Title:
Secondary protective lid
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention relates to a secondary lid for use with a package containing a foodstuff. That package has an opening that is initially sealed at purchase but the opening is unsealed by the consumer in order to obtain access to the contents of the package. There is a secondary lid that is affixed to the package and which reseals the opening and protects the contents from the external environment. The secondary lid may contact a flap or flaps of the package to hold the flap or flaps tightly closed to the opening or, in the case of a liquid, there may be a plug that enters the opening to prevent the contents from spilling. In any case, there is a seal formed in the secondary lid that surrounds and seals the opening from the environment to protect against the intrusion of air or moisture or other contaminants.



Inventors:
Druin, Melvin L. (Avon-by-the-Sea, NJ, US)
Pope, John (Wendever, GB)
Application Number:
11/515603
Publication Date:
03/27/2008
Filing Date:
09/05/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
220/784
International Classes:
B65D43/00; B65D41/16
View Patent Images:
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20080221544RECEPTACLE FOR A CONTAMINANTSeptember, 2008Dommerholt



Primary Examiner:
HYLTON, ROBIN ANNETTE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ROGER M. RATHBUN (HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A secondary lid for reclosing a package containing foodstuffs and having at least one openable covering proximate to an opening in the package, the secondary lid providing a spring bias for retaining the secondary lid onto a package wherein the secondary lid, when retained onto a package, seals the opening in a package to protect the contents of the package from the external environment.

2. The secondary lid as defined in claim 1 wherein the secondary lid has a seal thereon that at least partially surrounds the opening in the package

3. The secondary lid as defined in claim 2 wherein the seal on the secondary lid fully surrounds the opening in the package.

4. The secondary lid as defined in claim 1 wherein the at least one openable covering is at least one flap that is adapted to be held in a closed position by the secondary lid to seal the opening in the package.

5. The secondary lid as defined in claim 1 wherein the at least one openable covering is an aluminum foil covering adapted to be punctured by a straw.

6. The secondary lid as defined in claim 5 wherein the secondary lid has a plug having a distal end that interfits into the opening in the package to seal the opening.

7. The secondary lid as defined in claim 6 wherein the plug has a circular rib located at or proximate to the distal end.

8. The secondary lid as defined in claim 1 wherein the secondary lid has a spring clip that clips to the package and holds the at least one covering to seal the opening.

9. The secondary lid as defined in claim 8 for use with a box having sides, end panels, a bottom and a top, and wherein the at least one covering comprises a pair of flaps that overlap to close the opening in the package and wherein the spring clip spans the top of a package and is spring clipped to the sides of a package so as to contact and hold the two flaps together to seal the contents of a package.

10. The secondary lid as defined in claim 9 wherein the spring clip is U-shaped having two sidewalls extending outwardly and said sidewalls each have a surface facing inwardly with a gripping device formed thereon to grip the sides of a package.

11. The secondary lid as defined in claim 10 wherein the gripping device comprises a plurality of projections extending outwardly from the surface of the sidewalls.

12. The secondary lid as defined in claim 1 wherein the secondary lid is comprised of a plastic material.

13. The secondary lid as defined in claim 1 wherein the secondary lid is comprised of a plastic material containing a biocide.

14. The secondary lid as defined in claim 1 wherein the secondary lid comprises a flat base having sidewalls extending therefrom and when said sidewalls are tapered inwardly.

15. A package having a secondary lid affixed thereto, said package having an opening formed therein and at least one covering adapted to close the opening, the secondary lid affixed to the package and sealing the opening after the at least one covering has been opened.

16. The package as defined in claim 15 wherein the secondary lid has a surface contacting the at least one covering to hold the at least one covering in its closed position.

17. The package as defined in claim 16 wherein the package has sides and the secondary lid has a spring bias to grip the sides of the package.

18. The package as defined in claim 16 wherein the secondary lid has a gripping device to grip the sides of the package.

19. The package as defined in claim 18 wherein the gripping device includes a plurality of projections extending outwardly from the surface.

20. The package as defined in claim 15 wherein the secondary lid has a flat base and lateral sidewalls extending in cantilever manner therefrom wherein the width of the flat base is greater that the width between the free ends of the sidewalls.

