The present application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Serial Number 61/069,967 filed on March 18, 2008
, and U.S. Provisional Patent Application Serial Number 61/072,693 filed on April 1, 2008
. The complete disclosures of all of the above applications are hereby incorporated by reference herein in their entirety and for all purposes.
Hangers, package assemblies, and methods of readying packages for display are used to package, ship, and display products. Hangers are used to suspend packages from rods or other support members. Package assemblies are used to house products in a package that can be displayed, such as from display rods at retail stores. Further, package assemblies find application in the shipment of packages from one location to another. Methods of packaging a product are used to package a product for shipment and/or for display.
The following patents provide examples of devices and methods relevant to hangers, package assemblies, and methods of readying packages for display, and they are expressly incorporated herein by reference for all purposes: US2403834
, and USD517917
, and JP2001002123
Brief Description of the Drawings
A hanger may include a body for supporting a package from a rod. A support portion may extend from the body and may define a gap to receive the rod. The body may define a slot for receiving the tab and may include a first major face that fully encloses the slot. The body may also include a living hinge defining a fold axis. The living hinge may extend across the first major face on opposite sides of the slot and extend inline with the slot. In some examples, the support portion includes a J-hook. In some examples, the hanger is incorporated into a package assembly including a package configured to house a product and including a tab, wherein the tab extends through the slot to support the package from the rod with the hanger.
- Fig. 1 is an isometric view of a product package assembly including a hanger having a foldable body.
- Fig. 2 is a top plan view of the product package assembly of Fig. 1, with a portion of a lid removed to show internal components.
- Fig. 3 is a side elevation cross-sectional view of the product package assembly of Fig. 1 taken along the line 3-3 in Fig. 2.
- Fig. 4 is an isometric view of a hanger including a J-hook for hanging a package from a rod.
- Fig. 5 is a plan view of the hanger of Fig. 4.
- Fig. 6 is a side elevation cross-sectional view of the hanger of Fig. 4 taken along the line 6-6 in Fig. 5.
- Fig. 7 is a plan view of an alternative example of a hanger including a planar face defining a closed gap.
- Fig. 8 is a flow chart of a method of readying a package for display.
- Fig. 9 is a more detailed flow chart showing examples the method of Fig. 8.
Hangers, product display assemblies, and methods of readying a package for display as disclosed in the present disclosure will become better understood through review of the following detailed description in conjunction with the drawings and the claims. The detailed description, drawings, and claims provide merely examples of the various inventions described herein. Those skilled in the art will understand that the disclosed examples may be varied, modified, and altered without departing from the scope of the inventions as defined in the claims, and all equivalents to which they are entitled. Many variations are contemplated for different applications and design considerations; however, for the sake of brevity, each and every contemplated variation is not individually described in the following detailed description.
Throughout the following detailed description, a variety of examples of hangers, product display assemblies, and methods of readying a package for display are provided. Related reference numbers (e.g., 12, 112, 212) are used for related features in each example. Related features may be identical, similar, or dissimilar in different examples. For the sake of brevity, related features are not redundantly explained in each example. Instead, the use of related numbers shall cue the reader that the feature with a related number may be similar to the related feature in an example explained previously. Features specific to a given example are described in that particular example. The reader should understand that a given feature need not be the same or similar to the specific portrayal of a related feature in any given figure or example.
With reference to Figs. 1-3, a product display assembly 10 for displaying a product will now be described. Product display assembly 10 may include a hanger 11 and a package 12. Hanger 11 may be configured to suspend package 12 from a rod (not shown). Product display assembly 10 may find application in retail shopping environments, manufacturing and shipping settings, and home storage or display of personal memorabilia.
Package 12 may define a cavity 14 for housing a product and an opening 16 that provides access to cavity 14. In the example shown in Fig. 1, package 12 includes clear portions 18 and opaque portions 20. Clear portions 18 allow the contents of cavity 14 to be seen. Either clear portions 18 or opaque portions 20 may provide a surface on which product descriptions, marketing content, labels, and other text or symbols may printed. In some examples, package 12 may be entirely opaque or entirely transparent.
