Easy To Use Patents Search & Patent Lawyer Directory

At Patents you can conduct a Patent Search, File a Patent Application, find a Patent Attorney, or search available technology through our Patent Exchange. Patents are available using simple keyword or date criteria. If you are looking to hire a patent attorney, you've come to the right place. Protect your idea and hire a patent lawyer.


Search All Patents:



  This Patent May Be For Sale or Lease. Contact Us

  Is This Your Patent? Claim This Patent Now.



Register or Login To Download This Patent As A PDF




United States Patent Application 20170127795
Kind Code A1
TOH; Kiat-Cheong ;   et al. May 11, 2017

REFILLABLE DEODORANT DISPENSER

Abstract

A refillable dispenser system that includes a refillable dispenser and a refill cartridge. The refillable dispenser includes an applicator, and a body defining a reservoir in fluid communication with the applicator. The body includes a first end coupled with the applicator, and a second end, opposite to the first end, defining an orifice that is in fluid communication with the reservoir. The refillable dispenser further includes a closure member coupled with the body, with the closure member being operable between a closed position and an open position. In the closed position, the closure member cooperates with the body to substantially prevent fluid from escaping from the reservoir via the orifice. In the open position, the closure member is movable with respect to the body to allow access to the orifice.


Inventors: TOH; Kiat-Cheong; (Forest Hills, NY) ; PORTER; Barbara J.; (Hillsborough, NJ) ; DE VRIES; Suzanne; (Den Haag, NL) ; HEIJDENRIJK; Stijn; (Rotterdam, NL) ; VEREIJKEN; Hans; (Someren-Eind, NL) ; STEINHAGEN; Ingolf; (Leer, DE)
Applicant:
Name City State Country Type

COLGATE-PALMOLIVE COMPANY

NEW YORK

NY

US
Family ID: 1000002435663
Appl. No.: 15/323263
Filed: July 2, 2014
PCT Filed: July 2, 2014
PCT NO: PCT/US2014/045248
371 Date: December 30, 2016


Current U.S. Class: 1/1
Current CPC Class: A45D 34/041 20130101; B65D 43/163 20130101; A45D 2034/005 20130101; B65D 47/122 20130101; B65D 47/121 20130101
International Class: A45D 34/04 20060101 A45D034/04; B65D 47/12 20060101 B65D047/12; B65D 43/16 20060101 B65D043/16

Claims



1. A refillable dispenser, comprising: an applicator; a body defining a reservoir in fluid communication with the applicator, the body comprising a first end coupled with the applicator, and a second end, opposite to the first end, defining an orifice that is in fluid communication with the reservoir; and a closure member coupled with the body, the closure member being operable between a closed position and an open position, wherein: in the closed position, the closure member cooperates with the body to substantially prevent fluid from escaping from the reservoir via the orifice; and in the open position, the closure member is movable with respect to the body to allow access to the orifice.

2. The refillable dispenser of claim 1, wherein the closure member is pivotally coupled with the body.

3. The refillable dispenser of claim 2, further comprising a hinge coupled to the closure member and the body.

4. The refillable dispenser of claim 1, wherein the closure member comprises a plug, and the body comprises a spout in which the orifice is defined, wherein the plug is received into the spout when the closure member is in the closed position.

5. The refillable dispenser of claim 4, wherein the plug comprises a first ring and a second ring that is spaced radially apart from the first ring, and wherein, when the closure member is in the closed position, the first ring is received into the spout, and the second ring is disposed outside of the spout.

6. The refillable dispenser of claim 5, wherein the spout comprises one or more first threads, and the first ring, the second ring, or both comprise one or more second threads that mesh with the one or more first threads at least when the closure member is in the closed position.

7. The refillable dispenser of claim 4, wherein the spout comprises a lip extending radially inwards, and wherein the plug seals with the lip when the closure member is in the closed position.

8. The refillable dispenser of claim 1, wherein: the body comprises: a sidewall that extends between the first end and the second end, the first end and the sidewall defining a shoulder therebetween; and one or more first threads at the shoulder; and the closure member comprises an outer rim and one or more second threads proximal to the outer rim, wherein the first and second threads mesh when the closure member is in the closed position.

9. The refillable dispenser of claim 1, wherein the body further comprises a sidewall extending between the first end and the second end, and wherein the second end comprises a conical section extending radially inward from the sidewall, and a reverse-conical section extending at least partially between the conical section and the orifice.

10. The refillable dispenser of claim 1, further comprising a cap received over the applicator and coupled with the body.

11. A refillable dispenser for dispensing fluidic underarm antiperspirant or deodorant, comprising: a body comprising a first end, a second end that is opposite to the first end, and a spout disposed at the second end, wherein the body defines a reservoir therein that is in communication with the spout; an applicator coupled with the first end of the body, the applicator being in fluid communication with the reservoir; and a closure member movable between an open position and a closed position, wherein: when the closure member is in the closed position, the closure member covers the spout; and when the closure member is in the open position, the spout is exposed.

12. The refillable dispenser of claim 11, wherein the closure member comprises one or more first threads and the body comprises one or more second threads, the one or more first threads engaging the one or more second threads at least when the closure member is in the closed position.

13. The refillable dispenser of claim 12, wherein the closure member is rotated relative to the body to move the closure member from the closed position to the open position.

14. The refillable dispenser of claim 11, wherein the closure member is pivotally coupled with the body.

15. The refillable dispenser of claim 11, wherein the closure member comprises a plug that is at least partially received into the spout when the closure member is in the closed position.

