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Publication numberUS20090126149 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/986,229
Publication dateMay 21, 2009
Filing dateNov 19, 2007
Priority dateNov 19, 2007
Publication number11986229, 986229, US 2009/0126149 A1, US 2009/126149 A1, US 20090126149 A1, US 20090126149A1, US 2009126149 A1, US 2009126149A1, US-A1-20090126149, US-A1-2009126149, US2009/0126149A1, US2009/126149A1, US20090126149 A1, US20090126149A1, US2009126149 A1, US2009126149A1
InventorsAllison M. Whittaker
Original AssigneeWhittaker Allison M
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Convertible cup holder
US 20090126149 A1
Abstract
The convertible cup holder presents a novel solution to a problem experienced by all beverage drinkers—an entire hand is required to hold a beverage container. The convertible cup holder is a convertible, disposable or reusable insulator, holder and cup-carrier that surrounds a beverage container. In its initial condition, the holder provides thermal insulation against the hot or cold temperature of the beverage. The cup holder can be used to improve the grip on the beverage or to make the beverage more comfortable to hold. If a user requires the use of the hand holding the beverage, the user is able to pull handles disposed within the holder into a deployed position, such that the user can now easily grip the beverage by using only one's finger. With handles deployed, the convertible cup holder allows the average beverage to be suspended and held by a single finger, thereby freeing up the majority of one's hand for other tasks. The beverage could also be suspended by a hook or other nearby object until the user is ready to resume consuming the beverage. The present invention enables a single individual to carry multiple beverages at the same time using only a single hand or finger.
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Claims(20)
1. An apparatus for holding a container comprising:
a sleeve to slide around the container; and
one or more deployable handles disposed on the sleeve, each handle being extendable above the container.
2. The apparatus according to claim 1, wherein each of said one or more deployable handles comprises a string that is coiled inside the sleeve and when pulled on unfurls to a predetermined length.
3. The apparatus according to claim 1, wherein each of said one or more deployable handles comprises a section of the sleeve that when pulled on separates from the sleeve to form the handle that opens to a predetermined length extendable above a top of the container.
4. The apparatus according to claim 3, wherein said sleeve comprises an outside layer and an inside layer.
5. The apparatus according to claim 4, wherein each of said one or more deployable handles comprises a perforated section of the outside layer of the sleeve having a series of perforations cut into the outside layer in a shape of a handle and a tab formed in the outside layer.
6. The apparatus according to claim 5, wherein when pulled on, the tab separates the perforated section from the sleeve to form the handle, which is extendable over the top of the container.
7. An apparatus for holding a container comprising:
a sleeve to slide around the container; and
a single deployable handle being extendable above the container.
8. The apparatus according to claim 7, single deployable handle comprises a string that is coiled inside the sleeve and when pulled on unfurls to a predetermined length.
9. The apparatus according to claim 7, wherein said single deployable handle comprises a section of the sleeve that when pulled on pulls away from the sleeve to form the single deployable handle that opens to a predetermined length extendable above a top of the container.
10. The apparatus according to claim 7, wherein said sleeve comprises an outside layer and an inside layer.
11. The apparatus according to claim 10, wherein said single deployable handle comprises a perforated section of the outside layer of the sleeve having a series of perforations cut into the outside layer in a shape of a handle and a tab formed in the outside layer.
12. The apparatus according to claim 11, wherein when pulled on, the tab separates the perforated section from the sleeve to form the single deployable handle, which is extendable over the top of the container.
13. The apparatus according to claim 7, wherein the sleeve is comprised of an insulating material.
14. An apparatus for holding a container comprising:
a circumferential wrap to encompass the container, said wrap including at least one layer of an insulating material; and
one or more handles formed in the circumferential wrap by a series of perforations cut in the wrap in a shape of the handle, each of said one or more handles extendable above the container.
15. The apparatus according to claim 14, wherein the one or more handles deploy by detaching from the circumferential wrap along the perforations.
