US 20060278667 A1
A container and dispenser of a conical shape is provided for liquid or semi-liquid substances. The container features a tab attached to the top region of the cone where a zone of weakness exists at the dividing line between the top region and the rest of the cone to allow the user to easily tear off the tab and remove the top region of the cone, thereby opening a passageway in the tip of the cone where the substance can leave the dispenser by pressing together the collapsible walls or back of the dispenser, without the need for a utensil. In addition, the middle region of the cone is made in a foil-like material that makes the cone re-sealable by pressing the walls of the middle region against each other. Alternatively, a cap can be enclosed within the tab which allows the user to open or close the dispenser by removing or pressing the cap on the top region of the cone.
1. A conical-shaped container for containing one of a liquid and a semi-liquid substance, the container comprising:
a conical main body formed of a collapsible material; and
a tab attached to a top region of the conical main body, to enable a tearing of the top region of the conical main body from the rest of the conical main body, thereby opening the conical main body.
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This application is a continuation-in-part of International Application No. PCT/US2005/002405, filed Jan. 25, 2005, which claims the priority of U.S. application Ser. No. 10/782,218, filed Feb. 19, 2004, now U.S. Pat. No. 7,073,692, issued Jul. 11, 2006, the entire contents of each of which are incorporated by reference herein.
The present disclosure is generally directed to a novel device for holding and dispensing liquids or semi-liquids, in a measured and precise manner, where such devices can be easily and conveniently opened without the need for a knife, scissors or other utensil, and easily resealed.
In numerous instances of use or consumption of liquid or semi-liquid substances, there is a need for a dispenser that allows the substance to be applied in a measured and precise manner. For example, a person eating french fries may want to dispense a small portion of ketchup on the fries; a person eating a bagel, roll or another type of bread may want to use a small portion of spread-able cheese, jam, or chocolate paste; a person eating a salad may want a small portion of salad dressing; a hotel guest may require a small portion of shampoo or soap for an overnight stay. In all these instances, consumers want to be able to apply the substance where they want it, and in the volume they want it.
In general, containers, like any consumer product, is preferably easy and convenient to use, especially when containers of relatively small portions are involved. When the portion to be consumed is relatively small, people do not want to encounter too many practical obstacles in opening the container and dispensing the small portion. Consumers typically want the small portions to be easily dispensable without spending much time opening the container or ensuring that the content be dispensed in a proper and accurate manner.
Many conventional containers require a tool or utensil for opening the container or dispensing the content of the container. For example, a container may require a knife or other device for opening the container, or a fork or spoon to dispense the substance of the container. The need for a tool or utensil makes the container cumbersome to use thereby greatly diminishing its practicality and attractiveness to consumers. Again this is particularly true for containers and dispensers of small portions, where the small size of the content to be dispensed may not justify the extra burden of effort or time of using a tool or utensil. The use of a tool or utensil to open the container or dispense its content generally involves an investment of time and effort that consumers generally prefer not to expend, if they had a choice. Consumers typically prefer a container that can be opened and used without the need for a utensil or other device.
When consumers use a dispenser, they do not necessarily want to consume all of the contents of the dispenser. Therefore, consumers prefer a dispenser that can be easily re-sealed which allows them to consume the remainder of the contents of the dispenser at a later time.
In addition, it is preferable that the dispenser be easy and relatively cheap to manufacture.
There remains a need for a dispenser or container of fluid or semi-fluid substances which a) allows the substance to be applied in a measured and precise manner, b) is easy and convenient to use, c) can be opened and used without the need for a utensil or other device, d) can be easily resealed, and e) is simple and economical to manufacture. The terms “container” and “dispenser” are used herein interchangeably.
The present disclosure is directed to a container and dispenser having a conical shape and to a method of manufacturing such a container for dispensing liquids or semi-liquids. The container is constructed of collapsible, waterproof material, and the liquid or semi-liquid is completely enclosed and sealed within the dispenser. A tab is attached to the tip of the cone and the cone can be opened by removing the tab. After the user has removed the tab from the tip of the dispenser, an opening is created in the tip of the cone and the user can easily dispense the substance in a precise and measured manner by pressing the collapsible walls or back of the dispenser without the need for a knife, scissors or other utensil.
In an exemplary embodiment of the disclosure, there is a zone of weakness where the tab is attached to the tip of the cone to allow the tab to be torn off the tip of the cone with great ease. The tip of the cone may be made of tin foil or similar material which makes the tip of the cone easily re-sealable, after the tab has been removed, by simply pressing together the walls of the tip of the cone.
In another exemplary embodiment, a cap is built into the tab and the cone can be opened by removing the cap from the tip of the cone and can be re-sealed by pressing the cap on the tip of the cone.
In yet another exemplary embodiment, the tab is flexible and in certain parts lightly pasted along the sidewalls of the cone from which it can be easily removed by pulling the tab.
The features of the subject matter of the present disclosure can be more readily understood from the following detailed description with reference to the accompanying drawings wherein:
Reference is made below to preferred embodiments of the disclosure, examples of which are also provided in the following description. In describing preferred embodiments illustrated in the drawings, specific terminology is employed for the sake of clarity. However, the disclosure of this patent specification is not intended to be limited to the specific terminology so selected and it is to be understood that each specific element includes all technical equivalents that operate in a similar manner.
