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Publication numberUS20100072217 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 12/562,670
Publication dateMar 25, 2010
Filing dateSep 18, 2009
Priority dateSep 19, 2008
Also published asCA2679213A1
Publication number12562670, 562670, US 2010/0072217 A1, US 2010/072217 A1, US 20100072217 A1, US 20100072217A1, US 2010072217 A1, US 2010072217A1, US-A1-20100072217, US-A1-2010072217, US2010/0072217A1, US2010/072217A1, US20100072217 A1, US20100072217A1, US2010072217 A1, US2010072217A1
InventorsSamir R. Parikh, Sajith Chenat
Original AssigneePar-Pak Ltd.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Tamper evident container with frangible closure member
US 20100072217 A1
Abstract
A container for packaging food stuffs includes a first body portion and a second body portion pivotally joined to the first body portion and moveable from a closed position to an open position for accessing an interior of the container. An anchoring engagement element is integrally joined with the first body portion when the second body portion is in the closed and open positions. A frangible engagement element is integrally joined with the second body part and locked with the anchoring engagement element when the second body portion is in the closed position. The frangible engagement element is configured to sever from the second body portion and remain in locked engagement with the anchoring engagement element when the second body portion is moved from the closed position to the open position.
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Claims(20)
1. A container for packaging food stuffs, comprising:
a) a first body portion and a second body portion pivotally joined to the first body portion, the second body portion pivotal from a closed position to an open position for accessing an interior of the container;
b) an anchoring engagement element integrally joined with the first body portion when the second body portion is in the closed and open positions; and
c) a frangible engagement element integrally joined with the second body part and locked with the anchoring engagement element when the second body portion is in the closed position, the frangible engagement element configured to sever from the second body portion and remain in locked engagement with the anchoring engagement element when the second body portion is moved from the closed position to the open position.
2. The container of claim 1, further comprising a line of weakness in the second body portion and generally surrounding the frangible engagement element to facilitate said severing of the frangible engagement element from the second body portion.
3. The container of claim 2, wherein the line of weakness comprises a perforated line surrounding the frangible engagement element.
4. The container of claim 2, wherein locking of the anchoring engagement element to the frangible engagement elements defines a locking force holding the respective elements together, and a minimum force applied across the line of weakness at which the frangible engagement element severs from the second body portion defines a severing force, the locking force being greater than the severing force.
5. The container of claim 4, the container being free of any releasably refastenable engagement elements, wherein the container is inhibited from being reclosed after said frangible engagement element has been severed from the second body part.
6. The container of claim 5, further comprising a prop member disposed between the first and second body portions when the second body portion is in or near the closed position, the prop member exerting a biasing force that biases the second body portion towards a partially open position.
7. The container of claim 6, wherein the locking force holding together the anchoring and frangible engagement elements is greater than the biasing force exerted by the prop member when the second body portion is in the closed position.
8. The container of claim 1, wherein the first body portion comprises a receptacle, and the second body portion comprises a lid.
9. The container of claim 8, wherein the receptacle comprises a bottom panel, and at least one wall extending upwardly from a periphery of the bottom panel, and the lid comprises a covering portion.
10. The container of claim 9, wherein
a) the anchoring engagement is defined in a first lid coupling surface extending laterally outwardly from an upper portion of the at least one wall; and
b) the frangible engagement element is defined in a first receptacle coupling surface extending laterally outwardly from the covering portion.
11. The container of claim 10, further comprising a prop member disposed between the first and second body parts when the container is in or near the closed position, the prop member exerting a biasing force that biases the lid towards a partially open position.
12. The container of claim 11, wherein the prop member comprises an upwardly extending wall extending from at least a portion of the first lid coupling surface.
13. The container of claim 12, wherein the first receptacle coupling surface has a greater surface area than the first lid coupling surface, the upwardly extending wall extends from a periphery of the first lid coupling surface, and the first receptacle coupling surface sits on the upwardly extending wall when the container is in the closed position.
14. The container of claim 11, wherein when the container is in the closed position, the first receptacle coupling surface bends between the engagement element and the prop member.
15. The container of claim 1, wherein the container further comprises a second anchoring engagement element, and a second frangible engagement element.
16. The container of claim 1, wherein the first body portion is mounted to the second body portion at a mounting portion, and the anchoring engagement element and the frangible engagement element are perimetrically opposed to the mounting portion.
17. The container of claim 1, wherein when force is applied to move the first body portion to the open position, and the frangible engagement element is severed, an aperture is formed in the second body portion.
18. The container of claim 1, wherein when force is applied to move the second body portion to the open position, and the frangible engagement element is severed, a waste product is not generated.
19. The container of claim 1, wherein the frangible engagement element comprises an upwardly extending recess, and the anchoring engagement element comprises an upwardly extending projection receivable in the recess.
20. The container of claim 19, wherein the recess comprises a laterally outwardly extending groove, and the projection comprises a laterally outwardly extending lip receivable in the groove.
Description

