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Title:
Integrated and unobtrusive handle for deformable hand-held bottles and containers
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
This application describes a handle of simple concept, destined for use with deformable hand-held containers, particularly large soft-drink bottles, that does not change in any significant way the appearance of the container, that is easily integrated in the existing fabrication processes of the end product, and that does not interfere with the distribution or the customary end-use of the product. Said handle consists of a flexible strap, semi-permanently fastened at its ends to the exterior of the container in a lengthwise position. The handle is thin and resilient, such that its application requires minimal change in the existing production methods, and it is unobtrusive, so that its presence does not modify existing packaging methods of the products and does not require the end-user to modify his or her habitual method of using the product.


Inventors:
Cauchy, Nicolas (Ft Lauderdale, FL, US)
Application Number:
10/106702
Publication Date:
10/02/2003
Filing Date:
03/26/2002
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
215/396, 220/752, 294/31.2
International Classes:
B65D23/00; B65D23/08; B65D23/10; (IPC1-7): B65D23/10
View Patent Images:
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Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Nicolas, Cauchy (401 SAN MARCO DR., FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, 33301, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. An integrated handle for handling deformable hand-held bottles or containers, which comprises A strap that is positioned lengthwise along the exterior of the container, long enough to snuggly slip an adult hand between itself and the body of the bottle or container, that is held flush with the body of the container until it is expanded by the user, of width sufficient to support the weight of the filled container without causing discomfort to the user's hand, with the main characteristics that it is flexible, resilient, and resistant enough to satisfy all requirements of its function, that it can be integrated without undue cumbrance in the existing production lines of such containers to which it is destined, that it does not interfere with the existing storage and distribution systems of such containers, that it has a lifetime matching or exceeding that of the container to which it is destined, that it is easily absorbed in the existing waste-stream of said containers, and that it is useable as described in this document, and means of semi-permanently affixing both extremities of said strap to the bottle, and means of temporarily retaining said strap flush against the body of the bottle so as not to interfere with existing means of packaging, shipping, and distribution of the end-product, and means of incorporating said strap into the wrapper or label of the bottle, as an alternative. a) A handle as claimed in claim 1, wherein said strap is made of flexible and resilient material, strong enough to withstand the weight of the full bottle or container when affixed at both ends, said strap that may or may not be adjustable or elastic but that is of length sufficient to allow the insertion of the fingers of an adult hand between itself and the body of the bottle or container, of width such that the effort of supporting the weight of the container and its contents will not cause undue discomfort to the user's hand or fingers, and with its extremities fastened in semi-permanent fashion to the body of the container. b) A handle as in claim 1 above, or claim 2 hereunder, wherein said means of fastening semi-permanently the load-bearing extremities of the handle to the bottle may include spot-welding, the use of adhesives, the application of transversal retainers, shrink-wrap, elastic or semi-elastic materials working in friction or otherwise, said retainers which may or may not themselves be an extension of the strap and may or may not complete the circumference of the bottle, or any other suitable means that is easily integrated within the existing fabrication or labeling process of the container and its product, and that will withstand the effort of supporting the container and its contents. c) A handle as in claim 1, in which said means for temporarily retaining the strap flush against the bottle may include spot-welding, the use of adhesives, elastic or semi-elastic materials, or any other suitable means to position it such that its presence is negligible until it reaches the end-user, thus requiring no changes in the existing packaging and transportation processes of the product, but said temporary binding being weak enough so that it can be easily released by the end-user. d) A handle as in claim 1 which may be incorporated as part of the wrapper or label of the bottle and which, in such case, may be of material identical to that of the wrapper, but not necessarily so. e) A handle as in claim 1 that is unobtrusive to existing packaging, shipping, and distribution processes of the containers and contents to which it is destined. f) A handle as in claim 1 that can be relatively easily and inexpensively integrated in the existing fabrication and labeling processes of soft-drink bottles. g) A handle as in claim 1 the use of which is optional to the end-user, such that its presence does not impose any change in the end-users' habitual fashion of using the bottle or container. h) A handle as claimed in claim 1, which may or may not include printed material, whether instructions for use, disclaimers, advertising, or otherwise. i) A handle as claimed in claim 1 that is of a material that is easily absorbed in the standard waste stream along with the bottle or container upon which it is mounted. j) A handle as claimed in claim 1 the use of which is not limited to soft-drink bottles, but which may be adapted for use on other hand-held, deformable containers.

