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Publication numberUS20040060892 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/262,228
Publication dateApr 1, 2004
Filing dateSep 30, 2002
Priority dateSep 30, 2002
Also published asWO2004031043A1
Publication number10262228, 262228, US 2004/0060892 A1, US 2004/060892 A1, US 20040060892 A1, US 20040060892A1, US 2004060892 A1, US 2004060892A1, US-A1-20040060892, US-A1-2004060892, US2004/0060892A1, US2004/060892A1, US20040060892 A1, US20040060892A1, US2004060892 A1, US2004060892A1
InventorsJeffrey Heston, Lawrence Pirvul, Mathew Wachter
Original AssigneeHeston Jeffrey C, Pirvul Lawrence A, Mathew Wachter
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Closure having taper-evidencing label
US 20040060892 A1
Abstract
A closure for a container having a neck and a neck opening including a cap and a tamper-evidencing label. The cap includes a top for closing the neck opening of the container and a closure retainer for securing the top to the neck of the container. The top includes an aperture for access to the container opening. The tamper-evidencing label is affixed to the top. The label includes a first removable portion covering the aperture, a second remainder portion, a tab extending from the first removable portion, a line of weakness dividing the first removable portion and second remainder portion such that the first removable portion can be separated from the remainder portion along the line of weakness. A method of using the closure having a tamper-evidencing label is also disclosed.
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Claims(20)
What is claimed is:
1. A container comprising:
an interior and a top having a dispensing aperture for access to said interior of said container; and
a tamper-evidencing label affixed to said top, said label including a first removable portion covering said aperture, a second remainder portion, a tab extending from said first removable portion, a line of weakness dividing said first removable portion and second remainder portion such that said first removable portion can be separated from said remainder portion along said line of weakness.
2. The container of claim 1 wherein said label is a plastic membrane.
3. The container of claim 2 wherein said remainder portion is attached to said top of said container by heat sealing.
4. The container of claim 2 wherein said removable portion and said remainder portion are attached to said top by a heat seal band extending adjacent a perimeter of said label.
5. The container of claim 4 wherein said heat seal band is segmented forming a gap, said gap being aligned with said line of weakness.
6. The container of claim 4 wherein said heat seal band includes a first heat seal pattern attaching said first removable portion to said top and a second heat seal pattern attaching said second remainder portion to said top, said second heat seal pattern being thicker than said first heat seal pattern.
7. The container of claim 6 wherein said first heat seal pattern is separated from said second heat seal pattern by a gap, said gap being aligned with said line of weakness.
8 A closure for a container having a neck and a neck opening comprising:
a cap including a top for closing the neck opening of the container and a closure retainer for securing said top to the neck of the container, said top including a dispensing aperture for access to the container opening; and
a tamper-evidencing label affixed to said top, said label including a first removable portion covering said aperture, a second remainder portion, a tab extending from said first removable portion, a line of weakness dividing said first removable portion and second remainder portion such that said first removable portion can be separated from said remainder portion along said line of weakness.
9. The closure of claim 8 wherein said line of weakness extends along a path spaced from said aperture.
10. The closure of claim 8 wherein said line of weakness extends proximal to said aperture.
11. The closure of claim 8 wherein said line of weakness is a perforated line.
12. The closure of claim 8 wherein said line of weakness extends completely across said label.
13. The closure of claim 8 wherein said line of weakness terminates midway across said label.
14. The closure of claim 8 further comprising a second line of weakness further dividing said label into said removable portion and a third remainder portion.
15. The closure of claim 14 wherein said lines of weakness are parallel.
16. The closure of claim 8 further comprising:
a well including a side wall forming said aperture and an open bottom; and
a plug removably received in said well including a plug top and a plug wall, said plug wall having an outwardly projecting flange having an outer diameter larger than an inner diameter of said side wall to limit inward movement of said plug relative to said well.
17. The closure of claim 8 further comprising:
a well including a side wall forming said aperture and an open bottom, said side wall having an inner bead located adjacent a said open bottom; and
a plug removably received in said well including a plug top and a plug wall, said plug wall having an outwardly projecting flange having an outer diameter larger than an inner diameter of said side wall to limit inward movement of said plug relative to said well, and said plug wall having a circumferential groove dimensioned to engage said inner bead to restrain said plug from unintentional withdrawal from said well by engaging said inner bead, a portion of said plug wall being dimensioned to seal against a portion of said side wall when said plug is seated within said well.
18. A method of using a closure including an aperture and a tamper-evidencing label having a first removable portion covering the aperture, a second remaining portion, a tab extending from the first portion, a line of weakness dividing the first and second portions, said method comprising:
gripping the tab;
pulling the tab away from the closure such that the label tears along the line of weakness separating the first removable portion from the second remaining portion; and
removing the first removable portion of the label from the second remainder portion thereby uncovering the aperture.
19. The method of claim 18 wherein the label includes a second line of weakness further dividing the label into the removable portion and a third remainder portion, said method comprising pulling the tab away from the closure such that the label tears along the first and second lines of weakness separating the first removable portion from the second and third remaining portions.
20. The method of claim 18 wherein said label includes a first heat seal pattern attaching said first removable portion to said top and a second heat seal pattern attaching said second remainder portion to said top, said second heat seal pattern being thicker than said first heat seal pattern, said method comprising pulling the tab away from the closure such that the first removable portion tears away from said closure along said first heat seal pattern leaving the remainder portion attached to said closure along said remainder portion.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] This invention relates, in general, to a closure having a tamper-evidencing label and more particularly to a closure having a dispensing aperture and a tamper-evidencing label covering the aperture.

