US20090084812A1 - Package Advancement System - Google Patents

Package Advancement System Download PDF

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Publication number
US20090084812A1
US20090084812A1 US11863506 US86350607A US2009084812A1 US 20090084812 A1 US20090084812 A1 US 20090084812A1 US 11863506 US11863506 US 11863506 US 86350607 A US86350607 A US 86350607A US 2009084812 A1 US2009084812 A1 US 2009084812A1
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US
Grant status
Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
shelf
package
end plate
dispensing
spring
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
Application number
US11863506
Inventor
Jonathan Kirschner
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
Coca-Cola Co
Original Assignee
Coca-Cola Co
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date

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Classifications

    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07FCOIN-FREED OR LIKE APPARATUS
    • G07F11/00Coin-freed apparatus for dispensing, or the like, discrete articles
    • G07F11/02Coin-freed apparatus for dispensing, or the like, discrete articles from non-movable magazines
    • G07F11/38Coin-freed apparatus for dispensing, or the like, discrete articles from non-movable magazines in which the magazines are horizontal
    • G07F11/42Coin-freed apparatus for dispensing, or the like, discrete articles from non-movable magazines in which the magazines are horizontal the articles being delivered by motor-driven means
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47FSPECIAL FURNITURE, FITTINGS, OR ACCESSORIES FOR SHOPS, STOREHOUSES, BARS, RESTAURANTS OR THE LIKE; PAYING COUNTERS
    • A47F1/00Racks for dispensing merchandise; Containers for dispensing merchandise
    • A47F1/04Racks or containers with arrangements for dispensing articles, e.g. by means of gravity or springs
    • A47F1/12Racks or containers with arrangements for dispensing articles, e.g. by means of gravity or springs dispensing from the side of an approximately horizontal stack
    • A47F1/125Racks or containers with arrangements for dispensing articles, e.g. by means of gravity or springs dispensing from the side of an approximately horizontal stack with an article-pushing device
    • A47F1/126Racks or containers with arrangements for dispensing articles, e.g. by means of gravity or springs dispensing from the side of an approximately horizontal stack with an article-pushing device the pushing device being urged by spring means

Abstract

Systems and methods of a package advance system for moving a package on a shelf of a vending machine which may include an end plate positioned on the shelf, a dispensing door positioned near a dispensing end of the shelf that opens to dispense the package, and a spring system affixed to the end plate that applies a force on the end plate towards the dispensing door.

