Title:
Anti-fraud cap for bottles
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Disclosed herein is an anti-fraud bottle cap, which guides the outflow of fluid contents such as water or liquor and prevents foreign materials or fake contents from being inserted into the bottle. The anti-fraud bottle cap of the present invention includes a valve seat, a lower end of which is fitted in an opening of the bottle to guide outflow of fluid contained in the bottle, and a valve unit which is seated in the valve seat and opens and closes a fluid flow passage of the valve seat. The anti-fraud bottle cap further includes a valve cap which is fitted over a circumference of an upper end of the valve seat to guide the outflow of the fluid contents, and a lid which is removably coupled to and removed from the valve cap by screw coupling. The anti-fraud bottle cap further includes a stop plate which is provided on the valve cap and limits the movement of the valve unit. When predetermined pressure or greater is applied to the stop plate, the stop plate is removed from the valve cap. In the present invention, even if a person having malicious intent intends to input foreign materials or fake contents into the bottle, because the stop plate, which limits movement of the valve unit is removably integrated with the valve cap, fraud is impossible.



Inventors:
Yim, Bang Bin (Seoul, KR)
Application Number:
11/156704
Publication Date:
01/05/2006
Filing Date:
06/21/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
215/215, 222/547
International Classes:
B65D49/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HYLTON, ROBIN ANNETTE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Blank Rome LLP (Washington, DC, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An anti-fraud cap for a bottle, comprising: a valve seat fitted into an opening of the bottle; a valve cap seated on the valve seat and coupled along with the valve seat to the opening of the bottle by a sealing unit which holds outer edges of the opening, the valve seat and the valve cap; a valve unit provided between the valve seat and the valve cap and sliding inwards and outwards to close and open a passage defined in the valve seat; a lid removably coupled to the valve cap by screw coupling; and a stop plate provided at a central portion of the valve cap and contacting an upper end of the valve unit to interfere with the inward and outward movement of the valve unit.

2. The anti-fraud cap set forth in claim 1, wherein the stop plate comprises: a base having a ring shape; and a plurality of connection protrusions provided on a circumferential edge of the base and coupled to an inner surface of the valve cap.

3. The anti-fraud cap as set forth in claim 2, wherein the stop plate further comprises: a through hole defined at a central portion of the base; and a plurality of stop protrusions provided inwards on an inner edge of the base and spaced apart from each other at regular intervals.

4. The anti-fraud cap as set forth in claim 3, further comprising: a lid cover fitted over the lid; and an opening unit provided on an outer surface of the lid cover, with a plurality of stop grooves formed on a circumferential outer surface of the opening unit, so that, when the opening unit is inserted into the through hole of the stop plate, the stop protrusions of the stop plate are inserted into the stop grooves of the opening unit.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to caps for bottles containing fluids such as water or liquid and, more particularly, to an anti-fraud bottle caps that prevent foreign materials or fake contents from being inserted into the bottle.

2. Description of the Related Art

Generally, bottle caps are coupled to bottle openings, in which fluids such as water or liquid are contained. When a user desires to store the remaining fluids after drinking a portion thereof, a bottle cap functions to close the opening of the bottle. The bottle cap may be classified into a structure in which a bottle cap is fitted into an opening of a bottle, and a structure in which a bottle cap is coupled to an opening of a bottle by screw coupling.

However, because such bottle cap can be easily removed and re-coupled back onto the opening of a bottle, the bottle cap cannot protect a person having malicious intent to insert foreign liquids or materials into the bottle. For example, if a person having malicious intent collects previously used bottles, inserts fake contents into the bottles with new caps, and then markets the bottles having fake contents, consumers may purchase them without knowing that the bottles have been tampered.

Particularly, fraud relating to expensive liquor has frequently occurred. Fake liquor may be seriously harmful to the health of consumers. In addition to the consumers who are affected by the fake liquor, the person who markets the fake liquor may make an excessive illicit profit. As described above, conventional bottle caps are problematic in that foreign materials or fake contents are easily inserted into bottles.

