Title:
Dispensing container with funnel overlay
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention provides a disposable dispensing container suitable for containing liquids comprising a hollow container; a funnel overlay that fits over the neck and top wall of the container during its storage condition and, when removed from its storage position, provides a funnel for dispensing the container's contents; and a removable cap being manually secured in engagement with the container to protectively maintain the cap over the container and over the funnel overlay in its storage position. Once the cap is disengaged from the container, and separated therefrom, the funnel overlay is readily converted into a funnel for dispensing the container's contents by removing the funnel overlay from its storage position and positioning the funnel overlay into an opening of a receptacle for receiving the contents of the dispensing container.



Inventors:
Graybill Sr., David Winn (Athens, GA, US)
Application Number:
10/683033
Publication Date:
04/14/2005
Filing Date:
10/10/2003
Assignee:
GRAYBILL DAVID WINN
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D1/02; B65D23/00; B67C11/02; (IPC1-7): B65D88/26
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
KAUFMAN, JOSEPH A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Judy Jarecki-Black, Ph.D. J.D. (Camesville, GA, US)
Claims:
1. A disposable dispensing container comprising: a container for a product to be dispensed, said container including side walls and opposed top and bottom walls and an opening within said top wall for product dispensing; a funnel overlay for overlaying and enclosing at least a portion of said top wall; a removable cap for overlying at least a portion of said funnel overlay, the removable cap with manually operable securement means for selectively securing said cap to said container and removing said cap from said container; said cap having a first and second operative condition with respect to said container; said first condition characterized by said cap securement means being in engagement with cooperative container securement means for securably maintaining said cap over said funnel overlay and said top wall and providing a protective cover for said container opening and said portion of said funnel overlay and said top wall; and said second condition characterized as said cap securement means being disengaged from said container securement means, said funnel overlay being removed from said top wall and being reversed in orientation with respect to said first condition, the reversed orientation of said funnel overlay defining a funnel-shaped member for dispensing materials to be dispensed into an opening of a receiving container through said funnel-shaped member and container opening.

2. In a disposable dispensing container according to claim 1, wherein said container including an annular extension surrounding said container opening to provide a spout, said annular extension having exterior and interior walls; said funnel overlay having an exterior wall dimensioned to overlay the exterior wall of said annular extension when said cap is in said second condition.

3. In a disposable dispensing container according to claim 1, wherein said container top wall and cap having cooperating support surfaces for supporting said funnel overlay on said container top wall when said cap is in said first condition.

4. In a disposable dispensing container according to claim 3, wherein the funnel overlay has a shape similar to a neck of the container to which the funnel overlay is attached.

5. In a disposable dispensing container according to claim 1, wherein the container is made from a material selected from the group consisting of plastic, glass, paperboard, and mixture thereof.

6. In a disposable dispensing container according to claim 5, wherein the container is made from a plastic selected from the group consisting of polypropylene, polystyrene, polyethylene, high density polyethylene, and mixtures thereof.

7. In a disposable dispensing container according to claim 1, wherein the container defines corners between the front walls, the rear walls, the side walls, the top and the bottom that are curvilinear.

8. In a disposable dispensing container according to claim 1, wherein the funnel overlay further includes at least one handle.

9. In a disposable dispensing container according to claim 1, wherein the funnel overlay is made from a plastic selected from the group consisting of polypropylene, polystyrene, polyethylene, high density polyethylene, and mixtures thereof.

10. In a disposable dispensing container according to claim 1, wherein the funnel overlay is transparent or translucent.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates, in general, to a disposable container particularly suited for containing and dispensing motor oil and the like. In particular, the present invention comprises a disposable dispensing container having a funnel overlay that fits over the neck and top wall of the container during its storage condition and may be readily converted into a funnel for dispensing the container's contents.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Conventional disposable containers for containing motor oil and the like are well known in the prior art, as are funnels for dispensing contents of such containers in a manner to avoid excess spillage. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 4,253,504 to Rosen discloses an improved drain funnel formed by an elongated unitary main body member and having a spout integral with and at one end of the elongated unitary main body member.

A piercing and pouring device for metal or paper containers of motor oil or the like, disclosed by U.S. Pat. No. 4,267,945 to Maynard, comprises a funnel with the tip of a container-piercing blade vertically positioned on an element releasably secured within the funnel. The piercing point of the blade engages the top of a container as it is telescopically positioned within the receiving portion of the device, permitting the liquid therein to be dispensed through the spout.