This application claims the benefit of Provisional Application No. 61/098,490, filed Sep. 19, 2008, which is hereby incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD

The teaching herein relates to containers and to containers that facilitate providing visual indication that the container may have been opened after initially being filled and closed.

BACKGROUND

Containers are used to store many types of items, such as foodstuffs, medicine, or numerous other types of materials.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,788,105 (Foos) discloses a reclosable package having visible evidence of tampering, where the package has a first portion, a second portion joined to the first portion along a common edge by a hinge integral to the first and second portions and thereby forming the package, and closure portions for locking the package, where the closure portions are removable connected to each of the first and second portions respectively. Upon first closure of the package, the closure portions engage each other, and upon first opening of the package, the closure portions become detached from the package.

SUMMARY

The following summary is provided to introduce the reader to the more detailed discussion to follow. The summary is not intended to limit or define the claims.

According to one example of the Applicant's teaching, a container for packaging food stuffs comprises a first body portion and a second body portion pivotally joined to the first body portion and moveable from a closed position to an open position for accessing an interior of the container. An anchoring engagement element is integrally joined with the first body portion when the second body portion is in the closed and open positions. A frangible engagement element is integrally joined with the second body part and locked with the anchoring engagement element when the second body portion is in the closed position. The frangible engagement element is configured to sever from the second body portion and remain in locked engagement with the anchoring engagement element when the second body portion is moved from the closed position to the open position.

Containers having this configuration may be advantageous because the container may be initially filled, for example at a manufacturing plant, and the second body portion may be subsequently closed and locked in the closed position by engaging the anchoring engagement and frangible engagement, such that when incidental forces are applied to the container, the second body member remains in the closed position. When the second body member is opened for the first time, for example when a user applies force to pivot the second body member to the open position, the frangible engagement element is severed from the second body portion, and thereby provides visual evidence that the container has been opened. Accordingly, a user may inspect the container at the point of sale, in order to determine if the container has been previously opened. As such, the container may be substantially tamper-evident.

Further, containers having this configuration may be advantageous because generating a waste product separate from the container upon opening can be avoided. For example, a tab, pull, strip, or wrapping element is not separated from the container so as to require disposal independent of the container.

In some examples, the container further comprises a line of weakness in the second body portion and generally surrounding the frangible engagement element to facilitate said severing of the frangible engagement element from the second body portion. The line of weakness can comprise a perforated line surrounding the frangible engagement element.

In some examples, the locking of the anchoring engagement element to the frangible engagement elements defines a locking force, a minimum force applied across the line of weakness at which the frangible engagement element severs from the second body portion defines a severing force, and the locking force is greater than the severing force.

In some examples, the container is free of any releasably refastenable engagement elements, and the container is inhibited from being reclosed after the frangible engagement element has been severed from the second body part.

