This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/133,467, filed Jun. 30, 2008, titled “Drinking Vessel,” to Holly E. Blair, the entire disclosure of which is expressly incorporated by reference herein.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to drinking vessels in general, specifically to drinking vessels intended for use by babies and/or toddlers having an anti-spilling function.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Children are often given spill proof cups, such as sippy cups, until they are old enough to avoid spilling liquid from adult cups. Such cups often have valves or are otherwise designed to prevent liquids from leaving the cup to avoid messes associated with cups being dropped or knocked over.
According to an embodiment of the present invention, a child drinking vessel is provided including a body defining an interior region configured to contain a beverage to be consumed by a child; a lid coupled to a top end of the body to provide an anti-spill seal with the container to avoid the beverage draining from between the body and the lid; the lid including an opening to allow the beverage to be consumed by the child; a base coupled to a bottom end of the body; and electronics positioned in the base and including a plurality of light emitting devices configured to emit light into body or emitting sounds.
Additional features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon consideration of the following detailed description of the illustrative embodiment exemplifying the best mode of carrying out the invention as presently perceived.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The detailed description of the drawings particularly refers to the accompanying figures in which:
FIG. 1A is a front view of a sippy cup according to the present disclosure with portions shown in phantom;
FIG. 1B is a side view of the sippy cup of FIG. 1A;
FIG. 1C is a top view of the sippy cup of FIG. 1A;
FIG. 2A is front view of the present sippy cup of FIG. 1A showing handles formed on a lid of the sippy cup;
FIG. 2B is a front view of an alternative embodiment sippy cup showing handles formed on a body of the sippy cup;
FIG. 2C is a front view of another alternative embodiment sippy cup showing the handles form on a base of the sippy cup;
FIG. 2D is a front view of another alternative embodiment sippy cup showing the sippy cup without handles;
FIG. 3 is an exploded view of the sippy cup of FIG. 1A showing the sippy cup includes a lid assembly, a body, and a base removed from the body;
FIG. 4A is an exploded front view of the lid assembly including a lid base with handles and threads for attachment to the body of the sippy cup and an insert having a tip with small holes and a vent in the insert to allow air into cup when liquid is withdrawn;
FIG. 4B is an exploded side view of the lid assembly of FIG. 1A;
FIG. 5 is a side view of the body of the sippy cup of FIG. 1A showing the body including an open top, lid attachment threads, base attachment threads and locking detail, and a closed bottom; and
FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view taken through the base of the sippy cup of FIG. 1A showing the base including an open top for access to the electronics with space above for light show to shine up toward the base, threads and locking detail for the base attachment threads of the body, electronics for providing lights and/or sound, and a closed bottom.
Corresponding reference characters indicate corresponding parts throughout the several views. The exemplifications set out herein illustrate exemplary embodiments of the invention and such exemplifications are not to be construed as limiting the scope of the invention in any manner.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
According to the present disclosure, a sippy cup 2 is provided that includes a lid assembly 4, a body 20, and a base 30. Lid assembly 4 includes a sippy cup lid 10 and an insert 12. Lid 10, as seen in FIG. 4, includes threads 14 for attaching to body 20 and cooperates with insert 12 to seal with body 20 and create a liquid-tight volume. Insert 12 is made of resilient or flexible material. As seen in FIG. 4, has an anti-spill tip 16 with cuts or slits 6 such that deforming tip 16 and sucking on tip 16 allow liquid to be withdrawn but otherwise prevents liquid from freely leaking out. Insert 12 also has a vent 18 that allows air to enter the cup as liquid is withdrawn, and in similar fashion to the anti-spill tip 16 has cuts or slits 8 that prevent liquid from freely leaking out. An upper portion 19 of tip 16, or final delivery portion of lid 12, where the child sucks, may be shaped such that it is orthopedically friendly in the child's mouth and provides an effective shape and size to deliver the liquid contained in the liquid-tight volume. Tip 16 may be tubular or generally spherical in shape and/or tilted for orthopedic comfort and design. Handles 17 may or may not be incorporated into lid 10 as shown in FIGS. 2A-2D. Handles 17 may be incorporated into lid 10, body 20 or base 30, or with no handles as shown. Handles 17 may be designed such that they are suitable for a child's small hand, designed to enhance gripping. Cup 2 is shown as a sippy cup. According to alternative embodiments, cup 2 may be other types of children's cups, such as a tumbler, wherein lid 10 and insert 12 are preferably one-piece and made of a harder plastic, or a straw cup having an opening 21 sized to receive straw 23 as shown in phantom in FIG. 4B.
Body 20, as seen in FIG. 5, is generally cylindrical in shape, with a closed bottom 28. Preferably, only top 22 is open. Open top 22 of body 20 may have threads 24 that mate with threads 14 in lid 10. When assembled, lid 10 and insert 12 and body 20 then form a liquid-tight volume except for the ability for the child to extract liquid through anti-spill tip. Body 20 has threads 39 and locking detail 41 at bottom 26 for attaching base 30, which include electronics 34. Preferably, the shape of bottom 26 of body 20 does not create a concave shape or cavity when the base 30 is detached in order to prevent standing water when dishwashing upside-down. The closed bottom face 35 may have a textured finish to serve two purposes: diffuse light rays and prevent user from directly viewing electronics 34.
