Title:
Plate with utensil pocket
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A food holding plate having a pocket formed therein for holding utensils such as a knife, fork and/or spoon and/or a napkin. A lower plate-like member is engaged to the lower surface of the plate member to form the utensil pocket, such that the pocket is generally formed beneath the flat central portion of the plate. An opening for the pocket is formed between an edge of the lower plate-like member and the lower surface of the plate member. Handle portions of the utensils may be disposed within the pocket, while the food contact portions of the utensils extend from the pocket opening.



Inventors:
Waldie, Donald T. (Aptos, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/605660
Publication Date:
06/14/2007
Filing Date:
11/28/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D85/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ELOSHWAY, NIKI MARINA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
IPLO-Intellectual Property Law Offices (San Jose, CA, US)
Claims:
What I claim is:

1. A plate having a utensil pocket, comprising: a plate member having an upper surface and a lower surface; a lower member being disposed beneath said lower surface and engaged thereto; and a utensil pocket being disposed between said lower surface and said lower member.

2. A plate having a utensil pocket as described in claim 1 wherein said lower member includes upturned edges that are engaged with said lower surface.

3. A plate having a utensil pocket as described in claim 1 wherein said plate member and said lower member are integrally formed.

4. A plate as described in claim 1 wherein said pocket has a pocket opening that is formed between said lower surface and an edge portion of said lower member.

5. A plate as described in claim 4 wherein said opening of said utensil pocket has a height of from approximately 1/32 inches to approximately ⅝ inches, and a width of from approximately 1 inch to approximately 6 inches.

6. A plate as described in claim 1 wherein said utensil pocket has a depth that extends throughout a separation between said lower surface and said lower member.

7. A plate as described in claim 6 wherein said depth of said utensil pocket is from approximately 2 inches to approximately 10 inches.

8. A plate as described in claim 1 wherein the shape of said plate member is chosen from the group consisting of round, oval, rectangular, square, triangular and a polygon.

9. A plate with utensils disposed within a utensil pocket, comprising: a plate member having an upper surface and a lower surface; a lower member being disposed beneath said lower surface and engaged thereto; a utensil pocket being formed between said lower surface and said lower member; and at least one utensil being disposed within said pocket.

10. A plate having a utensil pocket as described in claim 9 wherein a handle portion of said utensil is disposed within said pocket, while a food contact portion of said utensil projects from said pocket.

11. A plate having a utensil pocket as described in claim 10 wherein said at least one utensil includes one or more items chosen from the group consisting of a knife, a fork, a spoon and a napkin.

12. A plate having a utensil pocket as described in claim 9 wherein said plate member and said lower member are integrally formed.

13. A plate having a utensil pocket as described in claim 9 wherein said lower plate member has upturned side edges and a downwardly disposed central region, and said upturned edges are engaged with said plate member.

14. A plate having a utensil pocket as described in claim 13 wherein said pocket is formed between said central portion of said lower member and said lower surface of said plate member.

15. A plate as described in claim 14 wherein said pocket has a pocket opening that is formed between said lower surface and an edge portion of said lower member.

16. A plate as described in claim 15 wherein said opening of said utensil pocket has a height of from approximately 1/32 inches to approximately ⅝ inches, and a width of from approximately 1 inch to approximately 6 inches.

17. A plate as described in claim 9 wherein said utensil pocket has a depth that extends throughout a separation between said lower surface and said lower member.

18. A plate as described in claim 17 wherein said depth of said utensil pocket is from approximately 2 inches to approximately 10 inches.

19. A plate as described in claim 9 wherein the shape of said plate member is chosen from the group consisting of round, oval, rectangular, square, triangular and a polygon.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/749,273, filed Dec. 9, 2005, entitled: Plate With Utensil Pocket.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to plates for holding food, and more particularly to a plate having a pocket formed therein for holding utensils such as a knife, fork or spoon or napkin.

