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US20100133272A1 - One-piece splash and spill resistant lid - Google Patents

One-piece splash and spill resistant lid Download PDF

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Publication number
US20100133272A1
US20100133272A1 US12639649 US63964909A US2010133272A1 US 20100133272 A1 US20100133272 A1 US 20100133272A1 US 12639649 US12639649 US 12639649 US 63964909 A US63964909 A US 63964909A US 2010133272 A1 US2010133272 A1 US 2010133272A1
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US
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Patent type
Prior art keywords
well
lid
drinking
beverage
dispensing
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
US12639649
Inventor
Craig S. Whitaker
Ashish K. Mithal
Matthew J. Wichmann
Michael G. Evans
Van T. Walworth
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SCHEW Inc
Waddington North America Inc
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Waddington North America Inc
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    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65DCONTAINERS FOR STORAGE OR TRANSPORT OF ARTICLES OR MATERIALS, e.g. BAGS, BARRELS, BOTTLES, BOXES, CANS, CARTONS, CRATES, DRUMS, JARS, TANKS, HOPPERS, FORWARDING CONTAINERS; ACCESSORIES, CLOSURES, OR FITTINGS THEREFOR; PACKAGING ELEMENTS; PACKAGES
    • B65D43/00Lids or covers for rigid or semi-rigid containers
    • B65D43/02Removable lids or covers
    • B65D43/0202Removable lids or covers without integral tamper element
    • B65D43/0204Removable lids or covers without integral tamper element secured by snapping over beads or projections
    • B65D43/0212Removable lids or covers without integral tamper element secured by snapping over beads or projections only on the outside, or a part turned to the outside, of the mouth
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65DCONTAINERS FOR STORAGE OR TRANSPORT OF ARTICLES OR MATERIALS, e.g. BAGS, BARRELS, BOTTLES, BOXES, CANS, CARTONS, CRATES, DRUMS, JARS, TANKS, HOPPERS, FORWARDING CONTAINERS; ACCESSORIES, CLOSURES, OR FITTINGS THEREFOR; PACKAGING ELEMENTS; PACKAGES
    • B65D2205/00Venting means
    • B65D2205/02Venting holes
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65DCONTAINERS FOR STORAGE OR TRANSPORT OF ARTICLES OR MATERIALS, e.g. BAGS, BARRELS, BOTTLES, BOXES, CANS, CARTONS, CRATES, DRUMS, JARS, TANKS, HOPPERS, FORWARDING CONTAINERS; ACCESSORIES, CLOSURES, OR FITTINGS THEREFOR; PACKAGING ELEMENTS; PACKAGES
    • B65D2231/00Means for facilitating the complete expelling of the contents
    • B65D2231/02Precut holes or weakened zones
    • B65D2231/025Precut holes or weakened zones for draining or discharging the liquid contents, e.g. soup, milk
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65DCONTAINERS FOR STORAGE OR TRANSPORT OF ARTICLES OR MATERIALS, e.g. BAGS, BARRELS, BOTTLES, BOXES, CANS, CARTONS, CRATES, DRUMS, JARS, TANKS, HOPPERS, FORWARDING CONTAINERS; ACCESSORIES, CLOSURES, OR FITTINGS THEREFOR; PACKAGING ELEMENTS; PACKAGES
    • B65D2543/00Lids or covers essentially for box-like containers
    • B65D2543/00009Details of lids or covers for rigid or semi-rigid containers
    • B65D2543/00018Overall construction of the lid
    • B65D2543/00046Drinking-through lids
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65DCONTAINERS FOR STORAGE OR TRANSPORT OF ARTICLES OR MATERIALS, e.g. BAGS, BARRELS, BOTTLES, BOXES, CANS, CARTONS, CRATES, DRUMS, JARS, TANKS, HOPPERS, FORWARDING CONTAINERS; ACCESSORIES, CLOSURES, OR FITTINGS THEREFOR; PACKAGING ELEMENTS; PACKAGES
    • B65D2543/00Lids or covers essentially for box-like containers
    • B65D2543/00009Details of lids or covers for rigid or semi-rigid containers
    • B65D2543/00018Overall construction of the lid
    • B65D2543/00064Shape of the outer periphery
    • B65D2543/00074Shape of the outer periphery curved
    • B65D2543/00092Shape of the outer periphery curved circular
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65DCONTAINERS FOR STORAGE OR TRANSPORT OF ARTICLES OR MATERIALS, e.g. BAGS, BARRELS, BOTTLES, BOXES, CANS, CARTONS, CRATES, DRUMS, JARS, TANKS, HOPPERS, FORWARDING CONTAINERS; ACCESSORIES, CLOSURES, OR FITTINGS THEREFOR; PACKAGING ELEMENTS; PACKAGES
    • B65D2543/00Lids or covers essentially for box-like containers
    • B65D2543/00009Details of lids or covers for rigid or semi-rigid containers
    • B65D2543/00018Overall construction of the lid
    • B65D2543/00259Materials used
    • B65D2543/00296Plastic
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65DCONTAINERS FOR STORAGE OR TRANSPORT OF ARTICLES OR MATERIALS, e.g. BAGS, BARRELS, BOTTLES, BOXES, CANS, CARTONS, CRATES, DRUMS, JARS, TANKS, HOPPERS, FORWARDING CONTAINERS; ACCESSORIES, CLOSURES, OR FITTINGS THEREFOR; PACKAGING ELEMENTS; PACKAGES
    • B65D2543/00Lids or covers essentially for box-like containers
    • B65D2543/00009Details of lids or covers for rigid or semi-rigid containers
    • B65D2543/00444Contact between the container and the lid
    • B65D2543/00481Contact between the container and the lid on the inside or the outside of the container
    • B65D2543/00537Contact between the container and the lid on the inside or the outside of the container on the outside, or a part turned to the outside of the mouth of the container
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65DCONTAINERS FOR STORAGE OR TRANSPORT OF ARTICLES OR MATERIALS, e.g. BAGS, BARRELS, BOTTLES, BOXES, CANS, CARTONS, CRATES, DRUMS, JARS, TANKS, HOPPERS, FORWARDING CONTAINERS; ACCESSORIES, CLOSURES, OR FITTINGS THEREFOR; PACKAGING ELEMENTS; PACKAGES
    • B65D2543/00Lids or covers essentially for box-like containers
    • B65D2543/00009Details of lids or covers for rigid or semi-rigid containers
    • B65D2543/00444Contact between the container and the lid
    • B65D2543/00592Snapping means
    • B65D2543/00601Snapping means on the container
    • B65D2543/00611Profiles
    • B65D2543/00638Rolled edge
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65DCONTAINERS FOR STORAGE OR TRANSPORT OF ARTICLES OR MATERIALS, e.g. BAGS, BARRELS, BOTTLES, BOXES, CANS, CARTONS, CRATES, DRUMS, JARS, TANKS, HOPPERS, FORWARDING CONTAINERS; ACCESSORIES, CLOSURES, OR FITTINGS THEREFOR; PACKAGING ELEMENTS; PACKAGES
    • B65D2543/00Lids or covers essentially for box-like containers
    • B65D2543/00009Details of lids or covers for rigid or semi-rigid containers
    • B65D2543/00444Contact between the container and the lid
    • B65D2543/00592Snapping means
    • B65D2543/00601Snapping means on the container
    • B65D2543/00675Periphery concerned
    • B65D2543/00685Totality
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65DCONTAINERS FOR STORAGE OR TRANSPORT OF ARTICLES OR MATERIALS, e.g. BAGS, BARRELS, BOTTLES, BOXES, CANS, CARTONS, CRATES, DRUMS, JARS, TANKS, HOPPERS, FORWARDING CONTAINERS; ACCESSORIES, CLOSURES, OR FITTINGS THEREFOR; PACKAGING ELEMENTS; PACKAGES
    • B65D2543/00Lids or covers essentially for box-like containers
    • B65D2543/00009Details of lids or covers for rigid or semi-rigid containers
    • B65D2543/00444Contact between the container and the lid
    • B65D2543/00592Snapping means
    • B65D2543/00712Snapping means on the lid
    • B65D2543/00722Profiles
    • B65D2543/00731Groove or hollow bead
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65DCONTAINERS FOR STORAGE OR TRANSPORT OF ARTICLES OR MATERIALS, e.g. BAGS, BARRELS, BOTTLES, BOXES, CANS, CARTONS, CRATES, DRUMS, JARS, TANKS, HOPPERS, FORWARDING CONTAINERS; ACCESSORIES, CLOSURES, OR FITTINGS THEREFOR; PACKAGING ELEMENTS; PACKAGES
    • B65D2543/00Lids or covers essentially for box-like containers
    • B65D2543/00009Details of lids or covers for rigid or semi-rigid containers
    • B65D2543/00444Contact between the container and the lid
    • B65D2543/00592Snapping means
    • B65D2543/00712Snapping means on the lid
    • B65D2543/00787Periphery concerned
    • B65D2543/00796Totality

Abstract

A one-piece disposable cup lid enables drinking while inhibiting splashing and spilling by blocking straight-line paths through the lid and dispensing beverage through a well. A drinking spout can include a well having a sidewall, a bottom and a penetration into the cup, or a sloping lid section can intersect a raised rim to create a well therebetween, with a penetration in the sloping section or the rim configured to block straight-line paths, for example by upwardly hinging of a flap or depressing half of a split, convex bubble. Embodiments include baffles that force a beverage to flow through a convoluted path and/or through chambers before being consumed. Baffles can be formed in place, or by hinged movement of flaps after forming. Textures and/or protruding structures can intercept, direct, and/or influence surface tension as beverage flows across surfaces. Vent hole sizes and locations can further limit flow and spilling.

