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Publication numberUS20060186129 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/353,635
Publication dateAug 24, 2006
Filing dateFeb 14, 2006
Priority dateFeb 23, 2005
Publication number11353635, 353635, US 2006/0186129 A1, US 2006/186129 A1, US 20060186129 A1, US 20060186129A1, US 2006186129 A1, US 2006186129A1, US-A1-20060186129, US-A1-2006186129, US2006/0186129A1, US2006/186129A1, US20060186129 A1, US20060186129A1, US2006186129 A1, US2006186129A1
InventorsElena Allnutt, Erica Conlan
Original AssigneeAllnutt Elena G, Conlan Erica J
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Reusable sleeve for a beverage container
US 20060186129 A1
Abstract
A storable, reusable-insulating sleeve for a beverage container that provides insulation to the user from hot or cold beverages. The improved sleeve maintains insulation of hot temperatures approximately five and ten degrees higher for a thirty-minute interval, than, for example, cardboard counterpart sleeves. The improved sleeve comprises an integral storage-securing mechanism for storing the sleeve in a compact form. The compact form can easily fit into a pocket, purse, car glove compartment or desk drawer. The sleeve is made of various fabrics and is therefore reusable. Further, a pocket contained in the sleeve will accommodate a prepaid card or a key, for storage, transport and gift giving.
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Claims(31)
1. A holder for a beverage container, comprising:
a multi-layer cloth sleeve comprising a first layer, a second layer and a third layer, the layers are substantially a curved u shape comprising a first and second vertical edge and a first and second horizontal edge, the second horizontal edge comprising a length less than the first horizontal edge, the second layer positionally sandwiched between the first and second layers, the sleeve comprising an exterior surface and an interior surface;
a seam connecting the first and second vertical edges of the first, second and third layers; and
a storage-securing mechanism affixed to the exterior surface of the sleeve to restrain the sleeve in a compacted form.
2. The holder of claim 1, further comprising:
an integral pocket formed between the second layer and at least one of the first layer and the third layer, the integral pocket comprising an access opening on at least one of the interior surface and the exterior surface of the sleeve for removably receiving an object.
3. The holder of claim 2 wherein the pocket is sized to receive a gift card.
4. The holder of claim 2 wherein the pocket is sized to receive a key.
5. The holder of claim 2, further comprising:
a fastener for securably closing the access opening of the pocket.
6. The holder of claim 5 wherein the fastener is a zipper.
7. The holder of claim 1, further comprising:
an integral pocket affixed to the exterior surface of the sleeve, the integral pocket comprising an access opening for removably receiving an object.
8. The holder of claim 1 wherein the second layer is a material of known insulation value to provide thermal insulation to the beverage container.
9. The holder of claim 1 wherein the storage-securing mechanism comprises a grommet affixed to at least the first layer, the grommet comprising an elastic loop extending there through, wherein the elastic loop retains the sleeve in a rolled compact form for storage.
10. The holder of claim 1 wherein the storage-securing mechanism comprises first and second elongated ties, the elongated ties comprising a first and second end, the second ends affixed to the exterior surface, and the first ends free to restrain the sleeve in a compacted form for storage.
11. The holder of claim 1 wherein the storage-securing mechanism comprises a button affixed to the exterior surface of the sleeve and a loop spaced apart from the button being at least substantially diametrically opposed to the button and affixed to the exterior surface of the sleeve, the loop sized to securably retain the button when the sleeve is in a compacted form for storage.
12. The holder of claim 1 wherein the storage-securing mechanism comprises a first tab extending beyond the vertical seam and comprising an inward facing surface containing either small hooks or small loops, and a second tab diametrically opposed to the first tab adjacent to the seam and comprising an outwardly facing surface containing the other of small hooks or small loops.
13. The holder of claim 1 wherein the storage-securing mechanism comprises a snap comprising a receiving portion positioned on the exterior surface of the sleeve and an inserting portion positioned diametrically opposite on an exterior portion of the sleeve for restraining the sleeve in a compacted form for storage.
14. The holder of claim 1, further comprising:
a seam binding material affixed to the first and second horizontal edges of the connected first, second and third layers.
15. The holder of claim 14 wherein the seam binding material is fur.
16. The holder of claim 14 wherein the seam binding material is fringe.
17. The holder of claim 14 wherein the seam binding material is feathers.
18. The holder of claim 1 wherein the sleeve has a frusto-conical shape.
19. The holder of claim 2 wherein the integral pocket has an access opening at the first horizontal seam edge.
20. The holder of claim 1, further comprising:
a seam piping material integrated into the seams of the first and second horizontal edges, located between either the first and second layer or the second and third layer.
21. The holder of claim 1 wherein the sleeve has a cylindrical shape.
22. The holder of claim 2 wherein the pocket is sized to receive a portable device.
23. The holder of claim 1, further comprising a pocket formed on a surface of the holder and comprising at least one edge secured by at least a portion of the seam.
24. The holder of claim 1, further comprising a pocket formed on a surface of the holder and adapted to receive a portable device.
25. The holder of claim 24 wherein the pocket comprises at least one window to provide at least one of visibility and access to at least one of a control panel and a display portion of the portable device.
26. The holder of claim 24 wherein the pocket comprises at least one side portion operable to project the pocket, providing a space between an outer surface of the pocket and an outer surface of the holder.
27. The holder of claim 26, further comprising a band secured to at least a portion of the sleeve toward a first end of the band and operable to secure to a member on the outer surface of the pocket toward a second end of the band, securing at least one of the pocket and a content therein.
28. The holder of claim 27 wherein the at least one side portion and the band are fabricated from an elastic material.
29. The holder of claim 1, further comprising an integrated device and means for fastening the integrated device to the holder.
30. The holder of claim 29 wherein the integrated device is a time-keeping device.
31. The holder of claim 29 wherein the integrated device is removably fastened to the holder.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit under 35 U.S.C. 119(e) of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/655,807 filed Feb. 23, 2005, where this provisional application is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present disclosure is directed toward devices and systems for insulating beverage cups.

