Patent application title: Dual compartment package for dispensing fluids
Lawrence Fogel (Sarasota, FL, US)
IPC8 Class: AB65D2102FI
Class name: Receptacles arrangements of plural receptacles
Publication date: 2013-05-30
Patent application number: 20130134161
The invention relates to a dual compartment package for dispensing of
fluids, the package having oppositely disposed end portions, and a
central portion, the package having a first compartment in one end
portion, and a second compartment in the other end portion, each
compartment having a proximal and distal end relative to the central
portion of the package, with an aperture positioned at the distal end of
each compartment, and one or more partitions separating the compartments
at their proximal ends. The package permits convenient storage and
dispensing of two fluid components intended for use together, for
example, condiments, or cosmetic products.
1. A package having oppositely disposed end portions, and a central
portion, the package having a first compartment in one end portion, and a
second compartment in the other end portion, each compartment having a
proximal and distal end relative to the central portion of the package,
with an aperture positioned at the distal end of each compartment, and
one or more partitions separating the compartments at their proximal
2. The package of claim 1 which is a single container comprising two compartments separated by a transverse partition in the central portion of the package.
3. The package of claim 2 in which the transverse partition is substantially flat.
4. The package of claim 2 in which the partition is integral to the container.
5. The package of claim 1 in which each aperture comprises a closure.
6. The package of claim 5 in which the closure is substantially flat.
7. The package of claim 5 in which the package can rest stably on either closure.
8. The package of claim 1 which comprises separate containers at each oppositely disposed end portion, each container having a compartment defined by a top wall at the distal end, a bottom wall at the proximal end and sidewalls, the bottom walls of each container abutting at the central portion of the package to form partitions between the compartments.
8. The package of claim 8 in which the bottom walls of each container are substantially flat.
9. The package of claim 3 in which each aperture comprises a closure.
10. The package of claim 9 in which the closure is substantially flat.
11. The package of claim 9 which is capable of resting stably on either closure.
12. A package having oppositely disposed end portions, and a central portion, the package having a first compartment in one end portion, and a second compartment in the other end portion, each compartment having a proximal and distal end relative to the central portion of the package, with an aperture positioned at the distal end of each compartment, and one or more partitions separating the compartments at their proximal ends, wherein the compartments are in separate containers, each container having a compartment defined by a top wall at the distal end, a bottom wall at the proximal end and sidewalls, the bottom walls of each container abutting at the central portion of the package to form partitions between the compartments, the containers being affixed to each other by way of one or more male protrusions on one bottom wall interlocking with one or more female recesses on the abutting bottom wall.
13. The package of claim 12 in which the containers are affixed by engagement of one or more male lugs with aligned female recesses to form an interlocking interference fit.
14. The package of claim 12 in which the containers are affixed by engagement of at least two male lugs with aligned female recesses to form an interlocking interference fit.
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
 This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/629,899, filed Nov. 30, 2011, the entire contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
 The field of the invention relates to packaging for holding and dispensing multiple fluid components. More specifically, the field of the invention relates to a package containing two fluids intended to be used together but maintained and dispensed separately.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 It is not uncommon for certain fluid commodities, such as condiments, or various cosmetic items, to be used at substantially the same time as part of their routine use. For example, oil and vinegar are commonly utilized together in preparing salads or other food items; similarly, shampoo and conditioner are typically used together during a morning shower. In the most common situation, the different items are packaged separately in individual bottles or containers. The combination of two such related products in a single package for ease of use and dispensing is a considerable improvement, and has been frequently described, for example, in U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,193,521, 5,899,936, 4,148,417 and 7,665,631. Each of these packages or dispensers provides for a unit container having dual compartments in which the fluid components are contained and separated by a wall or partition. Typically, the partition in the package is placed longitudinally, and the dual compartments are arranged side by side within the package. Each compartment will usually have a separate aperture or opening to permit individual, or if desired by the user, simultaneous, dispensing of the separate fluid components. In other known embodiments, the dual compartments are actually separately formed containers or bottles that are ultimately joined, in one manner or another, to form a single "package" having two separate but abutting compartments, each with a separate aperture. Examples of such arrangements are disclosed in, for example, U.S. Pat. Nos. 7,516,860, 5,316,159 and US published application 2001/0030191. Similarly, in these cases as well, the compartments are arranged approximately longitudinally and side by side, in the package.
 Such side-by-side or longitudinal arrangements have certain limitations. One important deficiency is that the apertures are generally also side by side, in close proximity, and in that situation, it is more difficult to ensure that the contents of the individual compartments do not mix when it is not desired to do so, and to keep the aperture of one compartment from being contaminated with the contents of the other. In addition, it is generally difficult to provide equivalent dispensing of fluid components of differing viscosities, particularly in a squeeze bottle, when such is desired (e.g., with cleansing compositions of different viscosities intended to be mixed in situ); conversely, when equivalent amounts of the fluid components are not needed (e.g., oil and vinegar), it can be problematical to differentially control the amount of each fluid component dispersed through the individual apertures without complex mechanisms for preventing simultaneous and/or equivalent dispensing of both condiments. Thus, while the dual compartment container for fluid dispensing is a significant improvement over the use of individual bottles or containers, those currently available do not provide the maximum convenience that may be desired by a user of these products.
