Title:
Non-spillable lid and straw for a beverage container
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention is a non-spillable beverage container. The container includes a conventional lid attached to the container. The lid includes a straw opening sized to accommodate a straw and a vent opening. A conventional straw is inserted within the straw opening. A reinforcing strip is attached to the conventional straw and the conventional lid. The reinforcing strip has a first selectably closing means for preventing the passage of liquid and air through the vent opening. A second selectably closing means is provided for preventing passage of liquid and air through the straw opening. The vent opening and straw opening are biased closed when a user is not drinking from the container and opens when the user inhales through the straw causing the vent opening and the first and second selectably closing means to be opened and liquid to pass through the straw. In addition, the present invention includes an actuating device actuated by the mouth of the user. Providing force to the actuating device opens a closeable opening, thereby allowing the passage of liquid through the opening.



Inventors:
Li, Hongbiao (Plano, TX, US)
Application Number:
11/236070
Publication Date:
04/27/2006
Filing Date:
09/28/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47G19/22
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MCKINLEY, CHRISTOPHER BRIAN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Michael L. Diaz (Plano, TX, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A non-spillable container, the container comprising: a beverage container holding a liquid within an interior of the container; a lid attached to the container, said lid having: a straw opening sized to accommodate a straw; and a vent opening having a first selectably closing means for preventing the passage of liquid and air through said opening, the first selectably closing means attachable to said lid; a straw inserted within the straw opening; and a second selectably closing means for preventing passage of liquid and air through the straw opening, said second selectably closing means attachable to said straw; whereby the vent opening and straw opening are biased closed when a user is not drinking from the container and opens when the user inhales through the straw causing the vent opening and first and second selectably closing means to be opened and liquid to pass through the straw.

2. The non-spillable container of claim 1 further comprising a sealing means for preventing seepage of the liquid from exiting between an exterior portion of the inserted straw and the straw opening.

3. The non-spillable container of claim 1 wherein the closing means includes a diaphragm attached to the vent opening.

4. The non-spillable container of claim 3 wherein the diaphragm includes a slit providing the first selectably closing means to vent opening.

5. The non-spillable container of claim 3 wherein the diaphragm includes a plurality of small holes providing the first selectably closing means to vent opening.

6. The non-spillable container of claim 3 wherein the diaphragm includes a porous material providing the first selectably closing means to vent opening.

7. The non-spillable container of claim 1 wherein the second selectably closing means is a sheath attachable to the top of said straw.

8. The non-spillable container of claim 7 wherein the sheath includes at least one slit at a top portion of the sheath.

9. The non-spillable container of claim 7 wherein the sheath includes a plurality of holes located at a top portion of the sheath.

10. The non-spillable container of claim 1 further comprising a reinforcing strip attachable to said straw, the reinforcing strip having a diaphragm attachable to the vent opening.

11. The non-spillable container of claim 1 wherein the lid includes an adhesive on a peripheral portion of the lid to adhere to the container, thereby preventing liquid from spilling from the container.

12. The non-spillable container of claim 1 wherein an upper portion of the container includes an adhesive on a peripheral portion of the upper portion which provides a means for adhering the lid to the container, thereby preventing liquid from spilling from the container.

13. The non-spillable container of claim 1 wherein: the second selectably closing means is a sheath attachable to the top of said straw, the sheath having at least one slit at a top portion of the sheath; the sheath includes a plurality of longitudinally rigid segments; and whereby force placed on the sheath moves the segments Which open the slit.

14. A non-spillable container, the container comprising: a beverage container holding a liquid within an interior of the container; a conventional lid attached to the container, said lid having: a straw opening sized to accommodate a straw; and a vent opening; a conventional straw inserted within the straw opening; a reinforcing strip attachable to said conventional straw and said conventional lid, said reinforcing strip having a first selectably closing means for preventing the passage of liquid and air through said vent opening; and a second selectably closing means for preventing passage of liquid and air through the straw opening, said second selectably closing means attachable to said straw; whereby the vent opening and straw opening are biased closed when a user is not drinking from the container and opens when the user inhales through the straw causing the vent opening and the first and second selectably closing means to be opened and liquid to pass through the straw.

15. A non-spillable container, the container comprising: a beverage container holding a liquid within an interior of the container; a conventional lid attached to the container; an opening in the lid, the opening closed when not in use; a selectable closing means for preventing passage of liquid and air through the venting opening and the opening; whereby the opening is biased closed when a user is not drinking from the container and opens when the user actuates the selectable closing means causing the opening to be opened and liquid to pass through the opening.