2. Description of the Prior Art

In picnics and other informal gatherings, it is often the case that paper or plastic plates are placed in a stack upon a table for usage by guests. Placed proximate the plates are utensils, and proximate the utensils are napkins. Guests must then pick up a plate and utensils and a napkin, and commonly the guests' hands are then full, making it difficult to place food upon the plate. The guests' discomfort can become even greater where the guest is attempting to hold a drink while holding the plate, food, utensils and napkin. In such a situation, it is desirable to have a place to put the utensils, such that they do not have to be carried in the hand of the person. The present invention seeks to ease the discomfort of the guest by creating a utensil pocket within the plate, as is more fully described herebelow.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention generally comprises a food holding plate having a pocket formed therein for holding utensils such as a knife, fork and/or spoon and/or a napkin. A lower plate-like member is engaged to the lower surface of the plate member to form the utensil pocket, such that the pocket is generally formed beneath the flat central portion of the plate member. An opening for the pocket is formed between an edge of the lower plate-like member and the lower surface of the plate member. Handle portions of the utensils may be disposed within the pocket, while the food contact portions of the utensils extend from the pocket opening.

It is an advantage of the plate with utensil pocket of the present invention that a utensil pocket is formed beneath the lower surface of the plate.

It is another advantage of the plate with utensil pocket of the present invention that the utensil pocket is formed with a relatively large opening, such that a plurality of utensils, which may include a napkin, may be easily disposed therein and removed therefrom.

It is a further advantage of the plate with utensil pocket of the present invention that the plate may be integrally formed, such that it is easily manufactured.

It is yet another advantage of the plate with utensil pocket of the present invention that it may be used with ease.

It is yet a further advantage of the plate with utensil pocket of the present invention that the plates without utensils can be easily stacked, and the utensils can be easily inserted within the utensil pocket prior to usage.

These and other features and advantages of the present invention will no doubt become apparent to those skilled in the art upon reading the following detailed description which makes reference to the several figures of the drawing.

IN THE DRAWINGS

The following drawings are not made to scale as an actual device, and are provided for illustration of the invention described herein.

FIG. 1 is a top perspective view of a round plate 10 of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the round plate 10 depicted in FIG. 1 including utensils 48 disposed within a utensil pocket 22;

FIG. 3 is a bottom perspective view of the plate depicted in FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a bottom perspective view of the plate plus utensils depicted in FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 is a top plan view of the plate depicted in FIG. 1;

FIG. 6 is a top plan view of the plate plus utensils depicted in FIG. 2;

FIG. 7 is a front plan view of the plate depicted in FIG. 1;

FIG. 8 is a front plan view of the plate plus utensils depicted in FIG. 2;

FIG. 9 is a side elevational view of the plate depicted in FIG. 1;

FIG. 10 is a side elevational view of the plate plus utensils depicted in FIG. 2;

FIG. 11 is a rear elevational view of the plate depicted in FIG. 1;

FIG. 12 is a rear elevational view of the plate plus utensils depicted in FIG. 2;

FIG. 13 is a bottom plan view of the plate depicted FIG. 1;

FIG. 14 is a bottom plan view of the plate plus utensils depicted in FIG. 2.

FIG. 15 depicts suggested utensils;

FIG. 16 depicts a generally rectangular plate with a utensil pocket;

FIG. 17 depicts a generally oval plate with a utensil pocket;

FIG. 18 depicts a generally triangular plate with a utensil pocket; and

FIG. 19 depicts a generally polygon shaped plate with a utensil pocket.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

FIGS. 1-14 are various views of a round plate embodiment 10 of the present invention including a utensil pocket formed therein. FIG. 15 depicts suggested utensils 48 that may be disposed within the pocket for ease of carrying the utensils. FIGS. 16-19 depict various alternative shapes of the plate with utensil pocket of the present invention. This disclosure will commence with a description of the plate 10 as shown without utensils in the utensil pocket; thereafter the plate as shown with utensils in the pocket is described.