In some examples the container further comprises a prop member disposed between the first and second body portions when the second body portion is in or near the closed position. The prop member exerts a biasing force that biases the second body portion towards a partially open position. The locking force of the anchoring and frangible engagement elements can be greater than the biasing force exerted by the prop member when the second body portion is in the closed position.

In some examples, the first body portion comprises a receptacle, and the second body portion comprises a lid. The receptacle can comprise a bottom panel, and at least one wall extending upwardly from a periphery of the bottom panel, and the lid can comprise a covering portion.

In some examples, the anchoring engagement is defined in a first lid coupling surface extending outwardly from an upper portion of the at least one wall, and the frangible engagement element is defined in a first receptacle coupling surface extending outwardly from the covering portion.

In some examples, a prop member is disposed between the first and second body parts when the container is in or near the closed position. The prop member exerts a biasing force that biases the lid towards a partially open position. The prop member can comprise an upwardly extending wall extending from at least a portion of the first lid coupling surface. The first receptacle coupling surface can have a greater surface area than the first lid coupling surface, the upwardly extending wall can extend from a periphery of the first lid coupling surface, and the first receptacle coupling surface can sit on the upwardly extending wall when the container is in the closed position. When the container is in the closed position, the first receptacle coupling surface can bend between the engagement element and the prop member.

In some examples, the container further comprises a second anchoring engagement element, and a second frangible engagement element.

In some examples, the first body portion is mounted to the second body portion at a mounting portion, and the anchoring engagement element and the frangible engagement element are perimetrically opposed to the mounting portion.

In some examples, when force is applied to move the first body portion to the open position, and the frangible engagement element is severed, an aperture is formed in the second body portion.

In some examples, when force is applied to move the second body portion to the open position, and the frangible engagement element is severed, a waste product is not generated.

In some examples, the frangible engagement element comprises an upwardly extending recess, and the anchoring engagement element comprises an upwardly extending projection receivable in the recess. The recess can comprise a laterally outwardly extending groove, and the projection can comprise a laterally outwardly extending lip receivable in the groove.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective illustration of an example of a container in accordance with the Applicant's teaching, wherein the container has not yet been initially closed;

FIGS. 2A-2C are enlarged views of various examples of the region shown in circle 2 in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a perspective illustration of the container of FIG. 1, wherein the container is in the closed position;

FIG. 4 is a perspective illustration of the container of FIG. 3, wherein the container has been opened; and

FIG. 5 is an enlarged view of the region shown in circle 5 in FIG. 4.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Various apparatuses or processes will be described below to provide an example of an embodiment of each claimed invention. No embodiment described below limits any claimed invention and any claimed invention may cover processes or apparatuses that are not described below. The claimed inventions are not limited to apparatuses or processes having all of the features of any one apparatus or process described below or to features common to multiple or all of the apparatuses described below. It is possible that an apparatus or process described below is not an embodiment of any claimed invention. Any invention disclosed in an apparatus or process described below that is not claimed in this document may be the subject matter of another protective instrument, for example, a continuing patent application, and the applicants, inventors or owners do not intend to abandon, disclaim or dedicate to the public any such invention by its disclosure in this document.

Referring to FIGS. 1-5, an example of a container 10 in accordance with the applicant's teaching is shown. The container 10 comprises a first body portion 12 and a second body portion 14. In the example shown, the first body portion 12 is a receptacle 12, and the second body portion 14 is a lid 14. In alternate examples, the first body portion may be a lid, and the second body portion may be a receptacle.

The receptacle 12 and the lid 14 are generally provided in a first configuration, shown in FIG. 1, in which the container 10 may be initially filled, for example, at manufacturing plant or a food-preparation site. After the container 10 has been filled, the lid 14 may be closed and locked in the closed position, shown in FIG. 3, such that when incidental forces are applied to the container 10, the lid 14 remains in the closed position. When the lid 14 is opened for the first time, for example when a user applies force to pivot the lid 14 to the open position, the container 10 provides visual evidence that the lid 14 has been opened, shown in FIG. 4. Accordingly, a user may inspect the container 10 at the point of sale, in order to determine if the contents of the container 10 have been tampered with. Further details regarding the locking of the lid 14, and the initial opening of the lid 14, will be described further hereinbelow.

