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Title:
Locking Pill Bottle
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Embodiments of the disclosed technology comprise a bottle, such as a prescription bottle, with an added safety feature, namely, tabs extending from the cap and bottle itself with portals extending there-through for a shackle of a lock. In this manner, prescription bottles, such as those known in the art of dispensing medicine, including those with safety caps, can be secured to a greater extent by way of a lock holding the cap to the bottle or preventing turning or removal of the cap.


Inventors:
Gartner, Joseph John (Brightwaters, NY, US)
Application Number:
12/634919
Publication Date:
06/16/2011
Filing Date:
12/10/2009
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
215/316, 215/329
International Classes:
B65D55/14; B65D41/02; B65D41/04
View Patent Images:
Claims:
I claim:

1. A bottle and cap system comprising: a bottle having a closed end and walls extending from said closed end forming a unitary structure with an aperture opening into an interior of said bottle, said bottle further comprising an exterior wall; a cap adapted for sealable engagement with said aperture of said bottle; a bottle tab forming a unitary structure with said bottle and extending angularly from said exterior of said bottle and comprising a portal there-through; a cap tab forming a unitary structure with said cap and extending parallel to said bottle tab when said cap is engaged with said bottle.

2. The bottle and cap system of claim 1 further comprising a lock, said lock comprising a shackle adapted for movable passage through said portal of said bottle tab and said aperture of said cap tab.

3. The bottle and cap system of claim 1, wherein said bottle tab is perpendicular to said exterior wall of said bottle.

4. The bottle and cap system of claim 1, wherein said cap engages with said bottle by way of threads, and said threads are configured such that, upon completely engaging said bottle and said threads, said portals of said tabs are aligned.

5. The bottle and cap system of claim 1, wherein a part of said bottle tab and a part of said cap tab are identical.

6. The bottle and cap system of claim 1, further comprising medicine within said interior of said bottle.

7. A method for locking a bottle comprising: placing a cap on said bottle; aligning a perpendicularly extending cap tab of said cap with a perpendicularly extending bottle tab of said bottle; passing a shackle of a lock through a portal in each said tab; engaging a locking mechanism of said lock.

8. The method of claim 7, wherein said cap engages with said bottle by way of threads, and said threads are configured such that, upon completely engaging said bottle and said threads, said portals of said tabs are aligned.

9. The method of claim 7, wherein a part of said bottle tab and a part of said cap tab are identical.

10. The method of claim 7, further comprising medication within an interior of said bottle.

11. A safety bottle requiring a user to push a cap of said bottle towards said bottle to twist said cap off said bottle, said cap comprising a tab and said bottle comprising a tab, each said tab having a different length and each tab comprising an alignable portal with respect to one another.

12. The safety bottle of claim 11, further comprising a lock adapted for removable passage through said portals.

13. The safety bottle of claim 12, wherein said cap is prevented from moving closer to said bottle when a shackle of said lock is passed through said portals.

14. The safety bottle of claim 13, wherein said lock is part of a kit comprising said bottle with said cap and said lock.

15. The safety bottle of claim 11, wherein, when said cap is engaged with said bottle, said bottle is sealed.

16. The safety bottle of claim 15, wherein said tabs are forced into alignment when said bottle is sealed.

Description:

FIELD OF THE DISCLOSED TECHNOLOGY

The disclosed technology relates generally to medicine containers and more specifically, to safety devices thereon.

BACKGROUND OF THE DISCLOSED TECHNOLOGY

Standard pill and medicine bottles are used throughout most of the world. Drug companies (manufacturers) often ship pills in bottles having screw-off caps, and pharmacies often repackage smaller numbers of pills into bottles, such as standard cylindrical brown bottles as are known in the art. Such bottles, whether from a drug manufacturer or pharmacy, often have safety mechanisms such as arrows on the cap and the bottle which must be lined up before the cap can be removed. Another common safety measure is requiring a user to push down on the cap before turning in order to remove the cap from the bottle.