Description

    TECHNICAL FIELD
  • This application relates generally to dispensing apparatuses such as vending machines, and more particularly relates to a package advancement system for packages in the dispensing apparatus.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • Vending machines are being developed to incorporate x-y picker assemblies for vending machines with an x-y product grid. Therefore, gravity is no longer the only source for dispensing a package from a vending machine. The x-y vending machines may dispense a package by picking or grabbing the package from a shelf. After a package is picked, however, certain packages in certain orientations on the shelf may have difficulties advancing to a dispensing position. Many of the packages cannot roll or slide easily along a shelf. For example, a bottle or a can resting in the vertical position cannot roll along a shelf and therefore gravity cannot necessarily assist in advancing the package along the shelf.
  • Thus, there is a need in the art for a low-cost, low maintenance package advancing system to advance a package along the shelf so that it can be dispensed to a consumer.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • One exemplary embodiment of a package advance system for moving a package on a shelf of a vending machine may include an end plate positioned on the shelf, a dispensing door positioned near a dispensing end of the shelf that opens to dispense the package, and a spring system affixed to the end plate that applies a force on the end plate towards the dispensing door.
  • Another exemplary embodiment of the application may include a method for loading a number of packages on a shelf. The method may include moving an end plate of the shelf away from a dispensing end of the shelf, placing the number of packages onto the shelf and moving the end plate towards the dispensing end of the shelf using a spring system to secure the packages on the shelf.
  • Yet another exemplary embodiment of a method of dispensing a package from a shelf of a vending machine may include moving an end plate of the shelf away from a dispensing end of the shelf placing a number of packages onto the shelf, moving the end plate towards the dispensing end of the shelf using a spring system to secure the packages on the shelf between the end plate and a dispensing door, and opening the dispensing door to permit one package to be dispensed from the shelf.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 illustrates a package advance system on a vending machine according to an exemplary embodiment of the application.
  • FIG. 2 illustrates a perspective view of a package advance system according to an exemplary embodiment of the application.
  • FIG. 3 illustrates a side view of a package advance system according to an exemplary embodiment of the application.
  • FIG. 4 illustrates a perspective view spring system of a package advance system according to an exemplary embodiment of the application.
  • FIG. 5 illustrates a damper of a spring system according to an exemplary embodiment of the application.
  • FIG. 6 illustrates a perspective view of a package advance system with two side walls according to an exemplary embodiment of the application.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • Generally described, the present application relates to a package advance system to move a package along a shelf of a dispensing unit and to assist in the loading of the packages onto the shelf. The package advance system may include an end plate positioned on the top of the shelf. The end plate may be affixed to a spring system. The spring system may attempt to push or pull the end plate towards a dispensing end of the shelf. The spring system may include a spring to move the end plate. The spring system may further include a damper to modify the rate and force that the spring exerts on the end plate.
  • The end plate may interface packages disposed on the shelf. The spring system forces the end plate to interface with the packages. If a space or gap exists amongst the packages on the shelf, the spring system may move the end plate to push the packages together collectively towards the dispensing end of the shelf. For example, if the product at the dispensing end of the shelf is removed, the spring system may force the end plate to move towards the dispensing end of the shelf until the remaining packages on the shelf fill the void left by the removed product.
  • The package advance system also may assist in the loading of the shelf with the packages. A user of the package advance system may move the end plate a distance from the dispensing end to create space for loading the packages onto the shelf. The spring system may be configured to slowly move the end plate giving the user ample time to load the product before the end plate interfaces the packages. In another exemplary embodiment, the end plate may be moved a distance from the dispensing unit to create space for loading the packages on the shelf and then locked into place with a locking mechanism. When loading of the packages is complete, the locking mechanism may be removed and the spring system may reposition the end plate to interface the packages loaded onto the shelf.
  • The application now will be described more fully hereinafter with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which exemplary embodiments of the application is shown. This application may, however, be embodied in many different forms and should not be construed as limited to the embodiments set forth herein; rather, this embodiment is provided so that this disclosure will be thorough and will fully convey the scope of the application to those skilled in the art. Like numbers refer to like elements throughout the number of figures.
  • FIG. 1 illustrates an exemplary embodiment of a vending machine 5 that may use the package advance system 10. The vending machine 5 may include any number of package advance systems 10 necessary to accommodate for the number or varying types of products loaded into the vending machine. FIGS. 2 and 3 illustrate an exemplary embodiment of the package advance system 10 which includes a shelf 12 configured to carry a number of packages 16. Packages 16 may include without limitation plastic bottles, glass bottles, cans, boxes, or any other container to be dispensed from a vending machine. The packages 16 are loaded onto the shelf 12 at the loading end 13 of the shelf 12 and are removed from the shelf 12 at a dispensing end 14. Because the packages 16 may be vertically oriented or have a substantially flat bottom surface, the packages 16 generally are not able to roll along the shelf. The package advance system 10 therefore may move the packages 16 along the shelf 12 as necessary.
  • The package advance system 10 may include an end plate 20. The end plate 20 may be any member sufficient to push against the package. In an exemplary embodiment, the end plate 20 is substantially rectangular in shape and is substantially vertical but it is understood that the end plate may be any shape and any positional orientation.
