Title:
Small item dispenser attachable to a cigarette pack
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A small item dispenser configured to be mounted on another object, such as a cigarette pack, is disclosed. One embodiment of the small item dispenser includes a dispenser length that is substantially similar or smaller in dimension to the length of the cigarette pack and a dispenser width that is substantially similar or smaller in dimension to the width of the cigarette pack. The small item dispenser includes an attachment structure that can be used to attach the dispenser to a pivotally openable cover of the cigarette pack.



Inventors:
Bautista, Anthony (Newport Beach, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/712224
Publication Date:
03/20/2008
Filing Date:
02/28/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D85/10
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CHU, KING M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MERCHANT & GOULD P.C. (MINNEAPOLIS, MN, US)
Claims:
1. A small item dispenser configured to be mounted on a cigarette pack including a housing for holding cigarettes and a pivotally openable top cover, the cigarette pack defining a pack height, a pack width, and a pack length, the cigarette pack defining a major front face having dimensions of the pack height and the pack length and a major rear face having dimensions of the pack height and the pack length, the cigarette pack also defining a first side face having dimensions of the pack height and the pack width and a second side face having dimensions of the pack height and the pack width, the small item dispenser comprising: a) a body including a storage compartment for storing small items, the body also including a dispenser length and a dispenser width; and b) an attachment structure coupled to the body, the attachment structure configured for removably attaching the small item dispenser to the cigarette pack; c) wherein the small item dispenser is configured such that the dispenser length is substantially similar or smaller in dimension to the pack length and the dispenser width is substantially similar or smaller in dimension to the pack width.

2. A small item dispenser according to claim 1, wherein the small item dispenser includes a rectangular configuration with a top face, a bottom face, a front face, a rear face, a first side face and a second side face, wherein, when the small item dispenser is mounted on the cigarette pack, the front face of the small item dispenser is configured to not substantially extend out past the major front face of the cigarette pack and the rear face of the small item dispenser is configured to not substantially extend out past the major rear face of the cigarette pack and the first and second side faces of the small item dispenser are configured to not substantially extend out past the first and second side faces of the cigarette pack, respectively.

3. A small item dispenser according to claim 1, wherein the small item dispenser includes confectionary items stored in the storage compartment.

4. A small item dispenser according to claim 3, wherein the small item dispenser includes exactly 20 pieces of confectionary items stored in the storage compartment.

5. A small item dispenser according to claim 3, wherein the small item dispenser includes at least 20 pieces of confectionary items stored in the storage compartment.

6. A small item dispenser according to claim 1, wherein the dispenser length is about 2 inches and the dispenser width is about 15/16 of an inch.

7. A small item dispenser according to claim 1, wherein the attachment structure is integrally molded with the body of the small item dispenser.

8. A small item dispenser according to claim 7, wherein the attachment structure includes a portion extending substantially parallel to the body of the small item dispenser.

9. A cigarette pack assembly comprising: a) a cigarette pack including a housing for holding cigarettes and a pivotally openable top cover, the cigarette pack defining a pack height, a pack width, and a pack length, the cigarette pack defining a major front face having dimensions of the pack height and the pack length and a major rear face having dimensions of the pack height and the pack length, the cigarette pack also defining a first side face having dimensions of the pack height and the pack width and a second side face having dimensions of the pack height and the pack width, the cigarette pack defining a bottom face having dimensions of the pack width and the pack length, the top cover of the cigarette pack also defining a top face having dimensions of the pack width and the pack length; and b) a small item dispenser removably mounted on the cigarette pack, the small item dispenser comprising: 1) a body including a storage compartment for storing small items, the body also including a dispenser length and a dispenser width, wherein the dispenser length is substantially similar or smaller in dimension to the pack length and the dispenser width is substantially similar or smaller in dimension to the pack width; and 2) an attachment structure coupled to the body, the attachment structure being for removably attaching the small item dispenser to the cigarette pack.