16. The refillable dispenser of claim 15, wherein the plug comprises an inner ring and an outer ring, and wherein, when the closure member is in the closed position, the inner ring is received into the spout and the outer ring is disposed outside of the spout.

17. The refillable dispenser of claim 15, wherein the spout comprises an inwardly-extending lip that seals with the plug when the closure member is in the closed position.

18. The refillable dispenser of claim 11, wherein the body comprises a sidewall extending between the first and second ends, the second end comprises a conical section extending inwards from the sidewall to the spout, and the spout comprises a reverse-conical section extending from the conical section.

19. The refillable dispenser of claim 11, further comprising a cap received over the applicator and removably coupled with the body.

20. A refillable dispenser for dispensing fluidic underarm antiperspirant or deodorant, comprising: an applicator that is configured to roll to dispense the fluidic underarm antiperspirant or deodorant; a body defining a reservoir that is in fluid communication with the applicator, and comprising a first end coupled with the applicator, a second end that is opposite to the first end, and a sidewall extending between the first and second ends, wherein the body further comprises, at the second end, a spout and a bottom, the bottom extending inwards from the sidewall to the spout, wherein the spout defines an orifice in communication with the reservoir; and a closure member comprising a plug configured to cooperate with the bottom of the body to substantially prevent the fluid from exiting the reservoir via the orifice when the closure member is in a closed position, wherein the closure member is at least one of: secured to the body by engagement and relative rotation between the closure member and the body; or pivotally coupled with the body.
Description



BACKGROUND

[0001] Underarm antiperspirant and deodorant products are available in a variety of types, including gels, solids, and liquids that are rolled on. In such liquid, roll-on products, a dispenser is provided, which generally includes a housing and an applicator. The applicator may be a ball that rolls the liquid product onto the skin of the user. The housing generally contains a reservoir of the liquid, which, when the dispenser is inverted, may flow by gravity into contact with the applicator, then along the applicator, and ultimately to the intended surface (i.e., the underarm), where it may be spread via a rolling motion.

[0002] The packaging of such products, however, may result in a large amount of waste. Typically, the dispenser is designed for a single use. When the reservoir is emptied, the dispenser is thrown away. To avoid such waste, some designs may provide refill cartridges. The refill cartridges may be integrated into the dispenser housing or used to refill the reservoir, e.g., from outside the dispenser. Both options, however, have drawbacks, in terms of ease of use and manufacturing. For example, such refill cartridges may be susceptible to spillage during refill. Moreover, it may be desired to securely contain the liquid product within the housing, while facilitating easy, intuitive access thereto, so as to facilitate refilling of the dispenser.

BRIEF SUMMARY

[0003] Embodiments of the present disclosure provide a refillable dispenser, which may be employed for use with underarm antiperspirant/deodorant, among other potential uses. The refillable dispenser generally includes an applicator, a body, a cap, and a closure member. The cap is received over the applicator and coupled with the body. The body defines a reservoir therein, configured to contain a fluid and in fluid communication with the applicator. Further, the body has a bottom, positioned at the opposite end of the body from the applicator. The bottom includes an orifice therein, with the orifice communicating with the reservoir. The closure member is coupled with the body and covers the orifice. In one embodiment, the closure member may be pivotally attached to the body, and may have a plug that extends into a spout in which the orifice is defined. In another embodiment, the closure member may be rotatably coupled (e.g., threaded) to the body.

[0004] Accordingly, in a closed position, the plug of the closure member may cooperate (e.g. seal) with the body to prevent fluid from escaping from the reservoir via the orifice. When the closure member is moved toward an open position, the closure member may be removed from covering the orifice, so as to expose the orifice. A nozzle of a refill cartridge may be received into fluid communication with the reservoir of the body via the orifice, and may transfer a fluid from the refill cartridge to the reservoir of the body, thereby refilling the refillable dispenser.

[0005] Further areas of applicability of the present invention will become apparent from the detailed description provided hereinafter. It should be understood that the detailed description and specific examples, while indicating the preferred embodiment of the invention, are intended for purposes of illustration only and are not intended to limit the scope of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0006] The present invention will become more fully understood from the detailed description and the accompanying drawings, wherein:

[0007] FIG. 1 illustrates an elevation view of a refillable dispenser with a pivotal closure, according to an embodiment.

[0008] FIG. 2 illustrates a side, cross-sectional view of the refillable dispenser, taken along line II-II of FIG. 1, according to an embodiment.

[0009] FIG. 3 illustrates an enlarged cross-sectional view of a portion of the refillable dispenser, according to an embodiment.

[0010] FIG. 4 illustrates a schematic, cross-sectional view of a refillable dispenser system, according to an embodiment.

[0011] FIG. 5 illustrates a raised perspective view of a refillable dispenser with a screw-top closure, according to an embodiment.

[0012] FIG. 6 illustrates a raised perspective view of the refillable dispenser of FIG. 5, with the screw-top closure removed, according to an embodiment.

[0013] FIG. 7 illustrates a perspective view of an under-side of the screw-top closure, according to an embodiment.

[0014] FIG. 8A illustrates a cross-sectional view of the refillable dispenser of FIG. 5, according to an embodiment.

[0015] FIG. 8B illustrates a cross-sectional view of a refillable dispenser system that includes the refillable dispenser of FIG. 5, according to an embodiment.

[0016] FIG. 9 illustrates a raised perspective view of another embodiment of the refillable dispenser with the screw-top closure.

[0017] FIG. 10 illustrates a raised perspective view of the refillable dispenser of FIG. 9, with the screw-top closure removed, according to an embodiment.