[0003] 2. Description of Related Art

[0004] U.S. Pat. No. 5,370,270 to Adams et al. discloses a non-spill bottle cap designed for use with conventional five-gallon water bottles and water dispensers. Similarly, U.S. Pat. No. 5,687,865 to Adams et al. discloses a spill-reduction cap for a fluid container which is also designed for use with conventional five-gallon water bottles and water dispensers. Such caps include a dispensing aperture in the form of a well located in a top of the bottle cap configured for accessing the water within the bottle without removing the bottle cap from the bottle. Such bottle caps may include a plug removably seated in the well.

[0005] Often, a label is adhered to the top of the bottle cap for tamper-evidencing purposes. An exemplar of the prior art is U.S. Pat. No. 5,904,259 to Hidding et al. which shows a protective tamper-evident label and bottle cap.

[0006] Such prior tamper-evident labels generally cover the well of the bottle cap. Thus, an end user must remove the label before inverting and installing the water bottle and bottle cap into a conventional water dispenser. If the label is missing from the bottle cap, the end user is provided with evidence, in the form of the missing label, that the contents of the container may have been accessed through the well and may have been tampered with.

[0007] Such prior tamper-evidencing labels are configured to be removed substantially intact by an end user. In particular, such prior labels generally do not include a self-adhesive backing in order to prevent someone from reattaching the label to the bottle cap or to the bottle. Such prior labels are typically heat sealed to the bottle cap which allows the label to be removed intact.

[0008] Disadvantageously, someone with malicious intent could remove such a prior label intact, tamper with the contents of the bottle, and then reaffix the intact label to the bottle cap using an adhesive, for example, reaffix the label using super glue. Accordingly, tampering with the contents of a bottle could be performed and thus concealed from an unsuspecting end user.

[0009] What is needed is a closure having a tamper-evidencing label which overcomes the above and other disadvantages of known bottle cap labels.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0010] In summary, one aspect of the present invention is directed to a container including an interior, a top having a dispensing aperture for access to the interior, and a tamper-evidencing label affixed to the top. The label includes a first removable portion covering the aperture, a second remainder portion, a tab extending from the first removable portion, a line of weakness dividing the first removable portion and second remainder portion such that the first removable portion can be separated from the remainder portion along the line of weakness.

[0011] In one embodiment, the label is a plastic membrane. The remainder portion may be attached to the top by heat sealing. The removable portion and the remainder portion may be attached to the top by a heat seal band extending adjacent a perimeter of the label. The heat seal band may be segmented forming a gap, the gap being aligned with the line of weakness. In one embodiment, the heat seal band includes a first heat seal pattern attaching the first removable portion to the top and a second heat seal pattern attaching the second remainder portion to the top, the second heat seal pattern being thicker than the first heat seal pattern. In one embodiment, the first heat seal pattern is separated from the second heat seal pattern by a gap, the gap being aligned with the line of weakness.

[0012] Another aspect of the present invention is directed to a closure for a container having a neck and a neck opening. The closure includes a cap and a tamper-evidencing label. The cap includes a top for closing the neck opening of the container. The top includes an aperture for access to the container opening. The cap also includes a closure retainer for securing the top to the neck of the container. The tamper-evidencing label is affixed to the top and includes a first removable portion covering the aperture, a second remainder portion, a tab extending from the first removable portion, and a line of weakness dividing the first removable portion and second remainder portion such that the first removable portion can be separated from the remainder portion along the line of weakness.

