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United States Patent Application 20170013985
Kind Code A1
Fan; Chow Kai January 19, 2017

LEAK-PROOF SPOUTLESS TODDLER DRINKING APPARATUS

Abstract

The embodiments shown provide a leak-proof spoutless toddler drinking apparatus comprised of a containing element and releasably attached led which enables the user to drink from a plurality of drinking cavities about the perimeter of the lid while preventing any leaks. The embodiments further provide an elastic collar affixed to the sidewalls of the lid and flexible pinch valve which is designed to "flex" when a sudden interior forces is placed onto it and captures any excess fluid from leaking through at least one of the plurality of drinking cavities. The ergonomic design further allows infants and toddler to grip the apparatus in one hand and drinking from any point about the perimeter of the lid while minimizing air and pressure accumulations with the apparatus.


Inventors: Fan; Chow Kai; (Hong Kong, HK)
Applicant:
Name City State Country Type

Fan; Chow Kai

Hong Kong

HK
Family ID: 1000002207055
Appl. No.: 15/211922
Filed: July 15, 2016


Related U.S. Patent Documents

Application NumberFiling DatePatent Number
62193687Jul 17, 2015

Current U.S. Class: 1/1
Current CPC Class: A47G 19/2272 20130101; A47G 19/2255 20130101; B65D 47/32 20130101; B65D 43/02 20130101; B65D 1/265 20130101
International Class: A47G 19/22 20060101 A47G019/22; B65D 43/02 20060101 B65D043/02; B65D 47/32 20060101 B65D047/32; B65D 1/26 20060101 B65D001/26

Claims



1. A leak proof toddler drinking apparatus comprising: a containing element including a first end and a base end; the first end having a larger diameter than a base end diameter and configured to contain a liquid contents; and a circular spout-less lid to enable a one-way fluid flow between the containing element and a user when a suction force is applied further including: a plurality of drinking cavities configured about a top side perimeter; an interior region configured to releasably contain a flexible pinch valve; and an elastic collar affixed about a portion of the perimeter.

2. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the first end of the containing element further includes a substantially planar rim surface to provide a hermetic seal when the spoutless rim is releasably attached.

3. The apparatus of claim 2, wherein the containing element is further configured in a flute like design to at least minimize an air accumulation within the containing element when at least filled with the liquid contents.

3. The apparatus of claim 2, wherein the spoutless lid further includes a plurality of evenly spaced drinking cavities molded about a top side of the lid to allow the user to access the liquid contents from substantially allow positions along a perimeter of the lid.

4. The apparatus of claim 3, wherein the spoutless lid further includes an elastic collar positioned an exterior sidewall of the lid to provide a hermetic seal to the liquid contents when the lid is releasbly attached.

5. The apparatus of claim 4, wherein the spoutless lid further includes a flexible pinch valve within an interior region of the spoutless lid to at least regulate a flow of the liquid contents when a suction force is applied to at least one of the plurality of drinking cavities.

6. The apparatus of claim 5, wherein the flexible pinch valve further includes a plurality of flexible elastic sleeves to prevent a back flow of the liquid contents while not in use.

7. The apparatus of claim 6, wherein the plurality of flexible elastic sleeves further include a pressure vent to at least vent a differential pressure; the differential pressure corresponding to the difference in air pressure within the containing element and an atmospheric pressure measured outside the containing element.

8. A leak-proof toddler drinking apparatus comprising: a substantially elongated containing element further including a planar rim surface to enable a water-tight seal when a dimensioned lid is releasably attached; and a substantially annular spoutless lid to regulate a one way flow of a contained liquid and a differential pressure to the mouth of a user including: a plurality of elongated drinking cavities configured about the perimeter of a lid surface; an interior region further including a pressure regulating pinch valve; and an elastic collar affixed about a portion of the lid exterior sidewall and configured to create a hermetic seal with an interior sidewall of the containing element.

9. The apparatus of claim 8, wherein the containing element is further configured in a flute-like configuration to minimize an accumulated air with the containing element when the contained liquid is present.

