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Número de publicaciónUS20100163568 A1
Tipo de publicaciónSolicitud
Número de solicitudUS 12/719,360
Fecha de publicación1 Jul 2010
Fecha de presentación8 Mar 2010
Fecha de prioridad29 Mar 2007
También publicado comoUS20080237247
Número de publicación12719360, 719360, US 2010/0163568 A1, US 2010/163568 A1, US 20100163568 A1, US 20100163568A1, US 2010163568 A1, US 2010163568A1, US-A1-20100163568, US-A1-2010163568, US2010/0163568A1, US2010/163568A1, US20100163568 A1, US20100163568A1, US2010163568 A1, US2010163568A1
InventoresMarc A. Mucci, Paul R. Metcalfe, Scott E. Urban, Anil V. Singaraju, Mark A. Gamble
Cesionario originalC2 Cups Llc
Exportar citaBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
Enlaces externos: USPTO, Cesión de USPTO, Espacenet
Single-use leak/spill prevention container lid and disposable container
US 20100163568 A1
Resumen
There is described a disposable or single-use container lid which has an annular rim for frictionally engaging a rolled rim of a container, such as a paper cup, a central region and an annular shock-absorbing structure disposed between the annular rim and the central region. The annular shock-absorbing structure comprises an outside channel having a non-flat configuration and being formed around the central region, with the outside channel providing a predetermined amount of extension and contraction at the location of the channel to absorb forces or stress applied to the lid and/or container and facilitate retention of the lid on the container when forces from dropping, tipping, falling or squeezing are applied thereto. In a further example, there is also described a disposable anti-spill drinking lid for a disposable paper container. The lid comprises an annular engagement rim for frictionally engaging the rolled rim of the container, and an integral drinking spout extending from the top surface of the lid and positioned to allow drinking therethrough by tipping of the container toward a user. The lid may be formed of a plastic material having tensile strength and ductility characteristics such that the integral spout can deflect from its extended position and thereafter substantially returns to its original position. Further structures, such as an annular rim which facilitates frictionally engaging the rolled rim of the container may be provided.
Imágenes(14)
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Reclamaciones(27)
1. An anti-spill lid for a container having a closed end, a peripherally extending sidewall terminating in a rolled rim, and an open end, the lid comprising:
an annular rim for frictionally engaging the rolled rim of the container;
a central region including a straw system for acceptance of a drinking straw, wherein the straw system includes an aperture having side walls which substantially prevent leakage around the inserted straw; and
an annular shock-absorbing structure disposed between the annular rim and the central region;
wherein the annular shock-absorbing structure is at least one channel formed around the central region, the at least one channel providing a predetermined amount of extension and compression at the location of the at least one channel to absorb forces applied to the lid and/or container and facilitate retention of the lid on the container when forces from dropping, tipping, failing or squeezing are applied thereto.
2. The lid of claim 1, wherein the channel is formed to have at least one radiused section to allow deflection at the location of the channel upon being subjected to a force to absorb the force and reduce transmission of the force to the annular rim.
3. The lid of claim 1, wherein the at least one channel is formed to have a non-flat configuration.
4. The lid of claim 1, wherein the at least one channel is formed to have a depth in the range of between 0.10 to 0.30 inches.
5. The lid of claim 1, wherein the at least one channel has a width with a dimension in the range of between 0.25 to 0.60 inches.
6. The lid of claim 1, wherein the at least one channel has a radiused bottom wall in the range between 0.125 to 0.35 inches.
7. The lid of claim 1, wherein the lid is formed of a material having tensile strength and ductility characteristics to allow the extension and compression of the channel and thereafter returning to the original position.
8. The lid of claim 1, wherein the at least one channel includes at least one intermediate wall section formed therein.
9. The lid of claim 8, wherein the at least one intermediate wall section includes a plurality of folds or bends formed in the bottom wall section.
10. The lid of claim 1, further comprising a domed configuration formed in the central region, wherein the domed configuration in the central region has an upper edge which is positioned at or below the outer level of the of the engagement rim.
11. The lid of claim 1, further comprising a domed configuration is formed in the central region, wherein the domed configuration in the central region has an arc which provides stiffness and dimensional stability upon a force being applied thereto.
12. The lid of claim 1, wherein the annular rim includes an interior sealing wall, an exterior sealing wall, a connecting sealing portion between the interior and exterior sealing walls, a locking edge formed in the exterior wall and a flared skirt portion, and wherein the interior sealing wall has a length which extends to a point at or below the level of the rolled rim of the container when the lid is positioned therewith, and the locking ledge extends inwardly toward the container to a position which is over twenty five percent of the thickness of the rolled edge of the container and engages the lower surface of the rolled edge of the container.
13. An anti-spill lid for a container having a closed end, a peripherally extending sidewall terminating in a rolled rim, and an open end, the lid comprising:
an annular rim for frictionally engaging the rolled rim of the container; a central region including a straw system for acceptance of a drinking straw, wherein the straw system includes an aperture having side walls which substantially prevent leakage around the inserted straw; and
wherein the annular rim includes an interior sealing wall, an exterior sealing wall, a connecting sealing portion between the interior and exterior sealing walls, a locking ledge formed in the exterior wall and a flared skirt portion, and wherein the interior sealing wall has a length which extends to a point at or below the level of the rolled rim of the container when the lid is positioned therewith, and the locking ledge extends inwardly toward the container to a position which is over twenty five percent of the thickness of the rolled edge of the container and engages the lower surface of the rolled edge of the container.
14. The lid of claim 13, wherein the rolled edge of the container is elongated, and the space between the interior and exterior sealing surfaces is elongated to substantially match the shape of the rolled rim of the container.
15. The lid of claim 13, wherein the locking ledge formed in the exterior wall is formed as a continuous annular surface.
16. The lid of claim 13, wherein the flared skirt portion has a length to allow grasping between fingers of a user.
17. The lid of claim 13, wherein the connecting portion has an extending portion adapted to engage the top of the rolled rim of the container when the lid is positioned thereon.
