IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
TEKNI-PLEX, INC. and TRI-SEAL
HOLDINGS, INC.
Plaintiffs
v.
R. MICHAEL CAIN and TAB-IT LLC
Defendants
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COMPLAINT
Civil Action No.
JURY TRIAL DEMANDED
1. Plaintiffs Tekni-Plex, Inc. and Tri-Seal Holdings, Inc. (hereinafter collectively
"plaintiff') bring this action seeking a declaration, orders and award of monetary damages and
injunctive relief against defendants in order to, inter alia, halt defendants' misrepresentations
regarding ownership of plaintiff's proprietary technology and to correct inventorship of and
award ownership to plaintiff of U.S. Patent No. 8,348,082 ("the ' 082 patent," attached as Exhibit
A) and all U.S. and foreign counterpart applications and patents thereto (hereinafter collectively
"the Patents").
PARTIES
2. Tekni-Plex, Inc. is a Delaware corporation having a place of business in King of
Prussia, Pennsylvania. Tri-Seal Holdings, Inc. , a Delaware corporation and wholly owned
subsidiary ofplaintiffTekni-Plex, Inc. , is doing business in this District.
3. Defendant Tab-IT, LLC is, and at all relevant times has been, a limited liability
company organized and existing under the laws of Pennsylvania having its principal place of
business in Mountville, Pennsylvania and conducting business generally in this District.
4. Defendant R. Michael Cain ("Cain") is an individual who, at all relevant times,
has been residing and doing business in this District. On information and belief, Cain formed,
organized and has, at all relevant times, been an officer and managing agent of defendant Tab-IT,
LLC. Cain is the sole named inventor of the '082 patent and the Patents generally.
JURISDICTION AND VENUE
5. This is an action, inter alia, for Declaratory Judgment arising under 28 U.S.C.
§§ 2201, 2202 and 35 U.S.C. § 256 et seq., violation of the Lanham Act 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a) et
seq., violation ofthe Pennsylvania Uniform Trade Secrets Act, 12 Pa.C.S. §§ 5301, 5302 et seq.,
breach of contract, common law conversion and unfair competition
6. Jurisdiction and venue are proper in this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331,
1338 and 1391.
FACTS
7. Plaintiff incorporates by reference each allegation contained in the paragraphs
above as though fully set forth herein.
8. Plaintiff, through one or more of its regular and full-time employees, including
Patrick Santo Moschitto, originally conceived, designed, developed and reduced to practice a
new, confidential and proprietary product design, structure and configuration comprising a pull
tab innerseal and a method of manufacture therefor (hereinafter collectively "plaintiffs
proprietary innerseal technology"). Substantially all of the details of and for the design,
structure, composition and method of manufacture of plaintiffs proprietary innerseal technology
are described and claimed in the Patents including the '082 patent.
2
9. At and during the time that plaintiffs proprietary innerseal technology was
conceived, developed and reduced to practice, Cain was a full-time, regular employee of plaintiff
and working with the design-and-development team, from whom Cain learned about said
technology together with plaintiffs confidential internal electronic and paper records.
10. While Cain was employed by plaintiff, one of Cain' s duties was to work on the
project to develop plaintiffs proprietary innerseal technology, which Cain knew was confidential
and proprietary to plaintiff.
11. At all relevant times, plaintiff required all employees involved with the
proprietary innerseal technology to agree to maintain said technology in confidence and to assign
any rights arising out of inventorship therein to plaintiff.
12. At all relevant times, Cain knew that plaintiffs proprietary innerseal technology
was confidential information proprietary to plaintiff and was not to be disclosed to or used by
any third party including Cain without authorization from plaintiff.
13. In knowing violation of his obligations to plaintiff, Cain applied for the Patents
including the ' 082 patent in his own name as the purported sole inventor of an alleged
invention(s) that is comprised of plaintiffs proprietary innerseal technology.
14. In knowing violation of his obligations to plaintiff, Cain caused the Patents
including the ' 082 patent to be applied for and issued naming himself as the sole inventor and
further purporting to assign exclusive ownership of the Patents, including the ' 082 patent, to
Tab-IT, LLC.
15. On information and belief, Cain formed and is using defendant Tab-IT, LLC as a
vehicle for attempting to commercially exploit the Patents and the subject matter thereof
including plaintiffs proprietary innerseal technology without authorization from plaintiff. In
3
furtherance of such attempted commercialization, Cain, alone or in conjunction with Tab-IT,
LLC, has been and is misrepresenting to third parties and the public generally that Cain is the
sole inventor of the subject matter of the Patents and that either Cain or Tab-IT, LLC is the
owner of all intellectual property rights thereto.
16. On information and belief, Cain and Tab-IT, LLC have attempted or are
attempting to commercially exploit the Patents and the subject matter thereof by misrepresenting
to third parties and the public generally that Cain or Tab-IT, LLC own exclusive rights to the
Patents and offering rights of license to the Patents to third parties without authorization from
plaintiff.
17. On information and belief, Cain and Tab-IT, LLC have attempted or are
attempting to sell or assign the Patents including the '082 patent to third parties by
misrepresenting to third parties and the public generally that Cain or Tab-IT, LLC own exclusive
rights to the Patents including the '082 patent.
18. On information and belief, Cain and Tab-IT, LLC are making, using, selling or
offering for sale, or assisting third parties in so doing, a product or process comprised of
plaintiffs proprietary innerseal technology and a product or process disclosed in or claimed by
the Patents including the '082 patent without authorization from plaintiff.
