CAPS AND CONTAINERS

One aspect of the invention provides a cap comprising: a lower member adapted for coupling to a bottle, the lower member having a first orifice, a second orifice, and a piercable seal coupled to the second orifice; and an upper member having a piercing member adapted to pierce the piercable seal, thereby establishing fluid communication with the bottle. Another aspect of the invention provides a container comprising a bottle and a cap. The cap includes: a lower member adapted for coupling to the bottle, the lower member having a first orifice, a second orifice, and a piercable seal coupled to the second orifice; and an upper member having a piercing member adapted to pierce the piercable seal, thereby establishing fluid communication with the bottle.

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Description

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION(S)

This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/416,907, filed on Nov. 24, 2010. The entire contents of this application is hereby incorporated by reference herein.

BACKGROUND

Beverage containers are increasingly ubiquitous in today's highly-mobile society. Beverage containers (e.g., holding water, juice, and the like) are no longer solely the province of athletes and hikers. Rather, a broad swath of consumers, piqued in part by the environmental benefits and attractive appearance of the current array of beverage containers, utilize beverage containers on a daily basis.

The diverse array of consumers utilizing beverage containers poses challenges to designers. For example, although 2.1″ diameter mouth diameter of the NALGENE® wide mouth bottle is ideal for winter camping, drinking from such a bottle in city traffic (particularly without a flow reducing insert) often results in spillage. Accordingly, there is a need for caps and containers that permit greater flexibility in accessing a beverage.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

One aspect of the invention provides a cap comprising: a lower member adapted for coupling to a bottle, the lower member having a first orifice, a second orifice, and a piercable seal coupled to the second orifice; and an upper member having a piercing member adapted to pierce the piercable seal, thereby establishing fluid communication with the bottle.

This aspect of the invention can have a variety of embodiments. The first orifice can be formed on the end of a spout.

The piercable seal can include an elastomer. The elastomer can be silicone. The piercable seal can include one or more slits.

The lower member can further include a straw in fluid communication with the piercable seal.

The upper member can further include a compressible member adapted to seal the first orifice when the upper member is pressed against the lower member. The compressible member can be an elastomer. The elastomer can be silicone.

The upper member can further include a sipper member rotatable to establish fluid communication with the piercing member.

The upper member and the lower member can define a loop. The upper member can be hingedly attached to the lower member.

The lower member can include one or more latches adapted to releasably hold the upper member in contact with the lower member. The lower member can include two or more latches adapted to releasably hold the upper member in contact with the lower member.

The lower member can include a threaded portion for coupling with a bottle. The threaded portion can include female threads.

Another aspect of the invention provides a cap comprising: a lower member adapted for coupling to a bottle and an upper member hingedly coupled to the lower member. The lower member includes: a first orifice formed on the end of a spout; a second orifice; a piercable seal coupled to the second orifice; and a straw in fluid communication with the piercable seal. The upper member includes: a piercing member adapted to pierce the piercable seal when the upper member is pressed against the lower member, thereby establishing fluid communication with the bottle via the straw; a sipper member rotatable to establish fluid communication with the piercing member; and a compressible member adapted to seal the first orifice when the upper member is pressed against the lower member.

This aspect of the invention can have a variety of embodiments. The upper member and the lower member can define a loop. The lower member can include one or more latches adapted to releasably hold the upper member in contact with the lower member.

Another aspect of the invention provides a container comprising a bottle and a cap. The cap includes: a lower member adapted for coupling to the bottle, the lower member having a first orifice, a second orifice, and a piercable seal coupled to the second orifice; and an upper member having a piercing member adapted to pierce the piercable seal, thereby establishing fluid communication with the bottle.

This aspect of the invention can have a variety of embodiments. The container can further include a straw diverter assembly having: a nipple positioned to mate with a lower end of the piercable seal; a straw; and a fluidic path between the nipple and the straw. The straw diverter assembly can further include a collar configured to mate with a neck of the bottle. The straw diverter assembly can further include thermal storing media removably coupled along a central axis of the straw diverter assembly. The straw diverter assembly can further include a straw positioned substantially parallel to the thermal storage media.