[0018] FIG. 11 illustrates a raised perspective view of the screw-top closure of the refillable dispenser of FIG. 9.

[0019] FIG. 12 illustrates a cross-sectional view of the refillable dispenser of FIG. 9.

[0020] FIGS. 13 and 14 illustrate cross-sectional views of two additional embodiments of the refillable dispenser.

[0021] FIGS. 15A-H illustrate perspective views of screw-top closure devices, according to several embodiments.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0022] The following description of the preferred embodiment(s) is merely exemplary in nature and is in no way intended to limit the invention, its application, or uses.

[0023] As used throughout, ranges are used as shorthand for describing each and every value that is within the range. Any value within the range can be selected as the terminus of the range. In addition, all references cited herein are hereby incorporated by referenced in their entireties. In the event of a conflict in a definition in the present disclosure and that of a cited reference, the present disclosure controls.

[0024] FIG. 1 illustrates an elevation view of a refillable dispenser 100, according to an embodiment. The refillable dispenser 100 may be configured, for example, for use in containing and dispensing fluidic, underarm antiperspirant or deodorant products. Various types, compositions, viscosities, etc. of antiperspirant or deodorant products may be suitable for use with the refillable dispenser 100. In a specific example, the refillable dispenser 100 may be a roll-on type antiperspirant product. It will be appreciated, however, that the refillable dispenser 100 may be configured for a variety of other uses as well.

[0025] The refillable dispenser 100 may generally include a body 102 and a cap 104. The cap 104 may be temporarily secured to the body 102 using any suitable process or design. For example, the body 102 may include a sidewall 105 to which the cap 104 is temporarily attached. Additional details regarding an example of securing the cap 104 to the body 102 are provided below. In general, however, the cap 104 may be removable dozens, hundreds, or more times from the body 102, without substantially damaging or permanently deforming either the body 102 or the cap 104. Moreover, the body 102 may generally include dimples 106, for example, extending inwards into the sidewall 105, which may enhance tactile feel of the body 102, facilitate a user gripping the body 102, etc. The cap 104 may have a generally flat end 109, which may facilitate standing the refillable dispenser 100 when it is not in use or when refilling the refillable dispenser 100, as will be described in greater detail below.

[0026] The refillable dispenser 100 may also include a closure member 108, which may be movable with respect to the body 102. The illustrated closure member 108 is pivotally coupled with the body 102 and, thus, may be referred to herein as a "pivotal" closure member 108. "Pivotal" is generally used herein to mean that the closure member 108 may cross a range of angles with respect to the body 102, while remaining coupled thereto. It will be appreciated, however, that the closure member 108 may be coupled with the body 102 in a variety of ways, with pivotal coupling being but one example among many contemplated.

[0027] In an embodiment, the pivotal closure member 108 may be disposed at an end 110 of the body 102, opposite to the cap 104. The pivotal closure member 108 may be arcuate in at least one cross-section, as shown. In some cases, the pivotal closure member 108 may be dome-shaped, e.g., formed as part of a sphere. In other embodiments, the pivotal closure member 108 may have any other suitable shape, such as flat, arcuate, box-shaped, etc. As illustrated, the pivotal closure member 108 may have a closed position in which the pivotal closure member 108 is seated on the body 102.

[0028] The body 102 and/or the pivotal closure member 108 may define a notch 112, which may facilitate moving the pivotal closure member 108 with respect to the body 102. The notch 112 may allow a user to gain leverage on a rim 114 of the pivotal closure member 108, so as to move (e.g., pivot) the rim 114 of the pivotal closure member 108 away from the body 102 toward an open position. The notch 112 may thus be formed as a recess in the body 102, as shown, but in other embodiments, may be an outwardly-extending tab or bend in the pivotal closure member 108. In various embodiments, the notch 112 may be formed as both a recess in the body 102 and a tab or bend in the pivotal closure member 108.

[0029] FIG. 2 illustrates a cross-sectional view of the refillable dispenser 100, taken along line II-II in FIG. 1, according to an embodiment. As shown, the refillable dispenser 100 generally includes the body 102, cap 104, and pivotal closure member 108. Moreover, the refillable dispenser 100 may include an applicator 116, which may be a rolling element such as, in the illustrated example, a ball. The applicator 116 may be freely rotatable or may be rotatable along one or more defined axes. Additionally, as shown, the applicator 116 may be positioned opposite to the end 110 of the body 102. For example, the refillable dispenser 100 may include a fitment 118 which may engage the applicator 116 and provide for movement thereof. The sidewall 105 may extend between the end 110 and the applicator 116 and may be coupled with the applicator 116 via the fitment 118.

[0030] The illustrated fitment 118 may define an arc-shape that generally complements the ball-shaped applicator 116, while forming a rim 119 with a radius that is smaller than the largest radius of the applicator 116. However, the applicator 116 may take forms other than a ball, with the particular embodiment of the fitment 118 being adjusted accordingly. In the illustrated embodiment, the fitment 118 may include one or more positioning members 120, which may be formed from one or more arms, plates, etc. The positioning members 120 may press the applicator 116 toward the rim 119 or otherwise constrain the applicator 116 between the positioning member 120 and the rim 119. The fitment 118 may further include one or more positioning walls 122, which may serve to limit non-rotational displacement of the applicator 116 relative to the fitment 118. In some cases, the fitment 118 may be formed (e.g., molded or cast) as a single part. However, in others, the fitment 118 may be formed as two separate pieces, i.e., an upper part 124 and a lower part 126. For example, as shown, the upper part 124 may include the rim 119, while the lower part 126 may include the positioning member 120 and the positioning walls 122.

