Title:
Stackable container with secure sealing
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention relates to a stackable container for items, such as food, comprising a base and lid with secure sealing mechanisms. Each of the base and lid comprises corresponding three rims and three edges being mateable to provide multiple layers of sealing mechanisms to ensure durable sealing. The lid further comprises a sealing lip for locking the lid onto the base and for providing another layer of sealing. Each of the base and lid further comprises partially planar raised portions and further raised portion around the outer perimeter of the planar raised portions for providing stable stacking mechanism. The lid further comprises a tab for assisting a user to open the lid without spoilage.



Inventors:
Lin, Jun Bin (Mississage, CA)
Cai, Jin Tian (Mississaga, CA)
Application Number:
11/518924
Publication Date:
12/27/2007
Filing Date:
09/12/2006
Assignee:
Shanmiss Canada Inc. (Mississaga, CA)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D21/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20040144662Insertable hinged tray for a multiple disc storage containerJuly, 2004Bolognia et al.
20060283869Hinge particularly for box-like bodiesDecember, 2006Soncini
20080156688DIVIDER STRIP ASSEMBLYJuly, 2008Atkins et al.
20080210581Basket CarrierSeptember, 2008Brand
20060065556Packaging system and method of useMarch, 2006Schneider
20100051485RETAIL DISPLAY OF FLAT ROLL GIFT WRAP PRODUCTSMarch, 2010Morrissey et al.
20090250362Protective Transport BagOctober, 2009Melmon et al.
20050109651Wrapping member for a glass substrate for FPD and a method of transferring a glass substrate for FPDMay, 2005Fujimori
20070170081CARTON HAVING ADJUSTMENT INDICIAJuly, 2007Murphy
20040188285Clothes containerSeptember, 2004Yoshikawa
20080128433INSULATING STORAGE CONTAINERJune, 2008Stauffer et al.



Primary Examiner:
ALLEN, JEFFREY R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
NELLIGAN O'BRIEN PAYNE LLP (50 O. Connor Suite 1500, OTTAWA, ON, K1P-6L2, CA)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A stackable container, comprising: (i) a base, comprising a generally planar bottom portion; a shape reinforcing structure comprising a curved portion curved upwardly from the perimeter of said bottom portion and a shape reinforcing rim extending outwardly from the upper end of said curved portion; a base sidewall extended upwardly from the outer end of said reinforcing rim of said shape reinforcing structure; a first base rim region extended horizontally and outwardly from the upper end of said base sidewall; a first base sealing edge extended upwardly from the outer end of said first base rim region; a second base rim region extended horizontally and outwardly from the upper end of said first base sealing edge; a second base sealing edge extended upwardly from the outer end of said second base rim region; a third base rim region extended horizontally and outwardly from the upper end of said second base sealing edge; a third base sealing edge extended upwardly from the outer end of said third base rim region; and (ii) a lid, comprising: a generally planar lid top portion; a lid sidewall extended downwardly from the perimeter of said lid top portion; a first lid rim region extended horizontally and outwardly from the bottom end of said lid sidewall; a first lid sealing edge extended upwardly from the outer end of said first lid rim region; a second lid rim region extended horizontally and outwardly from the upper end of said first lid sealing edge; a second lid sealing edge extended upwardly from the outer end of said second lid rim region; a third lid rim region extended horizontally and outwardly from the upper end of said second lid sealing edge; a third lid sealing edge extended downwardly from the outer end of said third lid rim region; a sealing lip extended inwardly from the inner bottom end of said third lid sealing edge; and a tab at one section of the perimeter of said third lid sealing edge for providing a means for detaching said lid from said base; wherein said first base rim and said first lid rim, said first base sealing edge and said first lid sealing edge, said second base rim and said second lid rim, said second base sealing edge and said second lid sealing edge, said third base rim and said third lid rim, said third base sealing edge and said third lid sealing edge correspond and are mateable to one another for providing sealing mechanisms while said lid is attached to said base; and wherein said reinforcing structure reinforces the shapes of said base side wall and said base bottom.

2. The container as recited in claim 1, wherein said planar bottom portion further comprises a partially planar raised central base portion and a raised base portion along the perimeter of said partially planar raised central base portion wherein said planar bottom portion including said partially planar raised central base portion and a raised portion along the perimeter of said partially planar raised central portion, and wherein said planar lid top portion further comprises a partially planar raised central lid portion, a raised lid portion along the perimeter of said partially planar raised central lid portion, and a raised wall portion along the perimeter of said lid top portion, wherein said planar raised central base portion with said raised base portion and said partially planar raised central lid portion with raised lid portion correspond and are mateable, and the outer end of said base bottom portion and raised wall portion correspond and are mateable and to provide an air gap therebetween for avoiding said base being stick to the top of said lid while providing stable and durable stacking structure.

