Manufacturing & Medical

“Code Blue” Alarm Rings for Medical Devices Sector

Physical instruments that diagnose, prevent and treat medical conditions hit “code blue”, a term used in hospitals that indicates the need for immediate attention, as the Medical Devices industry dropped 6 percent in year-over-year activity.

Thomson Reuters analysts have tracked an increase in innovation activity in this sector of medical unsung heroes over the past several years, making this the decade’s first significant decline for the industry providing critical life support via respirators, CT scanners, blood pressure cuffs, disposable syringes, stints and the many other essential medical apparatus on which we rely.

Perhaps the need for resuscitation shouldn’t be so unexpected, given the highly regulated nature of the industry, changes in tax regulations affecting the sector, such as the U.S. medical device excise tax, and global pricing pressures.

Despite the decline, analysts identified Asia as the dominant region globally. It leads with the top three innovators coming from Japan: Toshiba KK, Olympus Optical and Toshiba Medical KK. Coviden (Ireland) and Boston Scientific SciMed (U.S.) take spots four and five overall globally.

Even in the subsector of Diagnosis and Surgery, Japan takes the lead, adding one more company to its roster of top innovators: Fuji Film.

In terms of the most prolific institutions conducting medical-device-related research: the U.S. FDA and Harvard University top the charts.

«PrevPharmaceuticals NextHousehold Goods»

“Innovation enables Cochlear to create sustainable competitive advantage while helping hundreds of thousands of people worldwide who suffer from severe to profound hearing loss.”

Dr. Chris Roberts CEO, Cochlear

Patent Activity



Change from 2013
*Unique innovations may be represented in multiple subsectors.

Top 5 Companies

  • 1 Toshiba 725
  • 2 Olympus Optical 699
  • 3 Toshiba Medical 672
  • 4 Terumo 579
  • 5 Canon 481
  • 1 Covidien 623
  • 2 Siemens 595
  • 3 Philips 530
  • 4 Sanofi 168
  • 5 Fresenius 87
  • 1 Boston SCI 595
  • 2 Medtronic 404
  • 3 General Electric 326
  • 4 Depuy Synthes 324
  • 5 Abbott Cardiovascular 267

(Patent Data as of March 2015) Total number of documents by region