2. Description of the Related Art

The prepared beverage market is a booming phenomenon. Leading the market in the prepared beverages is prepared coffee sales. During the past 14 years the number of coffee shops has grown 7,900 percent in the United States alone, and is a $7.22 billion market. One of the leading coffee providers serves up 30,000,000 beverages weekly. More than half of the United States population purchases specialty coffee products on an occasional basis, with 16 percent purchasing every day. This phenomenon has created a new “coffee-cup-carrying-culture.”

The vast majority of this coffee to go is served in paper cups with a disposable paper sleeve and/or an additional cup for insulation. The disposable paper cups are convenient, but provide inadequate insulation for the beverage within to protect the drinker in the case of a hot beverage. These disposable hot beverage containers have traditionally been constructed of two materials: polystyrene and a wax-coated paper. The wax-coated paper container is the preferred material in part because of the environmental concerns regarding disposal of polystyrene, and in part due to customer preference. Although in widespread use, neither product provides sufficient insulation to keep the container from becoming too hot to hold. The serving temperature of prepared coffee products is typically between 150 and 170 degrees with the average being 160 degrees. These high temperatures have necessitated additional thermal protection while holding the cup.

Several thermal protection solutions have been proposed, each with its own limitations. For example, 1) a variety of disposable paper and Styrofoam sleeves that incorporate an assortment of quilting, corrugating and weaving processes; 2) bulky, cumbersome appliance-type gadgets; 3) insulated thermal carafes or mugs that are reusable but are bulky and not possible to carry in a pocket or wallet, making it a highly impractical option for on-the-go and impromptu usage; and 4) using two cups together (i.e., double cupping), sometimes with an additional paper sleeve.

The disposable paper sleeves that have been used historically are inferior in function (i.e., they fall off, move around on the cup and are uncomfortable to hold) and insufficient in thermal insulating capacity. Users therefore frequently resort to double cupping practices. Double cupping, or double cupping with a disposable sleeve, creates yet more waste. Additionally, while the sleeves may be made of recycled paper, they themselves have to be disposed of. The cups are a significant issue, since more than 113 billion disposable cups end up in land fills in the United States every year and a large portion of those cups are generated from the prepared coffee market.

Another industry that has gained widespread acceptance in the past few years is the prepaid or gift card industry, especially prepaid cards redeemable at prepared coffee retailers. One of the leading prepared coffee retailers has issued 35 million prepaid cards and the total transactions from those cards are nearly $100 million to date. While typically given as gifts, some prepaid cards are intended for the purchaser's own personal use. When purchased, the prepaid card is typically supplied with a paper card envelope, enclosure or greeting card in case the prepaid card will be given as a gift. Upon receipt, the recipient removes the prepaid “gift” card from the envelope, disposes the envelope, and finds a safe place to store the prepaid card between uses. Hopefully, the recipient remembers to take the prepaid card with them on their next trip to the coffee shop. These trips frequently happen during the workday as an impromptu break. It is not uncommon for women who usually carry a purse, to merely grab some cash or a prepaid card and “go for coffee,” leaving their purse behind.

Due to the changing habits of consumers (i.e., impromptu coffee at work, after a workout, at sporting events, while shopping, on the go, etc.) the prepaid card may have been left behind and consequently unavailable when needed. Additionally, when a prepaid card is given as a gift, it is encased in a paper envelope or greeting card that also requires the use of more paper and generates more waste.

In short, the prepared coffee phenomenon has impacted the actual living habits of people on a global scale. For more than half of us, prepared coffee, tea, and other beverages has become an integral part of our day, consumed in a disposable paper cup, double cupped, or placed in a cup with a paper insulating sleeve. Moreover, these prepared beverages are frequently paid for with a prepaid card.

Although reusable accessories are ecologically sound, they must be practical and easy to use—as well as appealing—for them to be adopted by the masses. Clunky, bulky thermal mugs and appliances are impractical and unappealing, and thus will not serve their intended function in practical terms.

The sleeve that beverage drinkers currently use is made of cardboard, is designed for one-time use and is inadequate at insulating the user from the hot or cold of the beverage container. These sleeves are cumbersome (i.e., they fall off, move around the cup and are uncomfortable to hold). Further, for many people the sleeve does an inadequate job of insulating, and they are therefore forced to double cup their beverage. The disposable sleeves' single-use nature creates more waste and utilizes more natural resources—especially when combined with the double-cupping practice.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In one aspect, a storable, reusable sleeve is a more ecological and fashionable alternative to disposable cup sleeves. The sleeve grips the cup more comfortably and effectively, while providing measurably more insulation. The improved insulation allows the beverage to maintain its hot temperature between five and ten degrees higher for a thirty-minute interval than, for example, the cardboard counterparts. An alternative embodiment provides a card pocket, enabling the user to store and carry cards such as a prepaid card, credit card, debit card, and/or identity card conveniently together with the sleeve. This becomes a natural packaging extension for gifts and promotion of prepaid cards.

