Title:
Dispensing cap with cover
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A dispensing cap for a container includes a body defining a dispensing orifice and an opening/closing member. The opening/closing member can be hinged to the body. The cap includes a deformable portion which can deform to uncover a push region of the opening/closing member. The deformable portion can be integral with the body around the deformable portion's entire perimeter. Force applied to the push region causes the opening/closing member to move from a closed position to an open position in which the orifice is at least partly open.



Inventors:
Rousselet, Guilhem (Paris, FR)
Application Number:
10/145735
Publication Date:
11/28/2002
Filing Date:
05/16/2002
Assignee:
L'OREAL (Paris, FR)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
215/303, 215/305, 220/259.1, 206/581
International Classes:
B65D47/08; B65D50/04; (IPC1-7): B65D47/08
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
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20060086687Plastic container having crimp-on, pry-off crown finishApril, 2006Clutter et al.
20070181578Tamper evident fitment assemblyAugust, 2007Johnson
20040188373Vented, low-drip nursing bottleSeptember, 2004Lewis et al.
20090301987Stopper for Stopping a Receptacle Neck, a Receptacle Fitted with Such a Device, a Method of Stopping Such a Receptacle, andMethod of Manufacturing Such a DeviceDecember, 2009Luzzato et al.
20090057263HOT FILL CONTAINERMarch, 2009Barker et al.
20060151414Bottles, cans, and other storage structures with secondary storage compartments such as cap containersJuly, 2006Mullen
20080110929Fluid dispensing cap & bottle assemblyMay, 2008Stanley Traasdahl et al.
20040173565Pasteurizable wide-mouth containerSeptember, 2004Semersky et al.



Primary Examiner:
SMALLEY, JAMES N
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FOURTH FLOOR,OBLON SPIVAK MCCLELLAND MAIER & NEUSTADT PC (1755 JEFFERSON DAVIS HIGHWAY, ARLINGTON, VA, 22202, US)
Claims:

What is claimed as new and desired to be secured by Letters Patent of the United States is:



1. A dispensing cap comprising: a body defining a dispensing orifice; an opening/closing member coupled to the body; and a deformable portion disposed over a push region of the opening/closing member, said deformable portion being integral with said body around the deformable portion's entire perimeter, wherein said push region is uncovered when said deformable portion is deformed and wherein a force applied to said push region causes the opening/closing member to move from a closed position to an open position in which said orifice is at least partly open.

2. The cap according to claim 1, wherein said opening/closing member is coupled to said body by a hinge.

3. The cap according to claim 2, wherein the deformable portion is disposed on the body opposite said hinge.

4. The cap according to claim 2, wherein said push region of the opening/closing member is uncovered when said deformable portion is depressed along an axis approximately perpendicular to an axis of said hinge.

5. The cap according to claim 1, wherein said opening/closing member comprises a seal which seals said dispensing orifice in a closed position.

6. The cap according to claim 1, wherein said deformable portion is an elastically deformable portion.

7. The cap according to claim 1, wherein the force applied to said push region is distinct from a force applied to deform the deformable portion.

8. The cap according to claim 1, wherein the deformable portion has a maximum deformation which ranges from 0.5 to 5 mm.

9. The cap according to claim 1, wherein the deformable portion is formed of an elastically deformable material.

10. The cap according to claim 9, wherein said elastically deformable material is a material selected from the group consisting of a low-density polyethylene, elastomers including ethylene-propylene copolymers, polyether-block-amides, polyvinyls, ethylenepropylene-diene terpolymers, styrene-butadiene-styrene block copolymers, styrene-ethylene-butylene-styrene/styrene-isoprene-styrene block copolymers, thermoplastic polyurethanes, blends of polypropylene with one of the elastomers chosen from styrene-ethylene-butylene-styrene/styrene-isoprene-styrene block copolymers, ethylene-propylene-diene terpolymers, and styrene-butadiene-styrene block copolymers.

