Title:
Confectionery dispenser having a rotatable closure
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A hand-held confectionery product dispenser is provided and includes a container and a rotatable closure. Both the container and the rotatable closure define openings, that, when aligned, allow the confectionery product to be dispensed. A grip indentation may be present in one wall of the container. Preferably present in an embodiment is a thumb engagement point on the closure, to aid in rotation of the closure. The hand-held dispenser allows a user to hold the dispenser in the palm of one hand and rotate the closure with the thumb of the same hand for easy opening and closing of the dispenser.



Inventors:
Jackson, Matthew (Chicago, IL, US)
Application Number:
11/234495
Publication Date:
03/29/2007
Filing Date:
09/23/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D47/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
WILLIAMS, STEPHANIE ELAINE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BELL, BOYD & LLOYD LLP (P.O. Box 1135, CHICAGO, IL, 60690, US)
Claims:
1. A hand-held confectionery product dispenser comprising a container comprising a top, a bottom, and at least one side wall having an opening, and a rotatable closure rotatably coupled to the side wall and comprising a closure opening; wherein the closure may be rotated between a closed position and a dispensing position in which the wall opening and the closure opening are aligned.

2. The dispenser of claim 1 wherein a side wall further comprises at least one grip indentation.

3. The dispenser of claim 2 wherein a side wall is shaped to adapt to a user's hand.

4. The dispenser of claim 1 wherein the dispenser is sized to be easily carried and stored for individual use.

5. The dispenser of claim 4 wherein the dispenser is sized to fit within a clothing pocket of a user.

6. The dispenser of claim 1 wherein the wall opening and closure opening are sized to allow dispensing of a small number of confectionery products.

7. The dispenser of claim 1 wherein the closure is a circular disc.

8. The dispenser of claim 1 wherein the closure further comprises a thumb engagement point.

9. The dispenser of claim 1 wherein the closure is spring-loaded.

10. The dispenser of claim 1 wherein the closure is frictionally engaged with the side wall.

11. The dispenser of claim 1 wherein the lid may be rotated between a closed position and a dispensing position in response to a single continuous motion with one hand.

12. A hand-held confectionery product dispenser comprising a container comprising a top, a bottom, and at least one side wall having an opening, the container being shaped to adapt to a user's hand; and a rotatable closure rotatably coupled to the side wall and comprising a closure opening; wherein the closure may be rotated so that the closure opening and the wall opening are aligned to allow the confectionery product to be distributed from the dispenser.

13. The product dispenser of claim 12 wherein the at least one side wall comprises at least one grip indentation.

14. The dispenser of claim 12 wherein the closure may be rotated between a closed position and a dispensing position in response to a single continuous motion with one hand.

15. The dispenser of claim 12 wherein the container opening and closure opening are sized to allow dispensing of a small number of confectionery products.

16. The dispenser of claim 12 wherein the closure is spring-loaded.

17. The dispenser of claim 12 wherein the closure is frictionally engaged with the side wall.

18. A method of dispensing a confectionery product comprising: providing a hand-held confectionery product dispenser comprising a container comprising, a top, a bottom and at least one side wall having an opening, and a rotatable closure rotationally coupled to the side wall and comprising a closure opening; grasping the dispenser in the palm of one hand; rotating the closure with the thumb of the same hand until the wall opening and the closure opening are aligned; and dispensing the confectionery product from the dispenser.

19. The method of claim 15 wherein the dispenser side wall is shaped to adapt to a user's hand.

20. The method of claim 15 wherein the closure is rotated between a closed position and a dispensing position in response to a single continuous motion.

21. A hand-held product dispenser comprising a container comprising a top, a bottom, and at least one side wall having an opening, and a rotable closure rotatably coupled to the side wall and comprising a closure opening; wherein the closure may be rotated between a closed position and a dispensing position in which the wall opening and the closure opening are aligned.

22. The dispenser of claim 1 wherein the dispenser is a hand-held confectionery product dispenser.

23. The dispenser of claim 1 or 2 wherein a side wall further comprises at least one grip indentation.

24. The dispenser of any one of claims 1 to 3 wherein a side wall is shaped to adapt to a user's hand.

25. The dispenser of any one of the preceding claims wherein the dispenser is sized to be easily carried and stored for individual use.

26. The dispenser of claim 5 wherein the dispenser is sized to fit within a clothing pocket of a user.

27. The dispenser of any one of the preceding claims wherein the wall opening and closure opening are sized to allow dispensing of a small number of products.

