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Title:
CLOSABLE PLASTIC PLATES
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2009/057180
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Closable plastic plates characterized by two separate plates, i.e. the male plate (1) and the corresponding female plate (2), which are coupled together, overturned with respect to each other, by means of a fitting formed along the entire edge of the male plate (1) by at least one tooth (3) which is vertically extended towards a plane above the edge itself and formed along the entire edge of the female plate (2) by at least one notch (5) which vertically extends towards a plane below the edge itself.

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Inventors:
NEVI HUGO (IT)
Application Number:
PCT/IT2008/000670
Publication Date:
May 07, 2009
Filing Date:
October 28, 2008
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
NEVI HUGO (IT)
International Classes:
A47G19/02
Domestic Patent References:
WO1999067147A11999-12-29
WO2007110893A12007-10-04
Foreign References:
EP0033266A11981-08-05
US20030197021A12003-10-23
US20030155353A12003-08-21
US20050269319A12005-12-08
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FIAMMENGHI, Carlo (Via Quattro Fontane 31, Roma, IT)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1. Closable plastic plates characterized by being composed of two separate elements, i.e. the male plate (1) and the corresponding female plate (2) which once coupled together, overturned with respect to each other, form overall a closed container, characterized in that said coupling occurs by means of a fitting formed along the entire edge of the male plate (1) thanks to at least one tooth (3) which vertically extends towards a plane above the edge itself, preferably having an outer profile with cross section narrower at the base and gradually increasing moving away from the base itself, and formed along the entire edge of the corresponding female plate (2) by at least one notch (5) which vertically extends towards a plane below the edge itself, having a profile with cross section narrower at the base and gradually increasing moving away from the base itself, characterized in that said inner profile of said notch (5) of the female plate (2) must be preferably equivalent, with regard to size and shape to the aforesaid outer profile of the tooth (3) of the corresponding male plate (1 ), characterized in that they comprise, on the outer border of each male plate (1) and each corresponding female plate (2), at least one tongue (6) of variable size and shape, made with the same plastic melting used for creating the plates themselves.

2. Closable plastic plates according to claim 1, characterized in that the border (4) of the edge of said male plate (1) and of said corresponding female plate (2) is made with a vertical profile, or with an outwardly directed oblique profile, or with a horizontal profile.

3. Closable plastic plates according to claim 1, characterized in that the dimensions of the tooth (3) of the male plate (1) can be variable and preferably

constituted by a height in the range of 1 mm - 5 mm, more preferably 3 mm, and by a cross section at the point of greatest width in the range of 1 mm - 3 mm, more preferably 2 mm and in that the dimensions of the notch (5) of the corresponding female plate (2) can be variable and preferably constituted by a height in the range of 1 mm - 5 mm, more preferably 3 mm, and by a cross section at the point of greatest width in the range of 1 mm - 3 mm, more preferably 2 mm.

4. Closable plastic plates according to claims 1 and 2, characterized in comprising any plate type, size, diameter, color, translucence and shape, so long as they do not move away from the intrinsic plate concept.

5. Closable plastic plates according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that they are presented, in marketing phase, in the form of a package composed of two separate stacks of plates, i.e. one stack composed of the superimposition of a variable number of male plates (1) fit very well together, and one stack composed of the superimposition of an equivalent number of corresponding female plates (2) fit very well together.

6. Closable plastic plates according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that they comprise, on the outer border of each male plate (1) and each corresponding female plate (2), at least one flat handle (7) made with the same plastic melting used for creating the plates themselves.

7. Closable plastic plates according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that they comprise, on the upper and/or lower surface of each male plate (1) and each female plate (2), particular images and/or drawings and/or writing.

Description:

Description

Closable plastic plates

Field of the art

The present invention generally refers to the field of kitchenware and in particular to that of single-use plastic plates which act both as serving plate and cover.

Prior art

Authoritative sources agree that the home environment produces about half (if not more) of the epidemic occurrences of toxic food infection, and at the same time about a third of the overall number of disease cases. The outside environment is often perceived as hostile with regard to the possible responsibility of foods in the food diseases, with respect to the home environment (European Commission, 2006). The data shows that European citizens are more trusting in the hygienic standard of their own homes: only about 9% are "very worried" and 18% "rather worried", while these values are respectively 25% and 43% when referring to the extra-domestic environment. Therefore, the phenomenon of toxic food infections of home origin, while considerable, is under-estimated.

