WO2016100852A1 - Easy-open flexible package - Google Patents

Easy-open flexible package Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2016100852A1
WO2016100852A1 PCT/US2015/066748 US2015066748W WO2016100852A1 WO 2016100852 A1 WO2016100852 A1 WO 2016100852A1 US 2015066748 W US2015066748 W US 2015066748W WO 2016100852 A1 WO2016100852 A1 WO 2016100852A1
Authority
WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
package
weakness
seal
longitudinal
flexible film
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/US2015/066748
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Jeffrey Allen BOEKELOO
Rajesh SURYANARAYANAN
Jason L. STUFFLEBEAM
Katelyn Lauren VARGO
Original Assignee
Printpack Illinois, Inc.
The Quaker Oats Company
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to US201462094727P priority Critical
Priority to US62/094,727 priority
Priority to US14/973,233 priority
Priority to US14/973,233 priority patent/US20160176601A1/en
Application filed by Printpack Illinois, Inc., The Quaker Oats Company filed Critical Printpack Illinois, Inc.
Publication of WO2016100852A1 publication Critical patent/WO2016100852A1/en

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Classifications

    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65DCONTAINERS FOR STORAGE OR TRANSPORT OF ARTICLES OR MATERIALS, e.g. BAGS, BARRELS, BOTTLES, BOXES, CANS, CARTONS, CRATES, DRUMS, JARS, TANKS, HOPPERS, FORWARDING CONTAINERS; ACCESSORIES, CLOSURES, OR FITTINGS THEREFOR; PACKAGING ELEMENTS; PACKAGES
    • B65D75/00Packages comprising articles or materials partially or wholly enclosed in strips, sheets, blanks, tubes, or webs of flexible sheet material, e.g. in folded wrappers
    • B65D75/52Details
    • B65D75/58Opening or contents-removing devices added or incorporated during package manufacture
    • B65D75/5827Tear-lines provided in a wall portion
    • B65D75/5833Tear-lines provided in a wall portion for tearing out a portion of the wall
    • B65D75/5838Tear-lines provided in a wall portion for tearing out a portion of the wall combined with separate fixed tearing means, e.g. tabs
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65DCONTAINERS FOR STORAGE OR TRANSPORT OF ARTICLES OR MATERIALS, e.g. BAGS, BARRELS, BOTTLES, BOXES, CANS, CARTONS, CRATES, DRUMS, JARS, TANKS, HOPPERS, FORWARDING CONTAINERS; ACCESSORIES, CLOSURES, OR FITTINGS THEREFOR; PACKAGING ELEMENTS; PACKAGES
    • B65D75/00Packages comprising articles or materials partially or wholly enclosed in strips, sheets, blanks, tubes, or webs of flexible sheet material, e.g. in folded wrappers
    • B65D75/04Articles or materials wholly enclosed in single sheets or wrapper blanks
    • B65D75/06Articles or materials wholly enclosed in single sheets or wrapper blanks in sheets or blanks initially folded to form tubes
    • B65D75/12Articles or materials wholly enclosed in single sheets or wrapper blanks in sheets or blanks initially folded to form tubes with the ends of the tube closed by flattening and heat-sealing
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65DCONTAINERS FOR STORAGE OR TRANSPORT OF ARTICLES OR MATERIALS, e.g. BAGS, BARRELS, BOTTLES, BOXES, CANS, CARTONS, CRATES, DRUMS, JARS, TANKS, HOPPERS, FORWARDING CONTAINERS; ACCESSORIES, CLOSURES, OR FITTINGS THEREFOR; PACKAGING ELEMENTS; PACKAGES
    • B65D75/00Packages comprising articles or materials partially or wholly enclosed in strips, sheets, blanks, tubes, or webs of flexible sheet material, e.g. in folded wrappers
    • B65D75/52Details
    • B65D75/58Opening or contents-removing devices added or incorporated during package manufacture
    • B65D75/5827Tear-lines provided in a wall portion
    • B65D75/5833Tear-lines provided in a wall portion for tearing out a portion of the wall
    • B65D75/5844Tear-lines provided in a wall portion for tearing out a portion of the wall the portion of the wall being a narrow strip, e.g. between lines of weakness

Abstract

An easy open package is provided including a package body formed from a flexible film having a pair of transverse end seals (114, 116) and a longitudinal seal (112) generally therebetween. The longitudinal seal (112) includes a sealed region between a first longitudinal edge portion of the flexible film sealed to a second longitudinal edge portion of the flexible film. A tear strip (118) and pull tab (122) formed in the package body are configured such that initiation of a tear by pulling the pull tab (122) in one direction causes controlled tearing of the flexible film along the line of weakness (120) defining the tear strip (118). Flexible films and methods for fabrication of the flexible films and packages also are provided.

Description

EASY-OPEN FLEXIBLE PACKAGE

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application No. 62/094,727, filed on December 19, 2014, the disclosure of which is incorporated by reference herein in its entirety as an example.

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0002] The present application relates to flexible packaging that is easily opened. More particularly, the present application is directed to flexible packaging that can be easily opened using a controlled tear to provide full access for removal of a product contained therein.

BACKGROUND

[0003] Flexible packages are widely used for storing items such as various food products. Various problems associated with opening such packages are well known, and various attempts have been made to overcome such problems. For example, in some embodiments, flexible packages are opened at a profiled end seal, which may contain serrations to aid in opening the package. The tear that is generated is generally not guided, meaning that the opening is unpredictable and doesn't allow for controlled opening of the package. Another particular problem occurring in opening of flexible wrap packages in the cross direction from cuts or other opening initiations is that such mechanisms are terminated by the longitudinal seal or product, which is generally situated in the middle of the flexible package. Once the tear reaches this longitudinal seal, the tear stops or becomes unpredictable. Furthermore, some easier to open packages are susceptible to unintentional opening.

[0004] Accordingly, it is desirable to provide new flexible packages that avoid one or more disadvantages associated with existing easy open features.

SUMMARY

[0005] Embodiments of the present application address the above-described needs by providing an easy open package including a package body formed of a flexible film having a pair of transverse end seals and a longitudinal seal generally therebetween. The longitudinal seal includes a sealed region between a first longitudinal edge portion of the flexible film and a second longitudinal edge portion of the flexible film. The package body further includes a tear strip defined by a line of weakness disposed partially through the flexible film and a pull tab positioned in the longitudinal seal. The pull tab is defined by a cut through both the first longitudinal edge portion and second longitudinal edge portion of the flexible film in the longitudinal seal, and is positioned within the sealed region and interior to a terminal edge of the longitudinal seal. The line of weakness defining the tear strip may include two spaced lines extending about at least a portion of the package body, the line of weakness extending from proximate the pull tab and the longitudinal seal about at least a portion of the package body. The pull tab and tear strip are configured such that initiation of a tear by pulling the pull tab in one direction causes controlled tearing of the flexible film along the line of weakness.

[0006] In another aspect, an easy open package is provided including a package body formed of a flexible film having a pair of transverse end seals and a longitudinal seal generally therebetween, the longitudinal seal having a sealed region between a first longitudinal edge portion of the flexible film sealed to a second longitudinal edge portion of the flexible film. A tear strip is defined by a line of weakness disposed partially through the flexible film, and a pull tab is positioned in the longitudinal seal and defined by a cut through the first longitudinal edge portion of the flexible film in the longitudinal seal, the cut being positioned within the sealed region and interior to a terminal edge of the longitudinal seal. The line of weakness defining the tear strip includes one or more lines extending about the package body, the line of weakness extending from proximate the pull tab and the longitudinal seal and about at least a portion of the package body. The pull tab and tear strip are configured such that initiation of a tear by pulling the pull tab in one direction causes controlled tearing of the flexible film along the line of weakness defining the tear strip.

[0007] In still another aspect, a flexible film for forming an easy open package is provided. The flexible film comprises a pair of transverse end seal areas, a pair of longitudinal edge portions generally between the transverse end seal areas, a storage area extending generally between the transverse end seal areas and generally between the pair of longitudinal edge portions, a tear strip defined by a line of weakness disposed partially through the flexible film, the line of weakness defining the tear strip comprises one or more lines extending at least partially along the storage area, and a first cut through one of the pair of longitudinal edge portions and a second cut through another of the pair of longitudinal edge portions. The pair of transverse end seal areas, the pair of longitudinal edge portions, the storage area, the tear strip and the first and second cuts are configured such that the flexible film can be folded to form a package by adhering the pair of transverse end seal areas to themselves to form a pair of transverse end seals, adhering the pair of longitudinal edge portions to one another to form a longitudinal seal including a sealed region between the longitudinal edge portions, and aligning the first and second cuts to define a pull tab positioned in the longitudinal seal and positioned within the longitudinal seal and interior to a terminal edge of the longitudinal seal. When the package is formed, the line of weakness extends from proximate the pull tab and the longitudinal seal and about at least a portion of the package body. In addition, the pull tab and tear strip are configured such that, when the package is formed, initiation of a tear by pulling the pull tab in one direction causes controlled tearing of the flexible film along the line of weakness defining the tear strip.

[0008] In yet another aspect, another flexible film for forming an easy open package is provided. The flexible film comprises a pair of transverse end seal areas, a pair of longitudinal edge portions generally between the transverse end seal areas, a storage area extending generally between the transverse end seal areas and generally between the pair of longitudinal edge portions, a tear strip defined by a line of weakness disposed partially through the flexible film, the line of weakness defining the tear strip comprises one or more lines extending at least partially along the storage area, and a cut through one of the pair of longitudinal edge portions. The pair of transverse end seal areas, the pair of longitudinal edge portions, the storage area, the tear strip and the first and second cuts are configured such that the flexible film can be folded to form a package by adhering the pair of transverse end seal areas to themselves to form a pair of transverse end seals, adhering the pair of longitudinal edge portions to one another to form a longitudinal seal including a sealed region between the longitudinal edge portions, and aligning the cut to define a pull tab positioned in the longitudinal seal and positioned within the one of the longitudinal edge portions and interior to a terminal edge of the longitudinal seal. When the package is formed, the line of weakness extends from proximate the pull tab and the longitudinal seal and about at least a portion of the package body. In addition, the pull tab and tear strip are configured such that, when the package is formed, initiation of a tear by pulling the pull tab in one direction causes controlled tearing of the flexible film along the line of weakness defining the tear strip.

