Title:
Cup Holder
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A cup holder for holding beverage containers in conjunction with shopping carts and the like. The holder includes a top including an aperture formed therein that is dimensioned to accept said beverage container; first and second sides extending from the top and including first and second hook portions, respectively, and a bottom including two sections interconnected to the first and second sides. All of the elements of the holder are integrally connected via folds for movement of the top, the first and second sides, and the first and second sections of said bottom between a first position, wherein the first and second sections of the bottom, the first and second sides, and the top extend along a common plane, and a second position, where the first and second sections of the bottom, the first and second sides, and the top are positioned to retain the beverage container.



Inventors:
Stonehouse, Donald B. (Dayton, OH, US)
Application Number:
12/055064
Publication Date:
10/01/2009
Filing Date:
03/25/2008
Assignee:
BURROWS PAPER CORPORATION (Little Falls, NY, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47K1/09
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
SMITH, NKEISHA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BOND, SCHOENECK & KING, PLLC (SYRACUSE, NY, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A holder for a beverage container, comprising: a top defining a first area and including an aperture formed therein that is dimensioned to accept said beverage container; first and second sides extending from said top and including first and second hook portions, respectively; and a bottom defining a second area smaller than said first area and interconnected to said first and second sides.

2. The holder of claim 1, wherein said hook portions are integrally connected to said first and second sides.

3. The holder of claim 2, wherein said top is integrally attached to said first and second sides.

4. The holder of claim 3, wherein said bottom comprises first and second sections having first and second slits, respectively, for interlocking with each other.

5. The holder of claim 4, wherein said first and second sections of said bottom and integrally attached to said first and second sides, respectively.

6. The holder of claim 5, wherein said first and second sections of said bottom, said first and second sides, and said top are integrally attached via folds that allow movement of said top, said first and second sides, and said first and second sections of said bottom between a first position, wherein said first and second sections of said bottom, said first and second sides, and said top extend along a common plane, and a second position, where said first and second sections of said bottom, said first and second sides, and said top are positioned to retain said beverage container.

7. The holder of claim 6, wherein said sides taper from a widest dimension proximate to said top and a narrowest dimension proximate to said bottom.

8. The holder of claim 7, wherein said hook portions are dimensioned to engage a horizontal bar on a shopping cart.

9. The holder of claim 8, wherein said hook positioned are dimensioned to position said top above said horizontal bar of said shopping cart.

10. A method of supporting a beverage container on a shopping cart, comprising the steps of: providing a holder comprising a top including an aperture formed therein that is dimensioned to accept said beverage container, first and second sides integrally extending from said top and including first and second hook portions, respectively, and a bottom comprising first and second sections integrally connected to said first and second sides and having first and second slits, respectively; and folding said holder from a first position, wherein said first and second sections of said bottom, said first and second sides, and said top extend along a common plane, into a second position, where said first and second sections of said bottom, said first and second sides, and said top are positioned to retain said beverage container.

11. The method of claim 10, further comprising the step of hanging said holder on a horizontal bar on a shopping cart.

12. The method of claim 11, further comprising the step of placing said beverage contain in said aperture.

13. The method of claim 12, wherein said top is positioned is positioned above said horizontal bar of said shopping cart after said holder is hung on said shopping cart.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of Invention

The present invention relates generally to cup holders for holding beverage containers, and, more particularly, to such cup holders that may be used in conjunction with shopping carts and the like.

2. Description of Prior Art

With the proliferation of an “on the go,” “multitasking” lifestyle, comes the need to consume food and beverages in situations other than at home around the dinner table. Thus, fast food restaurants, convenient marts and the like provide food and beverages to satisfy that need. Alternatively, people may pack and go from home, bringing their food and beverages with them in the car to their next destination.

Cup holders, for example, have been developed for automobiles (which should be appreciated by those skilled in the art and need not be repeated herein) to afford spaces for beverage containers including water bottles, fast food beverage containers, coffee mugs, soft drinks and the like.

In situations where consumers bring their beverages with them from the car and into a store, or purchase beverages within a store, and consume the beverages while they continue to shop, however, it would be useful and desirable to have a device that held a person's beverage container on a shopping cart to allow hands free shopping and to avoid beverage spillage. In addition, it would be useful and desirable for such a device to be easily assembled, implemented, and disassembled by one individual.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, cup holders for holding beverage containers, and, more particularly, cup holders that may be used in conjunction with shopping carts and the like to allow hands free shopping and to avoid beverage spillage, are provided.

