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Compliance In Focus
Posted by John Lehmann on Mon, Apr 8, 2013

Medical Device Industry Boasts Largest Increase in Patents

Medical Device Industry Boasts Largest Increase in PatentsThomson Reuters, the world’s leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals, released the 2012 State of Innovation Twelve Key Technology Areas and Their States of Innovation report which “showcases 12 leading sectors and analyzes their innovation levels based on patent activity”.  The medical device sector can proudly boast as the area that experienced the largest growth, 15.7% over the year, accounting for 8% of all patent activity in 2012. While “computers” hold the biggest area for patents in 2012, the medical device industry can boast largest growth rates.

Over 60,000 patents were issued, putting medical device 6 out of 12 ranked sectors, including aerospace and biotechnology (ranked 9 out of 12). Each sector is broken down into subsectors. For example, Biotechnology patent activity is broken down as the following:

  • Diagnosis of disease
  • Cancer treatment
  • Genetically modified crops
  • Drug discovery
  • General Biotechnology- 58% of the total volume of patents issued

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The largest growth within the subsectors was in devices intended for diagnosis and surgery. Within this category, the article points to “the most active companies- Fujifilm and Olympus, for their work around medical imaging devices”. Innovative imaging devices are in high demand as they can provide detailed comprehensive results to clinical professionals.

Who are the big players that these patents are being assigned to? For Diagnosis/Surgery, the top ten assignees based on amount of patents, ranging from 354 to 55:

  1. Tyco Healthcare Group
  2. General Electric
  3. Medtronic
  4. Ethicon Endo-Surgery
  5. Boston Scientific
  6. St. Jude Medical
  7. Synthes USA
  8. Nellcor Puritan Bennett
  9. Abbott Diabetes Care
  10. Cook Medical Technologies

Thomson Reuters Derwent World Patents Index (DWPI) notes that innovation is on an upswing and that most decreases resulting from the global economic crisis have plateaued as evidenced by global increases in R&D spending and increases in stock market value.

Lastly, the report notes that China was the worldwide leader in patent filings. Following China’s lead was the US and Japan had the third highest patent filing volume.

What do you think this tremendous patent growth means for the medical device industry? Do you think the US being ranked second for patent filing is an indication the US is losing its place as a global leader? Share your thoughts below.

Photo Credit: SalFalko

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Topics: Thomson Reuters, Patents, Medical Device Industry

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