Title:
Cup adhesion device for fluid containment bottle
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A cup adhesion device is described as an inexpensive cup with compressible interior tabs, having the ability to slip around the bottom of a storage bottle and be held tightly by compressive forces as the tabs are flexed. Nonpreferred embodiments have the tabs replaced with small compressible invaginations into the cup's sidewall, or are two part designs that require a prior art cup to be clipped to the adhesion device as it is gripping the bottom of the bottle. All embodiments allow for the later removal of the cup to allow it to be used as a fluid containment medium for some of the contents of the bottle. This allows for a hygienic transfer of fluid to an individual or small animal without the recipient drinking directly from the bottle, and either the convenient storage of the cup back around the bottom of the bottle for later additional use, or the disposal of the used cup if no longer required.



Inventors:
Dickerson, Heidi (Las Vegas, NV, US)
Application Number:
12/075294
Publication Date:
09/17/2009
Filing Date:
03/11/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
220/737
International Classes:
B65D23/12; B65D25/22
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HICKS, ROBERT J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Heidi, Dickerson (9720 HIGHRIDGE DRIVE, LAS VEGAS, NV, 89134, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A hygienic cup for the imbibing of fluids, said cup with a minimum of one tab extending from the lip of said cup, said tab formed of the same composition of matter as said cup, said tab of a shorter length than the length of the side wall of said cup.

2. The hygienic cup of claim 1, with a plurality of compressible tabs of similar configuration as said tab extending from said lip of said cup.

3. The hygienic cup of claim 1, with said tab radiating into the three-dimensional space not falling within the confines of the interior of said cup.

4. The hygienic cup of claim 1, with said tab radiating into the three-dimensional space falling within the confines of the interior of said cup.

5. The hygienic cup of claim 4, said tab of a greater length than width, said tab having a curved section, with said tab bent at the connection point with said lip such that said tab extends down into the confines of said cup following a roughly parallel direction as said side wall of said cup, with said curved section of said tab arcing away from said side wall of said cup.

6. The hygienic cup of claim 5, with said curved section of said tab following a roughly straight path along said side wall of said cup when sufficient exterior force is pressed against said curved section to deform said curved section away from said force.

7. The hygienic cup of claim 6, together with a prior art bottle, said bottle of a lesser diameter than the diameter of said lip of said cup, where said bottle is the source of said sufficient exterior force by the process whereby the bottom end of said bottle is pushed directly down into said cup, with the ongoing result that said cup is adhered around said bottom of said bottle by the return force of said deformed tabs pressing back against said exterior force generated by the presence of said bottle.

8. The hygienic cup of claim 1, with said composition of matter of said cup having a uniform chemical identity.

9. The hygienic cup of claim 8, where said composition of matter is thermoplastic.

10. The hygienic cup of claim 1, with said tab formed of a different composition of matter as said cup, with said tab tightly bonded to said cup.

11. The hygienic cup of claim 10, where said different composition of matter is a soft compressible hydrocarbon in the grade of plastics termed Styrofoam.

12. An adhesion device for a prior art fluid containment bottle, said device having one contiguous length closing back on itself such that there is a hollow space surrounded by said one contiguous length, said hollow space of a greater diameter than the diameter of said fluid containment bottle, said device having a minimum of one clasping clip placed outside said hollow space contained within said contiguous length, said clasping clip dimensionally stable, such that when bent the portion of said clip that undergoes said bending will exert pressure to return to its original shape, with the inner lining of said greater diameter of said device having a plurality of flexible bristles extending into said hollow space, such that said bristles are deformed and bent away from the surface of said fluid containment bottle when said contiguous length of said device is placed around said fluid containment bottle, and whereby the return pressure of said deformed bristles provides the adhesive properties of said adhesion device.

13. The adhesion device of claim 12, together with a prior art cup, where the lip of said cup is inserted within said clasping clip, with the interior of said cup both wide and deep enough to contain the bottom of said fluid containment bottle when a portion of said bottle is inside said hollow space of said adhesion device.

14. The adhesion device of claim 12, where said bristles are longer than wide, where the cross dimensional shape of said bristles is circular.

