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United States Patent Application 20110290752
Kind Code A1
Yeager; Don F. ;   et al. December 1, 2011

INVERTED BOTTLE ASSEMBLY

Abstract

An inverted bottle assembly includes a bottle, a tip insert, and a cap. The bottle may include: 1) a rounded top portion engaged with or adjacent to a sidewall portion, 2) a base portion engaged with or adjacent to the sidewall portion, 3) a conical flange engaged with or adjacent to the base portion, and 4) a neck portion engaged with or adjacent to the conical flange. Additionally, the bottle may include a non-round cross-sectional shape. The tip insert may engage with the neck portion of the bottle. The tip insert may also have a nozzle with a nozzle passageway with an opening. The cap may cover the tip insert and the neck portion. The bottle assembly may also include first and second sealing structures within the cap.


Inventors: Yeager; Don F.; (Millville, NJ) ; Andrews; Paul H.; (Millville, NJ) ; Deluke; Doug; (Bridgeton, NJ)
Serial No.: 788600
Series Code: 12
Filed: May 27, 2010

Current U.S. Class: 215/3
Class at Publication: 215/3
International Class: B65D 23/00 20060101 B65D023/00


Claims



1. An inverted bottle assembly comprising: a bottle having a rounded top portion, a base portion, and a neck portion adjacent to the base portion, wherein the bottle includes a non-round cross-sectional shape; a tip insert having a tip insert base that is engaged with the neck portion of the bottle, the tip insert also having a nozzle that extends away from the tip insert base, the nozzle having a nozzle passageway therethrough with an opening distal to the tip insert base; and a non-round cap covering the tip insert and the neck portion, wherein the cap includes a closure that when the cap is in a closed position on the bottle, the closure engages the nozzle and the opening on the tip insert, and engages the neck portion of the bottle.

2. The inverted bottle assembly according to claim 1, wherein the rounded top portion is adjacent to a cylindrical sidewall portion that extends from the top portion.

3. The inverted bottle assembly according to claim 2, wherein the base portion is adjacent to the sidewall portion.

4. The inverted bottle assembly according to claim 1, the bottle further comprising a conical flange adjacent to the base portion, wherein the conical flange extends between the base portion and the neck portion.

5. The inverted bottle assembly according to claim 1, wherein the neck portion includes external threads extending radially around at least a portion of a circumference of the neck portion.

6. The inverted bottle assembly according to claim 5, wherein the closure includes internal threads for complimentary engagement with the external threads on the neck portion.

7. The inverted bottle assembly according to claim 1, wherein the cap is defined by a cap sidewall extending from a flat portion.

8. The inverted bottle assembly according to claim 7, wherein the closure includes a first sealing structure that includes a cap pintel extending away from an interior side of the flat portion of the cap, wherein when the closure is in the closed position, the cap pintel frictionally fits into the opening of the nozzle, thereby sealing the nozzle passageway.

9. The inverted bottle assembly according to claim 8, wherein the closure includes a second sealing structure that includes a cap ring plug extending away from the interior side of the flat portion of the cap, wherein when the closure is in the closed position, the cap ring plug frictionally fits around the outside of the opening of the nozzle, thereby sealing the outside of the opening of the nozzle.

10. The inverted bottle assembly according to claim 2, wherein the top portion and the sidewall portion are up to 10 mil thick.

11. The inverted bottle assembly according to claim 1, wherein at least one of the bottle, the tip insert, and the cap are made from polyethylene terephthalate.

12. A bottle assembly comprising: a bottle comprising: an ellipsoidal-shaped top portion having a major axis and a minor axis, wherein a length of the major axis is at least 1.5 times larger than a length of the minor axis, the top portion further having a radius of the top portion along the major axis that is at least 2 times the length of the major axis, a sidewall portion adjacent to and extending from the top portion, wherein the sidewall portion includes a non-round cross-sectional shape; a base portion adjacent to the sidewall portion, a conical flange adjacent to the base portion, and a neck portion adjacent to the conical flange, the neck portion including external threads extending radially around at least a portion of a circumference of the neck portion; a tip insert having a tip insert base that is engaged with the neck portion of the bottle, the tip insert also having a nozzle that extends away from the tip insert base, the nozzle having a nozzle passageway therethrough with an opening distal to the tip insert base; and a cap having a non-round cross-section covering the tip insert and the neck portion, wherein the cap includes a closure that when the cap is in a closed position on the bottle, the closure engages the nozzle and the opening on the tip insert, and engages the neck portion of the bottle.

13. The bottle assembly according to claim 12, wherein the closure includes internal threads for complimentary engagement with the external threads on the neck portion.

14. The bottle assembly according to claim 12, wherein the closure includes a first sealing structure that includes a cap pintel extending away from an interior side of the cap, wherein when the closure is in the closed position, the cap pintel frictionally fits into the opening of the nozzle, thereby sealing the nozzle passageway.

15. The bottle assembly according to claim 14, wherein the closure includes a second sealing structure that includes a cap ring plug extending away from the interior side of the cap, wherein when the closure is in the closed position, the cap ring plug frictionally fits around the outside of the opening of the nozzle, thereby sealing the outside of the opening of the nozzle.

16. The bottle assembly according to claim 12, wherein the top portion and the sidewall portion are up to 10 mil thick.

17. The bottle assembly according to claim 12, wherein at least one of the bottle, the tip insert, and the cap are made from polyethylene terephthalate.