[0009] Additional aspects will be set forth in part in the description which follows, and in part will be obvious from the description, or may be learned by practice of the aspects described below. The advantages described below will be realized and attained by means of the elements and combinations particularly pointed out in the appended claims. It is to be understood that both the foregoing general description and the following detailed description are exemplary and explanatory only and are not restrictive. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0010] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an embodiment of an easy open package.

[0011] FIGS. 2A and IB are back views of two embodiments of an easy open package.

[0012] FIG. 3 is a partial cross-sectional view of a flexible film according to an

embodiment.

[0013] FIG. 4 is a schematic illustration of a flexible film according to an embodiment.

[0014] FIGS. 5A-5C are schematic illustrations of opening an easy open package according to an embodiment.

[0015] FIG. 6A-6D are schematic illustrations of a flexible film (6A), a partially formed pouch having a longitudinal lap seal (6B), an easy open pouch having a longitudinal lap seal being opened (6C), the easy open pouch of FIG. 6C after being opened (6D)

according to an embodiment.

[0016] FIG. 6E is a partial schematic illustration of an embodiment depicting a film comprising an arcuate score positioned in an unsealed area and spaced a distance from a boundary of the unsealed area with a seal area.

[0017] FIG. 7 is a schematic illustration of another embodiment of a flexible film.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0018] Embodiments of the present application are directed generally to an easy open package and methods for manufacturing such packages. Generally described, an easy open package is provided that is formed from a flexible film comprising a tear strip defined by a line of weakness disposed partially through the flexible film and a pull tab positioned in a longitudinal seal. The pull tab and tear strip are configured such that initiation of a tear by pulling the pull tab in one direction causes controlled tearing of the flexible film from an initiating line of weakness along the tear strip.

[0019] An exemplary embodiment of a flexible wrap package 100 is illustrated in FIG. 1. The package 100 has a package body 110 formed from a continuous web of flexible film. First 114 and second 116 transverse end seals may be disposed at opposing transverse ends of the package body 110, with a longitudinal seal 112 securing opposing longitudinal edge portions of the flexible film in a longitudinal direction along the package body 110. The longitudinal seal 112 may be a fin seal, as illustrated in FIG. 1, or a lap seal, as illustrated in FIGS. 6B and 6C, as described below.

[0020] The longitudinal seal 112 may be positioned along any portion of the package body 110. For example, the longitudinal seal 112 may be substantially centered on a back side of the package body 110, off-center on a back side of the package body (not shown), on a side of the package body (not shown), or on a corner/edge of the package body (not shown), and generally extends the length of the package body 110. The longitudinal seal 112 may fold either to the right or the left (the "folding direction") using known manufacturing processes; however, it may be advantageous for the longitudinal seal 112 to fold to the left to be more easily openable by right-handed consumers (which constitute a majority of the population).

[0021] A tear strip 118 is defined by one or more lines of weakness 120 formed partially through the flexible film forming the package body 110. For example, in the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1, the tear strip 118 includes two substantially parallel lines of weakness 120. In other embodiments, however, the tear strip 118 may be defined by one or more parallel lines of weakness, or two or more parallel lines of weakness. The tear strip 118 generally is positioned in the transverse position (e.g., in the cross direction of the package body perpendicular to the longitudinal seal 112) and extends about at least a portion of the package body 110. The substantially parallel lines of weakness 120 may be spaced apart by any suitable distance. For example, in embodiments, the substantially parallel lines of weakness are spaced apart by a distance of about 1/50 inch to about 2 inches, about 1/25 inch to about 2 inches, about 1/8 inch to about 2 inches, about 1/4 inch to about 1 inch, or about 1/4 inch to about 1/2 inch. In embodiments, the distance between two spaced lines of weakness may be relative to the width of the longitudinal seal and/or the package body. For example, the spaced lines of weakness may be spaced apart by a distance of more than 2 inches for larger-sized packages. [0022] An initiating line of weakness 419 (illustrated in FIG. 4) may be positioned substantially perpendicular to the tear strip 118. For example, in embodiments, the initiating line of weakness 419 may be positioned substantially perpendicular to and longitudinally between the lines of weakness 120 defining the tear strip 118. The initiating line of weakness preferably is also positioned proximal to the where the longitudinal seal 112 meets the body of the package 110 in the folding direction. For example, in embodiments in which the longitudinal seal 112 folds to the left, the initiating line of weakness 419 may be positioned proximally to the left of the longitudinal seal 112 (i.e., proximal or adjacent to the sealed region forming the longitudinal seal). Moreover, where the longitudinal seal is a fin seal, the initiating line of weakness preferably is positioned on the opposite side of the flexible film from the cut defining the pull tab, such that the initiating line of weakness is located proximal or adjacent to the sealed region once the package is formed.

[0023] A pull tab 122 positioned in the longitudinal seal 112 is defined by a cut 124 through both opposing longitudinal edge portions of the flexible film in the longitudinal seal 112. The cut 124 is positioned within the sealed region of the longitudinal seal 112 and interior to a terminal edge 125 of the longitudinal seal 112, such that the opposing longitudinal edge portions of the flexible film in the pull tab 122 remain sealed together to provide a single pull tab 122. The longitudinal seal 112 may partially or completely surround the tab 122, and in the embodiment shown in Fig. 1, the longitudinal seal 112 completely surrounds the tab 122. An unintentional tear or opening of the package is less likely with the pull tab 122 positioned within the sealed region of the longitudinal seal 112 and interior to a terminal edge 125 of the longitudinal seal 112. The cut defining the pull tab may be any suitable shape, non-limiting examples of which include a curved shape (e.g., a semi-circle or semi-ellipse) (FIG. 2B) or an angular shape (e.g., a trapezoid, square, or rectangle) (FIG. 2A), and may be any suitable size, provided that it is positioned interior to the terminal edge 125 of the longitudinal seal 112 a suitable distance. An unintentional tear or opening of the package is less likely with the pull tab 122 having a less angular shape, such as a more curved or rounded shape so that the pull tab 122 does not unintentionally snag during manufacturing or handling. For example, the cut defining the pull tab 122 may be positioned from about 1/8 inches to about 1/4 inches interior to the terminal edge 125 of the longitudinal seal 112, depending in part on the width of the longitudinal seal. In embodiments, the cut defining the pull tab may be positioned from about 1/8 inches to about 1/5 inches or from about 1/8 inches to about 1/6 inches interior to the terminal edge of the longitudinal seal 112.

[0024] The initiating line of weakness 419 and the line(s) of weakness defining the tear strip 118 together initiate a controlled tear in the flexible film, forming the tear strip 118 in the flexible film. For example, in some embodiments, the initiating line of weakness 419 and lines of weakness 120 defining the tear strip 118 may include two substantially parallel scored lines in the flexible film extending the same distance about the package body (e.g., a U-shape) or may include two substantially parallel scored lines in the flexible film extending different distances about the package body (e.g., a J-shape). In some embodiments, the tear strip 118 may include more than two substantially parallel scored lines of weakness 120. Whether the line of weakness 120 extends an amount sufficient to initiate a controlled tear depends at least in part on the type of flexible film used, the size of the package body, the film orientation, the adhesive strength, and the depth of the line of weakness. For example, in embodiments, both of the lines of weakness 120 defining the tear strip 118 may extend a length greater than about 5% of the package body 110, greater than about 25% of the package body 110, greater than about 50% of the package body 110, greater than about 75% of the package body 110, or substantially entirely about the package body 110. In other embodiments, each of the two lines of weakness 120 defining the tear strip 118 may, independent of one another, extend a length greater than about 5% of the package body 110, greater than about 25% of the package body 110, greater than about 50% of the package body 110, or greater than about 75% of the package body 110.

[0025] In some embodiments, the two or more lines of weakness 120 may extend from proximate the pull tab 122 at one side of the longitudinal seal 112 through and about the package body 110 without extending back into the longitudinal seal 112 from an opposite side of the longitudinal seal 112. In some such embodiments, the two or more lines of weakness 120 may extend from proximate the pull tab 122 at one side of the longitudinal seal 112 through and about the package body 110 and terminate in the package body 110 and outside of longitudinal seal 112 and may also include a tear terminating feature such as a J-shaped termination or the like. The depth, length and shape of the parallel lines of weakness described herein apply to embodiments that include any number of parallel lines of weakness. [0026] The tear strip 118 and pull tab 122 may be located at any position along the package body 110 between the transverse end seals 114, 116. Preferably, the tear strip 118 and pull tab 122 are positioned from about halfway between the transverse end seals 114, 116, or about a third or a quarter of the length of the package body 110 from a transverse end seal 114. In an embodiment, the tear strip 118 extends about the package body 110 closer to one of the pair of transverse end seals 114 and 116 than to another of the transverse end seals. Preferably, the line(s) of weakness defining the tear strip and the cut defining the pull tab are substantially aligned.

[0027] The pull tab 122, tear strip 118, and initiating line of weakness 419 are configured such that a user pulling the pull tab 122 in a direction D opposite the folding direction of the longitudinal seal 112 initiates controlled tearing of the flexible film at the initiating line of weakness 419 and along the one or more line(s) of weakness 120 defining the tear strip 118 until the tear strip reaches the longitudinal seal 112. In some embodiments, the top portion 130 of the package body 110 may be broken apart from the bottom portion 140 package body 110. Whether the top portion 130 may be broken apart from the bottom portion 140 depends in part on the position of the cut 124 relative to the terminal edge 125 of the longitudinal seal (e.g., how much material remains connected in the longitudinal seal). Thus, in some embodiments, the top portion 130 of the package body 110 may remain attached to the bottom portion 140 (not shown).

