Quantcast

Flexible container for pourable product

Imported: 17 Feb '17 | Published: 28 Jun '11

Thomas J. Martuch

USPTO - Utility Patents

Abstract

A flexible container for containing a quantity of pourable product is disclosed herein. The flexible container includes a bag having a first closed end and a second closed end and a wall extending between the first closed end and the second closed end to define a closed cavity. The flexible container also includes a tearable score line defining an intended opening directly to the closed cavity. The tearable score line divides the wall into a first portion engaged with both of the first closed end and the second closed end and a second portion spaced from both of the first closed end and the second closed end. The tearable score line is exposed and directly graspable such that the bag is operable to function as a dish when the second portion is removed.

Description

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/821,746 for a FLEXIBLE CONTAINER FOR POURABLE PRODUCT, filed on Aug. 8, 2006, which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The inventions relate to a flexible container for containing a quantity of pourable product, such as a bag or pouch or sack, having a removable portion for defining an intended opening.

2. Description of the Related Art

Packages constructed from flexible materials such as laminates can be used to contain products that are pourable, such as liquids and powders. Other examples of the pourable products contained in packages constructed from flexible materials include discrete masses packaged, such as food products, plastic pellets, and gravel. With respect to pourable, edible products, at least some are placed in hermetically sealed pouches to preserve their freshness. These packages can include an opening for gaining access to the package interior. The opening can be defined by a portion of the package that is removed from the rest of the packaged. The “removed” portion can be engaged with the rest of the package along a score line or “line of weakness.”

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In summary, the invention is a flexible container for containing a quantity of pourable product. The flexible container includes a bag having a first closed end and a second closed end and a wall extending between the first closed end and the second closed end to define a closed cavity. The flexible container also includes a tearable score line defining an intended opening directly to the closed cavity. The tearable score line divides the wall into a first portion engaged with both of the first closed end and the second closed end and a second portion spaced from both of the first closed end and the second closed end. The tearable score line is exposed and directly graspable such that the bag is operable to function as a dish when the second portion is removed.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENTS

A plurality of different flexible containers are shown in the Figures of the application. Similar features are shown in the various flexible containers. Similar features have been numbered with a common reference numeral and have been differentiated by an alphabetic designation. Also, to enhance consistency, features in any particular drawing share the same alphabetic designation even if the feature is shown in less than all of the flexible containers. Similar features are structured similarly, operate similarly, and/or have the same function unless otherwise indicated by the drawings or this specification. Furthermore, particular features of one flexible container can replace corresponding features in another flexible container unless otherwise indicated by the drawings or this specification.

FIG. 1 shows a first flexible container 10 for containing a quantity of pourable product. The flexible container 10 is operable to contain a quantity of pourable product, such as powder 54, a liquid 56, a plurality of discrete pieces 58, or any combination thereof. The pourable product can be food product or non-edible product. With respect to possible alternative pourable food products, the pourable product in the first flexible container 10 can be a liquid such as ketchup or sauce or cream cheese, or a powder such as salt or pepper or other spices, or a plurality of discrete pieces such as candy pieces or crackers or potato chips. These exemplary pourable food products are set forth as examples and illustrations and not as limitations.

The first flexible container 10 is in the form of a bag 12. Alternative embodiments of the first flexible container 10 can take the form of a packet or a pouch or a sack. The bag 12 has a first closed end 14 and a second closed end 16 and a wall 18. The wall 18 extends between the first closed end 14 and the second closed end 16 to define a closed cavity. The bag 12 includes four corners defined at the first and second ends 14, 16. Alternative embodiments of the invention may include a bag having two corners at one end and an opposite end being rounded or two rounded ends.

The first flexible container 10 also includes a tearable score line 30 to define an intended opening 34 in the bag 12. The opening 34 is a display opening. The leader line extending from the numeral 34 is dashed in FIG. 1 because material has not been separated from the bag 12 to define the opening 34. The score line 30 is spaced from both ends 14, 16 and extends about a portion 42 of the wall 18 to isolate the portion 42 from a remainder of the bag 12. The path followed by the score line 30 is endless, without separate ends.

