Title:
Device including recessed container and method of cosmetic product application
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A device includes a container configured to be placed between a pair of adjacent fingers of a user. The outer surface of the container may include a first recess portion for receiving one of the user's fingers, the first recess portion facing in a first direction and including a first recess upper part and a first recess lower part. The outer surface may also include a second recess portion for receiving another of the user's fingers, the second recess portion facing in a second direction substantially opposite to the first direction and including a second recess upper part and a second recess lower part. At least one of the first recess upper part and the second recess upper part may be configured to at least partially overlie a user's finger. Additionally, at least one of the first recess lower part and the second recess lower part may be configured to at least partially underlie a user's finger.



Inventors:
Theile, Frederick C. (Ramsey, NJ, US)
Application Number:
10/299661
Publication Date:
05/20/2004
Filing Date:
11/20/2002
Assignee:
THEILE FREDERICK C.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
401/6, 401/126, 401/129
International Classes:
A45D34/04; A45D29/11; (IPC1-7): A46B5/04; A46B11/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
LE, HUYEN D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FINNEGAN, HENDERSON, FARABOW, GARRETT & DUNNER (WASHINGTON, DC, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A device comprising: a container configured to be placed between a pair of adjacent fingers of a user, wherein the container comprises a portion defining an opening on an upper part of the container, and an outer surface comprising a first recess portion for receiving one of the user's fingers, the first recess portion facing in a first direction and comprising a first recess upper part and a first recess lower part, and a second recess portion for receiving another of the user's fingers, the second recess portion facing in a second direction substantially opposite to the first direction and comprising a second recess upper part and a second recess lower part, wherein at least one of the first recess upper part and the second recess upper part is configured to at least partially overlie a user's finger, wherein at least one of the first recess lower part and the second recess lower part is configured to at least partially underlie a user's finger, wherein the container defines an interior configured to contain a product, wherein the interior comprises a portion positioned between the first recess lower part and the second recess lower part, and wherein at least one of the first recess upper part, the first recess lower part, the second recess upper part, and the second recess lower part comprises a concave surface.

2. The device of claim 1, wherein each of the first recess upper part and the second recess upper part is configured to at least partially overlie a user's finger.

3. The device of claim 2, wherein each of the first recess lower part and the second recess lower part is configured to at least partially underlie a user's finger.

4. The device of claim 1, wherein each of the first recess lower part and the second recess lower part is configured to at least partially underlie a user's finger.

5. The device of claim 1, wherein the first recess portion and the second recess portion are not defined by a common recess.

6. The device of claim 1, wherein the first recess portion and the second recess portion are defined by a common recess at least partially extending around a longitudinal axis of the container.

7. The device of claim 6, wherein the common recess extends at least substantially completely around the longitudinal axis of the container.

8. The device of claim 1, wherein a bottom of the interior of the container is lower than both the first recess lower part and the second recess lower part.

9. The device of claim 1, wherein each of the first recess upper part, the first recess lower part, the second recess upper part, and the second recess lower part comprises a concave surface.

10. The device of claim 1, wherein the container is formed of a single, unitary piece of material.

11. The device of claim 10, wherein the material comprises at least one of polypropylene, polyethylene, PET, ABS, SAN, nylon, and glass.

12. The device of claim 1, further comprising a slip-resistant material defining at least the first recess portion and the second recess portion.

13. The device of claim 1, further comprising a cosmetic product contained in the container.

14. The device of claim 1, further comprising a nail product contained in the container.

15. The device of claim 14, wherein the nail product comprises nail varnish.

16. The device of claim 1, further comprising mascara contained in the container.

17. The device of claim 1, further comprising a lip product contained in the container.

18. The device of claim 1, further comprising a wiper associated with the container, wherein the wiper comprises at least one passage permitting an applicator to pass into an interior of the container via the opening.

19. The device of claim 18, wherein the wiper is configured so that the wiper has an at-rest, closed position substantially preventing free flow of product from the container via the passage when the container is oriented to position the opening substantially lower than a bottom of the container.

20. The device of claim 18, wherein the wiper comprises a material comprising at least one of a foam material and an elastomeric material.

21. The device of claim 18, wherein the wiper comprises at least one slit defining the passage, wherein the slit is positioned in a plane oriented substantially parallel to the first and second directions.

22. The device of claim 18, wherein the wiper comprises at least one slit defining the passage, wherein the slit is positioned in a plane oriented substantially perpendicular to the first and second directions.

23. The device of claim 1, further comprising an applicator comprising an application element configured to apply a product contained in the interior of the container.

24. The device of claim 23, wherein the applicator comprises a stem and wherein the application element is located at one end of the stem.

25. The device of claim 24, wherein the applicator comprises a closure configured to close the opening of the container, wherein the closure is located at another end of the stem.

26. The device of claim 24, wherein the application element comprises a plurality of bristles, at least some of the plurality of bristles being substantially parallel to the stem.

27. The device of claim 23, wherein the application element comprises a plurality of bristles having ends extending substantially radially from a core.

28. The device of claim 23, wherein the application element comprises a plurality of teeth.

29. The device of claim 23, wherein the application element at least partially comprises absorbent material.

30. A method of applying a product to an external body portion, comprising: providing the device of claim 1, wherein the device comprises a product contained in the container; placing a first finger in the first recess portion and a second finger in the second recess portion, the first and second fingers being a pair of adjacent fingers; loading an applicator with the product; and applying the product to an external body portion via the applicator.

31. The method of claim 30, wherein the first recess upper part at least partially overlies the first finger, the second recess upper part at least partially overlies the second finger, the first recess lower part at least partially underlies the first finger, and the second recess lower part at least partially underlies the second finger.