[0028] The line(s) of weakness 120 defining the tear strip, the initiating line of weakness 419, and the cut 124 defining the pull tab 122, may each, independent of one another, be formed by one or more of a die cut, score line, perforation line, or other known techniques for forming such lines of weakness. For example, in embodiments, the lines of weakness 120 defining the tear strip 118 are two substantially parallel scored lines in the flexible film. Although the depth of the lines of weakness 120 defining the tear strip 118 and the terminating line of weakness may vary, they preferably extend only partially through the flexible film without penetrating substantially through the flexible film, thereby retaining the barrier properties of the package body to protect the product contained therein.

[0029] The plurality of scored lines of weakness 120 have a depth in the flexible film extending only partially through the flexible film. The depth of the plurality of scored lines of weakness 120 may be substantially constant along their lengths or may vary along their lengths. In some embodiments, the depth of the plurality of scored lines of weakness 120 may be deeper in one portion of their length than in another portion of their length. In some embodiments, the depth of the plurality of scored lines of weakness 120 may be deeper in a portion of their length extending across a portion of one of the longitudinal seal areas of the longitudinal seal 112 than in another portion of their length extending beyond the longitudinal seal 112 and across the package body 110. This may allow for less force when pulling the pull tab 122 in initiation of opening the package 110 along the tear strip 118.

[0030] A cross-section of an embodiment of a flexible film for forming the package body is illustrated in FIG. 3. The flexible film may include a monolayer film (not shown) or a multilayer film including an inner film layer and an outer film layer, either or both of which may function as a barrier layer. Additional layers, such as print and adhesive layers, also may be included in the flexible film. For example, the flexible film 310 illustrated in FIG. 3 includes an inner film layer 312, an outer film layer 314, an adhesive layer 316 disposed between at least a portion of the inner film layer 312 and outer film layer 314, a print layer 318 disposed between the outer film layer 314 and the adhesive 316, and a patterned cold seal adhesive layer 320 on the inner surface of the inner film layer 312. In embodiments, the tear strip and pull tab may be positioned relative to the graphic, which optionally may provide instructions for opening the package (i.e., to "open here", "pull to open", directional arrows, and the like). It should be appreciated, however, that the flexible film for forming the package body may include any combination of these layers and/or additional layers, depending on the desired aesthetics and functionality of the flexible film and package body. Thus, in some embodiments, two or more film layers may be coextruded to form an extrusion lamination rather than laminated together with an adhesive.

[0031] The one or more layers 312 and 314 of the flexible film may be formed using the same or different materials. Non-limiting examples of materials that may be used to form the one or more layers include polymeric materials, metallized polymeric materials, metallic foils, paper-based materials, and combinations thereof. Suitable polymeric materials and metallized-polymeric materials frequently used in packaging applications may include polyolefins (e.g., polyethylenes and polypropylenes), polyamides, and other thermoplastic polymers. These materials may be produced as a cast or blown film and may be subsequently bi-axially or mono-axially oriented. For example, in an embodiment the inner layer 312 may be a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and the outer layer 314 may be an oriented PET or biaxially-oriented polypropylene. Further functionality may be added by coating the materials by a vacuum deposition, aqueous deposition, spray process, or other means.

[0032] Although not shown in FIG. 3, the parallel lines of weakness in the flexible film 310 may be formed at least partially through the inner layer 312 or outer layer 314.

[0033] An exemplary embodiment of an easy open package in the form of a flexible pouch 600 is illustrated in FIGS. 6A-6D. The pouch 600 has a package body 610 formed from a continuous web of flexible film 605 having an inner film layer, and an outer film layer. First 614 and second 616 transverse end seals may be disposed at opposing transverse ends of the package body 610, with a longitudinal lap seal 612 securing opposing longitudinal edge portions of the flexible film in a longitudinal direction along the package body 610. The longitudinal lap seal 612 comprises a first longitudinal edge portion 613 and a second longitudinal edge portion 615 adhered together and a storage area 606 of the film 605 between the first 614 and second 616 transverse end seals and the longitudinal lap seal 612. The first longitudinal edge portion 613 may comprise a first longitudinal seal area 613a and the second longitudinal edge portion 615 may comprise a second longitudinal seal area 615a and the first and second longitudinal seal areas 613a and 615a may be adhered to one another as explained in more detail below. The package body 610, transverse end seals 614 and 616, and longitudinal lap seal 612 define a storage space 608. A tear strip 618 is defined by one or more lines of weakness 620a and 620b formed partially through the flexible film forming the package body 610. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 6, the tear strip 618 includes two substantially parallel lines of weakness 620. In some embodiments, the tear strip 618 may include more than two substantially parallel scored lines of weakness 120. Although the longitudinal seal 612 is a lap seal in FIG. 6A, the longitudinal seal 612 may also be a fin seal and any aspect of this embodiment is applicable to embodiments with a fin seal as well as a lap seal.

[0034] A pull tab 622 positioned in the longitudinal lap seal 612 is defined by a cut 624 through the first longitudinal edge portion 613 of the flexible film forming the longitudinal seal 612. The cut 624 is positioned within an un-sealed area 617 of the longitudinal lap seal 612 and interior to a terminal edge 625 of the longitudinal seal 612, such that the first longitudinal edge seal area 613a remains sealed to the second longitudinal edge seal area 615a except for the un-sealed area 617 proximate the cut 624. An initiating line of weakness 619 may be positioned substantially perpendicular to the tear strip 618 in the second longitudinal edge seal area 615. The initiating line of weakness 619 preferably is positioned in the second longitudinal edge portion 615 such that it is positioned within the un-sealed area 617 of the second longitudinal edge seal area 615a over which the die cut 624 defining the pull tab 622 is disposed nearer the proximal side 621 of the longitudinal lap seal 612. The pull tab 622, initiating line of weakness 619, and tear strip 618 are configured such that initiation of a tear by pulling the pull tab 622 in one direction causes controlled tearing of the flexible film from the initiating line of weakness 619 along the line of weakness defining the tear strip 618.

[0035] A patterned cold seal adhesive may be applied on the inner film layer of the first opposing longitudinal edge portion 613 and transverse end seals 614, 616 and outer film layer of the second opposing longitudinal edge portion 615. In some embodiments, the patterned cold seal adhesive may include a void substantially free from the cold seal adhesive (or an area having a reduced adhesive strength relative to the other portions of the longitudinal seal) substantially surrounding at least a portion of the pull tab 622.

Alternatively, a heat seal or an ultrasonic seal may be used to form the longitudinal seal 612 and transverse end seals 614, 616.

[0036] In an embodiment, the un-sealed area 617 of the second longitudinal edge portion 615 and the pull tab 622 may be at least partially or completely void of any sealing, such as with cold seal or heat sealing or the like, for easy grasping and opening of the package by pulling the tab.

[0037] As illustrated in FIGS. 6A-6E, the package 600 comprises the first and second opposing longitudinal edge portions 613 and 615, first 614 and second 616 transverse end seals, the storage area 606 there between, the first and second substantially parallel line of weakness 620a and 620b, and the tab cut 624, which has endpoints in close proximity to the first substantially parallel line of weakness 620a and the second substantially parallel line of weakness 620b. For example, as shown in FIG 6A, a first endpoint of the tab cut 624 is co-located with a first end 642a of the first substantially parallel line of weakness 620a and a second endpoint of the tab cut 624 is co-located with the first end 642d of the second substantially parallel line of weakness 620b.

[0038] As shown in FIGS. 6A-6E, the first and second opposing longitudinal edge portions 613 and 615 may be adhered to one another to form the longitudinal lap seal seam 612. In this embodiment, the first and second opposing longitudinal edge portions 613 and 615 are adhered to one another using an adhesive, which can be a cold or hot adhesive. It should be understood, however, that the adhesive could also be heat activated in a heat sealing process or by other means known to those skilled in the art. Also, note that although the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 6A-6E has a lap seal as the longitudinal seal 612, the longitudinal seal 612 may also be a fin seal as illustrated with other embodiments in this disclosure.

[0039] In FIG. 6A, the first opposing longitudinal edge portion 613 is partially coated with an adhesive. For example, as illustrated, the first opposing longitudinal edge portion 613 is completely coated except for a first adhesive margin 640a and the tab 622.

Although, in some embodiments, a first adhesive margin 640a is not used, in which case the first opposing longitudinal edge portion 613 can be completely coated except for the tab 622.

[0040] The second opposing longitudinal edge portion 615 is positioned opposite (e.g., across the flexible film 605) from the first opposing longitudinal edge portion 613 and is at least partially coated with a second adhesive. For example, as illustrated, the second opposing longitudinal edge portion 615 is completely coated except for a second adhesive margin 640b. However, in some embodiments, the second adhesive margin 640b is not used, and the second opposing longitudinal edge portion 615 can be completely coated. The first and second adhesive margins 640a and 640b remain un-adhered even after forming the package 600 and sealing the longitudinal seal 612. This un-adhered margin facilitates an alternative way of opening the package by pulling the longitudinal seal 612 apart at the adhesive margins 640a and 640b. Accordingly, in some embodiments, the first and second opposing longitudinal edge portions 613 and 615 are adhered across substantially their entire respective areas (e.g., across at least 90% of, or completely across their entire respective areas). Additionally, although the second opposing longitudinal edge portion 615 is referred to as coated with a second adhesive in the second opposing longitudinal edge portion 615, the second adhesive is not necessarily a different adhesive than the first adhesive. For example, in some embodiments the second adhesive can be a different adhesive than the first adhesive. However, in other embodiments, the second adhesive is the same as the first adhesive. As an illustration, when the opposing longitudinal edge portions 613 and 615 form a fin seal, a cold seal process may be used to form the longitudinal lap seal seam 612 by pressing together the first and second opposing longitudinal edge portions 613 and 615, the first adhesive and the second adhesive can be the same adhesive, and under a specified amount of pressure, the adhesive can be activated to adhere to itself, but not the uncoated wrapper (e.g., tab 622). When the opposing longitudinal edge portions 613 and 615 form a lap seal, for example, a patterned seal may be applied to an inside surface of one of the opposing longitudinal edge portions 613 and 615 which is then adhered to an outside surface of another of the opposing longitudinal edge portions 613 and 615.

