Title:
Liquid resistant cooler container
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A leak resistant container that is received inside of a flexible walled, insulated cooler. The container consists of a lid, a base, and a gasket that are frictionally engaged to prevent leakage from the container. The lid has an outer wall and an inner wall separated by a channel that is covered by the gasket. The base has an extending wall and a ledge. In use, the combination of the outer wall, the inner wall, the gasket, the extending wall, and the ledge coact to provide a frictional engagement that creates a water tight seal to the food or liquid that is placed in the container.



Inventors:
Anderson, David (Lake Villa, IL, US)
Huggler, Amanda (Round Lake Beach, IL, US)
Richied, Ken (Liberty Township, OH, US)
Nixon, David (Miamisburg, OH, US)
Application Number:
10/351219
Publication Date:
07/29/2004
Filing Date:
01/27/2003
Assignee:
ANDERSON DAVID
HUGGLER AMANDA
RICHIED KEN
NIXON DAVID
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A45C11/20; A45C13/00; A45C13/02; (IPC1-7): B65D21/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MEREK, JOSEPH C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KNECHTEL, DEMEUR & SAMLAN (CHICAGO, IL, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A container and flexible walled insulated cooler, comprising: a sealable Container having a bottom and a plurality of sides defining an open end and a closed end; a lid having an interior surface and an exterior surface, the interior surface having a side wall projecting outwardly from the interior surface and extending around the entire circumference of the lid; a first wall projecting outwardly from the interior surface of the lid and located adjacent to a portion of the side wall; a second wall projecting outwardly from the interior surface of the lid and located adjacent to the other portion of the side wall not adjacent to the first wall; a channel formed between both the first wall and the side wall and the second wall and the side wall; a gasket filling the entire channel and covering the second wall; a living hinge connecting the lid to the sealable container, the living hinge affixed to the side wall of the lid adjacent to substantially the entire second wall and affixed to at least one of the plurality of sides adjacent to the open end; a flexible walled insulated cooler having interior dimensions to closely receive the entire sealable container within the flexible walled insulated cooler; whereby, upon the lid rotating about the living hinge to be secured to the sealable container, the at least one of the plurality of sides of the sealable container engages the side wall of the lid and compresses the gasket between the side wall and the second wall, the remaining plurality of sides of the sealable container are frictionally received between the first wall and the side wall of the lid until the plurality of sides engages the gasket within the channel, the combination of the side wall, the first wall, the second wall, and the plurality of walls creating a water tight seal within the channel between the lid and the sealable container.

2. The container of claim 1 wherein the lid and box are made of a durable plastic material.

3. The container of claim 1 wherein the gasket is made of a rubber material.

4. A flexible walled insulated cooler and a container for preventing leakage of liquid into the insulated cooler, comprising: a box having a bottom and a plurality of side walls, each side wall having a top end and a bottom end, the bottom ends connected to the bottom to form a closed bottom, and the top end forming an open top; a lid having an interior surface and an exterior surface, the interior surface having at least two projecting walls extending around at least a portion of the circumference of the lid and correspondingly aligned to receive the plurality of side walls of the box, the at least two projecting walls further defining a channel between them; a gasket situated between the at least two projecting walls and covering the entire channel and extending around the entire circumference of the lid; a flexible walled insulated cooler having interior dimensions to closely receive the entire container within the flexible walled insulated cooler; whereby, upon the lid being secured to the open end of the base, the plurality of sides of the box are frictionally received between the at least two projecting walls on the interior surface of the lid until the receiving wall engages the gasket, thereby, creating an impermeable seal between the lid and the base.

5. The container of claim 4 wherein the at least two projecting walls are substantially parallel to each other.

6. A container for preventing leakage of liquid, comprising: a base having a bottom and a vertical wall, the vertical wall having a top end and a bottom end, the bottom end of the vertical wall connected to the bottom to form a closed bottom, and the top end forming an open top; a lid having an interior surface and an exterior surface, the interior surface having an outer wall and an inner wall, the outer wall and the inner wall further defining a channel between them; a living hinge connecting the lid to the base, the living hinge affixed to the lid along the outer wall and affixed to the top end of the vertical wall of the base; a gasket disposed in the channel of the lid and adjacent to the living hinge; whereby, upon the lid being rotated about the living hinge to cover the opening in the base, the vertical wall of the base becomes flush with the side wall of the lid and compresses the gasket adjacent to the living hinge, the remaining vertical wall of the base is frictionally received between the outer wall and the inner wall and compressed against the gasket within the channel, thereby, enabling a water tight seal in the container.

