Title:
Hinged-lid feminine hygiene product dispenser
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A hinged-lid feminine hygiene product dispenser comprising an open box shaped container being of adequate height, depth, and width so as to accommodate a plurality of feminine hygiene products within said open box shaped container, further having a lid being slightly longitudinally longer than the bottom of the container and hingedly connected so as to fittingly swing over the top of the container closing the box, while still having an overhang to easily open and close the lid.



Inventors:
Ludden-biegel, Terri Louise (Tillamook, OR, US)
Application Number:
11/980266
Publication Date:
04/30/2009
Filing Date:
10/31/2007
Assignee:
Tia Ludden-Biegel (Tillamook, OR, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D85/62
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20070181581BEVERAGE MUGSAugust, 2007Ross
20060289547Cooler with integrated solar lightDecember, 2006Ewing et al.
20090223977Cookware Vessel with Hollow RimSeptember, 2009Cheng
20080251525Hand-held vesselOctober, 2008Fontaine et al.
20090236355CONTAINER STOPPERSeptember, 2009Matheson
20100065567TAMPER-EVIDENT CONTAINER WITH EXTENDED BANDMarch, 2010Vovan
20100001007BOWL WITH LIQUID DRAINJanuary, 2010Ferraro
20080156820Pouring Lid for CansJuly, 2008Alvares et al.
20080149517Eyewear receptacleJune, 2008Lipton et al.
20080060479Combination beverage holder with bottle openerMarch, 2008Nelson
20050269321Housing for an electronic or mechatronic unitDecember, 2005Bornhof et al.



Primary Examiner:
KIRSCH, ANDREW THOMAS
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ROBERT IRELAND (BANKS, OR, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A hinged-lid feminine hygiene product dispenser comprising: an open box shaped container having a front panel, a rear panel, a bottom panel, a right panel, and a left panel, said bottom panel, said front panel, and said rear panel extending to said right panel and left panel to form said open box shaped container, said right panel and left panel being a distance apart and of adequate height so as to accommodate a plurality of feminine hygiene products within said open box shaped container; a lid; said lid being slightly longitudinally longer than said bottom panel; said lid hingedly connects to said open box shaped container approximately along the axis of the long side of the rear panel; said lid fittingly swings between the right panel and left panel enclosing the open box shaped container; and said lid overhangs said front panel providing a surface to easily lift said lid and open the dispenser.

2. The hinged-lid feminine hygiene product dispenser of claim 1, wherein said lid fittingly swings on top of the right panel and left panel, covering the open box shaped container providing an enclosure for the feminine hygiene product.

Description:

FIELD

The present invention relates to a feminine hygiene product dispenser.

TECHNICAL FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to a dispenser for feminine hygiene products wherein the products are easily accessed by lifting or sliding a lid, and after the selected product is removed, the lid self-closes protecting the remaining products.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Feminine hygiene products come in many forms including sanitary napkins, vaginal tampons, panty liners, and panty shields. These products are generally sold in box packaging containing a plurality of individual units. The box packaging usually displays the contents of the box via external advertising and is usually constructed from a paper product. The box packaging is not easily opened and closed, often tearing or failing to adequately seal the remaining product from contaminants once opened. The external advertising and paper packaging makes the box the hygiene products came in an undesirable storage option, and definitely not a desirable option if kept in plain view. Women often store the box packaging and hygiene product out of sight, under the sink, or in a bottom drawer, making access more difficult and contamination more likely. A preferred storage location would be sterile or aseptic, and easy to access.

Easy access becomes imperative for women with limited motility, the handicapped, and the aging. A good location for storage and easy access would be the bathroom countertop, however the undesirable box packaging prevents placement there. Many women require habitual and regular feminine hygiene products, and repeatedly accessing a difficultly located product is undesirable.

Therefore it is desirable to have a dispenser for feminine hygiene products that is pleasing to look at, so as to be placed for convenient access, is easy to open and close, and which will maintain a protected environment for the unused hygiene products.

Boxes, containers, packages, and cases for holding or storing general items are numerous. There are many of the same constructed specifically for feminine hygiene products. However, none satisfy the described needs above.

