Title:
COMBINATION SELF-ADHERING BEVERAGE COASTER AND SLEEVE AND METHOD
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A combination beverage coaster and sleeve is disclosed. The combination beverage coaster and sleeve is capable of self-adhering to a beverage container, does not require additional adhesives or other materials for purposes of adhering to a beverage container, and may assist a user thereof in identifying the user's beverage from among other beverages in social settings. The combination beverage coaster and sleeve may also be used to display a decorative design.



Inventors:
Curry, Tim M. (Henderson, NV, US)
Application Number:
11/780027
Publication Date:
01/22/2009
Filing Date:
07/19/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
215/394, 220/737
International Classes:
A47G23/03
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
KING, ANITA M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WEISS & MOY, P.C. (PHOENIX, AZ, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A self-adhering beverage coaster comprising, in combination: a top layer comprising an outer surface and a moisture-absorbent inner surface; a moisture-impervious middle layer; and a substantially non-abrasive bottom layer; wherein the outer surface of the top layer is adapted to cling to a bottom surface of a container and the inner surface of the top layer is adapted to absorb moisture.

2. The self-adhering beverage coaster of claim 1, wherein the outer surface of the top layer is comprised of one of vinyl and plastic.

3. The self-adhering beverage coaster of claim 1, wherein the inner surface of the top layer is comprised of one of a sponge-like material and foam.

4. The self-adhering beverage coaster of claim 1, wherein the middle layer is comprised of one of rubber, latex, plastic, an adhesive agent and metal.

5. The self-adhering beverage coaster of claim 1, wherein the bottom layer is comprised of one of velour, felt, microsuede, and microfiber.

6. The self-adhering beverage coaster of claim 1, further comprising a decorative design.

7. A combination self-adhering beverage coaster and sleeve comprising, in combination: a coaster comprising, in combination: a top layer comprising an outer surface and a moisture-absorbent inner surface; a moisture-impervious middle layer; and a substantially non-abrasive bottom layer; wherein the outer surface of the top layer is adapted to cling to a bottom surface of a container and the inner surface of the top layer is adapted to absorb moisture; and a sleeve comprising, in combination: an outer surface; and an inner surface comprising a substantially moisture-impervious material; wherein the sleeve is adapted to fit around and cling to an outer portion of a beverage container.

8. The combination self-adhering beverage coaster and sleeve of claim 7, wherein the outer surface of the top layer of the coaster and the inner surface of the sleeve are comprised of one of vinyl and plastic.

9. The combination self-adhering beverage coaster and sleeve of claim 7, wherein the inner surface of the top layer of the coaster is comprised of one of a sponge-like material and foam.

10. The combination self-adhering beverage coaster and sleeve of claim 7, wherein the middle layer of the coaster is comprised of one of rubber, latex, plastic, an adhesive agent, and metal.

11. The combination self-adhering beverage coaster and sleeve of claim 7, wherein the bottom layer of the coaster is comprised of one of velour, felt, microsuede, and microfiber.

12. The combination self-adhering beverage coaster and sleeve of claim 7, further comprising a decorative design located on the coaster and the sleeve.

13. The combination self-adhering beverage coaster and sleeve of claim 7, wherein the top layer of the coaster matches the outer surface of the sleeve.

14. A method for protecting a surface from a beverage container, comprising the steps of: providing a supporting surface; providing a beverage container; providing a combination self-adhering beverage coaster and sleeve comprising, in combination: a coaster comprising, in combination: a top layer comprising an outer surface and a moisture-absorbent inner surface; a moisture-impervious middle layer; and a substantially non-abrasive bottom layer; wherein the outer surface of the top layer is adapted to cling to a bottom surface of a container and the inner surface of the top layer is adapted to absorb moisture; and a sleeve comprising, in combination: an outer surface; and an inner surface comprising a substantially moisture-impervious material; wherein the sleeve is adapted to fit around and cling to an outer portion of a beverage container; wherein the top layer of the self-adhering beverage coaster matches the outer surface of the sleeve; applying the sleeve to the beverage container; placing the coaster on the supporting surface; and placing the beverage container on the coaster.

15. The method of claim 14, wherein the outer surface of the top layer of the coaster and the inner surface of the sleeve are comprised of one of vinyl and plastic.