In another aspect, the storable insulating sleeve has several advantages over the prior approaches. The sleeve provides a more effective insulator for heat or cold. The sleeve comprises an integral storage-securing mechanism for storing the sleeve in a compact form. The compact form can easily fit into a pocket, purse, car glove compartment or desk drawer. The sleeve is reusable; and will accommodate a prepaid card or a key, for storage, transport and/or gift giving.

The sleeve may be made from a variety of fashionable patterns and colors, and may incorporate various styles including fake fur trim, leather, buttons broaches, lace and the like. No other known frusto-conical shaped sleeve performs all of these functions and no other cup sleeve incorporates personalized fashion into the consumer experience. The storable, reusable-insulating sleeve takes the disposable prepared coffee experience to a completely new and unprecedented level. The storable, reusable sleeve may be made of fashionable fabrics and in some cases may be adorned with decorative trim and accessories (e.g., fake fur, leather, buttons, broaches, lace, etc.). The sleeve may include reversible coordinating fabrics.

In a further aspect, the sleeve further comprises a sewn-in elastic loop on the vertical seam. The elastic loop can be used on either side of the sleeve and enables the product to be rolled up, making it more compact for storage between uses. An alternative use for the elastic loop is to attach the sleeve to the consumer, such as a ponytail holder, bracelet or anklet.

The sleeve may also incorporate a pocket made of matching, coordinating, or sheer fabric, designed to hold and store a prepaid card (e.g., coffee gift card), portable device or key. Additionally, the sleeve may also be imprinted with various company, organizational or institution names/logos.

The storable, reusable sleeve's fashion appeal motivates consumers to “want” to use them, and their thermal function serves a consumer's “need”—as do the card pockets and roll-up features. The end result is measurably less paper waste going into the landfills.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING(S)

FIG. 1 is a front, top isometric view of a sleeve according to one illustrated embodiment, in use on a beverage container.

FIG. 2 is a front view of the sleeve of FIG. 1, in an unfolded configuration according to one illustrated embodiment.

FIG. 3 is a top view of the sleeve of FIG. 2 showing a number of layers of a sleeve, according to one illustrated embodiment.

FIG. 4 is an illustrated front view of the sleeve in a flat, unfolded configuration, the sleeve comprising a first storage-securing mechanism according to another illustrated embodiment.

FIG. 5 is a front view of the insulating sleeve in a flat, unfolded configuration, the sleeve comprising a storage-securing mechanism according to yet another illustrated embodiment.

FIG. 6 is a front view of the sleeve in a flat, unfolded configuration, the sleeve comprising a storage-securing mechanism according to still another illustrated embodiment.

FIG. 7 is a front view of the sleeve in a flat, unfolded configuration, the sleeve comprising a storage-securing mechanism according to still another illustrated embodiment.

FIG. 8 is a front view of the sleeve in a flat, unfolded configuration, the sleeve comprising a storage-securing mechanism according to still another illustrated embodiment.

FIG. 9 is a front view of the sleeve in a flat, unfolded configuration, the sleeve comprising a storage-securing mechanism according to still another illustrated embodiment.

FIG. 10 is a front view of a sleeve in a flat, unfolded configuration, the sleeve comprising a pocket according to still another illustrated embodiment.

FIG. 11 is a front view of the sleeve in a flat, unfolded configuration, the sleeve comprising a pocket according to another illustrated embodiment.

FIG. 12 is a front view of a sleeve in a flat, unfolded configuration, the sleeve comprising a pocket according to another illustrated embodiment.

FIG. 13 is a front view of a sleeve in a flat, unfolded configuration, the sleeve comprising a pocket formed with an opening at a seam according to another illustrated embodiment.

FIG. 14 is a front view of the sleeve in a flat, unfolded configuration, the sleeve comprising a pocket according to yet another illustrated embodiment.

FIG. 15 is a front view of the sleeve in a flat, unfolded configuration, the sleeve comprising a card retaining mechanism according to still another illustrated embodiment.

FIG. 16 is a partial, isometric view of the sleeve according to one illustrated embodiment.

FIG. 17 is a front view of the sleeve in a flat, unfolded configuration, the sleeve comprising ornamentation according to one illustrated embodiment.

FIG. 18A is a front view of a sleeve according to another illustrated embodiment, in use on a beverage container.

FIG. 18B is a bottom view of the sleeve of FIG. 18A.

FIG. 19 is a front view of a sleeve according to yet another illustrated embodiment.

FIG. 20 is a front view of a sleeve according to still another illustrated embodiment.

FIG. 21 is a front perspective view of a sleeve according to a further illustrated embodiment.

FIGS. 22A-22C are a table showing comparisons of time versus temperature for various sleeves and materials for the sleeves.

