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Publication numberUS20040045863 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/401,079
Publication dateMar 11, 2004
Filing dateMar 27, 2003
Priority dateSep 6, 2002
Also published asEP1594760A1, EP1594760A4, WO2004022446A1
Publication number10401079, 401079, US 2004/0045863 A1, US 2004/045863 A1, US 20040045863 A1, US 20040045863A1, US 2004045863 A1, US 2004045863A1, US-A1-20040045863, US-A1-2004045863, US2004/0045863A1, US2004/045863A1, US20040045863 A1, US20040045863A1, US2004045863 A1, US2004045863A1
InventorsDean Rhoades
Original AssigneeRhoades Dean L.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Container with extractable and retractable instructions
US 20040045863 A1
Abstract
An apparatus and method for providing instructions to a person in regard to the contents of a container. In an embodiment, the apparatus includes a ribbon retractably coiled in a container or a container cap. The ribbon, which has instructions on how to use the contents of the container, may be extracted from the cap by a person.
Images(14)
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Claims(18)
What is claimed is:
1. An apparatus comprising:
a housing defining an internal space to store at least one item and a first aperture;
a first structure removably coupled to the housing to occlude the first aperture;
an expandable structure having a first surface with symbols printed thereon such that at least a portion of the symbols are visible when the expandable structure is in an expanded state.
2. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising:
a retraction mechanism for biasing the expandable structure to a retracted state.
3. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the expandable structure is housed within the housing when in a retracted state.
4. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the expandable structure is housed in the first structure when in a retracted state.
5. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the retraction mechanism includes a spring.
6. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising:
a blocking structure to prevent the expandable member from separating from one of the housing or the first structure.
7. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the retraction mechanism includes an elastic material.
8. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising:
a second structure coupled to the expandable structure to facilitate the movement of the expandable structure between the expanded state and a retracted state.
9. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the housing includes an engagement mechanism to secure the first structure to the housing.
10. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein in the expandable structure includes at least one of paper, fabric, and plastic.
11. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the housing defines an aperture through which the expandable member is slidably disposed.
12. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the first structure defines an aperture through which the expandable member is slidably disposed.
13. A method comprising:
applying force to an expandable structure to move the structure between an expanded state and a retracted state, the expanded structure disposed through an aperture in one of a container or a cap.
14. The method of claim 13, wherein the expandable structure includes a first surface with symbols printed thereon.
15. The method of claim 13, further comprising:
reducing the force exerted on the expandable structure to allow the expandable structure to return to a retracted state due to a biasing force applied to the expandable structure by a retraction mechanism.
16. An apparatus comprising:
means for storing objects;
means for enclosing the means for storing objects; and
means for providing an expandable structure including a first surface with symbols printed thereon.
17. The apparatus according to claim 16, further comprising:
means for biasing the expandable structure to a retracted position.
18. The apparatus according to claim 16, further comprising:
means for preventing the detachment of expandable structure from the means for storing objects.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application is a Continuation-In-Part of co-pending U.S. application Ser. No. 10/236,088, filed on Sep. 6, 2002.

BACKGROUND

[0002] (1) Field of the Invention

[0003] Containers and closures or caps for containers, including caps for containers for pharmaceutical or nutritional products such as tablets, capsules, and medicinal syrups.

[0004] (2) Background

[0005] Bottles have long been used as containers for pharmaceutical products such as tablets, capsules, and medicinal syrups. The containers and caps (i.e., closures or tops) of such containers come in various forms, and many advances in container and cap technology have been developed over the last century. In particular, the pharmaceutical and packaging industries have developed many innovative containers and caps that are engineered to be tamper-proof. Such containers and caps are designed so that they can not be easily opened by mischievous children, to whom certain types of medicines may be fatal. Such containers and caps use various configurations of engaging members to form a capped container that is difficult for children to open.