18. A container lid having a straw receiving system for acceptance of a drinking straw, wherein the straw receiving system comprises an aperture having a shape and size and a side wall with a length, wherein the shape and size substantially matches the shape and size of a straw to be inserted, and the side wall cooperates with a straw inserted therein to substantially prevent leakage around the inserted straw.
19. The straw system of claim 18 wherein the side wall forms a sleeve which is dimensioned to create a small space between the exterior of the inserted straw.
20. The straw system of claim 19 wherein the sleeve has a portion which extends downwardly from the lid into the container.
21. The straw system of claim 19 wherein the sleeve extends upward from the lid.
22. The straw system of claim 18 wherein the sleeve is flexible to permit the user directional control of the straw when the straw is inserted into the container.
23. The straw system of claim 18 wherein the sleeve has a frangible platform to seal the container contents prior to insertion of the straw through the sleeve wherein the frangible platform will remain attached after the straw is inserted in the sleeve.
24. The straw system of claim 18 wherein the radial dimensions of the sleeve can be manufactured to sealingly engage with the radial dimensions of commercially-available straws.
25. The straw system of claim 18 wherein the shape of the sleeve can be manufactured to cooperate with the varying shapes of commercially-available straws.
26. The straw system of claim 18 wherein the sleeve includes at least one bead to sealingly engage the straw and prevent leakage of contents of container between the straw and lid at the straw insertion hole.
27. The straw system of claim 18 wherein the straw sleeve is located anywhere on the lid surface.
Descripción
  • [0001]
    This application is a divisional of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/693,460, which was filed on Mar. 29, 2007, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
  • FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • [0002]
    The present invention relates to container lids, and particularly single-use type of container lids which are leak and spill proof and may be used by users of all ages. The invention also relates to a single-use or disposable container arrangement for use with the disposable lid.
  • BACKGROUND
  • [0003]
    In the field of food service, particularly quick service restaurants, convenience stores or the like, disposable or single-use cups are used for beverages of different types, such as soda or water. The cups may be formed of paper or plastic for example. These cups have disposable lids for use therewith, particularly for taking the food out of the restaurant. Quick service restaurants may have take out windows, and many times people ordering at the take out window or otherwise taking the food and beverage order on a to go basis, need lids to allow effective access to the beverage while trying to provide some protection against spillage. People on the go may eat their food and beverage order in the car or other similar environment where it is desired not to spill the beverages associated with the order. Further, many such restaurants have children's meals that may have child-sized drinks or child-oriented cups for use with such special meals.
  • [0004]
    With these types of disposable cups and associated lids, the lid is typically provided a straw hole formed by cross slits through the lid, through which a straw is inserted prior to drinking. Disposable cups and lids are also used for other products, such as coffee, soups or other hot liquid products. With coffee cups, an associated disposable lid is provided, but such beverages are not typically drank with a straw, so some other system for accessing the beverage for drinking is included in the lid, such as a small drinking slot or area which is folded back to form a drink opening. Sometimes, such coffee lids include an upstanding spout having the opening formed in the top thereof through which the person drinks. Although such coffee lids tend to restrict the flow of coffee by use of a limited size opening, such lids are not leak or spill proof.
  • [0005]
    Such disposable beverage lids or lids for other liquid products, whether for use with a straw or of the coffee type style, are not effective at preventing leaks when a cup is not upright, as the beverage leaks from the straw hole slits, slot or other opening used for drinking, around the edges of the lid or the like. Further, such lids are easily disengaged from the cup if dropped or if another force is applied to the cup or lid. The problem of spillage occurring if the cup is other than upright, or complete disengagement if dropped for example, is a particular problem for young children, and any spilled cup may result in a sticky mess for the restaurant or customer, and will always result in an unhappy customer.
  • [0006]
    Sippy-cups, otherwise known as training cups, have been produced for many years. These cups generally have a spout which the child drinks from, having a leak resistant function which allows the child to suck liquid through, but prevents liquid from coming through on its own accord. This feature is to prevent a spill in the likely event of the child knocking the cup on its side, holding it upside down, dropping it on the floor, etc. The lid is also generally designed to be securely fastened and not come off in the event of a drop. Training or sippy cups are typically used to transition children from drinking from a bottle to drinking from an unrestricted cup. Generally, such cups have lids which are attached to the cup by screw threads or a strong snap fit. Lids of this type may also be employed by others when on the go, or the elderly or others with motor skill limitations to prevent leakage and spilling. Although such lids may be effective at preventing leaks, they are not made to be disposable but instead are made in a multi-use form and used with a particular non-disposable cup, such as made of plastic, which is washable for repeated use. Such cups and lids are generally formed using injection molding techniques, with thick walls formed in the lid to make it rigid. The plastic materials used to make such lids is generally not recyclable.
  • [0007]
    For other situations, there have been developed travel cups for use by other than children typically, which have lids with a drinking spout or slot formed for drinking. Travel cups are again not made to be disposable but are made in a multi-use form. Such cups may be formed with an insulation layer to keep beverages cold or hot. The lids on such travel cups are similarly not disposable and made to be washable for repeated use. Similar to the coffee type cups and lids mentioned above, such travel cups are not made to prevent leakage, but instead merely restrict the flow of beverage to facilitate drinking hot beverages. In some cases a drinking opening is selectively closable to help prevent spillage.
  • [0008]
    The cost of the single-use cups is lower than a multi-use sippy cup, as the disposable or single-use cups are generally made of paper and the lids are thermoformed plastic, while the multi-use cups and lids may be of injection molded plastic or other more expensive material or manufacturing process. It would be desirable to provide a disposable single-use type of cup and lid system which is inexpensive to produce, and yet could provide enhanced performance in preventing leakage or spillage.
  • [0009]
    Accordingly, there is need in the art for a single-use cup lid which prevents leakage when the cup is not upright and which does not disengage upon being subjected to forces that may be incurred during normal use, such as dropping, tipping, falling or squeezing of the cup/lid with a liquid or the like therein. It would be desirable to make the lid difficult to disengage from a cup to prevent spillage, even while used by young children.