32. A device comprising: a container configured to be placed between a pair of adjacent fingers of a user, wherein the container comprises a portion defining an opening on an upper part of the container, and an outer surface comprising a first recess portion for receiving one of the user's fingers, the first recess portion facing in a first direction and comprising a first recess upper part and a first recess lower part, and a second recess portion for receiving another of the user's fingers, the second recess portion facing in a second direction substantially opposite to the first direction and comprising a second recess upper part and a second recess lower part, wherein at least one of the first recess upper part and the second recess upper part is configured to at least partially overlie a user's finger, wherein at least one of the first recess lower part and the second recess lower part is configured to at least partially underlie a user's finger, wherein the container defines an interior configured to contain a product, wherein the interior comprises a portion positioned between the first recess lower part and the second recess lower part, and wherein at least one transverse cross-section of the container has a non-circular shape, the at least one transverse cross-section being in a plane intersecting at least one of the first recessed portion and the second recessed portion.

33. The device of claim 32, wherein each of the first recess upper part and the second recess upper part is configured to at least partially overlie a user's finger.

34. The device of claim 33, wherein each of the first recess lower part and the second recess lower part is configured to at least partially underlie a user's finger.

35. The device of claim 32, wherein each of the first recess lower part and the second recess lower part is configured to at least partially underlie a user's finger.

36. The device of claim 32, wherein the first recess portion and the second recess portion are not defined by a common recess.

37. The device of claim 32, wherein the first recess portion and the second recess portion are defined by a common recess at least partially extending around a longitudinal axis of the container.

38. The device of claim 37, wherein the common recess extends at least substantially completely around the longitudinal axis of the container.

39. The device of claim 32, wherein a bottom of the interior of the container is lower than both the first recess lower part and the second recess lower part.

40. The device of claim 32, wherein each of the first recess upper part, the first recess lower part, the second recess upper part, and the second recess lower part comprises a concave surface.

41. The device of claim 32, wherein the container is formed of a single, unitary piece of material.

42. The device of claim 41, wherein the material comprises at least one of polypropylene, polyethylene, PET, ABS, SAN, nylon, and glass.

43. The device of claim 32, further comprising a slip-resistant material defining at least the first recess portion and the second recess portion.

44. The device of claim 32, further comprising a cosmetic product contained in the container.

45. The device of claim 32, further comprising a nail product contained in the container.

46. The device of claim 45, wherein the nail product comprises nail varnish.

47. The device of claim 32, further comprising mascara contained in the container.

48. The device of claim 32, further comprising a lip product contained in the container.

49. The device of claim 32, further comprising a wiper associated with the container, wherein the wiper comprises at least one passage permitting an applicator to pass into an interior of the container via the opening.

50. The device of claim 49, wherein the wiper is configured so that the wiper has an at-rest, closed position substantially preventing free flow of product from the container via the passage when the container is oriented to position the opening substantially lower than a bottom of the container.

51. The device of claim 49, wherein the wiper comprises a material comprising at least one of a foam material and an elastomeric material.

52. The device of claim 49, wherein the wiper comprises at least one slit defining the passage, wherein the slit is positioned in a plane oriented substantially parallel to the first and second directions.

53. The device of claim 49, wherein the wiper comprises at least one slit defining the passage, wherein the slit is positioned in a plane oriented substantially perpendicular to the first and second directions.

54. The device of claim 32, further comprising an applicator comprising an application element configured to apply a product contained in the interior of the container.

55. The device of claim 54, wherein the applicator comprises a stem and wherein the application element is located at one end of the stem.

56. The device of claim 55, wherein the applicator comprises a closure configured to close the opening of the container, wherein the closure is located at another end of the stem.

57. The device of claim 55, wherein the application element comprises a plurality of bristles, at least some of the plurality of bristles being substantially parallel to the stem.

58. The device of claim 54, wherein the application element comprises a plurality of bristles having ends extending substantially radially from a core.

59. The device of claim 54, wherein the application element comprises a plurality of teeth.

60. The device of claim 54, wherein the application element at least partially comprises absorbent material.

61. A method of applying a product to an external body portion, comprising: providing the device of claim 32, wherein the device comprises a product contained in the container; placing a first finger in the first recess portion and a second finger in the second recess portion, the first and second fingers being a pair of adjacent fingers; loading an applicator with the product; and applying the product to an external body portion via the applicator.

62. The method of claim 61, wherein the first recess upper part at least partially overlies the first finger, the second recess upper part at least partially overlies the second finger, the first recess lower part at least partially underlies the first finger, and the second recess lower part at least partially underlies the second finger.

63. A device comprising: a container configured to be placed between a pair of adjacent fingers of a user, wherein the container comprises a portion defining an opening on an upper part of the container, and an outer surface comprising a first recess portion for receiving one of the user's fingers, the first recess portion facing in a first direction and comprising a first recess upper part and a first recess lower part, and a second recess portion for receiving another of the user's fingers, the second recess portion facing in a second direction substantially opposite to the first direction and comprising a second recess upper part and a second recess lower part, wherein at least one of the first recess upper part and the second recess upper part is configured to at least partially overlie a user's finger, wherein at least one of the first recess lower part and the second recess lower part is configured to at least partially underlie a user's finger, wherein the container defines an interior configured to contain a product, and wherein the interior comprises a portion positioned between the first recess lower part and the second recess lower part; and a product contained in the interior of the container, wherein the product comprises one of a nail product and a lip product.

64. The device of claim 63, wherein each of the first recess upper part and the second recess upper part is configured to at least partially overlie a user's finger.

65. The device of claim 64, wherein each of the first recess lower part and the second recess lower part is configured to at least partially underlie a user's finger.

