Title:
Disposable scratch-off beverage cups
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A disposable cup that contains an area of removable surface material that can be scratched off (similar to a scratch-off lottery ticket) to reveal another color, surface, texture, fragrance, design or words. The user can scratch or scrape off this surface material to inscribe a name, initials or any design of his/her choosing which may be used to later identify his/her cup. The scratch-off coating or surface material can also reveal questions and/or answers to games, including but not limited to, trivia, crossword puzzles, word search, riddles, number games, horoscopes, poker games, picture, sets or pairs of something to which the other one in the pair is contained within the package, etc.



Inventors:
Schuren, Wendy Ann (Randolph, NJ, US)
Laguardia, Donald Samuel (Wayne, NJ, US)
Application Number:
09/854250
Publication Date:
12/19/2002
Filing Date:
05/11/2001
Assignee:
SCHUREN WENDY ANN
LAGUARDIA DONALD SAMUEL
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/459.5, 40/324
International Classes:
B65D1/26; B65D3/06; (IPC1-7): B65D3/28
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MAI, TRI M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Wendy, Schuren A. (30 Barbara Drive, Randolph, NJ, 07869, US)
Claims:

We claim:



1. The disposable cup contains a scratch-off coating (a flat surface material) on the exterior surface that can be removed by scratching with a fingernail, coin or other object.

2. The scratch-off coating can be scratched, scraped off, or pushed to the side of the cup (thereby leaving the scratch-off coating on the cup, in the instance of “pushing”) to reveal an underlying color [solid or not], surface, texture, fragrance, design, words, picture, or game.

3. The disposable cup can be made of any material, but must contain a full or partial scratch-off coating that conceals another color, surface, texture, fragrance, design, picture, game or words.

4. The scratch-off coating on the cup is a water-resistant, removable, wax-like material, capable of withstanding condensation and rinsing.

5. The user of the cup has the option to scratch or scrape off, or push to the side as much of the scratch-off coating as desired to customize or personalize his/her own cup by creating his/her own design, such as a name, initial(s), symbol, design, shape, number, picture, etc. through the act of uniquely scratching, scraping, or pushing off the scratch-off material.

6. The scratch off coating can be opaque, but does not have to be opaque. It can be irridescent, transparent or other and can consist of other materials such as glitter, etc.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] References Cited

[0002] U.S. Patent Documents 1

U.S. Pat. No.DatedName
6,076,860Jun. 20, 2000Holman, et al.
5,992,892Nov. 30, 1999Schaefer, et al.
D412,938Aug. 17, 1999Kesselring, et al.
5,704,144Jan. 6, 1998Groth, Francis
5,837,338Nov. 17, 1998Rich
5,228,692Jul. 20, 1993Carrick, et al.
5,191,979Mar. 9, 1993Nemeroff

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] This invention utilizes disposable beverage cups that contain a removable, scratch-off coating that conceals an underlying color, surface, texture, fragrance, design, words, picture or game.

[0004] The invention solves the problem of not being able to identify your disposable cup amidst other similar-looking cups. Since all disposable cups in one package look the same, it is difficult to identify which cups belong to which individuals after they were used and/or distributed. Many times the user of the cup will set his/her cup down and forget where they left it. At a later time, they cannot identify their cup among similar-looking cups.

[0005] Via the scratch-off method, this invention allows the user of the cup to engage in an activity while drinking their beverage. It provides a quick source of entertainment.

[0006] With many more people being health-conscious, they are more apt to get a new beverage, and perhaps waste the contents in the old cup, just to be sure they are using an uncontaminated cup. This invention promulgates sanitary conditions.

[0007] This invention has the potential to drastically increase product sales since people will want to get a new cup to scratch-off something new and/or reveal something new, instead of using their old, already scratched-off cup.

[0008] One of the inventions cited above, U.S. Pat. No. 5,191,979, attempts to solve this problem by introducing different indicia with a “peel off mask or panel.” This invention is different in that it utilizes a scratch-off coating, which is cheaper to manufacture. It further defines the invention as being “covered by removable adhesively backed masking panels” which, again, is much different than a scratch-off coating.

[0009] Another invention referenced above, U.S. Pat. No. 5,992,892, entitled “Beverage can having instant winner type game thereon,” utilizes the scratch-off technique to reveal a prize indicia. The difference between that invention and this one is that this invention allows the user of the cup to: 1) to personalize the cup by scratching off a unique design, or 2) reveal something of interest to the user of the cup, such as a picture, fragrance, design, texture, or game—not a prize indicia.

[0010] Many other inventions that attempt to identify the user of a cup utilizes some sort of tag, label or lever—something that much be attached to the cup or the cup is manufactured differently to contain an additional object such as a tag, label or lever. This significantly increases the cost of manufacture and is quite prohibitive. The proposed invention contained herein does not contain anything that is separate from the cup, such as a tag, label or lever.

