Title:
BEVERAGE PACKAGE WITH INCORPORATED HANDLES
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A flexible beverage package includes a container having deformable walls for accommodating the beverage therein. A pictorial indicia is included on the container walls. Handle elements are positioned on the container walls for forming extending grasping members to allow grasping of the container without deforming the walls. The handle elements are incorporated into the pictorial indicia for forming an externally extending continuation of the pictorial indicia.



Inventors:
Halstrom, Virginia Deely (Darien, CT, US)
Bergenfeld, Ilene Leslie (Ardsley, NY, US)
Butrym, Renee (Stamford, CT, US)
Forger, Heather Marie (Dallas, TX, US)
Furmansky, Howard (Bridgeport, CT, US)
Grier, Vicki Anne (White Plains, NY, US)
Lavallee, Wendy Elise Waesche (Norwalk, CT, US)
Lewis, Todd Alan (Fairfield, CT, US)
Martin, Nancy Brett (Norwalk, CT, US)
Mcdarby, Patrick (Fairfield, CT, US)
O'neal, Gina Mary (Ridgefield, CT, US)
Obembe, Sarah Moji (Bronx, NY, US)
Peng, Suh-jane (Ardsley on Hudson, NY, US)
Powell, Alicia (Stratford, CT, US)
Retblatt, Stephanie (New York, NY, US)
Rooney, Kristen (New York, NY, US)
Thorpe, Laura (New York, NY, US)
Tyree, Tommie Wynne (Jonesborough, TN, US)
Wiecek, Deborah A. (White Plains, NY, US)
Zamolsky, Barbara (Longs, SC, US)
Application Number:
12/513123
Publication Date:
03/18/2010
Filing Date:
10/24/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D85/00
View Patent Images:
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20050194277Tool traySeptember, 2005Thayer
20080171110SOLIDS PACKAGEJuly, 2008Stuart
20060081484Key fob protectorApril, 2006Smith
20080121543Coordination System & MethodMay, 2008Bartlett
20090266721SCHOOL MANAGEMENT SYSTEMOctober, 2009Bala
20060213793SYRINGE NEEDLE PROTECTORSeptember, 2006Brand
20060070893Merchandise container with internal storage compartment and method of distributing merchandiseApril, 2006Granick
20060118453Cup caddyJune, 2006Hillebrecht et al.
20060289330STORAGE AND DISPLAY STRUCTURE FOR PLAYING CARDS AND GAMING TOKENSDecember, 2006Scism
20080105594Merchandise Packaging and displayMay, 2008Luberto



Primary Examiner:
PERREAULT, ANDREW D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DYKEMA GOSSETT P.L.L.C. (SAN ANTONIO, TX, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A flexible beverage package comprising: a container having deformable walls for accommodating said beverage therein; pictorial indicia on said container walls; and handle elements positioned on said container walls for forming extending grasping members to allow grasping the container without deforming said walls; said handle elements being incorporated into said pictorial indicia for forming an externally extending continuation of said pictorial indicia.

2. The flexible beverage package of claim 1 wherein said handle elements are formed on said container walls.

3. The flexible beverage package of claim 2 wherein said handle elements are displaceable from said container walls.

4. The flexible beverage package of claim 1 further including: a drinking straw for insertion into said container through one deformable wall thereof, said straw in said inserted position being incorporated into said pictorial indicia and forming an externally extending continuation of said pictorial indicia.

5. The flexible beverage package of claim 1 wherein said pictorial representation includes an animal representation and wherein said handle elements are incorporated into said pictorial indicia to include extending body parts.

6. The flexible beverage package of claim 5 wherein said straw is incorporated into said pictorial representation to include additional extending body parts.

7. The flexible beverage package of claim 6 wherein said straw is bendable to further incorporate said straw into said pictorial representation.

8. The flexible beverage package of claim 1 wherein said pictorial representation is a geometric configuration.

9. The flexible beverage package of claim 1 wherein said pictorial representation is an inanimate object and wherein said handle elements are incorporated into said pictorial representation and associated object.

