Title:
Beverage cup sleeve or holder for improved containment of drips, spills, and condensation
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
This invention is a beverage cup sleeve or holder that intended for the retail beverage industry. The invention's main objective is to contain the spills, drips, or condensation that occur when drinking coffee, tea, soda, or other beverages. This improved beverage cup sleeve or holder may take various forms during shipping and distribution; but, when installed, the improved beverage cup sleeve or holder provides a cuff to gather spills, drips, and/or condensation. In the case of the beverage cup holder, a retaining bottom provides for additional opportunities for absorption and containment. Both the sleeve (without retaining bottom) and holder (with bottom) designs should be made from an absorbent material and separate the beverage drinker from the drips, spills, and/or condensation.



Inventors:
Novak, Theresa Marie (Laona, WI, US)
Application Number:
11/368762
Publication Date:
09/06/2007
Filing Date:
03/06/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D25/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
GROSSO, HARRY A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Richard, Missimer S. (PO Box 486, Butler, WI, 53007-0486, US)
Claims:
I claim as my invention:

1. A device for improved containment of drips, spills, and condensation emanating from a beverage cup or similar product that comprises: (a) a cuff that is made from an absorbent material that derives from the groups of materials from which napkins are made, including, but not limited to, the group of paper, the group of cardboards and the group of cloths; and said cuff encircles the circumference of the beverage cup or similar product; and (b) a body made from said absorbent material; and said body encircles the circumference of the beverage cup or similar product; whereby said device for improved containment of drips, spills, and condensation emanating from a beverage cup or similar product of claim 1 can absorb and/or channel drips, spills, and condensation in a manner that (i) prevents the beverage drinker's hands from either being burned, or getting wet; and (ii) protects the beverage drinker's clothing, vehicle, etc. from being stained by the beverage's drips, spills, and condensation.

2. Said device for improved containment of drips, spills, and condensation emanating from a beverage cup or similar product of claim 1 wherein said cuff is shaped as an arc that creates a rounded space between the beverage cup or similar product and said material; and said arc is shaped by hand, machine, or otherwise.

3. Said device for improved containment of drips, spills, and condensation emanating from a beverage cup or similar product of claim 1 wherein said cuff is shaped like a slope that creates an angular space between the beverage cup or similar product and said material; and said slope is shaped by hand, machine, or otherwise.

4. Said device for improved containment of drips, spills, and condensation emanating from a beverage cup or similar product of claim 1 wherein said body is folded, pleated, indented, or otherwise shaped by hand, machine, or otherwise into a plurality of radially-spaced channels that run vertically along the length of said material.

6. Said device for improved containment of drips, spills, and condensation emanating from a beverage cup or similar product of claim 1 wherein said absorbent material has designs, advertising, logos, pictures, numbers, letters, etc. incorporated into it.

7. Said device for improved containment of drips, spills, and condensation emanating from a beverage cup or similar product of claim 1 wherein said device is tailored to a length that is shorter than the entire length of the beverage cup or similar product.

8. Said device for improved containment of drips, spills, and condensation emanating from a beverage cup or similar product of claim 1 wherein said body is tailored to a length that is equal to or longer than the entire length of the beverage cup or similar product, yet does not interfere with the beverage drinker's ability to drink.

9. A device for improved containment of drips, spills, and condensation emanating from a beverage cup or similar product that comprises: (a) a cuff that is made from an absorbent material that derives from the groups of materials from which napkins are made, including, but not limited to, the group of paper, the group of cardboards and the group of cloths; and said cuff encircles the circumference of the beverage cup or similar product; and (b) a body made from said absorbent material; and said body encircles the circumference of the beverage cup or similar product; and (c) a bottom made from said absorbent material; and said bottom encompasses the bottom of the beverage cup or similar product; whereby said device for improved containment of drips, spills, and condensation emanating from a beverage cup or similar product of claim 9 can absorb and/or channel drips, spills, and condensation in a manner that (i) prevents the beverage drinker's hands from either being burned, or getting wet; and (ii) protects the beverage drinker's clothing, vehicle, etc. from being stained by the beverage's drips, spills, and condensation; and whereby said device for improved containment of drips, spills, and condensation emanating from a beverage cup or similar product of claim 9 provides for extra containment and absorption when a space is allowed between the bottom of the beverage cup or similar product and said bottom of claim 9.

