Title:
Container having foldable lid
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A storage container having a lid that can be removed from a corresponding container body, folded, and then placed within a cavity of the container body during storage of the storage container is provided. The lid of such a storage container may include one or more foldable portions that extend across a central portion. The foldable portions may include a hinge and/or a flexible material. The storage container may also be stackable. For example, a foldable lid may be placed in a first container body, when the foldable lid is in a folded configuration, and a second container body may be received by the first container body, such that the folded lid fits in a space defined between a base of the first container body and a base of a second container body.



Inventors:
Gallagher, Christopher G. (Baltimore, MD, US)
Green, Daniel E. (Baltimore, MD, US)
Application Number:
12/069774
Publication Date:
08/14/2008
Filing Date:
02/12/2008
Assignee:
CGA Container, LLC (Baltimore, MD, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
220/522, 220/780
International Classes:
B65D51/04; B65D25/00; B65D41/16
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
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20050164065Fuel cell system and fuel supply unit used thereinJuly, 2005An et al.
20040011760Bottle with special top for use in the medical fieldJanuary, 2004Schupp et al.
20020053572BAR RAIL MATMay, 2002Nordvik
20090218351RESEALING OVERCAP FOR A CONTAINERSeptember, 2009Antal Sr.
20100000904MODULAR STEMWARE AND SERVING SETJanuary, 2010Cox
20070175898Animal-resistant refuse containerAugust, 2007Craft et al.
20090159599Flame Retardant Storage DeviceJune, 2009Alexander



Primary Examiner:
KIRSCH, ANDREW THOMAS
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CHRISTENSEN, FONDER, DARDI & HERBERT PLLC (Maple Grove, MN, US)
Claims:
What is claimed:

1. A storage container comprising: a container body comprising: a base; a sidewall extending up from the base to a rim; an opening into the container body defined by said rim; a cavity defined by said base, said sidewall, and said opening; and a lid for covering said container body opening, said lid comprising: a central portion; an outer perimeter extending from said central portion; and a foldable portion extending across the central portion, wherein (i) the outer perimeter of the lid is adapted to mate with the rim of the container body, to thereby hold the lid on the container body, (ii) the lid is adapted to fold about the foldable portion to form a folded lid, and (iii) the folded lid is adapted to fit through the opening and into said cavity of the container body to be stored within the container body.

2. The storage container of claim 1, wherein (i) said cavity further comprises a major dimension and a minor dimension, and (ii) said folded lid comprises at least one dimension that is less than said minor dimension of said cavity, thereby allowing said folded lid to fit within said cavity.

3. The storage container of claim 1, wherein (i) said cavity further comprises a major dimension and a minor dimension, (ii) said lid further comprises more than one foldable portion, (iii) said number of foldable portions is determined to ensure that at least one dimension of said folded lid is less than said minor dimension of said cavity.

4. The storage container of claim 1, wherein said foldable portion comprises a hinge.

5. The storage container of claim 1, wherein said foldable portion comprises at least two living hinges.

6. The storage container of claim 1, wherein said foldable portion comprises a single living hinge.

7. The storage container of claim 1, wherein said foldable portion comprises at least two mechanical hinges.

8. The storage container of claim 1, wherein said foldable portion comprises a single mechanical hinge.

9. The storage container of claim 1, wherein said foldable portion comprises a flexible material.

10. The storage container of claim 1, wherein (i) said lid further comprises a second foldable portion extending across said central portion, and (ii) said lid is adapted to fold about said foldable portion and said second foldable portion.

11. The storage container of claim 1, wherein said rim of said container body defines one or more of: a rectangle-shaped opening, a circular opening, and an elliptical-shaped opening.

12. The storage container of claim 1, wherein (i) said lid further comprises a skirt extending down from a bottom surface of said lid, proximate to said outer perimeter of said lid, and (ii) said skirt abuts said sidewall of said container body when said lid is covering said opening of said container body.

13. The storage container of claim 12, wherein said skirt exerts an outward pressure on said container sidewall when said lid is covering said opening of said container body.

