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Drip-catching apparatus for a bottle

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Title: Drip-catching apparatus for a bottle.
Abstract: Presented herein is an apparatus for sealing and re-closing a bottle 10, comprising a sleeve 20 that is secured around the neck 14 of a bottle 20; a flexible cuff 26 appended to the upper end of said sleeve 20; and a stopper 30 that sits in the orifice of said bottle 10, wherein said flexible cuff 26 unfurls when said stopper 30 is removed from the bottle 10, refurls when said stopper 30 is replaced, and provides a substantially dripless pouring edge for conveying liquids from said bottle 10. ...


- Miami, FL, US
Inventor: Lior Maymon
USPTO Applicaton #: #20080179353 - Class: 222571 (USPTO) - 07/31/08 - Class 222 


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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20080179353, Drip-catching apparatus for a bottle.

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FIELD OF INVENTION

This invention relates generally to wine bottles, and specifically to drip prevention devices used with such bottles.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Throughout the world, and throughout history, wine has been and remains valued for its many virtues, not the least of which are the many aesthetic attributes from which people derive pleasure, from selecting the perfect bottle to expertly removing the stopper to pouring to wine to finally drinking the wine itself.

It is the common practice to bottle wine in glass bottles and seal each bottle by inserting a stopper made from cork or other material into the neck of the bottle. Such stoppers are quite effective in sealing and preserving the wine, however, there are several problems associated with these stoppers. If one is not careful, cork stoppers can be destroyed upon removal. The user may also find it difficult to reinsert a cork stopper into the bottle. In either case, it then becomes difficult to reseal the wine bottle, leaving the wine unprotected.

Furthermore, wine bottles are often not conducive to pouring and cutting the liquid at the end of a pour, allowing drips and dribbles of wine to run down the outside of the bottle, which not only wastes the wine, but also mars the label and leaves rings and stains on the table, all of which can interfere with the pleasure of the wine.

Attempts have been made to provide a solution to these problems by various manners. Illustrative of such attempts are CH691587, EP0063019 and EP0592580 which disclose closure assemblies applicable to bottles with threaded mouths, but are not suitable to bottles that are resealed by, for example, a cork stopper, as is so common with wine bottles and U.S. Pat. No. 4,222,504, U.S. Pat. No. 6,609,639, WO03089324, FR2686062 and FR2822444, which all feature various drip prevention apparatuses, but do not offer a resealing option. WO8401541 presents a container whose lip is undercut to prevent drips and which could include a resealing method, however such a solution requires manufacturing the new bottle shape.

There is a need for an easy-to-use apparatus that effectively prevents dripping when pouring a liquid from a bottle and that also allows said bottle be resealed. Additionally, there is a need for this apparatus to be simple to operate and reusable while at the same time not requiring the user set in place or remove any parts or pieces. It would be further useful for this same device to be applicable to existing bottle shapes such as those used for storing wine and champagne.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Presented herein is a reusable drip-catching apparatus for a bottle such as may be used for wine or champagne, that also enables sealing and re-closing the bottle. Embodiments of the present invention comprise a stopper that sits inside the orifice of a bottle and a sleeve that is secured around the neck of the bottle, terminating in a flexible cuff that extends beyond the lip the bottle. Some embodiments of the present invention may further comprise a disposable disc that sits on top of the stopper prior to the first opening of the bottle.

A key feature of the present invention is that the flexible cuff unfurls when the stopper is removed from the bottle, providing a substantially dripless pouring edge, and further providing a path that guides the liquid back into the bottle when the pouring action is complete. Furthermore, when the stopper is replaced, the flexible cuff refurls.

According to some embodiments, the stopper may have a substantially triangularly shaped indentation inscribed around at least a portion of its circumference that facilitates the furling and unfurling of the flexible cuff.

