Rapid Increase in Patent applications for Air Purifiers Filtering Pollen
Even in the age of corona 19 making difficulties for the entire nation, spring has come and pollen is in the air. However, it is not only the pollen that flows through the windows, but also fine dust generated in the room that threatens us. As a reflection of this, the number of patent applications for air purifiers of various dust collecting types that remove fine dust from indoor air is continuously increasing every year.
According to the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), the number of Korean patent applications in the field of air purifiers has increased more than 7 times over the past 10 years (2010-2019) from the 71 cases in 2010, and has increased 52.4% on average over the past 5 years (2015-2019).
<Korean patent application trend in air purifier field (2010-2019)>
This is because the public's demand for clean air has been rapidly increasing due to widespread recognition of the harmfulness of fine dust, and companies are moving rapidly to solve such problems.
Looking at the types of applicants for corresponding domestic patent applications over the last 10 years, 31% were SMEs, 26% were individuals, 23% were large companies, and 14% were mid-sized companies, followed by only 3% foreign applicants. It is thus clearly shown that domestic applicants have been leading Korean applications.
<Patent application rate by applicant type in the air purifier field (2010-2019)>
<Top domestic applicants in air purifier / dust collecting technology field (accumulated over the last 10 years)>
It is considered that the rate for small and medium-sized enterprises is high due to the relative ease of access to the associated technology in comparison to more high-tech fields and because of the product category’s high marketability due to high domestic demand, and the reason that the rate of individual applications is high is because people are filing applications related to an idea emanating from daily life.
In addition, 8.5% (129 cases) of Korean applications (1,518 cases) among all domestic applications were also filed overseas so as to obtain patent rights in other countries. Looking at the overseas countries where Korean applications have been filed, the number of applications filed by country is in the order of: United States (87 cases), China (83 cases), Europe (65 cases), and Japan (34 cases).
<Status of overseas applications in the air purifier field (2010-2019)>
※ 129 cases (8.5%) among the 1,518 domestic applications were filed overseas
※ Based on one domestic application, which can be filed in various countries using a treaty priority claim
At the core of an air purifier is dust collecting technology that filters fine dust. This dust collecting technology can be divided into ‘filter-type’, wet type, electric dust collecting type and photocatalytic type, and each of these dust collecting types is being used in a complex form.
By technology, air purifier dust collecting applications were filed in the order of filter type (68%), wet type (14.5%), electric dust collecting type (11%) and photocatalytic type (6.5%).
<Korean patent application trend for air purifiers by specific technology field (2010-2019)>
Looking at each dust collecting technology, ‘filter type’ uses a fine non-woven fabric, and among this type, a HEPA filter can filter to a size of 0.3 μm. The wet type can be used for its humidifying function while increasing dust collecting ability by using the adsorption power of water. The electric dust collecting type is a method which charges fine dust by electrical discharge and then removes the fine dust, and also includes techniques to reduce ozone generated during discharge or to notify a user. The photocatalytic type involves a method in which active oxygen is generated when the surface of a photocatalytic material is exposed to ultraviolet rays, and fine dust is removed using this active oxygen.
The Chief of the Construction Technology Examination Division of KIPO said, "The demand for air purifiers will continue to increase since awareness of the importance of indoor air quality increases as indoor activities increase, and in proportion to this, it is predicted that companies will be even more active in domestic patent filings." He added, "As clean air technology is a rapidly growing market worldwide, it is necessary for Korean companies to expand overseas applications in order to proactively occupy the global market."