28. The dispenser of any one of the preceding claims wherein the closure is a circular disc.

29. The dispenser of any one of the preceding claims wherein the closure further comprises a thumb engagement point.

30. The dispenser of any one of the preceding claims wherein the closure is spring-loaded.

31. The dispenser of any one of claims 1 to 9 wherein the closure is frictionally engaged with the side wall.

32. A method of dispensing a product comprising: providing a hand-held product dispenser as defined in any one of the preceding claims;. grasping the dispenser in the palm of one hand; rotating the closure with the thumb of the same hand until the wall opening and the closure opening are aligned; and dispensing the product from the dispenser.

33. The method of claim 12 wherein the closure is rotated between a closed position and a dispensing position in response to a single continuous motion.

Description:

BACKGROUND

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

The packaging for confectionery products is important to the marketing and storage of the product. As such, dispensers for confectionery products come in a variety of sizes, shapes and designs. For example, dispensers can be hand-held containers, with an openable closure for the dispensing of small pieces of confectionery product. Such containers are traditionally useful for dispensing of one individual product, or a small number of products, at a time. Alternately, dispensers may be larger, with an openable lid for dispensing many pieces at once.

Traditional dispensers are useful for a number of purposes. In particular, traditional dispensers keep products fresh and free from contaminants. Additionally, where a product consists of a large number of small pieces, traditional containers are useful for maintaining them in a restricted space for easy carrying.

SUMMARY

The present invention provides an apparatus for dispensing products. More particularly, the present invention provides a hand-held dispenser comprising a container comprising a top, a bottom and at least one side wall having an opening. A rotatable closure for easy, one-handed dispensing of products is rotatably coupled to the side wall. The present invention further provides a method of dispensing a product comprising providing a hand-held product dispenser having a rotatable closure, grasping the dispenser in the palm of one hand, rotating the closure with the thumb of the same hand and dispensing the product. The products in an embodiment are confectionery 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, and be dispensed by, the hand-held dispenser described herein. The dispenser herein, regardless of what product is being dispensed, is configured to be highly functional as described.

The present invention provides a hand-held confectionery product dispenser comprising a container and a rotatable circular closure. Preferably, both the dispenser and the closure have openings and the circular closure rotates so that the openings are aligned to open the dispenser. The closure provides ease in opening and resealing the dispenser with a single movement by one hand.

The present invention provides in an embodiment, a dispenser having a container and a rotating closure capable of dispensing pieces of a confectionery product.

The present invention additionally provides in an embodiment a hand-held confectionery product dispenser having at least one grip indentation on the side of the dispenser to easily fit the fingers of a user's hand.

In another embodiment, a hand-held confectionery product dispenser is provided, comprising a container and a rotatable closure. The closure additionally has a thumb engagement point which receives rotational force for opening and closing of the closure.

In an embodiment the thumb engagement point is a concave indentation in the rotatable closure.

In an embodiment the thumb engagement point is a convex portion on the rotatable closure.

In another embodiment the thumb engagement point is a cavity.

In another embodiment, the dispenser is sized to fit into a user's palm.

In another embodiment, the dispenser is sized to fit within a clothing pocket of the user.

In yet another embodiment, the dispenser allows a user to grip the dispenser and to open and close the rotatable closure with the same hand.

It is therefore an advantage of the present invention to provide a hand-held confectionery product dispenser for dispensing confectionery products.

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

Yet further, it is an advantage of the present invention to provide a dispenser closure that is rotatable for easy opening and closing of the dispenser.

Still further, it is an advantage of the present invention to provide a dispenser capable of being held in one hand and of being opened and closed with the same hand.

Additional features and advantages are described herein, and will be apparent from, the following Detailed Description and the figures.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of an embodiment of the hand-held dispenser and rotatable closure of the present invention.

FIG. 2 illustrates a perspective side view of the dispenser of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 illustrates another perspective side view of the dispenser of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 illustrates a perspective view of another embodiment of the hand-held dispenser and rotatable closure of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The present invention provides a hand-held confectionery product dispenser, including a rotatable closure. It will be appreciated that, although in the embodiment illustrated the confectionery products are illustrated as tablets of products, the products to be dispensed can be of any suitable shape and size. Examples of such shapes include pill, block, flat stick, pillow, round, rectangular, triangular, and any combination of same.

The dispenser in the embodiment described below is generally made of a plastic material. In an embodiment, the material is polyethylene or polypropylene. The dispenser is designed to be durable. The present invention expressly includes, however, the dispenser being made of any suitable material.

Additionally, the dispenser in the embodiment described below is compact for easy carrying. More particularly, in an embodiment of the present invention the dispenser is sized to fit neatly into a clothing pocket. In an embodiment the dispenser is less than 25 cm tall and less than 25 cm wide. In another embodiment, the dispenser is less than 20 cm tall and less than 20 cm wide. In yet another embodiment, the dispenser is less than 10 cm tall and less than 10 cm wide. It will be appreciated that the height and width of the dispenser need not be of the same dimensions. It will further be appreciated that the dispenser illustrated in the embodiment is expressly not limited to any particular size or shape.

