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Publication numberUS20070051729 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/516,985
Publication dateMar 8, 2007
Filing dateSep 7, 2006
Priority dateSep 8, 2005
Also published asUSD613124, WO2008031001A2, WO2008031001A3
Publication number11516985, 516985, US 2007/0051729 A1, US 2007/051729 A1, US 20070051729 A1, US 20070051729A1, US 2007051729 A1, US 2007051729A1, US-A1-20070051729, US-A1-2007051729, US2007/0051729A1, US2007/051729A1, US20070051729 A1, US20070051729A1, US2007051729 A1, US2007051729A1
InventorsMortissa Osborne
Original AssigneeOsborne Mortissa C
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Container with utensil pocket
US 20070051729 A1
Abstract
A serving container includes a pocket for holding one or more utensils. The pocket can be inside or outside the container. The pocket is formed by a detachably mounted pocket piece that can also include a secondary securing means such as a magnet. The pocket is attached so that the handle of the utensil remains easily accessible to the user.
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Claims(11)
1. A container for use with one or more serving utensils, the utensils having a serving portion and a handle, comprising:
a container portion; and
a utensil pocket on the container portion for holding primarily the serving portion of the utensil.
2. The container of claim 1, wherein the pocket is formed by a pocket piece detachably mountable to the container portion.
3. The container of claim 2, including the limitations of claim 1, further comprising secondary means for securing the utensil in the pocket.
4. The container of claim 3, including the limitations of claims 1 and 2, wherein the secondary securing means includes a magnet.
5. The container of claim 3, including the limitations of claims 1 and 2, wherein the secondary securing means is one of a hook, a latch, and a notch.
6. The container of claim 2, including the limitations of claim 1, further comprising a second utensil pocket on the container portion for holding primarily the serving portion of a second utensil.
7. The container of claim 6, including the limitations of claims I and 2, wherein the second utensil pocket is formed by a detachably mounted pocket piece.
8. In a food serving container for which at least one serving utensil is required, the container having an interior, food-holding portion and exterior portion, and the utensil having a serving portion and a handle, the improvement comprising:
a utensil pocket on the container portion for holding the serving portion of the utensil so that the utensil handle is accessible for continued use of the serving container.
9. The pocket of claim 8, wherein the utensil pocket includes a pocket piece detachably mounted to the container.
10. The pocket of claim 9, including the limitations of claim 8, wherein the pocket piece is mounted to the outside of the container.
11. The pocket of claim 9, including the limitations of claim 8, wherein the pocket piece further comprises an upper and a lower opening.
Description
FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This application is a continuation-in-part of provisional application No. 60/714,767, filed Sep. 8, 2005. This invention relates to food containers that are used in conjunction with a serving utensil, including containers such as salad bowls, platters and dishes for serving meats, vegetables, soups, desserts, condiments and the like.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Individuals and the food industry have always sought ways to efficiently serve food without contamination of the food, the container, or any associated serving utensils. Contamination problems can arise when serving utensils are separated from their container. For example, a serving spoon or fork can lay on a dirty surface where the container rests. Another undesirable situation can occur if a serving utensil is handled by someone with, say, a cold or the flu, after which the utensil falls into the container and contaminates the contents of the container with a virus that can spread to others who eat or come in contact with the contents of the container. In other instances, it is desirable to keep the serving utensils separate from the food, to prevent food from getting on the handle of the serving utensil, making it difficult or messy to grip. Another reason to keep serving utensils separate from the food is to prevent the taste of food in one container from being altered by being mixed with the taste of food in another container, should the serving utensils be switched between the containers. It is also desirable to keep the utensil or utensils as part of serving arrangement that includes the serving container.

Various combinations of containers and serving utensils can be seen in the prior art. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 269,054 to Hemsteger depicts a spoon holder for a cooking vessel. U.S. Pat. No. 1,607,863 to Betts depicts a combination of a disposable receptacle and spoon for ice cream. Nevertheless, it is desirable to have a serving container with a separate pocket or compartment for one or more serving utensils.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention includes a container for use with one or more serving utensils, such as forks or spoons. The utensils have a serving portion and a handle. A serving container has a utensil pocket on the container portion for holding the serving portion of the utensil. At the same time, the arrangement of the pocket and the container hold the utensil so that easy access to the utensil handle is maintained. In such a manner, the container can continually be used for serving.

Other features of the invention include a detachably mounted pocket piece that makes the use of the pocket and the container optional. The pocket piece can also have secondary means to further secure the utensil inside the pocket. Such a means could include a magnet, a latch, a hook, or other types of mechanical fasteners. The pocket piece can also be configured so that it forms a pocket inside or outside the container.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a serving container with a utensil pocket on the inside of the container.