To overcome the problems experienced with conventional bottles caps, various kinds of anti-fraud bottle caps have been proposed. As a representative example, Korean Utility Model Registration No. 0304873, entitled “ANTI-FRAUD BOTTLE CAP”, was filed by the inventor of the present invention. As shown in FIGS. 7 and 8, the conventional anti-fraud bottle cap 30 is provided at an opening 3a of a bottle 3. The anti-fraud bottle cap 30 includes a valve seat 32, a lower end of which is fitted to the opening 3a of the bottle 3 to guide the outflow of fluid contained in the bottle 3. The anti-fraud bottle cap 30 further includes a valve unit 34, which is seated in the valve seat 32 and moves outwards and inwards in the valve seat 32 to open and close a fluid flow passage of the valve seat 32. The valve unit 34 defines a spiral flow path to control the current speed of the fluid coming out from the bottle 3. The anti-fraud bottle cap 30 further includes a valve cap 36 which is fitted over a circumference of an upper end of the valve seat 32 to guide the outflow of the fluid, and a lid 38 which is removably coupled to and removed from the valve cap 36 by screw coupling. The lid 38 holds and releases the valve unit 34 when being coupled to and removed from the valve cap 36.

The valve seat 32 has a cylindrical body 32a. A valve seat hole 32b is formed along a longitudinal axis of the cylindrical body 32a. A constant gap (for example, ø 1 mm) exists between a sidewall of the valve seat hole 32b and an outer edge of a screw part of the valve unit 34, which will be explained later herein. A sealing contact edge 32c extends upwards from a circumferential upper end of the valve seat hole 32b so as to increase the sealing efficiency when a circular valve plate of the valve unit 34, which will be explained later herein, comes into close contact with the upper end of the valve seat hole 32b. A flange 32e is provided around an outer surface of the upper end of the cylindrical body 32a of the valve seat 32. The flange 32e has an uneven upper surface 32d and is in close contact both with an upper surface of a flange 3b of the bottle 3 and a flange of the valve cap 36.

Furthermore, an upper coupling ring 32f of the valve seat 32 is integrally provided on the cylindrical body 32a between the sealing contact edge 32c and the flange 32e so that the upper coupling ring 32f is fitted into a lower end of the valve cap 36. A lower coupling ring 32g is integrally provided under a lower surface of the flange 32e so that the lower coupling ring 32g is fitted into the opening 3a of the bottle 3. A cross-shaped rib 32i is integrally provided on an inner surface of a lower end of the valve seat hole 32b. The cross-shaped rib 32i has a support hole 32h at the center thereof such that the lower end of the valve unit 34, which moves outwards and inwards in the valve seat hole 32b, is inserted in the support hole 32h.

The valve unit 34 has at an intermediate portion thereof the circular valve plate 34a which has a predetermined area and detachably contacts the sealing contact edge 32c which extends upwards from the circumferential upper end of the valve seat hole 32b of the valve seat 32. The valve unit 34 further has an upper support shaft 34b which is integrally provided at a central portion on an upper surface of the circular valve plate 34a and is inserted into the lower end of the valve cap 36 to allow the valve unit 34 to move inwards and outwards. A locking hole 34c is formed at a central portion in the upper support shaft 34b to a predetermined depth, so that a locking shaft 38a, which is provided under a lower surface of the lid 38 and will be explained later herein, may be inserted into the locking hole 34c.

The valve unit 34 further has a screw part 34d which is integrally provided at the central portion under the circular valve plate 34a and is inserted into the valve seat hole 32b of the valve seat 32. The screw part 34d moves inwards and outwards along with the circular valve plate 34a and defines a spiral flow path to maintain a constant current speed of the fluid contents which come out of the bottle 3. Furthermore, a lower support shaft 34e is integrally provided on a lower part of the screw part 34d. The lower support shaft 34e is inserted into and supported by the support hole 32h, which is formed in the lower end of the valve seat 32, thus maintaining a constant gap (for example, ø 1 mm) between the screw part 34 and the sidewall of the valve seat hole 32b of the valve seat 32.