21. The package as defined in claim 15 wherein the at least one covering is a pouring spout.

22. The package as defined in claim 15 wherein the at least one covering is an aluminum foil covering adapted to be punctured by a straw.

23. The package as defined in claim 15 wherein the lid has a floating seal that seals against the package and surrounds the opening in the package.

24. The package as defined in claim 15 wherein the at least one covering comprises a pair of flaps covering an opening in the top of the package, and wherein the secondary lid contacts the flaps to hold the flaps closed and the secondary lid further has an unbroken floating seal that surrounds and seals the opening.

25. The package as defined in claim 23 where the floating seal comprises at least one flexible mechanical seat that seals against the package under spring pressure.

26. The package as defined in claim 23 wherein the floating seal comprises at least one rib-like projection that surrounds and seals the opening.

27. The package as defined in claim 26 wherein the at least one rib-like projection comprises a plurality of rib-like projections that surround and seal the opening.

28. The package as defined in claim 23 wherein the floating seal is formed on an inwardly directed bowed portion formed in the secondary lid.

29. A method of secondarily sealing a package having an opening and at least one covering proximate to the opening, the at least one covering being puncturable to open the opening in the package, said method comprising the steps of: providing a secondary lid dimensioned to cover the opening and having a continuous seal formed therein, securing the secondary lid to the package to position the continuous seal to surround the opening in the package to seal the opening from the external environment.

30. The method of claim 29 wherein the step of securing the secondary lid on the package comprises exerting a spring bias against the package by the secondary lid.

31. The method of claim 29 wherein the step of securing the secondary lid to the package comprises securing the lid to form an unbroken floating seal surrounding the opening in the package.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to packaging for materials, and, more particularly, to a secondary lid that is used to re-close and reseal a package that has been opened by a user.

There are many differing types, sizes and shapes of packages that are currently used for products such as comestibles. As an example, cereal is currently packaged in a multiserve paperboard box having an internal polyethylene bag enclosing the cereal and that packaging is used to transport the goods from the manufacturer to the grocery outlets and thereon to the ultimate consumer. The paperboard box is adequate to meet the functional end-use requirements of product protection, safety, quality and delivered shelf life, however, once the box and internal polyethylene bag are opened by the consumer, the integrity of the package is sacrificed.

In general, the polyethylene bag cannot be easily resealed by the consumer to prevent moisture and oxygen from entering the polyethylene bag and affecting the contents therein. In addition, while there are tabs and the like provided by the manufacturer that are intended to allow the resealing of the flaps of the paperboard box, those tabs or other means are not particularly effective in closing and sealing the flaps and often tear off or are opened incorrectly by the consumer, thereby thwarting the possibility of resealing the box flaps to secure the integrity of the contents.

As such, the outside air can readily invade the interior of the present packages, once opened, despite attempts by the consumer to reseal the package and there is an undesirable intrusion of oxygen and moisture as well as foreign bodies, including insects, that can render the contents undesirable and even inedible. Thus, the consumer wastes money by having to throw away the contents of the package where there is cereal or other edible foodstuffs still contained within the package.

There is a further type of package that is used for containing and delivering drinks and the like and which is often referred to as a “brick pack”. Basically, that type of package is in the shape of a brick, a three dimensional rectangular shape, and can be constructed of paperboard, plastic, aluminum foil or such and is commonly used for juice, juice drinks, water, sports drinks etc. and the brick packages are normally sold in volumes of 4, 6 or 8 ounces for children or adults to consume the contents. There is generally a sealed straw hole in the package that has an adhesive aluminum foil covering and which can be punctured by a sharp end of a straw that is provided with the package. As such, the consumer simply punctures the aluminum covering to insert a straw through the opening for access to the contents.

Again, there is a problem with this type of package in that once the sealed opening is initially breached, it cannot be resealed and thus, in the event the person cannot finish the drink at one time, the unconsumed contents are wasted or spilled.