  • SUMMARY
  • [0010]
    In one aspect, a disposable or single-use cup lid is described. The anti-spill lid has an annular rim for frictionally engaging a rolled rim of a container, such as a paper cup, and a central region having a domed configuration. An annular shock-absorbing structure is disposed between the annular rim and the central region. The annular shock-absorbing structure comprises an outside channel or other structure having a non-flat configuration and being formed around the central region, with the outside channel providing a predetermined amount of extension and contraction at the location of the channel to absorb forces or stress applied to the lid and/or container and facilitate retention of the lid on the container when forces from dropping, tipping, falling or squeezing are applied thereto.
  • [0011]
    In an example, the invention is also directed to a disposable anti-spill drinking lid for a disposable paper cup having a closed end, a peripherally extending sidewall terminating in a rolled rim, and an open end. The lid comprises an annular engagement rim for frictionally engaging the rolled rim of the container, and an integral drinking spout extending from the top surface of the lid and positioned to allow drinking therethrough by tipping of the container toward a user. The lid may be formed of a plastic material having tensile strength and ductility characteristics such that the integral spout can deflect from its extended position and thereafter substantially returns to its original position.
  • [0012]
    An anti-spill single-use lid is also provided for a disposable paper cup having a closed end, a peripherally extending sidewall terminating in a rolled rim, and an open end. The lid comprises an annular rim for frictionally engaging the rolled rim of the container, and a central region having a domed configuration. An integral drinking spout extending from the top surface of the lid is positioned to allow drinking therethrough by tipping of the container toward a user. The integral spout may have a leakage prevention system associated therewith. An annular shock-absorbing structure may be disposed between the annular rim and the central region, wherein the annular shock-absorbing structure is at least one channel formed around the central region. The at least one channel provides a predetermined amount of extension and contraction at the location of the at least one channel to absorb and relieve forces applied to the lid, integral spout and/or container and facilitates retention of the lid on the container when forces from dropping, tipping, falling or squeezing are applied thereto. The domed configuration is generally positioned at a level at or below the annular rim, and provides dimensional stability and other functions in association with the lid and spout.
  • [0013]
    The foregoing and other aspects will become apparent from the following detailed description of the invention when considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawing figures.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0014]
    FIG. 1 is a partial exploded perspective view of a drinking cup and a lid.
  • [0015]
    FIG. 2 is an enlarged cross sectional view of the cup lid as shown in FIG. 1.
  • [0016]
    FIG. 3A-3C are views of the deflection capabilities associated with an integral spout of the cup lid in the example of FIG. 2.
  • [0017]
    FIG. 4A-4E depict various embodiments of stress or force absorbing channel configurations according to examples in association with example of the cup lid of FIG. 2.
  • [0018]
    FIGS. 5A-5C show an enlarged partial cross sectional view and alternate examples in partial top views, of an integral drinking spout associated with the example of the cup lid shown in FIG. 2.
  • [0019]
    FIGS. 6A and 6B show enlarged partial exploded cross sectional views of the cup lid engagement system associated with the example of the cup lid shown in FIG. 2.
  • [0020]
    FIGS. 7A-7B show perspective and top views respectively, of an alternate example of a cup lid.
  • [0021]
    FIG. 8 is a cross sectional view of an alternate example of a cup lid with an integral drinking spout oriented toward a user.
  • [0022]
    FIG. 9 is a cross sectional view of an alternate example of a cup lid with an integral drinking spout adapted for selective insertion of a straw.
  • [0023]
    FIGS. 10A-10B show top and cross-sectional views of alternate example of a cup lid not having an integrated drinking spout associated therewith, and FIG. 10C shows a top view of another example.
  • [0024]
    FIGS. 11A-11D show perspective and cross-sectional views of alternate examples of a cup lid having an alternative integrated drinking spout and reinforcing structures associated therewith.
  • [0025]
    FIG. 12 shows a perspective view of an alternate embodiment of a lid for use with a single-use type of cup.
  • [0026]
    FIGS. 13A and 13B show cross sectional views of an alternate example of a lid having an integral straw hole formed therein.
  • [0027]
    FIG. 14 is a plan view of a form for producing a cup according to the example shown in FIG. 1.
  • [0028]
    FIGS. 15A-15B show partial side views of the lip overlap area associated with the form as shown in FIG. 14, with FIG. 15A showing the prior construction of a paper cup and FIG. 15B showing the example of the invention.
  • [0029]
    FIG. 16A is a partial top view of a side of the form according to prior art cups in the overlap area as shown in FIG. 15, and FIGS. 16B and 16C show alternative examples of this overlap area.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0030]
    Shown in FIG. 1 is a lid 20 for a drinking cup or other single-use type of container 10. The lid 20 is particularly useful in conjunction with disposable drinking cups, especially the type of cups that are customarily available at quick service stores or restaurants. As shown in FIG. 1, such a cup 10 is typically formed from a coated paper material with a bottom (not shown), a sidewall 12, and a rolled rim 14 at the top. The lid 20 is adapted to engage the cup in a manner that it remains attached to the cup 10 even when the cup is dropped, falls from a table, or encounters some other force that would typically result in the lid 20 disengaging from the cup 10 and the contents of the cup spilling and creating a mess. The lid 20 may be thermoformed of a polymeric material, and may have a nominal wall thickness of between about 0.005 and 0.060 inches for example. Lid 20 has an upper surface 22 with a perimeter forming a circular engagement rim 24 which has an engagement groove formed on the underside of the lid to receive the upper rim 14 of the cup 10. A drinking spout 26, integrally molded with the rest of the lid, extends upward from surface 22 to a top end 28. The drinking spout 26 is shaped and sized to be comfortably received in the mouth, and may be sized for use by an adult or child for drinking. The lid 20 may also have a flared lower outside edge 36 which extends laterally from an edge of the cup 10 when the lid 20 is positioned thereon, to facilitate attachment and/or removal of the lid from the cup 10 if desired.