Description

    RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • [0001]
    This application is a Continuation-In-Part of co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/972,309, filed on Jan. 10, 2008, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety for all purposes. U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/972,309 claims priority based on U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/879,935, filed Jan. 12, 2007, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety for all purposes. This application also claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/122,964, filed Dec. 16, 2008, which is also incorporated herein by reference in its entirety for all purposes.
  • FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • [0002]
    The invention relates to lids for use with drinking vessels, and more particularly to splash and spill resistant disposable lids for drinking vessels.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0003]
    Disposable lids are frequently used in combination with drinking cups, coffee cups, and other types of drinking vessels and containers from which a beverage can be consumed. Some lid designs require removal of the lid from the drinking vessel for consuming the beverage contained therein, however, most commercial drinking cup lids feature a drink-through opening which allows a user to consume the beverage contained in a drinking vessel without removing the lid therefrom. Note that herein the terms “cup” and “vessel” are used generically to refer to all types of vessels and/or containers from which a beverage may be consumed.
  • [0004]
    Commonly used coffee cup lids typically feature a drink-through opening proximate to the perimeter of the lid in the form of a small unobstructed aperture or hole within the lid that allows a person to drink coffee or other beverage without removing the lid from the cup. In addition, at least one separate vent hole is often included in a disposable lid so as to allow air to enter the cup and equalize the pressure inside the cup as the beverage is consumed.
  • [0005]
    Of course, while providing a drink-through opening in a disposable lid facilitates consumption of the beverage therethrough without separating the lid from the drinking vessel, it also creates a risk that beverage could be inadvertently splashed or spilled out through the opening if the cup is inadvertently tipped or jostled, or is subjected to sudden acceleration or deceleration. These situations are often encountered when the cup or other drinking vessel is being transported, whether by hand or within a cup holder in a moving vehicle, or while walking, climbing stairs or traveling in an elevator or escalator.
  • [0006]
    Inadvertent spilling and splashing can create dangerous situations when a user is driving or moving. With today's busy lifestyle, consumption of beverages on-the-go and has become commonplace, and inadvertent spilling and splashing of beverage can be particularly irksome and embarrassing for a user when en route to work or to a professional and/or social engagement. The term “spilling” as generally used herein refers to inadvertent flowing of a beverage out of a cup or drinking vessel; and, the term “splashing” as generally used herein refers to the inadvertent ejection or scattering from a cup of beverage droplets or modest quantities of beverage that become airborne due to sudden and/or rapid movement of the drinking vessel.
  • [0007]
    It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that lids for use with cold beverages such as sodas often include holes that fit snuggly around drinking straws, whereby the length of the straw effectively prevents splashing and spilling. However, straws are typically not practical, or at least are not preferred, when consuming a hot beverage such as tea, coffee, or hot chocolate.
  • [0008]
    Disposable lids designed for use with hot beverages sometimes include small holes or flaps near their rims that can be opened for drinking. However, turbulence or “sloshing” of a beverage when the cup is nearly full can easily lead to spilling of some liquid out from the hole, and jostling of the cup can cause liquid to splash or spill through such a hole or flap.
  • [0009]
    A drainage well is sometimes provided in a disposable lid so that small amounts of liquid that do spill or splash inadvertently from the drinking hole (or through a vent hole) will pool in a designated region of the lid and drain back into the cup. However, such drainage wells are typically shallow, and are only effective if the cup is maintained in a near-vertical orientation. In certain situations, jostling may even cause liquid to splash or spill out of the drainage well before it has drained back into the cup.
  • [0010]
    A drinking hole is sometimes placed at the top of a raised spout, so as to reduce the likelihood that liquid will spill or splash from the drinking hole. However, since the drinking hole is in the direct path of a beverage splash, liquid is still able to splash through the drinking hole if the cup is shaken or jostled with sufficient force, for example if the beverage is being consumed while traveling in a vehicle and the vehicle drives over a pot hole or other uneven feature in the road, or is forced to brake or maneuver suddenly.
  • [0011]
    Various types of lids with closable drinking holes and/or spouts have been proposed and/or are in use. Some provide a rotatable second piece that can seal the drinking hole, while others provide a tethered cap or plug that can be used to seal the drinking hole. However, these approaches only provide protection from spilling and splashing when the drinking hole is closed or blocked, and do not naturally inhibit spilling and splashing when open. Furthermore, when the drinking hole is closed or blocked it also prevents a user from consuming the beverage. In addition, these lids tend to be multi-piece constructions and may be generally too expensive to be practical for a disposable lid, or at least may be too cumbersome to use, as they require a user to plug and unplug the drinking hole manually each time a portion of beverage is to be consumed.
  • [0012]
    Another approach is to provide a separate insert that can be placed either on a cup or underneath a lid, the separate insert having fluid passages that are not aligned with the drinking and vent openings in the lid, thereby preventing straight-line travel by splashed, airborne droplets from the cup interior through a lid opening, and forcing the beverage to flow through a convoluted path before exiting through the lid. However, providing and installing a separate insert in addition to a lid is inconvenient and costly as compared to using a one-piece lid, and therefore tends to be impractical for disposable lids. Also, separate inserts can become dislodged or can shift in position, and can therefore be unreliable. This is true even if the insert is loosely attached to the lid or separately attached to the rim of the cup.
  • [0013]
    What is needed, therefore, is a disposable, one-piece lid for use with a drinking cup that enables drinking of a beverage without requiring separation of the lid from the drinking cup, while also inherently inhibiting or at least minimizing inadvertent spilling and splashing of the beverage from the cup without requiring deployment of manual plugs or blocking devices.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0014]
    A one-piece disposable lid is claimed that includes structural features which enable drinking from a drinking cup while also inherently inhibiting splashing and spilling of the beverage from the drinking cup without requiring deployment of manual plugs or blocking devices. Spilling and splashing are inhibited by blocking straight-line paths that could be traversed by splashed, airborne droplets so as to escape through openings in the lid and by providing a dispensing well which allows any modest quantities of beverage received or remaining into the dispensing well to be drained back into the cup when the cup is held or returned to a near upright position.
  • [0015]
    In some embodiments, a drinking spout is included, the drinking spout comprising a dispensing well with at least one well penetration or opening for allowing fluid communication between the cup interior and the dispensing well. The well penetration allows transferring of beverage from the cup interior to the dispensing well for allowing a person to sip or consume the beverage by placing their lips around the drinking spout. The direction of fluid or beverage entry, through the well penetration, into the dispensing well from the cup interior is substantially orthogonal to the direction of beverage exit from the dispensing well for consumption of the beverage. Splashing droplets are thereby prevented from straight-line travel out of the spout, since beverage must enter the well in a direction substantially orthagonal to the central axis of the cup and then be dispensed in a direction substantially parallel to the central axis of the cup.