14. The storage container of claim 12, further comprising a protrusion and a corresponding recess, wherein said protrusion mates with said corresponding recess when said lid is covering said opening of said container body.

15. The storage container of claim 14, wherein (i) said skirt includes the protrusion, (ii) said container sidewall includes the corresponding recess.

16. The storage container of claim 12, wherein (i) said container sidewall comprises a first sidewall, a second sidewall, a third sidewall, and a fourth sidewall, (ii) said second sidewall is opposite said first sidewall, (iii) said fourth sidewall is opposite said third sidewall, (iv) said skirt comprises a first side, a second side, a third side, and a fourth side, (v) said second side of said skirt is opposite said first side of said skirt and said fourth side of said skirt is opposite said third side of said skirt, (vi) said first sidewall includes a first recess, (vii) said second sidewall includes a second recess, (viii) said first side of said skirt includes a first protrusion, (ix) said second side of said skirt includes a second protrusion, and (x) said first protrusion mates with said first recess, and said second protrusion mates with said second recess when said lid is covering said opening of said container body.

17. The storage container of claim 1, wherein (i) said lid further comprises a latch and (ii) said latch is adapted to hold said lid onto said container body.

18. The storage container of claim 17, wherein said latch is located at each end of said foldable portion of said lid.

19. The storage container of claim 17, wherein (i) said latch comprises a protrusion, (ii) said rim of said container body includes a bottom surface, and (iii) said protrusion is adapted to abut said bottom surface of said rim to securely fasten said lid to said container body.

20. The storage container of claim 1, wherein (i) the outer perimeter of said lid smoothly merges with said rim of said container body when said lid is covering said opening of said container body, such that said outer perimeter does not protrude beyond said rim.

21. A lid for covering an opening of a respective container body, said lid comprising: a central portion; an outer perimeter extending around said central portion; an unfolded major dimension and an unfolded minor dimension; and a foldable portion extending transversely across the major dimension and dividing said central portion into two or more segments; wherein (i) said lid is adapted to fold along said foldable portion to form a folded lid having a folded major dimension and a folded minor dimension, and (ii) said folded minor dimension is less than said unfolded minor dimension.

22. The lid of claim 21, wherein said folded lid is adapted to attach to said respective container body.

23. The lid of claim 21, wherein, (i) said respective container body comprises a base, a sidewall extending up from said base to a rim, and an opening into said container body defined by said rim, (ii) a cavity is defined by said base, said sidewall, and said opening, and (iii) said folded lid fits through the opening and into said cavity of the container body to be stored within the container body.

24. The lid of claim 21, wherein said foldable portion comprises a hinge.

25. The lid of claim 21, wherein said foldable portion comprises at least two living hinges.

26. The lid of claim 21, wherein the foldable portion comprises a flexible material.

27. The lid of claim 21, wherein (i) said lid further comprises a second foldable portion extending transversely across said major dimension, and (ii) said lid is adapted to fold about said foldable portion and said second foldable portion.

28. The lid of claim 21, wherein said outer perimeter of said lid defines one or more of: a rectangle-shape, a circular-shape and an elliptical-shape.

29. The lid of claim 21, further comprising a skirt extending down from a bottom surface, proximate to said outer perimeter.

30. The lid of claim 29, further comprising a protrusion extending out from said skirt, wherein said protrusion is adapted to mate with a corresponding recess formed in a container body.

31. The lid of claim 21, further comprising a writable portion disposed on said central portion.

32. The lid of claim 21, further comprising a latch located at each end of said foldable portion.

33. A storage container system comprising multiple stackable containers for efficient storage of multiple containers, the storage container system comprising: a first container body having a first base, and a first sidewall extending up from the first base, the first sidewall having a rim defining a first opening into the first container body; a foldable lid adapted to cover the opening of the first container body when the foldable lid is in an unfolded configuration; and at least a second container body having a second base, and a second sidewall extending up from the second base, the second sidewall having a second rim defining a second opening into the second container body, wherein (i) the first container body is adapted to receive the second container body such that the second container body is stacked on top of the first container body and a space is formed between the first base of the first container body and the second base of the second container body, and (ii) the foldable lid is adapted to fit within the space when the foldable lid is in a folded configuration.