FIGURES

For a fuller understanding of the nature and desired objects of the present invention, reference is made to the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the figure wherein:

FIG. 1A is a cross-section of a container including a cap in a “chugging” position in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 1B is a side view of the container depicted in FIG. 1A;

FIG. 1C is a cross-section of a container including a cap in a “sipping” position in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 1D is a side view of the container depicted in FIG. 1A;

FIG. 1E is a top view of a container including a cap in a “chugging” position in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 1F is a cross-section of a piercable seal in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 1G is a side view of a piercable seal in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2A is a cross-section of a container including a straw diverter assembly in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2B is an exploded view of a straw diverter assembly in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention;

FIGS. 2C and 2D is are perspective views of a straw diverter collar in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention;

FIGS. 2E, 2F, and 2G are a side view, a cross-sectional side view, and a front view, respectively, of a straw diverter collar in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention; and

FIGS. 2H and 2I are cross-sections of a container including a straw diverter assembly demonstrating method of operation in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention.

DEFINITIONS

The instant invention is most clearly understood with reference to the following definitions:

As used in the specification and claims, the singular form “a,” “an,” and “the” include plural references unless the context clearly dictates otherwise.

Unless specifically stated or obvious from context, as used herein, the term “about” is understood as within a range of normal tolerance in the art, for example within 2 standard deviations of the mean. “About” can be understood as within 10%, 9%, 8%, 7%, 6%, 5%, 4%, 3%, 2%, 1%, 0.5%, 0.1%, 0.05%, or 0.01% of the stated value. Unless otherwise clear from context, all numerical values provided herein are modified by the term about.

As used in the specification and claims, the terms “comprises,” “comprising,” “containing,” “having,” and the like can have the meaning ascribed to them in U.S. patent law and can mean “includes,” “including,” and the like.

Ranges provided herein are understood to be shorthand for all of the values within the range. For example, a range of 1 to 50 is understood to include any number, combination of numbers, or sub-range from the group consisting 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, or 50 (as well as fractions thereof unless the context clearly dictates otherwise).

Unless specifically stated or obvious from context, as used herein, the term “or” is understood to be inclusive.

DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Various aspects of the invention provide caps and containers.

Referring now to FIGS. 1A and 1B, a container 100 is provided according to an embodiment of the invention. The container 100 includes a bottle 102 and a cap 104 (depicted in the “chugging” position). The cap 104 includes a lower member 106 and an upper member 108. The lower member 106 and the upper member 108 can be hingedly attached via a pivot point 124 as depicted in FIG. 1.

The lower member 106 of the cap 104 includes a first orifice 110 and a second orifice 112.

The first orifice 110 can be formed on a spout 114. The first orifice 110 can, in some embodiments, be designed for pouring or chugging (i.e., permitting a relatively high flow of liquid). The first orifice 110 can, in some embodiments, have a cross section of between about 0.0 in2 and about 0.5 in2, between about 0.5 in2 and about 1.0 in2, between about 1.0 in2 and about 1.5 in2, between about 1.5 in2 and about 2.0 in2, between about 2.0 in2 and about 2.5 in2, between about 2.5 in2 and about 3.0 in2, between about 3.0 in2 and about 3.5 in2, and the like. For example, the first orifice 110 can have a substantially circular cross section (e.g., with a diameter between about 0.25 inches and about 0.5 inches, between about 0.5 inches and about 0.75 inches, between about 0.75 inches and about 1.00 inches, and the like). The spout 114 can, in some embodiments, have a length (e.g., measured from the top surface of piercable seal 116) of between about 0.25 inches and about 0.50 inches, between about 0.50 inches and about 0.75 inches, between about 0.75 inches and about 1.00 inches, and the like.

First orifice 110 can be in direct or substantially direct fluid communication with the contents of bottle 102. Thus, if bottle 102 is tipped while in the chugging position, the fluid contained therein can freely flow out of the first orifice 110.

The second orifice 112 can, in some embodiments, be smaller than the first orifice 110. For example, the second orifice 112 can, in some embodiments, have a cross section of between about 0.0 in2 and about 0.5 in2, between about 0.5 in2 and about 1.0 in2, and the like. For example, the second orifice 112 can have a substantially circular cross section (e.g., with a diameter between about 0.25 inches and about 0.50 inches, and the like).

Access to the second orifice 112 is regulated by a piercable seal 116 (see FIGS. 1E-1G). The piercable seal 116 is substantially fluid-tight when the cap 104 is in the chugging position. The piercable seal 116 can, however, be pierced to allow for fluid communication across the piercable seal 116 when the upper member 108 is closed upon the lower member 106 as discussed in further detail herein.