[0031] To further illustrate the fitment 118, FIG. 3 illustrates an enlarged view of the refillable dispenser 100, as indicated in FIG. 2, according to an embodiment. As shown, the upper part 124 of the fitment 118 engages the lower part 126 thereof at an abutment wall 127. The upper part 124 and the lower part 126 may be threaded or pressed together and retained via interlocking ridges 128, 130 of the upper and lower parts 124, 126, respectively. It will be appreciated, however, that the upper and lower parts 124, 126, and/or any other portion of the fitment 118 may include various ridges, groove, threads, other structures, and/or the like to secure the upper and lower parts 124, 126 together. Moreover, in some cases, the upper and lower parts 124, 126 may be adhered, welded, etc. together, to provide a permanent bond therebetween.

[0032] As noted above, the body 102, for example, the sidewall 105 thereof, may be temporarily secured to the cap 104, such that the cap 104 may be easily removed therefrom when desired, but secured against unintentional separation. In some cases, the cap 104 and body 102 may be threaded, such that the cap 104 is screwed onto the body 102. For example, the body 102 may include outwardly-extending threads 131A, while the cap 104 may include inwardly-extending threads 131B. It will be appreciated, however, that various snaps, stops, latches, etc. may be employed in addition to or in lieu of such meshing threads 131A, 131B.

[0033] Referring again to FIG. 2, the body 102 may define a reservoir 132 therein. The reservoir 132 may be in fluid communication with the applicator 116, such that fluid in the reservoir 132 may be moved toward the applicator 116 by gravity, for example. The body 102 may also include a bottom 134, opposite to the applicator 116, e.g., at the end 110. The sidewall 105 may adjoin the bottom 134, e.g., integrally, or may be otherwise coupled therewith. The bottom 134 may include a generally conical section 136 and a spout 138. The conical section 136 may extend away from the applicator 116 and inwards from the sidewall 105. Further, the conical section 136 may be at least partially curved, e.g., dome-shaped. In some cases, the conical section 136 may be shaped so as to be generally complementary in shape to the pivotal closure member 108. The conical sectionl 136 may engage the pivotal closure member 108 when the pivotal closure member 108 is in a closed position, but in other embodiments, the conical section 136 may be spaced from the pivotal closure member 108 when the pivotal closure member 108 is closed.

[0034] The spout 138 may be positioned proximal a center of the bottom 134, as shown, but in other cases, may be positioned closer to any portion of the sidewall 105 of the body 102. The spout 138 may also extend inward, e.g., toward the applicator 116 and/or into the reservoir 132. Further, the spout 138 may include a reverse-conical section 139 and a pocket 140. The reverse-conical section 139 may extend axially and radially between the conical section 136 and the pocket 140. Further, the reverse-conical section 139 may serve as a funnel, channeling fluids or other material into the pocket 140. In various embodiments, the reverse-conical section 139 may be curved to form a bowl or saucer shape. In other cases, the reverse-conical section 139 may be rectilinear in cross-section, or may be partially rectilinear and partially curved.

[0035] The pocket 140 may extend from the reverse-conical section 139, e.g., towards the applicator 116 and into the reservoir 132. Further, the pocket 140 may be generally cylindrical, but in some cases, may be conical or generally prismatic. The spout 138 may also include an orifice wall 142, which may define an inner-most extent of the pocket 140. In embodiments in which the pocket 140 is cylindrical, the orifice wall 142 may span the diameter of the pocket 140. In other embodiments, the pocket 140 may be cube-shaped or otherwise prismatic, with the orifice wall 142 defining an inner-extent of the pocket 140 and spanning a major dimension of the pocket 140.

[0036] The orifice wall 142 may define an orifice 144 therein, which may communicate with the reservoir 132 and the pocket 140. By provision of an orifice wall 142, the orifice 144 may be smaller in dimension (e.g., diameter) than the pocket 140. However, in some cases, the orifice wall 142 may be omitted, with the orifice 144 being provided by an open inner end of the spout 138. In various embodiments, the diameter of the orifice 144 may be between about 1 mm and about 50 mm, about 2 mm and about 40 mm, about 3 mm and about 35 mm, about 4 mm and about 30 mm, about 5 mm and about 25 mm, about 6 mm and about 20 mm, about 7 mm and about 15 mm, or about 10 mm. Moreover, in some embodiments, the orifice 144 may include one or more flow control devices, such as one or more one-way valves, which may prevent egress of fluids from the reservoir 132 through the orifice 144.

[0037] The pivotal closure member 108 may include a plug 146, which may be sized to be received into the spout 138 and, in some cases, at least partially into the pocket 140. The reverse-conical section 139 may facilitate a pivoting movement of the pivotal closure member 108, providing an area allowing the plug 146 to move with the pivotal closure member 108 and into and out of the spout 138. Moreover, in some embodiments, when the pivotal closure member 108 is closed, the plug 146 may be spaced from the orifice wall 142, but in other embodiments, may be in engagement therewith when the pivotal closure member 108 is in the closed position. The plug 146 may also be sized to seal with the spout 138 and/or with the reverse-conical section 139. For example, the bottom 134 may define an inwardly-protruding lip 148 in the spout 138, which may be resilient and may define a diameter equal to or slightly less than a diameter of the plug 146. As such, receiving the plug 146 into the spout 138 and/or the reverse-conical section 139 may result in the plug 146 compressing or otherwise engaging the lip 148, so as to form a seal therewith. Accordingly, the plug 146 and the lip 148 may cooperate to form a fluid tight engagement between the pivotal closure member 108 and the body 102, with the plug 146 and lip 148 engagement preventing fluid from escaping from the reservoir 132 via the orifice 144 when the plug 146 engages the lip 148.

