Title:
ABSORPTIVE INSULATIVE CUP SLEEVE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An absorptive insulative cup sleeve is formed in normally open condition which can easily be stored in a flat condition by cutting a flat, elongated band body from blank stock fabric so as to have top and bottom arcuate edges concentric to and in parallel with each other, and end edges at opposite ends of the band. A stiffening means is also formed by cutting a flat, elongated band from bank stock so as to have top and bottom arcuate edges concentric to and in parallel with each other, and end edges at opposite ends of the band, and further dimensioned to mate with the top edge of the body and to reach only part way to the bottom edge of the bottom edge of the body. The stiffening means is fixedly attached along the common top edges and along the stiffening body bottom edge to the elongated body of the absorptive insulative cup sleeve. The ends of the absorptive insulative cup sleeve with the attached stiffening means are then fixedly attached to one another.



Inventors:
Anderson, Traci P. (Vancouver, WA, US)
Application Number:
12/134951
Publication Date:
12/10/2009
Filing Date:
06/06/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
229/403
International Classes:
B65D25/34; A47G23/00; A47G23/02; B65D25/36; B65D81/38
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
KIRSCH, ANDREW THOMAS
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Bruce E. Harang (VANCOUVER, WA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An absorptive insulative cup sleeve having a normally open configuration allowing one hand insertion of a beverage cup therein comprising: a) an elongated absorptive fabric body having a top and a bottom edge said edges being straight and in parallel with each other having a desired width, said top and bottom edges having a top edge and a bottom edge protection means, and further having a first end edge and a second end edge at opposite ends of said elongated absorptive fabric band; b) an elongated stiffening means having a top and a bottom edge said edges being straight and in parallel with each other and having the same length and dimensions as said elongated absorptive fabric body, also having a first end edge and a second end edge, the desired width being less than that of said elongated absorptive fabric body; wherein said elongated stiffening means top edge is aligned with and fixedly attached to the top edge of said elongated absorptive fabric body by said top edge protection means, and said first end edge and said second end edge of said elongated absorptive fabric and of said elongated stiffening means being fixedly attached together; thereby producing an absorptive insulative cup sleeve that is normally held in an open configuration allowing for easy one hand insertion of a beverage cup and which may be collapsed for storage.

2. The absorptive insulative cup sleeve as claimed in claim 1 wherein, said elongated stiffening means is additionally fixedly attached along is bottom edge to said elongated absorptive fabric body.

3. The absorptive insulative cup sleeve as claimed in claim 1 wherein, said elongated absorptive fabric body comprises a fabric selected from the group consisting of synthetic fleece, natural woven fabric, natural felted fabric, synthetic woven fabric, synthetic felted fabric, polar fleece, micro fiber fleece, 4-Way Power Stretch, Minky pile knit, interlock-knit cotton, rib-knit cotton, and bamboo/lycra.

4. The absorptive insulative cup sleeve as claimed in claim 1 wherein, said elongated absorptive fabric body comprises from about 7.5 ounce to about 9 ounce 100% polyester filament polar fleece.

5. The absorptive insulative cup sleeve as claimed in claim 1 wherein, said elongated stiffening means is selected from the group consisting of polyester mesh Crin Trim, polyester mesh horsehair braid, polyester flat mesh horsehair and viscose braid, polyester/rubber elastic; and neoprene.

6. The absorptive insulative cup sleeve as claimed in claim 1 wherein, said elongated stiffening means is polyester mesh horsehair braid.

7. The absorptive insulative cup sleeve as claimed in claim 1 wherein, said attaching means and said edge protecting means are selected from, thermal adhesives, fabric glues, heat bonding, and stitching with thread.

8. The absorptive insulative cup sleeve as claimed in claim 1 wherein, said attaching means and said edge protecting means are the same.

9. The absorptive insulative cup sleeve as claimed in claim 1 wherein, said attaching means and said edge protecting means are the different.

10. The absorptive insulative cup sleeve as claimed in claim 1 wherein, said preferred attaching means is stitching with thread.

