Title:
REMOVABLE COUPON AND METHODS OF MANUFACTURE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A container assembly including a composite inner seal with a removable coupon affixed thereon by a pressure-sensitive agent, thus sealing an opening of the container is disclosed. In some embodiments, the removable coupon is capable of being removed intact. Methods of manufacturing a container assembly including fabricating an inner composite seal and a removable coupon are disclosed. The removable component is removably affixed to a top surface of the inner composite seal by application of a pressure-sensitive agent thus forming a multi-layered seal. The multi-layered seal may be positioned and/or inserted within a container cap in preparation for completing downstream bottling of a medicinal substance. Methods of providing a product/residue-free removable coupon to a user wherein the removable coupon is included within the container assembly, but free from contact with the product within the container are disclosed. In some embodiments, the removable coupon is provided as a removable component affixed to a composite inner seal that seals an opening of the container.



Inventors:
Atkin, Gail V. (Castaic, CA, US)
Application Number:
12/466592
Publication Date:
11/18/2010
Filing Date:
05/15/2009
Assignee:
PHARMAVITE LLC (Northridge, CA, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
53/410, 53/416, 53/471, 215/228, 220/212
International Classes:
B65D51/24; B65B3/04; B65B7/01; B65B7/28
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GRANO, ERNESTO ARTURIO
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WOMBLE BOND DICKINSON (US) LLP (ATLANTA, GA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A container, comprising: a body for housing a substance, the body having an opening at a neck of the body; a multi-layered seal adapted to cover the opening wherein the multi-layered seal includes (i) a composite inner seal adapted to affix to a periphery of the opening, and (ii) a removable component having printed indicia affixed to an upper surface of the composite inner seal, the removable component capable of being removed intact; and a cap adapted to engage the neck of the body.

2. The container of claim 1 wherein the removable component is a coupon having a smaller diameter relative to the multi-layered seal.

3. The container of claim 1 wherein the removable component comprises at least one pressure-sensitive overhang.

4. The container of claim 1 wherein the composite inner seal comprises a sealing agent on a lower surface.

5. The container of claim 1 wherein the removable component comprises an adhesive material on a lower surface.

6. The container of claim 1 wherein the container comprises a bottle.

7. A method of manufacturing, comprising: filling a container with a substance through an opening at a neck of the container; engaging a container cap with the neck of the container wherein the cap includes a dual-layered seal adapted to cover the opening at the neck of the container, the dual-layered seal including (i) a composite inner seal, and (ii) a removable component having printed indicia affixed to an upper surface of the composite inner seal, the removable component capable of being removed intact; and affixing the dual-layered seal to a periphery of the opening by applying one of heat or ultrasound to the container having the container cap engaged thereon.

8. The method of claim 7, further comprising, before filling, fabricating the dual-layered seal comprising: coating a lower surface of a composite inner seal with a sealing agent; and affixing a removable component having printed indicia thereon to an upper surface of the composite inner seal.

9. The method of claim 8, further comprising, before coating, fabricating the composite inner seal to have a periphery to substantially match an outer periphery of the opening at the neck of the container; and fabricating the removable component to have a smaller diameter relative to the composite inner seal.

10. The method of claim 8, further comprising: fabricating a container cap; and inserting the dual-layered seal into the container cap.

11. The method of claim 8 further comprising, before affixing the removable component, applying an adhesive material to a lower surface of the removable component, the adhesive material selected from the group consisting of removable acrylic, rubber-based adhesives and latex.

12. The method of claim 7 wherein the removable component is a coupon.

13. The method of claim 7 wherein the removable component comprises at least one pressure-sensitive overhang.

14. The method of claim 7 wherein the container comprises a bottle.

15. A method of providing a coupon to a customer comprising permitting the removal of the coupon from a composite inner seal wherein the composite inner seal is affixed to an opening of a container.

16. The method of claim 15, wherein permitting comprises providing at least one pressure-sensitive overhang integral with the coupon, the pressure-sensitive overhang providing means for the removal of the coupon.

17. The method of claim 15, wherein permitting comprises providing the coupon on a top surface of the composite inner seal wherein the coupon is removably affixed to the top surface of the composite inner seal.

18. The method of claim 15, wherein the coupon is capable of being removed intact.

19. The method of claim 15 wherein the container comprises a bottle.

Description:

FIELD

Packaging for consumable products.

BACKGROUND

Packaging for consumables such as nutritional supplements is becoming more sophisticated in order to keep up with promotional requests from the marketer of products and consumer demands. Cost-effective promotions have the potential to generate excitement for a product and to increase sales. Packaging for products should be consumer-friendly and easy to use.

Manufacturer or store coupons, game pieces, or other promotional literature (hereinafter collectively referred to as, “coupon(s)”) have been inserted inside a bag or bottle with the promotion advertised on the outside of the package. This technique readily allows for different coupons to be inserted into the packaging; however, the insertion complicates manufacturing and sometimes the coupons are omitted in a portion of the finished, shelf-ready package. From a manufacturing perspective, this method may increase costs because the method generally requires a separate machine to insert the coupon inside of the bag or bottle. Additionally, inserting the coupon inside a bottle is generally dependent upon the fill height of the product within the bottle. If the fill height of the product is too high, inserting the coupon may not be feasible. Also, insertion of the coupon directly into the package can subject the coupon to soiling and may, as a result, discourage a consumer from actually using the coupon. Market research has indicated that consumers generally do not like to search for coupons inside of a bottle.