11. The cap according to claim 9, wherein said elastically deformable material includes a blend of polypropylene and styrene-ethylene-butylene-styrene.

12. The cap according to claim 9, wherein said elastically deformable material includes a polyethylene.

13. The cap according to claim 9, wherein said elastically deformable material includes an elastomer.

14. The cap according to claim 9, wherein said elastically deformable material includes a blend of polypropylene and at least one elastomer.

15. The cap according to claim 1, wherein: said body comprises a skirt, the deformable portion is integral with said skirt, and the deformable portion has a thickness which is less than a thickness of said skirt.

16. The cap according to claim 1, wherein said body is a molded thermoplastic.

17. The cap according to claim 16, wherein said thermoplastic is one of a propylene and a polyethylene.

18. The cap according to claim 1, wherein said body is mounted on a container containing a product to be dispensed.

19. The cap according to claim 18, wherein said product is a cosmetic product.

20. The cap according to claim 19, wherein said product is a hair-care product.

21. The cap according to claim 19, wherein said product is a body-care product.

22. The cap according to claim 18, wherein said body comprises: a sealing skirt around said dispensing orifice, wherein said deformable portion, said sealing skirt and said container define a cavity sealed from said product being dispensed when said opening/closing member is in said open position.

23. A dispensing cap comprising: a body defining a dispensing orifice; an opening/closing member coupled to the body; and a deformable portion disposed over a push region of the opening/closing member, wherein said push region is uncovered when said deformable portion is deformed and wherein a force applied to said push region causes the opening/closing member to move from a closed position to an open position in which said orifice is at least partly open, and wherein said deformable portion is at least partly delimited by a slot formed in said body, said slot having a base toward the dispensing orifice and arms extending away from the dispensing orifice so as to form a hinge portion which connects said deformable portion to said body.

24. The cap according to claim 23, wherein the slot is U-shaped.

25. The cap according to claim 23, wherein said arms of the slot converge toward said hinge portion.

26. The cap according to claim 23, wherein said opening/closing member is coupled to said body by a hinge.

27. The cap according to claim 23, wherein said opening/closing member comprises a seal which seals said dispensing orifice in a closed position.

28. The cap according to claim 23, wherein said deformable portion deforms without initiating an opening movement of the opening/closing member.

29. The cap according to claim 23, wherein said deformable portion is formed of an elastically deformable material.

30. The cap according to claim 29, wherein said elastically deformable material includes a blend of polypropylene and styrene-ethylene-butylene-styrene.

31. The cap according to claim 29, wherein said elastically deformable material includes a polyethylene.

32. The cap according to claim 29, wherein said elastically deformable material includes an elastomer.

33. The cap according to claim 29, wherein said elastically deformable material includes a blend of polypropylene and at least one elastomer.

34. The cap according to claim 23, wherein said body is mounted on a container containing a product to be dispensed.

35. The cap according to claim 34, wherein said product is a cosmetic product.

36. The cap according to claim 35, wherein said product is a hair-care product.

37. The cap according to claim 35, wherein said product is a body-care product.

38. The cap according to claim 34, wherein said body comprises: a sealing skirt around said dispensing orifice, wherein said deformable portion, said sealing skirt and said container define a space isolated from said product being dispensed, wherein said sealing skirt prevents said product being dispensed from flowing out through said slot.

39. A cap for dispensing a product from a container, said cap comprising: a body defining an orifice; a cover coupled to said body, said product being free from being dispensed through said orifice when said cover is in an open position and said product being prevented from being dispensed through said orifice when said cover is in a closed position; a deformable portion disposed on said body over a push region of said cover, wherein said push region is exposed when said deformable portion is deformed, whereby a force applied to said push region causes the cover to move from said closed position to said open position, and wherein said deformable portion, said body and said container define a space isolated from said product being dispensed when said cover is in said open position.