16. The apparatus according to claim 14, wherein the circumferential wrap comprises a plurality of layers and an adhesive, which holds the plurality of layers and each of the one or more handles is formed on an outside layer of the circumferential wrap.
17. The apparatus according to claim 14, wherein the circumferential wrap comprises a paper stock.
18. The apparatus according to claim 14, wherein the circumferential wrap comprises a plastic polymer.
19. A method for manufacturing a cup holder comprising:
forming a first template from a blank material, said first template having a first tab disposed in a predetermined position and a series of predetermined cuts in an outer layer of the blank material in a shape of a handle to form an extendable handle;
forming a second template from the blank material, said second template having a second tab disposed in a predetermined position and a series of predetermined cuts in an outer layer of the blank material in a shape of a handle to form an extendable handle;
reversing an orientation of the second template relative to the first template;
affixing the first template to the second template to form a combined template;
folding a predetermined portion of the combined template to form a deployable handle and gluing the folded portion; and
folding a second predetermined portion of the combined template to form a second deployable handle and gluing the second folded portion.
20. A method for manufacturing a cup holder comprising:
forming a template from a blank material, said template having a first tab disposed in a predetermined position and a series of predetermined cuts in an outer layer of the blank material in a shape of an S to form an extendable handle;
folding a predetermined portion of the combined template to form a first part of a deployable handle and gluing the folded portion; and
folding a second predetermined portion of the combined template to form a second part of a deployable handle and gluing the second folded portion.
Description
    RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • [0001]
    This application claim priority to U.S. Provisional Application Nos. 60/842,260 filed on Sep. 2, 2006 and 60/777,034 filed on Feb. 27, 2006 each by the same inventor and each bearing the same title.
  • FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • [0002]
    The present invention relates generally to methods and apparatuses for holding containers of liquids or other materials, and more particularly to method and apparatus for holding a container of a liquid or other material that is hot, such as a coffee cup, which holder is disposable, inexpensive, easy to store, and safe for all users. In addition, the present invention relates to a method of manufacturing an apparatus for holding containers of liquids or other materials, such as coffee.
  • BACKGROUND
  • [0003]
    Americans consume an estimated 300 million cups of hot coffee each winter day. When a consumer purchases a beverage at a fast food outlet, deli or coffee house, they are usually handed the beverage in a disposable cup of some type. Holding any type of such beverage requires that the beverage be maintained upright or it will spill. Thus, the consumer must use his or her entire hand to support the beverage and maintain it in an upright position. Unfortunately, this monopolizes the use of an entire hand, thereby making it difficult to carry the beverage and other things. Many consumers often purchase coffee on their way to work, school or when traveling. In these situations the consumer is typically carrying other things.
  • [0004]
    If the consumer has something else to carry beyond what they can carry in their other hand, they often struggle to find a means to keep from spilling the beverage. Furthermore, if the consumer wishes to purchase more than two or three of the beverages at a time it is nearly impossible to carry them all at one time without some type of separate carrying device or tray. These trays are currently available in different forms and styles, but also require the use of at least one entire hand to keep the tray level. Furthermore, this requires the provider of these beverages to purchase, ship and store inventory of trays just for these purposes.
  • [0005]
    Additionally, if the beverage is hot, the user's fingers will often become uncomfortable holding the beverage unless there is some type of insulation available around the beverage or the beverage has some type of handles to separate the cup wall from the user's fingers. Currently, there are several different types of cup-holder insulators or cups with handles to attempt to solve the insulation problem; however, each of these fails from the problems set forth above.
  • [0006]
    Still further, sometimes the user has a beverage and cannot find a flat or stable surface upon which to set his or her cup. Many automobile manufacturers have developed self-stabilizing cup holders to support cups during travel, while many commercial seats (e.g., movie theaters) and commercial strollers, wheel chairs, etc., have developed cup holders of different types to provide a place for the consumer to place their drinks. Of course, these are not helpful if you are not located in them.
