Title:
Straw attachable to drink lid or container
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A drinking device comprising a lid or container and a straw selectively attached to the lid or container. The straw being selectively attached to the lid such that packets of coffee additives fictionally engage the lid. The lid further includes an indentation which has a predetermined radius in order to receive and secure a packet of coffee creamer. The straw can be selectively removed for use.



Inventors:
Kalagian, Maureen P. (River Forest, IL, US)
Application Number:
09/752229
Publication Date:
09/06/2001
Filing Date:
12/29/2000
Assignee:
KALAGIAN MAUREEN P.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/217, 206/459.5, 220/710, 229/103.1, 229/116.1, 229/922, 40/306
International Classes:
B65D21/02; B65D77/28; (IPC1-7): A47G19/22; B65D25/34; B65D77/28
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MEREK, JOSEPH C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BANIAK PINE & GANNON (CHICAGO, IL, US)
Claims:

What is claimed:



1. A lid apparatus comprising: a lid, having an indicia thereon; a straw removably attached to the lid at a location, said straw having an indicia thereon; wherein the indicia on the straw is congruent with the indicia on the lid; and wherein the location is such that the straw covers at least a portion of the indicia on the lid.

2. The lid apparatus of claim 1, where the straw and the indicia on the lid combine to form an overall indicia.

3. The lid apparatus of claim 1, where upon removal of the straw the covered portion of the lid indicia is revealed.

4. The lid apparatus of claim 1, wherein the straw comprises at least one accordion section.

5. The lid apparatus of claim 1, wherein the straw is selectively attached to the lid by a pressure sensitive adhesive.

6. The lid apparatus of claim 1, wherein the lid includes at least one notch formed therein, such that the straw is fictionally secured to the lid by the at least one notch.

7. The lid apparatus of claim 1, wherein the lid apparatus is configured to be stackable one a top another.

8. The lid apparatus of claim 1, wherein the lid is a coffee lid.

9. The lid apparatus of claim 8, further comprising at least one packet of coffee additive selectively attached to the coffee lid.

10. The lid apparatus of claim 9, wherein at least one packet of coffee additive is selectively attached to the coffee lid by a pressure sensitive adhesive.

11. The lid apparatus of claim 9, wherein at least one packet of coffee additive is selectively attached to the coffee lid by engaging the coffee lid under the straw.

12. The lid apparatus of claim 9, wherein at least one packet of coffee additive is selectively attached to the coffee lid by grooves selectively positioned about the coffee lid.

13. The lid apparatus of claim 8, further comprising an indention, the indentation having a predetermined radius such that a standard packet of coffee creamer being placed in the indentation fictionally engages the coffee lid.

14. A drinking apparatus, comprising: a cylindrical drink container having an end with a protruding circular rim concentric to the axis of the cylindrical drink container; and a hollow straw having at least one accordion portion, the straw being removably attached to the protruding rim.

15. The drinking apparatus of claim 14, wherein the straw has an indicia thereon that is congruent an indicia on the container and the straw covers at least a portion of the indicia on the container.

16. A drinking cup apparatus, comprising: a lid for covering a drinking cup; a substantially circular indentation formed in the top of the lid for frictionally receiving a cylindrically-shaped container; a plurality of notches protruding from the top of the lid for frictional engaging a straw; and the straw frictionally engaged between the notches to be removably attached to the lid.

Description:

[0001] This application is a continuation-in part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/129,939, the subject matter of which is hereby incorporated by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] 1. Field of the Invention

[0003] The present invention relates generally to a lid or a container and a straw attached thereto for drinking liquids.

[0004] The present invention provides a drink lid or a drink container with an accordion straw releasably attached therewith. A consumer before covering a cup with the lid may grasp the lid and remove the straw therefrom. After covering the cup with the lid, the consumer may insert the straw through a notch in the lid and into a liquid contained by the cup. The consumer is, thereby, afforded an inexpensive means of drinking from the cup without having to touch the cup to the consumer's lips.

