Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS20090236409 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 12/322,712
Publication dateSep 24, 2009
Filing dateFeb 4, 2009
Priority dateFeb 6, 2008
Publication number12322712, 322712, US 2009/0236409 A1, US 2009/236409 A1, US 20090236409 A1, US 20090236409A1, US 2009236409 A1, US 2009236409A1, US-A1-20090236409, US-A1-2009236409, US2009/0236409A1, US2009/236409A1, US20090236409 A1, US20090236409A1, US2009236409 A1, US2009236409A1
InventorsAmal Flores
Original AssigneeAmal Flores
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Lid
US 20090236409 A1
Abstract
Novel lids and containers are disclosed. The lids generally include a seam fault sealing structure, and are thus generally adapted to be sealingly mounted on a cup having a vertical seam. The container includes a cup having a vertical seam and a lid having a seam fault sealing structure.
Images(5)
Previous page
Next page
Claims(12)
1. A lid for a cup that has a vertical seam, the lid formed comprising:
a top wall having a generally circular periphery;
an annular side wall depending from said top wall about its periphery;
a mounting surface on said annular side wall, said mounting surface being adapted to substantially sealingly engage the rim of a cup;
a seam fault sealing structure disposed on said mounting surface, said seam fault sealing structure being adapted to stopper the fault created by the seam on the rim of said cup.
2. The lid of claim 1 wherein the seam fault sealing structure comprises a topographical feature adapted to match the topography of the reciprocal surface of the fault created by the seam on said cup's rim such that said topographical feature substantially eliminates any gap when the lid properly engages the rim of the cup.
3. The lid of claim 2 wherein the seam fault sealing structure defines a wedge.
4. The lid of claim 2 wherein the seam fault sealing structure defines a fin.
5. The lid of claim 4 wherein the fin has a shape, size and conformation adapted to abut the fault created by the seam on the cup's rim when the lid is properly installed on a cup, such that the fin substantially sealingly stoppers the gap that would otherwise be present in the absence of said fin.
6. The lid of claim 5 wherein the fin is substantially rigid.
7. The lid of claim 5 wherein the fin is substantially flexible.
8. The lid of claim 4 wherein the fin has a shape, size and conformation adapted to traverse the fault created by the seam on the cup's rim when the lid is properly installed on a cup, such that the fin substantially sealingly stoppers the gap that would otherwise be present in the absence of said fin.
9. The lid of claim 8 wherein the fin is substantially rigid.
10. The lid of claim 8 wherein the fin is substantially flexible.
11. The lid of claim 1 further comprising an indicator adapted to indicate the proper position of the lid relative to the seam of the cup.
12. In combination, a cup having a vertical seam and a generally circular rim with a bead formed thereon, and a lid cooperative with said drinking cup for mounting thereon, the lid formed comprising:
a top wall having a generally circular periphery;
an annular side wall depending from said top wall about its periphery;
a mounting surface on said annular side wall, said mounting surface being adapted to substantially sealingly engage the rim of a cup;
a seam fault sealing structure disposed on said mounting surface, said seam fault sealing structure being adapted to stopper the fault created by the seam on the rim of said cup.
Description

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/063,776, filed Feb. 6, 2008, which is hereby incorporated by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The field of the invention relates generally to lids for cups or similar containers having a vertical seam.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

In today's industrialized world liquids for human consumption are commonly placed in containers constructed from a cardboard cup that is covered with a plastic lid. FIG. 1, for example, illustrates a common example of this type of container 10 in the form of a carry-out type coffee cup. The container generally includes a cup 12 with side walls 14 that generally are formed as a cylinder or frustoconical structure obtained when a flat piece of cardboard is rolled and its edges bound, forming a seam 16.

The cup 12 generally includes a bottom wall 18. The bottom wall 18 is generally obtained by gluing a circular cardboard piece to one end of the cylinder or frusto conical structure, thus forming a generally fluid-tight cup 12 with an opening on what is conventionally called the “top” of the cup 12. The cup's side wall 14 forms a rim 20 at the top edge of the cup 12.

Cups 12 of the type just described are generally used to carry things that may spill (e.g., liquids). The cups 12 are thus generally furnished with a lid 22. As shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, which are a top view illustration and a cross section illustration, respectively, of one such type of lid 22, prior art lids are generally constructed as a circular structure 24 having a “skirt” 26 adapted to frictionally engage the rim 20 of the cup 12. Sometimes the skirt 26 includes a structure 28 specially adapted to frictionally engage the rim 20 of the cup 12. The lid generally includes other features, of which an orifice for drinking 30, a vent hole 32, a depression to catch spills 34 and a drain orifice 36, are common.

