From: Patent Tactics, George Brock-Nannestad
on a matter related to "media mail", where the maximum care was taken in
I sent the following to the address given in regard of the activity of the
Agency that carried out rules revised by the relevant Department. Needless to
say, I received no reply, but I wanted my complaint on file. Now I am
spreading the message.
------- Forwarded message follows -------
From: George Brock-Nannestad <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: reinforcing material
Copies to: [log in to unmask]
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Date sent: Thu, 26 Jun 2003 01:06:07 +0200
Re: inspection of baggage destined for Denmark on CO66 out of Cleveland, OH
on Sunday 22 June 2003.
I respond to the leaflet I found in my baggage upon unpacking and to the
quality of the goods inside subsequent to inspection and travel. First of all
I would like to express that I am aware of the massive amount of work you
have in order to inspect baggage, some of which may well have been checked in
as late as two hours before departure. You seem to be equipped to be able to
cause minimum disturbance while ensuring the safety of all passengers. In the
present case my baggage was checked in at the counter 3 hours prior to
Some of my baggage was in the form of 3 corrugated board two part boxes (used
apple crates), the contents suitably protected against in partcular bumping
and falling, but not against rain or pools of water, except by tape sealing.
The corrugated boxes were sealed by means of duct tape, in order that the lid
part would not separate from the container part. As a service to the airline
ground personell I provided carrying handles in the form of cord (actually
braided polypropylene clothesline) folded back upon itself several times to
create thickness and secured in a harness fashion so that it would not twist
on the boxes.
Inside the boxes was provided an extra layer of corrugated board in order to
make them withstand some abuse and to support polystyrene foam in contact
with the most fragile part of the contents. These boxes contained fragile
78rpm records (shellac) standing on edge on styrofoam in the center,
surrounded by styrofoam, books, and other printed articles. Shellac records
may be fragile when handled individually, but when stacked without their
sleeves to a thickness of 2" interleaved with one sheet of newsprint and held
together by wide tape, such a stack is quite sturdy. Two stacks were placed
face to face. A direct blow may still shatter the records, and for this
reason the records are surrounded by styrofoam and that is again supported so
that forces from the outside of the box are evenly distributed.
Upon arrival all of the boxes had had their harness and handle removed, which
may or may not have been detrimental to subsequent handling by airline ground
I will report my observations regarding one box in particular:
- when it was packed, styrofoam was put on top of the stack of records, and
Long Play vinyl records in covers were put on top of that, books were
distributed all over the top, and a strong corrugated board cut to size was
placed over the books, lightly secured in place with adhesive tape, and the
lid part was placed over the container part of the apple crate. The lid part
itself had previously been given some increased stiffness and some protection
against rain by sealing all joints with duct tape.
- upon arrival, the Long Play vinyl records were in direct contact with the
shellac records with the styrofoam on top, and the books were uppermost,
while the stiffening strong corrugated board was entirely missing. The box
had been opened (and resealed here) by cutting through the duct tape joints
on the lid part. The strong corrugated board would have been the first part
of the contents the inspector would meet and the last to replace. Now, the
corrugated board was put there for a purpose, as described above, and forms
an integral part of the strengthening of the box.
Hence the box was weakened during the course of the inspection in a situation
where there was an increased risk that it might be dropped due to the missing
The payment of airline ticket and excess baggage ticket ensures that the
airline undertakes responsibility for the baggage and will pay compensation
based on the weight of the baggage, according to international standard
procedures, if the baggage is damaged in transit. However, when boxes are
used, I have to sign a release form, which effectively means that I will get
no compensation if the contents are damaged. For this reason I pack very
carefully, as detailled above, and the leaving out of packing material at the
end of inspection puts me in a very difficult situation. I consider myself
fortunate that the contents arrived safely this time, but I feel frustrated
that I did not have any influence on the actual usefulness of the load
supporting arrangements I had provided for.
I would hence ask for an explanation as to why packing and reinforcing
material was removed from my box.
I feel reasonably confident that each individual inspection is reported
summarily and that you would potentially be able to trace my particular box
in your system if you needed to. If you require precise information in order
to respond to my query, I still have the baggage number assigned by
Continental Airlines and will provide it for you.
Radiative scanning of the baggage containing perhaps 4" of shellac records
will show a solid and heavy cylinder and may appear suspicious, and I am
pleased that the contents was verified as inoccuous - this is the protection
we need. However, the inspection should not put the contents as such at risk
by discarding strengthening material - this is not a fair compromise.
I have read the information you provide on your website before writing this
letter, but I do not see any explicit reference to why it should be justified
to interfere with my legitimate business in providing reinforcing material
for my baggage. With the detail I have provided above I expect a considered,
individualized reply, not merely a reference to Frequently Asked Questions.
European Patent Attorney
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