Patent application title: Bottle Protector and Handle
Jason P. Martin (Lake Oswego, OR, US)
Jason P. Martin (Lake Oswego, OR, US)
Travis J. Hendricks (Portland, OR, US)
IPC8 Class: AB65D2530FI
Class name: Receptacles receptacle having rigid, removable external jacket or casing
Publication date: 2013-01-24
Patent application number: 20130020317
A baby-bottle protector and grip is secured to the bottle by screwing a
mounting collar between the bottle and the cap, or by stretching the
mounting collar around the bottle neck or cap. The protector forms a
generally ball-shaped cage around the bottle, where bars or ribs of the
cage can be grasped by an infant. The ribs help protect the bottle if it
is dropped. In some embodiments, the protector pulls the bottle into the
ball to provide better protection.
1. A bottle protector and grip comprising: a circular neck adapted to be
secured between a removable-top bottle and a top of the removable-top
bottle; a skirt attached to the circular neck, said skirt formed of a
resilient material and constructed so that the skirt surrounds the
removable-top bottle substantially completely but exposes the top of the
removable-top bottle, wherein the skirt has a bottle-admitting opening
opposite the circular neck, the skirt has a plurality of handle openings
therein, and the resilient skirt material between the handle openings is
adapted to be grasped by an infant's hand.
2. The bottle protector and grip of claim 1 wherein the removable-top bottle is a screw-top bottle.
3. The bottle protector and grip of claim 1 wherein the circular neck is to be compressed between an upper extremity of the removable-top bottle and the top of the removable-top bottle when the top of the removable-top bottle is secured.
4. The bottle protector and grip of claim 1 wherein the circular neck has a female threaded insert adapted to accept a male threaded top of the removable-top bottle, and the circular neck has a male threaded protrusion to which the top of the removable-top bottle may be secured.
5. The bottle protector and grip of claim 1, further comprising: an accordion-fold structure connecting the circular neck to the skirt, said accordion-fold structure functional to withdraw a bottle secured to the circular neck toward an interior of the skirt so that the top of the removable-top bottle is less exposed on an exterior of the skirt.
6. The bottle protector and grip of claim 1 wherein the circular neck and skirt are formed of a silicone material.
7. A bottle protector and handle comprising: a semi-spherical hollow shell formed of a resilient material, said shell having: a first opening sized to admit a bottle into an interior of the shell; a second opening sized to permit a neck of the bottle to pass from the interior of the shell through the second opening and out of the shell; and a plurality of perforations in the shell to create a cage-like structure, wherein at least one portion of the cage-like structure is adapted to be grasped by an infant's hand.
8. The bottle protector and handle of claim 7 wherein an edge of the second opening is to be compressed between the neck of the bottle and a cap of the bottle, said cap comprising a collar and a nipple, said collar to be screwed to the neck of the bottle.
9. The bottle protector and handle of claim 7 wherein the second opening is to be compressed between the neck of the bottle and a cap of the bottle, said cap comprising a collar and a nipple, said collar to be secured to the neck of the bottle by a snap fitting.
10. The bottle protector and handle of claim 7 wherein the first opening is elastically expandable, said first opening to secure a base of the bottle.
11. The bottle protector and handle of claim 7 wherein the second opening is elastically expandable, said second opening to secure the neck of the bottle.
12. The bottle protector and handle of claim 7 wherein the plurality of perforations are circular holes.
13. The bottle protector and handle of claim 7 wherein the plurality of perforations are elongated holes.
14. The bottle protector and handle of claim 7 wherein the plurality of perforations are shaped like letters of an alphabet.
15. The bottle protector and handle of claim 7 wherein the plurality of perforations are shaped like animal silhouettes.
16. The bottle protector and handle of claim 7 wherein the semi-spherical hollow shell is formed of silicone.
17. The bottle protector and handle of claim 7 wherein the semi-spherical hollow shell is formed of a resilient polymer coated with a tactile material.
 The invention relates to accessories for beverage containers. More specifically, the invention relates to structures for attachment to baby bottles that provide protection from impact damage and improved gripping features.
 Babies and young children often lack manual dexterity, so they frequently drop toys and other objects. In particular, children may have difficulty holding formula bottles and "sippy" cups, and may become particularly frustrated when they drop them. Furthermore, although such bottles and cups are often made of an impact-resistant material, there remains the possibility of damage clue to a drop, as well as contamination of surfaces that are likely to be placed in the child's mouth later. Structures that protect bottles and cups from impact, and further help improve a child's grip (to reduce the chance of an accidental drop) may be of value to children and their parents.
 Embodiments of the invention form a flexible, resilient cage around a bottle or similar object. The "bars" of the cage are spaced and arranged so that they are easy for a small hand to hold.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS
 Embodiments of the invention are illustrated by way of example and not by way of limitation in the figures of the accompanying drawings in which like references indicate similar elements. It should be noted that references to "an" or "one" embodiment in this disclosure are not necessarily to the same embodiment, and such references mean "at least one."