  • The end plate 20 may be attached to a spring system 22. The spring system 22 may include a spring 24 affixed to the end plate 20 at a first end of the spring 24. A second end of the spring 24 may be disposed near the dispensing end 14 of the shelf 12. The spring 24 may be any configuration capable of moving the end plate 20 along the shelf 12. In an exemplary embodiment shown in FIG. 4, the spring 24 may be a metal strip that is rolled about itself. The rolled metal spring uncoils to expand the spring to its natural resting position. The spring may be any device that stores energy including coil springs.
  • The spring 24 may create tension between the dispensing end 14 of the shelf 12 and the end plate 20. The tension on the end plate 20 may be used to move the packages 16 along the shelf 12. The package advance system 10 allows the packages 16 to advance along the shelf 12 as necessary. When a package 16 is removed from the dispensing end 14, the spring 24 pulls the end plate 20 to advance the packages 16 along the shelf 12 towards the dispensing end 14 of the shelf 12. However, the end plate 20 may not be able to advance along the shelf 12 when a number of packages 16 are positioned between a dispensing door 36 position near the dispensing end 14 of the shelf 12 and the end plate 20. It should also be appreciated that the spring may be positioned between the dispensing end 14 of the shelf 12 and the end plate 20.
  • The package advance system 10 also may be dampened to control the rate at which the spring applies force to the end plate 20. As shown in the exemplary embodiment of FIG. 5, a damper 26 may be used to dampen the spring 24. Dampers are well known in the art and any damper may be used to dampen the spring 24. The damper 26 also may be designed so that the spring 24 does not overpower the packages 16. Accordingly, when there are no spaces between the packages 16, the end plate 20 will not exert too much force on the packages 16.
  • The spring system 22 with a damper 26 may be used during loading of a vending machine 5. The damper 26 may prevent the end plate 20 from returning towards the dispensing end 14 of the shelf 12 too rapidly. The damper 26 therefore allows a user to load the vending machine by simply pulling the end plate 20 towards the loading end 13 of shelf 12 of the vending machine 5 and then placing packages 16 onto the shelf 12. The damper 26 may prevent the end plate 20 from returning to the packages 16 too rapidly or too powerfully which prevents the packages 16 from being damages, disoriented, or dislodged from the shelf 12.
  • The package advance system 10 may include a track 30 to guide the end plate 20 along the shelf 12. The track 30 may include teeth 32 disposed along the length of the track 30. The end plate 20 may include a gear 34 to interface the teeth 32 of the track 30. The interface of the end plate 20 with the track 30 may prevent the end plate 20 from slipping or translating laterally with respect to the shelf 12 and also may assist in preserving the orientation of the packages 16 on the shelf 12. It should be understood that any track system that assists translating the end plate along the shelf is contemplated herein. For example, in another exemplary embodiment, the track may include a slot (not shown) designed to interface with a protrusion (not shown) on the end plate. The end plate may be confined to the positioning of the slot.
  • The shelf 12 may include side walls 35 that run the length of the shelf 12. The side walls 35 may be positioned substantially near the ends of the shelf 12. As shown in the exemplary embodiment of FIG. 6, a side wall 35 may be positioned on each longitudinal length of the shelf 12. The side walls 35 may prevent the packages 16 from falling off of the shelf 12 while the packages 16 are translating. The side walls 35 may be any height that assists in the securing of the packages 16 onto the shelf 12. The side walls 35 may be spaced across from each other a distance greater than the width of the packages 16. A spacing only slightly larger than the packaging may assist in preserving the alignment and orientation of the packages.
  • In exemplary embodiment, the shelf 12 may include the dispensing door 36 near the dispensing end 14 of the shelf 12. The dispensing door 36 may secure the packages 16 on the shelf 12. The end plate 20 applies tension to the packages 16 by pushing the packages 16 against the dispensing door 36. In an exemplary embodiment, the dispensing door 36 may be two smaller walls that interface near the middle of the width of the shelf and may rotate to the outside of the shelf to allow a package to be dispensed. In another embodiment, the dispensing door 36 may be a unitary wall (not shown) that rotates open about one end of the dispensing door to permit a package to be dispensed. The dispensing door 36 may be spring driven, electrically driven, driven by a servo, or operated in any other suitable manner.
  • To dispense the end package 16 positioned on the dispensing end 14 of the shelf 12, any system may be used to open the dispensing door 36. In an exemplary embodiment, the shelf 12 may include a lever 40 that opens the dispensing door 36 when the package 16 is to be dispensed. In an exemplary embodiment, an end effector 18 may contact the lever 40 to force open the dispensing door. The end effector 18 is any device that may remove or carry the package 16 from the shelf 12. As shown in FIG. 1, the end effector 18 is positioned to move across the shelves 12 in the vending machine 5 and access the package 16 positioned on the dispensing end 14 of the respective shelves 12. Because the end plate 20 is applying force to the line of packages on the shelf 12, the end package 16 is forced onto the end effector 18 and is dispensed from the shelf 12. In an exemplary embodiment, the shelf 12 further may include a ramp 38 to assist the package in transferring to the end effector 18. The ramp 38 may permit the end package 16 to move away from the dispensing door 36 quickly to permit the dispensing door 36 to close and secure the packages 16 remaining on the shelf 12. This system is not limited to the spring system and dispensing door disclosed herein, but may be any system or device that allows the end plate and spring system to dispense the end package from the shelf and secure the remaining packages on the shelf.
  • Many modifications and other embodiments of the application will come to mind to one skilled in the art to which this application pertains having the benefit of the teachings presented in the foregoing descriptions and the associated drawings. Therefore, it is to be understood that the application is not to be limited to the specific embodiments disclosed and that modifications and other embodiments are intended to be included within the scope of the appended claims. Although specific terms are employed herein, they are used in generic and descriptive sense only and not for purposes of limitation.

