Title:
COOKIE CONTAINER WITH DUAL RAMP STRUCTURE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A cookie container comprises a base having a bottom wall and an upstanding side wall surrounding the bottom wall. One portion of the side wall forms a pair of integral ramps for supporting respective generally straight rows of cookies at an angle relative to the bottom wall. The ramps are angled slightly away from each other such that an interior angle between the ramps (as viewed from an interior of the base) is greater than 180 degrees. By angling the ramps away from each other, the rows of cookies extending from the respective ramps into an interior of the base diverge away from each other. This, in turn, assists in showcasing cookies supported by the ramps for better viewing because a consumer can readily see the generally flat top of at least one cookie from a greater viewing angle than if the cookies in both rows extended in the same direction.



Inventors:
Hanson, Scott A. (BUFFALO GROVE, IL, US)
Mangla, Raj K. (PITTSFORD, NY, US)
Maslach, Suzanne R. (PITTSFORD, NY, US)
Application Number:
09/371406
Publication Date:
05/31/2001
Filing Date:
08/10/1999
Assignee:
SCOTT A. HANSON
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/445, 426/128
International Classes:
B65D1/36; B65D43/16; B65D85/60; B65D85/62; (IPC1-7): B65D85/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
BECKER, DREW E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MICHAEL J. BLANKSTEIN (DALLAS, TX, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A cookie container, comprising: a base having a bottom wall and an upstanding side wall surrounding the bottom wall; and one portion of the side wall forming a pair of integral ramps for supporting respective generally straight rows of cookies at an angle relative to the bottom wall, the ramps being angled slightly away from each other such that the rows of cookies extending from the respective ramps into an interior of the base diverge away from each other.

2. The cookie container of claim 1, wherein the ramps intersect each other.

3. The cookie container of claim 1, wherein an interior ramp angle between each ramp and the bottom wall is between about 120 degrees and about 160 degrees.

4. The cookie container of claim 3, wherein the interior ramp angle is about 150 degrees.

5. The cookie container of claim 1, wherein the side wall includes a pair of opposing side portions and a pair of opposing end portions, one of the end portions forming the pair of ramps, the ramps being angled away from each other and toward the respective side portions proximate to the respective ramps.

6. The cookie container of claim 5, wherein the ramps intersect the respective side portions.

7. The cookie container of claim 1, wherein the ramps are angled less steeply relative to the bottom wall than remaining portions of the side wall.

8. The cookie container of claim 1, wherein an interior angle between the ramps, as measured in an imaginary plane parallel to the bottom wall and intersecting the ramps, is between about 190 degrees and about 220 degrees.

9. The cookie container of claim 8, wherein the interior angle is about 210 degrees.

10. The cookie container of claim 1, wherein the bottom wall forms an upstanding ridge for separating the rows of cookies.

11. The cookie container of claim 5, wherein the bottom wall forms an upstanding ridge for separating the rows of cookies, the upstanding ridge being generally parallel to the side portions and intersecting the one of the end portions between the ramps.

12. The cookie container of claim 1, wherein the base includes a pair of feet at lower ends of the respective ramps and in generally the same plane as the bottom wall to prevent the base from tipping over onto the ramps.

13. The cookie container of claim 1, further including a lid hingedly connected to the base.

14. A cookie container, comprising: a base having a bottom wall and an upstanding side wall surrounding the bottom wall, the side wall including a pair of opposing side portions and a pair of opposing end portions extending between the side portions; and one of the end portions forming a pair of integral ramps for supporting respective generally straight rows of cookies at an angle relative to the bottom wall, the ramps being angled less steeply relative to the bottom wall than the opposing side portions and the other of the end portions, the ramps being angled slightly away from each other and toward the respective side portions proximate to the respective ramps such that the rows of cookies extending from the respective ramps into an interior of the base diverge away from each other.

15. The cookie container of claim 14, wherein the ramps intersect each other and intersect the respective side portions.

16. The cookie container of claim 14, wherein an interior ramp angle between each ramp and the bottom wall is between about 120 degrees and about 160 degrees.

17. The cookie container of claim 14, wherein an interior angle between the ramps, as measured in an imaginary plane parallel to the bottom wall and intersecting the ramps, is between about 190 degrees and about 220 degrees.

18. The cookie container of claim 14, wherein the bottom wall forms an upstanding ridge positioned to separate the rows of cookies.

19. The cookie container of claim 18, wherein the upstanding ridge is generally parallel to and approximately halfway between the side portions, the upstanding ridge intersecting the one of the end portions between the ramps.

20. The cookie container of claim 14, wherein the base includes a pair of feet at lower ends of the respective ramps and in generally the same plane as the bottom wall to prevent the base from tipping over onto the ramps.