2. A wrapper or label, as applicable to deformable hand-held containers or soft-drink bottles, characterized by its integration of a handle with properties as described in claim 1 above, possibly but not necessarily requiring major changes in the existing label or wrapper materials and the apparatus for applying them to the containers in question.

Description:

REFERENCES

[0001] 1

5816631Oct., 1998Kochan294/33 
4552396Nov., 1985Rais294/27 
4486043Dec., 1984Rais294/27 
1825897Oct., 1931Brooke294/31 
6279794Jul., 1999Miyazaki224/148
4842158Jun., 1989Reyes224/470
5921431Jul., 1999Pych220/742
4943017Jul., 1990Ennis248/102
5975285Nov., 1999Krantz206/139
4782955Nov., 1988Weaver206/161
4866813Sept., 1989Dupont 16/425

STATEMENT FOR SPONSORED RESEARCH

[0002] Not Applicable

REFERENCE TO A SEQUENCE LISTING, A TABLE, OR A PROGRAM

[0003] Not Applicable

BACKGROUND

[0004] This invention pertains to the field of handles for fluid containers and more specifically to an integrated handle secured to the body of a typical soft-drink bottle.

[0005] Deformable containers, particularly large soft-drink bottles, are difficult to use for two reasons: first, they are difficult to hold with one single hand because of their size and deformability and, second, the center of mass shifts during pouring of the contents. This makes them difficult to hold, particularly for people with smaller or fragile hands, typically women, elderly or handicapped people, or children, and the recent appearance of 3-liter bottles on the market only exacerbates the problem. Because of the constraints of manufacturing, shipping, and storing of such containers, no handle attachment has yet been provided as an integral part of the bottle.

[0006] Still, a number of external handles have been proposed to facilitate the handling of such containers. Examples include U.S. Pat. No. 5,816,631 to Kochan providing a “Removable Bottle Handle” that is fitted or removed from the bottle by the user and that is held in place by friction. U.S. Pat. No. 4,842,158 to Reyes describes another elongated handle secured by a buckle and Velcro. Yet another model is that of U.S. Pat. No. 4,486,043 to Rais, showing a reusable plastic handle.

[0007] Such prior art presents two major inconveniences. First, the handles in question are all independent from the container, thereby requiring the manufacturing of a separate item that may or may not be sold independently from the container and its product. Secondly, these handles cannot be integrated in the existing storage and distribution channels of the product manufacturers and distributors.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0008] The present invention has in one of its aspects a handle that consists of a thin flexible strap, semi-permanently attached at its extremities lengthwise to the body of a deformable container, for example a typical 2-liter soft-drink bottle, such that the user may slip his or her fingers underneath the strap, thus carrying the weight on the outside of his or her hand and gaining complete control of the bottle. Other key aspects of this invention are that it can be easily integrated in the existing manufacturing and labeling processes, that it does not interfere with the packaging, transportation, or stocking of such containers, that it does not change the appearance of the bottle, and that its use is completely optional to the end-user.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0009] Three pages of illustrations are presented, comprising drawings and computer-generated illustrations of a typical soft-drink bottle and some possible methods of assembling and handling the handle, subject of this application.

[0010] The cross-section of a typical cylindrical bottle in FIG. 1 on page 1 of 3 depicts the first two characteristics of the handle, namely that it is integrated and unobtrusive, illustrating one possible method for temporarily securing the handle flush onto a PET-type bottle, so that it does not interfere with the packaging or stocking of the merchandise.

[0011] FIG. 2 on page 1 illustrates the handle in its freed or ready-to-use position.

[0012] FIG. 3 on page 1 shows the typical method of use of the handle. Note that, unlike other handle designs, this handle applies the load to the outside of the hand.

[0013] FIG. 1 on page 2 identifies the weight-bearing points of a sample handle directly fastened to the body of the bottle.

[0014] FIGS. 2, 3, and 4 on page 2 illustrate different configurations for integrating the handle in the bottling and labeling process, and point out the adaptability of the design to various types of bottles: FIG. 2 shows a handle that would include two circumferential straps to be fastened to the container; FIG. 3 contrasts with FIG. 2 in its illustration of a handle comprising a strap fastened to other elements of the bottle, possibly onto the wrapper or label, or either over or under circumferential straps mounted for that purpose; FIG. 4 illustrates the possibility of incorporating the handle within the wrapper (referring to claim 1-sub claim c).

[0015] The bottom figure on page 2 demonstrates the adaptability of the handle to a bottle with a radically different design, as well as the possibility of fastening the handle's load-bearing points directly to the wrapper/label.

