Title:
Method and apparatus for tamper resistant packaging
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method and apparatus for tamper resistant packaging comprises a container (102) having a top (106), and a bottom (108). The container has a shape such that a top container perimeter has a first length, and a bottom container perimeter has a second length which is great than the first length. The container also has a tab (124) extending outward from a side surface of the container. The packaging further comprises a sleeve (104) adapted to slide over the top of the container, the sleeve having a bottom opening that has a sleeve bottom perimeter that has a third length that is greater than the first length and less than the second length such that the sleeve will not slide over the bottom of the container. The sleeve includes an engaging member (132) adapted to engage the tab.



Inventors:
Hebert, Mark T. (Chicago, IL, US)
Andrade, Luiz Navarro De A. (Chicago, IL, US)
O'connell, John S. (Libertyville, IL, US)
Application Number:
11/216620
Publication Date:
03/01/2007
Filing Date:
08/31/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D6/28
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20080105680Waste canMay, 2008Carter et al.
20090294317Collapsible insulating sleeves for multi-container packagesDecember, 2009Villhard Jr.
20080245791Reusable Container with Radio Frequency Identification SealOctober, 2008Atherton
20070062957Food container with attached napkinMarch, 2007Kolleda
20070131694Unique-shaped container lidJune, 2007Moran et al.
20060169693Silicone lid for sealing any type of open-ended containerAugust, 2006Yeung
20100006576PET ITEM STORAGE UNITJanuary, 2010Berry
20030214140Combination bottle holder and pitcher type containerNovember, 2003Lynd
20080257898Dieter's water intake quantity tracking vesselOctober, 2008Pollio
20100072201Hermetically Sealed Drink Cover for Cans or BottlesMarch, 2010Salazar Moure
20100038273Sleeve, system and/or method for concealing a surface of a containerFebruary, 2010Johnson



Primary Examiner:
ELOSHWAY, NIKI MARINA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Google LLC (Mountain View, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A packaging apparatus comprising: a container having a top, a bottom a front a back a first side and a second side, the container having a shape such that the front and the back taper inward from the top to the bottom of the container and the first side and the second side taper outward from top to the bottom of the container; a tab extending outward from a side surface of the container; and a sleeve for sliding over the top of the container, the sleeve having a bottom opening that has a sleeve bottom perimeter that is equal in length to the bottom container perimeter such that the sleeve will not slide over the bottom of the container, wherein the sleeve includes slot adapted to engage the tab.

2. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the container comprises a first half and a second half that fold together in a closed position.

3. The apparatus of claim 2, wherein the sleeve has a complimentary shape to the container.

4. The apparatus of claim 2, wherein the tab is substantially adjacent to the top of the container preventing the sleeve from sliding off the top once engaged.

5. A packaging apparatus comprising: a container having a top, bottom, a first side, a second side, a front and a back, the container having a shape wherein the first side and the second side taper inward from the top of the container to the bottom of the container, and wherein the front and the back taper outward from the top of the container to the bottom of the container, and wherein the container has a tab; and a sleeve for covering the container, the sleeve formed by a first side a second side a front and a back and having a bottom opening, wherein the front and the back are tapered inward from a top of the sleeve to a bottom of the sleeve, and wherein the first side and the second side are tapered outward from the top of the sleeve to the bottom of the sleeve, and wherein the opening at the bottom of the sleeve is the same size as the bottom of the container such that the sleeve does not fit over the bottom of the container, and wherein the sleeve has an engaging member to engage the tab preventing the sleeve from sliding back over the top of the container.

6. The packaging apparatus of claim 5, wherein the container is a clam shell container having a first half and a second half that fold together to form the container in a closed position.

7. The packaging apparatus of claim 6, wherein the first half has a fastening first member and the second half has a second fastening member to fasten the first half and the second half in the closed position.

8. The packaging apparatus of claim 5, wherein the tab is at the top of the container.

9. The packaging apparatus of claim 5, wherein the engaging member is a notch.

10. A method for assembling a tamper resistant package comprising: closing a container, the container having a top and a bottom, a front a back, a first side and a second side; and sliding a sleeve having a bottom opening inner perimeter the same size as the bottom outer perimeter the container over the closed container from the top of the container to the bottom by substantially flattening the bottom portion of the sleeve so that a bottom opening of the sleeve fits over the top of the container and sliding the bottom opening to the bottom of the container wherein the sleeve can not slide further because the bottom opening is the same size has the same size as the bottom of the container.

