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United States Patent Application 20040144793
Kind Code A1
Lessard, Claude ;   et al. July 29, 2004

Tamper-resistant container

Abstract

The present invention provides a container having a lid hingedly connected thereto and so configured that the hinged elements cannot be separated from one another whereby the lid cannot be opened or removed from the body of the container to allow access to the contents of the container


Inventors: Lessard, Claude; (Levis, CA) ; Normand, Pascal; (Levis, CA)
Correspondence Address:
    DARBY & DARBY P.C.
    P. O. BOX 5257
    NEW YORK
    NY
    10150-5257
    US
Assignee: IPL INC.
St-Damien-de-Bellechasse
CA

Serial No.: 353818
Series Code: 10
Filed: January 29, 2003

Current U.S. Class: 220/836; 220/840; 220/842
Class at Publication: 220/836; 220/840; 220/842
International Class: B65D 043/16


Claims



What is claimed is:

1. A tamper-resistant container comprising: two opposite wide walls; two opposite end walls; a bottom surface interconnecting said side and end walls; and a lid; wherein a) one of said walls include first hinge elements; b) said lid includes second hinge elements cooperating with said first hinge elements; c) one of said wall provided with said first hinge element and said lid includes at least one projection; d) the other of said wall provided with said first hinge element and said lid includes at least one aperture corresponding to said at least one projection; and e) said at least one projection and at least one aperture are so configured that when said lid is hingedly moved to a closed position, said at least one projection enters corresponding at least one aperture to provide resistance to forceful opening of the lid from the container at said hinge elements.

2. The tamper-resistant container of claim 1, wherein said lid includes two lid members.

3. The tamper-resistant container of claim 2, wherein each said side wall includes an edge, said first hinge element including hinge pins mounted to said side walls; each said lid member includes generally C-shaped hinge members configured to cooperate with said hinge pins.

4. The tamper-resistant lid according to claim 3, wherein said hinge pins are integrally molded with said side walls and wherein said generally C-shaped hinge members are integrally molded with said lid members.

5. A tamper-resistant lid for a container provided with a side wall, said lid being so hingedly mounted to said side wall via cooperating hinge elements as to pivot between open and closed positions, said side wall including at least one aperture and said lid including at least one projection corresponding to said at least one aperture; wherein when said lid is moved to the closed position, said at least one projection enters said at least one aperture to provide resistance to tampering with said hinge elements.

6. A tamper-resistant lid for a container provided with first and second side walls each having an edge provided with first hinge elements and with at least one aperture, said lid comprising: a first lid member having an outer edge provided with second hinge elements configured to cooperate with said first hinge elements; said first lid member being so mounted to said first side wall via said cooperating hinge elements as to be pivotable between open and closed positions; said first lid member including at least one projection; a second lid member having an outer edge provided with second hinge elements configured to cooperate with said first hinge elements; said second lid member being so mounted to said second side wall via said cooperating hinge elements as to by pivotable between open and closed positions; said second lid member including at least one projection; wherein a) when said first lid member is moved to the closed position, said at least one projection of said first lid member enters said at least one aperture of the first side wall to provide resistance to tampering; and b) when said second lid member is moved to the closed position, said at least one projection of said second lid member enters said at least one aperture of the second side wall to provide resistance to tampering.

7. The tamper-resistant lid according to claim 6, wherein said first lid member further has an inner edge provided with a lap portion and a recessed portion, and said second lid member has an inner edge provided with a lap portion opposite said recessed portion of the first lid member and a recessed portion opposite said lap portion of the first lid member, so that said first and second lid members are complimentarily secured together by an overlapping of said respective inner edges.

8. The tamper-resistant lid according to claim 6, wherein the first hinge elements of the container include hinge pins and wherein said second hinge elements of said first and second lid members include generally C-shaped hinge members.

9. The tamper-resistant lid according to claim 8, wherein said hinge pins are integrally molded with said side walls and wherein said generally C-shaped hinge members are integrally molded with said lid members.
Description



FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates to containers. More specifically, the present invention is concerned with a tamper-resistant container.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Containers are, widely used for packaging and transporting goods. It is usually important that such containers be delivered to a destination thereof with their content being unaltered.

[0003] There have been an increasing concern of protecting the contents of the containers from unauthorized access, in order to ensure the integrity of the delivered merchandise. A number of tamper-resistant arid of tamper-evidencing containers are currently available. While the former relate to containers that are designed so as to be extremely difficult to open, the later are so designed as to not be possibly opened without evidence of the attempt being left, by providing a tearable seal for example.

[0004] Not surprisingly, the current trend is to provide containers that are simultaneously tamper-resistant and tamper-evidencing making them difficult to open and, at the same time, in case, tampering is successful providing evidencing thereof.