The drip-catching apparatus of the present invention accommodates existing bottle shapes, such as, for example, wine and champagne bottles, as well as new bottle shapes and, furthermore, may be applied to the bottles during the seating process according to known in the art practices.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The subject matter regarded as the invention will become more clearly understood in light of the ensuing description of embodiments herein, given by way of example and for purposes of illustrative discussion of the present invention only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a drip-catching sleeve of fitted to a wine bottle, according to an embodiment of a drip-catching apparatus of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of the drip-catching apparatus in place on an unopened wine bottle, according to an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of the drip-catching apparatus of FIG. 2, wherein a stopper is being removed for the first time from the wine bottle;

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of the drip-catching apparatus of FIG. 2, wherein the stopper has been removed from the wine bottle and the edges of drip catching sleeve have been unfurled;

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view of liquid being poured from a wine bottle equipped with the drip-catching apparatus of FIG. 2;

FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view of the wine bottle equipped with the drip-catching apparatus of FIG. 5, wherein a sleeve is preventing liquid from dripping once the pouring is complete;

FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view of the drip-catching apparatus of FIG. 2, wherein the stopper is refurling the edges of the drip catching sleeve while being reinserted into the wine bottle;

FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional view of the drip-catching apparatus of FIG. 2, wherein the stopper, which has been previously removed from the wine bottle, is unfurling the edges of the drip catching sleeve while being removed for a second or subsequent time from the wine bottle; and

FIG. 9 is a cross-sectional view of the drip-catching apparatus of FIG. 2, in continuation of the action described in FIG. 8, wherein the stopper has been fully removed from the wine bottle, and the edges of the drip-catching sleeve are fully unfurled.

The drawings together with the description make apparent to those skilled in the art how the invention may be embodied in practice.

No attempt is made to show structural details of the invention in more detail than is necessary for a fundamental understanding of the invention.

It will be appreciated that for simplicity and clarity of illustration, elements shown in the figures have not necessarily been drawn to scale. For example, the dimensions of some of the elements may be exaggerated relative to other elements for clarity. Further, where considered appropriate, reference numerals may be repeated among the figures to indicate corresponding or analogous elements.

DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

The drip-catching apparatus according to the present invention substantially reduces or eliminates drips from running down the outside of a bottle containing liquids, when said liquid is poured from said bottle. This goal is accomplished in part by equipping a bottle, such as may be used for wine or champagne, with a sleeve that offers a pour spout that substantially prevents turbulence when pouring said liquid from the bottle to a secondary container such as a glass or a wine decanter and that provides a sharp edge for cutting the liquid when the pouring is complete, two features that are known to significantly reduce the dripping and dribbling that occurs when pouring liquids from a vessel. This goal is further accomplished by creating a path that guides the liquid back into the bottle when the pouring action is complete.

The drip-catching apparatus of the presenting invention accommodates existing bottles, such as, for example, wine and champagne bottles, and, furthermore, may be applied to the bottles during the sealing process as known in the art. A useful feature of the present invention is that the drip-catching apparatus may be used repeatedly.

Referring now in detail to the drawings, embodiments of the present invention comprise a sleeve 20 that fits over the neck 12 of a bottle 10 and that terminates in a cuff 26 that extends above the lip 14 the bottle 10, and a stopper 30 that sits inside the orifice of said bottle 10.

An embodiment is an example or implementation of the inventions. The various appearances of “one embodiment,” “an embodiment” or “some embodiments” do not necessarily all refer to the same embodiments.

Although various features of the invention may be described in the context of a single embodiment, the features may also be provided separately or in any suitable combination. Conversely, although the invention may be described herein in the context of separate embodiments for clarity, the invention may also be implemented in a single embodiment.

Reference in the specification to “one embodiment”, “an embodiment”, “some embodiments” or “other embodiments” means that a particular feature, structure, or characteristic described in connection with the embodiments is included in at least one embodiment, but not necessarily all embodiments, of the inventions.

It is understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein is not to be construed as limiting and is for descriptive purpose only.

