Patent application title: PACKAGING FOR A PRODUCT AND METHOD OF USE
Joseph Bell (El Segundo, CA, US)
IPC8 Class: AA63H500FI
Class name: Amusement devices: toys sounding with means facilitating combination with diverse art device
Publication date: 2013-01-24
Patent application number: 20130023184
A package for a product is provided. The package has a speaker arranged
to emit sound in a first direction. The package includes a wall is
disposed adjacent the speaker and shaped to reflect sound emitted from
the speaker in a second direction around the product within the package.
The reflected sound is then emitted through a side of the package.
1. A toy comprising: a speaker arranged on a first side of the toy; a
packaging container having a first surface disposed adjacent and offset
from the speaker and shaped to reflect sound emitted from the speaker
through the first side.
2. The toy of claim 1 further comprising a second surface having at least one opening therein.
3. The toy of claim 1 wherein the first surface is a concave surface.
4. The toy of claim 2 wherein the concave surface has an outer boundary that forms an ellipse.
5. The toy of claim 1 wherein the first surface is a cylindrical surface.
6. The toy of claim 1 wherein the first surface is a frustoconical surface.
7. The toy of claim 2 further comprising an actuator operably coupled to the toy, the actuator being positioned adjacent the second surface.
8. The toy of claim 7 wherein the packaging includes a second opening in the second surface adjacent the actuator.
9. The toy of claim 1 wherein the packaging container includes at least one projection arranged to offset the toy from the first surface.
10. A package for a product having a speaker arranged to emit sound in a first direction, the package comprising: a first surface having at least one opening therein; and, a second surface disposed adjacent the speaker and shaped to reflect sound emitted from the speaker in a second direction, wherein the reflected sound is emitted through the at least one opening.
11. The package of claim 10 wherein the second surface is a concave surface.
12. The toy of claim 10 wherein the product packaging further comprises at least one projection adjacent the first surface, the projection arranged to receive a portion of the product.
13. The toy of claim 10 wherein the second surface is a cylindrical surface.
14. The toy of claim 10 further comprising an actuator operably coupled to the toy, the actuator being positioned adjacent the first surface.
15. The toy of claim 14 wherein the packaging includes a second opening in the first surface adjacent the actuator.
16. A method of emitting sound from a toy in a package having a first side, the method comprising: providing the package with a first surface within the package, the first surface being shaped to reflect sound toward the first side; and, providing a toy within the package, the toy having a speaker arranged to direct sound toward the first surface.
17. The method of claim 16 further comprising a second surface having at least one first hole, wherein the first surface is shaped to reflect sound toward the at least one first hole.
18. The method of claim 17 further comprising: providing an actuator operably coupled to the speaker; and, wherein the second surface includes a second hole adjacent the actuator.
19. The method of claim 16 wherein the first surface is a concave surface.
20. The method of claim 16 further comprising offsetting the toy from the first surface with a projection coupled to the first surface.
CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
 This application is a non-provisional patent application which claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional patent application 61/509,640 filed Jul. 20, 2011, the entire contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 The subject matter disclosed herein relates to product packaging and in particular to packaging for a product that enhances the transmission of sound.
 Products sold in retail establishments, such as toy products for example, have enjoyed a rapid rate of development within the marketplace by having enhanced features such as sound and animation. To display these toys and attract customer's attention, product packaging and product packaging techniques have similarly been improved. In addition to the basic function of toy product packaging, which provides protection and convenient shipping and product handling containers for the products, designers of toy packaging also try to display the packaging for toy products in colorful, interesting, eye-catching, and entertaining ways. One of the improvements to be provided by designers is the "try-me" feature packaging. This type of packaging has the capability of displaying and supporting the product in a manner that allows and encourages a potential purchaser to, in a limited sense, try the product without removing it from the packaging. Thus the objective of "try-me" packaging is to provide an environment in which the product may be to some extent tried or demonstrated, without compromising the integrity of the packaging, or its protection and retention of the product.
 One type of "try-me" packaging is for products that make sounds. These packages allow the potential customer to hear the sounds the toy will make. While this feature works well with products having a speaker facing the front of the package, the result may be less than desirable where the speaker faces the rear of the package. The sound emitted from the rear facing speaker may be muted by other packages on the shelf and thus fails to provide the customer with a full experience of the features the product offers.
 Accordingly, while existing product packages are suitable for their intended purposes the need for improvement remains, particularly in providing a packaging that enhances sound transmission from rear facing speakers.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
 According to one aspect of the invention, a toy is provided. The toy includes a speaker arranged on a first side. A packaging container having a first surface is disposed adjacent and offset from the speaker. The first surface is shaped to reflect sound emitted from the speaker through the first side.
 According to another aspect of the invention, a package for a product having a speaker arranged to emit sound in a first direction is provided. The package includes a first surface having at least one opening therein. A second surface is disposed adjacent the speaker and shaped to reflect sound emitted from the speaker in a second direction. The reflected sound is then emitted through the at least one opening.