10. A cigarette pack assembly according to claim 9, wherein the small item dispenser includes a rectangular configuration with a top face, a bottom face, a front face, a rear face, a first side face and a second side face, wherein the front face of the small item dispenser does not substantially extend out past the major front face of the cigarette pack and the rear face of the small item dispenser does not substantially extend out past the major rear face of the cigarette pack and the first and second side faces of the small item dispenser do not substantially extend out past the first and second side faces of the cigarette pack, respectively.

11. A cigarette pack assembly according to claim 9, wherein the dispenser length is about 2 inches and the dispenser width is about 15/16 of an inch.

12. A cigarette pack assembly according to claim 9, wherein the small item dispenser is mounted on the top cover of the cigarette pack.

13. A cigarette pack assembly according to claim 12, wherein the attachment structure is slidably inserted into a slot defined between the top face of the top cover of the cigarette pack and one of the first and second side faces of the cigarette pack.

14. A cigarette pack assembly according to claim 9, wherein the small item dispenser is mounted adjacent the bottom face of the cigarette pack.

15. A cigarette pack assembly according to claim 14, wherein the attachment structure is slidably inserted into a slot defined between the bottom face of the cigarette pack and one of the first and second side faces of the cigarette pack.

16. A cigarette pack assembly according to claim 9, wherein the small item dispenser includes confectionary items stored in the storage compartment.

17. A cigarette pack assembly according to claim 16, wherein the small item dispenser includes exactly 20 pieces of confectionary items stored in the storage compartment.

18. A cigarette pack assembly according to claim 16, wherein the small item dispenser includes at least 20 pieces of confectionary items stored in the storage compartment.

19. A method of attaching a small item dispenser to a cigarette pack that includes a housing for holding cigarettes and a pivotally openable top cover, the cigarette pack defining a pack height, a pack width, and a pack length, the cigarette pack defining a major front face having dimensions of the pack height and the pack length and a major rear face having dimensions of the pack height and the pack length, the cigarette pack also defining a first side face having dimensions of the pack height and the pack width and a second side face having dimensions of the pack height and the pack width, the top cover of the cigarette pack defining a top face having dimensions of the pack width and the pack length, the method comprising: providing a small item dispenser comprising a body including a storage compartment for storing small items; and attaching the small item dispenser to the pivotally openable top cover of the cigarette pack.

20. A method according to claim 19, further comprising slidably inserting a portion of the small item dispenser into a slot defined between the top face of the top cover of the cigarette pack and one of the first and second side faces of the cigarette pack.

21. A method according to claim 19, wherein the small item dispenser includes confectionary items stored in the storage compartment.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to U.S. Application Ser. No. 60/844,688 that was filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office on Sep. 15, 2006. The entire disclosure of U.S. Application Ser. No. 60/844,688 is incorporated herein by reference.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The principles disclosed herein relate generally to a small item dispenser. More particularly, the present disclosure relates to a small item dispenser that can be attached to another object, such as a cigarette pack, for portable carrying.

BACKGROUND

Packaging for confectionary items such as mints, candies, and gum come in many different styles and shapes. Some forms of packaging include dispensers that allow one-at-a-time or multi dispensing of the contents. Many conventional dispensers are made small enough to be carried on an individual's person. However, conventional dispensers, even though they may be small enough in size to be portable items, are not normally configured for attachment to other objects such as, cigarette packs, clothes, purses, pockets, etc., to be carried with those objects When the dispensers are not attached to other larger objects, individuals needing to use them may have a tendency to misplace, lose, or forget them. What is needed in the art is a small item dispenser that is configured for attachment to other objects for convenient carrying and access and to limit misplacement or loss of the dispenser.

SUMMARY

According to one aspect of the disclosure, the principles disclosed herein relate to a small item dispenser that is configured for attachment to other objects to limit misplacement of the dispenser.

In one aspect, the disclosure is directed to a small item dispenser that is configured for attachment to a cigarette pack for convenient access by a smoker.