The circular valve plate 34a of the valve unit 34 has a diameter larger than that of the screw part 34d. The screw part 34d has a spiral shape such that opposite edges of the screw part 34d, which are spaced apart from each other at an angular interval of 180°, spiral in the same direction, thus creating a spiral current when fluid contents come out of the bottle 3. Valley parts of the screw part 34d have streamlined shapes to minimize resistance and achieve a smooth flow when the fluid contents pass through the screw part 34d.

The valve cap 36 includes a valve cap body 36a having a cylindrical shape. A connection cap 36c is provided at a central portion in the valve cap body 36a The connection cap 36c has a through hole 36b through which the upper support shaft 34b of the valve unit 34 is inserted such that the locking hole 34c, which is formed at a central portion in the upper support shaft 34b, is concentric with the through hole 36b. The connection cap 36c is integrally coupled to an inner surface of the valve cap body 36a by a plurality of connection ribs 36d which are provided around a circumferential outer edge of the connection cap 36c at regular intervals. Outlets 36eare formed among the connection ribs 36d, the connection cap 36c, and the inner surface of the valve cap body 36a.

Furthermore, an upper flange 36fis integrally provided on a circumferential upper edge of the valve cap body 36a so that the upper flange 36fcomes into close contact with an inner surface of the lid 38 when the valve cap 36 is covered with the lid 38. A lower flange 36h is integrally provided on a circumferential lower edge of the valve cap body 36a so that the lower flange 36h is in close contact with the flange 32e of the valve seat 32. A plurality of stop protrusions 36gis provided under the lower surface of the lower flange 36h. The stop protrusions 36gof the lower flange 36h engage with the uneven surface 32e of the valve seat 32 such that the valve cap 36 does not rotate with respect to the valve seat 32. Moreover, an external thread 36i is formed on an outer surface of a sidewall of the valve cap 36 to correspond to the lid 38.

The lid 38 has a cap shape which is opened at a lower end thereof. The locking shaft 38a, having a cross-shaped cross section, is provided at the center under a lower surface of an upper plate of the lid 38. When the lid 38 is coupled to the valve cap 36, the locking shaft 38a of the lid 38 is fitted into the locking hole 34c of the valve unit 34 through the through hole 36b of the valve cap 36 to prevent the valve unit 34 from rotating freely. Thus, when the lid 38 is rotated in a direction that locks the lid 38 to the valve cap 36, the locking shaft 38a compresses the valve unit 34 downwards. A contact ring 38b is integrally provided under the lower surface of the upper plate of the lid 38 so that the contact ring 38b comes into close contact with the upper flange 36fof the valve cap 36 when the lid 38 is coupled to the valve cap 36. An internal thread 38c is formed on an inner surface of a sidewall of the lid 38 and engages with the external thread 36i formed on the outer surface of the sidewall of the valve cap 36.

In the conventional anti-fraud bottle cap having the above-mentioned construction, the valve unit 34 prevents foreign materials from being inserted into the bottle and provides a spiral flow path for fluid contents which come out of the bottle. However, the conventional anti-fraud bottle cap is problematic in that when the valve unit moves outwards, because the interior of the bottle communicates with the outside, a person having malicious intent may intentionally insert foreign material into the bottle after moving the valve unit outwards.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, the present invention has been made keeping in mind the above problems occurring in the prior art, and an object of the present invention is to provide an anti-fraud cap for bottles which has a stop plate that contacts an upper end of a valve unit and is removably attached to a valve cap, so that it will be impossible for a user to insert foreign materials or fake contents into the bottle because the opening of the bottle closed by the valve unit before the stop plate is removed from the valve cap, and if the stop plate is removed to insert fake fluid contents, a consumer may easily observe that the bottle cap has been tampered with

In order to accomplish the above object, the anti-fraud bottle cap of the present invention includes a valve seat fitted into an opening of the bottle, a valve cap seated on the valve seat and coupled along with the valve seat to the opening of the bottle by a sealing unit which holds outer edges of the opening, valve seat and valve cap, a valve unit provided between the valve seat and the valve cap and sliding inwards and outwards to close and open a passage defined in the valve seat, a lid removably coupled to the valve cap by screw coupling, and a stop plate provided at a central portion of the valve cap and contacting an upper end of the valve unit to interfere with the inward and outward movement of the valve unit.