3. The container as recited in claim 2, wherein said central lid portion further comprises a void at the center thereof for providing air gap for avoiding said base being stick to the top of said lid.

4. The container as recited in claim 1, wherein the bottom edge of said third base sealing edge and said sealing lip of said lid defines a sealing.

5. The container as recited in claim 2, wherein at least one of said raised base portion and said raised lid portion is continuously raised.

6. The container as recited in claim 2, wherein said raised base portion and said raised lid portion form keying structure for providing alignment for stacking said containers.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to a stackable container for storing and transporting items such as food with tight secure sealing mechanism between a container base and detachable lid with a tab for ease of detaching the lid.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Containers are used for storing and transporting items such as food for many different commercial and home applications. For commercial application, such as fast food or take-out restaurant, it is important that the containers provide tight and durable sealing mechanisms between container base and detachable lid to ensure and avoid leakage and/or spoilage and to keep away the contents from contamination. While providing secure and durable sealing mechanism, it is also important to provide a way to easily detach or open the lid. Lid can be detached and attached to the base for a number of times and still must protect the contents from spoilage or contamination. It is, yet, important that the container is stably stackable for saving storing space.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,056,138, entitled “Triple Seal Container,” issued on May 2, 2000, and subsequent U.S. Pat. No. 6,196,404, entitled “Triple Seal Container With Protrusion,” issued on Mar. 6, 2006 both to Chen, disclose a stackable and nestable triple sealed container for storing and transporting items such as food. Even though the structure provides adequate sealing mechanism between a container base and lid, the triple sealing mechanism is not durable enough to prevent breakage. Once the first sealing structure or rim is broke, the item or contents inside the container may easily be contaminated since it only provides two layers. Further more, sealing structure provides an air pocket or space between the base and lid for easing detaching and opening of the lid; however, this structure works negatively and makes the item inside the container easily be contaminated when the rim is broken. Another shortcoming of these inventions is the fact that it does not provide proper support for stacking the assembled containers. It provides a loose stacking mechanism, whereby the assembled containers may be stacked vertically without proper locking mechanism. There are wider room to slide side way, thus it is not suitable for stacking more than a few or transporting stacks of the containers.

In US Patent Application Publication No. US2003/0057207, entitled “Container with Food Seals,” published on Mar. 27, 2003, Wong teaches an improved sealing mechanism between base and lid of a container, whereby having four sealing structures with two air pockets or air gaps between the base and the lid for maintaining tight sealing while easing effort to detach the lid form the base or to attach the lid to the base. However, not having proper means to assist a user to detach the lid from the base will still cause spoilage. Even worse, liquid may penetrate into these air gaps of the sealing mechanism defined in between the lid and base by filing it up, and, when it happens, makes it even harder to detach the lid from the base.

It is desirable to provide a container that addresses these aforementioned issues, and the present invention provides solutions to these shortcomings presented by these prior art products.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a stackable container for items, such as food, comprising a base and lid with secure sealing mechanisms. Each of the base and lid comprises corresponding three rims and three edges being mateable to provide multiple layers of sealing mechanisms to ensure durable sealing. The lid further comprises a sealing lip for locking the lid onto the base and for providing another layer of sealing. Each of the base and lid further comprises partially planar raised portions and further raised portion around the outer perimeter of the planar raised portions for providing stable stacking mechanism. The lid further comprises a tab for easing a user to open the lid without spoilage.

