FIELD OF THE INVENTION
- BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The invention generally relates to a lid for a beverage cup or other container, and more particularly to a disposable lid having defined depressed areas for containing foodstuff.
Finger foods, such as french fries, chicken nuggets, and onion rings, are often ordered “to go” and consumed while driving in an automobile or while walking. Many of the above foods are frequently eaten with condiments such as ketchup, mustard, and barbeque sauce. Since these foods are often eaten with one's fingers, a person typically holds a food item in his fingers and dips it into a condiment. When eating in a sit-down restaurant, the condiment may be dispensed directly next to or on top of the food product, or a tub of the condiment can be placed on a table next to the consumer. When consuming such products in an automobile or while walking, however, the option of using a tub of condiment becomes more complex and represents some danger to safety because it is difficult to manage multiple separate containers in those situations. Thus, the process of consuming such foods while on the go represents an inconvenience and a potential safety hazard.
- SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Several devices have been used to relieve the inconvenience of eating finger foods while on the go. However, these devices fail to provide an adequate solution to the inconvenience because they require a restaurant or vendor to provide additional attachments and containers beyond what is typically given to a consumer when a meal is ordered “to go.”
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The present invention is directed to a disposable lid for closing and covering the open end of a beverage cup or other container. One exemplary embodiment of the disposable lid of the present invention includes a top surface for covering the open end of a beverage cup or other container, a side surface extending downwardly from the top surface, and a lip engaging portion defined by a top and outer wall. The lip-engaging portion securely attaches the disposable lid to the beverage cup or other container. The top surface of the disposable lid preferably includes at least one depressed area formed therein, and preferably a plurality of depressed areas. The depressed areas are configured to have a depth sufficient for holding condiments and other small foodstuff.
FIG. 1 is a top plan view of the disposable lid having defined depressed areas for containing foodstuff in accordance with the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a sectional view of the disposable lid along line 2-2 of FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is a sectional view of the disposable lid along line 3-3 of FIG. 1.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the disposable lid of FIG. 1.
The present invention is more particularly described in the following examples that are intended as illustrative only since numerous modifications and variations therein will be apparent to those skilled in the art. As used in the specification and in the claims, “a,” “an,” or “the” can mean one or more, depending upon the context in which it is used. The preferred embodiment is now described with reference to the figures, in which like numbers indicate like parts throughout the figures.
Referring to the drawings, wherein like reference numerals refer to like parts throughout, FIGS. 1-4 illustrate a disposable lid 10 for covering and closing the open end of a beverage cup or other container that may contain either a hot or cold beverage or a foodstuff.
The disposable lid 10 includes a generally planar top surface 12, a side surface 14 extending downwardly from the top surface 12, and a top wall 16 and outer wall 18 extending around the outer periphery of the disposable lid 10. As illustrated in FIGS. 2-4, the side surface 14 and the outer wall 18, which are spaced apart from one another, are joined together by the top wall 16. The outer wall 18 is flared outwardly at its bottom end as indicated in FIGS. 2-4.
The disposable lid 10 further includes a lip-engaging portion 20 defined by the top wall 16 and the outer wall 18. The lip-engaging portion 20 is formed substantially around the periphery of the disposable lid 10 and receives the open end of a beverage cup to assure that the disposable lid 10 is securely attached to the beverage cup or container. Preferably, the lip-engaging portion 20 is located in a plane that is below a plane in which the top surface 14 lies.
The top surface 12 of the disposable lid 10, which covers the open end of a beverage cup, includes depressed areas 22 and 24 formed therein. The depressed areas 22 and 24 are formed to accommodate small foodstuff including, but not limited to, condiments such as ketchup, mustard, and barbeque sauce. In a preferred embodiment, each of the depressed areas 22 and 24 is defined by a side wall 26 extending downwardly from the top surface 12 and a bottom wall 28 located in a plane that is parallel to a plane in which the top surface 12 lies, as illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3. The bottom wall 28 is spaced significantly downward from the top surface 12 to receive and contain condiments or other small foodstuff. Therefore, the depressed areas 22 and 23 have a depth sufficient for accommodating condiments or other small foodstuff. The depressed areas 22 and 24 may be of any shape appropriate for receiving and containing small foodstuff.
As best shown in FIG. 1, the top surface 12 also includes a straw-receiving opening 30 formed by a perforation that may be punctured by a conventional drinking straw to gain access to the beverage without detaching the beverage cup from the disposable lid. Further, the top surface 12 may comprise an advertising portion 32 for including the logo or trademark of a business utilizing the disposable lid 10 as well as a plurality of beverage designating markers 34 for indicating which type beverage is included within the beverage cup. FIG. 1 illustrates one embodiment of how the depressed areas 22 and 24, the straw-receiving opening 30, the advertising portion 32, and the beverage designating markers 34 may be positioned and arranged on the top surface 12. One skilled in the art will appreciate, however, that a variety of positions and arrangements of the depressed areas 22 and 24, the straw-receiving opening 30, the advertising and the beverage-designating markers 34 may be made on the top surface 12 without departing from the scope of the invention.
In another embodiment, the lid as described herein, may be affixed to a non-beverage container. As one skilled in the art will appreciate, such a container can be used to hold any foods or liquids.
The disposable lid 10 is preferably made by thermoforming a flat sheet of plastic under appropriate temperatures and pressures. The flat sheet of plastic is extruded, and while still hot, is conveyed into a pressure molding station where the sheet of plastic is pressure molded using male and female dies, in a known manner.
The above specification, examples and data provide a complete description of the manufacture and use of the composition of the invention. Other features and amendments to the structure of the disposable lid of the present invention may be utilized, as may be well know to those skilled in the art, without departing from the spirit and scope of the accompanying claims.