Title:
Squeeze bottle cap
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A bottle cap including a cover having a front end defining a pair of substantially parallel flanges extending generally perpendicularly from the cover, a deformable panel extending between the flanges, and an opposed rear end defining a pair of body-engaging hinges extending from a portion thereof. The cap includes a body having a top portion defining an outwardly projecting spout at one end and an inwardly projecting cavity at another end that may pivotally receive the body-engaging hinges for rotating the cover about an x-axis relative the body when attached thereto. Pressure applied to the flanges causes the panel to resiliently deform and disengage from the body allowing the cover to transition from a closed position mating the front end of the cover with the top portion of the body for providing a fluid-tight seal therebetween, and an open position retaining the rear end of the cover against the body.



Inventors:
Yelland, William (Brampton, CA)
Application Number:
11/322957
Publication Date:
07/05/2007
Filing Date:
12/30/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
222/571, 222/556
International Classes:
B65D47/00; B65D5/72
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NGO, LIEN M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
THE SONI LAW FIRM (Pasadena, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A bottle cap comprising: a cover having a front end defining at least one release member extending from a portion thereof, and an opposed rear end defining a pair of body-engaging hinges extending from a portion thereof, the body-engaging hinges defining a locking protrusion extending therebetween; a body having a top portion defining an outwardly projecting spout at one end thereof and an inwardly projecting cavity at another end thereof, the cavity being sized and configured to pivotally receive the body-engaging hinges for rotating the cover about an x-axis relative the body when attached thereto, the cavity further being sized and configured to slidably engage the locking protrusion, and a bottom portion at an opposite end thereof, the spout and the bottom portion cooperating to define an orifice for receiving fluid therethrough; and wherein the cover is positionable between a first closed position mating the front end of the cover with the top portion of the body for providing a fluid-tight seal therebetween, and a second open position retaining the rear end of the cover against the body via the locking protrusion.

2. The cap as in claim 1 wherein the cover further includes an a) outer surface extending between the front and rear ends, and b) a plug extending from the outer surface.

3. The cap as in claim 2 wherein the plug is sized and configured to mateably frictionally engage the spout when the cover is in the first closed position.

4. The cap as in claim 3 wherein the spout is formed having a substantially concave profile for preventing drips therefrom, and the plug is formed having a substantially convex profile.

5. The cap as in claim 2 wherein the cover further defines a recess therethrough and the plug is sized and configured to be frictionally retained within the cover via the recess.

6. The cap as in claim 5 wherein the plug is fabricated from a rubber-like material.

7. The cap as in claim 6 wherein the plug further includes advertising indicia visible on a surface thereof when the plug is frictionally retained within the recess and the cover is in the first closed position.

8. The cap as in claim 2 wherein the plug further includes advertising indicia visible when the plug is frictionally retained within the recess and the cover is in the first closed position.

9. The cap as in claim 1 wherein the at least one release member includes: a pair of substantially parallel flanges extending generally perpendicularly from the outer surface of the cover; a deformable panel extending between the flanges; and wherein external pressure applied to the flanges causes the panel to resiliently deform and disengage from the body allowing the cover to transition from the first closed position to the second open position.

10. The cap as in claim 9 further including a thumb tab extending generally perpendicularly from the panel.

11. The cap as in claim 1 wherein the cover is rotatable about the x-axis relative the body to provide up to 180 degrees of rotation between the first open position and the second closed position.

12. A fluid-container comprising: a substantially cylindrical bottle; a bottle cap including: a cover having a front end defining at least one release member extending from a portion thereof, and an opposed rear end defining a pair of body-engaging hinges extending from a portion thereof, the body-engaging hinges defining a locking protrusion extending therebetween; a body having a top portion defining an outwardly projecting spout at one end thereof and an inwardly projecting cavity at another end thereof, the cavity being sized and configured to pivotally receive the body-engaging hinges for rotating the cover about an x-axis relative the body when attached thereto, the cavity further being sized and configured to slidably engage the locking protrusion, and a bottom portion at an opposite end thereof, the spout and the bottom portion cooperating to define an orifice for receiving fluid therethrough; and wherein the cover is positionable between a first closed position mating the front end of the cover with the top portion of the body for providing a fluid-tight seal therebetween, and a second open position retaining the rear end of the cover against the body via the locking protrusion, the bottle cap being sized and configured to be removably engaged to the bottle.

