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Disposable non-spillable childs dispensing cup

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Title: Disposable non-spillable childs dispensing cup.
Abstract: A disposable sealed drink container suitable for use by a child to imbibe liquids and possessing a shape and size adapted for use in conventional drink dispensing machines including aluminum can vending machines and plastic bottle vending machines. The container includes a sealed impermeable vessel to suitable for containing a beverage, an extended spout designed to resist leakage when tipped and allow fluid to flow when suction is applied, and a protective cap. ...


- Greenville, SC, US
Inventor: Emily Price Walker
USPTO Applicaton #: #20090045206 - Class: 220713 (USPTO) - 02/19/09 - Class 220 
Receptacles > Container Attachment Or Adjunct >Drinking Device >Removable Closure Having Specific Drinking Means >Having Aperture

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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20090045206, Disposable non-spillable childs dispensing cup.

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Imbibe    BACKGROUND

This invention relates to containers that are specially adapted for use in can and bottle drink vending machines that enable dispensing of a child's disposable drinking cup containing beverage and possessing an extended mouthpiece that resists fluid flow when inverted, but allows adequate flow when suction is applied.

Children's cups possessing an extended spout for placing in the child's mouth and drinking from, commonly referred to as “sippy cups” and “sipper cups,” have provided a convenient method of providing beverage to children while reducing spills associated with a young person's lack of motor skills. Sippy cups possess an extended spout that can be placed in a child's mouth. The spouts generally restrict fluid flow if the cup is inverted by means of valves and/or possessing small apertures through which the fluid must flow. When suction is applied the resistance to fluid flow is reduced allowing the child to drink.

Vending machines do not currently dispense drinks contained in drinking bottles or cans suitable for young children. When running errands, caretakers have to pack drinks and bottles for their children. If the young child needs a drink or bottle and the caretaker has not packed any, the caretaker has to sit and hold the cup for the young child, go into a store for a bottle, or even stop the errands altogether and go home.

Present drink vending machines carry beverages and juices, but the cans and bottles presently available in such vending machines do not sufficiently restrict the flow of liquid to prevent spills if the bottle is inverted. The openings of such bottles and cans are also awkward for a small child to drink from.

Present sipper cups, while better capable of reducing spills and more biometrically suited for small children than cans or current drink bottles, are not readily adaptable for use in conventional drink vending machines such that a drink machine service company could easily add such a product to a vending machine's inventory for caretaker's to conveniently purchase.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Provided is a disposable drinking container suitable for use by a child and adapted to be dispensed from a drink vending machine. The container includes a vessel containing a liquid beverage, a releasable seal attached to the top of the vessel containing the liquid, the vessel having an upper portion having an extended spout, and a removable cap. The container is an appropriate shape and size for dispensing from a vending machine. The shape of the product allows for its use in conventional drink dispensing machines used in theme parks, shopping centers, restaurants and the like including aluminum can dispensing machines and plastic and glass bottle dispensing machines. Ideally the drinking container is lightweight and biodegradable. A releasably attached safety seal protects the contents of the container until the child is ready to consume its contents.

The extended spout contains an aperture or apertures to allow fluid to flow when suction is applied but resists fluid flow when the cup is inverted. Such function may be accomplished by any means known to those in the art including appropriate selection of the aperture dimensions and employment of valves. The extended spout is dimensioned to comfortably fit in a child's mouth. The content of the vessel is contained by a safety seal releasably attached to the top of the vessel. The extended spout and safety seal are protected by a removable cap releasably attached to the vessel. In the preferred embodiment of the container, the cap is threadably attached to the vessel and secured with a tamper evident seal extending around the circumference of the interface between the cap and the vessel.

Typically, a child's caretaker will purchase the container for the child from a convenient vending machine. The parent then will remove and discard the cap and safety seal. The caretaker then will attach the upper portion of the vessel to the lower portion of the vessel and hand the assembled vessel to the child. The child may then insert the extended spout in his or her mouth, invert the vessel, and suck the beverage from the vessel. The parent will then be able continue with their errands or drive with knowledge that the vessel will reduce or eliminate spills in the event the child was to tip or drop the drink.

A drink machine service company will be able to add vendible sippy cup products to the available selections on a standard drink machine without the need to invest in new equipment. Such an expansion of their product lines will expand their customer base by attracting caretakers of young children.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The preferred construction of the invention is illustrated by the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective of the container possessing the shape and size of a standard 20-ounce drink bottle;

FIG. 2 is an exploded view of the container shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a side view of the container possessing the shape and size of a standard 12-ounce drink can;

FIG. 4 is a vertical section of the container shown in FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is an exploded view of the container shown in FIGS. 3 and 4;

FIG. 6 is a vertical section of a drink container with a snap on sippy closure having a hinged seal cap, and

FIG. 7 is a perspective of the closure shown in FIG. 6.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

As illustrated in the accompanying drawings a disposable drinking container is shown for containing a liquid beverage, suitable for use by a child and adapted to be dispensed from a drink vending machine or equally convenient for a caretaker, may be purchased free standing at any number of locations such as convenience stores, theme parks or restaurants. The container is generally constructed from a resilient polymer based material suitable for use as a beverage container. In the preferred embodiment, the components will be of a biodegradable and/or recyclable material. Other materials may be used, including metal, paper, cardboard, and expanded polymers. FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of an embodiment of the invention with a shape of a standard 20-ounce drink bottle 11. The outside surface the assembled container 11 approximately defines a surface of revolution about a vertical axis 13.