In the drawings, identical reference numbers identify similar elements or acts. The sizes and relative positions of elements in the drawings are not necessarily drawn to scale. For example, the shapes of various elements and angles are not drawn to scale, and some of these elements are arbitrarily enlarged and positioned to improve drawing legibility. Further, the particular shapes of the elements as drawn, are not intended to convey any information regarding the actual shape of the particular elements, and have been solely selected for ease of recognition in the drawings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present detailed description is directed toward devices and systems for providing a storable, reusable insulating sleeve for a beverage container. In particular, at least some, illustrated embodiments can provide insulation to the user from the heat or cold of the beverage contained in a disposable cup or other container. According to one embodiment, a storable, reusable sleeve is a reusable insulating beverage sleeve for use with a conical shaped disposable cup that does not have handles. Alternative embodiments include a window in the sleeve for accommodating a handle. Various embodiments of a storage-securing mechanism are described in detail herein. Several details of certain embodiments are set forth in the following description and illustrated in FIGS. 1-18 to provide a thorough understanding of those embodiments. One skilled in the art, however, will understand that the teachings herein will make apparent additional embodiments or features, and may be practiced without several of the details described in the following description and illustrated in the figures.

FIG. 1 illustrates the insulating sleeve 10 positioned on a frusto-conical beverage container 20 such as a disposable cup. The frusto-conical shape of the sleeve 10 accommodates beverage containers of varying heights and widths. The sleeve 10 slides easily into a secure position on the container 20. According one embodiment, the sleeve 10 may measure 5 ⅛ inches wide (at the longest width) by 3 ⅝ inches high and ⅜ inch deep to fit a variety of standard disposable cup sizes. The sleeve 400 according to another embodiment, may also comprise a mated straight seam construction 402 as shown in FIG. 4, whereby the raw edges are sandwiched together.

As shown in FIG. 2, the sleeve 10 may include a French or surged seam construction 202 as is known in the sewing arts. A French seam is a two-sided seam that closes all raw edges within it. A surged seam is a single sided seam that may include a raw edge. The seam construction 202 may be covered by an optional decorative covering such as a ribbon (not shown), for example in embodiments in which the sleeve 200 is reversible. The sleeve 400 may also include a mated straight seam construction 402, such as shown in FIG. 4, whereby the raw edges are sandwiched together. Alternative constructions are discussed further below.

FIG. 3 shows one embodiment of a layered construction of the sleeve 10. One embodiment of the sleeve 10 comprises a first layer 310 of fabric. Fabric for the first layer 310 may include cotton, silks, velvet, wool, fleece or any other suitable fabric. The fabric may be patterned, plain or textured. A second layer 320 is sandwiched between the first layer 310 and a third layer 330, and is preferably a thermally insulative layer to provide additional insulation to the user. Thus, the second layer 320 forms an insulating core when sandwiched between the first and third layers 310, 330. The second layer 320 may include 3M THINSULATE™ 150, cotton, silks, velvet, wool, fleece, neoprene, or other suitable insulating fabric. The second layer 320 provides additional insulation and maintains the beverage serving temperature approximately +/−10 degrees higher than conventional disposable cardboard sleeves. The third layer 330 may be a fabric as noted above, and may further include a complementary or coordinating color scheme to the first layer 310. Alternative embodiments include more or less than the three layers 310, 320, 330 illustrated in FIG. 3.

FIGS. 4-9 illustrate alternative embodiments of the storage-securing mechanism. The storage-securing mechanisms shown in the alternative embodiments described herein, include aspects that are substantially similar to previously described embodiments, and the same reference numbers identify common acts and structures. Only significant differences in operation and structure are described below.

In some embodiments, the sleeve 10 can be compactly rolled or folded for storage into a compact configuration (e.g., rolled or folded). FIG. 4 illustrates one embodiment of the storage-securing mechanism 408, comprising a grommet 410 with an elastic loop 420 extending there through. The loop 420 provides a securing mechanism for wrapping around the rolled or folded sleeve 400 when storing the sleeve 400. Alternatively, the sleeve 400 may employ a buttonhole or eyelets in place of the grommet 410. An alternative use for the loop 420 of this embodiment is to attach the sleeve 400 to the consumer, for example, as a ponytail holder, bracelet or anklet. Another use for the loop 420 and/or the storage-securing mechanism 408 is to secure and/or size the sleeve 400 to the beverage container 20 (FIG. 1).

FIG. 5 illustrates an alternative storage-securing mechanism 508. The sleeve 500 comprises a first tie, ribbon, cord or band 510 and a second tie, ribbon, cord or band 520. A first end of the first and second tie 510, 520 is securely affixed to the sleeve 500 at a desired location. When the sleeve 500 is rolled or folded for storage, the first 510 and second 520 ribbons are tied to secure the sleeve 500 in a stored compact configuration (not shown). Alternatively, the sleeve may include only a single tie. A portion of the tie between the ends of the tie may be securely affixed to the sleeve, and the two ends tied together to retain the sleeve 500 in a compact configuration.

FIG. 6 illustrates yet another alternative embodiment of the storage-securing mechanism 608. The storage-securing mechanism 608 of the sleeve 600 comprises a fastener 610 shown as a button and a corresponding loop 620 for securing the fastener 610 when the sleeve 600 is in a stored configuration (not shown).

FIG. 7 illustrates yet another alternative embodiment of the storage-securing mechanism 708. The sleeve 700 shown in this embodiment comprises a window 709 for allowing a handle (not shown) to extend there through. A tab 710 containing small hooks extends from a first side 715 of the sleeve 700, attaches to a pad 720 of small loops on a second side 725 of the sleeve 700 and mateably interconnects. The embodiment facilitates ease of placement of the sleeve on the beverage container 20 (FIG. 1) and accommodates a protruding handle of the beverage container (not shown).

