The technology industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by the escalating demand for reliable and secure computing solutions, especially in sectors where data integrity is non-negotiable, the proliferation of data-intensive applications, increasing server deployments, and growing concerns about data security and accuracy. The growing importance of technologies such as advanced error correction algorithms, memory controllers, and integrated ECC features within memory modules, further fuel the demand for ECC memory. 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: ECC memory. 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

ECC memory is a key innovation area in technology

Error correction code (ECC) memory is a form of computer memory designed to detect and rectify errors that might occur during data storage and transfer. By employing supplementary bits for data validation, ECC memory introduces redundancy, enabling it to identify and rectify data inaccuracies. This, in turn, minimizes the likelihood of data corruption and enhances overall data dependability.

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 ECC memory.

Key players in ECC memory – 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 ECC memory

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Silicon Motion Technology 353 Unlock Company Profile
Qualcomm 91 Unlock Company Profile
VIA Technologies 28 Unlock Company Profile
Texas Instruments 135 Unlock Company Profile
Rambus 68 Unlock Company Profile
Apple 66 Unlock Company Profile
SK Square 21 Unlock Company Profile
NXP Semiconductors 77 Unlock Company Profile
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing 75 Unlock Company Profile
Alibaba Group 33 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 48 Unlock Company Profile
Phison Electronics 162 Unlock Company Profile
Renesas Electronics 38 Unlock Company Profile
Advanced Micro Devices 49 Unlock Company Profile
Winbond Electronics 212 Unlock Company Profile
Infineon Technologies 74 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 32 Unlock Company Profile
IBM 284 Unlock Company Profile
STMicroelectronics 46 Unlock Company Profile
Macronix International 71 Unlock Company Profile
Broadcom 146 Unlock Company Profile
Toshiba 538 Unlock Company Profile
Intel 477 Unlock Company Profile
Pure Storage 50 Unlock Company Profile
Micron Technology 1801 Unlock Company Profile
Semiconductor Energy Laboratory 31 Unlock Company Profile
Kioxia 124 Unlock Company Profile
ChangXin Memory Technologies 26 Unlock Company Profile
Sandisk Technologies 33 Unlock Company Profile
Via Alliance Semiconductor 32 Unlock Company Profile
Ace Kai Hynix 114 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Among the companies innovating in ECC memory, Micron Technology is one of the leading patents filers. The company’s patents are aimed at describing devices and methods for executing copy-back operations within a memory device. The identification of a trigger to initiate a copy-back operation pertaining to a specific data segment stored in the memory device is the initial step. Subsequently, the memory device's circuitry reads the data segment at two distinct voltage levels within a defined read window, obtaining a primary set of bits and a secondary set of bits, respectively. These sets of bits, which should ordinarily match, are then compared to assess if any disparity exceeds a predefined threshold. In cases where such a discrepancy surpasses the threshold, error correction procedures are activated before finalizing the copy-back operation.  Other prominent patent filers in the space include Toshiba and Intel.

In terms of application diversity, Semiconductor Energy Laboratory leads the pack, while VIA Technologies and Pure Storage stood in second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Via Alliance Semiconductor held the top position, followed by Texas Instruments and Micron Technology. 

ECC (Error-Correcting Code) memory plays a crucial role in ensuring data accuracy and reliability in computing systems. It detects and corrects errors that may occur during data storage and processing, especially in critical applications like servers, medical equipment, and aerospace systems. This capability is vital for maintaining the integrity of mission-critical operations. ECC memory is instrumental in safeguarding against potential data corruption, making it an essential component in environments where precision and accuracy are paramount.

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.