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Title:
DURABLE CONTAINER WITH INTEGRATED PROTECTION FEATURE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/125908
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A container (100) comprises a container body (102) having a cavity for receiving a product therein, the container body having a front surface (112), back surface (120), first sidewall (116) and second sidewall (118), and a bumper (121, 124) attached to at least a first sidewall of the container body, wherein the bumper comprises a first opening extending thereinto by a predetermined depth, the bumper being configured to elastically deform to absorb external forces applied to the container.

Inventors:
DEMAREST, Scott (30 Sunnybrook Road, Basking Ridge, New Jersey 7920, 7920, US)
XOY, Oscar (100 Hiram Square, Apt. 204New Brunswick, New Jersey, 08901, US)
Application Number:
US2018/065468
Publication Date:
June 27, 2019
Filing Date:
December 13, 2018
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
COLGATE-PALMOLIVE COMPANY (300 Park Avenue, New York, New York, 10022, US)
International Classes:
B65D23/10; B65D1/40; B65D81/02
Foreign References:
US3508679A1970-04-28
FR2739610A11997-04-11
US3990596A1976-11-09
US5207338A1993-05-04
US1637719A1927-08-02
Other References:
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CHUNG, Judy W. et al. (Colgate-Palmolive Company, Patent Department909 River Roa, Piscataway New Jersey, 08854, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:

1. A container comprising: a container body having a cavity for receiving a product therein, the container body having a front surface, back surface, first sidewall and second sidewall; and a bumper attached to or integral with at least a first sidewall of the container body, wherein the bumper comprises a first opening extending thereinto by a predetermined depth, the bumper being configured to elastically deform to absorb external forces applied to the container

2. The container of claim 1, wherein the first opening extends along an axis parallel to a

longitudinal axis of the container body.

3. The container of claim 1, further comprising a second opening extending into the bumper by the predetermined depth, wherein the first opening is positioned adjacent a first sidewall of the container body and the second opening is positioned adjacent a second sidewall of the container body.

4. The container of claim 3, wherein each of the first and second openings is positioned at a

longitudinal midpoint of the container body.

5. The container of claim 3, wherein each of the first and second openings extends through the bumper and is open at first and second ends thereof.

6. The container of claim 3, wherein the first and second openings extend over at least 50% of the length of the container body

7. The container of claim 3, further comprising: a third opening extending into the bumper and positioned opposite the first opening, the third opening being axially aligned with the first opening; and a fourth opening extending into the bumper and positioned opposite the second opening, the fourth opening being axially aligned with the second opening.

8. The container of claim 7, wherein the first opening is open to the third opening and the second opening is open to the fourth opening.

9. The container of claim 8, wherein each of the first, second, third and fourth openings has a predetermined depth, said depth being less than a depth of the container, wherein said the first, second, third and fourth openings are open at respective first ends and closed at respective second ends.

10. The container of claim 7, wherein the first, second, third and fourth openings are tapered.

11. The container of claim 7, further comprising a plurality of additional openings extending into the bumper.

12. The container of claim 11, wherein said plurality of additional openings comprises a plurality of pairs of opposed openings provided adjacent one or more corners of the container.

13. The container of claim 3, wherein a sidewall of the first and second openings is curved.

14. The container of claim 3, further comprising a protrusion formed on the first and second

sidewalls adjacent the first and second openings.

15. The container of claim 1, further comprising a shipping label attached directly to one of the container body and the bumper.

16. A container, comprising: a container body having a cavity for receiving a product therein and a lid sealing an opening to said cavity, the container body having a front surface, back surface, first sidewall and second sidewall; and a protective bumper enclosing said container body, said protective bumper comprising a first opening extending thereinto by a predetermined depth, the protective bumper being configured to deform to absorb external forces applied to the container.