  • [0031]
    As seen in FIGS. 1 and 2, the upper end 28 of the spout includes a recessed area 30, from which the beverage is dispensed during drinking. The recessed area 30 includes an interior surface 34 in which a leakage prevention system 32 is formed. The surface or platform 34 is disposed interior to the spout 26 in a spaced position relative to the upper end 28. The spout 26 may also be provided with indentations 27 formed on opposing sides of the spout 26, which allow the lips of the drinker to more comfortably engage the spout 26 and to provide grips to allow the user to remove the lid 20 by pulling on the spout 26.
  • [0032]
    The engagement rim 24 further comprises an interior sealing wall 42, connecting sealing wall 43 and an exterior sealing wall 44, disposed downwardly from the rim 24. The outer wall 44 and engagement rim 24 is useful in guiding the lid 20 onto the lip 14 of cup 12. The outside wall 44 further comprises a locking ledge or an undercut 46 which frictionally engages the underside of the rolled rim 14 of the cup 10, thereby “locking” the lid 20 onto the cup 10. Adjacent the inner wall 42, a large radiused fillet may be provided to distribute stress in this region, and help prevent cracking of the lid 20 at this location. The engagement rim 24 forms a substantially air-tight seal with cup 10, to create, in conjunction with the leakage prevention system 32, a small vacuum upon suction being applied through the spout 26. The lid 20 also comprises a central domed region 40, from which the spout 26 extends. Adjacent the outer engagement rim 24 and before the domed region 40, an outer shock absorbing structure, such as a channel 50 is provided. The channel 50 provides shock absorbing characteristics in conjunction with other functions.
  • [0033]
    The outer shock-absorbing channel 50 and domed region 40 allow deflection of the spout 26 or the lid 20 in general, upon an external force being applied thereto, facilitating absorption of any forces or shock applied to the lid 20 and/or spout 26. A force according to the invention are those forces that would be experienced when the container 10 is full of a liquid or the like, and the cup/lid assembly is dropped, tipped over, falls from a height, or is squeezed for example, in ordinary use thereof as a single-use container. For example, the lid 20 is adapted to maintain its engagement with container 10 when the container/lid assembly is full, and when dropped from a height of up to eight feet, or for another predetermined height up to five feet for example. Dropping the full container/lid assembly from a height such as these is probably the most severe forces that would be possibly applied during normal use. Further, the lid 20 is designed to absorb forces that may be applied thereto when positioned on the container 10, regardless of the direction from which the external force is applied.
  • [0034]
    As shown in FIG. 2, the channel 50 may have a predetermined width and be configured as a curved or concave section having a radius. The channel 50 in this example is fully curved and tangential to the engagement rim 24. This configuration minimizes stress at the location between the channel 50 and rim 24. The radius also allows the desired extension or contraction to absorb shock forces as will be described, and helps maintain dimensional stability to accommodate forces applied to the cup 10 and lid 20 positioned thereon, without disengagement of lid 20. The channel 50 provides shock absorbing qualities if the cup/lid is subjected to forces, such as by dropping, tipping, falling, squeezing or the like. For example, the predetermined width of the channel 50 is designed to accommodate the deflection that may occur in the spout 26 or sides of the lid 20 if the cup/lid assembly is exposed to these types of external forces. As an example, and with reference to FIGS. 4A-4D which show configurations of the channel 50, the channel 50 may have dimensions measured from location 73 including a width in the range between 0.25 to 0.60 inches, depth between 0.10 to 0.30 inches, and may also include a radius between 0.12 to 0.35 inches. The curved geometry of the channel 50 provides more surface area, which provides a larger amount of material to bend and flex, in effect pre-stretching the material, and allowing significant deflection characteristics. The channel 50 therefore accommodates a predetermined extension or contraction through its width and sidewalls, to facilitate allowing the edges of the lid 20 and/or the drinking spout 26 to deflect upon a force being exerted on the lid 20 and/or to the container/lid assembly. The channel 50 is designed to effectively absorb forces that may be applied to the lid if the cup is dropped or the like. The channel 50 functions to provide the requisite stiffness for the lid 20 while also permitting forces to be absorbed without permanently deforming or cracking the lid 20, and to help prevent disengagement of the lid 20 from the cup 10. When a cup 10 engaged with the lid 20 is subjected to a force that would cause a lid of the prior art to crack or buckle and disengage from the container/cup, the shock-absorbing channel 50 compresses and/or extends to absorb the force and temporarily allow deformation of the lid 20 and/or drinking spout 26, to prevent the lid 20 from disengaging from its position on the cup 10. The channel 50 allows the spout 26 to deflect in any direction and distribute any external forces that are applied thereto, so as to prevent the forces applied to the spout from being exerted on the engagement rim 24, and thereby facilitate retention of the lid on the cup. Further, the domed geometry of the center region 40, upon general side (non-spout) impact, keeps the center region stiff and dimensionally stable, so the entire lid does not deform too far out of circular which combined with the predetermined extension or contraction of channel 50 helps maintain the engagement of lid 20 to the rim 14 of container 10, as at least portions of the engagement rim 24 do not have forces or stress applied thereto. As seen in FIG. 2, the dome 40 is formed such that its upper extent is at or below the upper level of the engagement rim 24, to provide resistance to bending of the lid 20 when subjected to external forces from the side, and to minimize exposure to external forces to the top or central portion of the lid 20.