  • [0016]
    In other embodiments, the lid is elevated above the top of the cup, and a section of the lid slopes downward and intersects a raised rim wall so as to create a dispensing well therebetween. A well penetration is provided either in the sloping section or the inner wall of the raised rim, and is configured so that no straight-line path is provided from the interior of the cup into the dispensing well. In some of these embodiments, the well penetration is formed by depressing part of a split, convex bubble so as to form an opening through which a beverage can travel horizontally. In certain of these embodiment a part of the convex bubble is configured to be deformable by a user's lip so as to create the drink-through opening and allowing beverage to pass therethrough. In other embodiments, the opening is formed by an upwardly hinged flap, the flap remaining above the opening so as to intercept any splashed droplets that somehow manage to exit through the opening.
  • [0017]
    Certain embodiments include baffles and/or other structures that force a beverage to flow through a convoluted path before being consumed. In some of these embodiments the baffles are formed in place, while in other of these embodiments the baffles are formed by hinged movement of flaps after forming of the lid. In various embodiments, the baffles form one or more chambers through which the beverage must flow before it can be consumed.
  • [0018]
    Embodiments of the present invention include textures and/or protruding structures on one or more surfaces of the lid, so as to direct fluid flow across one or more surfaces, intercept splashed and/or rapidly flowing beverage, and/or enhance or retard retention of fluid due to surface tension.
  • [0019]
    Various embodiments include one or more vent holes that permit air to enter the cup and equalize the internal pressure as a beverage is consumed. In some of these embodiments, the vent holes are surrounded by vent wells, and in certain of these embodiments the vent holes are structured so as to minimize splashing by blocking straight-line passage of droplets from the cup interior through the vent holes. In some of these embodiments a plurality of vent holes is provided, which are initially sealed by blockages that can be removed by a user, and in some of these embodiments the plurality of vent holes includes vent holes of different sizes. These embodiments enable a user to select how many and/or which vent holes to open, so as to control the maximum rate at which a beverage can flow from the cup. In still other embodiments, at least one vent hole is located near the dispensing well, so that tipping of the cup from vertical beyond a certain angle will cause the beverage in the cup to block the vent hole, thereby minimizing the rate of beverage spillage.
  • [0020]
    One general aspect of the present invention is a one-piece lid for use with a drinking vessel. The one-piece lid includes a peripheral rim configured for engaging with said drinking vessel, a raised lid portion extending vertically from said peripheral rim, a dispensing well descending from the raised lid portion, said raised lid portion and said dispensing well being configured for allowing consumption of a beverage contained within an interior of said drinking vessel, and at least one well penetration that provides fluid communication between an interior of said drinking vessel and the dispensing well, the well penetration being configured for inhibiting straight-line paths between the interior of the drinking vessel and the dispensing well and thereby inhibiting at least one of spilling and splashing of said beverage contained within the interior of said drinking vessel.
  • [0021]
    Embodiments further include a drinking spout wherein the dispensing well is formed within the drinking spout, thereby causing beverage flowing through the well penetration and into the dispensing well to be drinkable from the drinking spout. In some embodiments the dispensing well is configured for allowing beverage contained within the dispensing well to flow through the well penetration and drain back into the interior of the drinking vessel when the drinking vessel is held in a generally upright orientation. In other embodiments the dispensing well includes a plurality of side walls and a bottom, and wherein the well penetration is formed in at least one of the side walls amongst said plurality of side walls of the dispensing well.
  • [0022]
    In various embodiments the dispensing well includes a bottom and at least one sidewall, and the well penetration is formed by a vertical gap between the bottom and at least one of said side walls. In certain embodiments the dispensing well is formed by side walls, a first bottom tier, and a second bottom tier, the well penetration being formed by a vertical gap between said first bottom tier and said second bottom tier.
  • [0023]
    In some embodiments the dispensing well is formed by side walls and a bottom, and at least a portion of the bottom is inclined toward the well penetration, thereby allowing beverage contained in the dispensing well to drain back through the well penetration into the interior of the drinking vessel when the drinking vessel is returned to a generally upright orientation. In other embodiments the dispensing well comprises a plurality of well penetrations, each of the well penetrations providing fluid communication between the interior of the drinking vessel and the dispensing well. And certain embodiments further include a splash guard descending from the raised lid portion toward the interior of the drinking vessel and surrounding the dispensing well.
  • [0024]
    Various embodiments further include at least one fluid baffle positioned underneath the dispensing well and configured to deflect beverage splashing from the interior of the drinking vessel and requiring the beverage to move through a convoluted path when flowing from the interior of the drinking vessel to the dispensing well. In some of these embodiments said at least one fluid baffle comprises a hinged flap, said hinged flap being rotatable about a living hinge. In other of these embodiments, said at least one fluid baffle comprises a hinge flap and a stop ridge, said hinge flap being rotatable about a living hinge and configured for engaging with said stop ridge.
  • [0025]
    In certain embodiments the dispensing well is formed by an intersection between a downward sloping section of the raised lid portion and a raised drinking rim. In some of these embodiments the well penetration is formed by a hinged flap formed in an inner wall of the raised drinking rim. In other of these embodiments said downward sloping section comprises a split, convex bubble, and said well penetration is created by depressing a first portion of said split, convex bubble into a concave configuration thereby creating an opening between said first concave bubble portion and an adjacent second convex bubble portion. In some of these embodiments a reinforcing structure is provided such said second convex bubble portion is resistant to depression compared to said first concave bubble portion. And in other of these embodiments said first portion of said split, convex bubble is depressible by a lip of a user while drinking from said dispensing well.
  • [0026]
    Certain embodiments further include a vent hole providing air communication between the interior of the drinking vessel and air exterior to the lid. Some of these embodiments further include a vent well cooperative with the vent hole and configured for collection of escaped beverage and allowing said escaped beverage to flow back into the interior of the drinking vessel. In other of these embodiments the vent hole is configured to inhibit straight-line paths from the interior of the drinking vessel through the vent hole. Various of these embodiments further include a plurality of sealed vent holes, said sealed vent holes being openable for regulating beverage flow from the dispensing well. And in some of these embodiments said plurality of sealed vent holes includes a plurality of vent hole sizes. In various embodiments that further include a vent hole, the vent hole is located proximal to the dispensing well for allowing blockage of the vent hole by beverage when the drinking vessel is tipped to a near horizontal orientation, thereby inhibiting beverage flow from the dispensing well.
  • [0027]
    In certain embodiments at least one surface of the lid includes at least one of a texture and a protruding structure configured to influence flow of beverage across said at least one surface. In some embodiments said lid is constructed from at least one of paper, plastic, thermoplastic resin, foam, a laminated material, a compostable resin, and a biodegradable material. In other embodiments said lid is manufactured by one of thermoforming, injection molding, compression molding, vacuum forming, pressure forming, and hydro forming. In various embodiments said lid is injection molded from a suitable grade of polypropylene resin. And in certain embodiments said lid is disposable.
  • [0028]
    In various embodiments said well penetration is in the form of an opening disposed in a plane approximately parallel to an upright axis of the cup. Other embodiments further include a drink-through opening in said raised lid portion. And in some of these embodiments said drink-through opening is one of circular, rectangular, oval, and semi-circular.
  • [0029]
    In certain embodiments the dispensing well and well penetration are configured to inhibit entry of solid particulates from the drinking vessel into the dispensing well. And in other embodiments said beverage is a drinkable fluid including one of tea, coffee, soup, shake, juice, and milk.