10. Said device for improved containment of drips, spills, and condensation emanating from a beverage cup or similar product of claim 9 wherein said cuff is shaped like an arc that creates a rounded space between the beverage cup or similar product and said material; and said arc is shaped by hand, machine, or otherwise.

11. Said device for improved containment of drips, spills, and condensation emanating from a beverage cup or similar product of claim 9 wherein said cuff is shaped like a slope that creates an angular space between the beverage cup or similar product and said material; and said slope is shaped by hand, machine, or otherwise.

12. Said device for improved containment of drips, spills, and condensation emanating from a beverage cup or similar product of claim 9 wherein said body is folded, pleated, indented, or otherwise shaped by hand, machine, or otherwise into a plurality of radially-spaced channels that run vertically along the length of said material.

13. Said device for improved containment of drips, spills, and condensation emanating from a beverage cup or similar product of claim 9 wherein said absorbent material has designs, advertising, logos, pictures, numbers, letters, etc. incorporated into it.

14. Said device for improved containment of drips, spills, and condensation emanating from a beverage cup or similar product of claim 9 wherein said device is tailored to a length that is shorter than the entire length of the beverage cup or similar product.

15. Said device for improved containment of drips, spills, and condensation emanating from a beverage cup or similar product of claim 9 wherein tailored to a length that is equal to or longer than the entire length of the beverage cup or similar product, yet does not interfere with the beverage drinker's ability to drink.

Description:

DISCUSSION OF PRIOR ART

In the past two decades, coffee houses great and small have taken over the United States. Businesses such as Starbucks and Steamers, as well as small, trendy coffee houses, have been popping up every few blocks. For years, the United States has been the largest coffee importer; and just about every public place countrywide has one or more coffee carts or stands, selling a variety of coffees, drinks, and snacks. Indeed, Americans just cannot seem to get enough of their “coffee culture.”

During the rise of this coffee culture, certain inconveniences manifested themselves and interfered with the coffee culture's enjoyment of its chosen beverage. First, coffee culture discovered that the heat from the coffee would emanate through the cups and burn their hands. In response to this discovery, many different types of insulated cups and sleeves were invented. These sleeves were designed to fit around the coffee cups and act as heat barriers to prevent the coffee drinkers' hands from being burned.

Second, American coffee culture discovered that spilling hot coffee could have both minor and dire consequences. For who could forget Stella Liebich and the infamous McDonald's “scalding coffee” case? The prior art, such as, U.S. Pat. No. 6,290,091 to Bell (2001), has been designed to insulate the coffee cup and protect the coffee drinker's hand from the coffee's heat. However, none of the prior art attempts to protect the coffee drinker's lap, clothing, vehicle, etc. from drips and spills. Moreover, the prior art can do little, if anything to stave off a more than minor amount of condensation around a cool or cold beverage cup. In U.S. Pat. No. 5,385,260 to Gatcomb (1995), for example, the rim of the cup covers over the gaps in the folds of the sleeve. This causes drips and spills to run down the sides of the sleeve and onto the beverage drinker's hands, lap, clothes, vehicle, etc.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,152,363 to Rule, Jr. (2000) comprises a sleeve full of air holes that allow heat to escape; this neither protects the beverage drinker's hands from heat, nor prevents drips, spills, and/or condensation from interfering with the beverage drinker's enjoyment. In fact, any drips, spills, or condensation that happened to be caught by this sleeve would leak through the air holes and greatly inconvenience the beverage drinker.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,286,709 to Hudson (2001) is a general, fabric based sleeve that is machine washable and reusable. Drips, spills, and/or condensation, however, might ruin the fabric of this invention. Further, any consistent drips, spills, and/or condensation might gather around the rim of the sleeve and slide down the side that is being held by the beverage drinker's hands.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,343,735 to Cai (2002) comprises a sleeve with air gaps at several points. Although the air gap points (which were originally designed to insulate the cup and protect the beverage drinker's hands only) do create channels in which drips and spills may flow, the air gaps also prevent the bottom of the sleeve from fitting snugly around the cup. Hence, any drips or spills channeled into the air gaps would leak through and inconvenience the beverage drinker.