10. The apparatus of claim 8, wherein the apparatus further includes a substantially annular holding plate further including a plurality of elongated apertures releasably attached to a bottom surface of the lid and configured to channel the contained liquid to the interior region while in use.

11. The apparatus of claim 8, wherein the pressure regulating pinch valve is further configured to at least transition from a closed position to an open position when a pre-determined threshold suction pressure from at least one of the plurality of drinking cavities is exceeded.

12. The apparatus of claim 11, wherein the pressure regulating pinch valve further includes a plurality of elastic sleeves configured to contain the liquid contents when the apparatus shifts from a substantially horizontal to a substantially vertical position.

13. The apparatus of claim 12, wherein the elastic sleeve further includes an elongated leading edge configured to vent a differential pressure when the pressure regulating pinch valve at least transition from the closed position to the open position.

14. The apparatus of claim 13, wherein the elongated opening at the leading edge is further configured to at least contain the liquid contents between the interior region and the flexible pinch valve when the apparatus at least transitions from a horizontal position to a vertical

15. The apparatus of claim 14, wherein the vent is further configured to provide a substantially constant flow rate and the threshold suction force while in use in a plurality of atmospheric conditions.

16. A pressure regulating leak-proof toddler drinking apparatus comprising: a substantially annular and elongated containing element further including a substantially planar rim surface at first end to create a hermetic seal when a lid is releasably attached, and second end configured to at least distribute a weight of a contained liquid to a base region; and a releasably attachable lid configured to regulate a flow of the contained liquid and prevent a leak, further including: a plurality of drinking cavities configured to being fluid communications with the mouth of a user and to actuate a flexible pinch valve; an interior region configured to releasably house a flexible pinch valve to provide a one-way fluid flow from the containing element to the plurality of drinking cavities when a suction pressure is sensed; and an low durometer elastic collar affixed about a portion of the exterior wall of the lid and configured to create a hermetic seal when the lid is releasably attached.

17. The apparatus of claim 16, wherein the containing element is further configured in an elongated and narrow design to at least minimize an accumulated air in the apparatus when a contained liquid is present.

18. The apparatus of claim 16, when the flexible pinch valve further includes a plurality of outward extending elastic sleeve configured to absorb a pressure onto an interior surface wall of the flexible pinch valve.

19. The apparatus of claim 18, when the the plurality of outward extending elastic sleeves further enable a differential pressure to be vented out of at least one of the plurality cavities when the apparatus at least transitions from a closed to an open position.

20. The apparatus of claim 19, wherein the flexible pinch valve is further configured to contain an accumulated contained liquid with the plurality of elastic sleeves when the apparatus at least transitions from the open to closed position.
Description



CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

[0001] This non-provisional patent application references and claims priority to an earlier filed provisional patent application titled "360 Drinking Cup" (No. 62/193,687) on Jul. 17, 2015, by the same named inventor, Chow Kai Fan.

FIELD

[0002] The embodiments shown herein relate to a leak proof spoutless toddler drinking apparatus, and in particular, a leak proof toddler drinking apparatus which enables the user to access the liquid contents of the container through a plurality of drinking cavities along the top side of the lid portion, while at the same time preventing any leakage if tipped-over.

BACKGROUND

[0003] Baby bottle and sippy cups have traditionally been in the United States to help babies, infants, and toddlers develop the necessary skills to transition from a baby bottle to a regular drinking glass. However, many of these traditional devices have revealed hidden dangers throughout the decades and are often associated with delayed child development.

[0004] In the past, there have been several baby and toddler products which have attempted to create a "no-spill" design by incorporating a valve system into their design to prevent any leakage if the product was inadvertently spilled. However, these products often integrated valves which require such a negative pressure (i.e., vacuum) force that children were unable to utilize their novelty. Further, these early designs often used a plastic material that included the compound Bisphenol-A, which would often leak into the devices or become deformed when exposed to the hot water of a dishwasher.

[0005] Further incorporated into these early designs were a semi-rigid spout with an access opening at the end from which the user would suck. However, these devices when dropped or fallen onto often led to facial and palate lacerations.