PRIOR ART

Boxes and containers with lids are well known in the art. Simple cigar type boxes have been used to package various tobacco products and after emptied of the original contents, the cigar box has been historically utilized for protecting or keeping personal items safe and secure. When used to package tobacco products, the cigar box is of a shape and dimension, usually rectangular, to match the stacking of the tobacco products to maximize the number of products contained within the box. Cigar type boxes are generally constructed to be durable enough to be utilized beyond the original purpose of packaging. The cigar box tends to be ornate and appealing to look at, often with gold inlay or wooden trim. The indication from the cigar box appearance is that the user is proud of its contents, and displays the box prominently in plain view on a desk or table When the lid is closed, the cigar box seals the tobacco products from the outside environment, protecting the contents. The advantages of the cigar box include sealing the product from the outside environment, constructed to contain many tobacco products, aesthetically pleasing, and able to be opened with a specific pressure and lift of the lid. The disadvantages of a cigar box, when used for containing items other than tobacco product is that the size and dimension cannot accommodate some items such as feminine hygiene products. The lid requires specific pressure, and often times, a hook of a fingernail to open. Finally, in the context of feminine hygiene products, the user may not desire the contents of the box to be known, and therefore a discrete pleasing appearance is preferred.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,286,639 to Murphy discloses a flexible, flat, wallet-like case for enclosing a single tampon or sanitary napkin. Murphy's teaching is directed to a single-pocket case with the additional object of maintaining thinness. The characteristics of thinness, flexibility and the ability to hold only one tampon or sanitary napkin limit the usefulness of Murphy's invention. It is not suitable for carrying a variety of feminine hygiene products.

U.S. Pat. No. 3,557,853 to Jones discloses a foldable cloth bag for carrying one or two sanitary napkins but fails to teach a dispenser for home use that is easy to open and able to store many feminine hygiene products.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,964,526 to Stephens teaches a case specifically designed to house a variety of feminine hygiene products of various sizes for easy carrying and access, but fails to teach of a dispenser for home use that would hold a plurality and/or variety of feminine products.

U.S. Pat. No. 2,843,170 to Frankfurt discloses a flexible case for sanitary napkins. The primary disadvantages of the case are that it is flexible and it is configured to primarily accommodate sanitary napkins. In addition, the case's general construction, including its combination of zippers and snaps, does not provide an easily accessible dispenser.

OBJECTS AND ADVANTAGES

It is an object of the present invention to provide a dispenser for a plurality of feminine hygiene products, that is pleasing to look at but not descriptive of contents allowing for accessible placement in the bathroom, bedroom, or convenient accessible location.

It is also an object of the present invention to provide a dispenser that is easy to open and close for the ordinary user, as well as the user who suffers from limited motility, arthritis, or other physical limitations.

It is a further object of the invention is to provide a dispenser that stores the unused feminine hygiene products in an aseptic or clean environment safe from damage or contamination.

It is also a further object of the invention to provide a dispenser of a size and dimension matching the feminine hygiene product desired to be stored within, so that the feminine hygiene product precisely stacks within the dispenser, maximizing the number of product stored while still maintaining the intended shape.

Other aspects, objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon reading the detailed description of a preferred embodiment in conjunction with the accompanying drawings and appended claims.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective drawing of a hinged-lid feminine hygiene product dispenser, in accordance with one embodiment.

FIG. 2 is a two-dimensional left-view of the hinged-lid feminine hygiene product dispenser of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a two-dimensional right-view of the hinged-lid feminine hygiene product dispenser of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a two-dimensional view of the top-view of the hinged-lid feminine hygiene product dispenser of FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 is a two-dimensional bottom-view of the hinged-lid feminine hygiene product dispenser of FIG. 1.

FIG. 6 is a two-dimensional rear-view of the hinged-lid feminine hygiene product dispenser of FIG. 1.

FIG. 7 is a two-dimensional front-view of the hinged-lid feminine hygiene product dispenser of FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring now to the drawings, and particularly to FIGS. 1-7, a preferred embodiment of the present device is shown, illustrating the hinged-lid feminine hygiene product dispenser. The exemplary embodiments according to the present device are illustrated with those components necessary to demonstrate the inventive design.

FIG. 1 illustrates one embodiment of the assembled device from a perspective view having an open box shaped container 100, constructed of a front panel 110, a left panel 150, a right panel 140, a bottom panel 130, a rear panel 120, and a lid 160. Said left panel 150 and right panel 140 are of a distance apart so as to accommodate a feminine hygiene product. The lid 160, is of a longitudinal length greater than the bottom panel 130 and hingedly connects at hinge points 170. Said hinge points 170 being located on the right panel 140 and left panel 150, approximately along the axis of the long side of the rear panel 120. The lid 160 being of a greater longitudinal length provides for an overhang 180 that when closed hangs over the front panel 110, said overhang 180 makes for an easy surface to open and close the lid 160. A further reason for the overhang 180 is to facilitate closing of the lid 160 in that the weight of the overhang 180 is sufficient enough to overcome the friction in the hinge points 170, thus the lid 160 will self close once the user releases the lid 160. FIG. 1 demonstrates the embodiment having the lid 160 in the open position.

FIG. 2 illustrates the embodiment of FIG. 1, having an open box shaped container 100, constructed of a front panel 110, a left panel 150, a bottom panel 130, a rear panel 120, and a lid 160. The lid 160, is of a longitudinal length greater than the bottom panel 130 and hingedly connects at hinge points 170. Said hinge point 170 being shown located on the left panel 150, approximately along the axis of the long side of the rear panel 120. The lid 160 being of a greater longitudinal length than the bottom panel 130, provides for an overhang 180 that when closed hangs over the front panel 110. By practice, applicant discovered that overhang 180 should be a width approximately the width of a finger, thus making for easy opening for users suffering from limited motility, arthritis, or other ailments preventing normal hand dexterity.