  • [0007]
    Finally, in certain social settings such as cocktail parties, guests may be faced with the difficult problem of trying to balance their hors d'oeuvres plate and a drink while still having a free hand to eat, socialize and shake hands with others.
  • [0008]
    The following references disclose various methods and apparatuses for holding coffee or other hot liquids.
  • [0000]
    Patent No. Inventor Title
    6,443,325 Schaper Plastic cup with integral handle and method . . .
    6,286,754 Stier Paperboard cup Holder
    6,520,366 Bradley Beverage Container Holders
    6,612,742 Carter Insulated Container with Internal Harness
    5,174,965 Jones Specimen Cup with Holder
    5,913,463 Carr Third Hand-a cup holder
    5,957,276 Cutler Food and beverage carrier
    4,685,583 Noon Disposable Beverage Cup Holder
    6,029,847 Mahoney Insulating Sack for Beverage Containers
    5,205,473 Coffin Recyclable corrugated beverage container
    and holder
    5,857,615 Rose Container Holder
    6,343,735 Cai Insulating sleeve
    4,678,221 Josenhans Carrying Handle for two bottles having built
    in . . .
    6,557,751 Puerini Recyclable Beverage Container Handle
  • [0000]
    Application No. Inventor Title
    2005/0258325 Morrison Cup Holder
    2003/0071045 Taylor Configurable Cup Holder
    2006/0000882 Darzinskas Cup Holder
  • [0009]
    While each of these may suffice for holding beverages, none of the above cited references solves the above mentioned problems related to carrying hot beverages.
  • [0010]
    The present invention is therefore directed to the problem of developing a method and apparatus for enabling one to hold a cup of a liquid or other material without requiring use of the entire hand while doing so without increasing the cost of such cups.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0011]
    The present invention solves these and other problems by providing a cup holder that serves both as an insulating layer between the outer wall of the cup and the user's fingers, which cup holder can be easily carried with ones' finger.
  • [0012]
    According to one aspect of the present invention, if the consumer needs to gain substantial use of one hand—to carry other objects (e.g., newspapers, bags, phones, etc.) or to carry multiple cups or to place the object in an area devoid of a stable, flat surface, a cup holder of the present invention is simply and easily converted into a balanced beverage holder by deploying string (or other material) handles located within the insulating layer of the device.
  • [0013]
    In one exemplary embodiment of the present invention, two simple pulls of string handles deploys the handles and allows the user to drape the string handles over a single finger, hook or edge to maintain a beverage or beverage holder upright while using the other fingers or hand as desired, for example, to grasp other objects. In this fashion, multiple beverages can be safely carried simultaneously by grasping all of the handles in one hand. This can be accomplished without much effort to maintain the cups upright and balanced.
  • [0014]
    The present invention comprises a novel, inventive technique for providing a consumer of hot beverages with a layer of protection from the hot surface of the cup while providing a rapidly available, simple means of carrying the beverage with a single finger. More importantly, the cup holder can be inexpensively produced and easily utilized, thereby increasing its ability to be placed into commerce.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0015]
    FIGS. 1-3 depict an exemplary embodiment of a convertible cup insulating sleeve and holder in various views phases according to one aspect of the present invention.
  • [0016]
    FIG. 4 depicts the exemplary embodiment shown in FIGS. 1-3 when deployed around a coffee cup according to another aspect of the present invention.
  • [0017]
    FIG. 5 depicts the exemplary embodiment shown in FIG. 4 when grasped by a consumer of the coffee according to yet another aspect of the present invention.
  • [0018]
    FIG. 6 depicts the exemplary embodiment shown in FIGS. 1-5 with the handles deployed according to still another aspect of the present invention.
  • [0019]
    FIG. 7 depicts the exemplary embodiment shown in FIGS. 1-6 with the handles deployed showing how the embodiment enables one to carry the beverage with one's fingers according to yet another aspect of the present invention.