[0038] The pivotal closure member 108 may be configured to pivot with respect to the body 102, as indicated by arrow 149. In an embodiment, such pivotal coupling may be provided by a hinge 150 connecting the bottom 134, e.g., the conical section 136, with the pivotal closure member 108. In some cases, the hinge 150 may be provided by a resilient section of the pivotal closure member 108 and/or the body 102. In other embodiments, the hinge 150 may be provided by a more complex, but potentially integral arrangement of polygonal cut-outs or folds which facilitate opening and closing operation. In other embodiments, separate hinge joints may be provided for the hinge, which may be attached to the pivotal closure member 108 and/or the body 102 in any suitable manner.

[0039] FIG. 4 illustrates a schematic view of a refillable dispenser system 200, according to an embodiment. The system 200 may include the refillable dispenser 100 (shown in cross-section as in FIG. 2), which is illustrated with its pivotal closure member 108 in an open position, i.e., the closure member is movable with respect to the body 102. The system 200 may also include a refill cartridge 202, which may be configured to provide fluid into the reservoir 132, for use via the applicator 116.

[0040] In an embodiment, the refill cartridge 202 may include a nozzle 204 and a reservoir 206, with the nozzle 204 communicating with the reservoir 206 via an opening 207. The reservoir 206 may contain a volume of fluid that may be transferred to the reservoir 132 of the body 102, so as to refill the reservoir 132. The nozzle 204 may be shaped generally the same size as the plug 146. In other embodiments, the nozzle 204 may be slightly smaller than the plug 146, such that the nozzle 204 may generally prevent spilling of the fluid being transferred from the refill cartridge 202 to the reservoir 132, but may not form a seal with the lip 148. Thus, the nozzle 204 may allow egress of air from the reservoir 132 around the nozzle 204, as the fluid from the refill cartridge 202 is received into the reservoir 132. In other embodiments, secondary ports, check valves, etc., may be provided to account for such air egress. In yet other embodiments, the refill cartridge 202 may provide a channel to receive air from the reservoir 132 while providing fluid thereto. In still other embodiments, the nozzle 204 may be held in a spaced-apart relationship with the spout 138, such that the fluid from the reservoir 206 is poured into the spout 138 and channeled to the orifice 144. In still other embodiments, the nozzle 204 may be omitted.

[0041] Referring now generally to FIGS. 1-4, operation of the refillable dispenser 100 may be appreciated, according to an embodiment. The refillable dispenser 100 may be employed with the applicator 116 dispensing fluid from the reservoir 132 to an intended surface (e.g., skin), with the cap 104 removed. When the reservoir 132 nears empty, or a user otherwise chooses to refill the reservoir 132, the cap 104 may be placed on the body 102, and the refillable dispenser 100 may be oriented such that the end 109 of the cap 104 is downward-facing, for example, the end 109 may form a stand for the body 102. Alternatively, the body 102 may be held by the user, with or without the cap 104 engaging the body 102.

[0042] The user may then engage the rim 114 of the pivotal closure member 108, e.g., using the end of the user's finger, or a prying instrument, received into the notch 112. Upon application of force, the pivotal closure member 108 may be moved, e.g., pivoted as indicated by arrow 149 from the closed position (FIG. 2) to the open position (FIG. 4) so as to expose (i.e., allow access to) the orifice 144. In some cases, such pivoting may move the pivotal closure member 108 between about 45 degrees and about 180 degrees, or between about 60 degrees and about 120 degrees. As such, the plug 146 may be removed from the spout 138, thereby exposing the orifice 144.

[0043] The refill cartridge 202 may then be moved into proximity with the bottom 134 of the body 102. The nozzle 204 may be received into the spout 138, and may or may not form a seal with the lip 148, or may be held in a spaced-apart configuration from the spout 138, in various embodiments. Upon actuation (e.g., squeezing) the refill cartridge 202, removal of a cap, and/or by gravity feed, etc.), the fluidic contents of the refill cartridge 202 may be transferred into the reservoir 132 via the nozzle 204. When the refill cartridge 202 is empty or refilling operations are complete, the nozzle 204 may be removed from the spout 138, and the pivotal closure member 108 pivoted back toward the closed position (i.e., toward the bottom 134 of the body 102). The plug 146 may once again be received past the lip 148, so as to seal the orifice 144 and prevent fluid from escaping the reservoir 132 via the orifice 144.

[0044] FIG. 5 illustrates an elevation view of another refillable dispenser 500, according to an embodiment. As with the refillable dispenser 100, embodiments of the refillable dispenser 500 may be configured, for example, for use in containing and dispensing fluidic, underarm antiperspirant or deodorant products. Various types, compositions, viscosities, etc. of antiperspirant or deodorant products may be suitable for use with the refillable dispenser 500, without limitation. In a specific example, the refillable dispenser 500 may be a roll-on type antiperspirant product. It will be appreciated, however, that the refillable dispenser 500 may be configured for a variety of other uses as well.

[0045] The refillable dispenser 500 may generally include a body 502 and a cap 504. The cap 504 may be temporarily secured to the body 502 using any suitable process or design. In a specific embodiment, the body 502 may include a sidewall 505 to which the cap 504 is temporarily attached. For example, the body 502 may include threads 507 and the cap 504 may include threads 508, with the threads 507 and 508 being interlocking. In other embodiments, the body 502 may be secured to the cap 504 via a push lock, detents, other structures, devices, etc., whether screw-on, hinged, or the like. In general, however, the cap 504 may be removable dozens, hundreds, or more times from the body 502, without substantially damaging or permanently deforming either the body 502 or the cap 504.