[0006] Although there are several prior art "no-spill" toddler devices which incorporate a spoutless design and provide children the ability to suck through drinking cavities aligned around the perimeter of the lid such as U.S. Pat. No. 5,890, 619 to Belanger; U.S. Pat. No. 8,528,756 to Itzek et. al., and U.S. Pat. App. No. 2004/0099674 to McDonough et. al., there is no single reference which discloses a spoutless sippy cup which incorporates an interior valve with a vent to ensure the pressure differential does not lead to any leakage from the contained liquid contents.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0007] Embodiments described herein include a leak-proof spout-less toddler drinking apparatus which provides the user an ability to access the liquid contents from the bottle from any point along the perimeter of the lid while simultaneously preventing any leakage if inadvertently dropped or inverted. The embodiments shown provide a BPA-free ergonomic flute-like containing element, a holding plate, and a releasably attachable lid which further includes a plurality of drinking cavities, flexible pinch valve, and elastic collar.

[0008] The containing element is ergonomically designed to evenly distribute the weight of the liquid contents onto the stem and base regions. The planar surface rim at the first end ensures a flush water-tight seal when the rim is releasably seated. The light-weight preferred 8.5 oz. design (depicted in the current embodiment) allows the user to grip and tilt the containing element with a single hand.

[0009] Further described in the embodiments is a lid portion which is substantially circular and dimensioned to be seated against the planar surface area of the containing element rim. When releasably attached, the lid is configured to regulate the flow of the liquid contents through the molded drinking cavities and prevent any leakage through the integrated pinch valve and elastic collar. The lid portion further includes an interior portion containing an elastic pinch valve which is actuated when a suction force is applied through at least one of the drinking cavities along the perimeter of the lid. The pinch valve further includes a plurality of outwardly extending elastic sleeves with an opening at the top to which act is an enclosure for the liquid contents when the pressure differential drops below the threshold pressure. Further, the elastic pinch valves and opening act to vent any accumulated pressures traps within the containing element without requiring any additional valve or vents within the lid surface.

[0010] Other aspects, advantages, and novel features of the embodiments shown herein will become apparent from the following detailed description in conjunction with the drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0011] A more complete understanding of the embodiments shown, and the attendant advantages and features thereof, will be more readily understood by reference to the following detailed descriptions when considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawings wherein:

[0012] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a leak-proof spoutless toddler drinking apparatus;

[0013] FIG. 2 is a view of the apparatus with a lid portion partially detached;

[0014] FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of the lid portion;

[0015] FIG. 4 is a view of the holding plate;

[0016] FIG. 5 is a view of the elastomeric sleeves and pinch valve; and

[0017] FIG. 6 is a top view of the lid portion.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0018] The specific details of a single embodiment or variety of embodiments described herein are set forth in this application. Any specific details of the embodiments are used for demonstration purposes only, and no unnecessary limitations or inferences are to be understood therefrom.

[0019] The embodiments shown relate to leak-proof toddler drinking apparatus which is configured to allow the user to easily grip and access the liquid contents of the containing element while preventing any leaks if suddenly dropped or inverted. The embodiments shown provide an apparatus which includes an ergonomic design to evenly distribute the weight of the preferred 8.5 oz. containing element to both the stem and base regions while simultaneously minimizing any excessive air accumulation at the top of the containing element. Any excessive air accumulation at the top of the bottle often creates a pressure differential when the apparatus is tilted during use and a vacuum force is created. This pressure differential over time exerts additional forces onto the orifices of apparatus and eventually leads to drippage or leakage along the sidewalls of the containing element or through the drinking cavities when the bottle is tilted or inverted. Further, the excessive air accumulation is swallowed along with the liquid contents which create discomfort to the user or in severe cases colic.

[0020] The spoutless lid allows the user to drink from any point around the perimeter of the lid by simply grabbing the slim containing element and applying a suction force through any one of the drinking cavities located on the top side of the lid. The containing element and lid are composed of a high durometer BPA-free plastic material or similar product which allows the apparatus to be easily disassembled and washed. The collar and flexible pinch valve are composed of a low durometer elastic material that is designed to be pliable under pressure. The flexible pinch valve regulates the flow of the liquid contents in a single direction to the user and ensures any trapped fluid within the interior region is not leaked out. Further located at the end of each elastic sleeve is an elongated opening which is configured to flex and allow fluid to pass to the plurality of drinking cavities when a suction force is applied.