The principles and uses of the teachings of the present invention may be better understood with reference to the accompanying description, figures, and examples.

It is to be understood that the details set forth herein do not construe a limitation to an application of the invention. Furthermore, it is to be understood that the invention can be carried out or practiced in various ways and that the invention can be implemented in embodiments other than the ones outlined in the description below.

It is to be understood that the terms “including”, “comprising”, “consisting” and grammatical variants thereof do not preclude the addition of one or more components, features, steps, integers or groups thereof and that the terms are not to be construed as specifying components, features, steps or integers.

The phrase “consisting essentially of”, and grammatical variants thereof, when used herein is not to be construed as excluding additional components, steps, features, integers or groups thereof but rather that the additional features, integers, steps, components or groups thereof do not materially alter the basic and novel characteristics of the claimed composition, device or method.

If the specification or claims refer to “an additional” element, that does not preclude there being more than one of the additional element.

It is to be understood that where the claims or specification refer to “a” or “an” element, such reference is not to be construed as there being only one of that element.

It is to be understood that where the specification states that a component, feature, structure, or characteristic “may”, “might”, “can” or “could” be included, that particular component, feature, structure, or characteristic is not required to be included.

Where applicable, although state diagrams, flow diagrams or both may be used to describe embodiments, the invention is not limited to those diagrams or to the corresponding descriptions. For example, flow need not move through each illustrated box or state, or in exactly the same order as illustrated and described.

Methods of the present invention may be implemented by performing or completing manually, automatically, or a combination thereof, selected steps or tasks.

The term “method” refers to manners, means, techniques and procedures for accomplishing a given task including, but is not limited to those manners, means, techniques and procedures either known to, or readily developed from known manners, means, techniques and procedures by practitioners of the art to which the invention belongs.

The descriptions, examples, methods, and materials presented in the claims and the specification are not to be construed as limiting but rather as illustrative only.

Meanings of technical and scientific terms used herein are to be commonly understood as by one of ordinary skill in the art to which the invention belongs, unless otherwise defined.

The present invention can be implemented in the testing or practice with methods and materials equivalent or similar to those described herein.

The terms “bottom”, “below”, “top” and “above” as used herein do not necessarily indicate that a “bottom” component is below a “top” component, or that a component that is “below” is indeed “below” another component or that a component that is “above” is indeed “above” another component. As such, directions, components or both may be flipped, rotated, moved in space, placed in a diagonal orientation or position, placed horizontally or vertically, or similarly modified. Accordingly, it will be appreciated that the terms “bottom”, “below”, “top” and “above” may be used herein for exemplary purposes only, to illustrate the relative positioning or placement of certain components, to indicate a first and a second component or to do both.

Any publications, including patents, patent applications and articles, referenced or mentioned in this specification are herein incorporated in their entirety into the specification, to the same extent as if each individual publication was specifically and individually indicated to be incorporated herein. In addition, citation or identification of any reference in the description of some embodiments of the invention shall not be construed as an admission that such reference is available as prior art to the present invention.

For purposes of more clearly understanding the presenting invention, the following general definitions are provided, as used in this document.

A bottle 10 herein refers to a known in the art vessel for containing and conveying liquid, such as is commonly used for wine and champagne. It should be noted here that while reference is generally made to wine and champagne bottles, the present invention is also applicable to other types of liquid containing vessels.

The neck 12 of a bottle 10 refers to the upper, constricted portion of, for example, a wine or champagne bottle, as seen in FIG. 1.

The lip 14 of a bottle 10 refers to the upper protrusion located at the uppermost portion of the neck 12 of a bottle 10, as seen in FIG. 1.

The orifice of a bottle 10 refers to the opening of a bottle 10 from which the contents of the bottle 10 are accessed and into which a stopper 30 may be inserted.

