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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 outcome, as well as a growing importance in 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: intermittent pneumatic compression (IPC) devicesBuy 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, neuromodulation implants, shapeable guide catheters, and biopotential signal monitoring are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Fall detection monitoring, ingestible sensors, and biofeedback wearables are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are CPR assistance devices and bioabsorbable coated implants, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for the medical devices industry

Intermittent pneumatic compression (IPC) devices is a key innovation area in the medical devices industry

Also known as sequential compression devices, intermittent pneumatic compression (IPC) devices consist of inflatable sleeves wrapped that are around the leg cuffs to apply pressure against the limb by expansion and contraction. These devices are usually prescribed after related illness or surgery as they support circulation and help prevent blood clots and deep vein thrombosis, potentially replacing the blood-thinning oral drugs.

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 70+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established medical devices companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of IPC devices.

Key players in intermittent pneumatic compression (IPC) devices – 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 intermittent pneumatic compression (IPC) devices

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Medtronic Plc 217 Unlock Company Profile
Cardinal Health Inc 145 Unlock Company Profile
Arjo AB 55 Unlock Company Profile
Tactile Systems Technology Inc 32 Unlock Company Profile
ConvaTec Group Plc 31 Unlock Company Profile
Avex LLC 30 Unlock Company Profile
3M Co 27 Unlock Company Profile
Baxter International Inc 24 Unlock Company Profile
ThermoTek, Inc. 18 Unlock Company Profile
Lite Run Inc 17 Unlock Company Profile
Recovery Force LLC 15 Unlock Company Profile
Koya Medical Inc 13 Unlock Company Profile
Mego Afek AC Ltd 12 Unlock Company Profile
Radial Medical Inc 12 Unlock Company Profile
Koya Inc 11 Unlock Company Profile
Academia Sinica 11 Unlock Company Profile
medi GmbH & Co KG 10 Unlock Company Profile
ResMed Inc 9 Unlock Company Profile
Caremed Supply, Inc. 8 Unlock Company Profile
Reactive Robotics GmbH 8 Unlock Company Profile
Otivio AS 7 Unlock Company Profile
Diabetic Boot Company Limited 7 Unlock Company Profile
Vyaire Medical Inc 7 Unlock Company Profile
Trere' Innovation Srl 7 Unlock Company Profile
HyperIce Inc 7 Unlock Company Profile
IMPACT Therapeutics Inc 6 Unlock Company Profile
Becton Dickinson and Co 6 Unlock Company Profile
Essity AB 6 Unlock Company Profile
Maldonado Medical LLC 6 Unlock Company Profile
TTP PLC 5 Unlock Company Profile
MJS Healthcare Ltd 5 Unlock Company Profile
Griffiths and Nielsen Ltd. 5 Unlock Company Profile
Zimmer Biomet Holdings Inc 5 Unlock Company Profile
Ventrk, Inc. 5 Unlock Company Profile
NIKE Inc 4 Unlock Company Profile
Forval Corp 4 Unlock Company Profile
Zenith Technical Innovations Inc 4 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor Corp 4 Unlock Company Profile
Bio Compression Systems Inc 4 Unlock Company Profile
Investor AB 4 Unlock Company Profile
Innovamed Health LLC 4 Unlock Company Profile
Avex Inc 4 Unlock Company Profile
Savencia SA 3 Unlock Company Profile
FlowAid Ltd 3 Unlock Company Profile
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co 3 Unlock Company Profile
CareFusion Corp 2 Unlock Company Profile
Compression Kinetics 2 Unlock Company Profile
Dimedi Co Ltd 2 Unlock Company Profile
TheraNova LLC 2 Unlock Company Profile
Nitto Kohki Co Ltd 2 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Medtronic is the leading patent filer in the field of IPC devices. Some other key patent filers in the field include Cardinal Health, Arjo, and Tactile Systems Technology.

In terms of application diversity, Trere' Innovation leads the pack, followed by Diabetic Boot Company and 3M. By geographic reach, Arjo holds the top position, followed by Academia Sinica and medi in second and third spots, respectively.

Besides increasing blood flow and preventing blood clots, IPC devices also find application in the after-stroke treatment and treating lymphedema. These devices are medically necessary upon discharge in cases vulnerable to deep vein thrombosis, especially for immobile patients. Undoubtedly, it is an inexpensive and convenient technology, that is likely to gain a lot of popularity in the coming years.

The use of pneumatic compression therapy amongst athletes has also been increasing due to the benefits they offer for sports injuries. The market is driven by a variety of factors including the rapidly ageing global population, coupled with the rising prevalence of venous diseases which stem from obesity as well as lifestyles that are progressively more sedentary.

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.