[0046] Moreover, the body 502 may generally include dimples 510, for example, extending inwards into the sidewall 505, which may enhance tactile feel of the body 502, facilitate a user gripping the body 502, etc. The cap 504 may have a generally flat end 512, which may facilitate standing the refillable dispenser 500 when not in use or when refilling the refillable dispenser 500, as will be described in greater detail below.

[0047] The refillable dispenser 500 may also include an applicator 514 coupled to a first end 516 of the body 502. In various embodiments, the applicator 514 may be a sphere, partial sphere, or cylinder and may be rotatable about one or more axes. Further, the refillable dispenser 500 may include a closure member 518 at a second end 520 of the body 502 with the second end 520 being positioned opposite to the applicator 514. The closure member 518 and the body 502 may be coupled together via relative rotation between the two, and, as such, the closure member 518 may be referred to herein as a "rotatable" closure member 518.

[0048] In at least one example, the sidewall 505 may extend between, couple with (e.g., integrally), and be delimited by the ends 516, 520. The closure member 518 may define an outer surface 519, which is viewable from the outside, as shown. The closure member 518 may be removably secured to the body 502 by rotating the closure member 518 relative to the body 502, as will be described in greater detail below.

[0049] The closure member 518 may have at least one arcuate cross-section and, in at least one example, may be formed generally as a portion of a sphere, e.g., dome-shaped. In other embodiments, the closure member 518 may be cylindrical, rectilinear, or otherwise shaped. Further, the closure member 518 may include one or more gripping features, for example, a plurality of notches 522 and/or a plurality of dimples 524. The notches 522 may be formed as flats in the closure member 518, and the dimples 524 may be spherical, cylindrical, elongate, and/or the like. For example, the gripping features may be characterized as discontinuities in the outer surface 519 of the closure member 518. Various other embodiments of gripping features for the closure member 518 are described below, with the illustrated examples being just some among many contemplated. In general, the gripping features may be formed in, integral with, or otherwise coupled to the closure member 518 and may facilitate a user gripping and rotating the closure member 518.

[0050] FIG. 6 illustrates a perspective view of the refillable dispenser 500, with the closure member 518 removed, according to an embodiment. As shown, the sidewall 505 of the body 502 may terminate by connection with a bottom 600, at the second end 520. The bottom 600 may include a projection 602 that extends away from the applicator 514. The projection 602 may be generally cylindrical and may define a radius that is smaller than a radius of the sidewall 505, such that a radially-extending shoulder 604 is formed between the sidewall 505 and the outward projection.

[0051] The bottom 600 may also include a spout 606, which may extend from the projection 602. The spout 606 may be generally hollow, defining an orifice 608 therein, which may communicate with a reservoir defined within the body 502, as will be described in greater detail below. In various embodiments, the diameter of the orifice 608 may be between about 1 mm and about 50 mm, about 2 mm and about 40 mm, about 3 mm and about 35 mm, about 4 mm and about 30 mm, about 5 mm and about 25 mm, about 6 mm and about 20 mm, about 7 mm and about 15 mm, or about 10 mm. Moreover, in some embodiments, the orifice 608 may include one or more flow control devices, such as one way valves to prevent back-flow of fluid. Further, the spout 606 may be generally cylindrical, and may define threads 610 thereon, for example, extending radially outward from an outer diameter thereof (i.e., "male" threads). However, it will be appreciated that radially inwardly extending threads ("female" threads) may instead be employed.

[0052] With continuing reference to FIG. 6, FIG. 7 illustrates an inner surface 700 of the closure member 518, according to an embodiment. The inner surface 700 may be generally dome-shaped, in conformity with the shape of the closure member 518 as viewed from the outside, in FIG. 9. However, in other embodiments, the inner surface 700 may be shaped differently from the outer surface 519. The closure member 518 may include a plug, which, as shown, may include an outer ring 702 and an inner ring 704, which may be concentric and may extend from the inner surface 700. The outer ring 702 may include threads 706, which are sized to mesh with the threads 610 of the spout 606. The inner ring 704 may be sized to slip into the spout 606, so as to prevent fluid flow through the orifice 608. Accordingly, when the threads 610 and 706 are meshed together and the closure member 518 is rotated relative to the body 502, the closure member 518 may block (e.g. seal off) the orifice 608, thereby preventing fluids from proceeding through the orifice 608. The closure member 518 may also include an outer rim 708, which may have a thickness that is less than or equal to the thickness of the shoulder 604.

[0053] FIG. 8A illustrates a side cross-sectional view of the refillable dispenser 500, according to an embodiment. As shown, the closure member 518 may be received onto the second end 520 of the body 502, and onto the bottom 600. In the illustrated embodiment, closure member 518 fits over the projection 602, with the rim 708 of the closure member 518 being in proximity to or engaging the shoulder 604. Further, the inner ring 704 may be received at least partially into the spout 606, while the outer ring 702 is received around the spout 606. In at least one embodiment, as shown, the outer ring 702 may extend farther from the inner surface 700 of the closure member 518 than does the inner ring 704. Further, the spout 606, inner ring 704, and/or the outer ring 702 may be made of, or coupled with, a material that is sufficiently resilient so as to effect a fluid-tight seal between the closure member 518 and the spout 606.