13. The fluid-container as in claim 12 wherein the bottle further includes a bottle top and a bottle bottom at an opposite end thereof cooperating to define a bottle body therebetween, the bottle top having a substantially circular neck portion, the neck portion defining a substantially circular orifice.

14. The fluid-container as in claim 13 wherein bottle body defines a substantially concave grip portion between the bottle top and the bottle bottom.

15. The fluid-container as in claim 14 wherein the grip portion defines a plurality of ribs extending concentrically around the bottle body.

16. The fluid-container as in claim 12 wherein the cover further includes an a) outside surface extending between the front and rear ends, and b) a plug extending from the outer surface.

17. The fluid-container as in claim 16 wherein the plug is sized and configured to mateably frictionally engage the spout when the cover is in the first closed position.

18. The fluid-container as in claim 17 wherein the spout is formed having a substantially concave profile for preventing drips therefrom, and the plug is formed having a substantially convex profile.

19. The fluid-container as in claim 16 wherein the cover further defines a recess therethrough and the plug is sized and configured to be frictionally retained within the cover via the recess.

20. The fluid-container as in claim 19 wherein the plug is fabricated from a rubber-like material.

21. The fluid-container as in claim 20 wherein the plug further includes advertising indicia visible on a surface thereof when the plug is frictionally retained within the recess and the cover is in the first closed position.

22. The fluid-container as in claim 12 wherein the at least one release member includes: a pair of substantially parallel flanges extending generally perpendicularly from the outer surface of the cover; a deformable panel extending between the flanges; and wherein external pressure applied to the flanges causes the panel to resiliently deform and disengage from the body allowing the cover to transition from the first closed position to the second open position.

23. The fluid-container as in claim 22 further including a thumb tab extending generally perpendicularly from the panel.

24. The fluid-container as in claim 12 wherein the cover is rotatable about the x-axis relative the body to provide up to 180 degrees of rotation between the first open position and the second closed position.

25. A bottle cap comprising: a cover having a front end defining at least one release member extending from a portion thereof, the at least one release member including a pair of substantially parallel flanges extending generally perpendicularly from therefrom, the at least one release member further including a deformable panel extending between the flanges, and an opposed rear end defining a pair of body-engaging hinges extending from a portion thereof; a body having a top portion defining an outwardly projecting spout at one end thereof and an inwardly projecting cavity at another end thereof, the cavity being sized and configured to pivotally receive the body-engaging hinges for rotating the cover about an x-axis relative the body when attached thereto, and a bottom portion at an opposite end thereof, the spout and the bottom portion cooperating to define an orifice for receiving fluid therethrough; and wherein external pressure applied to the flanges causes the panel to resiliently deform and disengage from the body allowing the cover to transition from a first closed position mating the front end of the cover with the top portion of the body for providing a fluid-tight seal therebetween, and a second open position retaining the rear end of the cover against the body.

Description:

The present invention relates to field of bottle caps and more specifically to portable water bottles having flip-top dispenser caps attached thereto.

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

(Not Applicable)

STATEMENT RE: FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH/DEVELOPMENT

(Not Applicable)

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Portable water bottles are well known and typically used to hold water and other hydrating drinks. Such bottles are frequently tucked into backpacks, stored in handbags and other carrying totes that allow for relatively quick and simple access to the contents. Carrying portable water bottles are useful in staying hydrated when traveling outdoors, exercising at the gym, hiking, skiing, and countless other situations where it is necessary to continuously replenish one's bodily fluids.

When a consumer purchases a water bottle there are at least three factors they consider important to their decision. First, the size and amount of liquid the bottle can hold. Each size bottle serves it's own purpose and consumers may wish to purchase a larger size bottle when they plan to consume a large volume of liquid over a period of time when water may not otherwise be available. This is frequently the case on long hiking trips that may span an entire day or several days. On the other hand, a small size bottle may be useful when portability is an issue. Yet, whether the bottle is small or large, most of the water bottles available today implement a screw-cap and consumers are generally familiar with these types of caps. Therefore, there exists a need for a bottle cap that can fit upon either small or large bottles.