34. The storage container system of claim 33, wherein the first sidewall extends up from the first base at an angle.

35. The storage container system of claim 33, further comprising a second foldable lid adapted to cover the opening of the second container body in an unfolded configuration and to fit within the second container body in a folded configuration.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of Provisional Patent Application No. 60/901,080 filed Feb. 13, 2007, the subject matter of which is incorporated herein by reference.

TECHNOLOGY FIELD

The present invention relates to a storage container. More particularly, the present invention relates to a storage container having a foldable lid that is adapted to be stored with the storage container.

BACKGROUND

Plastic, fluid-tight and air-tight storage containers for food and other goods have become increasingly popular in today's everyday storage needs. As a result, many improvements have been made to such storage containers to address issues such as space savings and consumer confidence in a sealed container. A few issues remain, however, with storage containers that have not yet been adequately addressed.

For example, storage container bodies are typically manufactured with separate lids, and the lids and container bodies are stacked and stored separately for efficient use of space. This system causes consumers to expend time searching for matching lids. Furthermore, while shipping the containers from the manufacture to the retail stores, the containers and lids must either be stacked separately, which requires assembling at the destination retailer, or be shipped in the closed position, which is inefficient in terms of space.

Additionally, typical storage containers use a press-fit, friction-seal lid, which is not ideal for consumers. First, such a press-fit lid is not necessarily secure against spills or leaks. For example, if a consumer were to squeeze or roughly handle the storage container, the lid of the container may pop off, thereby spilling the contents of the container. Second, it may be difficult to seal and/or remove a press-fit lid from its container body. For example, while sealing a press-fit lid onto its container body, a consumer may be required to apply pressure to the entire rim of the container to get a proper seal. Furthermore, while removing the press-fit lid from its container body, the consumer may be required to use his or her fingernails to pry open and then remove the container lid, due to the amount of frictional force needed to keep a friction-sealed lid securely on the container body.

Therefore, there exists a need for further improvements to be made to the design and operation of storage containers.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A storage container having a lid that can be easily removed from the container body, folded, and then stored with the container body is provided. Such a storage container includes a container body and a corresponding lid for covering the container body. The container body includes a base and a sidewall extending up from the base to a rim. The rim defines an opening into the container body. The sidewall, the rim, and the opening define a cavity within the container body. The lid may include a central portion, an outer perimeter extending from the central portion, and a foldable portion extending across the central portion. The outer perimeter of the lid may be adapted to mate with the rim of the container body to thereby hold the lid to the container body. When the storage container is to be stored, the lid may be folded about the foldable portion to form a folded lid. The folded lid may fit through the opening and into the cavity of the container body to be stored within the container body so that the lid and container body can be stored together.

The lid may also include a latching mechanism disposed at each end of the foldable portion. The latching mechanism may help securely fasten the lid to the container body. The latching mechanism may also provide consumer confidence that the contents of the storage container will not spill or leak out of the container body. The latching mechanism may also allow the consumer to easily seal the lid onto the container body and/or remove the lid from the container body.

The lid may also include a skirt extending down from a bottom surface of the lid proximate to the outer perimeter. When the lid is securely fastened to the container body, the skirt may abut the sidewall of the container body. Such an arrangement may ensure that the contents of the storage container do not leak or spill out of the container body during use.

The skirt may include a protrusion that is adapted to engage a recess formed in the sidewall of the container body, when the lid is sealed onto the container body. This arrangement may further help secure the lid onto the container body.

The foldable portion may have multiple configurations. For example the foldable portion may include one or more living hinges, a flexible material, and/or one or more mechanical hinges.