[0005] It has been observed that tampering may occur by forcing separation of the lid from the container at their hinging connection. Although in some cases, complete separation is not achieved, some separation is available by providing sufficient distancing of the lid from the container to enable manual insertion into the container.

OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION

[0006] An object of the present invention is therefore to provide a tamper-resistant container,

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0007] More specifically, in accordance with the present invention, there is provided a tamper-resistant container comprising:

[0008] two opposite side walls;

[0009] two opposite end walls;

[0010] a bottom surface interconnecting the side and end walls; and

[0011] a lid;

[0012] wherein a) one of the walls include first hinge elements; b) the lid includes second hinge elements cooperating with the first hinge elements; c) one of the wail provided with the first hinge element and the lid includes at least one projection; d) the other of the wall provided with the first hinge element and the lid includes at least one aperture corresponding to at least one projection; and e) at least one projection and at least one aperture are so configured that when the lid is hingedly moved to a closed position, at least one projection enters corresponding at least one aperture to provide resistance to forceful opening of the lid from the container at the hinge elements.

[0013] Other objects, advantages and features of the present invention will become more apparent upon reading of the following non-restrictive description of specific embodiments thereof, given by way of example only with reference to the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0014] In the appended drawings:

[0015] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a container according to an embodiment of the present invention;

[0016] FIG. 2 is an end elevational view of the container of FIG. 1;

[0017] FIG. 3 is a perspective view of part of a lid for the container of FIG. 1;

[0018] FIG. 4 is an enlarged view of a portion of the lid of FIG. 3 half way inserted into a wall of the container of FIG. 1; and

[0019] FIG. 5 is an enlarged view similar to FIG. 4 illustrating the lid completely locked in to a wall of the container of FIG. 1.

DESCRIPTION OF SPECIFIC EMBODIMENTS

[0020] Generally stated, the present invention provides a tamper-resistant lid for a container allowing the container to be closed by the lid in such a way that it cannot be opened by forcing upwardly the lid at its hinge connection with the container.

[0021] More precisely, the present invention provides a container having side walls fitting in such a way with edges of a lid therefor that cannot be forcingly removed.

[0022] Turning now to FIGS. 1 and 2 of the appended drawing, a container 10 according to an embodiment of the present invention will be generally described.

[0023] The container 10 comprises a body including two opposite side walls 14 and 16: two opposite end walls 18 and 20; and a bottom wall 22 (better seen in FIG. 2). As will be described hereinbelow, the container 10 also includes a lid hingedly mounted to the body via hinge elements provided on both the body and the lid.

[0024] The container 10 may be one-piece molded in a plastic material and the walls 14-20 may be rugged straight walls. A straight-wall, collapsible container may even be contemplated.

[0025] The side walls 14 and 16 are provided with respective apertures 24 and 26 molded on edges 15 and 17. The apertures 24 and 26 may be pocket-shaped openings, indentations or windows for example. The female parts 24 and 26 are designed in relation to a lid allowing tamper-resistant closure of the container 10, as will be further explained in detail hereinbelow.

[0026] The edges 15 and 17 are also provided with respective hinge pins 25 and 27 configured and sized to receive hinge members of the lid members as will be described below.

[0027] Interestingly, top surfaces 29 and 31, respectively provided below the hinge pins 25 and 27 are outwardly tapered and may include apertures in order to direct liquids out of the inside of the container 10.

[0028] As mentioned hereinabove, in order to offer an increased protection of its content, the container 10 is provided with a lid comprising first lid member 30, illustrated on its own in FIG. 3; and a second identical lid member (not shown). Since the first and second lid members forming the cover are identical, only the lid member 30 will be described herein, for concision purpose.

[0029] The lid member 30 has a length defined between opposite side edges 32 and 34 corresponding to a length of the container 10 between the second opposite side walls 18 and 20 thereof (see FIG. 1), and a width between an outer edge 38 and an inner edge 36.

[0030] The inner edge 36 of the first lid member 30 is so designed as to allow a tight closure of the container 10 when the second identical lid member (not shown) is mounted with an outer edge thereof connected along the edge 15 or 17 of the wall 14 or 16 respectively of the container 10 (see FIG. 1); In the example illustrated in FIG. 3, the inner edge 36 of the lid member 30 is provided with a lap portion 46 having a bottom surface (not shown) bearing ribs, and a recessed portion 48 bearing ribs 50 on a top surface thereof. People in the art will easily understand that a corresponding inner ledge of the second lid member (not shown) is provided with a lap portion in a region opposite the recessed portion 48 and a recessed portion in a region opposite the lap portion 46, so that the first and second lid members are complimentarily secured together by an overlapping of their respective inner edges. Of course, other designs of interconnection between the two lid members are possible.