COUNT I
(35 U.S.C. §256, Declaratory Judgment Correcting lnventorship of the '082 Patent, All
Other Patents, and the Subject Matter Thereof)
19. Plaintiff incorporates by reference each allegation contained in the paragraphs
above as though fully set forth herein.
4
20. This is a cause of action pursuant to 35 U.S.C. § 256 and 28 U.S.C. § 2201 , 2202
seeking an order and declaration of correction of inventorship by the Court regarding the ' 082
patent and the Patents generally. An actual controversy exists between plaintiff and defendants
regarding the inventorship of the ' 082 patent and the Patents generally.
21. Inventorship of the '082 patent and the Patents should be corrected to name
Patrick Santo Moschitto as inventor.
22. Plaintiff is entitled to an order and declaration by the Court that corrects the
inventorship ofthe '082 patent and the Patents.
COUNT II
(Declaratory Judgment Of Ownership of Or Other Rights Under the '082 Patent And the
Patents Generally)
23. Plaintiff incorporates by reference each allegation contained in the paragraphs
above as though fully set forth herein.
24. This is a cause of action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2201, 2202 seeking an order and
declaration of ownership of and other rights under the ' 082 patent and the Patents generally. An
actual controversy exists between plaintiff and defendants regarding ownership of the ' 082
patent, the Patents generally and the subject matter thereof.
25. Plaintiff is entitled to a declaration that plaintiff is the sole and exclusive owner or
is a co-owner or licensee of the rights, title and interest, in under and to the ' 082 patent and the
Patents.
26. Plaintiff is entitled to a declaration that all ofthe subject matter ofthe ' 082 patent
and the Patents generally is or was a confidential trade secret(s) owned by plaintiff, said trade
secret(s) being contained and disclosed in the ' 082 patent and the Patents generally.
5
27. To the extent that Cain might be found to have any rights in or to the ' 082 patent
or the Patents, plaintiff is entitled to a declaration that Cain has assigned all such rights to
plaintiff or, in the alternative, that plaintiff owns a shop right or perpetual non-exclusive license
under the ' 082 patent and the Patents.
COUNT III
(15 U.S.C. § 1125(a), Unfair Competition And Misrepresentation As To The Nature, Kind
Or Quality of Goods and Intellectual Property Rights Therein)
28. Plaintiff incorporates by reference each allegation contained in the paragraphs
above as though fully set forth herein.
29. This is a cause of action for unfair competition arising out of defendants'
misrepresentation to third parties, including prospective customers and direct competitors of
plaintiff, that Cain is the inventor of the ' 082 patent and the Patents, that Cain or Tab-IT, LLC
have the right to license or assign rights under or ownership of the '082 patent and the Patents,
and that Cain or Tab-IT, LLC have the right to make, use, sell or offer for sale products that
embody the subject matter ofthe ' 082 patent and the Patents.
30. Such misrepresentations constitute a false and misleading misrepresentation as to
the nature, kind and quality of plaintiffs and defendants' products.
31. Defendants' aforesaid misrepresentations are and have been willful and knowing
and constitute unfair competition under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a).
32. Defendants have made misrepresentations to prospective customers or direct
competitors of plaintiff in the market for commercialization of innerseal products and thereby
have caused, are causing and will continue to cause plaintiff to suffer immediate irreparable
harm and monetary damages.
6
COUNT IV
(Trade Secrets Infringement, 12 Pa.C.S. §§ 5301, 5302 et seq.)
3 3. Plaintiff incorporates by reference each allegation contained in the paragraphs
above as though fully set forth herein.
34. This is a cause of action for infringement of trade secrets pursuant to 12 Pa.C.S.
§§ 5301, 5302 et seq.
35. The subject matter disclosed and claimed in the Patents was developed by Patrick
Santo Moschitto on the premises of and utilizing the resources of plaintiffs development
facilities. At all relevant times, said development was conducted under conditions of
confidentiality required by plaintiff of all employees working on plaintiffs regular business and
product development, including plaintiffs proprietary innerseal technology.
36. Defendants wrongfully usurped plaintiffs proprietary innerseal technology and
caused the subject matter thereof to be disclosed to the public without authorization from
plaintiff.
3 7. Defendants' aforesaid unlawful conduct constitutes a theft of trade secrets in
violation of the Pennsylvania Uniform Trade Secrets Act, 12 Pa.C.S. §§ 5301 , 5302 et seq.
38. Defendants' aforesaid theft of trade secrets was willful and knowing.
39. Plaintiff has suffered immediate irreparable harm and monetary damages and will
continue to suffer such irreparable harm and damages as a result of Defendants' aforesaid
unlawful activities.
7
COUNTV
(Common Law Fraud)
40. Plaintiff incorporates by reference each allegation contained in the paragraphs
above as though fully set forth herein.
41. This is a cause of action for common law fraud. Cain clandestinely usurped
plaintiffs trade secrets and purposely failed to advise plaintiff of his theft. Cain further
purposely failed to advise plaintiff that Cain was applying for patents that would publicly
disclose plaintiffs trade secrets. Cain further contacted plaintiff and proactively misrepresented
that Cain owned intellectual property rights in a new product design that Cain allegedly had
developed on his own.
42. On account of Cain' s misrepresentations and clandestine failures to disclose,
plaintiff was unable to take proactive steps to prevent the wrongful public disclosure of
plaintiffs trade secrets.
43. Defendants' aforesaid unlawful conduct constitutes a fraud under the common
law of Pennsylvania.
44. Defendants' aforesaid unlawful conduct is and has been willful and knowing.
45. Plaintiffhas suffered immediate irreparable harm and monetary damages and will
continue to suffer such irreparable harm and damages as a result of Defendants' aforesaid
unlawful activities.