18. A bottle assembly comprising: a bottle comprising: a rounded top portion adjacent to a sidewall portion that extends from the top portion, a base portion adjacent to the sidewall portion, a conical flange adjacent to the base portion, and a neck portion adjacent to the conical flange, the neck portion including external threads extending radially around at least a portion of a circumference of the neck portion, wherein the bottle includes a non-round cross-sectional shape; a tip insert having a tip insert base that is engaged with the neck portion of the bottle, the tip insert also having a nozzle that extends away from the tip insert base, the nozzle having a nozzle passageway therethrough with an opening distal to the tip insert base; and a cap having a non-round cross section covering the tip insert and the neck portion, wherein the cap is defined by a cap sidewall extending from a flat portion, wherein the cap includes a closure extending inward from an interior side of the flat portion, wherein when the cap is in a closed position on the bottle, the closure engages the nozzle and the opening on the tip insert, with the closure further including internal threads for complimentary engagement with the external threads on the neck portion, wherein the closure includes: a first sealing structure that includes a cap pintel extending away from the interior side of the flat portion of the cap, wherein when the cap is in the closed position, the cap pintel frictionally fits into the opening of the nozzle, thereby sealing the nozzle passageway, and a second sealing structure that includes a cap ring plug extending away from the interior side of the flat portion of the cap, wherein when the cap is in the closed position, the cap ring plug frictionally fits around the outside of the opening of the nozzle, thereby sealing the outside of the opening of the nozzle.

19. The bottle assembly according to claim 18, wherein the top portion and the sidewall portion are up to 10 mil thick.

20. The bottle assembly according to claim 18, wherein at least one of the bottle, the tip insert, and the cap are made from polyethylene terephthalate.
Description



FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The invention relates generally to bottle assemblies used to dispense fluids. More specifically, the invention provides an inverted droptainer bottle assembly for dispensing eye drops or fluids with improved squeezability, ease of evacuation, and sealability.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Dropper bottle assemblies are used to dispense a variety of liquids one drop at a time. For example, dropper bottle assemblies are used for dispensing liquid reagents in laboratories, dispensing eye medication, dispensing ear medication, or in any other environment where dispensing of a liquid in controlled drop increments is desired.

[0003] Existing dropper bottle assemblies include cylindrical containers with a circular cross-sectional shape. Round containers have an increased hoop strength, which makes them more difficult to "squeeze" or collapse. Additionally, these containers include a flat bottom with square corners. These flat bottom and square corner containers also tend to increase the associated stiffening structure of the container and thus require more force to "squeeze" the container.

[0004] Additionally, these bottle assemblies and dropper bottle assemblies have used low-density polyethylene (LDPE) due to the plastic's softness and squeezability. However, while appropriate for some uses and in some applications, LDPE is not compatible with all products or liquids. A barrier grade of resin like PET is generally much more stiffer.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0005] The following presents a simplified summary of the disclosure in order to provide a basic understanding of some aspects of the invention by way of exemplary embodiments. This summary is not intended to define key or critical elements of the invention or to delineate the scope of the invention. Rather, the following summary merely presents some of the concepts of the disclosure in a simplified form as a prelude to the more detailed description of aspects of the invention provided below.

[0006] Aspects of the invention relate to an inverted bottle assembly comprising a bottle, a tip insert, and a cap. The bottle may comprise: 1) a rounded top portion adjacent to a sidewall portion that extends from the top portion, 2) a base portion adjacent to the sidewall portion, 3) a conical flange adjacent to the base portion, and 4) a neck portion adjacent to the conical flange. The neck portion may include external threads extending radially around at least a portion of the circumference of the neck portion. Additionally, the bottle may include a non-round cross-sectional shape. The tip insert may have a tip insert base that is engaged with the neck portion of the bottle. The tip insert may also have a nozzle that extends away from the tip insert base. The nozzle may have a nozzle passageway therethrough with an opening distal to the tip insert base. The cap may cover the tip insert and the neck portion, wherein the cap is defined by a cap sidewall extending from a flat portion. The cap may include a closure extending inward from an interior side of the flat portion. When the cap is in a closed position on the bottle, the closure may engage the nozzle and the opening on the tip insert. The closure also may include internal threads for complimentary engagement with the external threads on the neck portion.

[0007] In some example aspects of this invention, the bottle assembly may also include a first sealing structure and a second sealing structure. The first sealing structure may include a cap pintel extending away from the interior side of the flat portion of the cap. When the closure is in the closed position, the cap pintel may frictionally fit into the opening of the nozzle, thereby sealing the nozzle passageway. The second sealing structure may include a cap ring plug extending away from the interior side of the flat portion of the cap. When the closure is in the closed position, the cap ring plug may frictionally fit around the outside of the opening of the nozzle, thereby sealing the outside of the opening of the nozzle.

