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Publication numberUS20060060590 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/114,909
Publication dateMar 23, 2006
Filing dateApr 25, 2005
Priority dateMar 28, 2003
Also published asCA2455532A1, CA2455532C, US6883677, US20040200849, US20050155973
Publication number11114909, 114909, US 2006/0060590 A1, US 2006/060590 A1, US 20060060590 A1, US 20060060590A1, US 2006060590 A1, US 2006060590A1, US-A1-20060060590, US-A1-2006060590, US2006/0060590A1, US2006/060590A1, US20060060590 A1, US20060060590A1, US2006060590 A1, US2006060590A1
InventorsHarold Goeking, Rebecca Whitmore, William Schultz, Janica Behnke
Original AssigneeGoeking Harold J, Whitmore Rebecca E, William Schultz, Behnke Janica S
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Lid for a container and method of making same
US 20060060590 A1
Abstract
A lid for a container is disclosed. The crown of the lid includes a peripherally extending skirt and an outwardly extending spout. The skirt is adapted to secure the crown to the container. The spout includes a single slit and is adapted to deform about the single slit with application of a pressure differential.
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Claims(8)
1. A lid for attaching to a container, the lid comprising:
a crown having a skirt and a spout, wherein the skirt extends peripherally from the crown and is adapted to secure the lid to the container, and the spout includes a single slit, and wherein the spout is adapted to resiliently deform about the single slit upon application of a pressure differential.
2. The lid of claim 1, wherein the crown is formed by a thermoforming process.
3. The lid of claim 1, wherein the single slit is formed in an end of the spout.
4. The lid of claim 1, wherein the single slit is formed by cutting the spout with a blade without removing material from the spout.
5. A lid for attaching to a container, the lid comprising:
a crown having a skirt and a spout, wherein:
the skirt extends peripherally from the crown and is adapted to secure the lid to the container, and the spout includes a single slit at an end of the spout;
the spout is adapted to resiliently deform about the single slit upon application of a pressure differential; and
the single slit is formed by cutting the spout with a blade without removing material from the spout.
6. A lid for attaching to a container, the lid comprising:
a crown, formed by a thermoforming process, having a skirt and a spout, wherein:
the skirt extends peripherally from the crown and is adapted to secure the lid to the container, and the spout includes a single slit in an end of the spout;
the single slit is formed by cutting the spout with a blade without removing material from the spout; and
the spout is adapted to resiliently deform about the single slit upon application of a pressure differential.
7. A method of making a lid for a disposable container, the method comprising:
thermoforming the lid to include a crown, a skirt extending peripherally from the crown, and a spout extending outwardly from the crown; and
cutting a single slit in the spout without removing material from the spout.
8. The method of claim 7, wherein cutting the single slit in the spout includes:
placing a die adjacent to the lid on one side of the spout, the die including a receiving slot;
placing a blade on an opposite side of the spout from the die; and
cutting the single slit in the spout by passing the blade through the spout and into the receiving slot.
Description
PRIORITY

Priority is claimed as a continuation-in-part to U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/402,718, filed on Mar. 28, 2003, now U.S. Pat. No.______, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The field of the present invention is lids for containers, such as cups, bowls, plates, and the like, for serving and storing consumable goods.

2. Background

Sippy cups, or drinking devices suitable for use by young children, exemplify some of the shortcomings that exist in the prior art relating to disposable containers. At present, a variety of non-disposable sippy cup designs are available, with many having the strength and durability that is desired by consumers, enhanced leak resistance through a sealable and removable lid, suitable insulation for hot beverages, and an exterior that is “soft” to the touch. The removable lid enables the consumer to repeatedly refill the cup with any desired beverage. When such cups are repeatedly refilled with liquids that have a high sugar content, such as juice or milk, and are often not refrigerated, the cup becomes an excellent environment for bacterial colonization and propagation. Children using such cups are therefore at greater risk of exposure to unhealthy and potentially deadly amounts of bacteria. Cups which do not enable this potentially harmful practice of repeatedly refilling cups and creating a bacterial breeding ground are therefore desirable.