Claims (16)

  1. 1. A package advance system for moving a package on a shelf of a vending machine, comprising:
    an end plate positioned on the shelf;
    a dispensing door positioned near a dispensing end of the shelf that opens to dispense the package; and
    a spring system affixed to the end plate that applies a force on the end plate towards the dispensing door.
  2. 2. The package advance system of claim 1 wherein the spring system comprises a spring.
  3. 3. The package advance system of claim 1 wherein the spring system comprises a spring and a damper.
  4. 4. The package advance system of claim 2 wherein the spring is chosen from a group consisting of a roll spring and a coil spring.
  5. 5. The package advance system of claim 1 comprising a track to guide the end plate.
  6. 6. The package advance system of claim 5 wherein the track comprises a plurality of teeth to interface a gear on the end plate.
  7. 7. The package advance system of claim 1 wherein the dispensing door permits one product to be removed from the shelf and wherein the end plate pushes any packages remaining on the shelf towards the dispensing device.
  8. 8. The package advance system of claim 1 comprising a lever that opens the dispensing door to permit one package to be dispensed from the shelf.
  9. 9. The package advance system of claim 1 wherein the dispensing door comprises two walls that interface substantially at the middle of the shelf, wherein the two walls rotate towards the outside of the shelf to allow the package to be dispensed.
  10. 10. The package advance system of claim 1, wherein the dispensing door comprises a unitary wall that may rotate about one end of the wall to create an open position to dispense the package.
  11. 11. The package advance system of claim 1 wherein the shelf comprises side walls.
  12. 12. The system of claim 1 comprising a plurality of shelves wherein each shelf comprises a package advance system.
  13. 13. A method for loading a plurality of packages on a shelf comprising:
    moving an end plate of the shelf away from a dispensing end of the shelf;
    placing the plurality of packages onto the shelf, and
    forcing the end plate towards the dispensing end of the shelf to secure the packages on the shelf.
  14. 14. The method of claim 13 further comprising providing a spring system that comprises a spring and a damper.
  15. 15. The method of claim 15 wherein the spring is chosen from the group consisting of a roll spring and a coil spring.
  16. 16. A method of dispensing a package from a shelf of a vending machine, comprising:
    moving an end plate of the shelf away from a dispensing end of the shelf;
    placing the plurality of packages onto the shelf;
    moving the end plate towards the dispensing end of the shelf using a spring system to secure the packages on the shelf between the end plate and a dispensing door; and
    opening the dispensing door to permit one package to be dispensed from the shelf.
US11863506 2007-09-28 2007-09-28 Package Advancement System Abandoned US20090084812A1 (en)