[0006] Another aspect of safety that is related to containers of pharmaceutical products concerns instructions for using pills held in a container. Users of pills, tablets and medicinal syrups require detailed and clear instructions regarding dosage, indications, drug interactions, and other important aspects of usage. Without instructions, or with insufficient instructions, users may inadvertently overdose on pills, or may ingest pills that dangerously interact with other medications that the user is taking. For practical and economic reasons, pill bottles must be limited to certain sizes. Most pill bottles range in size from 2.5 centimeters (one inch) to ten centimeters (four inches) in height, and have a radial diameter of, in general, at most 7.5 centimeters (three inches). As such, the area on the outer surface of the bottle to provide printed instructions is limited. Additionally, for consistency reasons, it is desirable to provide the same quantity of directions regardless of whether a pill bottle is small (e.g., for holding 12 pills) or large (e.g., for holding 200 pills). Accordingly, because the area of a small pill bottle is quite limited, it is difficult for pharmaceutical manufacturers to provide all of the necessary instructions on a label attached to the outer surface of the bottle.

[0007] Additionally, instructions that are placed on labels on outside surfaces of containers often become smudged and illegible, due to moisture from the environment or from the hands of users. This is another aspect in which traditional apparatuses and methods of providing instructions for medicines have proven inadequate.

[0008] The aforementioned problem of insufficient space on containers for instructions is somewhat alleviated by the use of printed inserts in outer packaging (e.g., in a box that holds a pill bottle). Inserts can be folded up so that they can contain a great deal of product information. However, the use of inserts, by their very nature as loose pieces of paper, pose serious risks to medicine users. Specifically, the insert may get lost, and the user will be left with no instructions at all. Or, perhaps worse, the instructions of two different medicines may get mixed up, and the user may consume an improper dosage, which could lead to a fatal result.

SUMMARY

[0009] An apparatus and a method for providing instructions to a person regarding the use of the contents of a container are disclosed. In an embodiment, the apparatus includes a ribbon housed inside a container. In another embodiment, a ribbon is housed in the container cap, top or closure. A person using the contents of the container may pull the ribbon from the container or cap to read information pertaining to the contents of the container. For example, in the case of a medicine container, the ribbon could contain information regarding indications or dosage related to the medication. After reading the instructions, the ribbon can be pushed back into the container or cap.

[0010] One aspect of the apparatus is that the disclosed configuration reduces the possibility of the instructions getting separated from the container (or contents of the container). If the ribbon is housed in the container, it will remain with the contents held in the container. Additionally, in the case of embodiments where the ribbon is housed in the cap, it can be assumed that after a person uses a portion of the contents of the container, he or she will place the cap on the container to close the container. As such, the instructions will stay with the container, and can be conveniently read again by the user or by other subsequent users. Additionally, because the instructions are housed inside the container or cap, it is less likely that they will become smudged and rendered illegible. In some embodiments, the ribbon may be automatically retracted into the cap by a spring, elastic material or by other means.

[0011] The apparatus provides a method whereby a great deal of information regarding the contents of the container may be stored with the container. The ribbon may be very long in some embodiments, ranging up to several feet in length, or longer. Additionally, users may also record information on the ribbon by marking the ribbon after it has been pulled from the cap. For example, users could mark the ribbon to keep track of when they ingested a pill, or when they began taking the pills, or other useful information.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0012] Embodiments of the invention are illustrated by way of example and not by way of limitation in the figures of the accompanying drawings in which like references indicate similar elements. It should be noted that references to “an” or “one” embodiment in this disclosure are not necessarily to the same embodiment, and such references mean at least one.

[0013]FIG. 1 is an illustration of a perspective view of an embodiment of a container and cap with a retracted instruction ribbon housed in the container.

[0014]FIG. 2 is an illustration of a cut-away top view of a ribbon housed inside an annular chamber formed by outer and inner cylindrical walls of a container.