[0005] 2. Description of Related Art

[0006] Containers, such as cups or cans, have long been employed to hold liquids to allow drinking therefrom. Drinking from containers has traditionally been accomplished by raising of the container to the lips of the person desiring to drink, therefrom, and, then, pouring of the liquid from the container into the mouth of the person.

[0007] It has been found, however, that while some persons wish to drink from a container, they find raising a container to their lips either undesirable or unacceptable. Some persons may be concerned about the sanitary nature of the container. Others have found placing a cup against their lips unacceptable for cosmetic reasons. By way of example, persons in the modeling or entertainment industry spend long work days with their lips covered with a cosmetic of some sort. Although such persons may wish to drink from a cup, they must refrain from doing so in order to minimize any alteration to their make-up.

[0008] Furthermore, when a person wishes to avoid spilling any liquid in a cup, the person can place a cover on the cup. Many different covers are employed, however, each cover serves the same underlying purpose, to prevent liquid from spilling out of the cup.

[0009] Persons drinking from cups have employed hollowed objects, such as straws, to transport suction from the persons' mouth to below the surface of the liquid contained in the cup. Straws transport liquid in cups to the persons' mouth without the cup being lifted to the mouth. Contact between the cup and the persons' mouth and lips may thereby be avoided by one wishing to drink therefrom. In this manner, contact with the person's lips is reduced to a small straw.

[0010] Persons who are concerned about the sanitary nature of cups, lids and straws for medical reasons (such as not being able to bend back the neck to drink after neck surgery) often desire cups with covers having an associated straw to allow the use of a new straw with each new cup. In this manner, such cup, cover and straw combinations may be used as disposable objects, and a new cup and straw combination obtained whenever a drink is desired.

[0011] Prior attempts at providing either a container with an associated straw or a lid with an associated straw have produced devices which are sometimes expensive and inconvenient to use.

[0012] U.S. Pat. No. 3,332,567 to Pugh represents an attempt at a cup with a cover and straw combination. The teachings of Pugh require a cup to have a groove formed therein along the length and bottom thereof. The costs of manufacturing the Pugh cup are relatively high and do not readily permit a disposable-type application.

[0013] U.S. Pat. No. 4,573,631 to Reeves represents another attempt at a cup with a lid and straw combination. Reeves shows a cup having a compartment formed on a side thereof for containing a straw. The elaborate construction of Reeves is relatively expensive and does not lend itself to disposable applications.

[0014] U.S. Pat. No. 3,921,889 to Gibbons represents another attempt at a cup and straw combination. Gibbons also shows a cup with an integrally formed straw. The cost of construction of the Gibbons combination does not generally promote disposable applications.

[0015] Accordingly, there is a need for a lid/straw or container/straw combination that is convenient to use and has low manufacturing costs for allowing disposable applications.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0016] It is an advantage of the present invention to provide a lid and straw combination that is easy to use and inexpensive to produce and transport to customers.

[0017] It is a further advantage of the present invention to provide a container and straw combination that is easy to use and inexpensive to produce and transport to customers.

[0018] The lid/straw and container/straw combinations have a multitude of uses, which include, by way of example, fast food restaurants, eat in or carry out restaurants, picnics, cocktail parties, birthday parties, graduation parties, hospitals, retirement homes, airlines, and most other social occasions.

[0019] The above advantages and other objects of the present invention are accomplished by providing a drink lid with a removably attached straw and a drink container having a removably attached straw.

[0020] According to one aspect of the present invention, a straw is removably attached to a lid. The straw has at least one accordion section which allows for flexibility of the straw. Therefore, the straw may be bent for drinking from a cup. It is appreciated by the present invention that the straw may be attached to the lid in more various ways, thus allowing attachment of the straw to the lid as described herein below.

[0021] According to another aspect of the inventions, a string of beads of a pressure sensitive adhesive can be positioned on the lid or container. The straw is positioned in the beads of a pressure sensitive adhesive to selectively fix the straw to the lid or container. Consequently, a consumer gets a fresh unused straw with each lid. The concerns about locating a straw or the cleanliness of such straw are thereby reduced. Additionally, the lid/straw and container/straw combinations may be manufactured at a cost low enough to offer the combinations as disposable goods.

