Title:
CONTAINER WITH TWO OPPOSING LIDS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A container includes: a body portion having a side wall and a base wall, the container further including a first lid and a second lid, wherein the first lid and the second lid are both removably attached to the side wall. The body portion and the first lid form a first compartment. The body portion and the second lid form a second compartment. The first compartment and the second compartment are located on opposite sides of the base wall, which may be convex in one of the compartments.



Inventors:
Rasmussen, Jakob (Belgium, DK)
Avall, Lukas (Gothenburg, SE)
Application Number:
12/553646
Publication Date:
04/01/2010
Filing Date:
09/03/2009
Assignee:
Phillip Morris USA Inc. (Richmond, VA, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
220/504
International Classes:
A24F15/00; B65D25/04; B65D85/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20090205989COLLAPSIBLE FLORAL CONTAINERAugust, 2009Weder
20060260964Case and organizer tray for a power toolNovember, 2006Feldmann et al.
20050155872Eyeglass case with clip and pivotable coverJuly, 2005Cheng
20040159577Food and beverage containerAugust, 2004Hunter
20070205135Construction Jobsite Product Packaging ArrangementSeptember, 2007Goldman et al.
20080190801PHARMACEUTICAL PACKAGING SYSTEMS FOR IMPROVED PATIENT COMPLIANCEAugust, 2008Kwok
20070151899Display apparatus for a portable electronic deviceJuly, 2007Chun
20090134052STACKABLE UNITMay, 2009Cadoret et al.
20060091041Box for a glass containerMay, 2006Kaufman
20060243624Resin packagingNovember, 2006Webb et al.
20060207911Emergency medical treatment systemSeptember, 2006Bullock



Primary Examiner:
NEWAY, BLAINE GIRMA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Harness, Dickey & Pierce Altria (BIR) (Reston, VA, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. A container comprising: a body portion having a side wall and a base wall; a first lid, wherein the body portion and the first lid form a first compartment; and a second lid, wherein the body portion and the second lid form a second compartment, wherein each of the first lid and the second lid is removably attached to the side wall and wherein the first compartment and the second compartment are located on opposite sides of the base wall.

2. The container according to claim 1, wherein the base wall is curved such that the first compartment includes a section of the base wall that is convex and the second compartment includes the same section of the base wall that is concave.

3. The container according to claim 1, further comprising retention means associated with at least one of the first and second lids for locking that lid in a closed position.

4. The container according to claim 1, wherein the body portion further comprises a substantially transparent portion suitable for displaying the contents of at least one of the first and second compartments.

5. The container according to claim 1, wherein at least one of the first lid, the second lid and the body portion has a generally circular cross section.

6. The container according to claim 5, wherein the first lid, the second lid and the body portion have a generally circular cross section and wherein the first lid, the second lid and the body portion have outer diameters which are substantially the same.

7. The container according to claim 1, wherein the first lid and the second lid have different opening mechanisms.

8. The container according to claim 1, wherein the container comprises flavor pouches.

9. The container according to claim 8, wherein the flavor pouches include tobacco.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims priority to European Application No. 08252935.5, filed Sep. 4, 2008, the entire content of which is incorporated herein by this reference thereto.

BACKGROUND

Novel containers for consumer items are described herein. The container is particularly suitable for such items that deliver oral sensations. More particularly, the container is suitable for flavor pouches for oral delivery of one or more selected flavorants including tobacco.

Consumer items are commonly sold in boxes or tins having a box portion for housing the items, and a removable lid for closing the box portion.

It has been proposed to provide a container for consumer items having an additional small compartment in the lid portion. For example, WO-A-2005/016036 discloses a box having a lid portion comprising a lower lid, which seals the portion of the box containing snuff, and a cover lid moveably secured to the lower lid by a hinged joint. The lower lid and the cover lid between them define a space, which is intended for the storage of used snuff. The cover lid is held in a closed position by means of a tab, which interacts with a corresponding part on the lower lid.

It would be desirable to provide a container having two or more separate compartments, each of which may be easily opened and closed. It would also be desirable to provide a container having two or more separate compartments, each of which is accessible independently from the other compartments. It would further be desirable if such a container could be simply manufactured and assembled.