  • [0020]
    FIGS. 8-9 depict the exemplary embodiment shown in FIGS. 1-7 with the handles deployed showing how the embodiment enables one to carry the beverage while simultaneously carrying other items with the same hand according to still another aspect of the present invention.
  • [0021]
    FIG. 10 depicts the exemplary embodiment shown in FIGS. 1-9 with the handles deployed showing how the embodiment enables one to carry multiple beverages with the two fingers according to yet another aspect of the present invention.
  • [0022]
    FIG. 11 depicts another exemplary embodiment of the present invention with a different type of handle and with the handle deployed according to still another aspect of the present invention.
  • [0023]
    FIG. 12 depicts still another exemplary embodiment of the present invention with yet another type of handle and with the handle deployed according to still another aspect of the present invention.
  • [0024]
    FIG. 13 depicts yet another exemplary embodiment of the present invention with a single handle and without the handle deployed according to yet another aspect of the present invention.
  • [0025]
    FIGS. 14-15 depicts the exemplary embodiment shown in FIG. 13 with a single handle and with the single handle deployed according to still another aspect of the present invention.
  • [0026]
    FIG. 16 depicts an exemplary embodiment of a die cut template for manufacturing a two handle cup holder as shown in FIGS. 1-12 according to yet another aspect of the present invention.
  • [0027]
    FIG. 17 depicts an exemplary embodiment of a method for manufacturing a two handle cup holder as shown in FIGS. 1-12 according to still another aspect of the present invention.
  • [0028]
    FIG. 18 depicts an exemplary embodiment of a die cut template for manufacturing a one handle cup holder as shown in FIGS. 13-15 according to yet another aspect of the present invention.
  • [0029]
    FIG. 19 depicts an exemplary embodiment of a method for manufacturing a one handle cup holder as shown in FIGS. 13-15 according to still another aspect of the present invention.
  • [0030]
    FIG. 20 depicts an exemplary embodiment of a die cut template for manufacturing a cup holder according to yet another aspect of the present invention.
  • [0031]
    FIG. 21 depicts an exemplary embodiment of a cup holder according to yet another aspect of the present invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • [0032]
    It is worthy to note that any reference herein 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 of the invention. The appearances of the phrase “in one embodiment” in various places in the specification are not necessarily all referring to the same embodiment.
  • [0033]
    Turning to FIG. 1, FIG. 1 depicts an overview of an exemplary embodiment 10 of a cup holder according to one aspect of the present invention. FIG. 1 depicts a paper or plastic cup holder 10 made of an insulating material 13 that accepts a beverage cup, e.g., a coffee cup, and slides up around or wraps around the cup at the point where a drinker would normally grasp the cup. While the figure shows a cup holder, the cup holder could also be a cup, into which the beverage is placed directly, in which case the cup would have a complete and enclosed bottom and perhaps a more ergonomic drinking rim. In this case, the cup might not need to be foldable, but rather would be stackable inside other similar cups, but the handles 11, 12 would be affixed to the cup itself in this case as opposed to the holder or sleeve.
  • [0034]
    As shown in FIG. 1, the embodiment 10 can be folded during storage and transport, thereby reducing the space required for these activities and of course the cost associated therewith. Two grasping rings 11, 12 or deployable handles are disposed on opposite sides about 180 degrees apart near the top of the cup holder 10. The location of these rings should be above the center of gravity when filled to prevent tipping, as will be discussed below.
  • [0035]
    In FIG. 1, the top is the direction in which a coffee cup could be placed. The grasping handles 11, 12 enable a user to hold the cup holder 10 by the handles 11, 12 and thereby hold the coffee cup inside the cup holder by the handles 11, 12 without burning his or her hand and without spilling the coffee. The deployable handles extend upwards above the cup when placed in the cup holder.
