EP2889230A1 - Package of oral care implements and method of using the same - Google Patents

Package of oral care implements and method of using the same Download PDF

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Publication number
EP2889230A1
EP2889230A1 EP20150151543 EP15151543A EP2889230A1 EP 2889230 A1 EP2889230 A1 EP 2889230A1 EP 20150151543 EP20150151543 EP 20150151543 EP 15151543 A EP15151543 A EP 15151543A EP 2889230 A1 EP2889230 A1 EP 2889230A1
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EP
Grant status
Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
film
oral
care
subcavities
package
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Withdrawn
Application number
EP20150151543
Other languages
German (de)
French (fr)
Inventor
Douglas Hohlbein
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
Colgate-Palmolive Co
Original Assignee
Colgate-Palmolive Co
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date

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Classifications

    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65DCONTAINERS FOR STORAGE OR TRANSPORT OF ARTICLES OR MATERIALS, e.g. BAGS, BARRELS, BOTTLES, BOXES, CANS, CARTONS, CRATES, DRUMS, JARS, TANKS, HOPPERS, FORWARDING CONTAINERS; ACCESSORIES, CLOSURES, OR FITTINGS THEREFOR; PACKAGING ELEMENTS; PACKAGES
    • B65D85/00Containers, packaging elements or packages, specially adapted for particular articles or materials
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65DCONTAINERS FOR STORAGE OR TRANSPORT OF ARTICLES OR MATERIALS, e.g. BAGS, BARRELS, BOTTLES, BOXES, CANS, CARTONS, CRATES, DRUMS, JARS, TANKS, HOPPERS, FORWARDING CONTAINERS; ACCESSORIES, CLOSURES, OR FITTINGS THEREFOR; PACKAGING ELEMENTS; PACKAGES
    • B65D1/00Containers having bodies formed in one piece, e.g. by casting metallic material, by moulding plastics, by blowing vitreous material, by throwing ceramic material, by moulding pulped fibrous material, by deep-drawing operations performed on sheet material
    • B65D1/12Cans, casks, barrels, or drums
    • B65D1/14Cans, casks, barrels, or drums characterised by shape
    • B65D1/16Cans, casks, barrels, or drums characterised by shape of curved cross-section, e.g. cylindrical
    • B65D1/165Cylindrical cans
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65DCONTAINERS FOR STORAGE OR TRANSPORT OF ARTICLES OR MATERIALS, e.g. BAGS, BARRELS, BOTTLES, BOXES, CANS, CARTONS, CRATES, DRUMS, JARS, TANKS, HOPPERS, FORWARDING CONTAINERS; ACCESSORIES, CLOSURES, OR FITTINGS THEREFOR; PACKAGING ELEMENTS; PACKAGES
    • B65D1/00Containers having bodies formed in one piece, e.g. by casting metallic material, by moulding plastics, by blowing vitreous material, by throwing ceramic material, by moulding pulped fibrous material, by deep-drawing operations performed on sheet material
    • B65D1/22Boxes or like containers with side walls of substantial depth for enclosing contents
    • B65D1/24Boxes or like containers with side walls of substantial depth for enclosing contents with moulded compartments or partitions
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65DCONTAINERS FOR STORAGE OR TRANSPORT OF ARTICLES OR MATERIALS, e.g. BAGS, BARRELS, BOTTLES, BOXES, CANS, CARTONS, CRATES, DRUMS, JARS, TANKS, HOPPERS, FORWARDING CONTAINERS; ACCESSORIES, CLOSURES, OR FITTINGS THEREFOR; PACKAGING ELEMENTS; PACKAGES
    • B65D77/00Packages formed by enclosing articles or materials in preformed containers, e.g. boxes, cartons, sacks or bags
    • B65D77/10Container closures formed after filling
    • B65D77/20Container closures formed after filling by applying separate lids or covers, i.e. flexible membrane or foil-like covers
    • B65D77/2024Container closures formed after filling by applying separate lids or covers, i.e. flexible membrane or foil-like covers the cover being welded or adhered to the container
    • B65D77/2028Means for opening the cover other than, or in addition to, a pull tab
    • B65D77/2032Means for opening the cover other than, or in addition to, a pull tab by peeling or tearing the cover from the container
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65DCONTAINERS FOR STORAGE OR TRANSPORT OF ARTICLES OR MATERIALS, e.g. BAGS, BARRELS, BOTTLES, BOXES, CANS, CARTONS, CRATES, DRUMS, JARS, TANKS, HOPPERS, FORWARDING CONTAINERS; ACCESSORIES, CLOSURES, OR FITTINGS THEREFOR; PACKAGING ELEMENTS; PACKAGES
    • B65D81/00Containers, packaging elements, or packages, for contents presenting particular transport or storage problems, or adapted to be used for non-packaging purposes after removal of contents
    • B65D81/24Adaptations for preventing deterioration or decay of contents; Applications to the container or packaging material of food preservatives, fungicides, pesticides or animal repellants
    • B65D81/26Adaptations for preventing deterioration or decay of contents; Applications to the container or packaging material of food preservatives, fungicides, pesticides or animal repellants with provision for draining away, or absorbing, or removing by ventilation, fluids, e.g. exuded by contents; Applications of corrosion inhibitors or desiccators
    • B65D81/264Adaptations for preventing deterioration or decay of contents; Applications to the container or packaging material of food preservatives, fungicides, pesticides or animal repellants with provision for draining away, or absorbing, or removing by ventilation, fluids, e.g. exuded by contents; Applications of corrosion inhibitors or desiccators for absorbing liquids
    • B65D81/265Adaptations for preventing deterioration or decay of contents; Applications to the container or packaging material of food preservatives, fungicides, pesticides or animal repellants with provision for draining away, or absorbing, or removing by ventilation, fluids, e.g. exuded by contents; Applications of corrosion inhibitors or desiccators for absorbing liquids the absorbent being placed beneath a false bottom
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65DCONTAINERS FOR STORAGE OR TRANSPORT OF ARTICLES OR MATERIALS, e.g. BAGS, BARRELS, BOTTLES, BOXES, CANS, CARTONS, CRATES, DRUMS, JARS, TANKS, HOPPERS, FORWARDING CONTAINERS; ACCESSORIES, CLOSURES, OR FITTINGS THEREFOR; PACKAGING ELEMENTS; PACKAGES
    • B65D81/00Containers, packaging elements, or packages, for contents presenting particular transport or storage problems, or adapted to be used for non-packaging purposes after removal of contents
    • B65D81/24Adaptations for preventing deterioration or decay of contents; Applications to the container or packaging material of food preservatives, fungicides, pesticides or animal repellants
    • B65D81/26Adaptations for preventing deterioration or decay of contents; Applications to the container or packaging material of food preservatives, fungicides, pesticides or animal repellants with provision for draining away, or absorbing, or removing by ventilation, fluids, e.g. exuded by contents; Applications of corrosion inhibitors or desiccators
    • B65D81/266Adaptations for preventing deterioration or decay of contents; Applications to the container or packaging material of food preservatives, fungicides, pesticides or animal repellants with provision for draining away, or absorbing, or removing by ventilation, fluids, e.g. exuded by contents; Applications of corrosion inhibitors or desiccators for absorbing gases, e.g. oxygen absorbers or desiccants
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65DCONTAINERS FOR STORAGE OR TRANSPORT OF ARTICLES OR MATERIALS, e.g. BAGS, BARRELS, BOTTLES, BOXES, CANS, CARTONS, CRATES, DRUMS, JARS, TANKS, HOPPERS, FORWARDING CONTAINERS; ACCESSORIES, CLOSURES, OR FITTINGS THEREFOR; PACKAGING ELEMENTS; PACKAGES
    • B65D2577/00Packages formed by enclosing articles or materials in preformed containers, e.g. boxes, cartons, sacks, bags
    • B65D2577/10Container closures formed after filling
    • B65D2577/20Container closures formed after filling by applying separate lids or covers
    • B65D2577/2075Lines of weakness or apertures
    • B65D2577/2091Lines of weakness or apertures in cover

Abstract

A package (300, 600, 700, 900) of oral care implements comprising a tubular body (301, 601, 701, 901) having an annular wall forming a cavity (305, 605, 705), a plurality of inner walls (310) in the cavity that divide the cavity into a plurality of subcavities (306, 606, 706), a floor (307) sealing a bottom end of each of the subcavities, at least one oral care implement (100) disposed within each of the subcavities; a film (320, 620, 720) configured so that a portion of the film can be manipulated to provide access into one of the plurality of subcavities while the other subcavities remain sealed.

