Customizable vacuum bags premarked with length indicators help users quickly and visually determine the netweight of bagged items of different weights and bag lengths.
Patrick Tatom is an inventive kind of guy, which crystallized during his high school years when he decided to go down a different path than taking physics classes and the like. He already has two patents to his credit and a website that promotes one of those, the “waxxcooler,” which according to the website is “intended for the collection and redistribution of scented wax made by scented wax warmers.”
Most recently, he has turned his attention to an unmet need he sees in flexible packaging.
The patent filing, made on Dec. 18, 2015, for “Customizable packaging bags,” addresses the need for a customizable bag designed such that a user can quickly and easily determine the weight of any individual bag regardless of the size of a particular bag. “The present invention refers generally to packaging bags and, more specifically, to packaging bags that can be cut into different sizes to form a customized bag of a desired size.”
Tatom, who has named the product as “KnowBagz,” informed us that S.C. Johnson had the right of first refusal to use the invention, but that he pulled the offer in mid-January. Tatom has also spoken with one film supplier and feels many more would be interested in the concept.
“There are hundreds of packaging or plastic bag manufacturers that would love to be the only ones that can print the weight of a plastic bag on a plastic bag,” he reports. Tatom responds to our questions in this Q&A:
How did the idea come about?
Tatom: I have more than 10 years’ experience related to intellectual property that allowed me to pick up on this idea as I was walking down the aisles at Walmart looking for weight-marked vacuum-sealed bags to be used for tea that I sell to family and friends.
If you know how much your bag weighs, then you know what to subtract from the weight the scale shows when you put the vacuum bag on the scale in order to get the true weight of the contents.
There was no way for them to verify at the point of sale that in handing them an ounce of bagged tea that it in fact was one ounce plus the weight of the bag.
For example, resealable sandwich bags weigh 1 or 2 grams, but vacuum bags are heavier, on the order of 7 to 10 grams.
I was surprised to find that nobody owns the concept to label or mark the weight of plastic bags, maybe because throughout the years everybody was comfortable with the 1 to 2 gram sandwich bags. Nobody thought to label the weight on them. But with vacuum sealed bags becoming more and more popular, it's time to start labeling heavier bags.
Indicator lines move along the bag width for the indication of bag weight for longer bag lengths as well.
What steps are needed to premark the bags?
Tatom: Manufacturers already have the formulas for the bag weights and the equipment to mark them is already available. All they have to do is design the folm to be marked in 1-gram increments.
After every 5 markings, the indicator line is moved over, so the weight is easier to read at a glance. After so many more markings the preprinted indicator lines starts moving over to the other direction and this continues down the roll.
Is this for human- or machine-readable markings?
Tatom: The marking at this point are specifically for humans that will be using the product, but in the future with there are ways to allow for it to be read electronically.
What markets represent a sweet spot for this invention?
Tatom: I am already involved in the ancillary marijuana industry where this product would have one hell of a sweet spot. However, with all the ancillary products, there’s really no need to limit the use of a broad, highly functional idea to a single industry.
Given the regulations for inventors, this could be Tatom’s last invention. “I currently have three patents, which classifies me as a ‘micro-entity’,” he says. “If I file for a fourth patent, I will lose my status as a micro-entity, so for now this is my final patent.”
He says this has been his first experience related to packaging. “I have been surprised by the size of the packaging industry and I am absolutely ecstatic to be part of the packaging community. I simply found that the concept was not owned, and stuck a flag in it. In the end there will have only been so many concepts patented, and fortunately we are not at the end. Keep inventing.”
Tatom can be reached via email at [email protected]