Title:
Security device for use with a drinks receptacle
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A security device is provided for use with a drinks receptacle. The security device includes a body portion having a channel defined therethrough. The channel has an inlet and an outlet for the passage of fluid through the channel. The device further includes a cover portion associated with the body portion adjacent the outlet and the cover portion has a plurality of apertures defined therethrough. The body portion of the device is located in an opening of the receptacle for allowing fluid in the receptacle to pass through said channel via the inlet and outlet and out of said apertures of said cover portion. The outlet of the channel is a spaced distance apart and substantially offset from the apertures defined in the cover portion.



Inventors:
Ingram, Roy Albert (Leeds, GB)
Application Number:
11/061432
Publication Date:
07/13/2006
Filing Date:
02/18/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D50/00; B65D49/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
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20040238477Non-spill container spout with peel type sealDecember, 2004Unsworth
20020166835Cap with flip-top compartmentNovember, 2002Carter
20090183638Wooden bottle for ageing liquidsJuly, 2009Ganti
20090149804Mother's Milk Container Closure and Attachment AssemblyJune, 2009Delman et al.
20020148806Sucking structure attachable to bottle bodyOctober, 2002Cheng
20080314859Bottle For Dispenser For Dispensing Oral Cleaning LiquidDecember, 2008Rim et al.
20080083696Hot-fill plastic containerApril, 2008Nievierowski et al.
20080223808MODULAR INFANT FEEDING BOTTLESeptember, 2008Mendenhall et al.
20070007296Flexible bottle mouth insertJanuary, 2007Guyot
20080110854Beverage Bottle With Gripping FeatureMay, 2008Kelly



Primary Examiner:
HYLTON, ROBIN ANNETTE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Edwin V. Merkel (Rochester, NY, US)
Claims:
1. A security device for use with a drinks receptacle, said security device including a body portion having at least one channel defined therethrough, said channel having inlet means and outlet means associated therewith, said device further including a cover portion associated with the body portion adjacent the outlet means thereof and said cover portion having one or more apertures defined therethrough, the body portion of the device capable of being located in an opening in the receptacle for allowing matter in the receptacle to pass through said channel via the inlet and outlet means and out of said one or more apertures of said cover portion in use, and wherein the outlet means of said channel is a spaced distance apart and substantially offset from said one or more apertures defined in said cover portion.

2. A security device according to claim 1 wherein at least two apertures are provided on the cover portion and said apertures are provided a spaced distance apart with respect to the longitudinal axis of the device.

3. A security device according to claim 1 wherein a cavity is provided between the outlet means of said channel and said apertures of said cover portion, said cavity allowing communication between said apertures and said outlet means.

4. A security device according to claim 3 wherein walls defining said channel outlet means protrude into said cavity.

5. A security device according to claim 4 wherein the internal openings of the apertures of the cover portion face the walls defining the channel outlet means.

6. A security device according to claim 1 wherein the security device is integrally formed with the drinks receptacle.

7. A security device according to claim 1 wherein engagement means are provided on the device to allow engagement of the device with the drinks receptacle in use.

8. A security device according to claim 7 wherein the engagement means are provided on an external surface of the body portion of the device for engagement with the internal surface of the drinks receptacle in use.

9. A security device according to claim 7 wherein the engagement means include any or any combination of welding, adhesive, friction fit, one or more clips, barbs, protruding members or resilient members.

10. A security device according to claim 9 wherein the one or more protruding members are substantially wedge shaped in form with an angled side wall which has a diverging taper towards the cover portion.

11. A security device according to claim 9 wherein the one or more protruding members and/or barbs are formed from substantially resilient material.

12. A security device according to claim 1 wherein the apertures on said cover portion are not in linear alignment with the outlet means of said channel.

13. A security device according to claim 1 wherein tamper evident means are provided on said device for allowing a user to determine whether unauthorised tampering of the device has taken place.

14. A security device according to claim 13 wherein the tamper evident means includes one or more frangible portions.

15. A security device according to claim 13 wherein the tamper evident means are provided on the body portion of the device.

