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Publication numberUS20090223969 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 12/396,370
Publication dateSep 10, 2009
Filing dateMar 2, 2009
Priority dateJan 23, 2004
Publication number12396370, 396370, US 2009/0223969 A1, US 2009/223969 A1, US 20090223969 A1, US 20090223969A1, US 2009223969 A1, US 2009223969A1, US-A1-20090223969, US-A1-2009223969, US2009/0223969A1, US2009/223969A1, US20090223969 A1, US20090223969A1, US2009223969 A1, US2009223969A1
InventorsTony V. Bouie
Original AssigneeHalo Cups, Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Lid assembly and method for use thereof
US 20090223969 A1
Abstract
A cup and lid combination that includes a cup having a side wall, a closed bottom and an open top and a lid assembly. The lid assembly includes a band secured on the top of the cup, a lid secured on the band, and a tether having first and second ends. The first end of the tether is connected to the band and the second end of the tether is connected to the lid.
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Claims(15)
1. A cup and lid combination comprising:
a. a cup having a side wall, a closed bottom and an open top, and
b. a lid assembly, wherein the lid assembly includes
i. a band secured on the top of the cup,
ii. a lid secured on the band, and
ii. a tether having first and second ends, wherein the first end of the tether is connected to the band and the second end of the tether is connected to the lid.
2. The cup and lid combination of claim 1 wherein the cup includes a lip adjacent the top thereof, and wherein the band is secured around the lip.
3. The cup and lid combination of claim 2 wherein the lid is separable from the band by tearing the tether.
4. The cup and lid combination of claim 2 wherein the band includes a channel defined therein, and wherein at least a portion of the lip of the cup is received in the channel.
5. The cup and lid combination of claim 1 wherein the lip has a top surface, and wherein the band contacts the top surface.
6. The cup and lid combination of claim 1 wherein the cup has an outer surface and an inner surface and the band does not contact the inner surface of the cup, such that another cup can be nested within the cup.
7. The cup and lid combination of claim 1 wherein the band includes an upper portion and a downwardly depending skirt that cooperate to define a channel for receiving a lip of the cup.
8. A method of placing a lid on a cup, the method comprising the steps of:
a. providing a stack of nestable cups,
b. removing a cup from the stack, wherein the cup includes a lid assembly secured thereto, wherein the lid assembly includes
i. a band secured to the top of the cup,
ii. a lid configured to close the open top of the cup, and
ii. a tether having first and second ends, wherein the first end of the tether is connected to the band and the second end of the tether is connected to the lid.
c. pivoting the lid upwardly, and
d. securing the lid over the band.
9. The method of claim 8 wherein the method includes the step of snap fitting the band onto a lip of the cup before step (a).
10. The method of claim 8 wherein each of the cups in the stack includes a band therearound, and wherein each of the bands have a lid connected thereto by a tether.
11. The method of claim 8 wherein the step of pivoting the lid upwardly also includes twisting the lid and the tether.
12. The method of claim 8 wherein the band includes an upper portion and a downwardly depending skirt that cooperate to define a channel for receiving a lip of the cup.
13. A stack of cups comprising,
at least two cups each having a side wall, a closed bottom, an open top and a lip extending around the open top, wherein the cups are oriented in a stacked configuration,
wherein each cup includes
a band secured to its lip, wherein the band does not contact the inner surface of the cup,
a tether having first and second ends, and
a lid, wherein the first end of the tether is connected to the band and the second end of the tether is connected to the lid, and
wherein the lid is adapted to be secured on the band such that it closes the open top of the cup.
14. The stack of cups of claim 12 wherein the lid and the band each include a downwardly depending skirt, wherein the downwardly depending skirt of the lid contacts the downwardly depending skirt of the band when the lid is secured on the band.
15. The stack of cups of claim 13 wherein the band includes an upper portion and a downwardly depending skirt that cooperate to define a channel for receiving a lip of the cup.
Description
  • [0001]
    This application is a continuation-in-part of application Ser. No. 11/929,582, filed Oct. 30, 2007, which is a continuation-in-part of application Ser. No. 11/544,268, filed Oct. 6, 2006, now U.S. Pat. No. 7,419,067, which is a continuation-in-part of application Ser. No. 11/442,020, filed on May 25, 2006, now U.S. Pat. No. 7,398,893, which is a continuation-in-part of application Ser. No. 11/297,959, filed on Dec. 8, 2005, now U.S. Pat. No. 7,398,892, which is a continuation-in-part of application Ser. No. 10/763,520, filed on Jan. 23, 2004, now abandoned, the entireties of which are incorporated herein by reference.
  • FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • [0002]
    This invention is concerned with a lid assembly for a cup, and more particularly to a lid assembly that includes a band with a lid attached thereto by a tether.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0003]
    It is customary to configure disposable soft drink cups so that each cup can be nested in a like cup beneath it in a stack. This greatly reduces the storage space for multiple cups. Such cups are rarely supplied with lids in place on the open mouth of the cups because this would preclude the cups being nested. Hence, the lids are usually supplied and stored in a container separate from the container for the cups. And, thus, the cups and lids must be handled separately and brought together for use.
  • [0004]
    There continues to be a need for a way to provide a cup and lid together so that cups can be stored in a nested condition.
  • SUMMARY OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
  • [0005]
    In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, there is provided a cup and lid combination that includes a cup having a side wall, a closed bottom and an open top and a lid assembly. The lid assembly includes a band secured on the top of the cup, a lid secured on the band, and a tether having first and second ends. The first end of the tether is connected to the band and the second end of the tether is connected to the lid. In a preferred embodiment, the cup has an outer surface and an inner surface and the band has an outer surface and an inner surface, and the inner surface of the band contacts the outer surface of the cup and the band does not contact the inner surface of the cup.
  • [0006]
    In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a method of placing a lid on a cup. The method includes the steps of providing a stack of nestable cups and removing a cup from the stack. The cup includes a lid assembly secured thereto. The lid assembly includes a band secured to the top of the cup, a lid configured to close the open top of the cup, and a tether having a first end of connected to the band and a second end connected to the lid. The method also includes pivoting the lid upwardly, and securing the lid over the band.
  • [0007]
    In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a stack of cups that includes at least two cups each having a side wall, a closed bottom, an open top and a lip extending around the open top. The cups are oriented in a stacked configuration. Each cup includes a band secured to its lip. The band does not contact the inner surface of the cup. Each cup also includes a tether having first and second ends, and a lid. The first end of the tether is connected to the band and the second end of the tether is connected to the lid. The lid is adapted to be secured on the band such that it closes the open top of the cup.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0008]
    The invention is described in greater detail hereinafter by reference to the accompanying drawings wherein:
  • [0009]
    FIG. 1 is an elevational view of a first embodiment of a cup/lid combination incorporating this invention;
  • [0010]
    FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of the cup/lid combination of FIG. 1;
  • [0011]
    FIG. 3 is an enlarged partial sectional view of the cup/lid combination of FIG. 1 taken generally as indicated by line 3-3 in FIG. 2;
  • [0012]
    FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a second preferred embodiment of a cup/lid combination;
  • [0013]
    FIG. 5 is another perspective view of the cup/lid combination of FIG. 4;
  • [0014]
    FIG. 6 is a side elevational view of two of the cups of FIG. 4 showing that they are nestable;
  • [0015]
    FIG. 7 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the present invention showing the top and lid without the cup;
  • [0016]
    FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional view of a portion of a cup showing the top and lid of FIG. 7 secured on the lip of a cup;
  • [0017]
    FIG. 9 is a perspective view of the cup/lid combination of FIG. 4, showing the lid retained in a slot portion on the side of the cup;
  • [0018]
    FIG. 10 is a bottom perspective view of the cup of FIG. 4 showing the slot portion without a lid therein;
  • [0019]
    FIG. 11 is a perspective view of a cup and lid with a T-bar connection in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention;
  • [0020]
    FIG. 12 is a perspective view of the cup and lid of FIG. 11 with the lid exploded from the cup;
  • [0021]
    FIG. 13 is a bottom perspective view of the cup and lid of FIG. 11;
  • [0022]
    FIG. 14 is a detailed perspective view of the T-bar recess of the cup of FIG. 11;
  • [0023]
    FIG. 15 is a detailed perspective view of the T-bar connector in the T-bar recess of the cup of FIG. 11;
  • [0024]
    FIG. 16 is a perspective view of the lid of FIG. 11;
  • [0025]
    FIG. 16 a is a detailed perspective view of the T-bar connector of the lid of FIG. 11;
  • [0026]
    FIG. 17 is a perspective view of a cup and lid with a snap fit connection in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention;
  • [0027]
    FIG. 18 is a perspective view of the cup and lid of FIG. 17 with the lid exploded from the cup;
  • [0028]
    FIG. 19 is a detailed perspective view of the snap fit connection of the lid and cup of FIG. 17;