Referring to FIG. 1, in the example shown, receptacle 12 comprises a bottom panel 16, and at least one wall 18 extending upwardly from a periphery the bottom panel 16. In the example shown, bottom panel 16 is generally planar and rectangular, and has rounded corners, and the at least one wall 18 comprises four generally rectangular walls 18 a-18 d, extending generally perpendicular to the bottom panel 16. In alternate examples, the bottom panel 16 and the at least one wall 18 may be otherwise configured. For example, the bottom panel may be generally circular, and may comprise a single rounded sidewall extending upwardly from the bottom panel. Alternately, the at least one wall may extend at an acute or obtuse angle from the bottom panel. Furthermore, the bottom panel may not be planar, and may be, for example, rounded.

Lid 14 is pivotally mounted or joined to the receptacle, and is moveable from a closed position, shown in FIG. 3, to an open position, shown in FIG. 4. In the example shown, lid 14 comprises a covering portion 20, which, when the lid 14 is in the closed position, generally covers the receptacle 12 and extends at least between the walls 18 of the receptacle, such that the contents and/or interior of the container 10 are generally not accessible to a user. In the open position, the covering portion 20 generally does not cover the receptacle 12, such that the contents and/or interior of the container 10 are generally accessible to a user.

In the example shown, the covering portion 20 comprises a generally rectangular top panel 22, and four generally rectangular sidewalls 24 a-24 d extending downwardly from the top panel 22. In alternate examples, the covering portion 20 may comprise only a top panel 22, and sidewalls 24 may not be provided. Further, in examples wherein the receptacle 12 is otherwise shaped, the lid 14 may be shaped to match the shape of the receptacle 12. For example, if the receptacle 12 comprises a circular bottom panel 16 and single rounded sidewall 18, the lid 14 may comprise a circular top panel 22, and a single circular sidewall 24.

As mentioned hereinabove, the lid 14 is pivotally mounted or joined to the receptacle 12. In the example shown, the receptacle 12 comprises a flange 26 extending outwardly from the upper ends of wall 18 c, and the lid 14 comprises a flange 28 extending outwardly from the lower ends of sidewall 24 c. The lid is pivotally mounted to the receptacle at mounting portion (not shown), which comprises a line along each of the flanges 26, 28, wherein the flanges 26, 28 are joined.

In the example shown, flange 26 further extends along walls 18 b and 18 d, and flange 28 further extends along walls 24 b and 24 d. However, in alternate examples, each of the flanges may only be provided along walls 18 c and 24 c. Further, in yet other examples, flanges may not be provided, and the lid 14 may be pivotally mounted to the receptacle 12 by mounting the covering portion directly to the walls.

In alternate examples, lid 14 may be pivotally mounted to receptacle 12 in another manner. For example, the mounting portion may comprise more than one line along which the flanges are joined. Alternately, a hinge pin may be provided between lid 14 and receptacle 12.

As mentioned hereinabove, after the container 10 is initially filled, for example with foodstuffs a food preparation site, the lid 14 may be locked in the closed position. In order to lock the lid 14 in the closed position, receptacle 12 comprises at least one engagement element 34. Further, lid 14 comprises at least one engagement element 36, which is locked with the engagement element 34 of the receptacle 12 when the lid 14 is in the closed position.

In the example shown, receptacle 12 comprises two engagement elements 34 a, 34 b. Further, lid 14 comprises two engagement elements 36 a, 36 b, which are lockable with engagement elements 34 a, 34 b, respectively, when the lid 14 is in the closed position.

