Patent Filing Trends by Top 10 Patent Holders of Medical Device Technologies in the US (2007-2018)

Medical Devices is a vast industry encompassing numerous types of devices with different purposes and utility altogether. Let’s have a look at the top players according to their sub technological area in Medical device technologies.

Surgical Devices – Who is leading the race?

If we look at the last decade, Covidien is way ahead of the rest of the crowd. In fact, it has almost twice the number of patents as compared to that of second-placed Ethicon.

But this is something that is visible. Let us talk about something that is not visible directly — and that is Covidien patent filing trend in has been declining.

If we talk about patents claiming priority of 2015 (assuming that most of them would be published now), Covidien has filed roughly 400 patents whereas Ethicon has filed close to 300 patents (the gap is reducing).

Now, considering that the Covidien’s patent filing trend is declining whereas Ethicon is going upwards, it will be really interesting to see what happens in the near future – will Ethicon be able to overtake Covidien as the top patent filer in this space?

Endoscopic Devices – the Kingdom of Olympus Corporation

Olympus, a leading patent filer in the entire US Medical Devices industry, is fully focused on Endoscopic Devices – almost all of its patent filings in the Medical Devices space is concentrated in this cluster only. Moreover, it has almost 4.5X the number of patents as compared to second-placed Fujifilm (in this space).

Interestingly, in 2014 & 2015, Olympus filed twice as many patents as it had filed in 2007. Considering that the endoscopic market is growing — it was valued around USD 26 billion in 2017 and is expected to witness the growth of more than 6.0% CAGR from 2018 to 2024, Olympus seems to be well placed to capture a big portion of the market.

Measuring Devices – The space dominated by foreign players

This might probably be the only technology cluster in the Medical Devices that has top patent filers of the US such as Philips, Siemens, Samsung, and GE. Traditionally these are tech companies, which seem to have over the years established their own names in the medical device arena. All these companies have a separate Healthcare division and possibly, some might now consider them as core competitors rather than outsiders.

Philips has been able to maintain some gap at the top, followed by Siemens, Samsung, and GE — which BTW does not have a considerable gap between them. Interestingly, in the years 2014-16, Samsung has come in very close proximity to Philips, leaving behind Siemens. On the other hand, GE has slipped downwards in recent years.

Let us look a little into what future can be there for these 4 companies:

  1. a) The patent filing trend of Philips and Samsung has been on a rise in medical devices technologies. Moreover, both companies collaborated with each other to expand connected health ecosystems — which will surely lead to innovation in medical devices space bringing out new types of devices integrated with IoT. Considering all this, it is inevitable that their position will strengthen in the coming time.
  2. b) On the other hand, Siemens patent filing has been on a decline. Siemens Healthcare performance in 2015 started declining in the market and the company had to lay off a considerable number of employees as a result. Thus it makes sense for the filings to decrease in this space, and we may eventually see it fall off the list in the near future.
  3. c) GE Healthcare, well the patent filing trend has been stagnant to some extent. However, with the business unit all set to spin-off from its struggling parent company — it might give GE healthcare the attention and freedom it needed to rise and shine. So, we would suggest that GE healthcare will be one company to watch out for in the near future.

And lastly, in the Treatment Equipment space, the battle between Medtronic and Boston Scientific continues

Overall the number of patent filings of Medtronic is neck to neck with that of Boston Scientific. And given the filing trend of both these companies, as well as the market activities, they seem to match each other in every space —  and possibly this close competition will continue in future years also.

Analysis By: Vipin Singh, Marketing

Updated on August 11, 2020

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