11. The method of claim 10, further comprising engaging a tab of the container with a notch in the sleeve, preventing the sleeve from sliding off the top of the container.

12. The method of claim 10, wherein the method of closing the container includes folding a first portion and a second portion of a clam shell container together.

13. A packaging apparatus comprising: a container having a substantially flat top portion, and having a wedge shape, tapering outward from the top to a bottom in a first direction, and tapering inward from top to bottom in a second direction, wherein the bottom of the container has a perimeter equal in length to the top; a sleeve having a shape that when substantially flattened has an inner perimeter substantially equal to the length of the flat top such that the sleeve slide over the top of the container, and opens to conform to the container size as the sleeve is slid over the container, wherein the sleeve does not slide over the bottom of the container wedging thereon; and a tab that extends from the container substantially near the top, the tab flexible such that it bends as the sleeve slide over the tab, and engages a notch in the sleeve once the sleeve reaches a maximum sliding distance onto the container.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present inventions relate generally to packaging, and more particularly to a method and apparatus for tamper resistant packaging.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Tamper resistant packaging is often required by retailers in order to securely provide merchandise in the store front. The tamper resistant packaging in general prevents unwanted opening of the package and securing the components in the package. This is generally done by making the packaging difficult to open without the use of tools or some force that would be appt to being apparent in a retail setting.

One type of packaging currently in use is the clam shell package. The shell package to be sealed together such that the two halves of the clam shell may not be pulled apart by manual operation (i.e. without the use of tools such as a cutting edge). This however requires the use of sealing equipment, such as ultrasonic or RF sealing machines for example, and materials which add both cost and time to the process.

The various aspects, features and advantages of the present inventions will become more fully apparent to those having ordinary skill in the art upon careful consideration of the following Detailed Description of the Drawings with the accompanying drawings described below.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The accompanying figures, where like reference numerals refer to identical or functionally similar elements throughout the separate views and which together with the detailed description below are incorporated in and form part of the specification, serve to further illustrate various embodiments and to explain various principles and advantages all in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 1 shows an exemplary tamper resistant packaging container and sleeve.

FIG. 2 shows an exemplary container side elevation view.

FIG. 3 shows an exemplary container side elevation view.

FIG. 4 shows an exemplary front elevation view of the sleeve.

FIG. 5 shows an exemplary bottom view of the container and the sleeve.

FIG. 6 shows an exemplary sleeve prior to assembly.

Skilled artisans will appreciate that elements in the figures are illustrated for simplicity and clarity and have not necessarily been drawn to scale. For example, the dimensions of some of the elements in the figures may be exaggerated relative to other elements to help to improve understanding of embodiments of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Before describing in detail exemplary embodiments that are in accordance with the present invention, it should be observed that the embodiments reside primarily in combinations of method steps and apparatus components related to tamper resistant packaging. Accordingly, the apparatus components and method steps have been represented where appropriate by conventional symbols in the drawings, showing only those specific details that are pertinent to understanding the embodiments of the present invention so as not to obscure the disclosure with details that will be readily apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art having the benefit of the description herein.

The instant disclosure is provided to further explain in an enabling fashion the best modes of making and using various embodiments in accordance with the present invention. The disclosure is further offered to enhance an understanding and appreciation for the invention principles and advantages thereof, rather than to limit in any manner the invention.

It is further understood that the use of relational terms, if any, such as first and second, top and bottom, and the like are used solely to distinguish one from another entity or action without necessarily requiring or implying any actual such relationship or order between such entities or actions.