15. The adhesion device of claim 12, where said bristles are longer than wide, where the cross dimensional shape of said bristles is not circular.

16. The adhesion device of claim 12, together with a second clip placed 180 degrees away from said clasping clip such that said second clip is as far as possible from said clasping clip.

17. An adhesion device for a prior art fluid containment bottle, said device having a contiguous length failing to close back on itself such that there is a hollow space surrounded by said one contiguous length, and a separated section of said contiguous length whereby said contiguous length has two noncontiguous ends in close proximity to each other, said device having a minimum of one clasping clip placed outside said hollow space contained within said contiguous length, said clip dimensionally stable, such that when bent the portion of said clip that undergoes said bending will exert pressure to return to its original shape, said hollow space of a smaller diameter than the diameter of said fluid containment bottle when said bottle is not filling said hollow space, with said contiguous length dimensionally stable, such that the inner lining of said greater diameter of said device can be deformed and bent away from the surface of said fluid containment bottle when said contiguous length of said device is placed around said fluid containment bottle, and whereby the return pressure of said inner lining provides the adhesive properties of said adhesion device.

18. The adhesion device of claim 17, with a minimum of one flexible bristle extending outwards from said contiguous length such that said bristle is not within said hollow space, where said bristle is longer than wide, where the cross dimensional shape of said flexible bristle is circular.

19. The adhesion device of claim 18, where the cross dimensional shape of said flexible bristle is not circular.

20. The adhesion device of claim 17, together with a prior art cup, where the lip of said prior art cup is inserted within said clasping clip, with the interior of said prior art cup both wide and deep enough to contain the bottom of said fluid containment bottle when a portion of said prior art bottle is inside said hollow space of said adhesion device.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This application relates to the field of fluid containment, and in more particular to the design of a binding device that can be temporarily adhered with a non-screwing motion to the bottom end of a storage bottle of potable fluids, such as water. The preferred embodiment of the instant invention is a single part design for an inexpensive plastic cup with compressible interior tabs, having the ability to slip around the bottom of a storage bottle and be held tightly by compressive forces as the tabs are flexed. This allows for the later removal of the cup to allow it to be used as a fluid containment medium for some of the contents of the bottle. This also allows for a hygienic transfer of fluid to an individual or small animal without the recipient drinking directly from the bottle, and either the convenient storage of the cup back around the bottom of the bottle for later additional use, or the disposal of the used cup if no longer required.

DESCRIPTION OF THE RELATED ART

The addition of a drinking cup to a fluid-storage device has traditionally been done by having a cup, with a grooved interior lip, screw around a matching exterior grove ringing the top of the storage device, such as is seen with the well known thermos bottle. Rather than drinking directly from the thermos bottle, the prior art drinker can pour a portion into the detached threaded-lip cup, drink, and re-screw the cup back onto the main device for later re-use.

Unless the cup is sanitized between usages, the traditional thermos does not offer a hygienic way to allow a plurality of drinkers to safely imbibe from the stored fluids within the bottle. Secondly, there is a high relative expense in the preparation of a grooved cup with precise attachment capabilities to a complementary grooved top for the storage device.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The preferred embodiment of the instant invention is an inexpensively manufactured cup having compressible or bendable soft tabs inside the interior of the circular lip, which allows the entire cup to slide upwards over the bottom of a smaller-diameter bottle, or over another identical instant cup previously secured around the bottom of the same bottle. In this manner one, or several, cups of the instant design may be stored for later use around the bottom of a fluid-containing bottle.

The use of described prior art fluid-containment bottles, such as thermos bottles, is hindered by the use of an expensive threaded-lip cup and matching storage bottle. These prior art cup is too expensive to discard, and if shared, despite immediate washing, carries the possibility of introducing germs or microbes from one drinker to another. By design and intent, the instant invention can be disposed of after use by one individual. Another benefit of the instant invention is that a plurality of them allows a plurality of drinkers to safely nourish from the same contained source. Another benefit of the instant invention is that it allow the tabbed cup to be attached securely to a variety of pre-formed bottles of a smaller diameter, such as are found in supermarkets to contain distilled water or other prepared fluids such as fruit juices.