17. The container of claim 16, further comprising a second opening extending into the bumper by the predetermined depth, wherein the first opening is positioned adjacent the first sidewall of the container body and the second opening is positioned adjacent a second sidewall of the container body. The container of claim 17, wherein each of the first and second openings is positioned at a longitudinal midpoint of the container body. The container of claim 17, wherein each of the first and second openings extends through the bumper and is open at first and second ends thereof The container of claim 17, further comprising: a third opening extending into the bumper and positioned opposite and being open to the first opening, the third opening being axially aligned with the first opening; and a fourth opening extending into the bumper and positioned opposite and being open to the second opening, the fourth opening being axially aligned with the second opening, wherein each of the first, second, third and fourth openings has a predetermined depth, said depth being less than a depth of the container, wherein said the first, second, third and fourth openings are open at respective first ends and closed at respective second ends. The container of claim 17, further comprising a shipping label attached directly to one of the container body and the protective bumper. A method of shipping, comprising: affixing a shipping label directly to a container according to one of claims 1 and 15 , said container comprising a container body having a cavity for receiving a product therein, the container body having a front surface, back surface, first sidewall and second sidewall, and a bumper attached to at least a first sidewall of the container body, the bumper adapted to absorb forces applied to the container to protect the container body, wherein the bumper comprises a first opening extending thereinto by a predetermined depth, the opening being configured to elastically deform to absorb external forces applied to the container; and shipping said container, with the proviso that no secondary packaging is provided for said container, wherein said container is configured to withstand forces applied thereto during shipping without fracturing or leaking.

Description:
DURABLE CONTAINER WITH INTEGRATED PROTECTION FEATURE

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 62/608,961 filed on December 21, 2017, the entirety of which is incorporated by reference herein.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The present invention relates generally to the field of packaging, and specifically to protective packaged containers used to dispense a fluid or gel.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] Various containers are known in the art for the retention and exhibition of fluids or gels such as cleaning products, fabric care, or oral care products. Such containers are typically formed with a primary packaging having a shape and size selected to minimize weight and/or outer profile so as to maximize the quantity of containers receivable in a shipping carton. However, this primary packaging sacrifices structural integrity for other factors such as weight, size and aesthetics. Thus, in order to ship said container, they must be provided with a secondary or tertiary packaging to protect the container during transport. In some cases, the primary packaging is loaded into a shipping carton (secondary packaging) and the shipping carton is provided with a means to prevent further damage to the container during transport (tertiary packaging). For example, a cushioning material (e.g , loose-fill styrofoam packing material or "packing peanuts", air-filled sacs, etc.) is inserted into the shipping carton to prevent free movement of the container during transport. However, these packaging systems are cumbersome and require the addition of additional packaging materials at various stages of transport, therefore increasing the manpower needed to transport goods to a consumer, creating extra steps to be completed by the shipper and any intermediary parties (e.g., third-party seller), and increasing the overall cost of shipping the container.

[0004] Further, in a situation where only a small quantity of containers is to be shipped, the containers are often loaded in a large shipping box, thereby using valuable space in a transport vehicle and reducing the quantity of items that can be shipped together. [0005] There is a need for a container which is configured to withstand forced applied thereto (e.g., for e-commerce) while preventing the need for repackaging a container during transport.

BR!EF SUMMARY

[0006] The present invention is directed to a container comprises a container body having a cavity for receiving a product therein, the container body having a front surface, back surface, first sidewall and second sidewall, and a bumper attached to at least a first sidewall of the container body, wherein the bumper comprises a first opening extending thereinto by a predetermined depth, the bumper being configured to elastically deform to absorb external forces applied to the container.

[0007] The present invention is also directed to a container, comprising a container body having a cavity for receiving a product therein and a lid sealing an opening to said cavity, the container body having a front surface, back surface, first sidewall and second sidewall, and a protective bumper enclosing said container body, said protective bumper comprising a first opening extending thereinto by a predetermined depth, the protective bumper being configured to deform to absorb external forces applied to the container.

[0008] The present invention is also directed to a method of shipping, comprising: affixing a shipping label directly to a container, said container comprising a container body having a cavity for receiving a product therein, the container body having a front surface, back surface, first sidewall and second sidewall, and a bumper attached to at least a first sidewall of the container body, the bumper adapted to absorb forces applied to the container to protect the container body, wherein the bumper comprises a first opening extending thereinto by a predetermined depth, the opening being configured to elastically deform to absorb external forces applied to the container. The method further comprises the step of shipping said container, with the proviso that no secondary packaging is provided for said container, wherein said container is configured to withstand forces applied thereto during shipping without fracturing or leaking.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS [0009] The features of the exemplified embodiments will be described with reference to the following drawings in which like elements are labeled similarly. The present invention will become more fully understood from the detailed description and the accompanying drawings, wherein:

[0010] FIG. 1A is a front perspective view of a container according to one embodiment of the present invention in a biased, resting configuration;

[0011] FIG. IB is a side view of two of the containers of FIG. 1A in partially compressed configuration;

[0012] FIG. 1C is a perspective view depicting load distribution for the container of FIG. 1A;

[0013] FIG. 2A is a front perspective view of a container according to another embodiment of the present invention in a biased, resting configuration;

[0014] FIG. 2B is a side view of two of the containers of FIG. 2A in partially compressed configuration; and

[0015] FIG. 2C is a perspective view depicting load distribution for the container of FIG. 2A.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0016] The following description of the preferred embodiment(s) is merely exemplary in nature and is in no way intended to limit the invention, its application, or uses.

[0017] The description of illustrative embodiments according to principles of the present invention is intended to be read in connection with the accompanying drawings which are to be considered part of the entire written description. In the description of embodiments of the invention disclosed herein any reference to direction or orientation is merely intended for convenience of description and is not in tended in any way to limit the scope of the present invention. Relative terms such as "lower," "upper," "horizontal,” "vertical," "above,” "beiow," "up,” "down," "top" and "bottom" as well as derivative thereof (e.g., "horizontally," "downwardly," "upwardly," etc.) should be construed to refer to the orientation as then described or as shown in the drawing under discussion. These relative terms are for convenience of description only and do not require that the apparatus be constructed or operated in a particular orientation unless explicitly indicated as such. Terms such as "attached," "affixed,"

"connected," "coupled," "interconnected," and similar refer to a relationship wherein structures are secured or attached to one another either directly or indirectly through intervening structures, as well as both movable or rigid attachments or relationships, unless expressly described otherwise. Moreover, the features and benefits of the invention are illustrated by reference to the exemplified embodiments. Accordingly, the invention expressly should not be limited to such exemplary embodiments illustrating some possible non- limiting combination of features that may exist alone or in other combinations of features; the scope of the invention being defined by the claims appended hereto.

[0018] Exemplary embodiments of the present invention will now be described with respect to a packaging system for a fluid or fluid-like material including, but not limited to a cleaning product, water solution, skin-care product, a hair care product and/or oral care product. However, other embodiments of the present invention may be used to store and dispense any suitable type of fluid and the invention is expressly not limited to any particular fluidic material alone.

[0019] A container according to the present invention is formed with protective features on an outer surface thereof, the protective features being configured to permit transport of the container without the need for secondary packaging. Whereas conventional containers {e.g., containers housing oral care products such as toothpaste or mouthwash; containers housing home care products such as detergent, softener, cleaning solution, dish soap; etc.) are packaged within a shipping carton including a cushioning material therein to prevent breaks and/or leakage during transport, the containers described herein are configured to permit shipping without the use of any secondary packaging. In formulating the containers described herein, extensive research was done to determine the forces and loads applied to items during transport from a manufacturing facility to and end user. The containers described herein are capable of withstanding forces from dropping, radial compression (e.g., when loaded in a delivery vehicle with other packages), etc. In particular, the containers described herein are provided with features configured to absorb and insulate the interior of the container from external forces. Any of the protective features described herein may be formed integral to the container or may be removably attached thereto. Further, any of the containers described herein may be provided with any

combination of the protective features described herein. The exemplary containers described herein are further configured to receive a shipping label directly thereonto. The shipping labels may be removable or permanently attached to the container. The exemplary container described herein may be shipped without any secondary packaging by itself or with any plurality of additional containers. Further, the exemplary container may also be shipped to a brick and mortar retail store and sold with the exemplary protective bumpers provided thereon.