11. An absorptive insulative cup sleeve having a normally open configuration allowing one hand insertion of a beverage cup therein comprising: a) an elongated absorptive fabric body having a top and a bottom edge in arcuate form being concentric to and in parallel with each other having a desired width, said top and bottom edges having a top edge and a bottom edge protection means, and further having a first end edge and a second end edge at opposite ends of said elongated absorptive fabric band; b) an elongated stiffening means having a top and a bottom edge in arcuate form being concentric to and in parallel with each other and having the same length and arcuate form dimensions as said elongated absorptive fabric body, also having a first end edge and a second end edge, the desired width being less than that of said elongated absorptive fabric body; wherein said elongated stiffening means top edge is aligned with and fixedly attached to the top edge of said elongated absorptive fabric body by said top edge protection means, said bottom edge of said elongated stiffening means is fixedly attached to the elongated absorptive fabric body at a desired point less than the width of said elongated absorptive fabric body by an attaching means, and said first end edge and said second end edge of said elongated absorptive fabric and of said elongated stiffening means being fixedly attached together; thereby producing an absorptive insulative cup sleeve that is normally held in an open configuration allowing for easy one hand insertion of a beverage cup and which may be collapsed for storage.

12. The absorptive insulative cup sleeve as claimed in claim 11 wherein, said elongated stiffening means is additionally fixedly attached along is bottom edge to said elongated absorptive fabric body.

13. The absorptive insulative cup sleeve as claimed in claim 11 wherein, said elongated absorptive fabric body comprises a fabric selected from the group consisting of synthetic fleece, natural woven fabric, natural felted fabric, synthetic woven fabric, synthetic felted fabric, polar fleece, micro fiber fleece, 4-Way Power Stretch, Minky pile knit, interlock-knit cotton, rib-knit cotton, and bamboo/lycra.

14. The absorptive insulative cup sleeve as claimed in claim 11 wherein, said elongated absorptive fabric body comprises from about 7.5 ounce to about 9 ounce 100% polyester filament polar fleece.

15. The absorptive insulative cup sleeve as claimed in claim 11 wherein, said elongated stiffening means is selected from the group consisting of polyester mesh Crin Trim, polyester mesh horsehair braid, polyester flat mesh horsehair and viscose braid, polyester/rubber elastic; and neoprene.

16. The absorptive insulative cup sleeve as claimed in claim 11 wherein, said elongated stiffening means is polyester mesh horsehair braid.

17. The absorptive insulative cup sleeve as claimed in claim 11 wherein, said attaching means and said edge protecting means are selected from, thermal adhesives, fabric glues, heat bonding, and stitching with thread.

18. The absorptive insulative cup sleeve as claimed in claim 11 wherein, said attaching means and said edge protecting means are the same.

19. The absorptive insulative cup sleeve as claimed in claim 11 wherein, said attaching means and said edge protecting means are the different.

20. The absorptive insulative cup sleeve as claimed in claim 11 wherein, said preferred attaching means is stitching with thread.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a reusable sleeve that insulates and absorbs condensation protecting the holder's hand while holding a beverage cup.

2. Description of the Related Art

When coffee, tea, iced tea, and other drinks commonly sold and dispensed in disposable paper cups are carried, in many instances the temperature of the contents of the cup is such as to create discomfort in the hands and fingers of the holder. In the case of iced drinks condensation on the outside surface of the cup also wets the hands and fingers of the holder.

To combat this problem, convenience stores, fast food retail outlets, and boutique coffee retail outlets often “double cup” coffee and other hot drinks. Another approach employed by some manufacturers of hot drink cups is to provide an integral band of synthetic material which is formed in the manufacturing process to provide an Insulative layer. Both of these approaches tend to be expensive, only partially effective, and in the case of cold drinks do nothing to prevent condensation on the outside of the cup.