A variety of additional inventive aspects will be set forth in the description that follows. The inventive aspects can relate to individual features and combinations of features. It is to be understood that both the foregoing general description and the following detailed description are exemplary and explanatory only and are not restrictive of the broad inventive concepts upon which the embodiments disclosed herein are based.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front, top, left perspective view of a cigarette pack assembly having features that are examples of inventive aspects in accordance with the principles of the present disclosure, the cigarette pack assembly including a small item dispenser having features that are examples of inventive aspects in accordance with the principles of the present disclosure mounted on a conventional cigarette pack;

FIG. 2 is a front, bottom, right perspective view of the small item dispenser of the cigarette pack assembly shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a top plan view of the small item dispenser of FIG. 2, the small item dispenser shown with portions thereof broken away to show the small items stored within the small item dispenser;

FIG. 4 is a bottom plan view of the small item dispenser of FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 is a front elevational view of the small item dispenser of FIG. 2;

FIG. 6 is a rear elevational view of the small item dispenser of FIG. 2;

FIG. 7 is a front, top, left perspective view of a conventional cigarette pack; and

FIG. 8 illustrates one example attachment method for attaching the small item dispenser of FIG. 2 to the conventional cigarette pack of FIG. 7 to form the cigarette pack assembly having features that are examples of inventive aspects in accordance with the principles of the present disclosure shown in FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The present disclosure relates generally to a small item dispenser that is configured for attachment to other objects. In certain embodiments, the small item dispenser may be attached to other larger objects for carrying with the larger objects. For example, in certain embodiments, the small item dispenser may be attachable to a cigarette pack, to clothing, to a purse, to a pocket, etc. Attachment thereof limits misplacement and loss of the small item dispenser and provides convenient access when needed.

In certain embodiments, the small item dispenser may be sized and shaped such that is doesn't interfere with the normal use of the object to which it is attached. For example, when used with an object such as a cigarette pack, the small item dispenser may be shaped and sized to fit on the cigarette pack and within an outer perimeter of the cigarette pack (e.g., defined by the length and the width of the cigarette pack) so as to not protrude out from the cigarette pack. In this manner, the small item dispenser will not make it cumbersome to take out the cigarette pack from a person's pocket or from a purse.

Although the small item dispenser of the present disclosure may be attachable to a number of different objects, the inventive aspects of the present disclosure will be described in reference to a cigarette pack, it being understood that a cigarette pack is simply one example object to which the small item dispenser of the present disclosure can be attached. In one embodiment, as mentioned above, the small item dispenser may be shaped and sized to not interfere with the normal use and carry of a cigarette pack.

Referring to FIG. 1, a small item dispenser 10 of the present disclosure is shown attached to a conventional cigarette pack 12, forming a cigarette pack assembly 14 having features that are examples of inventive aspects in accordance with the principles of the present disclosure. In the depicted embodiment, the small item dispenser 10 is shown attached to a top cover 16 of the cigarette pack 12. In such an embodiment, the small item dispenser 10 is carried with the cigarette pack 12 and still allows the top cover 16 of the cigarette pack 12 to be openable without interfering with the use of the cigarette pack 12.

The conventional cigarette pack 12 defines generally a rectangular box-like shape. The cigarette pack 12 includes a housing 18 with an interior for holding cigarettes and the pivotally openable top cover 16. In one example, the housing 18 may hold twenty cigarettes.

The cigarette pack 12 defines a pack height HP, a pack width WP, and a pack length LP. The cigarette pack 12 defines a front face 20 and an opposite rear face 22. The front and the rear faces 20, 22 are normally the major faces of the cigarette pack 12, each having dimensions of the pack height HP and the pack length LP. The cigarette pack 12 also defines a first side face 24 having dimensions of the pack height HP and the pack width WP and a second opposite side face 26 having dimensions of the pack height HP and the pack width WP. A bottom face 28 of the cigarette pack 12 has dimensions of the pack width WP and the pack length LP.

The top cover 16 of the cigarette pack may be connected to the housing 18 with a hinge 19 and may be pivotally openable to allow access to cigarettes stored inside. The top cover 16 defines a top face 30 having dimensions of the pack width WP and the pack length LP. A conventional cigarette pack 12 is shown in FIG. 7.