  • [0030]
    Another general aspect of the present invention is a splash resistant lid for a drink cup. The splash resistant lid includes a peripheral rim adapted for engaging with said drink cup, a raised portion extending upwardly from said peripheral rim, and a dispensing well disposed in said raised portion, said dispensing well comprising a drink-through opening, a bottom wall and a peripheral sidewall connected to said bottom wall,
  • [0031]
    said dispensing well featuring at least one inlet opening disposed proximate to an edge of said bottom wall, said inlet opening being adapted for receiving a beverage from said drink cup and transferring it to said drink-through opening, said dispensing well being adapted for drinking said beverage therethrough, and
  • [0032]
    said inlet opening being disposed in a plane substantially orthogonal to said drink-through opening and thereby inhibiting straight line paths between an interior of said drink cup and said drink-through opening.
  • [0033]
    In some embodiments said bottom wall comprises at least one inclined section, said inclined section having an underside, said underside being adapted to deflect any splashes and block them from entering said drink-through opening. In other embodiments said bottom wall comprises at least one inclined section, said inclined section having a topside, said topside being adapted to drain back any splashes to said interior of said drink cup through said inlet opening.
  • [0034]
    In certain embodiments said lid is injection molded, and in various embodiments said lid is made from polypropylene resin.
  • [0035]
    In some embodiments said raised portion includes a drinking spout and forms a one piece construction. Other embodiments further include at least one splash guard descending from said raised portion towards the interior of said drink cup. Certain embodiments further include a fluid baffle positioned underneath said dispensing well. And in some of these embodiments said fluid baffle is rotatable about a living hinge.
  • [0036]
    The features and advantages described herein are not all-inclusive and, in particular, many additional features and advantages will be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art in view of the drawings, specification, and claims. Moreover, it should be noted that the language used in the specification has been principally selected for readability and instructional purposes, and not to limit the scope of the inventive subject matter.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0037]
    FIG. 1A is a cross sectional perspective view of an embodiment that includes a central vent hole with a surrounding vent well and a drinking spout containing a dispensing well having a sloped bottom with a vertical gap open to the cup interior along one edge of the sloped bottom;
  • [0038]
    FIG. 1B is a close-up illustration of the spout and dispensing well portion of FIG. 1A;
  • [0039]
    FIG. 1C is a close-up illustration of the spout and dispensing well portion of an embodiment similar to FIG. 1B, but having a well bottom that is centrally divided into two offset horizontal halves with a vertical gap therebetween that is open to the cup interior;
  • [0040]
    FIG. 1D is a close-up illustration of the spout and dispensing well portion of an embodiment similar to FIG. 1C, but having a well bottom that is centrally divided into two offset halves that slope towards each other with a vertical gap therebetween;
  • [0041]
    FIG. 1E is a close-up illustration of the spout and dispensing well portion of an embodiment similar to FIG. 1D, but having a well bottom that is centrally divided into two halves that slope away from each other toward vertical gaps at their edges, the sloped bottom halves including surface structures that encourage drainage toward the vertical gaps;
  • [0042]
    FIG. 1F is a close-up illustration of the spout and dispensing well portion of an embodiment similar to FIG. 1B, but having a dispensing well bottom that is horizontal and dispensing well walls that include a plurality of vertical penetrations through which beverage can flow into and out of the dispensing well, the dispensing well being surrounded by a splash guard within the drinking spout that prevents laterally moving beverage from directly flowing through the penetrations and into the dispensing well;
  • [0043]
    FIG. 1G is a close-up illustration of the spout and dispensing well portion of an embodiment similar to FIG. 1F, but having a well bottom that is formed by a horizontal baffle extending beyond the dispensing well to the inner walls of the spout;
  • [0044]
    FIG. 2A is a perspective view of a disposable lid that includes a raised upper portion having a section that is ramped downward toward a raised drinking rim so as to form a dispensing well therebetween, a split bubble being included in the sloping section, both halves of the split bubble being convexly configured so as to close the split between them, a plurality of vent holes being provided in separate vent hole draining wells, the vent holes being configured with split offset openings so as to inhibit splashing of beverage therethrough;
  • [0045]
    FIG. 2B is a perspective view of the disposable lid of FIG. 2A wherein one half of the split bubble has been depressed into a concave configuration, creating thereby a vertical opening between the two halves of the split bubble;
  • [0046]
    FIG. 2C is a perspective cross sectional view of the embodiment of FIG. 2B;
  • [0047]
    FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an embodiment similar to FIG. 2A, but including a vertical well penetration formed in the inner wall of the drinking rim by an upwardly hinged flap, the flap being positioned to intercept splashed droplets that somehow travel through the vertical penetration, a pair of vent holes also being included near the penetration;
  • [0048]
    FIG. 4A is a cross-section profile through an embodiment similar to FIG. 1A, but including an internal hinged flap and stop ridge, the hinged flap being hingedly rotatable about a living hinge so as to engage with the stop ridge and thereby form a baffle within the drinking spout;
  • [0049]
    FIG. 4B is a cross-sectional profile through the embodiment of FIG. 4A, showing the hinged flap engaged with the stop ridge so as to form the baffle within the drinking spout;
  • [0050]
    FIG. 4C is a perspective view from above of the embodiment of FIG. 4A, indicating the location of the living hinge;
  • [0051]
    FIG. 4D is a perspective view from below of the embodiment of FIG. 4A, showing the hinged flap engaged with the stop ridge so as to form the baffle below the dispensing well in the drinking spout;
  • [0052]
    FIG. 5A is a cross-sectional profile through the drinking spout portion of an embodiment similar to FIG. 4A, but including two offset hinged flaps attached by living hinges to opposing inner sides of the drinking spout and two corresponding stop ridges;
  • [0053]
    FIG. 5B is a cross sectional profile of the embodiment of FIG. 5A, showing both of the hinged flaps engaged with the corresponding stop ridges so as to form a pair of vertically offset horizontal baffles within the drinking spout;
  • [0054]
    FIG. 6A is a perspective view from above of an embodiment similar to FIG. 5A, but including three hinged flaps offset vertically and circumferentially about the lid and attached alternately to the inner and outer sides of the drinking spout;
  • [0055]
    FIG. 6B is a perspective view of the embodiment of FIG. 6A from below, showing the three hinged flaps engaged with corresponding stop ridges so as to form overlapping baffles below the dispensing well of the drinking spout;
  • [0056]
    FIG. 6C is a simplified diagram showing the relative horizontal and vertical offsets of the hinged flaps of FIG. 6B;
  • [0057]
    FIG. 7A is a perspective view of an embodiment similar to FIG. 6A, but wherein the hinged flaps include angled edges and protruding portions; and
  • [0058]
    FIG. 7B is a simplified diagram showing the relative positioning and offsets of the hinged flaps of FIG. 7A, and indicating how the angled edges and protruding portions cause the flaps to form a single, multi-level baffle with flow-directing surface features.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • [0059]
    The present invention is generally directed towards one-piece lids that engage with a drinking cup or a similar vessel and allow a user to drink therefrom while naturally inhibiting splashing and spilling of beverage from the drinking vessel. As noted elsewhere, the lid constructions according to various embodiments of the invention offer particular utility for disposable drinking cups which are typically used for holding cold and hot beverages and are generally constructed from paper, plastic or foam materials. The drinking spout and dispensing well constructions in accordance with various embodiments of the invention can be utilized for consuming all kinds of hot and cold beverages including, coffee, tea, soup, shakes, frappes, and slush drinks. According to still other embodiments of the invention the lid spout and dispensing well constructions can be used for dispensing fluid materials including dressing, vinegar, coffee cream etc. According to still other embodiments of the invention the dispensing well construction can be adapted for sprinkling salt, pepper, spices and/or other granular or powdered substances. Accordingly, the following description of specific embodiments, in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, is offered as illustrative of the invention, and should not be regarded as restricting the scope of the invention.
  • [0060]
    With reference to FIG. 1A, there is shown a cut-away perspective view of a one-piece disposable lid 100 according to an embodiment of the present invention. Lid 100 is adapted to engage with and fit onto a drinking cup (not shown). Lid 100 has an outer side 30 and an underside 40. The outer side 30 of lid 100 is intended to be on the outside when lid 100 is fitted on the drinking cup in the intended manner of use for consuming a beverage therefrom. Underside 40 of lid 100 is the side that is towards the cup when lid 100 is placed on the cup in the intended manner. Note that herein the term “cup” is used generically to refer to all types of vessels or containers from which a beverage may be consumed and/or dispensed.