 FIG. 1 shows a bottle protector according to an embodiment of the invention.
 FIG. 2 shows the bottle protector of FIG. 1 with a bottle and cap inserted.
 FIG. 3 shows a section through an embodiment of the invention that is installed between a bottle and its screw-on cap.
 FIG. 4 shows a section through another embodiment of the invention where both bottle and cap are screwed to the embodiment itself.
 FIG. 5 shows a section through an embodiment that attaches to a bottle by means of an elastic band.
 FIG. 6 shows an embodiment of the invention having a plurality of flexible ribs.
 Embodiments of the invention provide a flexible, resilient cage that can be secured to a bottle, such as an infant's bottle. The cage helps protect the bottle from breakage if it is dropped, and comprises a number of gripping features to make it easier for a child to hold.
 FIG. 1 shows a typical embodiment of the invention, 100, which is a hollow, roughly spherical ball with a number of perforations or holes in its surface. A first hole 110 at the bottom of the structure is sized to admit a bottle into the interior of the holder, while a second hole 120 at the top is large enough to allow the neck of the bottle to pass through from the inside to the outside. Finally, a number of other circular holes (three of which are identified by arrows at reference 130) create a cage-like structure, where the "bars" or portions of the structure between the holes are suitable for grasping and holding the structure.
 FIG. 2 shows the same typical embodiment 100, into which a bottle 210 has been inserted. The neck of the bottle extends through hole 120 (which is not marked in this Figure), and a cap 220 is secured onto the neck. The cap comprises a latex or silicone nipple 230, as commonly found on baby bottles. When cap 220 is secured to bottle 210 (e.g., via a threaded screw-on connection or a compression-fit snap-on connection) bottle protector 100 is also secured to bottle 210 and can help reduce the chance of damage if the assembly is dropped or thrown.
 FIG. 3 shows a section through another embodiment (with a bottle in place). Bottle protector 300 forms a roughly spherical shell surrounding bottle 210. Protector 300 is held in place by compression between screw-top 220 and the shoulder of bottle 210, see the portion of the figure circled at 310. Nipple 230 is also visible in this view, protruding outside protector 300.
 FIG. 4 shows a section through a different embodiment, where the protector 400 comprises both a female threaded insert to accept the neck of bottle 210 (generally at 410) and a male threaded protrusion to accept cap 220 and nipple 230 (generally at 420). In this embodiment, protector is somewhat elongated (rather than ball-shaped) and the sides form a sort of skirt around the bottle, secured to the bottle at its neck. As in other embodiments, the skirt has a plurality of openings (not visible in this sectional view) through which the bottle is visible, and which provide places for the child to grasp the protector.
 FIG. 5 shows a section through yet another embodiment. Here, protector 500 attaches to the bottle 210, cap 220 and nipple 230 assembly by means of elastic bands at the first and second (bottle-admitting) openings of the protector. The cross-sections of the elastic bands are visible in this figure at 510 and 520. The resilient, spherical shell of the body may be connected to the elastic bands by thinner, flexible, accordion-pleated membranes (e.g., 530) which permit the bottle to be pulled out from the shell, or retracted back into the shell. This retracting feature may help protect the bottle from impact damage. In some embodiments, the retraction distance may be sufficient to pull most or all of the cap and nipple within the shell, helping to prevent contamination if the bottle is dropped on the ground.
 FIG. 6 shows another embodiment comprising a bottle attachment feature ("collar") 620 and a plurality of resilient ribs 630 extending therefrom. The attachment may be threaded, compression-fit or elastic, as described with reference to earlier embodiments. The resilient ribs may be free on the end away from the collar, or attached to another collar adapted to be secured to the base of the bottle (not shown). In addition, the ribs may be joined by horizontal or latitudinal segments (also not shown).
 All of the bottle protectors have openings in the protector shell so that a child can grasp the protector securely. These openings may be circular holes, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, or holes of other shapes. For example, triangular, square or hexagonal holes may be used. In some embodiments, a variety of different sizes and shapes of holes may be present. Holes may be shaped as letters, numbers or animal silhouettes. Protectors may be formed of molded silicone, or of a combination of a polymer "skeleton" with silicone, latex or rubber coating and elastic features. Some embodiments may be designed for use on a particular shape or brand of bottle, while others may be universal-fit.
 The applications of the present invention have been described largely by reference to specific examples and in terms of particular selections of features in representative embodiments. However, those of skill in the art will recognize that bottle protectors and handles can also be constructed by combining the features disclosed herein differently than the representative embodiments. Such alternate combinations and variants are understood to be captured according to the following claims.
Patent applications by Jason P. Martin, Lake Oswego, OR US
Patent applications in class RECEPTACLE HAVING RIGID, REMOVABLE EXTERNAL JACKET OR CASING
Patent applications in all subclasses RECEPTACLE HAVING RIGID, REMOVABLE EXTERNAL JACKET OR CASING