The technology industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by the increasing demand for secure, resilient, and censorship-resistant data storage and distribution solutions, the need for robust and decentralized file storage and sharing solutions, efficient content delivery, improved data redundancy, and reduced reliance on centralized servers. The growing importance of distributed hash tables (DHTs), MerkleDag data structures, and cryptographic algorithms technologies is further driving innovation in the industry. 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 Cybersecurity in technology: interplanetary file systemsBuy 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, trusted platform modules, signcryption, and homomorphic encryption, are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Zero knowledge proof, physically unclonable functions (PUFs), and multi-factor authentication are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are AES encryption and encrypted content distribution, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for cybersecurity in the technology industry

Interplanetary file systems is a key innovation area in cybersecurity

Interplanetary File Systems (IPFS) are a decentralized and peer-to-peer network protocols specifically designed for the storage and transfer of data across computer networks. With IPFS, users can securely store and access large volumes of data on a distributed network of computers. By utilizing this protocol, data is stored and retrieved in a highly efficient and reliable manner, ensuring reliable data storage and retrieval in a distributed environment. IPFS offers a decentralized approach to data storage, reducing reliance on centralized servers and providing users with the ability to access their data from anywhere with an internet connection.

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 60 companies, spanning technology vendors, established technology companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of interplanetary file systems.

Key players in interplanetary file systems – 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 interplanetary file systems

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
ZTE 13 Unlock Company Profile
Dropbox 44 Unlock Company Profile
eBay 15 Unlock Company Profile
Microsoft 24 Unlock Company Profile
Phoenix Contact 6 Unlock Company Profile
Rpx 6 Unlock Company Profile
Netflix 20 Unlock Company Profile
Siemens 7 Unlock Company Profile
Alibaba Group 38 Unlock Company Profile
SAP 16 Unlock Company Profile
Dell Technologies 65 Unlock Company Profile
CommVault Systems 10 Unlock Company Profile
The Toronto-Dominion Bank 6 Unlock Company Profile
Rackspace Technology 9 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 13 Unlock Company Profile
Tencent 11 Unlock Company Profile
IBM 44 Unlock Company Profile
NEC 13 Unlock Company Profile
Architecture Technology 5 Unlock Company Profile
Pure Storage 64 Unlock Company Profile
Peaxy 11 Unlock Company Profile
nChain 84 Unlock Company Profile
Coupang 5 Unlock Company Profile
Ali Group 6 Unlock Company Profile
SIDE 15 Unlock Company Profile
Damaka 13 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Dell Technologies is one of the leading patent filers in the interplanetary file systems domain. One of the company’s patents describes a method for managing the migration of virtual file servers in a storage system. The method allows the migration of a virtual file server from a source storage processor to a destination storage processor while enabling concurrent access to the root file system by both processors. This concurrent access continues until the user file systems are fully migrated to the destination storage processor.

Other prominent patent filers in the space include nChain, Pure Storage, Dropbox, and IBM.

By geographic reach, nChain leads the pack, followed by Netflix and Dropbox. In terms of application diversity, eBay holds the top position, followed by Ali Group and Side.

Interplanetary File Systems (IPFS) enables distributed data storage, reducing reliance on centralized servers and improving resilience against failures or censorship. IPFS utilizes content-based addressing, which ensures data integrity and enables efficient content delivery. It also allows for offline access to previously accessed content, making it useful in scenarios with limited or intermittent internet connectivity. IPFS has the potential to transform the landscape of information sharing, content distribution, and decentralized applications.

To further understand how cybersecurity is disrupting the technology industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Cybersecurity.

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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.