A storage container system comprising multiple stackable containers for efficient storage of multiple containers is also provided. Such a storage container system may include a first container body, a foldable lid, and at least a second container body. The first container body may have a first base and a first sidewall extending up from the first base. The first sidewall may have a rim that defines an opening into the first container body. The foldable lid may be adapted to cover the opening of the first container body, when the lid is in an unfolded configuration. The second container body may have a second base and a second sidewall extending up from the second base. The second sidewall may have a rim that defines a second opening into the second container body. The foldable lid may be placed within the first container body, when the foldable lid is in a folded configuration. The second container body may then be received by the first container body such that the second container body is stacked on top of the first container body. A space is formed between the first base of the first container body and the second base of the second container body and the foldable lid may fit within the space.

Additional features and advantages of the invention will be made apparent from the following detailed description of illustrative embodiments that proceeds with reference to the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The forgoing summary, as well as the following detailed description of preferred embodiments is better understood when read in conjunction with the appended drawing. For the purpose of illustrating the invention, there is shown in the drawings exemplary constructions of the invention; however, the invention is not limited to the specific methods and instrumentalities disclosed. Included in the drawing are the following FIGs.

FIG. 1 is an exploded view depicting an embodiment of a lid and container combination in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2A is top view of the lid depicted in FIG. 1;

FIG. 2B is a side view of the lid depicted in FIG.2A;

FIG. 2C is a cross-sectional view of the lid depicted in FIG. 2A through the line A-A;

FIG. 3 is an isometric view depicting the lid and container of FIG. 1 being unlatched;

FIG. 4A is a partial cross-sectional view of the lid and container combination depicted in FIG. 1, in a closed configuration;

FIG. 4B is an expanded view of section C shown in FIG. 4A;

FIG. 5A is a partial top view of the lid and container combination depicted in FIG. 1;

FIG. 5B is a cross-sectional view of the lid and container combination depicted in FIG. 5A through the line D-D;

FIG. 5C is an expanded view of section F shown in FIG. 5B.

FIG. 6A is a partial side view of the lid and container combination depicted in FIG. 1;

FIG. 6B is a cross sectional view of the lid and container combination depicted in FIG. 6A through the line B-B;

FIG. 6C is an expanded view of section E shown in FIG. 6B;

FIG. 7A is a top view of the lid depicted in FIG. 1 after it has been folded;

FIG. 7B is a side view of the lid depicted in FIG. 7A.

FIG. 7C is a cross-sectional view of the lid depicted in FIG. 7A through the line A-A;

FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional view depicting an embodiment of a stackable container system;

FIG. 9A is an isometric view of another embodiment of a lid;

FIG. 9B is a side view of the lid depicted in FIG. 9A;

FIG. 9C is an isometric view of the lid depicted in FIG. 9A sealed onto a container body;

FIG. 10A is an isometric view of another embodiment of a lid including a flexible material;

FIG. 10B is an isometric view of the lid depicted in FIG. 10A after it has been partially folded;

FIG. 11 is an isometric view depicting another embodiment of a lid;

FIG. 12A is an isometric view of another embodiment of a lid including multiple foldable portions;

FIG. 12B is a side view of the lid depicted in FIG. 12A in an unfolded configuration;

FIG. 12C is a side view of the lid depicted in FIG. 12A being folded;

FIG. 12D is a side view of the lid depicted in FIG. 12A being folded;

FIG. 12E is a side view of the lid depicted in FIG. 12A being folded;

FIG. 12F is a side view of the lid depicted in FIG. 12A being folded;

FIG. 13 is an isometric view of an embodiment of a lid adapted to be written on;

FIG. 14 is an isometric view of an embodiment of a lid including a locking mechanism;

FIG. 15 is an expanded view depicting an embodiment of a latch;

FIG. 16A is a top view of another embodiment of a lid;

FIG. 16B is a side view of the lid depicted in FIG. 16A;

FIG. 16C is a top view of the lid depicted in FIG. 16A after it has been folded;

FIG. 16D is a side view of the folded lid depicted in FIG. 16C;

FIG. 17 is a schematic illustrating an alternative relationship between an outer perimeter of a lid and a rim of a container body; and

FIG. 18 is an isometric view depicting another embodiment of a foldable lid.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF ILLUSTRATIVE EMBODIMENTS

The present invention is directed to an improved storage container having a foldable lid. Such a container may have a lid that can be removed from a container body, folded and stored with the container body. By storing the lid with the container body, the consumer will no longer have the frustration of matching lids with container bodies nor will the consumer have to deal with the frustration of looking for misplaced lids.