  • [0035]
    As shown in FIGS. 3A, 3B and 3C, the spout 26 may be subjected to force from a number of directions when dropped. Rather than permanently deforming or cracking, or causing the lid 20 to disengage from the cup 10, the spout 26 temporarily deflects in the direction of the force and then resiliently returns to its original configuration. As shown in FIG. 3A, if an external force is applied directly to the top of the spout 26, the spout 26 is able to fully retract to a position at or below the level of the engagement rim 24. Upon the cup/lid assembly being dropped directly on its top, the spout 26 will absorb the force, without undue forces being exerted on engagement rim 24 that may cause disengagement of the rim 24 from the lip 14 of container 10. The outer channel 50 and dome 40 facilitate predetermined buckling of the spout 26 from an extended position with a distal end above the level of the annular rim, to a retracted position with the distal end at or below the level of the annular engagement rim 24 upon a force being applied thereto. The outer channel 50 and central dome 40 effectively allow the spout 26 to flex or deflect in a predetermined manner to allow this deflection and absorb such forces. Similarly, as shown in FIGS. 3B and 3C, if an external force is applied from an angular direction, such as from the outside or inside of the spout 26 respectively, the spout 26 deflects again to a fully retracted position, at or below the level of the engagement rim 24. Upon the cup/lid assembly being dropped directly on its top, or if a force is applied from a side direction to the spout 26, the spout 26 will temporarily deflect and absorb the force, without undue forces being exerted on engagement rim 24 that may cause disengagement of the rim 24 from the lip 14 of container 10. As seen in FIG. 3, the outer channel 50 and center dome 40 allow for a predetermined amount of extension or compression, and direct the buckling around the spout 26 to predetermined regions of the lid 20. The amount of extension or compression may be dependent in part upon the shape and dimensions associated with the channel 50 and dome 40. Deformation from impact forces is therefore localized in the center, leaving portions of the outer edge of the channel 50 substantially unaffected, thereby preserving engagement with the rim 14 of the cup 10. Similarly to the deflection of the spout 26, if forces are applied to other portions of the lid 20, such as the edge of the cup/lid assembly, the channel 50 again allows for localized deflection to occur and absorption of the force without undue forces being applied to other areas of the engagement rim 24, such that the lid 20 does not disengage from the container 10.
  • [0036]
    The channel 50 may have a different configuration to facilitate providing the predetermined extension and/or compression for directing and enabling deflection of the spout 26 or other portions of the lid 20 and the distribution of applied forces in the desired manner. As seen in FIGS. 4A-E, the channel 50 may have different shapes and/or dimensions to accommodate the desired extension and/or compression. For example, instead of a radius as shown in the embodiment of FIG. 2, there may be associated with the channel 50 a bottom wall 70 with differing designs providing alternative performance characteristics in achieving these functions, either alone or in conjunction with side walls 72. For example, the bottom wall 70 of a channel 50 may have a concave or radiused configuration as described previously, in association with side walls 72 having a top and bottom curved or radiused section and a length as set forth in FIG. 4A. This configuration allows further extension/compression in association with the side walls 72, and relating to the curved bottom wall 70. As seen in FIG. 4B, the side walls 72 may have a top and bottom curved or radiused sections and a length and the bottom wall 70 may have a straight shape, with the radiused top and bottom sections and length of the side walls 72 providing desired extension/compression characteristics. Other configurations may include having multiple folds or bends in the bottom wall 70, such as a sawtooth design in FIG. 4C, with multiple wall sections 74 formed in bottom wall 70, a sinusoidal design in FIG. 4D, with multiple wall sections 74 formed in bottom wall 70, or a squarewave type of design in FIG. 4E, with multiple wall sections 74 formed in bottom wall 70. Any other design which permits predetermined extension/compression of the lid 10 via the channel 50 is contemplated. As an alternative, the configuration shown in FIG. 4B and other examples may also include an interior bead portion 76 adjacent the interior wall 42 of the sealing rim 24, which may be provided for adding structural integrity and isolating the wall 42 from forces to some degree.
  • [0037]
    Turning now to FIGS. 5A and 5B, the integral spout 26 with platform 34 disposed therein below the distal end 28 of the spout 26 is described in further detail. The spout 26 may have an oval type of shape, with two opposing sides having substantially larger dimensions than the other opposing sides, with depressions 27 formed in the larger opposing sides of the spout. The configuration of spout 26 resists collapse upon application of external forces. When a user desires to drink from the container, the spout 26 is placed in the user's mouth and external suction is applied to the spout 26 which causes the liquid contained within the container 10 to flow through the leakage prevention system 32 having at least one opening 80 in platform 34 and into the user's mouth. FIG. 5B depicts the at least one opening 80 as a plurality of slits which act as flow restrictors and are particularly useful in sippy or training cup type applications. The plurality of slits 80 permit liquid to flow from the container 10 to the mouth of the user when external suction from the mouth is applied or when squeezed such as by a biting or teething type action, but prevent leakage of liquid when the lid 20 and container 10 are in an other than upright position. The leakage prevention system 32 may alternatively be a plurality of slots, holes or the like, any of which function to substantially prevent flow or leakage through the surface 34 when not drinking or sipping through the spout 26. The leakage prevention system 32 may be normally closed slits as shown that open upon some suction or biting/teething force being applied during drinking, or normally open holes or slots which are small enough to avoid leakage under normal non-suction conditions by capillary action. Although substantially preventing flow when not drinking, the leakage prevention system 32 also provides an acceptable flow rate during drinking conditions. The slits, slots, holes or the like 80 form a total flow area for desired flow rates during drinking. As seen in FIG. 5B, the outer edge 27 of the spout 26 adjacent the channel 50 may be straight to minimize stress or cracking at this location upon being subjected to an external force.
  • [0038]
    In the examples of FIG. 5, it is also seen that the platform 34 in spout 26 is disposed below the end 28 of the spout 26, and adds structural rigidity to the spout 26 by acting as a brace to forces that may compress the spout 26. For use with small children for example, the children may be learning to drink from a cup by themselves. Such children are prone to teething, biting or chewing on things, including training cup spouts. While teething, this may especially be the case. Further, upon drinking from spout 26, the suction applied may tend to cause the spout 26 to collapse. The platform 34 increases the compression resistance of the spout 26 and inhibits the spout 26 from collapsing while being sucked on or bitten on by a child. The surface 34 is also formed at a location spaced from the distal end 28 to a degree such that the lips or tongue of the user will not interact with the leakage prevention system 32, such that no sharp edges or the like can be encountered by the user. The at least one opening 80 in the platform 34 may have sharp edges as a result of the configuration thereof and/or the manufacturing process or via puncture with a straw or similar device. As the spout 26 is placed in a user's mouth when drinking, recessing any sharp edges below the end 28 of the spout 26 avoids the possibility of a user inadvertently injuring the lips, tongue, or mouth while drinking. An alternative example is shown in FIG. 5C, where the plurality of openings 80 are positioned on the sides of the recessed area 30, to remove them from possible contact with the lips or tongue and create less of a direct path through which water might leak.