16. The non-spillable container of claim 15 wherein the selectable closing means is an actuating device which opens the opening when the user's mouth is pressed against the actuating device.

17. The non-spillable container of claim 15 wherein the lid includes an adhesive on a peripheral portion of the lid to adhere to the container, thereby preventing liquid from spilling from the container.

18. The non-spillable container of claim 15 wherein an upper portion of the container includes an adhesive on a peripheral portion of the upper portion which provides a means for adhering the lid to the container, thereby preventing liquid from spilling from the container.

19. The non-spillable container of claim 15 further comprising a vent opening affixed to the lid, whereby the vent is biased closed when the user is not drinking from the container and opens when the user actuates the selectable closing means causing the vent opening to be opened and liquid to pass through the opening.

20. The non-spillable container of claim 19 wherein the opening on the lid is located within a spout, the spout being moveable to allowing the opening and vent opening to open when force is applied to the spout.

21. The non-spillable container of claim 15 wherein the selectable closing means is actuated by providing an upward force to the closing means to open the opening.

22. The non-spillable container of claim 15 further comprising a straw with the opening, the opening biased closed when a user is not drinking.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a continuation-in-part of a co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/747,769 entitled “NON-SPILLABLE BEVERAGE CONTAINER AND STRAW” filed Dec. 29, 2003 in the name of Hongbiao Li, which claims priority of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/829,893 entitled “NON-SPILLABLE BEVERAGE CONTAINER,” filed Apr. 10, 2001 in the names of Hongbiao Li, which is hereby incorporated in its entirety by reference herein.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates to beverage containers and, more particularly, to a conventional beverage container having a non-spillable lid and straw attachable to a conventional beverage container.

2. Description of the Related Art

It is quite common for a beverage container to be accidentally tipped over, causing the liquid contents of the beverage container to spill out of the interior of the beverage container. Many times the beverage container is utilized in an area where it is particularly undesirable to spill the contents, such as within the interior of an automobile. In addition, the problem of spillage is particular acute when dealing with children. Children tend to be clumsy and not as cautious as adults, resulting in even a greater risk of spillage of the beverage container. A beverage container is needed which provides an effective and economical way of preventing unwanted spillage of the contents of the beverage container. In addition, it would be advantageous to have a container which may only be used by manipulation of a user's month on the container or a straw.

Although there are no known prior art teachings of a solution to the aforementioned deficiency and shortcoming such as that disclosed herein, prior art references that discuss subject matter that bears some relation to matters discussed herein are U.S. Pat. No. 4,948,009 to Sawatani (Sawatani), U.S. Pat. No. 6,102,245 to Haberman (Haberman) and U.S. Pat. No. 6,230,923 to Hung (Hung).

Sawatani discloses a straw-insertable lid for a paper cup. The straw/lid combination is common in existing beverage containers. However, Sawatani does not teach or suggest a device to prevent the inadvertent spilling of liquid through the lid or straw.

Haberman discloses a specialized lid and beverage container, which includes an open-mouthed cup-shaped container, a lid having a mouthpiece and a valve to prevent the flow of liquid form the interior of the container through the mouthpiece unless a predetermined level of suction is applied to the mouthpiece. However, Haberman merely discloses the use of one valve to prevent the leakage of liquid through the straw. Without the use of a secondary valve system on the mouthpiece (or a straw), the lid configuration cannot fully prevent the leakage of liquid. Haberman does not provide any suggestion to providing a secondary valve on the mouthpiece. Use of a secondary valve in the mouthpiece is actually not appropriate in an infant training beverage container as disclosed in Haberman. In addition, Haberman merely discloses a specialized container. Haberman does not teach or suggest providing a device for use with a conventional lid/straw configuration to prevent the inadvertent leakage of liquid from the container or lid.

Hung discloses a specialized drinking bottle having a cap mounted on an open-ended bottle body. The cap includes a flexible liquid-sucking member that has a horizontal disk clamped between the upper end portion of the bottle body and an annular plate of the cap in such a manner to provide a liquid-tight seal. However, Hung does not teach or disclose utilizing a device which is attachable to a conventional lid/straw configured beverage container. Hung merely discloses a specially constructed and costly beverage container/lid.