While lids for cups having a vertical seam have generally succeeded in preventing major spills and conserving the temperature of fluids in the container, they have also generated a small problem of their own, known colloquially as the “dripping cup.” FIG. 4 is an enlarged cross-section illustration of the interface where the lid's skirt 26 engages the cup's rim 20, in particular where the seam 16 is located. As may be seen from the illustration, a fault or discontinuity 410 created by the seam 16 at the rim 20 prevents the skirt 26 from engaging the portion of the rim 412 abutting the seam 16 on the nested side of the rim 20, thus forming a gap 414. Said gap 414 permits passage of fluid under certain conditions, thus providing an unintended leaking point at the lid/cup interface.

Accordingly, it is an object of the invention to provide an improved lid for cups that have a vertical seam. Other features and advantages will appear hereinafter.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In a first, separate aspect of the present invention, a lid is provided which is configured to reduce or eliminate leaks at the interface between a cup having a vertical seam and the lid.

In a second, separate aspect of the present invention, a relatively inexpensive drinking cup lid for carry-out beverages is provided.

In a third, separate aspect of the present invention, a lid includes a mounting surface for gripping the upper rim of a cup of the type having a seam, a side wall extending upwardly from the mounting surface, a top wall having an opening formed therethrough, such as to permit drinking through the opening, and a structure on the mounting surface of the lid, wherein the structure is adapted to stopper the gap at the fault formed by the seam on the rim of the cup.

In a fourth, separate aspect of the present invention, a container includes a cup having a vertical seam and a lid adapted to be sealingly mounted on the cup wherein the lid includes a seam fault sealing structure.

Further object and features of the present invention will become apparent from the following description and the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In the drawings, wherein the same reference number indicates the same element, in all of the views:

FIG. 1 is a front plan illustration of a prior art container that includes a prior art cup having a vertical seam and a prior art lid.

FIG. 2 is a top plan illustration of the prior art container shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a partial cross section illustration of the prior art lid shown in FIGS. 1 and 2.

FIG. 4 is a partial cross section illustration of the prior art lid shown in FIG. 1 mounted on a prior art cup, illustrating the gap formed between the prior art lid's mounting surface and the fault caused by the seam on the cup's rim.

FIG. 5 is a front plan illustration of a lid in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention installed on a prior art cup of the type having a seam.

FIG. 6 is a top plan illustration of the lid in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention illustrated in FIG. 5 installed on a prior art cup.

FIG. 7 is a partial cross section illustration of the lid in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention illustrated in FIGS. 5 and 6.

FIG. 8 is a partial cross section illustration of an embodiment of a seam fault sealing structure formed on a lid's mounting surface as shown in FIGS. 5, 6 and 7, wherein the seam fault sealing structure is adapted to stopper the gap between the lid's mounting surface and the fault caused by the seam on the rim of a prior art cup.

FIG. 9 is a front plan illustration of a lid in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention installed on a prior art cup of the type having a seam.

FIG. 10 is a top plan illustration of the lid in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention illustrated in FIG. 9 installed on a prior art cup.

FIG. 11 is a partial cross section illustration of the lid in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention illustrated in FIGS. 9 and 10.

FIG. 12 is a partial cross section illustration of an embodiment of a seam fault sealing structure formed on a lid's mounting surface as shown in FIGS. 9, 10 and 11, wherein the seam fault sealing structure is adapted to stopper the gap between the lid's mounting surface and the fault caused by the seam on the rim of a prior art cup.

FIG. 13 is a top plan illustration of a lid in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention installed on a prior art cup.

FIG. 14 is a partial cross section illustration of the embodiment of a seam fault sealing structure formed on a lid's mounting surface as shown in FIG. 13.

FIG. 15 is a top plan illustration of a lid in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention installed on a prior art cup.

FIG. 16 is a partial cross section illustration of the embodiment of a seam fault sealing structure formed on a lid's mounting surface as shown in FIG. 15.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

For convenience of description, terms such as “transversal,” “perpendicular,” “top,” “bottom,” “horizontal,” “vertical,” etc., are used herein referring to a container and a lid in an orientation as illustrated in FIG. 1. It will be understood that during use the container and lid normally assume various different orientations.

FIGS. 1-4 illustrate a prior art container 10 formed by a prior art cup 12 and a prior art-type lid 22. As illustrated in FIG. 1, the cup 12 is generally of the type having a seam 16 and an upper lip or rim 20. As illustrated in the cross section in FIG. 4, the seam 16 of the cup 12 extends into the upper lip 20 and creates a fault 410, which fault 410 generally has a dimension slightly larger than the thickness of the paper, cardboard, or the like, from which the cup 12 is made.