Priority Applications (1)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US11863506 US20090084812A1 (en) 2007-09-28 2007-09-28 Package Advancement System

Applications Claiming Priority (2)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US11863506 US20090084812A1 (en) 2007-09-28 2007-09-28 Package Advancement System
PCT/US2008/075667 WO2009045685A3 (en) 2007-09-28 2008-09-09 Package advancement system

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US20090084812A1 true true US20090084812A1 (en) 2009-04-02

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US11863506 Abandoned US20090084812A1 (en) 2007-09-28 2007-09-28 Package Advancement System

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Cited By (20)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US20140151313A1 (en) * 2005-09-12 2014-06-05 Rtc Industries, Inc. Product management display system with trackless pusher mechanism
WO2014198839A1 (en) * 2013-06-12 2014-12-18 Pos Tuning Udo Vosshenrich Gmbh & Co. Kg Device for advancing goods
WO2015003682A1 (en) * 2013-07-12 2015-01-15 Oechsle Display Systeme Gmbh Conveying system having merchandise pusher
US9173505B2 (en) 2005-09-12 2015-11-03 Rtc Industries, Inc. Product management display system with trackless pusher mechanism
US9173504B2 (en) 2005-09-12 2015-11-03 Rtc Industries, Inc. Product management display system
US9185999B2 (en) 2005-09-12 2015-11-17 Rtc Industries, Inc. Product management display system with trackless pusher mechanism
US9232864B2 (en) 2005-09-12 2016-01-12 RTC Industries, Incorporated Product management display system with trackless pusher mechanism
US9265358B2 (en) 2005-09-12 2016-02-23 RTC Industries, Incorporated Product management display system
US9265362B2 (en) 2005-09-12 2016-02-23 RTC Industries, Incorporated Product management display system
US9289078B2 (en) 2004-02-03 2016-03-22 Rtc Industries, Inc. Product securement and management system
US9402485B2 (en) 2005-09-12 2016-08-02 Rtc Industries, Inc. Product management display system with trackless pusher mechanism
US9486088B2 (en) 2005-09-12 2016-11-08 Rtc Industries, Inc. Product management display system
US9510677B2 (en) 2005-09-12 2016-12-06 Rtc Industries, Inc. Product management display system with rail mounting clip
US9532658B2 (en) 2005-09-12 2017-01-03 Rtc Industries, Inc. Product management display system
US9668590B1 (en) * 2016-02-02 2017-06-06 Bruegmann USA, Inc. Retail product display unit having gravity operated front barrier for product loading
US9706857B2 (en) 2004-02-03 2017-07-18 Rtc Industries, Inc. Product securement and management system
US9750354B2 (en) 2005-09-12 2017-09-05 Rtc Industries, Inc. Product management display system
US9805539B2 (en) 2004-02-03 2017-10-31 Rtc Industries, Inc. System for inventory management
US9844280B2 (en) 2004-02-03 2017-12-19 Rtc Industries, Inc. Product securement and management system
US9955802B2 (en) 2015-04-08 2018-05-01 Fasteners For Retail, Inc. Divider with selectively securable track assembly

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Cited By (34)