SUMMARY

A container comprises: a body portion consisting of a side wall and a base wall; a first lid, wherein the body portion and the first lid form a first compartment; and a second lid, wherein the body portion and the second lid form a second compartment. The first lid and the second lid are both removably attached to the side wall and wherein the first compartment and the second compartment are located on opposite sides of the base wall. The base wall is curved such that the first compartment comprises a section of the base wall that is convex and the second compartment comprises the same section of the base wall that is concave.

The container can further comprise retention means associated with at least one lid for locking that lid in a closed position. The body portion can further comprise a substantially transparent portion suitable for displaying the contents of at least one of the first and second compartments.

In one embodiment, at least one of the first lid, the second lid and the body portion have a circular cross section. In another embodiment, the first lid, the second lid and the body portion have a circular cross section and the outer diameters of the first lid, the second lid and the body portion are substantially the same.

The first lid and the second lid can have different opening mechanisms. The container can comprise flavor pouches.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of a closed container.

FIG. 2 shows a cross section of the closed container of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 shows a perspective view of the container of FIG. 1 with the first lid removed from the container.

FIG. 4 shows a perspective view of the container of FIG. 1 with the second lid removed from the container.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Provided is a container comprising a body portion consisting of a side wall and a base wall. The container further comprises a first lid and a second lid, wherein the first lid and the second lid are both removably attached to the side wall. The body portion and the first lid form a first compartment and the body portion and the second lid form a second compartment. According to the invention, the first compartment and the second compartment are located on opposite sides of the base wall. Thus, the openings of the first and the second compartment are also arranged on opposite sides of the container.

The arrangement of the openings of the compartments on opposite sides of the base wall discourages the consumer from having both compartments open at the same time. With one compartment closed, the risk of contaminating the consumer items, or mixing the items in the compartments is decreased.

The first compartment and the second compartment may be of substantially the same size as each other, but preferably, the first compartment and the second compartment are of different size and have a different volume.

The first lid and the second lid are both removable from the body portion. This means that when the lid is opened in order to open the corresponding compartment, the lid does not remain connected to the body portion but is entirely separate, or detached from it. This simplifies the production and assembly process for the container, since it is not necessary to incorporate means for permanently connecting the lid to the body portion, such as a hinge.

The base wall is a flat or curved wall that is surrounded on all sides by the side wall. The side wall may consist of one surface, for example surrounding a circular base wall. Alternatively, the side wall may comprise a number of discrete surfaces, for example three for a triangular base wall or four for a rectangular base wall. The side walls may be substantially perpendicular to the base wall. Alternatively, the side wall may be inclined towards or away from the base wall, for example if the container is tapered in the direction perpendicular to the base wall.

The first lid and the second lid are preferably separate, that is, they are not attached or linked to each other in any way. The structure of the lids can therefore be relatively simple compared to the structure of the containers of the prior art, where the lids are connected to each other. One advantage of a simplified lid structure is that the manufacture and assembly processes may be further simplified and more efficient. A further advantage is that each lid can be more easily removed and replaced. Since the lids are not attached to each other, the risk of inadvertently opening one compartment while attempting to open the other compartment is also minimized.

Preferably, the base wall of the body portion is curved such that the first compartment comprises a section of the base wall that is convex. A curved base wall adds structural strength to the container.

Preferably, the second compartment comprises on the other side of the base wall, the corresponding section of the base wall. On this side of the base wall, the section of the base wall is concave. This means that the volume missing in the first compartment due to the convex form of the section of the base wall substantially adds to the volume of the second compartment. In a particularly preferred embodiment, the second compartment is solely formed by the concave surface of the curved base wall and the second lid. Preferably, a circumferential section of the base wall comes into contact with the surface of the lid to form an airtight seal when the second compartment is closed.

The first lid, or the second lid, or both lids may close their respective compartments by fitting over the side wall of the body portion. Alternatively, the first lid, or the second lid, or both lids may close their respective compartments by fitting within the side wall of the body portion.