Referring now to the drawings, wherein like reference numerals designate identical or corresponding parts throughout the several views, a conical-shaped dispenser according to an exemplary embodiment is shown in
In a preferred embodiment, the collapsible walls 41 of the cone can be made of a combination of three different materials creating three separate regions in the walls of the cone. First, the top region 49 of the cone runs from the tip 44 of the cone until an upper dividing line 51. Second, a region 52 of the cone runs from the upper dividing line 51 until a lower dividing line 53, which is located between the upper dividing line 51 and the circular border 55 where the circular back 42 of the cone is attached to the sidewalls 41 of the cone 41. Third, the lower region 54 of the cone runs from the lower dividing line 53 to the circular border 55.
Still referring to
When the user has removed the top region 49 of the cone and the tab 46, the user is left with the middle region 52 of the cone and the lower region 54 of the cone, and the user has effectively and easily opened a passageway for the substance to leave the dispenser at the new tip of the dispenser which is the remaining part of the dividing line 51.
Still referring to
It should be understood that other embodiments of the cap 82 are possible such as the addition of a holder of the cap in which the cap 82 can be held. The holder of the cap can be attached to the walls of the middle region and obviates a requirement that the walls not be collapsible.
It should be understood that any portion of tab 96 can be made of any of various materials and can be replaced or reinforced with a yarn, thread, string, etc. The string or thread may be made of a material chosen from paper, plastic, tin foil, metal, fiber or a combination thereof. In addition, the tab can be attached, pasted to or wrapped around the sidewalls of the dispenser in any of many different ways.
Methods for manufacturing and assembling a container and dispenser such as described herein are disclosed in commonly-owned International application no. PCT/US2005/002405, filed Jan. 25, 2005, and U.S. application Ser. No. 10/782,218, filed Feb. 19, 2004, now U.S. Pat. No. 7,073,692, issued Jul. 11, 2006 (the entire contents of each of which are incorporated by reference herein).
It should be understood by those skilled in the art that alternative processes and manufacturing procedures are possible for the assembly of the dispenser as shown in the figures described above. Further, sheets in different shapes might be used to manufacture the dispenser in a more economical or efficient manner, and the shape of the sheets may be slightly adjusted or cut to facilitate or accommodate the welding, gluing or attaching of the various components of the dispenser. In addition, any of a variety of materials (for example, polymer or other substances) can be used to enable the various regions and parts of the container and dispenser to be welded, glued or otherwise attached to each other, and that there are a variety of different methods and procedures by which such welding, gluing or attaching may be realized. Further, the dispenser and the tab can be manufactured in a wide range of sizes, lengths and widths, which may contain any of the features of the embodiments described above.
The present disclosure addresses the need for a dispenser as described supra. The dispenser can be used for a variety of fluid or semi-fluid substances including, but not limited to, any type of sauce (such as ketchup, mayonnaise, salad dressing, etc.) spreadable cheese, chocolate paste, coffee cream, other prepared foods, as well non-edible liquid or semi-liquid consumer products such as conditioner or shampoo, hair gels, liquid soap, toothpaste and other cosmetic products. The subject matter of this disclosure obviates the need for a tool or utensil to open the dispenser and is therefore suitable for instances where such a tool or utensil is excessively burdensome or not practical. The conical shape allows the user of the dispenser to apply the substance contained within the dispenser in a measured and precise manner, where they want it and in the volume they want it, in a very easy and convenient manner. Because the dispenser is re-sealable, users of the dispenser can dispense the substance contained within at various times.
What has been illustrated and described herein is an improvement in certain types of squeezable articles of manufacture such as fluid containers made of flexible material. While the improvements have been illustrated and described with reference to certain preferred embodiments, the present disclosure is not limited thereto. In particular, the foregoing specification and embodiments are intended to be illustrative and are not to be taken as limiting. Thus, alternatives, such as structural or mechanical equivalents, or alternative methodologies of manufacturing the subject matter of this disclosure, and other modifications will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon reading the foregoing description. Accordingly, such alternatives, changes, methodologies and modifications are to be considered as forming a part of the present disclosure insofar as they fall within the spirit and scope of the appended claims.
The examples described herein are primarily provided in the context of a conical dispenser made from flexible plastic material. Nevertheless, it should be understood that the disclosure also contemplates applications using other flexible waterproof material, not made of plastic. Also, the examples provided are primarily provided in the context of a dispenser for small portions of liquid or semi-liquid consumer goods. Nevertheless, it should be understood that the disclosure contemplates applications in any size, from very big to extra-small, and applications to containers outside the area of consumer goods, and for any substance, edible or non-edible.
The above specific embodiments are illustrative, and many variations can be introduced on these embodiments without departing from the spirit of the disclosure or from the scope of the appended claims. For example, elements and/or features of different illustrative embodiments may be combined with each other and/or substituted for each other within the scope of this disclosure and appended claims.