The piercable seal 116 can be formed of any material capable of repeatably alternating between an unpierced position in which it is substantially fluid-tight and a pierced position that allows for fluid communication. Suitable materials include elastomers such as rubber, acrylonitrile-butadiene rubber, hydrogenated acrylonitrile- butadiene rubber, fluorocarbon rubber, perfluoroelastomer, ethylene propylene diene rubber, silicone rubber, fluorosilicone rubber, chloroprene rubber, neoprene rubber, polyester urethane, polyether urethane, natural rubber, polyacrylate rubber, ethylene acrylic, styrene-butadiene rubber, ethylene oxide epichlorodrine rubber, chlorosulfonated polytethylene, butadiene rubber, isoprene rubber, butyl rubber, and the like.

As depicted in FIGS. 1E and 1F, piercable seal 116 can have a plurality of slits 140a, 140b that allow the seal material to deflect when pierced to establish fluid communication across the piercable seal 116. Slits 140a, 140b can be provided in various quantities and arrangements to optimize performance for various seal materials, liquids, dimensions, and the like. For example, the number of slits 140a, 140b can, in some embodiments, be 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and the like. The slits 140 can be evenly distributed, for example, in symmetrical pattern.

Referring again to FIGS. 1A and 1C, the second orifice 112 can be coupled with a straw 118 or tube in order to enable access to beverages at the bottom of the bottle 102 without the need to tilt the bottle 102. Straw 118 can be made from a variety of materials including plastics, metals, and the like.

Lower member 106 can also include one or more locking devices 120, 122 configured to selectively hold the upper member 108 against the lower member 106. In some embodiments, the locking device is a spring-loaded push button latch 120 that engages one or more geometries on the upper member 108 until the push button is depressed. In other embodiments, the locking device is a loop 122 (e.g., a metal wire or plastic loop) that engages one or more geometries on the upper member 108. Such a loop 122 can pivot between a locked position (depicted in FIGS. 1A-1D) and an unlocked position (not depicted). As depicted in FIGS. 1A and 1B, some embodiments of the invention include two or more locking devices 120, 122.

The upper member 108 can optionally include a spring (not depicted) near pivot 124 that pushes the upper member 108 to the chugging position depicted in FIGS. 1A and 1B when disengaged by locking devices 120, 122.

Upper member 108 includes a piercing member 126 adapted to pierce the piercable seal 116 to establish fluid communication with the bottle 102. The piercing member 126 can be a cylinder positioned such that when the upper member 108 is pressed against the lower member 106, the piercing member 126 is pressed against the piercable seal 116 with sufficient force to cause the piercable seal 116 to deflect, thereby establishing fluid communication. As depicted in FIG. 1A, the piercing member can be fabricated from the same material as and can be an integral member of the body of the upper member 108.

Upper member 108 can include a variety of features to allow for sipping of a beverage. In the embodiment depicted in FIG. 1A, upper member 108 includes a sipper member 128 having a fluid passageway 130. Sipper member 128 can be rotatable between a closed position depicted in FIG. 1A in which the fluid passageway 130 is not in fluid communication with the piercing member 126 and an open position depicted in FIG. 1C in which the fluid passageway 130 is in fluid communication with the piercing member 126. A gasket 132 such as an elastomeric O-ring can be provided to provide a substantially fluid-tight seal between the piercing member 126 and the sipper member 128 in either the open or closed position.

Upper member 108 can also be configured to seal the first orifice 110 when the upper member 108 is pressed against the lower member. For example, the upper member 108 can include a compressible member 134 that is pressed against first orifice 110. The compressible member 134 can be an elastomer as discussed herein.

Upper member 108 can have a variety of geometries. In one embodiment, the upper member defines a loop 136 useful for carrying the container or for attachment to a bag (e.g., with a carabiner or other fastening device). The loop 136 can be defined entirely by the upper member 108 or can be formed in part by the lower member 106 when the upper member 108 and the lower member 106 are pressed together as depicted in FIG. 1C.

Cap 104 can be attached to bottle 102 in a variety of ways. Cap 104 can be permanently attached to bottle 102, for example, through the use of chemical or mechanical fasteners. However, a detachable cap 104 may be preferred in some embodiments for ease of filling and cleaning. Cap 104 can be removably attached to bottle 102 through use of a snap fit in which either cap 104 and/or bottle 102 temporarily deforms during connection and removal. Alternatively, cap 104 and bottle 102 can be connected through a threaded interface 138. For example, the cap 104 can have female threads and the bottle 102 can have male threads or vice versa.