In the example shown, each of the engagement elements 34 and 36 are positioned such that they are perimetrically opposed to the mounting portion (not shown). That is, the mounting portion is on one side of the container 10, adjacent wall 18 c and sidewall 24 c, and each of engagement elements 34 and 36 are on an opposite side 10 of the container, adjacent wall 18 a and sidewall 24 a. Accordingly, when the engagement elements 34 of the receptacle 12 and the engagement elements 36 of the lid 14 are engaged or locked together, the lid 14 is generally prevented from pivoting to the open position, and is secured in the closed position.

In alternate examples, one or more of the engagement elements 34 and 36 may not be perimetrically opposed to the mounting portion. For example, a third engagement element 34 may be provided on the receptacle, and a third engagement element 36 may be provided on the lid, and each may be positioned adjacent wall 18 b and sidewall 24 b.

The engagement elements 34 of the receptacle 12 may engage the engagement elements 36 of the lid 12 in a variety of ways.

In the examples shown, engagement element 34 a is defined in a first lid-coupling surface 30 a of the receptacle, which extends outwardly from an upper portion 23 of the at least one wall 18, and engagement element 34 b is defined in a second lid-coupling surface 30 b of the receptacle, which extends outwardly from an upper portion 23 of the at least one wall 18. Further, engagement element 36 a is defined in a first receptacle-coupling surface 32 a of the lid 14, which extends outwardly from the covering portion 20 of the lid 14, and engagement element 36 b is defined in a second receptacle-coupling surface 32 b of the lid 14, which extends outwardly from the covering portion 20 of the lid 14. The first receptacle-coupling surface 32 a is positionable adjacent the first lid-coupling surface 30 a of the receptacle 12 when the lid 14 is in the closed position, and the second receptacle-coupling surface 32 b is positionable adjacent the second lid-coupling surface 30 b when the lid 14 is in the closed position, such that the engagement elements 36 of the lid 14 may be locked with the engagement elements 34 of the receptacle 12.

In the example shown, the receptacle-coupling surfaces 32 and lid coupling surfaces 30 are generally configured as tabs. However, in alternate embodiments, they may be otherwise configured.

In the example shown, the lid coupling surfaces 30 extend generally transversely to the walls 18, and extend away from a central portion of the container 10. For example, as shown in FIG. 1, the first 30 a and second 30 b lid coupling surfaces are perpendicular to the walls 18. Similarly, the receptacle coupling surfaces 32 extend generally transversely to the sidewalls 24, and extend away from a central portion of the container 10

In the examples shown, the lid coupling surfaces 30 are continuous with flange 26, and the receptacle coupling surfaces 32 are continuous with flange 28. In alternate examples, the surfaces 30, 32 may not be continuous with the flanges 26, 28.

In the examples shown, engagement elements 34 of receptacle 12 each comprise an projection 38 or button extending upwardly from the lid coupling surfaces 30, and the engagement elements 36 of the lid 12 each comprise an recess 40 extending upwardly from the receptacle coupling surfaces 32. The projections 38 and the recesses 40 are generally sized such that the projections 38 are insertable into the recesses 40, and are frictionally held therein when force is applied to the lid 14. That is, the engagement elements 36 of the lid 14 are frictionally locked with the engagement elements 34 of the receptacle when the container is in the closed position.

In the embodiment shown, the projection 38 comprises an outwardly extending lip, rib, or flange 42, which extends about the periphery of the projection 38, and the recess 40 comprises an outwardly extending groove 44, in which the lip 42 sits when the projection 38 is inserted into the recess 40. The lip 42 and the groove 44 serve to further secure the projection in the recess.

In alternate examples, the engagement elements 34 of the receptacle 12 and the engagement elements 36 of the lid 14 may be otherwise configured. For example, the engagement elements 34 of the receptacle 12 may comprise the hook side of a hook-and-loop fastener, and the engagement elements 36 of the lid 14 may comprise the loop side of a hook-and-loop fastener.

