|Publication number||USRE40003 E1|
|Application number||US 11/285,727|
|Publication date||Jan 15, 2008|
|Filing date||Nov 21, 2005|
|Priority date||Nov 24, 1993|
|Publication number||11285727, 285727, US RE40003 E1, US RE40003E1, US-E1-RE40003, USRE40003 E1, USRE40003E1|
|Inventors||Paul H. Bennett, Thom M. Perlmutter|
|Original Assignee||Bennett Paul H, Perlmutter Thom M|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (10), Referenced by (8), Classifications (7), Legal Events (1)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The present application is a continuation of U.S. application Ser. No. 08/697,272, entitled TAMPER-EVIDENT CONTAINER CLOSURE filed Aug. 21, 1996, now U.S. Pat. No. 5,711,443 issued Jan. 27, 1998, which is a continuation of Ser. No. 08/157,730, entitled TAMPER EVIDENT CONTAINER CLOSURE filed on Nov. 24, 1993, now abandoned.
1. Field of the Invention
This invention relates generally to closures for containers and more particularly to an improved tamper-evident container closure.
2. Discussion of the Prior Art
Containers of the kind with which this invention is concerned are used to contain a wide variety of products including both liquids and solids. These products may be divided into two broad categories which are (a) products for human consumption or application to the human body, such as medicinal and non-medicinal liquids, solids, lotions, pills, capsules and the like, and (b) other products, such as household products and the like. This invention is particularly concerned with containers for category (a) products and will be described in the context of such containers. It will become readily evident as the description proceeds, however, that the closure may also be used on containers for category (b) products. While such containers vary widely in shape and size, they are all characterized by a container body having a normally upper portion or end containing an opening through which the container contents are accessed, and a closure in the form of a container sealing cap or the like to be secured to the upper portion or end of the container body for closing the opening. For convenience, this upper end portion of the container to which the container sealing cap is secured is referred to as the neck of the container regardless of the container shape.
A relatively few years ago, containers of the character described were commonly closed by simple caps threaded or otherwise secured to the container necks. Over the years, tampering with such containers, particularly containers for the category (a) mentioned above, has become an ever increasing problem and danger. In many cases, tampering has involved the introduction of lethal substances into the containers which resulted in the deaths of persons who later consumed some of the container contents. For this reason, an ever increasing number of product containers of the kind described, particularly containers for category (a) products, are being made tamper-evident. In this context, tamper-evident means that it is readily evident from the appearance of the container closure whether or not the container has been previously opened.
A wide variety of ways have been devised to render containers tamper-evident. Following are some of these ways: enclosing a container in an outer tamper-evident package which cannot be opened without altering it in a manner which clearly indicates the package has been opened; evacuating and sealing a container in such a way that absence of the sound of air entering the container or some other sound resulting from the loss of container vacuum when the container is opened indicates the container has been previously opened; sealing a container with a tamper-evident closure which is torn, ruptured, or otherwise altered when opened.
This invention provides an improved tamper-evident closure for containers including an upper neck having an open normally upper end, and a circumferential shoulder about the neck below its upper end. This tamper-evident closure comprises a tamper-evident cap including a circumferential side wall having normally upper and lower ends, an upper end wall joined to the upper end of he side wall and closing the upper end of the cap, an opening in the lower end of the cap circumferentially surrounded by the lower end of said side wall, and cap retaining means on the lower end of the side wall engagable with the container shoulder to prevent upward removal of the cap from the container neck. The preferred cap retaining means are inwardly projecting resilient prongs which are spaced about the lower end of the cap side wall and are upwardly angled in a manner such that the container shoulder deflects these cap retaining prongs outwardly to permit the prongs to pass freely over the shoulder in the downward direction during placement of the cap on the container. The prongs then spring inwardly under the container shoulder to prevent upward removal of the cap from the container neck.
The side wall of the cap has a parting region extending circumferentially about the side wall between its ends at which the cap may be parted into upper and lower cap portions. These cap portions are joined along the circumferential parting region by junction means to which a force may be applied to part the cap along the parting region. Parting of the cap along this parting region permits removal of the upper cap portion from the container by a legitimate user to uncover the container neck and provides an indication to a prospective buyer or legitimate user that the container has been previously opened. In the preferred embodiments of the invention described herein, this junction means comprises a tear strip which may be pulled to sever the cap along the parting region.
