US20040172741A1 - Toilet rim block holder - Google Patents

Toilet rim block holder Download PDF

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Publication number
US20040172741A1
US20040172741A1 US10/379,174 US37917403A US2004172741A1 US 20040172741 A1 US20040172741 A1 US 20040172741A1 US 37917403 A US37917403 A US 37917403A US 2004172741 A1 US2004172741 A1 US 2004172741A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
material
vessel section
apparatus
toilet bowl
rim holder
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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.)
Abandoned
Application number
US10/379,174
Inventor
Erik Troost
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.)
International Flavors and Fragrances Inc
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International Flavors and Fragrances Inc
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Priority to US10/379,174 priority Critical patent/US20040172741A1/en
Assigned to INTERNATIONAL FLAVORS & FRAGRANCES INC. reassignment INTERNATIONAL FLAVORS & FRAGRANCES INC. ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: TROOST, ERIK HERMAN
Publication of US20040172741A1 publication Critical patent/US20040172741A1/en
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

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    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E03WATER SUPPLY; SEWERAGE
    • E03DWATER-CLOSETS OR URINALS WITH FLUSHING DEVICES; FLUSHING VALVES THEREFOR
    • E03D9/00Sanitary or other accessories for lavatories ; Devices for cleaning or disinfecting the toilet room or the toilet bowl; Devices for eliminating smells
    • E03D9/02Devices adding a disinfecting, deodorising, or cleaning agent to the water while flushing
    • E03D9/03Devices adding a disinfecting, deodorising, or cleaning agent to the water while flushing consisting of a separate container with an outlet through which the agent is introduced into the flushing water, e.g. by suction ; Devices for agents in direct contact with flushing water
    • E03D9/032Devices connected to or dispensing into the bowl

Abstract

Methods and apparatus for dispensing a material such as a fragrance, a disinfectant, a coloring agent, or a cleaner into a toilet bowl are disclosed. In accordance with certain preferred embodiments of the present invention, a rim holder and material container are provided. The rim holder includes a vessel section that collects flush water after initiation of a flush cycle. After the volume within the vessel section reaches a predetermined level, the material is mixed with the water and permitted to flow into the toilet bowl from a lower aperture. The present invention permits the material to be added in the flush cycle so that the material is no carried away with the initial flow, but instead remains in the bowl after the flush cycle is complete.