The foldable lid may fold along a foldable portion. The foldable portion may include one or more mechanical hinges, one or more living hinges, and/or one or more areas that include a flexible material for example.

The storage container may also include several features to help securely seal the lid to the container body. For example, the lid may include a latching mechanism.

FIG. 1 depicts an example embodiment of a storage container in accordance with the present invention. As shown, a storage container 10 includes a container body 14 and a lid 18. The storage container 10 may be injection molded and may be made of a durable material such as plastic. The storage container 10 may have a variety of shapes and dimensions. For example, the storage container 10 may be generally square-shaped, circular, rectangular, and/or elliptical.

As shown in FIG. 1, the container body 14 may include a base 22 and a sidewall 26 extending up from the base 22 to a rim 30. The rim 30 may define an opening 34 into the container body 14. The sidewall 26, the rim 30, and the opening 34 may define a cavity 38 within the container body 14. In the embodiment shown, the base 22 is rectangular, and the sidewall 26 includes a first sidewall 42, a second sidewall 46, a third sidewall 50, and a fourth sidewall 54 joined by corners 56. The corners 56 may be rounded or right-angled. The first sidewall 42 and the second sidewall 46 have a length L, and the third sidewall 50 and the fourth sidewall 54 have a length W. L may define the length of the storage container 10 and W may define the width of the storage container 10. The storage container 10 may have a variety of lengths L and widths W.

As shown in FIG. 1, the lid 18 may be adapted to cover the opening 34 of the container body 14. As shown, the lid 18 may include a central portion 58, an outer perimeter 62 extending from the central portion 58, and a foldable portion 66 extending across the central portion 58. The lid 18 may also include a latch mechanism 70 for securely holding the lid 18 to the container body 14. As shown, the latch mechanism 70 may be disposed at each end of the foldable portion 66.

FIGS. 2A and 2B depict top and side views of exemplary lid 18. As shown in FIG. 2A, the central portion 58 of the lid 18 may be separated by the foldable portion 66 into multiple sections, such as first segment 74 and second segment 76 of FIG. 2A. Each segment 74 and 76 may have a substantially flat peripheral portion 78 surrounding an inner portion 82. As shown, the inner portion 82 may slope downward from the foldable portion 66 toward the outer perimeter 62. The sloped inner portion 82 may provide a recess for the feet of a container placed above it, allowing for multiple containers to be stacked without falling.

As shown in FIGS. 2A and 2B the outer perimeter 62 of the lid 18 may extend around the central portion 58 and may have a radius of curvature. The outer perimeter 62 may have cut outs 86 on either side of the latch mechanism 70. As shown in FIG. 3, the cut outs 86 may provide an opening for a consumer to rest their thumb as they lift the latch mechanism 70 with their finger 88. Therefore, the lid 18 may be more easily removed from the container body 14.

The foldable portion 66, may include one or more living hinges, a flexible material, and/or one or more mechanical hinges. Referring back to FIG. 2A, the foldable portion 66 may be a double living hinge and may include two hinges 90. Each segment 74 and 76 may fold about its respective hinge 90, to form a folded lid. The folded lid may be adapted to fit through the opening 34 and into the cavity 38 of the container body 14. It should be understood that the foldable portion 66 is not limited to a double living hinge and that other designs are envisioned, as will be discussed.

FIG. 2C is a cross-sectional view of the lid 18 shown in FIG. 2A through the line A-A. As shown, the lid 18 may include a peripheral skirt 94 near the outer perimeter 62. The skirt 94 may extend down from a bottom surface 98 of the lid 18 and may extend around the periphery of the lid 18.