  • [0029]
    FIG. 20 is a detailed perspective view of the cup and lid of FIG. 17 with the lid exploded from the cup;
  • [0030]
    FIG. 21 is another detailed perspective view of the snap fit connection of the lid and cup of FIG. 17;
  • [0031]
    FIG. 22 is a detailed perspective view of the snap fit recess of the cup of FIG. 17;
  • [0032]
    FIG. 23 is a detailed perspective view of the snap fit member of the lid of FIG. 17;
  • [0033]
    FIG. 24 is a top plan view of a lid assembly in accordance with another embodiment of the invention;
  • [0034]
    FIG. 25 is a side elevation sectional view of the lid assembly of FIG. 1 taken along line A-A of FIG. 24;
  • [0035]
    FIG. 26 is a side elevational view of the lid assembly of FIG. 24;
  • [0036]
    FIG. 27 is a perspective view of the lid assembly of FIG. 24;
  • [0037]
    FIG. 28 is a perspective view of the lid assembly of FIG. 24 with the lid detached from the band;
  • [0038]
    FIG. 29 is a perspective view of the lid assembly of FIG. 24 secured to the top of a cup;
  • [0039]
    FIG. 30 is a perspective view of the lid of FIG. 24 on a cup with a recess;
  • [0040]
    FIG. 31 is a detailed cross-sectional view taken along line 31 of FIG. 29 showing the band snap fit on the bottom of the lip;
  • [0041]
    FIG. 32 a is a top perspective view of a lid assembly in accordance with another embodiment of the invention;
  • [0042]
    FIG. 32 b is a bottom perspective view of a lid assembly in accordance with another embodiment of the invention;
  • [0043]
    FIG. 33 is a detailed cross-sectional elevational view of the lid assemblies of FIGS. 32 a and 32 b showing the band on the lip of the cup and the lid secured over the band;
  • [0044]
    FIG. 34 is a perspective view of a plurality of stacked cups with the lid assembly of FIG. 32 b thereon;
  • [0045]
    FIG. 35 is exploded view of the lid assembly of FIG. 32 b after the tether has been torn;
  • [0046]
    FIG. 36 is a perspective view of a cup after the lid has been secured over the band, with a portion of the cup cut away to show the band;
  • [0047]
    FIG. 37 is a perspective view of the lid assembly of FIG. 32 b showing the lid being twisted before being secured on the band;
  • [0048]
    FIG. 38 is a perspective view of the lid assembly of FIG. 32 b after the lid has been twisted and secured on the band;
  • [0049]
    FIG. 39 is a perspective view of a cup having the lid assembly of FIG. 32 a thereon;
  • [0050]
    FIG. 40 is a perspective view of a cup having the lid assembly of FIG. 32 a thereon after the lid has been pivoted and secured over the band; and
  • [0051]
    FIG. 41 is a detailed cross-sectional elevational view showing a band that is secured tightly to the lip of the cup.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
  • [0052]
    Referring to FIGS. 1-3, the numeral 11 designates generally the cup and numeral 12 designates generally the lid for the cup.
  • [0053]
    For exemplary purposes only, described hereinbelow is a preferred embodiment wherein the cups described are of a nestable variety. However, this is not a limitation on the present invention. It will be understood that the cup/lid combinations taught herein can by used with any type of cup or vessel that includes a lid. Other uses for the cup/lid combinations described herein will be readily apparent to those skilled in the relevant art.
  • [0054]
    It will be appreciated that terms such as “top,” “bottom,” “side,” “upwardly” and other such descriptive terms used hereinbelow are merely for ease of description and refer to the orientation of the components as shown in the figures. It should be understood that any orientation of the cup/lid combinations described herein is within the scope of the present invention.
  • [0055]
    Cup 11 is a nestable variety, meaning that it can be stacked with a cup nesting inside a cup therebeneath in a stack. To this end cup 11 has a frustoconical wall 13 with a closed bottom 14 and an open top 15. The cup preferably has a thickened or rolled lip 16 at the open top 15.
  • [0056]
    The wall 13 of cup 11 has a circular recess 17 therein for receiving the lid 12. In the view of the recess 17 there are provided one or more pairs of oppositely disposed nubs 18 which are adapted to overlie and retain the periphery 19 of the lid 12 when it is positioned within recess 17. (Only one such nub 18 is shown in the drawings at FIG. 2 and in enlarged section in FIG. 3.)
  • [0057]
    Both the cup 11 and the lid 12 are preferably formed of thin wall flexible plastic materials thus enabling the lid 12 to be bent and flexed in placing it in recess 17 beneath cup nubs 18 and to likewise flex when the lid 12 is snapped out of the recess 17 for use in covering the open top 15 of the cup.
  • [0058]
    If desired a tab 20 may be affixed to or be integral with the lid 12 to facilitate removing the lid from the cup wall recess 17.
  • [0059]
    Also, if desired the combination may include a flexible tether 21 providing a connection between the lid and the cup. The tether 21 prevents the lid from flying free when it is pulled from the recess 17 in the cup wall 13.
  • [0060]
    From the foregoing it should be apparent that with the cup lid 12 nestled within the recess 17 of the cup wall 13 the cup and lid can be nested within another like cup/lid combination for stacked storage and dispensing.