Coupons have also been adhered to the outside of packages like labels. From a manufacturing perspective, additional labor and costs are associated with affixing the coupon on, for example, the top of a bottle cap. Additionally, this technique has the shortcoming that the coupons can be removed by non-paying consumers who remove the label without purchasing the product. As a result, coupons have been incorporated into packaging as promotions to discourage such concerns and to encourage purchase of the product; however, direct insertion into packaging is subject to the concerns outlined previously.

SUMMARY

Container assemblies such as bottles including a removable coupon within the inner packaging of the assembly are herein disclosed. In some embodiments, the bottle assembly includes a composite inner seal with a removable coupon affixed thereon by a pressure-sensitive agent thereby sealing an opening of the bottle. In some embodiments, the removable coupon is capable of being removed intact.

Methods of manufacturing a bottle assembly including a removable coupon within the assembly are herein disclosed. In some embodiments, an inner composite seal is fabricated and a removable coupon is separately fabricated. The removable component is removably affixed to a top surface of the inner composite seal by application of a pressure-sensitive agent thus forming a multi-layered seal. The multi-layered seal may be positioned and/or inserted within a bottle cap in preparation for completing downstream bottling of a medicinal substance or any other substance marketed in a container that has a cap with an internal liner.

Methods of providing a product/residue-free removable coupon to a user are herein disclosed. In some embodiments, the removable coupon may be included within the bottle assembly, but free from contact with the product within the bottle. In one embodiment, the removable coupon is provided as a removable component affixed to a composite inner seal which seals an opening of the bottle.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an embodiment of an unassembled bottle assembly.

FIG. 2A is a top view of an embodiment of a composite inner seal.

FIG. 2B is a top view of an embodiment of a removable component.

FIG. 2C is a top view of an embodiment of a combination of the composite inner seal of FIG. 2A and the removable component of FIG. 2B.

FIG. 3 illustrates an embodiment of manufacturing process of fabricating a bottle assembly.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view of a bottle assembly 100 according to an embodiment. Bottle assembly 100 includes body 105 with opening 110 which body 105 may house, for example, a medicinal substance such as a nutritional supplement in the form of a pill, capsule, soft gel, or the like. Body 105 may be made of any material which presents no risk or a negligible risk of interaction between packaging components and the medicinal substance. Examples of such materials include, but are not limited to, high density polyethylene (HDPE), polyethylene terephthalic ester (PETE), polystyrene (PS), polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or polypropylene (PP). In some embodiments, the material includes properties which eliminate or substantially reduce the potential of environmental contaminants (air, water, light) interacting with the medicinal substance, which interactions may chemically change the composition of the medicinal substance. In that respect, the material may include properties which result in impermeability to water (including water vapor) and atmospheric components, resistance to heat or temperature fluctuations, or wavelength filter (light protection) properties. For example, light protection is typically provided by an opaque or amber-colored container.

An end (top end as viewed) of body 105 includes an optimally reduced portion defining neck 130 which defines opening 110 including lip or periphery 115. Bottle assembly 100 may include composite inner seal 120 dimensioned to cover or substantially cover opening 110. In one embodiment, opening 110 is approximately circular-shaped, which implies that composite inner seal 120 is approximately circular-shaped as well. One of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that other shapes for opening 110 and composite inner seal 110 are contemplated and fall within the scope of the embodiments disclosed. In some embodiments, composite inner seal 120 may be adapted to affix to periphery 115 of opening 110.

In some embodiments, composite inner seal 120 may include at least three layers, such as a bottom layer made of polystyrene (PS), wax-coated paper, polyolefin foam, or polyethylene (PE), an intermediate layer made of PE foam, aluminum foil or bleached Kraft paper, and a top layer made of polyester (PS), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), or coated paper. Materials for each layer are selected to have properties which protect the medicinal substance from environmental contaminants and to ensure freshness and/or prolong the shelf-life of the medicinal substance. The bottom layer includes bottom surface 120a which may be coated with a sealing agent. Examples of sealing agents include, but are not limited to, wax, polyethylene and PET. The sealing agent may have a property or properties which cause a chemical change when heat or ultrasound is applied thereto. The intermediate layer may be, for example, aluminum or other suitable metal. The top layer includes top surface 120b which may be coated with a pressure-sensitive adhesive material for adhering a removable component thereon. Examples of suitable pressure-sensitive adhesive materials include, but are not limited to, polyester (PS), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), or coated paper.

Bottle assembly 100 includes cap 125 which may be configured to cooperatively engage with neck 130 of body 105. In one embodiment, cap 125 may include inner threads to cooperatively engage with complementary outer threads on neck 130 of body 105. Materials suitable to fabricate cap 125 include thermoplastic materials such as, for example, polypropylene. Examples of representative caps are described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,330,082 to Forsyth and U.S. Pat. No. 4,936,494 to Weidman. One of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that cap 125 may have a variety of different configurations.