As shown in Figs. 1-3, package 12 may include a lid 22. Lid 22 may be disposed adjacent to opening 16 and pivot between an open position (shown in dashed lines in Fig. 1) and a closed position (shown in solid lines in Fig. 1). Cavity 14 of package 12 is accessible when lid 22 is in the open position and inaccessible when lid 22 is in the closed position.
Package 12 may include a tab 24 for securing lid 22 in a closed position that covers opening 16. As shown in Figs. 1 and 3, lid 22 may define a lid slot 26 for receiving tab 24 to secure lid 22 in the closed position. As can be seen in Figs. 1-3, tab 24 may project from package 12 adjacent opening 16. and be configured to insert into lid slot 26 when lid 22 is in the closed position.
Tab 24 may be sized larger than lid slot 26 and, accordingly, may be formed of a material that can be readily bent or folded. Bending or folding tab 24 may allow a user to manipulate tab 24 into lid slot 26.
For example, tab 24 may bend or fold relative to a face 27 of package 12 at the tab's point of attachment to face 27. Additionally or alternatively, portions of tab 24 may bend or fold relative to other portions of tab 24. For instance, tab 24 may bend to insert it through lid slot 26 when lid slot 26 has a given dimension that is smaller than the same dimension of tab 24.
As shown in Fig. 6, tab 24 defines a trunk 28 having a length D5 and shoulders 30 having a longer length D6 extending from trunk 28. If a length dimension is defined to extend from left to right in Fig. 2, tab 24 has a tab length that is longer at shoulders 30 than at trunk 28. The length of lid slot 26 may be smaller than the length of tab 24 at shoulders 30. Accordingly, bending or folding shoulders 30 may be necessary to pass tab 24 through lid slot 26.
As shown in Figs. 2 and 3, shoulders 30 may include a curved leading edge 32 to facilitate inserting tab 24 into the lid slot 26. Additionally or alternatively, shoulders 30 may include a rectilinear trailing edge 34 to restrict removing tab 24 from lid slot 26. As shown in Fig. 2, the length of shoulder 30 may decrease from a maximum length D6 at the outer end of trailing edge 34. Similarly, the greater length D6 of tab 24 at the outer ends of the rectilinear trailing edges 34 relative to the smaller length D5 of trunk 28 may restrict removing tab 24 from lid slot 26.
As shown in Figs. 1 and 3, hanger 11 may include a body 40 and a support portion 42 extending from the body. Hanger 11 may also include a living hinge (not pictured in Figs. 1-3, but substantially to living hinges 154 and 254 shown in Figs. 4-7). The living hinge defines a fold axis about which body 40 may fold.
With continued reference to Figs. 1 and 3, body 40 may define a hanger slot 48. Hanger slot 48 may be aligned with the living hinge such that the fold axis passes across the slot. As shown in Fig. 1, hanger slot 48 may be configured to receive tab 24.
As shown in Fig. 1, support portion 42 may define a gap 58 to receive a rod. Additionally or alternatively, support portion 42 may define a recess 60 configured to secure hanger 11 to the rod. Thus, the rod may be inserted into gap 58 and seated into recess 60.
Hanger slot 48 may be configured to selectively receive tab 24 to secure hanger 11 to package 12. In some examples, length D1 of hanger slot 48 is less than length D6 of tab 24 at shoulders 30, which functions to restrict removing tab 24 from hanger slot 48. In such examples, tab 24 can be rotated relative to hanger slot 48 and a shoulder 30 can be inserted first to fit tab 24 through hanger slot 48. Additionally or alternatively, tab 24 may be bent or folded to fit tab 24 through hanger slot 48.
