SEOUL, Jan. 23 (Korea Bizwire) — In the past few years, South Korean patent applications pertaining to curling have increased significantly.
On January 23, the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) revealed only five ideas had been submitted from 1994 to 2013, but in the aftermath of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, where the South Korean women’s team finished fifth (tied with Russia), 26 patent applications were registered.
Of the 26 applications, 13 were submitted last year, as the entire country revved up preparations for the 2018 Winter Olympics scheduled to open on February 9 in Pyeongchang, Gangwon Province.
The ideas contained in the recent slew of patent applications reflect a growing public interest in curling as a pastime. While four out of the five applications registered up to 2013 were proposals regarding curling stones, only 38 percent of them since then deal with the same subject matter.
Of the applications, 23 percent propose ideas for “floor curling”, curling played on paneled floors rather than on ice, while 15 percent have to do with “screen curling” and 12 percent are suggestions for curling training programs that give the user feedback based on his or her performance.
Floor curling takes place on specially coated and painted floors and uses curling stones composed of synthetic resins and granite.
Screen curling, like more widely known activities such as screen golf and screen baseball, is played before a large screen. When the curling stone is pushed forward, sensors track the stone’s movements and project its direction and distance traveled on the screen.
Eliminating the need for an ice rink, clothing, tools and other preparations, floor and screen curling make the sport more accessible to the general public.
SME’s are responsible for more than half of the patent applications since 2014 with 14. Industry-university cooperative research programs and “individuals” drafted 7 and 5 applications, respectively.
Lina Jang (firstname.lastname@example.org)