Referring now to FIGS. 2-6, the small item dispenser 10 is shown in greater detail. The small item dispenser 10 includes a body 32 with a storage compartment 34 for storing small items 36. In the depicted embodiment, as shown in FIG. 3, the small item dispenser 10 may include small items 36 that are confectionary items such as mints, candies, etc. In other embodiments, the body 32 may be shaped to store planar small items 36 such as mint strips, etc. wherein the body 32 may be configured with a different access opening than shown herein.

In the depicted embodiment, the body 32 includes a rectangular configuration with a top face 38, a bottom face 40, a front face 42, a rear face 44, a first side face 46, and a second side face 48. In FIG. 3, the top face 38 of the body 32 is shown with a portion thereof broken away to expose the small items 36 contained within the storage compartment 34 inside the body 32.

The body 32 of the small item dispenser 10 defines a dispenser length LD and a dispenser width WD. In one embodiment, the dispenser length LD is substantially similar in dimension to the pack length LP and the dispenser width WD is substantially similar in dimension to the pack width WP. In such an embodiment, when the small item dispenser 10 is mounted on the cigarette pack 12, the front face 42 of the small item dispenser 10 does not substantially extend out past the major front face 20 of the cigarette pack 12 and the rear face 44 of the small item dispenser 10 does not substantially extend out past the major rear face 22 of the cigarette pack 12. Similarly, in such an embodiment, when the small item dispenser 10 is mounted on the cigarette pack 12, the first side face 46 of the small item dispenser 10 also does not substantially extend out past the first side face 24 of the cigarette pack 12 and the second side face 48 of the small item dispenser 10 does not substantially extend out past the second side face 26 of the cigarette pack 12.

In certain other embodiments, the dispenser length LD and the dispenser width WD may be smaller in dimension than the pack length LP and the pack width WP. In these above embodiments, described, when the small item dispenser 10 is mounted on the cigarette pack 12, the small item dispenser 10 does not substantially protrude out from the outer perimeter P (e.g., defined by the pack width WP and the pack length LP) of the cigarette pack 12, resulting in a flush design.

In the above manner, the cigarette pack 12 can be taken out and put back into objects such as pockets and purses without getting stuck in such objects due to any bulkiness created by the small item dispenser 10.

In one embodiment, the dispenser length LD may be around 2 inches and the dispenser width WD may be around 15/16 of an inch. In one embodiment, the small item dispenser 10 may define a dispenser height HD of about 6/16 of an inch. In another embodiment, the length LD may be around 2 centimeters. In one embodiment, the height HD of the small item dispenser may be smaller than the length LD. In another embodiment, the height HD of the small item dispenser may be smaller than the width WD.

It should be noted that although in the depicted embodiment, the small item dispenser 10 includes a rectangular configuration, in other embodiments, the small item dispenser 10 may include other shapes, such as round, dome-shaped, circular, etc., with or without clearly defined faces.

In the depicted embodiment, the small item dispenser 10 includes an opening 50 on the front face 42 for dispensing the small items 36 contained therein. The opening 50 is coverable by a slidable tab 52. The tab 52 illustrated is simply one type of a cover structure. Other access structures and cover structures are certainly possible. For example, as discussed above, if the small item dispenser 10 is configured to carry planar items such as mint strips, etc. a larger opening may be provided. In one embodiment, the larger opening may be provided on the top face 38 of the dispenser 10 to access the mint strips, etc.

The items 36 to be contained within the body 32 may be loaded through the opening 50. In other embodiments, the body 32 may be formed from two half shells that are fitted together to form the body 32. By separating the two halves, the interior compartment 34 may be accessed to load the small items 36. In one embodiment of the small item dispenser 10, the storage compartment 34 is configured to hold at least twenty pieces of confectionary items. Other number of confectionary items is certainly possible depending upon the size of the individual confectionary items.

In one embodiment, the small item dispenser 10 may be sold with exactly twenty pieces of confectionary items stored in the storage compartment to match the number of cigarettes usually included in a conventional cigarette pack. In other embodiments, the small item dispenser may be provided with more or less than twenty pieces of confectionary items.