7. The container of claim 6 wherein the outer wall extends around the entire circumference of the interior surface of the lid.

8. The container of claim 6 wherein the inner wall is located on the interior surface adjacent to and within the outer wall, the inner wall extending around the circumference of the lid and remaining parallel to the outer wall.

9. The container of claim 6 wherein the inner wall has a height which is slightly smaller than the outer wall.

10. The container of claim 6 wherein the gasket covers the entire channel between the outer wall and the inner wall.

11. The container of claim 6 wherein the gasket covers the inner wall adjacent to the living hinge.

12. The container of claim 6 further defining a ledge projecting outwardly from the vertical wall in a direction away from the opening and extending around the entire circumference of the vertical wall, the ledge coacting with the channel to prevent the further insertion of the vertical wall into the lid and provide a seal between the vertical wall of the base and the outer wall of the lid.

13. The container of claim 6 wherein the lid and the base are rectangular in shape.

Description:

I. FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates to a leak resistant container for a flexible walled, insulated cooler for preventing leakage from the container into the cooler.

II. DESCRIPTION OF THE PRIOR ART

[0002] Portable soft sided insulated coolers are known for their ability to minimize the change in temperature over time of cooled or heated food and beverages. People use the coolers to transport food and beverages to work, to school, to sporting events, to picnics, to go camping, or countless other activities where refrigeration or heating is not easily accessible or possible.

[0003] However, these portable coolers present a problem of leaking during use. When the cooler is used to maintain the temperature of cold items, ice or some other refrigerant is used to maintain the cooled temperature. As the ice or refrigerant melts, water from the ice or condensation from an ice substitute forms which accumulates inside the cooler. The melted water or condensation then tends to leak through seams where the cooler is sewn together or the seams become saturated and provide a path for leakage through the cooler. The condensation resulting from heated foods likewise provides the same results. Leakage also results in saturation of the thermally insulating material which hinders the ability of the cooler to provide a thermal barrier. At other times, the food or beverage stored in the cooler may leak. This liquid may leak through the cooler as previously described.

[0004] Thus, there is a need and there has never been disclosed a portable soft sided cooler having a container within the cooler for preventing leakage due to the cooling medium or condensation from cooled or heated items or spilled foods or beverages contained within the portable cooler.

III. OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION

[0005] It is the primary object of the present invention to provide a container for preventing leakage from a portable soft sided cooler due to condensation forming cooled or heated food or beverages contained within the portable cooler. A related object is to provide a container that prevents leakage from spilled foods or beverages held in the container.

[0006] A related object of the present invention is to provide a portable cooler that, in combination with the container, minimizes the change in temperature over time of cooled or heated food and beverages.

[0007] Another object of the invention is to provide a portable cooler that it not compromised by leakage and, thereby, retains its insulating or thermal properties while in use.

[0008] Another object of the present invention is to provide a container that is releasably retained within the portable cooler. A related object of the invention is to provide a container that is substantially the same size as the interior of the portable cooler.

[0009] Another object of the present invention is to provide a container that has a hinged top and gaskets to seal the top to the container body to minimize the possibility of liquid leaking from the container.

[0010] Still another object of the invention is to provide a container in the portable cooler that is safe and easy to use.

[0011] Other objects of the present invention will become more apparent to persons having ordinary skill in the art to which the present invention pertains from the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

IV. SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0012] The present invention is a leak resistant container received in a soft sided insulated cooler. The container consists of a lid, a base, and a gasket that are frictionally engaged to prevent leakage from the container. The lid has an outer wall and an inner wall separated by a channel that receives the gasket. The base has an extending wall and a ledge. In use, the combination of the outer wall, inner wall, gasket, extending wall, and ledge coact to provide a frictional engagement that creates a seal to keep liquids from leaking out of the container and into the soft sided cooler.

V. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0013] The Description of the Preferred Embodiment will be better understood with reference to the following figures:

[0014] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the container being received into a portable, soft sided cooler, illustrated in phantom.