 The present invention provides a solution to many of these problems by providing a package that allows separate, yet near simultaneous, dispensing of two fluid components from a single package, at a rate that is easily controlled by the user, and does not require the use of complicated mechanisms or manipulations to do so. The package of the invention provides two separate and independent compartments for holding fluid or flowable components, giving a maximum and continuous separation of both fluids and compartment apertures so as to avoid cross-contamination, while offering the opportunity for near simultaneous dispensing of the desired liquids, in the amounts and at the speed and timing desired, regardless of their viscosities. The package of the invention achieves these advantages by arranging the two separate compartments to abut each other along a horizontal, rather than a vertical axis of the package, and having each compartment's aperture directly opposite each other, rather than side by side as in previous dual compartment fluid containers. Thus, the present invention provides enhanced convenience of dispensing of more than one fluid component, while maintaining the ease of use, portability and storage of a single package container for such components.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES
 FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of a package of the invention comprising a single container.
 FIG. 2 shows a top plan view of the package of the invention.
 FIG. 3 shows a perspective view of a package of the invention comprising two containers.
 FIG. 4 shows a sectional view of a package of the invention comprising a single container with two compartments.
 FIG. 5 shows a sectional view of a package of the invention comprising two containers.
 FIG. 6 shows a perspective view of a package of the invention comprising dual containers, showing an exploded view of a coupling mechanism.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
 As shown in FIG. 1, the present invention provides a single container package 10 having oppositely disposed end portions 11 and 12, and a central portion 13. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1, the package is a single container with two compartments, each with a separate aperture 14 and 15 (not shown), and a cover 16 for aperture 15. Axis 4 shows the position of the section illustrated in FIG. 4. Aperture 14 is shown with its cover removed. FIG. 2 shows a top view of the cover 16 above an end portion 11. FIG. 3 illustrates a package 20 that comprises two separate containers 21 and 22, joined by a coupling 18. The package of the invention internally has two compartments for receiving fluid contents; the package has a first compartment in one end portion 11, and a second compartment in the other end portion 12, each compartment having a proximal and distal end relative to the central portion 13 of the package, with an aperture positioned at the distal end of each compartment, and one or more partitions separating the compartments at their proximal ends. FIG. 3 shows the aperture 14 without a cap. FIG. 4 illustrates a sectional view of a dual chambered single container exemplified in FIG. 1. Opposite ends 11 and 12 of the bottle are occupied by two compartments, 23 and 24, positioned abutting each other at their proximal ends 25 and 26, at the central portion 13 of the bottle. The compartments 23 and 24 are separated from each other by a single partition 27 that extends transversely across the entire central portion 13 of the bottle, thereby ensuring no possibility of mixing of the components ultimately contained in the respective compartments. Each compartment contains an aperture, 14 and 15, that is positioned on the distal ends 28 and 29 of each the compartments, and at the opposite ends of the package's vertical axis, the apertures 14 and 15 permitting access to the contents of the respective compartments. In use, each aperture 14 and 15 will be equipped with a closure 16 and 17, which retain the contents within each compartment until dispensing is desired.
 A sectional view of a two-container package is illustrated in FIG. 5. This package comprises two separate containers 32 and 33, each of which has a top wall 34 and 35, and a bottom wall 36 and 37, and sidewalls 38 and 39, defining each bottle's individual compartments 23 and 24. In a manner analogous to the single container embodiment exemplified in FIG. 3, the bottles are arranged within the package so that the bottom walls 36 and 37, of each bottle, defining the proximal ends of each compartment, abut each other at package's central portion 13, serving as the partitions between compartments, and top walls 34 and 35, defining the distal ends and 11 and 12 of each compartment, contain apertures 14 and 15, located at the opposite ends of the package's vertical axis, each aperture comprising a closure 16 and 17. In this embodiment, the two containers are fixed to each other, most typically through affixing their respective bottom walls to each other. In the simplest example, the two bottom walls may be affixed by gluing or epoxy, or joined with an adhesive-backed plastic clasp. In other examples, the bottom walls may be affixed by way of complementary male and female configurations, such as a threaded neck on one bottom wall fitting into a threaded cap on the abutting bottom wall, or one or more male protrusions on one bottom wall that interlock with one or more female recesses on the abutting bottom wall. A particularly useful type of coupling for this purpose is shown, for example, in U.S. Pat. No. 7,516,860, the contents of which are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety. In this type of coupling a male lug on one container is slidably disposed within an aligned female recess on the opposite container. As shown in FIG. 6, two separate containers are joined by coupling 18, which is based on an interlocking interference fit achieved by the registration of a contoured protrusion 41 in bottom wall 37 with a recessed portion 40 on bottom wall 36. More specifically, and as described in U.S. Pat. No. 7,516,860, by the registration of contoured upper and lower lug surfaces with a tapered inner base and top surfaces and the lug's front surface against an angular disposed interlocking surface on a recess, an interlocking interference fit is achieved.