[0016] The illustrations on page 3 present the application of one model of the “Integrated and Unobtrusive Handle for Deformable Hand-Held Bottles and Containers”. Photo 1 illustrates the handle in its “collapsed” position, prior to its being “freed” or deployed as shown in Photo 2.

[0017] Photo 3 shows a close-up view of one possible means of “temporary restraint” of the handle in its collapsed state.

[0018] Photo 4 shows the typical method of use of the handle; in this photo, the handle is integrated in the bottle wrapper.

[0019] Photo 5 shows an alternative way of holding the handle

[0020] Finally, Photo 6 illustrates how a bottle can be handled in the ordinary fashion without using the handle, which is one main purpose of its unobtrusive characteristic.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0021] The invention provides a handle for mounting on a deformable hand-held container, which comprises primarily a flexible strap affixed to the body of the container, said strap forming a passage of size sufficient to insert the extended fingers of the user between itself and the container body, and means to secure said strap to the container in such fashion that it is easily integrated in the existing manufacturing process, that it is unobtrusive for shipping and storing of the containers, and its use is optional to the end-user.

[0022] When holding such a container, as for the purpose of pouring a glass of soda, the drop in internal pressure causes such deformation that the container becomes difficult to hold with the fingers, more so when the bottle is dripping with condensation. The handling is made even more difficult when the bottle is partially empty because of the shifting in position of the center of mass.

[0023] The solution that we all commonly use is, of course, to hold the bottle with two hands. Another is the use of baskets such as those used for serving wines but made of cheaper materials; however this involves the fabrication of a completely separate item. Yet another possibility is that of completely redesigning the typical PET bottles.

[0024] The utility model that we present, namely the “Integrated and Unobtrusive Handle for Deformable Hand-Held Containers”, solves the above problems by facilitating the use of such containers without requiring any major change in the existing design or fabrication process of bottlers or distributors. The proposed handle consists of a simple strap of thin, flexible, and resilient material, that does not need to affect the appearance of the bottle, nor its stocking or transport, and that would preferably be made of a material easily integrated in the standard recycling process. Said strap can be made of any material that can be easily integrated in all phases of the existing manufacturing and bottling process, including the labeling, according to the specific requirements of individual manufacturers of such containers or other participants in the manufacturing and distribution of the end product. Said strap is positioned about the center of mass of the bottle and its use is optional to consumers, as containers so-equipped can still be held in the ordinary manner.

[0025] Imagine the handle as a simple strap as mentioned above, long enough to allow passing the fingers of an adult hand between it and the container, and fastened to the bottle at its ends with sufficient strength to withstand the force of handling the filled container. Such fastening could consist of, although not exclusively, heat-welding or adhesives holding both extremities directly onto the body of the bottle (FIG. 1 of page 2), or the handle extremities could be held in place by transversal circlets or straps that would wrap around part of/or the entire body of the container (FIGS. 2&4 pg 2), either over or under the strap serving as the handle, and that may be an integral part of the actual handle itself (FIG. 2 page 2). Other possible methods include integrating said handle within the label (FIG. 4 page 2).

[0026] Whilst the size of the handle should allow slipping the fingers underneath it, thus allowing the user to hold the container in the customary fashion (FIG. 3 page 1), it must also be held flush against the container until it reaches the end user, so as not to interfere with the transportation and stocking of the product (FIG. 1 page 1). This can be achieved by either a point of light adhesive that would affix the strap folded over onto itself (FIG. 3 pg 3) until it is released by the consumer (FIG. 2 pg 3), or by any other suitable method, including, but not limited to, using an elastic material with properties such that it would remain taught against the container until lifted and then would allow a finite deformation for the use described previously.

[0027] When the consumer uses the handle for the first time, he/she slips the fingers underneath it so as to release the handle to its expanded position (FIG. 2 page 1). Thus, the weight of the container is supported on the exterior of the hand (FIG. 3 pg 1) and the user has all freedom of movement to accurately manipulate the container, regardless of the quantity of the contents. Because the handle is of flexible material, the consumer can simply neglect the handle and use the container in the customary fashion if he/she chooses to do so (FIG. 6 pg 3).

[0028] This description is not exhaustive, either in the methods suggested for making such a handle, or in the described methods of use. For instance, consumers may find alternative ways in which to use the handle, such as by holding the handle in their hand (Photo 5 pg 3/3) rather than slipping their hand underneath it, or other methods.