In some examples, length D1 of hanger slot 48 is less than length D6 of tab 24 that it receives. Hanger slot 48 having a length D1 less than length D6 of tab 24 may restrict removal of tab 24, such as when translating tab 24 through slot 48 is attempted. The lengths of tab 24 and slot 48 may be complementarily configured such that tab 24 must be rotated relative to slot 48 in the plane of tab 24 to pass tab 24 through slot 48. Restricting removal of tab 24 from slot 48 may be useful to reduce inadvertent removal of tab 24 from slot 48, while also allowing tab 24 to be intentionally removed when desired.
As shown in Fig. 3, hanger slot 48 may be oriented to align with lid slot 26 when lid 22 is in the closed position. Aligning hanger slot 48 with lid slot 26 allows tab 24 to extend through both slots concurrently. Aligning the slots may provide enhanced structural rigidity to product display assembly 10 by further linking the components of product display assembly 10 together. Additionally or alternatively, aligning the slots may help maintain hanger 11 in a given position by sandwiching hanger 11 between lid 22 and package 12.
Shifting attention to Figs. 4-6, a hanger 111 will be described in further detail. As with product display assembly 10 described above, hanger 111 may function to hang or suspend a package from a rod, such as rod 144 shown in dashed lines in Fig. 5. Rod 144 may be any structure known in the art for supporting a package assembly. As is well known, rods for supporting package assemblies are used in retail stores to make accessible and display packages.
As shown in Figs 4-6, hanger 111 may include a body 140 and a support portion 142 extending from body 140. Body 140 and support portion 142 may be joined together, and may be formed unitarily of a suitable single continuous material, such as plastic, cardboard, pressboard, or the equivalent.
Body 140, shown in Figs. 4-6, defines a hanger slot 148 extending through body 140. Hanger slot 148 may be configured to receive a tab of a package such that the tab extends through body 140, similarly to tab 24 extending through hanger slot 48 in Figs. 1-3. In the examples shown in Figs. 4-6, hanger slot 148 is elongate and has a major dimension extending across a body length D4.
Body length D4 extends across body 140 (from left to right in Fig. 5) and in line with the major dimension of hanger slot 148. As can be seen in Fig. 5, length D1 of slot 148 may be several times as long as its height D2, where the height dimension is defined to extend from top to bottom in Fig. 5. For completeness, a thickness dimension D3 extends into the page in Fig. 5, as shown in Fig. 6.
As shown in Figs. 4 and 5, body 140 may include a first major face 150 that fully encloses hanger slot 148. Fully enclosed means that hanger slot 148 is completely and continuously bound on all sides by body 140. However, hanger slot 148 may be open through the thickness D3 of body 140. As can be seen in Figs. 4-6, body 140 may have a relatively small thickness D3 compared to the length D4 of body 140. A second major face 152 opposite first major face 150 is shown in Fig. 6.
As shown in Figs. 4-6, body 140 may include a living hinge 154 defining a fold axis 155 for folding body 140. In the example shown in Figs. 4-6, living hinge 154 allows body 140 to fold approximately 90 degrees about fold axis 155 between a hanging position (shown in solid lines in Figs. 4 and 6) and a stowed position (shown in dashed lines in Figs. 4 and 6). In the hanging position, hanger 111 may be configured to hang a package from rod 144. In the stowed position, hanger 111 may more closely conform to the shape of the package to which it is attached for storage and/or shipping.
As shown in Fig. 6, living hinge 154 may include a channel 156. Additionally or alternatively, living hinge 154 may comprise a perforation, a hinge, or a region of material that has been fatigued to a readily foldable condition. In some examples, living hinge 154 includes a distinct material having different properties than the material forming the rest of body 140, such as a different stiffness.
In the example shown in Figs. 4-6, fold axis 155 extends entirely across first major face 150 on both sides of and in line with the length of hanger slot 148. In line with hanger slot 148 means that the line of fold axis 155 crosses hanger slot 148.
Positioning fold axis 155 to be in line with hanger slot 148 may improve the folding characteristics of body 140 by reducing the amount of body material that must be folded. As is well known in the art, rigid and semi-rigid materials, such as plastic members, tend to resist being folded. The absence of material defined by hanger slot 148 tends to reduce the amount of body material that must be folded and thus tends to reduce the effort required to fold body 140. Further, as shown above in Figs. 1-3, when fold axis 155 is aligned with a package tab, support portion 142 may be positioned against an end of a package when in the folded position.