The above-described safety mechanisms are often designed to ensure that children cannot open the bottles and swallow the pills inside, which, of course, can be very dangerous as they can choke on them and/or take too high a dosage. Unfortunately, the safety precautions do not outsmart many nimble-fingered children but may, instead, thwart adults from opening the bottles. The elderly, especially those with arthritis, or whose hands have lost their agility, and the uncoordinated amongst us often must struggle to open such pill bottles, or find a younger individual to help, which is sometimes ironically, a child or a teen who can open the bottle for us.

Devices which include a lock that requires use of a specific key to open the bottle are also known in the art, such as disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,604,581 to Van Iperin. However, such devices pass through the interior space of the bottle (where medicine and a metal shackle or outside air may come into contact and cause damage to the medicine) and their design requires significant modification to bottles known in the art.

Further, another problem with such prior art devices, including those with safety and locking features, is that an abuser may still access the medicine. Abuse, such as a teenager experimenting with a found pill to an addict using the pill to a pharmacy worker swiping narcotic pills, is not prevented by safety caps. Safety caps and such mechanisms are openable by teenagers, pharmacy technicians, and so forth. While pharmacies may be audited and each narcotic pill must be accounted for, if the barrier or preventive mechanisms were higher, less pills would be taken for illicit purposes.

What is needed in the art is a simple way to lock a bottle, such as a medicine bottle, which is inexpensive to produce and retains the safety elements of present devices. There is also need for a bottle which an adult, even if elderly and infirm, can operate, but a child cannot.

SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSED TECHNOLOGY

Therefore, it is an object of the disclosed technology to provide a secure bottle, such as a medicine bottle, which is easy for adults to open but difficult for children.

It is a further object of the disclosed technology to add greater security to medicine bottles.

It is yet a further object of the disclosed technology to require the least modification and expense to modify existing medicine bottles.

A bottle and cap system of the disclosed technology includes a bottle having a closed end and walls extending from the closed end forming a unitary structure with an aperture opening into an interior of the bottle. The bottle further has an exterior wall. A cap is adapted for sealable engagement with the aperture of the bottle. A bottle tab (that is, a tab forming a unitary structure with the bottle) extends angularly from the exterior of the bottle and has a portal passing through it. Similarly, a cap tab (that is, a tab forming a unitary structure with the cap) extends parallel to the bottle tab, especially when the cap is engaged (is on) the bottle. “Parallel” and “perpendicular” may be as such within an acceptable tolerance/margin of error as set by the manufacturer or user of the bottle, such as within 1, 2, or 5 degrees.

The bottle and cap system may further comprise a lock. Such a lock has a shackle adapted for movable passage through the portal of the bottle tab and the portal of the cap tab. The bottle tab (and therefore also the cap tab) may be perpendicular to the exterior wall of the bottle. The bottle and cap may engage with each other by way of threads, the threads and tabs oriented in such a manner that upon completely engaging the threads of the cap and bottle, the portals of the tabs are aligned. A part of the bottle tab and the cap tab (such as the outermost sections thereof, relative to the bottle itself) may be identical and medicine may be placed within the interior of the bottle in the system of the disclosed technology.

A method for locking a bottle, in an embodiment of the disclosed technology, functions by placing a cap on the bottle, aligning a perpendicularly extending cap tab of the cap with a perpendicularly extending bottle tab of the bottle, passing a shackle of a lock through an aperture in each tab, and engaging a locking mechanism of the lock. The cap may engage with the bottle by way of threads, the threads configured such that upon completely engaging the bottle with the threads of the cap, the portals of the tabs are aligned (within an acceptable tolerance/margin of error as set by the manufacturer or user of the bottle).

