According to a recent report from The NPD Group, hydration is a surging category in the outdoor industry. Sales of hydration-related products have increased 16% in the 12 months ending in May 2017; dollar sales have grown by 37% in the last two years. Of all hydration categories, bottles represent the largest area of growth, with a 23% increase in sales, but all categories are experiencing growth. This trend may be due in part to the move away from one-time use plastic water bottles to high-tech, eco-friendly insulated cups and bottles.
While it may seem that the market is saturated with hydration-related products, a quick glance at the USPTO’s patent application database reveals that much innovation is taking place in the hydration sector. Of the hundreds of patents and patent applications that have been published in 2017 related to water bottles, many applications are directed to integration of water bottles into sports or recreation equipment (such as US9682738, which discloses a combination water bottle and phone holder for placement on bicycle handlebars). Other applications are directed to combined drinking and purification vessels (such as US9636613, which discloses a portable water bottle with a replaceable filter cartridge). Still other applications are directed to specialized water bottles, such as those designed for pets (see US20170181400, which discloses a portable water vessel for pets). Thus, as hydration-related products are a hot area with room for innovation, it would be a wise move to dive in or even to dip your toe in the pool.