As shown in FIGS. 4A and 4B, when the lid 18 is sealed onto the container body 14, the skirt 94 may abut the sidewall 26. For example, the skirt 94 may abut the first sidewall 42, the second sidewall 46, the third sidewall 50, and the fourth sidewall 54 of the container body 14. The skirt 94 may also abut the corners 56 of the sidewall 26. Preferably the skirt 94 applies a pressure to the sidewall 26 when the lid 18 is sealed onto the container body 14. Such an arrangement will help prevent the contents of the storage container 10 from leaking or spilling out while being used. Such an arrangement may also, help make the storage container 10 air-tight.

Additionally, FIGS. 4A and 4B depict a relationship between the outer perimeter 62 of the lid 18 and the rim 30 of the container body 14. As shown, the rim 30 may include a first protrusion 102 extending from a curved portion 106, and a second protrusion 108 extending down from the first protrusion 102. When the lid 18 is sealed to the container body 14, the outer perimeter 62 of the lid 18 may curve down and terminate at the first protrusion 102 near the second protrusion 108. As shown, the outer perimeter 62 may smoothly merge with the rim 30, such that the outer perimeter 62 does not protrude out further than the rim 30 of the container body 14. This arrangement may help direct the consumer to the latch mechanism 70 as opposed to trying to remove the lid as if it were a frictional fit lid as in traditional lid and container combinations.

FIGS. 5A-5C depict certain mechanisms to help secure the lid 18 to the container body 14. FIG. 5B depicts a cross-sectional view of the storage container 10 shown in FIG. 5A through the line D-D and FIG. 5C depicts detail F of FIG. 5B. As shown in FIGS. 5B and 5C, the skirt 94 may include a protrusion 110 and the sidewall 26 may include a corresponding recess 114. When the lid 18 is sealed onto the container body 14 and the skirt 94 is pressed against the sidewall 26, the protrusion 110 may mate with the recess 114 to thereby help securely hold the lid 18 onto the container body 14. When the lid 18 is to be removed from the container body 14, the lid 14 can be lifted at the latch mechanisms 70 to partially fold the lid 14 and disengage the protrusion 110 from the recess 114. The storage container 10 may have multiple protrusion 110 and recess 114 combinations. For example, a protrusion 110 may extend from the skirt 94 proximate each corner of the skirt 94 and a recess 114 may be formed in the sidewall 26 proximate each corner of the sidewall 26. Therefore, including the two latch points from the latch mechanism 70, the storage container 10 may have multiple locking or holding points around the perimeter of the container body. It should be understood that the location of the protrusion/recess may be reversed, such that the protrusion may be formed on the container body and the corresponding recess may be formed on the lid.

FIGS. 6A-6C depict how the exemplary latch mechanism 70 may help secure the lid 18 to the container body 14. FIG. 6B depicts a cross-sectional view of the storage container 10 shown in FIG. 6A through the line B-B and FIG. 6C depicts detail E of FIG. 6B. As shown in FIGS. 6B and 6C the latch mechanism 70 may include a curved portion 120, a first protrusion 124 extending out from the curved portion 120, and a second protrusion 128 extending down from a first end of the curved portion 120. The second end of the curved portion 120 may be connected to the foldable portion 66 by a pivot 132. The first protrusion 124 may have an upper surface 136 that abuts a bottom surface 140 of the rim 30 of the container body 14 when the latch mechanism is employed to securely hold the lid 18 to the container body 14. The second protrusion 128 may provide a grip for a consumer to use to unlatch the latch mechanism 70 to thereby remove the lid 18 from the container body 14. A similar type structure for the latch mechanism 70 may be used for either end of the foldable portion 66.

When the storage container 10 is not being used a consumer may want to store the storage container 10. So that the consumer does not have to store the container body 14 and the lid 18 separately, the lid 18 may be removed, folded, and stored within the cavity 38 of the container body 14.

