Title:
CHILD RESISTANT PACKAGE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A packaging blank is folded and secured to form a package that includes a blister pack disposed between panels of the packaging blank. Certain of the panels of the packaging blank include gates. The packaging blank is folded and secured such that the panels overlap and the gates align to define a composite gate structure. The composite gate structure is aligned with a blister of the blister pack to provide a child resistant barrier to an item contained therein. Alternative packages include a blister pack, two panels, and a composite gate structure; others include two panels, a composite gate structure, and a tear strip or other detachable portion.



Inventors:
Weston, Michael H. (Chapel Hill, NC, US)
Application Number:
11/536506
Publication Date:
03/29/2007
Filing Date:
09/28/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D83/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PERREAULT, ANDREW D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WESTROCK COMPANY (Richmond, VA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A package, comprising: a blister pack including a blister; a structure for packaging said blister pack comprising: a first panel comprising a first gate defined at least in part by a first severance line; and a second panel comprising a second gate defined at least in part by a second severance line and an aperture, wherein the second panel is secured to the first panel such that the gates form a composite gate structure, wherein the severance lines are offset from one another along at least a portion of the periphery of the composite gate structure; and wherein the blister pack is secured to the first panel such that the blister is operationally aligned with the composite gate structure.

2. The package of claim 1, further comprising a third panel having an aperture, wherein the third panel is secured to the first panel such that the aperture at least partially surrounds the blister.

3. The package of claim 1, wherein a segment of the severance line is exposed by the second panel aperture.

4. The package of claim 2, wherein a segment of the severance line is exposed by the second panel aperture.

5. The package of claim 1, wherein the aperture is integral to the severance line that defines the second gate.

6. A packaging blank comprising: a first panel comprising a first detachable portion that is defined at least in part by a first severance line; and a second panel comprising a second detachable portion that is defined at least in part by a second severance line and by an aperture; wherein the packaging blank can be arranged such that the second panel overlaps the first panel; wherein the first and second detachable portions of the overlapping panels can be aligned to form a composite detachable structure; and wherein the severance lines of the detachable portions that form the composite detachable structure are offset from one another along at least a portion of the periphery of the composite detachable structure.

7. The packaging blank of claim 6, further comprising a third panel having an aperture configured to be aligned with the composite detachable structure.

8. A package, comprising: a first panel comprising a first detachable portion defined at least in part by a first severance line; and a second panel comprising a second detachable portion defined at least in part by a second severance line and an aperture that interrupts the second severance line to at least partially define the second detachable portion; wherein the second panel is secured to the first panel such that the detachable portions form a composite detachable structure; wherein the severance line are offset from one another along at least a portion of the periphery of the composite detachable structure; wherein a segment of the severance line is exposed by the aperture (36) that interrupts the second severance line.

9. The package of claim 8, at least one of the first and second detachable portions is a gate.

10. The package of claim 8, wherein at least one of the first and second detachable portions is a tear strip.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to U.S. Application No. 60/721,411, filed Sep. 28, 2005, the entirety of which is incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF INVENTION

The present invention relates to a package, and more specifically to a package that includes a detachable portion with child-resistant features.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

It is well known to use blister packs to package items such as pharmaceutical tablets, pills, and capsules. Conventional blister packs typically include a tray that is thermo-formed from a plastic sheet to include a plurality of blisters or depressions. Typically, after the items are placed in the blisters, a backing sheet made of foil, plastic, or paperboard is secured to the planar portion of the tray to enclose and retain the items in the blisters.

In blister packs that include a foil backing, the items in the blisters can be accessed by puncturing the foil backing or by pressing against the blister to force the enclosed item through the foil backing. In blister packs that include a paperboard backing, gates are defined by severance lines in the backing. The gates are at least partially detachable along the severance lines to facilitate access to the items in the blisters.

While blister packs are suitable for certain applications, they offer very little child resistance. The foil backing is easily penetrable and the gates that are defined by severance lines are also vulnerable. For example, certain gate designs exhibit areas of weakness at corners or partial cuts. Unintended users, such as children, can pick and tear at these weaknesses to delaminate the natural layers of the substrate until the item in the blister is exposed.