8
COUNT VI
(Breach of Contract)
46. Plaintiff incorporates by reference each allegation contained in the paragraphs
above as though fully set forth herein.
47. This is a cause of action for breach of contract.
48. Upon his employment with plaintiff, Cain executed plaintiffs standard form
employment contract containing the following terms, among others:
Employee shall promptly disclose and assign to Employer all of Employee 's right,
title and interest in and to any and all of Employee 's ideas, inventions,
discoveries or creations which are or may become legally protectable or
recognized improvements thereto, including but not limited to designs, computer
programs, algorithms, methods, manufacturing techniques, writing, processes,
formulas, illustrations, pictures and other works of authorship, illustrations and
pictures which Employee, solely or jointly, has or may in the future have,
conceived become acquainted with, made or reduced to practice or developed in
whole or in part on Employer time or as a result oj in relation to or in connection
with Employee 's employment with Employer.
49. Cain was bound by an agreement and obligation during and after the term of his
employment with plaintiff to maintain confidential and not disclose to any third party or to use
for his own benefit any information that Cain learned about the development of new products on
or at plaintiffs facilities, including plaintiffs proprietary innerseal technology. Cain is and was
further bound by an agreement to disclose and assign to plaintiff any concepts, developments and
inventions he might have developed as an inventor or co-inventor regarding any product
developed on behalf of or at the facilities of plaintiff including plaintiffs proprietary innerseal
technology.
50. Cain's aforesaid unlawful conduct constitutes a breach of contract under the
common law of Pennsylvania.
51. Cain's aforesaid unlawful conduct is and has been willful and knowing.
9
52. Plaintiff has suffered immediate irreparable harm and monetary damages and will
continue to suffer such irreparable harm and damages as a result of Cain' s aforesaid unlawful
activities.
COUNT VII
(Common Law Conversion of Trade Secrets)
53. Plaintiff incorporates by reference each allegation contained in the paragraphs
above as though fully set forth herein.
54. This is a cause of action for conversion of trade secrets under the common law of
Pennsylvania.
55. Defendants' aforesaid unlawful conduct is and has been willful and knowing.
56. Plaintiff has suffered immediate irreparable harm and monetary damages and will
continue to suffer such irreparable harm and damages as a result of Defendants' aforesaid
unlawful activities.
COUNT VIII
(Common Law Unfair Competition)
57. Plaintiff incorporates by reference each and every allegation contained in the
paragraphs above as though fully set forth herein.
58. This is a cause of action for unfair competition under the common law of
Pennsy 1 vania.
10
59. Through the use of misrepresentations, omissions, deceptive selling practices and
other means, defendants have traded upon and misappropriated for their own benefit plaintiffs
business reputation and good will.
60. Defendants' aforesaid unlawful conduct is and has been willful and knowing.
61. Plaintiff has suffered immediate irreparable harm and monetary damages and will
continue to suffer such irreparable harm and damages as a result of Defendants' aforesaid
unlawful activities.
EXCEPTIONAL CASE
62. Because ofDefendants' willful violation of35 U.S. C § 256, this is an exceptional
case under 35 U.S.C. § 285 and Plaintiff is entitled to enhanced damages and attorney's fees
incurred in connection with prosecuting this action.
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff request that this Court enter judgment and orders:
A. Correcting inventorship of the '082 patent and the subject matter thereof.
B. Declaring that Plaintiff is the true and rightful owner, co-owner or royalty free
licensee of and under the '082 patent and the Patents generally.
C. Preliminarily and permanently enjoining and restraining Defendants and all those
in active concert or privity with them from committing further violations of the
law as stated above.
D. Awarding Plaintiff monetary damages in an amount to be proven at trial.
E. Declaring that this is an exceptional case and awarding Plaintiff its reasonable
attorneys' fees and costs pursuant to 35 U.S. C. §285 and otherwise.
11
F. Granting Plaintiff such other and further relief as the Court deems just and proper.
PLAINTIFF HEREBY DEMANDS A TRIAL BY JURY.
Dated: August 5, 2013
Respectfully submitted,
~ G - { _ _ ~ ~
Bruce J. Chasan (PAID No. 29227)
LAW OFFICES OF BRUCE J. CHASAN LLC
1500 J.F.K. Boulevard
Two Penn Center, Suite 200
Philadelphia, P A 191 02
Tel : 215-567-4400
bjchasan@brucechasanlaw.com
12
Exhibit "A"
c12) United States Patent
Cain
(54) PULL-TAB SEALING MEMBER
(75) Inventor: R. Michael Cain, Lancaster, PA (US)
(73) Assignee: Tab It LLC, Mountville, PA (US)
( *) Notice: Subject to any disclaimer, the term of this
patent is extended or adjusted under 35
U.S.C. 154(b) by 157 days .
(21) Appl. No.: 12/863,240
(22) PCTFiled: Jan.19,2009
(86) PCTNo.: PCT/US2009/031385
§ 371 (c)(l),
(2), ( 4) Date: Dec. 7, 2010
(87) PCT Pub. No.: W02009/092066
PCT Pub. Date: Jul. 23, 2009
(65) Prior Publication Data
US 2011/0100989 Al May 5, 2011
Related U.S. Application Data
(60) Provisional application No. 61/022,046, filed on Jan.
18,2008.
(51) Int. Cl.
B65D 17134 (2006.01)
(52) U.S. Cl . ...................... 220/359.2; 220/270; 215/232
(58) Field of Classification Search .... ...... ........ 220/270,
220/359.2, 359.3; 215/232, DIG. 2
See application file for complete search history.