16. The method of claim 14, wherein the inner surface of the top layer of the coaster is comprised of one of a sponge-like material and foam.

17. The method of claim 14, wherein the middle layer of the coaster is comprised of one of rubber, latex, plastic, an adhesive agent, and metal.

18. The method of claim 14, wherein the bottom layer of the coaster is comprised of one of velour, felt, microsuede, and microfiber.

19. The method of claim 14, wherein the combination self-adhering beverage coaster and sleeve further comprises a decorative design located on the coaster and the sleeve.

20. The method of claim 14, wherein the top layer of the coaster matches the outer surface of the sleeve.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to drinkware accessories and, more particularly, to a combination beverage coaster and sleeve capable of self-adhering to a beverage container, which does not require additional adhesives or other materials for purposes of adhering to a beverage container, which may absorb moisture, which may assist a user thereof in identifying the user's beverage from among other beverages in social settings, and which may display a decorative design.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Coasters have been used for ages to protect various surfaces upon which individuals may choose to place their cups, glasses, mugs, vases, plates, bowls, pots, pans, vases, etc. Coasters of various shapes, sizes, designs, and materials have been developed over time for this purpose. Some common materials used for coasters include wood, plastic, cardboard, cork, ceramic, and the like. Sleeves for beverage containers are also known. Typical beverage container sleeves are used for shielding a user's hands from the heat or cold of particular beverages. Common materials used for beverage container sleeves include paper, cardboard, foam, and the like.

In social settings, it is often the case that individuals enjoy beverages from identical or similarly styled beverage containers. In the event that individuals set their beverage containers on a table or countertop momentarily, for example, identifying one's particular beverage container later on can become an issue. Various drinkware accessories have been developed to assist with this problem, such as color-coded coasters, wine charms, drink tags, labels, etc.

Several limitations exist with the aforementioned and other various prior art drinkware accessories. For example, it is common for many prior art coasters to be non-absorbent. As a result, moisture—in the form of condensation, drips, spills, or the like—that accumulates on such coasters during use may ultimately overflow onto surfaces that the coasters are designed to protect, or drip onto furniture, carpeting, or a user's clothing when the user picks up his or her drinkware to take a drink. As another example, some drinkware accessories are not suitable for all kinds of drinkware, such as wine charms, which only work with stemware. Further, drinkware sleeves are typically of fixed sizes, and accordingly only work with beverage containers of certain diameters. Other drinkware accessories may detract from the aesthetic appearance of the beverage containers with which they are used, such as those that are bulky, those that have straps to keep the devices in place, etc. Drinkware accessories capable of adhering to beverage containers may include adhesive dots, strips, or the like for adherence purposes, which may wear out over time or repeated use and which do not allow for the drinkware accessories to be stacked upon one another for storage, since such drinkware accessories may stick together if positioned in that manner.

A need therefore exists for a combination beverage coaster and sleeve that is absorbent, that is capable of self-adhering to a beverage container, that does not require additional adhesives or other materials for purposes of adhering to the beverage container, that is suitable for beverage containers of various sizes, and which may assist a user thereof in identifying the user's beverage from among other beverages in social settings.

The present invention satisfies these needs and provides other, related advantages.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, a self-adhering beverage coaster is disclosed. The self-adhering beverage coaster comprises, in combination: a top layer comprising an outer surface and a moisture-absorbent inner surface; a moisture-impervious middle layer; and a substantially non-abrasive bottom layer; wherein the outer surface of the top layer is adapted to cling to a bottom surface of a container and the inner surface of the top layer is adapted to absorb moisture.

In accordance with another embodiment of the present invention, a combination self-adhering beverage coaster and sleeve is disclosed. The combination beverage coaster and sleeve comprises, in combination: a coaster comprising, in combination: a top layer comprising an outer surface and a moisture-absorbent inner surface; a moisture-impervious middle layer; and a substantially non-abrasive bottom layer; wherein the outer surface of the top layer is adapted to cling to a bottom surface of a container and the inner surface of the top layer is adapted to absorb moisture; and a sleeve comprising, in combination: an outer surface; and an inner surface comprising a substantially moisture-impervious material; wherein the sleeve is adapted to fit around and cling to an outer portion of a beverage container.