Accordingly, it would be advantageous to have a secondary lid that would hold and seal the normal flap or flaps of the package or close the breached opening of a brick pack in order to the seal the contents of the package after it has been initially opened.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Therefore, in accordance with the present invention, there is a secondary lid that can be easily affixed to a package, such as a box for foodstuffs, and which provides a seal to protect the contents of the package from the intrusion of oxygen, moistures or certain contaminants. In effect, the secondary lid of the present invention is usable with a package that is intended for multiple uses to extend the life of the foodstuff contained in that package by providing additional protection for the foodstuff after the package has been initially opened. The secondary lid is preferably comprises of an inexpensive plastic material although other materials can be used.

In an exemplary embodiment of the secondary lid of the present invention, there is a clip that is clipped over the top of the package and which contacts the flaps of the package to secure those flaps in their closed positions. The clip is held to the package by means of a spring force that is designed into the clip and there may also be gripping devices that contact the sides of the package and aid in securing the clip firmly to the package. In such embodiment, the secondary lid acts to hold the flaps of the package in their closed positions to seal the contents of the package from the external environment.

The secondary lid is therefore affixed to the top of a package and, in certain embodiments, there is a floating seal that surrounds the opening in the package, thereby creating a tortuous path for oxygen, moisture or contaminants to reach the contents of the package. In such embodiments, the secondary lid supplements the normal closure that may be by means of a flap, flaps or pourer that is normally a part of the original package.

In a still further embodiment, there is a secondary lid that is secured over an opening in a package such as brick pack, after an aluminum foil covering has been punctured by a straw that enters the opening covered by that aluminum foil. The secondary lid has, as with the prior embodiments, a seal that surrounds the opening to seal the liquid contents therein to protect against the intrusion of the surrounding environment as well as prevent spillage or leakage of the liquid remaining within the package. In this embodiment, the secondary lid may also have a tapered plug that is oriented so as to enter the opening and plug up that opening.

These and other features and advantages of the present invention will become more readily apparent during the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the drawings herein.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a package having a secondary lid affixed thereto and constructed in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the secondary lid of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an alternate embodiment of a secondary lid of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a side cross-sectional view of the secondary lid of FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a further embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a still further embodiment of the present invention used with a brick pack;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of the underside surface of the FIG. 6 embodiment; and

FIG. 8 is a side, cross sectional, view of the secondary lid of the FIG. 6 embodiment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Turning first to FIG. 1, there is shown a perspective view of a package 10 having a secondary lid 12 secured thereto in accordance with the present invention. In this exemplary embodiment, the package 10 is illustrated as a typical cereal box having lateral sides 14, end panels 16 and a top 18. As is conventional, the top 18 is comprised of two flaps 20 that meet, and normally slightly overlap, at the free ends 22 at about the center of the top 18.

Turning to FIG. 2, there is a perspective view of the secondary lid 12 of the present invention, taken along with FIG. 1. As can be seen, the secondary lid 12 is in the shape of a clip that is generally U-shaped having a flat base 24 with two sidewalls 26 that extend therefrom. Thus, when the secondary lid 12 is affixed to the package 10 in its operative position, the flat base 24 overlays the top 18 of the package 10 and contacts the flaps 20 to hold those flaps 20 in their closed position. At the same time, the sidewalls 26 extend downwardly over the lateral sides 14 and provide a spring loading against those lateral sides 14 to retain the secondary lid 12 in the operative position as shown in FIG. 1.

The spring loading is the result of both the mechanical design and use of a stiff, yet flexible plastic material used to construct the secondary lid 12, that is, the spring loaded seal mechanism and overall strength of the seal is controlled by the choice of the plastic material as well as the thickness and geometric shape of the sidewalls 26 that allow the sidewalls 26 to move in a controlled manner to grip the lateral sides 14 of the package 10 during the use of the secondary lid 12.

As such, the secondary lid 12 can be tapered inwardly in order to provide the spring loading against the lateral sides 14 of the package 10. As an example, therefore, the width (W) of the flat base 24 that fits over the top 18 of the package 10 can be about the width of the package 10 between its lateral sides 14. On the other hand the width or separation between the cantilever ends of the sidewalls 26 (w) is less that the width W of the flat base 24 which represents the inward taper that creates a spring loading against the lateral sides 14 of the package 10. The inward taper of each lateral side is thus (W-w)/2 and that taper determines the amount of force exerted by the sidewalls 26 against the lateral sides 14 of the package 10.