Second, the type of cap fitted upon the bottle is important to the consumer because the design of the cap may allow for easier hydration, depending upon their application. A twist-off cap is sometimes disadvantageous to those consumers who wish to have quick access to the bottle's contents without having to stop and unscrew the cap. Other types of caps such as the conventional pull-spout found on popular water bottles are quick and simple to use, but may be inadvertently opened to release the bottle's contents when traveling. To prevent such an occurrence, pull-spouts are sometimes fitted with a protective cap that requires the consumers to completely disengage the protective cap, pull the spout, drink from the bottle, close the spout, and finally re-engage the protective cap upon the spout. This type of design is cumbersome because the two-piece design allows for the possibility that the consumer will lose the protective cap, requires too many actions, and is generally difficult to drink from with one hand. This is especially a problem when hiking because a brief stop on the trail would require others ahead of the hiker to stop and wait for the consumer to finish drinking from their water bottle. Therefore, there exists a need for a bottle cap that minimizes the chance of accidental leakage when stored in a bag, allows access to the fluid contents without the need to hold and retain separate pieces, and operate simply with one hand.

Third, consumers are also concerned about the bottle design and how the design will aid their purpose. Standard cylindrical bottles are the most common bottles because they are easy to manufacture. However, such cylindrical bottles can become slick if water is spilled upon the surface. Therefore, there exists a need for a bottle having a grip portion that would allow the consumer to retain the bottle in their hand with relative ease, even when the bottle is wet.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, there is provided a novel bottle cap that allows the consumer to attach it to a bottle and store liquid therein. The bottle cap is configured to prevent inadvertent disengagement of the cover from the body of the bottle cap. Advantageously, the bottle cap may only be opened by either exerting force upon a thumb tab located at a front end of the cover, or by squeezing together a pair of substantially parallel flanges to deform a panel and disengage a tab on the cover from the mateable engagement with the body of the cap. The cover is preferably a flip-top design that is hingedly connected to the body of the cap and allows the consumer to flip open the cap with one hand, either via a finger tip with the thumb tab or with the parallel flanges. Advantageously, pressure exerted in other directions, including pressure exerted against the panel or the outer surface of the cover will not disengage the cover from the body. Such features reduce occurrences of inadvertent disengagement of the cover from the body.

A further advantage of the present invention is the spill-proof feature of the bottle cap. The bottle cap is preferably fitted with a rubber-like plug that is retained within the cover and mateably engages a spout from the body of the cap. A liquid-tight seal may be formed between the spout and the plug such that when the cover is in a first closed position, no liquid may seep out therefrom. The shape and configuration of the spout also provides for a drip-proof pour such that is advantageous when compared to standard round openings. A concave and substantially flanged profile to the spout allows for liquid to be drawn away from the opening, allowing air to pass into the opening for quicker pouring. The curved flanged profile of the spout allows assists the flow of liquid such that any remaining liquid that may normally dribble from a standard round opening will flow back into the spout.

A further advantage of the present invention is the lockable cover. The cover may rotate up to 180 degrees from the first closed position to the second open position and removably lock itself within a cavity of the body. The locking protrusion engages a tab within the cavity so that the cover does not inadvertently fall and hit the consumer in the face when they try to take a drink. This may also be useful when pouring the liquid into a container so the that cover is out of the way and does not inadvertently close when tipped at an angle.

Another advantage of the present invention includes an alternate embodiment including a combination of a bottle and the cap. The novel cap as described herein may be attached to a bottle which preferably defines a substantially concave grip portion in a center portion of the bottle body. The concave grip portion is preferably formed having a plurality of ribs extending concentrically around the bottle body. The ribs allow for enhanced grip and may additionally aid in retaining the bottle in backpacks and other bags with water bottle containers due to the slim profile.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of a bottle with a bottle cap thereon made according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 illustrates a front elevational view of the bottle with a bottle cap thereon made according to the present invention;

FIG. 3 illustrates a cross-sectional side view of a bottle with a bottle cap thereon taken along lines 3-3 of FIG. 2, the cover being in the first closed position;

FIG. 4 illustrates a cross-sectional side view of a bottle with a bottle cap thereon, the cover being in a second open position;

FIG. 5 illustrates a top plan view of a bottle cap made according to the present invention;

FIG. 6 illustrates a cross-sectional exploded view of a bottle cap taken along lines 6-6 of FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 illustrates a cross-sectional perspective view of a bottle cap made according to the present invention;

FIG. 8 illustrates a perspective view of a bottle cap being squeezed in an exemplary manner according to the present invention; and

FIG. 9 illustrates a cross-sectional side view of a bottle cap being squeezed in an exemplary manner according to the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring now to the drawings wherein the showings are for purposes of illustrating preferred embodiments of the present invention only, and not for purposes of limiting the same, in FIGS. 1-2, a preferred embodiment of the bottle cap 10 attached to the bottle 48 is shown. Preferably, the bottle cap 10 includes a cover 12 and a body 24 that are hingedly engaged to each other. The cover 12 preferably includes a front end 14 that defines at least one release member extending from a portion of the cover 12. The at least one release member may be fabricated as a thumb tab which allows the cover 12 to be released from the body 24. The cover 12 also includes an opposed rear end 16 which defines a pair of body-engaging hinges 20 extending from a portion of the rear end 16. The body-engaging hinges 20 are more clearly shown in the exploded diagram of FIG. 7. The body-engaging hinges 20 define a locking protrusion 22 extending between the pair of body-engaging hinges 20, which is best illustrated in FIGS. 3-4.