Description

    FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • [0001]
    The present invention relates to the field of packaging oral care implements, and specifically to a package of oral care implements having a moisture sensitive pre-applied oral care material.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0002]
    The advantages of good dental hygiene are well known. Often, however, oral care implements cannot be used due to a lack of a water source, such as when a user is driving in a vehicle or on-the-go. Oral care implements that can be used without a water source have recently been developed. For example, oral care implements have been developed that provide an oral care material within the oral care implement itself, such as through an integrated channel, for distribution through the oral care implement to the bristles. Disposable waterless oral care implements that utilize a pre-applied moisture sensitive capsule have also been introduced into the market.
  • [0003]
    Oral care implements, such as those described above, must be maintained in a sealed environment prior to use in order to prevent moisture from prematurely degrading and/or releasing the oral care material. As such, these oral care implements must be carefully packaged. Furthermore, users of disposable oral care implements need a place to dispose the oral care implements after use. Disposable oral care implements of the type discussed above are currently packaged in plastic clamshell packages that are individually foil-sealed for protection. If a user uses a disposable oral care implement in a vehicle or another "on-the-go" location, the user must resort to either leaving the used disposable oral care implement loose within the vehicle or holding onto it until a proper waste basket can be located.
  • [0004]
    Hence, there is a need for a package that can contain oral care implements in a moisture-free environment prior to use. Furthermore, there is a need for a package that can contain a plurality of oral care implements such that one of the oral care implements can be removed from the package for use while the remainder of the oral care implements remain in a moisture protected environment.
  • [0005]
    A need also exists for a package of oral care implements that is designed to resemble a cup that can be positioned within a vehicle cup holder. Furthermore, a need exists for a package of oral care implements that provide a disposal cavity after use.
  • BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0006]
    The present invention is directed to a package of oral care implements. In one embodiment, the invention can be a package of oral care implements comprising: a tubular body having an annular wall forming a cavity, a plurality of inner walls in the cavity that divide the cavity into a plurality of subcavities, and a floor sealing a bottom end of each of the subcavities; at least one oral care implement disposed within each of the subcavities; a film sealing a top end of each of the subcavities, the film configured so that a portion of the film can be manipulated to provide access into one of the plurality of subcavities while the other subcavities remain sealed.
  • [0007]
    In another embodiment, the invention can be a package of oral care implements comprising: a tubular body having an annular wall forming a cavity, a plurality of inner walls in the cavity that divide the cavity into a plurality of subcavities, a floor sealing a bottom end of each of the subcavities, and a roof sealing a top end of each of the subcavities; at least one oral care implement disposed within each of the subcavities; a plurality of slots in the annular wall, wherein each slot forms a passageway into one of the subcavities through which one of the oral care implements can be retrieved; a film sealing the slots, the film configured so that a portion of the film can be manipulated to provide access into one of the plurality of subcavities while the other subcavities remain sealed.
  • [0008]
    In yet another embodiment, the invention can be a package of oral care implements comprising: a tubular body having an annular wall forming a cavity, at least one inner wall in the cavity that divides the cavity into a plurality of subcavities, and a floor sealing a bottom end of each of the subcavities; a plurality of oral care implements disposed within each of the subcavities; a re-sealable film sealing a top end of each of the subcavities, the film configured so that a portion of the film can be manipulated to provide access into one of the plurality of subcavities while the other subcavities remain sealed, the film being re-sealable to the tubular body after separation therefrom.
  • [0009]
    In a still further embodiment, the invention can be a package of oral care implements comprising: a tubular body having an annular wall and a plurality of subcavities within the annular wall; at least one oral care implement disposed within each of the subcavities; a plurality of slots in the annular wall, wherein each slot forms a passageway into one of the subcavities through which one of the oral care implements can be retrieved; a film sealing the slots, the film configured so that a portion of the film can be manipulated to provide access into one of the plurality of subcavities while the other subcavities remain sealed.
  • [0010]
    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
  • [0011]
    The present invention will become more fully understood from the detailed description and the accompanying drawings, wherein:
    • Figure 1 is a front view of an oral care implement particularly suited for use in a package in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention;
    • Figure 2 is a side view of the oral care implement of FIG. 1;
    • Figure 3 is a perspective view of a package of oral care implements in accordance with a first embodiment of the present invention;
    • Figure 4 is a cross-sectional view taken along the line IV-IV of FIG. 3;
    • Figure 5 is a cross-sectional view taken along the line V-V of FIG. 4;
    • Figure 6 is a perspective view of a package of oral care implements in accordance with a second embodiment of the present invention;
    • Figure 7 is a perspective view of a package of oral care implements in accordance with a third embodiment of the present invention;
    • Figure 8 is a cross-sectional view taken along the line VIII-VIII of FIG. 7;
    • Figure 9 is a perspective view of a package of oral care implements having a lid thereon;
    • Figure 10 is a perspective view of a package of oral care implements in accordance with a fourth embodiment of the present invention; and
    • Figure 11 is a cross-sectional view taken along the line XI-XI of FIG. 10.
    DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • [0012]
    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.
  • [0013]
    The description of illustrative embodiments according to principles of the present invention is intended to be read in connection with the accompanying drawings, which are to be considered part of the entire written description. In the description of the exemplary embodiments of the invention disclosed herein, any reference to direction or orientation is merely intended for convenience of description and is not intended in any way to limit the scope of the present invention. Relative terms such as "lower," "upper," "horizontal," "vertical," "above," "below," "up," "down," "left," "right," "top," "bottom," "front" and "rear" as well as derivatives thereof (e.g., "horizontally," "downwardly," "upwardly," etc.) should be construed to refer to the orientation as then described or as shown in the drawing under discussion. These relative terms are for convenience of description only and do not require that the apparatus be constructed or operated in a particular orientation unless explicitly indicated as such. Terms such as "attached," "affixed," "connected," "coupled," "interconnected," "secured" and similar refer to a relationship wherein structures are secured or attached to one another either directly or indirectly through intervening structures, as well as both movable or rigid attachments or relationships, unless expressly described otherwise. Moreover, the features and benefits of the invention are described by reference to the exemplary embodiments illustrated herein. Accordingly, the invention expressly should not be limited to such exemplary embodiments, even if indicated as being preferred. The discussion herein describes and illustrates some possible non-limiting combinations of features that may exist alone or in other combinations of features. The scope of the invention is defined by the claims appended hereto.
  • [0014]
    Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, one embodiment of an oral care implement 100 that is particularly suited for use with the present invention is exemplified. As will become apparent from the discussion below, it is preferred that the oral care implement 100 be packaged in a manner that protects the oral care implement 100 against moisture and/or humidity. The oral care implement 100 extends from a proximal end 101 to a distal end 102 and includes a head 112 and a handle 114. The oral care implement 100 includes a tail portion 103 located at the proximal end 101, and a head portion 104 located at the distal end 102. The head 112 may either be a refill head that is removably connected to the handle 114 or a structure that is permanently connected to the handle 114. The majority of the handle 114 and a portion of the head 112 may be molded from a variety of rigid materials, including without limitation plastics, resins and the like. One suitable rigid material is polypropylene. However, other rigid materials may be used as would be known to persons skilled in the art.
  • [0015]
    In the illustrated embodiment, the tail portion 103 of the oral care implement 100, which is opposite the head portion 104 to which the head 112 is located, comprises an oral care accessory, which in the exemplified embodiment is a toothpick 116. The toothpick 116 is preferably formed of a resilient and soft thermoplastic elastomer. As with the head 112, the toothpick 116 may be a refill toothpick that is removably connected to the handle 114 or may be permanently connected to the handle 114. The toothpick 116 provides a mechanism for spot cleaning between teeth. Forming the toothpick 116 of a soft thermoplastic elastomer provides a more comfortable interproximal cleaning between the teeth. The toothpick 116 could, however, be made of a stiff, rigid material similar to the main portion of the handle 114, or could simply be a rubber or elastomeric pick adhered or otherwise mounted to the end of the handle 114. Alternatively, a different accessory, such as a strip of dental floss or a tongue cleaning element, may be attached to the tail portion 103 of the oral care implement 100. Moreover, in certain embodiments of the invention, the oral care implement 100 may not include an accessory or may include multiple accessories.
  • [0016]
    The head 112 comprises a cleaning element block 122. The cleaning element block 122 comprises a plurality of bristles extending from the head 114. The bristles of the cleaning element block 122 may be of any desired shape. For example, the bristles could be of cylindrical shape having a uniform diameter throughout their length. Alternatively, the bristles could taper from the root where they extend from the head 122 to their outer cleaning ends. It is understood that the cleaning element block 122 may include other cleaning elements.
  • [0017]
    Furthermore, the dimensions of the various components of the oral care implement 100 are preferably small. Thus, for example, each bristle of the cleaning element block 122 may extend outwardly from the outer surface of the head 112 a distance no greater than 10mm and preferably no greater than 8mm and most preferably no greater than 6mm. Where tapered cleaning elements are used, the root diameter should be no greater than 1.5mm, more preferably between 0.5mm and 1mm, and most preferably no greater than 0.3mm. The diameter could then decrease in size with distance from the head 112. Preferably, the length of the entire oral care implement 100 is no greater than 5 inches, more preferably no greater than 4 inches and most preferably in the range of 2 to 4 inches.
  • [0018]
