Patent application title: RECLOSABLE BAG WITH TEAR-AWAY FEATURE
Bennett C. Hellming (Alpharetta, GA, US)
Kevin Deangelo (Burlington, NC, US)
ILLINOIS TOOL WORKS INC.
IPC8 Class: AB65D3022FI
Class name: Flexible bags bag having means to facilitate opening it by severing bag material or bag part (e.g., tearing, cutting, piercing, etc.) including means for reclosing the bag
Publication date: 2011-06-30
Patent application number: 20110158565
The disclosure relates to a polymeric or similar reclosable specimen
package or bag wherein the bio-hazard symbol is printed, typically
sideways, on the tear zone. This provides for obliteration of the
bio-hazard symbol upon opening of the package and the disposal, if
appropriate, of the specimen package or bag in regular trash.
1. A reclosable package or bag including: a front panel; a primary rear
panel joined to the front panel thereby creating a specimen storage
space; a tear zone formed along the front panel; and a symbol or text
printed in the tear zone so as to be rendered unreadable when the tear
zone is torn.
2. The reclosable package of claim 1 further including a mouth formed between the front panel and the primary rear panel, the mouth leading to the specimen storage space.
3. The reclosable package of claim 2 further including a zipper which can reclosably close the mouth.
4. The reclosable package of claim 3 wherein the front and rear panels are formed of polymeric material.
5. The reclosable package of claim 4 wherein the symbol or text includes a bio-hazard symbol or marking.
6. The reclosable package of claim 5 wherein at least a portion of the text is printed in a direction perpendicular to that of the tear zone.
7. The reclosable package of claim 6 further including a secondary rear panel adjacent to the primary rear panel thereby forming a documentation storage space between the primary and secondary rear panels.
8. The reclosable package of claim 7 wherein the secondary rear panel is sealed along a lower seal to the primary rear panel proximate to a bottom of the reclosable package.
9. The reclosable package of claim 8 wherein the secondary rear panel includes a lower portion which extends below the lower seal line.
10. The reclosable package of claim 9 wherein the lower portion of the secondary rear panel includes a first line of weakness.
11. The reclosable package of claim 10 wherein the lower portion of the secondary rear panel includes a label portion which is removable by tearing the first line of weakness.
12. The reclosable package of claim 11 wherein the primary rear panel includes an upper fold and an extension extending from the upper fold to the secondary rear panel.
13. The reclosable package of claim 12 wherein the extension is sealed to the secondary rear panel by a hard seal.
14. The reclosable package of claim 12 wherein the extension is sealed to the secondary rear panel by an adhesive seal.
15. The reclosable package of claim 12 wherein the secondary rear panel includes a second line of weakness.
16. The reclosable package of claim 15 wherein the second line of weakness is downwardly adjacent from the extension.
17. The reclosable package of claim 16 wherein the second line of weakness provides access to the document storage space.
18. The reclosable package of claim 17 wherein the front panel includes usage instructions.
19. The reclosable package of claim 18 wherein the front panel includes a checklist to identify proper treatment of a specimen within the specimen storage space.
20. The reclosable package of claim 19 wherein the tear zone comprises a plurality of side-ways V-shaped lines of weakness.
 This application claims priority under 35 U.S.C. §119(e) of
U.S. provisional application Ser. No. 61/178,729 filed May 15, 2009, the
disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 1. Field of the Disclosure
 The present disclosure pertains to a reclosable package or bag with a tear-away feature. More specifically, the present disclosure pertains to a specimen bag which may be used to hold a specimen container and related paperwork.
 2. Description of the Prior Art
 FIG. 1 discloses a prior art embodiment of a specimen package or bag, which is a secondary package used to hold a primary specimen container and related paperwork. This prior art bag is marked with a bio-hazard marking, thereby requiring disposal of both the bag and primary specimen container as bio-hazardous waste. This kind of package or bag is typically marked with a bio-hazard marking which is away from the tear-line, thereby requiring disposal of both the bag and the primary specimen container as bio-hazardous waste even though the bag is typically not bio-hazardous. Disposal of bio-hazardous waste is significantly more expensive than the disposal of ordinary waste. Further, if this prior art specimen bag were to be disposed of in normal trash, people seeing such a package may become unnecessarily alarmed.
 The prior art further includes U.S. Pat. No. 6,217,216 entitled "Reclosable Plastic Bag with Non-Perforated Tear Zone" issued on Apr. 17, 2001 to Taheri and U.S. Pat. No. 6,149,302 entitled "Plastic Bag with Tamper-Evident Closure" issued on Nov. 21, 2000 to Taheri.
