Title:
INSULATING, ADJUSTABLE, AND REVERSIBLE CONTAINER HOLDER
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention provides systems and methods for an insulating, adjustable, and reversible cup or container holder. The holder includes a flexible body having a top edge, a bottom edge, a first side edge, and a second side edge. The top edge has a greater circumferential length than the circumferential length of the bottom edge, which gives the flexible body a bowed or angled body shape. The first side edge and the second side edge engage together, so that the flexible body forms a conical configuration around the container. A fastener between the first and second side edges provides a secure connection between the first and second side edges, so that the flexible body forms the conical configuration by surrounding the circumference of the container. The fastener provides adjustability in the conical configuration of the flexible body and the flexible body is reversible. The present invention provides insulation, adjustability, and reversibility for a universal container holder.



Inventors:
Tolan, Gavin (Glendale, AZ, US)
Application Number:
11/277992
Publication Date:
11/08/2007
Filing Date:
03/30/2006
Assignee:
Tolan, Gavin (Glendale, AZ, US)
Hagge, Douglas Martell (Phoenix, AZ, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D25/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GROSSO, HARRY A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Shahpar Shahpar (Phoenix, AZ, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A holder for a container, comprising: a flexible body having a top edge, a bottom edge, a first side edge, and a second side edge, wherein the top edge has a greater circumferential length than the circumferential length of the bottom edge; and wherein the first side edge and the second side edge are configured to engage, so that the flexible body can be configured to form a conical configuration about the container; and a fastener between the first and second side edges to provide a secure connection between the first and second side edges, so that the flexible body forms the conical configuration by surrounding the circumference of the container, wherein the fastener is configured to provide adjustability in the conical configuration of the flexible body.

2. The holder of claim 1, wherein the ratio of circumferential length of the top edge to the bottom edge is greater than or equal to about 1.2.

3. The holder of claim 1, wherein the fastener comprises: a first fastener portion coupled to the first side edge; and a second fastener portion coupled to the second side edge; wherein the first and second fastener portions are securely engaged to each other.

4. The holder of claim 3, wherein the first fastener portion is a hook fastener and the second fastener portion is a loop fastener.

5. The holder of claim 3, wherein the first fastener portion is at least one of a hook fastener, a loop fastener, a female connector portion, a male connector portion, a male snap connector, a female snap connector, and a draw string; and the second fastener portion is at least one of a hook fastener, a loop fastener, a female connector portion, a male connector portion, a male snap connector, a female snap connector, and a draw string.

6. The holder of claim 1, wherein the flexible body comprises at least one of neoprene, rubber, paper, foam, cotton, plastic, polymer, polylactide (PLA) resin, corn-based material, or any insulating material.

7. The holder of claim 1, wherein the flexible body is reversible.

8. The holder of claim 7, wherein the holder includes the flexible body and an exterior flexible body such that at least one of information, logos, and advertising can be printed on at least one of the flexible body and the exterior flexible body.

9. A method of configuring a holder with a flexible body having a top edge, a bottom edge, a first side edge, and a second side edge, and a fastener between the first and second side edges to hold a container, comprising the steps of: configuring the top edge to have a circumferential length greater than the circumferential length of the bottom edge; configuring the first side edge and the second side edge to engage, so that the flexible body can be configured to form a conical configuration around the container; securing a connection between the first and second side edges via the fastener, so that the flexible body forms the conical configuration by surrounding the circumference of the container; and configuring the fastener to provide adjustability in the conical configuration of the flexible body.

10. The method of claim 9, further comprising configuring the ratio of circumferential length of the top edge to the bottom edge to be greater than or equal to about 1.2.

11. The method of claim 9, further comprising configuring the fastener with: a first fastener portion coupled to the first side edge; and a second fastener portion coupled to the second side edge; wherein the first and second fastener portions are securely engaged to each other.

12. The method of claim 11, further comprising configuring the first fastener portion to be a hook fastener and the second fastener portion to be a loop fastener.