[0022] To further assure the cleanliness of the straw, the straw may alternatively have a packaging enclosing the straw from the environment such that the straw reaches the consumer untouched. Selective attachment to the lid can be accomplished by attaching the packaging of the straw to the pressure sensitive adhesive.

[0023] Numerous other advantages and features of the invention will become readily apparent from the detailed description of the preferred embodiment of the invention, from the claims, and from the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0024] A fuller understanding of the foregoing may be had by reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein:

[0025] FIG. 1A depicts a perspective view of a prior art lid.

[0026] FIG. 1B depicts a top view of a prior art lid.

[0027] FIG. 1C depicts a side view of a prior art lid.

[0028] FIG. 2 depicts a perspective view of a prior art lid attached to a cup.

[0029] FIG. 3 depicts a front view of an accordion-type straw.

[0030] FIG. 4 depicts a front view of a straw having multiple accordion sections.

[0031] FIG. 5A depicts a top view of a preferred lid with attached straw in accordance with the present invention.

[0032] FIG. 5B depicts a top view of an alternate embodiment of a lid in accordance with the present invention.

[0033] FIG. 5C depicts a top view of an alternate embodiment of a lid in accordance with the present invention.

[0034] FIG. 5D depicts a top view of an alternate embodiment of a lid in accordance with the present invention.

[0035] FIG. 5E depicts a cross sectional view of the lid shown in FIG. 5A along line a-a.

[0036] FIG. 6 depicts a side view of a stacking configuration of the lid shown in FIG. 5A.

[0037] FIG. 7 depicts another embodiment of the lid with attached straw of the in accordance with the present invention.

[0038] FIG. 8 depicts another embodiment of the lid with attached straw in accordance with the present invention.

[0039] FIGS. 9A, 9B, 9C and 9D depict still other embodiments of the lid with attached straw in accordance with the present invention.

[0040] FIGS. 10A, 10B, 10C, 10D, 10E and 10F depict further embodiments of the lid with attached straw in accordance with the present invention.

[0041] FIGS. 11A, 11B, 11C and 11D depict a container with an attached straw in accordance with the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PRESENTLY PREFERRED EMBODIMENT(S)

[0042] While the invention is susceptible of embodiment in many different forms, there is shown in the drawings and will be described herein, in detail, the preferred embodiments of the invention. It should be understood, however, that the present disclosure is to be considered an exemplification of the principles of the invention and is not intended to limit the spirit and scope of the invention and/or claims of the embodiment illustrated.

[0043] Referring now to FIGS. 1A, 1B, 1C and 2, lid 10 depicted in the prior art is circular in shape and adapted to matingly engage the upper edge of a drinking cup 20 so as to cover the open end of the cup as shown in FIG. 2. The lid 10 consists of a central cover portion 22 and a downwardly depending outwardly curved annular skirt 24. The central cover portion includes an upper side 28 and a lower side 29. The annular skirt 24 having an outer perimeter 25 forms an outer peripheral edge 26 of the lid. The outer peripheral edge 26 is configured to make selective snap-engagement with the upper edge of the cup so as to effect selective closure thereof in the manner well known in the prior art.

[0044] Referring now to FIG. 3, a straw 30 of the present invention is preferably, although not necessarily, an accordion-type straw comprising at least one accordion section 32, thereon. The preferred straw 30 comprises a single accordion section 32 as depicted in FIG. 3 and described further herein below. It should be noted that the present invention may be accomplished by any straw which will allow attachment to the lid 10 as described below. The preferred straw 30 comprises a first end 34 and an opposing second end 36. Each of the first and second ends 34, 36 comprise an outer perimeter 38 which is preferably consistent along the length, thereof, and an inner perimeter 40 which follows the contour of the outer perimeter 38. In this manner, each of the first and second ends are hollow to allow fluid transport therethrough. Indentations or other variations in the outer perimeters of the first and second ends 34, 36 are contemplated, so long as air or any liquid is not permitted to pass through the outer perimeter 38 of either the first end 34 or the second end 36.