    A central portion of the head 114, which is surrounded by the cleaning element block 122, comprises a depression or cavity for retaining a rupturable gel capsule or bead 132. The gel capsule 132 is filled with an oral care material, such as a fluidic solution, for cleaning or otherwise providing health benefits to a user's oral cavity. The oral care material may be toothpowder, toothpaste, tooth cleaning gel, mouthwash or a similar dentifrice or oral hygiene product, or a combination of the same. The gel capsule 132 is moisture-sensitive and should be protected against high humidity environments in order to prevent premature rupture. In other words, the gel capsule 132, or at least a portion thereof, is susceptible to degradation when subjected to a high humidity atmosphere as it has been discovered that moisture in the air in a high humidity environment can degrade the integrity of the gel capsule 132. Therefore, it is desirable to package the oral care implement 100 in a manner that protects the gel capsule 132 from humidity and liquid moisture prior to use.
  • [0019]
    The gel capsule 132 holds and applies an oral care material onto the tooth cleaning elements 122 of the oral care implement head 112, and ultimately to a user's teeth and oral care surfaces. As mentioned above, the oral care material may be toothpaste, a gel, a mouthwash, or a similar dentifrice or oral hygiene product, or a combination of the same. Preferably, the gel capsule 132 is a liquid-filled gel capsule having a shell comprising frangible, thin walls that easily rupture or burst when rubbed against the teeth. In a preferred embodiment, the gel capsule 132 degrades when subjected to moisture and, thus, dissolves when mixed with the saliva of a user. As the saliva of a user degrades and dissolves the walls of the gel capsule 132, the oral care solution held therein is excreted. While the degradation of the gel capsule 132 is a desired characteristic for effectuating end use of the oral care implement 100 by the consumer, the moisture-driven degradation of the gel capsule 132 presents issues with respect to properly preserving the integrity of the gel capsule 132 during product manufacturing, packaging, shipping and display in retail stores.
  • [0020]
    The gel capsule 132, or at least a portion thereof, is susceptible to degradation when subjected not only to direct contact with liquid water but also to prolonged exposure to atmospheres having a high humidity level. It has been discovered that a high humidity environment can degrade the integrity of the gel capsule 132 and prematurely expel the oral care material or cause the oral care material to dry up. Of course, the exact humidity levels and exposure times that will result in the degradation of the gel capsule 132 will be determined on a case-by-case basis, considering such factors as the type of gel capsule 132 being used, the type of oral care material, and the thermal cycling to which the oral care implement 100 is subjected. In view of the foregoing, it is desirable that the gel capsule 132 (and potentially the entire oral care implement 100) be placed in a package that forms a sealed cavity in which at least the gel capsule 132 of the oral care implement 100 is disposed, thereby protecting the gel capsule 132 from external moisture which can be in the form a high humidity atmosphere or liquid water. In certain embodiments, the sealed cavity may be hermetically sealed.
  • [0021]
    In one preferred embodiment of the present invention, the entire structure of the oral care implement 100, including the head 112, the handle 114, and the toothpick 116, is molded as one integral structure, using a conventional two-component injection molding operation typically used in the manufacture of oral care implements. This enables the oral care implement 100 to be economically and quickly manufactured. Although the oral care implement 100 may be constructed in a wide variety of sizes, shapes and relative dimensions, it is preferred that the oral care implement 100 have a small profile so that it is easily portable and can be discreetly used. In one embodiment, it is preferred that the head 112 be small enough to cover a single tooth at a time and that the handle 114 be substantially thinner than conventional, everyday oral care implement handles.
  • [0022]
    Since the oral care implement 100 is intended to be both small and lightweight, it is preferred that the oral care implement 100 weigh no more than 3 grams in certain embodiments. The small size allows the oral care implement 100 to be held completely within the palm of an adult user's hand. The head 112 is preferably sized to correspond to the size of an individual tooth or an individual tooth and the interproximal areas. While the head 112 could be made in any suitable shape, it is preferably of circular or oval shape and has a maximum lateral dimension or diameter of no greater than 13mm, preferably no greater than 12mm and most preferably no greater than 11mm. Of course, the oral care implement 100 is not limited to any specific dimensions or shapes.
  • [0023]
    It is to be understood that the present invention is not limited to the above-described oral care implement 100. While the inventive package will be described in combination with a plurality of the oral care implements 100, it is to be understood that other oral care implements can be packaged as discussed below. In certain embodiments of the invention, the package is in no way limited to the structure of the oral care implement 100 unless specifically stated in the claims. In the exemplary embodiment, the oral care implement 100 disposed within the package is one which is disposable, has a pre-applied oral care material, and must be protected against moisture. However, in certain other embodiments, a conventional toothbrush or any other type of oral care implement may be disposed within the package, irrespective of whether it must be protected against moisture and/or contains a pre-applied oral care material. As used herein, pre-applied means that the oral care material is associated with the oral care implement as-packaged for sale.
  • [0024]
    Referring to FIGS. 3-5 concurrently, a package 300 containing a plurality of the oral care implements 100 is illustrated. The package 300 is designed to keep moisture out of the subcavities containing the oral care implements 100 so that the pre-applied oral care material, which is in the form of the gel capsule 132, is protected from degradation due to humidity and/or moisture. Of course, in embodiments where the oral care implements contained within the package 300 do not need to be protected against moisture degradation, the package 300 need not be hermetically sealed.
  • [0025]
    The package 300 generally comprises a tubular body 301 having an annular wall 302 that forms a cavity 305. In the exemplary embodiment, the annular wall 302 has a circular transverse cross-sectional profile. The circular transverse cross-sectional profile shape is beneficial when the package 300 is designed for positioning in a cup holder of a vehicle. In such an embodiment, the package 300 preferably has a diameter D1 that is between 60-80mm. In certain other embodiments, the package 300 may take on a tapered shape (not shown) such that the diameter D1 of the package 300 is larger at a top end 303 of the package 300 than at a bottom end 304 of the package 300 or vice versa. Of course, the invention is not so limited and in certain other embodiments, the transverse cross-sectional profile of the annular wall 302 may be almost any shape, including without limitation rectangular, trapezoidal, oval, triangular or otherwise polygonal.
  • [0026]
    The package 300 comprises a plurality of inner walls 310 positioned within the cavity 305. The inner walls 310 divide the cavity 305 into a plurality of subcavities 306. Each of the subcavities 306 comprises a top end 308 and a bottom end 309. In the exemplary embodiment, the inner walls 310 form a rectilinear gridwork of walls. Of course, the invention is not so limited and the inner walls 310 may take on any other form so long as the inner walls 310 divide the cavity 305 into a plurality of subcavities 306.
  • [0027]
    Referring solely to FIG. 4, the rectilinear gridwork is illustrated in greater detail. The rectilinear gridwork is a preferable embodiment of the inner walls 310 because it maximizes the amount of cavity space that is being used when the annular wall 302 has a circular transverse cross-sectional profile. In the exemplary embodiment in which a circular transverse cross-sectional profile of the annular wall 302 is utilized, some of the subcavities 306 are empty because they are not large enough to contain one of the oral care implements 100 therein. However, as discussed above, the circular transverse cross-sectional profile is preferable when the package 300 is being stored in a vehicle cup holder. In embodiments where the transverse cross-sectional profile of the annular wall 302 is rectangular, the inner walls 310 may be in the form of a Cartesian gridwork in order to maximize the used cavity space. Each of the subcavities 306 may be the same size or different sizes. For example, in embodiments where different types of oral care implements are stored in the package 300, each of the subcavities 306 may be different sizes to store the different types of oral care implements. Stated simply, the number and size of the subcavities 306 are in no way limiting of the present invention in all embodiments.
  • [0028]
    Referring again to FIGS. 3-5 concurrently, the bottom end 304 of the package 300 is enclosed by a floor 307. The floor 307 is coupled to the annular wall 302 and each of the inner walls 310 so as to seal the bottom end 309 of each of the plurality of subcavities 306. As will be described in more detail below, in certain embodiments, the floor 307 is a separate component from the annular wall 302 and the inner walls 310 and is attached to the annular wall 302 and the inner walls 310 at a later stage in the manufacturing process. Of course, the invention is not so limited and in certain other embodiments the floor 307 may be formed integrally with the other components of the package 300.
  • [0029]
    In the exemplary embodiment, exactly one oral care implement 100 is disposed within each of the subcavities 306. Thus, in such an embodiment the transverse cross-sectional dimensions of each of the subcavities are approximately between 6-20mm, and more preferably between 10-15mm. Of course, the size of the subcavities 306 may be larger or smaller than the ranges discussed herein in order to accommodate larger or smaller oral care implements, or to accommodate more than a single one of the oral care implements 100 therein.
  • [0030]
    The oral care implements 100 are arranged in the subcavities 306 so that the tail portions 103 of the oral care implements 100 are adjacent the top ends 308 of the subcavities 306 and the head portions 104 of the oral care implements 100 are adjacent the bottom ends 309 of the subcavities 306. Positioning the oral care implements 100 in the subcavities 306 in this manner provides for easier gripping of the oral care implements 100 by the user for removal from the subcavities 306 as will be described in more detail below. Of course, the invention is not to be limited by the particular arrangement of the oral care implements 100 within the subcavities 306, unless specifically recited in the claims
  • [0031]
    The package 300 comprises a film 320 that seals the top ends 308 of each of the plurality of subcavities 306. More specifically, the film 320 is attached to a top edge 312 of the annular wall 302 and a top edge 311 of the inner walls 310. Thus, a combination of the annular wall 302, the inner walls 310, the floor 307 and the film 320 creates an environment within each of the plurality of subcavities 306 such that each subcavity 306 is sealed with respect to the other subcavities 306 and to an environment external to the package 300, such as the ambient atmosphere. Creating an environment within each of the plurality of subcavities 306 that is sealed from each of the other subcavities 306 assists with maintaining a moisture-free environment within each of the subcavities 306 prior to use of the particular oral care implement 100 within that subcavity 306. In some embodiments, subcavity 306 is hermetically sealed.
  • [0032]