Often, however, when it is desirable to dispense the contents of a container, a funnel is not available or is separately located from the dispensing container. To avoid the inconvenience of having to locate a funnel to aid in dispensing the contents from a container, especially one containing motor oil or the like, some service stations provide paper funnels to purchasers of motor oil. However, these paper funnels are not study and tend to collapse when too much oil is poured into them. Additionally, paper funnels are not easily stored for future use when dispensing the motor oil is not immediately desirable.

Other attempts at solving problems associated with dispensing the contents of a container include modified containers having a dispensing spout. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,996,858 to Tapp et al. discloses a dispensing container comprising a telescopically operated duct device, preferably rotatably connected to an outlet opening of the container, for distributing granular lawn fertilizer contained therein.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,209,595 to Granath discloses a refillable dispensing apparatus, particularly adaptable for the dispensing of a granular product such as a lawn fertilizer, having a removable cap. The removable cap, which overlies the container in its storage position, may be readily converted into a funnel for refilling the depleted container. Neither the container taught by Tapp et al., nor the refillable container disclosed by Granath, are easy or inexpensive to manufacture.

Nilsson et al., in U.S. Pat. No. 6,029,864, disclose a container for petrochemical products comprising a pour adapter, disposed within an upper corner area, and further including a pour spout. To facilitate tilting the container in a direction towards the pour adapter, a diagonally disposed handle is provided in the top side of the container while a depression is positioned on the bottom side. When one hand seizes the handle and the other hand holds the depression, the outflow is controlled and directed towards the pour adapter. However, the shape of the container disclosed by Nilsson et al is not amenable to storage of single-use products like motor oil and the like.

None of the above inventions and patents, taken either singly or in combination, is seen to describe the instant invention as claimed.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to provide a simple, effective, and efficient dispensing container for containing a liquid, particularly motor oil and the like, and simplifying the dispensing of such a liquid not easily dispensed without excess spillage.

More specifically, the present invention provides a disposable dispensing container suitable for containing liquids; a funnel overlay that fits over the neck and top wall of the disposable container during its storage condition and, when removed from its storage position, provides a funnel for dispensing the container's contents; and a removable cap being manually secured in engagement with the container to protectively maintain the cap over the container and over the funnel overlay in its storage position. Once the cap is disengaged from the container, and separated therefrom, the funnel overlay is readily converted into a funnel for dispensing the container's contents by removing the funnel overlay from its storage position and positioning the funnel overlay into an opening of a receptacle for receiving the contents of the dispensing container.

Accordingly the removable cap, provided to be manually secured in engagement with the disposable container to protectively maintain the cap over the container and over the funnel overlay during its storage condition, will have two operable conditions. A first of these conditions is characterized by the cap being manually secured in engagement with the container to protectively maintain the cap over the container and over the funnel overlay to aid in positioning the funnel overly in its storage condition.

A second operative condition is characterized as the cap being disengaged from the container, and separated therefrom, such that the funnel overlay is readily removed from its storage position and the container opening is accessible for dispensing the container's contents after positioning the funnel overlay into an opening of a receptacle for receiving the contents of the dispensing container.

It is therefore seen that a primary object of the present invention is to provide a disposable dispensing container in which a funnel overlay, that fits over the neck and top wall of the container during its storage condition, may be readily converted into a funnel for dispensing the container's contents.

These and other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent upon review of the detailed description set forth below when taken in conjunction with the accompanying figures, which are briefly described as follows.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

FIG. 1 is a schematic illustration of a dispensing container having a disposable container, a funnel overlay, and a removable cap according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a schematic view of the present invention showing the funnel overlay positioned over the neck and top wall of the disposable container and having the cap being disengaged from the container;

FIG. 3 is a schematic view of the present invention showing the funnel overlay positioned over the neck and top wall of the disposable container and having the cap being manually secured in engagement with the container to protectively maintain the cap over the container and over the funnel overlay during its storage condition;

FIG. 4 is a schematic view of the present invention showing the funnel overlay disengaged from the top wall of the container and in reverse orientation with respect to the container.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Other objects, features and aspects of the present invention are disclosed in, or are obvious from, the following Detailed Description, one or more examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings. It is to be understood by one of ordinary skill in the art that the present discussion is a description of exemplary embodiments only and is not intended as limiting the broader aspects of the present invention, which broader aspects are embodied in the exemplary constructions. In fact, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various modifications and variations can be made in the present invention without departing from the scope or spirit of the invention. For instance, features illustrated or described as part of one embodiment can be used in another embodiment to yield a still further embodiment. It is intended that the present invention cover such modifications and variations as come within the scope of the appended claims and their equivalents.