As an enhancement to the spring loading, the sidewalls 26 can have an inwardly bowed portion 28 that contacts the lateral sides 14 of the package 10 and there may also be gripping devices 30 provided in the inner surface of the sidewalls 26 to aid in the surface gripping against the lateral sides 14 of the package 10. The gripping devices 30 can comprise a plurality of projections that may be a conical, triangular or other configuration.

As can now be appreciated, the secondary lid 12 can be manufactured using a number of standard plastic processes, such as, but not limited to, injection molding, extrusion of sheet and vacuum forming. In addition, the secondary lid 12 can be sold with the package 10 itself as a promotional item, either as a clear or opaque plastic, and may or may not have graphics printed thereon, or the secondary lid 12 can be sold separately as a stand-alone retail item having the same features as described.

The secondary lid 12 can, of course be made of differing dimensions to accommodate a wide variety of packages, that is, the dimensions of the secondary lid 12 can be designed having differing length, width and depth dimensions and still provide the advantageous features heretofore described.

Turning now to FIG. 3, there is shown a perspective view of a further embodiment of a secondary lid 32 of the present invention affixed to a package 10 and the package 10 can be the same as illustrated in FIG. 1 and, therefore, the same identification numbers have been employed i.e. lateral sides 14, end panels 16 and a top 18. Again, the top 18 is comprised of two flaps 20 that meet, and normally slightly overlap, at the free ends 22 at about the center of the top 18.

With this embodiment it can be seen that the secondary lid 32 fully surrounds the top 18 of the package 10, that is, the perimeter of the secondary lid 32 fully extends around the upper surface of the package 10. Thus, the secondary lid 32 has a top 34, lateral sides 36 and end walls 38 and the secondary lid 32 slides over and snugly fits onto the top 18 of the package 10. Again, as with the embodiment of FIGS. 1 and 2, the dimensions of the secondary lid 32 can be varied in accordance with the particular dimensions and configuration of the package 10.

Turning to FIG. 4, taken along with FIG. 3, there is, in this embodiment, a floating seal 40 that is formed on the internal surface of the lateral sides 36 and end walls 38 of the secondary lid 32. The floating seal 40 can be comprised of a plurality of continuous rib-like projections 42 that surround the top 18 of the package 10 and form the continuous floating seal 40 to prevent air and moisture from passing through the floating seal 40 to reach the internal area of the package 10 where the contents could be affected.

The rib-like projections 42 can be conical in shape and are forcefully held against the exterior of the package 10 by means of spring tension. As such, there can be some inward deflection of the secondary lid 32 as it is positioned atop of the package 10 such that the inward spring force actually moves the secondary lid 32 inwardly thereby compressing the rib-like projections 42 to enhance the seal against the package 10. The floating seal 40 thus allows the closure of the package 10 and the floating seal 40 floats and adapts itself to the contour of the package 10 and adjusts for size tolerance variations in the dimension of the package 10. The floating seal 10 thereby forms an unbroken seal that surrounds the opening in the package 10 to prevent the intrusion of elements in the surrounding environment.

On one or both sides of the floating seal 40, there can be formed a narrowed portion forming a hinge 44 and the stiffness and tension of the floating seal 40 can be adjusted by increasing or decreasing the thickness of the hinges 44 or by the introduction of live hinges. There can be number of integrated molded hinges formed on either side of the floating seal 40 as either a single hinge or as multiple hinges. In addition, the plastic material and design features such as shape and dimensions can also control the stiffness and effectiveness of the floating seal 40.

As with the secondary lid 12 of the FIG. 1 and 2 embodiment, the secondary lid 32 of this embodiment can be produced by any number of methods, however, injection molding is the preferred method of manufacture. The plastic material can also be a variety of plastics according to the needs of the particular secondary lid 32. For a durable lid, the material can be increased in thickness. Again, there may be indicia imprinted on or formed on the secondary lid 32 in the form of advertising, promotional material or other such indicia.

As an option, a biocide could be added to the plastic to provide bacteria resistance and to further enhance the value of the secondary lid 32 in providing reclosability to help preserve the integrity of the contents of any package.

