Title:
Compartmentalized food and beverage cooler device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A compartmentalized cooler having an open-ended container, plurality of compartments defined in the container, and lid having a gasket-seal and contours that correspond to the compartment dividers to prevent spill over of compartment contents and seal in odors. The cooler may also have a removable snap-fitted bait bucket that fits within a compartment to define two compartments, a support frame that can be mounted inside a boat, truck or other vehicle to removably place and secure the cooler, skid resistant strips on its bottom surface and, or a measurement guide printed, embossed or secured to the cooler for measuring catch.



Inventors:
Fisher, Keith E. (Plantation, FL, US)
Application Number:
10/876499
Publication Date:
12/30/2004
Filing Date:
06/24/2004
Assignee:
FISHER KEITH E.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
220/694, 220/528
International Classes:
F25D3/08; (IPC1-7): F25D3/08; B65D1/24; B65D1/36; B65D25/00; B65D25/04; B65D57/00; B65D85/00; B65D90/00; F25D23/00
View Patent Images:
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20030150860Structure of top cap for containersAugust, 2003Lee
20080245078Tray-based continuous throughput blast freezerOctober, 2008Burn
20090236357Non-Round Moisture-Tight Re-Sealable Containers with Round Sealing SurfacesSeptember, 2009Giraud et al.
20060283854Rack for storing containersDecember, 2006Kim
20060102637One-handed meal and beverage holderMay, 2006Robertson et al.
20070062949Locking container lid apparatus and methodMarch, 2007Bordner
20070039955Transport and storage containers for liquidsFebruary, 2007Schutz



Primary Examiner:
BRADEN, SHAWN M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
David P. Lhota, Esq. (Fort Lauderdale, FL, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A cooler comprising: a container having an interior volume divided into a plurality of compartments by at least one wall; a lid removable attachable to said container, said lid comprising at least one partition positioned to be in alignment with said at least one wall when said lid is attached to said container; and a gasket seal disposed on an outside edge of said at least one partition wherein said gasket seal engages an outside edge of said at least one wall to create a seal between said lid and said compartments and between said compartments to prevent spill and odor cross-over between said compartments.

2. A cooler as recited in claim 1, wherein said plurality of compartments comprises at least three compartments.

3. A cooler as recited in claim 2, further comprising: a bucket that is removably insertable into at least one compartment, wherein there are at least four compartments when said bucket is inserted; and means for snapping said bucket in said at least one compartment.

4. A cooler as recited in claim 3, wherein said bucket has a releasable lid.

5. A cooler as recited in claim 1, further comprising: a bucket that is removably insertable into at least one compartment, wherein there is an additional compartment formed when said bucket is inserted; and means for snapping said bucket in said at least one compartment.

6. A cooler as recited in claim 5, wherein said bucket has a releasable lid.

7. A cooler as recited in claim 1, further comprising means for preventing said container from slipping when resting on a surface.

8. A cooler as recited in claim 7, wherein said slipping preventing means comprises at least one skid-resistant strip securable to an exterior surface of said container.

9. A cooler as recited in claim 8, wherein said strip comprises a rubber based material.

10. A cooler as recited in claim 8, wherein said strip comprises a plastic based material.

11. A cooler as recited in claim 7, wherein said slipping preventing means comprises: a support frame having at least one raised flange, said frame having a shape and dimensions corresponding to the shape and dimensions of said container's bottom end so that said container securely fits within said frame; and means for securing said frame to a fixed surface.

12. A cooler as recited in claim 11, wherein said securing means comprises apertures for receiving fasteners.

13. A cooler as recited in claim 11, wherein said slipping preventing means further comprises at least one skid-resistant strip securable to an exterior surface of said container.

14. A cooler as recited in claim 13, wherein said strip comprises a rubber based material.

15. A cooler as recited in claim 13, wherein said strip comprises a plastic based material.

16. A cooler as recited in claim 1, further comprising: means for measuring fish or game.

17. A cooler as recited in claim 16, wherein said measuring means comprises a scale disposed on a selected surface of said container.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application claims the benefit of provisional patent application Ser. No. 60/482,561 filed Jun. 25, 2003.

