Title:
Container cover and holder
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention includes a device for covering a plurality of first containers. The device preferably includes a plurality of similarly shaped cover materials configured to cover the plurality of first containers and substantially prevent dust from settling on top surfaces and rims of the first containers. Each of the plurality of similarly shaped cover materials preferably comprises a projecting edge that is connected to the cover material in a manner wherein when the cover material covers the top surface of the first container, the cover material is positioned lower than a horizontal rim axis defined by the edges of the rim of the first container. The low position of the cover material and the size of the projecting edge are preferably configured to allow a bottom portion of a second container similar to the first container to be laid on top of the cover material and to abut the projecting edge so that the second container is substantially prevented from moving laterally.



Inventors:
Tabeshnekoo, Masoud (Granada Hills, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/092931
Publication Date:
10/06/2005
Filing Date:
03/28/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/151, 220/258.1
International Classes:
B65D21/02; B65D41/56; B65D43/02; B65D69/00; B65D71/50; B65D75/00; (IPC1-7): B65D75/00; B65D41/56
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BUI, LUAN KIM
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
AVERILL & GREEN (Whittier, CA, US)
Claims:
1. A device for covering a container, the container comprising a body, the body defining a hollow interior, and a top surface covering the hollow interior of the body, the top surface comprising a rim that surrounds the periphery of the top surface, the top surface and the rim being exposed to dust settling on the top surface and the rim, the container further comprising a rim intersection in between the container and the rim, the rim intersection also being exposed to dust settling thereon, the device comprising: (A) a cover material; (B) a projecting edge connected to the cover material, the projecting edge configured to substantially surround the periphery of the cover material, the projecting edge comprising an interior wall positioned adjacent to the cover material and an exterior wall positioned distal to the cover material relative to the interior wall, the interior and exterior walls being substantially parallel to each other, the projecting edge further comprising a wall connector substantially perpendicular to the parallel walls, the substantially parallel walls and the wall connector defining a container rim receiver, the container rim receiver configured to receive and surround the rim of the container, the wall connector configured to lay on the rim of the container thereby allowing the cover material to cover the top surface of the container; and (C) an exterior wall extension connected to the exterior wall, the exterior wall extension being configured to cover the intersection between the rim and the container to prevent dust from settling thereon.

2. The device of claim 1, further comprising a cover material handle connected to the exterior wall, the cover material handle being configured to be grasped by a user when detaching the device from the container.

3. The device of claim 1, wherein the projecting edge and the cover material are shaped and sized so that a bottom portion of a second container similar to the container in claim 1 substantially interlocks with the projecting edge and the cover material in a manner that substantially prevents the second container from moving laterally.

4. The device of claim 1, wherein the rim comprises edges that lie on a substantially uniform horizontal rim axis and wherein the cover material is attached to the protruding edge in a manner that causes the cover material to be positioned lower than the horizontal rim axis when the cover material is placed on top of the top surface of the container, the lower position of the cover material being configured to allow a bottom portion of similar container to be laid on top of the cover material and to abut the projecting edge so that the similar container is substantially prevented from moving laterally.

5. The device of claim 1, further comprising a plurality of similarly shaped cover materials, the plurality of similarly shaped cover materials being configured to be placed on top of multiple containers.

6. The device of claim 5, further comprising an elongated connecting material attached to each of the plurality of similarly shaped cover materials.

7. The device of claim 6, further comprising at least one pair of opposing flexible flaps attached to the elongated connecting material, each of the opposing flexible flaps being configured to bend toward the elongated connected material when grasped by a user and form substantially dull surfaces, the substantially dull surfaces being configured to provide comfort to a user who is holding the device.

8. A device for covering a plurality of first containers, each of the plurality of first containers comprising a body, the body defining a hollow interior, and a top surface covering the hollow interior of the body, the top surface comprising a rim that surrounds the periphery of the top surface, the rim comprising edges that lie on a substantially uniform horizontal rim axis, the top surface and the rim being exposed to dust settling on the top surface and the rim, the device comprising a plurality of similarly shaped cover materials configured to cover the plurality of first containers and substantially prevent dust from settling on the top surfaces and the rims of the first containers, each of the plurality of similarly shaped cover materials comprising a projecting edge that is connected to the cover material in a manner wherein when the cover material covers the top surface of the first container, the cover material is positioned lower than the horizontal rim axis, the low position of the cover material and the size of the projecting edge being configured to allow a bottom portion of a second container similar to the first container to be laid on top of the cover material and to abut the projecting edge so that the second container is substantially prevented from moving laterally.