  • [0061]
    Lid 100 is formed by a single piece construction and can be manufactured using a variety of methods and materials. According to various embodiments of the invention the lid can be constructed from a plastic material, a paper substrate, a biodegradable material, a compostable material, or a combination of heterogeneous materials including at least one of paper, plastic, and foam materials or from mixtures thereof. According to other embodiments of the present invention the lid can be molded, formed, pressed, fabricated, or shaped utilizing a variety of processing methods and manufacturing techniques. According to a specific embodiment of the invention the lid 100 can be injection molded from a suitable plastic material. According to another embodiment of the invention the lid 100 can be made of polypropylene or similar thermoplastic resins. According to still other embodiments of the invention lid 100 can be thermoformed or compression molded.
  • [0062]
    Lid 100 includes structural features 102, 104 which allow a beverage contained in a drinking cup to be drunk through the lid 100; and which also inhibit splashing and spilling of the beverage from the drinking cup through the lid 100 without requiring closing or capping of a lid opening. Spilling and splashing are inhibited by substantially blocking or obstructing straight-line paths that could be traversed from the cup interior through openings in the lid 100 by splashed, airborne droplets or fluid masses; and by providing a dispensing well 104 which allows modest quantities of beverage which may reach the dispensing well inadvertently, due to movement or sudden acceleration or deceleration of the drinking cup, to be drained back into the drinking cup. In some embodiments, the dispensing well 104 is able to contain at least 0.25 ml of beverage when the drinking vessel is tipped from vertical by not more than 45 degrees.
  • [0063]
    Lid 100 comprises an outer peripheral portion 50, an interim annular portion 60 raised above outer peripheral portion 50, and a central body portion 70.
  • [0064]
    Outer peripheral portion 50 of lid 100 is adapted for engaging with the drinking cup, and underside 40 has an underside peripheral channel 54 which typically has a C-shaped or U-shaped cross-section and which is adapted to grip and receive a drinking cup lip therein, and thereby form a leak-tight seal between the respective perimeters of lid 100 and the drinking cup adapted for use therewith. The drinking cup lip may comprise a rolled-lip or bead-like configuration. Alternately, the cup lip may be in the form of a turned-down lip or other similar configuration as is well known to those skilled in the art.
  • [0065]
    Outer peripheral portion 50 of lid 100 also has a peripheral skirt 52 which extends downwardly from the underside peripheral channel 54 and flares outwardly therefrom. Peripheral skirt 52 facilitates a good lid-fit by centering and guiding the drinking cup lip within peripheral channel 54 when lid 100 is pushed downwardly against the cup lip for securely snapping lid 100 onto the cup.
  • [0066]
    Interim annular portion 60 comprises an outer sidewall 61, a top wall 62 and an inner sidewall 63. Underside peripheral channel 54 is connected to outer sidewall 61 and defines a peripheral recess 56 therebetween; peripheral recess 56 is disposed on the outer side 30 of lid 100. Interim annular portion 60 extends upwardly from the inward edge of peripheral recess 56 along outer sidewall 61 which connects with a top wall portion 62 and slopes downwardly along inner sidewall 63 and circumscribes central body portion 70 of lid 100. Outer sidewall 61, top wall 62 and inner sidewall 63 cooperate to form a raised frontal section or drinking spout 102 and ramp down on either side of the raised frontal section or drinking spout 102. Interim annular portion 60 is generally shaped so as to minimize incidental contact of the lid with a consumer's nose and upper lip during consumption of a beverage. Drinking spout 102 is shaped for allowing consumption of the beverage without requiring a consumer to excessively tilt his or her head backwards as the cup approaches the final sips, thereby avoiding line-of-sight impediment.
  • [0067]
    The inner sidewall 63 of the interim annual portion 60 is connected to the central body portion 70 of lid 100 via mid wall 72. Mid wall 72 may also include a vent hole 110. Vent hole 110 is adapted for maintaining pressure equilibrium between the interior of the lidded cup and the surroundings thus allowing the user to comfortably drink from the cup. Vent hole 110 may further serve as a drain hole for any excess beverage that accidentally overflows on the top of central body portion 70. While the vent hole 110 is shown to be centrally located in FIG. 1A, it will be realized that in similar embodiments the vent hole 110 is located elsewhere on the lid 100. In the embodiment of FIG. 1A, the centrally located vent hole 110 is surrounded by a collecting well 106 that can collect small amounts of leaked beverage or overflow and allow the beverage to drain back through the vent hole 110 and into the cup.
  • [0068]
    Drinking spout 102 includes a beverage dispensing well 104 located in the top wall 62. The raised frontal section or drinking spout 102 and the width of the top wall 62 in the frontal section of lid 100 are adapted and dimensioned for positioning the raised frontal section or drinking spout 102 between a person's lips for drinking comfortably therethrough. During use, the outer sidewall 61 is adapted for touching the person's bottom lip while the inner sidewall 63 is adapted for touching the upper lip of the person.
  • [0069]
    According to other embodiments of the invention, the location of drinking spout 102 is adapted for regulating the quantity of beverage dispensed therefrom while sipping, and/or the vent hole is located proximate to the drinking spout 102 for preventing spillage therethrough when, for example, the cup is accidentally knocked over sideways. Thus the flow of beverage that is dosed out of the dispensing well 104 is regulated by the differential in air pressure inside the cup vs. air pressure of the surroundings since, when the vent hole 110 becomes plugged by beverage, no additional beverage can issue out of the spout 102 until the user puts the cup down and allows re-equilibration of air pressure between the inside of the cup and the surroundings. This is particularly helpful when the beverage inside the cup is hot and an inadvertently large sip can burn a consumer's mouth.
  • [0070]
    The construction of the drinking spout 102 is shown in FIG. 1B. The beverage dispensing well 104 has downwardly projecting peripheral walls comprising a front wall 82; a pair of downwardly projecting sidewalls 112 (only one sidewall is visible in the cutaway view shown in FIG. 1B); a downwardly projecting back wall 83; and an inclined bottom wall 114. Back wall 83 is shown with a side opening 116 located adjacent to the lower edge of the bottom wall 114 which is adapted for allowing beverage from the cup to be fed to the dispensing well 104 thereby forming a drink-through opening defined by the dispensing well walls and the upper peripheral edge 86 of the well 104. Arrow 90 represents the flow of the beverage from side opening 116 to the upper peripheral edge 86 of the well 106 when the cup-lid assembly is tilted by a person for consuming the beverage. Opening 116 lies in a plane that is substantially vertical and parallel to the upright cup axis.
  • [0071]
    The positioning and orientation of the opening 116 in cooperation with the depth and configuration of the dispensing well 104 inhibit splashed beverage from becoming airborne and escaping from the drinking spout. If a small amount of beverage from the cup inadvertently and unintentionally passes through the opening 116, for example due to tipping, shaking, or jostling of the cup, the liquid will remain in the dispensing well 104 and drain back through the opening 116 into the cup.
  • [0072]
    In the embodiments shown herein, all the features and wall members are integral to the lid 100 and hence allow lid 100 to be molded, formed or manufactured as a one piece structure. It will be realized that various modifications of this concept can be made by manipulating the angle of inclination of bottom wall 114, or providing a plurality of openings in any of the wall portions defined by pair of sidewalls 112, front wall 82 and back wall 83.
  • [0073]
    According to another embodiment of the invention (not shown) the inclination of the bottom wall 114 is reversed and instead of having an inclination towards the back wall 83, as shown in FIG. 1B bottom wall 114 is tilted towards front wall 82 and the side opening 116 for transferring beverage is provided in the front wall 82.
  • [0074]
    In yet another embodiment the openings are provided in the pair of sidewalls 112 and the bottom wall 114 comprises two inclined portions one inclined towards one sidewall and the other inclined towards another sidewall. Thus, the specific inclination of bottom wall 114 or the location of the side opening 116 is shown in FIG. 1B by way of illustration, and is not intended as a limitation of the invention.
