of side walls, at least one article retention structure integrally formed in the packaging that can secure a position of at least one article within the interior of the packaging or accept a flexible, detachable handle portion and wherein the article retention structure concealed from exterior side viewing.

"Advantageously, the packaging may be formed (e.g., die-cut, scored and/or pre-broken) from a single sheet form (e.g., a coated paperboard form) having a liquid resistant material defining at least a portion of at least one inwardly facing surface. The handle portion may also be formed of a paperboard material. The handle portion may include a grasping portion and two end portions located adjacent the grasping portion. The end portions may include a narrowing head portion with flexible tabs located on opposing side edges of each head portion and a bulbous portion located adjacent the head portion. The article retention structure may include a slot defined in the free end flap portion that has an upper edge so that flexible tabs of the handle are maintained behind the upper edge so that upon application of upward force to the handle, the head portion remains within the article retention structure. The bulbous portion remains in front of the upper edge and external article retention so that only the narrowing head portion is located within the article retention structure.

"Not only does the above provide a handle that can be easily added to and removed from the packaging with no damage to the packaging, but also no externally visible structures or features are required to attach the handle to the packaging.

"By way of a specific example, without limitation, the teachings herein will illustrate a liquid resistant packaging comprising: a base portion, a plurality of side walls and at least one inwardly folded gusset attached to and disposed between adjoining side walls. At least two of the sidewalls each it at least one inwardly folded free end flap portion that includes at least one article retention structure integrally formed in the at least one free end flap for engaging a handle. The handle includes a grasping portion and two end portions located adjacent the grasping portion and having a narrowing head portion with flexible tabs located on opposing side edges of the head portion and a bulbous portion located adjacent the head portion. The article retention structure is concealed from exterior side viewing and includes a slot defined in the free end flap portion that has an upper edge so that flexible tabs of the handle are maintained behind the upper edge so that upon application of upward force to the handle, the head portion remains within the article retention structure.

"Also contemplated within the scope of the teachings herein are generally planar sheet forms that are shaped and scored so that the form folds upon itself to form a packaging as described herein. Further contemplated are planar handles having sufficient flexibility to form a curved handle for removable attachment to the folded packaging. The process of making the forms, handles, and packaging are also within the present teachings. A variety of uses are made possible by the teachings herein including but not limited to using packaging to contain and carry one or any combination of a potted plant, a bouquet, a gift or gift assortment, promotional materials, wedding favors, party favors, other large event favors, or handouts.

"The packaging herein offers any of a number of benefits and advantages, including but not limited to one or any combination of the following: the handle may be formed as a planar surface and curved in use; the handle may be attached and detached from the packaging any number of times with no damage to the packaging attachment of the handle requires no external structures or fixtures; the top of the packaging may remain pen for both expanded contents space and display purposes; the top edge that is distal from the base portion may be a folded/finished edge; all gussets and locking wings may be folded into the interior of the packaging so that they are concealed from view; the packaging may include interior (externally concealed) retaining means with adjustability for shape and size of the packaging contents; the packaging therefore may also include a smooth continuous outer surface thereby simplifying the addition of decorative elements to the exterior of the packaging; the packagings may be stackable so that they are able to be nestingly placed within other packagings; the packaging may include precise corners that resist crushing and bowing; the packaging may be liquid resistant so that water can be placed within the packaging without risk of leaking or material degradation; and the packaging may be assembled in a manufacturing operation requiring a relatively small footprint in as much as conveyers are unnecessary for product handling."

URL and more information on this patent application, see: Smith, Daniel T.; Rosendall, Eric A.; Kaltman, Dennis M.; Thibault, Richard C.; Widener, John R.; Moore, Carol J. Foldable Container and Attachments. U.S. Patent Serial Number 112639, filed May 20, 2011, and posted November 29, 2012. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=5134&p=103&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20121122.PD.&OS=PD/20121122&RS=PD/20121122

Keywords for this news article include: Multi Packaging Solutions Inc.

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