According to one aspect of the invention, it provides a stackable container, comprising: (i) a base, comprising a generally planar bottom portion; a shape reinforcing structure comprising a curved portion curved upwardly from the perimeter of the bottom portion and a shape reinforcing rim extending outwardly from the upper end of the curved portion; a base sidewall extended upwardly from the outer end of the reinforcing rim of the shape reinforcing structure; a first base rim region extended horizontally and outwardly from the upper end of the base sidewall; a first base sealing edge extended upwardly from the outer end of the first base rim region; a second base rim region extended horizontally and outwardly from the upper end of the first base sealing edge; a second base sealing edge extended upwardly from the outer end of the second base rim region; a third base rim region extended horizontally and outwardly from the upper end of the second base sealing edge; a third base sealing edge extended upwardly from the outer end of the third base rim region; (ii) a lid, comprising: a generally planar lid top portion; a lid sidewall extended downwardly from the perimeter of the lid top portion; a first lid rim region extended horizontally and outwardly from the bottom end of the lid sidewall; a first lid sealing edge extended upwardly from the outer end of the first lid rim region; a second lid rim region extended horizontally and outwardly from the upper end of the first lid sealing edge; a second lid sealing edge extended upwardly from the outer end of the second lid rim region; a third lid rim region extended horizontally and outwardly from the upper end of the second lid sealing edge; a third lid sealing edge extended downwardly from the outer end of the third lid rim region; a sealing lip extended inwardly from the inner bottom end of the third lid sealing edge; and a tab at one section of the perimeter of the third lid sealing edge for providing a means for detaching the lid from the base; and wherein the first base rim and the first lid rim, the first base sealing edge and the first lid sealing edge, the second base rim and the second lid rim, the second base sealing edge and the second lid sealing edge, the third base rim and the third lid rim, the third base sealing edge and the third lid sealing edge correspond and are mateable for providing sealing mechanisms while the lid is attached to the base; and wherein the reinforcing structure reinforces the shapes of the base side wall and the base bottom.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention will now be described in more detail with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 illustrates a side elevation view of the lid and base of a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 illustrates a sectional side view of the base of the preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2a illustrates a perspective view of the base of the preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3 illustrates a sectional side view of the lid of the container of the preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3a illustrates a top view of the lid of the container of the preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3b illustrates a perspective top view of the lid of the container of the preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3c illustrates a perspective bottom view of the lid of the container of the preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 4 illustrates an enlarged cross-sectional side view of the base of the preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 5 illustrates an enlarged cross-sectional side view of the lid with the tab of the preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 6 illustrates a cross-sectional side view of the lid and base of the preferred embodiment of the present invention, being detached from each other;

FIG. 6a illustrates the enlarged cross-sectional side view of the lid and base of the preferred embodiment of the present invention, being detached from each other;

FIG. 7 illustrates a cross-sectional side view of the lid and base of the preferred embodiment of the present invention, being attached each other;

FIG. 7a illustrates the enlarged cross-sectional side view of the lid and base of the preferred embodiment of the present invention, being attached each other;

FIG. 8 illustrates an enlarged cross-sectional side view of the base and lid, about to be stacked one over the other;

FIG. 9 illustrates the enlarged cross-sectional side view of the base and lid, being stacked one over the other;

FIG. 10 illustrates an enlarged cross-sectional side view around the center of the base and lid, about to be stacked on each other;

FIG. 11 illustrates the enlarged cross-sectional side view around the center of the base and lid, being stacked on each other;

FIG. 12 illustrates a side elevation view of the lid and base being attached;

FIG. 13 illustrates a side elevation view of the lid and base, where the lid being detached partially from the base; and

FIG. 14 illustrates a side elevation view of the lid and base, where the lid being substantially detached from the base.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIG. 1 illustrates a side elevation view of lid 2 and base 3 of a container 1, which is circular in configuration, of a preferred embodiment of the present invention. The lid 2 is attached to the base 3 for sealing the container 1. A shape reinforcing structure 19C is located along the side of the bottom portion of the base 3.

FIG. 2 illustrates a cross-sectional side view of the base 3 of the container 1, and FIG. 2a illustrates a perspective view of the base 3 of the container 1 the preferred embodiment of the present invention. The base 3 of the container 1 comprises a generally planar bottom base portion 19. The bottom base portion 19 further comprises a partially planar raised central portion 16, surrounded by a convex or raised base portion 17, raised slightly above the raised central portion 16. In the preferred embodiment of the present invention, the partially planar raised central portion 16 is circular shape, equally distanced from the edge of the bottom base portion 19, and the raised base portion 17 is continuously circular shape along the outer perimeter of the raised central portion 16. One purpose of this raised base portion 17 is to provide a fitting mechanism so that, by placing the base 3 onto a corresponding structure (see FIG. 3) on the lid 2, it provides a stable and solid stacking mechanism.

The shape reinforcing structure 19C is extended out and curved upwardly from the perimeter of the bottom base portion 19 of the base 3. Then, a base sidewall 18 is extended upwardly from the upper end of the shape reinforcing structure 19C. As it can also be seen in FIG. 4, a first base rim region 10 is extended horizontally and outwardly from the upper end of the base sidewall 18. Then, a first base sealing edge 11 extends upwardly from the outer end of the base rim region 10. Then, a second base rim region 12 extends further horizontally and outwardly from the upper end of the first base sealing edge 11, and a second base sealing edge 13 extends upwardly from the outer end of the second base rim region 12. A third base rim region 14 is extended horizontally and outwardly from the upper end of the second base sealing edge 13, and a third base sealing edge 15 is extended downwardly from the outer end of the third base rim region 14.