  • [0075]
    According to a specific embodiment of the invention, lid 100 is made of a suitable thermoplastic material which can be processed by common polymer processing methods known in the art. The choice of a thermoplastic resin is typically governed by a variety of factors including cost, resin processability, and other functional requirements of the plastic part. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, lid 100 is injection molded from a suitable grade of polypropylene resin. However, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that lid 100 can be adapted for manufacture by other known methods of processing plastics, including thermoforming, vacuum forming, pressure forming, and compression molding. Lid 100 can also be constructed from a suitable material such as foam, coated paper, or paper/plastic laminates suitable for handling the conditions of use and the temperatures typically employed while serving hot and cold beverages.
  • [0076]
    Although, some variations in the shown embodiment have been discussed above, numerous other embodiments are possible and within the scope of the invention.
  • [0077]
    FIG. 1C shows an enlarged cutaway view of the spout portion according to another embodiment of the invention wherein the lid parts bear the same reference numerals as in FIG. 1B. Dispensing well 104 has a downwardly projecting front wall 82; a pair of downwardly projecting sidewalls 112 (only one sidewall is visible in the cutaway view shown in FIG. 1C); a downwardly projecting back wall 83; a first tier bottom wall 114A and a second tier bottom wall 114B. A vertical opening 116 is disposed between first tier bottom wall 114A and second tier bottom wall 114B. Vertical opening 116 is adapted for allowing beverage from the cup to be fed to the dispensing well 104, thereby forming a drink-through opening defined by the dispensing well walls and the upper peripheral edge 86 of the dispensing well 104. Arrow 90 represents the flow of the beverage from vertical opening 116 to the upper peripheral edge 86 of the dispensing well 104 when the cup-lid assembly is tilted by a person for consuming the beverage.
  • [0078]
    FIG. 1D shows an enlarged cutaway view of the dispensing well portion 102 according to yet another embodiment of the invention wherein the lid parts bear the same reference numerals as FIGS. 1B and 1C. Dispensing well 104 has a downwardly projecting front wall 82; a pair of downwardly projecting well sidewalls 112 (only one well sidewall is visible in the cutaway view shown in FIG. 4); a downwardly projecting well back wall 83; and a first tier well bottom wall 114A and a second tier well bottom wall 114B. A vertical opening 116 is disposed between first tier bottom wall 114A and second tier bottom wall 114B. Vertical opening 116 is adapted for allowing beverage from the cup to be fed to the well 104 thereby forming a drink-through opening defined by the well walls and the upper peripheral edge 86 of the dispensing well 104. The first and second tier bottom walls 114A and 114B are inclined towards the vertical opening 116 so as to allow any excess beverage to drain back into the cup. Arrow 90 represents the flow of the beverage from vertical opening 116 to the upper peripheral edge 86 of the well 104 when the cup-lid assembly is tilted by a person for consuming the beverage.
  • [0079]
    FIG. 1E shows an enlarged cutaway view of the drinking spout portion 102 according to still another embodiment of the invention wherein the lid parts bear the same reference numerals as FIGS. 1B through 1D. Well 104 has a downwardly projecting well front wall 82; a pair of downwardly projecting well sidewalls 112 (only one well sidewall is visible in the cutaway view shown in FIG. 1E); a downwardly projecting well back wall 83; and a first inclined well bottom wall 114A and a second inclined well bottom wall 114B. A first side opening 116A is provided in the well back wall 83. A second side opening 116B is provided in the well front wall 82. First side opening 116A and second side opening 116B are adapted for allowing beverage from the cup to be fed to the well 104 thereby forming a drink-through opening defined by the well walls and the upper peripheral edge 86 of the well 104. The first and second inclined well bottom walls 114A and 114B are inclined towards the openings 116A and 116B, respectively so as to allow any excess beverage to drain back into the cup. Arrows 90A and 90B represent the respective flows of the beverage from side openings 116A and 116B to the upper peripheral edge 86 of the well 104 when the cup-lid assembly is tilted by a person for consuming the beverage.
  • [0080]
    In the embodiment of FIG. 1E, surface structures 118 are included on the top surfaces of bottom walls 114A, 114B, so as to guide and encourage beverage to flow back into the cup if it is inadvertently splashed or spilled into the dispensing well 104.
  • [0081]
    Different fluids have different viscosities and different surface tension and/or wetting characteristics. Accordingly, some embodiments of the present invention include textures, baffles, and/or other structural features 118 on various surfaces so as to intercept splashed droplets or rapidly flowing beverage, direct beverage flow, and/or promote or inhibit surface tension and flow properties of beverage on the surfaces. Furthermore, it will be appreciated by skilled artisans that the depth of the dispensing well 104 and the size of the side opening 116 can be optimized with respect to viscosity and fluid properties of a typical beverage so as to control the amount of beverage that is likely to be splashed into the dispensing well when the drink cup is jostled the speed with which the beverage can be drained back into the cup, and the amount of beverage that can be spilled through the opening 116 without overflowing the dispensing well 104. For example, on one hand a deeper well 104 and a relatively small opening 116 may be desirable to provide superior spill and splash resistance, however, a small opening 116 may also interferes with the rate of dispensing and a drainage back into the cup and may adversely affect ease of drinking.
  • [0082]
    FIG. 1F illustrates the spout portion of yet another embodiment of the present invention. In this embodiment, the dispensing well 104 has a flat bottom 114 surrounded by walls that are penetrated by a plurality of vertical openings 116. The number and sizes of the openings are selected in various embodiments so as to provide a desired rate of flow during drinking, while intercepting and breaking up most splashed airborne droplets that might somehow strike the openings. The inhibition of splashing in this embodiment is further enhanced by a splash-guarding baffle 120 within the drinking spout 102 that surrounds the outside of the dispensing well 104. The splash-guarding baffle 120 is configured for blocking direct access to openings 116, and so as to require a beverage to flow vertically through a narrow space between the baffle 120 and the well 104 before changing directions and flowing horizontally through the openings into the dispensing well 104.
  • [0083]
    In various embodiments, the sizes and numbers of the openings 116, as well as the complexity of the path through which a beverage must flow before entering the dispensing well 104, result in a short delay between tipping of the cup and effluence of the beverage, thereby providing an opportunity to prevent, or at least to limit, spilling of the beverage if the cup is accidentally overturned by quickly returning the cup to an upright orientation. Space between the dispensing well 104 and the inner walls of the drinking spout 102 also allows any particulates contained in the beverage, such as coffee grounds or tea leaves, to be collected and prevented from flowing out of the cup with the beverage.
  • [0084]
    FIG. 1G illustrates an embodiment wherein the bottom of the dispensing well 104 is formed by a baffle 114 that extends beyond the dispensing well 104 to the inner surfaces of the walls of the drinking spout 102. This creates secondary openings 122 through which the beverage must flow before passing through the primary openings 116 and into the dispensing well. Note that in this embodiment beverage must flow in three orthogonal directions before emerging from the cup. First, the beverage must flow circumferentially through a secondary opening 122 so as to reach the upper surface of the baffle 114. Then the fluid must flow radially through a primary opening 116 into the dispensing well 104. Finally, the fluid must flow vertically (i.e. axially) so as to emerge out of the dispensing well 104.
  • [0085]
    FIG. 2A is a perspective view of an embodiment in which the lid 200 includes a raised portion 202, a section of which 204 slopes downward toward a raised drinking rim 206 so as to form therebetween a dispensing well. The raised portion 202 includes a plurality of vent holes 208, each surrounded by a separate vent well 210 that is able to collect small amounts of spilled beverage and allow it to drain back into the cup. In some embodiments, the vent holes 208 are positioned relative to the dispensing well so as to maximize delivery to the nose of a consumer of aroma from the beverage contained within the cup.
  • [0086]
    The sloping section 204 of the lid 200 has formed therein a convex bubble that is split into two halves 212A, 212B. When both of the bubble halves 212A, 212B are in a convex configuration, as shown in FIG. 2A, the edges of the two halves 212A, 212B meet, and beverage is inhibited from passing therebetween.