Thus, it would be a distinct advantage to have a device for preventing the inadvertent spillage of liquids from the interior of a beverage container, yet requires no significant modification of the lid, straw or beverage container. Additionally, it would be a distinct advantage to have a container which only allows the removal of the liquid from the container by a distinct action by the user's mouth. It is an object of the present invention to provide such an apparatus.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In one aspect, the present invention is a non-spillable container. The container is a beverage container holding a liquid within an interior of the container. The container also includes a lid attachable to the container. The lid includes a straw opening sized to accommodate a straw and a vent opening having a first selectably closing means for preventing the passage of liquid and air through the opening. The first selectably closing means is attachable to the lid. A straw is inserted within the straw opening. A second selectably closing means is provided for preventing passage of liquid and air through the straw opening. The second selectably closing means is attachable to the straw. The vent opening and straw opening are biased closed when a user is not drinking from the container and opens when the user inhales through the straw causing the vent opening and both closing means to be opened and liquid to pass through the straw.

In another aspect, the present invention is a non-spillable container which is a beverage container holding a liquid within an interior of the container. The container also includes a conventional lid attached to the container. The lid includes a straw opening sized to accommodate a straw and a vent opening. A conventional straw is inserted within the straw opening. A reinforcing strip is attachable to the conventional straw and the conventional lid. The reinforcing strip has a first selectably closing means for preventing the passage of liquid and air through the vent opening. A second selectably closing means is provided for preventing passage of liquid and air through the straw opening. The second selectably closing means is also attachable to the straw. The vent opening and straw opening are biased closed when a user is not drinking from the container and opens when the user inhales through the straw causing the vent opening and the first and second selectably closing means to be opened and liquid to pass through the straw.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a side view of a beverage container having a lid in the preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the container with the lid and the strap 14 in the preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a side view of the straw with the sheath removed from the container;

FIG. 4 illustrates a side view the reinforcing strip removed from straw;

FIG. 5 illustrates a top view of the reinforcing strip; and

FIG. 6 illustrates a diaphragm configured with a plurality of small holes in an alternate embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 7 is a side view of a sheath in an alternate embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 8 illustrates a side view of the sheath positioned on the straw;

FIG. 9 is a side view of a sheath in a second alternate embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 10 is a top view of a lid in a third alternate embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 11 illustrates a side view of the lid attached to a container;

FIG. 12 is a top view of a lid in a fourth alternate embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 13 is a side perspective view of a container having a spout on a lid in a fourth alternate embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 14 is a side view of the spout of FIG. 13 in a raised position;

FIG. 15 illustrates an adhesive placed on an inner rim of a lid;

FIG. 16 is a side perspective view of a container having an actuating device on a lid in a fifth alternate embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 17 is a top view of the actuating device of FIG. 16 positioned on a top portion of the container;

FIG. 18 illustrates a top view of the actuating device of FIG. 16 removed from the lid;

FIG. 19 is a side view of the actuating device of FIG. 16 in the collapsed position when actuating the actuating device;

FIG. 20 illustrates the actuating device of FIG. 16 removed from the lid;

FIG. 21 is a side perspective view of a container having an actuating device on a lid in a sixth alternate embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 22A is a top view of the actuating device of FIG. 21 removed from the container;

FIG. 22B is a side cross-sectional view of the actuating device of FIG. 21 mounted on the container in the closed position;

FIG. 23 illustrates a top view of the actuating device of FIG. 21 removed from the lid;

FIG. 24 illustrates a side view of FIG. 23;

FIG. 25A is a top view of the actuating device of FIG. 21 in the collapsed position when actuating the actuating device;

FIG. 25B is a side view of FIG. 25A;

FIG. 26A is a front perspective view of a beverage container having a lid in a seventh alternate embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 26B is a bottom perspective view of the lid of FIG. 26A removed from the beverage container;

FIG. 26C is a bottom view of the armature of FIG. 26B;

FIG. 26D is a side view of the armature of FIG. 26C removed from the lid;

FIG. 27A is a front perspective view of a beverage container having a lid and a straw in an eight alternate embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 27B is a bottom perspective view of the lid of FIG. 27A;

FIG. 28A is a front perspective view of the beverage can of FIG. 26A with an alternative lid in a ninth alternate embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 28B illustrates a bottom perspective view of the lid of FIG. 28A;

FIG.28C illustrates a bottom view of the cover of FIG. 28A having'an extension and an armature with an anchor;

FIG. 28D is a side view of the cover of FIG. 28A;

FIG. 29A is a front perspective view of a straw attached to a cover of a lid in a tenth alternate embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 29B is a side view of the straw of FIG. 29A having an extendible top;

FIG. 29B illustrates the closed position of the extendible top of FIG. 29A;

FIG. 29C illustrates the open position of the extendible top of FIG. 29A;