[0021] Referring now to the drawings wherein like reference numerals designate identical or corresponding parts throughout the views. There is shown in FIG. 1 a perspective view of the leak-proof spoutless toddler drinking apparatus 10. The apparatus 10 includes a containing element 12, and a lid 14 which may be releasably attached at the first end of the containing element 15 while the apparatus is being used and further contains liquid contents. The apparatus 10 is designed to enable the user (i.e., toddler) to grip the sidewall of the containing element 16 with a single hand and drink any liquid contents by tilting the apparatus 10 toward the users mouth and allowing the combined suction and gravitational forces to pass the fluid in a single direction from the containing element 12 to the to the plurality of drinking cavities 18 molded along the top surface of the lid 20.

[0022] The containing element 12 includes a flute-like (i.e., tall, narrow) ergonomic configuration which is designed to ensure the user may grip the apparatus 10 with a single hand, and further distribute evenly the weight of the liquid contents to the base region 22. The containing element 12 enables the lid to be inserted at the first end of the containing element 15 by depressing the lid 14 downwardly until a water-tight seal is formed along the planar rim surface 24.

[0023] The second end of the containing element 22 further includes the base region 23 which also includes a second planar rim surface 28 which further defines the perimeter of the second end 30. The perimeter of the second end 30 being slightly more narrow than the diameter of the first end 26. A further advantage of the ergonomic design of the containing element 12 is to help prevent any excessive air accumulation from forming between the top surface of the liquid contents and the bottom of the lid 32. The presence of excessive air accumulation creates a pressure differential with the atmospheric pressure and increases the amount of air swallowed with the liquid contents which contribute to discomfort. Additionally, colic may be minimized by reducing the circumference of the containing element 33.

[0024] The apparatus 10 is designed to help facilitate the transition by an infant or toddler from a baby bottle to a glass without the need for a semi-rigid spout. More specifically, the embodiments enable the user to grab the apparatus with a single hand and drink through at least one of the plurality of drinking cavities located along the top surface of the lid 20. Though the preferred embodiment contemplates an 8.5 oz. design with a cross-sectional length of 12 cm and of 6 cm and comprised of a plastic material, the apparatus 10 may be created in a variety of dimensions and composed of any suitable substitute material such as glass, stainless steel, or high durometer plastic substitute, as long as the material does not deform when washed and remains Bisperal-A (BPA) free.

[0025] Referring now to FIG. 2 is a view of the lid aligned to be releasably attached at the first end of the containing element 15. The lid 14 is configured to be slid along the inside side wall of the containing element 34 until seated onto the top surface of the lid 20 when a downward force is applied. The lid 14 has a substantially circular shape with a diameter 36 defined by diameter of the first end 26 and a height defined as the distance from the bottom of the lid 32 to the top surface of the lid 20.

[0026] Further included in the top surface of the lid 20 are a plurality of drinking cavities 18 which evenly spaced to provide access to the liquid contents from any access point along the perimeter of the lid 21. In the current embodiment, twenty evenly spaced drinking cavities 18 are molded having a cross-sectional length of measured approximately 0.4 cm to 0.7 cm and a width of 0.6 cm to 0.8 cm.

[0027] Referring now to FIG. 3, a side view of the lid 14 including an elastic collar 38 affixed to the outer surface of the lid 40. The elastic collar 38 is configured to act as a gasket or seal and prevent any leakage along the sidewall of the containing element 16. In the current embodiment, when the lid 14 is being slid down the inside sidewall of the containing element 34 as a result of an exterior force being applied in a downward direction from the top surface of the lid 20, frictional forces form along leading edge of the collar 42 which drive the leading edge 42 in the opposite direction to create a hermetic seal between the outer surface of the lid 40 and the inside sidewall of the containing element 34.