(56) References Cited
U.S. PATENT DOCUMENTS
4,961 ,986 A
5,433,992 A
10/ 1990 Gaida et al .
7/ 1995 Gaida et al.
111111 1111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111
US008348082B2
(10) Patent No.: US 8,348,082 B2
Jan.8, 2013 (45) Date of Patent:
6,461,714 B1 + 10/2002 Giles ......... .................. 428/126
2001/0023870 AI+ 9/2001 Mihalov et al ............. 220/359.3
2006/0068163 AI 3/2006 Giles
FOREIGN PATENT DOCUMENTS
JP 02005093544 A + 412005
wo 9325375 12/1993
WO 2006108853 AI 10/2006
* cited by examiner
Primary Examiner - J. Gregory Pickett
Assistant Examiner - Mollie Llewellyn
(74) Attorney, Agent, or Firm - The Webb Law Firm
(57) ABSTRACT
A pull-tab sealing member includes a bottom laminate sheet,
a top laminate sheet, and a tube portion. The bottom laminate
sheet includes a support layer having a bottom surface facing
the container and a top surface on the opposite side thereof, a
lower polymer layer disposed on the bottom surface of the
support layer, and an adhesive coating formed on a bottom
surface of the lower polymer layer for securing the bottom
laminate sheet to the container. The top laminate sheet
includes a polymer support having a bottom surface and a top
surface and an adhesive layer disposed on the bottom surface
of the polymer support layer. The tube portion includes a
polymer tubed layer secured to a portion of the top surface of
the support layer of the bottom laminate sheet and a tubed tab
portion formed integrally with the polymer tubed layer and
secured to a portion of the adhesive layer of the top laminate
sheet. The support layer of the bottom laminate sheet is
secured to the adhesive layer of the top laminate sheet by a
remaining portion of the adhesive layer and the polymer
support layer, the tubed tab por:tion, and the portion of the
adhesive layer therebetween form a tab portion.
23 Claims, 4 Drawing Sheets
U.S. Patent Jan.8,2013 Sheet 1 of 4
100
/,---160
~ - -
FIG.J
PRIOR ART
FIG.2
PRIOR ART
US 8,348,082 B2
U.S. Patent Jan.8,2013 Sheet 2 of 4 US 8,348,082 B2
303 350
3 0 0 ~ ,----3/'.--04 __ --..
302
301
340
FIG.3
330
FIG.4
U.S. Patent Jan.8,2013 Sheet 3 of 4
FIG.5
700
~
740
FIG.7
US 8,348,082 B2
310'
320'
340'
730o
701
)
U.S. Patent Jan.8,2013 Sheet 4 of 4 US 8,348,082 B2
US 8,348,082 B2
1
PULL-TAB SEALING MEMBER
CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED
APPLICATIONS
5
2
Accorcling]y, a need exists for an improved container seal
which overcomes the above-described drawbacks and pro-
vides advantages compared to conventional container seals.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The present invention is directed to a pull -tab sealing mem-
ber configured to be secured to a lip around an opening of a
container. The pull-tab sealing member includes a bottom
This application claims benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent
Application No. 611022,046 entitled "Pull-Tab Sealing Mem-
ber" filed Jan. 18, 2008, which is hereby incorporated by
reference in its entirety.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
10
laminate sheet, a top laminate sheet, and a tube portion. The
bottom laminate sheet includes a support layer having a bot-
tom surface facing the container and a top surface on the
opposite side thereof; a lower polymer layer disposed on the
The present invention relates, in general, to a sealing mem-
ber or closure for a container and, more particularly, to a·
sealing member that includes a tab to facilitate removal of the
sealing member.
2. Description of Related Art
15
bottom surface of the support layer and an adhesive coating
formed on a bottom surface of the lower polymer layer for
securing the bottom laminate sheet to the container. The top
laminate sheet includes a polymer support having a bottom
surface and a top surface and an adhesive layer disposed on
It is often desirable to seal a bottle, jar or other container
with a closure to maintain freshness of the contents thereof or
to indicate whether the conta.iner has been tampered with.
However, it is also desirable that the closure be easy to remove
20
the bottom surface of the polymer support layer. The tube
portion includes a polymer tubed layer secured to a portion of
the top surface of the support layer of the bottom laminate
sheet and a tubed tab portion formed integrally with the
by the user. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,433,992 to GaJda et
al. describes a top-tabbed closure for a container which has a 25
membrane for sealing the container and a sheet which is
bonded to the top of the membrane, in a manner which leaves
a tab portion of the sheet free. A user seeking to gain access to
the contents of the container simply grips the tab with their
fingers and by pulling on the tab, which is connected to the 30
sheet, can remove the entire closure and access the contents of
the container in a relatively convenient manner.
Referring generally to FIG. 1, a conventional top-tabbed
closure is shown generally at the top of a bottle 10 as container
35
seal100. A cross-sectional view ofseal100, taken along line
2-2 ofFIG. 1, which is not drawn to scale, is shown in FIG. 2.
Seal100 includes a lower section 101, comprising a lower
layer 110 which is formed of an adhesive, such as a hot melt
adhesive or other sealants, for securing seal1 00 to the top of
40
bottle 10. Lower section 101 also includes a foillayer120 and
a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) layer 130 between foil
layer 120 and lower layer 110. Seal100 also includes an upper
section 102 which includes an ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA)
layer 170 having a PET top layer 180 disposed thereon. A 45
bottom surface 150 of EVA layer 170 is surface treated and
bonded to foil layer 120. Bottom surface 150 also bonds a
paper release layer 140 to EVA layer 170. Thus, release layer
140 prevents EVA layer 170 from being completely bonded to
foil layer 120 at lower surface 150. Bottom surface 150 only 50
bonds EVA layer 170 to foil layer 120 up to a boundary line
160 so as to permit a tab portion 200 to be graspable. How-
ever, this bond between upper section 102 and lower section
101 is strong enough, so that pulling tab portion 200 can
remove all of seal100 in one piece.