9. The device of claim 8, wherein the projecting edge is configured to substantially surround the periphery of the cover material, the projecting edge comprising an interior wall positioned adjacent to the cover material and an exterior wall positioned distal to the cover material relative to the interior wall, the interior and exterior walls being substantially parallel to each other, the projecting edge further comprising a wall connector substantially perpendicular to the parallel walls, the substantially parallel walls and the wall connector defining a container rim receiver, the container rim receiver configured to receive and surround the rim of the container, the wall connector configured to lay on the rim of the container thereby allowing the cover material to cover the top surface of the container.

10. The device of claim 9, wherein each cover material comprises an exterior wall extension connected to the exterior wall, the exterior wall extension being configured to cover an intersection between the rim and the container to prevent dust from settling thereon.

11. The device of claim 9, further comprising a cover material handle connected to the exterior wall, the cover material handle being configured to be grasped by a user when detaching the device from the container.

12. A device for holding a plurality of containers, each container comprising a body, the body defining a hollow interior, and a top surface covering the hollow interior of the body, the top surface comprising a rim that surrounds the periphery of the top surface, the device comprising: (A) a plurality of similarly shaped rings; (B) at least one connecting material that connects the plurality of similarly shaped rings; (C) at least one pair of opposing flaps attached to the connecting material, the pair of flaps being configured to provide comfort to user when carrying the plurality of containers using the device.

13. The device of claim 12, wherein each of the ring comprises a structure that is parallel to a vertical axis, and wherein each ring further comprises at least one ring extension that is attached to the ring and is positioned substantially perpendicular to the vertical axis, the ring extension being configured to abut the rim to allow the holder to hold onto the container.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the priority of provisional application Ser. No. 60/558,602 filed on Mar. 31, 2004.

FIELD OF INVENTION

The present invention relates to materials for use with food and beverage containers, in particular, materials that provide container covers for single or multiple containers and holders for multiple containers.

BACKGROUND

Conventional food containers, such as containers for canned goods, and beverage containers, such as soda cans, typically have top surfaces that are uncovered. Dust, debris, and bacteria can settle on the top surfaces. Additionally, conventional food containers have projecting edges that surround the top surfaces. These projecting edges may promote dust, debris, and bacteria to stay on the top surfaces. When the food and beverage containers are opened, a portion of their top surfaces often contact the food or beverage. Thus, conventional containers render food and beverages susceptible to contamination.

Consumers may sometimes wipe the top surfaces before use. However, the top surfaces may have substances that cannot be easily removed. Additionally, some top surfaces have grooves, canals, or uneven surfaces that make contaminants difficult to remove. Some top surfaces further have handles designed for consumers to use in opening the containers. These handles may create traps for contaminants, and they may make contaminants difficult to remove. It is desirable to have a device that minimizes the exposure of container top surfaces to contaminants.

A cover for a beverage can is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,108,003 issued to Granofsky. '003 appears to disclose a cover that includes a plug that seals a can opening and a pull tab to assist in removing the plug from the opening. At least one problem with the cover in '003 is that it is designed for single use only. A reusable cover is desired. Another problem is that '003 appears to be usable only with the specific container disclosed therein. A container cover that can be used for existing and common containers is desired.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,749,100 issued to Eberhart discloses a sanitary lid for beverage cans. '100 appears to include a disposable lid that is detachably fastened to the upper marginal lip of a beverage can to prevent entry of dirt prior to the use of the can. At least one problem with the lid in '100 is that it does not appear to promote the stacking of conventional containers. Some conventional container top surfaces, such as the container top surfaces of conventional soda cans, are designed to allow stacking of similar containers. These container top surfaces are sized to accommodate the bottom surfaces of similar containers, so that when the containers are stacked, the top and bottom surfaces substantially interlock and prevent the stacked containers from moving laterally. It is desirable to maintain this stacking feature of conventional soda cans for efficient shipping and handling, and it is further desirable to add to this stacking feature a device that keeps container top surfaces away from contaminants.

Another problem with the lid in '100 is that it appears to allow contaminants to stick to the intersection between the rim of the can and the can body as shown in its FIG. 5. A device that does not have the disadvantages of the prior patents above is desired.