As shown in FIGS. 7A and 7B, the lid 18 may be folded about the foldable portion 66 to form a folded lid 150. In particular the first segment 74 of the lid 18 may fold about its respective hinge 90 and the second segment 76 of the lid 18 may fold about its respective hinge 90. As shown in FIG. 7C, which is a cross-sectional view of the folded lid 150 of FIG. 7A through the line A-A, when the lid 18 is folded, the first segment 74 may be offset from the second segment 76 so that the skirt 94 of the first segment 74 does not interfere with the skirt 94 of the second segment 76. Alternatively the skirt 94 of the first segment 74 may deform so that it does not interfere with the skirt 94 of the second segment 76, when the lid 18 is folded.

When the lid 18 is folded it may have a folded lid length L′, a folded lid width W′, and a folded lid height H′. In order for the folded lid 150 to fit within the cavity 38 of the container body 14, the folded lid width W′ must be less than the container body width W.

As shown in FIG. 8, several storage containers 10 may be stacked and stored together. As shown, the sidewalls 26 of each container body 14 may extend up from their respective bases 22 at an angle α (draft angle) so that a first storage container 154 can receive a second storage container 158. The angle a may be any angle, such as 5 degrees from the vertical. When the second storage container 158 is received by the first storage container 154, a space 162 is created between the base 22 of the first storage container 154 and the base 22 of the second storage container 158. The space 162 may have a height H″. H″ may be greater than H′ so that the folded lid 150 can be placed and stored within the space 162. Therefore, multiple storage containers 10, including their respective container bodies 14 and lids 18, may be stacked and stored in one place.

FIGS. 9A-9C depict another embodiment of a lid for a storage container in accordance with the present invention. As shown, a lid 218 may include a central portion 222, an outer perimeter 226 extending around the central portion 222, and a foldable portion 228 extending across the central portion 222. The foldable portion 228 may split the lid 218 into multiple sections, such as first segment 232 and second segment 236. A latch mechanism 240 may be disposed at either end of the foldable portion 228. The lid 218 may also include a skirt 244 extending down from the outer perimeter 226 proximate the ends of the lid 218. The lid 218 may also include side extensions 248 extending from the outer perimeter 226 proximate the sides of the lid 218.

As shown, each latch mechanism 240 may include a portion 252 of the fold able portion 228 and two wings 256 extending out from the portion 252. Therefore, when the lid 218 is folded each wing 256 folds may fold as well. The wings 256 may also aid the consumer in unlatching the latch mechanism 240.

As shown in FIG. 9C, the lid 218 may be sealed onto a corresponding container body 260 to form a storage container 262. When the lid 218 is sealed onto the container body 260, skirt 244 may abut a sidewall 264 of the container body 260. Preferably, the skirt 244 applies a pressure to the sidewall 264 to ensure that none of the contents of the storage container 262 leak or spill out. Furthermore, the side extensions 248 may extend around a rim 266 of the container body 260 when the lid 218 is sealed onto the container body 260. When storage container 262 is no longer being used, the lid 218 may be removed, folded about the foldable portion 228 and stored within the container body 260.

Multiple embodiments of a lid that is adapted to fold about a foldable portion are envisioned. For example, FIGS. 10A and 10B depict a lid 280 having a foldable portion 284 made of a flexible material, such as santoprene or any other flexible thermoplastic, for example. When the lid 280 is to be stored within a corresponding container body, the lid 280 may be folded about the foldable portion 284, as shown in FIG. 10B. The foldable portion 284 may also be thinner than the remaining portion of the lid 280.

FIG. 11 depicts another embodiment of a lid that is adapted to fold about a foldable portion. As shown, a lid 300 may include a single living hinge 304. Therefore, when the lid 300 is to be stored within a corresponding container body, the lid 300 may be folded about the single living hinge 304. Also, the lid 300 may not include latching mechanisms, and therefore, the lid 300 may be removed from any of the four corners like a conventional friction-fit lid.