21. A cookie container, comprising: a bottom wall; an upstanding side wall surrounding the bottom wall, the side wall including a pair of opposing side portions and a pair of opposing end portions extending between the side portions; a pair of integral ramps formed by one of the end portions, the ramps being constructed and arranged to support respective generally straight rows of cookies at an angle relative to the bottom wall, the ramps being angled less steeply relative to the bottom wall than the opposing side portions and the other of the end portions, the ramps being angled slightly away from each other and toward the respective side portions proximate to the respective ramps such that the rows of cookies extending from the respective ramps into an interior of the container diverge away from each other; an upstanding ridge formed by the bottom wall and positioned to separate the rows of cookies; and a pair of feet at lower ends of the respective ramps and in generally the same plane as the bottom wall to prevent the container from tipping over onto the ramps.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention generally relates to cookie containers and, more particularly, to a cookie container having a pair of integral ramps angled away from each other to assist in showcasing cookies supported by the ramps for better viewing.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] One example of a cookie container includes a lid connected to a base along a hinge. The base includes a bottom wall and an upstanding side wall surrounding the bottom wall. The portion of the peripheral side wall below the hinge is steeply angled to form a ramp for supporting cookies at an angle relative to the bottom wall. The bottom wall may form a ridge that intersects the ramp and separates the cookies into two or more rows. The ramp directly supports a rear cookie in each row to maintain that cookie at an angle relative to the bottom wall corresponding to the angle of the ramp relative to the bottom wall. The rear cookie in each row, in turn, supports the next adjacent cookie, and so on, such that the cookies in each row are supportingly maintained at the aforementioned angle relative to the bottom wall.

[0003] One drawback of the cookie container described above is that its effectiveness in showcasing cookies in a grocery store is somewhat limited. It has been found that cookie containers better attract consumers and thereby promote sales when they showcase the generally flat tops of the cookies. The cookie container described above primarily showcases the cookies in a direction perpendicular to the hinge. As a consumer approaches the cookie container from this direction, the consumer can readily see the generally flat top of the front cookie in each row and, therefore, will more likely notice and purchase the cookies among a plethora of other cookie offerings. If, however, a consumer approaches the cookie container from a different direction, the cookies are less likely to “grab” the consumer's attention and thereby lead the consumer to purchase the cookies. Another drawback of the cookie container described above is that after the cookies are purchased and are partially consumed, the force applied by the remaining cookies leaning against the ramp may cause the container to tip over such that the ramp, instead of the bottom wall, sits on a support surface.

[0004] A need therefore exists for a cookie container that overcomes one or more the above-noted drawbacks.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0005] In accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, a cookie container comprises a base having a bottom wall and an upstanding side wall surrounding the bottom wall. One portion of the side wall forms a pair of integral ramps for supporting respective generally straight rows of cookies at an angle relative to the bottom wall. The ramps are angled slightly away from each other such that an interior angle between the ramps (as viewed from an interior of the base) is greater than 180 degrees. By angling the ramps away from each other, the rows of cookies extending from the respective ramps into the interior of the base would diverge away from each other. This, in turn, assists in showcasing cookies supported by the ramps for better viewing because a consumer can readily see the generally flat top of at least one cookie from a greater viewing angle than if the cookies in both rows extended in the same direction.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0006] Other objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent upon reading the following detailed description and upon reference to the drawings in which:

[0007] FIG. 1 is an isometric view of a cookie container embodying the present invention;

[0008] FIG. 2 is a top view of the cookie container; and

[0009] FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken generally along line 3-3 in FIG. 2.

[0010] While the invention is susceptible to various modifications and alternative forms, a specific embodiment thereof has been shown by way of example in the drawings and will herein be described in detail. It should be understood, however, that it is not intended to limit the invention to the particular forms disclosed, but on the contrary, the intention is to cover all modifications, equivalents, and alternatives falling within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0011] Turning now to the drawings, FIGS. 1 and 2 depict a cookie container 10 embodying the present invention. The cookie container 10 is generally rectangular in shape and includes a lid 12 and a base 14 connected to each other along a hinge 16. The hinge 16 is flexible and durable to resist breaking in response to repeated opening and closing of the container 10. The container 10 is preferably composed of a thermoplastic material such as oriented polystyrene (OPS), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), K-resin, talc-filled polypropylene, or polyvinyl chloride.

[0012] The lid 12 includes a top wall 18, a depending side wall 20, and a rim 22. The side wall 20 encompasses the top wall 18, extends downward and outward from the top wall 18, and includes a plurality of vertical ribs 24 that provide stacking strength. The rim 22 encompasses a lower edge of the side wall 20 and extends laterally outward therefrom. A front portion of the rim 22 disposed opposite the hinge 16 includes a pair of spaced, rectangular recesses 26. The recesses 26 are designed to releasably engage corresponding rectangular buttons 28 on the base 14 to lock the lid 12 in a closed position covering the base 14. The lid 12 is fairly shallow to prevent excessive movement of the cookies in the base 14 during shipping and handling. By preventing excessive movement of the cookies, cookie breakage is minimized.