Referring now to FIG. 2A, another embodiment of a container 200 includes a bottle 202 and a cap 204 that permits the incorporation of thermal storage media 242. Thermal storage media 242 is preferably a substance having a high heat capacity and/or low thermal expansion, thereby allowing for the maintenance the liquid received within the 200 at either a warm or cold temperature for an extended period of time.

In the embodiment, depicted in FIG. 2A, the thermal storage media 242 is a freeze stick such as an EZ-FREEZE® stick available from Cool Gear International Inc. of Plymouth, Mass. Such thermal storage media 242 include a liquid having a high thermal capacity enclosed in container such as plastic, rubber, metal, and the like. Suitable liquids include water, aqueous solutions (e.g., solutions of water and ammonium nitrate, calcium chloride, ammonium chloride), and like. Suitable gels can include glycerin, propylene glycol (such as those available under the BLUE ICE® trademark from Rubbermaid Incorporated of Atlanta, Ga.), hydroxyethyl cellulose (such as those available under the CELLUSIZE™ trademark from The Dow Chemical Company of Midland, Mich.), silica gel, and the like. Preferably, the thermal storage media 242 is non-toxic.

Container 200 can have a similar structure and function as container 100, but also includes a straw diverter 244 and a straw diverter collar 246 that offsets straw 218 and allows for mounting of the thermal storage media 242 along the central axis of container 200 as further described in U.S. Patent Application Publication No. US 2009/0250478.

Straw diverter collar 246 can have a substantially circular profile that allows for insertion within the neck of bottle 202. The neck of bottle 202 can include a shoulder or taper (not depicted) designed to hold the straw diverter collar 246 within the neck. Referring to FIGS. 2B-2D, straw diverter collar 246 can also include one or more orifices 256a, 256b to allow for the passage of a fluid through the straw diverter collar 246 during filling or chugging through first orifice 210.

Thermal storage media 242 can be removably coupled with straw diverter collar 246 in a variety of ways. For example, a threaded, twist-lock, or snap fit geometry can be provided. For example, thermal storage media 242 can include a number (e.g., 2, 3, 4, and the like) of twist-lock grooves 250a, 250b configured to receive complimentary twisk-lock tabs 252a, 252b on lid straw diverter collar 246. Such twist-lock devices 250, 252 allow for coupling of thermal storage media 242 to straw diverter collar 246 by rotating the thermal storage media 242 and/or straw diverter collar 246 less than 360° (e.g., 180° or less in an embodiment having 2 twist-lock devices 250, 252 as depicted in FIG. 2A).

The features of straw diverter collar 246 are more clearly visible in FIGS. 2B-2G. Straw diverter collar includes a nipple 254 extending substantially vertically from the top of straw diverter collar 246. Nipple 254 is preferably centered on a central axis of the straw diverter collar 246 to allow for coupling with piercable seal 216 as discussed in further detail herein. A substantially vertical passage 256 extends downward through nipple 254 and meets a substantially horizontal passage 258.

An angled straw diverter 244 is coupled to horizontal passage 258. Straw diverter 244 can be permanently coupled to straw diverter collar 246 or can be releasbly coupled to allow for easy cleaning. Likewise, straw diverter 244 can be permanently or removably coupled to straw 218.

Referring now to FIGS. 2H and 2I, the operation of straw diverter assembly is further illustrated. In FIG. 2H, the straw diverter collar 246 is placed within the neck of bottle 202 and cap 204 is positioned bottle 202, but is not yet threaded. Both nipple 254 of the straw diverter collar 246 and piercable seal 216 are coaxially centered within container 200.

As cap 204 is threaded onto bottle 202, the bottom of piercable seal 216 is advanced axially onto nipple 254, thereby establishing a fluid path from bottle 202 through straw 218, straw diverter 244, straw diverter collar 246, piercable seal 216 as depicted in FIG. 21, piercing member 226, and sipper member 228 (when opened to sipping position). The bottom portion of piercable seal 216 can, in some embodiments, flare as it is advanced onto nipple 254, thereby forming a fluidtight seal. Such flaring is particularly associated with embodiments having an elastomeric piercable seal 216.