  • [0087]
    As illustrated in FIG. 2B, when one half 212A of the bubble is pressed into a concave configuration, for example when a user presses on the upper half 212A of the bubble so as to begin consuming the beverage, a substantially vertical opening is formed between the two bubble halves 212A, 212B, through which the beverage can pass when the cup is tipped so as to flow into the dispensing well adjacent to the drinking rim 206 and thereby be available for drinking. The configuration of the opening between the bubble halves 212A, 212B requires the beverage to flow in a substantially horizontal direction so as to pass through the opening. This configuration tends to inhibit passage of splashed, airborne droplets through the opening, since the splashed droplets would tend to strike the lid 200 while traveling in a vertical direction. By enabling a user to press on a portion of the split bubble, and thereby open the passage for beverage to flow into the dispensing well, the embodiment of FIG. 2B thereby tends to shift liability for use of the invention from a supplier to a user.
  • [0088]
    According to some embodiments of the invention, bubble half 212A is configured to undergo deformation against slight pressure exerted by a user's upper lip while the user is drinking therefrom, thereby obviating the need for pre-depressing the bubble half 212A.
  • [0089]
    FIG. 2C is a cross-sectional illustration of the embodiment of FIG. 2B. Note that the vent holes 208 also include a split-bubble configuration that tends to prevent splashing of beverage through the vent holes 208. Note also that the embodiment of FIG. 2C includes a stiffening feature 214 applied to the underside of the bubble half 212B that prevents a user from inadvertently depressing the bubble half 212B.
  • [0090]
    FIG. 3 is a perspective view of lid 300 according to an embodiment of the invention similar to FIG. 2A, but including an upwardly hinged flap 302 that forms an opening in the inner wall of the drinking rim 206. The opening is configured so as to require a beverage to flow horizontally through the opening. This configuration inhibits passage of splashed, airborne droplets through the opening, since the splashed droplets would tend to strike the lid 300 while traveling vertically. In addition, the upwardly hinged flap 302 is positioned so as to intercept any airborne droplets that somehow manage to fly through the opening.
  • [0091]
    FIG. 4A is a cross-section profile through lid 400 which is similar to the embodiment shown in FIG. 1A, but additionally includes an upwardly hinged flap 402 attached by a “living hinge” 406 to an inner wall of the spout 102. The embodiment 400 also includes a stop ridge 404 located opposite the living hinge 406 on the opposing inner wall of the drinking spout 102. The hinged flap 402 is hingedly rotatable about the living hinge 406 so as to engage with the stop ridge 404 and form thereby a horizontal baffle within the drinking spout 102 and below the dispensing well 104.
  • [0092]
    FIG. 4B shows lid 400 with the hinged flap 402 engaged with the stop ridge 404 so as to form the baffle 402 below the dispensing well 104 within the drinking spout 102. The horizontal baffle 402 thereby requires the beverage to flow through a convoluted path before entering the dispensing well 104. Specifically, in the embodiment shown in FIG. 4B, any beverage splashed in the vertical direction is deflected by the underside of the hinged flap 402, and the beverage must first reach the region above the top surface of the hinged flap 402, and then splash up and sideways into the dispensing well 104, before emerging vertically from the dispensing well 104.
  • [0093]
    FIG. 4C is a perspective view from above of lid 400 of FIG. 4A, indicating the location of the living hinge 406 that attaches the hinged flap 402 to the inner wall of the drinking spout 102. FIG. 4D is a perspective view from below of the embodiment of FIG. 4A, showing the hinged flap 402 engaged with the stop ridge 404 so as to form the baffle below the dispensing well 104 in the drinking spout 102.
  • [0094]
    FIG. 5A is a cross-sectional profile through the drinking spout portion of lid 500, according to an embodiment similar to FIG. 4A, but including two hinged flaps 502, 504 attached by living hinges 506, 508 to opposing inner sides of the drinking spout 102, the living hinges 506, 508 being vertically offset from each other. Two corresponding stop ridges 510, 512 are included on the inner walls of the drinking spout 102, with one stop ridge 510 located opposite the upper living hinge 502, and the other stop ridge 512 located opposite to the lower living hinge 504.
  • [0095]
    FIG. 5B is a cross sectional profile of the embodiment of FIG. 5A, showing both of the hinged flaps 502, 504 engaged with the corresponding stop ridges 510, 512 so as to form a pair of vertically offset baffles 502, 504 within the drinking spout 102. The flaps 502, 504 are configured so that when the flaps 502, 504 are engaged with the stop ridges 510, 512, one side of each flap 502, 504 is flush with a side of the drinking spout 102, the two flaps 502, 504 being flush with opposing sides of the drinking spout 102, so as to force the beverage to flow up one side of the drinking spout 102, across the first flap 504, up the other side of the drinking spout 102, and across the other flap 502 before entering the dispensing well 104.
  • [0096]
    FIGS. 6A and 6B are perspective views from above and from below respectively of lid 600 according to an embodiment similar to the embodiment of FIG. 5A, but including three hinged flaps 602, 604, 606 attached by living hinges 608, 610, 612 to inner walls of the drinking spout 102 at locations offset both vertically and circumferentially and alternating between opposing walls of the drinking spout 102. As shown in FIG. 6B, the flaps 602, 604, 606 can be engaged with stop ridges 614, 616, 618 located opposite the living hinges 608, 610, 612 so as to form a series of baffles below the dispensing well 104. FIG. 6C is a simplified diagram showing the relative horizontal and vertical offsets of the hinged flaps 602, 604, 606 of FIG. 6B.
  • [0097]
    FIG. 7A is a perspective view of lid 700 according to an embodiment similar to the embodiment of FIG. 6A, but wherein the hinged flaps include angled edges 714 and/or protruding portions 716. As shown in the simplified diagram of FIG. 7B, the angled edges 714 cause the flaps 702, 704, 706 to form a single, multi-level baffle below the dispensing well 104 with flow-directing surface features 716 when the flaps 702, 704, 706 are engaged with the corresponding stop ridges 708, 710, 712.
  • [0098]
    Although various general functional elements of the present invention, including various dispensing well, spout and baffle geometries, have been described herein in conjunction with the figures, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that numerous shape, appearance and design modifications can be made to the lid, dispensing well, and spout geometries of the present invention in accordance with user and market preferences. Furthermore, the utility of the spill resistant lid is not necessarily limited to a drinking-cup lid, and can be implemented into other container structures such as a closure for a bottle, or a pour spout for a bottle or a carton or a cup. In addition, the spout geometry can be implemented not only for consumable or drinkable beverages but also for dosing and dispensing salad dressings, cream, milk, and non-fluid materials such as sugar or salt. These and other such changes, modifications, adaptations and alterations in the specifically described embodiments can be carried out without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Accordingly, the drawings and the description are to be regarded as illustrative in nature, and not as restrictive.
  • [0099]
    The foregoing description of the embodiments of the invention has been presented for the purposes of illustration and for providing a general understanding of the invention. It is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise form disclosed. Many modifications and variations are possible in light of this disclosure. It is intended that the scope of the invention be limited not by this detailed description, but rather by the claims appended hereto.

Claims (42)

  1. 1. A one-piece lid for use with a drinking vessel, said one-piece lid comprising:
    a peripheral rim configured for engaging with said drinking vessel;
    a raised lid portion extending vertically from said peripheral rim;
    a dispensing well descending from the raised lid portion, said raised lid portion and said dispensing well being configured for allowing consumption of a beverage contained within an interior of said drinking vessel; and
    at least one well penetration that provides fluid communication between an interior of said drinking vessel and the dispensing well, the well penetration being configured for inhibiting straight-line paths between the interior of the drinking vessel and the dispensing well and thereby inhibiting at least one of spilling and splashing of said beverage contained within the interior of said drinking vessel.
  2. 2. The one-piece lid of claim 1 further comprising a drinking spout wherein the dispensing well is formed within the drinking spout, thereby causing beverage flowing through the well penetration and into the dispensing well to be drinkable from the drinking spout.