66. The device of claim 63, wherein each of the first recess lower part and the second recess lower part is configured to at least partially underlie a user's finger.

67. The device of claim 63, wherein the first recess portion and the second recess portion are not defined by a common recess.

68. The device of claim 63, wherein the first recess portion and the second recess portion are defined by a common recess at least partially extending around a longitudinal axis of the container.

69. The device of claim 68, wherein the common recess extends at least substantially completely around the longitudinal axis of the container.

70. The device of claim 63, wherein a bottom of the interior of the container is lower than both the first recess lower part and the second recess lower part.

71. The device of claim 63, wherein each of the first recess upper part, the first recess lower part, the second recess upper part, and the second recess lower part comprises a concave surface.

72. The device of claim 63, wherein the container is formed of a single, unitary piece of material.

73. The device of claim 72, wherein the material comprises at least one of polypropylene, polyethylene, PET, ABS, SAN, nylon, and glass.

74. The device of claim 63, further comprising a slip-resistant material defining at least the first recess portion and the second recess portion.

75. The device of claim 63, wherein the product comprises nail varnish.

76. The device of claim 63, further comprising a wiper associated with the container, wherein the wiper comprises at least one passage permitting an applicator to pass into an interior of the container via the opening.

77. The device of claim 76, wherein the wiper is configured so that the wiper has an at-rest, closed position substantially preventing free flow of the product from the container via the passage when the container is oriented to position the opening substantially lower than a bottom of the container.

78. The device of claim 76, wherein the wiper comprises a material comprising at least one of a foam material and an elastomeric material.

79. The device of claim 76, wherein the wiper comprises at least one slit defining the passage, wherein the slit is positioned in a plane oriented substantially parallel to the first and second directions.

80. The device of claim 76, wherein the wiper comprises at least one slit defining the passage, wherein the slit is positioned in a plane oriented substantially perpendicular to the first and second directions.

81. The device of claim 63, further comprising an applicator comprising an application element configured to apply the product.

82. The device of claim 81, wherein the applicator comprises a stem and wherein the application element is located at one end of the stem.

83. The device of claim 82, wherein the applicator comprises a closure configured to close the opening of the container, wherein the closure is located at another end of the stem.

84. The device of claim 82, wherein the application element comprises a plurality of bristles, at least some of the plurality of bristles being substantially parallel to the stem.

85. The device of claim 81, wherein the application element comprises a plurality of bristles having ends extending substantially radially from a core.

86. The device of claim 81, wherein the application element comprises a plurality of teeth.

87. The device of claim 81, wherein the application element at least partially comprises absorbent material.

88. A method of applying a product to an external body portion, comprising: providing the device of claim 63; placing a first finger in the first recess portion and a second finger in the second recess portion, the first and second fingers being a pair of adjacent fingers; loading an applicator with the product; and applying the product to at least one of a nail and a lip via the applicator.

89. The method of claim 88, wherein the first recess upper part at least partially overlies the first finger, the second recess upper part at least partially overlies the second finger, the first recess lower part at least partially underlies the first finger, and the second recess lower part at least partially underlies the second finger.

90. A device comprising: a container configured to be placed between a pair of adjacent fingers of a user, wherein the container comprises a portion defining an opening on an upper part of the container, and an outer surface comprising a first recess portion for receiving one of the user's fingers, the first recess portion facing in a first direction and comprising a first recess upper part and a first recess lower part, and a second recess portion for receiving another of the user's fingers, the second recess portion facing in a second direction substantially opposite to the first direction and comprising a second recess upper part and a second recess lower part, wherein at least one of the first recess upper part and the second recess upper part is configured to at least partially overlie a user's finger, wherein at least one of the first recess lower part and the second recess lower part is configured to at least partially underlie a user's finger, wherein the container defines an interior configured to contain a product, and wherein the interior comprises a portion positioned between the first recess lower part and the second recess lower part; and an applicator configured to apply product contained in the container, wherein the applicator lacks bristles arranged in a spiral-shaped row.

91. The device of claim 90, wherein each of the first recess upper part and the second recess upper part is configured to at least partially overlie a user's finger.

92. The device of claim 91, wherein each of the first recess lower part and the second recess lower part is configured to at least partially underlie a user's finger.

93. The device of claim 90, wherein each of the first recess lower part and the second recess lower part is configured to at least partially underlie a user's finger.

94. The device of claim 90, wherein the first recess portion and the second recess portion are not defined by a common recess.

95. The device of claim 90, wherein the first recess portion and the second recess portion are defined by a common recess at least partially extending around a longitudinal axis of the container.

96. The device of claim 95, wherein the common recess extends at least substantially completely around the longitudinal axis of the container.

97. The device of claim 90, wherein a bottom of the interior of the container is lower than both the first recess lower part and the second recess lower part.

98. The device of claim 90, wherein each of the first recess upper part, the first recess lower part, the second recess upper part, and the second recess lower part comprises a concave surface.

99. The device of claim 90, wherein the container is formed of a single, unitary piece of material.

100. The device of claim 99, wherein the material comprises at least one of polypropylene, polyethylene, PET, ABS, SAN, nylon, and glass.

101. The device of claim 90, further comprising a slip-resistant material defining at least the first recess portion and the second recess portion.

102. The device of claim 90, further comprising a cosmetic product contained in the container.

103. The device of claim 90, further comprising a nail product contained in the container.

104. The device of claim 103, wherein the nail product comprises nail varnish.

105. The device of claim 90, further comprising mascara contained in the container.

106. The device of claim 90, further comprising a lip product contained in the container.

107. The device of claim 90, further comprising a wiper associated with the container, wherein the wiper comprises at least one passage permitting an applicator to pass into an interior of the container via the opening.