Each lid preferably remains in a closed position until a positive force is applied by the consumer to remove that lid from the body portion. This ensures that the lids are not inadvertently separated from the container between uses. Advantageously, the lids may remain in the closed position due to the tight fit of the lid on the body portion and the friction between the contacting surfaces of the respective lid and the side wall of the body portion. For example, if a lid fits over the body portion, it may be provided with an inner cross section of substantially the same shape and size as the outer cross section of the body portion over which it fits. Alternatively, if the lid fits within the corresponding opening, it may be provided with an outer cross section of substantially the same size and shape as the cross section of that opening. Preferably, at least one of the contacting surfaces is a high friction surface. For example, at least one of the contacting surfaces may be roughened compared to the remaining surfaces of the container.

Alternatively, or in addition, at least one of the first lid and second lid further comprises retention means for locking that lid in the closed position. The retention means may be provided on the body portion, or the lid, or both the body portion and the lid. The retention means may be provided for one, or both of the lids. The retention means may comprise, for example, one or more annular flanges on one of the contacting surfaces, which engages with one or more correspondingly positioned grooves, on the other contacting surface. With this type of retention means, the lid can be removed from the container by pulling the lid away from the rest of the container in order to disengage the flange from the groove.

Particularly preferably, the contacting surfaces are provided with corresponding screw threads which engage with each other when the lid is closed. The screw threads may be single helical threads, or alternatively may be provided by at least two circumferentially spaced apart portions of a screw thread.

The first lid and the second lid may be provided with the same, or different retention means.

Containers are preferably substantially cylindrical in shape, with the body portion and each lid having a substantially circular outer cross section.

Alternatively, the body portion and lids of containers may be substantially prismatic or pyramidal in shape with, for example, a substantially triangular, rectangular or oval cross section. Preferably, the height of the first lid and the second lid each is about a third of the height of the entire closed container. Alternatively, the first lid and the second lid have a different height in order to distinguish the two lids.

Optionally, the container may comprise means for distinguishing the first lid from the second lid. For example, the lids may be of different color, or the container may be printed, embossed or otherwise marked with indicia to indicate which compartment contains which type of two possible consumer items. This is particularly useful where one of the compartments is intended to store used consumer items, whereas the other compartment is intended to store fresh or non-used consumer items.

The container may be formed from any suitable materials including, but not limited to cardboard, plastic, metal or combinations thereof. The body portion may be formed from a different material to the lids, or the body portion and lids may all be formed from the same material. The first and second lid each may be formed from a different material but preferably, the first and second lids are formed from the same material. Particularly preferably, this material is different to the material from which the body portion is formed. For example, in a preferred embodiment, the body portion is made from molded plastic while the first and second lids are made of metal.

Preferably, the body portion includes a substantially transparent portion for viewing the contents of at least one of the first and second compartments. This allows one to see how many of the consumer items remain in the container, without the need to remove the lid. In a preferred embodiment, the body portion is made from a substantially transparent plastic material. Preferably, the body portion of the container is injection molded from a material selected from the group consisting of polypropylene, polyethylene, polystyrene, nylon, polysulfone, polyester, polyurethane, and combinations thereof. Alternatively, the body portion is made from glass.

For example, the first and the second compartment may be used to store consumer items that differ in flavor, color or texture. Alternatively, one compartment may be used to store accessories for use in combination with the consumer items. Alternatively, one compartment may be used to store discarded packaging material or used consumer items.

Advantageously, the provision of a second compartment enables the temporary storage of used items in the container until it is possible to dispose of them appropriately. As the second compartment is separate from the first compartment and the compartments are closed by separate lids it is ensured that the unused items are not contaminated or otherwise adversely affected by the used items.

The container finds particular application as a container for the storage of products that deliver oral sensations. More particularly, the container is suitable for flavor pouches for oral delivery of one or more selected flavorants including tobacco. Typically, a flavor pouch comprises an external wrapper that encloses a flavor source. An example of a flavor pouch is a snus pouch. A snus pouch is a tobacco material encased in a pouch material, wherein the tobacco material may include tobacco, water and salt, as well as additives, such as non-tobacco flavorants and humectants.

The container is preferably offered with the first compartment filled with the unused consumer items and the second compartment empty. In a particularly preferred embodiment, the first compartment is filled with flavor pouches and the second compartment is empty.

Once filled with the consumer items, the compartment housing the consumer items is preferably sealed in order to maintain freshness of the consumer items. For example, a plastic or foil layer may be sealed over the top edge of the first compartment. Preferably, such a sealing layer includes a tab, or other means for enabling the easy removal of the layer.

