Title:
Comestible product dispenser including a cover having multiple movable sections and method of using same
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A first product dispenser is provided and includes a housing defining an interior for storing comestible product and a cover including a first section movably connected to a second section, where the second section is movably connected to the housing. The first section is moved from a closed position to an open position to dispense at least a portion of the comestible product and the second section is moved to cause the cover to move from a closed position to an open position to replace at least a portion of the comestible product.



Inventors:
Sainz, Jose Ramon (Barcelona, ES)
Application Number:
11/125899
Publication Date:
11/09/2006
Filing Date:
05/09/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D81/34
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Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
WEINSTEIN, STEVEN L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
K&L Gates LLP-Chicago (P.O. Box 1135, CHICAGO, IL, 60690, US)
Claims:
The invention is claimed as follows:

1. A comestible product dispenser comprising: a housing defining an interior for storing comestible product; and a cover including a first section movably connected to a second section, said second section movably connected to the housing, wherein the first section is moved from a closed position to an open position to dispense at least a portion of the comestible product and the second section is moved to cause the cover to move from a closed position to an open position to replace at least a portion of the comestible product.

2. The comestible product dispenser of claim 1, which includes at least one first securing member to secure the first section of the cover to the housing.

3. The comestible product dispenser of claim 2, wherein the cover includes at least one tab adapted to frictionally engage the first securing member.

4. The comestible product dispenser of claim 2, wherein the housing includes at least one second securing member to secure the second section of the cover to the housing.

5. The comestible product dispenser of claim 1, wherein at least a portion of the first securing member includes a piercing portion to help sever the dispensed comestible product.

6. The comestible product dispenser of claim 1, wherein the housing and the cover are integrally formed.

7. The comestible product dispenser of claim 1, which includes at least one hinge connected between the first and second sections.

8. The comestible product dispenser of claim 7, wherein the hinge includes a live hinge.

9. The comestible product dispenser of claim 1, which includes at least one hinge connected between the second section and the housing.

10. The comestible product dispenser of claim 9, wherein the hinge includes a live hinge.

11. A comestible product dispenser comprising: a housing defining an interior for storing comestible product; a cover hingedly connected to the housing, said cover including a first section and a second section, wherein said first and section sections are hingedly connected; and at least one first securing member connected to the housing, said first securing member adapted to engage the -first section of the cover to secure the cover to the housing; and at least one second securing member connected to the housing, the second securing member adapted to engage the second section of the cover to secure the section to the housing, wherein the first section of the cover is moved from a closed position to an open position to dispense at least a portion of the comestible product and the second section is moved to cause the cover to move from a closed position to an open position to replace at least a portion of the comestible product.

12. The comestible product dispenser of claim 11, wherein the cover includes at least one tab adapted to frictionally engage the first securing member.

13. The comestible product dispenser of claim 11, wherein at least a portion of the first securing member includes a piercing portion to help sever the dispensed comestible product.

14. The comestible product dispenser of claim 11, wherein the housing and the cover are integrally formed.

15. The comestible product dispenser of claim 11, which includes at least one hinge connected between the first and second sections.

16. The comestible product dispenser of claim 15, wherein the hinge includes a live hinge.

17. The comestible product dispenser of claim 11, which includes at least one hinge connected between the second section and the housing.

18. The comestible product dispenser of claim 17, wherein the hinge includes a live hinge.

19. A method for dispensing comestible product comprising: storing comestible product in a housing; moving at least one section of a cover hingedly connected to the housing from a closed position to an open position to dispense at least a portion of the comestible product; and moving at least one other section of the cover to replace the comestible product stored in the housing.

20. The method of claim 20, which includes securing the first section to the housing using at least one first securing member.

21. The method of claim 20, which includes securing the second section to the housing using at least one second securing member.

22. The method of claim 20, which includes attaching a tab to the first section of the cover to frictionally engage the first section with the first securing member.

23. The method of claim 20, which includes severing at least a portion of the comestible product using the first securing member.

24. The method of claim 23, which includes severing at least a portion of the comestible product using the first section of the cover.

25. The method of claim 19, which includes severing at least a portion of the comestible product using the first section of the cover.

Description:

BACKGROUND

The present invention relates generally to packaging. More particularly, the present invention relates to packaging or dispensers for storing and dispensing comestible products.