Description

  • The present invention relates to methods and apparatus for packaging, and more particularly to packaging for products used to clean, remove limescale, disinfect, deodorize, add color and/or add fragrance and add/or impart foam to toilet bowls. [0001]
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • Both commercial and residential toilets often use treated water for several purposes. The water is treated to provide disinfectant, anti-bacterial, anti-odor and other useful properties that make the toilet “self-cleaning” to the extent that situations such as the proliferation of mold, slime, calcium or lime deposits and iron oxide stains are diminished, and so that the bowl is as clean as possible after each use from the turbulent action of the flush cycle alone. Additionally, the water is often treated to add color and fragrance, both of which improve the aesthetics of the toilet and the room. A fragrance is any molecule that diffuses via vaporization into the atmosphere (under local conditions of temperature and pressure) and subsequently activates a specific receptor in the nasal cavity. The fragrance may either mask any unpleasant odor or may simply be an environmental improvement or a combination of these. [0002]
  • Toilet water treatment systems fall into two broad categories, i.e., those that treat the water in the tank, and those that treat the water in the bowl. Systems operating within the tank range from solid “drop in” tablets to more elaborate systems such as that shown in U.S. Pat. No. 6,192,524, Black, which discloses a system that is affixed to the overflow drain tube found in toilet tanks. However, commercial toilets and many newer residential toilets are either tankless or have a significantly reduced tank volume or non/difficult accessible tanks. Therefore, a system that is attached to the toilet bowl itself is ultimately of wider applicability. [0003]
  • Systems attaching a simple fragrance-containing solid to the bowl rim are well known in the art, as are more elaborate systems that dispense liquids into the water. For example, both U.S. Design Pat. No. D466,583, Heijdenrijk and U.S. Pat. No. 6,434,758, Camp, et al. disclose rim mounted systems. Both these patents are assigned to Sara Lee Household and Body Care, a company that manufactures and sells the Ambi-Pur™ line of devices to treat the water in toilet bowls. The systems disclosed in the Sara Lee patents have a holder with a flexible section for suspending the unit from the toilet bowl rim and a reservoir that holds an active substance such as cleansing and air freshening liquids. These liquids are introduced to a porous section that lies in the path of the flushing water, i.e., underneath the rim and along the interior bowl surface. The porous mass is in constant communication with the active substance such that when the unit is in place, a discharge opening discharges active substance on to the porous mass. The active substance is later washed into the water when the toilet flushes. The problem with such systems, however, is that the initial volume of flush water carries the highest concentration of active substances and fragrance out of the bowl entirely, leading to waste and ineffective results. [0004]
  • Thus, none of these prior art systems addresses the problem outlined above. There remains therefore a long-felt yet unmet need for providing a simple device mounted to the toilet bowl rim that will effectively and reliably introduce an active substance at a later point in the flush cycle so that the highest concentration of active substances and fragrance is not carried away with the initial volume of flush water. It would further be desirable to provide such improvements in a manner applicable across a wide variety of packaging designs, and combinations of active substances and the forms of the active substances, such as solid, liquid, gel, etc. in a cost-effective manner. [0005]
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • These shortcomings of the prior art are remedied, however by an apparatus for introducing material into a toilet bowl that has a rim holder positioned within the toilet bowl and a material container filled with a material along with a material dispenser connecting the rim holder and a vessel section of the material container, such that the vessel section comprises walls and a lower aperture open to the toilet bowl. In operation, upon initiation of a flush cycle, this apparatus fills the vessel section to a predetermined level causing the material to be dispensed into the vessel section. There is a wick, valve or other structure that permits material to be admitted to the vessel section when a predetermined volume of flush water is collected. This structure is formed in such a way that fragrance can evaporate continuously in order to provide good deodorizing and/or pleasing action in between flushes as with current systems such as the one by Sara Lee. In certain preferred embodiments, the rim holder and vessel section are integral, and in certain embodiments, the rim holder further comprises a hanger. The apparatus is preferably molded from a plastic material and the material preferably comprises at least one active component. The material is at least one material selected from the group comprising a fragrance, a disinfectant, a coloring agent, and a cleaner. [0006]