[0008] These and other features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the description of the preferred embodiments, with reference to the accompanying drawing figures.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0009] The present disclosure is illustrated by way of example and not limited in the accompanying figures in which like reference numerals indicate similar elements and in which:

[0010] FIG. 1A illustrates a perspective view of an exemplary inverted bottle assembly in accordance with aspects of the invention;

[0011] FIG. 1B illustrates an exploded perspective view of the inverted bottle assembly from FIG. 1A in accordance with aspects of the invention;

[0012] FIG. 2A illustrates a front view of a bottle from the inverted bottle assembly from FIG. 1A in accordance with aspects of the invention;

[0013] FIG. 2B illustrates a perspective side view of the bottle and a tip insert from the inverted bottle assembly from FIG. 1A in accordance with aspects of the invention;

[0014] FIG. 3 illustrates a perspective cross-section view of the inverted bottle assembly from FIG. 1A along lines 3-3 in accordance with aspects of the invention;

[0015] FIG. 4A illustrates a cross-section view of the tip insert of the inverted bottle assembly from FIG. 3 in accordance with aspects of the invention;

[0016] FIG. 4B illustrates a cross-section view of a cap of the inverted bottle assembly from FIG. 3 in accordance with aspects of the invention;

[0017] FIG. 5 illustrates a perspective view of another inverted bottle assembly in accordance with aspects of the invention;

[0018] FIG. 6A illustrates a front view of another bottle in accordance with aspects of the invention; and

[0019] FIG. 6B illustrates a side view of the bottle of FIG. 6A in accordance with aspects of the invention.

[0020] The reader is advised that the attached drawings are not necessarily drawn to scale.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0021] In the following description of various examples of the invention, reference is made to the accompanying drawings, which form a part hereof, and in which are shown by way of illustration various example structures, systems, and steps in which aspects of the invention may be practiced. It is to be understood that other specific arrangements of parts, structures, example devices, systems, and steps may be utilized and structural and functional modifications may be made without departing from the scope of the present invention. Also, while the terms "top," "bottom," "front," "back," "side," and the like may be used in this specification to describe various example features and elements of the invention, these terms are used herein as a matter of convenience, e.g., based on the example orientations shown in the figures. Nothing in this specification should be construed as requiring a specific three dimensional orientation of structures in order to fall within the scope of this invention.

[0022] An exemplary inverted bottle assembly 10 may comprise one or more components illustrated in FIGS. 1A and 1B. As illustrated in FIGS. 1A and 1B, the inverted bottle assembly 10 may comprise a bottle 20, a tip insert 40, and a cap 60. Generally, the tip insert 40 is attached or connected to the bottle 20. Additionally, the cap 60 covers the tip insert 40 and engages with the bottle 20. In accordance with aspects of this invention, the inverted bottle assembly 10 may be inverted, such that the inverted bottle assembly 10 is stored or sits on the cap 60 and the bottle 20 is located at the top of the inverted bottle assembly 10. Additionally, in accordance to aspects of the invention, the inverted bottle assembly as described below may be an inverted dropper bottle assembly that can be used to dispense liquids in controlled drop increments.

[0023] As illustrated in FIGS. 2A and 2B, the bottle 20 may include a sidewall portion 22, a base portion 24, a top portion 26, and a neck 30. The bottle 20 is preferably made of molded plastic and defines an interior reservoir to hold a product, such as a liquid or other fluid-like substance. Other possible products that could be held in the bottle 20 without departing from this invention are: nasal fluids/medications, eye fluids/medications, ear fluids/medications, topical ointments, gels, creams, lotions, hand sanitizers, cosmetics, diabetic fluids/medications or other similar consumer products. The bottle material may be generally compatible with the liquid to be contained therein. Examples of materials that may be utilized for the bottle include, but are not limited to: low-density polyethylene (LDPE), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), high-density polyethylene (HDPE), polypropylene (PP), or polyvinyl chloride (PVC), without departing from this invention.

[0024] As illustrated in FIGS. 2A and 2B, a container 21 may be defined by the base portion 24, the sidewall portion 22, and the top portion 26. Generally, the container 21 may include a non-round shape and be capable of holding a specific amount of liquid. In accordance with aspects of this invention, the container 21 may be capable of holding approximately 3 mL. Additionally, in accordance with other aspects of this invention, the container 21 may be capable of holding approximately 5 or 10 mL. Additionally, in accordance with other aspects of this invention, the container 21 may be capable of holding up to even larger amounts of liquids, such as up to approximately 50 mL.

[0025] In accordance with at least some aspects of this invention, the base portion 24 may include a non-round cross-sectional shape. For example, the base portion 24 may be a flat plane in the shape of an oval. The term "oval" is not limited to shapes or cross-sectional shapes that satisfy the mathematical definition of an "oval." Rather, the term "oval", as used herein, means any continuously curved, non-round, shape or cross-sectional shape. It is understood that where the shape is described as non-round in the below description, the shape may also be "oval" as defined below.

[0026] The base portion 24 may be located or adjacent to the sidewall portion 22, with the sidewall portion 22 disposed around and extending from the base portion 24. As illustrated in FIGS. 2A and 2B, the sidewall portion 22 may extend from the base portion 24 to thereby form a cylindrically shaped sidewall extending a portion of the bottle's overall height. Additionally, the cross-section of the sidewall portion 22 may include a non-round shape approximately equivalent to the non-round shape of the base portion 24.