More recently, a number of persons have designed and provided disposable sleeves which slip over the outside surface of the drink cup to provide insulation between the contents of the cup and the hands and fingers of the holder. These sleeves take numerous forms and are made of paper. Some also incorporate “corrugation” features to help provide additional insulation. However, they only add to the disposable waste material that must be recycled or placed in a landfill. There has also been designed a thermoplastic corrugated holder similar to design to the paper sleeves but transparent to allow for the cup indicia to show through. But again they are disposable and require waste handling. All of these sleeves are designed either to be fitted to the cup at the time of dispensing the beverage either by the seller or the user, or they are pre-assembled but stored flat requiring two hands to use, one hand being used to open and hold open the sleeve and the other hand used to insert the cup. There has also been designed a cup sleeve constructed of a felt material similar to the paper cup sleeves. This design can provide condensation absorption as well as insulation but it also requires that two hands be used to insert a beverage cup into the sleeve.

It is therefore desirable to have a cup holder sleeve which is pre-assembled and which holds itself open to allow insertion of a beverage cup using only one hand. It is further desirable to provide such a cup holder sleeve that is reusable and therefore lowers the amount of waste material created each time a beverage in a paper cup is purchased.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to an absorptive insulative cup sleeve that is both reusable and which allows a beverage cup to be inserted into it using only one hand.

More particularly, the invention resides in the stiffening band on the top portion of the interior sleeve wall that holds the sleeve in an open position so that a beverage cup may be inserted therein yet is pliant enough to allow the sleeve to be stored flat when not in use.

One object of the present invention is to provide an absorptive insulative cup sleeve made of a woven or felted material which is both insulative and moisture absorbent requiring only one hand to place a beverage cup into.

Another object of the present invention is an absorptive insulative cup sleeve having improved durability by having protective structure on the upper and lower edges of said sleeve.

A further object of the present invention is an absorptive insulative cup sleeve having a normally open configuration allowing one hand insertion of a beverage cup therein comprising an elongated absorptive fabric body having a top and a bottom edge said edges being straight and in parallel with each other having a desired width, said top and bottom edges having a top edge and a bottom edge protection means, and further having a first end edge and a second end edge at opposite ends of said elongated absorptive fabric band; an elongated stiffening means having a top and a bottom edge said edges being straight and in parallel with each other and having the same length and dimensions as said elongated absorptive fabric body, also having a first end edge and a second end edge, the desired width being less than that of said elongated absorptive fabric body; wherein said elongated stiffening means top edge is aligned with and fixedly attached to the top edge of said elongated absorptive fabric body by said top edge protection means, and said first end edge and said second end edge of said elongated absorptive fabric and of said elongated stiffening means being fixedly attached together; thereby producing an absorptive insulative cup sleeve that is normally held in an open configuration allowing for easy one hand insertion of a beverage cup and which may be collapsed for storage.

Yet another object of the present invention is an absorptive insulative cup sleeve having a normally open configuration allowing one hand insertion of a beverage cup therein comprising an elongated absorptive fabric body having a top and a bottom edge in arcuate form being concentric to and in parallel with each other having a desired width, said top and bottom edges having a top edge and a bottom edge protection means, and further having a first end edge and a second end edge at opposite ends of said elongated absorptive fabric band; an elongated stiffening means having a top and a bottom edge in arcuate form being concentric to and in parallel with each other and having the same length and arcuate form dimensions as said elongated absorptive fabric body, also having a first end edge and a second end edge, the desired width being less than that of said elongated absorptive fabric body; wherein said elongated stiffening means top edge is aligned with and fixedly attached to the top edge of said elongated absorptive fabric body by said top edge protection means, said bottom edge of said elongated stiffening means is fixedly attached to the elongated absorptive fabric body at a desired point less than the width of said elongated absorptive fabric body by an attaching means, and said first end edge and said second end edge of said elongated absorptive fabric and of said elongated stiffening means being fixedly attached together; thereby producing an absorptive insulative cup sleeve that is normally held in an open configuration allowing for easy one hand insertion of a beverage cup and which may be collapsed for storage.

A complete understanding of the present invention may be obtained from the drawings and detailed description that follow.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows perspective front view of a representative embodiment of the absorptive insulative cup sleeve positioned around a beverage cup.