A safety bottle is also disclosed, requiring a user to push a cap of the bottle towards the bottle to twist the cap off the bottle. The cap has a tab and the bottle has a corresponding tab, each tab having a different length and each tab having an alignable portal, with respect to one another. A lock may be adapted for removable passage through the portal and included with the bottle and cap, such as with a kit. The cap may be prevented from moving closer to the bottle when a shackle of the lock is passed through the portals. When the cap is engaged with the bottle, the bottle may be sealed, and the tabs may be forced into alignment in this condition.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows a top view of a bottle and cap in a locked configuration in an embodiment of the disclosed technology.

FIG. 2 shows a side view of a bottle and cap in a locked configuration in an embodiment of the disclosed technology.

FIG. 3 shows a top view of a cap in an embodiment of the disclosed technology.

FIG. 4 shows a top view of a bottle in an embodiment of the disclosed technology.

FIG. 5 shows a side view of a bottle with cap thereon in an embodiment of the disclosed technology.

FIG. 6 shows a top view of a cap on a bottle with unaligned tabs in an embodiment of the disclosed technology.

FIG. 7 shows a perspective view of a cap on a bottle with unaligned tabs in an embodiment of the disclosed technology.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS OF THE DISCLOSED TECHNOLOGY

Embodiments of the disclosed technology comprise a bottle, such as a prescription bottle, with an added safety feature, namely, tabs extending from the cap and bottle itself with portals extending there-through for a shackle of a lock. In this manner, prescription bottles, such as those known in the art of dispensing medicine, including those with safety caps, can be secured to a greater extent by way of a lock holding the cap on the bottle or preventing turning or removal of the cap.

Embodiments of the disclosed technology will be further described below with reference to the figures.

FIG. 1 shows a top view of a bottle and cap in a locked configuration in an embodiment of the disclosed technology. A cap 100 is designed to fit securely on a corresponding bottle, in a manner that seals the bottle and contents inside. A tab 150 extends outwardly from the cap, perpendicular to the long side of the cap or at any other angle outwards from the cap, and a lock 300 with a shackle 350 extends through a portal in the tab to secure the cap to the bottle. The tabs of the disclosed technology, in embodiments thereof, form a unitary structure with the cap 100 or bottle 200 (see FIG. 2). The tabs may be formed on the cap or bottle at the time of manufacture or fixedly attached at a later time, such as by way of glue or other attachment methods.

FIG. 2 shows a side view of a bottle and cap in a locked configuration in an embodiment of the disclosed technology and will be described concurrently with FIG. 1. The bottle 200 comprises a corresponding tab 250 which, when aligned with the tab of the cap 150, has a portal allowing the shackle 350 of the lock 300 to extend there-through. In this manner, the cap 100, after having been placed/secured on the bottle 200 may be held in place by way of the tabs 150 and 250, with the shackle 350 of lock 300 passing through the tabs. Notches 220, in embodiments of the disclosed technology, extend outward from the periphery of the bottle 200 and are used to aid in securing the bottle and cap, as will be described further with reference to FIGS. 4 and 5.

The tabs 150 and 250, in an embodiment of the disclosed technology, are parallel to each other and perpendicular to the long axis (horizontal axis in FIG. 2) of the cap 100 and opening of the bottle 200. “Parallel” and “perpendicular” are used in this disclosure as within an acceptable tolerance level as defined by a manufacturer or user of the devices of the disclosed technology, such as within a margin of error of within 0.5, 1, or 2 degrees.

FIG. 3 shows a top view of a cap in an embodiment of the disclosed technology. The cap 100 comprises the tab 150 which comprises a portal 160. As described above, the cap and tab are a unitary structure either by way of having been produced from a single piece of material, such as a hard plastic, or by way of fixed attachment. The portal 160 is adapted for passage of a securing mechanism, such as a shackle of a lock, a rope, string, ring, metal loop (e.g., keychain loop) or other such mechanism.