10. The flexible beverage package of claim 1 wherein said inanimate object is a vehicle and wherein said handle elements are operator controls.

11. The flexible beverage package of claim 1 wherein said handles are detachable from the container wall.

12. The flexible beverage package of claim 11 wherein said handles are reattachable to said container wall.

13. The flexible beverage package of claim 1 wherein said handles include a finger insertion loop.

14. The flexible beverage package of claim 1 including audio means for imparting a sound upon displaying said handles.

15. The flexible beverage package of claim 14 wherein said audio means imparts a sound associated with said pictorial representation.

16. The flexible beverage package of claim 1 further including a plurality of said containers arranged in a longitudinal array said pictorial representation on each container having a common theme.

17. The flexible beverage package of claim 16 wherein said pictorial representation extends over adjacent containers.

18. A liquid package comprising: a container for accommodating said liquid therein; pictorial indicia on said container; and a handle element on said container, said handle element forming an extending grasping member to allow grasping the container; said handle element being incorporated into said pictorial indicia for forming an externally extending continuation of said pictorial indicia.

19. The liquid package of claim 18 wherein said handle element is formed on said container.

20. The liquid package of claim 19 wherein said handle element is displaceable from said container.

21. The liquid beverage package of claim 18 wherein said handle element is detachable from the container wall.

22. The liquid beverage package of claim 21 wherein said handle element is reattachable to said container wall.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/855,474 filed Oct. 31, 2006, which is incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to liquid containing packages. More particularly, the present invention relates to a flexible beverage container such as a juice box which has graphic depictions thereon and which include fold out handles integrated into the graphic depictions.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Liquids are packaged in a wide variety of containers for consumer use. These packages may take various shapes and sizes.

One common technique to package beverages or other fluids for individual use, is to employ a flexible package. The beverage may be vacuum sealed within the package for storage and shipping. The package typically has a dispensing opening through which the beverage can be dispensed. One type of flexible package commonly employed is a juice box. These juice boxes include flexible walls and a puncturable opening which may be punctured by a straw supplied with the juice box so as to allow the user to consume the beverage. Juice boxes such as these are extremely popular, especially with children.

One perceived drawback with the use of juice boxes is that, as the beverage is vacuum sealed within the package and as the walls of the juice box are flexible, the user, especially children who squeeze the juice box during consumption, have a tendency to inadvertently displace the contents of the juice box through the dispensing opening. It is difficult for children to grasp the juice box for use without over squeezing the box thereby spilling the beverage.

The art has seen a variety of techniques for preventing squeezing of a juice box during use. Many of these techniques employ a holder such as a container having a rigid wall, in the form of a cup or housing to accommodate the juice box thereby preventing squeezing of the flexible walls. Such a holder may also include handles thereon to allow the user to more conveniently hold the juice box. Examples of such are shown in U.S. Pat. Nos. 7,086,556; 5,950,857 and 4,986,435. As may be appreciated, a significant drawback with juice box holders of this type is that they must separately supplied and available to the consumer at the time of consumption.

It is therefore desirable to provide a technique for allowing the secure grasping of a juice box without risk of spillage where a separate holder or housing is not required.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a flexible beverage package such as a juice box or the like. The package includes a container having deformable walls for accommodating the beverage therein. The walls of the container include pictorial indicia thereon. Handle elements are positioned on the container walls. The handle elements form extending grasping members to allow grasping of the container without deforming the walls. The handle elements are incorporated into the pictorial indicia on the package, thereby forming an externally extending continuation of the pictorial indicia.

In the preferred embodiments of the present invention, the flexible beverage package also includes a drinking straw provided therewith. The straw is insertable into the container through one of the deformable walls. The straw, in the inserted position, is incorporated into the pictorial indicia and forms an externally extending continuation of the pictorial indicia.

Various types of pictorial indicia are contemplated, such as animate and inanimate objects. With respect to animate objects, pictorial indicia may include animals, where the handle element may include extending body parts.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows a plurality of flexible packages aligned for shipping and sale with pictorial indicia incorporated across the face of the packages.

