Title:
CHILD RESISTANT BOTTLE CAP
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A bottle cap for a medicine bottle in accordance with the present invention includes an outer cap including a first top and a first sidewall extending downward from the first top, an inner cap including a second top and a second sidewall extending downward from the second top, wherein the inner cap is mounted in the outer cap and an engagement device positioned in the outer cap such that the engagement device is movable from a first position wherein the outer cap is engaged with the inner cap in a senior friendly mode, and a second position wherein the outer cap is freely rotatable in a desired direction with respect to the inner cap in a child safety mode.



Inventors:
Libohova, Agjah I. (E. Setauket, NY, US)
Mroczka, David E. (Westbury, NY, US)
Application Number:
11/672825
Publication Date:
08/30/2007
Filing Date:
02/08/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D55/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
EDWARDS, BRETT J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FRED ZOLLINGER III (NORTH CANTON, OH, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A bottle cap comprising: an outer cap including a first top and a first sidewall extending downward from the first top; an inner cap including a second top and a second sidewall extending downward from the second top, wherein the inner cap is mounted in the outer cap; and an engagement device positioned in the outer cap such that the engagement device is movable from a first position wherein the outer cap is engaged with the inner cap in a senior friendly mode, and a second position wherein the outer cap is freely rotatable in a desired direction with respect to the inner cap in a child safety mode.

2. The bottle cap of claim 1, wherein the engagement device comprises a flap formed in the top of the outer cap and including an opening, wherein the flap is rotatable in a substantially vertical direction between the first position and second position.

3. The bottle cap of claim 2, wherein the inner cap further comprises a protrusion extending upward from the second top, wherein the protrusion extends through the opening in the flange when the flange is in the first position such that the outer cap is engaged with the inner cap.

4. The bottle cap of claim 3, wherein the protrusion is free of the flange when the flange is in the second position, such that the outer cap is freely rotatable in the desired direction with respect to the inner cap.

5. The bottle cap of claim 4, wherein the inner cap further comprises a plurality of sloped protrusions, each of which extending from a high point to a low point and positioned on a top surface of the second top.

6. The bottle cap of claim 5, wherein the outer cap includes a plurality of flanges that extend downward from a bottom surface of the first top such that a bottom of each flange of the plurality the flanges extends to just above a height of the low point of the sloped protrusions such that the flanges engage the high side of the sloped protrusion when the outer cap is turned in a first direction and the flanges merely slide over the sloped protrusions when the outer cap is turned in the desired direction.

7. The bottle cap of claim 6, wherein the flanges engage the low side of the slope protrusions when the outer cap is pressed downward such that the outer cap engages the inner cap to turn the inner cap and allow for removal of the bottle cap from a bottle.

8. A bottle cap comprising: an outer cap including a first top with an opening formed therein and a first sidewall extending downward from the first top; an inner cap including a second top with a resilient protrusion extending upward therefrom and a second sidewall extending downward from the second top, wherein the inner cap is mounted in the outer cap; a seal mounted in the inner cap and pushing the resilient protrusion upward into the opening of the outer cap such that the outer cap engages the inner cap in a senior friendly mode; and a key removably mounted on a top surface of the first top, wherein the key pushes the resilient protrusion down out of the opening such that the outer cap does not engage the inner cap when the key is attached to the outer cap in a child safety mode.

9. The bottle cap of claim 8, wherein the protrusion remains in the opening of the outer cap when the key is removed from the outer cap such that the outer cap rotates with the inner cap.

10. The bottle cap of claim 9, wherein the inner cap further comprises a pin extending from a bottom of the resilient protrusion such that the seal urges the resilient protrusion upward via the pin.

11. The bottle cap of claim 10, wherein the opening includes a securing notch that accommodates a securing nub of the resilient protrusion operable to keep the resilient protrusion in the opening.

12. The bottle cap of claim 11, wherein the inner cap further comprises a plurality of sloped protrusions extending from a high point to a low point and positioned on a top surface of the second top.

13. The bottle cap of claim 12, wherein the outer cap includes a plurality of flanges that extend downward from a bottom surface of the first top such that a bottom of teach of the flanges extends to just above a height of the low point of the sloped protrusions, such that the flanges engage the high side of the sloped protrusion when the outer cap is turned in a first direction and the flanges merely slide over the sloped protrusions when the outer cap is turned in the desired direction.