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

[0002] N/A

COPYRIGHT NOTICE

[0003] A portion of the disclosure of this patent document contains material that is subject to copyright protection. The copyright owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent document or patent disclosure as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office patent file or records, but otherwise reserves all copyrights rights whatsoever.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0004] 1. Field of the Invention

[0005] This invention relates generally to portable temporary food and beverage storage devices, and, more particularly, to a portable temporary food and beverage storage device, i.e. cooler, having modular compartments for separating contents.

[0006] 2. Description of the Background Art

[0007] Portable temporary food and beverage storage devices, known as coolers, are common in the art. Conventional coolers typically comprise a single volume or compartment for placing ice and items. As the ice melts, food spoils and mixes with water in the bottom of the cooler ultimately affecting the taste of remaining drinks and food. This can be especially problematic for people that fish, hunt and camp. For instance, drinks and water stored with meat, fish or game become tainted with the flavor of spoiling food. By the end of the day, the cooler develops a distinct offensive odor and contents become coated with “slime.” Transporting two coolers is often not an option because of space limitations in most boats and trunks. If a cooler existed that could be efficiently and adjustably separated into distinct compartments, it would address these problems. The instant invention addresses this unfulfilled need in the prior art by providing a compartmentalized cooler that efficiently separates contents.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0008] Based on the foregoing, it is a primary object of the instant invention to provide a cooler having a plurality of distinct compartments.

[0009] It is an object of the instant invention to provide a cooler with a plurality of compartments that can be adjusted in size.

[0010] It is another object of the instant invention to provide a cooler having at least one removable compartment.

[0011] It is also an object of the instant invention to provide a cooler having a measurement guide.

[0012] It is an additional object of the instant invention to provide a cooler having at least one removable, snap-in compartment.

[0013] It is a further object of the instant invention to provide a cooler having a measurement guide.

[0014] It is yet another object of the instant invention to provide a cooler having an optional block-securing frame that is attachable to a fixed surface for removably placing and securing the cooler.

[0015] It is yet a further object of the instant invention to provide a cooler having a lid with a gasket seal that seals the compartments to prevent spillage.

[0016] In light of the foregoing, the instant invention teaches a cooler that separates contents into individual sealed compartments within the cooler. Each compartment is sized to fit various items such as meat, fish, game, beverages, condiments and other miscellaneous items. The preferred embodiment of the compartmentalized cooler comprises an open-ended container, plurality of compartments defined in the container, and lid having a gasket-seal and contours that correspond to the compartment dividers to prevent spill over of compartment contents and seal in odors. The cooler may also have a removable snap-fitted bait bucket that fits within a compartment to define two compartments. The cooler comprises a support frame that can be mounted inside a boat, truck or other vehicle to removably place and secure the cooler. The cooler may also include skid resistant strips on its bottom surface and, or a measurement guide printed, embossed or secured to the cooler for measuring catch. The compartmentalized cooler is preferably manufactured from a durable mold injected plastic having insulation properties or insulation, such as foam or rubber.

[0017] In accordance with these and other objects, which will become apparent hereinafter, the instant invention will now be described with particular reference to the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

[0018] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the preferred embodiment of the compartmentalized cooler in accordance with the instant invention.

[0019] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of another preferred embodiment of the compartmentalized cooler in accordance with the instant invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0020] With reference to the drawings, FIGS. 1 and 2 depict the preferred embodiment of the instant invention which is generally referenced as a compartmentalized cooler, cooler and, or by numeric character 10. The compartmentalized cooler 10 of the instant invention separates contents into individual compartments within the cooler 10. The compartmentalized cooler 10 is preferably divided into three compartments. Each compartment is sized to fit various items such as meat, fish, game, beverages, condiments and other miscellaneous items. The instant invention 10 may include skid resistant strips on its bottom surface and, or a cooler support frame that can be mounted inside a boat, truck or other vehicle to secure the cooler 10 in place. A measurement guide may also be printed, embossed or secured to the compartmentalized cooler 10 for measuring catch. The compartmentalized cooler 10 may also include a removable bait storage bucket that snaps into place in the cooler. The compartmentalized cooler 10 is preferably manufactured from a durable mold injected plastic having insulation properties or insulation, such as foam or rubber. To the extent fasteners are required, stainless steel fasteners, such as screws, should be used. The dimensions and number and size of the compartments may vary within the scope of the instant invention.

