Research and innovation in cybersecurity in the technology and communications sector has declined in the last year, according to GlobalData data.

The most recent figures show that the number of patent applications in the industry stood at 1,586 in the three months ending November – down from 2,407 over the same period last year.

Figures for patent grants related to followed a similar pattern to filings – shrinking from 1,402 in the three months ending November last year to 1,112 this year.

The figures are compiled by GlobalData, who track patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Using textual analysis, as well as official patent classifications, these patents are grouped into key thematic areas, and linked to key companies across various industries.

is one of the key areas tracked by GlobalData. It has been identified as being a key disruptive force facing companies in the coming years, and is one of the areas that companies investing resources in now are expected to reap rewards from.

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By GlobalData

The figures also provide an insight into the largest innovators in the sector.

Huawei Investment & Holding Co Ltd was the top cybersecurity innovator in the technology and communications sector in the last quarter. The company, which has its headquarters in China, filed 165 related patents in the three months ending November. That was down from 325 over the same period last year.

It was followed by the United States based Alphabet Inc with 112 patent applications, the United States based Citrix Systems Inc (99 applications), and Japan based NEC Corp (87 applications).

Darktrace Holdings Ltd has recently ramped up R&D in cybersecurity. It saw growth of 69.2% in related patent applications in the three months ending November compared to the same period last year - the highest percentage growth out of all companies tracked with more than 10 quarterly patents in the technology and communications sector.