108. The device of claim 107, wherein the wiper is configured so that the wiper has an at-rest, closed position substantially preventing free flow of product from the container via the passage when the container is oriented to position the opening substantially lower than a bottom of the container.

109. The device of claim 107, wherein the wiper comprises a material comprising at least one of a foam material and an elastomeric material.

110. The device of claim 107, wherein the wiper comprises at least one slit defining the passage, wherein the slit is positioned in a plane oriented substantially parallel to the first and second directions.

111. The device of claim 107, wherein the wiper comprises at least one slit defining the passage, wherein the slit is positioned in a plane oriented substantially perpendicular to the first and second directions.

112. The device of claim 90, wherein the applicator comprises a stem and an application element located at one end of the stem.

113. The device of claim 112, wherein the applicator comprises a closure configured to close the opening of the container, wherein the closure is located at another end of the stem.

114. The device of claim 112, wherein the application element comprises a plurality of bristles, at least some of the plurality of bristles being substantially parallel to the stem.

115. The device of claim 112, wherein the application element comprises a plurality of bristles having ends extending substantially radially from a core.

116. The device of claim 112, wherein the application element comprises a plurality of teeth.

117. The device of claim 112, wherein the application element at least partially comprises absorbent material.

118. A method of applying a product to an external body portion, comprising: providing the device of claim 90, wherein the device comprises a product contained in the container; placing a first finger in the first recess portion and a second finger in the second recess portion, the first and second fingers being a pair of adjacent fingers; loading the applicator with the product; and applying the product to an external body portion via the applicator.

119. The method of claim 118, wherein the first recess upper part at least partially overlies the first finger, the second recess upper part at least partially overlies the second finger, the first recess lower part at least partially underlies the first finger, and the second recess lower part at least partially underlies the second finger.

120. A device comprising: a container configured to be placed between a pair of adjacent fingers of a user, wherein the container comprises a portion defining an opening on an upper part of the container, and an outer surface comprising a first recess portion for receiving one of the user's fingers, the first recess portion facing in a first direction and comprising a first recess upper part and a first recess lower part, and a second recess portion for receiving another of the user's fingers, the second recess portion facing in a second direction substantially opposite to the first direction and comprising a second recess upper part and a second recess lower part, wherein at least one of the first recess upper part and the second recess upper part is configured to at least partially overlie a user's finger, wherein at least one of the first recess lower part and the second recess lower part is configured to at least partially underlie a user's finger, and wherein the container defines an interior configured to contain a product; and a wiper associated with the container, wherein the wiper comprises at least one passage permitting an applicator to pass into an interior of the container via the opening, wherein the wiper is configured so that the wiper has an at-rest, closed position substantially preventing free flow of product from the container via the passage when the container is oriented to position the opening substantially lower than a bottom of the container.

121. The device of claim 120, wherein each of the first recess upper part and the second recess upper part is configured to at least partially overlie a user's finger.

122. The device of claim 121, wherein each of the first recess lower part and the second recess lower part is configured to at least partially underlie a user's finger.

123. The device of claim 120, wherein each of the first recess lower part and the second recess lower part is configured to at least partially underlie a user's finger.

124. The device of claim 120, wherein the first recess portion and the second recess portion are not defined by a common recess.

125. The device of claim 120, wherein the first recess portion and the second recess portion are defined by a common recess at least partially extending around a longitudinal axis of the container.

126. The device of claim 125, wherein the common recess extends at least substantially completely around the longitudinal axis of the container.

127. The device of claim 120, wherein a bottom of the interior of the container is lower than both the first recess lower part and the second recess lower part.

128. The device of claim 120, wherein each of the first recess upper part, the first recess lower part, the second recess upper part, and the second recess lower part comprises a concave surface.

129. The device of claim 120, wherein the container is formed of a single, unitary piece of material.

130. The device of claim 129, wherein the material comprises at least one of polypropylene, polyethylene, PET, ABS, SAN, nylon, and glass.

131. The device of claim 120, further comprising a slip-resistant material defining at least the first recess portion and the second recess portion.

132. The device of claim 120, further comprising a cosmetic product contained in the container.

133. The device of claim 120, further comprising a nail product contained in the container.

134. The device of claim 133, wherein the nail product comprises nail varnish.

135. The device of claim 120, further comprising mascara contained in the container.

136. The device of claim 120, further comprising a lip product contained in the container.

137. The device of claim 120, wherein the wiper comprises a material comprising at least one of a foam material and an elastomeric material.

138. The device of claim 120, wherein the wiper comprises at least one slit defining the passage, wherein the slit is positioned in a plane oriented substantially parallel to the first and second directions.

139. The device of claim 120, wherein the wiper comprises at least one slit defining the passage, wherein the slit is positioned in a plane oriented substantially perpendicular to the first and second directions.

140. The device of claim 120, further comprising an applicator comprising an application element configured to apply a product contained in the interior of the container.

141. The device of claim 140, wherein the applicator comprises a stem and wherein the application element is located at one end of the stem.

142. The device of claim 141, wherein the applicator comprises a closure configured to close the opening of the container, wherein the closure is located at another end of the stem.

143. The device of claim 141, wherein the application element comprises a plurality of bristles, at least some of the plurality of bristles being substantially parallel to the stem.

144. The device of claim 140, wherein the application element comprises a plurality of bristles having ends extending substantially radially from a core.