The packaging for comestible products is very important to the look, marketing and storage of the product. Very often, in addition to text on the packaging, the packaging also attempts to visually convey a message about the type of product, the taste of the product or the purpose of the product. For example, packages for cinnamon or cherry tasting products are often red, grape tasting product packaging is often purple, etc. Once the consumer has identified a desired brand, the consumer can typically choose a product based solely on the color of the packaging.

In marketing the product, packaging can convey other information besides taste whereby the consumer can thereby associate the product with its effect by simply viewing the packaging.

There are also practical facets to packaging comestible products, namely, keeping the products from being damaged during shipping, keeping the products fresh, and in certain instances providing a reusable package. Some comestible products do not require that the packaging be robust, sturdy or reusable.

Also, certain comestible products are packaged as pieces, sheets, rolls or in other forms. These products may be placed in packaging or product dispensers that allow a user to dispense one or more of the products or a certain amount of the product from the product dispenser.

SUMMARY

The present invention provides an apparatus and method for dispensing products, such as products that are individually unpackaged. The products in one embodiment are comestible products. The teachings of the present invention, however, are not dependent upon the products being any particular type as long as the products can fit within the product dispenser described herein. The dispenser herein, regardless of what product is being dispensed, is configured to be highly functional and to have an aesthetic element.

It is believed that users of these products, and in particular younger users, find certain features desirable and undesirable in the packaging of products consumed on a daily basis, such as comestible products. Specifically, it is believed that consumers desire a compact shape for easy, everyday storage. It is an added benefit to the manufacturer if the shape is also innovative and/or sleek looking. Such a shape gains customer attention. Furthermore, it is desirable to have a dispenser that is intuitive and easy to determine how to use. Still further, consumers, especially young consumers, desire the dispenser to be quiet and to not require too much manipulation, so that the products can be dispensed in an easy and discrete manner.

Moreover, control over product dispensing is important. That is, consumers want to be able dispense only a desired amount of product. To that end, especially in the case of individually unpackaged products, it is desirable that the products do not stick or clump together.

One embodiment of the product dispenser includes a housing defining an interior for storing comestible product and a cover including a first section movably connected to a second section, where the second section is movably connected to the housing. The first section is moved from a closed position to an open position to dispense at least a portion of the comestible product and the second section is moved to cause the cover to move from a closed position to an open position to replace at least a portion of the comestible product.

In an embodiment, the product dispenser includes at least one first securing member to secure the first section of the cover to the housing.

In an embodiment, the cover includes at least one tab adapted to frictionally engage the first securing member.

In an embodiment, the housing includes at least one second securing member to secure the second section of the cover to the housing.

In an embodiment, at least a portion of the first securing member includes a piercing portion to help sever the dispensed comestible product.

In an embodiment, the housing and the cover are integrally formed.

In an embodiment, the product dispenser includes at least one hinge connected between the first and second sections.

In an embodiment, the hinge includes a live hinge.

In an embodiment, the product dispenser includes at least one hinge connected between the second section and the housing.

In an embodiment, the hinge includes a live hinge.

Another embodiment of the product dispenser includes a housing defining an interior for storing comestible product. The product dispenser also includes a cover hingedly connected to the housing, where the cover includes a first section and a second section. The first and section sections are hingedly connected together. The product dispenser includes at least one first securing member connected to the housing, where the first securing member is adapted to engage the first section of the cover to secure the cover to the housing. The product dispenser includes at least one second securing member connected to the housing, where the second securing member is adapted to engage the second section of the cover to secure the section to the housing. The first section of the cover is moved from a closed position to an open position to dispense at least a portion of the comestible product and the second section is moved to cause the cover to move from a closed position to an open position to replace at least a portion of the comestible product.

In an embodiment, the cover includes at least one tab adapted to frictionally engage the first securing member.

In an embodiment, at least a portion of the first securing member includes a piercing portion to help sever the dispensed comestible product.

In an embodiment, the housing and the cover are integrally formed.

In an embodiment, the product dispenser includes at least one hinge connected between the first and second sections.

In an embodiment, the hinge includes a live hinge.

In an embodiment, at least one hinge is connected between the second section and the housing.

In an embodiment, the hinge includes a live hinge.

Another embodiment includes a method for dispensing comestible product. The method includes storing comestible product in a housing, moving at least one section of a cover hingedly connected to the housing from a closed position to an open position to dispense at least a portion of the comestible product, and moving at least one other section of the cover to replace the comestible product stored in the housing.

In an embodiment, the method includes securing the first section to the housing using at least one first securing member.

