The medical devices industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by increased need for homecare, preventative treatments, early diagnosis, reducing patient recovery times and improving outcomes, as well as a growing importance in technologies such as machine learning, augmented reality, 5G and digitalisation. In the last three years alone, there have been over 450,000 patents filed and granted in the medical devices industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in Medical Devices: Electric atomisers.

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 stabilising 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.

150+ 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 550,000 patents, there are 150+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, neurostimulation therapy, smart physiotherapy devices, and real-time IR thermographic imaging are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Precision radiotherapy, electric atomisers, and bio-active prosthesis coating are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are bioresorbable stent coating and cryogenic tissue treatment, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for the medical devices industry

Electric atomisers is a key innovation area in the medical devices industry

An electric atomiser, otherwise known as an electric diffuser, is a device designed to disperse a liquid, often an oil, into the air by using ultrasonic waves. Nebulisers are often referred to as atomisers, though a nebuliser disperses liquids more slowly, and without metered doses. Electric atomisers are often incorporated into vaping devices, which can be used to reduce cigarette usage and nicotine addiction.

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 20+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established medical devices companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of electric atomisers. Atomization devices can be used to deliver metered doses of medication, typically intranasally, to treat a range of conditions, including respiratory disease,

Key players in electric atomisers – a disruptive innovation in the medical devices industry

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

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

Patent volumes related to electric atomisers

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
British American Tobacco 522 Unlock company profile
Philip Morris International 497 Unlock company profile
JUUL Labs 258 Unlock company profile
Japan Tobacco 160 Unlock company profile
Syqe Medical 121 Unlock company profile
Juul Labs Uk Holdco 106 Unlock company profile
Imperial Brands 76 Unlock company profile
Fisher & Paykel Healthcare 72 Unlock company profile
PAX Labs 47 Unlock company profile
Altria Group 43 Unlock company profile
Beyond Twenty 40 Unlock company profile
DEKA Research and Development 30 Unlock company profile
Shenzhen SMOORE 29 Unlock company profile
FreMon Scientific 25 Unlock company profile
Grupo Ferrer Internacional 23 Unlock company profile
Korber 17 Unlock company profile
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries 12 Unlock company profile
VMR Products 10 Unlock company profile
ResMed 9 Unlock company profile
Funai Electric 8 Unlock company profile
Medtronic 8 Unlock company profile
MEQU 7 Unlock company profile
JJ 206 7 Unlock company profile
Joyetech Europe Holding 6 Unlock company profile
Kind Consumer 6 Unlock company profile
Omega Life Science 5 Unlock company profile
Jabil 5 Unlock company profile
Nidda Healthcare Holding 5 Unlock company profile
Fresenius 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

British American Tobacco is one of the leading patent filers in electric atomisers. Some other key patent filers in the sector include Philip Morris International, Juul Labs and Syqe Medical.

In terms of application diversity, Joyetech Europe leads the pack, followed by FreMon Scientific and Beyond Twenty, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Juul Labs holds the top spot, with second and third spots held by PAX Labs and Philip Morris International, respectively.

Vaping has proved to be a major application for the electric atomiser. While initially vaping devices were intended to wean smokers off tobacco, as part of a health programme to reduce societal tobacco usage, more recently, vaping is now seen to be a lifestyle choice. The partial and full legalisation of marijuana or cannabis in many countries, particular for medical use, has seen a further application open up for the technology. Indeed, vaping will likely be rolled out as a new delivery system for many drugs, particularly those normally delivered in a liquid form, reducing needle usage, and improving drug efficacy for ingestible drugs. Already, inhalable insulin has been made available. Reduced needle usage will help contribute towards reducing blood-born infection, such as HIV. In the future, electric atomisers may be combined with nano-encapsulation technology to expand the repertoire of drugs that can use this delivery system.

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


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.