FIG. 3 illustrates a sectional side view of the lid 2 of the container 1 of the preferred embodiment of the present invention, where FIG. 3a illustrates a top view of the lid 2 of the container 1, FIG. 3b illustrates a perspective top view of the lid 2 of the container 1, and FIG. 3c illustrates a perspective bottom view of the lid 2 of the container 1 of the preferred embodiment of the present invention. The lid 2 comprises a lid top portion 29 comprising partially planner raised central portion 26 surrounded by a convex or raised lid portion 27. In the preferred embodiment of the present invention, the partially planar raised central portion 26 is circular in shape, equally distanced from the edge of the lid top portion 29, and the raised lid portion 27 is continuously circular in shape around the outer perimeter of the raised central portion 26. It is noted that at least one of raised base or lid portion 17 or 27, respectively, shall be continuously raised along the outer perimeter of the raised center portions 16 or 26, respectively. In this case, the other one of the raised portions 17 and 27 may be non-continuous. If a certain orientation or alignment of the containers 1 while stacking is important for a particular application, this raised portions 17 and 27 may define a keying structure, where the containers can only be settled and fitted when the containers are aligned in a particular direction. There is a void 33 around the center of raised central portion 26. The outer end of the lid top portion 29, the lid 2 further comprises a raised wall portion 30, before a lid sidewall portion 28 extending downwardly. As it can also be seen in FIG. 5, at the bottom end of the lid sidewall portion 28, a first lid rim region 20 is extended horizontally and outwardly, and a first lid sealing edge 21 is extended upwardly from the outer end of the first lid rim region 20.

Then, a second lid rim region 22 extends further horizontally and outwardly from the first lid sealing edge 21, and a second lid sealing edge 23 extends upwardly from the outer end of the second lid rim region 22. Further, a third lid rim region 24 is extended horizontally and outwardly from the second lid sealing edge 23, and a third lid sealing edge 25 is extended downwardly from the outer end of the third lid rim region 24. At the end of the third lid sealing edge 25, a sealing lip 32 extended inwardly to provide a locking mechanism for locking or latching to the base 3. The lid 2 further comprises a tab 31 for easing a user to detach the lid 2 by pulling the tap 31 and pulling it outwardly and upwardly.

FIG. 4 illustrates an enlarged cross-sectional side view of the base 3 of the preferred embodiment of the present invention. In the preferred embodiment of the present invention, the shape reinforcing structure 19C comprising curvature portion curved upwardly from the perimeter of the bottom base portion 19 and a shape reinforcing rim 19D extending outwardly from the upper end of curved portion of the shape reinforcing structure 19C. Then, the side base wall 18 extends upwardly from the outer end of the reinforcing rim 19D of the shape reinforcing structure 19C. The width of the shape reinforcing rim 19D may be about 0.6 mm for a food container application. However, the width of the shape reinforcing rim 19D depends on thickness of the side base wall 18, thickness of the bottom base portion 19, or combination of two. The shape reinforcing rim 19D reinforces the shape of the base bottom portion 19, the curvature of the shape reinforcing structure 19C, and shape of the side base wall 18 in the case of containing some contents with high temperature or heavier items that may be sufficient to cause deforming the shape of the container 1. And, FIG. 5 illustrates an enlarged cross-sectional side view of the lid 2 with the tab 31 of the preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 6 illustrates a cross-sectional side view of the lid 2 and base 3 of the container 1, while the lid 2 and base 3 are detached from each other, and FIG. 6a illustrates the enlarged view of FIG. 6 or the enlarged cross-sectional side view of the lid 2 and base 3 of the container 1 of the preferred embodiment of the present invention, while FIG. 7 illustrates a cross-sectional side view of the lid 2 and base 3 being attached each other, and FIG. 7a illustrates an enlarged cross-sectional side view of FIG. 7 or the container 1 where the lid 2 attached to the base 3 of the preferred embodiment of the present invention. To attach the lid 2 onto the base 3, from the position shown in FIG. 6 to FIG. 7, the lid 2 is pressed downwardly onto the base 3. The first rim region 20 of the lid 2 aligned with the first rim region 10 of the base 3; so that the first sealing edge 21 of the lid 2 aligns with the first sealing edge 10 of the base 3; the second rim region 22 with the second rim region 12; the second sealing edge 23 with the second sealing edge 13; the third rim 24 with the third rim 14; and the third sealing edge 25 with the third sealing edge 15. While applying the downward force to the lid 2 onto the base 3, the sealing lip 32 will be pushed and flexed outwardly, sliding along the third sealing edge 15 of the base 3, then flexed back inwardly to the end of the third sealing edge 15 to complete sealing. In the preferred embodiment of the present invention, the sealing lip 32 is half circular in shape from the cross-sectional side view, and the radius thereof is sufficiently large to provide a first sealing mechanism formed between the sealing lip 32 and the bottom end of the third sealing edge 15 of the base 3. It is noted that lengths and structure of the first base rim region 10, first base sealing edge 11, second base rim region 12, second base sealing edge 13, third base rim region 14, third base sealing edge 15 of the base 3 correspond to first horizontally extended rim region 20, first sealing edge 21, second rim region 22, second sealing edge 23, third base rim region 24, and third base sealing edge 25 of the lid 2, respectively, so that it provides tight and secure sealing mechanism between the base 3 and the lid 2.

