The technology industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by digitalization and mobility, and growing importance of technologies such as electromagnetic resonance (EMR), Bluetooth connectivity, pressure sensitivity, optical recognition and digital pens that can integrate with cloud-based platforms, enabling seamless storage, backup, and access to handwritten content across multiple devices and locations. 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: digital pensBuy 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, aural exciters, in-memory computing, and network-on-a-chip are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. RAID transmission error detection, projector-camera system, and hyperspectral imaging, and surround sound systems are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are digital image interpolation and distributed RAID drives, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for the technology industry

Digital pens is a key innovation area in technology

Digital pens are writing instruments equipped with integrated sensors that enable users to write on physical paper while simultaneously capturing and storing their handwriting digitally. Typically accompanied by software, they facilitate the conversion of handwritten content into digital text or images for further processing and storage.

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 70+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established technology companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of digital pens.

Key players in digital pens – 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 pens

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
ZTE 7 Unlock Company Profile
HTC 15 Unlock Company Profile
Qualcomm 13 Unlock Company Profile
Staedtler Mars 55 Unlock Company Profile
Microsoft 60 Unlock Company Profile
Pegatron 12 Unlock Company Profile
Cubic 5 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Pencil 8 Unlock Company Profile
Apple 53 Unlock Company Profile
Wistron 14 Unlock Company Profile
CEA 6 Unlock Company Profile
Ricoh 11 Unlock Company Profile
Wacom 129 Unlock Company Profile
Hon Hai Precision Industry 82 Unlock Company Profile
Nokia 6 Unlock Company Profile
Acer 17 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 6 Unlock Company Profile
Qisda 4 Unlock Company Profile
Compal Electronics 21 Unlock Company Profile
Societe BIC 66 Unlock Company Profile
Coretronic 5 Unlock Company Profile
Nintendo 22 Unlock Company Profile
BlackBerry 14 Unlock Company Profile
Tactus Technology 5 Unlock Company Profile
Huf Hulsbeck & Furst 4 Unlock Company Profile
Waltop International Corp. 6 Unlock Company Profile
Shenzhen Royole Technologies 4 Unlock Company Profile
Mentor Acquisition One 6 Unlock Company Profile
Zero Lab 7 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Wacom is the leading patent filer in digital pens, followed by Hon Hai Precision Industry and Societe BIC. Other prominent patent filers in the space include Microsoft and Staedtler Mars.

By geographic reach, Staedtler Mars leads the pack, followed by Nintendo and Wacom. In terms of application diversity, Huf Hulsbeck & Furst holds the top position, followed by Nintendo and Sony Group.

Digital pens enable users to seamlessly capture, digitize, and store handwritten notes, sketches, and annotations. They enhance productivity, organization, and collaboration, while preserving the natural and intuitive experience of writing by hand.

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.