[0013] In one embodiment, the line of weakness extends along a path spaced from the aperture. The line of weakness may extend proximal to the aperture. The closure may include a second line of weakness further dividing the label into the removable portion and a third remainder portion. The lines of weakness may be parallel.

[0014] In one embodiment, the closure further includes a well having a side wall forming the aperture and an open bottom with a plug removably received in the well. The plug includes a plug top and a plug wall. The plug wall has an outwardly projecting flange having an outer diameter larger than an inner diameter of the side wall to limit inward movement of the plug relative to the well.

[0015] In another embodiment, the closure further includes a well including a side wall forming the aperture and an open bottom with a plug removably received in the well. The side wall has an inner bead located adjacent a the open bottom. The plug includes a plug top and a plug wall. The plug wall has an outwardly projecting flange having an outer diameter larger than an inner diameter of the side wall to limit inward movement of the plug relative to the well. The plug wall has a circumferential groove dimensioned to engage the inner bead to restrain the plug from unintentional withdrawal from the well by engaging the inner bead. A portion of the plug wall is dimensioned to seal against a portion of the side wall when the plug is seated within the well.

[0016] Another aspect of the present invention is directed to a method of using a closure including an aperture and a tamper-evidencing label having a first removable portion covering the aperture, a second remaining portion, a tab extending from the first portion, a line of weakness dividing the first and second portions. The method includes gripping the tab, pulling the tab away from the closure such that the label tears along the line of weakness separating the first removable portion from the second remaining portion, and removing the first removable portion of the label from the second remainder portion thereby uncovering the aperture.

[0017] In one embodiment, the label includes a second line of weakness further dividing the label into the removable portion and a third remainder portion, and the method includes pulling the tab away from the closure such that the label tears along the first and second lines of weakness separating the first removable portion from the second and third remaining portions.

[0018] In one embodiment, the label includes a first heat seal pattern attaching the first removable portion to the top and a second heat seal pattern attaching the second remainder portion to the top, the second heat seal pattern being optionally thicker than the first heat seal pattern, and the method includes pulling the tab away from the closure such that the first removable portion tears away from the closure along the first heat seal pattern leaving the remainder portion attached to the closure.

[0019] An object of the present invention is to provide a tamper-evidencing label in accordance with the present invention which is partially or wholly destroyed when removed thereby for preventing removal of the label completely intact.

[0020] Another object of the present invention is to provide a closure having a tamper-evidencing label that includes a removable label portion which can be removed and separated from a remaining label portion.

[0021] The closure having a tamper-evidencing label of the present invention has other features and advantages which will be apparent from or are set forth in more detail in the accompanying drawings, which are incorporated in and form a part of this specification, and the following Detailed Description of the Invention, which together serve to explain the principles of the present invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0022]FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a closure having a tamper-evidencing label in accordance with the present invention.

[0023]FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the closure and label of FIG. 1.

[0024]FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional side view of the closure and label of FIG. 1 taken along line 3-3 of FIG. 2.

[0025]FIG. 4 is an enlarged detailed view of FIG. 3 showing a portion of the closure and label of FIG. 1.

[0026]FIG. 5 is a schematic top view of the label of FIG. 1 illustrating a means of attaching the label to the cap.

[0027]FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the closure of FIG. 1 having a portion of the tamper-evidencing label removed in accordance with the present invention.

[0028]FIG. 7 is a top plan view of the closure and label of FIG. 1 having a portion of the tamper-evidencing label removed as is shown in FIG. 6.

[0029]FIG. 8 is a perspective view of another closure in accordance with the present invention similar to that of FIG. 1 and having a modified tamper-evidencing label in accordance with the present invention.

[0030]FIG. 9 is an enlarged detailed view similar to FIG. 4 of the closure of FIG. 8.

[0031]FIG. 10 is a perspective view of another closure in accordance with the present invention similar to that of FIG. 1 and having a modified tamper-evidencing label in accordance with the present invention.

[0032]FIG. 11 is a schematic top view of the label of FIG. 10 illustrating an alternative means of attaching the label to the cap.

[0033]FIG. 12 is a perspective view of another closure in accordance with the present invention similar to that of FIG. 1 and having a modified cap and a modified tamper-evidencing label in accordance with the present invention.

[0034]FIG. 13 is a top plan view of the closure and label of FIG. 12.