13. The method of claim 11, further comprising: configuring the first fastener portion to be at least one of a hook fastener, a loop fastener, a female connector portion, a male connector portion, a male snap connector, a female snap connector, and a draw string; and configuring the second fastener portion to be at least one of a hook fastener, a loop fastener, a female connector portion, a male connector portion, a male snap connector, a female snap connector, and a draw string.

14. The method of claim 9, further comprising configuring the flexible body to be at least one of neoprene, rubber, paper, foam, cotton, plastic, polymer, polylactide (PLA) resin, corn-based material, or any insulating material.

15. The method of claim 9, further comprising configuring the flexible body to be reversible.

16. The method of claim 15, further comprising configuring the holder to include the flexible body and an exterior flexible body such that at least one of information, logos, and advertising can be printed on at least one of the flexible body and the exterior flexible body.

17. A holder for a beverage container, comprising: a flexible body having a top edge, a bottom edge, a first side edge, and a second side edge, wherein the top edge has a greater circumferential length than the circumferential length of the bottom edge such that the ratio of circumferential length of the top edge to the bottom edge is greater than or equal to about 1.2; wherein the first side edge and the second side edge are configured to engage, so that the flexible body can be configured to form a conical configuration around the beverage container; and wherein the flexible body comprises an insulating material; and a fastener between the first and second side edges to provide a secure connection between the first and second side edges, so that the flexible body forms the conical configuration by surrounding the circumference of the beverage container, wherein the fastener is configured to provide adjustability in the conical configuration of the flexible body.

Description:

FIELD OF INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to an insulating, adjustable, and reversible container holder and, more specifically, to an insulating, adjustable, and reversible cup or container holder with a substantially conical shape for providing a barrier between a person's hands and the item to be consumed or held.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Many industries use some type of container holder for insulating or providing a barrier between the consumer's hands and the item being consumed or held. For example, consumers use container holders for hot beverages (e.g., coffee, tea, and cocoa), cold beverages (e.g., soda, beer, and frozen drinks), and hot and cold food. These container holders (sometimes called “koozies”) make it easier for the consumer to hold the item without significantly modifying the item's temperature or making the consumer's hands uncomfortable (or even worse injured).

There are many uses for insulating container holders, such as, coffee cup holders, soda can holders, beer bottle holders, and ice cream pint holders. However, in the past, consumers of such items would need to have individual container holders to fit each type of item (e.g., a soda can holder may not fit a pint of ice cream).

In view of the foregoing, there is a need for container holders which overcome the shortcomings of conventional container holders by providing insulation, adjustability, and reversability for a universal container holder configuration.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides systems and methods for an insulating, adjustable, and reversible cup or container holder. The holder includes a flexible body having a top edge, a bottom edge, a first side edge, and a second side edge. The top edge has a greater circumferential length than the circumferential length of the bottom edge, which gives the flexible body a bowed or angled body shape. For example, the ratio of circumferential length of the top edge to the bottom edge is greater than or equal to about 1.2.

The first side edge and the second side edge engage together, so that the flexible body forms a conical configuration around the container. A fastener between the first and second side edges provides a secure connection between the first and second side edges, so that the flexible body forms the conical configuration by surrounding the circumference of the container. The fastener provides adjustability in the conical configuration of the flexible body and the flexible body is reversible. The present invention provides insulation, adjustability, and reversability for a universal container holder.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Additional aspects of the present invention will become evident upon reviewing the non-limiting embodiments described in the specification, the appendices and the claims taken in conjunction with the accompanying figures, wherein like numerals designate like elements, and wherein:

FIG. 1 is a block diagram of an insulating, adjustable, and reversible container holder in an open position in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a block diagram of an insulating, adjustable, and reversible container holder in a half-way closed position in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a block diagram of an insulating, adjustable, and reversible container holder in a closed position in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a block diagram of an insulating, adjustable, and reversible container holder in a closed position holding a container in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 5 is a flowchart of a method for configuring an insulating, adjustable, and reversible container holder in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The following disclosure describes various exemplary embodiments of the present invention. It should be understood that other embodiments may be realized without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. The following detailed description is presented for purposes of illustration only and not of limitation.

