Patent Sample 2 – Mechanical Engineering

A Lid for a Drinking Cup

Field of the Invention
The present invention relates generally to lids for beverage containers and more specifically to drinking cup lids with openings for drinking.

Background of the Invention
It is well-known to provide covers for drinking containers in order to prevent the spillage of the contents of the container. Many prior art covers incorporate an opening in the top of the cover to allow drinking of the contents in the normal drinking fashion without  removing a lid from a cup. However, the fluid within the cup may spill out the opening. Furthermore, such prior art lids are not  suitable for keeping the liquid hot for a long time because the heat dissipates through the opening. For cold drinks, the spillage problem has been somewhat reduced by prior art lids with a selectively opened, straw orifice in the lid. However, such lids are still prone to some spillage, a number of people prefer not to use straws, and several drinks, for example coffee, hot chocolate and mulled wine are not normally consumed through straws.

Summary
It is therefore an object of the subject invention to provide a drink-thru cup lid that prevents liquid from spilling. It is therefore anobject of the subject invention to provide such a drink-thru cup lid that keeps the liquid hot longer than the prior art lids. It is therefore an object of the subject invention to provide such a drinking cup lid that is easier to use than the prior art lids. The subject of the invention results from the realization that a user-friendly drinking cup lid that keeps the liquid hot longer and prevents it from spilling is effected by a resealable tear-back flap that enables drinking from the cup without removal of the lid and that nables the lid to be resealed when needed as opposed to the prior art lids with the openings that cannot be resealed. The invention features a drinking cup lid. One preferred lid comprises a body and a lip sealing rim on the periphery of the body for tightly engaging the lid on the drinking cup. The lip sealing rim includes a downwardly extending portion and a lip receiving channel formed by the lip sealing rim to embracingly receive a lip of the drinking cup. The lid further comprises an elevated rim for collecting spilled liquid. The elevated rim is separated from the lip sealing rim by a liquid collecting channel formed by the rims. There is also included a resealable flap for  providing an opening in the lid to enable drinking from the cup without removal of the lid. The flap is laterally defined by the two spaced apart lines that extend inwardly through the lip sealing rim, the elevated rim, and the body toward medial portion of the body and that terminate at the pivotal axis. The flap is also configured, if torn along the lines away from the lid, to fold back and forth, pivoting about the pivotal axis. In one preferred embodiment, a depression extending inwardly from an upper surface of the body is formed in the medial portion of the body on the opposite side of the pivotal axis from the elevated rim. The depression is mirror-image shaped with respect to the portion of the elevated rim that runs through the resealable flap and configured to receive the elevated rim when the resealable flap is torn away from the lid and pivoted about the pivotal axis until the elevated rim is received within the depression for holding the resealable flap in an open position. In one preferred embodiment, the means are also provided for holding the resealable flap in an open position. Such means are being disposed on the resealable flap and on the medial portion of the body. The locking means can be protrusions, or depressions, or combination of protrusions and depressions. In one configuration, the body of the lid comprises at least one protrusion extending outwardly from an upper surface of the body. In another configuration, the resealable flap comprises further at least one protrusion extending outwardly from an upper surface of the body. In one embodiment, the elevated rim has at least one iscontinuity. In one instance, the downwardly extending portion of the lip receiving channel terminates in a pull tab that outwardly extends from the downwardly extending portion. In another instance, the lines that laterally define the resealable flap are perfo rated lines with plurality of holes to facilitate the tearing of the resealable flap. In some embodiments, the material along the lines that laterally define the resealable flap is a chemically-modified material that is substantially weaker than the material of which the rest of the lid is made to facilitate the tearing of the resealable flap. And yet in another instance, the lid is monolithically made from a thermoplastic sheet material. Figure 1 is a three-dimensional exploded side view of a prior art drinking cup lid for drinking beverages in the normal drinking fashion; Figure 2 is a three-dimensional exploded side view of a prior art drinking cup lid for drinking beverages using a straw; Figure 3A is a schematic top view of the drinking cup lid of this invention; 5 Figure 3B is a cross-sectional side view of the drinking cup lid of this invention shown in Figure 3A, taken along plane III-III of Fig. 3A; also showing a cross-sectional view of a drinking cup; Figure 3D is a schematic top view of the drinking cup lid in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention; Figure 3E is a cross-sectional side view of the drinking cup lid shown in Figure 3D, taken along plane III-III of Fig. 3D; Figure 4A is a three-dimensional exploded side view of the drinking cup lid in accordance with the preferred embodiment of the invention; and Figure 4B is a three-dimensional exploded side view of the drinking cup lid in accordance with the preferred embodiment of the invention with an opening formed by tearing back and locking a portion of the lid in the open position.

