The technology industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by the rising demand for intuitive and user-friendly interfaces, particularly in smartphones, tablets, and interactive kiosks, as well as the durability and reliability of capacitive touch technology, coupled with its ability to support multi-touch gestures, and growing importance of technologies such as capacitive sensing, multi-touch technology, and advanced gesture recognition software. 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 Innovation in technology: capacitive touch panels. 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, network-on-a-chip, in-memory computing and aural exciters are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Electron beam lithography, OLED pixel compensation circuits, and PCI power management are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are capacitive touch panels and emergency communications network, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for the technology industry

Capacitive touch panels is a key innovation area in technology

Capacitive touch panels are electronic components that identify a user's touch through capacitance variations. They find widespread application in interactive displays, smartphones, tablets, and various electronic devices necessitating user interaction.

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 180+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established technology companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of capacitive touch panels.

Key players in capacitive touch panels – 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 capacitive touch panels

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Midea Group 43 Unlock Company Profile
Alps Alpine 40 Unlock Company Profile
E Ink 20 Unlock Company Profile
Diehl Stiftung 52 Unlock Company Profile
Fujifilm 20 Unlock Company Profile
TPK 148 Unlock Company Profile
Apple 75 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor 41 Unlock Company Profile
Hosiden 52 Unlock Company Profile
LG Display 50 Unlock Company Profile
Nissha. 19 Unlock Company Profile
Hon Hai Precision Industry 21 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 23 Unlock Company Profile
Visteon 28 Unlock Company Profile
Compagnie de Saint-Gobain 82 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Electro-Mechanics 43 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 35 Unlock Company Profile
Innolux 54 Unlock Company Profile
Denso 28 Unlock Company Profile
Toshiba Home Appliances 17 Unlock Company Profile
Microchip Technology 62 Unlock Company Profile
Toshiba 17 Unlock Company Profile
Kia 32 Unlock Company Profile
DuPont de Nemours 27 Unlock Company Profile
IDENT Technology 17 Unlock Company Profile
Shenzhen Goodix Technology 19 Unlock Company Profile
Novalia 50 Unlock Company Profile
Lancer Partnership 23 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Among the companies innovating in capacitive touch panels, TPK Holding is one of the leading patents filers. The company’s patents are aimed at developing a technique for creating a netlist of an IC device that involves retrieving measurements of a gate area, which includes the width of the gate region spanning from one edge of an active region to another, and a distance from one end of the width to a gate via situated along it. The method further entails obtaining a first gate resistance value corresponding to the gate region, calculating a second gate resistance value using the width and distance, and then adjusting the netlist according to both the first and second gate resistance values. Other prominent patent filers in the space include Apple and Microchip Technology.

In terms of application diversity, Toshiba leads the pack, while Midea and Fujifilm stood in second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Fujifilm held the top position, followed by Microchip Technology and Shenzhen Goodix Technology.

Capacitive touch panels provide intuitive and responsive interfaces for a wide range of devices, from smartphones and tablets to ATMs and industrial control systems. Their ability to accurately detect the touch of a finger or stylus offers a seamless and user-friendly experience, enhancing the accessibility and functionality of electronic devices. Moreover, capacitive touch panels are durable, reliable, and capable of supporting multi-touch gestures, making them essential components in today's interactive digital world. The widespread adoption of capacitive touch panels underscores their critical role in shaping the way we interact with technology.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the technology industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Technology.

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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.