    The film 320 is preferably a thin sheet of material that encloses the entire top end 303 of the package 300, thereby also enclosing the top ends 308 of each of the subcavities 306. The film 320 can be, for example without limitation, a laminate, a foil, a wax paper or a plastic sheet. The film 320 is preferably flexible, but may be rigid in certain embodiments. Furthermore, any other materials that can seal the top ends 308 of each of the subcavities 306 as would be known to persons skilled in the art may also be used for the film 320. The film 320 can be attached to the top edges (or surfaces) of the tubular body 301 by any number of means, including adhesion, thermal bonding, static, friction, or combinations thereof.
  • [0033]
    In one embodiment, the film 320 is a substantially transparent material. By creating the film 320 out of a transparent material, a user can easily see through the film 320 into each of the subcavities 306 to determine whether an oral care implement 100 is disposed therein. By allowing a user to see though the film 320 may also allow the user to choose the oral care implement 100 he or she wishes to retrieve in embodiments where different types of oral care implements are stored in the package 300. However, the invention is not so limited and the film 320 may be translucent or opaque. Furthermore, the film 320 may be colored in any desired fashion including a solid color or a patterned coloring arrangement. In some embodiments, a patterned coloring arrangement consisting of different color film segments 321 may denote to the user the different type of oral care implements that are stored in the package 300.
  • [0034]
    The film 320 is divided into a plurality of film segments 321 that are separable from each other. The film segments 321 are not limited to an embodiment comprising a single film that is subsequently divided into segments but also includes embodiments where completely separate and distinct segments of film 320 are separately applied. In one embodiment, the film segments 321 may be a single film covering the entire top end 303 of the package 300 that is subsequently separated into the film segments 321 by pre-weakening portions 322 on the film 320. Regardless of how the film segments 321 are created, the film segments 321 collectively form the film 320. Furthermore, it should be understood that the top end 308 of each one of the subcavities 306 is sealed by a corresponding one of the film segments 321.
  • [0035]
    The film 320 is coupled to the package 300 in a manner so that access can be obtained into a single one of the subcavities 306 while the other subcavities 306 remain sealed from each other and the external environment. In order to gain access into a single one of the subcavities 306, the film segment 321 that is sealing that particular subcavity 306 must be removed, penetrated or otherwise opened so that the subcavity 306 is no longer covered or sealed by the film segment 321. In some embodiment, the film segment 321 hermetically seals the subcavity 306. In the exemplary embodiment, the pre-weakened portions 322 that separate the film 320 into the film segments 321 are portions of the film 320 between adjacent film segments 321. Specifically, the pre-weakened portions 322 of the film 320 are the portions of the film 320 that overlie and are attached to the top edges 311 of the inner walls 310 between adjacent film segments 321. In the exemplary embodiment, the film 320 also has a pre-weakened portion 322 overlying the top edge 312 of the annular wall 310. However, in certain other embodiments, the portion of the film 320 that overlies the top edge 312 of the annular wall 310 is not pre-weakened. The pre-weakened portions 322 can be perforated seams, heat-weakened seams or cut seams located between adjacent film segments 321.
  • [0036]
    As discussed above, in order to gain access into one of the subcavities 306 for removal of the oral care implement 100 disposed therein, the film segment 321 that is sealing that particular subcavity 306 must be manipulated. Manipulating the film segment 321 includes removing or penetrating the film segment 321 or otherwise creating an opening in the film 320 in the area of the film segment 321 that is covering a particular subcavity 306 so that the subcavity 306 is no longer covered by the film segment 321. Due to the pre-weakened portions 322, the film segments 321 are easily penetrated or removed. Specifically, when a force F is applied to a selected film segment 323 of the plurality of film segments 321 that is enclosing a selected subcavity 316 of the plurality of subcavities 306, the film 320 breaks along the pre-weakened portions 322 surrounding the selected film segment 323. As such, the selected film segment 323 becomes separated from the remainder of the film 320 and a passageway is formed from the external environment into the selected subcavity 316 that was sealed by the selected film segment 323. It should be understood that the force F is preferably the force of a user's finger pressing down on the selected film segment 323. However, the invention is not so limited and the force F can be obtained by an object being pressed against the selected film segment 323 or in any other manner as would be understood by persons skilled in the art.
  • [0037]
    In certain other embodiments not illustrated, each of the film segments 321 may have a corresponding tab that is able to be gripped by a user. In such an embodiment, when the user desires to gain access into the selected subcavity 316, the user grips the tab and pulls the selected film segment 323 away from the subcavity in order to provide a passageway into the selected subcavity 316. Regardless of how the selected film segment 323 is manipulated to create a passageway into the selected subcavity 316, once the selected subcavity 316 is open, the oral care implement 100 disposed in the selected subcavity 316 will be exposed. As such, the user will be able to grip the oral care implement 100 and remove it from the selected subcavity 316 for use. As discussed above, it is preferable that the tail portion 103 of the oral care implement 100 be positioned adjacent the top ends 308 of the subcavities 306. This is because the tail portion 103 of the oral care implements 100 are smaller than the head portions 104, which will make it easier for a user to grip the oral care implement 100 and remove it from the subcavity 306.
  • [0038]
    After the user grips the oral care implement 100 and removes it from its corresponding subcavity 306, the user can use the oral care implement to cleanse his or her oral cavity. The gel capsule 132 will rupture upon use either by dissolving in the user's saliva or being punctured by the user's teeth, and the user's teeth and other oral surfaces will benefit from the contents of the gel capsule 132. In certain embodiments as discussed above, the oral care implement 100 is intended for one-time use and is therefore disposable. Thus, after use, the user can discard the oral care implement 100 by replacing the oral care implement 100 back into the selected subcavity 316 from which it came. As such, the package 300 can be used as a container for storing the oral care implements 100 prior to use and as a waste basket for discarding of the oral care implements 100 after use. If the package 300 is sized and configured to fit within the cup holder of a vehicle, this will prevent users from leaving the used oral care implements 100 loose within the vehicle.
  • [0039]
    In certain embodiments, as will be described in more detail below with reference to FIGS. 7 and 10, the film 320 is also re-sealable. A user may find it unattractive to have the used oral care implements 100 merely positioned uncovered in the subcavities 306. Thus, by re-sealing the film 320, the used oral care implements 100 can be blocked from view.
  • [0040]
    In certain embodiments, the package 300 also comprises a lid (not shown). One embodiment of a lid will be discussed in detail below with reference to FIG. 9. However, the lid may take on any known lid embodiments. Specifically, the lid may be a snap-fit, press-fit, interference fit or other type of lid that covers the top ends 308 of the subcavities 306 above the film 320. More specifically, the lid will be coupled to the tubular body 301 so that the film 320 is located between a bottom surface of the lid and the tubular body 301. The lid will prevent the film 320 from being prematurely punctured, opened or removed during manufacturing, packaging, shipping and display at a retail store for sale to an end user. The lid is preferably made of the same materials as the other components of the package 300 as will be discussed below. However, the lid may be formed of any materials so long as the lid protects the film 320 from premature puncture. Any of the embodiments discussed herein, whether illustrated with a lid or not, may be manufactured, shipped, displayed and sold with a lid.
  • [0041]
    Referring solely to FIG. 5, an embodiment of the package 300 that comprises a desiccant 380 will be described. In certain embodiments, the desiccant 380 is positioned within the package 300 in order to remove any moisture that may seep into the subcavities 306 of the package 300. Thus, the package 300 further comprises a transverse plate 360 positioned within each of the subcavities 306 that separates each of the subcavities 306 into an upper chamber 362 and a lower chamber 363. Conceptually, the package 300 can be considered to include a single transverse plate 360 extending transversely across the entirety of the cavity 305 generally parallel to the floor 307. The upper chamber 362 extends between the film 320 and a top surface 364 of the transverse plate 360. Similarly, the lower chamber 363 extends between a bottom surface 365 of the transverse plate 360 and the top surface 312 of the floor 307. In the exemplified embodiment, the transverse plate 360 is integrally formed as a unitary part with the annular wall 302 and the inner walls 310. The manufacturing process involved in creating the package 300 with the desiccant 380 will be described in greater detail below.
  • [0042]
    In the exemplified embodiment, the transverse plate 360 comprises a plurality of openings 361, each of which provides a passageway between the upper and lower chambers 362, 363 of the subcavities 306. In other words, for each subcavity 306, air within the upper chamber 362 is able to flow downward into the lower chamber 363 through the openings 361 and vice versa. As will be better understood from the discussion below, it is preferable that there is at least one opening 361 in a portion of the transverse plate 360 that is disposed within each of the plurality of subcavities 306. This will enable air to circulate between the upper and lower chambers 362, 363 in each of the subcavities 306. In the exemplified embodiment, there are three openings 361 in the transverse plate 360 in each of the subcavities 306. However, the invention is not so limited and there can be more or less openings 361 in the transverse plate 360 as desired. Furthermore, it should be understood that in certain other embodiments, the transverse plate 360 can be omitted altogether.
  • [0043]
    In the exemplified embodiment, the desiccant 380 is disposed in the lower chamber 363. The desiccant 380 may be any material that is known to induce or sustain a state of dryness in its local vicinity in a moderately well-sealed container. The desiccant 380 may be, for example without limitation, silica gel, calcium sulfate, calcium chloride, montmorillonite clay, molecular sieves, rice, salt or the like. Other desiccants that are now known or later discovered that can sustain a state of dryness within a sealed container while not transmitting any toxins to the oral care implements 100 disposed within the subcavities 306 may be used.
  • [0044]
    The oral care implements 100 are disposed in the upper chamber 362. Thus, the entire package 300 only needs to be large enough in height to contain the oral care implements 100, which may be as small as 2 to 4 inches, and the desiccant 380, which may simply be a layer of salt disposed in the lower chamber 363.
  • [0045]
    Due to the openings 361 in the transverse plate 360, the desiccant 380 will absorb any moisture within either of the upper and lower chambers 362, 363 because the air within the subcavities 306 will freely flow between the upper and lower chambers 362, 363 through the openings 361 in the transverse plate 360. Thus, the desiccant 380 will remove excess humidity that would otherwise degrade or potentially destroy the oral care implements 100 within the upper chamber 362.