40. The cap according to claim 39, wherein said body comprises: a transverse wall defining said orifice, and a skirt extending from said transverse wall toward said container, wherein a first portion of said deformable portion is integral with said transverse wall, and a second portion of said deformable portion, different from said first portion, is integral with said skirt.

41. The cap according to claim 40, wherein said first portion and said second portion form an entire perimeter of said deformable portion.

42. The cap according to claim 39, wherein said body comprises: a transverse wall defining said orifice, and a sealing skirt integral with said transverse wall, around said orifice, and engaged against a neck of said container.

43. The cap according to claim 42, wherein said deformable portion is at least partly delimited by a slot formed in said body.

44. The cap according to claim 43, wherein the slot has a base toward the orifice and arms extending away from the orifice so as to form a hinge portion which connects said deformable portion to said body.

45. The cap according to claim 44, wherein the arms of said slot converge toward said hinge portion.

46. The cap according to claim 39, wherein a deformation of said deformable portion is decoupled from an opening movement of the cover.

47. The cap according to claim 39, wherein said cover is free from any portion that protrudes from a perimeter of the body in the closed position when said deformable portion is not deformed.

48. The cap according to claim 47, wherein said cover has a free edge that is set back from the perimeter of the body in the closed position when said deformable portion is not deformed.

49. A dispensing cap comprising: a body defining an orifice; a cover coupled to said body; and a deformable portion disposed on said body, wherein: in a first position, the deformable portion is not deformed, in a second position, the deformable portion is deformed so as to expose a push region of said cover, and a perimeter of said deformable portion is continuous with said body in said first and second positions.

50. The cap according to claim 49, wherein said cover is coupled to said body by a hinge.

51. The cap according to claim 50, wherein said cover comprises a seal which seals said orifice when said cover is in a closed position.

52. The cap according to claim 51, wherein said deformable portion is made of an elastically deformable material.

53. The cap according to claim 52, wherein said elastically deformable material includes a blend of polypropylene and styrene-ethylene-butylene-styrene.

54. The cap according to claim 52, wherein said elastically deformable material includes a polyethylene.

55. The cap according to claim 52, wherein said elastically deformable material includes an elastomer.

56. The cap according to claim 52, wherein said elastically deformable material includes a blend of polypropylene and at least one elastomer.

57. A dispensing cap comprising: a body defining an orifice; a cover coupled to said body; and a deformable portion disposed on said body wherein: in a first position, the deformable portion is not deformed, in a second position, the deformable portion is deformed so as to expose a push region of said cover, and at a periphery of said deformable portion, the deformable portion does not move relative to said body when said deformable portion passes from said first position to said second position.

58. The cap according to claim 57, wherein said cover is coupled to said body by a hinge.

59. The cap according to claim 58, wherein said cover comprises a seal which seals said orifice when said cover is in a closed position.

60. The cap according to claim 59, wherein said deformable portion is made of an elastically deformable material.

61. The cap according to claim 60, wherein said elastically deformable material includes a blend of polypropylene and styrene-ethylene-butylene-styrene.

62. The cap according to claim 60, wherein said elastically deformable material includes a polyethylene.

63. The cap according to claim 60, wherein said elastically deformable material includes an elastomer.

64. The cap according to claim 60, wherein said elastically deformable material includes a blend of polypropylene and at least one elastomer.

65. A cap for dispensing a product from a container, the cap comprising: a body defining an orifice; means for opening/closing said orifice; and means for exposing a push region of said means for opening/closing, wherein a force applied to said push region causes the means for opening/closing to move from a closed position to an open position.

66. The cap according to claim 65, further comprising means for coupling said body to said container.

67. The cap according to claim 65, further comprising means for sealing said orifice when said means for opening/closing is in said closed position.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This document claims priority to French Application No. 0106459 filed May 16, 2001, the entire content of which is hereby incorporated by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] 1. Field of the Invention

[0003] The present invention relates to a dispensing cap, particularly for a receptacle designed to contain a product. The product to be contained in the receptacle can be, but is not limited to, a cosmetic product, for example shampoo, a hair conditioner, a shower gel, a body milk or the like.