[0015]FIG. 3 is an illustration of a view of an embodiment of a container and cap with an instruction ribbon extracted from the container.

[0016]FIG. 4 is an illustration of a close-up view of an instruction ribbon.

[0017]FIG. 5 is an exploded view of an embodiment of a ribbon and container.

[0018]FIG. 6 is an illustration of a perspective view of an embodiment of a container and cap with a retracted instruction ribbon housed in the cap.

[0019]FIG. 7 is an illustration of a view of an embodiment of a container and cap with an instruction ribbon extracted from the cap.

[0020]FIG. 8 is an illustration of a top perspective view of an embodiment of a means for retracting an instruction ribbon into a cap.

[0021]FIG. 9 is an illustration of a top perspective view of an embodiment of a container with a false bottom and extendable instruction ribbon.

[0022]FIG. 10 is an illustration of a top perspective of an embodiment of a container and cap with a telescoping instruction slide.

[0023]FIG. 11 is an illustration of a top perspective of an embodiment of a container with a side compartment for storing an instruction ribbon.

[0024]FIG. 12 is an illustration of a top perspective of an embodiment of a container and cap with a retractable ribbon instruction set housed within.

[0025]FIG. 13a is an illustration of a container with a pocket and detached expandable instructions.

[0026]FIG. 13b is an illustration of a pocket and attached expanded instructions.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0027] In the following description, for purposes of explanation and not limitation, specific details are set forth in order to provide an understanding of the disclosed subject matter. However, it will be apparent to one skilled in the art that the disclosed subject matter may be practiced in other embodiments that depart from these specific details. In some instances, detailed descriptions of well-known methods and devices are omitted so as not to obscure the description of the disclosed subject matter with unnecessary detail.

[0028] An apparatus and method for providing instructions to a person regarding the use of the contents of a container is disclosed. FIG. 1 is an illustration of an exploded perspective view of an embodiment of container 10 and cap 20, with retracted instruction ribbon 30 housed in container 10. Throughout this specification, when reference is made to container 10, or to specific applications concerning medicine, those skilled in the art will not construe such references as limiting the scope of the disclosed matter to containers for pharmaceutical products. Specifically, those skilled in the art will recognize that the disclosed matter covers embodiments of containers that are not used for pills or medicines, but which are used for housing other items or materials, such as nutritional supplements, food, beauty products, chemicals, or other items.

[0029] In the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 1-2, container 10 comprises outer cylindrical wall 12. In embodiments, as illustrated in FIG. 2, container 10 also includes inner cylindrical wall 16 that is encompassed by outer cylindrical wall 12. In such embodiments, inner cylindrical wall 16 forms chamber 13, and annular chamber 17 is formed between cylindrical wall 12 and inner cylindrical wall 16. Chamber 13 can hold a number of pills or other contents. In an embodiment, where container 10 is for containing pills and is large, chamber 13 can hold 500 pills or more. In other embodiments, where container 10 is small, chamber 13 may hold 12 pills, or less. It is appreciated that container 10 can be sized to accommodate the desired batch size of the contents. Representatively, with food or chemicals, chamber 13 may have a volume of 0.96 liters (32 ounces), 3.79 liters (1 gallon) or more.

[0030] Container 10 also includes threading 14 for attaching cap 20 onto container 10. Cap 20 comprises threading (not shown) that cooperates with threading 14 so that cap 20 may be screwed securely onto container 10 to close container 10. It is appreciated that other means may be used to secure cap 20 to container 10. For example, container 10 may include engageable members, which cooperate with engageable members of cap 20 so that cap 20 may be snapped on to container 10. Various other configurations for securing cap 20 to container 10 will be apparent to those skilled in the art.

[0031] In an embodiment, ribbon 30 is housed in annular chamber 17. Ribbon 30 may be extracted from annular chamber 17 through aperture 19 in outer cylindrical wall 12 of container 10. In order to access printed material on ribbon 30, a user may extract ribbon 30 from container 10 by pulling on tab 31, which is attached to the free end of ribbon 30. After the instructions have been read by the user, the user may push ribbon 30 back into container 10.