Child resistance is a feature that is particularly desired for unit dose pharmaceutical packaging, and is mandated by the Poison Prevention Packaging Act of 1970. Guidelines are prescribed for packaging to satisfy the criteria for child resistance. For example, a child resistance (CR) rating of F=1 requires that a particular percentage of a random sampling of the subject packages are not to be compromised by an age specific test pool of children. This general guideline is designed to ensure that the package has sufficient integrity against tampering by children.

In addition to a blister pack being child resistant, it is also desirable that packaging for certain items is senior friendly so as to permit easy withdrawal of the items from the package with minimum manipulation. This is important, for example, for a senior user whose manual dexterity and strength is reduced. In alternative packaging solutions, such as clam shells with a paperboard perimeter that are accessed by a tear strip located on the perimeter, it is sometimes desirable to include child resistant features with the strip. Accordingly, there remains in the art a need for a package that is senior friendly and substantially child resistant.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention overcomes the deficiencies of the known art and the problems that remain unsolved by providing child-resistant features on a package that is inexpensive and easy to fabricate. The child-resistant features can be used in a variety of packaging applications including in packages that are configured to include tear strips or other detachable portions and in packages that provide gates for blisters of conventional blister packs.

An exemplary packaging blank is folded and secured to form a sleeve or package for a blister pack such that the blister pack is disposed between panels of the packaging blank. Certain of the panels of the packaging blank include elements that define a composite gate structure for each blister of the blister pack. The composite gate structure provides a child resistant barrier to articles or items contained in the blisters of the blister pack.

An alternative packaging blank includes panels that are folded and secured to form an alternative package. Each of the panels includes a detachable portion and the detachable portions are aligned with respect to one another to define a composite detachable structure that has a child resistant feature. The detachable portions are each defined by severance lines are arranged with respect to one another such that the severance lines are not easily broken. The severance lines are also arranged along with an aperture in one of the panels to provide a feature that facilitates tear initiation along the severance lines to at least partially separate the composite detachable structure from the package. For example, at least one of the detachable portions of the the composite detachable structure can be configured as a tear strip.

According to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, a package includes a packaging blank that is folded and secured to provide a sleeve or otherwise child resistant packaging for articles in a blister pack. The packaging blank includes a face panel that includes apertures that receive the blisters of the blister pack. The packaging blank further includes a back panel and a center panel, each of which include at least one gate that is at least partially defined by a severance line. The center panel includes a first gate that is defined by a first severance line. The back panel includes a second gate that is defined by a second severance line. The back panel also includes an aperture that interrupts the second severance line and that at least partially defines the second gate.

The blister pack packaging blank can be arranged to provide a sleeve or cover for the flange portion of the blister pack or otherwise to secure the blister pack between the panels of the packaging blank. Specifically, this packaging blank is arranged such that the back panel overlaps and is secured to the center panel. Thereby, the firs gate and the second gate are aligned with and secured to one another to form a composite gate structure. Further, each of the composite gate structures align with a blister of the blister pack. The first severance line and the second severance line that define the composite gate structures are offset from one another along at least a portion of the periphery of the composite gate structure such that the offset severance lines can not be broken by simply pressing near these portions of the composite gate structure or otherwise on the composite gate structure. Rather, to break the offset severance lines, a segment of the first severance line that is exposed by the aperture is broken to initiate the break along the first severance line and to facilitate separation of the composite gate structure along each of the first and second severance lines.

The first and second gates are aligned and secured to form the composite gate structure such that the aperture that defines the second gate and interrupts the second severance line exposes a segment of the first severance line. The composite gate structure can be displaced into a corresponding blister by breaking the segment of the first severance line to initiate separation of the composite gate structure from the overlapping back and center panels. Thereafter, the composite gate structure can be further separated from the back and center panels and displaced into the blister cavity by tearing along the first and second severance lines. To gain access to the item in the blister, pressure is applied to the blister such that the article or item contained therein displaces the composite gate structure outwardly and allows access to the item.

It should be understood that, in alternative embodiments, the packaging blank can be integral to the blister pack. For example, one or more of the panels of the packaging blank can provide the backing of the blister pack.