55
Conventional container seals can exhibit disadvantages.
For example, a paper release or information layer can be
sensitive to exposure to moisture. Additionally, the use of
PET release layers alone does not provide a fully satisfactory
60
seal. Corrosion offoillayers can also present a problem. Also,
conventional closures typically require containers to have
smooth surfaces to insure proper bonding and release.
Uneven heating during heat sealing steps has also occurred.
Many closures will not separate from the container satisfac- 65
torily when the tab is pulled, and tearing and unsatisfactorily
incomplete removal has occurred.
polymer tubed layer and secured to a portion of the adhesive
layer of the top laminate sheet. The support layer of the
bottom laminate sheet is secured to the adhesive layer of the
top laminate sheet by a remaining portion of the adhesive
layer; and the polymer support layer, the tubed tab portion,
and the portion of the adhesive layer therebetween form a tab
portion.
A portion of the bottom laminate sheet may be secured to a
portion of the top laminate sheet in a sufficiently strong man-
ner, such that when the adhesive coating at the bottom surface
of the lower polymer layer of the bottom laminate sheet is
secured to the container, the bottom laminate sheet is
removed by pulling on the tab portion.
The support layer may be formed from a metal foil. The
lower polymer layer may be formed from PET, nylon, poly-
ethylene naphthalate (PEN), polypropylene, or any combina-
tion thereof. The adhesive coating may be heat-activated. The
polymer support may be formed from PET, PEN, nylon, or
any combination thereof. The adhesive layer may be one of a
polyester coating, ethylene vinyl acetate, an ethylene-acrylic
acid copolymer, and surlyn. The tube portion may be formed
from PET. The tube portion may have words, symbols, logos,
or any combination thereof printed thereon.
The present invention is also clirected to a container sealed
with a pull-tab sealing member secured to a lip around an
opening of the container. The pull-tab sealing member
includes a bottom laminate sheet, a top laminate sheet, and a
tube portion. The bottom laminate sheet includes a support
layer having a bottom surface facing the container and a top
surface on the opposite side thereof, a lower polymer layer
disposed on the bottom surface of the support layer, and an
adhesive coating formed on a bottom surface of the lower
polymer layer for securing the bottom laminate sheet to the
container. The top laminate sheet includes a polymer support
having a bottom surface and a top surface and an adhesive
layer disposed on the bottom surface of the polymer support
layer. The tube portion includes a polymer tubed layer
secured to a portion of the top surface of the support layer of
the bottom laminate sheet and a tubed tab portion formed
integrally with the polymer tubed layer and secured to a
portion of the adhesive layer of the top laminate sheet. The
support layer of the bottom laminate sheet is secured to the
adhesive layer of the top laminate sheet by a remaining por-
US 8,348,082 B2
3
tion of the adhesive layer, and the polymer support layer, the
tubed tab portion, and the portion of the adhesive layer ther-
ebetween form a tab portion.
The present invention is also a pull-tab sealing member
configured to be secured to a lip around an opening of a
container. The pull-tab sealing member includes a bottom
laminate sheet and a tube member. The bottom laminate sheet
includes: a support layer having a bottom surface facing the
container and a top surface on the opposite side thereof; a
lower polymer layer disposed on the bottom surface of the
support layer; and an adhesive coating formed on a bottom
surface of the lower polymer layer for securing the bottom
laminate sheet to the container. The tube member includes: a
10
4
Seal 300 is constructed from a bottom laminate sheet 301
and a top laminate sheet 302. Bottom sheet 301 includes a
support layer 310 having a lower polymer layer 320 on the
underside thereof and a polymer tubed layer 330a on a portion
of the top surface thereof. Support layer 310 may be formed
of a moisture proof material such as aluminum foil or any
other suitable metal foil. Support layer 310 may be about
0.0005 to 0.0020 inches thick.
Lower polymer layer 320 may be formed of PET or any
other suitable material , and may have a thickness ranging
polymer tubed layer secured to a portion of the top surface of
the support layer of the bottom laminate sheet; and a tubed tab 15
portion formed integrally with the polymer tubed layer. The
tubed tab portion of the tube member forms a tab portion such
that when a force is applied to the tab portion, the bottom
laminate sheet is removed from the container.
from about 0.0004 to 0.0015 inches. Other suitable materials
include nylon, PEN, and polypropylene. The bottom surface
of bottom sheet 301 is coated with a sealant or adhesive 340.
Sealant or adhesive 340 may be a heat-activated adhesive. The
type of adhesive is based in part on the characteristics of the
container. Suitable adhesives (as used herein, the term sealant
will include adhesives suitable for adhering a container seal in
accordance with the present invention to a container) include
These and other features and characteristics of the present 20
invention, as well as the methods of operation and functions
polyester coatings, ethylene vinyl acetate, polypropylene,
ethylene-acrylic acid copolymers, surlyn, and other materials
known in the industry.
of the related elements of structures and the combination of
parts and economies of manufacture, will become more
apparent upon consideration of the following description and
the appended claims with reference to the accompanying
drawings, all of which form a part of this specification,
wherein like reference numerals designate corresponding
parts in the various figures.