16. A security device according to claim 1 wherein one or more recesses are provided on an exterior surface of the cover portion.

17. A security device according to claim 16 wherein the one or more recesses are provided adjacent the apertures on said cover portion.

18. A security device according to claim 1 wherein sealing means are provided for sealing the device in an opening of the drinks receptacle in use.

19. A security device according to claim 18 wherein the sealing means are in the form of one or more sealing members provided on or associated with the outer surface of the body portion of the device.

20. A security device according to claim 1 wherein the body portion is in the form of an elongate member, with inlet means provided at one end of the elongate member, outlet means provided at the opposite end of the elongate member and at least one channel provided between said inlet and outlet means.

21. A security device according to claim 1 wherein the walls of the body portion defining said at least one channel are substantially linear in form.

22. A security device according to claim 1 wherein the outer surface of the cover portion is substantially hemispherical or dome shaped in form.

23. A security device according to claim 1 wherein the number and/or size of the apertures in the cover portion are such that the total surface area of the same is substantially equal to the surface area of the outlet means or inlet means of the at least one channel.

24. A security device according to claim 1 wherein a cap is provided for location over at least the apertures of the cover portion when in a closed position.

25. A security device according to claim 24 wherein the cap is attached to the security device via any or any combination of friction fit, hinged or pivotable means, one or more clips or complementary screw thread arrangement.

26. A security device according to claim 1 wherein with the device fitted in a drinks receptacle, the cover portion protrudes from the opening of the receptacle and a whole or substantial portion of the body portion is located in the drinks receptacle.

27. A drinks receptacle with a security device according to claim 1.

Description:

This invention relates to a security device for use with a drinks receptacle or container and a receptacle with a security device.

Although the following description refers almost exclusively to a security device for use on a drinks bottle of a type sold in nightclubs, bars and restaurants, it will be appreciated by persons skilled in the art that the security device can be used on any type of bottle or indeed any suitable receptacle or container.

The crime known as “date rape”, wherein a victim's drink is spiked with a drug without their permission, which renders the victim unconscious or unable to fend off an attacker, is becoming an increasing problem. The crime typically takes place when a user in a bar, nightclub or restaurant leaves their drink unattended for a period of time, such as for example, if the user goes to the toilet, goes to dance on the dance floor or moves away from their drink to talk to friends. An attacker is then able to insert a drug into the drink whilst the drink is unattended and wait for the drug to take effect after the victim returns to their drink and drinks the same.

Most drugs used in date rape are colourless and odourless drugs which readily dissolve in drink and it is therefore difficult to detect the presence of the same in a drink without chemical analysis. The types of drug used in date rape might be in the form of a table, liquid, granule and/or powder and are typically dropped into the drink or injected into the drink via a needle or syringe.

In an attempt to overcome the abovementioned problem, it is known to provide a security cap which can be securely engaged over the open end of a drinks bottle when the user leaves the bottle so as to prevent unauthorised access to their drink. One such example is disclosed in CA02422687, wherein a lock is provided on a security cap and a key is inserted in the lock to engage the cap onto an open end of a drinks bottle. In order to release the cap from the bottle, the key needs to be reinserted into the lock and turned. Problems associated with this type of device is that it is prohibitively expensive to produce, a user has to remember to lock the security cap onto the open end of the bottle before they leave the same, and a user has to carry the key for the cap with them at all times. This is likely to be inconvenient for a user and a user is therefore unlikely to be encouraged to use the same.

It is therefore an aim of the present invention to provide a security device for use with a receptacle which is easy to use and which does not rely on a user having to remember to apply the security device to the receptacle in use.

It is a further aim of the present invention to provide a receptacle, such as a drinks bottle, with a security device integrally formed with or fitted to the same.

According to a first aspect of the present invention there is provided a security device for use with a drinks receptacle, said security device including a body portion having at least one channel defined therethrough, said channel having inlet means and outlet means associated therewith, said device further including a cover portion associated with the body portion adjacent the outlet means thereof and said cover portion having one or more apertures defined therethrough, the body portion of the device capable of being located in an opening in the receptacle for allowing matter in the receptacle to pass through said channel via the inlet and outlet means and out of said one or more apertures of said cover portion in use, and wherein the outlet means of said channel is a spaced distance apart and substantially offset from said one or more apertures defined in said cover portion.