[0027] The volume and size of the container 21 may be defined, at least in part, by the length of the sidewall portion 22. As illustrated in FIGS. 2A and 2B, for a container 21 of approximately 5 mL to 50 mL, the sidewall portion 22 length may be varied to define varied containers with different volumes. In another aspect in accordance with this invention, for a container 21 of approximately 3 mL, the sidewall portion 22 may be almost non-existent or very short, such that the rounded top portion 26 may essentially extend from the base portion 24. An inverted bottle assembly 10 that does not include a sidewall portion is illustrated in FIG. 5. The length of the sidewall portion 22 may be increased or decreased without departing from this invention, thereby increasing or decreasing the volume and size of the container 21. Therefore, when manufacturing inverted bottle assemblies 10 of different volumes, the tip insert 40 and cap 60, as will be described more below, may be standard parts and may never be required to change dimensions. The bottle 20 may be the only part that may need to change when manufacturing bottle assemblies of differing volumes, and more specifically changing the length of the sidewall portion 22 on the bottle 20.

[0028] As illustrated in FIGS. 2A and 2B, the top portion 26 of the bottle 20 may be rounded. The top portion 26 may be engaged, attached, or otherwise adjacent to the sidewall portion 22. Additionally, as described above, when there is no sidewall portion 22, such as for small container sizes, the top portion 26 may be engaged, attached, or otherwise adjacent to the base portion 24 directly. Similar to the base portion 24 and the sidewall portion 22, the cross-sectional shape of the top portion 26 may be generally non-round and the same size and shape as the base portion 24 and the sidewall portion 22. Additionally, it should be understood that the rounded shape of the top portion 26 eliminates square bottom corners or a flat area as other containers in the prior art may contain. The rounded top portion 26 may eliminate the associated stiffening structure of square bottom corners, thus reducing the force required to "squeeze" the container 21. Additionally, the rounded top portion 26 eliminates any associated flow restriction of the plastic through the corners during bottle manufacturing, which allows the bottle 20 to be injection blow-molded with ultra-thin sidewalls, if desired. Providing thinner walls reduces the amount of material necessary for constructing the bottle 20 (and thus reduces the material costs) and reduces the bottle 20 stiffness thereby lowering the squeeze force necessary to dispense the contents of the bottle 20.

[0029] The bottle 20 also may contain a neck portion 30 that may be engaged, attached, or adjacent to the base portion 24. The neck portion 30 may be circular, or cylindrical. The neck portion 30 may extend away from the base portion 24. As illustrated in FIG. 2A, the neck portion 30 may define a neck opening 33 at a location distal from the base portion 24 (or flange 28). The neck portion 30 may also define a neck cavity 31 located inside the neck portion 30 (see FIG. 3). Additionally, the base portion 24 and the flange 28 together may be referred to as a shoulder of the bottle 20.

[0030] As illustrated in FIGS. 2A and 2B, the neck portion 30 may include a rib bead or ring 34 located around the perimeter of the neck portion 30. The rib bead 34 may be located adjacent to the base portion 24 (or flange 28). The rib bead 34 may act as a shoulder for the cap 60, when the cap 60 is placed onto the bottle 20 and the neck portion 30. Additionally, the rib bead 34 may include a rib stop 36. The rib stop 36 may be a small rectangular or polygon-shaped structure extending toward the neck opening 33 from the rib bead 34. The rib stop 36 may act as a rotational stop when the cap 60 is twisted onto the neck portion 30 or bottle 20. The rib stop 36 may also assist with the alignment of the cap 60 to the neck portion 30 or the bottle 20 when the cap 60 is placed onto the bottle 20. If desired, the rib stop 36 may have structural features to allow the cap 60 to be engaged with the bottle 20 in a child-proof manner (as is conventionally known in the art). Additionally, the neck portion 30 may include external threads 32 that extend outward from the neck portion 30 in a radial manner.

[0031] In some example structures according to this invention, as illustrated in FIGS. 2A and 2B, the neck portion 30 may be engaged or attached to a flange 28 that extends from the base portion 24. The flange 28 may be non-round in cross section and conical in longitudinal shape. In one aspect of this invention, the flange 28 may be attached to and cover the entire base portion 24. In another aspect of this invention, the flange 28 may be attached to and cover a portion of the base portion 24. As illustrated in FIG. 2B, this example flange 28 is conical over its height or longitudinal length and extends over only a portion of the base portion 24. Generally, the flange 28 will match the cross-sectional shape of the base portion 24 and the general cross-sectional shape of the bottle 20. However, the flange 28 may be other shapes without departing from this invention, such as circular and conical, or other polygon shaped-pyramids. The conical flange 28 may help to allow the liquid to flow out of the main reservoir of the container 21 and into the neck portion 30, thereby minimizing any restriction to product flow and thus improving evacuation of the bottle 20.

[0032] Additionally, as illustrated in FIG. 2A, the bottle 20 may include at least one finger grip 38 located on the sidewall portion 22 and/or the top portion 26 of the container 21. The finger grip 38 may be sized to approximate the size of a finger. The finger grip 38 may be used to assist the squeezing of the bottle 20. In accordance with aspects of this invention, the finger grip 38 may be colored differently than the rest of the bottle 20. Additionally, in accordance with aspects of this invention, the finger grip 38 may include a different textured surface than the rest of the bottle 20. Both of these features for the finger grip 38 may help to differentiate the finger grip 38 from the rest of the bottle 20. The finger grip 38 may also contain a logo or other words without departing from this invention. The finger grip 38 may be located on either one side or both sides of the bottle 20 without departing from this invention. Also, as specifically illustrated in FIG. 2B, in accordance with aspects of this invention, the bottle 20 may not include a finger grip 38.