 The mechanism for attachment of the two containers may be substantially permanent, i.e., not intended to allow separation of the containers by the user, or alternately may permit the dissociation of the two containers by the user. In the dual container embodiment, an optional separate housing 46 can be added over the joined containers so as to give the package the external appearance of being a single unit, rather than showing the two separate containers. The two containers may also or alternatively be covered with shrink wrap.
 In certain cases, where the intended flowable contents of the two compartments are of similar viscosities and are fillable under similar conditions, either the single or dual container embodiments may be used. However, in situations in which the compartments will contain components of differing viscosities, different compatibilities or different filling conditions, it may be preferred to utilize the dual container embodiment. The compartments may be the same size, but in certain cases, in which the components to be dispensed are routinely used in differing amounts (for example, oil and vinegar), or are of substantially different weights, it may be preferred to size the compartments in accordance with the relative use or weights of the intended components.
 In each embodiment, the containers may be composed of any material that is typically used for manufacturing bottles intended to hold fluid contents, and further, in consideration of the compatibility with the contents. Although glass may be used in either embodiment, in most cases, for ease of handling, or weight concerns, the bottle will be made of a plastic material, for example, polyvinyl, polycarbonate, polyethylene or polyester materials; in certain embodiments, a flexible plastic is preferred, particularly in the single container embodiment, so as to render the package squeezable, and enhancing the ease of dispensing the fluid contents. In those embodiments in which a plastic material is used for the container, the preferred plastics are polyethylene or polypropylene, and in the two-container embodiment, the two containers may be made of different materials, selected, for example, for a specific compatibility with the respective contents. Plastic containers can be manufactured by any means typically used for such purpose, and the method of manufacture is not critical to the invention. However, injection blow molding is particularly useful in the manufacture of the single container embodiment with an integrated horizontal separation between the two compartments. The horizontal separation between the two compartments is preferably substantially flat. In the alternate, two-container embodiment, the bottom walls of each container will also be substantially flat, but for any attachment means that may be incorporated into the bottom walls to allow the joining of the two containers.
 The apertures of each compartment may be the same or different, the size and shape being chosen depending on the viscosity and/or the chosen mode of dispensing of the fluid component from the package. Each aperture will be fitted with a closure to retain the contents within the compartments when not in use. In certain embodiments, the portion of the package surrounding the aperture will be threaded to receive a screw-on cap closure, which may be used as such, i.e., screwed on or off for dispensing, or which may further comprise a flip-top feature for additional ease of dispensing. The type of closure is not limiting, but should have a configuration such that it allows the entire package to rest stably, and directly, upon the closure when the package is stored in a vertical position. To facilitate achieving this stability, in one embodiment, each closure will be substantially flat.
 In use, the consumer dispenses the contents of one of the compartments through one aperture, closes the aperture, and then simply inverts the package, and dispenses the contents of the second compartment, thereby ensuring no cross-contamination of the respective contents of the compartments, and permitting the consumer to regulate the dispensing of the contents of each container at a level and in a timeframe that is most convenient and desirable for the particular intended purpose. The package permits the ease of having a single package containing two desired components, such as complementary condiments, but because the contents are separately dispensed, it is possible for the compartments to contain fluids of very different viscosities, since a single motion is not relied upon to dispense both components. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, at least one, and preferably both, closures covering each aperture of the package are substantially flat, so that the package may be placed down, and stored, resting on one closure of the package, which permits gravity to aid in maintaining the contents of the "lower" compartment ready to be dispensed from the aperture upon opening, a particular advantage when dealing with a high-viscosity fluid. Although not essential, it is often preferred that the opposite ends of the package, whether in the single or dual container embodiment, be substantially symmetrical, i.e., mirror images of each other, so as enhance the stability, as well as the aesthetics of the package; such symmetry provides the capacity for the package being placed or stored on either of its opposite ends without losing balance, i.e., so either end can be an "upper" or "lower" end depending on the manner in which the user sets it down.
 The package of the invention can be utilized in holding and dispensing any combination of different flowable materials that because of their frequent uses together will benefit by their combination in a single package. One category of combinations is condiments. The package can be used to hold, for example, in any appropriate combination, ketchup, mustard, relish, salsa, steak sauce, hot sauce, barbecue sauce, bean sauce, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, oyster sauce, oil, vinegar, and the like. Another category is liquids useful in drink mixing or bartending, for example, lime juice, lemon juice, orange juice, bitters, tonic water or sour mix, combined with an appropriate alcoholic beverage, such as gin, vodka or tequila. Another category which may benefit from the combination in the package of the invention is cosmetics and skin care fluids, such as, for example, combinations of shampoo and conditioner, moisturizer and anti-aging agents, exfoliating agents and sunless tanners, foundation and concealer, or makeup remover and cleanser. There are no limitations to the components that may be conveniently disposed in and dispensed from such a package. The examples provided herein are not to be construed as limiting, and other possible uses will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art.
Patent applications in class ARRANGEMENTS OF PLURAL RECEPTACLES
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