Title:
Bottle cap and condiment bottle comprising the same
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A bottle cap and cap and bottle combination suitable for use with condiments are described. The cap has a small and large orifice and is designed for use on squeezable bottles to ensure complete removal of condiment within the squeezable bottle.



Inventors:
Merolla, Thomas Vincent (Hillsborough, NJ, US)
Application Number:
10/323407
Publication Date:
06/24/2004
Filing Date:
12/19/2002
Assignee:
Unilever Bestfoods North America
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
215/235, 220/254.3, 222/556
International Classes:
B65D47/08; (IPC1-7): B65D51/18
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NGO, LIEN M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
UNILEVER PATENT GROUP (ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, NJ, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A cap for a squeezable condiment bottle comprising: (a) a first orifice suitable to squeeze condiment through; (b) a second orifice, larger than the first orifice, and suitable to obtain condiment with a kitchen utensil; and (c) a means for attaching the cap to a squeezable condiment bottle.

2. The cap for a squeezable condiment bottle according to claim 1 wherein the first orifice and the second orifice are present within an identical or non-identical plane.

3. The cap for a squeezable condiment bottle according to claim 1 wherein the cap is threaded on or snapped on to the squeezable condiment bottle.

4. The cap for a squeezable condiment bottle according to claim 1 wherein the squeezable condiment bottle contains salad dressing, mustard, yogurt, peanut butter, ketchup, barbecue sauce, cheese spread, mayonnaise, fruit puree or jelly.

5. A cap for a squeezable condiment bottle comprising: (a) a cover operatively connected to a rim of the cap, the cover, when moved, able to expose a first orifice of the cap present within a first cap plate also operatively attached to the rim of the cap and under the cover; and (b) a second orifice, larger than and located under the first orifice, that forms a top portion of the rim or is present within a second cap plate attached to the rim, the second orifice being exposable by moving the first cap plate.

6. The cap for a squeezable condiment bottle according to claim 5 wherein the first orifice and the second orifice are not present in an identical plane.

7. The cap for a squeezable bottle according to claim 6 wherein the second orifice is underneath the first orifice.

8. The cap for a squeezable condiment bottle according to claim 5 wherein the cap is threaded on or snapped on the squeezable condiment bottle.

9. The cap for a squeezable condiment bottle according to claim 5 wherein the squeezable condiment bottle contains salad dressing, mustard, yogurt, peanut butter, ketchup, barbecue sauce, cheese spread, fruit puree or jelly.

10. A cap for a squeezable condiment bottle comprising: (a) a rim with a bottom portion suitable for attachment to a squeezable bottle; (b) a plate attached to a top portion of the rim, the plate comprising at least two flaps operatively connected to the plate; and (c) a first and second orifice in the plate wherein the first orifice is located under one flap and the second orifice is located under a second flap, the first orifice being smaller than the second orifice and suitable to squeeze condiment through, the second orifice being larger than the first orifice and suitable to receive a kitchen utensil to remove condiment from the squeezable bottle.

11. The cap for a squeezable condiment bottle according to claim 10 wherein the cap is threaded on or snapped on to the squeezable condiment bottle.

12. The cap for a squeezable condiment bottle according to claim 10 wherein the squeezable condiment bottle contains salad dressing, mustard, yogurt, peanut butter, ketchup, barbecue sauce, cheese spread, mayonnaise, fruit puree or jelly.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention is directed to a bottle cap. More particularly, the invention is directed to a bottle cap comprising a first and second orifice. The first orifice of the cap is positioned near the second orifice, and the cap is suitable for use on a condiment bottle to ensure complete removal of condiment present within the same.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] It is typically desirable to package condiments like salad dressings, mustard, yogurt, peanut butter, ketchup, barbecue sauces, cheese spreads, mayonnaise, fruit puree, jelly and the like in bottles. Such bottles are often plastic and squeezable and may be designed to stand either right-side up or up-side down.

[0003] While plastic bottles are conventional for condiment packaging, they are often deficient because complete removal or evacuation of condiment from the bottles is difficult. Often, for example, condiment viscosities and surface active properties, along with the properties of the bottle, cause the condiment to adhere or stick to the sides of the bottle. Other problems associated with condiment removal from bottles arise when condiment partially blocks or even clogs the relatively small opening found in caps used on conventional condiment bottles. Even other problems arise when the bottles are not completely full with condiment. This is true because squeezing, for example, a half-filled plastic bottle usually results in removal of air from the bottle and little to no condiment.