According to alternative exemplary embodiments, a packaging blank includes a face panel and a back panel, each of which includes at least one detachable portion that is at least partially defined by a severance line. In this embodiment, the face panel detachable portion is a gate and the back panel detachable portion is a tear strip. The face panel also includes an aperture that interrupts the face panel severance line and at least partially defines the face panel gate. The back panel severance line extends to define the back panel tear strip. A gate attaching portion of the back panel tear strip is defined by a fold line. In practice, the face panel gate and the gate attaching portion of the back panel tear strip are aligned and secured to form a composite detachable structure, a portion of which is similar to the composite gate structure described above. The composite detachable structure can be displaced by breaking a segment of the back panel severance line that is exposed by the aperture which defines the face panel gate to initiate separation of the composite detachable structure. Thereafter, the portion of the composite detachable structure that includes the face panel gate and the attached gate attaching portion is used as a pull tab to initiate separation of the tear strip portion of the composite detachable structure from the back panel. With the tear strip at least partially removed, the package can be further opened and the contents accessed, or additional child-resistant features can then be accessed.

It should be understood that a face panel tear strip can be substituted for the face panel gate such that the composite detachable structure is a composite tear strip. It should also be understood that the severance lines can define any detachable portion, for example, to access items in a package. One or both of the severance lines can define a gate, a tear strip, any suitable detachable portion, or combinations thereof.

The terms, face, center, and back are not limiting and are merely used in order to distinguish the panels from one another and further describe the package.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an exemplary packaging blank and an exemplary blister pack, according to the present invention.

FIGS. 2 and 3 are perspective views of a package formed from the packaging blank and the blister pack of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a plan view of a composite gate structure of the package of FIG. 2.

FIG. 5 is a partial perspective view of the package of FIG. 2.

FIG. 6 is a plan view of an alternative embodiment of a package that includes a composite detachable structure.

FIG. 7 is a plan view of another alternative embodiment of a package that includes a composite detachable structure.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

As required, detailed embodiments of the present invention are disclosed herein. It must be understood that the disclosed embodiments are merely exemplary of the invention that may be embodied in various and alternative forms, and combinations thereof. As used herein, the word “exemplary” is used expansively to refer to embodiments that serve as illustrations, specimens, models, or patterns. The figures are not necessarily to scale and some features may be exaggerated or minimized to show details of particular components. In other instances, well-known components, systems, materials, or methods have not been described in detail in order to avoid obscuring the present invention. Therefore, specific structural and functional details disclosed herein are not to be interpreted as limiting, but merely as a basis for the claims and as a representative basis for teaching one skilled in the art to variously employ the present invention.

The present invention is useful for packaging, storing, and dispensing various items or products including, but not limited to, tablets, pills, capsules, lozenges, chewables, patches, drug delivery devices, medications, non-medications, liquids, unit doses of a pharmaceutical products, all manner of small and portable items, any combination thereof, and the like. It should be noted that a blister pack is useful for packaging products that a user may wish to keep secure and dispense in a regulated, safe manner. The present invention is also useful for opening various types of packages; not just blister pack packages.

Referring to FIG. 1, an exemplary packaging blank 10 is shown that can be folded and secured to form a package that includes a blister pack. The packaging blank 10 is a single sheet of suitable substrate. It is to be understood that, as used herein the term “suitable substrate” includes all manner of foldable sheet material such as paperboard, corrugated board, cardboard, plastic, combinations thereof, and the like. Further, the packaging blank 10 can be formed from any suitable material to include conventional paperboard grades such as solid bleached sulfate (SBS) paperboard ranging in weight, size, and shape. The packaging blank 10 may also be an unbleached board, depending on the desired appearance of the final package. The substrate, if paperboard, is preferably coated on at least one side, with a conventional coating selected for compatibility with the printing method and board composition. The package blank 10 would typically be formed so that after folding, the coated side would become the external surface of the package. This allows information or directives about the package contents to be viewed without opening the package. For purposes of teaching and directional orientation only, the illustrated embodiments comprise an unprinted side and a printed side. Here, the unprinted side is the visible side shown in FIG. 1 and the opposite side is the printed side.