To open the invention, a user would run her finger or edge of her hand up the front panel 110 and up against the overhang 180 underside surface. Applying easy pressure the lid 160 swingably opens exposing the feminine hygiene products for selection, when the pressure is removed the weight of the lid 160 and overhang 180 overcomes the friction in the hinge points 170 and the lid self closes. With the lid 160 closed, the feminine hygiene products are protected.

FIG. 3 illustrates the embodiment of FIG. 1, having an open box shaped container 100, constructed of a front panel 110, a right panel 140, a bottom panel 130, a rear panel 120, and a lid 160. The lid 160, is of a longitudinal length greater than the bottom panel 130 and hingedly connects at hinge points 170. Said hinge points 170 being shown located on the right panel 140, approximately along the axis of the long side of the rear panel 120. The lid 160 being of a greater longitudinal length than the bottom panel 130, provides for an overhang 180 that when closed hangs over the front panel 110. The hinge points 170 may be at any location on the rear panel 120, right panel 140 or left panel 150 so as to allow for easy opening and closing of the lid 160.

FIG. 4 illustrates a top view of the embodiment of FIG. 1, having an open box shaped container 100, constructed of a front panel 110, a right panel 140, a left panel 150, a bottom panel 130, a rear panel 120, and a lid 160. The lid 160 is shown in the closed position. The lid 160, is of a longitudinal length greater than the bottom panel 130 and hingedly connects at hinge points 170. Said hinge points 170 being shown located on the right panel 140, approximately along the axis of the long side of the rear panel 120. The lid 160 being of a greater longitudinal length than the bottom panel 130, provides for an overhang 180 that when closed hangs over the front panel 110. The overhang 180 allows for an easy and accessible surface for opening the invention.

FIG. 5 illustrates a bottom view of the embodiment of FIG. 1, having an open box shaped container 100, constructed of a front panel 110, a right panel 140, a left panel 150, a bottom panel 130, a rear panel 120, and a lid 160. The lid 160 is shown in the closed position. The lid 160, is of a longitudinal length greater than the bottom panel 130 and hingedly connects at hinge points 170. Said hinge points 170 being shown located on the right panel 140, approximately along the axis of the long side of the rear panel 120. The lid 160 being of a greater longitudinal length than the bottom panel 130, provides for an overhang 180 that when closed hangs over the front panel 10 and can be clearly seen from the bottom view. In the illustrated embodiment the overhang 180 is of an elliptical arc shape, however the overhang 180 may be of any shape to match the aesthetic tastes of the user.

FIG. 6 illustrates a rear view of the embodiment of FIG. 1, having an open box shaped container 100, constructed of a front panel 110, a right panel 140, a left panel 150, a bottom panel 130, a rear panel 120, and a lid 160. The lid 160 is shown in the closed position. The lid 160, is of a longitudinal length greater than the bottom panel 130 and hingedly connects at hinge points 170. The illustrated configuration allows for the hinge points 170 to be singular on each side, and could be constructed from a wooden dowel, a metal pin, or any other round object that the lid 160 could pivot on. The rear panel 120 can also be used as a hinge point 170 so long as the hinging method makes for an easy to open lid 160.

FIG. 7 illustrates a front view of the embodiment of FIG. 1, having an open box shaped container 100, constructed of a front panel 110, a right panel 140, a left panel 150, a bottom panel 130, and a lid 160. The lid 160 is shown in the closed position. The lid 160, is of a longitudinal length greater than the bottom panel 130 and hingedly connects at hinge points 170. In the illustrated embodiment, the lid 160 fittingly inserts between the right panel 140 and left panel 150, coming to rest on the front panel 120. The illustrated configuration allows for the hinge points 170 to be singular on each side and approximately centered on the rear panel 120 and could be constructed from a wooden dowel, a metal pin, or any other round object that the lid 160 could pivot on. The rear panel 120 can also be used as a hinge point 170 so long as the hinging method makes for an easy to open lid 160.

The foregoing embodiments and advantages are merely exemplary and are not to be construed as limiting the present invention. Those skilled in the art can appreciate from the foregoing description that the techniques of the embodiments of the invention can be implemented in a variety of forms. For example, the hinge point 170 may be put anywhere so as to facilitate opening and closing of the lid. For another example, the lid 160 may either be between the left panel 150 and right panel 140 or in the alternative; the lid 160 could be on top of the left panel 150 and right panel 140, having the front panel 110 and rear panel 120 being of greater width to compensate for the lid's 160 different location. Therefore, while the embodiments of this invention have been described in connection with particular examples thereof, the true scope of the embodiments of the invention should not be so limited since other modifications will become apparent to the skilled practitioner upon a study of the drawings, specification, and following claims.