145. The device of claim 140, wherein the application element comprises a plurality of teeth.

146. The device of claim 140, wherein the application element at least partially comprises absorbent material.

147. A method of applying a product to an external body portion, comprising: providing the device of claim 120, wherein the device comprises a product contained in the container; placing a first finger in the first recess portion and a second finger in the second recess portion, the first and second fingers being a pair of adjacent fingers; loading an applicator with the product contained in the container; and applying the product to an external body portion via the applicator.

148. The method of claim 147, wherein the first recess upper part at least partially overlies the first finger, the second recess upper part at least partially overlies the second finger, the first recess lower part at least partially underlies the first finger, and the second recess lower part at least partially underlies the second finger.

Description:
[0001] The present invention relates to a device including a container. More particularly, the present invention relates to a device including a container having an outer surface with recessed portions for receiving fingers of an individual.

BACKGROUND

[0002] Containers are configured in a variety of different shapes and sizes. In the field of cosmetics, for example, containers are often designed to have an aesthetically pleasing appearance and a sufficient structural arrangement to permit dispensing of an acceptable amount of a cosmetic product in an efficient manner. Many cosmetic containers are associated with an applicator used to apply a cosmetic product packaged in the container. One common design involves a container having an opening arranged to permit an applicator to pass into the interior of the container so as to load a product, such as nail varnish or mascara, onto the applicator. After the applicator is loaded with the cosmetic product, the applicator is removed from the container interior and used to apply the cosmetic product to an external body portion of an individual.

[0003] Due to the relatively compact size of many cosmetic containers and applicators, a user typically uses both of her/his hands during insertion of the applicator into the container and removal therefrom. One hand is used to grasp the container and the other hand is used to grasp the applicator. Some users pick up and release the container each time the applicator is reloaded with product. Such a practice of repeatedly picking up and releasing the container is time consuming and sometimes leads to the container being accidentally tipped over, thereby causing a product spill.

[0004] To facilitate reloading of the applicator with product, some other users maintain the container within the grasp of their hand while their other hand manipulates the applicator to apply product. For example, when the product is a nail product, such as nail varnish, the nail product is sometimes applied to the nails of the hand holding the container and the container is oriented to position the opening of the container as close as possible to the nails. With many conventional cosmetic container designs, such continued gripping of the container during product application is rather uncomfortable and awkward. In addition, there is an increased likelihood of improper product application because a user must often pay an undue amount of attention to positioning the container opening in an upwards orientation that prevents a product spill, rather than focusing on the manner in which the product is being applied. Even with some conventional cosmetic container designs where some form of attempt has been made to facilitate holding the container in the hand of a user, the container is not designed to provide a partial supporting rest for one or more fingers and/or a shape that reduces the likelihood of the container slipping from the user's hand and potentially causing a messy spill of a cosmetic product.

[0005] Accordingly, there is a need to at least partially overcome one or more disadvantages of the related art.

SUMMARY

[0006] In the following description, certain aspects and embodiments of the present invention will become evident. It should be understood that the invention, in its broadest sense, could be practiced without having one or more features of these aspects and embodiments. It should also be understood that these aspects and embodiments are merely exemplary.

[0007] In one aspect of the invention, there is a device including a container configured to be placed between a pair of adjacent fingers of a user. The container may include a portion defining an opening on an upper part of the container and an outer surface. The outer surface may include a first recess portion for receiving one of the user's fingers, the first recess portion facing in a first direction and comprising a first recess upper part and a first recess lower part. The outer surface may also include a second recess portion for receiving another of the user's fingers, the second recess portion facing in a second direction substantially opposite to the first direction and comprising a second recess upper part and a second recess lower part. At least one of the first recess upper part and the second recess upper part may be configured to at least partially overlie a user's finger. Additionally, at least one of the first recess lower part and the second recess lower part may be configured to at least partially underlie a user's finger. The container defines an interior configured to contain a product.

[0008] In another aspect, the interior may comprise a portion positioned between the first recess lower part and the second recess lower part, and at least one of the first recess upper part, the first recess lower part, the second recess upper part, and the second recess lower part may comprise a concave surface. For example, each of those lower parts and upper parts may comprise a concave surface.

[0009] In yet another aspect of the invention, the interior may comprise a portion positioned between the first recess lower part and the second recess lower part, and at least one transverse cross-section of the container may have a noncircular shape, the at least one transverse cross-section being in a plane intersecting at least one of the first recessed portion and the second recessed portion.

[0010] In a further aspect, the interior may comprise a portion positioned between the first recess lower part and the second recess lower part, and the device further may comprise a product contained in the interior of the container, wherein the product further comprises one of a nail product (e.g., a nail cosmetic product, such as nail varnish or any other nail cosmetic product; or a nail treatment product, such as a cuticle treatment product) and a lip product (e.g., a lip cosmetic product, such as lip gloss, liquid lip make-up, or any other type of lip cosmetic product; or a lip treatment product, such as lip moisturizer or any other type of lip treatment product).

[0011] In still another aspect, the interior may comprise a portion positioned between the first recess lower part and the second recess lower part, and the device may comprise an applicator configured to apply product contained in the container, wherein the applicator lacks bristles arranged in a spiral'shaped row (e.g., the applicator lacks helically twisted wire branches holding bristles).

[0012] In an even further aspect, the device may include a wiper associated with the container, wherein the wiper may comprise at least one passage permitting an applicator to pass into an interior of the container via the opening. For example, the wiper may be configured so that the wiper has an at-rest, closed position substantially preventing free flow of product from the container via the passage when the container is oriented to position the opening substantially lower than a bottom of the container.

[0013] In another aspect, each of the first recess upper part and the second recess upper part of the device may be configured to at least partially overlie a user's finger. In yet another aspect, each of the first recess lower part and the second recess lower part of the device may be configured to at least partially underlie a user's finger.