The prior art type lids 22 generally engage the rim 20 of the cup 12 in an attempt to create a water-tight seal. The cup engaging surface of prior art-type lids is formed with a generally uniform topology that assumes the cup will not have a seam or fault. In other words, prior art type lids rely on the engaging surface's flex and elasticity to adapt to the contours of the rim 20 of the cup 12, including the seam 16. However the flex and elasticity of the engaging surface of the lids is generally not sufficient to follow the contours of the rim 20 at the fault 410 created by the seam 16, thus resulting in a gap 414 between the lid 22 and the rim 20 at the fault 410. It is noted that the gap 414 in the figure is merely illustrative. The dimensions and other qualities of the gap will depend on factors such as the thickness of the paper/cardboard, the method of making the seam and the rim of the container and the physical characteristics of the lid, including its topography, dimensions, flexibility, elasticity and the like.

Accordingly, in an embodiment of the present invention a lid is manufactured such that the surface of the lid adapted to engage the rim of a cup having a vertical seam has a topographical feature that is adapted to stopper or decrease any gap formed between the lid and the rim of the cup at the fault created by the cup's seam. The topographical feature may generally have any effective configuration. The topographical feature generally includes a seam fault sealing structure formed on the lid's surface adapted to form a substantially sealing interface when the lid properly engages the cup. The seam fault sealing structure is generally adapted to reduce or eliminate the gap that otherwise is formed because of the fault present at the seam on the rim of the cup.

The seam fault sealing structure may have any effective shape and be formed in any effective manner. For example, in one embodiment the seam fault sealing structure may be formed as a topographical feature on the surface of the lid's side wall adapted to engage the cup's rim, such that the topography of the surface of the lid's side wall adapted to engage the cup's rim more closely matches the rim's topography, and in particular the fault caused by the seam. The feature may generally span any effective portion of the engaging surface on lid's side wall.

In one embodiment of the invention, illustrated in FIGS. 5-8, a container 510 includes a lid 512 in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. The lid generally includes a top wall 524 that extends radially inward from an annular side wall 526. The annular side wall 526, either directly or through a mounting portion 528, is generally adapted to engage the rim 20 of a cup 12. In one embodiment of the present invention, the topography of the surface of the lid 528 that engages the rim 20 of the cup 12 is not uniform, but rather is formed such as to include a topographical feature 530 that accounts for and accommodates the fault 410 formed at the rim 20 of the cup 12 by the seam 16.

In particular, in the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 5-8, the mounting portion 528 includes a topographical feature which may be described as a wedge 530, counter-fault, or the like, adapted to match the topography of the reciprocal surface of the cup 12, in particular the seam 16 at the rim 20 of the cup 12. A lid 512 in accordance with this embodiment of the invention thus generally prevents the formation of a gap 414, or decreases the size of the gap 414, when the lid 512 properly engages the rim 20 of the cup 12.

In another embodiment of a container 910 and lid 912 in accordance with the present invention, illustrated in FIGS. 9-12, the seam fault sealing topographical feature includes one or more “fins” 930, flaps, baffles, flanges, or similar type structures, formed on the engaging surface 928 of the lid 912 in a manner generally adapted to stopper the gap 414. The fin 930, set of fins, or the like, may have any effective shape and configuration. In the embodiment shown, an exemplary fin 930 is formed such that the fin 930 is substantially perpendicular to the seam 16 when the lid 912 properly engages the rim 20 of the cup 12. In one embodiment, the fin 930, set of fins, or the like, are substantially rigid. In another embodiment the fin 930, set of fins, or the like, are substantially flexible.

As used herein the term “substantially perpendicularly” means that the fin forms an angle with the seam, e.g., it does not run parallel to the seam.

In the embodiment shown in FIG. 12 the fin 930 is formed such as to substantially conform to the dimensions of the gap 414. In another embodiment, illustrated in FIGS. 13 and 14, the fin 1330, set of fins, or the like, may be formed such as to traverse or span the fault 410, having a first part 1334 adapted to deform or penetrate the elevated portion of the seam 16 and a second part 1336 adapted to stopper the gap 414. In yet another embodiment, illustrated in FIGS. 15 and 16, the fin 1530, set of fins, or the like, is substantially flexible and formed such as to traverse the fault 410. In this latter embodiment, the flexibility of the fin 1530 provides for a first part of the fin 1534 to bend as it engages the elevated portion of the seam 16 while a second part 1536 effects the stoppering of the gap 414.

A container in accordance with the present invention generally includes a cup, bucket, or the like, having a vertical seam and a lid in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention functionally engaged to the rim of said cup.