The stop plate may include a base having a ring shape and a plurality of connection protrusions provided on a circumferential edge of the base and coupled to an inner surface of the valve cap.

The stop plate may further include a through hole defined at a central portion of the base and a plurality of stop protrusions provided inwards on an inner edge of the base and spaced apart from each other at regular intervals.

The anti-fraud cap may further include a lid cover fitted over the lid and an opening unit provided on an outer surface of the lid cover with a plurality of stop grooves formed on a circumferential outer surface of the opening unit, so that, when the opening unit is inserted into the through hole of the stop plate, the stop protrusions of the stop plate are inserted into the stop grooves of the opening unit.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The above and other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will be more clearly understood from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view of an anti-fraud cap for bottles, according to an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a sectional view showing an enlargement of an important part of the anti-fraud bottle cap of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a sectional view showing a part of the anti-fraud cap of FIG. 1 coupled to the bottle;

FIG. 4 is a view showing a method of removing a stop plate from a valve cap using an opening unit of a lid cover according to the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a view showing the valve cap of the anti-fraud bottle cap from which the stop plate is removed;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view showing another example of an opening unit according to the present invention;

FIG. 7 is an exploded perspective view showing a conventional anti-fraud bottle cap; and

FIG. 8 is a sectional view showing the usage of the anti-fraud bottle cap of FIG. 7.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

A preferred embodiment of the present invention will now be described in detail with reference to the attached drawings. Reference should be made to the drawings in which the same reference numerals are used throughout the different drawings to designate the same or similar components.

Referring to FIGS. 1 through 4, an anti-fraud bottle cap 30 according to the preferred embodiment of the present invention is provided at an opening 3a of a bottle 3. The anti-fraud bottle cap 30 includes a valve seat 32, a lower end of which is fitted into the opening 3a of the bottle 3 to guide the outflow of fluid contained in the bottle 3. The anti-fraud bottle cap 30 further includes a valve unit 34, which is seated in the valve seat 32 and moves outwards and inwards in the valve seat 32 to open and close a fluid flow passage of the valve seat 32. The valve unit 34 defines a spiral flow path to control the rate at which the fluid contents come out of the bottle 3. The anti-fraud bottle cap 30 further includes a valve cap 36 which is fitted over a circumference of an upper end of the valve seat 32 to guide the outflow of the fluid contents, and a lid 38 which is removably coupled to and removed from the valve cap 36 by screw coupling. The lid 38 holds and releases the valve unit 34 when coupled to and removed from the valve cap 36. The anti-fraud bottle cap 30 further includes a stop plate 37, which is provided at a central portion of the valve cap 36 and limits the movement of the valve unit 34. When a predetermined greater pressure (rotational force) is applied to the stop plate 37, the stop plate 37 is removed from the valve cap 36.

In detail, the stop plate 37 has a base 37a having a ring shape and a plurality of connection protrusions 37c which are provided on a circumferential edge of the base 37a and are integrally coupled to an inner surface of the valve cap 36.

The stop plate 37 further has a through hole 37b which is defined at a central portion of the base 37a and a plurality of stop protrusions 37d which extend inwards on an inner edge of the base 37a and are spaced apart from each other at regular intervals.

That is, the base 37a of the stop plate 37 is integrally coupled to a connection cap 36c of the valve cap 36 by the plurality of connection protrusions 37c of the stop plate 37. The connection protrusions 37c are broken when a predetermined rotational force is applied to the stop plate 37, so that the stop plate 37 is removed from the valve cap 36.