[0004] It is of increasing interest to develop a cap, and a cap and bottle combination that allows for complete removal of condiment from a bottle. This invention, therefore, is directed to a bottle cap comprising a first and second orifice. The first orifice of the cap is positioned near the second orifice, and the cap is suitable for use on a squeezable condiment bottle to ensure complete removal of condiment present within the same.

Additional Information

[0005] Efforts have been made to prepare condiment bottles. In U.S. Pat. No. 5,353,965, containers for dispensing condiments are described.

[0006] Other efforts have been disclosed for making condiment bottles. In U.S. Pat. No. 5,601,212, a dispensing unit for a threaded neck bottle is disclosed.

[0007] Still other efforts have been made for making bottles. In U.S. Pat. No. 6,082,568, containers and caps having tamper-evident liners are described.

[0008] None of the additional information above describes a bottle cap that ensures complete removal of condiment from a bottle.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0009] In a first aspect, the present invention is directed to a cap for a squeezable condiment bottle comprising:

[0010] (a) a first orifice suitable to squeeze condiment through;

[0011] (b) a second orifice, larger than the first orifice, and suitable to obtain condiment with a kitchen utensil; and

[0012] (c) a means for attaching the cap to a squeezable condiment bottle.

[0013] In a second aspect, the present invention is directed to a cap for a squeezable condiment bottle comprising:

[0014] (a) a cover operatively connected to a rim of the cap, the cover, when moved, able to expose a first orifice of the cap present within a first cap plate also operatively attached to the rim of the cap and under the cover; and

[0015] (b) a second orifice, larger than and located under the first orifice, that forms a top portion of the rim or is present within a second cap plate attached to the rim, the second orifice being exposable by moving the first cap plate.

[0016] In a third aspect, the present invention is directed to a cap for a squeezable condiment bottle comprising:

[0017] (a) a rim with a bottom portion suitable for attachment to a squeezable bottle;

[0018] (b) a plate attached to a top portion of the rim, the plate comprising at least two flaps operatively connected to the plate; and

[0019] (c) a first and second orifice in the plate

[0020] wherein the first orifice is located under one flap and the second orifice is located under a second flap, the first orifice being smaller than the second orifice and suitable to squeeze condiment through, the second orifice being larger than the first orifice and suitable to receive a kitchen utensil to remove condiment from the squeezable bottle.

[0021] In a fourth aspect, the present invention is directed to a bottle comprising the cap of the first aspect of this invention.

[0022] In a fifth aspect, the present invention is directed to the bottle of the fourth aspect of this invention comprising a salad dressing, mustard, yogurt, peanut butter, ketchup, barbecue sauce, cheese spread, mayonnaise, fruit puree, jelly or the like.

[0023] Complete removal, as used herein, means almost all condiment is removed from a bottle comprising the same.

[0024] Orifice, as used herein, is defined to mean a hole at least large enough for condiment to pass through. Orifice as described herein, therefore, is not limited to any particular shape.

[0025] Squeezable means compressible by the hand of the average consumer.

[0026] Bottle, as used herein, means any package suitable to hold condiment, and suitable for attachment to the cap of this invention, but preferably a plastic bottle.

[0027] Kitchen utensil, as used herein, means a knife, fork or spoon.

[0028] Operatively connected, as used herein, means able to move and attached directly or indirectly.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0029] The subject matter which is regarded as the invention is particularly pointed out and distinctly claimed in the concluding portion of the specification. The invention, however, may be best understood by reference to the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawing figures in which:

[0030] FIG. 1 depicts a cap having two orifices within the same plane on a squeezable condiment bottle.

[0031] FIG. 2 depicts a closed cap with orifices not within the same plane on a squeezable condiment bottle.

[0032] FIG. 3 depicts a cross-section of the cap shown in FIG. 2.

[0033] FIG. 4 depicts the cap of FIG. 2 with a first orifice exposed.

[0034] FIG. 5 depicts a cross-section of the cap shown in FIG. 4.

