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Cup assembly

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20140103041 patent thumbnailZoom

Cup assembly


A cup is provided having a lid with a spout defined by walls tapered towards a distal end of the spout. The lid has handles extending therefrom that are preferably formed of a first and second material having different Shore A hardnesses to define a rigid portion and a gripping portion.


Browse recent Eveready Battery Company, Inc. patents - St. Louis, MO, US
USPTO Applicaton #: #20140103041 - Class: 2202125 (USPTO) -
Receptacles > Closures >Combined Or Convertible >With Handle

Inventors: Ross S. Randolph, Joseph P. Sejnowski

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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20140103041, Cup assembly.

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CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a continuation of prior application Ser. No. 12/456,298, filed Jun. 15, 2009, which is a continuation of prior application Ser. No. 10/404,919, filed Apr. 1, 2003, which is a continuation-in-part of prior U.S. Design application Ser. No. 29/168,356, filed Oct. 1, 2002, and a continuation-in-part of prior U.S. application Ser. No. 09/908,099, filed Jul. 18, 2001, which is a continuation-in-part of prior U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/645,975 filed on Feb. 4, 2000 and issued as U.S. Pat. No. 6,422,415, which is a continuation of prior U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/019,765 filed on Feb. 6, 1998 and issued as U.S. Pat. No. 6,050,445. The disclosures of application Ser. No. 12/456,298, filed Jun. 15, 2009, application Ser. No. 10/404,918, filed Apr. 1, 2003, U.S. Design application Ser. No. 29/168,356, filed Oct. 1, 2002, U.S. application Ser. No. 09/908,099, filed Jul. 18, 2001, U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/645,975 filed on Feb. 4, 2000 and issued as U.S. Pat. No. 6,422,415, and U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/019,765 filed on Feb. 6, 1998 and issued as U.S. Pat. No. 6,050,445 are hereby incorporated by reference in their entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to cups. More particularly, the present invention relates to infant cup assemblies.

2. Description of the Prior Art

Cups designed especially for use by infants or children are known. Such cups are intended to facilitate the gripping of the cup by the infant. Contemporary devices often employ gripping structures that are formed on the surface of the bottle.

A baby bottle with an outer surface that has been adapted to provide handles intended to allow infants and children to better grip the bottle, is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,215,203 to Malcolm. The bottle has at least two sets of handles that are formed integrally with the bottle by a plurality of recesses extending vertically along a substantial length of the bottle. The recesses have either side walls that converge towards each other as they extend towards a central longitudinal axis of the bottle or side walls that are parallel to each other. The lobe shaped handles resulting from the converging side walls and the rectangular shaped handles resulting from the parallel side walls, allow an infant or child to partially grasp or hold the handles. The bottles provide limited assistance to infants or children because they do not allow for a complete or nearly complete closure of the infants hands around the handles.

Other cups designed especially for use by infants or children include orifices that are intended to reduce spillage of fluid from the cup. Such cups have drinking orifices and separate air vents, which allow the user to drink from the orifice without creating excessive vacuum in the cup. However, drinking orifices and air vents are liable to leak liquid stored in the cup between feedings, or if dropped during use. Drinking orifices and the surrounding lid structure through which the orifices are disposed, have a lasting effect on the child\'s lip placement which can impact the child\'s ability to feed and swallow.

Certain cups have been developed that use valving mechanisms at the orifice and at the air vent. These valves respond to suction generated during feeding to open and allow liquid to pass through the orifice and to allow air to enter the air vent when a vacuum is developed in the interior of the cup. Patents disclosing such valves include U.S. Pat. No. 5,079,013 to Belanger, U.S. Pat. No. 6,422,415 to Manganiello, U.S. Pat. No. 6,050,445 to Manganiello and U.S. Pat. No. RE 37,016 to Morano, which are commonly assigned or licensed to the assignee of the present application. Applicant hereby incorporates the disclosure of these patents by reference.

Accordingly, there is a need for cups having handles, which facilitate gripping and grasping by infants, and motivate infants to use such handles. There is also a need for handles on cups having sufficient strength to withstand use by children. There is a further need for cups having lids and orifices that facilitate use by children, including promoting proper lip closure around the orifice.

SUMMARY

OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to provide a cup assembly that assists infants and children in holding the cup assembly.

It is another object of the present invention to provide such a cup assembly that promotes better hand-to-mouth coordination.

It is yet another object of the present invention to provide such a cup assembly that promotes independent cup drinking in the child.

It is still another object of the present invention to provide such a cup assembly that reduces or eliminates leakage and spillage.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide such a cup assembly that facilitates use of the spout.

It is another further object of the present invention to provide such a cup assembly that facilitates generation of a suction force and promotes improved flow-rate through the orifice.

It is yet a further object of the present invention to provide such a cup that promotes proper lip closure.

It is still a further object of the present invention to provide such a cup assembly that promotes better lip approximation.

These and other objects and advantages of the present invention are provided by a lid for a cup comprising a lid body removably securable to the cup; an orifice; and a handle having a rigid portion and a gripping portion. The rigid portion is formed from a first material, the gripping portion is formed from a second material, and the first material has a higher Shore A hardness than the second material. The lid body can have a spout with the orifice formed therethrough. The handle can have an upper surface and a lower surface with the gripping portion at least partially covering the upper surface and substantially covering the lower surface.

