The technology industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by the increasing adoption of digital pathology systems, the abundance of digital image data, and the demand for more precise and standardized diagnoses, and growing importance of technologies such as convolutional neural networks (CNNs), natural language processing (NLP), and image registration techniques. In the last three years alone, there have been over 4.1 million patents filed and granted in the technology industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Artificial intelligence in technology: digital pathology AI. Buy the report here.

However, not all innovations are equal and nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical lifecycle from early emergence to accelerating adoption, before finally stabilizing and reaching maturity.

Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those that are in the emerging and accelerating stages, is essential for understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact they will have.

190+ innovations will shape the technology industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the technology industry using innovation intensity models built on over 1.5 million patents, there are 190+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, deep reinforcement learning, finite element simulation, and GenAI for design are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. AI in EHR, intelligent predictive maintenance, and forward inferencing are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing.

Innovation S-curve for artificial intelligence in the technology industry

Digital pathology AI is a key innovation area in artificial intelligence

Digital Pathology AI utilizes artificial intelligence (AI) methods for examining digital images of human tissue specimens. The technology encompasses algorithms capable of discerning and pinpointing specific cells, recognizing distinct attributes, and offering an assessment of the samples. This approach to discerning and evaluating medical findings holds the potential to expedite and enhance the precision of the diagnostic procedure.

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 140 companies, spanning technology vendors, established technology companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of digital pathology AI.

Key players in digital pathology AI – a disruptive innovation in the technology industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of applications identified for each patent. It broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.  

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of countries each patent is registered in. It reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’. 

Patent volumes related to digital pathology AI

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Fujifilm 74 Unlock Company Profile
NeoDiagnostix 13 Unlock Company Profile
Immucor 22 Unlock Company Profile
CellaVision 14 Unlock Company Profile
Siemens 68 Unlock Company Profile
Flagship Biosciences 19 Unlock Company Profile
Abbott Laboratories 33 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 27 Unlock Company Profile
Olympus 66 Unlock Company Profile
General Electric 32 Unlock Company Profile
Koninklijke Philips 74 Unlock Company Profile
F. Hoffmann-La Roche 283 Unlock Company Profile
Japanese Foundation for Cancer Research 16 Unlock Company Profile
Applied Materials 35 Unlock Company Profile
Konica Minolta 32 Unlock Company Profile
AxoGen 34 Unlock Company Profile
Sysmex 69 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 57 Unlock Company Profile
Dai Nippon Printing 15 Unlock Company Profile
Novartis 22 Unlock Company Profile
IBM 24 Unlock Company Profile
Heartflow 267 Unlock Company Profile
Agilent Technologies 19 Unlock Company Profile
Hologic 45 Unlock Company Profile
NEC 34 Unlock Company Profile
Nikon 53 Unlock Company Profile
CellPly 13 Unlock Company Profile
Sight Diagnostics 45 Unlock Company Profile
Arizona Board of Regents 32 Unlock Company Profile
Alentic Microscience 24 Unlock Company Profile
Curemetrix 14 Unlock Company Profile
Paige.AI 51 Unlock Company Profile
Light AI 13 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Among the companies innovating in digital pathology AI, F. Hoffmann-La Roche is one of the leading patents filers. The company’s patents are aimed at developing techniques, systems, and devices for identifying and characterizing heterogeneity in a cell sample. It involves creating multiple fields of view (FOV) for designated areas of interest (AOI) within an image of the cell sample. Hyperspectral or multispectral data from each FOV is structured into an image stack comprising one or more z-layers, where each z-layer contains intensity data for a specific marker at every pixel within the FOV. Subsequently, a cluster analysis is applied to the image stacks. This clustering process groups pixels with comparable ratios of detectable marker intensity along the z-axis layers, ultimately generating numerous clusters with similar expression patterns. The other prominent patent filers in the space include Heartflow and Fujifilm.

In terms of application diversity, Alentic Microscience leads the pack, while CellPly and Light AI stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographical reach, Heartflow held the top position, followed by AxoGen and Alentic Microscience.

Digital pathology AI greatly enhances diagnostic accuracy by assisting pathologists in analyzing digitized images of tissue samples. This technology can detect subtle patterns and anomalies that may be challenging for the human eye to discern, leading to more precise and reliable diagnoses. Additionally, digital pathology AI improves workflow efficiency by automating routine tasks, allowing pathologists to focus on more complex cases.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the technology industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Artificial Intelligence (AI).

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.