In an embodiment, the method includes securing the second section to the housing using at least one second securing member.

In an embodiment, the method includes attaching a tab to the first section of the cover to frictionally engage the first section with the first securing member.

In an embodiment, the method includes severing at least a portion of the comestible product using the first securing member.

In an embodiment, the method includes severing at least a portion of the comestible product using the first section of the cover.

In an embodiment, the method includes severing at least a portion of the comestible product using the first section of the cover.

It is therefore an advantage of the present invention to provide a product dispenser that enables a desired of comestible product to be easily dispensed and replaced.

It is another advantage of the present invention to provide a product dispenser that is compact and easily stored.

Moreover, it is an advantage of the present invention to provide a product dispenser that is quiet both when being transported and when dispensing comestible product.

Still further, it is an advantage of the present invention to provide a product dispenser that is controllable to dispense only a desired amount of product.

Additional features and advantages of the present invention are described in, and will be apparent from, the following Detailed Description and the figures.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of one embodiment of the product dispenser of the present invention.

FIG. 2A illustrates a cross section view taken substantially along line 2A-2A of FIG. 1, where the cover is in the closed position.

FIG. 2B illustrates a cross section view taken substantially along line 2B-2B of FIG. 1, where a portion of the cover is in the open position.

FIG. 2C illustrates a perspective view of FIG. 1, where the cover is in the open position.

FIG. 3 illustrates a fragmentary rear view of the embodiment of the product dispenser of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 illustrates a top view of the embodiment of the product dispenser of FIG. 1, where the cover is in the open position.

FIG. 5 illustrates a perspective view of another embodiment of the present product dispenser, where the cover is in the closed position.

FIG. 6 illustrates a perspective view of another embodiment of the present product dispenser, where the cover is in the partially-open position.

FIG. 7 illustrates a perspective view of another embodiment of the present product dispenser, where the cover is in the fully-open position.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The present invention provides a comestible product package and dispenser. In the embodiment described herein, the comestible products are illustrated as a roll of product, such as a roll of product tape. The products to be dispensed from the dispensers discussed herein can have any suitable shapes, such as a flat shape, a tubular shape, a pillow-shape, a round shape, a rectangular shape, a triangular shape and any combination of same.

The embodiment described below is generally made of a plastic material. The present invention expressly includes the embodiment being made of any material such as any suitable paper, cardboard, paperboard material, foil, plastic, composite or other suitable material. Furthermore, while the package and dispenser discussed herein is sized to be transported readily by a person (for example, in a person's pocket, purse, backpack, or the like), the embodiment is expressly not limited to any particular size and shape.

Referring to the drawings and in particular to FIGS. 1 to 4, one embodiment of a comestible product package or dispenser is illustrated as dispenser 100. In one embodiment, the dispenser 100 is a refillable dispenser for dispensing product 101. In another embodiment, the dispenser 100 is non-refillable and is discarded after dispensing a certain amount of the product. The product dispenser 100 includes a first member, body or housing 102 and a second member, lid or cover 104 hingedly connected to the housing. The housing 102 is sized to receive a certain amount of the product 101 such as a certain size roll of product tape as illustrated in the figures. The product 101 is inserted inside the housing 102 and dispensed through an opening defined by the housing. The cover 104 is used to score, break, sever or cut the dispensed product to a desired length or amount of the product as described below. Any unused product is stored in the housing 102.

As illustrated in FIGS. 1 to 4, the housing 102 is generally a three-sided structure having a generally u-shaped receptacle, interior or compartment formed by front wall or front surface 116, side wall 118 and rear wall or rear surface 120. The compartment formed by the walls receives the product 101. In the illustrated embodiment, the housing 102 is integrally formed as one piece or one part. In another embodiment, the walls of the housing 102 and the cover 104 are separately manufactured and connected together to form the housing. In the illustrated embodiment, the housing 102 has generally a u-shape. It should be appreciated that the housing 102 may be any suitable size or shape. As illustrated, the top portion of the housing 102 defines an opening which enables the comestible product 101 to be inserted and dispensed or otherwise removed from the dispenser 100.

The cover 104 includes a first section 106 and a second section 108. The first section is generally L-shaped and is movably or hingedly connected to the second section 108 using a suitable hinge or connector such as first hinge portion or hinge 107. It should be appreciated that the hinge 107 may be any suitable hinge such as a live hinge or the like. It should also be appreciated that the first section may be any suitable shape. The first hinge 107 enables the first section 106 to pivot.