Moreover, the folding characteristics of body 140 may be enhanced by having length D1 of hanger slot 48 longer than the length of fold axis 155 (hanger slot length D1 is greater than half the body length D4). The longer the length of hanger slot 48 the less the amount of body material that must be folded in examples where fold axis 155 is in line with hanger slot 148. Accordingly, having a longer length of hanger slot 48 relative to the length of fold axis 155 may reduce the effort required to fold body 140.
Support portion 142 of hanger 111 may extend from the body 140 and define a gap 158 configured to receive a rod 144. In the example shown in Figs. 4-6, support portion 142 is a J-hook. Support portion 142 may define a recess 160 for seating rod 144 and define an entryway portion 162 that provides a path for rod 144 to reach recess 160.
An alternative example of a hanger 211 is shown in Fig. 4. Hanger 211 includes a body 240, a support portion 242, a hanger slot 248, and a living hinge 254. Body 240, hanger slot 248 and living hinge 254 (defining fold axis 255) are similar to respective corresponding elements of hanger 111.
Support portion 242, however, differs from support portion 142 of hanger 111 shown in Figs. 4-5. As shown in Fig. 7, support portion 242 is a planar member defining a gap 258 and a recess 260. In the example of hanger 211 shown in Fig. 7, support portion 242 fully encloses gap 258. Similar to slot 248, gap 258 extends through support portion 242.
Shifting focus to Figs. 8 and 9, a method 300 of readying a package 12 for display on a rod with a hanger 11 is described. Method 300 may be applicable for use with package 12, which includes a tab 24 and a lid 22 that pivots between an open position and a closed position. Lid 22 may include a lid slot 26 configured to receive tab 24 when lid 22 is in the closed position to selectively secure lid 22 in the closed position. Hanger 11 may include a body 40 and a support portion 42. Body 40 may define a hanger slot 48. Support portion 42 may extend from body 40 and include a recess 60 configured to receive the rod from which to hang package 12. Hanger 11 may include a living hinge defining a fold axis aligned with hanger slot 48.
As shown in Fig. 8, method 300 may include inserting a tab of a package into a hanger slot at step 302 to link a hanger and a package together. Further, method 300 may include pivoting a lid of the package into a closed position at step 304. Method 300 shown in Fig. 8 may also include inserting a tab into a lid slot at step 306 to secure the lid in the closed position. Additionally or alternatively, method 300 may include folding the body about a fold line in step 308 to cause the hanger to lie flush with the lid for shipping.
As further detailed in Fig. 9, inserting a tab of a package into a hanger slot 302 may include manipulating the tab 310 to fit through the hanger slot. For example, manipulation 310 may be advantageous if the hanger slot has a length less than the length of the tab. Manipulating the tab 310 may include bending or folding the tab to fit the tab through hanger slot. Additionally or alternatively, manipulating the tab 310 may include rotating the tab through hanger slot.
Pivoting a lid of a package into a closed position 304 may restrict access to the contents of the package. That is, in the closed position, the lid may cover an opening providing access to an inner cavity of the package. To access the contents of the package, as shown in Fig. 9, the lid may be pivoted to the open position 312 where the lid does not cover the opening.
Inserting the tab into the lid slot 306 may include manipulating the tab 316 in a similar manner to manipulating the tab 310 when inserting the tab into the hanger slot 302. Manipulating the tab 316 may include bending or folding the tab or rotating the tab to pass through the lid slot. In some examples, manipulating the tab 316 to pass the tab through the lid slot is different than manipulating the tab 310 to pass the tab through the hanger slot. However, it should be noted that manipulating the tab 310, 316 may not be required to insert the tab into the hanger slot 310 or into the lid slot 318.
