Patent application title: SPLASH-INHIBITING BEVERAGE CONTAINER LID
Roger Bal (Coquitlam, CA)
IPC8 Class: AB65D5104FI
Class name: Receptacles closures pivotable, (e.g., hinged)
Publication date: 2009-01-29
Patent application number: 20090026219
A lid for a beverage container. The lid is changeable from a closed to an
open position by depressing a drink opening portion.
1. A lid for a beverage cup having a rim comprising:a top wall bordered by
a cylindrical wall;a depression being formable in said top wall and
having a closed and opened positions.
CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
This application claims priority to U.S. provisional application 60/951,904, filed Jul. 25, 2007.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to beverage container lids, and more specifically to splash-inhibiting beverage container lids.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The use of disposable lids on beverage cups in order to prevent the spilling of the liquid in the cup is well known in the art. These can take the form of a thin top having an x-shaped punch out portion for inserting a straw as used with soda pop to the more complicated lids used in association with hot beverages such as coffee, tea or hot chocolate.
The spilling of hot coffee, tea or hot chocolate provides a two-fold hazard: first, the hot drink can be a burn hazard with the possibility of causing serious injury to the drinker if it is spilled accidentally either by burning the individual or by startling the individual (say while driving) resulting in an accident; and secondly, the coffee, tea or hot chocolate will stain clothing or upholstery it comes into contact with and can be difficult to remove.
Lids for coffee cups therefore need to provide sufficient protection against unwanted spillage while still providing the user with a suitable flow of liquid. Numerous designs have been developed in order to provide this balance.
For example, U.S. Pat. No. 4,619,372 teaches a cap for a hot beverage cup. The '372 patent teaches a cap having a depression. The depression is defined by a sloped surface in the top surface of the cup and a depending wall located adjacent an inner wall of the container. A plurality of perforations are located in the depending wall to allow liquid to flow into the depression for drinking. The depending wall is positioned to be in close proximity to the cup wall so as to reduce the possibility of liquid splashing through the perforations. There is also a slit in the depression to allow the aroma of the beverage to be enjoyed. However, this slit is problematic as it provides a vertical opening through which liquid can splash when the cup is jostled.
U.S. Pat. No. 6,991,128 teaches a beverage lid having a regulator valve and a wave-breaker and periphery inhibitor recesses to minimize accidental splashing of liquid from the cup. The regulator valve is a recess formed in the top of the cup and has side and bottom walls with apertures formed therein to allow liquid to pass. Preferably, the apertures have a generally tapered portion terminating in irregularly shaped edges. While providing good splash-prevention characteristics, this is a complicated design and likely involves a costly, two-step manufacturing process. In addition, the drink opening is located in the top surface of the lid, such that any liquid to spill out of the opening could drip off the lid, staining whatever it comes into contact with.
A further splash-proof lid design is taught in U.S. Pat. No. 6,702,145. The '145 design has a splash guard in the form of a semi-permeable membrane positioned between the liquid contents of the cup and an opening in the cup lid. Boss elements in the cup lid form a center channel and, along with the cup itself, outer channels through which liquid can be channeled and directed towards the opening in the lid. The splash guard is set at a downward angle so that liquids drain back into the cup after a user takes a sip. Unfortunately, this design is ineffective when the level of liquid within the cup decreases to such a level that it can no longer flow through the channels (it is blocked by the splash guard). According to the design, the semi-permeable nature of the splash guard will allow the liquid to pass through it to the opening in the lid. However, any membrane that is permeable enough to allow suitable flow of liquid to the opening when drinking would be ineffective at preventing splashing. Alternatively, if the membrane is effective for spill prevention, it is likely too impermeable to allow sufficient liquid flow to the lid opening. A user would be inclined to remove the lid to finish the drink, increasing the risk of a spill. Also, with the top opening design, any liquid to accidentally pass through will likely spill off the top of the lid.
In addition to the deficiencies identified above, each of these designs has a permanent drink opening in the lid. As most hot drinks are purchased as take-out beverages, it would be beneficial to have a lid design having a complete closure.
One such design is currently in use in the marketplace. The lid is completely closed, having only a small air vent. It has a drink opening that can be formed by lifting on the outer lip of the lid and tearing the plastic along tear lines. The lifted plastic can then be folded inwards onto the top of the cup lid so as to keep it out of the way of a drinker when drinking from the cup. While providing the benefit of a closed lid cover, when in the open position, the lid is entirely ineffective at preventing splashing and spilling.
Accordingly, there remains a need for a beverage container lid that has a closed and opened positions and which while in the open position provides improved splash prevention while maintaining suitable flow of liquid.
It is therefore an object of an embodiment of the invention to provide a splash-inhibiting beverage container lid having closed and open configurations.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The present invention comprises a lid for a beverage cup having a closed and opened position. The lid is of a uniform construction having a top and rim portion, the rim portion for being fitted on the rim of a corresponding beverage cup. A flap extending from an out portion of the rim of the lid is used to tear away a portion of the rim. A tab formed in the lid top can be moved into an open position by pressing down on it. Openings along the side of the tab are formed as between the tab and the lid top, with the radially outer edge of the tab being in contact with the side of the cup.