FIG. 8 illustrates yet another alternative embodiment of the storage-securing mechanism 808. The sleeve 800 comprises a fastener such as a snap comprising a receiving portion 810 and an inserting portion 820. The sleeve 800 may be folded in half and secured in place by securing the two portions 810, 820 of the snap.

FIG. 9 illustrates yet another alternative embodiment of the storage-securing mechanism 908. The sleeve 900 comprises a strip 910 of small hooks and a corresponding strip 920 of small loops that mateably interconnect along an edge 930.

As will be understood by those skilled in the arts, a variety of fasteners may be used to secure the sleeve in a compact configuration, including those described above. Additionally, for ease of illustration, the securing mechanism is positioned at a center seam of the sleeve; those skilled in the arts will understand that the securing mechanism can be effectively positioned at alternative locations on the sleeve. The integral storage-securing mechanism provides the ability to self-compact the sleeve into a compact form for storage in a purse, pocket or other small space.

FIG. 10 illustrates a storage pocket 1010 carried by an exterior surface of the insulating sleeve 1000. FIG. 11 illustrates an alternative storage pocket 1110 affixed to the exterior surface of the insulating sleeve 1100. The storage pockets 1010, 1110 are sized to removably hold a card 1020. The storage pockets 1010, 1110 may, for example, be used to hold a prepaid card such as a coffee gift card within for transport, storage and/or gift giving. Alternatively, business cards can be placed in the pockets 1010, 1110. The card 1020 may take a variety of forms including but not limited to credit cards, debit cards, prepaid and/or gift cards, identification cards such as drivers licenses, and/or business cards. Thus, in FIGS. 10 and 11, the pockets 1010, 1110 are illustrated as being sewn or affixed onto the exterior surface of the sleeves 1000, 1100.

FIGS. 12 and 13 illustrate more embodiments of a pocket integrated into the sleeve. In particular, FIG. 12 shows a pocket 1210 is contained within the sleeve 1200. The pocket 1210 is thus placed between the outside layers 310 and 330 (FIG. 3) and the second layer 320 of the sleeve 1200. The pocket 1210 of this embodiment is sized to accommodate a gift or credit card 1020 and is provided with a buttonhole type opening 1220 on each side. FIG. 13 shows an integral pocket 1310 that is accessed through an opening 1320 at a top seam 1330, between the second layer 320 (FIG. 3) and the first layer 310 and/or the third layer 330 of the sleeve 1300.

FIG. 14 illustrates an alternative storage embodiment of a pocket 1410 contained within the sleeve 1400. The pocket 1410 of this embodiment is sized to accommodate an object such as a key 1430 and is provided with a zipper enclosure 1420. The pocket 1410 could alternatively be used to retain small items such as jewelry and/or coins or paper currency. As will be understood by those skilled in the arts, alternative fastening devices may be used, such as, for example, buttons, snaps and VELCRO™.

FIG. 15 illustrates an alternative embodiment for gift card storage, in which the sleeve 1500 comprises an elastic band 1510, which is secured to the sleeve 1500. The gift or credit card 1020 may be inserted between the elastic band 1510 and the sleeve 1500 where it will be held securely.

FIG. 16 illustrates yet another storage and carrying configuration for the sleeve 1400. As illustrated in FIG. 14, the sleeve 1400 may be folded along a fold line 1405 to provide a bracelet-type configuration, illustrated in FIG. 16, which the consumer can carry on his or her wrist when not using the sleeve 1400 on a beverage container.

FIG. 17 illustrates an alternative decorative embodiment of the present insulating sleeve 1700. The sleeve 1700 may be adorned with trim 1710, for example, fur, leather, fringe, frayed fabric, boa feathers, and the like. Additionally, the sleeve 1700 may include an accessory 1720, for example a broach, button, silk flower, and the like. The sleeve 1700 may further include additional fashion items 1730, for example, buttons, rhinestones, embroidery, and the like.

FIG. 18A illustrates a further embodiment in which the sleeve 1800 comprises a pocket 1810 that is sized and/or adapted to receive a portable device 1820 including, but not limited to, an MP3 player such as an I-POD™, a handheld device such as a cell phone or a BLACKBERRY™, a personal digital assistant (PDA) such as PALM™ devices, a calculator, or any other portable device. The pocket 1810 may include an optional window 1825 to provide visibility and/or access to a control panel 1830 of the portable device 1820. In the exemplary embodiment of FIG. 18, the portable device 1820 is an I-POD™ and the control panel 1830 comprises means for manipulating data within the I-POD™ such as a play button for playing MP3 format music. However, one of skill in the arts will appreciate that the control panel 1830 can be any other feature, ready access to which is desired, such as a compact keyboard, for example for operating a BLACKBERRY™ device or any other suitable control panel depending on the portable device 1820.

As illustrated in FIG. 18A, a display portion 1835 of the portable device 1820 can protrude beyond an end 1840 of the pocket 1810 to provide visibility to the display portion 1835. Alternatively, the pocket 1810 may include a sufficient height to encompass a height of the portable device 1820 and have at least one window, providing visibility to both the display portion 1835 and the control panel 1830. Such an embodiment may also be selectively enclosed, for example using fastening means such as, but not limited to, a zipper or hook and loop fasteners (e.g., VELCRO™), similar to that discussed in conjunction with FIG. 14. Such an enclosure will protect the portable device 1820 from exposure, for example to liquids that may spill from the beverage container 20.