In one presently preferred embodiment of the tamper-evident closure described herein the tamper-evident cap is designed to placed over the neck of a container having its own sealing cap. This tamper-evident cap is assembled on such a container by simply pushing the cap downwardly over the container neck and its sealing cap and serves as a tampering indicator only. Other preferred embodiments of the present tamper-evident closure described herein serve the dual purpose of a tampering indicator and a container seal. These dual purpose tamper-evident closures are designed for placement on containers which do not have their own sealing caps and include a tamper-evident cap similar to that of the single purpose tamper-evident closure mentioned above, and means within the cap for sealing the open upper end of container.
The preferred tamper-evident caps described herein have a frangible rupture line along the circumferential parting region of the cap which is stressed when any attempt is made to remove the closure from the container in any other way than by exerting a proper cap parting force on the junction means of the cap. For example, any attempt to unscrew the tamper-evident cap from the container will stress the cap along the rupture line, and this stress will cause the cap to rupture along the rupture line to indicate to a prospective purchaser or legitimate user that the container has been previously opened.
The preferred dual purpose tamper-evident closures described are tamper-evident cap assemblies having an outer tamper-evident cap like that discussed above which provides a tamper indicator for the container and an inner container sealing cap. This inner sealing cap is rotatable with the outer tamper-evident cap and includes internal screw threads for engaging the screw threads on the container neck and sealing means for sealing the open upper end of the neck. During assembly of a dual purpose tamper-evident closure or cap assembly on a container, the inner sealing cap is rotatable by rotation of the outer tamper-evident cap to screw the inner cap onto the container neck. It will become evident as the description proceeds, however, that a dual purpose cap according to the invention could have a unitary cap design in which the inner screw threads and container sealing means within the outer tamper-evident cap are an integral part of this cap.
A tamper-evident closure of the invention may be used on containers intended to be sealed by various types of sealing caps. For example, certain tamper-evident closures of the invention described herein are intended for use on containers which are normally closed by simple threaded sealing caps. Other described tamper-evident closures of the invention are intended for use on containers in the form of squeeze bottles which are normally closed by liquid dispensing caps.
Referring now to these drawings and first to
The tamper-evident closure 10 comprises a tamper-evident cap 20 having normally upper and lower ends 22 and 24, a generally cylindrical side wall 26, and an upper end wall 28 joined to the upper end of the side wall and closing the upper end of the cap. The lower end of the cap is open. Joined to the lower end of the cap side wall 26, about the lower end opening in the cap, are cap retaining means 30 which engage the lower side of the container shoulder 18 to prevent upward removal of the tamper-evident cap 20 from the container neck 14.
The tamper-evident cap 20 includes upper and lower cap portions 32, 34, a parting region 36 extending circumferentially about the cap side wall 26 between these upper and lower cap portions at which the cap may be parted to separate the upper cap portion 32 from the lower cap portion 34, and junction means 38 joining the cap portions along the parting region. A force may be applied to this junction means to part the cap side wall 26 along the parting region 36 in a manner which serves the twofold purpose of indicating the container has been opened and permitting upward removal of the upper cap portion 32 from the container neck to enable a legitimate user to access the container contents.
The tamper-evident container closure 10 illustrated in
Referring now in more detail to
The cap retaining means 30 on the outer tamper-evident cap 20 comprises a plurality of upwardly angled, resiliently flexible prongs 48 circumferentially spaced about the inner side of and integrally joined to the lower end of the outer cap side wall 26. These prongs extend inwardly toward the longitudinal axis of the outer cap and upwardly toward the upper end of the outer cap at an oblique angle to the cap side wall 26. As shown in
The junction means 38 of the tamper-evident cap assembly 10 is a tear strip comprising a circumferential portion 54 of the outer cap side wall 26 between the upper and lower outer cap portions 32, 34. This portion 54 of the outer cap side wall 26 is joined to the upper and lower cap portions 32, 34 along circumferential frangible rupture or tear lines 56 formed by circumferential grooves 58 in the side wall 26 and slits in the side wall spaced along the grooves. Integrally joined to one end of the tear strip 38 is a pull tab 60 overlying an opening 61 in the cap side wall 26 which permits grasping of the pull tab. The tear strip 38 may be pulled by grasping and pulling on the pull tab 60 to sever the outer cap side wall 26 along the tear lines 56. Severing the outer tamper-evident cap 20 in this way parts the cap along the parting region 36 in a manner which serves the twofold purpose of indicating the container has been opened and separating the upper cap portion 32 from the lower cap portion 34 to permit upward removal of the upper cap portion from the container 12.
