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Publication numberUS20080011926 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/639,009
Publication date17 Jan 2008
Filing date14 Dec 2006
Priority date14 Dec 2005
Also published asCA2530091A1, WO2007068095A1
Publication number11639009, 639009, US 2008/0011926 A1, US 2008/011926 A1, US 20080011926 A1, US 20080011926A1, US 2008011926 A1, US 2008011926A1, US-A1-20080011926, US-A1-2008011926, US2008/0011926A1, US2008/011926A1, US20080011926 A1, US20080011926A1, US2008011926 A1, US2008011926A1
InventorsGiuseppe Cappellino
Original AssigneeGiuseppe Cappellino
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Automotive beverage tray holder
US 20080011926 A1
Abstract
A beverage tray holder for holding disposable moulded pulp beverage trays and for use in automobiles comprises a base and a tray-holding member. A spill guard may optionally be included. The tray-holding member is adapted to securely hold a disposable beverage tray for holding four or more beverages, and comprises a bottom surface for holding the beverage tray and a continuous side wall for supporting the side surface of the beverage tray.
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Claims(10)
1. A beverage tray holder for holding a disposable moulded pulp beverage tray having a bottom surface and at least one side surface, for use in an automobile, comprising:
a tray-holding member; and
a base.
2. A beverage tray holder as claimed in claim 1, further comprising a spill guard.
3. A beverage tray holder as claimed in claim 1, wherein the tray-holding member comprises a bottom surface for supporting the bottom surface of the beverage tray and a continuous side wall for supporting and surrounding at least a portion of the at least one side surface of the beverage tray.
4. A beverage tray holder as claimed in claim 3, wherein the continuous side wall supports and surrounds a lower portion of the at least one side surface of the beverage tray.
5. A beverage tray holder as claimed in claim 4, wherein the beverage tray holder holds a beverage tray for up to four beverage containers in a square formation.
6. A beverage tray holder as claimed in claim 3, wherein the base has a bottom surface that is contoured to provide grip between the base and a surface on which the beverage tray holder is resting.
7. A beverage tray holder as claimed in claim 3, constructed from a relatively hard material.
8. A beverage tray holder as claimed in claim 3, constructed from a relatively dense material.
9. A beverage tray holder as claimed in claim 3, further comprising dividers that separate the tray-holding member into at least two portions, said dividers supporting and surrounding at least a portion of the at least one side surface of the beverage tray.
10. A beverage tray holder as claimed in claim 3, further comprising an automotive floor mat, the automotive floor mat extending outwardly from and in the same plane as the beverage tray holder base.
Description
    RELATED APPLICATION
  • [0001]
    The present application claims priority to Canadian Application No. 2,530,091 filed Dec. 14, 2005, which is incorporated herein in its entirety by reference.
  • [0002]
    The invention relates to the field of beverage tray holders for use in automobiles.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0003]
    When two or more beverages are purchased at a take-out restaurant or coffee shop, a disposable moulded pulp tray holding up to four beverages is often provided. Often the tray is placed in an automobile for consumption of the beverages while driving or for transportation of the beverages to another location. The tray may be placed on a seat or on the floor of the automobile, but since the tray is mainly intended to facilitate carrying the beverages, and is not designed to be particularly stable when placed on an uneven surface such as an automobile seat, the beverages may spill if the automobile comes to an abrupt stop or turns a corner. In addition, the bottom surface of the tray may slide on certain surfaces, increasing the likelihood of spillage. The tray is often made from flimsy paper material that will disintegrate when wet. Thus, if the tray is accidentally exposed to moisture, either by spillage of the beverage, rain or snow, or water on the floor of the car, it will lose strength.
  • [0004]
    The prior art discloses various cup holders for holding two or more beverage containers.
  • [0005]
    U.S. Pat. No. 4,718,555 to Amberg discloses a carrying tray for holding cups or beverage containers. It is adapted to hold flat-bottomed or so-called “chime”-bottomed containers, but not to hold a tray of the sort described above. The Amberg carrying tray may be unstable when placed in an automobile.
  • [0006]
    U.S. Pat. No. 5,713,619 to DuBois discloses a beverage cup carrier with multiple pockets for containing beverage cups, the pockets being interconnected with webbing to strengthen the cup carrier. The carrier is adapted to hold individual cups rather than an entire tray. The DuBois carrier may be unstable when placed in an automobile.
  • [0007]
    What is needed, therefore, is a beverage tray holder for use in an automobile that will hold common beverage trays described above in a stable manner without risk of tipping or sliding, and that is easily and conveniently movable within the automobile. Further, a beverage tray holder that can withstand moisture is also needed.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0008]
    An object of the present invention is to provide a beverage tray holder for use in an automobile that provides a stable platform for a beverage tray so that the tray does not tip or slide when the automobile is in motion.
  • [0009]
    A further object of the present invention is to provide a beverage tray holder that is easily and conveniently movable.
  • [0010]
    A further object of the present invention is to provide a beverage tray holder that will remain strong even when wet.
  • [0011]
    The beverage tray holder comprises a base, a tray-holding member and a spill guard. The base has a contoured bottom surface that prevents slipping of the beverage tray holder along the surface it is resting on. The tray-holding member is shaped to accommodate a disposable moulded pulp beverage tray such as one designed to hold four beverage containers. A spill guard surrounds the tray-holding member to collect small amounts of spilled liquid that may escape from the beverage containers.
