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Publication numberUS3860162 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJan 14, 1975
Filing dateOct 10, 1972
Priority dateOct 10, 1972
Publication numberUS 3860162 A, US 3860162A, US-A-3860162, US3860162 A, US3860162A
InventorsSchutz Frank C
Original AssigneeNospil Limited
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Non-spill drinking cup top
US 3860162 A
Abstract
A non-spill drinking cup cover is formed from a sheet of material. The sheet has a short length, arcuately shaped slit near its periphery. Liquid exits through the slit from the container on which the cover is placed. The cover includes a resilient valve for sealing the slit. The valve is normally biased closed. It includes a raised portion which can be depressed by the user's upper lip to open the slit and includes an edge portion which passes under and is biased against the inside surface of the cover at the lip of the slit so that the valve edge portion engages the cover and seals the slit. The cover includes a rim which is engaged by the container on which the cover is placed. The rim is so dimensioned that the container stretches the cover outwardly and improves the resilience of the valve.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

O United States Patent [111 3,86,i02

Schutz Jan. 14, 1975 NON-SPILL DRINKING CUP TOP Primary ExaminerGeorge T. Hall [75] Inventor: Frank C. Schutz, Downey, Calif. gagg Agent Firm ostrolehk Faber Gerb [73] Assignee: Nospil Limited, Los Angeles, Calif. 22 Filed: Oct. 10, 1972 [571 ABSTRACT A non-spill drinking cup cover is formed from a sheet [21] of material. The sheet has a short length, arcuately shaped slit near its periphery. Liquid exits through the [52 U.S. Cl. 229/7 R, 220/904 from the container on which the cover is P [51] I (:1 365 1/03 3 5 3 3 5 5 /00 The cover includes a resilient valve for sealing the slit. [58] Field of Search 220/90.4, 27, 48; 222/4 2 The valve is normally biased closed. It includes a 222 5 229 7 R 3 raised portion which can be depressed by the users upper lip to open the slit and includes an edge portion 5 References Cited which passes under and is biased against the inside Surface of the cover at th Of the Slit SO that the 3 015 41 1 H1962 Smith 220/90 4 valve edge P0111011 engages the cover and seals the slit. 330l459 1,1967 Gar The cover includes a nm which 18 engaged by the con- 317411432 6/1973 Werth ei ijil 220/27 tame which the is Placed- The rim is mensioned that the container stretches the cover outwardly and improves the resilience of the valve.

3 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures NON-SPILL DRINKING CUP TOP RELATED APPLICATIONS This application discloses an improvement of the structure shown in US. Pat. No. 3,635,380, entitled Container Closure and in co-pending application, Ser. No. 171,680, filed Aug. 13, 1971 and entitled Non-Spill Drinking Cup Top.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to container closures in general and drinking cup covers in particular, and it more particularly relates to a non-spill drinking cup cover having a sealable opening which permits the user to conveniently drink or pour from the container while the cover is in position.

Non-spill drinking cup covers, which are commercially acceptable from the points of view of economy and convenience of use, have numerous application, e.g., covering fluid filled containers to be used while the user is in motion or being transported in a vehicle, i.e., situations where the motion might cause spillage from the container when the cover is off.

Non-spill container covers proposed in the past generally require relatively complex parts and valve structures which undesirably raise the expense of the covers, expecially where the covers are disposable. Operation of unfamiliar complex valve structures may cause inconvenience in the use of and eventual rejection of these'prior art covers. Until the movements of opening the valve and drinking or pouring are'comfortably coordinated, spillage may occur. Prior art covers also usually have restricted'peripheral areas available for drinking from the cup while the cover is in place. The user is aware that he is not drinking from the more familiar rim of a cup and this leads'to' psychological dislike of using this type of valved cover.

Theprior art also showscovers provided with various permanently formed openings through which liquid may be poured and through which a straw may be inserted. Permanent uncovered openings are as undesirable as opened containers. Openings which are filled by a straw are scarcely indicated for the drinking of hot materials.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention provides a simple one piece non-spill cover for a liquid container, particularly a drinking cup, where the cover is easily and inexpensively manufactured, is esthetically pleasing to the user and includes an easily operated valve for permitting liquid to exit through a normally closed opening. In accordance with the invention, a cover comprised of appropriate sheet material, preferably resilient, but rigid enough to maintain its normal shape when formed, e.g., thin polyethylene plastic material, is used for forming the entire cover, including the valve for sealing the exit opening.