BRlEF DESCRlPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a conventional closure
disposed over the mouth of a bottle;
FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of the closure of FIG. 1
taken along line 2-2;
FIG. 3 is a side cross-sectional view of a seal in accordance
with the present invention;
FIG. 4 is a top plan view of a sheet used to form seals in
accordance with the present invention;
FIG. 5 is a partially exploded cross-sectional view of the
sheet of FIG. 4 taken along line 5-5;
FIG. 6 is a demonstrative perspective view of an apparatus
constructing sheets for forming container seals in accordance
with the present invention; and
FIG. 7 is a side cross-sectional view of an alternative
embodiment of the seal in accordance with the present inven-
tion.
DETAJLED DESCRlPTION OF THE PRESENT
INVENTION
Top laminate sheet 302 is formed with a polymer support
350 that includes an adhesive layer 360 on a bottom surface
25 thereof. Polymer support 350 may be formed from a strong
heat resistant sheet-like material, which can maintain its
strength at small thicknesses and which has high pull
strength. An example of such a material is PET and other
suitable materials include PEN and nylon. Adhesive layer 360
30 is advantageously formed of any industry standard thermoset
adhesive and may be from 0.0001 to 0.003 inches thick.
Top sheet302 also includes a tubed tab portion330b, which
is integral with polymer tubed layer 330a adhered to bottom
sheet 301. Tubed tab portion 330b is bonded to a portion of
35 adhesive layer 360. The remainder of adhesive layer 360 is
directly adhered to a top surface of support layer 310 of
bottom laminate sheet 301, thereby forming a joining portion
304. Integral polymer tubed layer 330a and tubed tab portion
330b are positioned such that they are folded up and away
40 from bottom sheet 301 to provide a gripping tab portion 303
for removing seal 300 from the top of the container once
dissected. A hollow boundary 305 exists at the interface
between gripping tab portion 303 and joining portion 304.
Boundary 305 extends in a straight line from edge to edge of
45 seal300. Boundary 305 is positioned at or near the middle of
seal300.
A uniform bond strength is achieved by securing a portion
of adhesive layer 360 to tubed tab portion 330b and securing
the remainder of the adhesive layer to the top surface of
50 support layer 310. This uniform bond strength prevents top
laminate sheet 302 from de-laminating from bottom laminate
sheet 301 when a user applies a force to gripping tab portion
303.
For purposes of the description hereinafter, the terms
"upper", "lower", "right", "left", "vertical", "horizontal",
"top", "bottom", "lateral", "longitudinal", and derivatives
thereof shall relate to the invention as it is oriented in the 55
drawing figures. However, it is to be understood that the
invention may assume various alternative variations, except
where expressly specified to the contrary. It is also to be
understood that the specific devices illustrated in the attached
drawings, and described in the following specification, are 60
simply exemplary embodiments of the invention.
Integral polymer tubed layer 330a and tubed tab portion
330b are comprised of PET or a similar polymer that is
extrudeable thermoplastic with heat resistance and relative
shrink-free features. It may be white colored or clear, and may
have words, symbols, logos, or the like printed thereon. The
interior surfaces of the integral polymer tubed layer 330a and
tubed tab portion 330b may include a release agent formed of
a coat of release material 371. Release material 371 may
A seal for a container constructed in accordance with the
present invention is shown generally in FIG. 3 as seal 300.
The relative thicknesses of the layers shown in FIG. 3 are not
to scale. Furthermore, the construction shown is provided for 65
purposes of illustration only, and is not intended to be con-
strued in a limiting sense.
include various known heat resistant coatings such as silicone
release coatings.
Bottom sheet 301 can be formed by adhering polymer layer
320 to support layer 310 with an adhesive. Suitable adhesives
include ethylene acrylic acid copolymers, curable two-part
urethane adhesives, and epoxy adhesives. As used herein, the
US 8,348,082 B2
5
term adhesive will include curable adhesives, heat-activated
adhesives, and thermoplastics.
6
730 is comprised of PET or a similar polymer that is extrude-
able thermoplastic with heat resistance and relative shrink-
free features. With reference to FIG. 6, an apparatus in accordance with
the present invention for forming a laminated sheet from
which seals 300 can be obtained is shown generally as appa-
ratus 600.
The following example is provided for purposes of illus-
5 tration only and is not intended to be construed in a limiting
A bottom sheet 301' including a support layer 310' with a
bottom polymer coat 320' having sealant 340' on the bottom
surface thereof is fed to a nip where a pressure roll 610 meets
a hotroll 620.A top sheet302' is also fed into the nip between 10
pressure roll 610 and hot roll 620. Top sheet 302' includes a
support film 350' and an adhesive layer 360' on support film
350'. Top sheet 302' is fed into the nip between rolls 610 and
620 such that adhesive layer 360' faces support layer 310'.
Strips of polymer tubing 330 are combined with and inserted 15
between top sheet 302' and bottom sheet 301' in a parallel
spaced arrangement. After heat from hot roll 620 joins top
sheet 302' , polymer tubing 330, and bottom sheet 301', a
laminate sheet 400 results.
sense.
A 0.7 mm aluminum foil sheet was adhered to a 0.5 mm
PET film with adhesive. A 1.5 mm sealant film was then
adhesive-laminated to the PET surface of the foil/PET lami-
nate thereby forming a bottom sheet. The top sheet was
adhered to the bottom sheet with a thermal bonding process
after strips of PET tubing were inserted therebetween. Circu-
lar seals, approximately 1.5 inches in diameter, were die cut
from the strips, with a central region of the strip of PET tubing
extending approximately down the midpoint of the circle, to
yield tabs having a base running down the middle ofthe seals
from edge to edge.