The present invention provides at least seven distinct sealing mechanisms. From inside the container 1, the first sealing mechanism is defined by the first rims 10 and 20. The second sealing is defined by the first sealing edges 11 and 21; third sealing defined by the second rims 12 and 22; the forth sealing defined by the second sealing edges 13 and 23; the fifth sealing defined by the third rims 14 and 24; sixth sealing defined by the third sealing edges 15 and 25; the seventh sealing defined by the end of the third edge 15 and the sealing lip 32.

FIG. 8 illustrates an enlarged cross-sectional side view of the base 3 and lid 2, where the base 3 is about to be stacked on the top of the lid 2, and FIG. 9 illustrates the enlarged cross-sectional side view of the base 3 and lid 2, where the base 3 is stacked on the top of the lid 2. Note that shape of the base bottom 19, including the partially planar raised central portion 16 and raised portion 17 corresponds to the shape or construction of the upper surface of the lid top portion 29, including partially planar raised central portion 26 and raised portion 27 to provide a sufficient fitting for stable and solid stacking mechanism. The curved end of base bottom or shape reinforcing structure 19C of the base 3 and the raised wall portion of the lid 2 forms an air gap 40 to avoid the base 3 and lid 2 being stick onto one another for easing un-stacking the containers 1.

FIG. 10 illustrates an enlarged cross-sectional side view around the center of the base 2 and lid 3, where the base 2 is about to be stacked on the top of the lid 2, and FIG. 11 illustrates the enlarged cross-sectional side view around the center of the base 2 and lid 3, where the base 3 is stacked on the top of the lid 2. Note that the construction of the bottom 19 of the base 3, including partially planar raised central portion 16 and raised portion 17, corresponds to the construction of the top 29 of the lid 2, including partially planar raised central portion 26 and raised portion 27, so that they fit each other while the base 3 is stacked on the top of the lid 2. It is also noted that a void 33 of the lid 2 and partially planar raised central portion 16 of the base 3 defines an air gap 41 for preventing the lid 2 and base 3 being stick onto one another and easing un-stacking the stacked containers 1.

FIGS. 12, 13 and 14 illustrate a series of side views of the lid 2 and base 3, where FIG. 12 shows that the lid 2 and base 3 are attached to one another, FIG. 13 shows that the lid 2 is detached partially from the base 3, and FIG. 14 shows that the lid 2 is substantially detached from the base 3. A user pulls the tab 31 outwardly to disengage the sealing lip 32 from the third base sealing edge 15 and to create an air gap (not shown) between rims and edges of the base 3 and lid 2 of the container, and, then, upwardly to further disengage the lid 2 from the base 3.

With respect to the above description then, it is to be realized that the optimum dimensional relationships for the parts of the invention, to include variations in size, materials, shape, form, function and manner of operation, assembly and use, are deemed readily apparent and obvious to one skilled in the art, and all equivalent relationships to those illustrated in the drawings and described in the specification are intended to be encompassed by the present invention. For example, applying the spirits and principles of the invention into a container in a rectangular shape is readily apparent and obvious to one ordinary skilled in the art.

Therefore, it is to be understood that the embodiment shown and described herein is merely illustration of the principles of this invention and that various modifications may be implemented by those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Further, since numerous modifications and changes will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation shown and described, and accordingly, all suitable modifications and equivalents may be resorted to, falling within the scope of the invention. For example, although the embodiment shown herewith is circular in configuration, the container 1 can be rectangular, square, oval, oblong, or any other shape.





 
Previous Patent: Container

Next Patent: Shipping container