Significant Increase in Air Purification Patents That Simultaneously Block Particular Matter and Viruses
-There have been 238 Patent Application cases in total for indoor antibacterial and antiviral air purification since 2016, and this year shows an increase of 28% compared to 2019
It was found that the number of patent applications related to indoor air purification with antibacterial function has increased since the WHO's declaration of the Covid-19 pandemic (March 11, 2020), and the associated technology content is gradually evolving. As particular matter concentrations increase both domestically and abroad due to environmental factors, patent applications related to indoor particular matter removal have been actively filed at a rate of about 200 cases per year since 2016.
In recent years, especially under the influence of Covid-19, patent applications related to indoor air purification that include the function of capturing and killing indoor bacteria or viruses are clearly increasing.
According to the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), as a result of analyzing 238 patent applications filed over the last 5 years from 2016 in the field of ‘indoor antibacterial/antiviral air purification’, a trend of an increase of 14% in annual average from 38 cases in 2016 to 64 cases in 2020 (as of September) was shown, and if this trend continues, it is expected that more than 70 cases will be filed by the end of the year in 2020. The number of such patent applications (64 cases) in 2020 as of September is already a significant increase of 28% compared to the number of such patent applications (50 cases) in 2019.
Status of patent applications related to indoor antibacterial and antiviral air purification by year (2016-2020)
Specifically, it was found that 49 applications were filed from March to July 2020, and in particular, double-digit applications were filed in April (11 cases), June (11 cases) and July (12 cases). This concentration of applications is interpreted as being due to the overlap of the declaration of the Covid-19 pandemic and the beginning of the spread of Covid-19 in Korea.
Status of patent applications for particular matter and antibacterial/antivirus over the last 5 years
Looking at the application trend by major technical field over the last 5 years from 2016, 63 cases for filter types (26.5%), 38 cases for ultraviolet (UV) sterilization technology (16.0%), 25 cases for filter constituent materials (10.5%), 20 cases for wet technology cleaning with water (8.4%), 19 cases for plasma anion technology (8.0%) and 7 cases for electrostatic dust collection technology (2.9%), etc., show that technology development is taking place in various ways for indoor antibacterial/antivirus air purification.
Patent application trend by technology field related to indoor antibacterial/antiviral air purification over the last 5 years
It is noteworthy that in the case of patent applications in which ultraviolet (UV) or sterilizing filters are applied to a negative pressure device in a hospital room, only 2 cases were filed in 2019, but 15 such cases were filed just since March 2020, which shows that patent applications were rapidly made in line with the technology urgently being required in the front lines in relation to the treatment of the Covid-19 virus.
In addition, when looking at applicant type over the last 5 years from 2016, with 95 cases from small and medium enterprises (39.9%), 87 cases from individuals (36.6%), 33 cases from large companies (13.9%), and 23 cases from university research institutes (9.7%), in order, it can be seen that the proportion of applications by SMEs and individuals was relatively high. The reason for this seems to be that while the indoor air purification-related market is continuously expanding, antibacterial/antiviral air purification technology is easy to access by small-cap companies or individuals.
Patent application trend by applicant for indoor antibacterial/antiviral air purification over the last 5 years
The Chief of the Chemistry & Biotechnology Examination Bureau of KIPO said, “Korean companies have been prominent in the field of indoor air purification so far, but if they develop air purification technology with antiviral functions in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, domestic industrial competitiveness is expected to further increase," and emphasized, "KIPO will also provide relevant patent information quickly as well as support through accurate examination."
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