  • [0046]
    It is preferred that the oral care implements 100 be placed in the package 300 at a relative humidity level that is less than 70% at room temperature, preferably less than 60% at room temperature, more preferably less than 50% at room temperature, and most preferably less than 40% at room temperature in order to avoid degradation of the gel capsules 132. However, in certain embodiments, even if an atmosphere having a higher humidity is initially trapped within the subcavities 306, the desiccant 380 in the lower chamber 363 will be able to absorb the excess moisture without degrading the gel capsule 132 of the oral care implement 100. However, the subcavities 306 are air-tight as discussed above in order to prevent further exposure of the gel capsule 132 of the oral care implement 100 to moisture, thereby keeping the gel capsule 132 intact.
  • [0047]
    The annular wall 302, the inner walls 310, the transverse plate 360 and the floor 307 can be formed of any type of material as would be known to persons skilled in the art. Specifically, the material may be a metal or metal alloy, or a thermoplastic such as for example polypropylene, polyethylene, polystyrene, or polyvinyl chloride. Of course, the invention is not so limited and other materials as would be known to persons skilled in the art can be used.
  • [0048]
    The package 300 can be formed in a multi-step process. Specifically, in one embodiment, the annular wall 302, the inner walls 310 and the transverse plate 160 are formed in a single step injection molding process. After the annular walls 302, the inner walls 310 and the transverse plate 360 are formed, the lower chamber 363 is filled with the desiccant 380. Then, after the desiccant 380 is properly positioned, the floor 307, which is in the form of a plate, is connected to the annular wall 302 and the inner walls 310 so as to enclose the bottom ends of the annular walls 302 and the inner walls 310.
  • [0049]
    The floor 307 can be created in a second injection molding step and then attached or coupled to the annular wall 302 and the inner walls 310 at a later stage of the manufacturing process. The coupling of the floor 307 to the annular wall 302 and the inner walls 310 can be achieved by any suitable technique known in the art, including without limitation thermal welding, a tight-fit assembly, a coupling sleeve, adhesion, fasteners or the like. It should be understood that the various components of the package 300 may be formed by methods other than molding, such as, for example, milling, machine, or other suitable process.
  • [0050]
    It should be understood that the desiccant 380 may be omitted altogether in certain embodiments. In such embodiments, the floor 307 may be formed integrally with the annular wall 302 and the inner walls 310. The embodiments discussed below are not specifically discussed or illustrated as having a desiccant. However, the structure of the package embodiments discussed below may be manufactured as discussed above so that the desiccant 380 can be included in the package for moisture absorption. Furthermore, as discussed above, the package 300 is preferably sized so that it can fit within a vehicle cup holder. Thus, a user will have oral care implements 100 available for use when the user is driving in the vehicle. Of course, the invention is not so limited and the package 300 can take on other shapes and sizes, such as those disclosed above herein.
  • [0051]
    Referring to FIG. 6, an alternative embodiment of a package 600 of oral care implements is illustrated. The package 600 is identical to the package 300 except that the configuration of the inner walls and the film are different. The portions of the package 600 that are the same as portions of the package 300 will be described with the same reference numerals, except that the 600-series of numbers will be used. Any portions of the package 600 not specifically described herein have the same structure, configuration and use as the same portions of the package 300.
  • [0052]
    The package 600 comprises a tubular body 601 having an annular wall 602 that forms a cavity 605 with a longitudinal axis A-A. The package 600 comprises a plurality of radial walls 610 that divide the cavity 605 into a plurality of subcavities 606. The radial walls 610 extend radially from the longitudinal axis A-A to the annular wall 602 such that each subcavity 606 is sealed from the other subcavities 606. In the exemplary embodiment, the package 600 has twelve radial walls 610 that divide the cavity 605 into twelve equally sized subcavities 606. Of course, the invention is not so limited and more or less than twelve radial walls 610 may be provided to divide the cavity 605 into more or less than twelve subcavities 606. Furthermore, in certain embodiments the radial walls 610 may divide the cavity 605 into a plurality of subcavities 606 of different sizes. As described above with respect to the package 300, the plurality of subcavities 606 may be of different sizes in order to store different types of oral care implements within a single package 600. The number and size of the subcavities 606 are in no way limiting of the present invention.
  • [0053]
    Similar to the package 300, the package 600 has a film 620 enclosing a top end 608 of each of the subcavities 606. The film 620 is connected to a top edge 611 of each of the radial walls 610 and to a top edge 612 of the annular wall 602. Furthermore, in the exemplary embodiment, a portion of the film 620 that overlies and is attached to the top edges 611 of the radial walls 610 and the top edge 612 of the annular wall 602 is a pre-weakened portion 622 of the film 620. Of course, in certain other embodiments, the pre-weakened portion 622 of the film 620 may only be the portion of the film 620 that overlies the top edges 611 of the radial walls 610. In certain other embodiments, the film 620 may not have any pre-weakened portions 622, but may instead be a plurality of separate film segments as discussed above with reference to the package 300. Thus, the package 600 is the same as the package 300 in all respects except for the configuration of the inner/radial walls 310, 610, and thus, the size, shape and number of the subcavities 306, 606. It is preferable that only one oral care implement 100 is disposed within each of the subcavities 606. However, the subcavities 606 are generally larger than the subcavities 306 and it may be possible to dispose more than one oral care implement 100 within each of the subcavities 606.
  • [0054]
    The film 620 may be penetrated as discussed above by providing a force onto the top surface of one of the films 620 so that the film 620 breaks along the pre-weakened portions 622 surrounding the film 620. Alternatively, each of the film segments of the film 620 may include a tab for gripping by a user so that the film 620 can be separated from the top edges 611 of the radial walls 610 and the top edge 612 of the annular wall 602. Thus, the process of removing an oral care implement 100 from one of the subcavities 606 of the package 600 is the same as the process of removing an oral care implement 100 from one of the subcavities 306 of the package 600 discussed above with references to FIG. 3.
  • [0055]
    Referring to FIGS. 7 and 8, another embodiment of a package 700 of oral care implements is illustrated. The portions of the package 700 that are the same as portions of the package 300 will be described with the same reference numerals, except that the 700-series of numbers will be used. Any portions of the package 700 not specifically described herein have the same structure, configuration and use as the same portions of the package 300.
  • [0056]
    The package 700 comprises a tubular body 701 having an annular wall 702 that forms a cavity 705. The package 700 further comprises an inner wall 710 that divides the cavity 705 into two subcavities 706. Although the package 700 is illustrated having only a single inner wall 710, the invention is not so limited. In other embodiments, the package 700 may have two inner walls that are perpendicular to each other, or more than two inner walls. The number of inner walls included with the package 700 is dependent upon the desired number of subcavities 706. A bottom end 704 of the package 700 is enclosed by a floor (not shown), which seals each of the subcavities 706 as discussed above with reference to the package 300.
  • [0057]
    The package 700 has a plurality of the oral care implements 100 disposed within each of the subcavities 706. For example, in the illustrated embodiment, ten oral care implements 100 are disposed within each of the subcavities 706. Of course, the invention is not to be limited by the number of oral care implements 100 disposed within each of the subcavities 706.
  • [0058]
    Each of the subcavities 706 has a top end 708 that is sealed by a re-sealable film 720. The re-sealable film 720 is attached to a top edge 711 of the inner wall 710 and a top edge 712 of the annular wall 702. More specifically, the re-sealable film 720 comprises two separate film segments 721 that are attached to the top edge 711 of the inner wall 710 and the top edge 712 of the annular wall 702 with a gap or space 723 between each of the film segments 721 at the top edge 711 of the inner wall 710. Thus, each one of the film segments 721 encloses and seals one of the subcavities 706. Of course, the invention is not so limited and in certain other embodiments the film 720 may be a single film sheet that encloses both of the subcavities 706 and the film 720 may be a pre-weakened area as discussed above.
  • [0059]
    The film 720 is attached to the package 700 so that a portion of the film 720 can be manipulated to provide access into a single one of the subcavities 706, while the other subcavities 706 remain sealed. More specifically, one of the film segments 721 can be separated from the package 700 to expose/open one of the subcavities 706 while the other one of the film segments 721 remains attached to the package 700 so as to seal the other one of the subcavities 706. Of course, in embodiments where there are more than two subcavities 706, any one of the subcavities 706 can be opened while the other of the subcavities 706 remain sealed.
  • [0060]
    Each of the film segments 721 comprises a pull tab 724. The pull tabs 724 enable a user to easily grip the film segments 721 to manipulate the film segments 721 and open the subcavities 706, thereby exposing the oral care implements 100 within the subcavities 706 to the external environment. The pull tabs 724 are sized and shaped to be easily grasped by a user's fingers and thumb. The pull tabs 724 also facilitate re-sealing of the film segments 721 as will be discussed below. Although the pull tabs 724 are illustrated as being located on the portion of the film segments 721 adjacent the top edge 712 of the annular wall 702, in other embodiments the pull tabs 724 can be located on the portion of the film segments 721 adjacent the top edge 711 of the inner wall 710.
  • [0061]
    The top edge 712 of the annular wall 702 and a portion of the top edge 711 of the inner wall 710 are covered or layered with an adhesive. Specifically, the top edge 711 of the inner wall 710 is covered with an adhesive while leaving the gap 723 between adjacent film segments 721 free of the adhesive. Additionally or alternatively, the adhesive may be applied along a perimeter of each of the film segments 721. The adhesive is not applied to the pull tab 724 so that the pull tab 724 is prevented from adhering to the top edge 712 of the annular wall 702. Thus, a user will be more easily able to grasp the pull tab 724 and pull the film segments 721 of the film 720 away from the package 700 to open the subcavities 706. Furthermore, by giving a consumer a specific portion of the film segments 721 to pull, the consumer is not drawn to touching the adhesive portion of the film segments 721. Touching the adhesive portion of the film segments 721 may cause the adhesive layer to lose its adhesiveness and not provide a proper reseal of the top ends 708 of the subcavities 706. Any type of adhesive that is now known or later discovered for use with re-sealable films as described above may be used as the adhesive as would be known to persons skilled in the art.
  • [0062]