FIG. 18B illustrates a bottom view of the sleeve 1800 comprising the pocket 1810. As illustrated in FIG. 18B, in some embodiments, the pocket 1810 of the sleeve 1800 may include an optional opening 1845 to provide access to an interface 1850 of the portable device 1820. The interface 1850 may include a headphone output connector, a USB input/output connector, a charging interface connector, a synchronizing interface connector, a speaker output connector, or any other suitable interface connector. The opening 1845 allows connecting to, or disconnecting from, the interfaces 1850 of the portable device 1820 without having to remove the device 1820 from the pocket 1810.

Additionally, or alternatively, the window 1825 illustrated in FIG. 18A can be used as a display for example for pictures, logos, mementos, advertisements, political statements, and/or any other indicia and/or indicia medium visibility to which may be desired. The window 1825 can simply be an opening in the pocket 1810 or it may comprise a transparent or translucent material that is attached, sewn and/or fastened to a periphery of the window 1825 in the pocket 1810, such as glass, plastic, crystal, acrylic, silicone, or any other transparent or translucent material. Furthermore, the window 1825 can be attached using any of the means described herein, such as sewing, adhering, snapping or using hook and loop fasteners or any other method that permanently or removably secures the window 1825 to the pocket 1810.

FIG. 19 illustrates yet a further embodiment, in which the sleeve 1900 comprises an integrated device 1920. The integrated device 1920 in the embodiment of FIG. 19 is a watch; however, the integrated device 1920 can be any device, ready access to which may be desired such as, but not limited to, a compass, a thermometer, a reflective device, a jewel, an emblem, a container for example for carrying specialty sugars or medication, a compact radio, an image revealing device that responds to temperature, a compact self-defense device such as a mace container and/or a remote emergency signaling device. The integrated device 1920 can be permanently or removably fastened to the sleeve 1900 using means such as, but not limited to, VELCRO™ hook and loop fasteners, adhesives, sewing or stitching, or any other suitable fastening means.

Additionally, or alternatively, the integrated device 1920 can be designed for the sleeve 1900 or be an existing device that is fastened to the sleeve 1900, such as a watch, the band for which is removed and the watch portion is sewn to the sleeve 1900. One of ordinary skill in the art having reviewed this disclosure will appreciate these and other variations that can be made to the sleeve without deviating from the spirit of this disclosure.

FIG. 20 illustrates still a further embodiment, in which a sleeve 2000 comprises a pocket 2010, the pocket 2010 comprising side portions 2015 that project out from the surface of the sleeve 2000 to allow more space to store items in the pocket 2010. The side portions 2015 can be any member such as a gusset, a plurality of bands, or a single band, and can be fabricated from any material such as fabrics, including cotton and silk, and/or elastics, firmly securing items in the pocket 2010. In the illustrated embodiment of FIG. 20, the side portions 2015 extend an entire length of the pocket. Alternatively, the side portions 2015 can be at least one band, elastic or non-elastic, that extends from at least a portion of the sleeve 2000 to at least a portion of a surface 2017 of the pocket 2010, toward at least a portion of an edge of the surface 2017.

The sleeve 2000 may include an optional securing mechanism 2007, for example, a band 2020, secured toward a first end 2021 of the band 2020, to at least a portion of the upper seam 2030. In other embodiments, the first end 2021 can be secured to any portion of the sleeve 2000. The band 2020 can couple to the surface 2017 of the pocket 2010, by connecting toward a second end 2022 of the band 2020, to a member 2023 on the surface 2017, for example a button, by looping around the member 2023, to secure the item in the pocket or to compact the pocket when not in use. One of ordinary skill in the art can appreciate that the securing mechanism 2007 can comprise any of the securing mechanisms discussed herein, such as, but not limited to, hook and loop fasteners, snap fasteners with inserting and receiving portions, two bands tied together by the user, a band extending about the pocket 2010 and/or the sleeve 2000 and securing to a fastener on an opposing side of the sleeve 2000, or any other securing means operable to secure at least a portion of the pocket 2010 toward an opening therein, to a portion of the sleeve 2000. However, one or more bands may be particularly advantageous since such can be used to secure the sleeve 2000 to the beverage container, as well as retain the sleeve 2000 in a rolled or folded configuration for convenient storage.

The band 2020 can be made from plastics, elastics, fabrics, flexible metallics, silicone, composites, nylon, or any other material operable to add security to the pocket 2010. In embodiments in which the band 2020 is an elastic material, the band 2020 may be sized such that the band 2020 stretches to reach the coupling member 2023 to bias the pocket 2010 toward the sleeve 2000 and better secure the pocket 2010 and/or a content therein.

Additionally, or alternatively, in another embodiment, a sleeve 2100 comprises a pocket 2110 that comprises at least a portion 2111 secured adjacent or proximate at least one seam 2102 of the sleeve 2100. Securing the portion 2111 of the pocket 2110 using the seam 2102 may advantageously eliminate a step in constructing the sleeve 2100 and the pocket 2110, allowing the seam 2102 and portion 2111 to be attached in the same operation (e.g., sewn). This feature can also serve as an aesthetic and/or a fashionable feature.

