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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 outcomes, 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: precision radiotherapyBuy 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

Precision radiotherapy is a key innovation area in the medical devices industry

Precision radiotherapy focuses to deliver the radiation dose very precisely to a specified target that helps to reduce the adverse side effects and improve the treatment outcome. This allows radiologists to give a more accurate radiation dosage to the target area and eliminates technical and clinical uncertainty in tumour targeting. As a result, it is now possible to increase the radiation dosage to the appropriate target while decreasing the volume of irradiated normal tissue. It is considered a standard of care in the anti-cancer treatment and is often given along with chemotherapy or surgery or used independently.

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

Key players in precision radiotherapy – 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 precision radiotherapy

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Koninklijke Philips NV 609 Unlock Company Profile
Elekta AB 202 Unlock Company Profile
Accuray Inc 175 Unlock Company Profile
ViewRay Inc 172 Unlock Company Profile
Siemens AG 168 Unlock Company Profile
Siemens Healthineers AG 78 Unlock Company Profile
Shanghai United Imaging Healthcare Co Ltd 62 Unlock Company Profile
RefleXion Medical Inc 57 Unlock Company Profile
Integer Holdings Corp 44 Unlock Company Profile
Otsuka Holdings Co Ltd 39 Unlock Company Profile
Forschungszentrum Julich GmbH 37 Unlock Company Profile
NeuroNexus Technologies 30 Unlock Company Profile
PhotoPharmics Inc 29 Unlock Company Profile
Alberta Health Services 28 Unlock Company Profile
SpectraCure AB 28 Unlock Company Profile
Cognito Therapeutics Inc 27 Unlock Company Profile
NeuroPace Inc 27 Unlock Company Profile
Biotronik SE & Co KG 27 Unlock Company Profile
Kona Medical Inc 26 Unlock Company Profile
Synergia Medical SA 25 Unlock Company Profile
LG Corp 25 Unlock Company Profile
Ion Beam Applications SA 24 Unlock Company Profile
BrainLAB AG 24 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Group 22 Unlock Company Profile
Immunolight LLC 21 Unlock Company Profile
KinetiCor Inc 21 Unlock Company Profile
Functional Neuromodulation Inc. 20 Unlock Company Profile
Embracer Group AB 19 Unlock Company Profile
3C-Medizintechnik GmbH 17 Unlock Company Profile
Verneuil Participations SA 16 Unlock Company Profile
Sensai Corporation 16 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group Corp 15 Unlock Company Profile
Arai-Medphoton Research Laboratories Corp 15 Unlock Company Profile
Arizona Board of Regents 15 Unlock Company Profile
The Procter & Gamble Co 15 Unlock Company Profile
AbbVie Inc 14 Unlock Company Profile
Qfix 13 Unlock Company Profile
Mirion Technologies Inc 13 Unlock Company Profile
Lindeman Asia Investment Corp 13 Unlock Company Profile
The French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission 13 Unlock Company Profile
CorNova Inc 13 Unlock Company Profile
Toshiba Corp 13 Unlock Company Profile
JK-Holding GmbH 12 Unlock Company Profile
Monteris Medical Inc 12 Unlock Company Profile
Diagnostic Biochips, Inc. 12 Unlock Company Profile
CellReturn Co Ltd 12 Unlock Company Profile
QiG Group, LLC 12 Unlock Company Profile
Micro Power Electronics, Inc. 12 Unlock Company Profile
Synaptive Medical Inc 12 Unlock Company Profile
Johnson & Johnson 12 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Koninklijke Philips is one of the leading patent filers in the field of precision radiotherapy. Some other key patent filers in the field include Elekta, Accuray, ViewRay, and Siemens.

In terms of application diversity, Immunolight leads the pack, followed by Verneuil Participations and BrainLAB. By geographic reach, BrainLAB holds the top position, followed by Immunolight and RefleXion Medical in second and third spots, respectively.

The technological obstacles remain significant. With advances in the next-generation sequencing (NGS) and panomics technologies along with the incorporation of various large-scale biological databases and artificial intelligence, precision radiotherapy is considered an emerging field in the field of oncology. Although it is considered an essential part of cancer management, extensive clinical studies are further required to minimize the destruction of normal tissue.

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.