  • [0036]
    FIG. 2 depicts embodiment 10 when opened to accept a coffee cup. In transit and storage, the cup holder 10 is folded almost completely flat as shown in FIG. 1. But, in use or just prior to use, the cup holder 10 is opened by pressing inward at the folds 21, 22.
  • [0037]
    FIG. 3 depicts embodiment 10 as shown in FIG. 2 from a top view. In this view, it can be seen at elements 34, 35 that the handles 11, 12 are strings that are coiled inside a layer of insulation of the cup holder 10. The string coil 34, 35 is glued with weak glue so that when a user pulls on the strings with some minimal tension, the glue breaks releasing the coiled string to a predetermined length that allows the deployable handles to extend upwards above the cup holder.
  • [0038]
    FIG. 4 depicts embodiment 10 when a coffee cup 41 or other beverage holder is placed inside embodiment 10. Typically, the sleeve or cup holder 10 has a conical shape so that the coffee cup cannot fall through the sleeve 10.
  • [0039]
    FIG. 5 demonstrates the embodiment of the cup holder 10 as it is delivered to the consumer of the beverage. Cup holder 10 is shaped as a sleeve that can slip over a beverage container 41. In order to improve the shipping and storage characteristics of the cup holder 10, cup holder 10 is initially in a flattened configuration, as shown in FIG. 1, but opened as shown in FIG. 2 for subsequent use.
  • [0040]
    Note the location of the handle tabs 11, 12 in embodiment 10. The flattened cup holder 10 (FIG. 1) can be unflattened by squeezing the two ends 21, 22 of the cup holder 10 to allow the cup holder to assume a three dimensional configuration into which a beverage container can be placed, as shown in FIGS. 2-12.
  • [0041]
    In FIG. 4, the cup holder 10 is in place on the container 41. In this configuration, cup holder 10 acts as an insulating barrier between the hot or cold surface of the beverage container 41, and the user's fingers, as shown in FIG. 5. The cup holder can be made of insulating material to improve this aspect of the cup holder. The materials used as such insulators are well known to those of skill in this art. Some examples include thick paper stock, cardboard, plastic, plastic polymers, etc.
  • [0042]
    If the need for improved carrying ability develops, the user then converts the cup holder 10 into the configuration shown in FIG. 6. This is accomplished by simply grasping the handle tabs 11, 12 and lifting upwards. As the handle tabs 11, 12 are pulled upward, the coiled handles unfurl from their storage 34, 35 until they reach their fixation point or at least above the cup holder so that the cup hangs below without spilling.
  • [0043]
    As the user continues to pull upward, the handles break through and separate from the cup holder 10 at perforation regions (see FIG. 21, elements 212, 214, 216, 217) along the fold line in which the perforations are disposed. This allows the handles 11, 12 to assume a more stabilizing attachment angle. When the handles 11, 12 reach the reinforced portion (FIG. 21, element 211, 219) of the fold line, they are stopped and the cup holder 10 is ready for use.
  • [0044]
    In the embodiments of FIGS. 1-10, two handles 11, 12 are shown, however, other embodiments could use one or more handles. For example, FIGS. 14-15 depict a single handle cup holder according to another aspect of the present invention. As the handles 11, 12 are pulled out of their space 34, 35 pre-configured perforations (see FIG. 20, elements 204, 210) on the insulators top edge allow the handles 11, 12 to achieve a proper length and configuration.
  • [0045]
    FIGS. 11-12 depict another exemplary embodiment of a cup holder according to another aspect of the present invention. In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 11-12, cup holder 110 does not utilize separate strings, but rather makes use of the insulating material itself to form handles 111, 112 by which the cup holder 110 can be hung or held. The handles 111, 112 in this embodiment 110 may be reinforced with a material similar to strapping tape to provide more durability. In this embodiment 110, when the user is ready to use the handles 111, 112, the user simply lifts up on the tab (see FIG. 13, element 113). The unique pre-cut and pre-perforated design of the tab (see FIGS. 16-20) is such that as the tab (FIG. 16, element 162) is lifted upwards, it unfolds into a handle 111, 112 that now supports the cup as shown in FIGS. 11-12. The handle is formed in the sleeve and pulls apart easily when lightly pulled on due to perforations stamped in the sleeve in the form of the handle.