[0020] The containers described herein may be formed with integrally formed bumpers which are permanently attached thereto. For example, the container may be manufactured with the bumper thereon (e.g., via injection stretch blow molding, extrusion blow molding, etc.}, as those of skill in the art will understand. In another embodiment, the bumper may be formed separately from the container body and attached thereto during a manufacturing step via one or more of an adhesive, welding, a mechanical attachment (e.g., tongue and groove, snap-fit, friction-fit, keyed fit, etc.) or any other method of attachment known to those of skill in the art. Any of the container bodies described herein may be modified to include one or more of the bumpers described herein to provide added strength to specific portions of the container body. Further, various features of the containers described herein may be combined with one another without deviating from the scope of the invention. As a non-limiting example, the shape of the container body may be substantially rectangular as in FIGS. 1A-8C, frusto- conical as in FIGS. 9A-9C, cylindrical, elliptical, or any other shape. In an embodiment where a cylindrical container body is used, a front surface of the container body may correspond to a portion of the container outer body oriented in first direction. Side surfaces of the container body may be offset from the front surface by approximately 90 degrees and a back surface of the container body may correspond to a surface located opposite the front surface and separated from the side surfaces by approximately 90 degrees. Bumpers, as described herein may be attached to a cylindrical container body in the same manner described herein with respect to rectangular container bodies. Further, any of the container bodies may be modified to include any of the lids described herein, necked or otherwise. Additionally, any of the protective bumpers described herein may be formed with a solid or hollow configuration. Further, any of the container bodies may be modified to include any of the lids described herein, necked or otherwise. Any of the protective bumpers described herein may be formed with a solid or hollow configuration.

[0021] The integrally formed containers described herein may be formed of one or more of polyolefins (polypropylenes, low, medium and high density poiyethyienes), which may be formed via extrusion blow molding) and any combination of the above, polyethylene terephthalate ("PET") (made via injection stretch blow molding) and elastomeric materials. Such containers adhere to limitations of the blow molding process and can thus be manufactured faster than multi-component pieces and are fully recyclable. The separately formed containers provide the added advantage that a number of different materials may be used to provide a desired combination of strength, resilience, weight and aesthetic appeal. The container body of the separately formed containers may be formed of the same materials discussed above. The bumpers of the separately formed containers may be formed of extruded resins, polyolefins {polypropylenes, low, medium and high density polyethyienes) (made via extrusion blow molding) and any combination of the above, PET (made via injection stretch blow molding), elastomeric materials, rubbers, molded or extruded cellulose (e.g. paper pulp).

[0022] FIGS. 1A-1C depict a container 100 for the storage of a fluidic material. The container comprises a unitary container body 102 formed of a polymer and extending along a longitudinal axis 101. A lid 104 is provided on an upper surface 106 of the container 100, the lid 104 selectively sealing an opening (not shown) formed in said upper surface 106 to provide access to the contents of the container. In a preferred embodiment, the lid 104 is coupled to the container 100 by a hinge mechanism, wherein the hinge may be integrally formed with the lid. The lid 104 may alternatively be separable from the container 100. In a preferred embodiment, the container body 102 is substantially rectangular and comprises rounded edges to minimize damage thereto when impacted. This shape further facilitates case packing and is robust enough to minimize the need for secondary packaging. The upper surface 106 further comprises a recessed portion 108 adjacent the opening (not shown). The recessed neck of the container body 102 further comprises a retention ring (not shown) which engages a corresponding retention ring on the lid lQ4.The recessed portion 108 is longitudinally offset from the upper surface 106 by a predetermined depth selected so that, when the lid 104 is positioned thereover, the lid 104 lies flush with or below the upper surface 106. This configuration reduces forces applied to the lid during transport and therefore reduces the risk of the lid becoming accidentally detached from the container. The lid 104 further comprises a protrusion or tab 110 provided on a gripping surface thereof to enhance the ability of a user to grip and open the lid. In an alternative embodiment, the lid may be flush with the upper surface. The lid 104 may alternatively be coupled to the container 100 by a screw engagement, friction-fit or another attachment means known in the art. An additional securement may optionally be provided over the lid 104 {e.g., removable sealing mechanism such as a sticker, etc.). At least an outer portion of the lid 104 is rectangular to prevent the lid 104 from rotating and changing orientation once received over the container body 102. Alternatively, the lid 104 may be rounded. [0023] The container comprises a front surface 112, lower surface 114 opposite the upper surface 106, opposing side surfaces 116, 118 and a back surface 120. One or both of the front and back surfaces 112, 120 may comprise a label or decorative item indicative of, for example, the contents of the package. For example, the front surface 112 may include a label indicating the contents of the package while the back surface 120 may remain blank or may include instructions on product use, instructions for use, or any other information that is conventionally provided on a package for end-consumer reference. The back surface 120 is further adapted to receive a shipping label (not shown) thereon. The back surface 120 may be provided with a surface treatment ( e.g ., a high gloss finish) that permits the shipping label to be removed therefrom by an end recipient without fearing, damaging or otherwise inhibiting access to the instruction label. Alternatively, the instruction label may not be obstructed by the shipping label. In yet another embodiment, the instruction label may be included in a separate booklet (not shown) shipped with the container 100. Alternatively, the shipping label may be a dual layer sticker wherein a first clear layer (not shown) is permanently attached to the back surface 120 by a permanent or semi-permanent adhesive and a second removable layer is provided thereover, the second removable layer including shipping information including, but not limited to, sender details, recipient details, order number, QR code, etc.