Furthermore, a plurality of contact ribs 37e protrudes downwards under a lower surface of the base 37a of the stop plate 37, so that the contact ribs 37e contact an upper surface of an upper support shaft 34b of the valve unit 34.

A first sidewall of each stop protrusion 37d is perpendicular to the inner edge of the base 37a of the stop plate 37 and a second sidewall of the stop protrusion 37d is inclined with respect to the inner edge of the base 37a.

Furthermore, the present invention provides an opening unit 40. The opening unit 40 has a plurality of stop grooves 42 formed at an outer surface of the opening unit 40 to correspond to the stop protrusions 37d of the stop plate 37. As shown in FIG. 5, the opening unit 40 may be provided on an upper surface of a lid cover 39 into which the lid 38 is forcibly inserted. Alternatively, as shown in FIG. 6, an opening unit 40 may be separately manufactured and used like an opener, but not be provided on the lid cover 39.

The opening unit 40 shown in FIG. 6 has a circular plate and an opening protrusion 41 which is perpendicularly provided on an upper surface of the circular plate. A plurality of stop grooves 42 is formed in a circumferential outer surface of the opening protrusion 41 to correspond to the stop protrusions 37d of the stop plate 37.

Meanwhile, the valve unit 34 includes at an intermediate portion thereof a circular valve plate 34a having a predetermined area and contacting a sealing contact edge 32c which extends upwards from a circumferential upper end of a valve seat hole 32b of the valve seat 32. The upper support shaft 34b is integrally provided at a central portion on an upper surface of the circular valve plate 34a and is inserted into the lower end of the valve cap 36 to allow the valve unit 34 to move inwards and outwards.

The valve unit 34 further includes a screw part 34d integrally provided at the central portion under the circular valve plate 34a and is inserted into the valve seat hole 32b of the valve seat 32. The screw part 34d moves inwards and outwards along with the circular valve plate 34a and defines the spiral flow path to maintain a constant speed of the fluid contents when flowing out from the bottle 3. Furthermore, a lower support shaft 34e is integrally provided on a lower part of the screw part 34d. The lower support shaft 34e is inserted into and supported by a support hole 32h, which is formed in a lower end of the valve seat 32, thus maintaining a constant gap (for example, φ 1 mm) between the screw part 34 and a sidewall of the valve seat hole 32b of the valve seat 32. Such construction of the valve unit 34 is the same as that of the conventional art.

The operation of the present invention having the above-mentioned construction will be explained herein below.

First, a user rotates the lid cover 39 along with the lid 38 in a predetermined direction and removes the lid 38 from the bottle 3. In this state, even if the user inclines the bottle 3 at a predetermined angle to pour fluid contents such as water or liquor into a cup, fluid does not come out of the bottle 3. That is, only when the valve unit 34 is moved outwards by gravity can the fluid contents come out of the bottle 3, but in the above state, because the stop plate 37 is not removed from the valve cap 36, the stop plate 37 interferes with the outward movement of the valve unit 34, so that the fluid contents cannot come out of the bottle 3.

As such, if the stop plate 37, which is integrally coupled to the valve cap 36 by the connection protrusions 37c, is not removed from the valve cap 36, because the lower surface of the stop plate 37 contacts the upper support shaft 34b of the valve unit 34, the valve unit 34 cannot move inwards or outwards.

Therefore, to pour the fluid contents, the user must remove the stop plate 37 from the valve cap 36 after the lid 38, along with the lid cover 39, is opened. To achieve this, the user inserts the opening unit 40 into the through hole 37b of the stop plate 37 such that the stop protrusions 37d of the stop plate 37 correspond to the related stop grooves 42 of the opening unit 40. Thereafter, the user rotates the opening unit 40 with respect to the bottle 3. Then, the stop plate 37, which has been integrated with the valve cover 36 by the connection protrusions 37c, is removed from the valve cover 36.