[0041] Thus, the first longitudinal edge portion 613 may comprise, for example, the first longitudinal seal area 613a, the unsealed area 617, the first adhesive margin 640a, the tab cut 624 and/or any combination thereof, with or without additional elements.

Furthermore, the second longitudinal edge portion 615 may comprise, for example, the second longitudinal seal area 615a, the unsealed area 617, the second adhesive margin 640b, and/or any combination thereof, with or without additional elements.

[0042] As illustrated in FIG. 6A, both the second substantially parallel line of weakness 620b and the first substantially parallel line of weakness 620a partially cut through the film 605. However, the tab cut 624 (e.g., an arcuate score) completely cuts through the wrapper 65. In some embodiments, the first substantially parallel line of weakness 620a, the second substantially parallel line of weakness 620b, and/or the tab cut 624 are laser scores. In some embodiments the scores or cuts 620a and b and 624 can be formed using a knife or other mechanical device. As an example of another mechanical device, the tab cut 624 can be formed using a mechanical punch (e.g., similar to a hole punch) rather than a knife or laser.

[0043] As illustrated in FIG. 6A, the first substantially parallel line of weakness 620a extends from a first end 642a of the first substantially parallel line of weakness 620a positioned in the first opposing longitudinal edge seal area 613a, across at least a portion of the first opposing longitudinal edge seal area 613a (e.g., tear strip seal area 646), across at least a portion of the storage area 606 (e.g., entire width 644 between the first and second opposing longitudinal edge portions 613 and 615), and toward the second opposing longitudinal edge portion 615 until the first substantially parallel line of weakness 620a terminates at a second end 642b of the first substantially parallel line of weakness 620a. Similarly, the second substantially parallel line of weakness 620b extends from a first end 642c of the second substantially parallel line of weakness 620b in the first opposing longitudinal edge seal area 613a, across at least a portion of the first opposing longitudinal edge seal area 613a, across at least a portion of the storage area 606, and toward the second opposing longitudinal edge portion 615 until the second substantially parallel line of weakness 620b terminates at a second end 642d of the second substantially parallel line of weakness 620b.

[0044] In the example of FIG. 6A, the tab cut 624 extends from the first end 642a of the first substantially parallel line of weakness 620a to the first end 642c of the second substantially parallel line of weakness 620b to provide the tab 622 in the first opposing longitudinal edge portion 613. Additionally, the tab 622 is positioned on an unsealed area 617 (as depicted for example in FIGS 6A and 6B) of the first opposing longitudinal edge portion 613. For example, the tab 622 can be partially or completely surrounded by the first opposing longitudinal edge seal area 613a. This is shown in FIG. 6A, where the first opposing longitudinal edge seal area 613a completely surrounds the tab 622.

[0045] In some embodiments, also shown in FIG. 6A, the tab 622 is partially or completely bounded by the first opposing longitudinal edge seal area 613a. In other words, a boundary of the first opposing longitudinal edge seal area 613a forms a part or all of the boundary of the tab 622. Furthermore, in some embodiments, the tab 622 is bounded by the tab cut 624 and the first opposing longitudinal edge seal area 613a. As illustrated in FIGS 6A and 6E, the tab cut 624 is positioned on a boundary of the first opposing longitudinal edge seal area 613a. Although, in some embodiments, it is desirable for the tab cut 624 to be positioned in an unsealed area 617 of the first opposing longitudinal edge portion 613 and for at least a continuous portion of the tab cut 624 to be spaced a minimum distance 650 from a boundary of the unsealed area 617 with the first opposing longitudinal edge seal area 613a. Furthermore, in some embodiments, the continuous portion of the tab cut 624 that is spaced the minimum distance 650 from the boundary is the entire length of the tab cut 624 except for a first length 652a of the tab cut 624 within the minimum distance 650 from the first end 642a of the first substantially parallel line of weakness 620a and except for a second length 652b of the tab cut 624 within the minimum distance 650 from the first end 642c of the second substantially parallel line of weakness 620b. For example, the minimum distance 650 can help ensure that no part of the tab 622, which is defined in part by the tab cut 624, is sealed to the second opposing longitudinal edge portion 615. This in turn makes it easier for a user to grab the tab 622 to initiate opening the package 600.

[0046] As shown in the illustration of FIGS. 6A and 6B, the first opposing longitudinal edge portion 613 comprises the tab 622, and the tab 622 is provided on an unsealed area 617 that is not coated with adhesive. However, a first adhesive-covered area (e.g., the tear strip seal area 646 of the first opposing longitudinal edge seal area 613a) can be provided between the tab 622 and the storage area 606. Similarly, a second adhesive-covered area (e.g., a part of the first opposing longitudinal edge seal area 613a) can be provided between the tab 622 and an exterior edge 654a of the first opposing longitudinal edge seal area 613a. In some embodiments, providing an adhesive-covered area with a minimum length or width can be useful to avoid unintentional opening or tearing of the package 600 in the area covered with the adhesive. In some embodiments, providing an adhesive- covered area with a minimum length or width can be useful to maintain a barrier between the storage space 608 and an external environment (e.g., ambient atmosphere outside the package 600). For example, in some embodiments, a shortest distance across the first adhesive-coated area between the tab 622 and the storage area 606 (e.g., shortest distance from tab 622 to boundary 656 between the storage area 606 and the first opposing longitudinal edge seal area 613a) is second distance 658 equal to at least about .005 inches. As another example, in some embodiments the second distance 658 is at least about 0.125 inches. In some embodiments the second distance 658 is about 0.005 to about 10 inches. In some embodiments, the second distance 658 is about 0.125 inches.

Additionally, in some embodiments, a shortest distance across the second adhesive-coated area (e.g., a part of the first opposing longitudinal edge seal area 613a) between the tab 622 and an exterior edge 654a of the first opposing longitudinal edge seal area 613a is a third distance 660 equal to at least about 0.005 inches. As another example, in some embodiments the third distance 660 is at least about 0.125. In some embodiments, the third distance 660 is about 0.005 to about 10 inches. As another example, in some embodiments the third distance 660 is about 0.125 inches.

[0047] In some embodiments, the package 600 comprises a single tab 622 (e.g., one and only one tab and excluding multiple tabs) for opening. For example, the single tab 622 is positioned in the first opposing longitudinal edge portion 613, and the second opposing longitudinal edge portion 615 does not comprise a tab 622 for opening. In some embodiments, the second opposing longitudinal edge portion 615 is substantially solid and continuous (e.g., without scores or cuts within the second opposing longitudinal edge portion 615), for example, to provide increased structural rigidity for the seal 612, to avoid unintentional tearing, to avoid unintentional opening, and/or to maintain a connection between the disposable portion 662 and the holder portion 664 through the longitudinal seal 612 after opening the package 600.

[0048] In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 6A, the tear strip 618 of the film 605 between the first substantially parallel line of weakness 620a and the second substantially parallel line of weakness 620b is continuous with the tab 622 so that pulling the tab 622 can be used to partially or completely disconnect the tab 622 and the tear strip 618 from a remainder of the package 600, thereby opening the package 300. For example, the remainder of the package 600 can comprise the holder portion 664 of the wrapper and the disposable portion 662 of the wrapper. Additionally, the relative sizes of the holder portion 664 of the wrapper and the disposable portion 662 of the wrapper can vary in different embodiments.

[0049] In some embodiments, the tear strip 618 comprises the tear strip seal area 646 adjacent to the tab 622 and positioned between the tab 622 and the storage area 606. The tear strip seal area 646 may be coated with an adhesive (e.g., the first adhesive) and, as illustrated, forms a part of the first opposing longitudinal edge seal area 613a so that, upon forming the longitudinal seal 612 by sealing the first opposing longitudinal edge portion 613 to the second opposing longitudinal edge portion 615, the longitudinal seal 612 provides a barrier between the storage space 608 (e.g., food bar storage space) and an atmosphere outside the storage space 608. After the first opposing longitudinal edge portion 613 and the second opposing longitudinal edge portion 615 are sealed together to form the longitudinal seal 612, the storage space 608 is at least partially bound by the storage area 606 of the film 605 and the longitudinal seal 612 as shown in FIGS. 6A-6E.

[0050] In some embodiments, in order to help ensure that the storage space 606 is sealed and in order to prevent unintended tearing of the film 605 and opening of the storage space 306 of the package 600, the first substantially parallel line of weakness 620a does not substantially extend (e.g., does not extend more than 0.05 inches, or does not extend at all) into the second opposing longitudinal edge seal area 615a, and the second substantially parallel line of weakness 620b does not substantially extend (e.g., does not extend more than 0.05 inches, or does not extend at all) into the second opposing longitudinal edge seal area 615a. For example, in some embodiments the second end 642b of the first substantially parallel line of weakness 620a and the second end 642d of the second substantially parallel line of weakness 620b are each approximately positioned at a boundary 666 between the storage area 606 and the second opposing longitudinal edge seal area 615a. Although, in some embodiments, the first substantially parallel line of weakness 620a and/or the second substantially parallel line of weakness 620b extend partially into the second opposing longitudinal edge seal area 615a to help ensure that the disposable portion 662, the tab 622, and/or the tear strip 618 are completely separated from the holder portion 664 when a user opens a package 600 by pulling the tab 622.

