Patent application title: Customizable utensils
Martha Molloy Moritz (Overland Park, KS, US)
Katherine Molloy Reavis (Overland Park, KS, US)
Richard Raymond Moritz (Fairway, KS, US)
IPC8 Class: AB65D7700FI
Class name: Special receptacle or package combined or convertible
Publication date: 2011-04-28
Patent application number: 20110094903
The invention provides a utensil designed with a clear viewing area in
which customized material can be enclosed and held in place by various
means. The invention also includes a variety of means for providing
customization of the utensil.
In this embodiment a utensil (dinner plate) will accept the customized
material within a space provided below the clear viewing area. Customized
material will be held in place by various material means and or restraint
mechanisms. The inserted customized material adds individualization,
multiple function, reusability and novelty to the utensil without
impairing the function.
1. A utensil and means of customizing said utensil allowing for the use
of the utensil without precluding its functionality.
2. The utensil of claim 1 wherein the body of said utensil has a clear area allowing for viewing of customization (body).
3. The utensil of claim 1 wherein said utensil has a means of receiving and firmly holding customization (cover).
4. Means of customizing the utensil of claim 1 (customized material).
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 1. Field of the Invention
 Imagine the frustration of taking your child to the party store to purchase "Happy 8th Birthday" party ware. You will find that there are no products specific to your child's eighth birthday or the Red and Purple clown face balloon theme that your child had their heart set on. Now imagine the same party store with a product line of utensils (for example plates and cups) that can be customized to your child's wishes through an easy to use, at home, component system.
 2. Description of the Prior Art
 There was no prior art found that was suitable for the particular purpose of providing a utensil with a clear viewing area able to receive and retain customizable materials without interfering with the function of the utensil.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 The present invention relates generally to the ability to provide the capability to customize, personalize, decorate and/or individualize utensils. Utensils are defined herein as plates, cups, serving apparatus, decorative items, bowls and/or any other vessel or object that can be displayed, used or created to use as memorabilia, advertising, games, dinnerware and any other concept, product or interest of every kind thereof related to house wares, toys, fashion, decorating, advertising and to each and every other thing necessary, related or incidental thereto.
 This system, used for customizing utensils, can be used for celebratory, educational, cultural, motivational, instructional, advertizing and or any other use deemed appropriate. This invention allows for direct in home or workplace use resulting in easy and convenient customization of utensils and the ability to reuse the utensil.
 Many currently enjoy utensils that are generically produced. Examples include plates that reflect wishes for a Happy 50th Birthday, Graduation and Bridal Shower. However, the ability to customize that plate to a specific person, including ethnically and culturally specific information, and other customization is not readily available. Hence, there is a need for the convenience of "do it yourself" customizable utensils. In this respect the customizable utensil according to the present invention substantially departs from the conventional concepts and designs and in so doing provides a utensil primarily developed for the purpose of providing a convenient personalized, customized, individualized, unique utensil that can be produced at any time in any quantity at the home, business or workplace of the user.
 In accordance with the invention a customizable utensil is provided.  The primary objective of the present invention is to provide a way of customizing utensils.  Another objective is to provide a system to customize utensils.  An additional objective is to provide utensils that uniquely accept customization.  Another objective of the invention is to provide a system used to customize a utensil in the home, business or workplace.  Another objective is to provide a distinctive/specific utensil not common or mass produced.  Another objective is to provide a method of producing ethnically or culturally diverse utensils not found in the common market.  Another objective is to provide a customizable utensil that can be adaptable, reusable, disposable, and or sustainable. Further objectives of the invention will appear as the description proceeds.
 To the accomplishment of the above and related objects, this invention may be embodied in the form illustrated in the accompanying drawings, attention being called to the fact, however, that the drawings are illustrative only, and that changes may be made in the specific construction illustrated and described within the scope of this document.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 FIG. 1 is a top view of the assembled utensil.
 FIG. 2 is a bottom view of the assembled utensil.
 FIG. 3 is an exploded view of the utensil viewed from the top.
 FIG. 4 is a partially exploded view, viewed from the top.
 FIG. 5 is a bottom view of the assembled utensil partially exploded.
 All components can be used individually or in toto.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
 Turning now descriptively to the drawings, in which similar reference characters denote similar elements throughout the several views.
 FIG. 1 illustrates a customized utensil 10 viewed from the top, which is generally comprised of a body 12, a rim 14, a clear viewable area 13, a mechanism of attachment 16 for a cover, a customizable insert 18, a sloped edge 15, and a cover 20.
 FIG. 2 illustrates a customized utensil 10, viewed from the bottom, which is generally comprised of a body 12 with a mechanism of attaching a cover 16, a cover 20, a rim 14, a sloped edge 15, and the back of a customizable insert 18 viewed through the clear cover.
 FIG. 3-4 illustrate the utensils individual components, the body 12, with a mechanism of attaching a cover 16, the rim 14, a clear viewable area 13, a sloped edge 15, a cover 20 and a customizable insert 18 in exploded views, viewed from the top of the utensil.
 FIG. 5 illustrates the utensils individual components, the body 12, with a mechanism of attaching a cover 16, the rim 14, a sloped edge 15, a cover 20, a customizable insert 18 in exploded views, viewed from the bottom. Noted is the customizable viewing area 13 can not be discerned in this view.