Specification
As discussed in the Background Section above, prior art drinking cup lid 10 shown in Figure 1 includes opening 12 for drinking beverages in the normal drinking fashion. The fluid within the cup, however, may spill out opening 12. Furthermore, such prior art lid 10, Fig. 1, is not suitable for keeping the liquid hot for a long time because the heat dissipates through opening 12, Fig. 1. For cold drinks, the spillage problem has been somewhat reduced by prior art lids such as lid 20, shown in Figure 2, with selectively opened, straw orifice 22 in lid 20, Fig. 2. However, such lids are still prone to some spillage, a number of people prefer not to use straws, and several drinks, for example coffee, hot chocolate and mulled wine are not normally consumed through straws. A top view of an embodiment of a drinking cup lid in accordance with the invention is shown in Figure 3A. Figure 3B shows a cross-sectional side view of the drinking cup lid shown in Fig. 3A along plane III-III of Fig. 3A. Figure 3B also shows a cross-sectional side view of a typical drinking cup. Lid 30 includes body 32, Fig. 3A, and lip sealing rim 33 on the periphery of body 32, Fig. 3A, for tightly engaging lid 30 on drinking cup 31, Fig. 3B. Lip sealing rim 33 includes downwardly extending portion 34b and lip receiving channel 34a, Fig. 3B, formed by lip sealing rim 33 to embracingly receive lip 31a, Fig. 3B, of drinking cup 31, Fig. 3B. Lid 30 further comprises elevated rim 36 for collecting spilled liquid. Elevated rim 36 is separated from lip sealing rim 33 by liquid collecting hannel 35 formed by the rims 33 and 36. There is also included resealable flap 38, Fig. 3A, for providing an opening in lid 30 to enable drinking from cup 31, Fig. 3B, without removal of lid 30. Flap 38 is laterally defined by two spaced apart lines 39a, 39b (Fig. 3A) that extend inwardly through lip sealing rim 33, elevated rim 36, and body 32, Fig. 3A, toward medial portion of body 32 and that terminate at pivotal axis 39c, Fig. 3A. Flap 38, Fig. 3A, is also configured, if torn along lines 39a, 39b, Fig. 3A, away from lid 30, to fold back and forth, pivoting about pivotal axis 39c. A top view of an embodiment of a drinking cup lid in accordance with another version of the present invention is shown in Figure 3D. Figure 3E shows a cross-sectional side view of the drinking cup lid shown in Fig. 3D along plane III-III of Fig. 3D. In addition to the elements described above and shown in Fig. 3A and 3B, lid 30 (Fig. 3D) comprises depression 36a  that extends inwardly from an upper surface of body 32, Fig. 3D. Depression 36a is formed in the medial portion of body 32 on the opposite side of pivotal axis 39c, Fig. 3D, from elevated rim 36. Depression 36a is mirror-image shaped with respect to portion 36b of elevated rim 36 that is part of resealable flap 38 and configured to receive portion 36b of elevated rim 36 when resealable flap 38 is torn away from lid 30 and pivoted about pivotal axis 39c, Fig. 3D, until portion 36b of elevated rim 36 is received within depression 36a for holding resealable flap 38 in an open position. In one instance, downwardly extending portion 34b (Fig. 3E, 3D) of lip receiving channel 33, Fig. 3E, 3D terminates in pull tab 37 that outwardly extends from the downwardly extending portion 34b to help the user in tearing of flap 38 from lid 30. Lines 39a, 39b (Fig. 3D) that laterally define resealable flap 38, Fig. 3D, can be perforated lines with plurality of holes employed to facilitate the tearing of resealable flap 38, Fig. 3D. The material along lines 39a, 39b (Fig. 3D) can be a chemically-modified material that is substantially weaker than the material of which the rest of lid 30, Fig. 3D, is made to facilitate the tearing of resealable flap 38, Fig. 3D. Some other methods of making the lines weaker can also be employed. For example, the material along the lines can be thinned down by molding so as to make the lines weaker and facilitate the tearing of resealable flap along such lines. The lid of the present invention (lid 40, Fig. 4A) can comprise further some locking means, such as U-shaped protrusion 42a disposed on sealable flap 46, Fig. 4A and protrusion 42b disposed on the medial portion of body 41, Fig. 4A. There can be at least one protrusion disposed on the sealable flap. (E.g., can be one protrusion, two protrusions, three protrusions, or more protrusions). The locking means can be in the form of protrusions, or depressions, or combination of protrusions and depressions. Such means are utilized for locking resealable flap 46, Fig. 4B, in the open position by tearing back resealable flap 46, and pivoting it about pivoting axis 43, until the locking means (42a, Fig. 4A) of flap 46 are received within the locking means (42b, Fig. 4A) of medial portion of body 41, Fig. 4A. In some instances, lid 40, Fig. 4A, of the preferred embodiment of the present invention can include at least one protrusion, such as protrusion 44, Fig. 4A, extending outwardly from an upper surface of body 41, Fig. 4A in such a way as to enable holding flap 46 in a tightly sealed locked position in pocket 41a formed by protrusion 44 around medial portion of body 41 when flap 46 is torn away from lid 40 and pivoted about pivotal axis 43, Fig. 4A until flap 46 is in the locked position such as shown in Fig. 4B. The lid of the present invention can comprise the elevated rim that has at least one discontinuity. For example, lid 40, Fig. 4A, comprises elevated rim 49 that is not continuous but terminates upon resealable flap 46 for ease of tearing off from lid 40, Fig. 4A and for ensuring that flap 46 is held in a tightly sealed position. The lid of the present invention can be monolithically made from a thermoplastic sheet material.  When desired, the resealable flap that has been torn back from the lid, pivoted about the pivotal axis, and locked (Flap 46, Fig. 4B), can be returned to its original position such as Flap 46 in Fig. 4A, so as to keep liquid hot longer and to prevent it from spilling. Thus, a user-friendly drinking cup lid that keeps the liquid hot longer and prevents it from spilling is effected by a resealable tear-back flap that enables drinking from the cup without removal of the lid and that enables the lid to be resealed when needed as opposed to the prior art lids with the openings that cannot be resealed.