A method and apparatus for tamper resistant packaging is disclosed. The packaging apparatus comprises a container having a top, a bottom a front a back a first side and a second side. The container has a shape such that the front and the back taper inward from the top to the bottom of the container and the first side and the second side taper outward from top to the bottom of the container such that a top container perimeter is equal in length to a bottom container perimeter. The container has a tab extending outward from a side surface of the container. The apparatus comprises a sleeve for sliding over the top of the container, the sleeve having a bottom opening that has a sleeve bottom perimeter that is equal in length to the bottom container perimeter such that the sleeve will not slide over the bottom of the container. The sleeve includes a slot adapted to engage the tab preventing the sleeve from sliding back of the top of the container. As the sleeve reached the full containment of the container, such as a clamshell container, integrated locking featured engage, preventing the sleeve from sliding in the reverse direction. The sleeve prevents the container from being opened until it is removed by destructive force providing evidence of tampering.

The tamper resistant packaging comprises a container to contain the products for sale. The container has a unique geometric shape which is adapted to receive a sleeve. The tamper resistant packaging includes an engaging member carried either on the container or the sleeve. The sleeve locks the container in a closed position preventing the packaging from being opened without removing the sleeve. The sleeve bottom opening has a perimeter that is equal to or less than a bottom perimeter of the container 102. The engaging member prevents the sleeve from being removed from the container over the top of the container.

FIG. 1 illustrates the tamper resistant packaging comprising a container 102 and a sleeve 104. The container has a top 106 a bottom 108 a front 110, a back (not shown) a first side 112 and a second side 114. The shape of the container is such that the sides taper inward in the direction illustrated by arrows 116 and 118 from the top 106 of the container to the bottom 108 of the container. The container has an x-dimension 121 and a y-dimension 123. At the top 106, a top x-dimension 140, is wider than the bottom x-dimension 122 of the bottom 108.

The container includes an engaging member, two tabs 124 in this exemplary embodiment, that engage the sleeve 104. The tabs 124 are substantially flat in the y-dimension having the thickness of the container 102 for example. The tabs are integrally formed as part of the container 102 in this exemplary embodiment. The tabs 124 extend laterally outward from the first side 112 and the second side 114, near the top 106 in opposite directions relative to one another. Each tab has a tab bottom 127. A tab top 129 tapers outward from the top 106. The container 102, with the tabs 124, from the outer most point on each tab 124, has a tab x-dimension 131. The container has a tab bottom x-dimension 140 measured where the tab bottom 127 meets the container sides 112, 114.

The sleeve 104 has a top edge 126 and a bottom edge 128 and an x-dimension 144 and a y-dimension 146. FIG. 1 illustrates the sleeve 104 in a substantially flattened form wherein a sleeve front 130 and a sleeve back portion are adjacent. The sleeve 104 must be opened from the flattened form to slide over the container 102 in the direction indicated by arrows 141 during assembly. The shape of the sleeve 104 is such that sleeve tapers outward along the y-dimension 146 from the top 126 to the bottom 128. A first slot 132 and a second slot 134, which are voids in the sleeve 104, are cut in from the top edge 126 of the sleeve 104 downward toward the bottom edge 128. Each slot, 132, 143 has a slot bottom 136. The slots 132, 143 are wider than a width of the tabs 124, 125, so that the tabs slide freely into the slots 132, 134. The sleeve has a slot bottom x-dimension 138.

FIG. 2 shows the container 102 from a side elevation view 200. The container is formed by two halves, a first half 202 and a second half 204 which close together to contain the product therein. A first half front portion 206 is adapted to be received by a second half back portion 208 thereby closing the container. Alternatively, the first half 202 and the second half 204 may be connected along one edge and folded together. Engaging members integral in the first half 202 and a second half 204 engage when the first half 202 is closed together with the second half 204 holding the two halves together.

FIG. 3 shows an exemplary side elevation view of the first half and the second half closed together 300. In this embodiment, the shape of the package is such that the front 110 and a back 210 taper outward, illustrated by arrows 312 and 314, from the top 106 of the container to the bottom 108. Therefore, looking at FIG. 1 and FIG. 3, the front elevation view shows that from the top, which is substantially flat, the sides taper inward illustrated by arrows 116 and 118 from the top 106 of the container to the bottom 108 of the container, while the side elevation view 300 shows that the front 110 and a back 210 taper outward, illustrated by arrows 312 and 314, from the top 106 of the container to the bottom 108 forming a wedge. An outside bottom container perimeter 302 of container 102 is substantially equal to or greater than a top container perimeter. In this embodiment, this is the widest point, at the bottom 108, from front 110 to back 210 of the container 102. The top has a top z-dimension 304 that is substantially less than the bottom z-direction 308 in this embodiment. The top perimeter at the top 106, however, is less than the bottom perimeter at the bottom 108.