FIG. 2 shows a perspective rear view of the absorptive insulative cup sleeve of the present invention showing the stiffening band and sleeve seam.

FIG. 3 shows an exterior plan view of the starting configuration of an elongated band having straight parallel long sides for forming the absorptive insulative cup sleeve of the present invention.

FIG. 4 shows an interior plan view of the starting configuration of an elongated band having straight parallel long sides for forming the absorptive insulative cup sleeve of the present invention.

FIG. 5 shows an exterior plan view of the starting configuration of an elongated band having arcuate parallel long sides for forming the absorptive insulative cup sleeve of the present invention.

FIG. 6 shows an interior plan view of the starting configuration of an elongated band having arcuate parallel long sides for forming the absorptive insulative cup sleeve of the present invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

As shown in FIG. 1, a cup 20 having tapered sides is held in the absorptive insulative cup sleeve 10, having a body 1 with body edge protective means 2 and 3, by inserting the cup through its opened ends and press fitting therein.

FIG. 2 shows the reverse side of absorptive insulative cup sleeve 10 having a body 1 with body edge protective means 2 and 3, stiffening or stabilizing means 4, and absorptive insulative cup sleeve assembly means 5 fixedly attaching first end edge 7 to second end edge 8 (FIGS. 3-4).

FIG. 3 shows the outside surface of an absorptive insulative cup sleeve 10 in accordance with the present invention is formed from an elongated body 1 made of an insulating and moisture absorbing woven or felted flexible material. The elongated body 1 has a top edge which is protected by a body edge protective means 2 and a bottom edge which is protected by a body edge protective means 3 both straight and in parallel with each other. Elongated body 1 also has a first end edge 7 and a second end edge 8. The elongated body 1 has a width dimension from about 1.5 inches to about 4 inches, preferably about 4 inches.

FIG. 4 there is shown the inside surface of an absorptive insulative cup sleeve 10 in accordance with the present invention is formed from an elongated body 1 made of an insulating and moisture absorbing woven or felted flexible material having an elongated body stiffening or stabilizing means 4 fixedly attached to the upper portion of said elongated body 1 and extending only a portion of the distance from the top edge to the bottom edge of said elongated body 1. Preferably the top edge of stiffening or stabilizing means 4 is fixedly attached to elongated body 1 top edge by the body edge protective means 2. The bottom edge of stiffening or stabilizing means 4 is not fixedly attached to said elongated body I in the preferred embodiment. Stiffening or stabilizing means 4 comprises an elongated body having a top edge and a bottom edge, said edges both being straight and in parallel with each other and of the same dimensions as said elongated body 1; and further having a first end edge and a second end edge like that of elongated body 1 but having a width that is less than that of the width of body 1.

FIG. 5 shows the outside surface of an absorptive insulative cup sleeve 10 in accordance with the present invention is formed from an elongated body 1 made of an insulating and moisture absorbing woven or felted flexible material. The elongated body 1 has a top edge which is protected by a body edge protective means 2 and a bottom edge which is protected by a body edge protective means 3 both in arcuate form concentric to and in parallel with each other. Elongated body 1 also has a first end edge 7 and a second end edge 8. The elongated body 1 has a width dimension from about 1.5 inches to about 4 inches, preferably about 4 inches.

Turning to FIG. 6 there is shown the inside surface of an absorptive insulative cup sleeve 10 in accordance with the present invention is formed from an elongated body 1 made of an insulating and moisture absorbing woven or felted flexible material having an elongated body stiffening or stabilizing means 4 fixedly attached to the upper portion of said elongated body 1 and extending only a portion of the distance from the top edge to the bottom edge of said elongated body 1. Preferably the top edge of stiffening or stabilizing means 4 is fixedly attached to elongated body 1 top edge by the body edge protective means 2. The bottom edge of stiffening or stabilizing means 4 is not fixedly attached to said elongated body 1 in the preferred embodiment. Stiffening or stabilizing means 4 comprises an elongated body having a top edge and a bottom edge, said edges in parallel with each other and of the same dimensions as said elongated body 1; and further having a first end edge and a second end edge like that of elongated body 1 but having a width that is less than that of the width of body 1.