[0032] Tab 31 has a dimension larger than aperture 19, and serves as a means for abutting container 10 so as to prevent the free end of ribbon 30 from retracting entirely through aperture 19. Tab 31 also provides a means for allowing a user to easily hold ribbon 30. It is appreciated that various structures are adequate for tab 31, and are also covered by the subject matter disclosed herein.

[0033]FIG. 3 is an illustration of an embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1 with ribbon 30 in an extracted position. After the instructions on ribbon 30 have been read, ribbon 30 can be pushed back into container 10. Information, such as instructions regarding how to use the contents of container 10 may be printed on ribbon 30. For example, ribbon 30 may contain instructions such as the indications, dosage and other information about a medicinal pill found in container 10. After the instructions on ribbon 30 have been read, ribbon 30 can be pushed back into container 10.

[0034]FIG. 4 is an illustration of a close-up view of ribbon 30, showing an example of the type of information that may be printed on ribbon 30. Examples of information include, but are not limited to, instructions for use of the contents of container 10, information about the contents of container 10, and coupons redeemable toward the purchase of additional containers or other items. In the case of coupons or other information that a consumer or user of container 10 may remove, the coupons or other information may be attached to ribbon 30 by an adhesive so that a consumer or user of container 10 may remove the coupon or other information while the length of ribbon 30 remains unchanged.

[0035] In an embodiment, tab 31 serves as a means for abutting cap 20 so as to prevent the free end of ribbon 30 from retracting entirely into ribbon housing 25. More specifically, in an embodiment, a dimension of tab 31 is larger than a dimension of aperture 28, and, therefore, tab 31, as well as a portion of ribbon 30 that is connected to tab 31, may not be retracted into ribbon housing 25. Those skilled in the art will recognize that other means may be used to abut cap 20 to prevent ribbon 30 from being completely retracted into ribbon housing 25. For example, a ring or an L-shaped piece having a dimension larger than a dimension of aperture 28 may be coupled to ribbon 30 to prevent ribbon 30 from fully retracting into ribbon housing 25.

[0036]FIG. 5 is an exploded view of an embodiment of a ribbon and container. Ribbon 30 includes flared barbs 34 and 35 and tapered end 37. The distance between the outermost edges of flared barb 34 and flared barb 35 defines a distance L1. Distance L1 is greater than a distance L2, which is defined by the vertical length of aperture 19. Accordingly, after tapered end 37 is inserted into aperture 19, flared barbs 33 and 35 will, on full extraction of ribbon 30, abut against an inner surface of outer cylindrical wall 12, therefore preventing ribbon 30 from being extracted entirely out of aperture 19. It is appreciated that various structures can achieve the purpose of flared barbs 34 and 35, and such structures also fall under the subject matter of this disclosure. In an embodiment, a dimension of annular chamber 17 will be of slightly larger than a dimension of ribbon 30, thus causing flared bars 34 and 35 to be bent inside of annular chamber 17, so that a frictional force results between ribbon 30 and an inner surface of annular chamber 17. This frictional force allows for a more controlled extraction of ribbon 30.

[0037] In an embodiment, ribbon 30 may be made out of a laminate material, so as to be flexible to bend and adhere to the circular shape of container 10 in the retracted position. It is appreciated that other materials, such as certain polymers (plastics), cloth or metals, will also be adequate for ribbon 30. In an embodiment, useful articles, such as a mirror or other reflective material, may be affixed to, or a part of, ribbon 30. In an embodiment, in which container 10 holds lipstick or other cosmetics, one side of ribbon 30 may contain product information, coupons or instructions, and the reverse side of ribbon 30 includes a mirror or other reflective material.