The tamper-evident closure 10 is used in this way. The closure 10 is assembled on the container 12 by placing the closure axially downward over the upper end of the container neck 14 to an initial position in which the threads 44 on the inner cap 46 engage the threads 40 on the container. The outer cap 20 is then rotated to rotate the inner cap 46 relative to the container in a direction to screw the inner cap, and thereby the entire closure, onto the container. The closure is finally tightened to firmly press the inner cap seal 44 against the upper end 16 of the container neck 14 and thereby seal the container. During this assembly of the closure 10 on the container 12, the retaining prongs 48 on the outer tamper-evident cap 20 engage the container shoulder 18 and are deflected upwardly and outwardly by the shoulder to permit the prongs to pass over the shoulder. The prongs then spring inwardly below the shoulder to prevent upward movement of the cap assembly from the shoulder.
The container 12 can be easily opened by a buyer or user by grasping and pulling on the pull tab 60 to tear the tear strip 38 from the outer tamper-evident cap 20. The upper portion 32 of the outer cap 20 is thereby parted from the lower cap portion 34 to permit removal of the upper cap portion and the inner cap 46 from the container. Removal of the upper portion 32 of the outer tamper-evident cap 20 and the inner cap 46 from the container is accomplished by rotating the upper portion 32 of the outer cap in a direction to unscrew the inner cap 46 from the container. The container may be reclosed by replacing the inner cap 46 on the container after removing the inner cap from the outer cap portion 32, if this is possible, or along with the outer cap portion 32 in the event that this outer cap portion and the inner cap are permanently joined.
Obviously, any attempt to tamper with the container 12 by opening the container in the manner explained above would be immediately evident to a prospective purchase or user. The container cannot, however, be opened in any other way for tampering purposes without the closure clearly evidencing such tampering. In this regard, the frangible rupture or tear lines 56 of the outer tamper-evident cap 20 are designed to rupture or tear if the a person seeking to tamper with the container attempts to open the container by simply unscrewing the closure 10, from the container. Thus, rotation of the closure in a direction to unscrew the inner sealing cap 46 from the container urges the inner cap shoulder 49 upwardly against the outer cap shoulder 47 and thereby urges the outer cap retaining prongs 48 upwardly against the lower side of the container shoulder 18. As a consequence, this rotation of the closure 10 urges the upper portion 32 of the outer cap 20 and inner cap 46 upwardly relative to both the container and the lower portion 34 of the outer cap and thereby stresses the outer cap along the frangible tear or rupture lines 56 of the outer cap. The outer cap is designed to rupture along one or both of these lines under this stress to indicate container tampering. As explained later in connection with
It is evident from the foregoing description that if the inner sealing cap of the tamper-evident closure or cap assembly 10 of
The modified tamper-evident container closure 10a of
The modified tamper-evident closure 10a is used in this way. The container sealing cap 46a will be tightly threaded on the neck 14a of the container 12a to seal the upper open end of the neck, prior to assembly of the tamper-evident cap 20a on the container. The cap 20a is assembled on the container by simply pushing the cap downwardly over both the container neck 12a and the sealing cap 46a, on the neck to a position in which the cap retaining prongs 48a engage under the container shoulder 18a. In this regard, it will be understood from the description to this point that when the tamper-evident cap 20a is pushed downwardly over the container neck, the retaining prongs 48a on the cap are deflected outwardly by the container shoulder 18a to permit the prongs to pass over the shoulder in much the same way as the prongs 48 in
The container 12a is opened by first pulling the tear strip 38a of the tamper-evident cap 20a to part of the upper cap portion 32a from the lower cap portion 34a in the same manner as explained in connection with
The dispensing cap 46b may be associated with the tamper-evident cap 20b in either of two different ways. According to one of these ways, the dispensing cap forms part of the container 12b and is placed on the container prior to and totally independent of placement of the tamper-evident cap 20b on the container. In this case, the tamper-evident cap 20b is internally sized to fit loosely or slidably over the dispensing cap 46b and is applied to the container 12b by pushing the tamper-evident cap downwardly over the container neck 14b and the dispensing cap 46b in the same manner as described above in connection with