  • [0061]
    In another embodiment, the recess 17 can include a lip, similar to lip 16 for retaining the lid 12. In this embodiment, instead of being nestled within recess 17, the lid 12 is snap fit onto the lip within recess 17, just as it is typically snap fit onto lip 16 when in use. In this embodiment, the cups are still nestable because the lip is located within recess 17. In use, the lid 12 is removed from the lip in recess 17 and is then placed on lip 16. In yet another embodiment, recess 17 can be omitted, and a lip for retaining lid 12 can be formed on the side wall 13 of cup 11.
  • [0062]
    Referring to FIGS. 4-6, a second embodiment of a cup/lid combination is shown. Cup 40 is similar to cup 11, but has recess 17 omitted. Cup 40 is preferably a nestable variety. To this end cup 40 has a frustroconical wall 13 with a closed bottom 14 and an open top 15. The cup preferably has a thickened or rolled lip 16 at the open top 15.
  • [0063]
    In a preferred embodiment, cup 40 includes flexible tether 42 and band 44. The band 44 extends around the cup 40 preferably just under lip 16. The band 44, tether 42 and lid 12 together form a top for the cup 40. As shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, the tether 42 is connected at one end to the band 44 and at its opposite end to the lid 12. In an alternative embodiment, the tether 42 can be attached to or formed with the cup 40 itself, thus eliminating the need for band 44.
  • [0064]
    In an alternative embodiment, the band 44 is seated in a shallow channel that is formed in the side wall 13 of the cup 40. In a preferred embodiment, the channel can be omitted.
  • [0065]
    As is best shown in FIG. 4, in a preferred embodiment, the top 15 of cup 40 has a convex/concave shape. In other words, when viewed from one side (as shown in FIG. 6), the top 15 has a concave shape. When the cup 40 is turned 90 degrees from the position shown in FIG. 6 the top 15 has a convex shape. This configuration is referred to herein as a convex/concave shape and will be readily understood by those skilled in the art. After being stored for a period of time, lid 12 takes on a shape similar to that shown in FIGS. 4 and 5. This is because in storage, lid 12 points upwardly, as shown in FIG. 6. When the stack of cups 40 is placed in a sleeve, the lid 12 of a lower cup 40 typically contacts some of the cups 40 above it in the stack. Because the cups 40 are round and the cups 40 and lids 12 are secured in a sleeve, the lids 12 tend to mirror the shape of the cups, thus giving the lids 12 a convex/concave shape.
  • [0066]
    This convex/concave shape substantially corresponds to that of top 15 of cup 40 Therefore, the top 15 of cup 40 and lip 16 are preferably shaped in a non-flat or convex/concave shaped manner to accommodate the shape of lid 12 after storage. In an alternative embodiment, the lid 12 can have a convex/concave shape when manufactured. In this embodiment, the lid 12 and top 15 of cup 40 are both shaped so as to fit one another before the lid 12 is placed in the storage position (as described below).
  • [0067]
    In use, lid 12 is moved between a storage position 60 and a use position 62. As shown in FIG. 6, the lid 12 starts in the storage position 60. A user first removes the cup 40 from the stack. However, the tether 42 keeps the lid 12 attached to the lid 12, so that it does not drop to the floor, counter, etc. The user then fills the cup 40 with a beverage and places the lid 12 on the cup, which is referred to herein as the use position 62.
  • [0068]
    In a preferred embodiment, the band 44 is disposable. In this embodiment, after removing cup 40 from the stack, the user tears the tether 42, thereby separating the band 44 from the lid 12 and then places the lid 12 on the cup 40 in the use position 62. After the lid 12 is separated from the band 44, the band 44 can then be disposed of.
  • [0069]
    In yet another embodiment, the lid 12 can be stored inside cup 40. In use, the lid 12 is moved between a storage position, a filling position and a use position. It will be understood that the filling position is any position where the lid 12 is out of the cup 40 and not in the way when the cup 40 is being filled.
  • [0070]
    Preferably, the lid 12, band 44 and tether 42 are formed of a unitary piece of material. In an alternative embodiment, the lid 12, band 44 and tether 42 are formed of separate pieces that are attached to one another. Furthermore, the lid 12, band 44 and the tether 42 are preferably formed of thin wall flexible plastic materials thus enabling the lid 12 and tether to be bent and flexed when the lid is moved from the storage position to the use position. Also, the thin wall flexible plastic material allows for easy tearing of the tether in the embodiment where the band 44 is disposable. In another embodiment, where the band 44 is omitted, the lid 12, tether 42 and cup 40 are formed of a unitary piece of material.