The present invention includes, in general, an insulating, adjustable, and reversible cup or container holder with a substantially conical, frusto-conical, or inverted frusto-conical shape for providing a barrier between a person's hands and the item to be consumed or held. The present invention provides insulation between a person's hands and the item in the holder via an insulating material. The present invention provides adjustability of the container holder to fit various containers via fasteners having adjustability. The present invention also provides reversibility, so that either side of the holder can enclose the container to be held. Accordingly, the present invention provides a universal container holder configuration to hold varying size and shape containers.

FIG. 1 illustrates a block diagram of an insulating, adjustable, and reversible container holder 100 (also referred to as holder 100) in an open position in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention. Holder 100 includes a flexible body 101 having a top edge 103, a bottom edge 105, a first side edge 107, and a second side edge 109.

Top edge 103 has a greater circumferential length than the circumferential length of bottom edge 105. Such a configuration gives flexible body 101 a bowed or angled body shape (e.g., like a funnel or cone). This configuration securely holds a cup or bottle (for example) without allowing the cup or bottle to slip through the bottom of holder 100. In an exemplary embodiment, top edge 103 has a length of about 33 cm and bottom edge 105 has a length of about 27.5 cm, where the length L is in the direction illustrated in FIG. 1. In such an exemplary embodiment, the ratio of circumferential length of top edge 103 to bottom edge 105 is greater than or equal to about 1.2. Of course, top edge 103 and bottom edge 105 can have any lengths depending on the size of the container to be held. Furthermore, the ratio of circumferential length of top edge 103 to bottom edge 105 can be less than or equal to about 1.2 (e.g., as long as bottom edge 105 is slightly smaller in order to entrap the container to be held by holder 100 (and keep the container from falling through holder 100)).

First side edge 107 and second side edge 109 are configured to engage, so that flexible body 101 can be configured to form a conical, frusto-conical, or inverted frusto-conical configuration about container holder 100. A height H of first side edge 107 and/or second side edge 109 can be any height. For example, height H can be 5 cm, 10 cm, 15 cm, 20 cm, or any other height depending on the desired container to be held.

A fastener 111 between first and second side edges 107 and 109 provides a secure connection between first and second side edges 107 and 109, so that flexible body 101 forms the conical configuration of the circumference of container holder 100. Fastener 111 is configured to provide adjustability in the conical configuration of flexible body 101, where fastener 111 has a width W that can be fastened at any width desired. For example, width W can be fastened at 2 mm, 2 cm, 5 mm, 4 cm, or any other desired width (depending on the size of the container to be surrounded).

FIG. 2 illustrates a block diagram of insulating, adjustable, and reversible container holder 100 in a half-way closed position in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention. Fastener 111 includes a first fastener portion 213 coupled to first side edge 107 and a second fastener portion 215 coupled to second side edge 109. First and second fastener portions 213 and 215 are securely engaged to each other in order for holder 100 to surround the container to be held.

In one exemplary embodiment, first fastener portion 213 is a hook fastener and second fastener portion 215 is a loop fastener. First fastener portion 213 can be at least one of a hook fastener, a loop fastener, a female connector portion, a male connector portion, a male snap connector, a female snap connector, and a draw string. Second fastener portion 215 can be at least one of a hook fastener, a loop fastener, a female connector portion, a male connector portion, a male snap connector, a female snap connector, and a draw string. For example, first and second fastener portions 213 and 215 can be VELCRO® hook and loop fasteners (by Velcro Industries B.V.).

A thickness T of flexible body 101 is illustrated in FIG. 2. Thickness T will vary depending on the type of container to be held, the temperature of the item in the container to be held, and the material used to make flexible body 101. In one exemplary embodiment, flexible body 101 is 4 mm in thickness using a neoprene material. Thickness T can vary from less than 1 mm to over 10 mm, depending on the use of holder 100.

FIG. 3 illustrates a block diagram of insulating, adjustable, and reversible container holder 100 in a closed position with first fastener portion 213 securely engaged to second fastener portion 215 in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention. In this embodiment, any container can be held by holder 100. For example, a bottle of water, beer, or wine, a drinking cup, or any other type of container can be held by holder 100. Holder 100 has an opening at top edge 103 and bottom edge 105, so that a container can fit through without being enclosed on the top or bottom.