Claims
1. A lid for a drinking cup, said lid comprising:
a body; a lip sealing rim on the periphery of the body for tightly engaging the lid on the drinking cup; said lip sealing rim including a downwardly extending portion and a lip receiving channel formed by the lip sealing rim to embracingly receive a lip of the drinking cup; 10 an elevated rim for collecting spilled liquid; said elevated rim is separated from the lip sealing rim by a liquid collecting channel formed by the rims; and a resealable flap for providing an opening in the lid to enable drinking from the cup without removal of the lid; said flap is laterally defined by the two spaced apart lines that extend inwardly through the lip sealing rim, the elevated rim, and the body toward medial portion of the body and that terminate at the pivotal axis; said flap also configured, if torn along said lines away from the lid, to fold back and forth, pivoting about said pivotal axis.

2. The lid of claim 1 in which a depression extending inwardly from an upper surface of the body is formed in the medial portion of the body on the opposite side of the pivotal axis from the elevated rim; said depression is mirror-image shaped with respect to the portion of the elevated rim that runs through the resealable flap and configured to receive the elevated rim when the resealable flap is torn away from the lid and pivoted about the pivotal axis until the elevated rim is received within said depression for holding the resealable flap in an open position.

3. The lid of claim 1 comprising further locking means for holding the resealable flap in an open position; said means being disposed on the resealable flap and on the medial portion of the body.

4. The lid of claim 3 in which the locking means is protrusions, or depressions, or combination of protrusions and depressions.

5. The lid of claim 1 in which the body comprising further at least one protrusion extending outwardly from an upper surface of the body.

6. The lid of claim 1 in which the resealable flap comprising further at least one protrusion extending outwardly from an upper surface of the body.

7. The lid of claim 1 in which the elevated rim has at least one discontinuity.

8. The lid of claim 1 in which the downwardly extending portion of the lip receiving channel terminates in a pull tab that outwardly extends from the downwardly extending portion.

9. The lid of claim 1 in which the lines that laterally define the resealable flap are perforated lines having plurality of holes to facilitate the tearing of the resealable flap.

10. The lid of claim 1 in which the material along the lines that laterally define the resealable flap is a chemically-modified material that is substantially weaker than the material of which the rest of the lid is made to facilitate the tearing of the resealable flap.

11. The lid of claim 1 in which said lid is monolithically made from a thermoplastic sheet material.

Abstract
The invention is a drinking cup lid useful for drinking beverages. The device comprises a body and a lip sealing rim on the periphery of the body for tightly engaging the lid on the drinking cup. The lip sealing rim includes a downwardly extending portion and a lip  eceiving channel formed by the lip sealing rim to embracingly receive a lip of the drinking cup. The lid further comprises an elevated rim for collecting spilled liquid. The elevated rim is separated from the lip sealing rim by a liquid collecting channel formed by the rims. There is also included a resealable flap for providing an opening in the lid to enable drinking from the cup without removal of the lid. The flap is laterally defined by the two spaced apart lines that extend inwardly through the lip sealing rim, the elevated rim, and the body toward medial portion of the body and that terminate at the pivotal axis. The flap is also configured, if torn along the lines away from the lid, to fold back and forth, pivoting about the pivotal axis.