One potential method of reducing or eliminating this practice is to make cups disposable. However, many consumers frequently reuse even “disposable” cups. Many such cups are manufactured by an injection molding process in order to acquire sufficient strength and durability. These cups often include relatively thick walls and are of a fairly heavy construction. As such, even though a cup is manufactured to be disposed of after a single use, a consumer may not view the cup as being disposable.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed toward a lid for a container. The crown of the lid includes a peripherally extending skirt and an outwardly extending spout. The skirt is adapted to secure the crown to the container. The spout includes a single slit and is adapted to deform about the single slit with application of a pressure differential. In this manner, liquid may be dispensed through the single slit when the lid is secured to the container.

Accordingly, the present invention provides an improved lid for a container. Other objects and advantages will appear hereinafter.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In the drawings, wherein like reference numerals refer to similar components:

FIG. 1 is a side plan view of a first embodiment of a lid;

FIG. 2A is a top plan view of the lid of FIG. 1;

FIG. 2B is a sectional view of a tool and die for making a slit in a lid;

FIG. 3 is a side sectional view of another embodiment of a lid;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the lid of FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a side sectional view of yet another embodiment of a lid;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the lid of FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is a side sectional view of yet another embodiment of a lid;

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of the lid of FIG. 7;

FIG. 9 is a side sectional view of yet another embodiment of a lid;

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of the lid of FIG. 9;

FIG. 11 is a side sectional view of a cup having a brim curl with an arc angle of 135°;

FIG. 12 is a side sectional view of a cup having a brim curl with an arc angle of 225°;

FIG. 13 is a side plan view of a cup;

FIG. 14 is a side sectional view of the cup of FIG. 13;

FIG. 15 is a perspective view of the cup of FIG. 13;

FIG. 16 is a side sectional view of a cup sealingly engaged to a lid;

FIG. 17 is a side sectional view of the cup and lid of FIG. 16 following disengagement;

FIG. 18 is a side sectional view of a cup and lid prior to engagement;

FIG. 19 is a side sectional view of a cup sealingly engaged to a lid with liquid in the cup;

FIG. 20 is a side plan view of a tilted cup sealingly engaged to a lid with liquid in the cup; and

FIG. 21 is a block diagram illustrating a method for implementing a disposable drinking device.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Turning in detail to the drawings, FIG. 1 shows a lid 110. The lid 110 includes a crown 112, a spout 118, and a skirt 122. The spout 118 extends outward from the crown top 114 and includes at least one opening 120 which provides a passage from the crown top 114 through to the crown bottom 116. The spout 118 and associated opening 120 facilitate ‘sipping’ by the user. Liquid may pass through the opening 120 when the lid 110 is sealingly seated on the brim of a cup (as shown in FIG. 16). The skirt 122 includes inwardly protruding ribs 121 and an angular rim 124. The lid skirt 122 is generally defined by a skirt diameter, a, which is approximately the same diameter as the brim of the cup to which the lid is to be attached. The angular rim 124 includes an internal rim surface and is generally defined by the rim diameter, b, which is smaller than the skirt diameter, a. The ribs 121 and the angular rim 124, in combination, are configured to securely associate the lid 110 with the brim of a cup.

The lid 110 has a thickness, m, of approximately 10/1000 in., which advantageously allows the lid 110 to be relatively strong, durable, and truly disposable. Alternatively, the lid may have a thickness, m, of between 9/1000 in. to 25/1000 in. or greater. The lid 110 is preferably constructed using a thermoform process with a translucent plastic and/or composite material. However, the lid 110 may be constructed of any material and/or combination of materials suitable to the desired end purpose, such polyester (APET), polypropylene or polyethylene—alone or as a coating on a paperboard substrate, which might be much more suitable from a child safety standpoint.