A drinking or exit openingis formed in the cover. A valve extends overthe opening and normally seals it. The valve is resilient itself or is resiliently attached to the cover. The valve is resiliently biased closed due to the pressure of the liquid or of any vapor, such as steam, emitted from the liquid within the container and/or the normal resilience of the valve and/or its attachment means and any additional means for biasing the valve to seal the opening. I

The valve includes a raised portion, which may be integrally contoured into the valve itself, that extends above the surface of the cover and is so positioned that when the raised portion is depressed, e.g., by the users upper lip, the valve is moved to open the normally closed exit opening.

The valve extends from its raised portion down through the opening and terminates in a peripheral edge portion, which extends beyond the lip of the exit opening and overlaps that lip when the valve has been normally biased closed.

An air hole is provided in the cover away from the exit opening for return air flow into the container.

Passing around and spaced away from the exit opening in the cover, e.g., around the periphery of the cover itself, is a container engagingrim portion which is so shaped and so dimensioned with respect to the dimensions of the open end of the container on which the cover is placed that the cover is normally stretched outwardly by the walls of the container. This tends to rigidify the cover, and increases the resilience of the valve and its attachment'and tends to tighten the seal of the valve over the exitopening.

Because of all the various means which cooperate to urge the valve to 'seal the exit opening through the cover, although the cover itself may be comprised of thin sheet material, the valve is sufficiently rigid to seal the opening and prevent undesired spillage.

The opening and the raised operable portion of the valve are both placed sufficiently near the periphery of the cover that the user may comfortably position his lower lip against the outside edge of the periphery of the cover and position his upper lip upon the raised portion of the valve. The users upper lip can press down upon the raised portion with sufficient force to open the valve. The exit opening is placed so that the user can easily drink from it without discomfort or spillage. As soon as the user is finished drinking, he removes his mouth from the container. This immediately releases the lip operated valve and immediately recloses the exit opening, thereby precluding spillage.

The present invention is, therefore, quite beneficial because the exit opening is only opened when the user wishes to drink or pour from the container. There is no need for coordination of the drinking step with any band operations, as is required with certain manually operable valve structures of the prior art.

Accordingly, it is the primary object of the present invention to provide a simplified nonspill container cover.

It is another object of the present invention to provide such a cover which can be manufactured in a simple, one step process.

It is yet another object of the present invention to provide such a cover which can be simply made from sheet material.

It is another object of the present invention to provide such a cover with a valve that is opened only when it is desired that the container contents pour through an opening in the cover. I

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a valve for a container cover, which valve does not require any complex or coordinated manual operations for pouring from the container.

3 These and other objects of the present invention will become apparent from the following description of the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view, from above, of a cover in accordance with the invention;

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the cover of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a side elevational view in cross section of a cover in accordance with the invention on a container;

FIG. 4 is an enlarged fragment of the view in FIG. 3 showing thevalve of the cover in its closed condition; and

FIG. 5 is the view of FIG. 4 with the valve in its open condition.

Turning to the drawings, circular cover in accordance with the present invention is used to cover the open end 12 of circular container 14. Open end 12 is defined by the annular rim of container 14. The rim has a predetermined dimension or diameter which is coordinated with the dimension or diameter of cover 10, as described below. Container 14 is conventional and is adapted to hold liquid to be stored and later poured or drunk. The material of the container is not significant here except that open end 12 must be sufficiently rigid to aid in stiffening cover 10, as described below.

The entire cover 10 is formed from a single sheet of vacuum formed, die stamped polyethylene plastic material, which is appropriately contoured and slit during the stamping procedure.

Cover 10 has a substantially flat central portion 16 which is surrounded by annular, grooved rim 18, which includes a container rim engaging groove 20. Cover 10 and the exterior wall 22 of groove 20 have dimensions and a diameter selected such that the exterior of container open end rim 12 presses against wall 22, thereby exerting outward pressure all around cover 10 and somewhat tightening the flexible material of the cover. This enhances the operation of below described valve 30.

Adjacent to cover rim 18 along one side 19 thereof,

- the cover is slit at 24 in a relatively small diameter approximately semi-circular arc to define the exit opening. The convex curvature of slit 24 faces rim side 19. The width and total size of opening 24 are such that the mouth of a normal user of the container will be wide enough and can comfortably open enough so that all of the liquid will pour into the users mouth. Opening 24 may be formed in other shapes, e.g., V-shape, so long as the foregoing width requirements are met.