The base 30, as seen in FIG. 6, contains electronics 34 and is isolated from the internal liquid-tight area contained within the assembly including lid 10, insert 12 and body 20 as stated above. Base 30 should have a complementary shape that is attached with threads 36 and locking detail 43 or other connection feature to threads 39 and locking detail 41 of body 20, creating an attachment such that an adult with common strength and dexterity may remove it and such that an infant or toddler with common strength and dexterity may not remove it. For example, locking detail 41 may be a detent and locking detail 43 may be a recess to receive detent 41 to that removal base 30 from body 20 requires enough strength to snap or otherwise remove detent 41 from recess 43 so that base 20 is child-proof. Additional details of other suitable child-proof configurations are provided in U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,225,050; 5,782,359; and 6,112,920, the disclosure of which are hereby incorporated by reference in their entirety.
Electronics 34 contained within base 30 include, but are not limited to; 1 a power source, such as battery or capacitor or some other electrical potential energy storage device; 2 one or more light emitting diodes LED in any color, intensity, shape, or size, creating the visible light; 3 a device for emitting sound, 4 a device for turning the LED's and/or sound on and off, either by a manual switch, a motion-sensing apparatus, body-and-bottom-engaged sensor/switch, or some other means of switching the circuit on and off; 4 all associated circuitry including wiring, controls, connectivity components, etc, and 5 mechanical mounting of all the components described above. Electronics 34 are accessible for battery replacement through the open top 32. Bottom 38 is closed and creates a resting platform from placing sippy cup 10 on a horizontal surface. Current market availability allows for a wide variety of lighting options including color, flashing sequence, intensity, shape, and quantity, and for a variety of means to produce various sounds. Batteries are replaceable using common hand tools and average skills. The base exterior is fully textured or molded-in-color to diffuse light, conceal electronics, and provide a non slip-surface for gripping.
During washing of sippy cup 10, base 30 is removed from body 20 to protect electronics 34 from water or heat damage. Once body 20 is down being washed and dried, base 30 is reattached to body 20. According to an alternative embodiment, electronics 34 may be able to survive the harsh conditions of a dishwasher. According to such an embodiment, base 30 may not be removable.
Lid 10 is preferably a molded colored, semi-rigid plastic part, primarily designed for convenient opening of the liquid-tight volume and ensuring insert 12 creates an effective seal with body 20. Specific design features are threads 14 to attach to body 20 and a detail to nest the insert 12 for effective sealing.
Insert 12 is preferably a molded, clear, flexible plastic part, primarily designed to seal the liquid-tight volume and allow the child to withdraw liquid from the cup through tip 16 while preventing accidental spilling of the liquid contained in sippy cup 10. Specific design features are a sealing area that mates with body 20 for a liquid-tight seal, slits or cuts 6 in tip 19 such that a child may deform and suck tip 19 to withdraw liquid from cup 10, and slits or cuts 8 in vent 18 such that air may be allowed to enter cup 10 as liquid is withdrawn.
Body 20 is preferably a molded, opaque, rigid plastic part, primarily designed to create a liquid-tight volume in combination with lid 10 and insert 12, and create an attachment means for the base 30 to be attached. Specific design features are a sealing area at the open top to create an effective seal with insert 12, threads 24 to attach lid 10, and threads 39 and locking feature 41 to attach base 30.
Base 30 is preferably a molded, rigid plastic part, primarily designed to carry and electronics 34. Specific design features include threads 36 and locking feature 43 to attach to body 20, electronics 34 for lighting and/or emitting sounds from cup 10, and mechanical attachment of electronics 34. Base 30 is typically molded in clear textured or colored rigid material. Texture should be of such density to prevent direct viewing of electronics 34 or light sources from the sides or bottom.
Electronics 34 preferably includes circuit-board mounted components to create a light show through and/or sound from cup 10. Components include, but are not limited to; 1 a power source battery or capacitor or some other electrical potential energy storage device; 2 one or more light emitting diodes LED in any color, intensity, shape, or size, creating the visible light; 3 a device for emitting sound, 4 a device for turning the circuit on and off, either by a manual switch, a motion-sensing apparatus, body-and-bottom-engaged sensor/switch, or some other means of switching the circuit on and off; 4 all associated circuitry including wiring, controls, connectivity components, etc, and 5 mechanical mounting of all the components described above. Specific design features are circuitry that creates light patterns or sequences and/or sounds that are entertaining to the child, ruggedness for use by toddlers, access to replace batteries and a means for mechanical attachment to the Base 30.
Although the invention has been described in detail with reference to certain preferred embodiments, variations and modifications exist within the spirit and scope of the invention as described and defined in the following claims.