The technology industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by the increasing demand for portable electronics, wearables, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices that require small and lightweight power sources. This has resulted in the growing importance of technologies such as thin-film deposition, solid-state electrolytes, thin-film electrodes, and microfabrication techniques. In the last three years alone, there have been over 3.6 million patents filed and granted in the technology industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Technology Innovation: Thin-film batteries. 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 stabilising 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.

300+ 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 2.5 million patents, there are 300+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, microphone beamforming, live betting games, and quantum dots are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Circuit design testing, smart contracts, and surround sound systems are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are, vehicle platooning, peripheral component interconnect (PCI) power management, and wireless microphones, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for the technology industry

Thin-film batteries is a key innovation area in technology

Thin-film batteries are rechargeable batteries that are thin, flexible, and lightweight, allowing them to be seamlessly incorporated into various products and materials. These batteries are constructed using thin layers of materials deposited on a substrate such as plastic or glass and find applications in a wide range of fields such as medical devices, wearables, consumer electronics, and smart cards.

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 thin-film batteries.

Key players in thin-film batteries – a disruptive innovation in the technology industry

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

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

Patent volumes related to thin-film batteries

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Applied Materials 237 Unlock Company Profile
CEA 164 Unlock Company Profile
Johnson & Johnson 141 Unlock Company Profile
Dyson 113 Unlock Company Profile
Nokia 72 Unlock Company Profile
International Business Machines (IBM) 70 Unlock Company Profile
STMicroelectronics 65 Unlock Company Profile
Alphabet 48 Unlock Company Profile
Infinite Power Solutions 43 Unlock Company Profile
Infineon Technologies 42 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 32 Unlock Company Profile
Murata Manufacturing 29 Unlock Company Profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 29 Unlock Company Profile
Apple 28 Unlock Company Profile
Carl Zeiss Stiftung 27 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 25 Unlock Company Profile
3M 23 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Group 23 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung SDI 22 Unlock Company Profile
Cymbet 19 Unlock Company Profile
Koninklijke Philips 19 Unlock Company Profile
Eastman Kodak 18 Unlock Company Profile
Montana Tech Components 17 Unlock Company Profile
Tokyo Ohka Kogyo 16 Unlock Company Profile
Chatham Asset Management 16 Unlock Company Profile
Furukawa 15 Unlock Company Profile
Beijing Electronics 14 Unlock Company Profile
Emw Energy 14 Unlock Company Profile
Imprint Energy 13 Unlock Company Profile
Semiconductor Energy Laboratory 13 Unlock Company Profile
Micronics Japan 13 Unlock Company Profile
Xerox 12 Unlock Company Profile
Printed Energy 12 Unlock Company Profile
ITEN 12 Unlock Company Profile
BAE Systems 11 Unlock Company Profile
Swatch Group 10 Unlock Company Profile
Flex 10 Unlock Company Profile
Nederlandse Organisatie voor Toegepast-Natuurwetenschappelijk Onderzoek 10 Unlock Company Profile
Schreiner Group 9 Unlock Company Profile
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique 9 Unlock Company Profile
Energizer 9 Unlock Company Profile
L3Harris Technologies 9 Unlock Company Profile
General Electric 8 Unlock Company Profile
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing 8 Unlock Company Profile
Saralon 8 Unlock Company Profile
Motorola Solutions 8 Unlock Company Profile
Blue Spark Technologies 8 Unlock Company Profile
Stora Enso 8 Unlock Company Profile
Guala Technology 8 Unlock Company Profile
Huawei Investment & Holding 7 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Applied Materials is a leading patent filer in thin-film batteries. One of the company’s patents focuses on incorporating heat and light blocking layers in the stack of thin film structures and devices, such as solar cells, electrochromic, and thin film batteries, laser direct patterning enables the selective removal of specified layers. The light blocking layer, typically made of metal, absorbs, or reflects some of the laser energy to prevent damage to surrounding layers, while the heat blocking layer, a conductive layer with low thermal diffusivity, reduces heat transfer to underlying metal layers, ensuring they do not reach their melting temperature during laser direct patterning. 

Other prominent patent filers in the space include CEA and Johnson & Johnson.   

By geographic reach, Emw Energy leads the pack, followed by Johnson & Johnson and Swatch. In terms of application diversity, Stora Enso holds the top position, followed by Flex and Renesas Electronics.     

Thin-film batteries have significant importance due to their thin, flexible, and lightweight nature, that allows their integration into various products and materials. They enable the development of compact and portable electronic devices, such as medical devices, wearables, consumer electronics, and smart cards, providing efficient and reliable power sources in a space-constrained environment.  

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

Premium Insights


The gold standard of business intelligence.

Blending expert knowledge with cutting-edge technology, GlobalData’s unrivalled proprietary data will enable you to decode what’s happening in your market. You can make better informed decisions and gain a future-proof advantage over your competitors.


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.