The security device can be integrally formed with a receptacle or can be inserted in an opening of the receptacle during or after manufacture and/or filling of the receptacle. Once the security device is located with the receptacle in use, the device typically cannot be easily removed therefrom or is permanently fitted. As such, a user does not have to remember to use the security device and thus the device prevents unauthorised insertion of a foreign substance into the receptacle to which the device is attached at all times.

The apertures provided in the cover portion are typically of such a size and/or shape so as to prevent, or at least make it difficult, for a person to insert a powder, tablet and/or the like through the same. The location of the apertures with respect to the opening of the channel also prevents the insertion of a needle or syringe into the channel since the channel is not in linear/vertical/straight alignment with the same.

The one or more apertures can be provided at any suitable location of the cover portion, so as for example, to allow a user to place the cover portion in their mouth in use and drink through the same.

In a preferred embodiment, at least two apertures are provided on the cover portion, one aperture is provided a spaced distance apart from a second aperture with respect to the longitudinal axis of the device (i.e. one aperture is placed above the other aperture). If any liquid or powder is inserted through the higher or more centrally located aperture, the liquid or powder typically drains or falls out of the lower or more peripherally located aperture without passing through the channel of the body portion, typically as a result of gravity.

With the device fitted in a drinks receptacle, the cover portion typically protrudes from the opening of the receptacle and a whole or substantial part of the body portion is located in the receptacle.

In use of the device, a user typically places their entire mouth over the cover portion when the device is located with a receptacle, such that the contents of the receptacle can flow through all the apertures on the cover portion. Alternatively, a user lips may cover the lower or more peripheral aperture or apertures, thereby sealing the same and allowing the contents of the receptacle to flow through one or more of the upper or more centrally located aperture or apertures.

Preferably tamper evident means are provided on the security device to allow a user to determine whether a person has tampered with the same. The tamper evident means can include one or more frangible portions, such that if a user tries to remove the security device from the receptacle by the application of force, the frangible portions will break, thereby providing a visual indication to a user that the device has been tampered with. For example, breaking of the frangible portions typically separates the cover portion from the body portion or allows separation of parts of the body portion.

Preferably the tamper evident means are provided on the body portion of the device adjacent the cover portion end thereof.

In one embodiment one or more recesses can be defined in the outer surface of the cover portion, such that if any powder or granules are inserted through the apertures, a visible residue is likely to be left in said one or more recesses. The recesses are typically located adjacent the one or more apertures and can be provided in any suitable shape, number or size.

Preferably the security device, or at least the recesses of the cover portion are formed of coloured material which contrasts with the colour of most potential drugs, such as white powder.

Preferably at least one cavity is defined between the outlet means of said at least one channel and the cover portion. The cavity increases the difficulty of a person trying to insert something through the apertures and into the channel. In addition, the cavity allows the flow of fluid, powder or granules from an upper aperture to a lower aperture as described above. Thus, the cavity allows communication between the upper and lower apertures and the channel.

In one embodiment the walls defining the outlet means of said at least one channel protrude into the cavity between said body portion and said cover portion. The walls provide a barrier in the event that a needle is inserted through said apertures. Thus, in one example, the interior openings of said apertures face the outer walls defining the outlet means of the channel.

Preferably the device is provided with engagement means for allowing the device to be engaged with an opening of a receptacle in use. The engagement means can be provided on the body portion and/or the cover portion as required.

In one embodiment the engagement means are provided on an outer surface of the body portion. The engagement means typically engage with an inner surface of the drinks receptacle in use, such as the inner surface of the neck of a drinks bottle.

The engagement means can include any or any combination of welding, adhesive, friction fit, one or more clips, barbs, protruding members, resilient members and/or the like.

Preferably sealing means are provided in association with the security device for sealing the device in an opening of a receptacle in use.

In one embodiment the sealing means are in the form of one or more sealing members provided on or associated with the outer surface of said body portion. Sealing means can also be provided on or associated with the cover portion if required.