[0054] The spout 606 may be hollow, or, in some cases, may include an orifice wall in which the orifice 608 is defined. Moreover, the orifice 608 may communicate with a reservoir 720 that is defined in the body 502. The reservoir 720 may communicate with the applicator 514, such that the applicator 514 is wetted by the fluid in the reservoir 720 and, when used, applies the fluid, e.g., to the skin of a user. The plug (e.g., inner and outer rings 702, 704) of the closure member 518 may cooperate with the bottom 600, e.g., the spout 606, so as to substantially or completely prevent fluid from flowing out of the reservoir 720 via the orifice 608 when the closure member 518 is in the illustrated closed position. In some cases, small amounts of fluid may proceed through the orifice 608 into any space between the spout 606 and the plug of the closure member 518, and/or relatively small amounts may proceed out of the spout 606, without departing from the scope of substantially preventing fluid flow.

[0055] FIG. 8B illustrates a schematic view of a dispenser system 800, which includes the refillable dispenser 500 and a refill cartridge 804. The refill cartridge 804 may generally include a nozzle 808 and a reservoir 806, with the reservoir 806 being in fluid communication with the nozzle 808 via an opening 809. In various embodiments, the nozzle 808 may be tapered and/or may be threaded to engage a cap, so as to maintain fluidic contents of the reservoir 806 therein. Further, the nozzle 808 may, in at least one embodiment, be sized to fit snugly in the spout 606. In such cases, the nozzle 808 and/or the refillable dispenser 500 may include one or more structures configured to allow air to escape from the reservoir 720 when fluid is received therein from the reservoir 806. In other cases, the nozzle 808 may be configured to remain outside the spout 606, while facilitating a minimization of spillage potential during transfer of fluid from the reservoir 806 to the reservoir 720 via the nozzle 808 and the orifice 608.

[0056] In some embodiments, the nozzle 808 may include an outer wall 810, which may be receivable around the spout 606. For example, the outer wall 810 may guide and/or support an inner portion 812 of the nozzle 808 being received into the spout 606 or may be used instead of an inner portion 812. In an example, the outer wall 810 may include threads or may otherwise seal with the outer surface of the spout 606.

[0057] Moreover, the refill cartridge 804 may be deformable, allowing the contents of the reservoir 806 to be expelled through the nozzle 808 upon squeezing the refill cartridge 804. In other cases, one or more actuators may be employed to expel the fluid through the nozzle 808.

[0058] When it is desired to refill the reservoir 720 of the refillable dispenser 500, the closure member 518 may be moved relative to the body 502, e.g., by rotating the closure member 518 relative to the body 502, causing the threads 610 and 706 to become unmeshed. Thus, the closure member 518 may be removed from the body 502. To remove the closure member 518, the closure member 518 may be rotated, for example, between about 0.5 and about 10 revolutions relative to the body 502. A refill cartridge 804 may be obtained and the nozzle 808 thereof configured to allow the fluid in the reservoir 806 to escape therethrough (e.g., by removing a cap from the nozzle 808). The nozzle 808 may be brought into proximity with the spout 606, such that the nozzle 808 communicates with the orifice 608. In at least one embodiment, the nozzle 808 may be received into the spout 606.

[0059] The refill cartridge 804 may then be actuated, such that the contents of the reservoir 806 are expelled through the nozzle 808 and received into the reservoir 720 of the refillable dispenser 500. At some point, e.g., when the reservoir 806 is empty or when the reservoir 720 is full, or at another point, the actuation of the refill cartridge 804 may be stopped, and the fluid transfer may cease. Thereafter, the refill cartridge 804 may be removed from communication with the orifice 608. The closure member 518 may then be replaced, i.e., screwed back onto the body 502.

[0060] FIG. 9 illustrates a raised perspective view of another embodiment of the refillable dispenser 500, according to an embodiment. The refillable dispenser 500 of FIG. 9 may be generally similar that of FIGS. 5-8B. As shown, in this specific example, the closure member 518 may include dimples 510 and one or more tabs 900, notches, etc. as the gripping features formed in the outer surface 519 thereof. In other examples, notches 522 may also be provided and/or the dimples 510 may be omitted.

[0061] FIG. 10 illustrates a raised perspective view of the embodiment of the refillable dispenser 500 of FIG. 9, but with the closure member 518 removed. FIG. 11 illustrates a perspective view of the inner surface 700 of the closure member 518 of this embodiment. FIG. 12 illustrates a side, cross-sectional view of the refillable dispenser 500, including the closure member 518, consistent with the embodiment of FIGS. 9-11. Referring now to FIGS. 10-12, as shown, the refillable dispenser 500 includes a projection 602 extending from the sidewall 505. The projection 602 may be generally dome-shaped, consistent with the inner surface 700 of the closure member 518. The projection 602 in this example may form the spout 606, which may extend inwards, e.g., toward the applicator 514 and/or into the reservoir 720. Accordingly, the orifice 608 may be defined through the projection 602, for example, proximal a radial middle thereof. The inner ring 704 of the closure member 518 may be sized and positioned to fit snugly, e.g., sealingly, in the spout 606.

[0062] The projection 602 may also define a base diameter that is smaller than the diameter of the sidewall 505, such that the bottom 600 and the sidewall 505 together define the shoulder 604 therebetween, upon which the rim 708 of the closure member 518 may be received. Proximal to the shoulder 604, the projection 602 may include threads 1002, which may extend around the projection 602. Correspondingly, the closure member 518 may include threads 1004 proximal the rim 708 of the closure member 518. The threads 1002 and 1004 may mesh together when the closure member 518 is brought into engagement with the body 502 and rotated with respect thereto.