A tear resistant layer may or may not be adhered to packaging blank 10 to provide additional child-resistance. Tear resistant layers are often laminated to the blank before cutting. Some examples of acceptable laminates include, but are not limited to, Endurance PTHS, EASY SEAL®, and EASY SEAL PLUS®, as manufactured or distributed by the present applicant.

As used herein, the terms “fold line” and “severance line” refer to all manner of printed lines indicating optimal fold or cut locations, frangible or otherwise weakened lines, perforations, a line of perforations, a line of short slits, a line of half-cuts, a single half-cut, a cut line, scored lines, slits, any combination thereof, and the like.

Referring to FIG. 1, the packaging blank 10 includes elements that are positioned and dimensioned so as to receive an exemplary blister pack 24. The packaging blank 10 can be folded and secured to at least partially enclose the blister pack 24 and, thereby, form a package 50, as described in further detail below. Further, the packaging blank 10 provides child resistant secondary packaging for the blister pack 24, as described in further detail below. It is envisaged that, in alternative embodiments, the packaging blank can be configured to receive multiple blister packs, blister packs of different sizes and shapes, and blister packs that include a different number and/or arrangement of blisters than the illustrated blister pack 24.

The packaging blank 10 includes a face panel 12, a back panel 14, and a center panel 16. In the exemplary embodiment, the back and center panels 14, 16 are hingedly connected to opposite edges of the face panel 12 along fold lines 18, 20, respectively. However, in alternative embodiments, the panels 12, 14, 16 can be alternatively arranged. For example, the back and center panels 14, 16 can be hingedly connected to edges of the face panel 12 that are substantially perpendicular to one another. As another example, the center panel 16 can be hingedly connected to the back panel 14. In the exemplary embodiment, the face panel 12, center panel 16, and back panel 14 are integrally formed as a single unitary blank. However, it should be noted that the panels of the blank 10 can be separate and distinct from one another and can otherwise be secured to one another to form the packaging blank 10 or the package 50. The panels 12, 14 include optional fold lines F1, F2 such that the package 50 can be folded to cover blisters 23.

The illustrated face panel 12 and back panel 14 are substantially similar in size and shape. The center panel 16 is relatively smaller in size and shape than the panels 12, 14 such that at least a portion of the periphery, border, or edge of the center panel 16 is within the edge of each of the panels 12, 14 as the panels 12, 14, 16 are folded along the fold lines 18, 20 to overlap one another. Thereby, a portion of the panels 12, 14 near their respective edges are substantially directly in a face contacting arrangement with one another when the panels 12, 14, 16 are folded along the fold lines 18, 20 to overlap one another, as described in further detail below.

Each of the panels 12, 14, 16 include elements that align with elements on each of the other two panels 12, 14, 16 to define composite gate structures when the panels 12, 14, 16 are folded along the fold lines 18, 20 to overlap one another. The face panel 12 includes a plurality of apertures 22 that are dimensioned and positioned to receive blisters 23 of the blister pack 24, as described in further detail below. The panels 14, 16 include a plurality of gates 28, 30, respectively. The gates 28, 30 are defined by severance lines 32, 34, respectively. Referring momentarily to FIG. 4, the gates 28 are similar in shape to the gates 30 but differ in dimension such that the severance lines 32, 34 are offset from one another as the panels 14, 16 are folded along the fold lines 18, 20 to overlap one another, as described in further detail below. Each of the gates 28, 30 has a substantially rounded shape to avoid sharp exterior corners in order to make it difficult for an unintended user to initiate a tear along the severance lines 32, 34 by picking at the gates 28, 30. Of course, gates that include at least one corner are contemplated.

The back panel 14 further includes finger-receiving apertures 36. Each aperture 36 interrupts a severance line 32 so to at least partially define a gate 28. Each aperture 36 further defines a pressure point area 38, as described in further detail below. Although referred to as a “finger-receiving” aperture 36, the gate aperture 36 may receive any tool that can operate the gate 28, as described below.