Turning now to FIG. 5, there is shown a perspective view of a package 10 having a secondary lid 46 affixed thereto. In this embodiment, the package 10 is of the type having a pourer 48 located in an end panel 16 covering an opening and therefore is used with foodstuffs such as rice, baking soda and other foods that are packed in a rectangular or square shaped paperboard box and which need to be poured therefrom.

The secondary lid 46 still encircles the entire perimeter of the top 18 of the package 10, however the floating seal 50 is localized and surrounds the pourer 48 and, of course, the opening underneath the pourer 48. The floating seal 50 can be the same as described in the FIG. 3 and 4 embodiment and again, the floating seal 50 surrounds the opening located underneath the pourer 48 to prevent air or moisture or the like from entering through that opening so as to protect the contents of the package 10.

Turning now to FIG. 6, there is shown a perspective view of a still further embodiment of the present invention for use with a brick pack package 52 and, as can be seen, the secondary lid 54 is in the shape of a clip that is generally U-shaped having a flat base 56 with two sidewalls 58 that extend therefrom. As with the embodiment of FIG. 1, when the secondary lid 54 is affixed to the brick pack package 52 in its operative position, the flat base 56 overlays the top 60 of the package 52 and the sidewalls 58 extend downwardly over the lateral side panels 62 and provide a spring loading against those lateral side panels 62 to retain the secondary lid 54 in the operative position as shown.

Again, the spring loading is the result of both the mechanical design and use of a stiff, yet flexible plastic material used to construct the secondary lid 54, as well as the inwardly bowed portion 64 that contacts the lateral sides 62 of the package 52 and hold the secondary lid 54 to the package 52. A similar gripping function can be used in the two downwardly extending ends 66 of the secondary lid 54 that grip the ends 68 of the package 52. The gripping can also be enhanced by the tapering inwardly of the sidewalls 58 and the ends 66 in the manner described with respect to the dimensions of FIG. 2. As with the FIG. 2 embodiment, there can also be a plurality of gripping devices 30 on either or both of the ends 66 and sidewalls 58 of the secondary lid 54.

As also can be seen in FIG. 6, there is a plug 70 that is preferable tapered and which extends downwardly into the opening 71 in the package 52 to seal that opening. As explained, with a brick pack package 52, there is an opening 71 that is initially, as sold, covered by a secured covering, such as an aluminum foil, and which is punctured by the user with a sharp end of a straw supplied with the package in order to get access to the contents. The straw is normally inserted through the opening 71 into the package 52 to remove the contents.

As such, the plug 70 is oriented on the lower surface of the secondary lid 54 so that when the secondary lid 54 is affixed to the package 52, the plug 70 is aligned with the opening 71 and as the secondary lid 54 is attached, the plug 70 enters into the opening 71 in the package 52 and seals the opening 71 from the surrounding atmosphere and prevents spillage of the contents. A circular, unbroken floating spring seal 75 is formed on the underside of the secondary lid 54 to surround the opening 71 to seal the opening 71 against the intrusion of the external environment.

Turning now to FIG. 7 and there shown a perspective view of the underside surface 73 of the secondary lid 54 and, in FIG. 8, a side cross sectional view of the secondary lid 54 illustrating the tapered plug 70 that enters into the opening 71 of the package 52. There is a circular rib 72 that is formed on the tapered plug 70 at or proximate to the distal end 74 of the plug 70 and which aids in sealing the opening 71 in the package 52.

There can also be seen in FIGS. 6-8, a floating spring seal 75 that is formed on the underside surface 73 of the secondary lid 54 and which is a generally circular, unbroken floating spring seal 75 such that when the secondary lid 54 is in position atop of the brick pack package 52, the floating spring seal 75 surrounds the opening and prevents the intrusion of the external environment. The floating spring seal 75 can be formed of a thin membrane that is bowed in the direction of the top 60 of the brick pack package 52 so as to press against the top 60 and form the floating seal.

Those skilled in the art will readily recognize numerous adaptations and modifications which can be made to the secondary lid of the present invention which will result in an improved secondary lid for a package to protect the contents therein, yet all of which will fall within the scope and spirit of the present invention as defined in the following claims. Accordingly, the invention is to be limited only by the following claims and their equivalents.