[0031] The side edges 32 and 34 engage fittingly with edges 19 and 21 of the opposite end walls 18 and 20 of the container 10 (see FIG. 1). In a manner that is believed to be well known in the art. For example, in cases when tightness is sought because the container 10 is intended for protection of valuable contents against contaminants such as liquids or dusts, skirt portions 33, 35 on the side edges 32 and 34 may be provided that come in wrapping contact with the edges 19 and 21 of the side walls 18 and 20 of the container 10. Alternatively, the side edgers 32 and 34 of the lid member 30 may be plain surfaces setting on the edges 19 and 21.

[0032] The outer edge 38 of the lid member 30 is provided with hinge elements in the form of generally C-shaped hinge members 41 configured and sized to cooperate with the hinge pins 25 or 27 of the body of the container 10 so as to allow the lid member 30 to be pivoted between open and closed positions.

[0033] The hinge members 41 alternate with shoulder portions 39 bearing projections 40. The projections 40 are located opposite the apertures 24 and 26 molded on the edges 15 and 17 of the side walls 14 and 16 when the lid member 30 is mounted to the container 10 via the hinge pins of the container and the hinge members of the lid members.

[0034] When in a generally horizontal position towards the center of the container 10, the first and second lid members 30 meet lengthwise along inner edges 36 thereof into a generally closed position, thereby forming a cover for the container 10. Such a cover may be opened by allowing one (or both) of the first and second lid members 30 to pivot back outwardly so that the projections 40 are freed from the apertures 24 and 26 as will be described hereinbelow.

[0035] In the generally closed position of the cover where the first and second lid members 30 meet lengthwise along the inner edges 36 thereof, the edges 32, 34 of the lid member 30 may be further fastened to the side walls 18 and 20 of the container 10 by lengths of tie wrap (not shown), insertable in apertures of the cover and edges of the container.

[0036] The lid members 30 may be molded in a plastic material as is known in the art.

[0037] Turning now more specifically to FIGS. 4-5, the operation of the tamper-resistant features of the container 10 will be described.

[0038] FIGS. 4 and 5 illustrate an allowed movement of the lid member 30 in relation to the container 10. In FIG. 4, the lid member 30 is shown half way inserted into the edge 17 of the wall 16, by sealingly engagement of the projection 40 in the aperture 26.

[0039] As seen in FIG. 4, the projection 40 is not flat but has a slope and a rounded end to allow a pivot movement (see arrow 42) of the lid member 30 with respect to the container 10.

[0040] FIG. 5 illustrates the lid member 30 in a fully closed position where the projection 40 completely enters the aperture 26.

[0041] People in the art will appreciate that such a design also helps to direct liquids outside of the container 10.

[0042] Once so closed, the container 10 may be opened, by an authorized person, by removing lengths of tie wrap, or other closing means such as a padlock, provided to secure both lid members 30 forming the cover together prior to pivot the lid members 30 towards their open position (see double arrow 42 in FIG. 4).

[0043] The container 10, once closed, cannot be open without either first cutting the lengths of tie wrap and allowing the lid members 30 to pivot, or by forcing the projection 40 out of the apertures 24 and 26.

[0044] Indeed, the configuration of the hinge and of the projection/aperture combination makes it impossible to break either the hinge element 41 or the projection 40.

[0045] In FIG. 5, the direction of arrow 52 indicates how a force would be exerted to remove (or slightly lift) the lid from the container at their hinge elements. The goal of this force is to remove the hinge member 41 from the hinge pin 25. However, movement in this direction is prevented by the projection 40 engaged in aperture 26.

[0046] From the foregoing, it should now be apparent that the present invention provides a tamper-resistant container, which combines strength for securing stacking, lid members combining interlocking features for a secure closure thereof as well as a rugged hinge mechanism.

[0047] As will also be apparent to one skilled in the art, to operate properly, it is advantageous to make the container 10 in a proper material that is sufficiently stiff to prevent a sufficient resilient deformation of the lid members and side walls that would allow an unauthorized individual to open the container without evidence.

[0048] It will also be apparent to one skilled in the art that even though the lid of the container is shown herein as being made of two identical lid members, these lid members could be different as long as they provide an adequate closure of the container.

[0049] It will also be apparent that the projection 40 could be made of a breakable material so that to force upwardly the lid from the container could result in breaking the projection thus making the present container a tamper-evident container.

[0050] Although the present invention has been described hereinabove by way of specific embodiments thereof, it can be modified, without departing from the spirit and nature of the subject invention as defined in the appended claims.

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