It is therefore accordingly an object of the present invention to provide a hygienic cup for a prior art fluid-containing bottle whereby the manufacturing process is so simplified the cup is economically disposable after use.

It is also accordingly an object of the present invention to provide a hygienic cup whereby non-threaded attachment means are provided, such that a plurality of different storage bottles, of varying diameters, are suitable for use with the cup.

It is also accordingly an object of the present invention to provide a means by which a plurality of said hygienic cups may be stored with the storage bottle.

It is also accordingly an object of the present invention to provide a hygienic cup whereby access to the capped spigot-end of a compatible storage bottle is always accessible without removal of the cup.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the preferred embodiment of the instant invention before the attachment tabs are bent inside the cup, as would exit a plastic molding machine as the primary step of manufacture.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the preferred embodiment of the instant invention after the attachment tabs are folded inside the cup by thermal repositioning.

FIG. 3 is a cut-a-way side view of the embodiment of FIG. 2.

FIG. 4 is a top view of the embodiment of FIG. 2.

FIG. 5 is a bottom view of the embodiment of FIG. 2.

FIG. 6 is side view of the embodiment of FIG. 3 inserted over the bottom of a typical prior art fluid-storage bottle.

FIG. 7 is an alternate embodiment of the invention using a bottomless clip design for the hygienic cup. This is a two part system, in that a prior art disposable cup (not shown in this drawing) can be attached at the lip to the bottomless clip design.

FIG. 8 is a side view of the alternate embodiment of FIG. 7.

FIG. 9 is a side view of the alternate embodiment of FIG. 7 secured to a capped bottle, with a cut-a-way view of a prior art paper cup fastened to the flexible clip.

FIG. 10 is a side view of the alternate embodiment of FIG. 7 further enhanced with flexible stability bristles to allow larger sized cups to be pressed firmly in place.

FIG. 11 is a side view of the alternate embodiment of FIG. 10, which depicts one of the stability bristles in profile.

FIG. 12 a side view of another alternate bottomless embodiment of the invention in which the clasping mechanism to attach to a bottle is a plurality of interior bristles capable of bending to fit the diameter of the bottle. The fixed diameter of the embodiment is depicted with two clips juxtaposed at 180 degrees from each other. Each clip can tightly secure the lip of a prior art disposable cup.

FIG. 13 shows a side view of the embodiment of FIG. 12.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

As seen in FIG. 1, the hygienic cup 1 has circular lip 2. It can be manufactured inexpensively in a two-faced mold by having one or a plurality of arm-like flanges 3 and 4 extending outwards from said lip 2. This design allows the two mold faces to be pulled apart smoothly. Although shown somewhat vertical to the two-dimensional plane established by lip 2, a more feasible arrangement would be to have the plurality of flanges initially contained by that same two-dimensional plane. Within the flanges curved sections 5 and 6 are formed as depicted. The side 7 of cup 1 is sloped at a small angle such that cup bottom 8 is a slightly smaller diameter than circular lip 2, which allows a plurality of cups to be stacked inside each other for storage. The material to form cup 1 in the preferred embodiment is a flexible thermoplastic, which in FIG. 1 is shown somewhat transparent. Thus, the far side of cup bottom 8 is shown with dashed line 9 for proper visualization in this line drawing.

As seen in FIG. 2, flanged arms 3 and 4 have been folded down into the interior of cup 1 after (not shown) the point of attachments to lip 2 were heat-stressed. The permanent bending causes curved sections 5 and 6 to be oriented such that a smaller diameter bottle dropped down into cup 1 will cause both curved sections to flex inwards and thus cling to the bottle. There is sufficient clearance for the tips of the tabs to not reach cup bottom 8 when completely deformed against cup side 7.

FIGS. 3, 4, and 5 show a side, top, and bottom perspective view of the post-folded embodiment of FIG. 2. In the bottom view, the thermoplastic is shown opaque to better induce a proper visualization, as the folded flanges are no longer visible.