Data from FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization), WHO (World Health Organization) and from the international bibliography show that in industrialized countries, the main problems of food safety are microbiological (WHO, 1995; Gilli & Carraro, 2002). With regard to acute and subacute pathologies, authoritative estimates attest that the food safety risks from additives, pesticides and veterinary drugs are in reality responsible for less than 1% of the diseases associated with foods. Every year in industrialized

countries, about 30% of the population encounters pathologies caused by the microbial contamination of the foods, with high sanitary, insurance and social security costs (Gilli & Carraro, 2002). In addition, according to WHO (WHO, 1995; Tirado, 2001), of the overall number of toxic food infections, the home environment would account for 30% - 40%, if not more.

The modes of home preparation-preservation of foods and the involvement of subjects at risk can thus in part frustrate the efforts which primary producers and transformers make in order to ensure safe products to producers. Indeed, while the food industries and those who work in food distribution, sales and supply are bound to respect EU and national laws of precautionary character, since they are also subject to penalties applied by the control authorities, food safety from the time of purchase is essentially in the hands of the consumers. The risk of contracting diseases transmitted by foods (FTD) depends on many factors: the type of food consumed, its handling and the type of preservation. Regarding the preservation or the lack of quick elimination or use of the leftovers, the use of not-perfectly-clean containers or those which in any case allow an imperfect insulation from the surrounding environment, are factors closely related to the aforesaid FTD risk. In reality, there are many closable containers for foods currently on the market that are adapted for suitable food preservation. In particular, such containers are characterized by various forms which range from round to triangular, square etc, by the materials with which they are made, which predominantly consist of plastic, glass and aluminum, and by different types of closure systems which range from screw caps to foldable edge systems, pressure caps and so on.

In reality, nearly all of the abovementioned containers, while valid from a technical standpoint, have problems which often deter users from using them on a daily basis. Such problems can overall be attributed to the bulky size of

the containers, to the difficulty in cleaning such containers, to the overall cost, difficult transport, complications relating to storage and so forth. The present invention arises from the need to reduce or better yet eliminate these problems by making single-use containers that are rather versatile for use, i.e. plastic plates for acting both as common serving plates and as perfectly closable containers, without the need of further devices.

Description of the invention

The innovative concept underlying the present invention consists of providing along the entire edge of any one plate, said male plate, a particular tooth capable of fitting into a suitable notch along the edge of a corresponding female plate. The fitting occurs by first placing in contact the corresponding edges of the two male and female plates, overturned with respect to each other. Then, by applying a force orthogonal to the edges and by making the application point of such force slide along the entire edge of said plates, the male tooth will penetrate into the female notch and will remain locked therein, forming a hermetic container, until a new force directed downward and upward once again separates them. The material with which said plates are made is a generic elastic material, preferably a plastic material, capable of being deformed due to the action of an external force and to assume the original form after such force has stopped. Due to the elasticity of the structural material and to the particular profiles of the tooth and corresponding notch, the plates once fit together tend to remain firmly fixed to each other, until a sufficient force applied respectively upward and downward is able to deform the respective profiles of the tooth and notch, and thus separate them.

The present invention has its origins on the basis of the concept outlined above, and consists of the easy coupling of the two corresponding plates, i.e. a male plate and a female plate, so as to form overall a hermetically closed container.

In reality, such invention provides that such plates are packaged in separate stacks, i.e. arranged one on top of the other, constituted by a male plate stack and a female plate stack. Such packaging allows superimposing a considerable number of single pieces, and thus obtaining an indispensable reduction both of costs and occupied space.

Therefore, exclusively for explanatory purposes and non-limiting, the present invention arises from the need to facilitate and thus attract consumers to the use of single-use containers. It preferably aims to improve the food preservation and transportation step, among other reasons for reducing the risk associated with epidemic occurrences associated with toxic food infections, defined FTD above.

Brief description of the drawings

The present finding will now be described only as exemplifying and non- limiting or non-binding with reference to a particular embodiment thereof, shown in the attached drawings in which:

FIGURE 1 is a front view of a section of a male plate;

FIGURE 2 is a front perspective view of the section of a male plate;

FIGURE 3 is a plan view which shows the upper portion of a male plate;

FIGURE 4 is a front view of the section of a female plate;

FIGURE 5 is a front perspective view of the section of a female plate;

FIGURE 6 is a plan view which shows the upper portion of a female plate;

FIGURE 7 is a side view of the male plate and the female plate which are about to be coupled together by means of the fitting and in which, for illustrating purposes, the borders of the two edges are dashed lines;

FIGURE 8 is a plan view which shows the upper portion of a plate of the alternative embodiment of the invention.