As mentioned hereinabove, the projections 38 are insertable into the recesses 40, and are frictionally held or locked therein when force is applied to the lid 14. In general, the engagement element(s) 34 of the receptacle and engagement element(s) 36 of the lid 14 are configured such that when a force of a given amount (referred to hereinafter as a locking force) or less is applied to the lid 14 to lift the lid 14 off of the receptacle 12, the engagement element(s) 34 of the receptacle and the engagement element(s) 36 of the lid remain locked. That is, frictional locking of the anchoring and frangible engagement elements defines a locking force. More details regarding the locking force will be discussed further hereinbelow.

As noted hereinabove, when the lid 14 is opened for the first time, for example by a user, the container 10 provides visual evidence that the lid 14 has been opened. In order to provide the visual evidence, one of the receptacle 12 and the lid 14 comprises frangible engagement elements. That is, either the engagement element(s) 34 of the receptacle 12 or the engagement element(s) 36 of the lid 14 and is/are configured to sever from either the receptacle or the lid, respectively, when the lid is moved from the closed position to the open position. Further, the other of the receptacle 12 and the lid 14 comprises anchoring engagement elements. That is, either the engagement element(s) 34 of the receptacle 12 or the engagement element(s) 36 of the lid are is/are generally not severable from either the receptacle or the lid, respectively, when the container is moved from the closed position to the open position. Accordingly, the frangible engagement elements are integrally joined to the receptacle 12 or the lid 14, respectively when the lid is in the closed position, and the anchoring engagement elements are integrally joined to the receptacle 12 or the lid 14, respectively, when the lid is in the closed position and when the lid is moved from the closed position to the open position.

In the example shown, the engagement elements 34 of the receptacle 12 are anchoring engagement elements, and the engagement elements 36 of the lid 14 are frangible engagement elements. Further, in the example shown, in which the receptacle 12 comprises first 34 a and second 34 b engagement elements defined in first 30 a and second 30 b lid coupling surfaces, and the lid 14 comprises first 36 a and second 36 b engagement elements defined in first 32 a and second 32 b receptacle coupling surfaces, the frangible engagement elements are defined by a first frangible portion 46 a defined in the first receptacle coupling surface 32 a and generally surrounding the first engagement element 36 a of the lid 14, and a second frangible portion 46 b defined in the second receptacle coupling surface 32 b and generally surrounding the second engagement element 36 b of the lid 14.

When a force of a given amount (referred to hereinafter as severing force) or greater is applied to the lid 14 to move the lid 14 to the open position, the receptacle coupling surfaces 32 will break at the frangible portions 46, such that the frangible engagement elements 36 sever from the remainder of the lid 14. That is, the severing force is the minimum force applied across the frangible portion(s) at which the frangible engagement element(s) severs from the second body portion. Further, as mentioned hereinabove, when a force of less than or equal to a locking force is applied to the lid 14 to lift the lid 14 off of the receptacle 12, the engagement element(s) 36 and engagement element(s) 34 remain engaged. In the example illustrated, the container 10 is configured such that the locking force is greater than the severing force. Accordingly, when force is applied to lift the lid 14 off of the receptacle 12, the frangible portions 46 will break before the engagement elements 36 of the lid 14 and the engagement elements 34 of the receptacle 12 become disengaged. Accordingly, when the lid 14 is moved to the open position, the engagement elements 36 of the lid 14 and the engagement elements 34 of the receptacle 12 remain in locked engagement, and the engagement elements 36 of the lid 14 sever from the remainder of the receptacle coupling surfaces 32, and leave apertures 48 a, 48 b, in the receptacle coupling surfaces 32, as shown in FIG. 3. The apertures 48 can facilitate in providing a visual indicator to the user that the container 10 has been previously opened.