Referring now to the drawings, and in particular to FIG. 1, an embodiment of a hand-held confectionery dispenser is illustrated generally at 10. The dispenser comprises a container 20 and a rotatable closure 22. The container 20 and closure 22 may be made of the same material, or of suitably different materials, as desired and as set forth below.

Two different embodiments of the shape of the container 20 are generally illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 4. In both these embodiment, the container 20 comprises a top 30, a bottom 32, and at least one side wall 34 to form a receptacle for storing the confectionery pieces. As illustrated in the figures, the top 30, bottom 32 and at least one side wall 34 may be integrally formed of a single-piece construction. Alternately, the side wall or walls 34 may be separate pieces cooperating together (not shown) to form a container 20. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1, the container is shaped to adapt to the hand of a user. It will be appreciated, however, that the container 20 may be any suitable size or shape, including but not limited to cubic, rectangular, pyramidal, cylindrical, conical and spherical. As illustrated in the figures, the container 20 defines a wall opening 40 which enables the confectionery products to be dispensed or otherwise removed from the container.

In an embodiment as illustrated in FIG. 4, at least one grip indentation 50 may be present. The grip indentation 50 provides a surface for a user to place his or her fingers, as he or she grasps the container 20 in his or her palm. A force may therefore be exerted on the container 20. This allows a user to maintain a hold on the container 20 with the fingers, leaving the thumb free (as discussed below) for opening of the container 20. It will be appreciated that any number and size of indentations 50 may be present, as the size and shape of the dispenser will allow.

A rotatable closure 22 is present and is sized for engaging and selectively opening and closing the wall opening 40. As illustrated in the embodiment of the figures, the closure 22 may be of a circular disc shape. The closure 22 defines a closure opening 42 for dispensing of the confectionery products. In an embodiment, the closure opening 42 and wall opening 40 align to open a passageway through which the confectionery products may be dispensed. The effect of rotation of the closure 22 on the passageway is demonstrated in FIGS. 2 and 3. In FIG. 2, the closure 22 is rotated to a degree where the closure opening 42 and the wall opening (not shown) are misaligned. This “closes” the dispenser and prevents removal of the pieces. As illustrated in the embodiment of FIG. 3, further rotation of the closure 22 can create an “opened” passageway by aligning the wall opening 40 and the closure opening 42, effectively opening the dispenser. It will be appreciated that any number and size of wall openings 40 and corresponding closure openings 42 may be present.

The closure 22 may be attached to the dispenser 10 by any convenient means, provided that it is sized and shaped to fit over the wall opening 40. Further, the closure 22 is connected to the dispenser 10 in a manner so as to allow the cover to rotate. Preferably, the closure 22 is rotatable about a central axis. Rotation about the axis enables the closure 22 to pivot between an open position and a closed position. In an embodiment, one side wall 34 has one or more grooves about the wall opening 40. The closure 22 rotates about the groove. The groove may additionally allow the closure 22 to be releasably secured in a given position.

In an embodiment, the closure 22 may be spring-loaded. A spring mechanism (not shown) may be present to bias the closure 22, preferably in a closed position. In this embodiment, a user can rotate the closure 22 to an open position, while the closure 22 is biased closed. Therefore, a user will release the closure 22 to close the opening 40. In another embodiment, the closure 22 is frictionally engaged with the wall. In both of these embodiments, the closure 22 is prevented from opening in at an undesirable time, such as in the pocket or purse of a user.

In an embodiment, as illustrated in the figures, the rotatable closure 22 may additionally comprise a thumb engagement point 60. The thumb engagement point 60 aides a user in exerting rotational force on the closure 22 for easy opening and closing of the dispenser. As illustrated in FIGS. 1 to 3, the thumb engagement point may be a cavity. Alternately, the thumb engagement point may be a concave indentation or a convex portion, or any suitable structure that resists pressure exerted by the thumb, resulting in rotation of the closure.

Preferably, the closure 22 can be rotated by a user while holding the dispenser 10 in the palm of one hand. As the dispenser 10 sits in the user's palm, the user's fingers wrap around the container portion 20. In an embodiment, the user's index finger rests in the grip indentation 50 to exert a force on the dispenser 10. The user's thumb may preferably apply a rotational force to the closure 22, sufficient to align the wall opening 40 and the closure opening 42 to open the dispenser. Confectionery pieces contained within the dispenser may then be dispensed by pouring the pieces from the dispenser 10. Continued rotational force by the thumb on the closure 22 will misalign the wall opening 40 and the closure opening 42, to effectively close the 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 subject matter and without diminishing its intended advantages. It is therefore intended that such changes and modifications be covered by the appended claims.





 
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