[0035] FIG. 6 depicts the cap of FIG. 2 on a bottle and with a second orifice exposed.

[0036] FIG. 7 depicts the cap of FIG. 2 on a bottle and with both the first and second orifice exposed.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0037] There is no limitation with respect to the type or shape of bottle that may be used with the cap of this invention, as long as the bottle is one that can be used to package condiment. Typically, such a bottle can stand right-side up or up-side down. When up-side down, the bottle is attached and/or supported by the cap of this invention which rests on a flat surface, like a countertop or refrigerator shelf.

[0038] The material used to make the bottle suitable for use with the cap of this invention may be a polymeric material such as a polyester, polyalkylene, polyolefin, polyamide, polyvinyl chloride, polyacetal, as well as copolymers and blends of the same. Such bottles may be made via conventional techniques, with injection molding and extrusion blow molding being the most preferred techniques.

[0039] Any condiment suitable for human consumption may be used with the cap of the present invention. Typically, such condiments are as least as thick as a salad dressing at room temperature and typically not thicker than peanut butter at room temperature. Examples of the types of condiments that may be employed with the cap of the present invention are a salad dressing, mustard, yogurt, peanut butter, ketchup, barbecue sauce, cheese spread, mayonnaise, fruit puree, jelly and the like. The most preferred condiments used with the cap of this invention are non-fat, low-fat and original mayonnaise and mayonnaise based products; especially, those made commercially available by Unilever Bestfoods under the Hellmans® brand.

[0040] Turning to the Figures, shown in FIG. 1, is a cap 10 attached to a squeezable condiment bottle 12 suitable for packaging condiment, not shown. The cap 10 has a rim 14 (with optional fingergrips 14a) having an internal connecting means (e.g. snapping or threading and not shown) for fastening or connecting the cap 10 to neck 16 (having a rim complementary external fastening means and not shown) of the bottle 12. The cap 10 has at least two (2) flaps 18a and 18b operatively connected to the cap 10 via hinge mechanisms 20a and 20b that are separated, in this illustration, by a connecting portion 22. Cap 10 further comprises a plate 24 attached to the top of rim 14 at rim top 14b and comprising a first orifice 26a and a second (larger) orifice 26b positioned under flaps 18a and 18b, respectively. Flaps 18a and 18b both comprise a locking means for locking shut on cap 10 whereby the locking means is generally one that is reliant on friction. Illustrated in FIG. 1 are locking keys 28a and 28b for locking with friction into first orifice 26a and second orifice 26b, respectively, by making contact with orifice wall 26c of first orifice 26a and second orifice wall 26d of second orifice 26b. Flaps 18a and 18b have flap ridges 30a and 30b, respectively, that the consumer can make contact with (i.e., with a finger not shown) in order to move flaps 18a and 18b up or down.

[0041] When operating cap 10 of FIG. 1, typically flaps 18a and 18b will be lowered so that locking keys 28a and 28b are locked into first orifice 26a and second orifice 26b, respectively when no condiment is desired. When bottle 12 is relatively full of condiment, the consumer may open flap 18a (leaving flap 18b locked down or closed), turn the bottle 12 so that cap 10 is pointed in a downward direction, and squeeze bottle 12 so that condiment may be forced through first orifice 26a, for example, in an organized ribbon-like fashion. When bottle 12 is approximately 50.0% or more by volume empty, the consumer has the option to open flap 18b (leaving flap 18a locked down or closed) and turn the bottle 12 such that cap 10 is pointed in an upward direction so that condiment may be removed from the bottle 12 by sticking a kitchen utensil through second orifice 26b.

[0042] In a preferred embodiment, flap 18b is larger than flap 18a and hinge mechanisms 20a and 20b do not allow flaps 18a and 18b to move unless flaps 18a and 18b are moved by the consumer.

[0043] FIG. 2 shows cap 10′ on bottle 12 having a cover 32 operatively connected, via cover hinge 34, to a hinged rim portion 36 with a first finger indentation 38 and located in between cover 32 and rim 14′. Rim 14′ comprises rim indentation 40 and is attached to neck 16 via internal rim threads, not shown, complementary with external neck threads, not shown on neck 16.