14. The bottle cap of claim 13, wherein the flanges engage the low side of the sloped protrusions when the outer cap is pressed downward such that the outer cap engages the inner cap to turn the inner cap in the desired direction and allow for removal of the bottle cap from a bottle.

15. A bottle cap comprising: an outer cap including a first top and a first sidewall extending downward from the first top; an inner cap including a second top and a second sidewall extending downward from the second top, wherein the inner cap is mounted in the outer cap; and a lock device having a substantially U-shape and operable to engage the inner cap and outer cap such that the outer cap rotates with the inner cap in a senior friendly mode.

16. The bottle cap of claim 15, wherein the lock device is made of a substantially resilient material and includes respective locking flanges extending laterally from a first and second end of the U-shape.

17. The bottle cap of claim 16, wherein the outer cap includes an elongated slot formed through the first top, such that the U-shaped lock device passes through the elongated slot.

18. The bottle cap of claim 17, wherein the inner cap further comprises two arcuate slots formed opposite each other through the second top, where the slots are sized to accommodate the locking flanges of the locking device to secure the locking device to the inner cap.

19. The bottle cap of claim 18, wherein the lock device passes through the elongated slot in the outer cap such that the lock device is engaged with both the outer cap and the inner cap such that the inner cap rotates with the inner cap in a senior friendly mode.

20. The bottle cap of claim 19, wherein the lock device bends inward when pressure is applied to the first and second legs of the U-shape of the lock device such that the lock device is released from the arcuate slots in the inner cap and is removable from the elongated slot of the outer cap to allow for free rotation of the outer cap relative to the inner cap in the desired direction.

21. The bottle cap of claim 20, wherein the inner cap further comprises a plurality of sloped protrusions extending from a high point to a low point and positioned on a top surface of the second top.

22. The bottle cap of claim 21, wherein the outer cap includes a plurality of flanges that extend downward from a bottom surface of the first top such that the a bottom of each of the flanges extends to just above a height of the low point of the sloped protrusions such that the flanges engage the high side of the sloped protrusion when the outer cap is turned in a first direction and the flanges merely slide over the sloped protrusions when the outer cap is turned in the desired direction in a child safety mode.

23. The bottle cap of claim 22, wherein the flanges engage the low side of the slope protrusions when the outer cap is pressed downward such that the outer cap engages the inner cap in the desired direction to turn the inner cap in the desired direction and allow for removal of the bottle cap from a bottle.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application claims benefit of and priority to U.S Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/771,375 filed Feb. 8, 2006 entitled CHILD RESISTANT CAP, the entire contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference herein.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present application relates to a bottle cap for use with bottles used to dispense prescription and non-prescription medications. In particular, the present application relates to a bottle cap that can be easily changed from a child resistant mode to a non-child resistant, or senior friendly, mode.

2. Description of the Related Art

Medication, whether over-the-counter or prescription, is often dispensed from medicine bottles with caps that include a child resistant feature that reduces the risk of an unsupervised child accidentally overdosing or otherwise ingesting the medication. While the child resistant cap is difficult for children to open, it is often difficult for many adults to open as well. For example, senior citizens may lack the strength or dexterity required to open the child resistant cap. In addition, many adults may have arthritis or some other physical condition that makes it difficult for them to open a child resistant cap. As a result, these adults who often have a need for medication tend to skip dosages or stop taking medication altogether due to the difficulty they have in opening the medicine bottle.

One solution for this problem has been to use two different types of caps with a standard medicine bottle. One type of cap is child resistant while the other is not. This solution, however, has several problems. First, pharmacies are forced to purchase and maintain an inventory of both types of caps. Thus, there may be a rather substantial increase in cost to the pharmacy to offer this option. Second, in order to receive medication without the child-resistant cap, the patient must request a non-child resistant cap, which is inconvenient and may be embarrassing. Further, even when the non-child resistant cap is requested for the medicine bottle, there is an increased risk to children in the household, or those merely visiting the household.

Thus, it would be advantageous to provide a bottle cap for use with medicine bottles that can be easily converted from a child resistant mode to a non-child resistant or senior friendly mode.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A bottle cap for a medicine bottle in accordance with the present invention includes an outer cap including a first top and a first sidewall extending downward from the first top, an inner cap including a second top and a second sidewall extending downward from the second top, wherein the inner cap is mounted in the outer cap and an engagement device positioned in the outer cap such that the engagement device is movable from a first position wherein the outer cap is engaged with the inner cap in a senior friendly mode, and a second position wherein the outer cap is freely rotatable in a desired direction with respect to the inner cap in a child safety mode.