  • [0046]
    Once the handles 111, 112, are deployed, the consumer can now easily carry the beverage via the handles 111, 112, as shown in FIGS. 6-12. FIG. 10 demonstrates how this system can allow the consumer to carry multiple beverages at once. FIGS. 8-9 depict how one can carry the beverage and other items in the same hand. The nature of the handles' location within the sleeve is such that they are located above the center of gravity of the beverage container. This ensures that the beverages remain in an upright position and do not spill.
  • [0047]
    FIG. 21 depicts an exemplary embodiment 210 of the present invention. Flaps 219, 221 flaps fold down over the string handles 223, 225. The two ends of the flap are then attached via an adhesive 213, 224, 216, 226 such that the embodiment takes on a three dimensional non-cylindrical/frustum-like shape. The exact diameter will vary depending on the container.
  • [0048]
    The string handles 223, 225 are fixed to the cup holder 210 at point 222 and 219 and secured with reinforcement 211 and 218, respectively, with tape or other securing means, for example. The string 223 is coiled between the flap 219 and the main section of the holder. Perforations 212, 214, 215, 217 enable the string to be pulled out of the space between the flap and main section.
  • [0049]
    FIGS. 16-20 demonstrate the simple template design of the cup holder in its pre-assembled state. The cup holder can be made from any malleable material. Examples include, but are not limited to: paperboard, corrugated paper, plastic, recycled materials, Styrofoam or aluminum. FIGS. 16, 18 and 20 demonstrate the one-dimensional template used to cut out the material. This can be accomplished manually or via an automated system.
  • [0050]
    Referring to FIG. 16, the template 160 consists of two general sections—the portion that will form the outer surface/main body 165 and the flaps that will fold out to become the handles 162.
  • [0051]
    Referring to FIG. 20, the portion 204 of the fold line 201 marked with dashes indicates the portion that will have through-and-through perforations. This area is the portion that is designed to separate as the handles are deployed. The areas marked as “reinforcement” areas 203, 207, 208, and 211 at the planned fold point that are not designed to separate. These areas are reinforced with some material to prevent the handles from tearing through. In this embodiment 200, inexpensive clear tape is used, but any material, such as strapping tape, could be used. The areas marked with “adhesive” 202 indicate where the sleeve is fastened to itself to form a cylindrical shape.
  • [0052]
    In FIG. 3, the space 34 and 35 is the area in which the string handles are stored until deployed. In FIG. 5, the string handles 11, 12 are shown in position. In this embodiment 10, the handles 11, 12 are depicted as strings, but any suitable material such as paper, wire or plastic could be used. The handles 11, 12 are attached at the two points shown with a fixation means of some type. In this embodiment adhesive tape is used. The handles are of an appropriate length such that when they are deployed, they will provide a handle of adequate length. In this embodiment, two string handles are shown, but more or less than two handles could be used. The strings pull out from between the layers of the sleeve in a fold line, which has perforations formed in it to allow the strings to be pulled out easily.
  • OPERATION OF INVENTION
  • [0053]
    The cup holder is removed from the packaging in its flattened configuration, as shown in FIG. 1. By applying pressure to the two ends of the device, the configuration is changed into a three dimensional state as shown in FIG. 2. The device is then slid over the beverage container until it sits snugly in place as shown in FIG. 4. If the user wishes to utilize the handles 11, 12 they can be gripped, either individually or together, and pulled in an upward direction as shown in FIG. 6. As the handles 11, 12 are pulled upward, the coiled handles unfurl until they reach their fixation point as shown in FIG. 7. As the user continues to pull upward, the handles break through the perforations in the fold line. This action allows the handles to assume a more stabilizing attachment angle. When the handles reach the reinforced portion of the fold line, they can no longer separate through the fold line and the device is ready for use.