The blister pack 24 includes a flange portion 26 from which blisters 23 extend. The blister pack 24 can be formed in numerous ways including by thermoforming blisters 23 in a sheet of plastic-type material and attaching a foil backing to the sheet of plastic-type material to enclose the cavities defined by the blisters 23. Thereby, the flange portion 26 is the composite planar portion of the blister pack 24 that is formed by the foil backing and the planar portion of the sheet material. The blisters 23 are sized and dimensioned to receive products, such as medicaments. The arrangement of blisters 23 is merely a design choice. The products in each of the blisters 23 are accessible through the backing of the blister pack 24. For example, the foil backing can be punctured or broken to access articles in blisters 23. In alternative embodiments, the backing can be any material such as metal, paper, plastic, and the like that is operable to rupture upon application of pressure to a blister 23. It is contemplated that the blister pack 24, including the blisters 23 and flange portion 26, can be at least partially formed from any suitable material including plastic, cardboard, paper, paperboard, foil, metal, any combination thereof, and the like. Further components of the blister pack 24 can be formed using any suitable method.

The packaging blank 10 can be folded and secured to enclose the blister pack 24 with the operations as described herein. The operations can be performed by automatic machinery and/or manually. The method of performing the erecting process is not limited to the exemplary method described herein. Particularly, the order of the steps can be altered according to manufacturing requirements, steps may be added or omitted, and means for securing components to one another may vary. The surfaces of sheet material can be secured together by suitable means for securing including tape, staples, interlocking folds, VELCRO®, glue or other adhesives, mechanical fasteners, chemical bonding, combinations thereof, and the like.

Referring to FIGS. 1-3, the package 50 is assembled from the blank 10 and the blister pack 24. The blisters 23 of the blister pack 24 are received in the apertures 22 such that the flange portion 26 of the blister pack 24 is in flat face contact with the inside surface of the face panel 12. The center panel 16 is folded along fold line 20 to be in flat face contact with and overlap the flange portion 26 of the blister pack 24 such that the flange portion 26 of the blister pack 24 is sandwiched between the face panel 12 and the center panel 16. Thereby, each gate 30 correspondingly aligns with a blister 23 and an aperture 22.

The back panel 14 is folded along fold line 18 to be in flat face contact with and overlap the center panel 12 such that the flange portion 26 of the blister pack 24 and the center panel 16 are sandwiched between the face panel 12 and the back panel 14. Thereby, each gate 28 correspondingly aligns with a gate 30, a blister 23, and an aperture 22, as best shown in FIG. 4.

The panels 12, 14, 16 are sealed together to secure the blister pack 24 in the package 50. Accordingly, the gates 28, 30 are sealed together to form a composite gate structure 60. In addition, a portion of the gate 30 near the periphery of the gate 30, referred to as a seal area, is sealed to back panel 14, as shown in FIG. 4. Further described, the seal area is the area of the gate 30 that is defined between the projection of severance line 32 onto the gate 30 and the severance line 34 as the gates 28, 30 are aligned. The panels 12, 14, 16 may be sealed together by means for securing described above, including by an EASY SEAL® or EASY SEAL PLUS® product.

It should be noted that the composite gate structure 60 is configured so as to provide a child resistant feature. Referring to FIG. 4, the severance lines 32, 34 are offset from one another to prevent the severance lines 32, 34 from individually breaking as a force is exerted to composite gate structure 60 from either side. For example, the severance lines do not break as a force is exerted on a gate 28, or as a force is exerted on a blister 23 to force the item therein against a gate 30. Further, as described above, the shape of the gates 28, 30 provide that the composite gate structure 60 cannot be separated along the severance lines 32, 34 by picking at the composite gate structure 60.

The aperture 36 exposes a segment 40 of the severance line 34 along which a tear can be initiated. To at least partially separate the composite gate structure 60 from a composite panel defined by the panels 14, 16 along the severance lines 32, 34, a force is applied to a pressure point 38, found along the segment 40, to break a section and propagate a tear along the severance line 34. As a first tear propagates along the severance line 34, a second tear is initiated at the ends of the severance line 32 (defined by the aperture 36) and the severance lines 32, 34 are thereafter broken together such that the composite gate structure 60 is displaced or collapsed into the cavity defined by the blister 23, and the backing of the blister pack 24 is broken.