[0033] In the above description, each of the parts of the bottle 20 (such as the base portion 24, the sidewall portion 22, the top portion 26, the neck portion 30, the conical flange 28, etc.) are described as being engaged, attached, or adjacent to each other. The bottle 20 may also have a unitary one-piece construction, wherein each of these parts of the bottle 20 is not a separate individualized part (but rather the various parts are integrally formed as a single piece). For example, the bottle 20 may be manufactured using one injection blow-molded plastic process to create the unitary one-piece construction. The terms "adjacent to" or "extending from" and the like, when used in this specification and the claims in this context, generically refer a bottle construction whether made from multiple parts that are fixed together (e.g., by adhesives or cements, by mechanical connectors, by fusing techniques, etc.) or whether made as a single, unitary, one-piece construction.

[0034] The bottle 20 as described above may be made of differing wall thicknesses. For example, the bottle 20 may include a wall thickness of approximately 20-25 mil throughout the entire bottle 20. In other example structures according to this invention, the bottle 20 may have a sidewall portion 22 and top portion 26 with an ultra-thin thickness, such as approximately as thin as 8-10 mil, while the base portion 24 thickness remains at approximately 20-25 mil. The bottle 20 thickness may be decreased to levels of 8-10 mil for lightweight and easily squeezable applications.

[0035] The inverted bottle assembly 10 may also include a tip insert 40 as illustrated in FIGS. 2B, 3, and 4A. The tip insert 40 may include a nozzle 42 and a tip insert base 44. Generally, the tip insert base 44 is sized and structured to be inserted into the neck opening 33 and the neck cavity 31 of the bottle 20. The external sides of the tip insert base 44 may engage the internal sides of the neck portion 30 inside the neck cavity 31 of the bottle 20. In another aspect in accordance of this invention, the internal sides of the tip insert base 44 may engage the external sides of neck portion 30. Additionally, the insert base 44 and the neck portion 30 may include structures, such as ridges, indents, or threads, to positively engage and secure the tip insert 40 into the bottle 20. Correspondingly, the tip insert 40 may be engaged with and secured in the bottle 20 by being snapped, friction fit, threaded, fused, or otherwise engaged without departing from this invention.

[0036] As illustrated in FIGS. 2B, 3, and 4A, the nozzle 42 may be engaged, attached, or adjacent to the tip insert base 44. The nozzle 42 may extend vertically from the tip insert base 44. The nozzle 42 may be in fluid communication with the tip cavity 48, the neck cavity 31, and the container 21 when assembled as illustrated in FIG. 3. The nozzle 42 may also include a nozzle passageway 50 therethrough with a distal opening 52 for allowing the liquid within the bottle 20 to pass through and out of the nozzle 42 and the opening 52. Generally, the cross-section of the nozzle passageway 50 is circular, however, other shapes may be utilized without departing from the invention. As illustrated in FIG. 4A, the diameter of nozzle passageway 50 may increase from the area adjacent to the tip cavity 48 to the opening 52, with the diameter of the nozzle passageway 50 being smaller nearest the tip cavity 48 and larger nearest the opening 52.

[0037] The nozzle 42 may also include a rim 54 and a nozzle ring 56, as illustrated in FIG. 2B. The rim 54 and the nozzle ring 56 may help to provide a dual sealing system with the cap 60, as is described below. The rim 54 may be a structure that extends around the perimeter of the end of the nozzle 42 adjacent to the opening 52. The nozzle ring 56 may be a structure that extends from the rim 54 and the end of the nozzle 42. The nozzle ring 56 may also define the opening 52 of the tip insert 40.

[0038] Additionally, in aspects in accordance with this invention and as illustrated in FIGS. 2B, 3, and 4A, the tip insert 40 may include a shoulder 46. The shoulder 46 may be located between the tip insert base 44 and the nozzle 42. The shoulder 46 may extend continuously or discontinuously around the perimeter of the tip insert 40. When the tip insert 40 is inserted into the neck portion 30 of the bottle 20, the shoulder 46 may act as a stop and engage the top of the neck portion 30 adjacent to the neck opening 33.

[0039] Additionally, in another aspect in accordance with this invention, some of the features of the neck portion 30 as described above may be included on the tip insert 40 and vice versa. For example, the tip insert 40 may include the external threads 32, the rib bead 34, and/or the rib stop 36 instead of being located on the neck portion 30.

[0040] The tip insert 40 is preferably made of molded plastic and will be generally compatible with the liquid to be contained therein. Examples of materials that may be utilized for the tip insert 40 include, but are not limited to: low-density polyethylene (LDPE) including linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE)), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), high-density polyethylene (HDPE), polypropylene (PP), or polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

[0041] In the above description, each of the parts of the tip insert 40 (such as the tip insert base 44, the nozzle 42, and the shoulder 46, etc.) are described as being engaged, attached, or adjacent to each other. The tip insert 40 may also have a unitary one-piece construction, wherein each of these parts of the tip insert 40 is not a separate individualized part (but rather, the various parts are integrally formed as a single piece). For example, the tip insert 40 may be manufactured using one injection blow-molded plastic process to create the unitary one-piece construction. The terms "adjacent to" or "extending from" and the like, when used in this specification and the claims in this context, generically refer to a tip insert construction whether made from multiple parts that are fixed together (e.g., by adhesives or cements, by mechanical connectors, by fusing techniques, etc.) or whether made as a single, unitary, one-piece construction.