Referring now to FIGS. 3-4, preferably, the bottle cap 10 also includes a body 24 which includes a top portion 26 defining an outwardly projecting spout 28 at one end thereof. The top portion 26 also includes an inwardly projecting cavity 30 at another end thereof. The cavity 30 is sized and configured to pivotally receive the body-engaging hinges 20 for rotating the cover 12 about an x-axis relative the body 24 when attached thereto. The cavity 30 is sized and configured to slidably engage the locking protrusion 22. The body 24 also includes a bottom portion 32 at an opposite end thereof. The spout 60 and the bottom portion 32 cooperate to define an orifice 34 for receiving fluid therethrough. The cover 12 is positionable between a first closed position, illustrated in FIG. 3, mating the front end 14 of the cover 12 with the top portion 26 of the body for providing a fluid-tight seal therebetween, and a second closed position, illustrated in FIG. 4, retaining the rear end 16 of the cover 12 against the body 24 via the locking protrusion 22.

The cover 12 and the body 24 are preferably fabricated from a plastic-like material, but it is anticipated that other materials may be used which are compatible with fluids and will not contaminate the same. The at least one release member may be configured as a thumb-tab 18 such that a consumer can simply apply pressure to the thumb tab 18 and disengage the cover 12 from the body 24. In the first closed position shown in FIG. 3, one end of the thumb tab 18 engages a complimentary tab 64 extending from the body 24. In this respect, the cover 12 and the body 24 may be kept together via the tab 18 and the tab 64. In an alternate embodiment of the present invention, the cover 12 may be formed without the thumb tab 18 to provide further protection against accidental disengagement of the cover 12 from the body 24. In such an embodiment, the cover 12 is still engaged to the body 24 via the tab 64, but disengagement of the cover 12 from the body 24 is accomplished solely through squeezing a portion of the front end 14, as will be discussed in further detail herein.

Referring now to FIGS. 8-9, exemplary operation of the bottle cap 10 is illustrated. Specifically, FIG. 8 illustrates the squeezing pressure one may exert upon the front end 14 of the cover 12 such that the tab 18 is engaged from the tab 64. Preferably, the at least one release member includes a pair of substantially parallel flanges 44 that extend generally perpendicularly from the outer surface 36. The at least one release member also includes a deformable panel 46 extending between the flanges 44. External pressure applied to the flanges 44 cause the panel to resiliently deform and disengage from the body 24 allowing the cover 12 to transition from the first closed position to the second open position. In this respect, the cover 12 may be formed having the flanges 44 and the thumb tab 18 in one embodiment, and may be formed having only the flanges 44 in another alternate embodiment. The flanges 44, when squeezed together, cause the panel 46 to deform and disengage from the tab 64 as shown in FIG. 9. Advantageously, the combination of the tab 18, panel 46 and flanges 44 provides a cover 12 which may be disengaged from the body 24 via either the tab 18 or via the flanges 44 in one embodiment, or via only the flanges 44 in another embodiment.

Referring now to FIGS. 3-4, 6, 7, and 9, the cavity 30 formed at an end of the top portion 26 is preferably formed to pivotally receive the body-engaging hinges 20. Preferably, the cavity 30 should have a sufficient depth to allow the cover 12 to rotate approximately 180 degrees from the first closed position to the second open position, as shown in FIGS. 3 and 4 respectively. Advantageously, allowing the cover 12 to rotate fully, the consumer will not have any obstruction upon their nose while drinking. In combination with the locking protrusion 22, when the cover 12 is retained in the second open position, the cover 12 will not inadvertently fall down and hit the consumer in the face when the bottle is tipped to allow the liquid contents to pour out. The cover 12 is preferably rotated about the x-axis as shown in FIG. 5. When the cover 12 is positioned into the second open position as shown in FIG. 4, the outer surface 36 rests upon a portion of the body 24 such that the edge of the cover 12 adjacent the plug 38 and recess 40 contacts the body 24. In this respect, the strongest part of the cover 12 is placed into contact with the body to prevent unwanted stress upon the cover 12 and to further provide a fulcrum point closer to the x-axis such that the cover 12 is less susceptible to accidental breakage when excessive force is placed upon the cover 12, or when the cover 12 is inadvertently rotated beyond 180 degrees.

