Title:
WASHING-FACILITATING CONTAINER
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A container is disclosed comprising a lower container that is open at a top end thereof, the top end terminating with a first attachment means. An upper container is open at a bottom end thereof and at a top end thereof. The bottom end of the upper container terminates with a second attachment means that is adapted to cooperate with the first attachment means of the lower container. The top end of the upper container terminates with a third attachment means. A closure is adapted to selectively seal the open top end of the upper container, the closure means further including a fourth attachment means adapted to cooperate with the third attachment means of the top end of the upper container. In use, the upper and lower containers may be selectively mutually attached to form the container. The upper and lower containers may be mutually detached at the first and second attachment means to facilitate washing thereof.



Inventors:
Branco, Nuno M. (Hermosa Beach, CA, US)
Application Number:
12/361756
Publication Date:
08/06/2009
Filing Date:
01/29/2009
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47G19/30
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Primary Examiner:
HICKS, ROBERT J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Nuno M Branco (Hermosa Beach, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A container comprising: a lower container open at a top end thereof, the top end terminating with a first attachment means; an upper container open at a bottom end thereof and at a top end thereof, the bottom end terminating with a second attachment means adapted to cooperate with the first attachment means of the lower container, the top end terminating with a third attachment means; and a closure means adapted to selectively seal the open top end of the upper container and having a fourth attachment means adapted to cooperate with the third attachment means of the top end of the upper container; whereby the upper and lower containers may be selectively mutually attached to form a container open only at the top end of the upper container, the closure means allowing selective opening and closing of the container, and whereby the upper and lower containers may be detached to facilitate washing thereof.

2. The container of claim 1 wherein the first attachment means of the lower container and the second attachment means of the bottom end of the upper container are each cooperating screw threads.

3. The container of claim 1 wherein the third attachment means at the top end of the upper container and the fourth attachment means of the closure means are each cooperating screw threads.

4. The container of claim 1 wherein the upper and lower containers generally each contain the same volume.

5. The container of claim 1 wherein the lower container contains generally twice the volume of the upper container.

6. The container of claim 1 wherein the upper container contains generally twice the volume of the lower container.

7. The container of claim 1 wherein the first attachment means of the lower container and the second attachment means of the bottom end of the upper container are each cooperating friction-fit snap means.

8. The container of claim 1 wherein the third attachment means at the top end of the upper container and the fourth attachment means of the closure means are each cooperating friction-fit snap means.

9. A container comprising: a lower container open at a top end thereof, the top end terminating with a screw thread; an upper container open at a bottom end thereof and at a top end thereof, the bottom end terminating with screw thread adapted to cooperate with the screw thread of the lower container, the top end terminating with a screw thread; and a closure means adapted to selectively seal the open top end of the upper container and having a screw thread adapted to cooperate with the screw thread of the top end of the upper container; whereby the upper and lower containers may be selectively mutually attached to form a container open only at the top end of the upper container, the closure means allowing selective opening and closing of the container, and whereby the upper and lower containers may be detached to facilitate washing thereof.

10. The container of claim 9 wherein the upper and lower containers generally each contain the same volume.

11. The container of claim 9 wherein the lower container contains generally twice the volume of the upper container.

12. The container of claim 9 wherein the upper container contains generally twice the volume of the lower container.

13. The container of claim 1 wherein a height of the lower container is less than 1.5 times the diameter of the open top end thereof.

14. The container of claim 1 wherein a height of the upper container is less than 1.5 times the diameter of the open bottom end thereof.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application 61/026,429, filed on Feb. 5, 2008, and incorporated herein by reference.

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

Not Applicable.

NOTICE OF COPYRIGHTS AND TRADE DRESS

A portion of the disclosure of this patent document contains material which is subject to copyright protection. This patent document may show and/or describe matter which is or may become trade dress of the owner. The copyright and trade dress owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by any one of the patent disclosure as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office patent files or records, but otherwise reserves all copyright and trade dress rights whatsoever.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to liquid containers, and more particularly to a two-part container that facilitates the washing thereof.

DISCUSSION OF RELATED ART

Two-part containers are known in the art, typically for holding two different types of materials (such as, for example, dry cereal and milk). For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,531,353 to Ward et al. on Jul. 2, 1996 teaches such a device. When washing such a device, the deep mug-like container is difficult to wash.