[0035]FIG. 14 is a schematic top view of the label of FIG. 12 illustrating another means of attaching the label to the cap.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0036] Reference will now be made in detail to the preferred embodiments of the invention, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings. While the invention will be described in conjunction with the preferred embodiments, it will be understood that they are not intended to limit the invention to those embodiments. On the contrary, the invention is intended to cover alternatives, modifications and equivalents, which may be included within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.

[0037] The present invention is directed to a closure having a cap and a tamper-evidencing label covering a dispensing aperture of the cap. The label includes a removable portion which can be “zipped” away from a remaining portion of the label which remains affixed to the cap. The configuration of the tamper-evidencing label defeats the ability remove the label intact from the cap and reattaching the intact label to the cap. In particular, destruction of the label is required in order to gain access to the dispensing aperture of the cap.

[0038] Turning now to the drawings, wherein like components are designated by like reference numerals throughout the various figures, attention is directed to FIG. 1 which shows a closure, indicated generally by reference numeral 30, having a tamper-evidencing label 31 affixed to a cap 32 in accordance with the present invention. Closure 30 is intended for use with large water bottles, for example, five-gallon bottles of the type that are inverted and placed in a water dispenser. It will be understood, however, that the invention may be used with closures of other design. Furthermore, one should appreciate that the tamper-evidencing label of the present invention may be utilized on a package or a container having a dispensing aperture in accordance with the present invention.

[0039] Cap 32 is formed of plastic or other suitable materials. In one embodiment, low density polyethylene is used in the construction of the cap in accordance with the present invention, however, one should appreciate that other suitable materials can be used. The material of the cap, together with the generally thin-walled construction of the cap, generally provide for a cap which tightly conforms to a container neck.

[0040] Cap 32 includes a top 36 and a skirt 37 which depends from a periphery 38 of top 36. In the illustrated embodiment, periphery 38 is a thickened portion of top 36 that forms a recessed portion of top 36 within which label 31 is applied to cap 32. The recessed configuration of top 36 may serve to protect label 31 as the label is spaced from the top surface of cap 32. The top edge of periphery 38 may serve as a bumper preventing items from abutting and tearing against label 31. One should appreciate that the periphery need not be thickened but can also be coplanar with the remainder of the top in accordance with the present invention.

[0041] Skirt 37 extends downwardly terminating in a bottom edge 41. An upper portion 42 of skirt 37 is frustoconically shaped having an inward-upward slant. The thin-walled configuration skirt 37 allows cap 32 to conform to the crown finish of a container neck as closure 30 is applied to the neck. One should appreciate that the upper portion of the skirt need not be slanted but may instead take other shapes. For example, the upper portion of the skirt can be cylindrical or in the shapes disclosed by U.S. Pat. No. 5,370,270 to Adams et al. and U.S. Pat. No. 5,687,865 also to Adams et al., the entire contents of which patents are incorporated herein by this reference.

[0042] In the embodiment shown in FIG. 3, an upper locking bead 43 is positioned on an interior of skirt 37. In this embodiment, locking bead 43 is located approximately at the intersection of slanted upper portion 42 and a cylindrical lower portion 47 of the skirt, as shown in FIG. 3. Locking bead 43 fits snugly below an upper crown portion conventionally formed on the finish of a five-gallon water bottle neck.

[0043] Optionally, a non-ovality bead 48 may be provided in the form of an outwardly and/or inwardly extending projection formed adjacent bottom edge 41 of skirt 37 in order to rigidify lower edge 41 and preserve the round shape of skirt 37. In the illustrated embodiment, cap 32 also includes an internal top seal bead 49 adjacent the intersection of top 36 and slanted skirt portion 42 which engages the container neck crown to inhibit leakage. As noted above, the thin-walled configuration of the upper slanted portion 42 allows cap 32 to conform to the crown finish of a bottle neck as it is applied to the neck. Such a thin-walled configuration increases the effectiveness of seal bead 49.

[0044] A pair of spaced lines of weakness or tear lines 52, 53 extend upwardly from bottom edge 41. Tear line 52 extends upwardly from bottom edge 41 and along lower portion 47 of skirt 37. Tear line 53 extends upwardly from bottom edge 41, along lower portion 47, and continues onto upper portion 42 of skirt 37. One should appreciate, however, that the configuration of the tear lines may vary within the scope of the present invention. For example, one or more tear lines, linear and/or curved, may be utilized in accordance with the present invention, such as those disclosed in the Adams '270 and '865 patents.

