CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED PATENT APPLICATIONS
This patent application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/097,333 filed Sep. 16, 2008, the entire teachings and disclosure of which are incorporated herein by reference thereto.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The present invention generally relates to product packages and more particularly relates to product packages comprising multiple compartments as may be formed by multiple containers with removable lids such as for holding product consumables such as candies, medications or other items that are typically carried in hand-held product packages.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Various types of product packages are known to have a container and a lid and the prior art is replete with numerous examples. The present invention pertains to improvements over this state of the art.
BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
An aspect of the present invention is directed towards a multiple chamber package comprising at least two containers including first and second containers having openings and correspondingly first and second lids that are adapted to selectively open and close the openings of the first and second containers. At least one tear web connects the first and second containers.
The multiple chamber package may be used for storage of candies, other consumable products and the like. It is preferably in the form of a hand-held package and as such dimensioned appropriately. Considering that men and women carry such packages in different manners (e.g. women with a purse and men in their pocket), the multiple chamber package of the present invention is modular in that a single container segment can be torn away from the multiple chamber package when it is desired to have a smaller package to carry around in one's pocket. This is facilitated by the at least one tear web connecting the first and second containers together. Alternatively, the containers may be kept together which allow the entire unit and the contents thereof to be carried around such as may be desired when stowed away in one's purse. The container package is preferably molded from plastic material although other materials such as metal are possible. With the arrangement and configuration illustrated in an embodiment, it can be a single molded plastic component part forming the multiple containers and the lids in which the plastic component part has substantially no undercuts relative to a molding part plane in which the lids are molded in an open position and connected to the containers by way of a living hinge.
Yet a further advantage that may be realized by certain embodiments of the present invention is that a large billboard is provided by the combination of walls and a tear strip joining the walls of two containers, thereby providing a large relatively flat surface for product marketing information that may be printed directly on the material of the multiple container package or by way of an adhesive label or otherwise as appropriate. Such marketing information may include, brand information, price information, product contents and information about the product contents such as ingredients and the like.
Other aspects, objectives and advantages of the invention will become more apparent from the following detailed description when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The accompanying drawings incorporated in and forming a part of the specification illustrate several aspects of the present invention and, together with the description, serve to explain the principles of the invention. In the drawings:
FIG. 1 is a frontal isometric view of a multiple chamber package in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a frontal isometric view of the multiple chamber package shown in FIG. 1, but with the lids shown in an open position; and
FIG. 3 is a rear side isometric view of the multiple container package shown in FIGS. 1 and 2.
While the invention will be described in connection with certain preferred embodiments, there is no intent to limit it to those embodiments. On the contrary, the intent is to cover all alternatives, modifications and equivalents as included within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, a multiple chamber package 10 is illustrated in FIGS. 1-3. The package 10 includes at least two different containers including a pair of containers 12 as shown. Each of the containers has an open end 14 for insertion and removal of consumable products such as tablets 16 which may be candies, mints or other consumable items. Lids 18 are provided for selectively opening and closing the openings of the containers 12.
The containers 12 can be selectively torn away from one another by means of a tear web generally indicated at 19 which includes at least one tear line 20 comprising a thin web of material (which may be perforated or simply thinned material) to facilitate manual tearing action when desired, but also to maintain the containers 12 together when it is desired to keep the containers together. Preferably, the tear web includes a tear strip 22 that joins the containers 12 and spaces the containers laterally apart. The tear strip 22 is connected by tear lines 20 to respective containers 12 such that when the tear strip can space the containers apart, but also can be torn and removed away rather then having to be carried around in one's pocket.
As shown, the containers are molded of plastic material and as such the first and second lids can be integrally molded with the containers by way of living hinges 24 (e.g. mold in the open position 180° pivoted relative to the closed position). The lids 18 may manually snap and be manually removable by reverse snap action onto the open ends 14 of the containers 12 by way of snaps 26 (which may comprise an interference fit or other snap interference configurations including a tab and/or groove interaction if desired). Each of the lids 18 also preferably includes a lift tab 28 integrally molded therein and a rectangular skirt 30 which projects downward from a cover portion 32 and thereby mates and, if desired, can seal against the rectangular open end of the container. The containers 12 are also plastically molded to include a rectangular base 34 and a sidewall 36 projecting vertically upward therefrom with multiple walls that are joined by arcuate corners 38. One of the corners includes a pointed region 40 to accommodate the tear line which may be a thin web of plastic material joining a thicker central region of the tear strip to the corner of one of the containers with the central region being disposed between tear lines 22.