The concentric top and bottom arcuate edges and flexible material result in a truncated conical, tapered form. However, the non-arcuate edges and flexible material for the amount of taper of a typical beverage cup also results in a conical form which substantially also results in a truncated conical, tapered form. Instead of a smooth curve, the top and bottom edges may be cut with a decorative pattern for a more pleasing appearance. The shape of the top edge will mirror the bottom edge when successive units are formed by a single cut.

In one preferred embodiment the outside surface of elongated body 1 is imprinted with a decorative design, a brand logo, or the like and combinations thereof. This imprinting may take the form of embossing, embroidery, heat transfer, or stenciling for example. The presently preferred method of imprinting is heat transfer.

Many woven or felted fabric materials are suitable for use in the present invention including synthetic fleece, natural woven fabric, natural felted fabric, synthetic woven fabric, synthetic felted fabric, and the like. Preferably, the fabric has both insulative and moisture absorptive properties. Suitable fabrics include for example, polar fleece, micro fiber fleece, 4-Way Power Stretch fabric of Malden Mills, pile knit sold as Minky, interlock-knit and rib-knit cotton, bamboo/lycra, and the like. The presently preferred body 1 material is polar fleece comprising 100% polyester filament fleece having a non-pill velour side with low nap look, brushed on the other side and being 7.5 to 9 oz cloth.

Suitable stiffening or stabilizing means 4 include for example, polyester mesh material known as Crin Trim and also known as horsehair braid sold by Dritz; horsehair and viscose braid, a polyester, flat mesh material; polyester/rubber elastic; and neoprene cloth in various forms and in 1.5 mm and 3 mm thicknesses. Dritz horsehair is available in two weights, regular and stiff; and two forms, tubular and flat. Presently preferred stiffening or stabilizing means 4 is regular 1 inch tubular Dritz horsehair.

Attaching means as well as the edge protecting means may include, for example, thermal adhesives, fabric glues, heat bonding, and stitching with thread. Presently preferred is stitching with thread. The attaching means and edge protecting means may be the same or different. Presently preferred is to use the same means for both.

The corresponding method of forming the assembled absorptive insulative cup sleeve which may have a cup inserted therein with only one hand and no need to open or hold open for the cup insertion will now be described. The absorptive insulative cup sleeve is cut, preferably die cut, from a blank sheet or web of stock fabric. The blank sheet or web may be embossed by a pair of calendar rolls prior to cutting the elongated bands therefrom. Similarly, printing of the outside surface can be carried out at an upstream position before embossing or cutting. Alternatively, the stock fabric can be printed and embossed beforehand. The top, bottom, and end edges of the elongated body 1 are cut preferably at the same time by die cutting. The stiffening or stabilizing means 4 bands are likewise cut from a blank sheet or web of stock stiffening material. A stiffening or stabilizing means 4 band is placed on the inside upper portion of the absorptive insulative cup sleeve elongated body 1 such that the upper edge of the stiffening or stabilizing means 4 matches the upper edge of the absorptive insulative cup sleeve elongated body 1. They are fixedly attached to one another by body edge protection means 2. The absorptive insulative cup sleeve elongated body 1 bottom edge has body edge protection means 3 added.

The assembled absorptive insulative cup sleeve in a normally relaxed condition will hold itself open by the stiffening effect of the stiffening or stabilizing means 4 stiffening or stabilizing means 4 allowing a cup to be inserted into the absorptive insulative cup sleeve with only one hand holding the cup. When not in use the absorptive insulative cup sleeve can be pressed flat and stored in a purse, pocket, vehicle storage bin, or the like taking up little space.

Because of the reusable nature of the absorptive insulative cup sleeve of the present invention the amount of waste material requiring recycling or landfill burial is greatly reduced. And because the materials for use with the present invention are moisture absorptive the holder helps prevent the hand and fingers holding a cup with an iced drink from getting wet.

Although the preferred embodiments of the present invention have been disclosed, various changes and modifications may be made without departing from the scope of the invention as set forth in the appended claims.