[0014] In another aspect of the invention, the first recess portion and the second recess portion may not be defined by a common recess. Alternatively, the first recess portion and the second recess portion may be defined by a common recess at least partially extending around a longitudinal axis of the container. For example, the common recess may extend, for example, at least substantially completely around the longitudinal axis of the container.

[0015] In an additional aspect, a bottom of the interior of the container may be lower than both the first recess lower part and the second recess lower part.

[0016] In still another aspect, the container may be formed of a single, unitary piece of material. For example, the material of the container may comprise, for example, at least one of polypropylene, polyethylene, PET, ABS, SAN, nylon, and glass.

[0017] In yet another aspect, the device may include a slip-resistant material defining at least the first recess portion and the second recess portion.

[0018] In a further aspect, the device may include a cosmetic product (e.g., a make-up product or any other cosmetic product) contained in the container. In an even further aspect, the device may include a nail product, mascara, or a lip product contained in the container.

[0019] In still another aspect, when the device includes a wiper, the wiper may comprise a material comprising at least one of a foam material and an elastomeric material. For example, the wiper may comprise at least one slit defining the passage. The at least one slit may be positioned in a plane oriented substantially parallel and/or substantially perpendicular to the first and second directions.

[0020] In yet another aspect, the device may further comprise an applicator comprising an application element that may be configured to apply the product. For example, the applicator may comprise a stem and the application element may be located at one end of the stem.

[0021] In still another aspect, the applicator may comprise a closure configured to close the opening of the container. The closure may be located at another end of the stem.

[0022] In a further aspect, the application element may comprise a plurality of bristles. At least some of the plurality of bristles may be substantially parallel to the stem. Alternatively (or additionally), the application element may include a plurality of bristles having ends extending substantially radially from a core (e.g., in the form of a mascara brush, such as a mascara brush including helically twisted wire branches holding bristles). Other applicator configurations also may be used. For example, the application element may comprise a plurality of teeth (e.g., teeth extending from a core of the application element in a comb-like or brush-like configuration) and/or the application element may at least partially comprise absorbent material (e.g., a porous material, such as a compressible porous material).

[0023] In yet another aspect, there is a method of applying a product (e.g., a cosmetic product and/or a treatment product) to an external body portion. The method may comprise providing the device, and placing a first finger in the first recess portion and a second finger in the second recess portion. The first and second fingers may be a pair of adjacent fingers. The method may further comprise loading an applicator with the product and applying the product to an external body portion (e.g., a nail, a lip, eyelashes, eyebrows, hair, and/or skin) via the applicator.

[0024] The term “providing” is used in a broad sense, and refers to, but is not limited to, making available for use, manufacturing, enabling usage, giving, supplying, obtaining, getting a hold of, acquiring, purchasing, selling, distributing, possessing, making ready for use, forming and/or obtaining intermediate product(s), and/or placing in a position ready for use.

[0025] Aside from the structural and procedural arrangements set forth above, the invention could include a number of other arrangements such as those explained hereinafter. It is to be understood that both the foregoing description and the following description are exemplary only.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0026] The accompanying drawings are incorporated in and constitute a part of this specification. The drawings illustrate exemplary embodiments and, together with the description, serve to explain some principles of the invention. In the drawings,

[0027] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an embodiment of a device according to the present invention being used to apply a nail product;

[0028] FIG. 2 is a partially schematic side view of the embodiment of FIG. 1 in a fully assembled form, wherein internal details are illustrated via broken lines;

[0029] FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a container of the embodiment of FIG. 1;

[0030] FIG. 4 is an end view of the container of FIG. 3;

[0031] FIG. 5 is a side view of the container of FIG. 3;

[0032] FIG. 6 is a side view similar to that of FIG. 5 with the container rotated 90 degrees about its axis;

[0033] FIG. 7a is a transverse cross-sectional view along line 7a-7a of FIG. 6;

[0034] FIG. 7b is a transverse cross-sectional view similar to FIG. 7a of an alternative container;

[0035] FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional view along line 8-8 of FIG. 4;

[0036] FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a container associated with an alternative embodiment;

[0037] FIG. 10 is a side view of the container of FIG. 9;

[0038] FIG. 11 is a perspective view of a container associated with a further embodiment;

[0039] FIG. 12 is a side view of the container of FIG. 11;

[0040] FIG. 13 is a side view of an applicator of the embodiment of FIG. 1;

[0041] FIG. 14 is a side view of an applicator associated with an additional embodiment of the device;

[0042] FIG. 15 is a side view of an applicator associated with yet another embodiment of the device; and

[0043] FIG. 16 is a side view of an applicator associated with still another embodiment of the device.

DESCRIPTION OF A FEW EMBODIMENTS

[0044] Reference will now be made in detail to exemplary embodiments of the invention. Wherever possible, the same reference numbers will be used throughout the drawings to refer to the same or like parts.

[0045] FIGS. 1 and 2 show an embodiment of a device 10 in accordance with the present invention. The device 10 includes a container 100 and an applicator 150. As illustrated in FIG. 1, the container 100 has a size and shape permitting the container 100 to be placed between a pair of adjacent fingers F of user's hand H1. As shown in FIGS. 1-6, 7a, and 8, an outer surface 110 of the container 100 includes substantially opposite facing recess portions 130a and 130b configured to receive the user's fingers F. The recess portion 130a includes a recess upper part 132a and a recess lower part 134a configured to at least partially overlie and underlie, respectively, one of the user's fingers F. Similarly, the other recess portion 130b includes a recess upper part 132b and a recess lower part 134b configured to at least partially overlie and underlie, respectively, another of the user's fingers.