  • [0071]
    A third preferred embodiment of the present invention is shown in FIGS. 7-8. In this embodiment, a top 70 includes a band 44 that is fitted around the lip 16, and a lid 12 that is connected to the band 44 by a tether 42. The band 44 includes a channel 72 for receiving the lip 16 of the cup 40. As can be seen in FIG. 8, the lip 16 of the cup 40 is received in the channel 72. The top 70 is preferably made of an elastomeric material, such as plastic or the like. Accordingly, the top 70 can be snap fit on the top 15 of the cup 40 by mating the channel 72 and the lip 16 of the cup 40. Preferably, the band 44 also includes a lip 74. In use, the lid 12, which is secured to the bottom portion 44 a of the band 44 is snap fit onto the lip 74 of the band. As can be seen in FIG. 8, the channel 72 is defined in the bottom portion 44 a of the band 44 and extends upwardly into the lip 74. In an alternative embodiment, the channel 72 can be defined only in the bottom portion 44 a of the band 44. In this embodiment, the top 70 can be used on a cup without a lip and can therefore provide a lip for the cup and the capability of securing a lid thereon.
  • [0072]
    As can be seen in FIG. 7, in a preferred embodiment, the top 70 has a non-flat or convex/concave shape similar to that described above with respect to the second embodiment of the present invention. However, the top 70 can also have a flat configuration, as is shown in FIG. 8. It will be understood by those skilled in the art, that in this embodiment, the cup 40 can simply be a prior art cup that has the top 70 secured thereon.
  • [0073]
    In this embodiment, the tether 42 can be tearable or not. However, in the event that the tether 42 is torn, because the band 44 is secured around the lip 16, the tether 42 is not disposable as it is in the embodiment described above.
  • [0074]
    In use, the cups 40 come in a stack with the top 70 secured to the lip 16 of the cup. The lid 12 is in the open or storage position, so that the cups 40 can all fit in one another. A user pulls a cup 40 from the stack, fills the cup 40 and closes the lid 12, thus placing the lid 12 in the use position. This method is advantageous for both the user and the establishment selling the cup and/or drink. The user does not have to take a cup from one stack and a lid from a separate stack. Moreover, because the lid is already attached to the cup, there is little chance of lids being wasted. In other words, the user will not pull two lids accidentally from a stack and drop one on the floor. The user saves time and the establishment saves money and inventory.
  • [0075]
    FIGS. 9-10 show the cup 40 as shown in FIGS. 4-6, but without the tether 42 on the lid 12. As shown in FIGS. 4-6 and 9-10, instead of including a circular recess for retaining the lid 12, as is shown in the embodiment in FIGS. 1-3, the side wall 13 of the cup 40 has a slot portion 80 defined therein into which the lid 12 is slid so that it can be retained in the recess 17 in the side of cup 40. It will be understood that recess 17 is part of slot portion 80. As shown in FIG. 9, cup 40 includes a raised portion 82 and an indented portion 84 that cooperate to define the slot portion 80. The slot portion 80 includes a closed top 86 and an open bottom or mouth 88 into which the lid 12 is inserted and is then slid up into place in recess 17.
  • [0076]
    As is best shown in FIG. 10, the side wall, and in particular the raised portion 82 includes a flange 90 that extends into and partially defines the slot portion 80. This flange 90 is adapted to overlie and retain the periphery 19 of lid 12 when it is inserted through mouth 88, slid into slot portion 80 and secured in place against closed top 86, as is shown in FIG. 9. Similar to the embodiment shown in FIGS. 1-3, the slot portion 80 and/or recess 17 can also include one or more nubs which are adapted to overlie and retain the periphery 19 of the lid 12 when it is positioned within slot portion 80 and/or recess 17.
  • [0077]
    In a preferred embodiment, the flange 90 extends from raised portion 82 in such a manner that it is flush with the outer surface of raised portion 82. Such an arrangement allows for multiple cups 40 to be stacked with the lid 12 disposed in the slot portion 80, if so desired.
  • [0078]
    To store the lid 12, the lid 12 is flexed appropriately (so that it mimics the shape of the outer surface of side wall 13), and then inserted through mouth 88 under flange 90 and is slid into position in slot portion 80 and recess 17.
  • [0079]
    In use, the cups can come stacked with the lid 12 attached to a tether 42 and band 44 or in a stack with the lid 12 disposed in slot portion 80. If the lid 12 is attached to the tether, a user pulls a cup 40 from the stack, takes the band 44 off of the cup 44, tears the tether 42, discards the band 44, and then can either place the lid 12 on top of the cup 44 or can slide the lid 12 into the slot portion 80 for storage while filling or drinking from the cup. If the lid is already stored in the slot portion 80, the user pulls a cup 40 from the stack, slides the lid 12 out of slot portion 80 (through mouth 88), fills the cup 40 (these steps can be reversed) and places the lid on the lip 16 of the cup. This method is advantageous for both the user and the establishment selling the cup and/or drink. The user does not have to take a cup from one stack and a lid from a separate stack. Moreover, because the lid is already disposed in the slot portion of the cup, there is little chance of lids being wasted. In other words, the user will not pull two lids accidentally from a stack and drop one on the floor. The user saves time and the establishment saves money and inventory.