FIG. 2 shows an exploded view of the container 11 which has a vessel includes an upper portion 41 snap fit onto a lower portion 21. The container 11 also includes a safety seal 31, a cap 61, and a tamper evident seal 71. The lower portion 21 possesses an opening 25 and an annular rim 23. In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the lower portion 21 has external threads 27 possessing a minor diameter greater than the outside diameter of the upper portion 41, thereby enabling cap 61, possessing internal threads 63 dimensioned to mate with the external threads 27, to fit over the rim 23. Thus there is no interference between the internal threads 63 and the upper portion 41 when the cap 61 is removably secured to the lower portion 21 or removed therefrom. The tamper evident seal 71, may or may not be present around the circumference of the container 11 covering the joint between the cap 61 and the vessel 21, 41 where, if present, would be irreparably damaged upon removal of the cap 61.

The upper portion 41 possesses an extended spout 43 adapted to be placed comfortably within a child's mouth. The extended spout 43 possesses at least one aperture 45 adapted to resist flow of liquid when the vessel 21, 41 is tipped or dropped, but allow flow of liquid when suction is applied, such as when the extended spout 43 is placed within a child's mouth and the child is sucking. The vessel 21, 41 may also have a vent aperture 47 adapted to allow air to flow into the vessel 21, 41, but resist the flow of fluid out of the vessel 21, 41 when tipped or dropped. The apertures 45, 47 may possess one or more valves adapted to resist fluid flow out of the vessel 21, 41 when dropped or tipped, but allow fluid to flow when suction is applied to the extended spout 43.

FIG. 3 shows another embodiment of the invention wherein the outside surface of the container 111 possesses the size and shape of a standard 12-ounce drink can. The container 111 includes a lower portion 121 connected to a cap 161, and a removably secured tamper evident seal 71. FIG. 4 shows a vertical section of the container 111 further illustrating the preferred embodiment of the invention filled with a liquid 5, such as a fruit juice, juice cocktail, or milk, and ready for distribution in a standard drink can vending machine. Seal 31 may be constructed from but is not limited to a polymer, metallic foil, or a combination thereof, and is releasably attached to the rim 23 of the vessel 121, 41 preferably in a manner that would prevent resealing of the safety seal 31 to the rim 23. The tamper evident seal 71 is releasably attached to the container 111 such that removal of the cap 161 from the vessel 121, 41 would destroy, permanently deform, or break the tamper evident seal 71. FIG. 5 shows an exploded view of the embodiment of the invention shown in FIGS. 3 and 4.

FIGS. 6 and 7 illustrate a plastic container 171 dispensable by present day vending machines which has a cylindrical drink containing lower portion or cup 172 and a one piece snap-on top portion 173. The top portion 173 includes a lid 174 having a snap-on fit with the lower portion 172 and a cap 176 hinged to and interconnected with the lid 174 by a narrow flexible web 177. The web 177 fits in a slot 181 in the side wall 182 of the cap 176 so that in the closed position of the cap 176 shown in FIG. 6, the web 177 aligns with and does not extend radially outward beyond the cylindrical side wall 182 of the cap 176. The lid 174 has an upstanding sippy or drinking spout 186 with an orfice 187 at its upper end. An annular ridge 188 extends radially outward from the spout 186 near its upper end and present a radially outward facing sealing surface. The lid also has an upstanding vent 191 with an orifice 192 and a radially outward annular ridge 193. As shown in FIG. 6, the cap 176 includes downwardly extending cylindrical connectors 196, 197, each of which have a radially inward facing sealing surface. The connectors 196, 197 have a snap-on sealing fit with the sippy spout 186 and the vent 191, respectively, when the cap 176 is in its illustrated closed position. A tamper evident seal 199 completes the sealing of the illustrated sippy drink container.

It is understood that the vessel 21, 41 or 121, 41 may be filled with the beverage 5 and sealed with the safety seal 31. When dispensed the vessel is in an assembled condition as shown by FIG. 1 or 3. Upon being dispensed from a standard drink bottle or can vending machine, the caretaker of a small child breaks and discards the tamper evident seal 71 and removes the cap 61 or 161. The caretaker then unsnaps the upper portion 41 from the lower portion 21 or 121 and lifts pull tab 33 connected to safety seal 31 creating an opening. The caretaker then may discard the safety seal 31. The caretaker then re-secures the upper portion 41 to the rim 23 of the lower portion 21 or 121 and gives the child the reassembled vessel 21, 41 or 121, 41 for drinking. Upon completion of consumption of the beverage, the components of the container 11 or 111 may be discarded, recycled, or cleaned and reused by the caretaker.

It should be understand that various modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Accordingly, other embodiments are within the scope of the following claims.

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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20090045206 A1
Publish Date
02/19/2009
Document #
11839108
File Date
08/15/2007
USPTO Class
220713
Other USPTO Classes
220711, 220714
International Class
47G19/22
Drawings
6


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