[0051] The plurality of scored lines of weakness 620 have a depth in the flexible film 605 extending only partially through the flexible film 605. The depth of the plurality of scored lines of weakness 620 may be substantially constant along their lengths or may vary along their lengths. In some embodiments, the depth of the plurality of scored lines of weakness 620 may be deeper in one portion of their length than in another portion of their length. In some embodiments, the depth of the plurality of scored lines of weakness 620 may be deeper in a portion of their length extending across a portion of the longitudinal edge seal area 613a of the longitudinal seal 612 than in another portion of their length extending beyond the longitudinal seal 612 and across the storage area 606 of the flexible film 605. This may allow for less force when pulling the pull tab 622 in initiation of opening the package 600 along the tear strip 618.

[0052] FIG. 7 illustrates another flexible film 705 of this disclosure comprising six score lines of weakness 620a, 620b, 720a, 720b, 720c, and 720d. The flexible film 705 in FIG. 7 is the same as the flexible film 605 in 6A except for the additional lines of weakness 720a, 720b, 720c, and 720d and therefore the reference numerals in FIG. 7 are otherwise the same as in FIG. 6A. Middle lines of weakness 620a and 620b are flanked on each side by pairs of guide lines of weakness 720a and 720b and 720c and 720d. The first pair of guide lines of weakness 720a and 720b are spaced from and proximate to the first middle line of weakness 620a and guide the tearing of the tear strip 618 so that the tear strip 618 is more likely to tear between the first pair of guide lines of weakness 720a and 720b and along or proximately along the first middle line of weakness 620a and not propagate outwardly and away from the first pair of guide lines of weakness 720a and 720b. Likewise, the second pair of guide lines of weakness 720c and 720c are spaced from and proximate to the second middle line of weakness 620b and guide the tearing of the tear strip 618 so that the tear strip 618 is more likely to tear between the second pair of guide lines of weakness 720c and 720d and along or proximately along the second middle line of weakness 620b and not propagate outwardly and away from the second pair of guide lines of weakness 720c and 720d. In some embodiments, the first middle line of weakness 620a may be spaced from the first pair of guide lines of weakness 720a and 720b from about 0.5 mm to about 2 mm, or from about 0.8 mm to about 1.2 mm, or about 1 mm. Likewise, in some embodiments, the first middle line of weakness 620b may be spaced from the first pair of guide lines of weakness 720c and 720d from about 0.5 mm to about 2 mm, or from about 0.8 mm to about 1.2 mm, or about 1 mm. In some embodiments, the middle lines of weakness 620a and 620b may extend into the first longitudinal seal area 613 and from the respective first ends 642a and 642d at respective first and second endpoints of the tab cut 624 and then across at least a portion of the storage area 606 of the flexible film 705, while the guide lines of weakness 720a and 720b and 720c and 720d do not extend from the tab cut 624, but rather are spaced inwardly from the tab 622 and extend from about the boundary 656 between the storage area 606 and the first opposing longitudinal edge seal area 613a and across at least a portion of the storage area 606. In some embodiments, the guide lines of weakness 720a and 720b and 720c and 720d are spaced inwardly from the tab 622 from about 1/16 inch to about ¼ inch, or about 1/8 inch.

[0053] According to still another embodiment, not shown, the package 600 may include one or more gussets and the flexible film 605 from which the package 600 is made includes one or more portions of film configured to form such gussets. In some such embodiments, the tear strip may extend at least partially or completely across at least one of the gussets. In some of such embodiments, the longitudinal seal and tab therein may be in or proximate to one or more of the gussets. In still some of those embodiments, the removal of the tear strip may provide for a pour spout.

[0054] In another aspect, a method of fabricating an easy open package is provided. In one embodiment, the method may include providing a continuous web of a flexible film comprising an inner film layer and an outer film layer; forming one or more lines of weakness defining a tear strip in either the inner or outer film layer; forming an initiating line of weakness in either the inner or outer film layer; folding the flexible film about a product and forming a longitudinal seal by joining opposing longitudinal edge portions of the flexible film; and forming at least one transverse end seal by sealing the flexible film to form a transverse seal region extending across a transverse end of the package. A cut through the flexible film defining the pull tab may be formed in one or both of the opposing longitudinal edge portions of the flexible film prior to folding the flexible film about the product or forming a flexible pouch, or after forming the longitudinal seal. [0055] In embodiments, the one or more lines of weakness defining the tear strip, the initiating line of weakness, and the cut defining the pull tab may be formed in the flexible film using any suitable methods known to those skilled in the art, non-limiting examples of which include using a cutting tool, such as a cutting die, or a laser. These features may be formed in the flexible film in off-line or in-line processes with respect to packaging of the product, and also may be formed in both horizontal and vertical form fill seal operations, among others. For example, these features may be formed in the flexible film in-line just before the flexible film is formed into a package body, filled with product, and sealed. Alternatively, these features may be formed in the flexible film and wound on a reel by a packaging converter and then loaded into the packaging equipment on which it is then unwound and formed into a package body, filled with product, and sealed.

[0056] The easy open packages provided herein may be used for containing a variety of products, particularly rigid or semi-rigid food products or products contained in a tray about which the flexible film is disposed. For example, the easy open packages may be used for food products such as chocolate and sugar confectionary products, nutraceuticals, cookies, crackers, biscuits, and the like. The easy open packages are particularly suited for use with products that a consumer desires to access from the transverse end of the package body.

[0057] A schematic illustration of an exemplary embodiment of use of an easy open package including a food product, such as a granola bar or candy bar, is illustrated in

FIGS. 5A-5C and FIGS. 6C-6D. A consumer may take an unopened package (FIG. 5A), grasp the pull tab and pull in the direction opposite the folding direction of the longitudinal seal to cause controlled tearing in the flexible film along the line of weakness defining the tear strip (FIGS. 5B or 6C), and expose contents therein by grasping and pulling back the transverse end seal of the top portion of the package to form a full access opening in the transverse end of the package (FIGS. 5C or 6D). The top potion of the package may be entirely separated from or remain partially attached to the bottom portion of the package body.

[0058] In addition to be being easy to open or openable with controlled tearing or both, embodiments described herein also reduce the likelihood of unintentional tearing or opening of the package. These features therefore reduce the likelihood that the contents of the package are unintentionally exposed to the atmosphere outside the package, and in particular, reduces the likelihood that contents of the package, such as food, would be spoiled.

[0059] The packaged products may be manufactured using any suitable packaging method, particularly form, fill, and seal methods using rolls of the flexible film having the above-described features. For example, in certain embodiments the method of packaging the product includes providing a roll of a flexible film including an inner film layer, an outer film layer, and an adhesive disposed between the inner and outer film layers, and one or more lines of weakness defining the tear strip, the initiating line of weakness, and the cut defining the pull tab in the flexible film. The flexible film may then be folded about the product (or tray), a longitudinal seal may be formed by joining opposing longitudinal edge portions of the flexible film, and two transverse end seals may be formed at opposing transverse edges of the flexible film. Alternatively, the flexible film may be first be formed into a flexible pouch by forming a longitudinal seal by joining opposing longitudinal edge portions of the flexible film (FIG. 6B), forming a first transverse end seal, filling the package with product, and forming the second transverse end seal (e.g., a vertical form fill seal process).

[0060] In certain embodiments (FIG. 4), a roll of a continuous web of a flexible film 400 is provided having an inner film layer, an outer film layer, a tear strip 418 defined by two substantially parallel lines of weakness 420 in the outer film layer, and a pull tab 422a, 422b defined by cuts 424a, 424b through opposing longitudinal edge portions 425a, 425b of the flexible film. The initiating line of weakness 419 is positioned between the two substantially parallel lines of weakness 420 defining the tear strip 418. The roll may be suitable for forming a plurality of packages. A patterned cold seal adhesive may be applied on the inner film layer for forming the longitudinal seal 412a, 412b and transverse end seals 414, 416. In some embodiments, the patterned cold seal adhesive may include a void 426a, 426b substantially free from the cold seal adhesive (or an area having a reduced adhesive strength relative to the other portions of the seal and seams) substantially surrounding at least a portion of the pull tab 422a, 422b, thereby permitting a user to more readily grasp the pull tab 422a, 422b to open the package. Alternatively, a heat seal or an ultrasonic seal may be used to form the longitudinal seal 412a, 412b and transverse end seals 414, 416. When using a heat seal, a release lacquer may be applied on at least a portion of the periphery of the pull tab and/or a patterned heat seal jaw may be used in the shape of the periphery of the pull tab. In embodiments, the roll of flexible film may be fed through a machine which folds it about each product in turn so that opposing longitudinal edge portions are brought into contact and bonded together to form a longitudinal seal. The flexible film may then be crimped or bonded at opposing ends of the product to form the transverse end seals, and the flexible film may be cut to separate each packaged product from the remainder of the roll of flexible film.

[0061] In another embodiment, a roll of a continuous web of a flexible film 605 (shown in (FIG. 6A) unrolled form) is provided. The roll may be suitable for forming a plurality of packages.

[0062] COMPARATIVE EXAMPLES

[0063] In some embodiments, the second substantially parallel line of weakness 620b is spaced at minimum a first distance 668 from the first substantially parallel line of weakness 620a. For example the first distance 668 can be about 1/16 to about 2.5 inches or about 1/8 inch to about 1.5 inches. As another example, the first distance 668 can be about 0.500 inches.

[0064] In some embodiments, a length 670 from a first end 672 of the film 605 to a second end 674 of the film 605 is at least about ½ inch. In some embodiments, the length 670 is about ½ inch to about 16 inches. In some embodiments, the length 670 is about 4 inches to about 7 inches. As another example, the length 670 can be about 5.750 inches.

[0065] In some embodiments, a width 676 from a first edge 678a of the film 605 to a second edge 678b of the film 605 is at least about ½ inch. In some embodiments, the width 676 is about ½ inch to about 16 inches. In some embodiments, the width 676 is about 4 inches to about 7 inches. As another example, the width 676 can be about 4.375 inches.