FIG. 30A is a front perspective view of a beverage container having an extendible top in an eleventh alternate embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 30B is a front perspective view of the extendible top of FIG. 30A in the closed position;

FIG. 31A is a side view of a beverage container having an opening in a twelfth alternate embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 31B illustrates a side view of the beverage container of FIG. 31A in an open position;

FIG. 31C is a side view of the beverage container of FIG. 31A with the armature;

FIG. 32 is a side view of a beverage container having a blocking device affixed to a lid in a thirteenth alternate embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 33A is a side view of a beverage container having an extendible top in a fourteen alternate embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 33B illustrates a side view of the beverage container of FIG. 33A with the extendible top in an up position.

DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

An attachable non-spillable lid and straw for a beverage container are disclosed. FIG. 1 is a side view of a beverage container 10 having a lid 12 in the preferred embodiment of the present invention. A straw 14 is inserted within a hole 16 of the lid 12. The straw is a conventional straw having an orifice 18 at an upper end 20. Covering the orifice is a sheath 22. The sheath 22 is sized and shaped to fit snugly over the upper end 20. At the top of the sheath 22 is a slit 24. The slit, in its normal state, is closed. However, upon a user sucking upon the top of the straw, air is suck through the straw and out through the slit, thereby providing an opening through the sheath 22. The sheath 22 includes a peripheral area 26 adjacent the top section 28. In the preferred embodiment of the present invention, the topmost section includes an annual ledge, which allows the sheath to be inserted upon the top of the straw a specific distance. Thus, the peripheral area includes a smaller circumference than the straw. The sheath then is positioned as shown in FIG. 1.

In addition, the straw 14 is positioned through a reinforcing strip 30 having an opening 32. The straw runs through the opening 32 and the hole 16 of the lid 12. The reinforcing strip includes a base section 34 having a diaphragm 36. The diaphragm 36 covers a vent opening 38 (not shown in FIG. 1) located on the lid 12. The reinforcing strip includes a reinforced material 40 surrounding the straw at the area where it runs through the hole 16 of the lid. The reinforced material prevents the leakage of air and liquid through the opening and the straw.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the container 10 with the lid 12 and the strap 14 in the preferred embodiment of the present invention. The present invention enables the use of the sheath 22 and the reinforcing strip 30 upon a conventional lid 12 without modification of the lid (with the exception of the vent opening 38). In one embodiment, the reinforcing strip and the sheath may be removable, thus allowing a conventional straw and lid to be modified. In an alternate embodiment of the present invention, the present invention may include the reinforcing strip and/or the sheath integrally formed within the lid and/or straw.

FIG. 3 is a side view of the straw 14 with the sheath 22 removed from the container 10. The reinforcing strip 30 may slide on and off the straw 14. As shown in FIG. 3, the reinforcing strip is attached to the straw.

FIG. 4 illustrates a side view the reinforcing strip removed from straw 14. FIG. 5 illustrates a top view of the reinforcing strip 30. The reinforcing strip 30 may optionally include the peripheral area 26 axially surrounding the opening 32. The peripheral area prevents leakage of liquid or air when the straw is inserted within the hole 16 of the lid 12. The diaphragm 36 may include a slit, a plurality of small holes or any porous material allowing air to vent within the interior of the container when a user sucks through the straw. As illustrated in FIG. 5, the diaphragm is configured with a slit. FIG. 6 illustrates a diaphragm 36 configured with a plurality of small holes. The reinforcing strip provides a novel method of modifying an existing lid and container to prevent spillage. Unlike existing anti-spill containers, the present invention enables a conventional beverage container to be an anti-spill/leakage beverage container. In an alternate embodiment of the present invention, the diaphragm may be separated from the reinforcing base. Additionally, in an alternate embodiment, the diaphragm may be utilized without any reinforcing strip or reinforcing base.

The lid 12 may be constructed of any material preventing the seepage of liquids contained in the beverage container 10. In the preferred embodiment of the present invention, the lid is constructed of a conventional plastic material commonly used in beverage container covers. Additionally, the straw 14 may be constructed and configured similarly to any conventional straw used in existing beverage containers. For the present invention to work in its best mode, the lid should provide an airtight seal between the lid and the container to prevent airflow through the edges of the cover. The beverage container may be any shape and constructed of any material which allows liquid to be container within the interior of the container. In addition, as discussed above, the reinforcing strip 30 provides a substantially airtight seal between the straw and the hole 16. To prevent the leakage of liquid from the container, the lid 12 may include an adhesive upon an interior perimeter of the lid. FIG. 15 illustrates an adhesive 600 placed on an inner rim 602 of a lid 604. The adhesive may be covered by an optional removable covering when not in use. When the lid is needed, the covering is removed from the adhesive and the lid is positioned upon the container. The adhesive on the lid then bonds the lid to the rim of the container, thereby preventing inadvertent removal of the lid or leakage of liquid from the lid. The lid may be removed with effort and reused as necessary. Alternatively, adhesive may be placed on the peripheral rim of the top of the container to hold the lid in place. It should be understood that the adhesive may be placed on any lid for any beverage container.