[0024] The container 100 further comprises first and second bumpers 122, 124 on side surfaces 116, 118, respectively. The first and second bumpers 122, 124 may be formed integrally with the container body 102. Alternatively, the first and second bumpers may be separate elements attached to the container body 102 by via one or more of an adhesive, welding, a mechanical attachment (e.g., tongue and groove, snap-fit, friction-fit, keyed fit, etc.) or any other method of attachment known to those of skill in the art. The first and second bumpers 122, 124 each comprise an arm 126 defined by an opening 128 extending through the container body 102. The opening 128 may be elongated in a direction extending parallel to the longitudinal axis 101. In one embodiment, the openings 128 may extend parallel to the longitudinal axis 101. The openings 128 may comprise a first smooth surface 139 and a second curved surface 130. As the skilled person will understand, the curved surface 130 may serve to dissipate external forces applied to the container 100. In one embodiment, the opening 128 may be sized to permit a user to insert their fingers therethrough to grip the container 100. Although the container 100 is depicted with a container 100 having a particular combination of smooth and curved surfaces, any combination thereof is envisioned within the scope of the invention to, for example, control the manner in which external forces are distributed over the container 100. For example, the entire perimeter of the opening 128 may be curved in the same manner as surface 130. Alternatively, the entire perimeter of the opening 128 may be smooth in a preferred embodiment, the opening 128 is elongated in a longitudinal direction or a direction representing the largest dimension of the container 100. Alternatively, the openings 128 may be elongated in any direction or only those directions subject to a greatest load during transport. Preferably, the openings 128 have a length greater than or equal to at least 50% of a length of the container. Alternatively, the openings 128 may have a length greater than or equal to 50-99% of the length of the container. In yet another embodiment, the openings 128 may have a length less than 50% of the length of the container in this embodiment, the container may optionally be supplemented with additional corner openings on the bumper, as depicted for example, in FIGS. 2A-2C.

[0025] The portion of the bumpers 122, 124 located radially outward of the container, represented in FIG. IB as portion 132, 134 may be hollow and open to the hollow container body 102 such that fluid housed therein is free to flow therethrough. In an alternative embodiment, the portions 132, 134 may be filled with a materia! {e.g., a compressible materia! configured to absorb external forces applied thereto, polyolefins (po!ypropy!enes, low, medium and high density polyethylenes, PET, elastomeric materials, extruded resins, rubbers, molded or extruded cellulose (e.g. paper pulp) and any combination of the above).

[0026] At least the bumper portion 122, 124 is compressible in one or more directions when subjected to external load. As depicted in FIG. IB, when radially compressed in the directions A, B, the bumper is compressed to cause a corresponding compression of the opening 128 from a first resting width, as depicted in FIG. 1A, to a second, smaller width, as depicted in FIG. IB. The elastic deformation properties of the container 100 permit compression thereof in one or more directions when subjected to external load without compromising the structural integrity of the container. Further, the exemplary container 100 of the invention is capable of being radially compressed under load but still exhibits a strength and rigidity permitting transport thereof without any secondary packaging. When subjected to an external load (e.g., radial compression as indicated by arrows A, B or an angled vector applied for example by dropping the container 100), the external load is dissipated across the container 100 as depicted by arrows 1, 2, 3, 4 in FIG. 1C. [0027] The configuration of the openings 128 in container 100 has been selected to permit the container 100 to deform under external forces which would otherwise result in a fracture or breakage of the container. This configuration has also been selected to strengthen the container 100 while avoiding the addition of any unnecessary bulk to the container, which would result in increased manufacturing and shipping costs. The result is a container 100 which exhibits substantially increased rigidity when compared to prior art containers while minimizing production and shipping costs. Through extensive testing, it has been found that the container 100 is capable of withstanding forces applied during shipping {e.g., from a warehouse, to a shipping carrier and ultimately to delivery address such as a home or business) and obviates the need for packaging within an additional shipping box. That is, whereas conventional containers must be packaged within a separate shipping box with additional padding provided therein, the exemplary container 100 described herein is capable of being shipped on its own without the use of any secondary packaging.