FIG. 4 shows a top view of a bottle in an embodiment of the disclosed technology. A portal 260 within the tab 250 of the bottle 200 is similar to, or exactly like, the portal 160 of the tab 150 of the cap 100. Thus, the portal 260 is also adapted for passing of a securing mechanism such as a lock. The bottle 200 further comprises an exterior wall (see, for example, FIG. 2), an aperture (central region of the bottle 200 shown in FIG. 4) opening into an interior space of the bottle, and bottom wall. The side wall or walls extend up from the bottom wall and terminate at the aperture, e.g., at the top of the bottle. Notches 220 on the bottle are used to aid in securing the cap to the bottle, such as by passage of corresponding notches on the cap under, and rotatably past, the notches 200 of the bottle. Threads and threading systems, as are known in the art, may further be used in embodiments of the disclosed technology to attach a cap to a bottle.

Referring again to the tabs 150 and 250, the tabs, or an outward part of each tab, are identical (within a tolerance level) to each other with identically sized (within a tolerance level) portals 160 and 260, respectively. The length of the tabs, in embodiments of the disclosed technology, differ, as the cap 100 may extend outwardly (have a greater circumference) than that of the aperture of the bottle 200. Thus, the outer extremities of the tabs may be aligned, including the portals 160 and 260, while the interior portions (e.g., the length) may differ.

FIG. 5 shows a side view of a bottle with cap thereon in an embodiment of the disclosed technology. In an embodiment of the disclosed technology, the cap 100 and bottle 200 are configured in such a manner (such as by way of threads for threaded engagement) that in a fully engaged configuration thereof, such as when the cap is tightened on the bottle fully or when the cap is placed in a locked configuration, the tabs 150 and 250 are lined up, as shown in FIG. 5. Thus, they are ready for passage of a locking mechanism through their respective portals. As is known in the art of safety cap bottles, one is often required to push down on the cap, that is, push the cap in the direction of the bottle, before being able to turn the cap relative to the bottle. The shackle of a lock passing through the portals of the tabs, in embodiments of the disclosed technology, prevent such a pushing down of the cap towards the bottle, thus further securing a safety cap on a bottle. This is due to, for example, a rounded lock shackle preventing vertical movement of the tabs with respect to one another. Further, when using threads, for example, rotating the cap relative to the bottle is impossible when the bottle is locked, because the shackle of the lock or other locking mechanism passes through both tabs 150 and 250, preventing rotation thereof.

FIG. 6 shows a top view of a cap on a bottle with unaligned tabs in an embodiment of the disclosed technology. FIG. 7 shows a perspective view of a cap on a bottle with unaligned tabs in an embodiment of the disclosed technology. As can be seen in the figures, the tabs 150 and 250 extend outwardly in a similar manner and, in embodiments, appear to be the same from a top view, but are attached at different distances from a horizontal center of the cap/bottle.

Referring still to FIGS. 6 and 7, in a method of the disclosed technology, the cap 100 is placed on the bottle 200, for example, as shown in the Figures. Then, the perpendicularly extending cap tab 150 of the cap is aligned with the bottle tab 250, such as by way of turning the cap with respect to the bottle 200 which may further comprise threading same or attaching/rotating under notches 220. The bottle tab, likewise, extends perpendicularly, though from the bottle. Then, a shackle of a lock, such as shackle 350 of lock 300 (see FIG. 2) is passed through a portal in each tab, such as portal 160 and 260 (see FIGS. 3 and 4). The locking mechanism of the lock is then engaged, in embodiments of the disclosed technology. Medication may be placed within an interior space of the bottle 200 before securing the cap 100 and/or lock 300 to the bottle.

While the disclosed technology has been taught with specific reference to the above embodiments, a person having ordinary skill in the art will recognize that changes can be made in form and detail without departing from the spirit and the scope of the disclosed technology. The described embodiments are to be considered in all respects only as illustrative and not restrictive. All changes that come within the meaning and range of equivalency of the claims are to be embraced within their scope. Combinations of any of the methods, systems, and devices described hereinabove are also contemplated and within the scope of the invention.