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: targeted neurostimulation. 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

Targeted neurostimulation is a key innovation area in medical devices

Targeted neurostimulation is a method of providing specific stimulation to target nerves or tissues to achieve a therapeutic or cosmetic effect. The stimulation can be delivered using various forms of energy such as electrical, ultrasonic, thermal or electromagnetic waves, and can be applied to areas such as the face, eyes, vaginal tissue, or joints to modulate nerve signals or cellular function.

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

Key players in targeted neurostimulation – 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 targeted neurostimulation

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Medtronic 203 Unlock Company Profile
Merz Pharma 64 Unlock Company Profile
Highland Instruments 60 Unlock Company Profile
Koninklijke Philips 46 Unlock Company Profile
EQT 43 Unlock Company Profile
Apax Partners 37 Unlock Company Profile
Venus Concept 34 Unlock Company Profile
The Foundry 30 Unlock Company Profile
ElectroCore 27 Unlock Company Profile
Boston Scientific 26 Unlock Company Profile
Thermalin 22 Unlock Company Profile
Ya-Man 21 Unlock Company Profile
Soovu Labs 21 Unlock Company Profile
General Electric 21 Unlock Company Profile
CareWear 20 Unlock Company Profile
Johnson & Johnson 19 Unlock Company Profile
LG 19 Unlock Company Profile
Embracer Group 18 Unlock Company Profile
Dragerwerk 16 Unlock Company Profile
Cerenion 15 Unlock Company Profile
The Invention Science Fund II 14 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 14 Unlock Company Profile
Madryn Health Partners 13 Unlock Company Profile
Ojai Retinal Technology 12 Unlock Company Profile
AbbVie 12 Unlock Company Profile
Pharosgen 11 Unlock Company Profile
ElMinda 11 Unlock Company Profile
Searete 11 Unlock Company Profile
Niche Biomedical 10 Unlock Company Profile
Hironic 9 Unlock Company Profile
Halo Neuro 9 Unlock Company Profile
Serene Medical 9 Unlock Company Profile
Thync 9 Unlock Company Profile
Helmholtz Zentrum Munchen 8 Unlock Company Profile
Provectus Biopharmaceuticals 8 Unlock Company Profile
Medical Energetics 8 Unlock Company Profile
Autonomix Medical 8 Unlock Company Profile
SmileSonica 7 Unlock Company Profile
SemiNex 7 Unlock Company Profile
Medical Technologies CZ 7 Unlock Company Profile
Nu Skin Enterprises 6 Unlock Company Profile
Cerevast Medical 6 Unlock Company Profile
Viveve Medical 6 Unlock Company Profile
Sonovia 6 Unlock Company Profile
Shanghai Haohai Biological Technology 6 Unlock Company Profile
Amorepacific Group 5 Unlock Company Profile
The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory 5 Unlock Company Profile
Hologic 5 Unlock Company Profile
The Foundry 5 Unlock Company Profile
Sonify Biosciences 5 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Medtronic and Merz Pharma are two of the leading patent filers in targeted neurostimulation devices. Some other key patent filers in this field include Highland Instruments, Koninklijke Philips, and EQT.

In terms of application diversity, Thermalin leads the pack, while Charles Stark Draper Laboratory and Merz Pharma stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, ElectroCore held the top position, followed by Medtronic and Thermalin.

Targeted neurostimulation, with its ability to directly access the central nervous system, promises to be a game-changer. Its precision, reduced side effects, and improved patient adherence will drive its popularity. Advanced techniques and emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence and enhanced connectivity, will expand its role in revolutionizing the treatment of neurological and psychiatric disorders.

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.