A bottle cap in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention includes an outer cap including a first top with an opening formed therein and a first sidewall extending downward from the first top, an inner cap including a second top with a resilient protrusion extending upward therefrom and a second sidewall extending downward from the second top, wherein the inner cap is mounted in the outer cap, a seal mounted in the inner cap and pushing the resilient protrusion upward into the opening of the outer cap such that the outer cap engages the inner cap in a senior friendly mode and a key removably mounted on a top surface of the first top, wherein the key pushes the resilient protrusion down out of the opening such that the outer cap does not engage the inner cap when the key is attached to the outer cap in a child safety mode.

A bottle cap in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention includes an outer cap including a first top and a first sidewall extending downward from the first top, an inner cap including a second top and a second sidewall extending downward from the second top, wherein the inner cap is mounted in the outer cap and a lock device having a substantially U-shape and operable to engage the inner cap and outer cap such that the outer cap rotates with the inner cap in a senior friendly mode.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 illustrates a cross section of a bottle cap according to an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 illustrates an outer cap of the bottle cap of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 illustrates an inner cap of the bottle cap of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 illustrated the bottle cap of FIG. 1 in a child resistant mode; and

FIG. 5 illustrates the bottle cap of FIG. 1 in a non-child resistant mode.

FIGS. 6-7c illustrate an alternative embodiment of a bottle cap in accordance with the present invention.

FIGS. 8a-8b illustrate another embodiment of a bottle cap in accordance with the present invention.

DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS

The present invention, in an example embodiment, provides a bottle cap 10 for use with a medicine bottle that includes an inner cap 12 which is positioned inside an outer cap 14 as illustrated in the cross section of FIG. 1, for example. The bottle cap 10 of FIG. 1 (and FIG. 5) is illustrated in non-child resistant, or senior friendly, mode in which simply turning the outer cap 14 also turns the inner cap 12 to remove the bottle cap 10 from a medicine bottle. The bottle cap 10 of the present application is preferably usably with most conventional medication bottles.

The outer cap 14 is illustrated in further detail with reference to FIG. 2. The outer cap 14 is preferably substantially circular in shape and includes a substantially vertical sidewall 20 that extends up toward a substantially horizontal top surface 22. A flap 24 is preferably formed substantially in the middle of the top surface 22. The flap 24 preferably includes a slot 26 formed in the middle of the flap 24. In a preferred embodiment, both the flap 24 and the slot 26 are substantially square in shape; however, the flap 24 may be any desired shape. Further, the slot 26 may be any desired shape as well, provided the slot 26 complements the shape of the post 40 of the inner cap 12 which is discussed below in further detail.

A hinge 28 is preferably positioned on one end of the flap 24 to rotatably secure the flap 24 to the top surface 22 of the outer cap 14. The end of the flap 24 opposite the hinge 28 is preferably detached from the top surface 22 of the outer cap 14 to allow the flap 24 to rotate vertically about the hinge 28 from a first non-child resistant, or senior friendly, position as is illustrated in FIG. 2, to a second child resistant position, as illustrated in FIG. 4. The hinge 28 may be a separate component attached to the top 22 of the outer cap 14 or may be formed integrally into the top 22 if desired.

The child resistant position of the flap 24 is illustrated in FIG. 4, for example. Anchor post 30, which is formed on the top surface 22 of the outer cap 14 between the hinge 28 and a periphery of the top surface 22 of the outer cap 14, may protrude through the slot 26 and hold the flap 24 in the child resistant position. More specifically, a resilient lip 32, extends horizontally outward a short distance on the top surface of the anchor 30. After the flap 24 is rotated from the non-child resistant position into the child resistant position, the anchor 30 may be positioned in the slot 26. The lip 32 bends slightly downward to allow the anchor 30 to protrude up through the slot 26, but is less resilient in the opposite direction and thus keeps the flap 24 in the child resistant position. The flap 24 can be moved from the child resistant position back to the non-child resistant position by a user who exerts some pressure on the flap 24 to overcome the resistance of the lip 32. A plurality of vertical ribs 34 may be positioned around the sidewall 20 of the outer cap 14 to provide a better surface for gripping the outer cap.