[0045] A pull tab 54 extends downwardly from bottom edge 41 of skirt 37 between tear lines 52 and 53. Pulling tab 54 upward causes skirt 37 to split along tear lines 52 and 53. The upward pulling of tab 54 and tearing of the skirt, in effect, interrupts the continuity of locking bead 43 and enables the closure 30 to be pulled off or removed from the container neck with relative ease. The function of tab 54 is that when gripped by a consumer and pulled upward and/or outward it causes skirt 37 to tear along tear lines 52 and 53 so that the function of locking bead 43 in retaining the closure on the container neck is overcome. Continued pulling of tab 54 may remove closure 30 from the container neck. To facilitate the consumer gripping tab 54, a plurality of ribs 58 spaced upwardly from the bottom end of tab 54 are formed on the surface of tab 54. One should appreciate one or more ribs may be provided for this purpose on either one or both of the external and internal surfaces of tear tab 54.

[0046] In one embodiment, annular top 36 of cap 32 is formed with dispensing aperture in the form of a central well 59 having a cylindrical side wall 60 which extends and downwardly from an underside of top 36. Preferably, the interior of side wall 60 is “seamless”, that is, the interior of side wall 60 is devoid of molding defects including, but not limited to, vertical parting lines and/or excessive sinking. An inwardly extending flange or inner bead 63 is positioned adjacent the bottom of well 59. One should appreciate that the configuration of the central well may vary in accordance with the present invention. For example, the inner bead can be spaced upwardly from the bottom edge of well 59. Alternatively, the inner bead can be replaced by an outer bead extending from an outer surface of side wall 60, such as that disclosed by U.S. Pat. No. 5,904,259 to Hidding et al.

[0047] As shown in FIG. 3, the lower end of well 59 is closed by a removable plug 65. Plug 65 has a closed circular end or plug top 69 and a plug wall 70 extending upwardly from plug top 69. Plug wall 70 has an outwardly projecting plug flange 71 that has an outer diameter larger than an inner diameter of side wall 60 of the well to limit inward movement of plug 65 relative to well 59. Preferably, plug wall 70 has a circumferential groove dimensioned to engage inner bead 63 to restrain plug 65 from unintentional withdrawal from the well 59. A portion of plug wall 70 is configured and dimensioned to seal against a portion of side wall 60 when plug 65 is seated within well 59. Preferably, an exterior surface of the plug wall 70 seals against an internal surface of side wall 60.

[0048] One should appreciate that the structural configuration of the closure may vary in accordance with the present invention. For example, the structural configuration of the closure of the present invention may be similar to that of the closure disclosed by the Adams '270 and '865 patents. Similarly, one should appreciate that the features of the present invention are also suitable for use with other closures having a dispensing aperture extending through the top of the closure as well as containers or packages having a dispensing aperture.

[0049] Closure 30 is a tamper-evident closure as the configuration of label 31 prevents undetected access to well 59 and/or tampering with plug 65. In particular, one cannot gain access through well 59 to the container upon which closure 30 is applied until at least a portion of label is torn away from cap 32, in which case, the partial or total destruction of label 31 provides evidence that there may have been tampering with the contents of the container.

[0050] Tamper-evident label 31 is affixed to an upper surface of closure top 36 for tamper-evidencing purposes. In addition to tamper-evidencing purposes, label 31 can be imprinted with various labeling information such as the name of the bottler and information as to the contents of the container. Further, the label covers the well 59 and prevents dirt, liquids or other contaminants from entering the well.

[0051] Tamper-evidencing label 31 is affixed to top 36 of cap 32. Preferably, label 31 is a plastic membrane, however, one should appreciate that other materials can be used. The label may be formed of plastic, metal, paper, and/or other suitable materials. For example, the label may be a plastic film, a metal foil, or a laminate formed of plastic, metal, paper and/or other materials. Preferably, label 31 is affixed to cap 32 in such a manner that once a portion of the label is removed from the cap, the removed portion of the label can not be reaffixed to the cap. For example, in the event that label 31 is a plastic membrane, label 31 can be heat sealed to cap 32. Alternatively, the label can be attached to the cap by other suitable means including, but not limited to, sonic welding and solvent welding.

