Title:
Stackable containers
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A set of stackable containers includes first and second containers each featuring a body having a base and an open top and a lid removably covering the open top of the body. The lid of the first container features a recess while the lid of the second container features a circumferential ridge having an inner edge defining a center recess and an outer edge. The base of the first container body is sized to be received in the recess of the first container lid and in the center recess of the second container lid while the outer edge of the circumferential ridge of the second container lid sized to engage the base of the second container body.



Inventors:
Deakin, Lynda (San Francisco, CA, US)
Ames, Jeff (Englewood, CO, US)
Application Number:
11/479256
Publication Date:
01/03/2008
Filing Date:
06/29/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D21/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
THOMAS, KAREEN KAY
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DLA PIPER LLP (US) (ATTN: PATENT GROUP 11911 Freedom Dr. Suite 300, Reston, VA, 20190, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A lid for closing an open top of a first container comprising: a) a top surface; b) an annular ridge positioned on the top surface and having an inner edge and an outer edge; c) said inner edge of the annular ridge defining a center recess adapted to receive the base of a second container; and d) said outer edge of the annular ridge adapted to engage a base of a third container.

2. The lid of claim 1 further comprising a circumferential rim.

3. The lid of claim 2 wherein the circumferential rim is downward extending and terminates in a circumferential lip that is adapted to engage a circumferential rim of the first container.

4. The lid of claim 1 where the lid is molded from plastic.

5. The lid of claim 1 where the lid is constructed of a transparent material.

6. A stackable container comprising: a) a body having a base and an open top; b) a lid removably covering the open top of the body; c) said lid having a top surface with an annular ridge positioned thereon, said annular ridge having an inner edge and an outer edge; d) said inner edge of the annular ridge defining a center recess adapted to receive the base of a second container; and e) said outer edge of the annular ridge adapted to engage a base of a third container.

7. The stackable container of claim 6 wherein the lid includes a circumferential rim and the body includes a circumferential rim that is engages by the circumferential rim of the lid.

8. The stackable container of claim 7 wherein the circumferential rim is downward extending and terminates in a circumferential lip that engages the circumferential rim of the body.

9. The stackable container of claim 8 wherein the circumferential rim of the body is generally horizontal.

10. The stackable container of claim 6 wherein the base includes a downward-protruding annular wall.

11. The stackable container of claim 6 wherein the body and lid are molded from plastic.

12. The stackable container of claim 6 wherein the lid and body are constructed of a transparent material.

13. A set of stackable containers comprising: a) a first container including: i. a body having a base and an open top; ii. a lid removably covering the open top of the body and having a top surface featuring a recess; b) a second container including: i. a body having a base and an open top; ii. a lid removably covering the open top and having a top surface featuring a circumferential ridge having an inner edge and an outer edge; iii. said inner edge defining a center recess; c) said base of the first container body sized to be received in the recess of the first container lid and in the center recess of the second container lid; and d) said outer edge of the circumferential ridge of the second container lid sized to engage the base of the second container body.

14. The set of claim 13 wherein the lids each include a circumferential rim and the bodies each include a circumferential rim that is engages by the circumferential rims of the lids.

15. The set of claim 14 wherein the circumferential rims are downward extending and terminate in circumferential lips that engage the circumferential rims of the bodies.

16. The set of claim 15 wherein the circumferential rims of the bodies are generally horizontal.

17. The set of claim 13 wherein the bases each include a downward-protruding annular wall.

18. The set of claim 17 wherein the base of the second container is broader than the base of the first container.

19. The set of claim 13 wherein the first and second containers are molded from plastic.

20. The set of claim 13 wherein the first and second containers are molded from transparent material.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to containers and, more particularly, to stackable containers for storing food items and the like.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a small dish container in an embodiment of the stackable containers of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a tub container in an embodiment of the stackable containers of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a large dish container in an embodiment of the stackable containers of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a top side perspective exploded view illustrating the stacking of the containers of FIGS. 1-3 and the installation of their lids;

FIG. 5 is a side elevational exploded view illustrating the stacking of the containers of FIGS. 1-3 and the installation of their lids;

FIGS. 6 is a bottom side perspective exploded view illustrating the stacking of the containers of FIGS. 1-3 and the installation of their lids.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS

Stackable containers featuring a generally oval shape and constructed in accordance with the present invention are indicated in general at 10, 12 and 14 in FIGS. 1, 2 and 3, respectively. More specifically, a small dish container is indicated in general at 10 in FIG. 1, a tub container is indicated in general at 12 in FIG. 2 and a large dish container is indicated in general at 14 in FIG. 3. While the invention is described below in terms of these three container sizes and shapes, it will be understood that containers incorporating the invention and featuring alternative sizes and shapes may be constructed.

