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Publication numberUS20050258129 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/850,448
Publication dateNov 24, 2005
Filing dateMay 21, 2004
Priority dateMay 21, 2004
Publication number10850448, 850448, US 2005/0258129 A1, US 2005/258129 A1, US 20050258129 A1, US 20050258129A1, US 2005258129 A1, US 2005258129A1, US-A1-20050258129, US-A1-2005258129, US2005/0258129A1, US2005/258129A1, US20050258129 A1, US20050258129A1, US2005258129 A1, US2005258129A1
InventorsPeter Model
Original AssigneePeter Model
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Tamper-proof closure/seal for containers, particularly wine bottles
US 20050258129 A1
Abstract
In the present invention the bottle or container to be secured is provided with a plastic sleeve with a clear plastic top, providing a view of a safety capsule. The plastic sleeve may be provided with small holes, allowing air to enter within the air space underneath the plastic sleeve. The safety capsule is kept in place with an attachment point to the plastic sleeve. If any tampering occurs such as using an injection needle to enter the bottle through the cork, the safety capsule may be punctured, casing its color to change (e.g., from white to red). This color change is a warning to the end user and seller that a toxic attack to the contents may have occurred.
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Claims(17)
1. A tamper-proof seal for containers, comprising:
a sleeve attached to an opening of the container, the sleeve having an at least translucent top portion covering the opening of the container;
a safety capsule, covering the opening of the container and viewable through the at least translucent top portion of the sleeve;
air reactive means, provided within the safety capsule, for changing color in response to any air ingress into the safety capsule caused by a puncture to the safety capsule, such that when viewed by a consumer, indicates a possibility of product tampering.
2. The tamper-proof seal of claim 1, wherein the sleeve is provided with at least one small breathing hole, allowing air to enter within air space underneath the sleeve so as to react with the air reactive means if the safety capsule is punctured.
3. The tamper-proof seal of claim 1, wherein the safety capsule is kept in place with an attachment point to the sleeve comprising at least one of adhesive, ultrasonic welding, and heat sealing.
4. The tamper-proof seal of claim 1, wherein the air reactive means comprises a chemical fluid, which changes color when exposed to air.
5. The tamper-proof seal of claim 1, wherein the air reactive means comprises a disc provided with printed indicia which will change color when exposed to air so as to create a warning message may appear on the disc alerting a consumer to a possible tampering event.
6. The tamper-proof seal of claim 1, wherein the safety capsule further comprises a smooth surface in which a puncture hole or the like will be more readily apparent to the end user.
7. The tamper-proof seal of claim 1, wherein the safety capsule further comprises a backing plate made of a hard material to prevent hypodermic needles and the like from entering the container, and thus discouraging such types of attack.
8. The tamper-proof seal of claim 1, wherein the sleeve is shrink-wrapped to neck of the container such that the sleeve may not be removed without providing evidence to a consumer that it has been previously removed.
9. The tamper-proof seal of claim 1, wherein the safety capsule is incorporated into a traditional wine container foil sleeve so as to provide a traditional appearance to the container assembly.
10. A tamper-proof seal for containers, comprising:
a sleeve attached to an opening of the container, the sleeve having an at least translucent top portion covering the opening of the container;
a safety capsule, covering the opening of the container and viewable through the at least translucent top portion of the sleeve;
a pressurized fluid, provided within the safety capsule, the pressurized fluid being ejected from the safety capsule in response to a puncture to the safety capsule, the pressurized fluid being colored so that when the at least translucent top portion of the sleeve is viewed by a consumer, the presence of the colored fluid indicates a possibility of product tampering.
12. The tamper-proof seal of claim 10, further comprising an absorbent disc, provided above the safety capsule, for absorbing the pressurized fluid so as to alert a consumer that the product may have been tampered with.
13. The tamper-proof seal of claim 10, wherein the safety capsule is kept in place with an attachment point to the sleeve comprising at least one of adhesive, ultrasonic welding, and heat sealing.
14. The tamper-proof seal of claim 10, wherein the pressurized fluid comprises a chemical fluid, which changes color when exposed to air.
15. The tamper-proof seal of claim 10, wherein the safety capsule further comprises a smooth surface in which a puncture hole or the like will be more readily apparent to the end user.
16. The tamper-proof seal of claim 10, wherein the safety capsule further comprises a backing plate made of a hard material to prevent hypodermic needles and the like from entering the container, and thus discouraging such types of attack.
17. The tamper-proof seal of claim 10, wherein the sleeve is shrink-wrapped to neck of the container such that the sleeve may not be removed without providing evidence to a consumer that it has been previously removed.
18. The tamper-proof seal of claim 10, wherein the safety capsule is incorporated into a traditional wine container foil sleeve so as to provide a traditional appearance to the container assembly.
Description
    FIELD OF INVENTION
  • [0001]
    The present invention relates to tamper-proof closure/seal for containers. In particular, the present invention is directed toward a tamper-proof closure/seal for wine bottles.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0002]
    Product tampering has become a worldwide problem. This problem first came to light with the Tylenol tampering cases of the 1970s. In that era, many products were sold in packages which could be readily opened, manipulated, and re-sealed without any evidence of tampering taking place.