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, a cup holder that can be easily assembled for use by one individual without the use of an adhesive, such as glue, is provided.

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, a cup holder that can be easily implemented by one individual is provided.

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, a cup holder that can be easily disassembled for compact storage until reuse, or for disposal is provided.

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, a cup holder comprising a bottom wall, two side walls, a top surface, a front side (side facing away from the consumer and towards a basket of a shopping cart), and a back side (side facing the consumer and away from a basket of a shopping cart) is provided. The bottom wall comprises a smaller surface area than that of the top surface, but is large enough to support a bottom surface of a beverage container. The side walls comprise hook portions which engage the cage of a shopping cart, e.g., a horizontal bar member at the back side of a shopping cart. The top surface comprises a surface area that is larger than the surface area bottom wall. A majority of this area is above the basket or a seat in the cart, and the remainder of the area resides over and behind said horizontal bar member. The top surface further comprises slits extending circumferentially around an opening to frictionally engage the outside surface of a beverage container. This opening leads into a beverage container holding area, formed by the inside portions of the bottom wall, top surface, and two side walls, where a beverage container resides during use of the cup holder. This area is above the basket or a seat in the cart.

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, the hook portions extend up the side wall perpendicularly from the horizontal plane of the bottom wall, or may extend at a slight angle from the horizontal plane of the bottom wall and away from the beverage container holding area. At about half way up the side portion is the hook end of the hook portion (The hook portion looks like the silhouette of a backwards “P” or a number “9.”).

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, the front end portions of the side walls extend from the front side of the cup holder at an angle from the horizontal plane of the bottom wall, and away from the beverage container holding area to the top surface. The side wall further comprises a portion which is parallel to the plane of the bottom wall, and begins about halfway up the side wall from the bottom wall, just below the hook end of the hook portion. This parallel portion rearwardly extends to a portion which is perpendicular to (or at a slight angle from) the plane of the bottom wall and upwardly extends to meet the top surface.

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, the cup holder of an embodiment of the present invention holds beverage containers such as water bottles, fast food beverage containers, paper “to-go” coffee containers, coffee mugs, travel mugs, soft drink cans, soft drink bottles and the like. More preferably, the cup holder of an embodiment of the present invention holds fast food beverage containers.

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, the cup holder of an embodiment of the present invention in its unassembled form comprises a flat planar sheet, made of a paper product such as cardboard, corrugated F. Flute and the like. The flat planar sheet comprises two bottom wall portions, two side wall portions, a top surface portion (which comprises slits extending circumferentially around an opening), all in one plane. Each bottom wall portion comprises a slit and a fold, which separates each bottom portion from an adjacent side wall portion. Each side wall portion comprises a hook portion with a hook end and a fold, which separates the side wall portion from the top surface portion.

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, the assembly of the cup holder comprises folding the folds that separate the side wall portions from the top surface portion in the same direction perpendicular to the plane of the planar sheet, folding the fold that separates each bottom portion from an adjacent side wall portion in a direction towards the other respective bottom portion and perpendicular to the plane of the side wall portions, and engaging the slits of the respective bottom portions with one another to lock the bottom portion so that it forms a single planar bottom wall surface which is parallel to the top surface. The container can then be installed onto a shopping cart by engaging the hook portions with a hook end with the cage of a shopping cart, e.g., a horizontal bar member at the back side of a shopping cart as described supra. A beverage container may be placed into the cup holder after the cup holder is assembled, preferably after the cup holder is engaged with the shopping cart. The cup holder may be disassembled by performing the assembly steps in the opposite order.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention will be more fully understood and appreciated by reading the following Detailed Description in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIGS. 1a-1d are perspective views that illustrate a cup holder, with and without a beverage container, according to an embodiment of the present invention.

FIGS. 2a-2d are perspective views that illustrate a cup holder in use on a shopping cart with a beverage container according to an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a schematic view that illustrate a cup holder in its unassembled form according to an embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, cup holders for holding beverage containers, and, more particularly, cup holders that may be used in conjunction with shopping carts and the like to allow hands free shopping and to avoid beverage spillage, are provided.