Referring now to FIGS. 1-9, the cover 12 is preferably attached to the body 24 via the body-engaging hinges 20. The body-engaging hinges 20 are preferably configured so as to extend outward from the outer surface 36. Even more preferably, the hinges 20 are configured to extend generally perpendicularly with respect to the outer surface 36. As more particularly shown in FIG. 7, the hinges 20 are preferably configured to have substantially round protrusions extending therefrom. Even more preferably, these protrusions are configured to extend generally perpendicularly with respect to the hinges 20. The hinges 20 are configured to mateably engage a portion of the cavity 30 and slidably engage the same.

Referring now to FIGS. 6-7, the top portion 26 preferably includes the spout 60. Even more preferably, the cover 12 includes a plug 38 extending from the outer surface 36. The plug 38 may be sized and configured to extend generally perpendicularly from the outer surface 36. The plug 38 may be fabricated from a rubber-like material, but other materials that provide for liquid-tight seals with plastic may be used. The cover 12 may be formed to define a recess 40 therethrough such that the recess 40 is substantially round in shape. The plug 38 may be inserted into the recess 40 and frictionally retained therein. In this respect, where the recess 40 is round, a portion of the plug 38 may be round as well. When the plug 38 is inserted into the recess 40, the plug 38 is preferably formed such that the plug 38 is permanently retained within the recess 40 and creates a liquid-tight fit between the plug 38 and the cover 12. Even more preferably, the plug 38 may be coated with an adhesive to enhance retention of the plug 38 within the recess 40. The spout 60 is preferably formed having a substantially concave profile for preventing drips therefrom. In this respect, the substantially wide profile of the spout 60 and concave profile prevents liquid from inadvertently dripping from the spout 60 when fluid is poured therefrom. When the spout 60 is formed having such a concave profile, the plug 38 may be formed having a substantially convex profile. In this respect, the spout 60 and plug 38 are designed to mateably engage each other. Therefore, it is anticipated that other shapes and designs of the plug 38 and spout 60 may be utilized so long as a liquid-tight fit is accomplished therebetween.

Referring now to FIG. 1-9, the body 24 of the cap 10 is preferably formed having a plurality of indentations around a circumference thereof. The indentations being operative to provide enhanced grip when rotating the cap 10 for threadable engagement and disengagement of the same with the bottle 48.

Referring now to FIG. 5, the plug may also include advertising indicia 42 visible on a surface of thereof when the plug is frictionally retained within the recess 40 and the cover 12 is in the first closed position. The advertising indicia 42 may be embossed or imprinted upon a surface of the plug 38. Advantageously, the plug 38 is oversized to accommodate relatively large symbols, logos and text. The plug 38 may also be fitted with a secondary layer upon the plug 38 for full-color printing and other types of printing.

Referring now to FIGS. 1-2, an alternate embodiment illustrating a combination fluid-container 100 is shown. As will be appreciated those skilled in the art, the features of the cap 10 are equally applicable to the cap 10 illustrated in FIGS. 1-2 showing the combination. Advantageously, the combination of the bottle 48 and cap 10 provide a spill-proof container with grippable portions thereon. The bottle 48 is preferably formed having a bottle top 54 and a bottle bottom 52 at an opposite end thereof. The bottle top and bottom 54 and 52 cooperate to define a bottle body 70 therebetween. The bottle top 54 has a substantially circular neck portion 50 that defines a substantially circular orifice. Preferably, the bottle has a substantially cylindrical shape, but other shapes may be utilized so long as the neck portion 50 defines a substantially circular orifice. The bottle body 70 may define a substantially concave grip portion 56 between the bottle top 54 and bottle bottom 52. The grip portion 56 is preferably disposed in a center portion of the bottle body 70. The grip portion 56 preferably defines a plurality of ribs 58 extending concentrically around the bottle body 70. Advantageously, the grip portion 56 provides for enhanced grip and prevents slippage when wet.

Additional modifications and improvements of the present invention may also be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art. Thus, the particular combination of parts described and illustrated herein is intended to represent only certain embodiments of the present invention, and is not intended to serve as limitations of alternative devices within the spirit and scope of the invention.