Multiple Containers

Some food and beverage containers are marketed in certain multiples. For example, beer and soda cans may be sold in multiples of six. Typically, a plastic material consisting of a plurality of loops is used to secure the cans together. Each loop is typically configured to surround a body of a can, and each loop is fitted snug to the can so that the consumer may securely hold on to the loop to carry the can. One problem with current multiple container holders is that the top surfaces of the containers remain exposed to contaminants. Another problem is that these multiple container holders may have sharp edges that make them uncomfortable to hold, especially when held in certain positions where the edges are in contact with the consumer's skin. It is desirable to have a device that can hold multiple containers; keeps container top surfaces away from contaminants; allows similar containers to be stacked; and, provides consumers with at least one handle that is comfortable to hold.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION

The present invention includes a device for covering a plurality of first containers. The device preferably includes a plurality of similarly shaped cover materials configured to cover the plurality of first containers and substantially prevent dust from settling on top surfaces and rims of the first containers. Each of the plurality of similarly shaped cover materials preferably comprises a projecting edge that is connected to the cover material in a manner wherein when the cover material covers the top surface of the first container, the cover material is positioned lower than a horizontal rim axis defined by the edges of the rim of the first container. The low position of the cover material and the size of the projecting edge are preferably configured to allow a bottom portion of a second container similar to the first container to be laid on top of the cover material and to abut the projecting edge so that the second container is substantially prevented from moving laterally.

The above description sets forth, rather broadly, a summary of certain embodiments of the present invention so that the detailed description that follows may be better understood and contributions of the present invention to the art may be better appreciated. Some of the embodiments of the present invention may not include all of the features or characteristics listed in the above summary. There are, of course, additional features of the invention that will be described below and will form the subject matter of claims. In this respect, before explaining at least one preferred embodiment of the invention in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of the construction and to the arrangement of the components set forth in the following description or as illustrated in the drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced and carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein are for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is substantially a front view of a soda container having a partially detached container cover of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is substantially a front view of one embodiment of the container cover of the present invention, which is shown as being attached to a soda can.

FIG. 3 is substantially a front view of another embodiment of the container cover of the present invention, which is shown as being used to cover and hold a plurality of soda cans.

FIG. 4 is substantially a close-up view of the embodiment of the container cover shown in FIG. 3, which is shown as receiving a bottom portion of another similar container and preventing the same from moving laterally.

FIG. 5 is substantially a top plan view of a container holder embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 6 is substantially a front perspective view of the container holder embodiment from FIG. 5 and further showing the rim locking pieces 66 and 68.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

In the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments, reference is made to the accompanying drawings, which form a part of this application. The drawings show, by way of illustration, specific embodiments in which the invention may be practiced. It is to be understood that other embodiments may be utilized and structural changes may be made without departing from the scope of the present invention. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein are for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting.

The present invention comprises various embodiments of a container cover, generally indicated by reference number 20. With reference to FIG. 1, the container is preferably used to cover a top surface 22 of a container 24, such as a soda can, a milkshake can, and cans designed to hold canned meat, vegetables, and fruits. The container cover 20 is preferably used for containers that have top surfaces that are surrounded by a rim 26, which may be connected to the periphery of the top surface 22. The cover 20 preferably has a cover material 38 that is configured to cover the top surface 22 of the container 24. The cover 20 is preferably configured to attach to the container 24 via the container's rim 26. Specifically, the bottom of cover 20 preferably has a container rim receiver 30 where the rim 26 may be inserted.

The container rim receiver 30 is preferably defined by a plurality of walls that are preferably positioned on the periphery of the cover material 38. Referring now to FIG. 2, the plurality of walls that define the container rim receiver preferably includes an interior wall 32, a top wall 34 attached to the interior wall 32 and positioned substantially parallel to the cover material 38, and an exterior wall 36 attached to the top wall 34 and positioned substantially perpendicular to the top wall 34 and substantially parallel to the interior wall 32. The interior wall 32, top wall 34, and exterior wall 36 preferably substantially cover the rim 26 of the container 24. The exterior wall 36 may include an extension 41 that further covers the rim 26, a portion of the container 24, and the intersection between the container portion and the rim 26. It is noted that the extension 41 prevents contaminants from being trapped within the intersection.

The cover 20 preferably includes a handle 40, which may be attached to the exterior wall 36 of the cover 20. The handle 40 is preferably sized to be grasped by the users' fingers. The handle 40 preferably has a semi-circular or dome shape. Of course, the handle 40 may be created with other shapes. The cover 20 is preferably made of polymers known in the art, and is preferably made from conventional molding process. A mold may be created so that the cover material 38, the plurality of walls 32, 34, and 36, the handle 40, and the rim receiver 30 are formed when the polymer is cast and cured.