It is understood that the teachings herein will make apparent additional embodiments or features, and may be practiced without several of the details described in the foregoing and following descriptions and illustrated in the figures. For example, in any of the described embodiments the pocket can be on an inner surface of the sleeve. Additionally, or alternatively, the pocket can be subdivided, for example by an additional seam, into two or more pockets. Additionally, or alternatively, the sleeve may comprise an additional transparent or translucent layer, such as vinyl, operable to receive and display pictures or mementos. Additionally, or alternatively, the sleeve may comprise of less than three layers or more than three layers, depending on the material used and insulation and/or size properties desired. One of ordinary skill in the art having reviewed this disclosure can appreciate these and other modifications that can be made to the insulating sleeve without deviating from the spirit and scope of this disclosure.

Construction:

According to one exemplary manner of construction, a single sleeve may be constructed using conventional sewing techniques. Two pieces of coordinating fabric are cut into identically shaped curved pieces, along with a single matching piece made of insulating material. The three pieces are separated into two portions: 1) the top and middle insulating layer are put with the interior sides together, forming one portion, and 2) the bottom layer stands alone as the second portion. Pockets may be sewn onto the right sides of each portion, or alternately, pockets may be sewn-in by stitching the layers together in the shape of a pocket, channel, or other receptacle. The top portion, which now consists of the top layer of fabric, the middle insulating layer and a pocket, are now sewn together at the vertical ends to form a cone cylindrical shape. A piece of elastic is sewn into the vertical seam of this piece at this time. The bottom portion is then also sewn together to form an identical cone shape. These two cone shaped pieces are fit together with the insulating layer in the middle and the right sides out. Finally, the unfinished horizontal edges of the cone, consisting of all three layers, are sewn together and bound with coordinating seam binding. The coordinating seam binding may be a coordinating cotton fabric or a trim such as fur, leather, fringe, frayed fabric, boa feathers, and the like.

First Alternative Construction:

The flat pieces may be layered together after the pockets are attached, or sewn-in, with the insulating layer in the middle against the interior sides of each outer layer, and a French seam may be used on the vertical seam which connects the pieces together to form a cone shape. This would then be bound as indicated above.

Second Alternative Construction

The unfinished horizontal edges of the cone, consisting of all three layers, may be sewn together while incorporating a piping or seam-inserted decorative trim.

Pocket Opening at Top Seam—Alternative Constriction

As outlined in “Construction” above, the two portions are each sewn together separately at the vertical ends, right sides together. The elastic is incorporated into the two-layered portion. The two identical shaped cones are then positioned within each other—right sides together. They are straight-stitched together at the top. The seam stops and starts again to allow a 3 inch opening at the midway point of the circle. The bottom horizontal seam is sewn together in one continuous circle. The sleeve is then put right-sides out by feeding it through the 3 inch opening at the top. This would be understood by those skilled in the arts as being similar to pillow construction. The raw edges of fabric at the 3 inch unsewn opening are then folded down and affixed to the body with adhesive or a similar type application. Next, a pocket is created by stitching two vertical parallel seams through all three layers, beginning at the top and going the full length of the sleeve to the bottom. The pocket channel is positioned at the stopping points of the top horizontal seam, to allow an opening for the pocket. Finally, the horizontal edges of the sleeve top and bottom are finished with a top stitch inch from the outside edge, being mindful not to stitch the card pocket opening closed. Alternately, decorative trim may be applied to the outside horizontal edges.

Non-Reversible Alternative Construction:

A non-reversible version may be made in the same way as the alternative constructions outlined above, except that the curved pieces would be bound while flat and the vertical seam could be surged and sewn-down with a straight stitch rather than employing a French seam.

Alternative Materials:

The storable, reusable sleeve can be made with a variety of insulating materials such as POLAR FLEECE™, TEFLON™-lined polyester batting, THINSULATE™ 150, plain polyester batting, cotton table felt, cotton batting, and the like. As shown in FIGS. 18A-18C, the THINSULATE™ 150 out-performs the other options by approximately +/−5 degrees. The POLAR FLEECE™ 100 and 200 (and related off-brand versions) are less bulky, lie smoother and perform better than the cardboard sleeves by approximately +/−5 degrees.

Temperature Testing:

FIGS. 18A-18C illustrate tables of time and temperature testing. These time and temperature tests show that the storable, reusable sleeve described above keeps hot beverages between approximately 5 and 10 degrees warmer for a thirty-minute interval than typical cardboard sleeves.

Additional Features:

The elastic loop, which may be sewn into the vertical seam at the seam's mid-point location, enables the sleeve to be rolled and wrapped when not in use. This procedure compacts a standard sized sleeve to a 1.5 inch rolled diameter. When the sleeve is in use, the elastic can be positioned on the inside of the sleeve, keeping the appearance neat and the elastic out of the way. This is accomplished by feeding the elastic loop through a grommeted hole located near the seam or by turning the sleeve inside out so that the elastic loop is hidden inside the sleeve adjacent to the beverage container.

The pocket located on either side of the sleeve enables the user to hold a credit card, money, key, business card or a coffee gift card for storage, transport and gift giving.

The storable, reusable sleeve is a break-through concept for personalizing the prepared coffee experience at the most basic level—just as you personalize the way you dress and look everyday. Not only do the sleeves come in a variety of fashionable patterns and colors, they also come in various styles incorporating fake fur trim, leather, buttons broaches, lace, etc. This is an important and unique development in the way paper cups are used and the way in which we see and treat our coffee experience.

