General Mills assigned US patent for inner or outer package of a packaged product that forms a mark by material contained within a sealed closure of the package, used for lot traceability, providing information to customers, decorative purposes

ALEXANDRIA, Virginia , November 15, 2013 () – By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Journal of Engineering -- From Alexandria, Virginia, VerticalNews journalists report that a patent by the inventor Brownell, Jennifer J. (Plymouth, MN), filed on July 14, 2011, was published online on November 5, 2013.

The patent's assignee for patent number 8573396 is General Mills, Inc. (Minneapolis, MN).

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Many consumer packaged products utilize flexible sheet-like materials or films that are formed into pouch-like packages that have one or more sealed closures and enclose a volume, which contains all or a portion of the product. When a product includes a plurality of types of elements, one or more inner packages can be employed to contain each type of element separately.

"In order to minimize packaging material requirements, reduce an overall size/volume of the package and/or increase manufacturing flexibility in packaging a variety of offerings having at least one common type of element, it is desirable to enclose one of the plurality of elements directly within the outer package and the remaining one or more elements within one or more individual inner packages, such that an outer surface of each inner package directly interfaces with the one element enclosed directly within the outer package. However, compatibility of the outer surface of each inner package with the element enclosed directly within the outer package needs to be ensured, for example, if the one element is a substance that may be vulnerable to degradation and/or contamination that impairs the integrity thereof. Such elements include, for example, an edible material (i.e. food item), a pharmaceutical, a cleaning material, and a health and/or beauty material, any of which can be in a liquid, solid, semi-solid or particulate form. Alternately, or in addition, vulnerability of the integrity of an outer surface of each inner package to degradation by exposure to the element enclosed directly within the outer package should be considered."

As a supplement to the background information on this patent, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent: "Embodiments and methods of the present invention are designed to efficiently provide for the above-described desirable packaging, when marking of the one or more individual inner packages is necessary and/or desired, for example, for lot traceability and/or for providing information to the consumer and/or for decorative purposes. According to some preferred embodiments of the present invention, a package, which can be formed according to methods of the present invention, includes a mark formed by a material that is not exposed to either an element contained within the package nor to an element that is outside the package and with which the package directly interfaces, for example, when both the element and the package are contained within an outer package. In particular, an inner package and/or an outer package of a packaged product can include a mark formed by a material which is contained within a sealed closure of the package. In the following description, an element that is contained within a package, which is designated as an outer package of a packaged product, may be designated as a substance, and an element that is contained within a package, which is designated as an inner package contained within the outer package, may be designated as an item, for the purpose of distinguishing between the two. The terms 'item' and 'substance' are not intended to limit the scope of elements that can be packaged within either type of package and are only intended to correspond to two distinct volumes of a packaged product."

For additional information on this patent, see: Brownell, Jennifer J.. Marking Packages. U.S. Patent Number 8573396, filed July 14, 2011, and published online on November 5, 2013.

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