It can be appreciated that users may cover the top surfaces of various containers with the container cover of the present invention to prevent contaminants from staying on the top surfaces and possibly entering the container and contaminating the contents of the container. The cover can easily be attached to and detached from the container. The cover may also be recycled for use with other containers.

FIG. 3 shows another embodiment of the cover, which is generally indicated by reference number 42 and is designed to cover a plurality of containers, such as a six-pack of sodas or beer cans. The cover embodiment 42 preferably has a plurality of cover materials 44a-f, which is preferably similarly shaped. Each of the cover material 44a-f preferably includes the components of cover 20 described above and shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, such as: the interior wall 32, the top wall 34, and the exterior wall 36 surrounding the periphery of each cover material 44a-f; the handle 40 attached to the exterior wall 36; and, the rim receiver, which is not shown in FIG. 3.

Cover material 44a-f are preferably arranged in two rows 48a and 48b. Each row 48a and 48b preferably includes three cover materials. For instance, row 48a includes cover materials 44a-c, and row 48b includes cover materials 44d-f. Of course, various other configurations may be made. Rows 48a and 48b are preferably connected by an elongated connecting piece 50. A portion of the exterior walls 36 of each cover material 44a-f are preferably attached to the connecting piece 50. It is noted the respective handles 40 of each cover material 44a-f are preferably substantially perpendicular to a connecting piece 50 to allow easy access to the handle. The cover materials 44a-f are preferably attached to the connecting piece 50 in a manner that allows a user to easily detach the cover materials 44a-f.

With continuing reference to FIG. 3, a plurality of second connecting pieces 54 a-d may be provided in between covers 44a-f. For instance, second connecting piece 54a may be positioned in between covers 44d and 44e; second connecting piece 54b may be positioned in between covers 44e and 44f; second connecting piece 54c may be positioned in between covers 44a and 44b; and, second connecting piece 54d may be positioned in between covers 44b and 44c. Covers 44a-f are preferably detachably held together to their respective second connecting pieces 54a-d.

With reference now to FIG. 4, cover material 38 (not shown), interior wall 32 (not shown), top wall 34 (not shown), and exterior wall 36 of cover 42 are preferably sized to substantially accommodate a bottom portion 56 of a second container 58, which may be similar to first container 24. Bottom portion 56 may be substantially restricted from moving horizontally or laterally by interior wall 32, top wall 34, and exterior wall 36 of cover 42. It can thus be appreciated that certain embodiments of the container cover of the present invention allow similar containers to be stacked, which may be beneficial during the shipment or handling of the containers.

With reference now to FIGS. 5 and 6, the present invention may also include a container holder 60. The container holder 60 is preferably designed to allow consumers to carry multiple containers at one time. In the preferred embodiment, the container holder 60 is preferably configured to hold six containers. Container holder 60 preferably includes a plurality of loops 62a-f arranged side by side in two rows of three loops similar to cover 42 described above. The loops are preferably connected to each other via connecting piece 50 or second connecting piece 54, which are similar to the first and second connecting pieces for cover 42 described above.

Connecting piece 50 preferably further includes opposing flaps 70a and 70b (FIG. 6), which are preferably designed to be held onto by the user when holding the container holder 60. Opposing flaps 70a and 70b may fold toward each other grasped by the user, and thus provides a dull holding surface. It can be appreciated that the container holder 60 of the present invention may provide a comfortable holder wherein the user is less likely to feel any discomfort when carrying containers for a prolonged amount of time.

Container holder 60 also preferably includes a top and bottom rim locking pieces (66 and 68 respectively) that are attached to the interior of each loop. The top and bottom rim locking pieces 66 and 68 are preferably configured to grip the rim 26 of a container 24 thereby allowing the container 24 to hang onto the holder 60 when being carried by the user. The container holder 60 may be made from polymers known in the art and by molding or other known processes. The container holder 60 may be used in combination with container covers 20 and 42, or independently.

Although the description above contains many specifications, these should not be construed as limiting the scope of the invention but as merely providing illustrations of some of presently preferred embodiments of this invention. For example, the sizes and shapes of the cover materials may vary. The shapes of the handles and the connecting pieces of the covers or holders may also vary. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced and carried out in various ways. The invention is not limited in its application to the details of the construction and to the arrangement of the components set forth in the above description or as illustrated in the drawings.