Other two or multiple-part containers have similar drawbacks, even with those having a deep container (that is, a container substantially longer than the openings at the ends thereof) with two open ends. For example, U.S. Pat. No. D376,979 to Davidson, III on Dec. 31, 1996 illustrates such a device, as does U.S. D360,338 to Westgerdes on July 18, 1995. Scrubbing each illustrated component clean with such devices is difficult due to the depth of the main container portion and the relatively small diameter of the open ends thereof.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,409,038 to Karp et al. teaches a multi-part travel mug having multiple configurations adaptable to various sizes of automotive cup holders. Such a device also includes a relatively deep mug portion that is somewhat difficult to clean, even with both ends open. Further, such a device has many parts that make it difficult to adapt from one configuration to another since the pieces required to make such a configuration change may not be readily at hand or even lost.

Therefore, there is a need for a multiple-part container that facilitates washing of each part when separated. Such separate parts would be shallow with respect to the size of at least one of the open ends thereof, facilitating clean thereof by cleaning implements, a user's hand, or the like. Further, such a needed device would be configurable into various sizes of containers by adding or removing parts, without the need for additional washers, adapters, or the like. The present invention accomplishes these objectives.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present device is a container comprising a lower container that is open at a top end thereof, the top end terminating with a first attachment means. The container further includes an upper container open at a bottom end thereof and at a top end thereof. The bottom end of the upper container terminates with a second attachment means that is adapted to cooperate with the first attachment means of the lower container. The top end of the upper container terminates with a third attachment means.

A closure is adapted to selectively seal the open top end of the upper container, the closure means further including a fourth attachment means adapted to cooperate with the third attachment means of the top end of the upper container. The closure may further include a spout that is selectively openable and closable.

In one embodiment, the upper and lower containers each contain substantially the same volume. In an alternate embodiment, the lower container contains generally twice the volume of the upper container. In another alternate embodiment of the invention, the upper container contains generally twice the volume of the lower container.

In use, the upper and lower containers may be selectively mutually attached to form the container, open only at the top end of the upper container. The closure means allows selective opening and closing of the container. The upper and lower containers may be mutually detached at the first and second attachment means to facilitate washing thereof.

The present invention is a multiple-part container that facilitates washing of each part when separated. Such separate parts are shallow with respect to the size of at least one of the open ends thereof, facilitating clean thereof by a cleaning implement, a user's hand, or the like. Further, the present device is configurable into various sizes of containers by adding or removing parts, without the need for additional washers, adapters, or the like. Other features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following more detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, which illustrate, by way of example, the principles of the invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a container of the invention illustrated with a cap engaged with an upper container;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the container illustrated with the cap disengaged from the upper container, and further illustrating a spout;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a lower container of the invention;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of an upper container of the invention;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a closure device with a spout;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of an alternate container of the invention utilizing friction attachment of the upper and lower containers and the cap; and

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of an alternate embodiment of the lower container.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Illustrative embodiments of the invention are described below. The following explanation provides specific details for a thorough understanding of and enabling description for these embodiments. One skilled in the art will understand that the invention may be practiced without such details. In other instances, well-known structures and functions have not been shown or described in detail to avoid unnecessarily obscuring the description of the embodiments.

Unless the context clearly requires otherwise, throughout the description and the claims, the words “comprise,” “comprising,” and the like are to be construed in an inclusive sense as opposed to an exclusive or exhaustive sense; that is to say, in the sense of “including, but not limited to.” Words using the singular or plural number also include the plural or singular number respectively. Additionally, the words “herein,” “above,” “below” and words of similar import, when used in this application, shall refer to this application as a whole and not to any particular portions of this application. When the claims use the word “or” in reference to a list of two or more items, that word covers all of the following interpretations of the word: any of the items in the list, all of the items in the list and any combination of the items in the list.

FIGS. 1-3 illustrate a container 10 comprising a lower container 20 that is open at a top end 28 thereof, the top end 28 terminating with a first attachment means 29. The container 10 further includes an upper container open at a bottom end 32 thereof and at a top end 38 thereof. The bottom end 32 of the upper container 30 terminates with a second attachment means 31 that is adapted to cooperate with the first attachment means 29 of the lower container 20. The top end 38 of the upper container 30 terminates with a third attachment means 39. The first and second attachment means 29,31 are preferably each cooperative screw threads 50 (FIGS. 3 and 5). Alternately, the first attachment means 29 of the lower container 20 and the second attachment means 31 of the bottom end 32 of the upper container 30 are each cooperating friction-fit snap means 60, such as resilient rings that snap together to form a seal (FIG. 6).

A closure 40 (FIG. 4) is adapted to selectively seal the open top end 38 of the upper container 30, the closure means 40 further including a fourth attachment means 41 adapted to cooperate with the third attachment means 39 of the top end 38 of the upper container 30. The closure 40 may further include a spout 45 that is selectively openable and closable. Further, the closure 40 may further include a selectively attachable and tethered cap 48 (FIGS. 1-3). The third and fourth attachment means 39,41 are preferably each cooperative screw threads 50 (FIGS. 4 & 5). Alternately, the third attachment means 39 of the top end 38 of the upper container 30 and the fourth attachment means 41 of the closure means 40 are each cooperating friction-fit snap means 60, such as resilient rings that snap together to form a seal (FIG. 6).