FIG. 4 illustrates an exemplary front elevation view 400 of the sleeve 104, shown in dashed line form, slid over the container 102 and locked into place. Assembling the packaging comprises, sliding the sleeve 104 over the top 106 of the container 102 by opening the sleeve 104, from the flattened configuration 104, at the bottom edge 128 enough to slide the top 106 of the container into the sleeve 104. The dimensions of the sleeve 104 allows the sleeve 104 to slide over the top 106 of the container 102 in order to slide over and cover the container 102, but does not allow the sleeve 104 to slide over the bottom 108 of the container. The inside bottom edge perimeter of the sleeve 104 is equal to, or less than, the bottom container perimeter 302 of container 102 to prevent the sleeve 104 from sliding past container 102 bottom 108. As the sleeve 104 continues to slide over the container 102, from top to bottom, and as the container tapers outward, the sleeve slides down until the sleeve bottom edge 128, wedges, and is aligned substantially with the bottom 106 of the container 102 and can not slide any further.

The sleeve 104 also slides over the first tab 124 and the second tab 125 until the first slot 132 and the second slot 134 align therewith. This occurs substantially at the same points, or just prior to the point at which the sleeve can not slide any further. The first tab 124 and the second tab 125 slide into (i.e. engage) the first slot 132 and the second slot 134 respectively. Once engaged, the tabs, 124, 125 prevent the sleeve from sliding back over the top 106 of the container 102. It is to be understood by those skilled in the art that only one tab may be necessary to lock in the sleeve 104 into place and that other locations of the tab may be appropriate.

In one embodiment, the tabs are flexible and may bend or fold inward as the sleeve 104 slides over the tabs 124, 125 during assembly. The tabs 124, 125 unfold as they slide into the slots 132 and 134. The tab bottom 127 engages the slot bottom 136 and prevents the sleeve from sliding upward. The slot bottom x-dimension 138 of the sleeve 104 is less than the tab x-dimension 146 and greater than the tab bottom x-dimension 140. This allows the sleeve 104 to slide over the tabs 124 in only one direction, from top to bottom, indicated by arrows 148.

FIG. 5 illustrates an exemplary bottom view 500 of the container 102 and the sleeve 104. The sleeve 104 in this illustration, represented by a first dashed line 502, is shown fully assembled onto the container 102. The first dashed line 502 shows the bottom edge 128 of the sleeve 104 having the same inner perimeter as container 102 bottom perimeter at the bottom 108. The second dashed line 504 represents an alternate embodiment wherein the inner perimeter of the sleeve bottom edge 128 is slightly shorter than the bottom perimeter of the bottom 108 of the container 102.

FIG. 6 illustrates one exemplary sleeve 102 that is formed from a flat piece of material such as cardboard. The sleeve 104 is cut or stamped and then folded upon itself to form the sleeve, by folding edge A to couple to edge B. Edge A and edge B may be coupled by a fastener such as glue, staples, integral latching means or the like. Once folded together and fastened, the sleeve 104, may be assembled onto the container 102. The container 102 halves do not need to be sealed as the sleeve 104 prevents opening of the container 102.

The sleeve may be cardboard with printed information on the surface or a plastic such as a clear plastic which allow the contents to be seen through the sleeve and container. The sleeve is not limited to a specific material however. The sleeve can be manufactured in various paper or plastic forms or combinations thereof. The container halves do not need to be sealed together eliminating a step in the packaging process as the sleeve prevents opening of the container without significant and evident damages or tampering to the packaging.

While the present inventions and what are considered presently to be the best modes thereof have been described sufficiently to establish possession by the inventors and to enable those of ordinary skill to make and use the inventions, it will be understood and appreciated that there are equivalents to the exemplary embodiments disclosed herein and that many modifications and variations may be made thereto without departing from the scope and spirit of the inventions, which are to be limited not by the exemplary embodiments but by the claims appended hereto.