The inner dispensing cap 46b may be removably and non-rotatably engaged within the outer tamper-evident cap 20b in various ways. According to the preferred practice of the invention, this is accomplished by providing the inner dispensing cap and the upper portion 32b of the outer tamper-evident cap with longitudinal serrations 62b, as shown in FIG. 8. These serrations slidably engage one another when the outer and inner caps are assembled, either by pushing the outer cap downwardly over the inner cap when placing the outer cap on the container 12b (if the inner cap forms part of and is previously assembled on the container), or by insertion of the inner cap into the outer cap prior to placing either cap on the container (if the inner cap forms part of the closure 10b). The serrations 62b effectively key the two caps against relative rotation in such a way as to (a) enable the inner dispensing cap 46b to be screwed onto the container neck 14b by rotation of the outer tamper-evident cap 20b, (b) permit entry of the dispensing cap into the tamper-evident cap prior to or during assembly of the outer cap on the container, and (c) permit upward removal of the upper tamper-evident cap portion 32b from the dispensing cap after this upper cap portion has been severed from the lower cap portion 34b by pulling the tear strip 54b of the tamper-evident cap. The caps 20b, 46b have engagable inner and outer shoulders 47b, 49b, respectively, like the earlier described caps 20, 46 and 20a, 46a, which limit entry of the inner cap into the outer cap.
The tamper-evident cap 20c and dispensing cap 46c may be associated in either of the two different ways discussed above in connection with FIG. 5. Thus, the dispensing cap 46c may form part of the container 12c and be placed on the container prior to and totally independent of placement of the tamper-evident cap 20c on the container. In this case, the tamper-evident cap 20c is pushed downwardly over the container neck 12c and the dispensing cap 46c. Alternatively, the dispensing cap 46c may be removably fitted into the upper portion 32c of the tamper-evident cap 20c in such a way that the inner dispensing cap forms part of the tamper-evident closure and is rotatable by rotation of the outer tamper-evident cap. In this latter case, both caps are assembled on the container 12c simultaneously by rotating the outer cap 20c to screw the inner cap 46c onto the container in the same way as described above in connection with FIG. 5. The tamper-evident cap 20c thus provides a tampering indicator for the container 12c, and the upper portion 32c of the cap 20c is removed from the container 12c and its dispensing cap 46b to access the dispensing cap by first pulling the tear strip 54c to part the upper tamper-evident cap portion 32c from the lower cap portion 34c and then removing the upper cap portion upwardly from the dispensing cap.
The tamper-evident cap 20c differs from the tamper-evident cap 20b of
The modified tamper-evident closure 10d of
Within the outer tamper evident cap 20e is an inner container sealing cap 46e. As in the tamper evident closures of
The tamper-evident cap 20e and the container sealing cap 46e differ from those of
The container sealing cap 46e is essentially identical to the earlier described sealing caps of
From the above description, it is evident that the tamper-evident cap 20a and the container sealing cap 46e are assembled on a container (not shown) of the type described earlier and are removable from the container in the same manner as explained in connection with
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|Citing Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US8550737||Sep 20, 2010||Oct 8, 2013||Adhezion Biomedical, Llc||Applicators for dispensing adhesive or sealant material|
|US9066711||Nov 2, 2011||Jun 30, 2015||Adhezion Biomedical, Llc||Applicators for storing sterilizing, and dispensing an adhesive|
|US9309019||May 20, 2011||Apr 12, 2016||Adhezion Biomedical, Llc||Low dose gamma sterilization of liquid adhesives|
|US9428308||Apr 5, 2012||Aug 30, 2016||Bericap||Stopper having a sliding plug and comprising multiple distribution holes|
|US9533326||Jun 1, 2015||Jan 3, 2017||Adhezion Biomedical, Llc||Applicators for storing, sterilizing, and dispensing an adhesive|
|US20060169355 *||Feb 21, 2006||Aug 3, 2006||Fun Wah Arthur Wong||Mounting device|
|US20090294452 *||Apr 28, 2006||Dec 3, 2009||David Murray Melrose||Receptacle connectable on top of a cap closure|
|US20130136382 *||Apr 13, 2011||May 30, 2013||Robert Bosch Gmbh||Plastic closure|
|U.S. Classification||215/256, 215/258, 215/251, 220/255, 220/256.1|