The present invention, particularly suited for containing and dispensing motor oil and the like, comprises a disposable container suitable for containing liquids; a funnel overlay that fits over the neck and top wall of the disposable container during its storage condition and, when removed from its storage position, provides a funnel for dispensing the container's contents; and a removable cap being manually secured in engagement with the container to protectively maintain the cap over the container and over the funnel overlay in its storage position. Once the cap is disengaged from the container, and separated therefrom, the funnel overlay is readily converted into a funnel for dispensing the container's contents by removing the funnel overlay from its storage position and positioning the funnel overlay into an opening of a receptacle for receiving the contents of the dispensing container.

Referring now to the drawings, FIGS. 1-4 illustrate one embodiment of a dispensing container 10 according to the present invention. Dispensing container 10 typically contains and dispenses motor oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and the like; however, a multiple use container for containing and dispensing liquids not easily dispensed into single use containers, such as shampoo, ketchup, and the like, is also contemplated to be within the scope of the present invention.

As illustrated in FIGS. 1-4, dispensing container 10 comprises, generally, container 20; funnel overlay 30; and removable cap 40 according to the present invention. Container 20 may be a conventional bottle or other substantially enclosed fluid container formed from known materials such as glass; paper, including but not limited to, paperboard, corrugated cardboard, and the like; metal, including but not limited to, aluminum, steel, tin and the like; molded and extruded plastic, including but not limited to, polyethylene, polypropylene, high-density polyethylene (HDPE), polyethylene terephtalate (PET), polystyrene, and the like; and combinations thereof. Container 20 generally has a neck 22 on one end that terminates in a spout 24, the spout 24 preferably having a thread pattern 26 formed thereon.

Funnel overlay 30, formed from known materials such as plastic or glass, generally comprises neck 32 on one end that terminates in outlet 34, funnel inlet 36 and, optionally, includes integral handles 38 extending upwards and along the sides of neck 32 and allowing a user to easily grasp funnel overlay 30. As best illustrated in FIG. 2, funnel overlay 30 has a shape that corresponds substantially to the shape and size of neck 22 and top side 28 of the bottle or other container to which the funnel overlay is attached, except that the diameter of neck 32 is slightly larger in size, while being simultaneously shorter in length, than that of bottle neck 22 such that funnel overlay 30 is positionable over top portion 28 and neck 22 of bottle 20 yet neck 34 of funnel overlay 30 remains below threaded portion 26 of bottle 20. For example, one embodiment of a dispensing container made according to the present invention provides a 1 quart (946 ml) capacity container with dimensions measuring about 3½ inches wide, about 8½ inches high, and about 2½ inches deep with a spout having an inner diameter measuring about ⅞ of an inch. In this embodiment, the diameter of the funnel overlay outlet measures approximately ¾ of an inch.

Returning now to FIG. 1, removable cap 40 of the present invention is illustrated. Cap 40, which may be formed from a variety of conventional materials such as plastic, glass, metal, or a combination thereof, includes threaded portion 42, configured to securely engage threaded portion 26 of bottle 20 in a manually releasable manner, and lip 44, configured to overlie neck 32 of funnel overlay 30 such that funnel overlay 30 is secured onto, and over, top side 28 and neck 22 of bottle 20 when funnel overlay 30 is in a storage position, as shown in FIG. 3. The two modes of operation will now be discussed.

When the dispensing container is originally packaged for storage at the retail establishment, it will be in condition shown in FIG. 3. That is, the funnel overlay 30 will be in positioned over and onto neck 22 and top side 28 of bottle 20, and removable cap 40 secured to neck 22 via the engagement of threaded portion 26 of bottle 20 with inside threads 42 of cap 40 to advantageously prevent any accidental spillage of the contents of the bottle 20 during the initial storage.

When the consumer desires to utilize the dispensing container, cap 40 is removed, at which time funnel overlay 30 will still be in the storage position as shown in FIG. 2. Funnel overlay 30 is then removed from its storage position and reversed as shown in FIG. 4, to provide a funnel for dispensing the contents of container 10 into a desired receptacle.

It is therefore seen that the present invention provides a cost effective and simple way for dispensing the contents of disposable container 10 by disengaging the removable cap from the container, removing the funnel overlay from its storage position, reversing the funnel overlay to create a funnel, and positioning the funnel into the opening of a receptacle for receiving the contents thereof.

While the present invention has been described with reference to specific features and embodiments, such description is for illustrative purposes only. The words used are words of description rather than of limitation. For example, numerous other constructions of dispensing containers having a funnel overlay with the ability to reverse to form a funnel for dispensing the contents thereof are contemplated to be within the scope of the present invention. It is to be understood that changes and variations may be made by those of ordinary skill in the art without departing from the spirit or scope of the present invention, which is set forth in the following claims.