[0052] Label 31 includes two lines of weakness 73 and 74 which divide the label into a removable portion 75 and two remainder portions 76 and 77 which remain affixed to cap 32 even after removable portion 75 is “zipped” out from the remainder portions. Removable portion 75 covers the upper aperture of well 59 in top 36 while the remainder portions 76 and 77 are located on top 36 on opposing sides of well 59. One should appreciate that the configuration of the lines of weakness and the label portions can vary in accordance with the present invention. For example, a single line of weakness can extend inwardly from a first point adjacent the periphery of the label, around the well, and outwardly to a second point adjacent the periphery of the label thus forming a label having a single line of weakness and a single remainder portion. Accordingly, one, two, three or more lines of weakness can be utilized in accordance with the present invention. Similarly, one, two, three or more remainder portions can be used in accordance with the present invention.

[0053] A lift tab 80 extends from a periphery of removable portion 75 to facilitate removal of removable portion 75. In particular, a user can grip and pull lift tab 80 such that label 31 will tear along perforated lines 73 and 74 and away from remainder portions 76 and 77 which remain affixed to cap 32.

[0054] As most clearly shown in FIGS. 2 and 4, lines of weakness 73 and 74 are perforated lines each having a plurality of perforations 81 and 82, respectively. The perforations form respective paths along label 31 which facilitate tearing along lines of weakness 73 and 74. Perforations 81 and 82 can be formed in label 31 in a well-known manner. One should also appreciate that the lines of weakness can also be formed by suitable means other than perforations in accordance with the present invention.

[0055] Turning now to FIG. 5, removable portion 75 and remainder portions 76 and 77 are attached to top 36 of cap 32 by a heat seal pattern, indicated generally by the numeral 85. In the illustrated embodiment, heat seal pattern 85 is in the form of a segmented band that extends adjacent a perimeter of label 31. One should appreciate, however, that the heat seal pattern need not be segmented and may extend continuously along and adjacent the perimeter of the label.

[0056] The segments of heat seal band 85 are approximately 1-5 mm wide, and preferably approximately 2-4 mm wide. One should appreciate, however, that the actual shape and dimensions of heat seal pattern can vary widely in accordance with the present invention. For example, the heat seal pattern can include straight segments affixing remainder portions 76 and 77 to the top surface of the cap.

[0057] In one embodiment shown in FIG. 5, heat seal pattern 85 includes one or more segments 86, 87 affixing removable portion 75 of label 31 and one or more segments 91, 92 affixing remainder portions 76, 77, respectively, to the cap. In the illustrated embodiment, segments 86, 87 are narrower than segments 91, 92 in order to facilitate removal of removable portion 75 from the cap top while ensuring that remainder portions 76 and 77 remain affixed to the cap top. In particular, heat seal band segments 86 and 87 are approximately 1-3 mm wide, and preferably approximately 2 mm, while heat seal band segments 91, 92 are approximately 3-5 mm wide, and preferably approximately 4 mm wide.

[0058] Preferably, gaps 95, 96, 97, 98 are formed between the terminal ends of the segments 86, 87, 91, 92 and aligned with the lines of weakness 73, 74. Such an aligned configuration of the gaps can facilitate tearing of label 31 along the lines of weakness for removal of the removable portion 75 of the label. In particular, gaps 95, 96, 97, 98 are aligned such that the portion of label 31 immediately adjacent the lines of weakness is not affixed to the cap top.

[0059] The method of using closure 30 in accordance with the present invention can now be described. In operation and use, closure 30 is applied to a five-gallon water bottle in a conventional manner. Closure 30 is of the non-spill variety which allows a five-gallon water bottle to be inverted and installed into a water dispenser with minimal or no spillage of water from the water bottle. Prior to installing the water bottle onto the water dispenser, the end user must first provide access to well 59. To do so, the end user will grip lift tab 80 of label 31 and pull tab 80 away from top 36 of cap 32. Such action causes label 31 to tear along its lines of weakness 73 and 74 such that removable portion 75 of label 31 can be easily removed.

[0060] In particular, pulling lift tab 80 causes removable portion to overcome the heat seal pattern, or other attachment means, which attaches removable portion 75 to cap top 36. Such pulling of lift tab 80 also causes removable portion to simultaneously tear away from remainder portions 76 and 77. Continued pulling of tear tab 80 causes removable portion 75 to completely tear from remainder portions 76 and 77 thus providing access to well 59, as shown in FIGS. 6 and 7. Accordingly, label 31 is substantially damaged and/or destroyed in order to access well 59. As label 31 is no longer intact, the torn label provides evidence that the well has been accessed.

[0061] Once the removable portion 75 of label 31 is removed, the end user can than proceed to insert closure 30 along with the respective water bottle into the water dispenser in a conventional manner.