[0004] 2. Description of the Background

[0005] The French patent application publication FR-A-2 752 821 discloses a dispensing cap for a container. The dispensing cap includes a handgrip region, for example made of a depression in the body and a concave return in the cover, to facilitate opening and closing the cover. The concave return of the cover projects out slightly from the depression in the body to form a push region by which the cover can be opened by pressing on this region. The handgrip region is also formed by an elastomeric material which gives the user a pleasant feel and ease of handling.

[0006] Other systems facilitating cap opening have been proposed. The cap may be formed of a body having a slight indentation to provide a region at which to push on the lid. Pressing this push region of the lid allows easy opening of the cap. These systems facilitate the opening of the cap when the user wishes to do so intentionally. However, these systems also facilitate accidental opening of the cap, for example when the container is carried loose in a bag such as a cosmetic bag or the like. Such accidental openings occur because other rigid objects can come into contact with the cap and press on the push region so that the cap opens when not desired.

[0007] U.S. Pat. No. 4,892,208 discloses a cap including a body with a dispensing orifice closed by a cover hinged to the body. The cover includes a handgrip region that can be lifted about a vertical axis to open the cover. This handgrip region is accessible when the cover is in the closed position, but a snap-fit system must first be released before the cover can be lifted. A tab defined by slots is provided on the cap body and includes a tooth that engages with a complementary tooth provided on the cover so as to form the snap-fit system. To open the cap, the user depresses the tab with a transverse movement relative to the axis of opening in such a way as to release the tooth of the cover from the tooth of the tab and thus initiate the cover-opening movement. The user can then continue the opening movement by lifting the handgrip region. In this device, it is possible to move a portion of the cover and start to open it simply by depressing the tab.

[0008] As in the other systems mentioned above, a rigid object in a bag may be placed in contact with the cap and press on the tab to accidentally open the cap. Furthermore, since the handgrip is accessible when in the closed position, this protruding region can easily be caught by an external item, which may press on it and damage the snap-fit system. In addition, since the tab is defined by slots, the cavity formed behind the tab to allow it to be depressed is accessible when the cover is in the open position. The product can then flow out into such cavity and accumulate there in the course of multiple uses. This product accumulation may then make it difficult to depress the tab the next time the user attempts to open the container. Eventually it may become completely impossible to depress the tab and open the cap. As another drawback, when the tab is depressed into the cavity, the product present in the cavity may be pushed out of the cavity through the slots and get onto the user's fingers.

[0009] European patent application publication EP 379 775 and U.S. Pat. No. 4,723,669 disclose a cap formed by a body including a dispensing orifice closed by a cover hinged to the body. The body of the cap includes a deformable tab, of which a free edge rests against a free edge of the cover when the cap is closed. To open the cap, the user depresses the tab so that the free edge of the tab comes away from the free edge of the lid. The user then applies pressure to the free edge of the cover, thereby initiating the cover-opening movement. The cover-opening movement can then be continued by the user who can lift the free edge of the released cover. Once again, the opening of the cap can be initiated by accident. In addition, since the tab has a free edge, the cavity situated behind the tab, which allows the tab to be depressed, is accessible when the cover is in the open position. Product can then flow out into this cavity and cause the same problems as described earlier.

[0010] U.S. Pat. No. 4,629,081 discloses a cap including a body to which a cover is hinged. The cap possesses a tab which is defined by slots. The tab is capable of being depressed into a cavity in such a way as to unlatch a system used to latch the cover to the body. Once again, when the cap is in the open position, product can flow out through the slots and into the cavity behind the tab.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0011] It is one of the objects of the invention to provide a cap that improves upon conventional systems.

[0012] One particular object of the invention is to provide a cap that is relatively difficult to open unintentionally, yet relatively easy to open intentionally.