[0046] In this illustrated embodiment, the recess upper part 132a, the recess lower part 134a, the recess upper part 132b, and the recess lower part 134b each include a concave surface curved to facilitate receiving convex curved surface portions of a user's fingers F. The parts 132a and 134a (and parts 132b and 134b) may smoothly arc inward, curving toward each other so as to define a single curve. As shown in FIG. 3, the transition between the recess portions 130a and 130b and the remainder of the container outer surface 110 may be in the form of a chamfered or rounded edge 120.

[0047] The container 100 has a generally elongated, cylindrical shape, defining a longitudinal axis 122. The recess portions 130a and 130b may extend at least partially around the longitudinal axis 122. As shown in FIG. 7a, at least one transverse cross-section of the container 150, taken in a plane intersecting one or both of the recess portions 130a and 130b, may have a non-circular shape such as an oval shape or any other non-circular shape. For example, the recess portions may have different depths or be provided in different quantities, causing the transverse cross-sectional to have another shape, such as substantially square, substantially rectangular, or any other configuration. In other embodiments, circular shapes are also possible.

[0048] Although the recess portions 130a and 130b are illustrated as facing in somewhat exact opposite directions, it should be appreciated that less than exact opposite facing arrangements are also possible (e.g., those that are non-symmetric about the container axis), especially those adapted so that the recess portions receive a pair of adjacent fingers. Furthermore, the recess portions 130a and 130b could be positioned at either the same or different distances from the container bottom end 112.

[0049] The recess portions could have substantially the same shape or different shapes. As shown in FIG. 6, the recess portion 130a may appear to be substantially oval-shaped when a side of the container is viewed. Other shapes, such as a square, a rectangle, a circle or some other shape are also possible. In another example, only some of the upper and lower parts may include a concave surface. The size of the recess 130 may be chosen to fit a typical finger of a typical user.

[0050] Referring to FIG. 3, a portion 116 of the container 100 defines an opening 180 on an upper part of the container. As illustrated in the cross-section view of FIG. 8, the container 100 defines an interior 126 extending from the opening 180 to an interior bottom surface 128 and including an interior portion 129 between the recess portions 130a and 130b. The interior bottom surface 128 is spaced below the lower parts of the recess portions 130a and 130b.

[0051] The container interior 126 may contain a product, such as a product that is flowable and/or capable of being loaded onto any form of applicator. For example, the product may be a cosmetic product, body treatment product, or any other type of product. One exemplary product that may be contained in the container is a nail product, such as nail varnish (e.g., nail enamel and/or nail polish) or a cuticle treatment substance. Other exemplary products include mascara or a lip product.

[0052] An optional wiper 170 shown in FIGS. 2 and 8 is positioned in the container interior 126. The wiper 170 is configured to wipe excess product from at least part of the applicator 150 during removal of the applicator 150 from the container interior 126. The wiper 170 is located between the interior portion 129 and the opening 108. Alternatively, the wiper 170 may be located elsewhere within the container 100, such as at the interior portion 129, or there could be no wiper at all. The wiper 170 may be made of an elastomeric (e.g., BUENA or polyethylene), foam, and/or other wiper material known in the art. In another embodiment (not shown), the interior spacing between the recess portions could be reduced so that the inner convex faces of the recess portions define a wiper that may wipe excess product from at least part of the applicator.

[0053] The wiper 170 includes a passage 171 through which at least part of the applicator 150 is capable of passing. As shown in FIG. 8, the wiper 150 is configured to have a substantially closed position when the wiper 150 is in an at-rest condition after having removed the applicator 150 from the container 100. In certain arrangements, such a configuration substantially prevents free flow of the product from the container 100 when the container is turned upside down to position the container bottom 112 lower than the opening 108, thereby possibly preventing accidental spilling of product.

[0054] As shown in FIG. 7a, the passage 171 may be defined by two intersecting slits 172. The slits 172 may have a predetermined orientation with respect to the recesses portions 130a and 130b so that the recess portions 130a and 130b can be used to facilitate orientating the slits 172 during use. For example, if an applicator has a portion with an elongated transverse cross-section (e.g., an applicator including a comb-like structure as shown in FIG. 16 described below), the recesses 130a and 130b may be used to facilitate aligning one of the slits 172 with the greatest transverse dimension of the applicator cross-section. As shown in FIG. 7a, the recess portions 130a and 130b each face in a respective direction that is substantially parallel one of the slits 172 and substantially perpendicular to the other of the slits 172.

[0055] Other types of passages through the wiper are also possible. For example, the passage could be defined by a single slit or a substantially round shaped hole that may be at least partially closed at rest.

[0056] The wiper 170 may include a cone-shaped entry 174 that facilitates inserting an end of an applicator into the wiper 170, such as when the applicator includes end bristles. For example, the cone-shaped entry 174 may reduce the likelihood of bending and damaging of bristles on the applicator 150 when the bristles are forced through the wiper 170.

[0057] As mentioned above, the device 10 also may include an applicator, such as the applicator 150 shown in FIGS. 1, 2, and 13. The applicator 150 includes a stem 152, an application element at one end of the stem 152, and a closure 154 at another end of the stem. The application element includes a plurality (e.g., tuft) of bristles 156, wherein some or all of the bristles extend in a direction substantially parallel to the stem 152.

[0058] The applicator 150 has a configuration permitting the bristles 156 and at least part of the stem to pass through the wiper 170 and position the bristles 156 into the container interior 126 beyond the lower parts 134a and 134b of the recess portions 130a and 130b. In use, product contained in the container 100 is loaded on the bristles 156 when the bristles 156 and at least part of the stem 152 are passed through the wiper 170 and placed in the container interior 126, as shown in FIG. 2. When the applicator 150 is removed from the container 100, the wiper 170 wipes excess product from the bristles 156 and optionally also the stem 152.