With this configuration and with the lids in a fully open position (e.g. pivoted 180° from the closed position), the multiple chamber package can be a single molded plastic component part forming the containers and the lids and the tear strip and tear lines, with the single molded plastic component part having substantially no undercuts (except for minor undercuts which do not affect mold pulling characteristics such as snap configurations) relative to a molding part plane such as a single molded plastic component part can be molded from a two piece mold without cores or splits in the mold other than the single parting line.
Another feature provided by the present embodiment is that the tear strip 22 in combination with the containers 12 integrally form a billboard generally indicated at 42 that provides a means for displaying marketing information thereon. This is accomplished by making the billboard 42 generally coplanar across two coplanar walls of the containers with the tear strip 22 generally coplanar therebetween. The billboard may integrally have the marketing information printed thereon or may alternatively include a label, but in either event the marketing information is generally indicated at the region of the billboard 42 shown in dashed lines in the drawings. Such information that may be conveyed includes brand information, pricing information and container contents to include ingredient lists and the like, and other marketing information as may be desired.
Preferably the multiple chamber package 10 takes the form of a hand-held package which is modular depending upon the consumer's desired use for the product such as whether one wants to put one of the containers 12 in his or her pocket or whether they want to carry it around in a briefcase or purse. In this regard, each container has a length running from the base 34 to the open end 14 of between about 2 and about 5 inches in lateral widths between opposed pairs of the walls of the sidewall 36 of between about 1 and about 2 inches. As a result, the billboard region may not be skinny and long, but may have a much wider lateral length which is attractive from a marketing display standpoint and being able to include all of the information desirable on such a consumer package in practical font sizes. Yet, it also allows for a relatively small container 12 to be torn away and used as one may desire. Also, by using two different tear lines 20 along each side of the tear strip 22, the tear strip 22 can be fully removed from both of the containers 12, if desired, rather then having to be carried around in one's pocket or otherwise when it is desired.
All references, including publications, patent applications, and patents cited herein are hereby incorporated by reference to the same extent as if each reference were individually and specifically indicated to be incorporated by reference and were set forth in its entirety herein.
The use of the terms "a" and "an" and "the" and similar referents in the context of describing the invention (especially in the context of the following claims) is to be construed to cover both the singular and the plural, unless otherwise indicated herein or clearly contradicted by context. The terms "comprising," "having," "including," and "containing" are to be construed as open-ended terms (i.e., meaning "including, but not limited to,") unless otherwise noted. Recitation of ranges of values herein are merely intended to serve as a shorthand method of referring individually to each separate value falling within the range, unless otherwise indicated herein, and each separate value is incorporated into the specification as if it were individually recited herein. All methods described herein can be performed in any suitable order unless otherwise indicated herein or otherwise clearly contradicted by context. The use of any and all examples, or exemplary language (e.g., "such as") provided herein, is intended merely to better illuminate the invention and does not pose a limitation on the scope of the invention unless otherwise claimed. No language in the specification should be construed as indicating any non-claimed element as essential to the practice of the invention.
Preferred embodiments of this invention are described herein, including the best mode known to the inventors for carrying out the invention. Variations of those preferred embodiments may become apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art upon reading the foregoing description. The inventors expect skilled artisans to employ such variations as appropriate, and the inventors intend for the invention to be practiced otherwise than as specifically described herein. Accordingly, this invention includes all modifications and equivalents of the subject matter recited in the claims appended hereto as permitted by applicable law. Moreover, any combination of the above-described elements in all possible variations thereof is encompassed by the invention unless otherwise indicated herein or otherwise clearly contradicted by context.