    In use, a user will grasp the pull tab 724 of one of the film segments 721 and pull the film segment 721 away from the package 700 to open the subcavity 706. The bonding strength of the adhesive is strong enough to maintain a hermetic seal when the film 720 is positioned on the package 700, but weak enough so that the seal can be broken to open the subcavities 706 without tearing or otherwise destroying the film 720. Once the subcavity 706 is opened, a user will remove one of the oral care implements 100 from the subcavity for use 706. The user can replace the oral care implement 100 back into the subcavity 706 for disposal after use. Then, the user will re-seal the film segment 721 to enclose and seal the subcavity 706 by reattaching the film segment 721 to the top edge 712 of the annular wall 702. The user can apply pressure to the perimeter of the film segment 721 in order to ensure that a sufficient seal is achieved between the film segment 721 and the top edge 712 of the annular wall 702.
  • [0063]
    When the film segment 721 is pulled back from the package 700, the oral care implements 100 disposed within the subcavity 706 that was covered by the film segment 721 will be exposed to the external environment and therefore also to any moisture contained therein. As noted above, it is desirable to prevent the oral care implements 100 from exposure to moisture prior to use in order to prevent premature rupture of the gel capsules 132. However, it is most preferable that the oral care implements 100 be sealed during the packaging, shipping and display stages until sale to the end user. In some embodiments, the oral care implements 100 are sealed. Once the end user purchases the package 700, limited exposure to moisture will not damage the oral care implements 100 or the gel capsules 132 disposed thereon. Thus, opening the package 700 and exposing a plurality of the oral care implements 100 to the external environment temporarily is not harmful to the gel capsules 132 of the oral care implements 100. However, it is preferable that the film segments 721 be properly re-sealed onto the package 700 in order to prevent excessive exposure of the unused oral care implements 100 to moisture.
  • [0064]
    Furthermore, creating the package 700 so that a desiccant can be disposed therein can further protect the gel capsules 132 of the oral care implements 100 against moisture damage. As discussed above, the oral care implements 100 in the package 700 will be subjected to the external environment prior to use because a plurality of the oral care implements 100 are positioned within a single subcavity 706. As such, in certain embodiments, the package 700 may have a desiccant disposed therein as discussed above with regard to FIG. 5 in order to absorb moisture that may potentially enter into the subcavities 706 during removal of a single one of the oral care implements 100 from the subcavity 706.
  • [0065]
    As discussed above with regard to the package 300, it may be beneficial to provide a lid for the packages described herein in order to protect the films from damage or rupture. Referring to FIG. 9, one embodiment of a package 900 having a lid 910 is illustrated. The package 900 may be any of the packages 300, 600, 700 discussed herein. The package 900 is therefore generically illustrated as comprising a tubular body 901 having an annular wall 902 that forms a cavity (not shown). The lid 910 may be any type of lid that is known to persons skilled in the art. The lid 910 does not need to hermetically seal the top end of the cavity because the film achieves the hermetic seal as discussed above. In the exemplary embodiment, the lid 910 comprises a top plate 911 and an annular skirt 912. The lid 910 may be coupled to the tubular body 910 in any manner as would be known to persons skilled in the art. Because the package 900 is already sealed by the film (not shown), the lid 910 helps to protect the film from rupture prior to the time a user desires to use an oral care implement disposed in the cavity. In certain other embodiments, the lid 910 may provide an additional hermetic seal by including a gasket to prevent moisture in the external environment from penetrating into the cavity. The lid 910 may be attachable to the tubular body 901 by a press-fit, snap-fit, interference fit, friction fit or any other type of attachment/connection as would be known to persons skilled in the art.
  • [0066]
    Referring to FIGS. 10 and 11, another embodiment of a package 1000 of oral care implements is illustrated. The package 1000 comprises a tubular body 1001 having an annular wall 1002 that forms a cavity 1005. The package 1000 also comprises a plurality of inner walls 1010 in the cavity 1005 that divide the cavity 1005 into a plurality of subcavities 1006. In the exemplified embodiment, the inner walls 1010 extend radially from a longitudinal axis B-B of the cavity 1005. More specifically, the inner walls 1010 extend from the longitudinal axis B-B to an inner surface 1013 of the annular wall 1002.
  • [0067]
    The annular wall 1002 comprises a plurality of slots 1030. Each of the slots 1030 forms a passageway into one of the subcavities 1006 from an area external to the subcavities 1006. In other words, the annular wall 1002 is made up of a plurality of wall segments 1032 that are separated by a gap formed by the slots 1030. Each of the wall segments 1032 is connected to one of the inner walls 1010 to form a T-shape.
  • [0068]
    The package 1000 comprises a roof 1003 that seals a top end 1008 of each of the subcavities 1006 and a floor 1007 that seals a bottom end 1009 of each of the subcavities 1006. The floor 1007 and roof 1003 may be integrally formed with the annular wall 1002 and inner walls 1010 or the floor 1007 and the roof 1003 may be separately formed and later connected to the annular wall 1002 and inner walls 1010 as has been discussed herein above. In the exemplified embodiment, the floor 1007 and the roof 1003 are plates that enclose the bottom and top ends 1009, 1008 of the package 1000, respectively. However, the floor 1007 and the roof 1003 of the package may take on other structural forms as would be known to persons skilled in the art so long as the floor 1007 seals the bottom ends 1009 of the subcavities 1006 and the roof 1003 seals the top ends 1008 of the subcavities 1006.
  • [0069]
    At least one oral care implement 100 is disposed within each of the plurality of subcavities 1006. In the illustrated embodiment, exactly one oral care implement 100 is disposed in each of the twelve illustrated subcavities 1006. However, in certain other embodiments, more than one oral care implement 100 may be disposed in each of the subcavities 1006. Furthermore, the package 1000 may comprise more or less than twelve subcavities 1006 in alternative embodiments. The oral care implements 100 may be retrieved from the package 1000 through the passageway that is formed by the slots 1030 in the annular wall 1002.
  • [0070]
    In the exemplified embodiment, each of the subcavities 1006 is an open space between the annular wall 1002 and adjacent inner walls 1010. However, in certain other embodiments, the subcavities 1006 may simply be depressions in the annular wall 1002 that are sized and shaped to snugly fit a single oral care implement 100 therein. In other words, the annular wall 1002 may have a depression in an outer surface 1014 that is sized and shaped to correspond with the size and shape of the oral care implements 100. In such an embodiment, the oral care implements 100 can fit within the depression and be covered by a film as will be described in more detail below. Furthermore, in such an embodiment, the inner walls 1010 may be omitted altogether because they will not be necessary to create the plurality of subcavities 1006. Rather, in such an embodiment, the plurality of subcavities 1006 are the depressions formed in the outer surface 1014 of the annular wall 1002.
  • [0071]
    Each of the slots 1030 is sealed by a film 1020. As such, each of the subcavities 1006 is sealed from the external environment. Furthermore, the combination of the annular wall 1002, the inner walls 1010, the roof 1003 and the floor 1007 seal each of the subcavities 1006 from the other subcavities 1006. Thus, each subcavity 1006 is its own, isolated and separate sealed compartment. The film 1020 is configured as discussed below so that a portion of the film 1020 can be manipulated to provide access into a single one of the subcavities 1006 while the other subcavities 1006 remain sealed. Specifically, the film comprises a plurality of film segments 1021 that are separate or separable from one another. In the exemplary embodiment, each of the plurality of film segments 1021 is separate and distinct from the other of the film segments 1021. Furthermore, each of the film segments 1021 is separated from adjacent film segments 1021 by a gap 1023. In certain other embodiments, the film segments 1021 may be connected to each other to collectively form the film 1020. In such an embodiment, the film 1020 comprises pre-weakened portions between adjacent film segments 1021, the pre-weakened portions overlying and attached to the outer surface 1014 of the annular wall 1002 to enable the film segments 1021 to be easily separated from each other so that access to one subcavity 1006 at a time can be achieved.
  • [0072]
    The film 1020 is attached to the outer surface *1014 of the annular wall 1002. More specifically, each of the film segments 1021 is attached to the roof 1003, the floor 1007 and two adjacent wall segments 1032 of the annular wall 1002. Furthermore, each of the film segments 1021 comprises a tab 1024. The tab 1024 extends from the film segments 1021 beyond the roof 1003 of the package 1000 for easy gripping by a user. Of course, the invention is not so limited and the tab 1024 could be otherwise located on the film segments 1021. Furthermore, the film segments 1021 could be attached to the package 1000 in other ways that would be known to persons skilled in the art as long as each one of the film segments 1021 seals one of the subcavities 1006.
  • [0073]
    An adhesive is applied to either a rear surface 1025 of the film segments 1021 around the perimeter of the film segments 1021 or the outer surface 1014 of the annular wall 1002, or both. Thus, the film segments 1021 are removably attached to the outer surface 1014 of the annular wall 1002. A user can grasp the tab 1024 and pull down on the film segments 1021 in order to remove the film segments 1021 from the annular wall 1002 and to expose the subcavities 1006. Furthermore, in certain embodiments the film segments 1021 are re-sealable such that the film segments 1021 can be re-attached to the annular wall 1002 after opening in order to enclose and seal the subcavity 1006.
  • [0074]
    The various components of the different embodiments of the packages discussed above may be used with any of the package embodiments. For example, although not all embodiments are illustrated and described as having a desiccant, any of the embodiments may comprise a desiccant. Furthermore, although not all embodiments are illustrated and described as having a lid, any of the embodiments may comprise a lid. Thus, mixing and matching the various components of the different embodiments described herein is contemplated within the scope of the present invention.
  • [0075]
    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.
  • [0076]
    While the foregoing description and drawings represent the exemplary embodiments of the present invention, it will be understood that various additions, modifications and substitutions may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention as defined in the accompanying claims. In particular, it will be clear to those skilled in the art that the present invention may be embodied in other specific forms, structures, arrangements, proportions, sizes, and with other elements, materials, and components, without departing from the spirit or essential characteristics thereof. One skilled in the art will appreciate that the invention may be used with many modifications of structure, arrangement, proportions, sizes, materials, and components and otherwise, used in the practice of the invention, which are particularly adapted to specific environments and operative requirements without departing from the principles of the present invention. The presently disclosed embodiments are therefore to be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive, the scope of the invention being defined by the appended claims, and not limited to the foregoing description or embodiments.