  • [0039]
    As seen in FIGS. 5A-5C, the configuration of spout 26 may facilitate the desired buckling of the spout due to the application of an external force thereto. The spout 26 is designed to distribute forces applied to the spout 26 to the channel 50 and/or dome region 40, and if the force is sufficient, to cause buckling of the spout as shown in FIG. 3. The characteristics of the spout 26 in conjunction with the other characteristics of the lid 20, facilitate the distribution of stress applied to the spout 26 in a predictable pattern. The stress applied to the spout 26 is directed to the channel 50 and domed region 40 in a manner that causes buckling of the dome region and/or extension/contraction of the channel 50 to absorb and reduce the stress applied to the engagement rim 24. Also, the shape of the base of spout 26 has significantly rounded corners to distribute stress.
  • [0040]
    An example of the invention also contemplates the use of a sippy type of spout 26 with a regular single-use lid having characteristics such as are currently being used, and without the additional features as described, such as the domed region, a shock absorbing channel or channels, or an engagement rim structure as described previously. This would provide the advantage of having a sippy type of spout instead of or in conjunction with the typical straw opening. For example, the integral spout 26 in prior embodiments may provide a sippy-type of beverage container for use by children or others, in association with a single use container and lid, such as used in quick service stores or restaurants. The engagement rim 24 of lid 20 is also adapted to facilitate being retained in association with the rim 14 of container 10. As shown in FIG. 6A, the inner sealing wall 42 has an extended length engaging a substantial portion of the interior surface 90 of the container 10. The length of the wall 42 extends to a position below the lower surface 92 of the rolled rim 14. This extended length of the interior sealing wall 42 provides effective sealing of liquid contents in the container 10, and also provides additional frictional engagement between sealing wall 42 of the engagement rim 24 with wall 90 of container 10. If desired, the interior sealing surface 42 may be comprised of one or more sealing beads or bosses (not shown) extending circumferentially and toward the side of container 10 and pressing on the side of the container 10 when the lid is attached thereto to provide sealing at this location, much like an O-ring, to aid in sealing. Additionally, the space 94 created between the walls 42 and 44 of the rim 24 is designed to closely match the configuration of rolled rim 14 on container 10, and the sealing surface 43 provides additional protection against leakage. In the example shown, the rolled rim 14 may be configured to have an elongated oval type shape, and the space 94 is also formed as an elongated section. The use of an elongated rolled rim 14 and similar configuration in engagement rim 24 provides additional surface area to frictionally engage the rolled rim 14, to facilitate preventing unwanted disengagement of the lid 20 from container 10. The oval type shape of the space 94 also provides additional surface area which can move relative to the rolled rim to some degree before being disengaged therefrom. The elongated channel 94 also allows some movement of the rolled rim 14 before it is disengaged, thereby permitting the lid 20 to move up and/or down an amount when subjected to a force from dropping or other unexpected disturbance, without disengaging. Similarly, the rolled rim may also be of a more circular configuration, with the area 94 and wall 44 designed to closely match this shape. To further enhance the function of preventing unwanted disengagement of the lid 20 from container 10, the engagement rim 24 is also provided with a deeply inset undercut 46. The undercut 46 reduces the space between walls 42 and 44 to a narrow opening, thereby forming an upper locking ledge 96, which securely engages the underside 92 of the rolled rim 14 of container 10, and facilitates maintaining the engagement rim 24 with the rolled rim 14. The locking ledge 96 extends to a position which is over twenty five percent of the thickness of the rolled edge of the container and engages the lower surface of the rolled edge of the container. As a further example, the locking ledge may extend between 25-80 percent of the thickness of the rolled edge of the container.
  • [0041]
    The structures of the engagement rim 24 and associated structures, such as the channel 50 and/or domed region 40 resist disengagement of the lid 20 unless a force which is greater than the forces applied when the cup/lid is dropped, tipped over or squeezed for example, to effectively “lock” the lid 20 on container 10. Further, the engagement rim 24 of the lid 20 provides a leak proof seal with the rolled rim 14 of container 10. FIG. 6B shows an alternate example with an inwardly extending bead 98 on the top connecting sealing surface 43 between the interior sealing surface 42 and exterior sealing surface 44, which extends into engagement with the top surface of the rolled rim 14, to aid in sealing. The bead 98 presses on the top at one point radially, much like an O-ring, to aid in sealing. Additionally, the bead 98 may allow some extension or compression at this location to facilitate absorbing shock imposed on the rim. If desired, the interior sealing surface 42 and/or exterior sealing surface 44 may also be provided with an inwardly extending bead or beads to aid in sealing.
  • [0042]
    In an alternate example of a lid 20 as shown in FIGS. 7A and 7B, the configuration of spout 26 may include stress distribution structures or arms 82 designed to distribute forces applied to the spout 26. The arm sections 82 may be designed to distribute forces applied to the spout 26 in a predetermined manner, and in this example, generally extend from the center of the spout 26 in an angled direction toward the periphery of the lid 20. The stress or forces applied to the spout 26 are distributed from the edges or corners of the spout 26 to the outer channel 50 via the arms 82, and to the adjacent domed region 40. An interior channel 60 may also be provided. These structures may also provide for distribution of stress applied to the spout 26 in a predictable pattern, to effectively absorb the stress and cause the lid 20 to relieve applied stress by buckling, and without cracking or being disengaged from the container 10. Further, the position and extent of the channels 50 and/or 60 may be altered, such as providing a partial channel 60 adjacent the interior of the spout 26 rather than an oval shaped channel 60 as shown in this example. The channels could also be formed to extend around the sides of the spout 26, and could merge if desired. It is contemplated to provide alternative designs of outer channel 50 in conjunction with an inner channel 60 to provide the desired deflection characteristics of the spout 26 and other portions of the lid 20. Additionally, the spout 26 may have an outer section 84 which is curved or radiused to provide stiffness and structural integrity at this location, and distribute force or stress toward the edges of the spout 26 and arms 82 as well as adjacent structures including the channel 50, domed region 40 and inner channel 60 for example.