Furthermore, as the engagement elements 34 of the receptacle 12 are anchoring engagement elements and are generally infrangible, they retain the frangible engagement elements 36 when the lid 14 is opened. Accordingly a waste product separate from the container is not generated when the lid 14 is opened.

The frangible portions 46 generally facilitate severing of the frangible engagement element(s) 36, and may generally comprise a line of weakness generally surrounding each frangible engagement element 36. In the example shown, the frangible portions 46 each comprise a generally circular perforated line surrounding each engagement element 36. The perforated line may be of various configurations, as shown in FIGS. 2A-2C. In alternate examples, the frangible portion(s) 46 may comprise a line or region of reduced material, or a line or region of a weakened material.

As mentioned hereinabove the frangible engagement element(s) 36 are generally surrounded by a frangible portion 46. That is, in the example shown, wherein the frangible engagement elements 36 are defined generally centrally in the receptacle coupling surfaces 32, the frangible engagement elements 36 are fully surrounded by frangible portions 46. However, in alternate embodiments, wherein the frangible engagement elements 36 are defined at the edges of the receptacle coupling surfaces 32, the frangible engagement elements 36 may only be partially surrounded by frangible portions 46.

In the example shown, each aperture 48 formed when the lid 14 is moved to the open position is generally circular, and is sized to be slightly larger in diameter than the engagement element 36 of the lid 14. Accordingly, when the frangible portion breaks, the engagement element 36 of the lid 14, as well as a flange 50, is retained on the engagement element 34 of the receptacle 12. In alternate examples, the aperture(s) 48 may be otherwise shaped. For example, the aperture(s) 48 may be shaped to define a product or company logo.

In the example shown, the engagement elements 36 of the lid 14 are frangible engagement elements, and the engagement elements 34 of the receptacle 12 are anchoring engagement elements. In alternate embodiments, the engagement elements 36 of the receptacle 12 may be frangible engagement elements, and the engagement elements 34 of the lid 14 may be anchoring engagement elements.

In some examples, at least one prop member 52 is disposed between the lid 14 and the receptacle 12 when the container 10 is in or near the closed position. The prop member 52 can facilitate exerting a biasing force that biases the container towards a partially open position. In the example shown, the prop member 52 comprises a first 52 a, and a second 52 b upstanding wall, each of which extend from at least a portion the lid coupling surfaces 30. The upstanding walls 52 a, 52 b, are configured to prevent the receptacle coupling surfaces 32 from fully seating on the lid coupling surfaces 30 after the container has been opened and the frangible engagement elements have been severed. If the lid were allowed to fully seat on the base (pivot back to fully closed position), the frangible engagement elements, though severed from the lid, could invade the apertures, which could reduce the visual effectiveness of the “tamper” indication.

In the example shown, the receptacle coupling surfaces 32 each have a larger surface area than the lid coupling surfaces 30, and the upstanding walls 52 extend from an outer edge or periphery of the lid coupling surfaces 30. When the lid 14 is first pivoted towards the closed position, a portion of each receptacle coupling surface 32 engages (bears against) an upper edge of the walls 52. The lid 14 can be moved further closed, into the fully closed position by pressing the frangible engagements 36 of the lid 14 into engagement with the anchoring engagement elements 34, flexing or bending the coupling surface 32 (at a lateral area thereof between the upstanding wall and the engagement element) in the process. The prop member 52 exerts an upward biasing force on the lid 14, but this biasing force is overpowered by the locking force of the interengaged elements 34, 36. The biasing force is also less than the severing force, so that the frangible engagement element is neither severed from the lid nor disengaged from the anchoring engagement element 34 by the biasing force. Thus, the container is configured such that both the locking force and the severing force (discussed hereinabove) are greater than the biasing force exerted by the prop member. Accordingly, when the lid is in the closed position, and the engagement elements 34 are engaged with the engagement elements 36, the upstanding walls 52 apply a biasing force towards the partially open position, and receptacle coupling surfaces are bent between the engagement elements 36 and the upstanding walls 52, as shown in FIG. 1.