[0062] Advantageously, the closure having a tamper-evidencing label of the present invention provides a means of increased tamper evidence to an end user. The closure of the present invention is partially or wholly destroyed upon removal thereby preventing the removal of the tamper-evidencing label, intact, from a cap of the closure. The configuration of the label prevents someone from reaffixing an intact label to the cap. Accordingly, the closure of the present invention prevents someone with malicious intent to remove the label intact, tamper with the contents of the container sealed by the closure, and then reaffix the intact label to the cap using an adhesive.

[0063] Advantageously, the tamper-evidencing label of the present invention prevents removal of the label from the cap without damaging the label thus preventing violation of a product within a package or container and concealing such violation by reattaching the an undamaged label to the package or container.

[0064] In another embodiment of the present invention shown in FIGS. 8 and 9, closure 30 a is similar to closure 30 described above but includes modified lines of weakness 73 a and 74 a. Like reference numerals have been used to describe like components of closure 30 and 30 a. As most clearly shown in FIG. 9, lines of weakness 73 a and 74 a are formed by respective upper grooves 102 and respective lower grooves 103 thereby forming a reduced thickness portion of label 31 for facilitating tearing along lines of weakness 73 a and 74 b. One should appreciate that the line of weakness can also be formed with an upper groove without a lower groove, or with a lower groove without an upper groove to provide a reduced thickness portion of the label in accordance with the present invention. Grooves 102 and 103 may be etched into the respective surfaces of label by laser scribing or provided by other suitable means. One should also appreciate that the lines of weakness can have other suitable configurations which provide the tearing of label 31 along a path in accordance with the present invention.

[0065] In another embodiment of the present invention, closure 30 b is similar to closures 30 and 30 a described above but includes shortened perforated lines of weakness 73 b and 74 b, as shown in FIGS. 10 and 11. Like reference numerals have been used to describe like components of closures 30, 30 a, and 30 b.

[0066] In this embodiment, lines of weakness 73 b and 74 b are respectively formed by a plurality of perforations 81 b and 82 b. As noted above, the perforations can be formed in label 31 b in a well-known manner.

[0067] Perforated lines 81 b and 82 b do not extend completely across label 31 b. Instead, perforated lines 81 b and 82 b terminate approximately midway across label 31 b adjacent well 59 b. One should appreciate that the perforated lines need not terminate precisely midway across the label but instead may terminate at any point proximal or beyond the well.

[0068] The configuration of perforated lines 81 b and 82 b promotes destruction of the label as the label is torn beyond terminal ends 107 and 108. In particular, as a user continues to tear label 31 b beyond terminal ends 107 and 108, label 31 b deforms thus causing visible rips or tears as removable label portion 75 b is torn away from remainder portions 76 b and 77 b. Accordingly, label 31 b further prevents someone with malicious intent to remove the label intact, tamper with the contents of the container sealed by the closure, and then reaffix the intact label to the cap using an adhesive as the visible rips or tears would provide visible evidence that someone may have accessed well 59 b.

[0069] In this embodiment, removable portion 75 b and remainder portions 76 b and 77 b are attached to top 36 b of cap 32 b by a heat seal pattern, indicated generally by the numeral 85 b. In this embodiment, heat seal pattern 85 b is in the form of a continuous band that extends adjacent a perimeter of label 31 b.

[0070] The width of heat seal band 85 b is approximately 1-5 mm wide, and preferably approximately 2-4 mm wide. One should appreciate, however, that the actual shape and dimensions of heat seal pattern can vary widely in accordance with the present invention.

[0071] In operation and use, closure 30 b is used in substantially the same manner as closures 30 and 30 a discussed above.

[0072] In another embodiment of the present invention shown in FIGS. 12-14, closure 30 c is similar to closures 30, 30 a and 30 b described above but includes angled and shortened lines of weakness and a modified dispensing aperture. Like reference numerals have been used to describe like components of closures 30, 30 a, 30 b and 30 c.

[0073] In this embodiment, cap 32 c includes a frangible dispensing aperture 112 in the form of a C-shaped score line 113 which is located in the center of top 36 c. Dispensing aperture 112 may be configured for use with a conventional water dispenser such that a dispenser probe contacts a middle flap 114 and causes aperture 112 to tear open along score line 113 in a manner similar to that described in the Adams '865 patent.