[0045] The accordion section 32 of straw 30 preferably extends substantially from the first end 34 to the second end 36. The outer perimeter 40 of the accordion section 32 is comprised of a plurality of pleated sections 42. Each pleated section 42 comprises a first portion 44 and a second portion 46. A first end pleated section 48 is attached to the first end 34 of the straw 30. This is preferably accomplished by forming the first portion 44 of said first end pleated section 48 integrally with the first end 34. A second end pleated section 50 is attached to the second end 36 of the straw 30. This is preferably accomplished by forming the second portion 46 of the second end pleated section 50 integrally with the second end 36 of the straw 30. The remaining pleated sections 42 of the plurality of the pleated sections are integrally connected along an axis 52 of the straw 30 to provide fluid connection of the first end 34 to said second end 36 of the straw 30. This is preferably accomplished by integrally forming each pleated section first portion 44 of the remaining pleated sections 42 to the respective adjacent pleated section second portion 46. The pleated section first portion 44 of the second end pleated portion 50 must also be integrally formed to the adjacent pleated section second portion 46. In this manner, an enclosing wall is formed from the first end 34 to the second end 36 and an inner perimeter of the accordion section 32 is fluidly connected to the inner perimeter of each of the first and second ends.

[0046] The above described configuration provides a straw through which either air or liquid may be suctioned without substantial loss of pressure due to leakage through the enclosing wall of the straw 30. The accordion section 32 of the straw 30 allows flexibility of the straw 30 such that it may be bent into a variety of forms while still allowing suction from the first end 34 to the second end 36. Additionally, the straw 30 may be extended or shortened by forcing the first and second ends 34, 36 of the straw 30 away from each other or toward each other, respectively, thus expanding or compressing the accordion sections 32. While all suitable materials and methods of manufacture known in the art are contemplated for construction of the straw 30 of the present invention, it is preferred that the present straw 30 be constructed by blow molding to minimize the costs of construction.

[0047] The lengths of the first and second ends 34, and 36 and the accordion section 32 may vary without departing from the scope of the present invention. It is preferred that the first and second ends 34, 36 are of a length sufficient to allow a user of the straw 30 to place the user's lips, thereon, and obtain sufficient suction to allow drinking therethrough. However, it is contemplated that the straw first and second 34, 36 may be eliminated without preventing accomplishment of the present invention. Additionally, while straws are typically constructed to be of circular cross-section about the axis 52, thereof, other configurations are also contemplated.

[0048] The straw 30 of the present invention may, in an alternative embodiment, comprise a plurality of accordion sections 32 each comprising at least one pleated section 38 as depicted in FIG. 4. This alternative embodiment straw 30 provides the advantage of allowing bending, thereof, while reducing the material required for construction by elimination of some of the pleated sections 32, thereon. The alternative straw 30 thereby allows reduced construction costs. It should be recognized that while the remaining figures depicts the straw 30 of FIG. 3, the straw of FIG. 4, or any other straw falling within the scope of the present invention, may be substituted therefore.

[0049] While various configurations of lids and straws have been previously known in the art, an inexpensive and efficient manner of configuring a lid and an associated straw for shipping and convenient use by a consumer have been, heretofore, unknown. The lid with the attached straw 30, in FIG. 5A, of the present invention provides a simple, efficient, and convenient manner of providing a consumer with a lid and an associated straw for use, therewith. This is accomplished by selectively attaching the straw 30 to the lid 17. In the preferred embodiments, FIGS. 5A and 5B, the straw 30 is selectively attached to the lower side 29 of the lid 17 in various positions.

[0050] FIG. 5A depicts the straw 30 attached to the lower side 29 of the central cover portion 22. Placing the straw on the lower side of a lid allows easy access to the straw by the consumer. It should be noted that employing a straw 30 with the accordion section 32 of the preferred embodiment allows for easy bending of the straw 30 around an inner perimeter 60 of the lid 10. Furthermore, the flexibility associated with a straw 30 comprising an accordion section 32 reduces the tendency of a straw 30 to straighten out and, thereby, detach itself from an associated lid 17.