  • [0080]
    In an alternative embodiment, the slot portion can be defined in the side wall on the inside of cup. In another embodiment the slot portion can extend from the bottom of the cup to the top of the cup, thereby providing the capability of sliding the lid in from the top or the bottom. In another embodiment, the slot portion can extend horizontally. In another embodiment the mouth of the slot portion can be at the top of the cup. In another embodiment, the flange can extend over the slot portion, thereby covering the lid when it is in its storage position.
  • [0081]
    A fourth preferred embodiment of the present invention is shown in FIGS. 11-16. In this embodiment, the lid 12 and a cup 100 include a T-bar connection 102. The T-bar connection 102 comprises a connector 104 that extends from the lid 12 and a recess 106 in the cup 100. The connector 104 is removably received in the recess 106.
  • [0082]
    As is best shown in FIGS. 16 and 16 a, connector 104 includes an extension 108 that extends from lid 12, and a pair of pegs 110 that extend outwardly extension 108. In a preferred embodiment, extension 108 includes a bend 108 a therein. However, this is not a limitation on the present invention. As is best shown in FIG. 14, recess 106 includes a wide portion 112 and a pair of knobs 114.
  • [0083]
    With reference to FIGS. 11, 12 and 15, to establish the T-bar connection, the pegs 110 are inserted into the wide portion 112 of recess 106 and then the extension 108 is snapped past the knobs 114 an into place, as is shown in FIG. 15. It will be understood that the distance between the knobs 114 is less than the width of the extension 108. Because the extension 108 is made of a pliable material, it deforms as it is pressed past the knobs 104. To remove the connector 104 from the recess 106, the extension 108 is pulled back past the knobs 104. As is shown in FIG. 11, the bend 108 a in extension 108 in combination with the location of the knobs 104 and the pegs 110 allows the lid 12 to rest in a downwardly extending position. This position is advantageous for stacking and dispensing of the cup 100 and lid 12 together.
  • [0084]
    As can be seen FIGS. 11-12, in a preferred embodiment, the cup 100 has a non-flat or convex/concave shape similar to that described above with respect to the second embodiment of the present invention. However, the top of cup 100 can also have a flat configuration. It will be understood by those skilled in the art, that in this embodiment, the cup 100 and lid 12 can simply be a prior art cup and lid that include the components of the T-bar connection 102. In this embodiment, the connector 104 can be tearable from lid 12 or not.
  • [0085]
    In an alternative embodiment, the knobs 104 can be omitted and the wide portion 112 can include knobs or the like into which the pegs 110 can be snap fit.
  • [0086]
    A fifth preferred embodiment of the present invention is shown in FIGS. 17-23. In this embodiment, the lid 12 and a cup 120 include a snap fit connection 122. The snap fit connection 122 comprises a connector 124 that extends from the lid 12 and a recess 126 in the cup 120. The connector 124 is removably received in the recess 126.
  • [0087]
    As is best shown in FIGS. 19-23, connector 124 includes an extension 128 that extends from lid 12, and a U-shaped member 130 that extends outwardly from extension 128. The U-shaped member 130 includes two elongated ridges 130 a on an inside surface thereof. In a preferred embodiment, extension 128 includes a bend 128 a therein. However, this is not a limitation on the present invention. As is best shown in FIG. 14, recess 126 includes a protrusion 132 that has a pair of indentations 134 defined therein.
  • [0088]
    With reference to FIGS. 19-22, to establish the snap fit connection, the U-shaped member 130 is pressed over the protrusion 132. Due to the material of the U-shaped member, the elongated ridges 130 a cause the U-shaped member to spread until the elongated ridges 130 a snap into place in the indentations 134. It will be understood that the distance between the elongated ridges 130 a is less than the width of the protrusion 132. To remove the connector 124 from the recess 126, the extension U-shaped member 130 is pulled backwards so that the elongated ridges 130 a come out of the indentations 134 and U-shaped member 130 comes off of protrusion 132. In a preferred embodiment, protrusion 132 also includes a blocker 136 for preventing the connector 104, and specifically U-shaped member 130 from being pulled downwardly and sliding off of protrusion 132 and out of recess 126.
  • [0089]
    As is shown in FIG. 17, the bend 128 a in extension 128 allows the lid 12 to rest in a downwardly extending position. This position is advantageous for stacking and dispensing of the cup 120 and lid 12 together.
  • [0090]
    As can be seen FIGS. 17-18, in a preferred embodiment, the cup 120 has a non-flat or convex/concave shape similar to that described above with respect to the second embodiment of the present invention. However, the top of cup 120 can also have a flat configuration. It will be understood by those skilled in the art, that in this embodiment, the cup 120 and lid 12 can simply be a prior art cup and lid that include the components of the snap fit connection 122. In this embodiment, the connector 124 can be tearable from lid 12 or not.