Containers 10, 12 and 14 are preferably constructed from a plastic, such as polypropylene, so as to be lightweight yet strong and durable. Furthermore, the containers are preferably constructed by molding the components described below. In addition, the containers are preferably transparent or clear so that the contents may be viewed without opening the containers. While the containers are particularly well-suited for storing food products, they could alternatively be used to store other items.

As illustrated in FIG. 1, small dish container 10 features a body 16 having an open top and a lid 18. FIGS. 2 and 3 illustrate that tub container 12 similarly features a body 20 having an open top and lid 22 while large dish container 14 includes body 24 having an open top and lid 26. As illustrated in FIGS. 4-6, the lids 18, 22 and 26 cover and are removable from the open tops of bodies 16, 20 and 24. More specifically, with reference to the small dish container and FIG. 4, the body 16 of the small dish container features a circumferential rim portion 30 that surrounds its open top and generally lies in a horizontal plane. The outer edge of the rim features a slight downturn, illustrated at 32 in FIGS. 4-6. The lid 18 of the small dish container features a downward-extending circumferential rim 34 that terminates at in a circumferential lip 36. The lid rim 34 and lip 36 are sized so that the lip engages the downturned outer edge of the body rim when the lid 18 is placed on the body 16, as illustrated in FIG. 1. As a result, the lid 18 is secured to the body 16, preferably in a sealing fashion.

Container bodies 20 and 24 and lids 22, 26 and 28 feature the same rim construction as the small dish container 10 and may be closed, and preferably sealed, in the same fashion.

The body 16 of small dish container 10 also features a base 42 formed by a downward-protruding annular wall. The body 20 of tub container 12 similarly features base 44 while the body 24 of large dish container 14 similarly features base 46. Bases 42 and 44 are preferably the same size to permit interchangeable stacking, as described below. As is clear from the figures, base 46 is wider and deeper so as to require a larger supporting surface (as compared to bases 42 and 44).

The top surfaces of the lid 16 of small dish container 10 and lid 22 of tub container 12 each features a recess 52 and 54, respectively. Recesses 52 and 54 are preferably the same size and are sized to receive the bases 42 and 44 of the bodies of the small dish and tub containers. As a result, the small dish and tub containers may be stacked on top of each other, as illustrated in FIGS. 4-6. While FIGS. 4-6 show the small dish container stacked on top of the tub container, the tub container may alternatively stacked on top of the small dish container.

The lid 26 of the large dish container 14 has a top surface that features an annular ridge 62 with an inner edge that defines center recess 64 (FIGS. 3 and 4). Lid 28 of FIGS. 4-6 similarly features annular ridge 66 which defines center recess 68 (FIG. 4). Annular ridges 62 and 64 also feature outer edges. This allows lids 26 and 28 to support the small dish, tub or large dish containers.

More specifically, as illustrated in FIGS. 4-6, center recess 64 of lid 26 (and center recess 68 of lid 28) is sized to receive bases 42 or 44 of the small dish and tub containers (10 and 12, respectively, of FIGS. 1 and 2). In addition, the outer edges of the annular ridges 62 and 66 of lids 26 and 28 are sized to fit within the base 46 of large dish container 24. As a result, the large dish containers (14 in FIG. 3) may be stacked on top of one another and/or the small dish and tub containers may be stacked on top of the large dish containers or each other. This provides the stackable containers of the present invention with flexibility in terms of stacking configurations.

The large dish containers, however, may not be stacked on top of either the small dish container or the tub container. This is because the recesses 52 and 54 of the small dish and tub containers are too small to receive the base 46 of the large dish container. Stacking the large dish container on top of either the small dish or tub containers could create a top heavy or otherwise unstable condition which would be undesirable as the stacked containers could easily topple. As a result, the present invention minimizes the chances of this condition occurring.

The present invention therefore provides containers that are easy to stack for storage, display or carrying. The present invention also minimizes the chances that the containers will be stacked in a top heavy or otherwise unstable fashion.

While embodiments of the invention have been shown and described, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that changes and modifications may be made therein without departing from the spirit of the invention.