Popularization of Optical Therapy
and an Increase in Applications for Optical Devices
-Annual average of LED mask applications increased by 39%-
According to KIPO, the number of patent applications for optical therapy and beauty devices, about 130 cases per year, had not been changing much during the five years prior to 2014, but since 2014, the average annual rate has increased 14% (130 cases in 2014 → 218 cases in 2018).
Looking at optical therapy and beauty devices by target body region, based on the most recent 5 years, skin including the face and scalp/hair accounted for 53% of cases, while 31% of cases were for body interior (oral, nasal, etc.), and 16% for other, and thus skin-targeted devices accounted for more than half.
< Distribution of Targets of Optical therapy/Beauty Devices (2014~2018, 884 Cases)>
In detail, the patent applications related to skin-targeted devices were filed with a ratio of 28% for the face, 15% for the scalp/hair, 46% for the general skin and 10% for dermatosis.
<Fields in which skin-targeted devices were applied for (2014~2018, 465 cases)>
Meanwhile, the percentages for type of applicant within the optical therapy and beauty devices field were 47% (418 cases) for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), 23% (204 cases) for individuals, and 11% (98 cases) for universities, and from this it can be seen that SMEs and individuals have the lead in regard to the filing of applications.
<Applicant Type Distribution (Optical therapy/Beauty Devices, 2014~2018)>
Among skin-targeted devices, patent applications related to LED masks* increased significantly, with an average annual increase of 39% since 2014 (12 cases in 2014 → 45 cases in 2018).
*LED mask: Beauty device that improves skin condition by irradiating LED light on specific parts of the skin (face or neck)
<Trend in Number of Patent applications for LED masks (2014~2018)>
It has been found that these application technologies are increasing convenience, safety and effectiveness for users through aspects such as changing the mask form or light source, or controlling the irradiation method.
The Chief of the Medical Technology Examination Division of KIPO said, "As our country has strengths in the beauty industry and ICT, we have the potential to lead the global market by incorporating the latest technologies in the medical and beauty fields. In preparation for a growing global market, it is important to increase competitiveness by increasing R&D and securing intellectual property rights.”