OBJECTS AND SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE
 It is therefore an object of the present disclosure to provide a reclosable package or bag for a primary specimen container for bio-hazardous material, and related paperwork wherein the bag can be disposed of in regular trash after the primary specimen container has been removed.
 This and other objects are obtained by providing a reclosable package or bag, with a tear-away feature, for a primary specimen container and associated paperwork, wherein the bio-hazard symbols or markings are printed along the tear-line of the package or bag, so that alter the bag has been torn open along the tear-line, the bio-hazard symbols or markings are obliterated and the bag can be disposed of with ordinary waste.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 Further objects and advantages of the disclosure will become apparent from the following description and from the accompanying drawings, wherein:
 FIG. 1 is a plan view of a prior art specimen package or bag.
 FIG. 2 is a plan view of an embodiment of the present disclosure.
 FIG. 3 is a plan view of a variation of the embodiment of the present disclosure.
 FIG. 4 is a plan view of a further variation of the embodiment of the present disclosure.
 FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view along plane 4-4.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
 Referring now to the drawings in detail wherein like numerals indicate like elements, one sees plan views of variations of the embodiment of specimen bag 10 of the present disclosure in FIGS. 2-4 and a corresponding cross-sectional view in FIG. 5.
 Specimen bag 10 includes a front panel 12 and a primary rear panel 14, typically formed from a single sheet of polymeric material with lower fold 16 therebetween and sealed at first and second edges 15, 17 thereby providing a specimen storage space 100 accessed via mouth 18. Mouth 18 is reclosably sealed by zipper 20 which includes first and second zipper profiles 22, 24 attached to front panel 12 and primary rear panel 14, respectively. Additionally, a document storage space 102 is formed immediately outward of rear panel 14 by sealing a secondary rear panel 26 upwardly adjacent from lower fold 16 along seal line 28. As shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, a lower portion 30 of secondary rear panel 26, formed below seal line 28, may include label portion 32 which is removable via lower perforated (or otherwise weakened) line 34. Upper portion 36 of secondary rear panel 26 extends upwardly and immediately outwardly from primary rear panel 14. Upper fold 38 is formed at the top of primary rear panel 14 so that upper flap or extension 40, typically integral with primary rear panel 14, extends toward the upper edge or portion of secondary rear panel 26 and is joined thereto by either an adhesive seal or a hard seal 42. Upper perforated (or otherwise weakened) line 44 provides access to document storage space 102.
 Front panel 12 of specimen bag 10 includes tear zone 50, typically formed from successive sideways V-shaped or herringbone-shaped lines of weakness. Bio-hazard symbol 52 is printed in tear zone 50. Bio-hazard symbol 52 is typically printed sideways (that is, with the text parallel to first and second edges 15, 17 or perpendicular to a direction of tear zone 50, or to the direction of tearing therein). In this way, the text is more illegible when a tearing has been performed through tear zone 50 and through bio-hazard symbol 52.
 Front panel 12 may optionally further include printed instructions 54 regarding the use of specimen bag 10, as well as a checklist 56 with options which the user may choose with respect to the specimen bag 10 and its specific specimen content, in order to identify proper treatment of the specimen.
 To use specimen bag 10, the user places a primary specimen container (not shown) and, optionally, some absorbent material (not shown) into specimen storage space 100 and closes zipper 20 by joining first and second profiles 22, 24 together. The user then may place paper documentation (not shown) into document storage space 102. If seal 42 is an adhesive seal, the user may seal the adhesive seal 42, with subsequent access being provided by tearing upper perforated line 44. If seal 42 is a hard seal, then both initial and subsequent access is provided after tearing of the upper perforated line 44. The user may also choose to check off items on checklist 56.
 Subsequently, in order to remove the primary specimen container, the user (which may be the same or different from the user who originally placed the primary specimen container into specimen bag 100) would tear the specimen bag 10 along tear zone 50, thereby making the bio-hazard symbol 52 illegible and allowing for the removal of the specimen. The specimen bag 10 could then be disposed of, if appropriate, in regular trash after removal of the primary specimen container and the documentation. Alternatively, if this user wished to keep the bio-hazard symbol 52 intact; this user could remove the primary specimen container via mouth 18 after opening zipper 20. This user could also access the documentation in documentation storage space 102 via upper perforated line 44.
 Thus the several aforementioned objects and advantages are most effectively attained. Although preferred embodiments of the invention have been disclosed and described in detail herein, it should be understood that this invention is in no sense limited thereby and its scope is to be determined by that of the appended claims.
Patent applications by ILLINOIS TOOL WORKS INC.
Patent applications in class Including means for reclosing the bag
Patent applications in all subclasses Including means for reclosing the bag