  3. 3. The one-piece lid of claim 1, wherein the dispensing well is configured for allowing beverage contained within the dispensing well to flow through the well penetration and drain back into the interior of the drinking vessel when the drinking vessel is held in a generally upright orientation.
  4. 4. The one-piece lid of claim 1, wherein the dispensing well comprises a plurality of side walls and a bottom, and wherein the well penetration is formed in at least one of the side walls amongst said plurality of side walls of the dispensing well.
  5. 5. The one-piece lid of claim 1, wherein the dispensing well comprises a bottom and at least one sidewall, and wherein the well penetration is formed by a vertical gap between the bottom and at least one of said side walls.
  6. 6. The one-piece lid of claim 1, wherein the dispensing well is formed by side walls, a first bottom tier, and a second bottom tier, the well penetration being formed by a vertical gap between said first bottom tier and said second bottom tier.
  7. 7. The one-piece lid of claim 1, wherein the dispensing well is formed by side walls and a bottom, and at least a portion of the bottom is inclined toward the well penetration, thereby allowing beverage contained in the dispensing well to drain back through the well penetration into the interior of the drinking vessel when the drinking vessel is returned to a generally upright orientation.
  8. 8. The one-piece lid of claim 1, wherein the dispensing well comprises a plurality of well penetrations, each of the well penetrations providing fluid communication between the interior of the drinking vessel and the dispensing well.
  9. 9. The one-piece lid of claim 1, further comprising a splash guard descending from the raised lid portion toward the interior of the drinking vessel and surrounding the dispensing well.
  10. 10. The one-piece lid of claim 1, further comprising at least one fluid baffle positioned underneath the dispensing well and configured to deflect beverage splashing from the interior of the drinking vessel and requiring the beverage to move through a convoluted path when flowing from the interior of the drinking vessel to the dispensing well.
  11. 11. The one-piece lid of claim 10, wherein said at least one fluid baffle comprises a hinged flap, said hinged flap being rotatable about a living hinge.
  12. 12. The one-piece lid of claim 10, wherein said at least one fluid baffle comprises a hinge flap and a stop ridge, said hinge flap being rotatable about a living hinge and configured for engaging with said stop ridge.
  13. 13. The one-piece lid of claim 1, wherein the dispensing well is formed by an intersection between a downward sloping section of the raised lid portion and a raised drinking rim.
  14. 14. The one-piece lid of claim 13, wherein the well penetration is formed by a hinged flap formed in an inner wall of the raised drinking rim.
  15. 15. The one-piece lid of claim 13, wherein said downward sloping section comprises a split, convex bubble, and wherein said well penetration is created by depressing a first portion of said split, convex bubble into a concave configuration thereby creating an opening between said first concave bubble portion and an adjacent second convex bubble portion.
  16. 16. The disposable lid of claim 15, wherein a reinforcing structure is provided such said second convex bubble portion is resistant to depression compared to said first concave bubble portion.
  17. 17. The disposable lid of claim 15, wherein said first portion of said split, convex bubble is depressible by a lip of a user while drinking from said dispensing well.
  18. 18. The one-piece lid of claim 1, further comprising a vent hole providing air communication between the interior of the drinking vessel and air exterior to the lid.
  19. 19. The one-piece lid of claim 18, further comprising a vent well cooperative with the vent hole and configured for collection of escaped beverage and allowing said escaped beverage to flow back into the interior of the drinking vessel.
  20. 20. The one-piece lid of claim 18, wherein the vent hole is configured to inhibit straight-line paths from the interior of the drinking vessel through the vent hole.
  21. 21. The one-piece lid of claim 18, further comprising a plurality of sealed vent holes, said sealed vent holes being openable for regulating beverage flow from the dispensing well.
  22. 22. The one-piece lid of claim 21, wherein said plurality of sealed vent holes includes a plurality of vent hole sizes.
  23. 23. The one-piece lid of claim 18, wherein the vent hole is located proximal to the dispensing well for allowing blockage of the vent hole by beverage when the drinking vessel is tipped to a near horizontal orientation, thereby inhibiting beverage flow from the dispensing well.
  24. 24. The one-piece lid of claim 1, wherein at least one surface of the lid includes at least one of a texture and a protruding structure configured to influence flow of beverage across said at least one surface.
  25. 25. The one piece lid of claim 1, wherein said lid is constructed from at least one of paper, plastic, thermoplastic resin, foam, a laminated material, a compostable resin, and a biodegradable material.
  26. 26. The one piece lid of claim 1, wherein said lid is manufactured by one of thermoforming, injection molding, compression molding, vacuum forming, pressure forming, and hydro forming.
  27. 27. The one piece lid of claim 1, wherein said lid is injection molded from a suitable grade of polypropylene resin.
  28. 28. The one-piece lid of claim 1, wherein said lid is disposable.
  29. 29. The one piece lid of claim 1, wherein said well penetration is in the form of an opening disposed in a plane approximately parallel to an upright axis of the cup.
  30. 30. The one-piece lid of claim 1 further comprising a drink-through opening in said raised lid portion.
  31. 31. The one-piece lid of claim 30, wherein said drink-through opening is one of circular, rectangular, oval, and semi-circular.
  32. 32. The one-piece lid of claim 1, wherein the dispensing well and well penetration are configured to inhibit entry of solid particulates from the drinking vessel into the dispensing well.
  33. 33. The disposable lid of claim 1, wherein said beverage is a drinkable fluid including one of tea, coffee, soup, shake, juice, and milk.
  34. 34. A splash resistant lid for a drink cup comprising:
    a peripheral rim adapted for engaging with said drink cup;
    a raised portion extending upwardly from said peripheral rim; and
    a dispensing well disposed in said raised portion, said dispensing well comprising a drink-through opening, a bottom wall and a peripheral sidewall connected to said bottom wall,
    said dispensing well featuring at least one inlet opening disposed proximate to an edge of said bottom wall, said inlet opening being adapted for receiving a beverage from said drink cup and transferring it to said drink-through opening, said dispensing well being adapted for drinking said beverage therethrough, and said inlet opening being disposed in a plane substantially orthogonal to said drink-through opening and thereby inhibiting straight line paths between an interior of said drink cup and said drink-through opening.
  35. 35. The splash resistant lid according to claim 34, wherein said bottom wall comprises at least one inclined section, said inclined section having an underside, said underside being adapted to deflect any splashes and block them from entering said drink-through opening.
  36. 36. The splash resistant lid according to claim 34, wherein said bottom wall comprises at least one inclined section, said inclined section having a topside, said topside being adapted to drain back any splashes to said interior of said drink cup through said inlet opening.
  37. 37. The splash resistant lid according to claim 34, wherein said lid is injection molded.
  38. 38. The splash resistant lid according to claim 34, wherein said lid is made from polypropylene resin.
  39. 39. The splash resistant lid according to claim 34, wherein said raised portion comprises a drinking spout and forms a one piece construction.
  40. 40. The splash resistant lid according to claim 34, further comprising at least one splash guard descending from said raised portion towards the interior of said drink cup.
  41. 41. The splash resistant lid according to claim 34, further comprising a fluid baffle positioned underneath said dispensing well.
  42. 42. The splash resistant lid according to claim 41, wherein said fluid baffle is rotatable about a living hinge.
US12639649 2007-01-12 2009-12-16 One-piece splash and spill resistant lid Abandoned US20100133272A1 (en)

Priority Applications (4)

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US87993507 true 2007-01-12 2007-01-12
US11972309 US7959029B2 (en) 2007-01-12 2008-01-10 Splash and spill resistant insulating lid
US12296408 true 2008-12-16 2008-12-16
US12639649 US20100133272A1 (en) 2007-01-12 2009-12-16 One-piece splash and spill resistant lid

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US12639649 US20100133272A1 (en) 2007-01-12 2009-12-16 One-piece splash and spill resistant lid

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CN102649493A (en) * 2011-02-24 2012-08-29 启道田心股份有限公司 Cup lid for additive to be conveniently added therein
CN103597018A (en) * 2011-04-21 2014-02-19 派克蒂夫有限责任公司 Disposable lid having polymer composite of polyolefin and mineral filler
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