  • The present invention also discloses methods of adding a material to a toilet bowl by positioning a rim holder within the toilet bowl, positioning a material container in fluid communication with the rim holder, and then diverting a portion of flush water entering the toilet bowl into a vessel section. Material is mixed with the water in the vessel section and a mixture including the material flows into the toilet bowl via a lower aperture in the vessel section after an initial volume of flush water has exited the toilet bowl. Preferably, the mixing takes place when a predetermined level within the vessel section is reached, and the flow through the lower aperture is metered so that substantially all the liquid within the vessel section is dispensed into the bowl after a flush cycle is substantially competed. In preferred embodiments, the material added is at least one material selected from the group comprising a fragrance, a disinfectant, a coloring agent, and a cleaner. [0007]
  • The present invention therefore discloses, in preferred embodiments, apparatus for dispensing a material into a toilet bowl that has a rim holder with a hanger portion that engages the toilet bowl, a vessel section that holds a volume of flush water, a lower aperture that drains the vessel section; and a material container received by the vessel section, whereby material is admitted to the vessel section after a predetermined level of flush water fills the vessel section. Most preferably, the rim holder and the material container are molded from plastic and the material is at least one material selected from the group comprising a fragrance, a disinfectant, a coloring agent, and a cleaner.[0008]
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a preferred embodiment [0009] 100 of the present invention.
  • FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view of the assembly illustrated in FIG. 1. [0010]
  • FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of an apparatus made in accordance with the present invention taken along line [0011] 3-3 of FIG. 1 and shown affixed to a toilet bowl.
  • FIG. 4, is a view similar to that of FIG. 3, showing the invention in use at a later stage in the flush cycle.[0012]
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
  • The present invention is implemented in several preferred embodiments, which are discussed below as illustrative examples. This description is provided for purposes of understanding the invention and is not meant to be limiting. [0013]
  • Referring now to FIG. 1, there is shown a perspective view of a preferred embodiment [0014] 100 of the present invention in which a material container 110 is inserted into a rim holder 120. Further details of this embodiment can be seen with reference to FIG. 2, which is an exploded perspective view of the assembly illustrated in FIG. 1. As will be appreciated by those of skill in the art, in certain embodiments the entire assembly 100 will be sold as a disposable assembly, while in other embodiments, the material container 110 will be sold independently for replacement in an existing rim holder 120. As will be further understood by those of skill in the art, the rim holder 120 may be made of any of a number of materials, primarily molded polymers, however, alternative materials include metals, fiber composite materials and ceramics. Similarly, the material container 110 may be formed from a molded polymer, glass or ceramic or other material. The choice will take into consideration the nature of the liquid being held inside and chosen so as to minimize degradation of the nature of the liquid, e.g., the preservation of fragrance strength, cleansing and disinfectant power, and color stability. The material container can be divided into a plurality of chambers if desired so that multiple materials can be provided. This is desirable if the materials to be dispensed are not compatible, which not uncommon when a bleach material is used.
  • The material container [0015] 110 provides a housing for at least one material “M” that is to be admitted to the water that is to remain in a toilet bowl. The material may include a cleaner, a disinfectant, a fragrance or a colorant, or any combination of such materials, all of which are well known, either alone or in various combinations. Additionally, the material may be provided in solid, gel, particle, liquid or any combination of forms so long as the material in the material housing 110 is water-soluble. It should be noted that although the discussions herein relate to toilets that use water, it should be understood that the concepts of the present invention have equal applicability to “chemical” toilets that use a medium other than water. When flushed, such embodiments will provide the same mechanism of action as described below, except that the toilet bowl is not filled with water, and the material “M” will be soluble in whatever chemical flushing agent the toilet uses.
  • An elevation cross-sectional view of an apparatus made in accordance with the present invention affixed to a toilet bowl is shown in FIG. 3. As illustrated, a hanger portion [0016] 122 of the rim holder 120 extends over and engages the rim of the toilet bowl 50 in a manner known in the art. As mentioned above, the material chosen for the hanger portion will provide sufficient strength, flexibility and resilience to accommodate this function. The geometry of the hanger 122 is chosen so that the assembly 100 is disposed below the top of the rim 52, and partially underneath the lower edge of the rim 54, as illustrated. Also shown in FIG. 3 is an approximation of the water flow in a flushed toilet, shown by the arrows. Upon flushing, water flows from the lower edge of the rim 54, and due to the construction of the rim holder 120, a portion of this flow is captured in the vessel section 124 of the rim holder 120.