[0038]FIG. 6 is an illustration of a view of an embodiment of a container and cap with an instruction ribbon extracted from the cap. In an embodiment, container 10 comprises cylindrical wall 12, which defines chamber 13. Chamber 13 can hold a number of pills. In an embodiment, where container 10 is large, chamber 13 can hold 500 pills or more. In other embodiments, where container 10 is small, chamber 13 only holds 12 pills, or less. It is appreciated that container 10 can be sized to accommodate the desired batch size of the contents. In one embodiment, chamber 13 may have a volume of 0.96 liters (32 ounces), 3.79 liters (1 gallon) or any other standard or irregular size.

[0039] Container 10 also includes threading 14 for attaching cap 20 onto container 10. Cap 20 comprises threading (not shown) that cooperates with threading 14 so that cap 20 may be screwed securely onto container 10 to close container 10. It is appreciated that other means may be used to secure cap 20 to container 10. For example, container 10 may include engageable members, which cooperate with engageable members of cap 20 so that cap 20 may be snapped on to container 10. Various other configurations for securing cap 20 to container 10 will be apparent to those skilled in the art.

[0040] Cap 20 includes lower wall 22 and upper wall 24, which form, in this embodiment, cylindrical chambers. The inner surface of lower wall 22 includes threading (not shown) for attaching cap 20 to container 10. Cap 20 also includes ribbon housing 25, which forms a chamber to hold ribbon 30. Ribbon housing 25 is formed by upper wall 24, top surface 26 and bottom wall 27, which lies, generally, between lower wall 22 and upper wall 24. Ribbon housing 25 has an interior volume sized, in one embodiment, to house a length of ribbon (e.g., paper, plastic, or metal ribbon) with instructions or other information thereon regarding the contents of container. Representatively, the interior volume may have a height on the order of two centimeters (defined by the length of top surface 26) and diameter (in the case of a cylindrical cap) on the order of four to five centimeters for a pill container. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 6, ribbon 30 is fully retracted and is coiled inside ribbon housing 24. Those skilled in the art will recognize that lower section 22 and ribbon housing 25 can be manufactured as separate pieces to be coupled, or, may be manufactured as a monolithic item having, generally, the features indicated herein. For example, in another embodiment, cap 20 includes only one outer wall 24, but does not include separate lower wall 22 and upper wall 24. In such an embodiment, cap 20 further comprises an inner wall encompassed by the outer wall. As such, similar to the embodiment described in FIGS. 1-3, the outer wall and the inner wall define an annular chamber for housing ribbon 30. In such an embodiment, an inner surface of the inner wall may contain threading for attaching cap 20 to container 10.

[0041] As stated above, ribbon 30 is disposed in ribbon housing 25. A portion of ribbon 30 extends through aperture 28 in ribbon housing 25. Cap 20, in embodiments, includes means for retracting ribbon 30 into ribbon housing 25. In an embodiment, spring means are used to retract ribbon 30 into ribbon housing 25, but those skilled in the will recognize that other means for retracting ribbon 30 into ribbon housing 25 may also be adequate, therefore, also fall under the subject matter disclosed herein. In other embodiments, ribbon 30 is pushed back into ribbon housing 25.

[0042] A user may extract a portion of ribbon 30 from cap 20 by pulling on ring 32 to withdraw ribbon 30 from ribbon housing 25. FIG. 7 is an illustration of a view of an embodiment of container 10 and cap 20 with extracted ribbon 30. Information, such as instructions regarding how to use the contents of container 10 may be printed on ribbon 30. For example, ribbon 30 may contain instructions such as the indications, dosage and other information about a medicinal pill found in container 10. In an embodiment, ring 30 serves as a means for abutting cap 20 so as to prevent the free end of ribbon 30 from retracting entirely into ribbon housing 25. More specifically, in an embodiment, a dimension of ring 32 is larger than a dimension of aperture 28, and, therefore, ring 32, as well as a portion of ribbon 30 that is connected to ring 32, may not be retracted into ribbon housing 25. Those skilled in the art will recognize that other means may be used to abut cap 20 to prevent ribbon 30 from being completely retracted into ribbon housing 25. For example, an L-shaped piece having a dimension larger than a dimension of aperture 28 may be coupled to ribbon 30 to prevent ribbon 30 from fully retracting into ribbon housing 25.