[0013] The base 14 includes a bottom wall 30, a depending side wall 32, and a rim 34. The side wall 32 encompasses the bottom wall 30, extends upward and outward from the bottom wall 30, and includes a plurality of vertical ribs 36 that provide stacking strength. The rim 34 encompasses an upper edge of the side wall 32 and extends laterally outward therefrom. A front portion of the rim 34 disposed opposite the hinge 16 includes the pair of spaced, rectangular buttons 28 mentioned above. Opposing ends of each button 28 form a pair of shoulders designed to engage corresponding détentes at opposite ends of the respective recess 26. Further details concerning the interlocking buttons 28 and recesses 26 may be obtained from U.S. Pat. No. 5,046,659 to Warburton, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

[0014] Because the container 10 is generally rectangular in shape, the side wall 32 includes a pair of opposing side portions 32a and 32b and a pair of opposing end portions 32c and 32d. The end portions 32c and 32d extend between the side portions 32a and 32b. The end portion 32c beneath the hinge 16 forms a pair of integral, generally planar ramps 38 and 40 for supporting respective generally straight rows of cookies 42 and 44 at an angle relative to the bottom wall 30. The ramps 38 and 40 are sloped less steeply relative to the bottom wall 30 than the remaining portions of the side wall 32. In other words, referring to FIG. 3, the interior angle α between the ramp 38, 40 and the bottom wall 30 is greater than the interior angle between the remaining side wall portions 32a, 32b, 32d and the bottom wall 30. The interior angle α is measured in an imaginary plane perpendicular to both the ramp 38 or 40 and the bottom wall 30. In a preferred embodiment, the interior angle α between the ramp 38, 40 and the bottom wall 30 is in a range from about 120 degrees to about 160 degrees and is, most preferably, about 150 degrees. A smaller interior angle α allows the container 10 to accommodate more cookies.

[0015] Referring back to FIGS. 1 and 2, the ramps 38 and 40 are angled slightly away from each other and toward the respective side portions 32a and 32b such that an interior angle β between the ramps 38 and 40 (as viewed from an interior of the base 14) is greater than 180 degrees. The interior angle β is measured in an imaginary plane parallel to the bottom wall 30 and intersecting the ramps 38 and 40. In a preferred embodiment, the interior angle β between the ramps 38 and 40 is in a range from about 190 degrees to about 220 degrees and is, most preferably, about 210 degrees.

[0016] By angling the ramps 38 and 40 away from each other, the rows of cookies 42 and 44 extending from the respective ramps 38 and 40 into the interior of the base 14 diverge away from each other. This, in turn, assists in showcasing the cookies supported by the ramps 38 and 40 for better viewing because a consumer can readily see the generally flat top of at least one cookie from a greater viewing angle than if the cookies in both rows extended in the same direction. For example, a consumer approaching the side portions 32a and 32b or the end portion 32d of the container 10 can readily see the generally flat top of the front cookie in at least one of the two rows 42 and 44. If the consumer approaches the side portion 32a the consumer can easily view the generally flat top of the cookie 42a, while if the consumer approaches the side portion 32b the consumer can easily view the generally flat top of the cookie 44a. Of course, if the consumer approaches the end portion 32d the consumer can easily view the generally flat top of both cookies 42a and 44a.

[0017] The bottom wall 30 forms a central upstanding ridge 46 for keeping the rows of cookies 42 and 44 separated from each other. The ridge 46 extends upwardly from adjacent flat portions of the bottom wall 30 and is generally parallel to the side portions 32a and 32b. The ridge 46 divides the base 14 into two generally equally halves and intersects the end portion 32c at an intersection of the ramps 38 and 40. The rows of cookies 42 and 44 are disposed on opposite sides of the ridge 46.

[0018] To help stabilize the container 10 as a consumer removes cookies from the base 14, the base 14 includes a pair of feet 48 and 50 at the lower ends of the respective ramps 38 and 40. The feet 48 and 50 are essentially extensions of the bottom wall 30 into the respective ramps 38 and 40. When only a few cookies remain in the base 14 and these cookies lean against the ramps 38 and 40, the feet 48 and 50 prevent the base 14 from tipping over onto the ramps 38 and 40 such that the ramps, instead of the bottom wall 30, sit on a support surface. Although the feet 48 and 50 are illustrated as being generally triangular in configuration, the feet 48 and 50 can take on other geometric configurations such as rectangular, semi-elliptical, and semi-circular.

[0019] While the present invention has been described with reference to one or more particular embodiments, those skilled in the art will recognize that many changes may be made thereto without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. Each of these embodiments and obvious variations thereof is contemplated as falling within the spirit and scope of the claimed invention, which is set forth in the following claims.