[0074] One should appreciate that the configuration and location of the dispensing aperture 112 can vary in accordance with the present invention. For example, the aperture can be formed by one or more internal score lines and/or one or more external score lines. The score lines may have a variety of shapes including, but not limited to, X-shapes, L-shapes and/or other suitable shapes. Alternatively, the frangible dispensing aperture may be formed by other suitable means.

[0075] In the embodiment of FIGS. 12 and 13, lines of weakness 73 c and 74 c may be respectively formed by a plurality of perforations, one or more grooves, and/or other suitable means in the manner described above. Lines of weakness 73 c and 74 c diverge outwardly from lift tab 80 c. In this embodiment, lines of weakness 73 c and 74 c do not extend completely across label 31 c. Instead, lines of weakness 73 c and 74 c terminate inwardly from the periphery of label 31 c and across the heat seal pattern 85 c. Preferably, the lines of weakness extend approximately one-quarter inch to one-half inch, preferably, at least three-eighths inch from the periphery of the label.

[0076] In the illustrated embodiment, lines of weakness 73 c and 74 c terminate at points that are less than midway across label 31 c and are directed such that label 31 c will continue to tear in a direction away from dispensing aperture 112 such that removal of portion 75 c will expose the dispensing aperture. One should appreciate, however, that the precise shape of the lines of weakness and the precise location where the lines of weakness terminate may vary in accordance with the present invention.

[0077] The configuration of lines of weakness 73 c and 74 c facilitates destruction of label 31 c as removable portion 75 c is torn away from remainder portions 76 c and 77 c. In particular, as a user tears the removable portion of label 31 c from its remainder portions, label 31 c is partially or wholly destroyed thus causing visible evidence that access has been gained to dispensing aperture 112. Accordingly, label 31 c further prevents someone with malicious intent to remove the label intact, tamper with the dispensing aperture to gain access to the contents of the container sealed by the closure, and then reaffix the intact label to the cap using an adhesive as the visible rips or tears would provide visible evidence that someone may have accessed dispensing aperture 112.

[0078] In this embodiment, removable portion 75 c and remainder portions 76 c and 77 c are attached to top 36 c of cap 32 c by a heat seal pattern 85 c. As shown in FIG. 14, the heat seal pattern 85 c includes two concentric and continuous bands 118 and 119 that extend adjacent a perimeter of label 31 c.

[0079] In operation and use, closure 30 c is used in substantially the same manner as closures 30, 30 a and 30 b discussed above.

[0080] For convenience in explanation and accurate definition in the appended claims, the terms “upper” and “lower”, “inner” and “outer”, and other terms of spacial orientation are used to describe features of the present invention with reference to the positions of such features as displayed in the figures.

[0081] In many respects the modifications of the various figures resemble those of preceding modifications and the same reference numerals followed by subscripts a, b, and c designate corresponding parts.

[0082] The foregoing descriptions of specific embodiments of the present invention have been presented for purposes of illustration and description. They are not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise forms disclosed, and obviously many modifications and variations are possible in light of the above teaching. The embodiments were chosen and described in order to best explain the principles of the invention and its practical application, to thereby enable others skilled in the art to best utilize the invention and various embodiments with various modifications as are suited to the particular use contemplated. It is intended that the scope of the invention be defined by the claims appended hereto and their equivalents.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7007523 *Feb 17, 2005Mar 7, 2006Alpha Security Products, Inc.Bottle security device
US7350656 *Jul 22, 2004Apr 1, 2008Blackhawk Molding Co., Inc.Probe actuated bottle cap
US7866497Dec 12, 2007Jan 11, 2011Checkpoint Systems, Inc.Bottle security device
US20100072205 *Aug 10, 2007Mar 25, 2010Crown Packaging Technology, Inc.Diaphragm
US20110201867 *Sep 24, 2009Aug 18, 2011Wagner Gary SDrop-in Pig Injector
DE102012104062A1 *May 9, 2012Nov 14, 2013Schreiner Group Gmbh & Co. KgClosure element for vessel filled with pharmaceutical content, has tear strip that is arranged so that the grip tab of tear strip from label is not covered
Classifications
U.S. Classification215/254, 215/232
International ClassificationG09F3/02
Cooperative ClassificationG09F3/0292
European ClassificationG09F3/02D2
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Sep 30, 2002ASAssignment
Owner name: PORTOLA PACKAGING, INC., CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:HESTON, JEFFREY C.;PIRVUL, LAWRENCE A.;WACHTER, MATHEW;REEL/FRAME:013357/0841;SIGNING DATES FROM 20020916 TO 20020920