  • [0043]
    The configuration of the lid 20 avoids the problems with the thermoformed lids typically used in the quick service stores or restaurants for example. These known lids are found to immediately disengage or crack upon being exposed to a force such as by tipping on a table or dropping on the floor from a table height, standing height (such as up to five to eight feet) or higher. The lid according to the examples herein does not disengage from the cup when dropped from a normal standing height by means of the various structures and attributes described. The lid 20 provides the ability to absorb shock and disperse stress to allow significant forces to be incurred without disengagement of the lid 20, and more particularly to effectively absorb forces which may be incurred upon dropping a full cup/lid assembly which is full of a beverage from a height of six feet without disengagement of the lid 20 from the cup 10. The function of retaining the lid 20 on the cup 10 may also be facilitated by adjusting the thickness and type of material from which the lid 20 constructed. In this example, the lid 20 may be formed of a polypropylene material, having strength and ductility characteristics which allow for deformation of the lid 20 and areas thereof such as the integrated drinking spout 26, while resisting cracking and having a stiffness to absorb applied forces as described. This type of material has tensile strength and ductility such that it also immediately returns to its original shape after deformation, to thereby facilitate maintaining engagement with the cup 10 and improve the customer experience (the customer does not need to manually return it to its original shape). This type of material also has a softer feel when in contact with the users mouth which is ergonomically more pleasing during use. The thickness of the material may vary between 0.005 inches to 0.060 inches depending on the application. Other materials which provide the differing characteristics include PETG materials, PET materials, polystyrene materials and polyethylene materials for example. The material may have ductility characteristics to allow the desired amount of deflection without splitting or cracking. In an embodiment, the lid is a single-use lid, which is cost-effectively manufactured, such as by thermo-forming, and may be made of a polymeric recyclable material.
  • [0044]
    As also shown in the example of FIG. 7, there may further be a plurality of spaced apart reinforcing ribs 100 formed in the engagement rim 24. These spaced apart ribs 100 may be added to the outer vertical wall 44 which may be used to provide additional rigidity as well as providing gripping functionality of the lid 20 via the engagement rim 24.
  • [0045]
    An alternate example of a lid 20 is shown in FIG. 8, wherein the integrated drinking spout 26 is designed to be directed slightly outwardly toward the user for drinking therefrom. Forming the integrated spout 26 to have an axis which is angled toward the user may facilitate drinkability from the cup/lid assembly or provide desired aesthetics for various applications.
  • [0046]
    A further example of a lid is shown in FIG. 9 which has an integrated drinking spout 26 which is adapted to be transformed for selective use with and to accommodate a drinking straw 102. Prior art cup lids available at quick service stores or restaurants or the like typically contain two perpendicular slits through which a user inserts a straw. Such a design does not completely surround the inserted straw, leaving gaps through which liquid may flow if the cup is tipped or knocked over. In this embodiment, the spout 26 again may include a leakage prevention system associated therewith. If a user desires to use a straw instead of spout 26 to drink the contents, the straw is selectively insertable into the recessed area of the spout 26, and with an amount of force applied to the straw 102, the platform 34 (shown in previous examples) may be made to be frangible to allow it to be selectively broken or detached to allow the straw to be inserted into the cup. The platform may be provided with its periphery or portion thereof formed with partial or complete perforations which allow the platform 34 to be selectively deflected out of the way of the straw 102 for insertion thereof. The recessed area 30 is designed to accept a standard size drinking straw 102 while frictionally engaging the straw about the straw's circumference. Unlike the prior art straw openings, no gap exists around the straw 102 to provide a path for liquid to low through in the event that a cup equipped with the disclosed lid is tipped or knocked over, except through the straw itself. Although the embodiment in FIG. 9 depicts a straw of the variety typically available at quick service stores or restaurants, it should be understood that the opening 30 can be sized to accept any size straw. It is further envisioned that a user may selectively break or detach the platform 34 to allow greater flow of a drink directly through the spout 26 and opening 30 without using a straw.
  • [0047]
    An alternate example of a lid 20 is shown in FIGS. 10A and 10B, wherein the integrated drinking spout 26 shown in prior examples may not be used, and the lid 20 may be used for products which are not intended to be drunk from the cup/lid assembly, such as soups, ice cream, yogurt, or various other products. Providing a lid which resists disengagement from the container 10 as described previously facilitates transporting or storing such products prior to eating. Also, as shown in FIG. 1 .degree. C., slits 99 may be added to the center of lid in much the same way as current single-use lids, in order to leverage the superior retention and durability of the lid in the event it is subjected to external forces during use, such as from falling, tipping or squeezing. Alternatively, the integral straw hole as described with reference to FIGS. 13 A and B hereafter may be used.