Detailed description of a preferred embodiment

The present invention will now be described in detail with reference to the Figures and to a preferred embodiment thereof shown therein.

As can be observed in Figures 1- 6, two separate plates are shown, i.e. the male plate 1 (Figs. 1, 2 and 3) and the corresponding female plate 2 (Figs. 4, 5 and

6).

In reality, the borders, shapes and areas of the plates shown in the attached figures must not be considered to be limiting of the invention, since this is preferably directed for any plate type, size, diameter, color, translucence and shape made of plastic, so long as such creation does not move away from the intrinsic plate concept. From the observations of Figures 1, 2, 3 and 7, it is possible to observe that along the entire edge of the male plate 1 , there is at least one tooth 3 which vertically extends towards a plane above the edge itself, preferably having an outer profile with cross section narrower at the base and gradually increasing moving away from the base itself. The dimensions of such tooth 3 can be variable, preferably formed by a height in the range of 1 mm - 5 mm, more preferably 3 mm and by a cross section at the point of greatest width in the range of 1 mm - 3 mm, more preferably 2 mm.

From the observation of Figures 4, 5, 6 and 7, it is possible to observe that along the entire edge of the corresponding female plate 2, at least one notch 5 is present

which vertically extends towards a plane below the edge itself, preferably having a profile with cross section narrower at the base and gradually increasing moving away from the base itself. The dimensions of such notch 5 can be variable, preferably formed by a height in the range of 1 mm - 5 mm, more preferably 3 mm and by a cross section at the point of greatest width in the range of 1 mm - 3 mm, more preferably 2 mm.

In reality, the inner profile of such notch 5 of the female plate 2 must be equivalent, with regard to shape and size, to the aforesaid outer profile of the tooth 3 of the corresponding male plate 1, such that said tooth 3, once it has entered via deformation into the notch 5, due to the elasticity of the constituent material once again assumes its original form, perfectly adhering to the notch 5.

Due to the aforesaid particular profiles, once the fitting has occurred between the tooth 3 and the notch 5, a considerable force will be necessary for carrying out the separation; this allows the two plates, male 1 and female 2, to remain firmly joined together, thus achieving a hermetic seal of the container. In addition, the preferred embodiment of the present invention, in marketing phase, preferably provides for presenting two stacks of separate plates in a single package, i.e. one stack composed of a variable number of male plates 1 and one stack composed of an equivalent number of female plates 2. In order to remedy the problem deriving from the fact that the two separate stacks are formed by plates that are fit very well together, and thus to facilitate the gripping and separation of such plates by the user, the invention (in three separate embodiments) provides for actuating the border 4 of the edge of each plate by means of a vertical profile (shown only for illustrating purposes in Figures 1, 2, 4, 5 and 7), or an outwardly directed oblique profile, or a horizontal profile. As illustrated in Figures 3 and 6, still with the object of facilitating the user's

grip and thus the separation of the stacked plates, and possibly the separation of the two male 1 and female 2 plates when they are fit together through the respective tooth 3 and notch 5, the embodiment of the present invention provides for creating, on the outer border of each plate, at least one tongue 6 of variable size and shape, made with the same plastic melting used for the creation of the plates themselves.

Figure 8 shows a further alternative embodiment of the present invention which provides for making, on a portion of the border both of the male plate 1 and the corresponding female plate 2, at least one particular flat handle 7 made with the same plastic melting used for the creation of the plates, moreover having the function of increasing the user's grip during the step of separating the two connected plates, as well as functioning as a convenient handle adapted for the easy transportation of the container created by the fitting of the male plate 1 and the female plate 2. Still another further embodiment of the present invention preferably provides for, for advertising purposes, making particular images and/or drawings and/or writing on the upper and/or lower surface of each male 1 and female 2 plate, which are able to attract the attention both of the table-guest towards the plate used as serving plate, and of the patron towards the container created by the fitting of the two male 1 and female 2 plates.

Even if such invention was described with reference to the specific and concrete embodiment shown in the present document, it must not be considered as limited to the indicated details. Moreover, the patent must be considered as comprehensive of the modifications and changes which can derive from the following claims.