  • Referring to FIG. 4, there is illustrated a view similar to that of FIG. 3, the primary difference being that the water flow from the flushing action of the toilet has substantially filled the vessel section [0017] 124. In other words, the view of FIG. 4 is at a later time in the flushing cycle than the view shown in FIG. 3. At this point, the water level “L” has risen so that material “M” held in the material container 110 is now mixed with the water in the vessel section 124, and this mixture is released into the toilet bowl from a lower aperture 126, as shown by the arrow in FIG. 4. In a preferred embodiment, the size and structure of the vessel section will be designed to create a mixture of material and fresh water that is sufficient for the intended purpose, whether cleansing, fragrance, deodorizing, disinfecting, color, or any combination of these functions.
  • Also shown in FIG. 4 is the material dispenser [0018] 128, which causes the material “M” to be mixed with the water in the vessel section 124. The material dispenser 128 can be a simple wick or tube, a section of permeable material, such as a sponge or foam, in such embodiments, when the water captured in the vessel section 124 rises to a predetermined level, the material “M” is in contact with the water and fills the vessel section with a solution of water and the material. Alternatively, in certain preferred embodiments the material dispenser 128 is a somewhat more complex mechanism, e.g., a valve with a float actuation such that the valve opens when the level within the vessel section 124 rises to a sufficient level. The material dispenser 128 may be part of the material container 110, part of the rim holder 120, or a separate component that cooperates with of the main components. In any embodiment, the function required is that the material “M” is admitted into and mixed with the water only upon a sufficient level “L” in the vessel section 124, that in turn correlates to a predetermined time into the flush cycle. As a result, as explained above, since the aperture 126 is designed to permit liquid to escape at a slower rate than it is admitted, the filled vessel section 124 will continue to be drained after the flush cycle is complete, and as a result, the solution of water and material “M” will be introduced into the bowl at a higher concentration with substantially less waste and greater effectiveness than found in prior art designs.
  • In accordance with the present invention, the device [0019] 100 described above enables a material, for one example a fragrance liquid, to be dispensed into a toilet bowl 50 both during and after the flushing cycle. In this aspect the present invention provides a significant improvement over the prior art in that previously treated liquid was flushed away since it was created either before or during the flush cycle, in some instances resulting in the majority of the liquid being flushed out of the bowl. On the other hand, a device made in accordance with the present invention will provide a system wherein the material, whether a cleaner, disinfectant, colorant, fragrance, etc. remains substantially in the water remaining in the toilet bowl after the flush cycle has ended.
  • As noted above various surfactant materials can be used in the present invention. Representative surfactants include alkylaryl sulfonates, amine oxides, betaines, block copolymers, ethoxylated alcohols such as Neoldol 23 available from Shell Chemical Company, alkylphenol ethoxylates, ethoxylated fatty acids, fluorosurfactants, imididazolines and derivatives, quaternary amines, linear alkyl sulfonates, sulfosuccinates and alkyl polyglycosides as set forth in U.S. Pat. Nos., 3,970,596, 4,861,511 and 5,256,328 herein incorporated by reference. [0020]
  • Disinfectant materials used in the invention include alkyl dimethyl ammonium chloride, and orthophenylphenol. A bacteriostatic such as 5-chloro-2-(2,4-dichloro-phenoxy)phenol as described in U.S. Pat. No. 3,897,357 and hereby incorporated by reference, is appropriate for use in toilet bowl cleanser applications. [0021]
  • Suitable thickening agents used in this field include fumed silica, methyl cellulose derivatives, clays, polyacrylic acid, xantham gums, polysaccharides and magnesium silicate. [0022]
  • Chelating agents suitable for use in the invention include tetrasodium EDTA. [0023]
  • Fragrance materials used in the invention include any material which is compatible with the other components in the composition and which imparts a pleasing asethically appealing fragrance to the composition. When fragrance materials are used they are used in amounts up to about 15 weight percent, preferably from about 0.5 to 10 and most preferably from about 1 to about 5 weight percent based on the total weight of the composition. Suitable fragrances include but are not limited to fruits such as almond, apple, cherry, grape, pear, pineapple, orange, strawberry, raspberry; musk, flower scents such as lavender-like, rose-like, iris-like, and carnation-like. Other pleasant scents include herbal and woodland scents derived from pine, spruce and other forest smells. Fragrances may also be derived from various oils, such as essential oils, or from plant materials such as peppermint, spearmint and the like. [0024]
  • A list of suitable fragrances is provided in U.S. Pat. No. 4,534,891, the contents of which are incorporated by reference as if set forth in its entirety. Another source of suitable fragrances is found in [0025] Perfumes, Cosmetics and Soaps, Second Edition, edited by W. A. Poucher, 1959. Among the fragrances provided in this treatise are acacia, cassie, chypre, cyclamen, fern, gardenia, hawthorn, heliotrope, honeysuckle, hyacinth, jasmine, lilac, lily, magnolia, mimosa, narcissus, freshly-cut hay, orange blossom, orchid, reseda, sweet pea, trefle, tuberose, vanilla, violet, wallflower, and the like.
  • Upon review of the foregoing, numerous adaptations, modifications, and alterations will occur to the reviewer. These will all be, however, within the spirit of the present invention. Accordingly, reference should be made to the appended claims in order to ascertain the true scope of the present invention. [0026]