FIGS. 2A-2C illustrate top views of a composite inner seal, a removable component and a combination thereof according to some embodiments disclosed herein. Composite inner seal 120 may serve one or more of the following functions: provides protection from excessive transmission of moisture or solvents into or out of the packaging system; provides protection from excessive transmission of reactive gases (atmospheric oxygen, inert headspace filler gas, or other organic vapors) into or out of the packaging system; provides protection for a packaging system that is flexible or needs extra protection during shipment/transit; and provides an additional measure of microbiological protection (i.e., by maintaining sterility or by protecting the packaging system from microbial intrusion). In FIG. 2A, top surface 120a of composite inner seal 120 is illustrated with printed indicia which may be, for example, a safety warning. Composite inner seal 120 may be fabricated as described previously.

FIG. 2B illustrates a top view of removable component 135 with printed indicia 140 thereon. Removable component 135 may be dimensioned to be approximately the size, substantially the size, or substantially less than the size of top surface 120a of composite inner seal 120. In some embodiments, removable component 135 with printed indicia may be removably affixed to top surface 120a of composite inner seal 120. Removable component 135 may include a pressure-sensitive adhesive material coated on a bottom surface which facilitates reversible attachment and detachment of removable component 135 to and from top surface 120a of composite inner seal 120, respectively. Examples of such materials include, but are not limited to, removable acrylic, rubber-based adhesives or latex. In some embodiments, removable component 135 includes at least one pressure-sensitive overhang 135a (and optionally 135b) that may be folded or scored in such a manner to serve as a grip for detachment from top surface 120a of composite inner seal 120 by a user. Removable component 135 should be configured to remain intact when removed therefrom. In some embodiments, removable component 135 may be a coupon or game piece. FIG. 2C illustrates a top view of removable component 135 affixed to composite inner seal 120.

FIG. 3 illustrates an embodiment of manufacturing process of fabricating a bottle assembly. In one embodiment, a composite inner seal may be fabricated (block 305a). The composite inner seal may include components such as those described previously, e.g., inner layer, intermediate layer, and outer layer. In some embodiments, the composite inner seal may be fabricated to have a periphery to substantially match an outer periphery of an opening at the neck of a bottle. A lower surface of the composite inner seal may be coated with a sealing agent such as those described previously, e.g., removable acrylic, rubber-based adhesives or latex.

Prior to, simultaneous with, or subsequent to the fabrication of the composite inner seal, a removable component with printed indicia thereon may also be fabricated (block 310). The removable component may have a smaller width (or diameter) relative to the composite inner seal, or, alternatively, substantially the same width relative to the composite inner seal. In some embodiments, the removable component is a coupon and includes at least one pressure-sensitive overhang for removal by a user. The removable component may be reversibly affixed to a top surface of the composite inner seal thereby forming a multi-layered seal (block 315). In some embodiments, the removable component is capable of being removed intact by a user.

Additionally, prior to, simultaneous with, or subsequent to the fabrication of the composite inner seal and/or the removable component, a bottle cap may be fabricated (block 305b). Eventually, the multi-layered seal may be inserted and/or positioned into the bottle cap resulting in a cap assembly in preparation for bottling and sealing a medicinal substance within a bottle (block 320). The multi-layered seal is inserted and/or positioned into the bottle cap such that it is retained in a mechanical, non-permanent fashion. In this manner, the multi-layered seal can seal the opening of the bottle after the bottle cap is engaged within the neck of the bottle and a treatment, e.g., heat or ultrasound, is applied thereto.

A medicinal substance, such as those described previously, may be used to fill the bottle through an opening of the neck of the bottle (block 325). Thereafter, the cap assembly may be engaged with the neck of the bottle resulting in a bottle assembly (block 330). To seal the opening of the bottle with the multi-layered seal, heat or ultrasound may be applied to the bottle assembly (block 335). Depending on the coating coated on the lower surface of the composite inner seal, heat or ultrasound may change the chemical composition of the coating resulting in the multi-layered seal sealed to a periphery of the neck of the bottle.

Embodiments as disclosed herein provide a cost-effective method of dispensing and presenting coupons or game pieces to a consumer. Additionally, embodiments as disclosed herein improve current application/insertion production by, for example, increasing line speeds in the manufacturing process, reducing costs, and increasing the number of coupons that reach a consumer. Some advantages of embodiments as disclosed herein include, but are not limited to, increase in production efficiency, e.g., manufacturing step of incorporating the coupon within the packaging is consolidated with the inner composite seal manufacturing step, cost-savings relative to other methods, coupon/game piece is easy to locate, provides a more efficient method of presenting the coupon/game piece, and provides one less component part to inventory.

In the foregoing specification, specific embodiments have been described. It will, however, be evident that various modifications and changes can be made thereto without departing from the broader spirit and scope of the appended claims. The specification and drawings are, accordingly, to be regarded in an illustrative rather than a restrictive sense.