The foregoing was intended as a broad summary only and of only some of the aspects of the invention. It was not intended to define the limits or requirements of the invention. Other aspects of the invention will be appreciated by reference to the detailed description of the preferred embodiment and to the claims.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
These and other features of the invention will become more apparent from the following description in which reference is made to the appended drawings and wherein:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a beverage container lid according to the invention;
FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view of the beverage cup lid of FIG. 1 with a flap portion shown detached; and
FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the beverage cup lid of FIG. 1 shown without the flap portion and with the tab in an open drinking position.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
The preferred embodiment of a beverage container lid according to the invention is shown in FIGS. 1-3. Lid 100 has a substantially planar top surface 2, an outer circumferential rim portion 4 and an openable tab portion 6 having structural boss portions 8 to increase the structural rigidity of the tab. Lid 100 is adapted to be detachably connected to the rim of a cup (not shown) as known in the art so as to form a barrier to prevent the spilling or splashing of liquid from within the cup when the cup is moved or jostled. Tab portion 6 is movable from a closed position to an open position in order to allow liquid in the cup to be consumed.
Circumferential rim portion 4 has a top 5, and an outer wall 10 and an inner wall 12 which are radially spaced apart from each other a sufficient distance to accommodate the rim of a cup in the gap therebetween as known in the art. An outwardly and downwardly extending skirt 14 depending from outer wall 10 is useful in guiding the lid 100 onto the top of the cup it is used to cover.
Preferably, the lid 100 has an interior rim portion 16 having a top 17, a dependent outer wall 18 and a dependent inner wall 20. Rim portion 4 and interior rim portion 16 are spaced apart by a trough floor 22. Inner rim portion 16 provides additional structural rigidity to the lid 100 so that it is able to withstand the pressure applied to open tab 6 as described in more detail below. It is also contemplated that other structural changes, including different boss patterns, could be used to provide the additional structural rigidity necessary to prevent the lid from simply collapsing when a user pushes on the tab 6.
Dependent inner wall 20 extends down to top 2, top 2 being recessed slightly as compared to the tops 5, 17 of circumferential rim portion 4 and inner rim portion 16. Tab 6 is in turn recessed slightly as compared to top 2, a perimeter wall 24 extending from top 2 to tab 6, such that tab 6 is in line with the trough floor 22. A flap 26 is integrally formed with and extends radially outwards from a portion of skirt 14 corresponding to the location of tab 6 as shown in the drawings. A boss portion 28 provides additional structural rigidity to flap 26.
Lid 100 is preferably formed of one piece molded plastic. However, it is also contemplated that other suitable materials could be used, provided that the lid material is impermeable and has sufficient rigidity and resiliency for its intended purpose. When the lid 100 is sealed onto the rim of a cup, any liquid inside the cup is prevented from escaping. In order to drink from the cup, the user must open the tab 6 as explained below.
Gripping the flap 26, a user exerts sufficient force to tear a portion of the circumferential rim portion 4, as shown in FIG. 2. Preferably, during the forming of lid 100 a defined tear line 30 is made of thinner plastic than the rest of the cup lid, such that it is easily torn. It is also contemplated that the lid could be formed with perforations or the like so as to allow tearing in the correct area. Preferably, the tear line 30 cuts through skirt 14 and outer wall 10 on either side of flap 26 and through the top 5 of rim portion 4 between outer wall 10 and inner wall 12. Removing the flap and rim portion provides a drinker with a better mouth feel when drinking from the cup as this portion of plastic will not come into contact with the user's mouth or tongue.
After the flap is used to tear the rim portion 4, the user exerts a downward force on the tab 6 so as to tear the plastic along each side of the tab 34 and 38 and force the tab 6 downward into the cup. In this open position, as shown in FIG. 3, openings 40 (only one being shown, the other being the mirror image) are formed as between the depressed tab 6 and the torn edge 36 of the lid 100 (the side of the beverage cup providing the other surface helping define the drink openings). When a user tips a cup equipped with the lid 100 of the present invention when in the open position, liquid within the cup travels laterally through the openings 40 filling the depression formed by the displaced tab and enters the users mouth. The radially outer edge of the tab 6 is in abutment with the side of the cup on which the lid is placed.
By having the tab 6 extend to include a portion of rim portion 4, when tab 6 is pressed into the cup, it cannot be forced back up to a closed position by the liquid being consumed because the radially outer edge of the tab is prevented from doing so by the side of the cup itself. It is also contemplated, however that the tear line could be set up so that the tab can be pushed into an open position without having to tear away a portion of the rim portion. Should the tear line be positioned so that the tab does not extend radially further than the inner top edge of the cup upon which the lid is to be placed then another system must be developed to prevent the liquid within the cup from forcing the tab back to the closed position while drinking. It is also contemplated that the lid can be equipped with a small air hole to allow easier drinking.
When a user first places the lid on the cup, the lid is in the closed position, preventing any spilling of any liquid within the cup. After the lid has been opened, when liquid in the cup is moved or jostled, spills are limited by having no vertically oriented openings in the lid--any liquid coming into contact with the lid is displaced laterally. In addition, because the tab, when open, is angled relative to the horizontal, liquid coming into contact with it along the underside of the tab, following the angle of the tab upwards to a come into contact with the un-torn portion of tab 6 (in the vicinity of the large arrow) and top 2.
It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the preferred and alternative embodiments have been described in some detail but that certain modifications may be practiced without departing from the principles of the invention.
Patent applications by Roger Bal, Coquitlam CA
Patent applications in class Pivotable, (e.g., hinged)
Patent applications in all subclasses Pivotable, (e.g., hinged)