FIG. 6 is a side cut-a-way perspective showing proper engagement of curved sections 5 and 6 when bottle 10 is inserted inside of cup 1. Bottle cap 11 may be removed without also removing cup 1 from its storage location as shown.

In the preferred embodiment, the approximate diameter of lip 2 is about 2.7 to 3.0 inches, with the height of side 7 about 2.0 to 2.5 inches. The curved segments protrude about 0.3 to 0.5 inches each into the interior of cup 1, which allows bottles of about a 2.2 to 2.9 inch range of diameters to be secured by compression adhesion. The desired cup material is a soft-when-cool thermoplastic approved for safe use as a fluid-containment medium. The hygienic cup may be varied in manufacturing processes from the sizes listed to capture different size bottles, as well as the composition of matter from which it is formed. The curvature of the cup can be made with irregular diameters to accommodate irregular bottles, such as square shaped ones, or can be varied as to shape for cosmetic purposes. The shape of the cup is not important, as the novelty of the invention lies with securing a fluid containment device to a separate bottle, such that the device can first be adhered with a non-screwing motion, and second that can later be detached with a non-screwing motion. The purpose of the fluid containment device is to serve as a cup or to provide a cup to receive some of the fluid contents from the bottle for a drinker.

Although the preferred embodiment is shown with flexible curved plastic tabs 5 and 6, other adhesion designs well known to this art are possible to enable the same novelty as described above, which could include altering the number and configuration of tabs, or securely placing a non-poisonous foam plastic insert within the confines of the cup in lieu of the tabs. The tabs could be replaced with a plurality of compressible dimple-type invaginations protruding into the interior cavity. A heated rod tip gently pressed against a thermoplastic cup creates the invaginations. Other alternate embodiments can utilize a two part bottomless clip design in which the clasping mechanism to the bottle is not physically integral to the sides and bottom of the drinking cup. Two variations are depicted to illustrate the two part concept. One uses a circular clasp with an incomplete ring, and the other uses a completed circle. Both of these two part embodiments have clips to attach prior art cups to the bottomless design.

FIG. 7 shows an incomplete clasping ring 12 with a separation 13, which allows the ring sides to bend to a larger diameter to fit around the various fixed diameters of fluid containing bottles. Flexible clip 14 is attached at the farthest point away from separation 13. Clip 14 is of a clasping design known as a horseshoe clip.

FIG. 8 provides a side view of clasping ring 12 to see clip 14 in profile.

FIG. 9 shows a side view of the embodiment of FIG. 8 with a cut-a-way view of a prior art cup 15 with its side lip held by clip 14. Bottle 10 is inside ring 12.

FIG. 10 shows a top view of the incomplete ring 12 with two stability bristles 16 and 17. These bristles are designed to flex against the inner confines of larger cups, securing these cups from wobbling. These bristles expand the utility of the invention by allowing a plurality of cups with various diameters to be individually secured.

FIG. 11 is a side view of bristle 17 and the embodiment of FIG. 10.

FIG. 12 is a top view of an embodiment different from the previous incomplete ring design in that the ring is complete, and must therefore be larger in diameter than the bottle it is secured around. Non-clasping ring 18 has a second clip 19 placed 180 degrees away from clip 14, and the inner ring diameter has a plurality of flexible bristles, one of which is shown as bristle 20. A dozen bristles are depicted.

FIG. 13 is a side view of the embodiment of FIG. 12 showing clips 14 and 19 in profile. This design requires using a prior art cup of a particular diameter to fit the inner diameter of the two clips. However, the circular clasp can be slide fitted over a variety of lesser bottle diameters and held by the return force of the inner ring of bristles, of which there may be many more than the dozen depicted. There are other clipping designs that can be used other than the horseshoe clip depicted. The circumference of the bristles can be other than circular, such as ovoid or rectangular. The prior art cup 15 utilized by either bottomless clip design of FIG. 7 or 12 may be formed of many materials, including paper, coated paper, or hydrocarbon plastic.

This invention should not be confined to the embodiments described, as many modifications are possible to one skilled in the art. This paper is intended to cover any variations, uses, or adaptations of the invention following the general principles as described and including such departures that come within common practice for this art and fall within the bounds of the claims appended herein.