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: intra-oral 3D imaging. 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

Intra-oral 3D imaging is a key innovation area in medical devices

Intra-oral 3D imaging refers to the use of specialized equipment and techniques to produce full, three-dimensional images of a patient's dentition, allowing for more accurate and efficient dental treatments.

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 intra-oral 3D imaging.

Key players in intra-oral 3D imaging – 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 intra-oral 3D imaging

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Align Technology 461 Unlock Company Profile
Dentsply Sirona 300 Unlock Company Profile
Medit 112 Unlock Company Profile
Dental Monitoring 111 Unlock Company Profile
DIO 83 Unlock Company Profile
Carestream Dental Technology Topco 78 Unlock Company Profile
3M 67 Unlock Company Profile
3Shape 63 Unlock Company Profile
Ivoclar Vivadent 58 Unlock Company Profile
SmileDirectClub 56 Unlock Company Profile
Osstem Implant 50 Unlock Company Profile
Onex 38 Unlock Company Profile
Envista 32 Unlock Company Profile
Furukawa 24 Unlock Company Profile
Morita 23 Unlock Company Profile
TROPHY 21 Unlock Company Profile
Zimmer Biomet 21 Unlock Company Profile
A Tron3D 17 Unlock Company Profile
ULab Systems 17 Unlock Company Profile
James R. Glidewell Dental Ceramics 14 Unlock Company Profile
ImagoWorks 13 Unlock Company Profile
Carestream Dental 13 Unlock Company Profile
Qisda 12 Unlock Company Profile
PLAQLESS 11 Unlock Company Profile
D D S Enterprises 10 Unlock Company Profile
Nissin Dental Products 10 Unlock Company Profile
Borea 10 Unlock Company Profile
Straumann 10 Unlock Company Profile
MegaGen Implant 9 Unlock Company Profile
Colgate-Palmolive 9 Unlock Company Profile
Cvstom (Uniform Teeth) 8 Unlock Company Profile
Brain Navi Biotechnology 8 Unlock Company Profile
Oxilio 8 Unlock Company Profile
Koninklijke Philips 8 Unlock Company Profile
D4D Technologies 8 Unlock Company Profile
Anatomage 6 Unlock Company Profile
ClaroNav 6 Unlock Company Profile
Shofu 6 Unlock Company Profile
VITA Zahnfabrik H Rauter 6 Unlock Company Profile
Moog 6 Unlock Company Profile
Shining 3D Tech 5 Unlock Company Profile
Procter & Gamble 5 Unlock Company Profile
Danaher 5 Unlock Company Profile
Modjaw 5 Unlock Company Profile
Condor Gold 5 Unlock Company Profile
CA Digital 4 Unlock Company Profile
HDX Will 4 Unlock Company Profile
Densys 4 Unlock Company Profile
GreenMark Biomedical 4 Unlock Company Profile
Medit 4 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Align Technology is one of the leading patent filers in the field of Intra-oral 3D imaging. Some other key patent filers in the field include Dentsply Sirona, Medit, and Dental Monitoring.

In terms of application diversity, PLAQLESS leads the pack, while GreenMark Biomedical and Brain Navi Biotechnology stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach ULab Systems held the top position, followed by PLAQLESS and Envista.

The demand for intra-oral 3D imaging is expected to increase as 3D impressions will allow for highly accurate treatment, reducing the potential errors associated with conventional imaging, leading to better treatment outcomes, and increased patient satisfaction. By providing more precise and detailed images of the oral anatomy than traditional 2D X-ray, intraoral 3D imaging will make it much easier to perform customizable dental procedures.

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.