[0042] The inverted bottle assembly 10 may also include a cap 60 as illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 4B. The cap 60 may include a cap sidewall 62, a flat end portion 64, and a closure 68. Generally, the cap 60 is sized and structured to be inserted onto the tip insert 40 and the neck portion 30 of the bottle 20. The closure 68 of the cap 60 may engage the external sides of the neck portion 30 and the end of the nozzle 42 of the tip insert 40, as will be described in more detail below.

[0043] As illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 4B, generally, the cap 60 is defined by the cap sidewall 62 and the flat portion 64. The cap sidewall 62 may be engaged, attached, or adjacent to the flat portion 64. The cap sidewall 62 may extend from the flat portion 64 of the cap 60. The cap sidewall 62 may be generally the same shape as the bottle sidewall portion 22. For example, if the cross-section of the bottle sidewall portion 22 is a cylinder with a non-round cross-section, the cap sidewall 62 may also be a cylinder with a non-round cross-section. However, the cap 60 and the cap sidewall 62 need not match the shape of the bottle 20 and bottle sidewall portion 22 in all example structures according to this invention. The cap 60 may be shaped such that when the inverted bottle assembly 10 is not being used, the inverted bottle assembly 10 may rest or set on the flat portion 64 of the cap 60. The cap sidewall 62 and the flat portion 64 define a cap cavity 66 contained within the cap 60.

[0044] As illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 4B, the closure 68 may be located within the cap cavity 66 and attached, engaged, or adjacent to the interior surface of the flat portion 64. The closure 68 may include internal threads 70. When the cap 60 is placed in a closed position on the bottle 20, the internal threads 70 may provide a complementary engagement with the external threads 32 on the neck portion 30 of the bottle 20. The internal threads 70 may be provided on the cap 60 to include multiple thread leads thus reducing the angular rotation and improving the ease of removing the cap 60 from the bottle 20.

[0045] As further illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 4B, the closure 68 may also include a first sealing structure and/or a second sealing structure. When the cap 60 is in a closed position on the bottle 20, the first sealing structure seals the interior of the opening 52 of the tip insert 40 and the nozzle 42. The first sealing structure may include a cap pintel 72. The cap pintel 72 may be located on the interior surface of the flat portion 64 and may extend away from the interior surface of the flat portion 64. The cap pintel 72 may be sized and shaped, such that the cap pintel 72 frictionally fits into the opening 52 on the nozzle 42, thereby effectively closing and sealing the interior of the nozzle 42 when the cap 60 is placed on the bottle 20. For example, if the opening 52 is circular, the cap pintel 72 will also be circular shaped. If desired, the cap pintel 72 may be made from a somewhat pliable or compressible material that is compressed when fully inserted into the nozzle opening 52, to better seal off the opening 52.

[0046] When the cap 60 is in a closed position on the bottle 20, the second sealing structure may seal or at least enclose the exterior of the opening 52 and the nozzle 42. The second sealing structure may include a cap ring plug 74. The cap ring plug 74 may be located on the interior surface of the flat portion 64 and may extend away from the interior surface of the flat portion 64. The cap ring plug 74 may be sized and shaped, such that the cap ring plug 74 frictionally fits around the outside of the opening 52 on the nozzle 42, thereby effectively closing and sealing the outside of the nozzle 42 when the cap 60 is placed on the bottle 20. When the cap 60 is placed on the bottle 20, the cap ring plug 74 engages the nozzle ring 56 in combination with the rim 54 to seal or close off the exterior portion of the nozzle 42. The first sealing structure and the second sealing structure are illustrated in FIG. 3. While either the first sealing structure or the second sealing structure could both be independently effective at sealing the nozzle 42 and the opening 52, at least some example structures according to the present invention may include a dual sealing structure that includes both the first sealing structure and the second sealing structure.

[0047] The cap 60 is preferably made of molded plastic and will be generally compatible with the liquid to be contained therein. Examples of suitable materials that may be utilized for the cap 60 include, but are not limited to: low-density polyethylene (LDPE), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), high-density polyethylene (HDPE), polypropylene (PP), or polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

[0048] In the above description, each of the parts of the cap 60 (such as the cap sidewall 62, the flat portion 64, and the closure 68, etc.) are described as being engaged, attached, or adjacent to each other. The cap 60 may also have a unitary one-piece construction, wherein each of these parts of the cap 60 is not a separate individualized part of the cap 60 (but rather, the various parts are integrally formed as a single piece). For example, the cap 60 may be manufactured using one injection blow-molded plastic process to create the unitary one-piece construction. The terms "adjacent to" or "extending from" and the like, when used in this specification and the claims in this context, generically refer a cap construction whether made from multiple parts that are fixed together (e.g., by adhesives or cements, by mechanical connectors, by fusing techniques, etc.) or whether made as a single, unitary, one-piece construction.

[0049] In accordance with this invention, the non-round shape and/or the non-round cross-sectional shape as described above may also include an oval track shape. The oval track shape may include flat or straight sides connected by radiused or arced ends. This oval track shape may be used in place of the oval shape or oval cross-sectional shape as described above for the container 21, the sidewall portion 22, the base portion 24, the top portion 26, and/or the flange 28.

[0050] In another example inverted bottle assembly in accordance with this invention, the inverted bottle assembly 510 as illustrated in FIG. 5 includes many features in common with the inverted bottle assembly 10 illustrated in FIGS. 1A through 4B and described above, and common reference numerals are used to describe such common features, although the "500 series" of numbers is used in FIG. 5.