[0028] For example, if a force exceeding a predetermined minimum force is applied to any of the upper, lower, front or back surfaces, the bumpers 122, 124 may elastically deform {e.g., via either a compression or expansion of the openings 128 in one or more directions) to absorb external forces applied to the container and prevent a fracture or rupture of the container. The container 100 may be biased to return to the resting configuration of FIG. 1A upon removal of the extraneous force applied thereto. It is noted that although the bellows 122, 124 is depicted with two openings 128, any number of openings may be used without deviating from the scope of the invention, an example of which is described with respect to FIGS. 2A-2C.

[0029] Multiple variants on the container 100 are envisioned within the scope of the invention. For example, the inner wall 129 may be flat (planar) or curved to correspond to a curvature of wail 130. For example, a curvature of wall 129 may be configured to align peak-to-peak or peak-to-vailey with respect to peaks and valleys of wall 130. Further, the opening 128 may extend completely through the container 100 or alternatively, may extend through only a portion thereof. In the latter embodiment, the container 100 may be provided with two openings (not shown) provided on front and back surfaces 112, 120, respectively and aligned with one another. The two openings may be closed to one another or at least partially open to one another. In the latter case, the container 100 may comprise a plurality of segmented openings open to one another along the length of the openings. For example, the openings may be open to one another at one or more predetermined locations. [0030] The openings 128 may have a uniform profile throughout the depth of the container or may he tapered, as with the openings of FIGS. 2A-2C. In one embodiment, the taper angle may he 0-60 degrees and more preferably, 0-45 degrees, with the openings tapering toward an inner portion of the container.

[0031] Further, any of the bumpers described herein may he configured to allow for elastic

deformation via a combination of materials used for said bumpers and the size and shape of said bumpers. This elastic deformation allows for a temporary change in shape of the container when subjected to a force, the temporary shape change being is self-reversing after the force is removed, so that the container returns to its original shape in an alternative embodiment, one or more of the bumpers described herein may be configured to allow for plastic deformation. For example, if the force applied to the container exceeds a predetermined maximum, the bumper(s) may plastically deform, said plastic deformation absorbing at least a portion of the force, thus protecting the container and its contents from damage.

[0032] FIGS. 2A-2C depict a container 200 according to another embodiment. The container 200 is substantially similar to the container 100 except as discussed below. Similar to the container 100, the container 200 comprises a unitary outer body 202 extending along a longitudinal axis 201, lid 204, upper surface 206, recessed portion 208, front surface 212, lower surface 214, side surfaces 216, 218 and back surface 220. Unlike the container 100 which is formed with two openings 128 in the bumpers 122, 124, the container 200 comprises a bumper region 222 which substantially surrounds the container body 202 and includes a plurality of openings 228A, 228B, 230A, 230B. In one embodiment, the front and back surfaces 212, 220 may be recessed from a respective front and back surface of the bumper 222.

[0033] The bumper 222 may formed integrally with the container body 202 or may be formed separately and permanently attached to the container body 202 during a manufacturing step in one embodiment, the bumper 222 may be a two piece bumper having front and back bumper portions 140, 142 which engage one another along an interface 144. Figure 1A may also be formed with a similar construction. The bumper portions 140, 142 may engage one another via one or more of a friction fit, welding, adhesive, boss, snap-fit, stake-on, uni-directional ratchet, or any alternative mechanical locking means known to those of skill in the art. Alternatively, the bumper 222 may be a unitary member extruded directly over the container body 202 or integrally with the container body 202. [0034] The bumper 222 may comprise a first pair of openings 228A, 2.2.8B located adjacent one another opposite a plane P bisecting the container 2.00. The openings 228Ά, 228B are identical to one another with the exception of their respective location. Accordingly, any description of openings 228A below applied to opening 228B as well. Opening 228A tapers from a first larger profile at front surface 112 to a second smaller profile at a predetermined depth within the bumper 222. Preferably, a cross-sectional shape of the opening 228A, 228B remains the same throughout its depth. The exemplary tapering configuration offers the benefit of a compressible and expandable opening which is capable of deforming to absorb external forces applied thereto while minimizing the amount of material removed from the bumper 222, thus retaining a maximal amount of structural rigidity. Although the openings 228A, 228B are depicted with a substantially oval cross-sectional shape, other shapes are envisioned within the scope of the invention, including but not limited to circular, oblong, rectangular, pyramidal, etc. Preferably, any shape used for the openings has rounded vertices to aid in load distribution, as those of skill in the art will understand. A pair of openings 228A, 228B is provided adjacent side wails 216, 218 respectively. Preferably, the openings 228A, 228B are larger than openings 230A, 230B and are positioned at a midpoint between upper and lower surfaces 206, 214. Further, the openings 228A, 228B are bounded by a protrusion 229 formed as an arc extending radially outward from the container 200. This configuration is selected to aid in absorption of external forces applied to the container 200 when dropped on side surfaces 216, 218. That is, the protrusion 229 is able to absorb and dissipate a force applied to the side surface 216, 218 so that the full extent of the force is not applied to the container body 202 itself.