[0044] FIG. 3 shows a cross-section of cap 10′ along the lines 3-3 shown in FIG. 2. Rim 14′ has internal rim threads 42 complementary with external neck threads 44 of neck 16 so that cap 10′ may be threaded onto bottle 12. A consumer finger, not shown, may be contacted with first finger indentation 38 and moved upward to lift cover 32 and cover key 46 (attached to the underside of cover 32) so that the cover 32 pivots on cover hinge 34 to expose first orifice 26a′ positioned in first cap plate 27a, which forms the top of hinged rim portion 36. The consumer finger, not shown, may also be contacted with rim indentation 40 and moved upward to lift hinged rim portion 36 and hinged rim key 48 (attached to the underside of hinged rim portion 36, and therefore, the bottom of first cap plate 27a) so that the same may pivot on hinged rim hinge 50 to expose second orifice 26b′ positioned in second cap plate 27b and under first orifice 26a′ and first cap plate 27a.

[0045] When operating the cap 10′ of FIG. 3, typically, cover 32 is lifted to expose first orifice 26a′ (smaller in size than second orifice 26b′). Cover 32 is held in a closed position with friction between cover key 46 and first orifice wall 52; however, such friction is overcome by movement of the consumer finger. Subsequent to exposing first orifice 26a′, the consumer may turn bottle 12 so that cap 10′ is positioned in a downward direction, and squeeze bottle 12 so that condiment may be forced through first orifice 26a′ in an orderly fashion. When squeezing bottle 12, enough friction exists between hinged rim key 48 and second orifice wall 54 so that hinged rim hinge 50 does not pivot to expose second orifice 26b′, ensuring that no condiment is wasted or spilled through second orifice 26b′. When bottle 12 is approximately 50.0% or more by volume empty, the consumer has the option to leave cover 32 closed and to push (with a finger at rim indentation 40) hinged rim portion 36 upward for pivoting on hinged rim hinge 50. Such a pushing movement will cause hinged rim key 48 to move out of second orifice 26b′, overcoming the friction between hinged rim key 48 and second orifice wall 54. This action will expose second orifice 26b′ to enable the consumer to remove condiment from bottle 12 by sticking a kitchen utensil through second orifice 26b′.

[0046] In an especially preferred embodiment, the friction between cover key 46 and first orifice wall 52 is less than the friction between hinged rim key 48 and second orifice wall 54. Such an arrangement of friction ensures that hinged rim portion 36 will not pivot on hinged rim hinge 50 when cover hinge 34 is in a pivoting motion to open cover 32. It is especially noted herein that second cap plate 27b is not required and second orifice 26b′ can be substantially the same size as bottle mouth 56 if hinged rim key 48 is expanded to rub (cause friction) with bottle mouth wall 58.

[0047] FIG. 4 shows cover 32 lifted, exposing first orifice 26a′, first cap plate 27a, first orifice wall 52 and cover key 46. Bottle 12 is turned and cap 10′ is positioned in a downward direction so that the consumer can squeeze bottle 12 (approximately more than 50.0% by volume full) in order to deliver condiment, not shown, in an orderly fashion. Optionally, cover 32 can be equipped with cover clip 60 to lock into clip grove 62 of the hinged rim portion 36 to further secure cover 32 in a closed position.

[0048] FIG. 5 shows a cross-section of cap 10′ along the lines 5-5 shown in FIG. 4. It is especially noted that cover 32 is lifted, first orifice 26a′ is exposed and no pivoting action has taken place at hinged rim hinge 50. Therefore, when first orifice 26a′ is exposed, second orifice 26b′ is not.

[0049] FIG. 6 shows cover 32 with cover key 46 pushed through first orifice 26a′ and hinged rim 36 pivoted on hinged rim hinge 50, exposing second orifice 26b′, second orifice plate 27b and hinged rim key 48. Bottle 12 is upright so that the consumer can place a kitchen utensil, not shown, through second orifice 26b′ to remove condiment.

[0050] FIG. 7 has cap 10′ arranged to show cover 32 open and hinged rim portion 36 open to expose both the first orifice 26a′ and second orifice 26b′.

[0051] There is no limitation with respect to how the caps of this invention are made, as long as the resulting caps can be used with condiments suitable for human consumption. Typically, however, the caps of this invention made with materials and processes similar to those used to make the bottles described herein.