[0051] As illustrated in FIG. 5, the inverted bottle assembly 510 may comprise a bottle 520, an insert tip 540, and a cap 560. Generally, the insert tip 540 is attached or connected to the bottle 520. Additionally, the cap 560 covers the insert tip 540 and engages the bottle 520. In accordance with aspects of this invention, the inverted bottle assembly 510 may be inverted, such that the inverted bottle assembly 510 is stored or sits on the cap 560 (e.g., on the flat base portion 564) and the bottle 520 is located at the top of the inverted bottle assembly 510.

[0052] As further illustrated in FIG. 5, the bottle 520 may include a top portion 526, a curved portion 524, and a neck portion 530. A container 521 may be defined by the top portion 526 and the curved portion 524. Generally, the container 521 may include a non-round cross-sectional shape and may be capable of holding a specific amount of liquid. In accordance with aspects of this invention, the container 521 may be capable of holding approximately 3 mL. Additionally, in accordance with other aspects of this invention, the container 521 may be capable of holding approximately 5 or 10 mL. Additionally, in accordance with other aspects of this invention, the container 521 may be capable of holding up to even larger amounts of liquids, such as up to approximately 50 mL.

[0053] As described above, the container 521 includes a curved portion 524. As can be seen when comparing FIG. 5 to FIG. 1A, the curved portion 524 takes the place of the base portion 24 from FIGS. 1A through 4B. The container 521 as illustrated in FIG. 5, because of the curved portion 524, includes less flat portions and areas as compared to the container 21 as described and illustrated in FIGS. 1A through 4B. The curved portion 524 may decrease the associated stiffening structure of the entire container 521 and thus reduce the force required to "squeeze" the container 521. Additionally, the curved portion 524 may eliminate or decrease the associated flow restriction of the plastic through the corners during bottle manufacturing. The cross-section of the curved portion 524 may be non-round.

[0054] As further illustrated in FIG. 5, the top portion 526 of the bottle 520 may be rounded. The top portion 526 may be engaged, attached, or adjacent to the curved portion 524. Similar to the curved portion 524, the cross-sectional shape of the top portion 526 may be generally non-round and the size and shape of the non-round cross-section may decrease as one moves up the top portion 526 and away from the curved portion 524. As illustrated in FIG. 5, the cross-sectional shape of the top portion 526 may be non-round. Additionally, it should be understood that the rounded shape of the top portion 526 may include no square bottom corners or a flat area as other containers in the prior art may contain. The rounded top portion 526 may decrease or eliminate the associated stiffening structure of square bottom corners, thus reducing the force required to "squeeze" the container 521. Additionally, the rounded top portion 526 may decrease or eliminate any associated flow restriction of the plastic through the corners during bottle manufacturing and also may allow the bottle 520 to be injection blow-molded with ultra-thin sidewalls, if desired.

[0055] Additionally, the container 521 could include a cylindrical sidewall portion as is illustrated FIGS. 1A through 4B (the sidewall portion is not existent in the container illustrated in FIG. 5). The sidewall portion may extend from between the curved portion 524 and the top portion 526 such that the size of the container 521 is defined by the length of the sidewall portion. In one aspect in accordance with this invention, as illustrated in FIG. 5, for a container 521 of approximately 3 mL, the sidewall portion may be almost non-existent or very short, such that the top portion 526 may essentially extend from the curved portion 524. In another aspect in accordance with this invention, for a container 521 of approximately 20 mL, the sidewall portion may be much longer than was previously described (not illustrated). The length of the sidewall portion may be increased or decreased without departing from this invention. Additionally, the cross-section of the sidewall portion may include a non-round shape approximately equivalent to the largest non-round shape of the curved portion 524 and the top portion 526.

[0056] As illustrated in FIG. 5, the curved portion 524 may be engaged, attached, or adjacent to a conical flange 528. The flange 528 may be non-round in cross-section and conical in its longitudinal shape. The flange 528 may also be engaged, attached, or adjacent to the neck portion 530. The flange 528 may be shaped and sized to engage and attach to the neck portion 530 as is illustrated in FIG. 5. The conical flange 528 may help to allow the liquid to flow out of the container 521 and into the neck portion 530, thereby minimizing any restriction to product flow and thus improving evacuation of the bottle 520.

[0057] In the above description, each of the parts of the bottle 520 (such as the curved portion 524, the top portion 526, the conical flange 528, and the neck portion 530, etc.) are described as being engaged, attached, or adjacent to each other. The bottle 520 may also have a unitary one-piece construction, wherein each of these parts of the bottle 520 is not a separate individualized part of the bottle 520 (but rather, the various parts are integrally formed as a single piece). For example, the bottle 520 may be manufactured using one injection blow-molded plastic process to create the unitary one-piece construction. The terms "adjacent to" or "extending from" and the like, when used in this specification and the claims in this context, generically refer a bottle construction whether made from multiple parts that are fixed together (e.g., by adhesives or cements, by mechanical connectors, by fusing techniques, etc.) or whether made as a single, unitary, one-piece construction.