In the exemplary embodiment, item 25 obstructs the composite gate structure 60 as it is displaced into the cavity defined by the blister 23, such that the item 25 cannot be accessed. To access the item 25, a force is exerted on the corresponding blister 23, thereby forcing the item 25 against the composite gate structure 60, such that the composite gate structure 60 is displaced outward and the item is ejected from the blister 23 through an opening defined by the composite gate structure 60.

In an alternative blister pack package, the packaging blank 10 includes a back panel 14 and a face panel 16. The panels 14, 16 include a plurality of gates 28, 30 respectively. The gates 28, 30 are defined by severance lines 32, 34 respectively. As described above with reference to FIG. 4, the gates 28 are similar in shape to the gates 30 but differ in dimension such that the severance lines 32, 34 are offset from one another when the panels 14, 16 are positioned to overlap each other, as described above. In this embodiment, the flange portion 26 of a blister pack 24 is secured to the face panel 16 such that at least one blister 23 holding an item 25 is operationally aligned with a respective composite gate structure 60 comprised of the panel gates 28, 30. In practice, this item 25 is accessed in a manner similar to the item 25 described above.

Referring to FIG. 6, an alternative embodiment of a package 150 is formed from a packaging blank that includes a face panel, which includes a face panel gate 128 that is defined by a face panel severance line 132, and a back panel, that includes a back panel tear strip 170 that is defined by a back panel severance line 134. The face panel includes an aperture 136 that interrupts the face panel severance line 132 and at least partially defines the face panel gate 128. The back panel further includes a fold line 172 that defines a gate attaching portion 130 of the back panel tear strip 170.

The face panel gate 128 and the gate attaching portion 130 of the tear strip 170 are aligned and secured to one another such that the face panel gate 128 and the tear strip 170 form a composite detachable structure 160 having a portion that is similar to the composite gate structure 60 described above. In this embodiment, the face panel and the back panel can be secured together in selected locations such that the back panel tear strip 170 of the composite detachable structure 160 not secured to the face panel. Separating the tear strip 170 portion of the composite detachable structure 160 from the package 150 defines, for example, a slit or opening (not shown) in the package 150 to facilitate access to articles in the package 50.

The composite detachable structure 160 can be separated by breaking a segment 140 of the back panel severance line 134 to initiate separation of the composite detachable structure 160 along the severance lines 132, 134. Thereafter, the portion of the composite detachable structure 160 that is defined by the gate 128 and gate attaching portion 130 is used as a pull tab to initiate separation of the tear strip 170 portion of the composite detachable structure 160 from the back panel along the back panel severance lines 134. With the tear strip 170 portion of the composite detachable structure 160 at least partially removed, the package 150 can be further opened and the contents accessed, or additional child-resistant features can then be accessed.

Referring to an alternative embodiment illustrated in FIG. 7, each of the severance lines 232, 234 define a tear strip 228, 230 such that the composite detachable portion 260 is a composite tear strip. In such an embodiment, the composite detachable portion 260 facilitates separation of portions of a package 250 to access articles therein or otherwise alternatively arrange the package 250. It should be understood that the severance lines 232, 234 can define any suitable detachable portion of a package.

In yet another alternative embodiment, a composite gate structure can be completely separated from a package to provide an aperture. The aperture can, for example, allow a user to grasp the end of a tear strip or other detachable portion and separate the tear strip or detachable portion along severance lines. It should be understood that the scope of the invention is not limited to the configuration illustrated in the exemplary embodiment. Rather, the invention is applicable to any package, carton, sleeve, or the like that includes overlapping panels with elements arranged as described herein to provide a child resistant tear initiation feature.

It must be emphasized that the law does not require and it is economically prohibitive to illustrate and teach every possible embodiment of the present claims. Hence, the above-described embodiments are merely exemplary illustrations of implementations set forth for a clear understanding of the principles of the invention. Many combinations and variations of combinations may be made to the above-described embodiments without departing from the scope of the claims. All such combinations and variations of combinations are included herein by the scope of this disclosure and the following claims.