[0051] Straw 30 may be attached to the lid 17 by any suitable attachment technique. However, the preferred embodiment of the invention as shown in FIGS. 5A and 5B, depicts the straw 30 attached to the lid 17 by molding grooves 51 and/or notches 53 into the lid 17 such that the straw 30 is frictionally engaging the lid. If the groove 51 is used, the groove 51 can be shaped to receive the straw so that the walls of the groove fictional engage the straw when it is placed within the groove. For example, the groove 51 can be a continuous accurate concavity having a diameter slightly less than the straw, formed as an indentation in the bottom of the lid 17. If notches 53 are employed, the notches 53 can be series of spaced abutments formed to extend from the bottom of the lid 17 along the groove arcs 51. The notches 53 can be placed across the groove from one another in pairs (as shown), or alternatively, staggered in an offset spacing on either side of the groove 51 so that they are not directly across from one another.

[0052] FIG. 5E depicts a cross sectional view of the lid 17, showing the notches 53 and groove 51.

[0053] Using a groove or notches for fixation allows the user to easily remove the straw 30 from the lid. Other means for attaching the straw 30 to the lid are also contemplated by the present invention, such as the use of a pressure sensitive adhesive.

[0054] Fixation of the straw 30 to the lower side 29 of the lid 17 allows stacking of a plurality of lids of the present invention for shipping or storage, as depicted in FIG. 6. The lid 17 has a straw side 70, the portion of the lid in contact with the straw 30, and an open side 72, the portion of the lid not in contact with the straw 30. When stacking lids with associated straws, the lids are in contact or two straw sides of the lids are in contact. In this manner, lids may be easily stacked with straws.

[0055] However, it should be noted that in order to maintain easy stacking and shipping a straw side 70 should not be in contact with an open side 72. Otherwise, an accumulation of the lack of a stabilizing force provided by the straw 30 in contact with an open side 70 might allow a large stack of lids to sway away from the stabilizing force provided by the straws 30 and topple a stack of lids of the present invention.

[0056] Although it is preferable that the straw 30 is attached to the lower side 29 lid 17 (as depicted in FIGS. 5A, and 5B), the present invention recognizes other placements of the straw 30 with respect to the lid 17. For example, the straw 30 may be attached to the upper side 28 of the lid 17. Also the straw 30 may be attached to the outer perimeter 25 of the curved annular skirt 24, as depicted in FIG. 5C. Additionally, the straw may be coiled and attached to either the upper side 28 or the lower side 29 of the lid 17, depicted in FIG. 5D.

[0057] It should become apparent that the present invention contemplates placement of the straw 30 at any position on the lid 17. However, those specifically mentioned above tend to better allow stacking of a plurality of the lid with the attached straw of the present invention.

[0058] The lid 17 and straw 30 combination may include packaging 61 and 65 to keep dirt, debris, and germs from coming into contact with the lid 17 or straw 30. As shown in FIG. 5A, the straw 30 is packaged separately by package 61 and the lid/straw combination is packaged together by package 65. Alternatively, the straw 30 and lid 17 can be packaged together using a single package, or the straw 30 packaged alone, without any packaging placed around the lid 17. Packaging of the straw 30, lid 17, or groups thereof, may be accomplished by sealed bags comprises of any suitable material or process for such packaging, such as plastic film.

[0059] The present invention also contemplates the straw 30 being an accordion coffee stirring straw connected to a coffee lid. FIG. 7 depicts a coffee lid 70 connected with an accordion coffee stirring straw 90. The coffee lid 70 includes a central cover portion 72 and a downwardly depending outwardly curved annular skirt 74. The central cover portion includes an upper side 76 and a lower side 78. The annular skirt 74 having an outer perimeter forms an outer peripheral edge 80 of the coffee lid 70. The outer peripheral edge 80 is configured slightly larger than the upper edge of a coffee cup in order to fictionally engage the upper edge of the coffee cup to selectively cover thereof in the manner well known in the prior art.