[0059] Referring to FIG. 1, the container 100 may be held between fingers F positioned in the recess portions of the container 100 while a user's other hand H2 may be manipulated to apply a product using the applicator 150. In the example of FIG. 1, a nail product is shown being applied to a nail. Alternatively, there are many different types of products and/or different external body locations where a product could be applied using the device.

[0060] The recess portions 130a and 130b may be configured so that a user may maintain the user's fingers F in substantially the same plane while the container 100 is held therebetween. The upper parts 132a and 132b may partially overlie the fingers to facilitate holding the container 100 between the fingers without a substantial gripping force. The lower parts 134a and 134b may partially underlie the fingers F to provide a partial resting surface when the container bottom is rested on a surface such as a table or counter top. When the product being applied is a nail product, the embodiment shown in FIG. 1 may facilitate positioning the container opening 108 in an upwards orientation, relatively close to the nails, thereby permitting a user to primary focus on applying the product and facilitating reinsertion of the applicator 100 back into the container 100 to reload the applicator with the product.

[0061] The closure 154 may be configured to be connected to the applicator 150 to close the opening 108 and thereby provide a product-tight and optionally air tight seal of the opening. For example, the closure 154 optionally includes a seal.

[0062] As shown in FIG. 3, the upper container portion 116 extends from a shoulder 114 and includes outer threading 118 that may be coupled to inner threading on the closure 154. Rather than having a threaded connection, the container and the applicator could be connected together in any other know manner such as with a snap-fit connection, for example. Alternatively, there could be a lack of any structure connecting the container and applicator to one another.

[0063] The container 100 may be made of a single, unitary piece of material or multiple pieces of material connected together through any known connection, such as welding, for example. The material may be any known material, including, materials comprising at least one of glass, polypropylene, polyethylene, PET, ABS, SAN, nylon, BAREX, and any other material known in the art. The container 100 could be transparent, opaque, or translucent, and could be any color known in the art. In one embodiment, the container 100 includes a non-slip material at least partially defining the recess portions 130a and 130b. This non-slip material may be a rubber material or any other non-slip material and may be manufactured by injection molding or by over-molding using methods known in the art.

[0064] The recess portions 130a and 130b are located about two-thirds of the length of the container 100 from the container bottom end 112. Accordingly, the recess portions 130a and 130b are about one-third of the container length from the shoulder 114. Because the recess portions 130a and 130b are closer to the shoulder 114 than to the container bottom end 112, the center of gravity of the container 100 may be located between the recess portions 130a and 130b and the container bottom end 112 when the container 100 is held between the user's fingers. Such a configuration may make it easier for a user to maintain the container in an upright position when the users fingers F are received in the recess portions 130a and 130b. Alternatively, the recess portions could be located at other positions along the container 100, as would be apparent to one skilled in the art.

[0065] In the container embodiment shown in FIGS. 1-6, 7a, and 8, a pair of separate recesses define the recess portions 130a and 130b. It should be appreciated that other configurations, such as those explained below, are also possible.

[0066] As shown in FIG. 7b, the recess portions 130a and 130b may be defined by a common recess 131 that extends partially around the longitudinal axis of the container 100.

[0067] FIGS. 9 and 10 show another embodiment of a container 200. The container 200 includes an outer surface 210 including four separate recesses defining four recess portions 230a, 230b, 230c, and 230d spaced ninety degrees apart about a longitudinal axis 222 of the container 200. The recess portions 230a and 230b face in substantially opposite directions, and the recess portions 230c and 230d face in substantially opposite directions. Each of the recesses 230a, 230b, 230c, and 230d includes a respective upper part 232a, 232b, 232c, and 232d and a respective lower part 230a, 230b, 230c, and 230d shaped like the upper and lower parts of the container 100 described above.

[0068] FIGS. 11 and 12 show another embodiment of a container 300 including an outer surface including a common recess 331 that completely surrounds a longitudinal axis 322 so that opposite facing recess portions such as 330a and 330b including respective upper parts 332a and 332b and lower parts 334a and 334b are all around the container. In this embodiment, the container 300 may have a generally hourglass configuration.

[0069] In addition to the applicator 150 shown in FIG. 13, there are numerous other possible applicators that could be associated with the container, when the device includes an applicator.

[0070] FIG. 14 shows another embodiment of an applicator 450 including a stem 452, a closure 454, and an application element including absorbent material 456, such as a soft foam or other material that may be used to absorb product contained in the container 100 and apply the product.

[0071] In FIG. 15, another embodiment of an applicator 550 is shown. The applicator 550 includes a stem 552, an element 554, and an application element including bristles 556 extending substantially radially from a core. The core may be formed of wire branches twisted together in a helical fashion to hold the bristles 556 therebetween. For example, the applicator 550 could be in the form of a conventional mascara brush.

[0072] FIG. 16 shows an additional embodiment of an applicator 650 including a stem 652, a closure 654, and an application element 656 including a plurality of teeth resembling a comb-like structure that may be configured to apply a product to eyelashes and/or eyebrows.

[0073] Many other forms of applicators could also be used. Although the embodiments shown in the drawings are described as being associated with an applicator, it should be understood that the invention, in its broadest sense, does not require an applicator. In addition, it should be understood that the invention may be used in association with products other than those that are applied to external body portions.

[0074] It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various modifications and variations can be made to the structure and methodology described herein. Thus, it should be understood that the invention is not limited to the examples discussed in the specification. Rather, the present invention is intended to cover modification and variations.