  • [0091]
    It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that other temporary connections between the cup and lid are within the scope of the present invention. Any connection that includes a connector extending from the lid and a recess in the cup or vice versa is within the scope of the invention. For example, VELCRO™, buttons, other snap fit connections or the like are possible.
  • [0092]
    FIGS. 24-31 show another embodiment of the invention wherein a lid assembly 140 is secured on the cup 40. Similar to the embodiment shown in FIGS. 4-8, lid assembly 140 includes a lid 12 and a band 144 that are connected by a tether 142. The band 144 is formed such that it can be secured on the lip 16 of a cup 40. In other words, the band 144 is snap fit on the top of a cup 40 in the same manner that the lid 12 is. The band 144 includes a channel 146 that receives the lip 16 of the cup 40. As shown in the figures, the tether 142 is connected at one end to the band 144 and at its opposite end to the lid 12. In an alternative embodiment, the band can be formed so as to fit onto a cup with a non-flat top. For example, it could fit on a convex/concave shaped top.
  • [0093]
    In a preferred embodiment, the band 144 is snap fit onto the cup 10 from the bottom. This works particularly well with paper or plastic cups that have a rolled lip 16, such as that shown in FIGS. 29 and 31. As is best shown in FIGS. 25 and 31, the band 144 includes an upper portion 144 a that has a greater circumference than a lower portion 144 b. The upper and lower portions 144 a and 144 b partially define the channel 146. The upper portion 144 a fits snugly on the lip 16 and the lower portion 144 b fits snugly against the outer surface of the cup. To put the lid assembly 140 on the cup 40, the hoop is slid up the cup 40 from the bottom and the upper portion 144 a is snap fit onto the bottom of the lip 16 such that the lip 16 is received in channel 146.
  • [0094]
    In a preferred embodiment, the band 144 is disposable. In use, the cups 40 come in a stack with the lid assembly 140 secured to the lip 16 of the cups 10. The lid 12 extends outwardly, as shown in FIG. 29, so that the cups 40 can all fit in one another in a nested fashion. A user pulls a cup 40 from the stack and then tears the tether 142 (preferably along score marks 148), thereby separating the lid 12 from the band 144. The band 144 is then removed from the top of the cup 40 and can then be disposed of. In a preferred embodiment, the band 144 extends high enough above the top of cup 40 that a user can push the band 144 downwardly thereby separating the lip 16 from the channel 146 and causing the band to drop downwardly for disposal thereof. After disposal of the band 144, the user fills the cup 40 and places the lid 12 on the top 15 thereof.
  • [0095]
    FIG. 7 shows the lid 12 on a cup 40 with a recess 126 that is used for a lid with a connector, such as the connectors described above.
  • [0096]
    Preferably, the lid 12, band 144 and tether 142 are formed of a unitary piece of material. In an alternative embodiment, the lid 12, band 144 and tether 142 are formed of separate pieces that are attached to one another. Furthermore, the lid 12, band 144 and the tether 142 are preferably formed of thin wall flexible plastic materials thus enabling the lid 12 and tether to be bent and flexed. Also, the thin wall flexible plastic material allows for easy tearing of the tether.
  • [0097]
    FIGS. 32-41 show another embodiment of the invention wherein another lid assembly 240 is secured on the cup 40. Similar to the embodiment shown in FIGS. 24-31, lid assembly 240 includes a lid 12 and a band 244 that are connected by a tether 242. The band 244 is formed such that it can be secured on the lip 16 of a cup 40. In other words, the band 244 is snap fit on the top of a cup 40 in the same manner that the lid 12 is. As shown in FIG. 33, the lip 16 has a top surface 16 a, and a portion of the band 244 contacts the top surface 16 a. And, when on the cup, the inner surface of the lid 12 contacts the outer surface of the band 244. Also, the lid 12 and the band 244 each include a downwardly depending skirt 12 a and 244 b. The downwardly depending skirt 12 a of the lid 12 contacts the downwardly depending skirt 244 b of the band 244 when the lid 12 is secured on the band 244. In some embodiments, the bottom of the skirts can be in alignment (e.g., FIG. 33) and in other embodiments, they can be out of alignment (e.g., FIG. 38).
  • [0098]
    The band 244 preferably includes a channel 246 that receives the lip 16 of the cup 40. However, this is not a limitation on the present invention. Channel 246 is similar to the channel on a typical plastic lid that is sold in convenient and fast food stores. When the lid 12 is placed on the band 244, the channel on the lid 12 contacts or corresponds to the channel 246 on the band. As shown in the figures, the tether 242 is connected at one end to the band 244 and at its opposite end to the lid 12. In an alternative embodiment, the band can be formed so as to fit onto a cup with a non-flat top. For example, it could fit on a convex/concave shaped top.
  • [0099]
    The difference between this embodiment and that described above and shown in FIGS. 24-31 is that the band 244 is designed so that it fits onto the lip 16 from the top (as opposed to the bottom) so that the lid 12 can be secured over the band 242 while the band 242 is still secured on the lip 16.