One advantageous method of attaching container seals in
accordance with the present invention to the tops of contain-
Laminate sheet 400 is shown in plan view in FIG. 4 and in
cross-section in FIG. 5. The relative size of the layers is not
shown to scale and top sheet 302' and bottom sheet 301' are
not shown in a fully laminated joined structure. Also, adhe-
sive between the layers has not been shown. However, those
20 ers is with heat activated adhesive. The adhesive can be heated
through induction heating by utilizing a metal foil support in
the bottom sheet of the seal, such as an aluminum foil support
sheet.
of ordinary skill in the art would understand how to adhere 25
these multiple layers. To form seals in accordance with the
present invention, circular (or other appropriately shaped)
portions 410 are diecutfromsheet400.As can be seen in FIG.
4, a boundary 415 is established at the center of each strip of
polymer tubing 330. When each circular portion 410 is die cut 30
from sheet 400, the strip of polymer tubing 330 is cut through
a center portion thereof (as shown by lines 505 in FIG. 5)
creating a u-shaped structure formed of polymer tubed layer
330a and tubed tab portion 330b. This u-shaped structure
thereby forms tab portion 303. The inside surface of the strips 35
of polymer tubing may be coated with a release agent 371'.
An alternative embodiment of the seal of the present inven-
tion may be constructed without top laminate sheet 302. With
reference to FIG. 7, such a seal, denoted generally as refer-
ence numeral 700, is constructed from a bottom laminate 40
sheet 701 and tube member 730. Bottom laminate sheet 701
includes a support layer 710 having a lower polymer layer 720
on the underside thereof and a polymer tubed layer 730a of
tube member 730 on a portion of the top surface thereof. As
with the embodiment shown in FIG. 3, support layer710 may 45
be formed of a moisture proof material such as aluminum foil
or any other suitable metal foil. Support layer 710 may be
about 0.0005 to 0.0020 inches thick.
Lower polymer layer 720 may be formed of PET or any
other suitable material , and may have a thickness ranging 50
from about 0.0004 to 0.0015 inches. Other suitable materials
include nylon, PEN, and polypropylene. The bottom surface
of bottom sheet 701 is coated with a sealant or adhesive 740.
Sealant or adhesive 740 may be a heat-activated adhesive. The
type of adhesive is based in part on the characteristics of the 55
container. Suitable adhesives (as used herein, the term sealant
will include adhesives suitable for adhering a container seal in
accordance with the present invention to a container) include
polyester coatings, ethylene vinyl acetate, polypropylene,
ethylene-acrylic acid copolymers, surlyn, and other materials 60
known in the industry.
Tubemember 730 further includes a tubed tab portion 730b
that is integral with polymer tubed layer 730a. Tube member
730 is positioned such that it is folded up and away from
bottom laminate sheet 701 such that tubed tap portion 730b 65
provides a gripping tab portion 703 for removing seal 700
from the top of the container once dissected. Tube member
Container seals in accordance with preferred embodiments
of the invention were found to bond well to the top surface of
a container, without the need to oversize the seal and have
portions of the seal extend beyond the top edge of the con-
tainer, providing a neater appearance. Container seals, in
accordance with the invention, were also found to provide
adequate sealing even when the top surface of the container
was not substantially smooth, such as in the case of containers
having mold lines or other imperfections on the top surface
thereof. Container seals in accordance with the invention
were also shown to exhibit substantially improved water
resistance compared to container seals in which paper is
exposed or in which a metal foil surface is either exposed or
covered with only paper. Thus, container seals in accordance
with the invention were shown to exhibit reduced corrosion
from exposure to water or juices.
Although the invention has been described in detail for the
purpose of illustration based on what is currently considered
to be the most practical and preferred embodiments, it is to be
understood that such detail is solely for that purpose and that
the invention is not limited to the disclosed embodiments, but,
on the contrary, is intended to cover modifications and
equivalent arrangements. Furthermore, it is to be understood
that the present invention contemplates that, to the extent
possible, one or more features of any embodiment can be
combined with one or more features of any other embodi-
ment.
The invention claimed is:
1. A pull-tab sealing member configured to be secured to a
lip around an opening of a container, the pull -tab sealing
member comprising:
(a) a bottom laminate sheet comprising:
a support layer having a bottom surface facing the con-
tainer and a top surface on the opposite side thereof;
a lower polymer layer disposed on the bottom surface of
the support layer; and
an adhesive coating formed on a bottom surface of the
lower polymer layer for securing the bottom laminate
sheet to the container;
(b) a top laminate sheet comprising:
a polymer support having a bottom surface and a top
surface; and
an adhesive layer disposed on the bottom surface of the
polymer support layer; and
US 8,348,082 B2
7
(c) a tube portion comprising:
a polymer tubed layer having a bottom surface directly
secured to a portion of the top surface of the support
layer of the bottom laminate sheet with an outer edge
of the bottom surface ofthepolymertubed layer meet-
ing and ending at an outer edge of the top surface of
the bottom laminate sheet; and
8
wherein the support layer of the bottom laminate sheet is
t? the adl?-esive layer of the top laminate sheet by
a rema=g portiOn of the adhesive layer and the poly-
mer support _layer, the tubed tab portion and the portion
of the adhesive layer therebetween forms a tab portion.
a tubed tab portion formed integrally with the polymer
tubed layer and secured to a portion of the adhesive
layer of the top laminate sheet,
wherein the support layer of the bottom laminate sheet is
secured to the adhesive layer of the top laminate sheet by
11. The container o_f claim 10, wherein a portion of the
bottom larrnnate sheet IS secured to a portion of the top lami-
nate sheet in a sufficiently strong manner such that when the
adhesive coating at the bottom surface of the lower polymer
layer of the bottom laminate sheet is secured to the container
10 the ?ottom laminate sheet is removed by pulling on the tab
pomon.
a remaining portion of the adhesive layer and the poly-
mer support layer, the tubed tab portion and the portion
of the adhesive layer therebetween form a tab portion. ! 5
2. The pull -tab sealing member of claim 1, wherein a
portion ofthe bottom laminate sheet is secured to a portion of
the top laminate sheet in a sufficiently strong manner such
that when the adhesive coating at the bottom surface of the
lower polymer layer of the bottom laminate sheet is secured to
20
the container, the bottom laminate sheet is removed by pull -
ing on the tab portion.