[0043]FIG. 8 is an illustration of a top perspective view of an embodiment of a means for retracting ribbon 30 into cap 20, that includes spring 36. As discussed above, those skilled in the art will recognize that various other means for retracting ribbon 30 into cap 20 may be used. Specifically, as described above, ribbon 30 is disposed within ribbon housing 25. A portion or ribbon 30 extends through aperture 28 in ribbon housing 25. By pulling on ring 32, a larger portion of ribbon 30 may be extracted from ribbon housing 25.

[0044] In the retracted position, ribbon 30 is coiled around revoluble shell 37 inside of ribbon housing 25. A distal end of spring 36 is coupled to revoluble shell 37, and a proximal end of spring 36 is coupled to divided stud 38. As ribbon 30 is extracted from ribbon housing 25, revoluble shell 37 will revolve in a first direction to increase tension on spring 36. Spring 36 is biased so that when ribbon 30 is released, revoluble shell 37 will revolve in an opposite direction as during extraction, and will automatically retract ribbon 30 into ribbon housing 25. Lock 40 may be deployed to prevent ribbon 30 from retracting into ribbon housing 25 after a portion of ribbon 30 has been extracted from ribbon housing 25. Additionally, lock 40 may also be used to apply a frictional force to ribbon 30, so as to allow the user to control extraction and retraction of ribbon 30, and, therefore, to carefully adjust the length of ribbon 30 that is extracted at any given moment. As stated above, those skilled in the art will recognize that various methods and apparatuses may be used to extract and retract ribbon 30, and that various methods and apparatuses may be used to lock the retraction means, or to adjust the length of ribbon that is extracted. In this regard, it is appreciated that in embodiments where ribbon 30 is housed inside of an annular chamber, as discussed above, means for retracting ribbon 30 may be located inside the annular chamber, or ribbon 30 may simply be pushed back inside of the annular chamber.

[0045]FIG. 9 is an illustration of a top perspective view of an embodiment including a container 900 having a compartment 905. In one embodiment, compartment 905 defines a space adjacent the bottom surface of container 900. This compartment 905 is reserved for storing a set of instructions related to the contents of container 900. In one embodiment, compartment 905 is formed as an integral part of container 900. In another embodiment, compartment 905 is attached to container 900. Compartment 905 may be formed of any material appropriate for forming container 900, including plastics, metals, natural materials and similar materials used in the construction of containers.

[0046] In one embodiment, compartment 905 houses instruction strip 909. Instruction strip 909 fits entirely into compartment 905 for storage. Symbols and information may be inked, engraved or similarly printed on instruction strip 909. Instruction strip 909 is slidably disposed through aperture 913 in the wall of compartment 905. In another embodiment, instruction strip 909 forms a portion or whole of a wall of compartment 909. Instruction strip 909 is slidably disposed through aperture 913 to allow it to be extracted or retracted in relation to compartment 905. Compartment 905 may include a track or other similar structure for guiding the instruction strip 909 when being extracted or retracted by a user. A user grips instruction strip 909 by use of a tab or protruding portion 911 of instruction strip 909. Instruction strip 909 may be any size up to the approximate size of compartment 905. The size of the aperture 913 is determined according to the size of the instruction strip 911. In one embodiment, the movement of instruction strip 909 is limited by protrusion 907, tab 911 or similar structures to prevent the instruction strip 909 from being disengaged from container 900 or compartment 905. Compartment 905 and instruction strip 909 can be placed along any surface of container 900. Compartment 905 and instruction strip 909 can also be placed adjacent or internal to a cap, lid or enclosure 915 of container 900. In another embodiment, instruction strip 909 may be a ribbon, sheet or similar or similar item with printed materials on its surface capable of being stored in compartment 905. Notably, instructions may be printed on both surfaces of strip 909 doubling the area available for printing available (e.g, in comparison to a label adhered to a same location on the bottle. Instructions may be printed, etched or otherwise placed on the medium of a strip 909. Instructions may be in the form of symbols, alpha numeric characters, pictograms, icons, Braille, or similar figures.

