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: radiofrequency tissue ablation. 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

Radiofrequency tissue ablation is a key innovation area in medical devices

Radiofrequency tissue ablation is a minimally invasive medical procedure that uses high-frequency electrical current to destroy cancerous or diseased tissue in the body. A needle-like electrode is placed into the target tissue, usually guided by imaging techniques, and the radiofrequency energy heats and destroys the tissue, which is eventually absorbed by the body.

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 130+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established medical devices companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of radiofrequency tissue ablation.

Key players in radiofrequency tissue ablation – 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 radiofrequency tissue ablation

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Johnson & Johnson 1081 Unlock Company Profile
Waters 235 Unlock Company Profile
Medtronic 181 Unlock Company Profile
Olympus 174 Unlock Company Profile
Boston Scientific 142 Unlock Company Profile
Interscope 120 Unlock Company Profile
Stryker 111 Unlock Company Profile
Hologic 103 Unlock Company Profile
NICO 81 Unlock Company Profile
ConMed 73 Unlock Company Profile
Procept Biorobotics 73 Unlock Company Profile
Abbott Laboratories 49 Unlock Company Profile
Smith & Nephew 47 Unlock Company Profile
Creo Medical Group 46 Unlock Company Profile
Danaher 45 Unlock Company Profile
Becton Dickinson 41 Unlock Company Profile
Filtration Group 37 Unlock Company Profile
Intuitive Surgical 35 Unlock Company Profile
Lensar 34 Unlock Company Profile
Teleflex 31 Unlock Company Profile
Koninklijke Philips 31 Unlock Company Profile
Avalo Therapeutics 29 Unlock Company Profile
OBP Surgical 23 Unlock Company Profile
Mayo Clinic 20 Unlock Company Profile
Pathy Medical 16 Unlock Company Profile
Minerva Surgical 15 Unlock Company Profile
Massachusetts General Hospital 15 Unlock Company Profile
Gyrus ENT 14 Unlock Company Profile
460Medical 13 Unlock Company Profile
Cardioguidance Biomedical 12 Unlock Company Profile
Bio-Medical Engineering (HK) 11 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 11 Unlock Company Profile
Venus Concept 11 Unlock Company Profile
Gynesonics 11 Unlock Company Profile
Resitu Medical 9 Unlock Company Profile
NeoDynamics 9 Unlock Company Profile
Micro-Tech Nanjing 9 Unlock Company Profile
CrossBay Medical 9 Unlock Company Profile
Uniphar 9 Unlock Company Profile
Electromedical Associates 8 Unlock Company Profile
AtriCure 8 Unlock Company Profile
Zimmer Biomet 8 Unlock Company Profile
Polygon Medical 8 Unlock Company Profile
Allied Minds 8 Unlock Company Profile
Autonomix 7 Unlock Company Profile
Terumo 7 Unlock Company Profile
Orthocell 7 Unlock Company Profile
Integra LifeSciences 7 Unlock Company Profile
Nanocytomics 7 Unlock Company Profile
Rfemb 6 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Johnson & Johnson and Waters are two of the leading patent filers in radiofrequency tissue ablation. Some other key patent filers in this field include Medtronic, Olympus, and Boston Scientific.

In terms of application diversity, ConMed leads the pack, while Avalo Therapeutics and Waters stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Lensar held the top position, followed by Hologic and Creo Medical Group.

Radiofrequency tissue ablation holds a significant promise in the medical device industry for minimally invasive procedures. Such advancements aim to enhance precision, reduce recovery times and expand its application across multiple specialities, making it a crucial component in minimally invasive therapies in the near future.

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.