  • [0054]
    FIG. 11 demonstrates the method of use of an alternative system. In this embodiment 110, when the user is ready to use the handles, the user simply lifts up on the tab. The unique pre-cut and pre-perforated design of the tab is such that as the tab is lifted upwards, it unfolds into a handle that now supports the cup as shown in FIG. 11.
  • DESCRIPTION AND OPERATION OF ALTERNATIVE EMBODIMENTS
  • [0055]
    While the above description contains many specifics, these should not be construed as limitations on the scope of the invention, but rather as an exemplification of one preferred embodiment thereof. Many other variations are possible. For example, the material used in the handles may be of any reasonable material, such as metal, plastic, paper or fiber.
  • [0056]
    FIGS. 11-13 demonstrate an alternative form of the invention whereby the handles are derived from the insulating sleeve itself without the need for additional material. This facilitates ease of manufacturability.
  • [0057]
    FIGS. 16-20 depict yet two more templates for this alternative embodiment and a proposed manufacturing scheme for rapid, cost effective manufacturing of the convertible cup holder. Note that there are two different templates, one with handles having two points of origin (FIGS. 18-19), and another demonstrating four points of origin (FIGS. 16-17).
  • [0058]
    Yet another embodiment could involve the direct incorporation of the deployable handles into the design of a beverage container itself, without the need for a separate, detachable sleeve. In this embodiment, the container would consist of an inner and outer surface layer with the handles stored in-between the layers until deployed by the user.
  • [0059]
    As mentioned above, the system could have any number of handles depending on the size of the beverage container it will be used with.
  • [0060]
    Further possibilities are the novel integration of the sleeve and handle concept into a system that could be used with cocktail glasses/containers, such that the consumers at a cocktail party could hold their beverage suspended by the handles and a plate in the same hand, leaving a free hand to eat the food and socialize with other guests.
  • [0061]
    FIG. 16 depicts the two dimensional template 160 used for manufacturing the two-handle cup holder system. In the two handle cup holder system, the sleeve 160 has two separate handles 162 having four points of origin. Each handle 162 is roughly 180 degrees apart from the other to allow for balanced support of the beverage container. Since the template 160 represents one handle 162, the same template 160 is used for each handle, thus, essentially two handles are combined and used for the final sleeve. The fold line 161 is shown along with the pre-cut lines 163, 164, and 166. Element 165 refers to the insulator.
  • [0062]
    FIG. 17 demonstrates an exemplary embodiment 170 of a method for manufacturing the two handle cup holder system shown above according to another aspect of the present invention. The template 160 in FIG. 16 is used to produce a series of identically laid out single handle templates from blank material 171. These can be stamped, die-cut, laser cut or produced in some similar fashion. Two single handle templates 172, 173 are produced for each cup holder. The handles themselves are not completely cut, but rather, left with perforations to keep them constrained until needed. One half of the cut out sleeves 174 are then reversed in direction. A regular and reversed direction sleeve are then fixed to each other using some fixation method (e.g., glue) resulting in the combined sleeves 175. With the reversal of one of the two templates, the origin points of the handles are roughly oriented 180 degrees from each other.
  • [0063]
    The sleeve is then folded once 176 and glued in two steps as shown. One flap is first created and then the second flap 177 is folded onto the first flap and fixed with some connection method. This sleeve is then ready for use. When the user is ready, the user peels one set of handles in one direction and the other set of handles in the opposite direction along the perforations. This allows for the deployment of the two handles to carry the beverage container.