The second section 108 is hingedly connected to the housing 102 using a suitable hinge such as second hinge 109. It should be appreciated that the hinge 107 may be any suitable hinge such as a live hinge or the like. The second hinge enables the first and second sections 106 and 108 (which form the cover 104) to pivot with respect to the housing 102. As illustrated, the first and second sections 106 and 108 or cover 104 are sized and shaped to cover the opening defined by the housing 102. This allows the product dispenser to substantially preserve the product 101 stored in the housing 102. Although the first and second sections illustrated in the figures cover certain portions of the opening defined by the housing, the first and second sections may be any suitable size or length to cover any portion or portions of the opening defined by the housing.

The first section 106 and the second section 108 are independently secured to the housing 102. The first securing members 110 secure or hold the first section 106 adjacent to the housing 102. In an embodiment, the first securing members or first lock members 110 are generally elongated spaced apart tubes or posts which are connected to the inside or interior of the housing adjacent to the opening defined by the housing as illustrated in the figures. It should be appreciated that the first securing members 110 may be any suitable size and shape. The first securing members 110 extend a certain portion, distance or length above the edge of the housing 102. The first section 106 of the cover 104 includes a flange portion or lip 112 which matingly engages the first securing members 110 to hold, snap, click or temporarily lock the first section 106 in place with respect to the housing 102. The second section 108 is secured to the housing 102 using second securing members 114. The second securing members 114 are located on each side of the housing 102 and enable the second section 108 of the cover 104 to be clicked, snapped, secured or temporarily locked in place. It should be appreciated that the first and second securing members may be any suitable type of snap-fit, friction-fit, lock or the like.

In an embodiment, at least a portion of the housing 102 and in particular one or more of the walls of the housing can be printed on, written on or the like to display product labeling, product information, product promotions and any other suitable message or display.

In operation, a user such as a consumer, holds the housing 102 of the product dispenser in one hand and moves or pivots the cover 104 from the closed position shown in FIG. 1 to the open position shown in FIG. 2C. This allows the user to insert and store a suitably sized roll of product into the interior of the housing. The user then moves the cover to the closed position so that at least the section 108 engages the second securing members 114. The user also engages the lip 112 of the first section 106 with the first securing members 110 to secure or snap the first section and thereby the cover to the housing 102.

To dispense at least a portion or amount of the product 101 from the product dispenser 100, the user moves or pivots the first section 106 to access the interior of the housing. The user then pulls or un-rolls a certain length or amount of the product 101 from the dispenser. The user breaks, tears, severs or cuts the product 101 at least partially using the first section 106 as it contacts the housing 102 in the substantially closed position. Additionally, the first securing members 110 have a generally pointed shape top end to help break, tear or sever the desired amount of the product 101. It should be appreciated that the first securing members may be any suitable size and shape.

In another embodiment, a product dispenser 200 has a generally rectangular shape and includes similar features to the embodiment described above. The product dispenser 200 includes a body or housing 202 and a lid or cover 204. The cover 204 covers or seals the opening defined by the housing. The cover 204 includes a first section 204 and a second section 206. Similar to the embodiment described above, the first section 206 is hingedly connected to the second section 208 using a hinged portion or hinge 214 and moves or pivots. The second section 208 is hingedly connected to the housing 102 using hinge 216.

At least one and preferably a pair of securing members or lock members 212 are used to secure the cover 204 to the housing 202. Furthermore, the first section 206 includes a lip 210 which helps to secure and or position the cover 204 to the housing 202. It should be appreciated that the securing members 212 may be any suitable securing members or lock members.

In operation, a user inserts product into the dispenser 200 by moving or pivoting the first section 206 about hinge 214. The user may also insert product by moving or pivoting the first and second sections (i.e., the cover). Once the product is inserted, the user snaps or secures the cover 204 to the housing 202 using the securing members 212.

To dispense a certain amount of the product 201, the user moves or pivots the first section 206. The user then moves or pivots the product dispenser to dispense the product. The user moves or pivots the second section 208 to dispense one or more of the products or all of the product. The cover 204 is closed to store and preserve the product in the product dispenser.

It should be understood that various changes and modifications to the presently preferred embodiments described herein will be apparent to those skilled in the art. Such changes and modifications can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention and without diminishing its intended advantages. It is therefore intended that such changes and modifications be covered by the appended claims.