The medical devices industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by increased need for homecare, preventative treatments, early diagnosis, reducing patient recovery times and improving outcomes, and growing importance of technologies such as machine learning, augmented reality, 5G and digitalization. In the last three years alone, there have been over 710,000 patents filed and granted in the medical devices industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in medical: cardiac stimulation implants. Buy the report here.

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However, not all innovations are equal and nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical lifecycle from early emergence to accelerating adoption, before finally stabilizing and reaching maturity.

Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those that are in the emerging and accelerating stages, is essential for understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact they will have.

30+ innovations will shape the medical devices industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the medical devices industry using innovation intensity models built on over 155,000 patents, there are 30+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, ultrasonic nebulizers and intra-oral 3D imaging are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Intraocular pressure monitoring, automated diabetes management, and tissue repair implants are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas is CPR assistance devices, which is now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for the medical devices industry

Cardiac stimulation implants is a key innovation area in medical devices

Cardiac stimulation implants are medical devices that use electrical signals to regulate the heart's rhythm and treat conditions such as bradycardia, heart failure, and arrhythmias. These implants are typically inserted through surgery and consist of two parts: a pulse generator and one or more leads that connect to the heart. The pulse generator sends electrical signals through the leads to regulate the heart's rhythm and can also collect and transmit data to healthcare professionals for monitoring and adjustments.

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 280+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established medical devices companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of cardiac stimulation implants.

Key players in cardiac stimulation implants – a disruptive innovation in the medical devices industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of applications identified for each patent. It broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.   

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of countries each patent is registered in. It reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.  

Patent volumes related to cardiac stimulation implants

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Asahi Kasei 793 Unlock Company Profile
Medtronic 584 Unlock Company Profile
Boston Scientific 412 Unlock Company Profile
Abbott Laboratories 209 Unlock Company Profile
West Affum 187 Unlock Company Profile
Nyxoah 152 Unlock Company Profile
Koninklijke Philips 148 Unlock Company Profile
MED-EL Elektromedizinische Gerate 65 Unlock Company Profile
Johnson & Johnson 59 Unlock Company Profile
Stryker 57 Unlock Company Profile
Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne 54 Unlock Company Profile
Biotronik 54 Unlock Company Profile
Integer 52 Unlock Company Profile
Cala Health 51 Unlock Company Profile
Nippon Telegraph and Telephone 49 Unlock Company Profile
Halo Neuro 49 Unlock Company Profile
Saluda Medical 48 Unlock Company Profile
Qualcomm 48 Unlock Company Profile
Toray Industries 44 Unlock Company Profile
Astellas Pharma 44 Unlock Company Profile
Nalu Medical 40 Unlock Company Profile
Intellectual Ventures Management 40 Unlock Company Profile
Alphabet 39 Unlock Company Profile
Cochlear 39 Unlock Company Profile
Cognito Therapeutics 36 Unlock Company Profile
Great Lakes NeuroTechnologies 36 Unlock Company Profile
Tivic Health Systems 36 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Group 35 Unlock Company Profile
Man & Science 34 Unlock Company Profile
Milux 34 Unlock Company Profile
Inspire Medical Systems 33 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 33 Unlock Company Profile
Demant 32 Unlock Company Profile
Avanos Medical 31 Unlock Company Profile
Neuroenhancement Lab 30 Unlock Company Profile
G Medical Innovations 29 Unlock Company Profile
IP 28 Unlock Company Profile
NeuSpera Medical 28 Unlock Company Profile
NeuroMetrix 28 Unlock Company Profile
Synchron Australia 28 Unlock Company Profile
NeuroPace 27 Unlock Company Profile
Element Science 27 Unlock Company Profile
i-Lumen Scientific 26 Unlock Company Profile
YBrain 25 Unlock Company Profile
Evoke Neuroscience 25 Unlock Company Profile
The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory 25 Unlock Company Profile
Signifier Medical Technology 24 Unlock Company Profile
Implantica Patent 24 Unlock Company Profile
GSK Consumer Healthcare 24 Unlock Company Profile
The Alfred Mann Foundation 23 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Asahi Kasei is one of the leading patent filers in the field of cardiac stimulation implants. Some other key patent filers in the field include Medtronic, Boston Scientific, and Abbott Laboratories.

In terms of application diversity, Johnson & Johnson leads the pack, while Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, and The Alfred Mann Foundation stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Toray Industries held the top position, followed by Tivic Health Systems and Man & Science.

The landscape of cardiac procedures is being reshaped by cardiac stimulation implants, as they undergo a transformation towards greater compactness, thereby boosting their efficiency. The downsizing promises to simplify implantation procedures, with the potential to reduce complications. Moreover, the integration of wireless connectivity in these cardiac implants is anticipated, enabling remote monitoring and programming. This advancement empowers both patients and healthcare providers to access real-time information regarding the device's performance and the patient's cardiac health, fostering more individualized care and prompt interventions. These innovative implants can be customized through artificial intelligence (AI) integration, resulting in enhanced treatment plans.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the medical devices industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Medical Devices.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.