According to embodiments, the sleeve 20 encircles the full circumference of the neck 12 of a bottle 10, and extends up from the neck 12 to approximately the upper surface of the lip 14 of the bottle 10. The sleeve 20 is molded or otherwise fastened to fit snugly and securely to the neck 12 of the bottle 10 and is of sufficient length to be securely anchored thereon. The sleeve 20 may be constructed from any material that can be anchored to the neck 12 of the bottle 10, including, for example, mylar or plastic.

According to embodiments of the drip-catching apparatus of the present invention, the sleeve 20 terminates in a flexible cuff 26 that extends beyond the lip 14 of the bottle 10. Prior to initially removing the stopper 20, the flexible cuff 26 sits over the stopper 20. After the initial removal of the stopper 20, the flexible cuff 26 moves between a furled and an unfurled position, according to the location of the stopper 30.

The cuff 26 of the sleeve 20 is flexible, rolling up and out into the unfurled position when the stopper 30 is removed from the orifice of the bottle 10 and rolling back in against the inner surface of the orifice into the furled position when the stopper 30 is reinserted into the orifice.

In its unfurled position, the cuff 26 serves several functions in preventing and catching drips during the pouring action. Unfurled, the cuff 26 creates a pouring edge that is wide enough to prevent any turbulence from causing the liquid to dribble or gurgle when exiting the bottle 10 during pouring, as seen in FIG. 5. The cuff 26 furthermore provides a sharp edge that cuts off the liquid in order to substantially prevent dripping when the pouring action completes. When the pouring action is completed, the cuff 26 diverts any unpoured liquid that is sitting between the edge of the cuff 26 and the lip 14 back into the bottle 10, as seen in FIG. 6.

Because the cuff 26 comes in direct contact with the stopper 30, cuff 26 may be made from material that has both elasticity and durability, thereby preventing any damage that may otherwise occur to cuff 26 from the repeated removing and reinserting of the stopper 30. Additionally, according to some embodiments, the cuff 26 and the sleeve 20 may be extruded, for example, as a single piece and from the same material. According to other embodiments, the cuff 26 may be manufactured, for example, from a material similar to or dissimilar from the sleeve 20, and securely bonded to the sleeve 20 according to known in the art processes. Furthermore, because the cuff 26 may come in contact with, for example, a corkscrew 50 or other type of bottle opener, at least a portion of the external surface of the cuff 26 may be further reinforced with, for example, a strengthening coating material.

According to some embodiments of the present invention, the furling and unfurling of the cuff 26 is further facilitated by, for example, a ribbed cincture 22, whose folds may resemble, for example, the bellows of an accordion, as may be seen in FIGS. 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, and 9.

According to such an embodiment, the ribbed cincture 22 may be an integral part of the sleeve 20, and may be situated at approximately the upper, external edge of the lip 14. According to some other embodiments of the present invention, the furling and unfurling of the cuff 26 may be facilitated, for example, by inserting a flexible joint or extremely elastic material placed at the junction between the sleeve 20 and the cuff 26. It is important to note that the ribbed cincture 22 or any other device for facilitating the furling and unfurling of the cuff 26 be placed so as to not interfere with the insertion or removal of the stopper 30.

The stopper 30 sits securely inside the orifice of a bottle 10, and may, for example, protect the contents of said bottle 10 from, for example, the damaging effects of air and dust.

Additionally, the stopper 30 of the present invention is instrumental in moving the cuff 26 from the furled to the unfurled position and back. As the stopper 30 is removed from the orifice, the cuff 26 is pulled up with the stopper 30 and moved to the unfurled position. When the stopper 30 is reinserted into the orifice, the cuff 26 is caught between the inner surface of the orifice and the outer surface of the stopper 30, and said pressure causes the cuff 26 to move to the furled position

The stopper 30 may be constructed from any natural or synthetic material that is substantially airtight, durable, compressible, and springy, such as, for example, cork.

According to some embodiments, the stopper 30 may be shaped to further facilitate catching the edge of the cuff 26 when removing or inserting the stopper 30. For example, the stopper may be tapered or conical.