As depicted in FIGS. 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11 and 13, the plate 10 of the present invention includes a plate member 12 having a bottom portion 14 and side walls 16, and the bottom portion 14 includes an upper surface 18 upon which a user places food for consumption. The upper surface 18 may be flat (as depicted) or it may include projecting ribs (not shown) that form plate sections, as are well known, and a rectangular plate 70 having such projecting ribs 72 is depicted in FIG. 16 and described herebelow. As is best seen in the front plan view of FIG. 7, the plate member 12 also includes a lower surface 20, as exists in a typical, simple prior art plate. To form a utensil pocket 22, a lower plate-like member 24 is disposed beneath the lower surface 20. As can be best seen with the aid of FIGS. 9, 11 and 13, the lower member 24 includes a downwardly disposed central portion 32 and generally upturned edges 28 that are engaged with the lower surface 20 of the plate member 12. The utensil pocket 22 is formed between the central portion 32 of the lower member 24 and the lower surface 20 of the plate member 12.

Regarding the utensil pocket 22, as is best seen in FIGS. 3, 7, 9 and 13, a portion of the upturned edge 28 of the lower member 24 is cut away, such that an edge portion 36 of the lower member is not engaged to the lower surface 20, whereby an opening 40 for the utensil pocket 22 is created between the edge portion 36 of the lower member and the lower surface 20 of the plate member 12. While the dimensions of the opening 40 are somewhat determined by the size and number of utensils to be stored therein as well as the dimensions of the plate, the opening generally may be formed with a height of from approximately 1/32 inches to approximately ⅝ inches, and with a width of from approximately 1 inch to approximately 6 inches; the depth of the pocket 22 generally extends throughout the separation between lower surface 20 and lower member 24, and should extend in depth from at least approximately 2 inches to approximately 10 inches. In alternative embodiments the plate with utensil pocket 10 of the present invention may be formed from separate members 12 and 24 that are bonded together or that are snapped together using pre-molded mating snaps (not shown), or it may be molded as a single, integrally formed piece.

As depicted in FIG. 15, the suggested utensils 48 that may be stored within the utensil pocket 22 include a knife 50, and/or fork 54, and/or spoon 58, which may be accompanied by a napkin 62. The utensils 50, 54 and 58 each includes a food contact portion 66 and a handle portion 64, where the napkin 62 may be wrapped around the handle portion 64 of the utensils.

FIGS. 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 and 14 depict the round plate 10 of the present invention wherein utensils 48 are depicted as stored within the utensil pocket 22. With regard to corresponding views depicting the plate without utensils disposed within the utensil pocket, FIG. 2 corresponds to FIG. 1, FIG. 4 corresponds to FIG. 3, FIG. 6 corresponds to FIG. 5, FIG. 8 corresponds to FIG. 7, FIG. 10 corresponds to FIG. 9, FIG. 12 corresponds to FIG. 11, and FIG. 14 corresponds to FIG. 13. The handles 64 of the utensils 50, 54, 58 are inserted through the opening 40 into the pocket 22, such that the food contact portions 66 of the utensils project outwardly from the opening. Where a napkin is included, a portion of the napkin may be wrapped around the handles 64 of the utensils and inserted through the opening 40 into the pocket 22.

The present invention is not to be limited to a circular plate, and plates of different geometrical shapes are meant to be included within the present invention. In this regard, FIG. 16 depicts a rectangular plate 70, which also is meant to include a square plate. The plate 70 includes projecting ribs 72 that divide the plate surface into sections for holding differing types of food, as is well known to those skilled in the art. The plate 70 includes a lower plate member (not shown) similar to lower plate member 24, such that a utensil pocket is formed between the lower surface of the plate and the lower plate member, and the utensils are disposed within the plate utensil pocket. FIG. 17 depicts an oval plate 74, FIG. 18 depicts a triangular plate 78 and FIG. 19 depicts a generally polygon shaped plate 82. Each of these plates includes a lower member that is engaged to the lower surface of the plate member (as is shown and described in detail regarding round plate 10) to form a utensil pocket, and suggested utensils 48 are shown disposed therein.

While the present invention has been shown and described with regard to certain preferred embodiments, it is to be understood that modifications in form and detail will no doubt be developed by those skilled in the art upon reviewing this disclosure. It is therefore intended that the following claims cover all such alterations and modifications that nevertheless include the true spirit and scope of the inventive features of the present invention.