FIGS. 2 and 3 show one example of a flexible package of the present invention with handles in retracted and displaced position, respectively.

FIGS. 4 and 5 show a further example of the flexible package of the present invention showing the handles retracted and displaced, respectively.

FIGS. 6 and 7 are further embodiments of the flexible package of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The present invention provides a technique for enabling a user to handle a liquid package, especially a flexible beverage package, such as a juice box without displacing the contents thereof. Flexible packages such as juice boxes may be filled under a vacuum. The box may have a variety of dispensing openings including a fold out spout, an opening covered by a removable cap, or a pucturable opening into which a straw is inserted. For example, a straw may be inserted into the package through an opening therethrough. The user may consume the beverage through the straw. However, especially where the walls of the package are flexible and the contents are filled under a vacuum, there is a tendency to inadvertently spill the contents of the beverage upon over squeezing the package. Such a problem is particularly evident with children who have not acquired the requisite manual dexterity to use the package. The present invention therefore provides displaceable handles which may be folded out from the package itself to allow holding of the container without need to squeeze the package.

Additionally, the present invention provides that the fold out handles may be incorporated into graphic depictions place on the container. The present invention contemplates a wide variety of pictorial indicia which may be placed on the package and which may incorporate thereinto foldable handles.

It is further contemplated that the dispensing opening may be incorporated into the pictorial design. With embodiments in which a straw is inserted into the package for consumption, the straw may also be incorporated into the graphic depiction.

An example of the present invention is shown in FIG. 1 where a plurality of packages are shown. Each package may include a beverage container, such as a juice box 10. The juice boxes 10 are arranged in one or more longitudinal arrays forming a multi-pack 11 for shipping, display and sales purposes. In the present illustrative embodiment, eight juice boxes 10 are shown arranged in two rows of four. As may be appreciated, this array may be covered in shrink wrapping (not shown) or other coverings to allow ease of handling. Other arrays of packages (e.g., 1×4, 3×3) are also contemplated.

Each juice box 10 includes pictorial indicia 12 which in this example represents an animal. The pictorial indicia may be formed by a photograph, drawing or the like and may be placed or printed on the package in conventional fashion. The pictorial indicia 12 included on each juice box 10 may be identical or as in the case of FIG. 1 may be different. As specifically shown in FIG. 1, the pictorial indicia 12 on the boxes 10 may include a variety of different animals. Other indicia such as information relating to the contents of the package as well as advertising and brand name information may also be included on the package.

Turning now to FIGS. 2 and 3, one juice box 10 of the plurality is shown. Juice box 10 is a conventional rectangular structure having opposed front and rear faces 14 and 16, opposed side faces 18 and 20 and top and bottom faces 22 and 24. Pictorial indicia 12, particularly shown on juice box 10 in FIG. 2, is that of an elephant having the face of the elephant on the front face 14 of box 10. Portions of the body, including especially the ears of the elephant extend onto side faces 18 and 20. A portion of the ears of the elephant form fold out handles 26 which are displaceable from the sides 18 and 20 of juice box 10. The handles 26 are positioned so that when they are displaced, as shown in FIG. 3, they form a continuation of the pictorial indicia 12 of the elephant. In some embodiments, the handles 26 may be adhesively secured to the box 10 with a releaseable adhesive so as to allow easy fold out of the handles from the box. Alternatively, in some embodiments, the handles 26 may form a portion of the outer layer of the box 10. As may be appreciated, once the handles 26 are folded out from the box 10, the handles may be used to hold the juice box thereby preventing inadvertent squeezing of the walls of the box and displacing the contents therefrom.

A further feature of the present invention is shown in FIG. 3 where a straw 30 is inserted into the upper face 22 of juice box 10. As is well known, juice boxes are typically provided with individual straws 30 which may be releasably attached to each individual juice box container. The straws are insertable through a puncturable opening 32 in one of the faces of the box to allow consumption.