The first flexible container 10 can be opened by pinching the portion 42 and pinching another portion 52 of the wall 18 outside of the portion 42. The two pinched portions can be urged apart to tear the bag 12 along the score line 30. After removing the portion 42, the first flexible container 10 can function like a serving dish, such as a bowl or platter.

The exemplary bag 12 is formed from plastic and is multi-laminate. The score line 30 can be formed with a die or with a laser or with any other score line-forming method/device known in the art. The exemplary line 30 does not extend completely through the bag 12 to increase the likelihood that the pourable product in the bag 12 will remain fresh.

The exemplary score line 30 is exposed and directly graspable. The tearable score line 30 extends along a closed or endless path and is exposed along all of the closed path. The tearable score line 30 is the only link between the first portion 52 and the second portion 42. As a result, the bag 12 can be permanently converted into a serving dish such a bowl or a platter. The bag 12 requires no extraneous overlay or other link between the portions 42, 52, to render the portion 42 a re-closable lid member to the bag 12, making the bag 12 less costly and easier to open than bags in the prior art.

As set forth above, the flexible container 10 can contain a pourable food product. If the food product is a liquid, the liquid is flowable through the aperture or opening formed when the tearable score line 30 is torn and the second portion 42 is permanently separated from the first portion 52. In one example, the bag 12 may contain a quantity of ketchup desirable for an event, such as a picnic. Instead of transporting a large plastic bottle of ketchup, a user may acquire a bag 12 with a smaller quantity of ketchup. The bag 12 can be opened like a serving dish by removing the portion 42 from the portion 52, the ketchup evacuated from the bag 12 through a display opening 34 during the event, and the bag 12 disposed after the event.

If the quantity of pourable food product is a plurality of discrete pieces, the second portion 42 can be larger than each of the plurality of discrete pieces. In one example, the bag 12 may contain a quantity of potato chips desirable for an event, such as a party. The portion 42 can be sized to allow a user to grasp a plurality of potato chips at one time and evacuate the potato chips from the bag 12.

The path followed by the tearable score line 30 includes first and second hastate portions 60, 62. Alternative embodiments of the invention may only include one hastate portion or may not include a single hastate portion. The hastate portions 60, 62 provide locations to initiate a tear of the score line 30. A user of the bag 12 can grasp one side of the score line 30, the portion 52, with one hand and grasp the other side of the score line 30, the portion 42, with the other hand. Pinching the grasped portions 42 and 52 and pulling apart can result in the score line 30 being torn.

FIG. 2 shows a fourth flexible container 10a operable to contain a quantity of pourable product. The flexible container 10a is the form of a bag 12a having a first closed end 14a and a second closed end 16a extending substantially parallel to the first closed end 14a. The bag 12a also includes a wall 18a extending between the first closed end 14a and the second closed end 16a to define a closed cavity. The bag 12a also includes a tearable score line 30a defining an intended opening directly to the closed cavity. The tearable score line 30a includes a primary score line 48a and back-up score line 50a closely spaced to one another and extending substantially parallel to one another along an endless path in an outer surface of the bag. The primary score line 48a and back-up score line 50a enhance control over the tear of the bag 12a. The line 48a is the intended line of tear. However, during tearing, the line of tear may depart from the line 48a. In such a circumstance, the line of tear will intersect the line 50a and follow the line 50a. As a result, the likelihood of over-tearing is reduced.

The flexible container 10a also includes a longitudinal seam 64a closing the wall 18a transverse to the first closed end 14a and the second closed end 16a. The tearable score line 30a crosses the longitudinal seam 64a. Thus, the score line 30a is disposed on the side of the bag 12a that is generally the back side. The score line 30 of the first exemplary flexible container 10 is disposed on a side of the bag 12 that is generally a front side. First and second tabs 66a, 68a are formed in the longitudinal seam 64a. The tabs 66a, 68a are contiguous with the tearable score line 30a and can be engaged to initiate a tear in the score line 30a. The tabs 66a, 68a can be aligned with the primary score line 48a and can be helpful to accomplish complete tearing of the score line 30a across the seam 64a. The tab 66a can be pulled in a direction 70a to tear the score line 30a across the seam 64a and the tab 68a can be pulled in a direction 72a to tear the score line 30a across the seam 64a.