FIG. 2A illustrates the opening 120 in the spout 118, which generally allows liquid to be sucked out of an attached cup while providing at least some spill/leak resistance. The opening 120 shown in FIG. 2A is a self healing slit (the size of which is exaggerated for purposes of illustration). The self healing slit flexibly, deformably, and resiliently increases in size to dispense liquid when suction, i.e. pressure that is less than ambient air pressure, is applied to the spout 118. Upon termination of suction, the self healing slit returns to its original size and shape to prevent liquid from escaping from the attached cup. Such a self healing slit may be formed by making a single slit in the spout 118 of a thermoformed lid 110 using a narrow blade without removing material from the spout 118. A tool and die arrangement for making the slit in the spout 118 is shown in FIG. 2B. The die 117 is placed on an opposite side of the spout 118 from the blade 115 and includes a slot 119 for receiving the blade 115. The die 117 provides opposite side support for the spout 118 as the blade 115 pierces and cuts the spout 118 to create the slit. This arrangement helps minimize deformation of the plastic during the slit-cutting process, which is an important factor in creating the self-healing slit.

Self healing slits are not present in injection molded lids because injection molded lids are thicker and less resilient than thermoformed lids. A self healing slit advantageously provides for greater leak resistance capability than is possible with injection molded lids that do not have insert molded or assembled elastomeric valves.

FIG. 3 illustrates a lid 110 a having a skirt 122 a which does not include an angular rim. The ribs 121 a and the top portion 123 a of the skirt 122 a, in combination, are configured to securely associate the lid 110 a with the brim of a cup. FIG. 4 illustrates this alternative lid 110 a in perspective.

FIG. 5 illustrates a lid 110 b having a skirt 122 b which includes an angular rim 124 b, but does not include ribs. The angular rim 124 b and the top portion 123 b of the skirt 122 b, in combination, are configured to securely associate the lid 110 b with the brim of a cup. FIG. 6 illustrates this alternative lid 110 b in perspective.

FIG. 7 illustrates a lid 110 c having a conical spout 118 c as compared to the previously described lids. As shown in FIG. 8, a plurality of holes 120 c serve as the opening of the spout 118 c through which liquid contained in an attached cup may be dispensed.

FIGS. 9 & 10 illustrate a lid 110 d similar to the one depicted in FIG. 3. The spout 118 d of this lid 110 d includes a plurality of holes 120 d through which liquid contained in an attached cup may be dispensed.

A disposable cup 128, which is constructed using a thermoform process, is shown in FIG. 11. This disposable cup 128 is constructed to be mated with the previously described lid. The cup wall 130 defines a cup opening 132 and a cup cavity 134. The cup brim 136 includes a partially formed brim curl 138, which extends entirely around the cup brim 136. Alternatively, the brim curl 138 may extend only partially around the cup brim 136. The brim curl 136 is generally described by its arc angle, β, which is defined as the angle between the imaginary line, l, disposed tangent to the cup wall 130 and the imaginary line extending from the end of the brim curl 138 as shown. The arc angle, β, is preferably between about 135° to about 225° but, depending upon the actual construction of the lid, may also be outside of this range. FIG. 11 shows a cup 128 having a brim curl 138 with an arc angle, β, of about 135°. FIG. 12 shows a cup 128 having a brim curl 138 with an arc angle, β, of about 225°. FIGS. 13, 14, and 15 illustrate a side view, a cross-sectional view, and a perspective view, respectively, of a disposable cup 128 having a partially formed brim curl 138.

The brim curl 138 of the disposable cup 128 may be placed in multiple configurations. For example, FIG. 16 shows a disposable cup 128 with a lid 110 sealingly seated on the brim 136. The brim curl 138 of this cup 128 extends entirely around the brim 136 in a lip configuration 140. In the lip configuration 140, the brim curl 138 arcuately and concavely extends away from cup opening 132 to form a brim lip 144. In an alternative configuration, which is not illustrated, the brim curl extends only partially around the brim.

When the lid 110 is removed from the cup 128, as shown in FIG. 17, the lid causes the brim curl 138 to deform into a flare configuration 142. In the flare configuration 142, the brim curl 138 arcuately and convexly extends away from cup opening 132 to form a brim flare 146. As shown, the lid 110 has deformed the entire brim curl 138. In practice, however, the lid 110 may partially deform the brim curl 138, such that the flare configuration 142 extends only partially around the brim 136.