In another aspect of the invention, a cup assembly for an infant is provided comprising a cup defining an inner volume; a lid having an orifice in fluid communication with the inner volume and the lid being removably securable to the cup; and a handle having a rigid portion and a gripping portion. The rigid portion is formed from a first material, the gripping portion is formed from a second material, and the first and second materials are integrally molded. The first material has a higher Shore A hardness than the second material.

In another aspect of the invention, a cup assembly for an infant is provided comprising a cup defining an inner volume; a lid having an orifice in fluid communication with the inner volume and the lid being removably securable to the cup; and a handle comprising a rigid portion and a gripping portion and having a proximal end and a distal end. The rigid portion is formed from a first material and the gripping portion is formed from a second material. The first material has a higher Shore A hardness than the second material. The proximal end is secured to the lid and the distal end is separated from the cup by a first distance when the lid is secured to the cup. The first distance is large enough to allow a hand of the infant to pass between the cup and the distal end of the handle.

In another aspect of the invention, a cup assembly is provided which comprises a cup defining an inner volume, and a lid having a spout, an orifice and a handle. The orifice is disposed through the spout. The handle has a rigid portion and a gripping portion. The rigid portion has a channel. The rigid portion is formed from at least a first material and the gripping portion is formed from at least a second material. The first material has a higher Shore A Hardness than the second material. A first portion of the second material is disposed in the channel and a second portion of the second material is disposed adjacent to the channel.

In another aspect of the invention, a method of making a handle for a cup assembly is provided. The method comprises molding a rigid portion of the handle from a first material, with the rigid portion having at least one channel formed therein. The method further comprises molding a gripping portion of the handle from a second material, with the gripping portion having at least a first portion disposed in the channel. The first material has a higher Shore A Hardness than the second material.

In another aspect of the invention, a method of making a lid is provided. The method comprises molding a rigid portion of the lid from a first material, with the rigid portion having a lid body, a spout, and a handle. The handle has at least one channel formed therein. The method further comprises molding a gripping portion of the lid from a second material, with the gripping portion having at least a first portion disposed in the channel. The first material has a higher Shore A Hardness than the second material.

The rigid portion can have a channel formed therein, with at least a portion of the second material disposed in the channel. The channel can be first and second channels disposed at least partially along the rigid portion. The rigid portion can have first, second and third walls integrally formed with each other and defining the first and second channels. The first and second walls can be substantially orthogonal to the third wall. The handle can have an upper surface and a lower surface with the first wall of the rigid portion at least partially defining the upper surface, and with the gripping portion at least partially defining the lower surface.

The rigid portion can have a rib disposed along at least one of the first and second channels, and the rib can be substantially parallel with the first and second walls. The rib can be disposed in proximity to the proximal end of the handle. The first wall can have a wave-like shape, with the gripping portion having a corresponding wave-like shape adjacent to the first wall, and substantially defining the lower surface. The third wall can have a projection formed therein, and the second material can be molded over the projection to form a gripping abutment. The gripping abutment can be disposed in proximity to the distal end of the handle.

The first material can be a polypropylene and the second material can be a thermoplastic elastomer. The lid can have a spout and the orifice can be formed in the spout. The lid can have a vent hole formed therein. There can also be a flow control valve in fluid communication with the orifice, the vent hole and the inner volume, wherein the valve limits flow from the inner volume through the orifice. The handle can be a pair of handles extending from the lid and diametrically opposed along the lid. The spout can have an ellipsoidal cross-sectional area. The spout can have a distal end, and can be inwardly tapered toward the distal end. The spout can have a top wall, with the orifice being disposed through the top wall, and with the top wall having an upwardly arcuate or dome-like shape.

The molding of the gripping portion can include disposing a second portion of the second material adjacent to the channel. The molding of the rigid portion can include integrally forming a first wall, a second wall and a third wall, with the third wall connecting the first and second walls. The molding of the rigid portion can include forming a substantially planar bottom surface along the channel.

Other and further objects, advantages and features of the present invention will be understood by reference to the following.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of a cup assembly of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a rear view of the cup assembly of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a top view of the cup assembly of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a front view of the flow control valve for the cup assembly of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is a top perspective view of the cup of FIG. 1;

FIG. 6 is a front view of the lid of FIG. 1;

FIG. 7 is a side view of the lid of FIG. 1;

FIG. 8 is a bottom perspective view of the lid of FIG. 1;

FIG. 9 is a front perspective view of the lid of FIG. 8 without a gripping portion;

FIG. 10 is a front view of the lid of FIG. 9 without the gripping portion;

FIG. 11 is a side view of the lid of FIG. 9 without the gripping portion;

FIG. 12 is a bottom view of the lid of FIG. 9 without the gripping portion;

FIG. 13 is a front view of an alternative embodiment of the lid of FIG. 8 without a gripping portion;

FIG. 14 is a bottom perspective view of another alternative embodiment of the lid of FIG. 8 without a gripping portion;

FIG. 15 is a front view of a prior art PLAYTEX® conventional lid;

FIG. 16 is a side view of the prior art PLAYTEX® conventional lid of FIG. 15;

FIG. 17 is a top view of the prior art PLAYTEX® conventional lid of FIG. 15;

FIG. 18 is a front view of a prior art GERBER® conventional lid;

FIG. 19 is a side view of the prior art GERBER® conventional lid of FIG. 18; and

FIG. 20 is a top view of the prior art GERBER® conventional lid of FIG. 18.



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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20140103041 A1
Publish Date
04/17/2014
Document #
14133915
File Date
12/19/2013
USPTO Class
2202125
Other USPTO Classes
International Class
47G19/22
Drawings
17




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