The foregoing invention has been described in accordance with the relevant legal standards, thus the description is exemplary rather than limiting in nature. Variations and modifications to the disclosed embodiment may become apparent to those skilled in the art and do come within the scope of the invention. Accordingly, the scope of legal protection afforded this invention can only be determined by studying the following claims.

Claims

1. A flexible container for containing a quantity of pourable product comprising:
a bag having a first closed end and a second closed end and a wall extending between said first closed end and said second closed end to define a closed cavity; and
a tearable score line extending along an endless path and partially through said bag and defining an intended opening directly to said closed cavity, said tearable score line dividing said wall into a first portion disposed outwardly of said tearable score line and engaged with both of said first closed end and said second closed end and a second portion disposed inwardly of said tearable score line and being completely removable from said first portion along said tearable score line and spaced from both of said first closed end and said second closed end, and wherein said tearable score line is exposed and directly graspable such that said bag is operable to function as a dish when said second portion is completely removed;
wherein said tearable score line includes a primary score line and back-up score line closely spaced to one another and extending substantially parallel to one another, wherein each of said primary score line and said back-up score line extend along an endless path in an outer surface of said bag and are capable of operating independently from each other.
a bag having a first closed end and a second closed end and a wall extending between said first closed end and said second closed end to define a closed cavity; and
a tearable score line extending along an endless path and partially through said bag and defining an intended opening directly to said closed cavity, said tearable score line dividing said wall into a first portion disposed outwardly of said tearable score line and engaged with both of said first closed end and said second closed end and a second portion disposed inwardly of said tearable score line and being completely removable from said first portion along said tearable score line and spaced from both of said first closed end and said second closed end, and wherein said tearable score line is exposed and directly graspable such that said bag is operable to function as a dish when said second portion is completely removed;
wherein said tearable score line includes a primary score line and back-up score line closely spaced to one another and extending substantially parallel to one another, wherein each of said primary score line and said back-up score line extend along an endless path in an outer surface of said bag and are capable of operating independently from each other.
2. The flexible container of claim 1 wherein said tearable score line is the only link between said first portion and said second portion.
3. The flexible container of claim 1 further comprising:
a quantity of pourable food product disposed in said closed cavity.
a quantity of pourable food product disposed in said closed cavity.
4. The flexible container of claim 3 wherein said pourable food product is a liquid.
5. The flexible container of claim 3 wherein said pourable food product is further defined as a plurality of discrete pieces and wherein said second portion is larger than each of said plurality of discrete pieces.
6. The flexible container of 1 wherein said tearable score line is exposed along substantially all of said endless path.
7. The flexible container of claim 1 wherein said bag further comprises:
a longitudinal seam closing said wall and extending transverse to said first and second closed ends, wherein said tearable score line crosses said longitudinal seam at least once.
a longitudinal seam closing said wall and extending transverse to said first and second closed ends, wherein said tearable score line crosses said longitudinal seam at least once.
8. The flexible container of claim 7 wherein said bag further comprises:
at least one tab formed in said longitudinal seam and contiguous with said tearable score line.
at least one tab formed in said longitudinal seam and contiguous with said tearable score line.
9. The flexible container of claim 1 wherein said tearable score line extends along a path having at least one hastate portion.
10. The flexible container of claim 1 wherein said tearable score line extends along a path having at plurality of hastate portions.
11. The flexible container of claim 1 wherein said back-up score line is disposed outwardly of said primary score line, and said primary score line provides an intended line of tear and said back-up score line provides a secondary line of tear if the intended line of tear departs from said primary score line.
12. The flexible container of claim 1 wherein said tearable score line extends along a rounded path.