The container will be further described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings.

The container 2 shown in FIGS. 1 to 4 is substantially cylindrical in shape and comprises a plastic body portion 4, a first metal lid 6 and a second metal lid 8. The first lid 6 and the second 8 lid are fitted over opposite ends of the body portion 4.

As can be seen from FIG. 2, the body portion 4 comprises a circular base wall 10 and an annular side wall 12 extending perpendicularly from the edge of the base wall 10. The base wall 10, the side wall 12 and the first lid 6 define the first compartment 14. The base wall 10 is curved and is convex towards the opening of the first compartment 14. The concave surface of the base wall 10 on the opposite side from the first compartment 14 forms a recess, which defines together with the second lid 8 a second compartment 16. The second compartment 16 is significantly smaller than the first compartment 14.

The first lid 6 comprises a circular top wall 18 and an annular side wall 20 extending perpendicularly from the edge of the top wall 18. When fitted over the side wall 12 of the body portion 4, the first lid 6 closes the first compartment 14.

Similarly, the second lid 8 comprises a circular top wall 22 and an annular side wall 24 extending perpendicularly from the edge of the top wall 22. When fitted over the side wall 12 of the body portion 4 adjacent the base wall 10, the second lid 8 closes the second compartment 16.

As can be seen from FIG. 2, the side wall 12 of the body portion 4 comprises an annular central portion 26 and first 28 and second 30 recessed annular portions on either side of the central portion 26. As can be seen from FIG. 1, the central portion 26 remains visible when both of the lids 6, 8 are in place.

The first 28 and second 30 recessed annular portions are of a reduced diameter compared to the central portion. The difference in diameter between the central portion 26 and the first 28 and second 30 portions is approximately equal to the thickness of the side walls 20, 24 of the lids 6, 8. Thus, when the first 6 and second 8 lids are in place on the body portion 4, the side walls 20, 24 thereof overlie the first 28 and second 30 annular portions of the side wall 12 of the body portion, respectively. In this closed position, the side walls 20, 24 of the lids 6, 8 are flush with the central annular portion 26 of the side wall 12 of the body portion 4.

As can be seen from FIG. 3, the first recessed annular portion 28 of the side wall 12 of the body portion includes a plurality of projections 32 extending circumferentially around the body portion. The first lid 6 comprises an annular flange, or lip, at the edge of the side wall 20 thereof, which engages with the projections 32 on the body portion 4 to retain the first lid in the closed position. In order to remove the first lid 6, pressure must be applied on opposite sides of the lid 6 to pull the lid 6 away from the body portion 4.

As can be seen from FIG. 4, the second recessed annular portion 30 of the side wall 12 of the body portion 4 includes an external screw thread extending circumferentially around it. The inner surface of the side wall 24 of the second lid 8 includes a corresponding screw thread, which engages with the external screw thread on the body portion 4 to retain the second lid 8 in a closed position. In order to remove the second lid 8, the second lid 8 must be turned relative to the body portion 4 by approximately a quarter of a turn in a counterclockwise direction. Conversely, to replace the second lid 8, it must be turned relative to the body portion 4 by approximately a quarter of a turn in the clockwise direction.

In this specification, the word “about” is often used in connection with numerical values to indicate that mathematical precision of such values is not intended. Accordingly, it is intended that where “about” is used with a numerical value, a tolerance of ±10% is contemplated for that numerical value.

In this specification the words “generally” and “substantially” are sometimes used with respect to terms. When used with geometric terms, the words “generally” and “substantially” are intended to encompass not only features which meet the strict definitions but also features which fairly approximate the strict definitions. In this connection, the terms “circular” and “curved” are intended to also include configurations comprising two or more substantially straight line segments describing the “circular” and/or “curved” feature.

While the foregoing describes in detail a preferred container with two opposing lids and methods of making with reference to a specific embodiment thereof, it will be apparent to one skilled in the art that various changes and modifications may be made to the container and equivalents method may be employed, which do not materially depart from the spirit and scope of the container described herein. Accordingly, all such changes, modifications, and equivalents that fall within the spirit and scope of the containers as defined by the appended claims are intended to be encompassed thereby.