Title:
Sanitary Tamper-Evident Beverage Cap
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A sanitary tamper-evident cap for beverage bottles. The cap has a screw thread and a tamper-evident ring, which ring is retained on the neck of the bottle after opening. The cap has an extended skirt which completely covers the tamper-evident ring, thus protecting the tamper-evident ring from contaminants. The cap may be made of transparent or translucent material to facilitate identifying whether the tamper-evident ring is still attached to the cap. The cap may incorporate a pop-up dispensing mechanism common on sports bottles. The cap may incorporate tabs on the portion of the cap to which the tamper-evident ring attaches such that the tabs are hidden when the cap has not been opened, but the tabs become visible upon opening.



Inventors:
Zeligson, Daniel H. (Tulsa, OK, US)
Application Number:
11/611951
Publication Date:
06/19/2008
Filing Date:
12/18/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D55/12
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
POOS, MADISON LYNN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HEAD, JOHNSON, KACHIGIAN & WILKINSON, PC (TULSA, OK, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A closure for bottles of the type having a screw thread adjacent to the bottle's mouth on the exterior of said mouth, said closure comprising: a cap having a peripheral skirt; an internal screw thread on said skirt which is complementary to the screw thread on the bottle's mouth; a tamper-evident ring; means of forming a frangible connection between said tamper-evident ring and said skirt such that said tamper-evident ring is connected to said skirt until such time as said cap is removed from said bottle, at which time said frangible connection is severed and said tamper-evident ring is retained on said bottle; an extension of said skirt, such extension extending from said skirt from above said means of forming a frangible connection to beyond said tamper-evident ring such that said tamper-evident ring is completely covered by said extension.

2. The closure of claim 1, wherein such closure is made of transparent or translucent material such that said frangible connection may be seen through said extension.

3. The closure of claim 1 or 2, wherein such closure further comprises means for dispensing liquid stored within said bottle through the top of said cap without requiring complete removal of said cap.

4. The closure of claim 1 or 2, wherein such closure further comprises means for indicating that said frangible connection has been severed, said means including red or other colored tabs that are concealed when said frangible connection is intact but are visible after said frangible connection has been severed.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

Not Applicable

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

Not Applicable

REFERENCE TO SEQUENCE LISTING, A TABLE, OR A COMPUTER PROGRAM LISTING COMPACT DISC APPENDIX

Not Applicable

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Beverages are commonly sold in bottles from which the consumer is intended to directly consume the beverage without first transferring the beverage to a separate container. Such bottles may be made of plastic or glass and their caps may be made of plastic or metal. Such caps commonly include a tamper-evident ring, which is initially connected to the cap at one or more points, but which becomes separated from the cap upon the cap's initial removal from the bottle. Thus, the consumer can tell whether the bottle has been previously opened based on whether the tamper-evident ring is still connected to the cap.

The problem with the current design of these tamper-evident caps is that the tamper-evident ring, which remains on the neck of the bottle during consumption, is not protected from contaminants. When the bottle is handled by its cap, the tamper-evident ring becomes soiled. The ring remains on the neck of the bottle when the bottle is opened, and the consumer's mouth often touches the ring during consumption, allowing contaminants to enter the consumer's mouth. This effect promotes the spread of illness and disease.

Consider a gas station attendant with a cold. A customer asks the attendant for a bottle of water from a cooler located behind the counter. The attendant retrieves the bottle by its cap after sneezing into his hand. His germs are transferred from his hand to the cap and its associated tamper-evident ring. The mouth of the bottle is protected by the cap; however, there is nothing to protect the ring. The customer removes the cap, leaving behind the tamper-evident ring on the neck of the bottle. As he consumes the water in the bottle, the consumer's mouth comes into contact with the ring. The germs on the ring thus enter the consumer's mouth, infecting the consumer with a cold.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

This invention is a sanitary tamper-evident cap for a beverage bottle. As noted in the BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION, the current design of tamper-evident caps does not protect the tamper-evident ring from contaminants. This invention is a cap with an attached tamper-evident ring, which cap extends over the ring to protect the ring from contaminants.

The sanitary beverage bottle cap incorporates the design of a traditional tamper-evident cap, but the cap includes an elongated extension such that the cap itself covers the portion of the assembly that remains after opening. The cap may be transparent to facilitate identifying whether the tamper-evident ring is still attached to the cap. The cap may incorporate a pop-up dispensing mechanism common on sports bottles. The cap may incorporate tabs on the portion of the cap to which the tamper-evident ring attaches such that the tabs are hidden when the cap has not been opened, but the tabs become visible upon opening.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING

FIG. 1 is a frontal view of a bottle with a cap.

FIG. 2 is a sectional view taken along cutting plane 2-2 of the cap in FIG. 1 in place on the neck of the bottle and a tamper-evident ring attached to the cap.

FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken along cutting plane 2-2 of the cap in FIG. 1 unscrewed from the bottle neck and the tamper-evident ring retained on the bottle neck.

