Patent of the month - A faster way to style your hair?

A lack of innovation in the hair dryer market has been blamed for consumers being left with devices that are inefficient, heavy and potentially damaging to their hair.

This is changing, thanks to companies like Dyson and Jemella, which operates under the brand name GHD – both are developing the next generation of hair dryers.To protect their developments and secure their place within the market, each of these companies has filed patent applications for the technologies they have developed.

Dyson’s focus has been on developing a hair dryer that reduces damage to hair, and one of the patents secured for its latest hair dryer was the subject of the September 2017 ‘patent of the month’.

Jemella has taken a different approach altogether. It has developed a hair dryer that facilitates hair styling, while reducing the time taken for hair to dry.Developments including a high-strength motor and a nozzle to control air flow are the subject of two new UK patents (GB2503519 and GB2543135).

This innovative hair dryer includes an air-flow assembly with a DC-powered motor.Relative to their size, DC motors are high performance, which means the appliance is lighter and easier to handle, at the same time as being capable of drying hair more quickly.

The hair dryer and its nozzle have also been designed to ensure that the air output is a laminar flow.In other words, the air flows from the hair dryer in parallel layers, with no disruption between them.This reduces turbulence and improves control of the air flow, which according to the manufacturer, prevents frizzy hair.

Particular attention has been given to the shape and structure of the nozzle. This helps to maintain a uniform air flow, minimises turbulence and assists the hair styling process.

To help with hair styling in particular, the outlet of the nozzle takes the shape of a flattened ellipse; creating a ‘blade’ of air which can be directed where needed.

Since the hot air input of the nozzle is generally circular in order to match the hot air outlet of the hair dryer, the nozzle itself changes from a substantially circular inlet to a generally rectangular outlet.This is achieved by using curved surfaces without sharp angles or step changes in order to minimise turbulence within the air channels.

The nozzle also includes a cool air channel and a hot air channel. The cool air channel creates a ‘shroud’ around the stream of hot air as it is ejected from the nozzle.This helps to contain the hot air stream and prevent it from dispersing, which means it is easier to direct during use.

Jemella took an interesting approach to pursuing patent protection for its technologies.Each innovative aspect is described in a first UK patent application.Since a patent can only be granted for a single invention, a further patent application, known as a divisional patent application, was also filed to secure patent protection for the further invention. Any additional inventions contained in the first patent application may also have been the subject of additional divisional patent applications.

Using this strategy, Jemella has succeeded in securing independent patent protection for two important developments in the evolution of the modern hair dryer.