The body portion is typically in the form of an elongate member, with inlet means provided at one end of the elongate member and outlet means provided at the opposite end, the at least one channel provided between the inlet and outlet means.

The inlet and outlet means are typically openings or apertures defining the ends of the channel.

According to a second aspect of the present invention there is provided a receptacle with a security device, said receptacle having at least one opening and a security device located with said opening.

Preferably the receptacle is in the form of a drinks bottle.

The present invention has the advantage that it is inexpensive to produce and easy to fit and use. In addition, it does not rely on a user having to perform any steps to make the device function. This is particularly advantageous when a user may have been consuming alcohol and therefore may not remember about the dangers of date rape.

Embodiments of the present invention will now be described with reference to the accompanying figures, wherein:

FIG. 1a is a plan view of a top of a security device according to one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 1b is a cross sectional view of the device in FIG. 1a taken along line A-A;

FIG. 2 is a cross sectional view of a further security device with a closure member; and

FIG. 3 shows use of the security device in FIGS. 1a-1b in a drinks bottle according to one embodiment of the present invention.

Referring to FIGS. 1a, 1b and 3, there is illustrated a security device 100 for use with a drinks bottle 102. The bottle 102 has a base 104, side walls 106 and an opening 108 defined at the top of a neck 110 of the bottle. However, it will be appreciated that any shaped drinks bottle, or indeed receptacle, can be used with the present invention.

The security device 100 includes a body portion 2 and a cover portion 1. A channel 11 is defined through body portion 2 and said channel 11 has inlet means in the form of an opening 14 and outlet means in the form of an opening 16. The channel 11 is typically provided longitudinally of the device and the inner walls of the channel are typically linear/straight in form in this example. However, one or more shaped features to aid or hinder the flow of fluid from the drinks bottle through the channel can be provided if required.

Engagement means are provided on the outer surface 18 of body portion 2 to allow engagement of device 100 in the opening 108 of drinks bottle 102. The engagement means are such that when the device is inserted into the opening of drinks bottle 102, the device cannot be removed without breaking or damaging the device, thereby allowing a user to immediately determine whether the device has been tampered with.

More specifically, the engagement means in this illustrated example includes barbs 6 which engage with the inner surface of the neck 110 of the bottle and protrusion 3 which also engages with the inner surface of neck 110 to form a friction fit. Protrusion 3 is substantially wedge shaped in form, such that the outer surface 20 is angled, with a narrowing taper from end opening 14 towards opening 16. Protrusion 3 and/or barbs 6 are typically formed of a material having some resilience to allow the body portion to be inserted into the opening for engagement with the bottle neck but yet resist removal of the body portion from the neck of the bottle thereafter.

Sealing means in the form of protrusions 10 are provided on outer surface 18 of body portion 2 to allow sealing engagement to be provided between body portion 2 and the inner surface of bottle neck 110. This prevents fluid from passing between the outer portion of the body portion and the inner surface of the bottle neck and also prevents insertion of a needle or other matter between the same.

It will be appreciated by persons skilled in the art that any number or combination of sealing means and/or engagement means can be provided on the security device of the present invention as required.

The cover portion 1 is typically integrally formed with body portion 2 but can be attached thereto via suitable means if required. The cover portion has a plurality of apertures 4, 5 defined therein to allow the passage of fluid 112 from drinks bottle 102 through channel 11 and into the mouth of a user or other suitable receptacle. The apertures 4, 5 are positioned to be out of alignment or offset from opening 16, such that any needle inserted through apertures 4, 5 could not be inserted adjacent or through said opening 16. Thus, there is no overlap in the longitudinal axis of the device between the side walls of channel 11 and the side walls defining apertures 4, 5 and apertures 4, 5 are a spaced distance apart from opening 16.

A cavity 22 is defined between the body portion 2 and the inner surface 24 of cover portion 1 and this cavity allows communication between apertures 4, 5 and opening 16 of channel 11. The side walls 26 defining opening 16 of channel 11 protrude from shoulder portion 28 into cavity 22, such that opening 16 is substantially level with or above the plane of the interior aperture openings (i.e. in the transverse plane of the device). However, it will be appreciated that the side walls 26 could be below the plane of the interior aperture openings (i.e. in the transverse plane of the device) provided a needle could not be inserted through apertures 4, 5 and through opening 16.