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Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US9289078B2 (en) 2004-02-03 2016-03-22 Rtc Industries, Inc. Product securement and management system
US9844280B2 (en) 2004-02-03 2017-12-19 Rtc Industries, Inc. Product securement and management system
US9805539B2 (en) 2004-02-03 2017-10-31 Rtc Industries, Inc. System for inventory management
US9723934B2 (en) 2004-02-03 2017-08-08 Rtc Industries, Inc. Product securement and management system
US9706857B2 (en) 2004-02-03 2017-07-18 Rtc Industries, Inc. Product securement and management system
US9993091B2 (en) 2004-02-03 2018-06-12 Rtc Industries, Inc. Product securement and management system
US9635957B2 (en) 2005-09-12 2017-05-02 Rtc Industries, Inc. Product management display system
US9237816B2 (en) 2005-09-12 2016-01-19 RTC Industries, Incorporated Product management display system with trackless pusher mechanism
US9259102B2 (en) * 2005-09-12 2016-02-16 RTC Industries, Incorporated Product management display system with trackless pusher mechanism
US9265358B2 (en) 2005-09-12 2016-02-23 RTC Industries, Incorporated Product management display system
US9265362B2 (en) 2005-09-12 2016-02-23 RTC Industries, Incorporated Product management display system
US9232864B2 (en) 2005-09-12 2016-01-12 RTC Industries, Incorporated Product management display system with trackless pusher mechanism
US9402485B2 (en) 2005-09-12 2016-08-02 Rtc Industries, Inc. Product management display system with trackless pusher mechanism
US9486088B2 (en) 2005-09-12 2016-11-08 Rtc Industries, Inc. Product management display system
US9504321B2 (en) 2005-09-12 2016-11-29 Rtc Industries, Inc. Product management display system with trackless pusher mechanism
US9510677B2 (en) 2005-09-12 2016-12-06 Rtc Industries, Inc. Product management display system with rail mounting clip
US9532658B2 (en) 2005-09-12 2017-01-03 Rtc Industries, Inc. Product management display system
US9185999B2 (en) 2005-09-12 2015-11-17 Rtc Industries, Inc. Product management display system with trackless pusher mechanism
US9918565B2 (en) 2005-09-12 2018-03-20 Rtc Industries, Inc. Product management display system
US9173504B2 (en) 2005-09-12 2015-11-03 Rtc Industries, Inc. Product management display system
US9713393B2 (en) 2005-09-12 2017-07-25 Rtc Industries, Inc. Product management display system
US9173505B2 (en) 2005-09-12 2015-11-03 Rtc Industries, Inc. Product management display system with trackless pusher mechanism
US9730531B2 (en) 2005-09-12 2017-08-15 Rtc Industries, Inc. Product management display system with trackless pusher mechanism
US9750354B2 (en) 2005-09-12 2017-09-05 Rtc Industries, Inc. Product management display system
US9930973B2 (en) 2005-09-12 2018-04-03 Rtc Industries, Inc. Product management display system with trackless pusher mechanism
US9820585B2 (en) 2005-09-12 2017-11-21 Rtc Industries, Inc. Product management display system with trackless pusher mechanism
US9820584B2 (en) 2005-09-12 2017-11-21 Rtc Industries, Inc. Product management display system
US9968206B2 (en) 2005-09-12 2018-05-15 Rtc Industries, Inc. Product management display system
US9895007B2 (en) 2005-09-12 2018-02-20 Rtc Industries, Inc. Product management display system with trackless pusher mechanism
US20140151313A1 (en) * 2005-09-12 2014-06-05 Rtc Industries, Inc. Product management display system with trackless pusher mechanism
WO2014198839A1 (en) * 2013-06-12 2014-12-18 Pos Tuning Udo Vosshenrich Gmbh & Co. Kg Device for advancing goods
WO2015003682A1 (en) * 2013-07-12 2015-01-15 Oechsle Display Systeme Gmbh Conveying system having merchandise pusher
US9955802B2 (en) 2015-04-08 2018-05-01 Fasteners For Retail, Inc. Divider with selectively securable track assembly
US9668590B1 (en) * 2016-02-02 2017-06-06 Bruegmann USA, Inc. Retail product display unit having gravity operated front barrier for product loading

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Publication number Publication date Type
WO2009045685A3 (en) 2009-05-22 application
WO2009045685A2 (en) 2009-04-09 application

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Owner name: THE COCA-COLA COMPANY, GEORGIA

Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:KIRSCHNER, JONATHAN;REEL/FRAME:019894/0604

Effective date: 20070925