After the lid 14 has been opened and the frangible engagement elements 36 have been severed, the receptacle coupling surfaces 32 will not remain bent upon pivoting the lid 14 back to the fully closed position. Instead, the surfaces 32 will tend towards the lowest energy state, i.e. a flat, unflexed stated. The force of gravity will generally urge the lid downwards against the upstanding walls, but the receptacle coupling surfaces 32 will remain substantially flat, and will rest on the upstanding walls 52. Therefore, the receptacle coupling surfaces 34 will not fully seat on the lid coupling surfaces 30, the lid 14 will be at an angle with respect to the receptacle 12, and the container will be in a partially open position. This can enhance visual indication to a user that the lid 14 has been previously opened.

In the example shown, the upstanding walls are continuous with an upstanding wall 54 provided on flange 26. However, in alternate embodiments, one or more of the upstanding walls may not be continuous with upstanding wall 54.

Furthermore, in the example shown, a lower intermediate surface 56 is provided between the first 30 a and second 30 b lid coupling surfaces, along wall 18 a. Accordingly, the first and second lid coupling surfaces are generally continuous with each other. Further, an upstanding wall 58 is provided on the lower intermediate surface, and is continuous with the upstanding walls 52.

Similarly, in the example shown, an upper intermediate surface 58 is provided between the first 32 a and second 32 b receptacle coupling surfaces. Accordingly, the first 32 a and second receptacle 32 b coupling surfaces are generally continuous with each other.

However, in alternate examples, upper and/or lower intermediate surfaces may not be provided, and the first 30 a and second 30 b lid coupling surfaces and the first 32 a and second 32 b receptacle coupling surfaces may not be continuous with each other.

In the example shown, the container 10 is free of any releasably refastenable engagement elements. Accordingly, the container 10 is inhibited from being reclosed after the frangible engagement element(s) 36 has/have been severed from the lid 14. That is, after the container has been initially opened, it may not be resealed. This further renders the container tamper-evident, tamper-proof, and/or tamper-resistant.

In the example shown, receptacle 12 and lid 14 each comprise various grooves, ribs, notches, and other surface features. However, it will be appreciated that receptacle 12 and/or lid 14 may be provided without any such features, or with a different arrangement of features.

It will be appreciated that certain features, which are, for clarity, described in the context of separate examples or separate aspects, may also be provided in combination in a single example. Conversely, various features, which are, for brevity, described in the context of a single example or aspect, may also be provided separately or in any suitable sub-combination.

Although the invention has been described in conjunction with specific examples thereof, it is evident that many alternatives, modifications and variations will be apparent to those skilled in the art. Accordingly, it is intended to embrace all such alternatives, modifications and variations that fall within the spirit and broad scope of the appended claims. In addition, citation or identification of any reference in this application shall not be construed as an admission that such reference is available as prior art to the present invention.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US20070045317 *Aug 29, 2006Mar 1, 2007Rosender Adam KTamper evident thermoformed containers
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8608008Jul 29, 2011Dec 17, 2013Dart Container CorporationTamper evident container
US20130221008 *Feb 15, 2013Aug 29, 2013Albert A. WerthTamper-Evident Consumer Product Packaging
Classifications
U.S. Classification220/833
International ClassificationB65D43/14
Cooperative ClassificationB65D43/16, B65D55/024
European ClassificationB65D55/02F, B65D43/16
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jan 14, 2010ASAssignment
Owner name: PAR-PAK LTD.,CANADA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:PARIKH, SAMIR R., MR.;CHENAT, SAJITH, MR.;US-ASSIGNMENT DATABASE UPDATED:20100325;REEL/FRAME:23789/358
Effective date: 20091127
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:PARIKH, SAMIR R., MR.;CHENAT, SAJITH, MR.;REEL/FRAME:023789/0358