[0011] Another invention cited above, U.S. Pat. No. 5,837,338, references a scratch-off coating, however this invention, again, uses a label method “comprised of at least 2 coupled plies.” The label is described as having an “underside” “suitable for adhesion,” an “opposed face” “a second ply” for the purpose of “tearing the gamepiece.” Every claim of the aforementioned invention stems from the use of a label. In our proposed invention, the beverage cup contains no label. The cup is manufactured with the scratch-off coating and it does not contain a label or any object that is separate from the cup. The scratch-off coating would not be considered a “removable piece” as cited in the aforementioned reference. Therefore, this invention is novel.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0012] The general purpose of this invention is to provide a way for the user of a disposable cup to uniquely identify his/her cup among similar-looking cups. This is accomplished by providing the ability for the user to scratch or scrape off part or all of the removable, scratch-off coating in such a way so the resulting cup can be uniquely identified among similar-looking cups. The cup will be personalized either by the way the user of the cup scratched off the coating or by the exposed image that is revealed.

[0013] The user of the cup can remove the scratch-off coating by writing his/her name, initials, a design, symbol, numbers, date or any words of his/her choosing to personalize the cup by using their fingermail, coin, or other sharp, sturdy object. This approach, of being able to uniquely identify a cup, can be very useful at parties, school snack and lunch rooms, corporate coffee and meeting rooms, sports activities, nightclubs, public functions and any social gatherings where all participants are using the same cups. This approach of being able to personalize a cup is unique because a writing instrument is not necessary or needed in the process and in fact, is usually not conveniently available.

[0014] This approach allows for easy manufacture, since all cups can be created in the same color, texture, design, fragrance, surface material, if desired, and with the same scratch-off coating material. The user of the cup brings individuality and personalization to the cup by scratching off part of the scratch-off coating in a unique way.

[0015] In addition, the underlying color, surface, texture, fragrance, design or words that lie beneath the scratch-off coating can vary from cup to cup or package to package. The underlying surface can reveal questions and/or answers to games, including trivia, crossword puzzles, word search, riddles, number games, horoscopes, pictures, blackjack, etc. The user would able be able to scratch off some or all of the scratch-off coating to reveal these things.

[0016] From a marketing perspective, each package of cups can have a “theme” which would allow the cups to be marketed to different market segments. For example, the package could be geared to nightclubs by including games that could trigger conversation. For example, you might have to find the other object to a “pair” and this could engage a crowd in conversation. The cups could also contain games, questions, answers, horoscopes, that if properly designed, could incite a crowd to conversation. The cups can also be manufactured for children by containing games, pictures, etc. suitable for a specific age group.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0017] FIG. A

[0018] FIG. A shows a picture of a cup with a dark scratch-off coating. It contains a dark-colored beverage inside the cup. The cup and scratch-off coating can be any color, design or texture. The scratch-off coating can be of any size in relation to the cup, but should be large enough for the user of the cup to be able to scratch off something large enough to identify. In this drawing, the scratch-off coating is a little less than halfway around the cup.

[0019] FIG.B

[0020] FIG.B shows a picture of a cup with a dark scratch-off coating. It contains a dark-colored beverage. In this instance, the user of the cup scratched off their initials, consisting of “W” and “S.” Another color was exposed after the scratch-off coating was removed. Hence, when the user of the cup scratched off the dark coating, the initials stood out in a different color.

[0021] FIG.C

[0022] FIG.C shows a picture of a cup with a dark scratch-off coating. It contains a dark-colored beverage. In this instance, the user of the cup scratched off a stick figurehead. A rainbow color consisting of yellow, pink, and green was concealed by the black scratch-off coating. Hence, when the user of the cup scratched off the dark coating, the rainbow color was revealed in the shape of a stick figurehead.

[0023] FIG.D

[0024] FIG.D shows a picture of a cup with a dark scratch-off coating. It contains a dark-colored beverage. In this instance, the user of the cup scratched off an area in the middle of the cup to reveal a strawberry. After the scratch-off coating was removed, the cup (specifically the strawberry) smelled like a strawberry fragrance.

[0025] Although a drawing is not included depicting different textures, designs, pictures, games (as referenced below), this invention is inclusive of those claims.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0026] This invention utilizes a disposable cup where a removable, scratch-off coating is applied to it. During the course of manufacture, an area must be designated where the concealed area and the scratch-off coating will be applied. The area to be concealed should be of a different quality, such as color, texture, fragrance, design, etc. than the rest of the cup. The scratch-off coating should be applied directly over the section that is designated to be concealed.

[0027] The cup can also be manufactured so that the concealed area consists of a different words that reveal questions and/or answers to games, such as trivia, crossword puzzles, word search, riddles, number games, horoscopes, blackjack, or pictures, etc. These things are revealed only after the user removes some or all of the scratch-off coating.

[0028] The ink used on the disposable cup is consistent with those already used in the disposable beverage cup industry. The ink should be water resistant, non-toxic, and scratch-resistant.

[0029] The scratch-off coating may include a combination of polymers, fillers and pigments. Wax or plastic may be added to make the scratch-off coating water resistent. The scratch-off coating should be able to withstand condensation from the cup and not wash off. The base material in scratch-off coatings is usually latex or a similar material. The scratch-off coating should be relatively flat and conform to the shape of the cup. The scratch-off coating is similar to that used on scratch-off, instant, lottery tickets. The scratch-off coating should be of a consistency that allows the user to remove the coating with his/her fingernail, coin or other sharp or sturdy object. The scratch-off coating may be applied by spray, applicator or gravure.