[0066] In some embodiments, the tab cut 624 is a curved score (e.g., arcuate score, elliptical score, a circular score, such as a score defined by a curve a fixed distance 680b from a point 680a). For example, in some embodiments, the tab cut 624 has an axis 680a of curvature and a radius 680b of curvature (e.g., the distance from the axis 680a of curvature to the tab cut 624) that is at least about 1/8 inch. In some embodiments, the radius of curvature 680b is about 1/8 inch to about 3 inches. In some embodiments, the radius of curvature 680b is about 1/8 inch to about 2.5 inches. As another example, the radius 680b of curvature can be about 0.250 inches.

[0067] In some embodiments, a fifth distance 682 from the first end 672 of the film 605 to the axis 680a of curvature of the tab cut 624 is or averages at least about 0.65 inches. In some embodiments, the fifth distance 682 can be or averages about 0.65 inches to about 5.25 inches. In some embodiments, the fifth distance 682 can be or average about 2.000 inches.

[0068] In some embodiments, a length 684 of the first transverse end seal 614 is or averages at least about 1/8 inch. In some embodiments, the length 684 is or averages about 1/8 inch to about 5 inches. As another example, the length 684 can be or average about 0.625 inches.

[0069] In some embodiments, a length 686 of the second transverse end seal 616 is or averages at least about 1/8 inch. In some embodiments, the length 686 is or averages about 1/8 to about 5 inches. As another example, the length 686 can be or average about 0.625 inches.

[0070] In some embodiments, a length 688 of the storage area 606 between the first transverse end seal 614 and the second transverse end seal 616 is or averages at least about ½ inches. In some embodiments, the length 688 is at least about 4 inches, or about 4.5 inches. In some embodiments, the length 688 is about 4 to about 5 inches. As another example, the length 688 can be or average about 4.500 inches.

[0071] In some embodiments, a width 690 of the storage area 606 between the first opposing longitudinal edge seal area 613a and the second opposing longitudinal edge seal area 615a is or averages at least about 2 inches. In some embodiment, the width 690 is or averages about 2 inches to about 4 inches. As another example, the width 690 can be or average about 3.001 inches.

[0072] In some embodiments, a width 692 of the first adhesive margin 640a is or averages at least about 0.03 inches. In some embodiments, the width 692 is or averages about 0.04 to about 0.08 inches. As another example, the width 692 can be or average about 0.062 inches. However, some embodiments do not comprise an adhesive margin 640a.

[0073] In some embodiments, a width 694 of the second adhesive margin 640b is or averages at least about 0.03 inches. In some embodiments, the width 694 is or averages about 0.04 to about 0.08 inches. As another example, the width 694 can be or average about 0.062 inches. However, some embodiments do not comprise an adhesive margin 640b.

[0074] In some embodiments, a width 696 of the first opposing longitudinal edge seal area 613a is or averages at least about 1/8 inch. In some embodiments, the width 696 is or averages about 1/8 inch to about 5 inches. In some embodiments, the width 696 is about 0.25 inches to about 0.75 inches. As another example, the width 696 can be or average about 0.500 inches.

[0075] In some embodiments, a width 698 of the second opposing longitudinal edge seal area 615a is or averages at least about 1/8 inch. In some embodiments, the width 698 is or averages about 1/8 inch to about 5 inches. In some embodiments, the width 698 is about 0.5 inches to about 1.0 inches. As another example, the width 698 can be or average about 0.750 inches.

[0076] In some large format embodiments, a width 690 of the storage area 606 between the first opposing longitudinal edge seal area 613a and the second opposing longitudinal edge seal area 615a is or averages from about 6 inches to about 37.5 inches, or from about 20 inches to about 37.5 inches or from about 30 inches to about 37.5 inches, and the height or length 670 is or averages from about 5 inches to about 50 inches, or from about 30 inches to about 50 inches or from about 40 inches to about 50 inches. [0077] ADDITIONAL EMBODIMENTS

[0078] The following clauses are offered as further description of the disclosed invention:

[0079] Clause 1. An easy open package comprising:

[0080] a package body formed of a flexible film having a pair of transverse end seals and a longitudinal seal generally therebetween, the longitudinal seal comprising a sealed region between a first longitudinal edge portion of the flexible film sealed to a second longitudinal edge portion of the flexible film;

[0081] a tear strip defined by a line of weakness disposed partially through the flexible film; and

[0082] a pull tab positioned in the longitudinal seal and defined by a cut through both the first longitudinal edge portion and second longitudinal edge portion of the flexible film in the longitudinal seal, wherein the cut is positioned within the sealed region and interior to a terminal edge of the longitudinal seal,

[0083] wherein the line of weakness defining the tear strip comprises one or more lines extending about the package body, the line of weakness extending from proximate the pull tab and the longitudinal seal and about at least a portion of the package body,

[0084] wherein the pull tab and tear strip are configured such that initiation of a tear by pulling the pull tab in one direction causes controlled tearing of the flexible film along the line of weakness defining the tear strip. [0085] Clause 2. The package of clause 1, wherein the line of weakness extends from an initiating line of weakness and about the at least a portion of the package body, wherein the pull tab, initiating line of weakness, and tear strip are configured such that initiation of the tear by pulling the pull tab in the one direction causes controlled tearing of the flexible film from the initiating line of weakness along the line of weakness defining the tear strip.

[0086] Clause 3. The package of clause 1, wherein one or more of the pair of transverse end seals and longitudinal seal comprise a heat seal.

[0087] Clause 4. The package of clause 1, wherein one or more of the pair of transverse end seals and longitudinal seal comprise a cold seal.

[0088] Clause 5. The package of clause 1, wherein the longitudinal seal lies in a direction opposite the one direction for pulling the pull tab.

[0089] Clause 6. The package of clause 1, wherein the flexible film comprises at least two layers comprising an outer layer and an inner layer.

[0090] Clause 7. The package of clause 6, wherein the line of weakness extends at least partially through the outer layer.

[0091] Clause 8. The package of clause 6, wherein the line of weakness extends at least partially through the inner layer.

[0092] Clause 9. The package of clause 6, wherein the line of weakness extends at least partially and only through the outer layer.

[0093] Clause 10. The package of clause 1, wherein the line of weakness extends only partially through the flexible film.

[0094] Clause 11. The package of clause 1, wherein the tear strip is continuous with the tab.

[0095] Clause 12. The package of clause 6, wherein the flexible film further comprises a print layer and a permanent adhesive disposed between the outer layer and the inner layer.

[0096] Clause 13. The package of clause 12, wherein the print layer includes a graphic providing instructions for opening the package.

[0097] Clause 14. The package of clause 1, wherein the line of weakness comprises two substantially parallel lines of weakness.

[0098] Clause 15. The package of clause 14, wherein the two substantially parallel lines are spaced apart by a distance of from about 1/8 inch to about 2 inches. [0099] Clause 16. The package of clause 14, wherein the two substantially parallel lines are spaced apart by a distance of from about 1/4 inch to about 1 inch.

[00100] Clause 17. The package of clause 14, wherein the two substantially parallel lines are spaced apart by a distance of from about 1/4 inch to about 1/2 inch.

[00101] Clause 18. The package of clause 14, wherein the cut extends from one of the two substantially parallel lines of weakness to another of the two substantially parallel lines of weakness.

[00102] Clause 19. The package of clause 14, wherein the pull tab is positioned from about 1/10 inch to about 1/2 inch from the terminal edge of the longitudinal seal.

[00103] Clause 20. The package of clause 1, wherein the pull tab is positioned from about 1/8 inch to about 1/4 inch from the terminal edge of the longitudinal seal.

[00104] Clause 21. The package of clause 1, wherein the pull tab comprises a curved shape.

[00105] Clause 22. The package of clause 1, wherein the pull tab comprises an angular shape.

[00106] Clause 23. The package of clause 22, wherein the angular shape comprises a trapezoid.

[00107] Clause 24. The package of clause 1, wherein the line of weakness extends from proximate one of the first and second longitudinal edge portions about the at least a portion of the package body without substantially extending into another of the first and second longitudinal edge portions.

[00108] Clause 25. The package of clause 1 wherein the package defines a storage space and further comprises a seal between the tab and the storage space.

[00109] Clause 26. The package of clause 1 wherein the one or more lines of weakness and the cut are laser scored.

[00110] Clause 27. The package of clause 1 wherein the longitudinal seal further comprises an un-adhered exterior margin.

[00111] Clause 28. The package of clause 1 wherein the tear strip extends about the package closer to one of the pair of transverse seals than to another of the transverse seals.

[00112] Clause 29. A flexible film for forming an easy open package, the flexible film comprising:

[00113] a pair of transverse end seal areas; [00114] a pair of longitudinal edge portions generally between the transverse end seal areas;

[00115] a storage area extending generally between the transverse end seal areas and generally between the pair of longitudinal edge portions;

[00116] a tear strip defined by a line of weakness disposed partially through the flexible film, the line of weakness defining the tear strip comprises one or more lines extending at least partially along the storage area; and

[00117] a first cut through one of the pair of longitudinal edge portions and a second cut through another of the pair of longitudinal edge areas,

[00118] wherein the pair of transverse end seal areas, the pair of longitudinal edge portions, the storage area, the tear strip and the first and second cuts are configured such that the flexible film can be folded to form a package by adhering the pair of transverse end seal areas to themselves to form a pair of transverse end seals, adhering the pair of longitudinal edge portions to one another to form a longitudinal seal including a sealed region between the longitudinal edge portions, and aligning the first and second cuts to define a pull tab positioned in the longitudinal seal and positioned within the longitudinal seal and interior to a terminal edge of the longitudinal seal,

[00119] wherein, when the package is formed, the line of weakness extends from proximate the pull tab and the longitudinal seal and about at least a portion of the package body, and

[00120] wherein the pull tab and tear strip are configured such that, when the package is formed, initiation of a tear by pulling the pull tab in one direction causes controlled tearing of the flexible film along the line of weakness defining the tear strip.

[00121] Clause 30. A roll of the flexible film of clause 1.

