US 20030136801 A1
A fluid product dispenser comprises a container (1) forming an opening (10), a dispensing device (2) fitted in the opening (10), an actuation device (3) to actuate the dispensing device. It also comprises a substance detectable by irradiation or in the presence of a suitable reagent, said substance being applied, deposited or incorporated on or in at least one constituent part of the dispenser.
1. Fluid product dispenser comprising the following constituent parts:
a container (1) forming an opening (10),
a dispensing device (2) fitted in the opening (10),
an actuation device (3) to actuate the dispensing device,
characterised in that it also comprises a substance detectable by irradiation or in the presence of a suitable reagent, said substance being applied, deposited or incorporated on or in at least one constituent part of the dispenser.
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 This application claims the benefit under 35 U.S.C. §119(e) of pending U.S. provisional patent application Serial No. 60/342,361, filed Dec. 27, 2001, and priority under 35 U.S.C. §119(a)-(d) of French patent application No. FR-01.14200, filed Oct. 31, 2001.
 The present invention relates to a fluid product dispenser comprising a container forming an opening, a dispensing device fitted in the opening and an actuation device to actuate the dispensing device. More specifically, the present invention relates to authentication capability and traceability of the fluid product dispenser. Indeed, it is important to be able to identify without any possible doubt the origin of a dispenser in order to be able to distinguish quickly and easily between an authentic model and an imitation or counterfeit.
 It has already been known for a long time how to use distinctive marks or signs affixed or incorporated in the dispenser so as to be able to identify the origin of the product visually. However, it is very easy for a counterfeiter to imitate this distinctive mark or sign and affix it on counterfeit dispensers.
 The aim of the present invention is to remedy this drawback mentioned above of the prior art by defining a new practically unfalsfiable identification means for a fluid product dispenser.
 To achieve this aim, the present invention proposes that the dispenser also comprises a substance detectable by irradiation or in the presence of a suitable reagent, said substance being applied, deposited or incorporated on or in at least one constituent part of the dispenser. The irradiation may be electromagnetical, thermal, etc. Advantageously, the detectable substance is invisible in the ambient atmosphere in visible light. In this way, the dispenser according to the invention does not visibly show any identifying sign or mark that a counterfeiter could notice directly and subsequently reproduce to produce counterfeit dispensers. Under normal conditions of use, i.e. in air at atmospheric pressure and in visible light, the dispenser cannot be identified which gives potential counterfeiters the impression that the dispenser can be copied easily, which is not at all the case due to the invisible substance that it comprises or incorporates but which is only detectable under specific conditions only known to the genuine dispenser manufacturer.
 According to an example of an embodiment, the detectable substance is an invisible ink capable of being detected when subjected to a given electromagnetic wave. An example of such an ink is known as “UV ink”, which is only detected when a UV wave emission is applied to the ink. Naturally, there are other substances of this type known in the prior art.
 According to another example, the detectable substance may be detected when subjected to a heat source.
 According to an advantageous embodiment, the dispenser comprises at least one metal constituent part treated by anodic oxidation or anodisation to dye it with a dye, said detectable substance being added to the dye. Indeed, the anodic oxidation or anodisation technique is a frequently used technique in the manufacture of fluid product dispensers to dye certain metal constituent parts. Advantageously, said anodised part is a metal attachment cap used to secure the dispensing device in the container opening. In an alternative embodiment or additionally, said anodised part is a metal pushing device, plastic attachment ring or container coating. More generally, the detectable substance may be added to the dye intended for any part, accessory or component of the fluid product dispenser.
 The invention will now be described in more detail with reference to the single FIGURE which gives an embodiment of the invention as a non-restrictive example. The single FIGURE is a vertical transverse section through a fluid product dispenser according to the invention.