[0047]FIG. 10 is an illustration of top perspective view of a container 1000 with cap 1003. In one embodiment, container cap 1003 includes an internal slot or compartment for storing instruction slide 1005. In one embodiment, instruction slide 1005 includes multiple segments that can overlap when stored. In one embodiment, a protruding structure 1007 is attached to the outer segment of instruction slide 1005. A user pulls on protruding structure 1007 to extend the instruction slide 1005. Instruction slide 1005 maybe returned to a storage condition by pressing against protruding structure 1007. In one embodiment, instruction slide may rest in a slot, track or similar structure to guide the extraction or retraction of the instruction slide 1005. Container 1000 may be of any shape, for example, cubic, cylindrical, irregular or other container shape types. A telescoping instruction slide 1005 may be housed in the cap or lid 1003 of a container or in the base of the container 1000. Instruction slide may be replaced by a ribbon, non-telescoping slide or similar structure with a surface for printing instructions. In one embodiment, instruction slide 1005 may be housed perpendicular to a surface of container 1000 or lid 1003. In another embodiment, the instruction slide 1005 may be housed at an angle to a surface of container 1000.

[0048]FIG. 11 is an illustration of top perspective view of a container 1100 including a cut away to show a compartment 1109. Container 1100 includes a cap or lid 1105. In one embodiment, container 1100 includes a compartment 1109 adjacent an outer surface of the container 1100 or cap 1105. The compartment defines a space for storing instruction ribbon 1107. In one embodiment, instruction ribbon 1107 may be any flexible material, such as a fibrous material, elastomeric material, plastic or similar material. In one embodiment, the instruction ribbon 1107 is packed into compartment 1109. The instruction ribbon 1107 may be folded or creased in order to facilitate storing the ribbon 1107 in the compartment 1109. In one embodiment, ribbon 1107 is folded in an accordion style. A user grips ring 113 or similar structure that assists a user to grip an end of instruction ribbon 1107. The gripping structure 1113 is attached to an end plate 1111 that forms part of the outer surface of container 1100 when instruction ribbon 1107 is stored within compartment 1109. End plate 1111 is attached to one end of instruction ribbon 1107 and seals instruction ribbon 1107 in compartment 1109 by a form fit with the aperture of the compartment 1109, interlocking parts or similar engagement mechanism. In one embodiment, instruction ribbon 1107 is attached to a wall of compartment 1109 in order to prevent the detachment of the instruction ribbon 1107 from container 1100 or lid 1105. In one embodiment, instruction ribbon 1107 is attached to retraction mechanism such as a biased rotating pin to roll the ribbon into the compartment 1109 instead of or in combination with folding or creasing the instruction ribbon 1107. In one embodiment, other retraction mechanisms may be used to bias the instruction ribbon 1107 into a storage position within compartment 1109, including spring mechanisms, elastic materials in the ribbon 1107 and similar mechanisms.