[00122] Clause 31. An easy open package comprising:

[00123] a package body formed of a flexible film having a pair of transverse end seals and a longitudinal seal generally therebetween, the longitudinal seal comprising a sealed region between a first longitudinal edge portion of the flexible film sealed to a second longitudinal edge portion of the flexible film;

[00124] a tear strip defined by a line of weakness disposed partially through the flexible film; and

[00125] a pull tab positioned in the longitudinal seal and defined by a cut through the first longitudinal edge portion of the flexible film in the longitudinal lap seal, wherein the cut is positioned within the sealed region and interior to a terminal edge of the longitudinal seal,

[00126] wherein the line of weakness defining the tear strip comprises one or more lines extending about the package body, the line of weakness extending from proximate the pull tab and the first longitudinal edge portion of the flexible film forming the longitudinal seal,

[00127] wherein the pull tab and tear strip are configured such that initiation of a tear by pulling the pull tab in one direction causes controlled tearing of the flexible film along the line of weakness defining the tear strip.

[00128] Clause 32. The package of clause 31 , wherein the line of weakness extends from an initiating line of weakness and about the at least a portion of the package body, the initiating line of weakness being positioned in the second longitudinal edge portion of the flexible film forming the longitudinal lap seal, wherein the pull tab, initiating line of weakness, and tear strip are configured such that initiation of the tear by pulling the pull tab in one direction causes controlled tearing of the flexible film from the initiating line of weakness along the line of weakness defining the tear strip.

[00129] Clause 33. The package of clause 31, wherein the initiating line of weakness is positioned in the second longitudinal edge portion of the flexible film in an area adjacent to the pull tab in the first longitudinal edge portion.

[00130] Clause 34. The package of clause 31 , wherein one or more of the pair of transverse end seals and longitudinal lap seal comprise a heat seal.

[00131] Clause 35. The package of clause 31, wherein one or more of the pair of transverse end seals and longitudinal lap seal comprise a cold seal.

[00132] Clause 36. The package of clause 31 , wherein the flexible film comprises at least two layers comprising an outer layer and an inner layer.

[00133] Clause 37. The package of clause 36, wherein the line of weakness extends at least partially through the outer layer.

[00134] Clause 38. The package of clause 36, wherein the line of weakness extends at least partially through the inner layer.

[00135] Clause 39. The package of clause 36, wherein the line of weakness extends at least partially and only through the outer layer.

[00136] Clause 40. The package of clause 31, wherein the line of weakness extends only partially through the flexible film. [00137] Clause 41. The package of clause 31 , wherein the tear strip is continuous with the tab.

[00138] Clause 42. The package of clause 36, wherein the flexible film further comprises a print layer and a permanent adhesive disposed between the outer layer and the inner layer.

[00139] Clause 43. The package of clause 42, wherein the print layer includes a graphic providing instructions for opening the package.

[00140] Clause 44. The package of clause 31 , wherein the line of weakness comprises two substantially parallel lines of weakness.

[00141] Clause 45. The package of clause 44, wherein the two substantially parallel lines are spaced apart by a distance of from about 1/8 inch to about 2 inches.

[00142] Clause 46. The package of clause 44, wherein the two substantially parallel lines are spaced apart by a distance of from about 1/4 inch to about 1 inch.

[00143] Clause 47. The package of clause 44, wherein the two substantially parallel lines are spaced apart by a distance of from about 1/4 inch to about 1/2 inch.

[00144] Clause 48. The package of clause 44, wherein the cut extends from one of the two substantially parallel lines of weakness to another of the two substantially parallel lines of weakness.

[00145] Clause 49. The package of claim 31, wherein the pull tab is positioned from about 1/10 inch to about 1/2 inch from the terminal edge of the first longitudinal edge portion of the longitudinal lap seal.

[00146] Clause 50. The package of clause 31, wherein the pull tab is positioned from about 1/8 inch to about 1/4 inch from the terminal edge of the first longitudinal edge portion of the longitudinal lap seal.

[00147] Clause 51. The package of clause 31 , wherein the pull tab comprises a curved shape.

[00148] Clause 52. The package of clause 31, wherein the pull tab comprises an angular shape.

[00149] Clause 53. The package of clause 52, wherein the angular shape comprises a trapezoid.

[00150] Clause 54. The package of clause 31, wherein the longitudinal lap seal surrounding the cut further comprises an area substantially void of adhesive. [00151] Clause 55. The package of clause 31 , wherein the line of weakness extends from proximate the first longitudinal edge portion about the at least a portion of the package body without substantially extending into the second longitudinal edge portion.

[00152] Clause 56. The package of clause 31 , wherein the package body, transverse end seals, and longitudinal lap seal define a storage space and the longitudinal lap seal further comprises a sealed portion between the tab and the storage space

[00153] Clause 57. The package of clause 31 wherein the one or more lines of weakness and the cut are laser scored.

[00154] Clause 58. The package of clause 31 wherein the longitudinal seal further comprises an un-adhered exterior margin.

[00155] Clause 59. The package of clause 31 wherein the tear strip extends about the package closer to one of the pair of transverse seals than to another of the transverse seals.

[00156] Clause 60. The package of clause 31 wherein the longitudinal seal is a lap seal.

[00157] Clause 61. A flexible film for forming an easy open package, the flexible film comprising:

[00158] a pair of transverse end seal areas;

[00159] a pair of longitudinal edge portions generally between the transverse end seal areas;

[00160] a storage area extending generally between the transverse end seal areas and generally between the pair of longitudinal edge portions;

[00161] a tear strip defined by a line of weakness disposed partially through the flexible film, the line of weakness defining the tear strip comprises one or more lines extending at least partially along the storage area; and

[00162] a cut through one of the pair of longitudinal edge portions,

[00163] wherein the pair of transverse end seal areas, the pair of longitudinal area portions, the storage area, the tear strip and the first and second cuts are configured such that the flexible film can be folded to form a package by adhering the pair of transverse end seal areas to themselves to form a pair of transverse end seals, adhering the pair of longitudinal edge portions to one another to form a longitudinal seal including a sealed region between the longitudinal edge portions, and aligning the cut to define a pull tab positioned in the longitudinal seal and positioned within the one of the longitudinal edge portions and interior to a terminal edge of the longitudinal seal,

[00164] wherein, when the package is formed, the line of weakness extends from proximate the pull tab and the longitudinal seal and about at least a portion of the package body, and

[00165] wherein the pull tab and tear strip are configured such that, when the package is formed, initiation of a tear by pulling the pull tab in one direction causes controlled tearing of the flexible film along the line of weakness defining the tear strip.

[00166] Clause 62. The flexible film of clause 61 wherein the longitudinal seal is a lap seal.

[00167] Clause 63. A roll of the flexible film of clause 61.

[00168] While the invention has been described in detail with respect to specific embodiments thereof, it will be appreciated that those skilled in the art, upon attaining an understanding of the foregoing, may readily conceive of alterations to, variations of, and equivalents to these embodiments. Accordingly, the scope of the present invention should be assessed as that of the appended claims and any equivalents thereof.