[0063] Although illustrated with the spout 606 extending inward from the projection 602, it will be appreciated that a dome-shaped projection 602 may include an outwardly-extending spout 606, with or without threads 610. Similarly, the projection 602 of FIG. 10 may include threads proximal to the shoulder 604, rather than or in addition to threads on the spout 606. As such, the embodiments of the refillable dispenser 500 are not to be considered mutually exclusive. Additionally, refill operation employing the refill cartridge 804 may be generally similar to the operation described above and will not be repeated herein.

[0064] FIG. 13 illustrates another embodiment of the refillable dispenser 500, which may omit the projection 602. In this embodiment, the bottom 600 may be generally flat and may extend inwardly from the sidewall 505. The spout 606 may extend outwards from the bottom 600, as shown, or may extend inward, as shown in the embodiment of FIG. 12. The spout 606 may or may not include external threads 610 (FIG. 6) for connection with the closure member 518. In the illustrated embodiment, the spout 606 includes internal threads 904, which mesh with external threads 902 of the inner ring 704. In embodiments in which the spout 606 does not include internal or external threads, the sidewall 505 may provide such threads, or the closure member 518 may be secured to the body 502 using other structures. Moreover, in this embodiment, the closure member 518 may omit the outer ring 702, but in other cases, may include the outer ring 702.

[0065] FIG. 14 illustrates yet another embodiment of the refillable dispenser 500. The bottom 600 may include an inward projection 506, which may extend generally toward the applicator 514 and/or into the reservoir 720. In an embodiment, the spout 606 may extend outwardly from the bottom 600, and may include threads, etc. for securing with the closure member 518. In other embodiments, the spout 606 may extend inwards, i.e., toward the applicator 514 and/or into the reservoir 720, similar to the spout 606 illustrated in FIG. 12. The inward projection 506 may define an arcuate, generally bowl-shape, as shown. In other embodiments, the arcuate shape of the inward projection 506 may be saucer-shaped, or may form any other arcuate shape. In other embodiments, the inward projection 506 may be partially rectilinear or, in at least one cross-section, conical (e.g., frustoconical). Moreover, the spout 606 may include internal or external threads 904, 610 as described above, and/or the body 502 may otherwise secure to the closure member 518.

[0066] FIGS. 15A-H illustrate perspective views of the outer surface 519 of a variety of embodiments of the closure member 518. Each of the illustrated embodiments of the closure members 518 includes one or more gripping features. Beginning with FIG. 15A, the closure member 518 includes two notches 1005. In some cases, however, additional notches 1005 may be provided. In the illustrated embodiment, the notches 605 are generally positioned about 180 degrees apart around the closure member 518; however, in other embodiments, the spacing may be less than 180 degrees. Further, the notches 605 include a generally flat sidewall 1006 and a rounded bottom wall 1008, which may facilitate a pinching grip between a thumb and an index finger of a user, for example.

[0067] The closure member 518 of FIG. 15B may include bowls 1010, formed as partial spheres recessed in the outer surface 519 of the closure member 518 Like the notches 1005, two bowls 1010 may be provided, and positioned approximately 180 degrees apart around the closure member 518. Accordingly, the bowls 1010 may also facilitate such a pinching grip. In other embodiments, other numbers of bowls 1010 and/or the bowls 1010 may be spaced apart by other angles.

[0068] The closure member 518 of FIG. 15C includes three notches 1012 (two are clearly visible, while the third is mostly obstructed in this view), which are positioned generally uniformly about the closure member 518, i.e., about 60 degrees apart, according to a specific example. The notches 1012 may be formed generally the same as the notches 605 of FIG. 15A. The three notches 1012 may further facilitate a user gripping the closure member 518, to turn the closure member 518 relative to the body 502 (FIG. 5), e.g., using a thumb, index finger, and middle finger engaging the notches 1012.

[0069] The closure member 518 of FIG. 15D includes a plurality of bowls 614, disposed at regular intervals around the closure member 518. The bowls 1014 may be shallower in depth from the outer surface 519, and may be configured to receive a finger of a user and/or to increase the friction between the user's hand and the closure member 518, so as to facilitate the application of torque.

[0070] FIG. 15E illustrate an embodiment of the closure member 518 having three bowls 1016 (two are visible), e.g., to engage fingers of a user. The bowls 1010 may be formed generally similar to the bowls 1010, but may be smaller in depth and/or radius and may be disposed closer to the rim 708 of the closure member 518 than are the bowls 1010.

[0071] FIG. 15F illustrates the closure member 518 having dimples 1018 as its gripping features. The dimples 1018 may have any suitable shape or cross-section, and may be formed as recesses in the outer surface 519 of the closure member 518. The dimples 1018 may be smaller than the various bowls and notches, such that the dimples 1018 are not configured to receive a user's digit. Rather, the dimples 1018 may provide for an increased friction contact between a user's hand and the closure member 518. Moreover, the dimples 1018 of a single closure member 518 may form two or more different shapes, for example, some dimples 1018 may be elongate, polygonal in cross-section, etc.

[0072] FIG. 15G illustrates the gripping members of the closure member 518 being disposed at the rim 708. As shown, the gripping members may be truncated bowls 1024, which extend from the rim 708. Similarly, FIG. 15H illustrates the closure member 518 having gripping features formed as notches 1026 formed proximal to the rim 708.

* * * * *

File A Patent Application

  • Protect your idea -- Don't let someone else file first. Learn more.

  • 3 Easy Steps -- Complete Form, application Review, and File. See our process.

  • Attorney Review -- Have your application reviewed by a Patent Attorney. See what's included.