  • [0003]
    In order to restore consumer confidence, as well as limit product liability, various tamper-evident seals and the like have been applied to various food and pharmaceutical products. These seals provide ready evidence that a product has been opened, and possibly tampered with, so that a user will be aware that possible product tampering has taken place and will know not to purchase or use the product.
  • [0004]
    Note that in the industry, the terms “tamper-proof” and “tamper-evident” are sometimes used interchangeably. A “tamper-proof” seal may not, as the name implies, prevent tempering, but rather provide “proof” that such tampering has occurred. In the context of the present invention, both meanings may apply to the invention, as various embodiments of the invention may provide evidence of tampering as well as prevent or reduce likelihood of such tampering.
  • [0005]
    Most of the Prior Art tamper-evident seals are of the nature of a plastic shrink-wrapped collar or the like placed around the neck of a bottle or container. If the bottle or container is opened, the collar breaks, thus indicating to others that the container has been tampered with. Many manufacturers call such devices “freshness seals” to alleviate consumer fears of product tampering.
  • [0006]
    However, recent events have given rise for a need for increased security with result to food and pharmaceutical products. While the Prior Art collar seals and the like may indicate when a product has been opened, there may be other means by which a product tamperer could tamper with the contents of a container without being detected.
  • [0007]
    With wine bottles and other liquid containers, for example, a hypodermic needle or the like could be inserted into the cork of a wine bottle and a foreign agent injected into the bottle. By contaminating even a small number of such bottles, a product tamperer could wreak havoc. As it would be nearly impossible to spot the tiny hole left by the hypodermic needle, entire lots of wine or other product bottles or containers would have to be destroyed, at a great cost to the seller. Moreover, consumer fears of such tampering could destroy sales of such products for days, weeks, months, or even years.
  • [0008]
    Sayre, U.S. Pat. No. 5,654,022, issued Aug. 5, 1997 and incorporated herein by reference, discloses a heat shrink capsule for closing flanged bottle tops. Sayre discloses using an opaque, preferably metal disk bonded to the heat shrink capsule for protecting the cork against contamination and tampering. While such a metallic barrier may be useful in preventing tampering, a suitably drilled hole or the like could be used to overcome such a device. A consumer might not notice such a hole or assume the hole was part of the normal packaging appearance (e.g., if drilled centrally).
  • [0009]
    Thus, a need exists in the art for a type of seal for wine bottles and other containers which will provide obvious evidence of tampering, particularly by hypodermic needle or the like. The need also exists in the art for a type of seal for wine bottles and other containers which will make such tampering difficult to accomplish.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0010]
    In the present invention the bottle or container to be secured is provided with a plastic sleeve with a clear plastic top, providing a view of a safety capsule. The plastic sleeve may be provided with small holes, allowing air to enter within the air space underneath the plastic sleeve. The safety capsule is kept in place with an attachment point to the plastic sleeve.
  • [0011]
    If any tampering occurs such as using an injection needle to enter the bottle through the cork, the safety capsule may be punctured, casing its color to change (e.g., from white to red). This color change is a warning to the end user and seller that a toxic attack to the contents may have occurred.
  • [0012]
    The safety capsule may comprise, for example, a plastic capsule or the like containing a chemical fluid which changes color when exposed to air. Alternately, the safety capsule may contain a paper or plastic disc provided with printed indicia or the like which will change color when exposed to air. Thus, for example; a warning message may appear on the paper or plastic disc alerting the user to a possible tampering event.
  • [0013]
    In addition, the safety capsule also provides a smooth surface in which a puncture hole or the like will be more readily apparent to the end user. A natural or synthetic cork may tend to re-seal itself around a hypodermic puncture wound, and thus provide no lasting evidence of such a intrusion. The safety capsule, in contrast, may readily show evidence of such a puncture.
  • [0014]
    The safety capsule may also incorporate a metal backing plate made of a thin but hard metal such as steel. Such a backing plate may prevent hypodermic needles and the like from entering the bottle, and thus discouraging such types of attack. The backing plate may also be made from a hard plastic, which is resistant to punctures.
  • [0015]
    The safety capsule may be attached to a plastic sleeve or the like which may be shrink-wrapped to the neck of the bottle such that the device may not be removed without providing evidence to a consumer that it has been previously removed. The safety capsule may also be incorporated into a traditional wine bottle foil sleeve or the like so as to provide a traditional appearance to the bottle assembly.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0016]
    FIG. 1 is a cutaway side view of the apparatus of the present invention.
  • [0017]
    FIG. 2 is a top view of the safety capsule of the present invention.
  • [0018]
    FIG. 3 is a side view of a safety capsule of the present invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • [0019]
    FIG. 1 is a cutaway side view of the apparatus of the present invention. In the present invention bottle or container 1 to be secured is provided with a plastic sleeve 5 with a clear or at least translucent plastic top 9, providing a view of safety capsule 8. Plastic sleeve 5 may be provided with small breathing holes 11, allowing air to enter within the air space underneath plastic sleeve 5. Safety capsule 8 is kept in place with an attachment point 10 to plastic sleeve 5. Attachment point 10 may comprise an adhesive, ultrasonic welding, heat sealing, or other means of attaching plastic or the like.