Preferably the upper container 30 and the lower container 20 are each made of a rigid easily-washed material, such as stainless steel, plastic, or the like. Further, the closure means 40 is preferably made from a rigid, easily-washed material such as plastic. O-rings (not shown) or other resilient gasket means may be used with each attachment means 29,31,39,41 to provide additional seal integrity between the containers 20,30 and the upper container 30 and closure means 40.

In one embodiment, the upper and lower containers 20,30 each contain substantially the same volume. In an alternate embodiment, the lower container 20 contains generally twice the volume of the upper container 30 (not shown). In another alternate embodiment of the invention, the upper container 30 contains generally twice the volume of the lower container 20 (FIG. 7).

Preferably the height of the container 20 is substantially equal to or less than the diameter of its open top end 28, such that cleaning implements (not shown) may be easily used to clean the container 20. Likewise, the height of the container 30 is substantially equal to or less than the diameter of its open bottom end 32. In no case, however, does the height of either container 20,30 exceed 1.5 times its diameter.

In use, the upper and lower containers 20,30 may be selectively mutually attached to form the container 10, open only at the top end 38 of the upper container. The closure means 40 allows selective opening and closing of the container 10. The upper and lower containers 20,30 may be mutually detached at the first and second attachment means 29,31 to facilitate washing thereof.

While a particular form of the invention has been illustrated and described, it will be apparent that various modifications can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. For example, cylindrical containers are illustrated, but clearly other shapes could be utilized. Accordingly, it is not intended that the invention be limited, except as by the appended claims.

The teachings provided herein can be applied to other systems, not necessarily the system described herein. The elements and acts of the various embodiments described above can be combined to provide further embodiments. All of the above patents and applications and other references, including any that may be listed in accompanying filing papers, are incorporated herein by reference. Aspects of the invention can be modified, if necessary, to employ the systems, functions, and concepts of the various references described above to provide yet further embodiments of the invention.

These and other changes can be made to the invention in light of the above Detailed Description. While the above description details certain embodiments of the invention and describes the best mode contemplated, no matter how detailed the above appears in text, the invention can be practiced in many ways. Details of the system may vary considerably in its implementation details, while still being encompassed by the invention disclosed herein.

Particular terminology used when describing certain features or aspects of the invention should not be taken to imply that the terminology is being redefined herein to be restricted to any specific characteristics, features, or aspects of the invention with which that terminology is associated. In general, the terms used in the following claims should not be construed to limit the invention to the specific embodiments disclosed in the specification, unless the above Detailed Description section explicitly defines such terms. Accordingly, the actual scope of the invention encompasses not only the disclosed embodiments, but also all equivalent ways of practicing or implementing the invention.

The above detailed description of the embodiments of the invention is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise form disclosed above or to the particular field of usage mentioned in this disclosure. While specific embodiments of, and examples for, the invention are described above for illustrative purposes, various equivalent modifications are possible within the scope of the invention, as those skilled in the relevant art will recognize. Also, the teachings of the invention provided herein can be applied to other systems, not necessarily the system described above. The elements and acts of the various embodiments described above can be combined to provide further embodiments.

All of the above patents and applications and other references, including any that may be listed in accompanying filing papers, are incorporated herein by reference. Aspects of the invention can be modified, if necessary, to employ the systems, functions, and concepts of the various references described above to provide yet further embodiments of the invention.

Changes can be made to the invention in light of the above “Detailed Description.” While the above description details certain embodiments of the invention and describes the best mode contemplated, no matter how detailed the above appears in text, the invention can be practiced in many ways. Therefore, implementation details may vary considerably while still being encompassed by the invention disclosed herein. As noted above, particular terminology used when describing certain features or aspects of the invention should not be taken to imply that the terminology is being redefined herein to be restricted to any specific characteristics, features, or aspects of the invention with which that terminology is associated.

In general, the terms used in the following claims should not be construed to limit the invention to the specific embodiments disclosed in the specification, unless the above Detailed Description section explicitly defines such terms. Accordingly, the actual scope of the invention encompasses not only the disclosed embodiments, but also all equivalent ways of practicing or implementing the invention under the claims.

While certain aspects of the invention are presented below in certain claim forms, the inventor contemplates the various aspects of the invention in any number of claim forms. Accordingly, the inventor reserves the right to add additional claims after filing the application to pursue such additional claim forms for other aspects of the invention.