When the cap 204 is twisted in the opposite directed, piercable seal 216 backs off of nipple 254, allowing for removal or cap 204 and/or the straw diverter assembly.

The straw diverter collar 246 can be held in a fixed angular position or can be allowed to freely rotate within the neck of bottle 202, particularly as the cap 204 is rotated.

As will be appreciated by one or ordinary skill in the art, the invention provided herein can be fabricated from a variety of materials such as plastic, rubber, metal, and the like by use of various manufacturing techniques such as molding, casting, machining, and the like. For example, components can be formed from polymeric materials such as polypropylene (PP), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polycarbonate (PC), copolyesters (e.g., PTCG and copolyesters available under the TRITAN™ mark from Eastman Chemical Company of Kingsport, Tenn.), polyphthalate carbonate (PPC), and the like.

EQUIVALENTS

Although preferred embodiments of the invention have been described using specific terms, such description is for illustrative purposes only, and it is to be understood that changes and variations may be made without departing from the spirit or scope of the following claims.

INCORPORATION BY REFERENCE

The entire contents of all patents, published patent applications, and other references cited herein are hereby expressly incorporated herein in their entireties by reference.

Claims

1. A cap comprising:

a lower member adapted for coupling to a bottle, the lower member having a first orifice, a second orifice, and a piercable seal coupled to the second orifice; and
an upper member having a piercing member adapted to pierce the piercable seal, thereby establishing fluid communication with the bottle.

2. The cap of claim 1, wherein the first orifice is formed on the end of a spout.

3. The cap of claim 1, wherein the piercable seal comprises an elastomer.

4. The cap of claim 3, wherein the elastomer is silicone.

5. The cap of claim 1, wherein the piercable seal includes one or more slits.

6. The cap of claim 1, wherein the lower member further includes a straw in fluid communication with the piercable seal.

7. The cap of claim 1, wherein the upper member further includes a compressible member adapted to seal the first orifice when the upper member is pressed against the lower member.

8. The cap of claim 7, wherein the compressible member is an elastomer.

9. The cap of claim 8, wherein the elastomer is silicone.

10. The cap of claim 1, wherein the upper member further includes a sipper member rotatable to establish fluid communication with the piercing member.

11. The cap of claim 1, wherein the upper member and the lower member define a loop.

12. The cap of claim 1, wherein the upper member is hingedly attached to the lower member.

13. The cap of claim 1, wherein the lower member includes one or more latches adapted to releasably hold the upper member in contact with the lower member.

14. The cap of claim 13, wherein the lower member includes two or more latches adapted to releasably hold the upper member in contact with the lower member.

15. The cap of claim 1, wherein the lower member includes a threaded portion for coupling with a bottle.

16. A cap comprising:

a lower member adapted for coupling to a bottle, the lower member having: a first orifice formed on the end of a spout; a second orifice; a piercable seal coupled to the second orifice; and a straw in fluid communication with the piercable seal; and
an upper member hingedly coupled to the lower member, the upper member having: a piercing member adapted to pierce the piercable seal when the upper member is pressed against the lower member, thereby establishing fluid communication with the bottle via the straw; a sipper member rotatable to establish fluid communication with the piercing member; and a compressible member adapted to seal the first orifice when the upper member is pressed against the lower member.

17. The cap of claim 16, wherein the upper member and the lower member define a loop.

18. The cap of claim 16, wherein the lower member includes one or more latches adapted to releasably hold the upper member in contact with the lower member.

19. A container comprising:

a bottle; and
a cap comprising: a lower member adapted for coupling to the bottle, the lower member having a first orifice, a second orifice, and a piercable seal coupled to the second orifice; and an upper member having a piercing member adapted to pierce the piercable seal, thereby establishing fluid communication with the bottle.

20. The container of claim 19, further comprising:

a straw diverter assembly comprising: a nipple positioned to mate with a lower end of the piercable seal; a straw; and a fluidic path between the nipple and the straw.

Patent History

Publication number: 20120234789
Type: Application
Filed: Nov 22, 2011
Publication Date: Sep 20, 2012
Applicant: COOL GEAR INTERNATIONAL, LLC (Plymouth, MA)
Inventor: John Mason (Brockton, MA)
Application Number: 13/302,359

Classifications

Current U.S. Class: With Straw (215/229); Frangible Member Or Portion (215/250)
International Classification: B65D 41/20 (20060101); B65D 41/04 (20060101);