[0060] The coffee stirring straw 90 is removably attached to the coffee lid 70 by the use of either pressure sensitive adhesives or may be frictionally engaging notches 84 preformed in the coffee lid as depicted in FIG. 7.

[0061] Furthermore, when drinking coffee, the consumer may desire to have their coffee with sugar/sweetener and/or creamer. If the consumer does not place the sugar or creamer in the coffee immediately, the consumer must either hold or place the packets in their pocket. This is undesirable because occasionally the packets tear causing the contents to spill or dump into the consumer's pockets. The present invention depicts a coffee lid which allows the user to secure packets of sugar/sweetener and/or a packet of creamer on the lid, FIG. 7.

[0062] The notches 84, shown in FIG. 7, (or adhesive) on the coffee lid 70 engage the coffee stirring straw only on the ends of the stirring straw. A middle portion 92 of the stirring straw 90 is not attached to the coffee lid, such that a packet of sugar 94 or sweetener may be easily secured under the stirring straw 90. Furthermore, the notches 84 engage the stirring straw 90 such that the straw does not tear away from the coffee lid 70 when a packet 94 is placed under it.

[0063] FIG. 7 also depicts the coffee lid 70 with an indentation 96. The size of indentation 96 is such that a standard cup of creamer can be secured in the indentation and be easily removed for use. This invention contemplates various positions of the indentation 96, the placement of the stirring straw 90 and the placement of packets of sugar on the coffee lid. For instance, in FIG. 8, an alternate embodiment of the present invention is shown. FIG. 8 shows the stirring straw 90 being wrapped around the indentation 96 with the packets of sugar 94 secured by the stirring straw 90 positioned around the indentation 96.

[0064] FIGS. 9A, 9B, 9C, 9D and FIGS. 10A, 10B, 10C, 10D, 10E, 10F depict other embodiments of the present invention showing a coffee lid with the indentation at various positions around the coffee lid. Furthermore, as shown in FIGS. 9A-9D and 10A-10D, the placement of the stirring straw may be attached at various positions around the indentation or around the coffee lid.

[0065] FIGS. 11A, 11B, 11C and 11D depict a container 122 with an attached straw 124 in accordance with the present invention. Although the container 122 is shown as a beverage can, it could also be a glass container or bottle.

[0066] FIGS. 11A-D depict a can 122 of the type typically used for beverages such as soda or beer and having a beveled upper and lower rim 154,126. The straw 124 may be releasably affixed at any position to the can 122 as described herein. However, to prevent the straw 124 from overly protruding from the can 122, the straw is preferably attached to either the upper or lower rim 154, 126 on the upper and lower can shoulders 156, 128, as respectively shown in FIGS.11 A and 11C. Alternatively, the straw 124 placed on the inside of the upper and lower rims 154, 126, on the top 152 of the can 122 or bottom concavity 130 of the can 122, as shown in FIGS. 11B and 11D, respectively.

[0067] Although not shown in FIGS. 11A-D, the straw 124 can be package using a convention package material, such as clear plastic film. The packaging material, as well as the straw 124 and can 122 may having indicia printed thereon.

[0068] As illustrated in FIG. 5A, the straw 30, lid 17 and/or packaging 60, 65 may have an indicia 63, such as a logo, printed thereon. The indicia 63 may be may be related to the lid 17 or container 122 and the straw 30 or packaging 60,65. For example, the lid 17 or packaging 60, 65 may be printed with an American flag and the straw decorated or placed on the lid 17 or container 122 so as to represent on of the thirteen strips associated with the flag. In addition, or in the alternative, the straw 30 could cover a hidden message or picture (or a portion thereof) on the lid 17 or container 122 which would be displayed upon removal of the straw 30 from the lid 17 or container 122. The indicia can be printed on the packaging 60,65, straw 30, container 122, or lid 17 using raised, embossed, blind lettering, or any suitable combination thereof.

[0069] While specific embodiments of the present invention have been shown and described, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that the disclosed invention may be modified in numerous ways and may assume many embodiments other than those specifically set out and described above. Accordingly, the scope of the invention is indicated in the appended claims, and all changes that come within the meaning and range of equivalents are intended to be embraced therein.