 In the current embodiment the body of the utensil 12 is comprised of a food grade clear plastic with a circular clear viewing area 13, a lipped flat rim 14, and a sloped edge 15. However, in addition to food grade plastic, the body 12 can be comprised of other suitable materials including but not limited to glass, paper, stone or other materials occurring in nature, lexan polycarbonates, urethanes, metals, polymers or plastic materials suitable for the production of the utensil and can be conceived in other shapes, including but not limited to geometric, examples including, but not limited to, square, triangle, rectangle, etc. and or other non geometric shapes and configurations as can be conceived. In the current embodiment, the body 12 is 10.5 inches in diameter, however, it is noted that other sizes can be conceived as deemed appropriate for the utensil. The body 12 does include a clear viewable area 13 of 7.5 inches, which may or may not be circular in nature and can be configured in other shapes and sizes including, but not limited to, square, triangle, rectangle, etc. and or other non geometric shapes and configurations.
 The rim 14, in the present invention, is constructed of the same clear food grade plastic which comprises the body, however, other materials can be conceived, including but not limited to, the materials suited to the production of the body of the utensil or other suitable materials. The rim 14, which in the current embodiment is 1.25 inches wide, may be clear, colored, embossed, decorated and or otherwise adorned as seems fit for the utensil.
 The sloped edge 15, in the present invention, is constructed of the same clear food grade plastic which comprises the body, however, other materials can be conceived, including but not limited to, the materials suited to the production of the body of the utensil or other suitable materials. The sloped edge 15, which in the current embodiment is 0.5 inches in height, may be clear, colored, embossed, decorated and or otherwise adorned as seems fit for the utensil. The sloped edge and the food grade plastic in the current embodiment allows for the use of this utensil as a plate for the consumption of food.
 The mechanism 16 for attaching the back cover 20 is by means of a friction held lip. The body 12 has a 1/16 inch convex scallop in 4 evenly spaced locations along the circumference of the clear viewing area 13 with a corresponding 1/4 inch lip at each of the convexities. In the current embodiment the cover 20, is held in place by inserting the cover into the viewing area and providing a twisting motion to the cover. However, other mechanisms of attaching a cover could be conceived as the size and shape of the utensil changes and can include but are not limited to hinging, suction force, snap in, tension and any other mechanism appropriate to the invention.
 The cover 20 in the present invention is constructed of the same clear food grade plastic which comprises the body, and may be clear, colored, embossed, decorated and or otherwise adorned as seems fit for the utensil. The cover 20 can be produced from any material with the structural integrity to hold insert 18 in place. In the current embodiment the cover is 7.5 inches in diameter and is concavely scalloped at 4 equally spaced points along the circumference of the cover allowing the cover to align with the mechanism of attachment 16 located on the body of the utensil 12. The cover may be constructed with a recess, opening or other point of attachment or mechanism which would allow the utensil to be hung as a decorative item or adornment. The cover can also be conceived with a mechanism which will allow the utensil to stand unaided, an example might include a pull out hinged leg or other mechanisms allowing the utensil to rest unaided in a more upright or other position allowing for decorative display.
 In the current embodiment the customizable insert 18 is comprised of a paper cardstock material that has been custom printed on a home computer but it must be appreciated that any other material which can be printed, drawn, decoupaged, colored or embellished by any means, and/or any material that can be cut or fashioned to fit the existing viewing area of the utensil can be conceived. Examples include but are not limited to paper, fabric, napkins, wallpaper, wrapping paper, tin foil, photographs, metal, wood, preprinted media or any other conceivable media mixed or otherwise.
 The invention further comprises a computer or online adaptation of a computer program or other programming device would facilitate a way of creating an insert 18. This program would allow digital media to be transferred to insert 18 and allow for printing the insert on a home, business or workplace computer printer. The system would also allow for the use of pre perforated paper/cardstock templates which, in conjunction with the user's computer, facilitates the ease of preparing a customized insert.
 When the body 12, the insert 18, and the cover 20 are assembled the result is a utensil that is customized 10. The mechanism for attaching the cover in the current invention allows for the reusability of the utensil. The twisting motion, that allows attachment of the cover 20, also allows for the removal of the cover and hence reusability of the utensil itself. The utensil can be disassembled. The insert can be kept or discarded. In the current embodiment the utensil, body 12 and cover 20, can washed and stored for reuse.
 It is noted that the components of the system can be used independently or in conjunction with any or all parts. Components can be obtained individually or in "kits" consisting of one component or up to all the components of the system.
 As to further discussion of the manner of usage and operation of the present invention, the same should be apparent from the above description. With respect to the above description then, it is to be realized that the optimum dimensional relationship for the parts of the invention, to include variations in size, materials, shape, form, function and manner of operation, assembly and use, are deemed readily apparent. All equivalent relationships to those illustrated in the drawings and described in the specification are intended to be encompassed by the present invention. Therefore it must be appreciated that other methods and applications may be utilized.
 Therefore the foregoing is considered as illustrative only of the principals of the invention. Further, since numerous modifications and changes will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation shown and described, and accordingly, all suitable modifications and equivalents may be resorted to, falling within the scope of the invention.
Patent applications in class COMBINED OR CONVERTIBLE
Patent applications in all subclasses COMBINED OR CONVERTIBLE