  • [0012]
    The beverage tray holder is sufficiently light to allow for portability, but also heavy enough so that it does not tip or slide. The beverage tray holder is sufficiently rigid to hold a full beverage tray without bending or folding. The beverage tray holder is made from a material that does not disintegrate when wet.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0013]
    FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the beverage tray holder.
  • [0014]
    FIG. 2 is a perspective view of an the underside of the tray holder of FIG. 1.
  • [0015]
    FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a second embodiment of the beverage tray holder, formed in an automobile floor mat.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0016]
    Referring now to the drawings, FIGS. 1 and 2 show top and bottom views of the tray holder of the present invention. The tray holder 1 is molded in one piece, preferably from a water and stain-resistant material. The tray holder is preferably made from a flexible and resilient material such as rubber or vinyl. The selection of an appropriate material that is flexible, waterproof and stain-resistant will be a matter of choice to one skilled in the art.
  • [0017]
    The tray holder of the present invention includes a central compartment 2 dimensioned and configured to receive a molded pulp beverage tray. Compartment 2 includes four individual wells 3 dimensioned to accommodate the four cup-holding compartments of a beverage tray. Each of the wells is provided with three flexible pads 4, aligned with the cut-outs of a tray that flex inwardly to hold a cup in place. It will be understood that it is within the scope of the present invention to provide a different number, or configuration, of flexible pads 4, to accommodate any beverage tray being marketed. Moreover, it will be understood that since the pads 4 are flexible, even if they do not align with cutouts on a tray (because of tray design) they will still flex inwardly to grip the tray.
  • [0018]
    Each pad 4 is formed as a thin-walled convex (when viewed from above) bulge in the wall of a well 3. A small slip 5 is preferably provided at the base of each pad, to permit it to flex easily.
  • [0019]
    Each well 3 is deep enough to accommodate an individual cup-holding compartment of a beverage tray, and prevent it from slipping. The central area of the central compartment is recessed to accommodate the recessed central portion common in beverage trays. It will be understood, however, that the central portion may be raised or recessed, as a matter of design choice, if a tray without a centrally recessed portion is to be accommodated.
  • [0020]
    The central compartment of the tray includes a substantially flat upper surface. Along each edge of the upper surface is formed a groove or notch 8 to accommodate the fingers of a person, and thereby simplify the act of removing a beverage tray from the tray holder.
  • [0021]
    The entire central compartment is surrounded by a spill-containing well molded into the tray holder. Outward of the spill-containing well is formed a base or skirt that goes around the entire beverage tray holder.
  • [0022]
    As can be seen from FIG. 2, the base is provided with ribs 11 around its entire perimeter to give it structural strength, and to assist in grip. In this regard, the lower surface of the wells 3 and optionally on the other lower surfaces are also provided with short protrusions 12, also for grip. When the tray holder is placed on a surface, then, such as the floor of a vehicle or the upholstered cargo area of an SUV, it will grip the surface, and not slide around. A tray loaded with cups of coffee or another beverage will be firmly gripped in the wells 3 by pads 4, and if any liquid were to spill from a cup, it would be caught in the spill well 9.
  • [0023]
    Referring to FIG. 3, it will be seen that the tray holder may, for instance, be molded into a rubber or vinyl floor mat 13.
Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2897974 *16 Apr 19564 Aug 1959Maurice E CookService tray adapted for use in automobiles and in other relations
US4208006 *27 Feb 197917 Jun 1980Diamond International CorporationMolded pulp tray for beverage and food
US4300709 *16 May 198017 Nov 1981Allied Plastics, Inc.Automobile console
US4524701 *27 Aug 198225 Jun 1985Chappell Austin WDetachable car seat tables
US4718555 *27 Mar 198712 Jan 1988Fort Howard Cup CorporationCarrying tray
US5121909 *8 Nov 199016 Jun 1992Teledyne Industries, Inc.Barbecue tray
US5713619 *5 Feb 19963 Feb 1998Tenneco Packaging Inc.Beverage cup carrier
US6036020 *5 Mar 199914 Mar 2000Distler; LasDinner tray
US6206445 *22 Oct 199927 Mar 2001Kenneth S. BrooksTailgate-adapted cutting board and accessories
US6422551 *12 Mar 200123 Jul 2002Gregory R. BrotzDisposable cutting board
US6722644 *27 Feb 200220 Apr 2004Michael J. ProsserCutting board with drain holes and fitted trough
US20040093667 *18 Nov 200220 May 2004Erickson E. JayFood preparation station
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US787105030 Nov 200618 Jan 2011Epstein Marc IAdjustable tray assembly for holding beverage containers and other items
US943428713 Jan 20156 Sep 2016Level Solutions, LLCVehicle tray
US20080128572 *30 Nov 20065 Jun 2008Epstein Marc IAdjustable tray assembly for holding beverage containers and other items
US20100140431 *4 Dec 200910 Jun 2010Van Horne Cynthia LApparatus for supporting an inverted container
US20140053783 *7 Sep 201227 Feb 2014Pet Fusion, LlcLitter mat
Classifications
U.S. Classification248/311.2
International ClassificationA47K1/08
Cooperative ClassificationB60N3/10
European ClassificationB60N3/10
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
12 Feb 2007ASAssignment
Owner name: MOLD CAM ENGINEERING INC., CANADA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:CAPPELLINO, GIUSEPPE;REEL/FRAME:018882/0228
Effective date: 20070113