Lids according to the present invention may include multiple foldable portions. For example, FIGS. 12A-12F depict a lid 310 having a first foldable portion 314, a second foldable portion 318, a third foldable portion 322, and a fourth foldable portion 326. The foldable portions 314, 318, 322, and 326 may separate the lid 310 into a first segment 330, a second segment 334, a third segment 338, a fourth segment 342, and a fifth segment 344. The first segment 330 may fold about the first foldable portion 314, the second segment 334 may fold about the second foldable portion 318, the third segment 338 not fold, the fourth segment 342 may fold about the third foldable portion 322, and the fifth segment 344 may fold about the fourth foldable portion 326. As shown in FIGS. 12D-12F the first segment 330 may fold into the second and third segments 334 and 338, and the fifth segment 344 may fold over and cover the first, second, and third segments 330, 334, and 338.

Lids according to the present invention may also include portions that may be written on. For example, as shown in FIG. 13, a lid 360 may include a writable portion 364, on which a consumer can write with a writing utensil, such as a dry-erase pen. Therefore, the storage containers can be labeled. Preferably, the writable portion 364 is an opaque region such as a label area or pigment region, and is erasable so that the storage container can be relabeled. By using an opaque region on a generally transparent lid may provide the contrast needed to easily read the written label. Furthermore, the writable portion 364 may be located on the underside of the lid so that repeated erasing of the marker does not scratch the label or pigment area.

Lids according to the present invention may also include locking mechanisms to ensure that the latches do not accidentally open. As shown in FIG. 14, a lid 370 may include a foldable portion 368, a latching mechanism 374 and a locking mechanism 378. The locking mechanism 378 may be located near the latching mechanism 374 on a top surface of the foldable portion 368. When the lid 370 is placed onto a corresponding container body 382, the latching mechanism 374 may be employed to securely fasten the lid 370 to the container body 382. To provide added security to the container, the locking mechanism 378 may be activated (e.g. rotated).

FIG. 15 depicts another embodiment of a latching mechanism for securely fastening a foldable lid to a corresponding container body. As shown, a latching mechanism 386 may include a slot 390. When the latching mechanism 386 is latched, a protrusion 394 may extend through the slot 390 to prevent the lid from being lifted off of the container body. When the latching mechanism 386 is to be opened, the latching mechanism 386 may be rotated up toward the top of the lid. A protrusion 398 may provide the consumer a place to rest their thumb as they open the container by lifting the latch mechanism 386 with their index finger.

FIGS. 16A-16D depict an embodiment of a lid according to the present invention having an elliptical shape. As shown, a lid 410 may include a central portion 414, an outer perimeter 418 extending from the central portion 414, a foldable portion 422 extending across the central portion 414, and a latch mechanism 426 located at each end of the foldable portion 422. The lid 410 may also include a skirt 432 extending from the bottom of the lid 410 proximate to the outer perimeter 418. As shown in FIGS. 16C and 16D, the lid 410 may fold about the foldable portion 422 to become a folded lid. The folded lid may then be placed and stored within a corresponding container body.

FIG. 17 is a schematic illustrating another lid and container body arrangement according to the present invention. In the depicted arrangement an outer perimeter 450 of a lid includes a recess 458, and a sidewall 462 of a container body includes a protrusion 466. When the lid is sealed onto the container body, the protrusion 466 may engage the recess 458 to create an interference fit.

FIG. 18 depicts another embodiment of a foldable lid having protrusions extending from all four sides of the skirt. As shown, a lid 500 may include a central portion 514, an outer perimeter 518 extending from the central portion 514, a foldable portion 522 extending across the central portion 514, and a skirt 526 extending down from the central portion 514 proximate to the outer perimeter 518. The skirt 526 may have protrusions 530 extending from each side of the skirt 526. The protrusions 530 may each mate with a corresponding recess formed in a container body.

It should be understood that the features described for the container lid and the features described for the container body may be reversed. That is, the storage container may have a substantially flat lid-like base and a container body-like lid to cover the lid-like base. In this embodiment, the container body-like lid may include a latch mechanism and a foldable portion.