Any number of apertures 4, 5 can be defined in cover portion 1 and these apertures open internally within cavity 22. More specifically, the apertures 4, 5 are provided in two sets; a first set of apertures 4 provided adjacent the top 30 of cover portion 1 and a second set of apertures 5 provided around the side 32 of cover portion 1. If an attempt is made to place a foreign substance through upper apertures 4, this substance will fall or flow under gravity through lower apertures 5 without passing through channel 11. Although fluid 112 can pass through both sets of apertures 4, 5, in use a user may place their mouth around apertures 5 and forms a seal against the same when drinking from the bottle 102, such that fluid passes predominantly through apertures 4.

The apertures are typically small and are of such a size so as to make it difficult, if not impossible, to insert a drug in liquid, powder or granular form through the apertures and into fluid 112 contained in the bottle. The position of the apertures with respect to opening 16 of channel 11 also makes it difficult, if not impossible, for the insertion of a needle therethrough.

The number and/or size of the apertures may be provided such that the total surface area of the same is substantially equal to the surface area of opening 16, thereby allowing substantially the same volume of liquid to flow out of cover portion 1 as would flow out of channel 11 and/or opening 108 of bottle neck 110.

In the embodiment described in FIG. 1a, a plurality of recesses 7, 8 are provided on top 30 of cover portion 1 adjacent apertures 4. These recesses are provided so that if any attempt is made to insert a foreign substance, such as a drug, through the apertures 4, some residue or trace of the drug is likely to fall into said recesses and be trapped in the same. The recesses and/or cover portion can be provided of any suitable colour such that the foreign substance can be easily visualised by a user of the drinks bottle. For example, many drugs of the type used in date rape cases are in the form of a white powder and the residue of such powder is clearly visible against a coloured background, such as for example a red cover portion 1.

The recesses 7, 8 can be provided in any suitable size, shape and/or number and are typically of sufficient depth to make it difficult for a powder to be removed therefrom by simple blowing or shaking once is has fallen therein. Thus, the recesses act as visual tamper evident means.

Further tamper evident means can be provided on the security device in the form of one or more frangible portions 34. In the event of someone trying to remove the device from bottle 102, any application of force to cover portion 1, typically causes frangible portion 34 to break off, thereby separating cover portion from the body portion and providing a clear indication to a user of the bottle that the same has been tampered with. The frangible portions 34 can be provided on a part of body portion 2 or around the entire circumference as required. In addition, frangible portions 34 are typically provided adjacent cover portion 1, such that they can be broken when forced is applied to said cover portion.

Referring to FIG. 2, there is illustrated a further embodiment of the present invention wherein a closure member in the form of a cap 12 is provided for location over cover portion 1. The same reference numerals are used to refer to the same features as in FIGS. 1a, 1b and 3.

The cap 12 typically has a top wall 33, side walls 35 and a screw thread 36 provided on an interior wall 38 adjacent an open end 40 thereof.

The exterior surface 42 of shoulder portion 28 has a complementary screw thread 44, such that cap 12 can be rotated between an engaged position, wherein the cover portion is covered by cap 12, and a disengaged position, wherein cap 12 can be removed from cover portion 1.

Although a screw thread arrangement is provided, it will be appreciated that a cap or lid can be attached to the security device via any suitable means, such as via a hinge or pivot portion, friction fit, one or more clips and/or the like.

The cover portion 1 is typically substantially hemispherical or dome shaped, thereby providing a substantially smooth surface over which a user can place their mouth and/or lips to drink the contents of the bottle. In addition, at least the outer surface of the cover portion is formed from a suitable material which a user can place in their mouth without damaging or injuring the user's mouth and/or leaving a taste of the material therein.

The security device can be made from any or any combination of plastic, metal, wood, rubber and/or the like.

Any or any combination of the abovementioned features can be provided with the present invention as required.