Claims (15)

  1. A package of oral care implements comprising:
    a tubular body having an annular wall forming a cavity, a plurality of inner walls in the cavity that divides the cavity into a plurality of subcavities, and a floor sealing a bottom end of each of the subcavities;
    at least one oral care implement disposed within each of the subcavities;
    a film sealing a top end of each of the subcavities, the film configured so that a portion of the film can be manipulated to provide access into one of the plurality of subcavities while the other subcavities remain sealed.
  2. The package according to claim 1 wherein the film hermetically seals the top end of each of the subcavities.
  3. The package according to any one of claims 1 to 2 wherein the film is substantially transparent.
  4. The package according to any one of claims 1 to 3 wherein the oral care implements comprise a head portion and a tail portion, the oral care implements arranged in the subcavities so that the tail portions of the oral care implements are adjacent the top ends of the subcavities.
  5. The package according to any one of claims 1 to 4 wherein the film comprises a plurality of film segments that are separable from one another, wherein the top end of each of the subcavities is sealed by one of the film segments.
  6. The package according to claim 5 wherein each of the film segments comprises a tab for gripping by a user.
  7. The package according to claim 5 wherein the film comprises pre-weakened portions between adjacent film segments, the pre-weakened portions overlying and attached to top edges of the inner walls, optionally wherein the pre-weakened portions are perforated seams, heat-weakened seams or cut seams.
  8. The package according to claim 7 wherein when a force is applied to a selected film segment, the film breaks along the pre-weakened portions surrounding the selected film segment.
  9. The package according to any one of claims 7 to 8 wherein the inner walls extend radially from a longitudinal axis of the cavity.
  10. The package according to any one of claims 7 to 8 wherein the inner walls form a rectilinear gridwork.
  11. The package according to any one of claims 1 to 10 wherein the subcavities are sealed with respect to one another and an external environment.
  12. The package according to any one of claims 1 to 11 further comprising a lid coupled to the tubular body, the film located between a bottom surface of the lid and the tubular body.
  13. The package according to any one of claims 1 to 12 wherein the oral care implement is a toothbrush comprising a pre-applied moisture-sensitive dispenser.
  14. The package according to any one of claims 1 to 13 wherein the film is a re-sealable film sealing a top end of each of the subcavities, the film being re-sealable to the tubular body after separation therefrom.
  15. The package according to claim 14 wherein the tubular body comprises exactly two subcavities, optionally wherein the re-sealable film comprises a plurality of re-sealable film segments, wherein the top end of each of two adjacent subcavities is sealed by one of the plurality of re-sealable film segments.
EP20150151543 2010-12-22 2010-12-22 Package of oral care implements and method of using the same Withdrawn EP2889230A1 (en)

