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Design patent applications for pet and plant products soar amid pandemic

Growing interest in pets and houseplants as people spend more time at home

Smart collars for pets (KIPO)
Smart collars for pets (KIPO)
The number of design patent applications for pet and houseplant related products soared last year amid the coronavirus pandemic, new data from the Korean Intellectual Property Office revealed on Monday.

While the figure has risen by an annual average of 21 percent over the last six years, pet product design patent applications saw a 34 percent year-on-year jump last year, from 712 to 953.

The figure for houseplant related products also rose 30 percent over the same period, from 288 to 374.

As the number of pet owners is set to reach 15 million in the country, the growing interest in pets and houseplants as a result of people spending more time at home has led to an uptick in design patent applications in the industries, the patent office and intellectual property office explained.

As the culture of treating pets as part of the family grows, patent applications for a wide range of products have been filed, including incubators and urns.

Clothes and accessories saw a 61 percent jump in the number of design patent applications including ID tags, which come in the form of a microchip or smart collar containing information about the pet and its owner.

Design patent applications for plant pots also rose by 36 percent, especially smart pots which are designed to indicate the health status of plants and create a better growing environment.

In a further sign of the growing interest in plants, plant growers, which automatically controls the cultivation environment, saw a near 44 percent increase in the number of design patent applications.

Lee Jong-seon, a design examiner at the KIPO, said the upward trend is set to continue.

“With the rapid growth of pet ownership, demand for pet and houseplant related products will continue,” Lee said.

“As major companies are also entering the market to add diversity, design patent applications for pet and plant products that incorporate new technology will continue to be filed,” the official said.

By Yim Hyun-su (hyunsu@heraldcorp.com)
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