In accordance with a further embodiment of the present invention, a method for protecting a surface from a beverage container is disclosed. The method comprises the steps of: providing a supporting surface; providing a beverage container; providing a combination self-adhering beverage coaster and sleeve comprising, in combination: a coaster comprising, in combination: a top layer comprising an outer surface and a moisture-absorbent inner surface; a moisture-impervious middle layer; and a substantially non-abrasive bottom layer; wherein the outer surface of the top layer is adapted to cling to a bottom surface of a container and the inner surface of the top layer is adapted to absorb moisture; and a sleeve comprising, in combination: an outer surface; and an inner surface comprising a substantially moisture-impervious material; wherein the sleeve is adapted to fit around and cling to an outer portion of a beverage container; wherein the top layer of the self-adhering beverage coaster matches the outer surface of the sleeve; applying the sleeve to the beverage container; placing the coaster on the supporting surface; and placing the beverage container on the coaster.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a combination self-adhering beverage coaster and sleeve, consistent with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is an exploded view of a coaster portion of a combination self-adhering beverage coaster and sleeve, consistent with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a top view of a coaster portion of a combination self-adhering beverage coaster and sleeve, consistent with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a top view of a coaster portion of a combination self-adhering beverage coaster and sleeve, consistent with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5 is a top view of a coaster portion of a combination self-adhering beverage coaster and sleeve, consistent with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 6 is a front view of the sleeve portion of the combination self-adhering beverage coaster and sleeve of FIG. 1.

FIG. 7 is a top view of the sleeve portion of the combination self-adhering beverage coaster and sleeve of FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring first to FIG. 1, an embodiment of a combination self-adhering beverage coaster and sleeve 10, consistent with an embodiment of the present invention is shown. The combination self-adhering beverage coaster and sleeve 10 comprises the following principal components: a coaster 12 and a sleeve 20. The combination self-adhering beverage coaster and sleeve 10 may be reusable or disposable, as desired.

In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 1-2, the coaster 12 comprises three layers: a top layer 14, a middle layer 16, and a bottom layer 18. The top layer 14 is adapted to absorb and trap moisture and/or liquid and also cling and/or suction to a bottom surface of a cup 30. In order to accomplish this, the top layer 14 preferably includes an outer surface 14A and a moisture-absorbent inner surface 14B. Preferably, the outer surface 14A is composed of a material having self-adhering properties that is capable of clinging and/or suctioning to a bottom surface of a cup or other container, without the need for adhesives. Such a material may include, for example, vinyl, plastic, and the like. An example of such an application may be the reminder stickers provided by automobile service providers, which adhere to a glass windshield without the need for an adhesive layer. Other examples of such an application may be window clings, static cling decals, static cling window film, and the like.

In order for the top layer 14 to trap moisture and/or liquid, it may be desired for the outer surface 14A of the top layer 14 to include a plurality of small apertures or perforations (not shown), such that moisture in the form of condensation, drips, spills, or the like from a cup or other container placed upon the coaster 12 may pass through the outer surface 14A to the inner surface 14B, and then be absorbed by the inner surface 14B. Preferably, the inner surface 14B is composed of an absorbent material that is capable of absorbing moisture in the form of condensation, drips, spills, or the like. Such a material may include, for example, a sponge-like material, foam, or the like.

In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 1-2, the middle layer 16 of the coaster 12 is sandwiched between the top layer 14 and the bottom layer 18. The middle layer 16 is preferably composed of a moisture impervious material, in order that any moisture absorbed by the top layer 14 may be unable to penetrate the middle layer 16. Such a moisture impervious material may include, for example, rubber, latex, plastic, metal, an adhesive agent, or the like. The bottom layer 18 is preferably composed of a substantially soft, non-scratch material that will not leave undesired markings on surfaces upon which the coaster 12 is placed. Such a material may include, for example, velour, felt, microsuede, microfiber, or any other desired non-abrasive material.

While the coaster 12 in this embodiment includes three layers, it may be desired to fashion a coaster 12 having more or less than three layers.