The diaphragm 36 covers the vent opening 38 and may be constructed of a material preventing the transfer of liquid and air contained within the container from exiting through the vent opening. The diaphragm may be constructed of an elastomeric material or any flexible material. Alternately, the diaphragm includes a slit or plurality of small holes which allows the passage of air into the interior of the container when the user sucks on the straw, yet prevents air or liquid from passing when air is not inhaled through straw. Additionally, the hole, as well as the diaphragm may be any shape (e.g., square, triangle, etc.). In the preferred embodiment of the present invention, the diaphragm allows air to enter the interior of the container when a user inhales through the straw 14 (with the cover attached to the container 20).

With reference to FIGS. 1-6, the operation of the present invention will now be explained. A beverage is contained within the interior of the container 10. The lid 12 is affixed to the top of the container in a conventional manner, preferably forming an airtight seal. The straw is slid through the opening 32 of the reinforcing strip 30. In addition, the sheath 22 is positioned upon the upper end 20 of the straw. The sheath is properly positioned and prevented from pushing down too far upon the straw by the peripheral area 26. A vent opening 38 is included upon the lid 12. The straw, with the reinforcing strip is positioned through the hole 16 of the lid. The reinforcing material 40 is nested about the straw adjacent the hole 16. The reinforcing material provides a substantial seal preventing leakage of liquid or air from the interior of the container. The diaphragm 36 covers the vent opening 38. Additionally, since the vent opening 38 is covered, the passage of air and liquid is prevented through the vent opening. By preventing the passage of air through all openings, liquid is prevented from exiting via the straw. Use of the reinforcing strip enables any user to easily convert an existing beverage container into a container preventing leakage and spillage.

When a user of the container 10 wishes to drink, the use inhales and sucks on the straw 14. By drawing air through the straw from the interior of the container, air is allowed to pass through the diaphragm and into the interior of the container. In addition, while sucking through the straw, the slit opens to allow air and liquid to pass into the user's mouth. By allowing air to enter the interior of the container, the user can easily draw out liquid from the container via the straw. Once the user discontinues inhaling on the straw, the vent opening 28 is closed by the diaphragm, thus preventing passage of air. The diaphragm then prevents air from entering or exiting the interior of the container through the vent opening 38. Additionally, the liquid is prevented from exiting through the straw 14 for two reasons. First, the slit 24 located on the sheath 22 is closed, thereby preventing air or liquid to pass through the orifice 18. Second, the vent opening is covered, preventing passage of air through the vent opening. Thus, when the container is not being used for drinking, no liquids may exit from the container. Additionally, the user can automatically drink from the container by merely inhaling (sucking) on the straw. Thus, the user requires no additional manipulation.

In alternate embodiments of the present invention, the diaphragm and/or the sheath 22 may include one or more slits 24. The slits may allow the passage of air through the hole 16/vent opening 38 while preventing the passage of liquid from exiting through the vent opening. In addition, in an alternate embodiment of the present invention, the sheath may include a small diameter than the straw, thereby allowing the sheath to fit within the interior of the straw.

Alternatively to utilizing the orifice 28, the cover may include a diaphragm 36 with a plurality of small holes. The diaphragm may be constructed of an elastomeric material. When the user is not inhaling through the straw 26, the diaphragm is in a closed state whereby the holes are closed. Additionally, it should be understood that any closeable opening may be used to cover the vent opening 38 as well as the orifice 18 of the straw.

FIG. 7 is a side view of a sheath 122 in an alternate embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 8 illustrates a side view of the sheath 122 positioned on the straw 14. The sheath may include a plurality of longitudinally running frame segments 104 constructed of a rigid material such as wire or plastic. The segments run from a top portion at the slit 24 down to a lower portion 102 of the sheath 122. The segments may also include an annular segment 106. When the user pressed inwardly on the sheath, the segments move inwardly and allow a corresponding movement of the upper portion allowing the slit to open.