Flexible body 101 is reversible, so that first and second fastener portions 213 and 215 can be engaged as illustrated in FIG. 3 (or reversed, so that an exterior flexible body 301 of holder 100 touches the container to be held). In the exemplary embodiment, flexible body 101 would touch the container to be held in such a configuration where first side edge 107 is on the outside of holder 100 and second side edge 109 is on the inside (of holder 100) touching the container to be held. If holder 100 is reversed, then second side edge 109 would be on the outside of holder 100 and first side edge 107 would on the inside (of holder 100) touching the container to be held. As such, various information, company names, logos, advertising information, or the like can be printed on both flexible body 101 and exterior flexible body 301 for a reversible holder 100.

Flexible body 101 is made of an insulating and flexible material. In one exemplary embodiment, flexible body 101 is made of neoprene (e.g., National Webbing Products, Co., Style #NW 3W, Width 3.0 mm). Flexible body 101 can also be made of rubber, paper, foam, cotton, plastic, polymer, NatureWorks® polylactide (PLA) packaging or polymer resin (e.g., corn-based material), or any insulating material. As such, whether the container being held is hot or cold, slippery, circular, square, octagonal, or otherwise impractical to hold, it is easier and more comfortable to hold using holder 100. In addition, such an insulating material maintains the temperature of the beverage or food item within holder 100. Furthermore, the flexible material makes holder 100 easy to store or easy to make portable (e.g., to sporting events, picnics, or the like).

FIG. 4 is a block diagram of insulating, adjustable, and reversible container holder 100 in a closed position holding a container 401 in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention. Container 401 is a cup, which could contain a hot or cold beverage, for example. Since holder 100 surrounds the circumference of container 401, but does not enclose the bottom of container 401, container 401 may sit easily on a surface (e.g., a table) without concern for container 401 tipping over. Holder 100 could also be configured to include a bottom surface (not shown), if it is desirable to keep a barrier between container 401 and such a bottom surface (so that the bottom surface of container 401 is enclosed).

FIG. 5 illustrates a flowchart of a method for configuring insulating, adjustable, and reversible container holder 100 in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention. The method includes configuring top edge 103 of holder 100 to have a circumferential length greater than the circumferential length of bottom edge 105 (501). The method also includes configuring first side edge 107 and second side edge 109 of holder 100 to engage, so that flexible body 101 can be configured to form a conical configuration around a container (503). The method further includes securing a connection between first and second side edges 107 and 109 of holder 100 via fastener 111, so that flexible body 101 forms the conical configuration by surrounding the circumference of the container (505). As such, fastener 111 is configured to provide adjustability in the conical configuration of flexible body 101 (506).

The method of FIG. 5 also includes configuring the ratio of circumferential length of top edge 103 to bottom edge 105 to be greater than or equal to about 1.2 (507). The method includes configuring fastener 111 with a first fastener portion 213 coupled to first side edge 107 and a second fastener portion 215 coupled to second side edge 109, so that first and second fastener portions 213 and 215 are securely engaged to each other (509).

The method of FIG. 5 also includes configuring first fastener portion 213 to be a hook fastener and second fastener portion 215 to be a loop fastener (511). The method further includes configuring flexible body 101 to be an insulating material (513).

In the foregoing specification, the invention has been described with reference to specific embodiments. However, it will be appreciated that various modifications and changes can be made without departing from the scope of the present invention. The specification and figures are to be regarded in an illustrative manner, rather than a restrictive one, and all such modifications are intended to be included within the scope of present invention.

Benefits, other advantages, and solutions to problems have been described above with regard to specific embodiments. However, the benefits, advantages, solutions to problems, and any element(s) that may cause any benefit, advantage, or solution to occur or become more pronounced are not to be construed as critical, required, or essential features or elements. As used herein, the terms “comprises”, “comprising”, “including”, or any variations thereof, are intended to cover a non-exclusive inclusion, such that a process, method, article, or apparatus that comprises a list of elements does not include only those elements but may include other elements not expressly listed or inherent to such process, method, article, or apparatus. Further, no element described herein is required for the practice of the invention unless expressly described as “essential” or “critical”.