Integral with central portion 16 and attached thereto at 26 is valve 30 for slit exit opening 24. Valve 30 is comprised of the same material as and is integral with cover 10. The valve resiliently returns to its closed position illustrated in FIG. 4. The valve is contoured to gradually rise along 32 from attachment point 26 to peak 34. Peak 34 is near to the periphery of cover 10 so that the user of container 14 and cover 10 can depress the peak with his upper lip when he drinks. From peak 34, valve 30 descends rapidly along surface 36 l and terminates in flattened edge portion 38. Edge portion 38 is below and laps under cooperating lip 40, which defines opening 24.

At rim side 19, extending past the apex of curvature of opening 24, is an elongated short height depression 42 in the interior wall of the rim. Depression 42 increases the lap under of valve edge portion 38 under exit opening lip 40 and prevents these elements from becoming stuck closed together.

The normal resilience of valve 30 and of valve attachment 26, the tightening of cover 10 by container rim 12 and the pressure exerted by the contents of container 14 all serve to press edge portion 38 against lip 40 to close opening .24.

Spaced away from opening 24 and valve 30, across central portion 16, cover 10 is provided with a small venting air opening 44 which enables smooth exit flow through opening 24.

When a person desires to drink from container 14, he places his lower lip outside rim 18, places his upper lip over peak 34, applies pressure with his upper lip to depress peak 34 and open valve 30 to the position of FIG. 5 and then pours the liquid out opening 24 and over rim 18 into his mouth. When the person is finished drinking, he removes his lips from the container as he normally would with any container. Valve 30 immediately reseals opening 24 and prevents leakage or spillage. Consequently, a person can use the container without having to coordinate lip, mouth and hand movements to prevent spillage.

While the invention has been described specifically in connection with a cover used on a container for drinkable liquids, it is apparent that the cover may be used in connection with liquids that are to be poured from container 14 and that valve 30 may be manually operated rather than lip operated.

Although the presentinvention has been described in connection with a preferred embodiment thereof, many variations and modifications will now become apparent to those skilled in the art. It is preferred, therefore, that the present invention be limited not by the specific disclosure herein, but only by the appended claims.

I claim:

1. A container cover which has a lip-operated valve therethrough which is normally closed to prevent spillage, and which can be pressed open by the lip of a user; said container cover comprising;

a sheet of thin flexible resilient material for covering the open end of a container;

a circular rim enclosing the outer periphery of said sheet for removably engaging the open end of a container;

an arcuate slit extending through said sheet, the center of the length of said slit being located close to said rim, with said slit curving away from said rim as it extends from its said center;

a raised sheet region integral with said sheet and extending above the general surface of said sheet and adjacent to said circular rim and being partly enclosed by said slit; said raised sheet region having a normal rest position relative to said sheet to close said slit, whereby depression of said raised sheet region by the upper lip of a user causes the relative lateral movement of the opposing edges of said slit to open said slit and to permit the movement of fluid material through said slit, and whereby said slit is reclosed when the users lip releases said raised sheet region.

2. The cover of claim 1, wherein said slit has an interiorly disposed edge and an exteriorly disposed edge; said interior edge being at least a portion of the terminal edge of said raised sheet portion; said interior edge terminating below and slightly overlapping said exterior edge portion.

3. The cover of claim 1 in which said sheet has vent opening means therethrough at a region spaced from said slit.

Patent Citations
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US3301459 *Apr 16, 1965Jan 31, 1967Gardner Timothy FClosure for drinking containers
US3741432 *Jan 20, 1972Jun 26, 1973Coors Container CoContainer with closure tab and pressure release tab on closure tab
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Classifications
U.S. Classification220/711, 229/906.1
International ClassificationB65D43/02, B65D47/04, B65D47/20
Cooperative ClassificationB65D2543/00685, B65D2543/00046, B65D43/0208, B65D2543/00092, B65D2543/00537, B65D2543/0037, B65D47/2018, B65D2543/00731, B65D2543/00296, B65D2101/0023, B65D2543/00796, B65D2543/00509, B65D2543/00629, B65D2543/00555
European ClassificationB65D43/02S3B, B65D47/20E
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jun 19, 1984PSPatent suit(s) filed