Claims

We claim:
1. An easy open package comprising:
a package body formed of a flexible film having a pair of transverse end seals and a longitudinal seal generally therebetween, the longitudinal seal comprising a sealed region between a first longitudinal edge portion of the flexible film sealed to a second longitudinal edge portion of the flexible film;
a tear strip defined by a line of weakness disposed partially through the flexible film; and
a pull tab positioned in the longitudinal seal and defined by a cut through both the first longitudinal edge portion and second longitudinal edge portion of the flexible film in the longitudinal seal, wherein the cut is positioned within the sealed region and interior to a terminal edge of the longitudinal seal,
wherein the line of weakness defining the tear strip comprises one or more lines extending about the package body, the line of weakness extending from proximate the pull tab and the longitudinal seal and about at least a portion of the package body,
wherein the pull tab and tear strip are configured such that initiation of a tear by pulling the pull tab in one direction causes controlled tearing of the flexible film along the line of weakness defining the tear strip.
2. The package of claim 1 , wherein the line of weakness extends from an initiating line of weakness and about the at least a portion of the package body, wherein the pull tab, initiating line of weakness, and tear strip are configured such that initiation of the tear by pulling the pull tab in the one direction causes controlled tearing of the flexible film from the initiating line of weakness along the line of weakness defining the tear strip.
3. The package of claim 1 , wherein one or more of the pair of transverse end seals and longitudinal seal comprise a heat seal.
4. The package of claim 1 , wherein one or more of the pair of transverse end seals and longitudinal seal comprise a cold seal.
5. The package of claim 1, wherein the longitudinal seal lies in a direction opposite the one direction for pulling the pull tab.
6. The package of claim 1, wherein the flexible film comprises at least two layers comprising an outer layer and an inner layer.
7. The package of claim 6, wherein the line of weakness extends at least partially through the outer layer.
8. The package of claim 6, wherein the line of weakness extends at least partially through the inner layer.
9. The package of claim 6, wherein the line of weakness extends at least partially and only through the outer layer.
10. The package of claim 1, wherein the line of weakness extends only partially
through the flexible film.
11. The package of claim 1, wherein the tear strip is continuous with the tab.
12. The package of claim 6, wherein the flexible film further comprises a print layer and a permanent adhesive disposed between the outer layer and the inner layer.
13. The package of claim 12, wherein the print layer includes a graphic providing instructions for opening the package.
14. The package of claim 1, wherein the line of weakness comprises two substantially parallel lines of weakness.
15. The package of claim 14, wherein the two substantially parallel lines are spaced apart by a distance of from about 1/8 inch to about 2 inches.
16. The package of claim 14, wherein the two substantially parallel lines are spaced apart by a distance of from about 1/4 inch to about 1 inch.
17. The package of claim 14, wherein the two substantially parallel lines are spaced apart by a distance of from about 1/4 inch to about 1/2 inch.
18. The package of claim 14, wherein the cut extends from one of the two substantially parallel lines of weakness to another of the two substantially parallel lines of weakness.
19. The package of claim 14, wherein the pull tab is positioned from about 1/10 inch to about 1/2 inch from the terminal edge of the longitudinal seal.
20. The package of claim 1, wherein the pull tab is positioned from about 1/8 inch to about 1/4 inch from the terminal edge of the longitudinal seal.
21. The package of claim 1, wherein the pull tab comprises a curved shape.
22. The package of claim 1, wherein the pull tab comprises an angular shape.
23. The package of claim 22, wherein the angular shape comprises a trapezoid.
24. The package of claim 1, wherein the line of weakness extends from proximate one of the first and second longitudinal edge portions about the at least a portion of the package body without substantially extending into another of the first and second longitudinal edge portions.
25. The package of claim 1 wherein the package defines a storage space and further comprises a seal between the tab and the storage space.
26. The package of claim 1 wherein the one or more lines of weakness and the cut are laser scored.
27. The package of claim 1 wherein the longitudinal seal further comprises an un- adhered exterior margin.
28. The package of claim 1 wherein the tear strip extends about the package closer to one of the pair of transverse seals than to another of the transverse seals.
29. A flexible film for forming an easy open package, the flexible film comprising:
a pair of transverse end seal areas;
a pair of longitudinal edge portions generally between the transverse end seal areas;
a storage area extending generally between the transverse end seal areas and generally between the pair of longitudinal edge portions;
a tear strip defined by a line of weakness disposed partially through the flexible film, the line of weakness defining the tear strip comprises one or more lines extending at least partially along the storage area; and
a first cut through one of the pair of longitudinal edge seal areas and a second cut through another of the pair of longitudinal edge areas,
wherein the pair of transverse end seal areas, the pair of longitudinal edge seal areas, the storage area, the tear strip and the first and second cuts are configured such that the flexible film can be folded to form a package by adhering the pair of transverse end seal areas to themselves to form a pair of transverse end seals, adhering the pair of longitudinal edge portions to one another to form a longitudinal seal including a sealed region between the longitudinal edge portions, and aligning the first and second cuts to define a pull tab positioned in the longitudinal seal and positioned within the longitudinal seal and interior to a terminal edge of the longitudinal seal,
wherein, when the package is formed, the line of weakness extends from proximate the pull tab and the longitudinal seal and about at least a portion of the package body, and
wherein the pull tab and tear strip are configured such that, when the package is formed, initiation of a tear by pulling the pull tab in one direction causes controlled tearing of the flexible film along the line of weakness defining the tear strip.
30. A roll of the flexible film of claim 1.
31. An easy open package comprising:
a package body formed of a flexible film having a pair of transverse end seals and a longitudinal seal generally therebetween, the longitudinal seal comprising a sealed region between a first longitudinal edge portion of the flexible film sealed to a second longitudinal edge portion of the flexible film;
a tear strip defined by a line of weakness disposed partially through the flexible film; and
a pull tab positioned in the longitudinal seal and defined by a cut through the first longitudinal edge portion of the flexible film in the longitudinal lap seal, wherein the cut is positioned within the sealed region and interior to a terminal edge of the longitudinal seal,
wherein the line of weakness defining the tear strip comprises one or more lines extending about the package body, the line of weakness extending from proximate the pull tab and the first longitudinal edge portion of the flexible film forming the longitudinal seal,
wherein the pull tab and tear strip are configured such that initiation of a tear by pulling the pull tab in one direction causes controlled tearing of the flexible film along the line of weakness defining the tear strip.
32. The package of claim 31, wherein the line of weakness extends from an initiating line of weakness and about the at least a portion of the package body, the initiating line of weakness being positioned in the second longitudinal edge portion of the flexible film forming the longitudinal lap seal, wherein the pull tab, initiating line of weakness, and tear strip are configured such that initiation of the tear by pulling the pull tab in one direction causes controlled tearing of the flexible film from the initiating line of weakness along the line of weakness defining the tear strip.
33. The package of claim 31, wherein the initiating line of weakness is positioned in the second longitudinal edge portion of the flexible film in an area adjacent to the pull tab in the first longitudinal edge portion.
34. The package of claim 31, wherein one or more of the pair of transverse end seals and longitudinal lap seal comprise a heat seal.
35. The package of claim 31, wherein one or more of the pair of transverse end seals and longitudinal lap seal comprise a cold seal.
36. The package of claim 31, wherein the flexible film comprises at least two layers comprising an outer layer and an inner layer.
37. The package of claim 36, wherein the line of weakness extends at least partially through the outer layer.
38. The package of claim 36, wherein the line of weakness extends at least partially through the inner layer.
39. The package of claim 36, wherein the line of weakness extends at least partially and only through the outer layer.
40. The package of claim 31, wherein the line of weakness extends only partially through the flexible film.
41. The package of claim 31, wherein the tear strip is continuous with the tab.
42. The package of claim 36, wherein the flexible film further comprises a print layer and a permanent adhesive disposed between the outer layer and the inner layer.
43. The package of claim 42, wherein the print layer includes a graphic providing instructions for opening the package.
44. The package of claim 31, wherein the line of weakness comprises two substantially parallel lines of weakness.
45. The package of claim 44, wherein the two substantially parallel lines are spaced apart by a distance of from about 1/8 inch to about 2 inches.
46. The package of claim 44, wherein the two substantially parallel lines are spaced apart by a distance of from about 1/4 inch to about 1 inch.
47. The package of claim 44, wherein the two substantially parallel lines are spaced apart by a distance of from about 1/4 inch to about 1/2 inch.
48. The package of claim 44, wherein the cut extends from one of the two substantially parallel lines of weakness to another of the two substantially parallel lines of weakness.
49. The package of claim 31, wherein the pull tab is positioned from about 1/10 inch to about 1/2 inch from the terminal edge of the first longitudinal edge portion of the longitudinal lap seal.
50. The package of claim 31, wherein the pull tab is positioned from about 1/8 inch to about 1/4 inch from the terminal edge of the first longitudinal edge portion of the longitudinal lap seal.
51. The package of claim 31, wherein the pull tab comprises a curved shape.
52. The package of claim 31, wherein the pull tab comprises an angular shape.
53. The package of claim 52, wherein the angular shape comprises a trapezoid.
54. The package of claim 31, wherein the longitudinal lap seal surrounding the cut further comprises an area substantially void of adhesive.
55. The package of claim 31, wherein the line of weakness extends from proximate the first longitudinal edge portion about the at least a portion of the package body without substantially extending into the second longitudinal edge portion.
56. The package of claim 31, wherein the package body, transverse end seals, and longitudinal lap seal define a storage space and the longitudinal lap seal further comprises a sealed portion between the tab and the storage space
57. The package of claim 31 wherein the one or more lines of weakness and the cut are laser scored.
58. The package of claim 31 wherein the longitudinal seal further comprises an un- adhered exterior margin.
59. The package of claim 31 wherein the tear strip extends about the package closer to one of the pair of transverse seals than to another of the transverse seals.
60. The package of claim 31 wherein the longitudinal seal is a lap seal.
61. A flexible film for forming an easy open package, the flexible film comprising: a pair of transverse end seal areas;
a pair of longitudinal edge portions generally between the transverse end seal areas;
a storage area extending generally between the transverse end seal areas and generally between the pair of longitudinal edge portions;
a tear strip defined by a line of weakness disposed partially through the flexible film, the line of weakness defining the tear strip comprises one or more lines extending at least partially along the storage area; and
a cut through one of the pair of longitudinal edge portions,
wherein the pair of transverse end seal areas, the pair of longitudinal area portions, the storage area, the tear strip and the first and second cuts are configured such that the flexible film can be folded to form a package by adhering the pair of transverse end seal areas to themselves to form a pair of transverse end seals, adhering the pair of longitudinal edge portions to one another to form a longitudinal seal including a sealed region between the longitudinal edge portions, and aligning the cut to define a pull tab positioned in the longitudinal seal and positioned within the one of the longitudinal edge portions and interior to a terminal edge of the longitudinal seal, wherein, when the package is formed, the line of weakness extends from proximate the pull tab and the longitudinal seal and about at least a portion of the package body, and
wherein the pull tab and tear strip are configured such that, when the package is formed, initiation of a tear by pulling the pull tab in one direction causes controlled tearing of the flexible film along the line of weakness defining the tear strip.
62. The flexible film of claim 61 wherein the longitudinal seal is a lap seal.
63. A roll of the flexible film of claim 61.
PCT/US2015/066748 2014-12-19 2015-12-18 Easy-open flexible package WO2016100852A1 (en)

Priority Applications (4)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US201462094727P true 2014-12-19 2014-12-19
US62/094,727 2014-12-19
US14/973,233 2015-12-17
US14/973,233 US20160176601A1 (en) 2014-12-19 2015-12-17 Easy-open flexible package

Applications Claiming Priority (5)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
MX2017007890A MX2017007890A (en) 2014-12-19 2015-12-18 Easy-open flexible package.
EP15823289.2A EP3233666A1 (en) 2014-12-19 2015-12-18 Easy-open flexible package
JP2017532965A JP2017538636A (en) 2014-12-19 2015-12-18 Easy-open flexible packaging
CA2971112A CA2971112A1 (en) 2014-12-19 2015-12-18 Easy-open flexible package
BR112017013180A BR112017013180A2 (en) 2014-12-19 2015-12-18 easy opening flexible packaging

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WO2016100852A1 true WO2016100852A1 (en) 2016-06-23

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US (1) US20160176601A1 (en)
EP (1) EP3233666A1 (en)
JP (1) JP2017538636A (en)
BR (1) BR112017013180A2 (en)
CA (1) CA2971112A1 (en)
MX (1) MX2017007890A (en)
WO (1) WO2016100852A1 (en)

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US10112761B2 (en) * 2014-01-09 2018-10-30 Hollister Incorporated Package having integral tab with finger hole opening feature
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CA2971112A1 (en) 2016-06-23
BR112017013180A2 (en) 2018-01-02
EP3233666A1 (en) 2017-10-25
US20160176601A1 (en) 2016-06-23
MX2017007890A (en) 2017-09-05

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