[0013] It is also another object of the invention to provide a cap with an opening system that can sustain repeated use.

[0014] It is yet another object of the invention to provide a cap with a relatively simple structure.

[0015] According to the invention, these objects are achieved by providing a dispensing cap for a container including a body with a dispensing orifice and an opening/closing member coupled to the body, for example via a hinge. The opening/closing member can seal the orifice in a closed position. The cap includes a deformable portion. The deformable portion can be integral with other portions of the cap, preferably all the way around the deformable portion's perimeter. In a deformed position, the deformable portion can uncover or expose a push region of the opening/closing member so that a force applied to the push region causes the opening/closing member to move from the closed position to an open position in which the orifice is at least partly open. The space defined by the deformable portion, the cap's body and the container can be isolated from the product being dispensed when the opening/closing member is in the open position.

[0016] Thus, the cap is configured to open following two distinct movements by its parts: First, the deformable portion deforms and uncovers a region of the opening/closing member that forms a push region. Then, the push region is pushed to move the opening/closing member to the open position. These movements can be initiated in a relatively simple manner by the user, who can, for example with the aid of his thumb, press on the deformable portion, and then push the uncovered push region, still with his thumb, until the opening/closing member is in the open position. On the other hand, accidental opening of the cap is unlikely because it would require the two distinct movements occurring by accident.

[0017] In a preferred embodiment, the deformable portion is elastically deformable and returns to its initial position when the force applied to it by the user to expose the push region of the opening/closing member is discontinued. Advantageously, after such a return to the deformable portion's initial position, the push region is covered up again by the elastically deformable portion. Force can no longer be applied to this push region to move the opening/closing member to the open position, thereby minimizing accidental openings.

[0018] In a preferred embodiment, the deformable portion is integral with other portions of the cap, preferably all the way around the deformable portion's perimeter. In this embodiment, there is no accessible cavity behind the deformable portion into which the product could flow in the open position because no opening is formed in the cap to create the deformable portion. This feature reduces the likelihood that the product dries around the deformable portion, which could hinder the deformation of the deformable portion and get onto the user's fingers.

[0019] Advantageously, the force applied to the push region is distinct from the force applied to deform the deformable portion. The deformable portion can therefore deform so as to expose the push region of the opening/closing member without moving the opening/closing member. In other words, the deformable portion can deform without initiating the opening movement of the opening/closing member. The deformation of the deformable portion is thus decoupled from the opening movement of the opening/closing member.

[0020] Since the opening movement of the opening/closing member is not initiated when the user uncovers the push region, if the user releases the pressure on the elastically deformable portion without having pushed the push region, the elastically deformable portion returns to its initial position and again prevents access to the push region. The elastically deformable portion thus keeps the opening/closing member in the closed position.

[0021] Advantageously, the deformable portion of the body can be formed on the body of the cap. In a preferred embodiment, the deformable portion is formed opposite the hinge coupling the opening/closing member to the cap's body. In this embodiment, the push region of the opening/closing member, which is exposed when the deformable portion is deformed, is thus situated opposite the hinge. The opening/closing member therefore pivots relatively easily about the hinge axis.

[0022] In a preferred embodiment, the deformable portion can uncover the push region of the opening/closing member when the deformable portion is depressed along an axis approximately perpendicular to the hinge axis. The user can easily perform this movement, for example with a thumb while holding the container with the other fingers.

[0023] In a preferred embodiment, the maximum deformation of the deformable portion ranges from 0.5 to 5 mm. The uncovered push region of the opening/closing member can thus be large enough to be pushed by a finger of the user. It can also be large enough to form the only region of the cap that can be pushed in order to place the opening/closing member in its open position. In a preferred embodiment, the opening/closing member is free from any portion that protrudes from a perimeter of the body in the closed position. Under this preferred embodiment, in the closed position, no region of the cap can be grasped or pushed to move the opening/closing member to its open position. In this embodiment, accidental opening of the cap becomes especially difficult.