Finally, U.S. Pat. No. 6,749,082 to Nickel (2004) merely secures a napkin to an insulating sleeve. In Nickel, the napkin acts as a bib, and prevents drips, spills, and/or condensation to a limited extent and only in the areas where the napkin is secure, which would generally not encircle the entire beverage cup.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The main benefit of this invention is that the beverage drinker can enjoy his/her other beverage without fear that his/her professional appearance will be marred; for, the invention prevents beverage spillage from soiling the beverage drinker's clothes, car, bag, documents, etc. Further, objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent from a consideration of the drawings and ensuing description.

This improved beverage cup sleeve (without a bottom) or holder (with a bottom) is specifically designed to contain a substantial amount of drips, spills, and/or condensation by absorbing and/or capturing them, and in so doing, protecting the drinker.

This beverage cup sleeve (or holder) is preferably made from an absorbent material, including, but not limited to, the group of materials that napkins are made of, including the groups of paper, cardboard, and cloth. And although the main object of this invention is to contain drips, spills, and/or condensation, it will, by its very nature, provide a heat barrier or condensation barrier that protects the beverage drinker's hands.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF INVENTION

This improved beverage cup sleeve (without bottom) or holder (with bottom) has either two (2), or three (3) main components. In the case of the sleeve, there is the (1) cuff, and (2) sleeve body; and in the case of the holder, this is the (1) cuff, (2) holder body, and (3) retaining bottom. Both the sleeve and the holder may take various forms.

The cuff is a gathering device that absorbs the liquid and/or moves it towards other absorbent areas and/or the retaining bottom. The cuff takes two forms, either an arc away from the cup or a slope towards the cup. The arc design acts like an absorber and contains the liquid in itself and the body of the sleeve (or holder). The slope design allows the drippage to be channeled into the body of the sleeve (or holder) where it can be absorbed more efficiently and/or held in the retaining bottom.

The sleeve or holder body consists of a napkin like material that may or may not be pleated, folded, or indented. The sleeve or holder body is made from the same material as the cuff. Any pleats, folds or indents in the body would increase the surface area of the absorbent material.

The retaining bottom for the holder allows for additional absorption, and can provide space for advertising at the preference of the customer.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1—assembly of cup and sleeve with arced cuff

FIG. 2—cup and sleeve with arced cuff

FIG. 3—assembly of cup and holder with arced cuff

FIG. 4—perspective view of a cup and holder with arced cuff

FIG. 5—perspective view of a cup and holder with sloping cuff

FIG. 6—cut away view of cup and holder with sloping cuff

FIG. 7—perspective view of a cup and holder with arced cuff and

FIG. 8—cut away view of cup and holder with arced cuff

FIG. 9—cut away view of upper corner of cup with arced cuff

FIG. 10—perspective view of a cup bottom with optional advertisement

FIG. 11—perspective view of a cup with minimally sloped holder

FIG. 12—perspective view of a cup with hand formed holder

DRAWINGS—REFERENCE NUMERALS

  • 100—customer supplied cup
  • 101—flat sleeve wrapper
  • 102—pre-formed holder
  • 103—arced cuff
  • 104—sloping cuff
  • 105—body
  • 106—customer supplied sleeve cover
  • 107—holder bottom w/advertisement

DETAILED DESCRIPTION AND PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

This invention's purpose may be accomplished in many ways; but, the inventor's preferred embodiment consists of a arced (103) or sloping (104) cuff that attracts or gathers the drips, spills, and/or condensation, and a sleeve (101) or holder (102) body that absorbs (or contains) the drips, spills, or condensation. These elements of the invention can take many forms and be shipped or distributed in various ways. The forms and ways that would be the most effective will depend upon the manufacturer's equipment and processes, and the beverage retailer's preferences.

When the beverage retailer prefers, advertisement can be incorporated either on the cuff of the sleeve (101) or holder (102); or advertisement (105) can be placed on the bottom of the holder (102) as shown in FIG. 10.