[0049]FIG. 12 is a top perspective illustration of a container 1200 including a cap or removable portion 1205. In one embodiment, instruction ribbon 1207 is stored in a compartment adjacent a surface of the cap 1205 or container 1200. The instruction ribbon 1207 may be folded, creased or rolled when stored in the compartment to minimize the space needed for the compartment. The instruction ribbon is attached to the internal compartment, cap 1205 or container 1200. In one embodiment, the internal compartment includes an aperture on the surface of cap 1205 or container 1200. A protruding or gripping structure blocks the aperture when the instruction ribbon 1207 is in a retracted position. In one embodiment, instruction ribbon 1207 is threaded with elastic material 1211. A user pulls structure 1209 expanding the elastic material 1211 and instruction ribbon 1207. When a user releases or reduces the force used on structure 1209 the elastic material 1211 biases the structure 1209 to a position that occludes the aperture of the storage compartment. The instruction ribbon 1207 is compressed back into the storage compartment as a result of the retraction of the elastic material 1211 and structure 1209.

[0050]FIG. 13a illustrates a container 1300 for storing goods which includes a lid 1302 or similar structure. In one embodiment, container 1300 or lid 1302 has a pouch or pocket 1304 at least partially attached to an outer or inner surface. Pocket 1304 may be constructed of a polymer (plastics), natural product (e.g., paper, fibrous material) or similar suitable materials. In one embodiment, pocket 1304 is integrally formed with container 1300. In another embodiment, pocket 1304 is attached to the surface of container 1300 using an adhesive material, latching mechanism or similar attachment mechanism.

[0051] In one embodiment, an instruction strip 1306 is attached to pocket 1304. Instruction strip 1306 may include folds or creases to allow it to be folded in sections and stored in pocket 1304. When stored in pocket 1304, tab 1310 is exposed and a pulling force may be exerted on the tab 1310 to extract and expand instruction ribbon 1306. Sections A, B, and C of the instruction strip may overlap when stored. Instructions or information related to the products or container may be printed on either side of instruction strip 1306.

[0052]FIG. 13b illustrates a pocket 1304 attached to instruction strip 1306. In one embodiment, 1306 may be removeably attached to the pocket 1304. Instruction strip 1306 may include flanges 1308 to fit in slits in pocket 1304. Instruction strip 1306 may slide along the length of pocket 1304 into a retracted state. Flanges 1308 prevent instruction strip 1306 from easily separating from pocket 1304. This prevents the loss of instruction strip 1306 and improves the safety of use in connection to medicines or similar goods by insuring the presence of proper instructions for use. In another embodiment, instruction strip 1306 is integrally formed with the pocket 1304. In one embodiment, instruction strip 1306 is adhered, latched or otherwise attached to pocket 1304.

[0053] In the foregoing specification, the invention has been described with reference to specific embodiments thereof. It will, however, be evident that various modifications and changes can be made thereto without departing from the broader spirit and scope of the invention as set forth in the appended claims. The specification and drawings are, accordingly, to be regarded in an illustrative rather than a restrictive sense. One of ordinary skill in the art would understand that the exemplary embodiments discussed above may be modified for use with any shape of container, for any type of stored material or product. Instruction materials, storage compartments, gripping structures, retraction mechanisms may be positioned in any position, including internal to a container or removable portion of a container, external to container or main compartment of the container. Each of the retraction mechanisms and instruction materials may be used in combination with any shape of container or removable portion of a container. Multiple instruction ribbons and retraction means may be used in a single container. Items other than instruction ribbons may also be attached to the containers and lids by the exemplary retraction mechanisms, including mirrors, tools, and similar accessories to the items to be stored in the container. Lids, caps and similar structures for enclosing a container may be attached to a container by complementary threading, safety lock mechanism, clips, form fits, and similar securing structures.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7628427 *Jan 25, 2005Dec 8, 2009Target Brands, Inc.Pharmacy label system
US8056724 *Aug 14, 2008Nov 15, 2011Estep Brian JPharmacy bottles
US20120074681 *Nov 9, 2011Mar 29, 2012Estep Brian JPharmacy Bottles
Classifications
U.S. Classification206/534, 206/540
International ClassificationB65D25/20, B65D25/02
Cooperative ClassificationB65D25/02, B65D51/245, B65D25/205, B65D2203/02
European ClassificationB65D51/24F, B65D25/20B, B65D25/02