[0024] In a preferred embodiment, the deformable portion is formed of an elastically deformable material. For example, the material may be chosen from a very-low-density polyethylene, elastomers including ethylenepropylene copolymers, polyether-block-amides, polyvinyls, ethylene-propylene-diene terpolymers (EPDM), styrene-butadiene-styrene block copolymers (SBS), styrene-ethylene-butylene-styrene/styrene isoprene-styrene block copolymers (SEBS-SIS), thermoplastic polyurethanes, blends of polypropylene with one of the elastomers chosen from styrene-ethylene-butylene-styrene/styrene-isoprene-styrene block copolymers (SEBS-SIS), ethylene-propylene-diene terpolymers (EPDM), and styrene-butadiene-styrene block copolymers (SBS).

[0025] In another embodiment, the deformable portion includes a thinner region of the body of the cap. In this embodiment, the whole body can be made of a single material, one portion being of reduced thickness. The region of reduced thickness, therefore, locally weakens the body in such a way that the weakened portion can be depressed. Alternatively, the deformable portion can have both a reduced thickness and formed of an elastically deformable material as described above.

[0026] Advantageously, the cap can be made by molding at least one injection-moldable thermoplastic chosen from, for example, polypropylenes and polyethylenes. The cap can be made by other processes as would recognize a person of ordinary skill in the art would.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0027] A more complete appreciation of the invention and many of the attendant advantages thereof will be readily obtained as the same becomes better understood by reference to the following detailed description when considered in connection with the accompanying drawings, wherein:

[0028] FIGS. 1A to 1C are different views of a first embodiment of a cap according to the present invention;

[0029] FIGS. 2A to 2C are different views of a second embodiment of a cap according to the present invention; and

[0030] FIGS. 3A and 3B are two views of a third embodiment of a cap according to the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0031] Referring now to the drawings, wherein like reference numerals designate identical or corresponding parts throughout the several views, a first embodiment of the present invention is in the form of a cap fitted on a container shown in FIGS. 1A through 1C is now described.

[0032] FIG. 1A shows a cap 10 in accordance with a first embodiment of the invention fitted on a container 100. The container 100 can be a bottle containing a cosmetic product, for example a hair-care product or a body-care product. The container 100 includes a body 110 of axis X. In the non-limiting embodiment shown in FIG. 1A, the body 110 has an ovoid transverse section throughout all or most of its height. The body 110 of the container 100 is closed at one end by a base 120. As shown in FIGS. 1B and 1C, the opposite end from the base 120 the body ends with a shoulder 130 connecting the body 110 to a cylindrical neck 140 whose diameter is smaller than the smallest transverse section of the body 100 of the container.

[0033] The neck 140 defines an internal passage along the axis X of the container 100, through which the product contained inside the container can flow out. The neck 140 has a free edge 141 and, at the opposite end of the neck from the free edge 141, its outer wall intrudes an annular indentation 142 configured to keep the cap 10 in place when fitted on the container. The container 100 can be made in one piece, for example by extrusion or injection blow molding in a thermoplastic, such as a polypropylene or a polyethylene. The cap 10 according to the invention can also be fitted on a tube, such as an extruded plastic tube, a rolled tube or an aluminum tube.

[0034] The cap 10 shown in the open position in FIG. 1A and in the closed position in FIGS. 1B and 1C includes a body 20 formed by a transverse wall 21. The transverse wall 21 can have a generally ovoid section, and can be designed to fit onto the free edge 141 of the neck 140 of the container 100. The transverse wall 21 can be integral with a skirt 22 formed all the way around its perimeter. The skirt 22 extends towards the body of the container 100 and can be configured to fit around the shoulder 130 of the container 100. When the cap is fitted on the container 100, the skirt 22 is formed approximately in the continuation of the body 110 of the container.

