This blog takes a look into the patenting activity around shape memory material uncovering the companies, inventors, and key applications.
A shape-memory alloy (SMA, smart metal, memory metal, memory alloy, muscle wire, smart alloy) is an alloy that “remembers” its original shape and that when deformed returns to its pre-deformed shape when heated. Similarly shape-memory polymers (SMPs) are polymeric smart materials that have the ability to return from a deformed state (temporary shape) to their original (permanent) shape induced by an external stimulus (trigger), such as temperature change.
IP analysis in this blog will showcase the publication trend, top companies, research activity around the world, and company activities across Polymer & Alloy, company activities across application and Technology Patent Landscape. Detail IP analysis such as key statistics of companies and inventor, Trends US, DE, GB, JP and FR and much more can be found on Patent iNSIGHT Pro website reports section.
What has been the publication trend for Shape Memory Alloys?
Innovation around shape memory alloys and its resulting patent publications started to show up from the 1990s with a spike in 2004. But the real surge in the activity around this technology happens in last 5 years. It’s clear the current activity around these technologies is likely to continue seeing more innovation in the near future.
The top companies in shape memory alloy are:
The complete Assignee table is available here
Research Activity around the World
The table below ranks top priority countries and helps provide an indication of where innovation in this area is originating. It can be seen US has 4039 filings (INPADOC Families) followed by Germany and Japan with 535 and 456 filings respectively. The strength of the colouring represents the proportion of patent publications.
Company Activity around Polymer
- The chart below shows research activity of companies across different types of polymers
- Boston Scientific has the most number of records in Polyurethane Films and PET
- Medtronic leads the research around thermoplastics and has research interest in almost all the polymer
Company activity across Alloys
- The chart below shows research activity of companies across different alloys
- Advanced Cardiovascular is most active in Tantalum
- Boston Scientific leads in research interest in Nitinol, Stainless Steel and Tungsten
Company activity across Applications
- The chart below shows research activity of companies across different applications
- Stent is the most researched application area and is focused by most of the companies
- Johnson & Johnson leads the record count for surgical fixation and prosthesis
Siemens is the only company focusing on aviation applications of shape memory alloys
- The contour map below represents key concepts across automation (engine cooling, driving mechanism, Internal combustion engines) and medical industries (lasers, surgical instruments and catheter devices)
- The patents represented by dots were coloured by company
- Clusters for Daimler which relate to Internal Combustion Engine, engine block and engine cooling are close to each other as there is high degree of relevance between the records present in those technology areas
- Medtronic focuses mainly on medical devices and surgical instruments
The entire report is available for download here: Patent Landscaping – Shape Memory