The inner cap 12 is described in further detail with reference to FIG. 3. The inner cap 12 also includes a substantially vertical sidewall 36 that extends upward to a substantially horizontal top surface 38. The top surface 38 preferably includes a square post, or protrusion, 40 positioned substantially in the center of the top surface 38. The post 40 need not be square and may be most any shape provided that the shape of the post 40 is complementary to the shape of the slot 26. In addition, a plurality of teeth 42 is positioned around the periphery of the inner cap 12. The teeth preferably include a sloped top surface 42a, with a low end 42a1, and a high end 42a11. The inner cap 12 fits inside outer cap 14 as illustrated in FIGS. 1, 4 and 5, for example. Preferably, the inner cap 12 fits within the outer cap 14 such that the outer cap is movable a short distance upward or downward relative to the inner cap. When the flap 24 of the outer cap 14 is in the non-child resistant position, the square post 40 aligns in the square slot 26 of the outer cap 14 such that the post 40 passes through the slot 26. In a preferred embodiment, the inner cap 12 includes threads 44 (See FIGS. 4-5) positioned on an inner surface of the sidewall 36 which interact with corresponding threads on the medicine bottle to secure and release the bottle cap 10 from the medicine bottle. The threads on the medicine bottle are preferably substantially the same as threads provided on any conventional medicine bottle and thus are not discussed in detail herein.

In operation, when the flap 24 is in the non-child resistant position, as illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 5, the bottle cap 10 is also in senior friendly mode. That is, the child resistant features of the bottle cap 10 are not operable. In senior friendly mode, when a user rotates the outer cap 14, the post 40 in the slot 26 is engaged and the inner cap 12 rotates with the outer cap. As a result, the threads 44 on the inner surface of the inner cap 12 cooperate with the threads on the medicine bottle to release the cap 10 from the medicine bottle.

When the flap 24 is in the child resistant position, as illustrated in FIG. 4, for example, the bottle cap 10 functions like a conventional child resistant bottle. In this mode, the inner cap 12 is not necessarily engaged by the outer cap 14. Thus, simply turning the outer cap 14 will not necessarily move the inner cap 12 and thus the threads 44 on the inner surface of the inner cap will not necessarily be moved relative to the threads on the bottle.

To open the bottle, the user must push down on the outer cap 14 and rotate it in the appropriate direction in order to engage the inner cap 12, like a conventional child resistant bottle. A bottom surface of the outer cap 14 preferably includes a plurality of flanges 50 that extend downward a predetermined distance from the bottom surface of the outer cap 14, as illustrated in FIG. 1. The flanges 50 have a length that contacts the high end 42a11 of the sloped top surface 42a of the teeth 42 on the top surface 38 of the inner cap 12. Thus, if the outer cap 14 is rotated in a first direction, typically, in a clockwise direction, the flanges 50 contact an edge of the high end 42a11 of the sloped top surface 42a of the teeth 42 to rotate the inner cap 12. As a result, the bottle cap 10 is fastened onto the medicine bottle. Naturally, since there is little danger to a child if the medicine bottle is easily closed, it is appropriate to allow the outer cap 14 to easily rotate the inner cap 12 to close the bottle.

Since the flanges 50 are sized only to engage the top end 42a11 of the sloped top surface 42a of the teeth 42, when the outer cap 14 is rotated in the other direction, counterclockwise, the flanges 50 merely ride up the sloped top surface 42a of the teeth 42. However, as noted above, the inner cap 12 is positioned in the outer cap 14 such that when a user pushes down on the outer cap 14 the outer cap moves downward a short distance. Thus, when the user pushes downward on the outer cap 14 and rotates the outer cap in the appropriate direction, the flanges 50 are pushed downward to a position in which they may contact an edge of the lower end 42a1 of the sloped top surface 42a of the teeth 42. Thus, when the outer cap 14 is pushed down and then rotated, the flanges 50 engage the teeth 42 and the inner cap 12 rotates with the outer cap to release the bottle cap 10 from the medicine bottle.

FIG. 6 illustrates an alternative embodiment of a bottle cap 101 in accordance with the present invention. As illustrated in FIG. 6, the bottle cap 101 includes an outer cap 61 and an inner cap 62 that is mounted in the outer cap. A rubber seal 64 may be mounted in the inner cap 62 to provide a seal between the cap 10′ and the bottle (not shown). A key 65 may also be provided.

The inner cap 62 is similar to the inner cap outer cap 12 discussed above and preferably includes a top 62a and a sidewall 62b extending downward from the top. A resilient protrusion 62c may extend upward from the top 62a (see FIGS. 7a-7c). The outer cap 61 is similar to outer cap 14 described above and includes a top 61a, a downward extending sidewall 61b and an opening 61c.