[0035] The transverse wall 21 defines a dispensing orifice 23, which can be formed approximately in the axis X of the container 100 and leading into the internal passage formed by the neck 140 of the container. A cylindrical fixing skirt 24, which can be integral with the transverse wall 21, is formed around the orifice 23. This skirt 24, which also extends towards the body of the container, can be configured to fit on the neck 140 of the container. The skirt 24 is preferably discontinuous in order to facilitate its fitting onto the neck 140 of the container. The fixing skirt 24 is provided, on its free edge, with an annular bead 25 configured to be housed in the annular indentation 142 of the neck 140 of the container in order to hold the body of the cap on the container.

[0036] A sealing skirt 27 can also be formed around the orifice 23. This sealing skirt 27 can be cylindrical and continuous and is formed on the inside of the fixing skirt 24. The sealing skirt 27 can be configured to engage on the inside of the neck 140 of the container. The sealing skirt thus provides, between the cap's body and the container, a cavity 300 sealed from the product being dispensed, even when the cover 30 is open.

[0037] A portion of the perimeter of the transverse wall 21 can include a living hinge 40 forming an articulation of a cover 30 so that the cover can pivot about an axis Y forming the axis of the hinge. Other hinge mechanisms can be used. For example, a spring-effect hinge, such as a flip-up hinge, may be used. The cover 30 can be dome-shaped with a peripheral edge 31.

[0038] On the inner surface of the cover 30 is a plug 32 configured to seal the orifice 23 when closed. In a preferred embodiment, the plug 32 includes a slight annular bead at its free end to keep the cover 30 in position on the body 20 of the cap 10 when in the cap is in the closed position. Other locking systems may alternatively be used, such as, for example, a tooth formed on the free edge of the cover 30 for snap-engagement in the body 20 of the cap 10.

[0039] In a preferred embodiment, in the closed position, no portion of the free edge of the cover 30 protrudes from the perimeter of the body 20 of the cap 10. In a preferred embodiment, the free edge of the cover 30 can be slightly set back from the perimeter of the body 20. Moreover, in a preferred embodiment, the outer surface of the cover 30 has no projecting parts on which force could be applied to cause the cover 30 to open. In a preferred embodiment, the cap 10 is made of a rigid material such as, for example, polypropylene. The cap 10 is preferably an all-in-one molding.

[0040] A portion 26 of the skirt 22 is deformable. This deformable region 26 can be, but need not be, situated opposite the hinge 40. In a preferred embodiment, this deformable region 26 is integral with portions of the cap's body 20 all the way round the deformable region's perimeter. Part of the deformable region's perimeter can be integral with the skirt 22 and another part can be integral with the transverse wall 21.

[0041] In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 1A to 1C, this deformable portion 26 is formed by an elastically deformable material 260. As an example, this may be an elastomer blend of polypropylene and styrene-ethylene-butylene-styrene (SEBS), such as SANTOPRENEā„¢, for example. SANTOPRENEā„¢ is commercialized by AES. In this embodiment, the whole cap can be produced for example by twin-shot injection molding of the material forming the cap and of the material forming the elastically deformable portion.

[0042] To move the cover 30 from its closed position shown in FIG. 1B to its open position shown in FIG. 1A, the user depresses the deformable region 26 in the direction of the arrow F1 so as to uncover a region 310 of the free edge 31 of the cover 30. In a preferred embodiment, this deformation of the deformable region 26 does not initiate, i.e., is decoupled from, the opening movement of the cover 30. The user can then lift the cover 30 in the direction of the arrow F2, by pushing on the exposed push region 310 of the free edge 31. The plug 32 then comes out of the dispensing orifice 23 and the product contained in the container can flow out of the container through the orifice 23 in response for example to pressure on the body of the container.

[0043] In a preferred embodiment, the perimeter of the deformable portion 26 is continuous with the body 20 when the deformable portion is not deformed and when the deformable portion is deformed. At the periphery of the deformable portion 26, the deformable portion 26 does not move relative to the body 20 when the deformable region 26 passes from a non-depressed position to a depressed position.