FIG. 9 is a side view of a sheath 222 in a second alternate embodiment of the present invention. The sheath 222 may include pivotable segments 202 which are biased to an outward position. Upon depressing the pivotable segments 202 by the user's mouth, the segments move inward and allow the slit 24 to open. The slit 24 is covered by a cover 204 which covers the slit 24 when the segments are biased outward. When the user presses inward on the segments, the cover is pushed or pulled away from the slit 24.

FIG. 10 is a top view of a lid 300 in a third alternate embodiment of the present invention. The lid 300 may include actuating devices 302 and 304. FIG. 11 illustrates a side view of the lid 300 of FIG. 10 attached to a container 306. The lid includes the actuating devices 304 and 306 to allow openings 310 and 312 to open. As depicted in FIGS. 10 and 11, there are two actuating devices, however, in alternate embodiments, there may be one or more than two actuating devices and openings. To operate, the user presses inwardly or downward on the actuating device, thereby moving a cover covering 320 two openings 310 and 312. The cover may be located on an inner surface of the lid. In addition, the cover may be two separate coverings or one unitary piece of material to cover the openings. The liquid can then pass through the openings. The first opening 310 is used for the liquid to exit. The second opening 312 performs the same function as the vent opening. Opening the vent opening allows the liquid to exit through the opening 310.

FIG. 12 is a top view of a lid 400 in a fourth alternate embodiment of the present invention. The lid 400 may include actuating devices 402 and 404 located on an outer surface of the lid. The actuating devices may operate in a similar manner as discussed in FIGS. 10 and 11.

FIG. 13 is a side perspective view of a container 500 having a spout 502 on a lid 504 in a fourth alternate embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 14 is a side view of the spout 502 of FIG. 13 in a raised position. The spout is longitudinally moveable. The spout is biased to a raised position (FIG. 13). The spout includes a mouth opening 506 leading to an interior of the container. The mouth opening is covered by a diaphragm 522 or other closeable opening. With the spout in the raised position, liquid cannot exit through the mouth opening. In addition, the spout includes an actuating device 508 which covers a vent opening 510. With the spout in the raised position, the actuating device covers the vent opening. When downward force is applied to the spout, the spout moves downward. Preferably, a user presses down with his mouth. With the spout pressed downward, a stationary penetrating body 524 located within the spout pierces the diaphragm 522 to open the mouth opening 506. Simultaneously, the actuating device moves downward, allowing the vent opening to open. Thus, with force placed on the spout, the liquid is allowed to exit through the mouth opening.

FIG. 16 is a side perspective view of a container 700 having an actuating device 702 on a lid 704 in a fifth alternate embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 17 is a top view of the actuating device 702 positioned on a top portion 706 of the container 700. The actuating device 702 includes an extension 708 and a base portion 710. A cover 712 is attached to the base portion. FIG. 18 illustrates a top view of the actuating device 702 removed from the lid 704. The actuating device 702 may include attachment mechanisms 714 which are attached to a rim of the lid or the top portion of the container 700. The cover 712 is attached to the base portion by an arm 716. The cover is used to cover one or more openings (not shown) in the lid.

FIG. 19 is a side view of the actuating device 702 in the collapsed position when actuating the actuating device 702. FIG. 20 illustrates the actuating device removed from the lid. When an individual presses down on the actuating device, the extension 708 moves toward the base portion. The individual preferably presses down by utilizing his mouth to apply force to the actuating device. With force applied to the actuating device, the cover is pushed downwardly, thereby removing the cover from the opening and allowing liquid to pass through the opening.

With reference to FIGS. 16-20, the operation of the actuating device 702 will now be explained. The actuating device may be attached to a lid or container by the actuating mechanisms 714. As depicted in FIGS. 17 and 18, the attachment mechanisms may include pins which are affixed to the side wall of the lid or container. The pins allow the actuating device to be affixed to the container. In alternate embodiments of the present invention, the actuating device may be permanently affixed to the container or temporarily affixed by any means. Without any user intervention, the cover 712 covers an opening located on the lid. When the user presses his mouth against the actuating device, the base portion is moved closer to the extension 708, thereby moving the cover downwardly away from the opening. As the user tips the containers towards his mouth, liquid passes through the opening into the user's mouth. When the user is finished, he removes his mouth from the actuating device, thereby allowing the cover to move upward to cover the opening. The base portion and extension are biased to a position where the cover is positioned against the opening. In an alternate embodiment, a device, such as a spring may be used to push the actuating device to a position where the cover covers the opening when pressure is not applied to the actuating device. It should be understood that the base portion or the extension may be constructed and configured in such a fashion that the base portion or the extension is allowed to move to the corresponding component of the actuating device to allow the cover to move downwardly away from the opening (lid).