In operation, when the inner cap 62 is mounted in the outer cap with the seal 64, the seal 64 pushes upward on a pin 62d (see FIG. 7b) on the underside of the resilient protrusion 62c. The protrusion 62c thus extends up into the opening 61c such that the outer cap 61 and inner cap 62 will rotate together. In this configuration the bottle cap 101 is in adult friendly mode. When the key 65 is applied to the top surface 61a of the of the outer cap 61, it forces the protrusion 62c down through the opening 61c such that the protrusion no longer engages the outer cap 61 and the outer cap may spin relative to the inner cap 62. A notch 61c1 (See FIG., 7c) may be formed in the opening 61c to accommodate a nub 62c1 of the protrusion 62c which helps to hold the protrusion in the opening. It is noted that the key 65 is made of a substantially hard material that is harder than the resilient protrusion 62c and the seal 64. Thus, the key 65 is effective to drive the protrusion 62c downward despite the resistance of the nub 62c1 and the seal 64.

The outer cap 61 also preferably includes flanges (not shown) on a bottom surface of the top 61a similar to the flanges 50 described above. The inner cap 62 preferably includes teeth 61e on a top surface of the top 62a which interact with the flanges of the outer cap 61 in a manner similar to the teeth 42 discussed above to provide for child safety features. Thus, use of the key 66 in the cap 10′ places the cap in child safe mode. The inner cap 62 also includes threads (not shown) formed on the internal surface of the sidewall 62b suitable for engagement with standard threads on a medication bottle to allow for the cap 101 to be attached and removed from the bottle.

FIGS. 8a-8b illustrate another embodiment of a bottle cap 10″ in accordance with the present invention. The outer cap 80 is similar to the outer caps 14, 61, described above in that it includes a top 80a and a sidewall 80b extending downward from the top. The outer cap 80 also includes an opening 80c that is formed in the top 80a as an elongated slot. The inner cap 82 is similar the to the inner caps 12, 62 mentioned above in that it includes a top 82a and a sidewall 82b (See FIG. 8b) extending down from the sidewall. The top 82a preferably has two substantially arcuate slots 82c1, 82c11 formed therein. A lock 84 is provided in a substantially U-shape. The lock 84 preferably includes locking flanges 84a, 84b formed at the ends of the U-shape. The flanges 84a, 84b are sized to fit into two the arcuate slots 82c1, 82c11 of the inner cap 82. The remainder of the lock 84 extends through the elongated slot 80c of the outer cap such that the lock 84 locks the outer and inner cap together such that they rotate with each other in an adult friendly mode. The lock 84 is preferably made of a resilient material such that the flanges 84a, 84b are urged outward against the sides of the arcuate slots 82c1, 82c11 to ensure that the inner cap and outer cap are engaged. However, if pressure is applied to the two legs of the lock 84 the flanges 84a, 84b are moved inward such that they can be removed from the arcuate slots 82c1, 82c11. The key 84 can then be removed from the cap 1011 and the cap is in a child resistant mode. In this mode, the outer cap turns relative to the inner cap unless appropriate force is applied downward on the outer cap 80 so that downward extending flanges (not show) in the outer cap 80 engage the teeth 82d of the inner cap 82 in a manner similar to that in which the flanges 50 engage the teeth 42, as described above.

A bottle cap 10, 101 or 1011 in accordance with the present invention therefor provides a simple means for switching between a child resistant mode and a non-child resistant, senior friendly mode embodied in a single bottle cap. Thus, for those who have difficulty opening child resistant caps, the non-child resistant mode can be set to allow for easy opening resulting in increased patient compliance with medication schedules. However, in the event that a child is visiting the patient or there are children in the home, the child resistant mode can be set after medication has been taken to help protect the child. Further, since the child resistant mode utilizes substantially the same child resistant features found in conventional child resistant caps, the bottle cap of the present application is usable with virtually any conventional medicine bottle.

The bottle cap 10, 101 or 1011 of the present application preferably meets all requirements of the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission. In addition, the bottle cap 10, 10′ or 10″ of the present application is preferably compatible for use with anti-tamper technology and utilizes industry standard 400 series GPI and PBI thread finishes. As noted above, the bottle cap 10, 101 or 1011 is preferably also compatible with standard medicine bottles.

Although the present invention has been described in relation to particular embodiments thereof, many other variations and modifications and other uses will become apparent to those skilled in the art. It is preferred, therefore, that the present invention be limited not by the specific disclosure herein, but only by the appended claims.