[0021] With reference to FIG. 1, the preferred embodiment of the compartmentalized cooler 10 comprises an open-ended container 12, plurality of compartments 20-23, lid 14 having gasket lined partitions 16 corresponding to the compartment dividers, and removable snap-fitted bait bucket 24. The inside of the cooler 10 is preferably divided into three compartments 20, 22 and 23 by partitions. The first compartment 20 comprises the largest compartment and is designed for storing fish, catch or other meats. At least one and preferably two snap bars 25 are positioned at one end of the first compartment 20 and near the top of the compartment. The snap-in bait bucket 24 fits into the first compartment 20 and is removably secured in place by the snap bars 25. The bait bucket 24 preferably has a handle and takes up approximately 20% of the volume in the first compartment 20. The second compartment 22 provides a dry storage volume, for items such as sandwiches, fruit, storage containers, snacks and other food items that should be kept dry. The second compartment 22 preferably comprises approximately 40% of the remaining volume next to the first compartment 20. The third compartment 23 preferably provides a storage compartment for beverages and comprises the remaining volume of the cooler's interior. Each compartment is defined or divided by a partition 27. The cooler 10 preferably includes drainage ports and plugs 19, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2.

[0022] The lid 14 has a plurality of dividers 16 that align with the compartment walls 27 when the lid 14 is closed. The dividers 16 are aligned along their edges with a gasket seal 17 to prevent cross spillage of compartment contents. The lid 14 may also include a measurement guide 40 on its top surface or a selected side for measuring fish and, or catch.

[0023] With reference to FIG. 2, the instant invention 10 may include a support frame 30 and, or adhesive anti-skid strips 32 to prevent the cooler 10 from sliding. The support frame 30 includes a plurality of apertures for facilitating the mounting of the frame 30 inside a boat, truck or other vehicle. The frame 30 preferably includes corner walls 31. The anti-skid strips 32 preferably comprise double-sided tape and are adhered to the bottom of the cooler 10.

[0024] The preferred relative dimensions of the cooler's 10 compartments 20-23 are illustrated by the following example. For a 100-quart cooler 10 the interior volume is approximately 31.5″×15″. Accordingly, the third compartment 23, which preferably comprises approximately 60% of the interior volume excluding the first compartment 20, measures approximately 18.9″×7″. The second compartment, which comprises approximately 40% of the interior volume excluding the first compartment 20, measures approximately 12.60″×7″. The first compartment 20 preferably measures approximately 31.5″×7″ and may include the removable bait bucket 24. The bait bucket 24 snaps into the first compartment 20 and preferably measures approximately 6.30″×7″. With the bait bucket 24 installed, the first compartment would measure approximately 25.2″×7″. In another example, the interior volume for a 150-qt. Cooler 10 would measure approximately 37.5″×15″. Accordingly, the third compartment 23 would measure approximately 22.5″×7″ inches, the second compartment approximately 15″×7″ and the first compartment approximately 20 37.5″×7″ without the snap-in bait box 24 and 30″×7″ with the bait box 24 installed. The bait compartment 24 would measure approximately 7.5″×7″.

[0025] Three rubber gaskets 17 are preferably attached to the lid partitions 16, which are designed to fit and seal over the compartments 20-23 when closed to prevent liquids from spilling into other compartments. The lid-top measurement guide 40 may be printed on or engraved into the top of the lid 14. This would allow someone to measure game or fish, and can also serve as a cutting board. The cooler 10 preferably would include two handles, one on each side, that would fold out when carried, and four drain plugs 19, two located at the bottom and on each side of the cooler 10. The cooler 10 may also include four adhesive skid resistant strips 32 extending horizontally across the bottom of the cooler 10 and, or an optional plastic block frame 30 which could be screwed to a boat to help secure the cooler in place.

[0026] The compartmentalized cooler 10 may be used easily by anyone, but would be particularly appealing to people who fish often. Each compartment 20-23 can be used to keep specific items separated—fresh fish, bait, beverages, and miscellaneous items. To use, an individual would simply lift the lid and load each compartment with the necessary supplies—bait, ice, beverages, food, etc. When finished using, the person would unplug the drain holes 19 to let the water drain onto the ground before storing it away. Although it is designed specifically for people who like to fish, it could also be used and enjoyed by anyone who wants a cooler that saves space and keeps items separated.

[0027] The instant invention has been shown and described herein in what is considered to be the most practical and preferred embodiment. It is recognized, however, that departures may be made therefrom within the scope of the invention and that obvious structural and/or functional modifications will occur to a person skilled in the art.