FIG. 21 is a side perspective view of a container 800 having an actuating device 802 on a lid 804 in a sixth alternate embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 22A is a top view of the actuating device 802 removed from the container 800. FIG. 22B is a side cross-sectional view of the actuating device mounted on the container 800 in the closed position. The actuating device 802 includes an extension 808 and a base portion 810. A cover 812 is attached to the base portion. As depicted in FIG. 22B, the cover covers an opening (not shown) in the lid. FIG. 23 illustrates a top view of the actuating device 802 removed from the lid 804. FIG. 24 illustrates a side view of FIG. 23. The actuating device 802 may include attachment mechanisms 814 which are attached to a rim of the lid or the top portion of the container 800. The attachment mechanisms may include springs 816 which may be used to bias the actuating mechanism outwardly. The cover 812 is attached directly to the base portion and used to cover an opening 820. The cover is used to cover one or more openings (not shown) in the lid.

FIG. 25A is a top view of the actuating device 802 in the collapsed position when actuating the actuating device 802. FIG. 25B is a side view of FIG. 25A. When an individual applies force on the actuating device, the cover is depressed downwardly. The individual preferably presses down by utilizing his mouth to apply force to the actuating device. With force applied to the actuating device, the cover is pushed downwardly, thereby removing the cover from the opening and allowing liquid to pass through the opening.

FIG. 26A is a front perspective view of a beverage container 850 having a lid 852 in a seventh alternate embodiment of the present invention. The beverage container may be any container, such as a soda can. The top portion includes a removable pop-off cover 856 and a finger grasp 854. The cover may be removed in a similar manner as a convention beverage can with a pull-off top. FIG. 26B is a bottom perspective view of the lid 852 removed from the beverage container 850 of FIG. 26A. The removable top is pulled off to reveal a top portion of an armature 858. The armature includes an anchor 860 located on one end of the armature. The armature is used to covering an opening (not shown) on the lid of the beverage container. FIG. 26C is a bottom view of the armature 858 of FIG. 26B. The armature includes an extension 862 extending at an approximately perpendicular angle from the planar surface of the armature. FIG. 26D is a side view of the armature removed from the lid 852. The anchor 860 includes an optionally opening 864. The armature may be moved on a free opposite end 866 from the anchor 860. The anchor 860 acts as a pivot point. Application of downward pressure on the armature 860 causes the armature to move downward, thus revealing the opening for which the armature covers. With the application of downward force by the user's mouth, the armature moves down and liquid is allowed to exit through the top portion opening, which is covered by the armature when force is not applied. Additionally, the opening 860 may optionally be used to allow the liquid to more easily flow from the beverage container.

FIG. 27A is a front perspective view of a beverage container 870 having a lid 872 and a straw 874 in an eight alternate embodiment of the present invention. The beverage container 870 may include a removable pop-off top 876 (shown partially removed in FIG. 27A). The lid includes a cover 876 which covers an opening (not shown) in the lid. The straw protrudes from the lid and includes a sheath 878. The sheath 878 may operate in a similar manner as described for the sheath 22 in FIG. 1. Additionally, the cover 876 may include an opening 880 operating in the same manner as described for the opening 32 in FIG. 2. FIG. 27B is a bottom perspective view of the lid 872. The straw extends down into the interior portion of the beverage container. The cover is affixed to the underside of the lid by arms 882. The operation of the beverage container 870 operates in the same manner as the straw and lid discussed in FIGS. 1 and 2.

FIG. 28A is a front perspective view of the beverage can 850 of FIG. 26A with an alternative lid 888 in a ninth alternate embodiment of the present invention. The lid includes a cover 890 and the pop-off cover 856 (shown partially removed). The cover also includes an opening 892. FIG. 28B illustrates a bottom perspective view of the lid 888 of FIG. 28A. FIG. 28C illustrates a bottom view of the cover 890 having an extension 894 and an armature 896 with an anchor 898. FIG. 28D is a side view of the cover 890 of FIG. 28A. The extension may be pulled up (or alternative pushed down) to reveal an opening 900 through the lid to allow liquid to exit the beverage container. The opening 892 allows the liquid to flow more freely.

