Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data


Title:
MULTI-FUNCTIONAL CHOPSTICKS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2012/023002
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The functions of the knife and fork are added to chopsticks to create the novel chopsticks of the present invention. Optionally, the chopsticks may also include a straw function.

Inventors:
TOW, Don, Mei (9 Doranne Lane South, Middletown, New Jersey, 07748, US)
Application Number:
IB2010/053698
Publication Date:
February 23, 2012
Filing Date:
August 17, 2010
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
TOW, Don, Mei (9 Doranne Lane South, Middletown, New Jersey, 07748, US)
International Classes:
A47G21/18; A47G21/02; A47G21/10
Domestic Patent References:
2008-07-10
2003-06-12
Foreign References:
JPH09252910A1997-09-30
US20070101578A12007-05-10
JPS54151673U1979-10-22
US5056173A1991-10-15
US7628432B22009-12-08
Download PDF:
Claims:
I CLAIM

1 . A pair of chopsticks comprising at least two members wherein a first member has a pointed end providing a fork function and a second member also has a cutting edge near its pointed end providing a knife function.

2. The pair of chopsticks of claim 1 wherein at least one of said members is designed with a hollow body providing a straw-like function.

3. The pair of chopsticks of claim 1 made with materials selected from a group consisting of wood, bamboo, plastic, stainless steel, and sterling silver.

4. The pair of chopsticks of claim 1 wherein the horizontal cross section can take the form of a shape selected from a group consisting of circle, ellipse, square, and rectangle.

Description:
Multi-Functional Chopsticks

FIELD OF INVENTION

[0001 ] This invention relates to chopsticks with multiple functionalities.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Chopsticks are widely used as an eating utensil that can be used with the fingers of one hand to grasp and pick up food and put the food in the mouth, a bowl, or a plate. These are the advantages of chopsticks. One major disadvantage of chopsticks is that it cannot be used like a knife to cut up food into smaller pieces. To do that, besides needing a knife, one also needs a fork to hold down the food so that the knife can cut up the food. The fork can also poke or pierce into a morsel of food, making it easier to pick up the food. Thus there is a need for a new eating utensil that can combine the functions of chopsticks, knife, and fork, which is the objective of the present invention. Optionally, a straw function can also be added to one member of the chopsticks to further enhance the functionality of the chopsticks.

[0003] Although there have been prior patents that proposed combining multiple functionalities in an eating utensil, none of them proposed the same design or structure as the present invention. The differences in design and structure also result in differences in how the multi-functional eating utensil is to be used.

[0004] For example, U.S. Patent No. 5,056,173 titled "Combination Fork and Chopsticks" proposed combining the fork functionality and the chopstick functionality within a new utensil that is a fork at one end and chopsticks at the other end. So if one wants to use the fork functionality, one end of the eating utensil is used; and if one wants to use the chopsticks functionality, the other end of the eating utensil is used. In contrast, the present invention as described below is clearly different in design and structure and how the eating utensil is to be used. One difference is that in U.S. Patent 5,056,173, the two chopsticks are two prongs of a single element, which makes it less flexible than traditional chopsticks to open and close the two prongs. The present invention keeps the chopsticks as the traditional two separate elements, which makes it much more flexible to open and close the two chopsticks. Furthermore, U.S. Patent 5,056,173 did not provide knife functionality or a straw functionality.

[0005] Another example, U.S. Patent No. 7,628,432 titled "Multi-Purpose Eating Utensil" proposed combining the spoon, fork, knife, and chopsticks functionalities into a single eating utensil. Although similar in objective as the present invention, the design and structure are distinctly different. For example, the chopsticks functionality as provided in U.S. Patent 7,628,432 use two prongs in a single element, whereas the chopsticks in the present invention use the traditional two separate chopsticks. Similar to the discussion for U.S. Patent 5,056,173, this difference results in differences in the flexibility of opening and closing the two prongs when using the utensil as chopsticks. This fundamental difference in design and structure can also lead to great differences in the cost and method of producing the eating utensil. For example, U.S. Patent 7,628,432 states "... said eating utensil is made entirely of a single piece of metal that provides flexibility and spring for opening and closing said two members ..." The chopsticks of the present invention can be made from a variety of materials, including inexpensive materials such as wood, bamboo, and plastic. Another difference is that U.S. Patent 7,628,432 provides a spoon function, and the present invention in one embodiment provides a straw function.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION [0006] Accordingly, it is an objective of this invention to provide in a single set of chopsticks having the advantages of chopsticks in combination with the functions of a knife and fork. Optionally, a straw function can be added to one member of the chopsticks to further enhance the functionality of the chopsticks.

[0007] This present invention, in one aspect, provides a pair of chopsticks comprising at least two members wherein a first member has a pointed end providing a fork function and a second member also has a cutting edge near its pointed end providing a knife function.