  • [0020]
    If any tampering occurs such as using an injection needle to enter bottle 1 through cork 4, safety capsule 8 may be punctured, casing its color to change (e.g., from white to red). This color change is a warning to the end user and seller that a toxic attack to the contents may have occurred.
  • [0021]
    FIG. 2 is a top view of the safety capsule of the present invention. FIG. 3 is a side view of a safety capsule of the present invention. Safety capsule 8 may comprise, for example, a plastic capsule or the like containing a chemical fluid which changes color when exposed to air. Safety capsule 8 may be provided as a flat disc, or may be provided with a number of radial ridges 6 extending from attachment point 10 as illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3.
  • [0022]
    Alternately, safety capsule 8 may contain a paper or plastic disc provided with printed indicia or the like which will change color when exposed to air. Thus, for example, a warning message may appear on the paper or plastic disc alerting the user to a possible tampering event.
  • [0023]
    Radial ridges 6 may be used, for example, in an embodiment in which safety capsule 8 is provided with a colored pressurized fluid therein. When punctured, the pressurized fluid may escape through the puncture hole and be exposed onto an absorbent paper disc or the like (not shown) placed above safety capsule 8. Thus, the material within safety capsule 8 need not react with air in order to be seen by the consumer.
  • [0024]
    Alternately, safety capsule 8 may be made of a translucent material such that the color of the pressurized fluid within is not apparent to the consumer. When punctured, the fluid will escape under pressure into the air space beneath plastic sleeve 5, alerting the consumer that the product may have been tampered with. The pressurized fluid may be non-toxic, of course, and a message may be printed on plastic sleeve 5 to “remove before use” so that a user will not attempt to put a corkscrew through plastic sleeve and safety capsule 8.
  • [0025]
    In addition, safety capsule 8 may provides a smooth surface in which a puncture hole or the like will be more readily apparent to the end user. A natural or synthetic cork 4 may tend to re-seal itself around a hypodermic puncture wound, and thus provide no lasting evidence of such a intrusion. Safety capsule 8, in contrast, may readily show evidence of such a puncture.
  • [0026]
    Safety capsule 8 may also incorporate a metal backing plate made of a thin but hard metal such as steel. Such a backing plate may prevent hypodermic needles and the like from entering bottle 1, and thus discouraging such types of attack. The backing plate may also be made from a hard plastic, which is resistant to punctures.
  • [0027]
    Safety capsule 8 may be attached to plastic sleeve 5 or the like which may be shrink-wrapped to neck 2 of bottle 1 such that the device may not be removed without providing evidence to a consumer that it has been previously removed. Bottle 1 may be provided, for example, with an enlarged portion 3 at neck 2, such that plastic sleeve 5 cannot be removed without breaking plastic sleeve 5. Safety capsule 8 may also be incorporated into a traditional wine bottle 1 foil sleeve or the like so as to provide a traditional appearance to bottle 1 assembly.
  • [0028]
    While the preferred embodiment and various alternative embodiments of the invention have been disclosed and described in detail herein, it may be apparent to those skilled in the art that various changes in form and detail may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope thereof.
Patent Citations
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8061543Feb 8, 2008Nov 22, 2011Rieke CorporationPlastic plug with overcap, including wrench and method
US8066139Aug 25, 2010Nov 29, 2011Rieke CorporationPlastic plug with overcap, including wrench and method
US9237985Jul 18, 2013Jan 19, 2016Tokitae LlcMulti-compartment pharmaceutical vials
US20090020530 *Jul 17, 2007Jan 22, 2009Baughman Gary MPlastic plug with overcap
US20090200259 *Feb 8, 2008Aug 13, 2009Baughman Gary MPlastic plug with overcap, including wrench and method
US20100314391 *Aug 25, 2010Dec 16, 2010Baughman Gary MPlastic plug with overcap, including wrench and method
US20130026129 *Jul 24, 2012Jan 31, 2013Oscar LavaqueCapsule for bottlenecks formed by an adhesive disc and heat-shrinkable sleeve, a process for in-line inclusion of said capsule line, and a machine for forming said capsule by said process
US20160137381 *Nov 12, 2015May 19, 2016Baby Blue Brand Corp.Damage indicating packaging
CN105775311A *Jan 27, 2016Jul 20, 2016常江Double-puller and double-insurance packaging box with color protecting area
EP2017185A2 *Jul 2, 2008Jan 21, 2009Rieke CorporationPlastic plug with overcap
EP2017185A3 *Jul 2, 2008Apr 15, 2009Rieke CorporationPlastic plug with overcap
WO2015009800A1Jul 16, 2014Jan 22, 2015Tokitae LlcMulti-compartment pharmaceutical vials
Classifications
U.S. Classification215/230, 215/277
International ClassificationB65D55/02, B65D51/18, B65D39/00, B65D51/00
Cooperative ClassificationB65D51/185, B65D55/026, B65D2101/0084, B65D2101/0069, B65D39/0011
European ClassificationB65D51/18B, B65D55/02G, B65D39/00F1