FIG. 2 is a portion of the perspective view of FIG. 1 depicting how the pocket can be formed by a removable pocket piece.

FIG. 3 is a section view of the pocket and container in FIGS. 1 and 2, showing a utensil in the pocket.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of an alternate tray or dish-like embodiment of the container in FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 is a plan view of yet another embodiment in which the utensil pocket is outside of the container.

FIG. 6 shows an alternate embodiment of the removable pocket piece depicted in FIG. 2.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The present invention includes several embodiments, some of which are illustrated by the preceding drawings. FIG. 1 depicts a serving container 10, such as a salad bowl. The container 10 includes an interior surface 20 that defines a food containing portion of the container 10. A pocket piece 30 defines a pocket or compartment 25. The pocket piece 30 can be detachably mounted to the inside or the outside of the container, although the present invention also contemplates a permanent pocket as well. FIG. 2 depicts a pocket piece 30 with clips 37 that snap into openings 35 to secure the pocket piece to the interior of the container 10.

FIG. 3 shows a spoon 55 with handle 50 resting inside pocket 25. The pocket can be sized for one more utensils. In another embodiment, two pockets (not shown) could be disposed inside or outside of the container. Such a configuration would be helpful when the container is used as a salad bowl, in which two large utensils may be used simultaneously for serving purposes. It is intended that the utensil pocket be placed in relation to the container so that the serving portion of the utensil is held by the pocket, as depicted in FIG. 3, where pocket 25 holds spoon 55 while the spoon handle 50 is easily accessible. It is not intended that the pocket have a specific proportional relationship to the utensil, the utensil's handle, or the utensil's serving portion. It is, however, desired that the utensil handle be easily accessible for continued use of the serving container.

Magnet 40 can assist in securing a ferromagnetic utensil inside the pocket 25. Other types of securing devices can also be used, such as clips and slots (not shown) that mechanically secure the utensil inside the pocket. Such securing arrangements would preferably be placed on the pocket piece 40, but could also be disposed on the interior surface 20 of container 10 or on the tope edge 15. Another way of securing the utensil inside the pocket 25 is to match the utensil and pocket sizes like a matched set, in which the utensil and container would be sold as a pair. The pocket would be shaped and sized to mechanically secure the serving part of the utensil in the pocket. The precise shape, size, and location of the pocket or pockets can be determined by one of ordinary skill to accommodate the desired shape and size of the container and the utensils.

FIG. 4 depicts an alternate embodiment of the invention, in which the serving container 110 is in the shape of a pan or serving platter with raised sides 120. The pocket piece 130, which forms utensil pocket or compartment 125, can be permanently or detachably mounted to the container 110. A magnet or other utensil securing device 140 is also shown.

FIG. 5 depicts yet another embodiment of the invention. A container or bowl 210 includes a pocket 225 disposed on the outside of the container 210. In FIG. 5, the pocket piece 230 is depicted as a permanent part of the entire container 210. As noted earlier, however, other embodiments can include a detachably mounted pocket piece (or pieces).

FIG. 6 depicts the container 10 of FIG. 1. In FIG. 6, however, the pocket piece 330 is configured differently from that of FIG. 1. In particular, a pair of wire hooks 335 are attached to the top of pocket piece 330 and hook over the top of container 10.

Other possible embodiments of the present invention will be understood by those of skill in the art. For example, it is contemplated that the pocket pieces in FIGS. 3 and 6 form pockets that are open on the bottom. Referring specifically to FIG. 3, any drippings or loose food in spoon 55 could fall through the bottom opening 27 of pocket 25 and into the container 10. Alternatively, in FIGS. 4 and 5, the bottoms of pockets 125 and 225 respectively are intended to be closed. Likewise, those of skill in the art will appreciate that there are a variety of ways to detachably mount the pocket piece to the container. Therefore, it will be understood by those of skill in the art that changes may be made to the present invention, and that changes in its use may also be made, without departing from the spirit of the invention, which is defined in the following claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7588153 *Aug 10, 2005Sep 15, 2009Simplehuman LlcUtensil organizer
US8496112Aug 12, 2011Jul 30, 2013Handi-Foil CorporationPan having secured thereto roasting materials
US8646971Aug 19, 2008Feb 11, 2014Pocket Plus, L.L.C.Portable magnetic pocket
Classifications
U.S. Classification220/529
International ClassificationB65D25/04
Cooperative ClassificationA47G2200/106, A47G19/06
European ClassificationA47G19/06