  • [0100]
    As is shown in FIGS. 32 a and 32 b, the lid 12 can be connected to the tether 242 so that it is oriented upwardly or downwardly. As is best shown in FIG. 33, the band 244 includes an upper portion 244 a that contacts the top of the lip 16 and a lower portion or downwardly depending skirt 244 b. The upper and lower portions 244 a and 244 b partially define the channel 246. To secure the band 244 on the lip 16, the band 244 is pressed downwardly until it is snap fit onto the cup and the lip is received by the channel. This is similar to a typical lid being secured on the top of a cup in a convenient store and the like. Essentially, the band 244 is a lid with the center removed so that another cup can fit therethrough and be nested within.
  • [0101]
    In a preferred embodiment, the band 244 remains on the cup after the lid 12 has been placed “on the cup” and someone takes a drink. In use, the cups 40 come in a stack with the lid assembly 240 secured to the lip 16 of the cups 40. The lid 12 extends outwardly, as shown in FIG. 34, so that the cups 40 can all fit in one another in a nested fashion. In one embodiment, a user pulls a cup 40 from the stack and then tears the tether 242 (preferably along score marks), thereby separating the lid 12 from the band 244 (as shown in FIG. 35). The user then fills the cup 40 and places the lid 12 over the band 244, which is still on the lip 16 of the cup 40 (as shown in FIG. 36).
  • [0102]
    In another embodiment where the lid assembly 240 has the orientation shown in FIG. 32 b, instead of tearing the tether 242, the tether 242 and lid are pivoted and twisted (as shown in FIG. 37) and the lid 12 is placed over the band 244 and snap fit onto the lip 16 of the cup 40 (as shown in FIG. 38).
  • [0103]
    In yet another embodiment where the lid assembly 240 has the orientation shown in FIGS. 32 a and 39, instead of tearing the tether 242, the lid 12 is pivoted and the lid 12 is placed over the band 244 and snap fit onto the lip 16 of the cup 40 (as shown in FIG. 40).
  • [0104]
    Leaving the band 244 on the cup in use prevents waste by having to discard the band. Preferably the band 244 does not contact the inside surface of the cup. However, in another body, a portion of the band can contact the inside surface of the cup, provided another cup can still nest in the cup. Generally, the bands must be able to fit over the lips of each cup so that a plurality of cups can be stacked, as shown in FIG. 34. Any orientation of the band and attached lid is within the scope of the present invention as long as the above goal is met.
  • [0105]
    In these embodiments, it is anticipated that the typical user will place the lid 12 over the band 244 and onto the cup 40 and will use a straw to drink the liquid therein. FIG. 41 shows another embodiment, where the band 344 is secured tightly to the lip 16, e.g., by vacuum sealing or the like, so that a user could drink out of the cup without a lid and not have any of the liquid spill because of a loose fit between the band and the lip.
  • [0106]
    In each of the above described embodiments, the lid 12, band 244 or 344 and the tether 242 are preferably formed of thin wall flexible plastic materials thus enabling the lid 12 and tether 242 to be bent and flexed. Also, the thin wall flexible plastic material allows for easy tearing of the tether. However, the material of which the lid assembly is made is not a limitation on the present invention.
  • [0107]
    The embodiments described above are exemplary embodiments of the present invention. Those skilled in the art may now make numerous uses of, and departures from, the above-described embodiments without departing from the inventive concepts disclosed herein. Accordingly, the present invention is to be defined solely by the scope of the following claims.
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8100289Mar 24, 2010Jan 24, 2012Earthkare Packaging Innovations CompanyContainer with integral lid retained onto the top of the sidewall of the container by a living hinge, the container used to retain hot liquids
US8245875Jun 24, 2010Aug 21, 2012Sussex Im, Inc.Container having a pre-curved lid
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US8336732Mar 24, 2010Dec 25, 2012Earthkare Packaging Innovations CompanyContainer with an integral lid retained onto the top of the sidewall of the container by a living hinge, the container used to retain hot liquids, the container having a thermal barrier incorporated into the exterior surface of the container
US8381946Dec 8, 2010Feb 26, 2013Sussex Im, Inc.Container having a pre-curved lid
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US8985386Jan 3, 2014Mar 24, 2015Sussex Im, Inc.Container having a pre-curved lid
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Classifications
U.S. Classification220/375, 29/428
International ClassificationB65D55/16
Cooperative ClassificationB65D43/169, B65D55/16, Y10T29/49826, B65D2231/022, B65D1/265
European ClassificationB65D1/26B, B65D55/16, B65D43/16C4
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Mar 2, 2009ASAssignment
Owner name: HALO CUPS, INC., ARIZONA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:BOUIE, TONY V.;REEL/FRAME:022333/0756
Effective date: 20090301