A lid in accordance with the present invention may also generally include a position indicator 532, 932, 1332, 1532 which provides a user with the correct orientation of a lid of the present invention with respect to the cup 12. The position indicator 532, 932, 1332, 1532 generally assists with the placement of a lid of the invention over the cup 12 such that the seam fault sealing structure will be substantially properly positioned relative to the fault 410. Any effective indicator may be used. In the embodiment shown in the figures, a visual and tactile indicator is positioned on the lid such that alignment of the indicator with the seam 16 of the cup 12 provides for the correct positioning of the lid's seam fault sealing structure relative the fault 410. Because the exact placement of the flexible seam fault sealing structure 1530 is not necessarily essential for its proper function, the position indicator 1532 in this particular embodiment provides a range. It will be noted that in certain constructions the seam 16 on the side wall 14 of some cups 12 is offset from the location of the seam 16 on the rim 20. Accordingly, the position indicator 532, 932, 1332, 1532 in lids aimed at cups having this offset construction will be similarly offset.

A seam fault sealing structure in accordance with the present invention may be used with any effective prior art lid, including, for example, the lids shown in U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,598,271, 4,357,753, 4,589,569, 4,619,372, 4,627,537, 4,753,365, 4,756,440, 4,767,019, 4,811,860, 4,978,024, 5,253,781, 5,657,898, 5,722,558, 5,868,309, 5,894,952, 5,911,331, 6,089,397, 6,209,748, 6,419,112, 6,571,973, 6,604,647, 6,886,707, 6,889,860, 6,905,044, 6,932,231, 7,111,749, 7,131,551, 7,134,570, 7,185,781, D296874, D485730, D502398, D506356, D513939, D519326, D533778, D540166, D540675, and U.S. Published Application Nos. 20050155969, 20050224505 and 20060213908 (all of which are incorporated herein be reference as if fully set forth herein).

A lid in accordance with the present invention may include other features including an orifice for drinking 30, a vent hole 32, a depression to catch spills 34, a drain orifice 36, and the like. The seam fault sealing structure may be positioned in any effective spatial relationship to these features. However, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, assuming that the drinking opening 30 is at 0 degrees, the seam fault sealing structure is positioned from about 30 degrees to about 330 degrees. In accordance with another embodiment of the present invention, assuming that the drinking opening is at 0 degrees, the seam fault sealing structure is positioned from about 60 degrees to about 30 degrees. In accordance with another embodiment of the present invention, assuming that the drinking opening is at 0 degrees, the seam fault sealing structure is positioned from about 90 degrees to about 270 degrees. In accordance with another embodiment of the present invention, assuming that the drinking opening is at 0 degrees, the seam fault sealing structure is positioned from about 135 degrees to about 225 degrees. In accordance with yet another embodiment of the present invention the seam fault sealing structure is positioned generally substantially opposite the drinking opening 30, e.g., assuming that the drinking opening is at 0 degrees, the seam fault sealing structure is positioned at about 180 degrees.

The lid and the cup may be constructed in any effective manner and may generally have any shape that does not detrimentally affect its function.

A lid in accordance with the present invention is preferably of one piece plastic construction, which enables the lid to be manufactured relatively inexpensively so as to be disposable. The configuration of the lids of the invention was selected not only to provide the above features, but also to enable manufacture of the lid by a thermoforming operation, preferably vacuum forming. The seam fault sealing structure is also preferably formed such that it does not interfere with stacking of the lids in nested relation.

The lids of the invention may be advantageously used with containers of various types, being particularly suitable for use with disposable cups of the type commonly used as carry-out paper or cardboard cups for beverages such as coffee and the like.

The lids of the invention are particularly suitable for use at a carry-out counter in a restaurant where efficiency is important. An employee can fill a cup with coffee or the like and apply the lid quickly and simply by snapping it onto the cup. The lid may be rotated as necessary until the seam fault sealing structure is properly placed over the seam.

Thus, a novel lid and container has been shown and described. While preferred embodiments have been described above and illustrated in the accompanying drawings, there is no intent to limit the scope of the invention to these or any other particular embodiments. Many changes and modifications can of course be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. The invention, therefore, should not be limited, except by the following claims, and their equivalence.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US20140054306 *Aug 22, 2013Feb 27, 2014Meadwestvaco CorporationPaper-based container lids and methods for making the same
US20140144923 *Jan 30, 2014May 29, 2014Meadwestvaco CorporationPaper-based container lids and methods for making the same
Classifications
U.S. Classification229/404, 220/200
International ClassificationB65D51/00, B65D3/00
Cooperative ClassificationB65D2543/00046, B65D3/00, B65D43/0212
European ClassificationB65D43/02S3E, B65D3/00