  • [0064]
    FIG. 18 depicts the two dimensional template 180 used for manufacturing the one handle cup holder system according to another aspect of the present invention. In the one handle cup holder system, the sleeve 180 has a single handle similar to a bucket handle. Unlike the two handle cup holder system, this design needs to have a slightly longer handle length to allow the handle to be held adequately above the lid of the beverage. In order to provide the additional needed length, it is necessary to provide an “S-shape” to the handle design. Furthermore, the two origins of the handle must be 180 degrees apart to maintain the container in a stable configuration. The “S-shape” pattern allows placement of the handle origins at these necessary locations. With this design, when the handles are deployed, there are two areas on the handle where the material reverses direction. The lines 182, 184, and 187 indicate lines of perforation similar to FIG. 20's perforation line 204. When the user is ready to deploy the handle, they simply pull the handle at its tab 183. The handle then deploys along its perforations 182, 184 and 187. The handle is then raised above the container and used to carry the container.
  • [0065]
    Fold line 185 allows the edge of the sleeve to be folded over as shown in FIG. 19, step 193. Adhesive or a fixation method can then be applied to this flap 181 to which edge 186 can be attached as shown in FIG. 19's step 194. This allows the creation of the nearly cylindrical shape of the sleeve.
  • [0066]
    FIG. 19 demonstrates an exemplary embodiment 190 of a method for manufacturing the one handle cup holder system according to another aspect of the present invention. The one handle template 180 is used to cut out the sleeve shape 192 from blank material 191 and perforate the handle shape into the sleeve. The sleeve is then folded 193 similar to the method described above—first a small flap is created, then the second fold 194 is glued onto the flap to create the finished sleeve. The handles can then be deployed as shown in element 195 and placed on the beverage container as shown in element 196.
  • [0067]
    Yet another embodiment could involve the direct incorporation of the deployable handles into the design of a beverage container itself, without the need for a separate, detachable sleeve. In this embodiment, the container would consist of an inner and outer surface layer with the handles stored in-between the layers until deployed by the user.
  • [0068]
    As mentioned above, the system could have any number of handles depending on the size of the beverage container it will be used with.
  • [0069]
    Further possibilities are the novel integration of the sleeve and handle concept into a system that could be used with cocktail glasses/containers, such that the consumers at a cocktail party could hold their beverage suspended by the handles and a plate in the same hand, leaving a free hand to eat the food and socialize with other guests.
  • [0070]
    The above embodiments represent additional embodiments of the fundamental principles demonstrated in this provisional patent.
  • CONCLUSION
  • [0071]
    The convertible cup holder is a novel invention designed to improve the comfort and convenience of beverage consumption for consumers. By incorporating the deployable handles into the sleeve concept, the users of this invention can benefit from a new freedom of hands. With Americans consuming over 300 million cups of hot coffee on average per day, this invention clearly has significant industrial applications.
  • [0072]
    Although various embodiments are specifically illustrated and described herein, it will be appreciated that modifications and variations of the invention are covered by the above teachings and are within the purview of the appended claims without departing from the spirit and intended scope of the invention. For example, while one and two handle embodiments are shown, other numbers of handles are possible. Moreover, while the embodiments herein are depicted as sleeves, cups with the handles formed directly on them would be possible as well. Furthermore, these examples should not be interpreted to limit the modifications and variations of the invention covered by the claims but are merely illustrative of possible variations.
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Referenced by
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US8186571 *Aug 4, 2009May 29, 2012Elizabeth Dean FieldCup sling
US9205954 *May 23, 2014Dec 8, 2015Chen-Cheng HuangPortable cup holder
US9549628 *Sep 10, 2014Jan 24, 2017Gena KoufosContainer or utensil support structure
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US20140346183 *May 23, 2014Nov 27, 2014Chen-Cheng HuangPortable cup holder
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Classifications
U.S. Classification16/111.1
International ClassificationB65D25/28
Cooperative ClassificationY02W30/807, Y10T16/444, A47G23/0216, B65D81/3879, B65D81/3886, B65D25/285
European ClassificationB65D81/38K1, B65D25/22, B65D81/38K4