As further detailed in Fig. 9, method 300 may include aligning the hanger slot with the lid slot 314. Aligning the slots 314 may simplify inserting the tab through the slots 302, 306. For example, a user may be able to insert the tab through both slots in one motion when the slots are aligned. Further, aligning the slots 314 may enhance the structural rigidity of the package by allowing the tab to link together the lid and the hanger.
Folding the body of the hanger 308 may including folding the body about the hanger slot. For example, the fold line may be disposed through the hanger slot to facilitate folding the hanger 308 about the hanger slot. Folding the hanger 308 about the hanger slot 308 may reduce the effort required to fold the hanger 308. Reduced effort to fold the hanger may result from the hanger slot providing an absence of body material to resist folding.
Folding the body of the hanger 308 may help increase the packing efficiency of the package by causing the hanger to more closely conform to the shape of the package. For example, the package may be in the shape of a polyhedron and folding the body of the hanger 308 could cause it to conform to two flat faces of the polyhedron. Folding the body of the hanger 308 may also help protect the hanger from becoming damaged during shipping.
The hangers, product display assemblies, and methods of readying a package for display described herein are applicable to the packaging, shipping marketing, and retail shopping industries.
The hangers, product display assemblies, and methods of readying a package for display described above may be alternatively described as follows:
A hanger for hanging a package having a tab from a rod, comprising a body for supporting the package, the body defining a slot through the body for receiving the tab and including a major face that fully encloses the slot, and a living hinge defining a fold axis for folding the body, the living hinge extending across the major face on opposite sides of the slot and extending inline with the slot, and a support portion extending from the body and defining a gap configured to receive the rod.
A product display assembly for displaying a product comprising a package defining a cavity for housing the product and an opening providing access to the cavity, the package including a lid that is disposed adjacent to the opening and that pivots between an open position where the cavity is accessible and a closed position where the cavity is inaccessible, the lid defining a lid slot, a tab extending from a side of the package adjacent to the opening, the tab being configured to extend through the lid slot when the lid is in the closed position to selectively secure the lid in the closed position, and a hanger configured to suspend the package from a rod and including a body that defines a hanger slot configured to selectively receive the tab to secure the package to the hanger for supporting package from the rod, and a support portion extending from the body and including a gap configured to receive the rod.
A method of readying a package for display on a rod with a hanger, the package including a tab and a lid that pivots between an open position and a closed position, the lid including a lid slot configured to receive the tab when the lid is in the closed position to selectively secure the lid in the closed position, the hanger including a body and a support portion, the body defining a body slot and including a living hinge defining a fold axis for folding the body, the support portion extending from the body and including a gap configured to receive the rod from which to hang the package, the method comprising the steps of: inserting the tab of the package into the hanger slot to link the hanger and the package together, pivoting the lid into the closed position, inserting the tab into the lid slot to secure the lid in the closed position, and folding the body of the hanger along the fold axis to lie flush with the lid for shipping.
It is believed that the disclosure set forth above encompasses multiple distinct inventions with independent utility. While each of these inventions has been disclosed in a particular form, the specific embodiments thereof as disclosed and illustrated herein are not to be considered in a limiting sense as numerous variations are possible. The subject matter of the inventions includes all novel and non-obvious combinations and subcombinations of the various elements, features, functions and/or properties disclosed herein, and equivalents of them. Where the disclosure or subsequently filed claims recite "a" or "a first" element or the equivalent thereof, it is within the scope of the present inventions that such disclosure or claims may be understood to include incorporation of one or more such elements, neither requiring nor excluding two or more such elements.
Applicants reserve the right to submit claims directed to other combinations and subcombinations that are directed to one or more of the disclosed inventions and are believed to be novel and non-obvious. Inventions embodied in other combinations and subcombinations of features, functions, elements and/or properties may be claimed through amendment of these claims or presentation of new claims in this or a related application. Such amended or new claims, whether they are directed to a different invention or directed to the same invention, whether different, broader, narrower or equal in scope to the original claims, are also regarded as included within the subject matter of the inventions of the present disclosure.