Referring back to FIG. 11, the cup brim 136 has a brim curl diameter, c, sized relative to the lid skirt diameter, a, (shown in FIG. 1) to allow the brim curl 138 to sealingly associate with the lid skirt 122 as shown in FIG. 16. The brim lip 144 has a lip diameter, d, which is sized relative to the lid rim diameter, b, to allow the brim lip 144 to fasteningly associate with the angular rim 124 (or ribs 121, depending on the lid configuration).

Referring to FIG. 16, the cup wall 130 is preferably constructed of a translucent plastic material and has a wall thickness, n, which is preferably 15/1000 inch. The wall thickness, n, however, may be between about 9/1000 inch and about 25/1000 inch. In addition, although the cup 128 is preferably constructed of a plastic and/or composite material, it may be constructed of any suitable material and/or combination of materials, such as paper and/or polyester (APET), polypropylene or polyethylene—alone or as a coating on a paperboard substrate—all of which are well suited from a child safety perspective.

A disposable drinking device 148 is shown in FIG. 18. A liquid 150 is contained within the cup cavity 134 and a lid 110 is disposed loosely associated with the cup 128. FIG. 19 shows the lid 110 snap-fittingly associated with the cup 128 containing the liquid 150. The cup 128 is shown with the brim curl 138 in the lip configuration 140, wherein the brim curl diameter, c, is sized relative to the lid skirt diameter, a. to allow the brim curl 138 to sealingly associate with the lid skirt 122 at a first sealing location 152 and a second sealing location 154. In addition, the lip diameter, d, is sized relative to the rim diameter, b, to allow the brim lip 144 to fasteningly associate with the angular rim 124 when the lid 110 is snap-fittingly associated with the cup 128.

The disposable drinking device 148 is shown in tilted fashion in FIG. 20. The lid 110 is associated with the cup 128 such that the brim curl 138 is sealingly associated with the lid skirt 122 at a first sealing location 152 and a second sealing location 154. In addition, the angular rim 124 is fasteningly associated with the brim lip 144. Having both the brim curl 138 sealingly associated with lid skirt and the angular rim 124 fasteningly associated with the brim lip 144 advantageously allows the disposable drinking device 148 to be tilted without spilling the liquid 150 contained in the cup cavity 134. Moreover, having the spout opening 120 sized and/or shaped to contain liquid until suction is applied to the lid spout 118 also advantageously allows the disposable drinking device 148 to be tilted without spilling the liquid 150 contained in the cup cavity 134. In accordance with an exemplary embodiment, the lid 110 and the cup brim 136 are round in shape and the angular rim 124 is disposed relative to the brim lip 144 to provide for a snap closure feature that snaps annularly about brim curl 138.

The lid 110 is novel and unique from existing lids in that 1) it is constructed using a thermoform process rather than via a mold injection process; 2) the interaction between the angular rim 124 and the brim lip 144 makes the lid 128 easy to compress onto the cup 128, but when lid is removed from the cup, the angular rim 124 pushes against the brim lip 144, forcing the brim curl 138 at least partially into the flare configuration 142, thus destroying the seal and the ability to be resealed; 3) it is formed from a clear material which allows visual identification of the type and level of liquid 150 disposed within the cup 128; 4) the spout opening 120 is sized and/or shaped to minimize liquid from leaking from the cup; and 5) the disposable nature of the lid 110 permits the disposable drinking device 42 to be wholly disposable.

The cup 128 is novel and unique from existing cups in that 1) the cup 128 includes a configurable cup brim 136 for a true single-use purpose; 2) the cup 128 may be constructed from a number of truly disposable materials, such as paper or a thermoform plastic; and 3) the cup 128 is stackable, making it easy to transport and/or package. The cup 128 is preferably a crush-resistant cup and includes a coating, such as a foam material, that provides tactile stimulation to a child using the cup 128.

Referring to FIG. 21, a method 200 for implementing the disposable drinking device 148 is shown and described. As shown in blocks 202 and 203, the lid 110 and the cup 128 are obtained and a liquid 150 is inserted into the cup cavity 134. The lid 110 is then arranged to be loosely associated with the cup brim 136, so as to loosely cover the cup cavity 134 as shown in block 204. The lid 110 is then compressed onto the cup brim 136, as shown in block 206, such that the internal rim surface 126 of the angular rim 124 becomes fasteningly associated with the brim lip 144. At this point, the disposable drinking device 148 is ready to be used and discarded after use.