3. The pull-tab sealing member of claim 1, wherein the
support layer is formed from a metal foil.
4. The pull-tab sealing member of claim 1, wherein the
25
lower polymer layer is formed from PET, nylon, PEN,
polypropylene, or any combination thereof.
5. The pull-tab sealing member of claim 1, wherein the
adhesive coating is heat-activated.
6. The pull-tab_ sealing member of claim 1, wherein the
30
support 1s formed from PET, PEN, nylon, or any
combination thereof.
7. The pull-tab sealing member of claim 1 wherein the
adhesive layer is one of a polyester coating, ;thylene vinyl
acetate, an ethylene-acrylic acid copolymer, and surlyn.
8. The pull -tab sealing member of claim 1 wherein the tube
35
portion is formed from PET. '
9. The pull-tab sealing member of claim 1 wherein the tube
portion has words, symbols, logos, or combination
thereof printed thereon.
10. A container sealed with a pull-tab sealing member 40
secured to a lip around an opening of the container, the pull -
tab member comprising:
(a) a bottom laminate sheet comprising:
a layer having a bottom surface facing the con-
tamer and a top surfa_ce on the opposite side thereof;
45
a lower polymer layer disposed on the bottom surface of
the support layer; and
an adhesive coating formed on a bottom surface of the
lower polymer layer for securing the bottom laminate
sheet to the container;
(b) a top laminate sheet comprising:
50
12. The container of claim 10, wherein the support layer is
formed from a metal foil.
13. The container of claim 1 o·, wherein the lower polymer
layer !s fo_rmed from PET, nylon, PEN, polypropylene, or any
combmatwn thereof.
14. The container of claim 10, wherein the adhesive coat-
ing is heat-activated.
. 15. The container of claim 10, wherein the polymer support
IS formed from PET, PEN, nylon, or any combination thereof.
16. The container of claim 10, wherein the adhesive layer is
one of a coating, ethylene vinyl acetate, an ethyl-
ene-acrylic acid copolymer, and surlyn.
17. The container of claim 10, wherein the tube portion is
formed from PET.
18. The container of claim 10, wherein the tube portion has
words, symbols, logos, or any combination thereof printed
thereon.
A pull-tab sealing member configured to be secured to
a hp around an opening of a container, the pull-tab sealing
member comprising:
(a) a bottom laminate sheet comprising:
a layer having a bottom surface facing the con-
tamer and a top surface on the opposite side thereof
a lower polymer layer disposed on the bottom surface of
the support layer; and
an adhesive coating formed on a bottom surface of the
lower polymer layer for securing the bottom laminate
sheet to the container; and
(b) a tube member comprising:
a polymer tubed layer having a bottom surface directly
secured to a portion of the top surface of the support
layer of the bottom laminate sheet with an outer edge
of the bottom surface of the polymer tubed layer m
and ending at an outer edge of the top surface of the
bottom laminate sheet; and
a tubed tab portion formed integrally with the polymer
tubed layer,
wherein the tubed tab portion of the tube member forms a
tab such that when a force is applied to the tab
portlon, the bottom laminate sheet is removed from the
container.
20. The pull-tab sealing member of claim 19 wherein the
tube portion is formed from PET. '
a polymer support having a bottom surface and a top
surface; and
an adhesive layer disposed on the bottom surface of the
polymer support layer; and
(c) a tube portion comprising:
21. The pull -tab sealing member of claim 1, wherein the
bottom surface of the polymer tubed layer is in contact with
only the of the top surface of the support layer of the
55
bottom larrnnate sheet to which it is secured.
22. The container of claim 10, wherein the bottom surface
of the polymer tubed layer is in contact with only the portion
of the top surface of the support layer of the bottom laminate
sheet to which it is secured.
a polymer tubed layer having a bottom surface directly
secured to a portion of the top surface of the support
layer of the bottom laminate sheet with an outer edge
of the bottom surface of the polymer tubed layer meet-
ing and ending at an outer edge of the top surface of
60
the bottom laminate sheet; and
a tubed tab portion formed integrally with the polymer
tubed layer and secured to a portion of the adhesive
layer of the top laminate sheet,
23. The pull-tab sealing member of claim 19, wherein the
bottom surface of the polymer tubed layer is in contact with
only the of the top surface of the support layer of the
bottom larrnnate sheet to which it is secured.
* * * * *
PATENT NO.
APPLICATION NO.
DATED
INVENTOR(S)
UNITED STATES PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE
CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION
: 8,348,082 B2
: 12/863240
: January 8, 2013
: R. Michael Cain
Page 1 of 1
It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent is hereby corrected as shown below:
Column 8, Line 42, Claim 19, delete "m" and insert-- meeting--
Signed and Sealed this
Twenty-sixth Day of February, 2013
Teresa Stanek Rea
Acting Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office

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