Referring to the drawings, wherein like reference numerals refer to like components, FIGS. 1a-1d show a cup holder 10, with and without a beverage container 200, according to an embodiment of the present invention. A cup holder 10 comprising a bottom wall 11, two side walls 12, a top surface 13, a front side 14 (side facing away from the consumer and towards a basket of a shopping cart), and a back side 15 (side facing the consumer and away from a basket of a shopping cart) is shown. The bottom wall 11 comprises a smaller surface area than that of the top surface 13, but is large enough to support a bottom surface of a beverage container 200. The side walls 12 comprise hook portions 16 which engage the cage of a shopping cart 300, e.g., a horizontal bar member 310 at the back side of a shopping cart 300 (see FIGS. 2a-2d). The top surface 13 comprises a surface area (including the opening 18) that is larger than the surface area of the bottom wall 11. A majority of this area is above the basket or a seat in the cart 200, and the remainder of the area resides over and behind said horizontal bar member 310 (as shown in FIGS. 2a-2d). The top surface 13 further comprises slits 17 extending circumferentially around an opening 18 to frictionally engage the outside surface of a beverage container 200. This opening 18 leads into a beverage container holding area 20, formed by the inside portions of the bottom wall 11, top surface 13, and two side walls 12, where a beverage container 200 resides during use of the cup holder 10. This area is above the basket or a seat in the cart 300 (as shown in FIGS. 2a-2d).

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, the hook portions 16 extend up the side wall 12 perpendicularly from the horizontal plane of the bottom wall 11, or may extend at a slight angle from the horizontal plane of the bottom wall 11 and away from the beverage container holding area 20. At about half way up the side wall 11 is a hook end 21 of the hook portion 16 (The hook portion 16 looks like the silhouette of a backwards “P” or a number “9.”).

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, the front end portions 22 of the side walls 12 extend from the front side 14 of the cup holder 100 at an angle from the horizontal plane of the bottom wall 11 and away from the beverage container holding area 20 to the top surface 13. The side wall 12 further comprises a portion which is parallel 23 to the plane of the bottom wall 11, and begins about half way up the side wall 12 from the bottom wall 11, just below the hook end 21 of the hook portion 16. This parallel portion 23 rearwardly extends to a portion 24 which is perpendicular to (or at a slight angle from) the plane of the bottom wall 11 and upwardly extends to meet the top surface 13.

Turning to FIG. 3, a cup holder 10 in its unassembled form- according to an embodiment of the present invention is illustrated. This embodiment shows a cup holder 10 in its unassembled form comprising a flat planar sheet 400, made of a paper product such as cardboard, corrugated F. Flute and the like. The flat planar sheet 400 comprises two bottom wall portions 25, two side wall portions 12, a top surface portion 13 (which comprises slits 17 extending circumferentially around an opening 18), all in one plane. Each bottom wall portion 25 comprises a slit 26 and a fold 27, which separates each bottom portion 25 from an adjacent side wall portion 12. Each side wall portion 12 comprises a hook portion 16 with a hook end 21 and a fold 28, which separates the side wall portions 12 from the top surface portion 13.

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, the assembly of the cup holder 10 comprises folding the folds 28 that separate the side wall portions 12 from the top surface 13 portion in the same direction perpendicular to the plane of the planar sheet 400, folding the fold 27 that separates each bottom portion 25 from an adjacent side wall portion 12 in a direction towards the other respective bottom portion 25 and perpendicular to the plane of the side wall portions 12, and engaging the slits 26 of the respective bottom portions 25 with one another to lock the bottom portions 25 together so that these portions form a single planar bottom wall 11 surface which is parallel to the top surface 13. The fully assembled cup holder 10 can then be installed onto a shopping cart 300 by engaging the hook portions 16 (with a hook end 21) with the cage of a shopping cart 300, e.g., a horizontal bar member 310 at the back side of a shopping cart 300 (as described supra and shown in FIGS. 2a-2d). A beverage container 200 may be placed into the cup holder 10 after the cup holder 10 is assembled, preferably after the cup holder 10 is engaged with the shopping cart 300. The cup holder 10 may be disassembled by performing the assembly steps in the opposite order.