Claims (18)

What is claimed is:
1. Apparatus for introducing material into a toilet bowl comprising:
a rim holder positioned within the toilet bowl;
a material container filled with a material; and
a material dispenser connecting the rim holder and a vessel section of the material
container, wherein the vessel section comprises walls and a lower aperture open
to the toilet bowl,
whereby the initiation of a flush cycle fills the vessel section to a predetermined level causing the material to be dispensed into the vessel section.
2. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the rim holder and vessel section are integral.
3. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the rim holder further comprises a hanger.
4. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the rim holder is molded from a plastic material.
5. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the material container is molded from a plastic material.
6. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the material comprises at least one liquid component.
7. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the material comprises at least one material selected from the group comprising a fragrance, a disinfectant, a coloring agent, and a cleaner.
8. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the material dispenser is a wick.
9. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the material dispenser is a valve.
10. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the material dispenser is integral with the material container.
11. A method of adding a material to a toilet bowl, comprising the steps of:
positioning a rim holder with the toilet bowl;
positioning a material container in fluid communication with the rim holder;
diverting a portion of flush water entering the toilet bowl into a vessel section;
mixing the material with the water in the vessel section; and
flowing a mixture including the material into the toilet bowl via a lower aperture in the vessel section after an initial volume of flush water has exited the toilet bowl.
12. The method of claim 11, wherein the step of mixing comprises sensing a predetermined level within the vessel section.
13. The method of claim 12, wherein the step of mixing comprises opening a valve.
14. The method of claim 11, further comprising the step of metering the flow through the lower aperture so that substantially all the liquid within the vessel section is dispensed into the bowl after a flush cycle is substantially competed.
15. The method of claim 1, wherein the material added is at least one material selected from the group comprising a fragrance, a disinfectant, a coloring agent, and a cleaner.
16. Apparatus for dispensing a material into a toilet bowl comprising a rim holder having a hanger portion that engages the toilet bowl, a vessel section that holds a volume of flush water, and a lower aperture that drains the vessel section; and a material container received by the vessel section, whereby material is admitted to the vessel section after a predetermined level of flush water fills the vessel section.
17. The apparatus of claim 15, wherein the rim holder and the material container are molded from plastic.
18. The apparatus of claim 15, wherein the material is at least one material selected from the group comprising a fragrance, a disinfectant, a coloring agent, and a cleaner.
US10/379,174 2003-03-04 2003-03-04 Toilet rim block holder Abandoned US20040172741A1 (en)

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US10/379,174 US20040172741A1 (en) 2003-03-04 2003-03-04 Toilet rim block holder
EP04251234A EP1455025A1 (en) 2003-03-04 2004-03-03 Toilet rim block holder
US11/093,425 US20060053538A1 (en) 2003-03-04 2005-03-30 Toilet rim block holder

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US11/093,425 Abandoned US20060053538A1 (en) 2003-03-04 2005-03-30 Toilet rim block holder

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Families Citing this family (1)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
GB0611307D0 (en) * 2006-06-08 2006-07-19 Henson Dennis R Cistern water saver