The present invention further provides that the straw 30 may be incorporated into the pictorial indicia on the box. As particularly shown in FIG. 3, pictorial indicia 12 of the face of an elephant on box face 14 includes a trunk extending upwardly. The straw 30 which extends out of upper face 22 may be positioned to represent a continuation of the elephant's trunk. Therefore, the displaced handles 26, as well as the extending straw 30, all are incorporated into the pictorial indicia 12 contained on the box 10.

Turning now to FIGS. 4 and 5, a further pictorial embodiment of the present invention is shown. Box 110 includes pictorial indicia 112 representing a monkey. In this instance, the arms of the money extend as handles 126 being displaceable from the box 110. Moreover, the extending straw 130 which is inserted into the box may be incorporated into and form part of the extending tail of the monkey.

As may be appreciated, other animal pictorial indicia may also be included, such as, for example, a bird or a snake as shown in FIG. 1.

The present invention, however, is not limited to animal depictions. For example, as shown in FIG. 6, the pictorial indicia on the box may include inanimate objects. As shown in FIG. 6 the box 210 may include a pictorial representation 212 of a video game controller having handles 226 which fold out and form the handles of the controller.

Similarly, as shown in FIG. 7, box 310 may include the pictorial indicia of a steering wheel 312 where the handles 326 form portions of the steering wheel.

The present invention is designed to provide a flexible beverage package including a container having deformable walls which accommodate the beverage therein. The pictorial indicia on the container walls is not limited to any particular form. The handles which are displaceable from the box to allow holding of the box are incorporated into the pictorial indicia on the box.

The specific embodiment shown herein should not be deemed as limiting. For example, with respect to the handles, the handles may be provided in a pair or merely a single handle may extend from the box. Further, the handles may extend from adjacent or opposed side surfaces or any other surface of the box including being folded around and attached to multiple surfaces of the box. The handles may be symmetric or asymmetric. In some embodiments, different handles for a box may be shaped differently and positioned differently relative to the box. The handles may themselves be completely detachable from the box and, where completely detachable, may be reattachable thereto by use of an appropriate adhesive. Where the handles are desired not to be detachable, they may be formed of tear proof or tear resistant materials. The handles themselves can be formed of a variety of materials which may be similar or dissimilar to the materials forming juice box and may be of one or multiple layers.

Furthermore, it is contemplated that the handles when displaced from the box for use may admit an audio signal. Such signal would be provided by an embedded computer chip or other mechanism where the audio signal may be associated with the pictorial representation on the box. For example, with animal representations, it could be a noise made by an animal and with, for example, with the steering wheel of FIG. 7, it could be engine sounds.

Use of the straw as shown in FIGS. 3 and 5, it also designed to be incorporated into the pictorial indicia of the box. Therefore, the straw might be colored or have designs thereon which relate to the images on the box. Further, the straw may be bendable to more fully incorporate the straw into the pictorial indicia.

While the present invention is shown preferably for use with a juice box, it is not limited to a box configuration. Flexible pouches, bags or the like may also be used in accordance with the present invention. Furthermore, the size and shape of the package is not limited to that shown herein.

Other features may be incorporated into the juice box itself, such as an erasable message board or a mirror where the handles portions may include or form part of the mirror. The package may also include other detachable components such as game pieces or collectable cards.

As shown in FIG. 1, a plurality of packages are sold in an array. The images may cross over multiple individual boxes in a multi-pack arrangement. Moreover, the themes may cross over in multiple packs. Still further, the outer wrapping of the array may be of the type that only exposes the theme after the wrapping is removed.

Various themes may be used for the individual boxes or multiple boxes. Such themes may include zoos, circus, sports, dolls or action figures, food, fruits or vegetables, manners, princes, fairies, castles, plants, flowers or trees, monsters, technology, holidays and seasonal, various forms of transportation, playground components, video games, and collectible cards. Furthermore, the themes may be educational highlighting grammar, spelling, geography, mathematics, science or history.

Various changes to the foregoing described and shown structures would now be evident to those skilled in the art. Accordingly, the particularly disclosed scope of the invention is set forth in the following claims.