In accordance with an exemplary embodiment, while a disposable drinking device 148 and a method 200 for implementing the same is described and discussed below it should be understood that the method and device of the invention may be applied to other product containers, such as storage bowls, serving bowls, plates and/or insulated cups.

While the invention has been described with reference to an exemplary embodiment, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes may be made and equivalents may be substituted for elements thereof without departing from the scope of the invention. In addition, many modifications may be made to adapt a particular situation or material to the teachings of the invention without departing from the scope thereof. Therefore, it is intended that the invention not be limited to the particular embodiment disclosed as the best mode contemplated for carrying out this invention, but that the invention will include all embodiments falling within the scope of the appended claims. Moreover, unless specifically stated any use of the terms first, second, etc. do not denote any order or importance, but rather the terms first, second, etc. are used to distinguish one element from another.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7691302 *May 9, 2006Apr 6, 2010Prairie Packaging, Inc.Disposable cup lid
US8286826Mar 6, 2007Oct 16, 2012Learning Curve Brands, Inc.Drinking containers
US8540112Sep 7, 2012Sep 24, 2013Learning Curve Brands, Inc.Drinking containers
US8657148Apr 18, 2008Feb 25, 2014Learning Curve Brands, Inc.Drinking container lid with soft spout
US20120000923 *Jul 2, 2010Jan 5, 2012Wade Antoine PowellRapid-flow and smooth-spouted container lid
Classifications
U.S. Classification220/713, 220/796, 220/717, 220/780
International ClassificationA47G19/22, B65D43/02, B65D51/20
Cooperative ClassificationB65D2543/00537, B65D2543/00685, B65D2543/00296, B65D2543/00527, B65D2543/00046, B65D51/20, B65D43/0212, B65D2543/00092, B65D2251/0093, B65D2251/0018, B65D2543/00657, B65D2543/00796, B65D2543/00731
European ClassificationB65D43/02S3E, B65D51/20
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Feb 23, 2006ASAssignment
Owner name: CITICORP NORTH AMERICA, INC., NEW YORK
Free format text: SECURITY AGREEMENT;ASSIGNORS:ASHLEY, DREW & NORTHERN RAILWAY COMPANY;BROWN BOARD HOLDING, INC.;CP&P, INC.;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:017626/0205
Effective date: 20051223
Owner name: CITICORP NORTH AMERICA, INC.,NEW YORK
Free format text: SECURITY AGREEMENT;ASSIGNORS:ASHLEY, DREW & NORTHERN RAILWAY COMPANY;BROWN BOARD HOLDING, INC.;CP&P, INC. AND OTHERS;US-ASSIGNMENT DATABASE UPDATED:20100203;REEL/FRAME:17626/205
Free format text: SECURITY AGREEMENT;ASSIGNORS:ASHLEY, DREW & NORTHERN RAILWAY COMPANY;BROWN BOARD HOLDING, INC.;CP&P, INC. AND OTHERS;US-ASSIGNMENT DATABASE UPDATED:20100302;REEL/FRAME:17626/205
Free format text: SECURITY AGREEMENT;ASSIGNORS:ASHLEY, DREW & NORTHERN RAILWAY COMPANY;BROWN BOARD HOLDING, INC.;CP&P, INC. AND OTHERS;US-ASSIGNMENT DATABASE UPDATED:20100518;REEL/FRAME:17626/205
Free format text: SECURITY AGREEMENT;ASSIGNORS:ASHLEY, DREW & NORTHERN RAILWAY COMPANY;BROWN BOARD HOLDING, INC.;CP&P, INC. AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:17626/205
Nov 16, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: FORT JAMES CORPORATION, GEORGIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:GOEKING, MR. HAROLD J.;WHITMORE, MS. REBECCA E.;SCHULTZ,MR. WILLIAM;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:016786/0622;SIGNING DATES FROM 20051006 TO 20051031