 The fluid product dispenser represented in the single FIGURE is a very conventional dispenser comprising a container 1 equipped with a neck 11 forming an opening 10. Optionally, the body of the container may be equipped with a metal coating 13. The dispenser also comprises a dispensing device 2 which may be a pump or a valve comprising a body 21, an actuating rod 22 and a pushing device 3 fitted on the actuating rod 22. In the case of a pump, the body 21 may be equipped with a plunger tube 24 which extends in the container 1 to its base. The pushing device 3 may for example be formed from a plastic body 31 coated on the outside with a metal cover 32.
 The dispensing device 2 may be directly attached inside the neck 11, but preferentially, the dispensing device 21 is attached in the opening 10 of the neck 11 by means of an attachment device 4 which comprises reception means 41 intended to receive a radial ring 23 formed by the body 21 of the dispensing device 2 and which also comprises attachment means 42 on the neck 11 of the container. If required, a neck seal 5 may be inserted between the neck and the attachment device.
 In the single FIGURE, this attachment device comes in the form of a metal attachment cap which holds the dispensing device 2 in place by crimping and which is also attached to the neck 11 by crimping. As an alternative, the metal attachment cap may be replaced by a plastic attachment ring with a metal coating. The plastic attachment ring also comprises reception means 41 and attachment means 42 on the neck 11 of the container.
 This is a very conventional design for a fluid product dispenser in the field of perfumes, cosmetics or pharmaceuticals. To actuate the dispenser, it is simply necessary to press on the pushing device 3 so as to insert the actuating rod 22 in the body 21 of the dispensing device 2. In response to this pressure, fluid product is dispensed at the outlet 33, in this case produced in the pushing device 3.
 According to the invention, a substance detectable by irradiation or in the presence of a suitable reagent is applied, deposited or incorporated on or in at least one of the above-mentioned constituent parts of the dispenser. Preferentially, the detectable substance is applied onto a constituent part visible from the outside of the dispenser, i.e. not an internal part such as the body 21 or the plunger tube 24 if the container is not transparent. The detectable substance may for example by applied onto the reservoir, attachment cap or attachment ring, actuating rod 22 or the pushing device 3. The detectable substance may for example come in the form of an invisible ink capable of being detected when subjected to a given electromagnetic wave, for example ultraviolet. The detectable substance may also be detected in the presence of a suitable reagent, which may be a liquid, a gas or a solid. For example, it is possible to envisage that the detectable substance will react when placed in a confinement governed by an atmosphere filled with a suitable reagent gas. Another possible way to make the detectable substance react is to spray it or coat it with a suitable liquid reagent.
 According to an advantageous embodiment of the invention, the detectable substance may be added to a dye used to dye certain metal constituent parts of the dispenser treated by anodic oxidation or anodisation. This dyeing technique is well known and widely used in the manufacture of fluid product dispensers. This technique essentially comprises three steps: a first step consists of corroding the surface of the metal constituent part, frequently made of aluminium, chemically or electro-chemically, by immersing it in a bath. This induces the creation of pores, i.e. cavities, on the surface of the metal. A second step consists of immersing the corroded metal parts into a bath of dye which partially fills the pores. The present invention is then used with the addition of the detectable substance to the dye. The dye with its addition of detectable substance fills the pores such that the detectable substance penetrates inside the pores with the dye. The third so-called sealing step consists of immersing the dyed part into a bath which acts chemically or electro-chemically to partially seal the pores and thus trap the dye mixed with the detectable substance.
 In this way, it is possible to treat the metal attachment cap 4, the coating 32 of the pushing device 3, the coating 13 of the container 1 or the container 1 itself when produced from metal, the metal coating of the plastic attachment ring when such a ring is used to attach the dispensing device in the neck 11. More generally, the addition of a detectable substance in the anodisation technique may be used for any part, accessory, component or device incorporated, linked, attached or affixed on the dispenser.
 The detectable substance may also be detected in presence of heat.
 By means of the invention, the dispenser is identified in an unfalsiable manner given that it comprises no visible signs to recognise the identifier.