[0015] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the container seated within the portable, soft sided cooler, illustrated in phantom.

[0016] FIG. 3 the top view of lie container illustrating the lid in the open position and exposing the base of the container.

[0017] FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the corner of the lid where it joins the base, with portions removed, showing the walls and the gasket that coact to seal the lid to the base.

[0018] FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the corner of the container, with portions removed, illustrating the lid and tee base and, in particular, showing the placement of the gasket in relation to the inner and outer walls of the lid.

[0019] FIG. 6 is a cross sectional view of the lid, taken along line 6-6 of FIG. 5, showing the gasket within the channel between the inner wall and the outer wall of the lid.

[0020] FIG. 7 is a cross sectional view of the container, taken along line 7-7 of FIG. 1, showing the lid as sealed to the base of the container.

[0021] FIG. 8 is a cross sectional view of the lid, taken along line 8-8 of FIG. 5, showing the gasket in relation to the inner wall and outer wall of the lid adjacent to the base.

[0022] FIG. 9 is a cross sectional view of the container, taken along line 9-9 of FIG. 1, showing the lid as sealed to the base of the container and, in particular, the gasket in relation to the inner wall of the lid adjacent to the extending wall and the living hinge of the base.

VI. DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0023] Turning first to FIG. 1, there is illustrated a container 20 being received into a flexible walled, insulated portable cooler 22. The container 20 consists of a lid 24 and a base 26. In the preferred embodiment, the lid 24 and the base 26 are rectangular in shape and correspond to the rectangular shape of the portable cooler 22. Alternatively, it is contemplated that the container 20 may be any shape including but not limited to square, circle, ovid, triangular, hexagonal, etc., provided that the sealing aspects described herein for the container 20 are properly utilized. Also, the container 20 is preferably substantially the same size as the portable cooler 22 such that the entire container 20 may be releasably retained within the portable cooler 22 as illustrated in FIG. 2. The reasons for this are threefold: (1) the maximum volume of the portable cooler 22 using the container 20 remains available by the user for use with cooled or heated food or beverages; (2) the flexible walled portable cooler 22 receives structured support from the container 20 protecting the contents of the portable cooler 22; and (3) with the exterior of the container 20 abutting the inside of the portable cooler 22, the maximum effectiveness of the insulating properties of the portable cooler 22 are realized.

[0024] In the preferred embodiment, the container 20 is made of a durable, injection molded, plastic material. Alternatively, the container 20 may be made of any other type of material provided the sealing aspects further discussed below are utilized.

[0025] Turning to FIG. 3, the container 20 and, in particular, the lid 24 and the base 26 are more clearly illustrated. The lid 24, in a non-limiting example, is rectangular in shape and has an interior surface 28 and an exterior surface 30 (FIG. 2). Located on the interior surface 28 is an outer wall 32, an inner wall 34, and a channel 36 which separates the outer wall 32 from the inner wall 34. The outer wall 32, the inner wall 34, and the channel 36 remain parallel and adjacent to each other around the entire circumference of the lid 24 on the interior surface 28. The lid 24 is attached to the base 26 by a living hinge 38.

[0026] The base 26, in a non-limiting example, is rectangular in shape and has vertical walls 40a-40d (more clearly illustrated in FIG. 2) and a bottom 42. The vertical walls 40 extend around the entire circumference of the bottom 42 and form an open top 44 within the base 26. The open top 44 permits the container 20 to receive and retain the hot or cold food and beverages. Located at the top of the vertical walls 40 is an extending wall 46. The extending wall 46 is aligned parallel to the vertical walls 40 and is provided around the entire circumference of the vertical wall 40 of the base 26. Situated adjacent to the extending wall 46 is a ledge 48. The ledge 48 extends outwardly from the vertical walls 40 and remains perpendicular to the extending wall 46 around the circumference of the vertical wall 40. In the preferred embodiment and as discussed in further detail below, the ledge 48 is located a distance 50 (FIG. 7) from the top of the extending wall 46 and connects with and is in the same plane as the living hinge 38 (FIG. 9).