According to some embodiments, there may be an indentation 32 inscribed around the circumference of the stopper 30, positioned, for example, along the lower region of the stopper 30. This indentation 32 may assist in conducting the cuff 26 into place while minimizing possible damage. Such an indentation 32 may be of any shape the enables the catching of the cuff 26.

According to embodiments, a disc 36 may be optionally placed on top of stopper 30. According to such embodiments, such a disc 36 may cover a portion of the orifice, as seen in FIGS. 1 and 2, or may span the full diameter of the orifice. Disc 36 may be constructed from any type of material, such as, for example, plastic, foil, or wax. In embodiments where a disc 36 is used, disc 36 will not interfere with the opening or reclosing of the bottle 10, as demonstrated in FIG. 3. According to some embodiments, the disc 36 may provide an additional seal; according to other embodiments, the disc 36 is a decorative feature; according to yet other embodiments, the disc 36 is both functional and decorative.

In order to more fully describe the present invention, the following describes a mode of use.

The stopper 30, sleeve 20, and cuff 26 of the present invention may be applied to a bottle 10 by, for example, a bottler or winery, according to known in the art methods.

When the sleeve 20 is first set in place, and prior to first opening the bottle 10, the cuff 26 is folded over at least a portion of the diameter of the stopper 30, as seen in FIG. 2. The disc 36 may optionally be placed over the cuff 26 and affixed to the stopper 20. Such an embodiment is clearly shown in FIGS. 1, 2, and 3. Where a disc 36 is used, the disc 36 may be removed when the stopper 20 is initially removed.

When the stopper 30 is initially removed by, for example, a corkscrew 50, the edges of the cuff 26 are also lifted up. During the second and subsequent removals of the stopper 20, and if the stopper 30 has an indentation 32, the lower edge of the indentation 32 may catch and lift the cuff 26 up and out as the stopper 30 is being removed, as shown in FIGS. 8 and 9. Fully removing the stopper 30 moves the cuff 26 to the unfurled position. This may be seen in FIG. 4.

According to embodiments, the cuff 26 is positioned such that, although the corkscrew 50 may use the external area of the lip 14 of the bottle 10 as a lever point for removing the stopper 30, no damage is incurred by the cuff 26. In addition, the present invention does not interfere with the removal of the stopper 30 by the corkscrew 50. Furthermore, any known tool for removing stoppers from, for example, wine bottles, such as, for example, an opener or corkscrew 50, may be used without damaging the sleeve 20 or cuff 26 of the present invention.

When unfurled, the shape of the cuff 26 enables the catching of any drips and redirects those drips back to the bottle 10 as described previously, and as seen in FIGS. 5 and 6.

After the pouring action is complete and the bottle 10 is returned to the upright position, the stopper 30 may be reinserted into the orifice of the bottle 10. Due to the flexible nature of the cuff 26, when the stopper 30 is reinserted, the cuff 26 is able to move with the stopper 20 to the furled position, as seen in FIG. 7. According to embodiments that are equipped with a ribbed cincture 22, when stopper 30 is reinserted, the flexion of the ribbed cincture 22 further facilitates moving the cuff 26 into said furled position.

While the invention has been described with respect to a limited number of embodiments, these should not be construed as limitations on the scope of the invention, but rather as exemplifications of some of the embodiments. Those skilled in the art will envision other possible variations, modifications, and applications that are also within the scope of the invention. Accordingly, the scope of the invention should not be limited by what has thus far been described, but by the appended claims and their legal equivalents. Therefore, it is to be understood that alternatives, modifications, and variations of the present invention are to be construed as being within the scope and spirit of the appended claims.

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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20080179353 A1
Publish Date
07/31/2008
Document #
11669483
File Date
01/31/2007
USPTO Class
222571
Other USPTO Classes
215228, 215355
International Class
65D5/72
Drawings
9



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