[0058] The remainder of the inverted bottle assembly 510 as illustrated in FIG. 5 may be similar to the description as described above and illustrated in FIGS. 1A through 4B. Generally, the inverted bottle assembly 510 may also include a tip insert 540, wherein a portion of the tip insert 540 engages the neck portion 530 of the bottle 520. The inverted bottle assembly 510 may also include a cap 560, wherein the cap 560 engages the tip insert 540 and the neck portion 530 of the bottle 520 to seal the inverted bottle assembly 510. Because the tip insert 540 and cap 560 may be the same as or similar to the structures described above in conjunction with FIGS. 1A through 4B, further description of these parts is not repeated here.

[0059] FIGS. 6A and 6B illustrate another embodiment of a bottle 620 in accordance with this invention. The bottle 620 illustrated in FIGS. 6A and 6B includes a semi-ellipsoidal-shaped top portion 626. The top portion 626 has a major axis 627, defined as the axis along the long-side of the ellipsoid as illustrated in FIG. 6A. The top portion 626 also has a minor axis 629, defined as the axis along the short-side of the ellipsoid as illustrated in FIG. 6B. As illustrated in FIGS. 6A and 6B, the major axis 627 has a length, L1, and the minor axis 629 has a length, L2. In accordance with aspects of this invention, the length L1 of the major axis 627 may be at least approximately 1.5 times larger than the length L2 of the minor axis 629.

[0060] In another aspect of this invention, the length L1 of the major axis 627 may be at least approximately 2 times larger than the length L2 of the minor axis 629. In yet another aspect of this invention, the length L1 of the major axis 627 may be at least approximately 1.25 times larger than the length L2 of the minor axis 629. Additionally, the top portion includes a radius, R, of the top portion 626 along the major axis 627. In accordance with an aspect of this invention, the major axis 627 may be at least approximately 2 times larger than the radius, R. The lengths L1 and L2 of the major and minor axes 627 and 629, respectively, decrease as one moves up the top portion 626 toward the bottle's free end.

[0061] As illustrated in FIGS. 6A and 6B, the top portion 626 may be engaged, attached, or adjacent to a sidewall portion 622 that extends from the top portion 626. The sidewall portion 622 may engage the top portion 626 at the largest major axis 627 and the largest minor axis 629 of the top portion 626. It should be understood that the bottle 620 as illustrated in FIGS. 6A and 6B may include all of the same elements as the bottle described above for FIGS. 1A through 3, such as the base portion, the conical flange, a neck portion, etc.

[0062] The advantages and benefits of bottle assemblies in accordance with this invention may be readily apparent to those of skill in the art. For example, one advantage of the inverted bottle assemblies may be improved squeezability of the container. First, the elimination of the flat bottom and square corners from the bottom, using rounded top portions for the container decreases or eliminates the associated stiffening structure and thus reduces the force required to "squeeze" the container. Second, the non-round or oval shaped cross-section of the container eliminates the hoop strength of a standard round bottle further decreasing or eliminating the associated stiffening structure and thus reducing the force required to "squeeze" the container. Third, the elimination of the flat bottom and square corners eliminates associated flow restriction of plastic through the corners during bottle manufacturing. This allows the container to be injection blow molded with ultra thin sidewalls. These thinner sidewalls thereby reduce the associated stiffening structure and thus reduce the force required to "squeeze" the container.

[0063] Additionally, inverted bottle assemblies in accordance with at least some examples of this invention improve the ease of evacuation of the container. The improved structure, such as the elimination of the flat and square bottoms and the non-round or oval cross-sectional shape of the container, improves the ability of the container to be collapsed. Additionally, the existence of the conical flange on the inverted bottle assembly minimizes any restriction to product flow thus improving evacuation of the bottle.

[0064] Further, inverted bottle assemblies in accordance with at least some examples of this invention improve the sealability of existing containers. As described above, these inverted bottle assemblies may include a combination dual seal system. A cap pintel seals the inside of the opening and nozzle of the tip insert, and a cap ring plug seals the outside of the opening and nozzle of the tip insert.

[0065] Additionally, because the inverted bottle assemblies may be used by seniors (for example, age 65 and over) and others that may have hand strength issues, inverted bottle assemblies in accordance with at least some examples of this invention include various improved features. First, the larger cap is easier to grip and handle than existing small round caps. This will allow users to more easily grip and open the inverted bottle assembly. Second, the non-round or oval shape of the cap is easier to be gripped, which allows users to more readily apply a twisting force. Additionally, non-round or oval caps require less force to remove than do round caps. Third, the non-round or oval shape of the container is also more easily gripped by users.

[0066] Additionally, because of the reduced structure stiffness from the elimination of the flat bottom and square corners and the non-round or oval cross-sectional shape of the container, stronger and stiffer plastics can be used for containers. Typically, bottle assemblies use LDPE due to the softness and squeezability. Using LDPE in the inverted bottle assembly would make it 5 times easier to squeeze, thereby allowing the container to dispense faster if required. However, stronger and stiffer plastics such as PET and polypropylene can be used and still maintain the ease of squeezability because the wall thicknesses can be reduced, as described above. For example, PET provides many benefits over LDPE, such as providing a barrier to products and also providing clarity to the package (as PET can be see-through).

CONCLUSION

[0067] The present invention is disclosed above and in the accompanying drawings with reference to a variety of examples. The purpose served by the disclosure, however, is to provide an example of the various features and concepts related to the invention, not to limit the scope of the invention. One skilled in the relevant art will recognize that numerous variations and modifications may be made to the aspects described above without departing from the scope of the present invention, as defined by the appended claims.

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