  • [0048]
    In further contemplated embodiments as shown in FIGS. 11A-11D, an alternate integral spout 110 is used. Further, instead of providing a fully domed central region 40 as set forth in prior examples, the lid 20 of this example may comprise a depression 112 in the middle of the central dome area as shown in FIGS. 11A and 11B, which is designed to accommodate a user's nose while tipping the container 10/lid 20 assembly toward their face. The depression 112 slopes downward away from the spout 110. There may also be provided an aperture (not shown) in the depression 112 to permit any fluid overflow to pass from the depression 112 to the interior of the container 10 when the container 10 is oriented in an upright position. As seen in FIGS. 11C and 11D, such an alternate integral spout design 110 may also be used in association with other aspects of prior embodiments, such as the domed central region 40, at least one shock absorbing channel 50 and/or engagement rim 24. Other features associated with the prior examples may also be incorporated in such an embodiment
  • [0049]
    An example of the invention as shown in FIG. 12 also contemplates the use of a sippy type of spout 26 with a regular or standard type of single-use lid 120. The lid 120 has characteristics such as are currently used in a variety of environments, such as quick service restaurants, convenience stores or many other similar uses, where beverages are purchased for consumption in single-use containers with associated lids. The single-use containers are typically formed of paper, and the lids 120 are formed of plastic, such as by thermoforming techniques. The lid 120 may be formed of styrene or other suitable materials, and instead of or in addition to a straw hole generally provided in such lids, the lid 120 includes a sippy type of spout 26, having leakage prevention. This lid 120 may provide the benefits of a sippy style drinking opening to facilitate use by children or others. The lid 120 may be configured without or with one or more of the features as described with reference to other embodiments herein, including one or more of the provision of a domed central region, a shock absorbing channel or channels, or an engagement rim structure as described previously. This would provide the advantage of having a sippy type of spout instead of or in conjunction with the typical straw opening. For example, the integral spout 26 in prior embodiments may provide a sippy-type of beverage container for use by children or others, in association with a single use container and lid combination.
  • [0050]
    FIGS. 13A and 13B show cross sectional views of an alternate example of a lid 20 having an integral straw hole system 130 formed therein. As previously referred to in relation to FIG. 9, many beverages from quick service stores or restaurants and the like may be desirably consumed through a straw. In this example, the integral straw hole 130 accepts any type of straws of the variety typically available at quick service restaurants, and has an opening 132 which can be sized to accept any size straw. It is further envisioned that a user may selectively break or detach a sealing platform 134 which closes the opening 132 before use. As seen in FIG. 13B, the platform 134 is broken upon insertion of the straw 140, and the side wall forms a sleeve 136 which engages the straw 140 to effectively seal the outside surface thereof. In this manner, if the cup/lid is tipped, no leakage will occur around the exterior of straw 140. The sealing platform 134 may be frangible to facilitate breaking upon insertion of a straw 140, and any suitable structure, such as shown at 138, may be used which tends to break in a predetermined manner to allow a straw 140 to be inserted. The frangible platform 134 may remain attached after the straw 140 is inserted. The straw receiving system opening 132 generally comprises a circular aperture having a diameter and a side wall with a length, wherein the diameter substantially matches the size of a straw to be inserted. The side wall sealingly engages the straw inserted therein to substantially prevent leakage around the inserted straw. The side wall forms a sleeve which sealingly engages the exterior of the inserted straw. The sleeve may have a portion which extends downwardly from the lid into the container and/or a portion which extends upward from the lid surface. The sleeve may be flexible to permit the user directional control of the straw when the straw is inserted into the container, without disruption of the sealing engagement with the straw 140. The shape of the sleeve can be manufactured to sealingly engage with the varying shapes of commercially-available straws 140. The sleeve 136 may further include one or more beads to sealingly engage the straw and prevent leakage of contents of container between the straw and lid at the straw insertion hole. The straw system may be located anywhere on the lid surface. The lid and integral straw receiving system may be formed of a plastic material as previously discussed and may have a gauge as described in other examples. Additionally, the straw insertion system may be used either alone or in conjunction with other features of the lid as previously described, and though being shown in conjunction with the domed region 40, channel 50 and engagement rim 24, could simply be used in a standard type of disposable lid, such as in place of or in conjunction with an integral spout, such as shown in the example of FIG. 12.
  • [0051]
    As shown in FIGS. 14-16, a container 10 configuration for use with any of the examples of a lid 20 according to the invention may be provided. As shown in FIG. 14, the side portion of a container 10 may be formed of a paper form 150, having a predetermined shape to be rolled into a container configuration. An overlap area 152 is provided on one edge. A bottom portion 154 may be used for attaching a bottom to the form 150. The top section 156 of the form 150 is selectively rolled during formation of a container to form the rolled rim 14 as previously discussed. The overlap area 152 is formed upon rolling of the form 150 upon itself to form the container 10 side wall. In such a container configuration 10, the overlap area 152 of prior art containers is generally formed to have uniform thickness as seen in FIG. 16A. In the overlap region 152 of prior art containers as seen in FIG. 15A, this causes a disconformity or bump 153 at the overlap area in the rolled rim 14, which can adversely effect the leak proof seal between the rolled rim and engagement rim 24 of the lid 20 as previously discussed. To alleviate this disconformity or bump 153 in this area, the form 150 of the invention may be manufactured to have a tapered portion 158 in at least the top of the overlap region 152, as shown in FIGS. 16B and 16C, with 16C substantially eliminating the disconformity and 16B being acceptable and possibly more manufacturable. Providing the tapered portion 158 in the overlap area 152 provides a smooth transition between the layers of the form 150 in the overlap region 152. The tapered portion 158 may be formed in any suitable manner, such as by swaging of material from the form 150 in this area, compression of the material in this area or any other suitable method. In this manner, the overlap region 152 does not create a disconformity or bump as seen in FIG. 15B.
  • [0052]
    Other modifications and amendments may be made to the design of the disclosed container lid without departing from the spirit and scope of the accompanying claims.
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Clasificaciones
Clasificación de EE.UU.220/796, 220/713
Clasificación internacionalB65D43/08, A47G19/22
Clasificación cooperativaB65D2543/00351, B65D3/06, B65D43/0212, B65D2543/00805, B65D2543/00509, B65D3/28, B65D2543/00796, B65D2543/00685, B65D2543/00731, B65D2543/00555, B65D2543/00638, B65D2543/00092, B65D2543/00046, B65D2543/00296, B65D2203/00, B65D2543/0037
Clasificación europeaB65D3/06, B65D43/02S3E, B65D3/28
Eventos legales
FechaCódigoEventoDescripción
8 Jun 2010ASAssignment
Owner name: C2 CUPS LLC,OHIO
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:MUCCI, MARC A.;METCALFE, PAUL R.;URBAN, SCOTT E.;AND OTHERS;SIGNING DATES FROM 20070416 TO 20070618;REEL/FRAME:024499/0268