FIG. 29A is a front perspective view of a straw 902 attached to a cover 904 of a lid 906 in a tenth alternate embodiment of the present invention. The strap extends down from the lid and is affixed to the cover and points 908 and 910. FIG. 29B is a side view of the straw 902 having an extendible top 912. FIG. 29B illustrates the closed position. FIG. 29C illustrates the open position, which allows liquid to flow out through the straw. The top includes an orifice 914 and an opening 916. The opening and orifice remain closed with the top 912 positioned in the down position. Positioning the top in the upward position reveals the orifice and opening, thereby allowing liquid to flow through the straw.

FIG. 30A is a front perspective view of a beverage container 920 having an extendible top 922 in an eleventh alternate embodiment of the present invention. The extendible top 922 may be protected by a removable cover 924 (shown partially removed in FGU. 30A). The extendible top may moved vertically to allow the flow of liquid from the beverage container through an opening 926 leading from the interior of the beverage container. FIG. 30B is a front perspective view of the extendible top 922 in the closed position, which prevents the flow of liquid through the opening 926. With the top in the down position, a blocking device (not shown) prevents the flow of liquid through the opening. FIG. 30C illustrates a front perspective view of the extendible top in the open (up) position. The extendible top includes an adjacently mounted closeable vent opening 928. In the up position, the vent opening is no lot blocked by the block 930.

FIG. 31A is a side view of a beverage container 932 having an opening 934 in a twelfth alternate embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 31A illustrates the opening closed by an armature 936 which is attached on one end 938 on a lid 940. The opposite end includes a blocking device 942 covering the opening. The blocking device, is constructed in such a fashion as to bias the armature biased towards the top of the beverage container, thereby closing the opening. FIG. 31B illustrates a side view of the beverage container 932 in an open position. By providing downward pressure on the blocking device (e.g., the user's mouth), the blocking device moves downwardly, which allows the liquid to flow out of the beverage container. FIG. 31C is a side view of the beverage container 932 with the armature 936. In addition to the blocking device 942, the armature may also include an adjacent second blocking device 944 covering a vent opening 946. Downward pressure on the blocking device 942 also provides a downward movement of the second blocking device, thereby revealing the vent opening.

FIG. 32 is a side view of a beverage container 950 having a blocking device 952 affixed to a lid 954 in a thirteenth alternate embodiment of the present invention. The blocking device is attached to an armature 954 which is affixed to the lid at a pivot point 956. In a similar manner as described above, the blocking device may be moved downward to allow the liquid to flow through an opening 958 in the lid.

FIG. 33A is a side view of a beverage container 960 having an extendible top 962 in a fourteen alternate embodiment of the present invention. The extending top includes a blocking device 964 covering an opening 966 and a second adjacently mounted blocking device 968 covering a vent opening 970. FIG. 33B illustrates a side view of the beverage container 960 with the extendible top in an up position. With the extendible top in the up position, the blocking device 964 is prevented from blocking liquid flowing though the opening 966 while simultaneously removing the second blocking device 968 from the vent opening 970.

It should be understood that the actuating device may be used to cover one or more openings in the beverage container lid. In addition, in various embodiments of the present invention, the user may press, apply force, pull up/push down, or merely touch the actuating device to provide a sufficient action to move the actuating device to the open position. The actuating device, in all of the embodiments enables a user to drink from the beverage container by merely touching or pressing the user's lips against the actuating device.

The present invention provides many advantages over existing beverage/cover systems. The container allows a user to confidently lay their beverage container down without the fear of spilling liquid contained within the container. Specifically, the container is biased to prevent any liquid from spilling from the container. In order to drink from the container, the user merely has to inhale through the straw. In addition, the reinforcing strip 30 enables the use of the present invention on an existing lid and container. The reinforcing strip provides ease in attachment of the reinforcing strip to the straw. The lid includes a vent opening, which is covered by the diaphragm 36. The reinforcing material 40 prevents seepage of liquid through the hole 16. The reinforcing strip is simple to use by merely sliding the reinforcing strip through the straw 14. Thus, unlike existing beverage anti-spill containers, the present invention may be used on a convention lid without modification to the lid or the container.

While the present invention is described herein with reference to illustrative embodiments for particular applications, it should be understood that the invention is not limited thereto. Those having ordinary skill in the art and access to the teachings provided herein will recognize additional modifications, applications, and embodiments within the scope thereof and additional fields in which the present invention would be of significant utility.

Thus, the present invention has been described herein with reference to a particular embodiment for a particular application. Those having ordinary skill in the art and access to the present teachings will recognize additional modifications, applications and embodiments within the scope thereof.

It is therefore intended by the appended claims to cover any and all such applications, modifications and embodiments within the scope of the present invention.