Priority Applications (3)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
EP20150151543 EP2889230A1 (en) 2010-12-22 2010-12-22 Package of oral care implements and method of using the same
PCT/US2010/061884 WO2012087318A1 (en) 2010-12-22 2010-12-22 Package of oral care implements and method of using the same
EP20100809216 EP2655199B1 (en) 2010-12-22 2010-12-22 Package of oral care implements and method of using the same

Applications Claiming Priority (1)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
EP20150151543 EP2889230A1 (en) 2010-12-22 2010-12-22 Package of oral care implements and method of using the same

Related Parent Applications (2)

Application Number Title Priority Date Filing Date
EP20100809216 Division EP2655199B1 (en) 2010-12-22 2010-12-22 Package of oral care implements and method of using the same
EP20100809216 Division-Into EP2655199B1 (en) 2010-12-22 2010-12-22 Package of oral care implements and method of using the same

Publications (1)

Publication Number Publication Date
EP2889230A1 true true EP2889230A1 (en) 2015-07-01

Family

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EP20150151543 Withdrawn EP2889230A1 (en) 2010-12-22 2010-12-22 Package of oral care implements and method of using the same
EP20100809216 Active EP2655199B1 (en) 2010-12-22 2010-12-22 Package of oral care implements and method of using the same

Family Applications After (1)

Application Number Title Priority Date Filing Date
EP20100809216 Active EP2655199B1 (en) 2010-12-22 2010-12-22 Package of oral care implements and method of using the same

Country Status (7)

Country Link
US (1) US20130277255A1 (en)
EP (2) EP2889230A1 (en)
KR (1) KR20130114208A (en)
CN (1) CN103261037A (en)
CA (1) CA2821923A1 (en)
RU (1) RU2544821C2 (en)
WO (1) WO2012087318A1 (en)

Families Citing this family (1)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
WO2016188690A1 (en) * 2015-05-28 2016-12-01 Pyar Ltd Container for storing moisture level-sensitive products

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US5353985A (en) * 1991-02-04 1994-10-11 Alusuisse-Lonza Services Ltd. Package
US20060216379A1 (en) * 2005-03-25 2006-09-28 Chih-Yung Chou Mini jelly container
US20080120798A1 (en) * 2002-09-05 2008-05-29 Alan Sorrentino Oral care implement with bead retention
WO2009016568A1 (en) * 2007-08-02 2009-02-05 Adolfo Marinelli Container for dispensing food products

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US4053054A (en) * 1975-10-07 1977-10-11 Padeg A.G. Package having individual isolated cells
US4995509A (en) * 1990-04-30 1991-02-26 Joseph Kornfeind Disposable toothbrush sanitizing and storage device
US5375698A (en) * 1993-05-07 1994-12-27 Allergan, Inc. Prefilled, resealable contact lens container
US7478959B2 (en) * 2002-09-05 2009-01-20 Colgate-Palmolive Company Oral care toothbrush
US8950630B2 (en) * 2003-07-07 2015-02-10 Bruce D. Jackson Reclosable dispenser
FR2869020B3 (en) * 2004-01-29 2006-03-10 Soremartec Sa Container for food
CN1803544A (en) * 2005-01-11 2006-07-19 张逶 Combined toothpaste (liquid) storage apparatus
US7951343B1 (en) * 2005-09-09 2011-05-31 Annie Davis Toothbrush holder and sanitizer
DE202005017991U1 (en) 2005-09-29 2006-02-02 Werner, Valeska Packaging box for e.g. aluminum foil, cling film has long elongated box casing with a chamber for retaining of household material whereby box casing is provided with another chamber and each chamber is attached to its own cover
WO2008086389A3 (en) 2007-01-10 2008-11-06 Avery Dennison Corp Recloseable package
US7832956B2 (en) * 2007-11-09 2010-11-16 Ross Karen L Dental cleanser and stain prevention apparatus
WO2010065307A1 (en) 2008-12-02 2010-06-10 Bayer Healthcare Llc Sealed analyte sensor container systems and storage methods
WO2010088175A1 (en) * 2009-02-02 2010-08-05 The Gillette Company Package for razor cartridges
US8747009B2 (en) * 2010-03-31 2014-06-10 Colgate-Palmolive Company Oral care implement

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Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US5353985A (en) * 1991-02-04 1994-10-11 Alusuisse-Lonza Services Ltd. Package
US20080120798A1 (en) * 2002-09-05 2008-05-29 Alan Sorrentino Oral care implement with bead retention
US20060216379A1 (en) * 2005-03-25 2006-09-28 Chih-Yung Chou Mini jelly container
WO2009016568A1 (en) * 2007-08-02 2009-02-05 Adolfo Marinelli Container for dispensing food products

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Also Published As

Publication number Publication date Type
EP2655199A1 (en) 2013-10-30 application
WO2012087318A1 (en) 2012-06-28 application
US20130277255A1 (en) 2013-10-24 application
KR20130114208A (en) 2013-10-16 application
CN103261037A (en) 2013-08-21 application
CA2821923A1 (en) 2012-06-28 application
RU2013133910A (en) 2015-01-27 application
RU2544821C2 (en) 2015-03-20 grant
EP2655199B1 (en) 2015-03-04 grant

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