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US644915A (en) * 1898-09-17 1900-03-06 Joseph Peter Holdcroft Stand for trial-pieces for pottery-kilns.
US3897357A (en) * 1972-12-06 1975-07-29 American Home Prod Bacteriostatic toilet bowl cleaner compositions
US3970596A (en) * 1973-11-26 1976-07-20 Colgate-Palmolive Company Non-gelling alpha-olefin sulfonate liquid detergent
US4534891A (en) * 1982-11-12 1985-08-13 International Flavors & Fragrances Inc. Branched C13 -alk-1-en-5-ones and use thereof in perfumery
US4777670A (en) * 1988-01-13 1988-10-18 S. C. Johnson & Son, Inc. Under-the-rim dispensing unit
US4861511A (en) * 1987-06-26 1989-08-29 Nalco Chemical Company Toilet bowl cleaner and stain-inhibiting composition
US5256328A (en) * 1992-12-16 1993-10-26 Eastman Kodak Company Liquid toilet bowl cleaner and sanitizer containing halogen donating nanoparticles
US6192524B1 (en) * 1997-04-24 2001-02-27 Robert Black Toilet bowl cleaning and sanitizing composition and system and method of using same
US6434758B2 (en) * 1999-04-19 2002-08-20 Sara Lee/De N.V. Cleansing and freshening unit intended for suspension from a rim of a toilet bowl
US6625821B2 (en) * 2000-01-10 2003-09-30 Reckitt Benckiser France Dispenser for adding a cleaning and/or deodorizing product to a toilet bowl
US6662380B1 (en) * 2002-08-29 2003-12-16 S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc. Dual action toilet rim mounted toilet bowl cleaner

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GB2339210A (en) * 1998-07-06 2000-01-19 Reckitt & Colman France Toilet bowl dispenser with means to delay water egress
DE10025972B4 (en) * 2000-05-25 2005-03-24 Henkel Kgaa A device for dispensing a liquid active substance preparation into a toilet bowl
CA98340S (en) 2001-07-18 2003-07-16 Procter & Gamble Sanitary cleaning and air deodorising device
AU2003253516A1 (en) * 2002-07-30 2004-02-16 Afa Polytek B.V. Method and device for cleaning and/or freshening a toilet bowl

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US466583A (en) * 1892-01-05 Advertising device
US644915A (en) * 1898-09-17 1900-03-06 Joseph Peter Holdcroft Stand for trial-pieces for pottery-kilns.
US3897357A (en) * 1972-12-06 1975-07-29 American Home Prod Bacteriostatic toilet bowl cleaner compositions
US3970596A (en) * 1973-11-26 1976-07-20 Colgate-Palmolive Company Non-gelling alpha-olefin sulfonate liquid detergent
US4534891A (en) * 1982-11-12 1985-08-13 International Flavors & Fragrances Inc. Branched C13 -alk-1-en-5-ones and use thereof in perfumery
US4861511A (en) * 1987-06-26 1989-08-29 Nalco Chemical Company Toilet bowl cleaner and stain-inhibiting composition
US4777670A (en) * 1988-01-13 1988-10-18 S. C. Johnson & Son, Inc. Under-the-rim dispensing unit
US5256328A (en) * 1992-12-16 1993-10-26 Eastman Kodak Company Liquid toilet bowl cleaner and sanitizer containing halogen donating nanoparticles
US6192524B1 (en) * 1997-04-24 2001-02-27 Robert Black Toilet bowl cleaning and sanitizing composition and system and method of using same
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US6434758B2 (en) * 1999-04-19 2002-08-20 Sara Lee/De N.V. Cleansing and freshening unit intended for suspension from a rim of a toilet bowl
US6625821B2 (en) * 2000-01-10 2003-09-30 Reckitt Benckiser France Dispenser for adding a cleaning and/or deodorizing product to a toilet bowl
US6662380B1 (en) * 2002-08-29 2003-12-16 S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc. Dual action toilet rim mounted toilet bowl cleaner

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EP1455025A1 (en) 2004-09-08
US20060053538A1 (en) 2006-03-16

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AS Assignment

Owner name: INTERNATIONAL FLAVORS & FRAGRANCES INC., NEW YORK

Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:TROOST, ERIK HERMAN;REEL/FRAME:014209/0915

Effective date: 20030313