The outer fabric represents current clothing fashion trends and may in the future, utilize custom designed patterns. In alternative embodiments upgraded fabrics such as velvet, silk, wool, brocades, and the like are used, and a variety of trim such as fake fur, leather, buttons, broaches, lace, and the like, is incorporated to make a more dramatic fashion statement.

For marketing and sales appeal, each storable, reusable sleeve design will be given a name and marketed as a personality.

The storable, reusable sleeve can be made with most any fabric, for example, silk fabrics such as brocade, canton crepe, charmeuse, chiffon, china silk, doupioni, faille, georgette, matelasse, noil, organza, peau de sole, pongee, poult de siue, silk shantung, silk broadcloth, silk linen, silk satin, and tussah silk; cotton fabrics such as diaper cloth, dimity, drill, duck, flannel, flannelette, gauze, gingham, lawn, muslin, organdy, outing flannel, oxford, percale, poplin, sailcloth, sateen, seersucker, swiss, terry cloth, pima cotton, polished cotton, velveteen, and whipcord; linen fabrics such as butcher's linen, damask, and venise; wool fabrics such as beaver cloth, botany/merino wool, broadcloth, challis, cheviot, chinchilla cloth, donegal, felt, flannel, gabardine, glen checks, harris tweed, heather mixture, herringbone wool, homespun, hound's-tooth check, jersey, laine, lambsdown, linsey-woolsey, loden fabric, mackinaw fabric, melton, merino wool, oatmeal cloth, panama cloth, petersham, pilot cloth, poodle cloth, rabbit hair, sharkskin, tartan, tweed, and virgin wool; manufactured or man made fabrics such as acetate, acrylic, lastex, nylon, polyester, rayon, and spandex; and natural plant fiber fabrics such as hemp, ramie, and jute.

The sleeve can be reversible or not, and can have trim or not. It may also incorporate a variety of logos or customized names and words. The top and bottom horizontal seams can be bound with any type of binding material (e.g., matching or coordinating fabric, off-the-shelf seam binding, any other type of fabric, leather, ribbon, etc.). The binding may be double or single needle-stitched. Conversely, the top and bottom horizontal seams do not have to be bound. They can be folded over and double or single-needle straight-stitched down, they can be surged, or they can be sewn right sides together and turned back, right sides out—using simple pillow construction. The layers of fabric can be glued (or laminated) together negating the need for top and bottom horizontal seam stitching. The sleeve's vertical ends can be laced together, zipped together, velcroed together, glued together, surged together, straight-stitched together or French-seamed together. Also, a strip of elastic could be sewn between the two vertical edges to form a gusseted elastic seam or the length of layered fabric may be simply tied onto the cup like a ribbon.

The fabrics may be (but are not required to be) stain treated using a variety of product bases, including silicone, Teflon and wax. Insulation can be B400 insulation material or any thermal product such as Thinsulate. The insulation layer acts as an insulation core and maintains the beverage serving temperature approximately +/−10 degrees higher than conventional disposable cardboard sleeves.

In the foregoing description, certain specific details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of various embodiments. However, one skilled in the relevant art will recognize that the embodiments may be practiced without one or more of these specific details, or with other methods, components, materials, etc. In other instances, well-known structures associated with sleeve and storage-securing mechanism have not been shown or described in detail to avoid unnecessarily obscuring descriptions of the embodiments.

Unless the context requires otherwise, throughout the specification and claims which follow, the word “comprise” and variations thereof, such as, “comprises” and “comprising” are to be construed in an open, inclusive sense, that is as “including, but not limited to.”

Reference throughout this specification to “one embodiment” or “an embodiment” means that a particular feature, structure or characteristic described in connection with the embodiment is included in at least one embodiment. Thus, the appearances of the phrases “in one embodiment” or “in an embodiment” in various places throughout this specification are not necessarily all referring to the same embodiment. Further more, the particular features, structures, or characteristics may be combined in any suitable manner in one or more embodiments.

The headings provided herein are for convenience only and do not interpret the scope or meaning of this disclosure.

The above description of illustrated embodiments, including what is described in the Abstract, is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the embodiments to the precise forms disclosed. Although specific embodiments of and examples are described herein for illustrative purposes, various equivalent modifications can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of this disclosure, as will be recognized by those skilled in the relevant art. The teachings provided herein can be applied to any beverage container, not necessarily the exemplary disposable paper cup generally described above.

The various embodiments described above can be combined to provide further embodiments. All of the U.S. patents, U.S. patent application publications, U.S. patent applications, foreign patents, foreign patent applications and non-patent publications referred to in this specification and/or listed in the Application Data Sheet, are incorporated herein by reference, in their entirety. Aspects of this disclosure can be modified, if necessary, to employ fasteners, fabrics and concepts of the various patents, applications and publications to provide yet further embodiments.

These and other changes can be made in light of the above-detailed description. In general, in the following claims, the terms used should not be construed to limit this disclosure to the specific embodiments disclosed in the specification and the claims, but should be construed to include all storable, insulating sleeves that operate in accordance with the claims. Accordingly, the embodiments are not limited by this disclosure, but instead their scope is to be determined entirely by the following claims and equivalents thereof.

Referenced by
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Classifications
U.S. Classification220/737
International ClassificationB65D25/00
Cooperative ClassificationY02W30/807, B65D81/3865, B65D81/3876
European ClassificationB65D81/38H, B65D81/38K