FIG. 4 is a front elevational view of the cap in FIG. 1, with portions broken away to show the skirt portion of the cap covering the attached tamper-evident ring.

FIG. 5 is a sectional view taken along cutting plane 5-5 of FIG. 4, showing the cap, the attached tamper-evident ring, and the extension of the skirt covering the tamper-evident ring.

FIG. 6 is a bottom plan view of the cap in FIG. 5.

FIG. 7 is an embodiment of the cap in FIG. 1 with an attached pop-up dispenser common on sports bottles.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The sanitary tamper-evident beverage cap 1 is intended for use with a bottle 2 with a neck 3 designed to accept a screw-type cap with a tamper-evident band. Thus the bottle neck 3 must include a screw thread 4, an upper lip 5 located directly below the screw thread 4, and a lower lip 6 located below the upper lip 5. The purpose of the upper lip 5 is to prevent a tamper-evident ring 9 frangibly connected to the cap from being removed from the bottle when the cap is removed. The purpose of the lower lip 6 is to prevent the tamper-evident ring 9 from falling further down the neck of the bottle after the frangible connection between the cap and the tamper-evident ring has been severed.

The cap must include a peripheral skirt 7, an internal screw thread 8, a tamper-evident ring 9, a frangible connection between the cap and the ring 10, and an extension of the peripheral skirt 11. Additionally, the cap may be textured 12 to facilitate gripping the cap for removal. The cap may also incorporate additional features, such as a pop-up dispenser 13 common on sports bottles or means for indicating whether the frangible connection 10 has been severed, such as tabs which are visible only after the frangible connection 10 has been severed. The cap does not have to be of any particular shape, size, or color.

The internal screw thread 8 is located on the interior of the peripheral skirt 7 of the cap. The internal screw thread 8 must complement the screw thread 4 on the neck 3 of the bottle 2 such that the cap 1 may be screwed 15 off of the bottle and back onto the bottle. The tamper-evident ring 9 is frangibly connected to the peripheral skirt 7. The tamper-evident ring 9 is a ring shaped in such a way that it may be easily placed onto the bottle but cannot be easily removed without severely damaging the ring. Multiple designs for tamper-evident rings may be found in prior art. Generally, the ring 9 includes an upward-pointing element 14 that catches on the upper lip 5 described above located on the bottle's neck 3 directly below the screw threads 4, preventing the removal of the ring 9 from the bottle's neck. The tamper-evident ring 9 is initially frangibly connected to the peripheral skirt 7 of the cap. Such frangible connection 10 may comprise a plurality of small, easily severed points of connection between the ring and the cap's peripheral skirt. When the cap is unscrewed from the bottle, the upper lip 5 located on the bottle's neck prevents the tamper-evident ring 9 from being removed. Thus, the frangible connection 10 is severed. The cap 1 is removed from the bottle 2, while the tamper-evident ring 9 remains on the bottle's neck 3. Even after the cap has been replaced, a user may observe the fact that the frangible connection has been severed and deduce that the cap had been previously removed.

The key element of the sanitary tamper-evident beverage cap is the extension 11 of the peripheral skirt 7. The extension 11 begins above the frangible connection 10 and extends beyond the tamper-evident ring 9 such that the ring 9 and the lower lip 6 on the neck of the bottle are covered by the extension 11. The extension 11 may begin at the top of the cap 1 and run parallel to the peripheral skirt 7 or may begin lower on the peripheral skirt 7 and thus have a slightly conical or flared shape to accommodate the ring 9 and lower lip 6. The essential aspect of the extension 11 is the fact that it extends beyond and completely covers the tamper-evident ring 9. The extension thus protects the tamper-evident ring from contaminants to which the ring would otherwise be exposed were it not covered by the extension. The extension may extend only as far as the lower lip, thus protecting only the ring and the top of the lower lip, or may extend beyond the lower lip so that even the underside of the lower lip cannot be easily contaminated.

The cap may be made from a transparent or translucent material so that the tamper-evident ring may be seen through the extension of the peripheral skirt. This allows a user to see the tamper-evident ring for the purpose of determining whether the frangible connection has been severed. Additionally or alternately, the cap may include means for indicating that the frangible connection has been severed, such as tabs connected to either the peripheral skirt or the tamper-evident ring. When connected to the peripheral skirt, such tabs are concealed behind the tamper-evident ring when the frangible connection between the skirt and the ring is intact. However, when the connection is severed, the tabs become visible. Upon returning the cap to the bottle, the tabs remain outside the ring, and therefore remain visible. Likewise, when connected to the tamper-evident ring, such tabs are concealed behind the peripheral skirt. When the connection is severed, the tabs become visible, and upon returning the cap to the bottle, the tabs remain outside the peripheral skirt and therefore remain visible. Such tabs may be red or another color distinct from the color of the rest of the cap to aid a user in identifying whether the frangible connection has been severed.