[0035] The bumper 222 further comprises a plurality of openings 230A, 230B provided at each of the four corners of the container 200. The openings 230A, 230B may be formed with a substantially triangular cross-sectional shape having rounded vertices although any of the shapes described with respect to the openings 228A, 228B may also be used. As depicted for example in FIG. 2C, the openings 230A, 230B are configured to absorb and dissipate forces applied to the container 200 when dropped on any of the eight corners. Specifically, the opening 230A and/or 230B may be compressed, expanded or otherwise distorted when subjected to an externally applied load, thus reducing the magnitude of the force applied to the container body 202. Although the portion of the bumper 222 having the openings 230A, 230B is depicted as being in line with the outer dimensions of the container body 202, the bumper 222 may alternatively comprise protrusions (not shown) similar to protrusion 229 at one or more of the openings 230A, 230B. [0036] In one embodiment, the openings 228A, 228B and 230A, 230B are not open to one another but rather, separated from one another by a minimum predetermined distance. Alternatively, the openings 228A, 228B and 230A, 230B may be in contact with or open to one another to create shock absorbing and energy dissipating zones that significantly strengthen vulnerable areas like the side surfaces and corners.

[0037] The exemplary openings 128, 228A, 228B, 230A, 230B are configured to work together by incorporating fluid flow principles to create internal baffles that control the flow of fluid within the container 100, 200 when subjected to severe stress. The net effect of these openings is to absorb shock applied to the container 100, 200 by using fluid and valving to control dampening when shock is induced. In one such example, when the container 100 is subjected to shock, the fluid contents thereof follow a flow patterns as indicated by arrows 1, 2, 3, 4 within the container body 102, wherein the fluid itself helps to absorb at least a portion of the external forces applied thereto.

[0038] In a preferred embodiment, the bumper 222 is capable of withstanding a predetermined shear stress on the upper surface 206 and lower surface 214, where:

F

t ;i A

wherein, r t = shear stress;

F = force applied to upper surface 206 and lower surface 214; and

A = area of one of the upper surface 206 and the lower surface 214.

[0039] Side surfaces 216, 218 are capable of withstanding at least a shear stress t 2 . Front and back surfaces 212, 220 are capable of withstanding at least a predetermined shear stress t 3 . The bumper 222 is capable of withstanding a greater shear stress on side surfaces, front surface and back surface due to the placement and orientation of the openings 2.2.8A, 228B, in combination with the construction of the bumper 222 surrounding the container body 202.

[0040] In another alternative configuration, any one or more of the openings 228A, 228B, 230A, 230B may be replaced with a boss (not shown) protruding out of an outer surface of the bumper 222. [0041] The containers described herein may be used for the storage of any of a variety of liquid, gel, solid or semi-solid products such as toothpaste, oral care solutions, home cleaning products, soaps, fabric softeners, deodorants, lip treatments, etc. as well as for non-liquid products.

[0042] The embodiments described herein may be modified to add or replace features of one embodiment with another. For example, any of the embodiments described herein can be modified to be integrally formed onto a container body or be removably attached thereto. Further, any of the protective features described herein may be combined into a container body to provide added protection. Any combination and modification of the components described herein is envisioned within the scope of the invention.