As such, when the stop plate 37 is removed from the valve cover 36, each connection protrusion 37c of the stop plate 37 partially remains on the connection cap 36c of the valve cap 36, or it may be partially left on the outer edge of the stop plate 37. Furthermore, the stop plate 37, which is detached from the valve cap 36, is removed while still fitted over the opening unit 40 through its through hole 37b.

Thereafter, when the user inclines the bottle 3 at a predetermined angle, the valve unit 34 moves outwards because of gravity and hydraulic pressure of the fluid contents contained in the bottle 3. Then, the circular valve plate 34a of the valve unit 34 is spaced apart from the sealing contact edge 32c of the valve cover 32. Thus, the valve seat hole 32b of the valve seat 32 is opened.

When the fluid contents come out of the bottle 3, the fluid contents flow along the spiral flow path defined by the screw part 34d of the valve unit 34. The fluid contents, which pass through the screw part 34d, pass through a gap between the valve seat hole 32b and the circular valve plate 34a Subsequently, the fluid contents come out of the bottle 3 through an outlet 36e of the valve cap 36.

As such, when the fluid contents such as water or liquor come out of the bottle 3, the circular valve plate 34a of the valve unit 34 opens the valve seat hole 32b of the valve seat 32. Simultaneously, the screw part 34d, which is integrally coupled to the circular valve plate 34a, makes it possible for the fluid contents, which pass through the valve seat hole 32b, to form a spiral current, thus maintaining a constant outflow speed of the fluid contents regardless of the inclination angle of the bottle 3. Furthermore, the valve unit 34 minimizes a turbulent sound occurring when the fluid contents come out of the bottle 3 and prevents the fluid contents from undesirably splashing.

Meanwhile, when the user places the bottle 3 upright, causing the opening 3a of the bottle 3 to face upwards, the valve unit 34 moves inwards due to gravity and the circular valve plate 34a comes into close contact with the sealing contact edge 32c which protrudes from the valve seat hole 32b of the valve seat 32, thereby closing the valve seat hole 32b. Then, the aroma and alcoholic ingredients of the fluid contents are prevented from evaporating into the atmosphere. Also, foreign materials or fake contents are prevented from being inserted into the bottle 3.

In the present invention, if a person having malicious intent intends to insert foreign materials or fake contents into the bottle 3 by, for example, using an injector, the stop plate 37 must be removed from the valve cover 36. As such, because foreign materials or fake contents cannot be inserted into the bottle 3 before the stop plate 37 is removed from the valve cover 36, the present invention can prevent fraud of the fluid contents. In addition, when viewing a bottle from which a stopper plate 37 is removed, a consumer can realize that fluid contents contained in the bottle has been tampered with. In particular, in a place of business, if a consumer directly shows that the stop plate 37 has been removed from the valve cap 36, reliability is enhanced and a good atmosphere is maintained.

As described above, the present invention provides an anti-fraud bottle cap, which is coupled to an opening of a bottle to guide the outflow of fluid contents such as water or liquor and to prevent foreign materials or fake contents from being inserted into the bottle. In the present invention, a valve unit opens or closes a valve seat hole of a valve seat and controls the current of the fluid contents which pass through the valve seat hole. Furthermore, a stop plate, which contacts an upper end of the valve unit to stop the valve unit, is temporarily attached to a valve cap. Consequently, even if a person having malicious intent intends to insert foreign materials or fake contents into the bottle, because the opening of the bottle closed by the valve unit before the stop plate is removed from the valve cap, fraud is impossible. Furthermore, if the stop plate is removed to insert fake fluid contents or foreign materials, a consumer can easily observe that the bottle cap has been tampered with.

Although the preferred embodiment of the present invention has been disclosed for illustrative purposes, those skilled in the art will appreciate that various modifications, additions and substitutions are possible, without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention as disclosed in the accompanying claims.





 
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