[0008] In another embodiment of the present invention, a pair of chopsticks wherein at least one of said members is designed with a hollow body providing a straw-like function is provided.

[0009] The present invention discussed hereinafter provide the advantages of chopsticks, knives, and forks by combining the functions of chopsticks, knives, and forks in a single eating utensil, making it easier to cut up food into smaller pieces and pick up food to put in the mouth, a bowl, or a plate.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF FIGURES

[0010] Figure 1 is a pictorial representation of the present invention providing the functions of chopsticks, knife, and fork according to one embodiment of the present invention.

[001 1 ] Figure 2a is a pictorial representation of the present invention providing the functions of chopsticks, knife, fork, and straw according to another embodiment of the present invention. [0012] Figure 2b is an alternative pictorial representation of the present invention providing the functions of chopsticks, knife, fork, and straw according to another embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0013] As used herein and in the claims, "comprising" means including the following elements but not excluding others. When interpreting each statement in this specification that includes the term "comprising", features other than that or those prefaced by the term may also be present. Related terms such as "comprise" and "comprises" are to be interpreted in the same manner.

[0014] The usefulness of the invention is further enhanced by adding a straw function, resulting in another embodiment of the present invention. It allows the user to use this embodiment to drink liquid soup, besides using it as a fork, knife, and chopsticks.

[0015] Figure 1 describes a pair of chopsticks according to one embodiment of the present invention whereby the eating ends (10) of the chopsticks are designed to be pointed, but not sharp like a needle. With pointed ends (10), the chopsticks, either individually or in a pair, can provide the poking/piercing function of a fork. Because they are not sharp like a needle, they will be safe to use to put food in the mouth. One of the pointed members (the first member) can also be used to hold down food so that the other pointed member (the second member) as described below can be used to cut the food. Since chopsticks can already be used to pick up food, it is not necessary to duplicate the scooping function of the fork.

[0016] As depicted in Figure 1 , a small section (e.g., around two inches in length) near the pointed end (e.g., starting about an inch from the end) of the second member can be serrated (1 1 ) such as in a serrated knife. According to the invention, based on this construction this member can be used like a knife to cut the food, while the first member can be used like a fork to hold down the food to be cut. Because the serrated part is not at the very end and because the serrated part does not have a sharp edge like in a sharp metal knife, the present invention is safe to use.

[0017] As depicted in Figure 2a, in another embodiment of the present invention, to add a straw function one can hollow out one of the the members of the chopsticks, including a small hole at both ends (12) of the chopsticks, thus allowing this member to function as a straw. In this example, the member that is hollowed out also has a serrated portion (1 1 ) to provide the knife function. The other member that is not hollowed out can have a solid pointed end (10) that can be used to provide the fork function. In addition, as shown in Figure 2b, the member that is hollowed out to provide a straw function (12) also has a pointed end, but now a non-solid pointed end (13), to provide the fork function. In this alternative embodiment, the other member has a solid pointed end (10) and also the serrated portion (1 1 ) to provide the knife function.

[0018] Just like ordinary chopsticks, various materials can be used to make the present invention, e.g., they can be made of wood, bamboo, plastic, stainless steel, sterling silver. Although it may be more expensive to produce than traditional chopsticks, if produced in large quantities with material such as wood, bamboo, or plastic, the present invention can still be produced inexpensively. Therefore, the present invention can be used as disposable utensils in restaurants or homes as current wooden, bamboo, or plastic chopsticks. If material such as stainless steel or sterling silver is used, the present invention can be reusable utensils.

[0019] The dimensions of the present invention can be similar to the dimensions of the traditional chopsticks. The specific dimensions mentioned below are only for illustration purposes. For example, its length can be eight to twelve inches long. Its horizontal cross section can be of circular, elliptical, square, rectangular, or other shapes. If it is circular or elliptical, away from the pointed end, the diameter (if circular) or the length of the major axis (if elliptical) can be made about one-quarter of an inch, with the length of the minor axis being slightly smaller. If it is square or rectangular, away from the pointed end, the width of the square or the width of the larger side of the rectangle can be about one-quarter of an inch, with the width of the smaller side of the rectangle being slightly smaller. The serrated portion of the chopstick with the knife function should be placed about one inch from the pointed end and about two inches in length. The tapered end of the chopsticks should be pointed, but not sharp as in a needle.

[0020] For the embodiment of the present invention as shown in Figures 2a and 2b, both members of the chopsticks, or at least the one with the straw function, may need to be slightly thicker. The chopstick that has the straw function should be hollowed out, with the diameter of the hole about one-eighth of an inch. But it still has an external surface with some thickness (e.g., about one-sixteenth or three-thirty-second of an inch) that allows this chopstick to be strong enough to provide also the knife function (or the fork function if the alternative design is chosen as previously described).

[0021 ] With the added knife and fork functionalities, the present invention also could make it easier for a user who is not adept in using traditional chopsticks to use it as an effective eating utensil.