 According to yet another aspect of the invention, a method of emitting sound from a toy in a package having a first side is provided. The method includes the step of providing the package with a first surface within the package. The first surface is shaped to reflect sound toward the first side. A toy is provided within the package, the toy having a speaker arranged to direct sound toward the first surface.
 These and other advantages and features will become more apparent from the following description taken in conjunction with the drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING
 The subject matter, which is regarded as the invention, is particularly pointed out and distinctly claimed in the claims at the conclusion of the specification. The foregoing and other features, and advantages of the invention are apparent from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:
 FIG. 1 is top view of a product package in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the invention;
 FIG. 2 is a front view of the product package of FIG. 1;
 FIG. 3 is a perspective view of another sound reflecting surface for use with the product package of FIG. 1;
 FIG. 4 is a front view of a product package in accordance with another embodiment of the invention; and,
 FIG. 5 is perspective view of a sound reflecting surface for use with the product package of FIG. 4.
 The detailed description explains embodiments of the invention, together with advantages and features, by way of example with reference to the drawings.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
 Product packages are used to provide a safe and convenient means for transporting a product and also for displaying the product on a retail shelf. Embodiments of the invention provide for a product packaging that allows a customer to active a try-me feature on the product. In particular, the product packing includes features that allow sound from a rear-facing speaker to be projected through openings facing the customer to provide increased sound levels when the try-me functions are activated.
 Referring to FIGS. 1-2, a product package 20 is shown having features for enhancing sound projection. The product package 20 includes a housing 22 having a generally rectangular parallelepiped shape that forms the container for the product 26. In the exemplary embodiment, the housing 22 defines a generally hollow interior 24 that is sized to receive the product 26. The ends of the housing 22 may include additional features, such as flaps or a lid for example, that allow the housing to be opened and closed for insertion of the product at the manufacturing location and removal by the customer after purchase. The housing 22 may also include security features (not shown) that inhibit theft of the product prior to purchase. The housing 22 may be made from any suitable material including but not limited to cardboard, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polychlorotrifluoro ethylene (PCTFE), cyclic olefin copolymers (COC), polypropylene, polyethylene or polyethylene terephthalate or a combination of the above.
 The housing 22 includes a front surface 28. As used herein, the front surface 28 is the surface that would typically be facing the customer on a retail shelf. In the exemplary embodiment, front surface 28 is made from a clear plastic material that allows the customer to view the product within the package 20. It should be appreciated that while references to the "front" of the product may be made herein, the front surface is the surface that the customer views.
 The front surface 28 includes at least one opening 30 that extends through the surface into the interior 24. In the exemplary embodiment, the front surface includes a plurality of openings 30 to form a first plurality of openings 32 and a second plurality of openings 34. The openings 32, 34 are arranged offset from the product 26 when viewed through the front surface 28. As will be discussed in more detail below, the openings 32, 34 are arranged to receive sound emitted from a speaker in the product and transfer the sound through the front of the package 20. It should be appreciated that while the embodiments herein describe the front surface 28 as being planar, the claimed invention should not be so limited and the front surface 28 may be a curved or multifaceted surface as well. When the front surface 28 is formed from a multifaceted surface, the openings 32, 34 may be disposed on an angular surface relative to the front plane of the package 20. This allows the sound to be emitted on an angle rather than substantially perpendicular to the front plane of the package 20. In some embodiments, the package 20 may not include the front surface 28, such as when the package 20 is an open front box package.
 Arranged within the interior 24 opposite the product 26 from the front surface 28 is a wave-guide or sound-reflecting surface 36. The sound-reflecting surface 36 is arranged to receive sound emitted by a speaker 38 located on a portion of the product 26 that is facing away from the front surface 28. The surface 36 is offset from the product to provide space around the product 26. This space allows the surface 36 to redirect the sound around the product 26 and towards the openings 32, 34. It should be appreciated that the sound reflecting surface 36 also provides advantages in an embodiment having an open front box to provide acoustic enhancement of the sound emitted by the speaker 38. In the exemplary embodiment, the surface 36 is a convex shape having a substantially linear longitudinal profile (FIG. 2). In testing, a surface 36 was inserted into a product package that output sound at 65 decibels at a distance of 11 inches. After insertion of the surface 36, the sound level increased to 67 decibels. Since the decibel is a logarithmic scale, the product packaging 20 with the sound-reflecting surface 36 will be noticeably louder than the original package. In another embodiment, the sound level of the product 26 outside of the package was 59.1 decibels and it dropped only 0.6 decibels to 58.5 decibels inside the product packaging 20. It should be appreciated that sound-reflecting surface 36 provides advantages in increasing the efficiency of the speaker 38 with in the packaging 20. This increase in efficiency may allow for a lower power requirement for operating the speaker to achieve the desired target sound levels. This in turn may increase the battery life and shelf-life of the "try-me" product.