In a preferred embodiment, the coaster 12 is adapted to cling and/or suction to a bottom surface of a cup 30, as shown in FIG. 1. The coaster 12 may also be adapted to cling and/or suction to the bottom surface of virtually any container imaginable, such as a glass, mug, vase, plate, bowl, pot, pan, beverage can, etc. In this way, the coaster 12 may protect any surface upon which the cup 30 or other item is placed from water rings, moisture, dents, dings, scratches, heat, cold, etc.

With respect to the dimensions of the coaster 12, in a preferred embodiment, the coaster 12 has a diameter of approximately 3.375 inches, but may have other dimensions, as desired. Preferably, the perimeter of the coaster 12 is adapted to be trimmed to a diameter of 2.75 inches, as desired by a user. In this way, the coaster 12 may be made smaller and thereby adapted for use with containers of various sizes. The coaster 12 may also have various other dimensions, as desired, such that it may be adapted for use with virtually any container imaginable, such as a glass, mug, vase, plate, bowl, pot, pan, beverage can, etc.

In a preferred embodiment, as seen particularly in FIGS. 1, 3, and 4, the coaster 12 may display various decorative designs, such as colors, patterns, logos, and the like. Such decorative designs may be displayed on the top layer 14 or bottom layer 18 of the coaster 12, as desired. It may also be desired for the coaster 12 to include advertising, names, or the like, which may be displayed on the top layer 14 or bottom layer 18 of the coaster 12.

While the embodiment of the coaster 12 shown FIGS. 1-4 is circular in shape, it should be noted that the coaster 12 may be of virtually any shape desired. For example, as seen in FIG. 5, the coaster 12 may be hexagonal.

Turning now to the sleeve 20, in the embodiment shown in FIGS. 1, 6, and 7, the sleeve 20 comprises outer surface 22 and an inner surface 24. In a preferred embodiment, the sleeve 20 is adapted to fit around an outer portion of a cup 30, as shown in FIG. 1. In this way, the sleeve 20 may insulate the cup 30 from the heat of a user's hand and/or shield a user's hand from condensation, cold, or heat that may be imparted onto the cup 30 depending upon its contents, such as a hot or cold beverage. In order for the sleeve 20 to insulate the cup 30 or shield a user's hand from condensation, heat, or cold, the outer surface 22 of the sleeve 20 may be comprised of a material having heat-resistant properties, such as silicone rubber, foam rubber or the like. While in this embodiment the sleeve 20 is adapted to fit around a cup 30, the sleeve 20 may also be adapted to fit around virtually any container imaginable, such as a glass, mug, vase, pot, pan, beverage can, etc.

In a preferred embodiment, the sleeve 20 is configured to self-adhere to an outside portion of a cup 30. In this regard, the inner surface 24 of the sleeve 20 may be adapted to cling and/or suction to an outside portion of a cup 30. In order to accomplish this, the inner surface 24 is preferably comprised of a substantially moisture-impervious material having self-adhering properties that is capable of clinging and/or suctioning to an outer surface of a cup or other container, without the need for adhesives. Such a material may include, for example, vinyl, plastic, and the like. An example of such an application may be the reminder stickers provided by automobile service providers, which adhere to a glass windshield without the need for an adhesive layer. Other examples of such an application may be window clings, static cling decals, static cling window film, and the like.

In another embodiment, the sleeve 20 may be configured to expand slightly, such that it may be stretched slightly by a user, placed over the exterior surface of a cup or other container, and then retract to its original configuration, thereby staying in place over the outside portion of a cup 30 or other container. In this way, the sleeve 20 may accommodate containers of various shapes and/or sizes. To accomplish this, the sleeve 20 may be composed of a resilient material capable of expanding, such as silicone rubber, foam rubber, plastic, and the like.

As seen in the embodiment in FIG. 1, the outer surface 22 of the sleeve 20 preferably matches the top layer 14 of the coaster 12. This may assist a user of the combination self-adhering beverage coaster and sleeve 10 in quickly and easily identifying the user's cup 30 or other container from among those of others, particularly in social settings. The outer surface 22 of the sleeve 20 may include various decorative designs, such as colors, patterns, logos, and the like. It may also be desired for the outer surface 22 of the sleeve to include advertising, names, or the like.

While the invention has been particularly shown and described with reference to the preferred embodiments thereof, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that the foregoing and other changes in form and details may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.