[0044] Because the deformable region 26 is integral with the body 20 all around the deformable region's perimeter, the cavity 300 defined by the deformable region 26, the body 20, and the container 100 is sealed from the product being dispensed, even when the cover 30 is in the open position. Advantageously, no product accumulates over time in this cavity 300 behind the deformable region 26 so that the operation of the deformable region 26 is not compromised.

[0045] FIGS. 2A to 2C illustrate a second embodiment of the cap according to the present invention. This embodiment differs from that illustrated in FIGS. 1A to 1C in that the body of the cap 20 is formed by a peripheral wall 22 which decreases with distance from the container until it defines an orifice 23. In the example shown in FIGS. 2A to 2C, the peripheral wall 22 is of ovoid transverse section, but other shapes are possible. The cover 30 is formed by a tab 30 coupled to the body 20 of the cap 10, for example by a living hinge 40 that enables the tab 30 to pivot about a hinge axis Y. The tab 30 can be generally arcuate so as to roughly follow the outer wall of the body 20 in the closed position.

[0046] In this embodiment, the deformable portion 26 is formed by a region 261 of reduced thickness of the peripheral wall 22. The thickness of the region 261 can for example be about 0.2 mm, whereas that of the remainder of the peripheral wall 22 can be about 1 mm. In a preferred embodiment, the region 261 is integral with a portion of the cap's body 20, preferably all the way around the deformable region's perimeter. In a preferred embodiment, the region 261 is situated on the opposite side from the living hinge 40.

[0047] As shown in FIG. 2C, the user depresses this region of reduced thickness 261 in the direction of the arrow F1 in such a way as to expose a region 310 of the free edge 31 of the tab 30 without moving the tab. The user can then lift the tab 30 in the direction of the arrow F2 by pushing on the region 310. The tab pivots about the hinge axis Y so as to open the dispensing orifice 23, the cap 10 now being in the open position as shown in FIG. 2A. As in the first embodiment, a sealing skirt 27 can be provided to the body 20 of the cap 10 to form, between the cap's body 20 and the container 100, a cavity 300 sealed from the product to be dispensed, even when the cover 30 is open. Advantageously, the sealing skirt 27 prevents any of the product from accumulating behind the deformable region 26.

[0048] The third embodiment shown in FIGS. 3A and 3B differs from that illustrated in FIGS. 2A to 2C only with respect to the deformable portion 26. In this embodiment, the deformable portion 26 is formed by an elastically deformable material 260 which is partly delimited by a slot 262 formed in the body 20 of the cap 10. The slot 262 can have a base 310 toward the dispensing orifice 23 and arms 320 extending away from the dispensing orifice 23 so as to form a hinge portion 330 which connects the deformable portion 262 to the body 20. For example, the slot 262 can be in the shape of a U with arms 320 converging toward the hinge portion 310.

[0049] As illustrated in FIG. 3B, the user depresses the portion 26 defined by the slot 262 in the direction of the arrow F1. The base of the U thus recedes to expose a portion 310 of the free edge 31 of the tab. The user can then lift the tab 30 in the direction of the arrow F2 by pushing on the portion 310. The tab 30 pivots about the hinge axis Y in such a way as to open the dispensing orifice 23. In a preferred embodiment, the cylindrical skirt 27 forms a seal around the dispensing orifice 23. In this embodiment, the deformable portion 26, the sealing skirt 27, the peripheral wall of the cap's body, and the shoulder 130 of the container 100 define a space 300 isolated from the product being dispensed. The sealing skirt 27 prevents the product being dispensed from flowing out through the slot 262.

[0050] Alternatively, the elastically deformable portion 26 can be a combination of two of the three embodiments described above, or a combination of all three. Obviously, numerous modifications and variations of the present invention are possible in light of the above teachings. It is therefore to be understood that within the scope of the appended claims, the invention may be practiced otherwise than as specifically described herein.