 It should be appreciated that while embodiments herein refer to a speaker in the context of an electroacoustic transducer, this is for exemplary purposes and the claimed invention should not be so limited. The speaker may be any sound producing device, including a mechanical sound producer for example.
 In another embodiment shown in FIG. 3, the surface 36 is a frustoconical shape having one end 38 being larger than a second end 40. In another embodiment shown in FIGS. 4-5, the sound-reflecting surface 36 is convex in shape and has a substantially elliptical boundary in the longitudinal direction. The elliptically convex shape for the surface 36 may provide additional advantages in redirecting and focusing sound that is emitted vertically from the speaker to further enhance the transmission of sound through the openings 32, 34. In other embodiments, the surface 36 may be a cylindrical shape (FIG. 3) or a semi-cylindrical shape. The cylindrical or semi-cylindrical surface 36 may be oriented with the longitudinal axis being parallel with the length of the housing 22, or may be oriented perpendicular to the length of the housing. In still other embodiments, the surface 36 may be an angled planar surface.
 The surface 36 may also form an integral part of the support for the product 26 by forming the surface 36 as part of the structure that holds the product within the housing 22 (sometimes referred to as a blister pack). Further, the surface 36 may be integrated into the housing 22, such as if the housing 22 is a clamshell style blister pack. In some embodiments, the surface 36 may include a projection 42 adjacent a first portion of the product (e.g. the head of the toy) and a second projection 44 adjacent a second portion of the product (e.g. the waist area of the toy). The projections 42, 44 provide locations for securing the product 26 to the surface 36. The product 26 may be secured by any suitable means, such as but not limited to string, straps, hook and loop fasteners or adhesive for example. The projections 42, 44 may further be used to create the desired offset between the product 26 and the surface 36 to allow space for the sound to be reflected around the product 26 towards the openings 32, 34. The surface 36 may be made from a substantially clear plastic material to allow the product 26 to be seen through the housing 22.
 In some embodiments, the surface 36 may have tabs or other features that may be used to assist in securing the product 26 to the surface. For example, the surface 36 may had slots formed in the surface 36 adjacent the speaker 38. These slots may be sized to receive a strap or an elastic member that assists in holding the product 26 or a portion of the product (e.g. a dolls hair) to the surface 36 such as to provide enhanced presentation of the product. It should be appreciated that while these slots may interrupt or otherwise create a discontinuity in the surface 36, the sound is still reflected around the product 26 towards the openings 32, 34.
 In some embodiments, the product 26 may include an actuator button 48. The actuator button 48 is coupled to a controller or other audio circuit/module (not shown) that initiates the emitting of sound (e.g. words) through the speaker 38. In packages 20 having a try-me feature, the potential customer is allowed to sample the operation of the product such as by listening to the sound the product makes. In some embodiments, depressing the surface 28 may actuate the actuator button 48. In other embodiments, the surface 28 may have a larger hole or opening 46 arranged adjacent the actuator button 48. The opening 46 is sized to allow a potential customer to insert their finger through the surface 28 to contact the actuator button. The actuator button 48 and the opening 46 may also be located on other portions of the package 20 when the package 20 is arranged on a retain shelf, such as on the sides or top for example. In embodiments where the speaker is a mechanical sound producing mechanism, the actuator button 48 may be also be another type of actuator such as a pull string.
 It should be further appreciated that the disclosed product packaging may be used with any type of sound generating product, such as a toy. In dolls, stuffed animals and/or action figures for example, the actuator button may be a part of the body of a toy, such as a hand, a foot, and/or a stomach, which can be pressed or squeezed to emit a sound such as a giggle, a cry, a yell or words. Additionally, a toy vehicle, such as a police car, a fire engine, a racecar, and/or other types of vehicles, may utilize the disclosed product packaging independently or in combination with a moving element of the vehicle to generate a sound. In these types of toys, a part of the vehicle can be pressed, such as a light bar on the roof, and a sound such as a siren or an engine revving can be produced or a propulsion part of the toy moved. Other toys, such as crib toys, musical boxes and/or learning games can have buttons that are pushed to emit sounds such as a voice, animal sounds or music. These types of toys and features are merely examples of the types of toys that can employ the sound-reflecting surface and are not intended to be limiting.
 It should be appreciated that while embodiments described herein may reference a clear plastic housing, the claimed invention should not be so limited. The sound-reflecting surface may be used with any suitable packaging material including opaque materials, such as but not limited to cardboard packaging for example.
 While the invention has been described in detail in connection with only a limited number of embodiments, it should be readily understood that the invention is not limited to such disclosed embodiments. Rather, the invention can be modified to incorporate any number of variations, alterations, substitutions or equivalent arrangements not heretofore described, but which are commensurate with the spirit and scope of the invention. Additionally, while various embodiments of the invention have been described, it is to be understood that aspects of the invention may include only some of the described embodiments. Accordingly, the invention is not to be seen as limited by the foregoing description, but is only limited by the scope of the appended claims.
Patent applications in class With means facilitating combination with diverse art device
Patent applications in all subclasses With means facilitating combination with diverse art device