[0028] The lid 14 further includes an interior region 44 located just above the bottom of the lid 32. The interior region of the lid 44 is configured to releasably house the flexible pinch valve 46 which regulates the flow of the liquid from the containing element 12 to the plurality of drinking cavities 18. If the apparatus 10 is inverted, tipped over or knocked off a surface, the secondary means of force mitigation to the interior region 44 is by distributing/deflecting the surge using a holding plate 47 (shown in FIG. 4).

[0029] Referring now to FIG. 4, a view of the holding plate 47 including the series of elongated apertures along the diameter 48 which channel and distribute the liquid contents evenly over the bottom side of holding plate 49. The holding plate 47, which is configured to act as a secondary means of regulating the direction and flow of the contained liquid, is composed of a high durometer molded plastic. Further, the holding plate 47 may be releasably detached from the bottom of the lid 32 by applying a downward force onto the concave region 52. In the above-mentioned example, where apparatus 10 is suddenly dropped or inverted, any resultant forces from the splashing liquid contents will be absorbed by the semi-rigid bottom surface 49, and only minimal liquid contents are passed to the interior region of the lid 44.

[0030] Referring now to FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the flexible pinch valve 46 which is configured to regulate the directional flow of the liquid contents and encapsulate any residual fluids within an enclosure 52 when the flexible pinch valve 46 is actuated. The flexible pinch valve 46 is composed of molded low durometer material such as rubber or flexible silicone and includes planar ring base 54, and a plurality of elastic sleeves 56 which are extended perpendicularly outward from the planar ring base 54. The number of elastic sleeves 56 corresponding to the number of drinking cavities 18. In the current embodiment, there are twenty elastic sleeves and twenty drinking cavities 18.

[0031] The elastic sleeves 56 further include a beveled end 57 and elongated opening 58 which are configured to be "pinched open" when a suction force is applied from at least one of the plurality of drinking cavities 18. The flexible composition of the elastic sleeve 56 further ensures that any sudden interior forces along the interior surface of the elastic sleeve 59 prevent any leakage through any of the plurality of elongated openings 58.

[0032] The outside surface of the elastic sleeve 60 is in fluid communication with the interior portion of the plurality of drinking cavities 18 and further encapsulates any trapped liquid contents that may have been captured by the plurality of drinking cavities 18 when the first end of the containing element 15 shifts between a horizontal and vertical position. Further included within the elastic sleeves 58 is a purge vent 62 which is configured to vent any pressure differential between the inside and outside of the apparatus 10 much like the vent valve incorporated within a snorkel tube. This incorporated purge vent 64 ensures an equal pressure is maintained both inside and outside the apparatus 10. For example, if the apparatus 10 is heated or hot liquid is poured within the containing element, the heat within the containing element 12 will create a pressure differential within the containing element throughout the heat exchange. If the pressure within the containing element 12 is higher than the atmospheric pressure, a force is created on the elastic collar 38 and interior surface of the elastic sleeve 58. If the pressure is greater than the measured pressure threshold, the pinch valve may open or the elastic collar 38 may become unseated and allow fluid to leak.

[0033] Referring now to FIG. 6 is a top view of the lid 14 which depicts both the top surface of the lid 20 and the plurality of drinking cavities 18. Further depicted with the current view is the top surface of the holding plate 66. In order to disassemble and wash the apparatus 10, the user may first grip the sidewall 16 with a single hand and apply an upward force onto the outer surface of the lid 40 until releasably detached from the first end of the containing element 15. Once detached, the lid 14 may be further disassembled by placing a downward force onto the top surface of the holding plate 66 until it has been "popped off" the bottom of the lid 32. It is further contemplated the apparatus 10 and individual components may be machine or hand washed in hot or cold water. It is further contemplated the containing element 14 may be re-filled with both hot or cold liquid contents.

[0034] Persons skilled in the art will appreciate the present embodiments go beyond what is particularly shown and described herein above. In addition, note that all of the accompanying drawings are not to scale unless otherwise noted. A variety of modifications and variations are possible in light of the above description without departing from the following claims.

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