The small item dispenser 10, as depicted, includes an attachment structure 54. The attachment structure 54 includes an extension portion 56 and a retaining portion 58. The extension portion 56 extends perpendicular to the bottom face 40 of the small item dispenser 10. The retaining portion 58 is generally planar and extends generally parallel to the body 32 of the small item dispenser 10. As will be discussed below, the parallel retaining portion 58 is configured to slidably attach the small item dispenser 10 to the cigarette pack 12. As discussed above, in one embodiment, when the small item dispenser 10 is attached to a cigarette pack 12 using the attachment structure 54, the small item dispenser 10 does not substantially extend out past the outer perimeter P of the cigarette pack 12.

In one embodiment, the attachment structure 54 depicted herein may be formed integrally (e.g., molded) with the small item dispenser body 32 as one piece. In other embodiments, the attachment structure 54 may be formed as a separate piece from the body 32 and coupled thereto. In one embodiment, the small item dispenser 10, including the attachment structure 54, may be manufactured from a polymer. Other materials are also possible.

In one embodiment, the attachment structure 54 may be configured for removably attaching the small item dispenser 10 to the cigarette pack 12. In such an embodiment, the small item dispenser 10 may be removed from the cigarette pack 12 and reused with another cigarette pack 12. The attachment structure 54 depicted herein represents such an embodiment.

In another embodiment, the attachment structure 54 may be configured to permanently attach the small item dispenser 10 to the cigarette pack 12 such that the small item dispenser 10 may be used as a disposable item to be thrown away with the cigarette pack 12. For example, double-sided tape may be used to attach the small item dispenser 10 to an outer surface of the cigarette pack 12. In such an embodiment, the small item dispenser 10 may be sold with the double-sided tape attached thereto the body 32 and including a peel-away portion to expose the adhesive of the tape.

It should be noted that the attachment structure 54 depicted herein provides simply one example method of attaching the small item dispenser 10 to different objects. Other methods are certainly possible, as discussed above, such as using adhesive (e.g., double-sided tape, glue, etc.), using loop and hook attachment structures (e.g., Velcro® structures), etc.

The attachment structure 54 depicted herein is shaped and sized such that the small item dispenser 10 can be slidably attached to the top cover 16 of the cigarette pack 12. FIG. 8 illustrates one example attachment method for attaching the small item dispenser 10 of FIGS. 2-6 to a conventional cigarette pack 12 of FIG. 7 to form the cigarette pack assembly 14 having features that are examples of inventive aspects in accordance with the principles of the present disclosure shown in FIG. 1.

As shown in FIG. 8, a conventional cigarette pack 12 normally includes a slot 60 between the top face 30 of the top cover 16 and one of the first and second side faces 24, 26 of the cigarette pack 12. In certain cigarette packs, the top face 30 of the top cover 16 may be glued to one of the side faces 24, 26 of the cigarette pack such that the slot 60 is quite narrow or non-existent. In these packs, the top cover 16 may have to be manipulated to overcome the glue and separate the top face 30 from a side face of the cigarette pack to form the slot 60. As shown in FIG. 8, once the slot 60 has been opened up, the attachment structure 54 can be slidably inserted into the slot 60. The retaining portion 58 of the attachment structure 54 is preferably thick enough in width such that a friction hold can be established within the slot 60 to securely hold the small item dispenser 10 with respect to the cigarette pack 12.

Similarly, conventional cigarette packs 12 may include a slot 62 between the bottom face 28 of the cigarette pack 12 and one of the side faces 24, 26. Similar to the method illustrated in FIG. 8, if there is glue holding the bottom face 28 to a side face, the slot 62 can be opened by the user. After the slot 62 is formed, the user can slidably insert the attachment structure 54 of the small item dispenser 10 into the slot 62.

As discussed above, the attachment structure 54 depicted herein, the attachment location depicted herein, and/or the method of attaching the small item dispenser 10 to a cigarette pack 12 depicted herein are simply some examples of the numerous possible embodiments that are possible in accordance with the disclosure.

The above specification, examples and data provide a complete description of the inventive aspects of the disclosure. Many embodiments of the disclosure can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the inventive aspects of the disclosure.