[0027] Turning to FIG. 4, the preferred embodiment includes a gasket 52 preferably made of a rubber material. The gasket 52 may be made of any suitable gasket sealing material. The gasket 52 is located on the interior surface 28 of the lid 24 and is positioned in the channel 36 (FIGS. 3, 5) between the outer wall 32 and the inner wall 34. The inner wall 34 is not a constant height around the entire perimeter of the lid 24. Along the back vertical wall 40a, the inner wall 34 is less than or equal to the thickness 54 (FIG. 9) of the gasket 52. The inner wall 34 remains at this nominal height along the vertical wall 40a and around the corners connecting the back vertical wall 40a to the left and right vertical walls 40b and 40c, respectively. This point is designated as position “A” in FIG. 4. The inner wall 34 then ramps upward to a height 56 (FIG. 6) that is maintained around the side vertical walls 40b and 40c and front vertical wall 40d.

[0028] In the preferred embodiment, the inner wall 34 and the outer wall 32 remain parallel to each other around the entire circumference of the lid 24 and remain substantially the same distance apart. This forms a uniform, constant channel 36 to receive the gasket 52. Along the outer wall 32 adjacent to the living hinge 38, the gasket 52 covers the entire channel 36 and extends over the inner wall 34 (more clearly illustrated in FIG. 9). From position A and for the remainder of the circumference of the lid 24, the gasket 52 fills the entire channel 36 between the outer wall 32 and the inner wall 34 as illustrated in FIGS. 5 and 6. Turning to FIG. 5, the gasket 52 at position A is more clearly shown. Along the outer wall 32 adjacent to the living hinge 38, the gasket 52 has a width 58. Once the gasket 52 reaches position A, the gasket 52 splints into two sections 60 and 62. Section 60 of the gasket 52 continues around the perimeter of the lid 28 and fills the entire channel 36 between the outer wall 32 and the inner wall 34. Section 62 of the gasket 52 continues past position A, on the opposite side of the inner wall 34 to section 60, and stops slightly past position A. In this manner, Section 60 and 62 coact to form a secure seal at position A in relation to the inner wall 34. FIGS. 6 and 8 further illustrate the gasket 52 and, in particular, Sections 60 and 62 of the gasket 52 in relation to the outer wall 32 after and prior to position A, respectively.

[0029] When the lid 24 is closed over the base 26, the gasket 52 forms a water tight seal between the lid 24 and the base 26 as illustrated in FIGS. 7 and 9. Turning to FIG. 7, the lid 24 is releasably retained to the base 26. Specifically, the extending wall 46 of the base 26 is frictionally received into the channel 36 between the outer wall 32 and inner wall 34 to contact with and compress against the gasket 52. The outer wall 32 continues along the exterior of the extending wall 46 until it engages and becomes flush with the ledge 48. The frictional engagement between the outer wall 32, the inner wall 34, the gasket 52, the extending wall 46, and the edge 48 creates a secure seal between the lid 24 and the base 26. If any liquid within the container 20 penetrates the frictional engagement between the inner wall 34 and the extending wall 46, the gasket 52 provides a barrier that minimizes the possibility of the liquid from penetrating any further or escaping from the container 20.

[0030] Turning to FIG. 9, the lid 24 is rotated about the living hinge 38 and releasably retained to the base 26. Specifically, the extending wall 46 of the base 26 is compressed against the gasket 52 within the channel 36. As the gasket 52 completely covers the inner wall 34, the compression of the gasket 52 by the extending wall 46 creates a tight seal between the outer wall 32 and the inner wall 34. Additionally, the width 58 of the gasket 52 covering the inner wall 34 provides a water tight seal between the interior surface 28 of the lid 24 and the food or liquid in the container 20. Also, the outer wall 32 continues around the exterior of the extending wall 46 until it engages and becomes flush with the living hinge 38. The extending wall 46, the outer wall 32, and the living hinge 38 coact with the gasket 52 to provide a frictional engagement that further enhances the seal to minimize any leakage from the container 20.

[0031] Thus, there has been provided a container that uses a unique interaction of walls and gasket between the lid and base that prevents leakage from liquid accumulating within the container due to cooled or heated food placed within the container. While the invention has been described in conjunction with a specific embodiment, it is evident that many alternatives, modifications and variations will be apparent to those skilled in the art in light of the foregoing description. Accordingly, it in intended to embrace all such alternatives, modifications and variations as fall within the spirit and scope of the appended claims.