Research and innovation in smart materials in the technology and communications sector has declined in the last year, according to data from GlobalData.

The most recent figures show that the number of smart materials related patent applications in the industry stood at 302 in the three months ending April – down from 462 over the same period in 2021.

Figures for patent grants related to smart materials followed a similar pattern to filings – shrinking from 311 in the three months ending April 2021 to 165 in the same period in 2022.

The figures are compiled by GlobalData, who track patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Using textual analysis, as well as official patent classifications, these patents are grouped into key thematic areas, and linked to key companies across various industries.

Smart materials is one of the key areas tracked by GlobalData. It has been identified as being a key disruptive force facing companies in the coming years, and is one of the areas that companies investing resources in now are expected to reap rewards from.

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By GlobalData

The figures also provide an insight into the largest innovators in the sector.

Fujifilm Holdings Corp was the top smart materials innovator in the technology and communications sector in the latest quarter. The company, which has its headquarters in Japan, filed 36 smart materials related patents in the three months ending April. That was up from eight over the same period in 2021.

It was followed by the Japan based Seiko Epson Corp with 22 smart materials patent applications, Japan based TDK Corp (20 applications), and the United States based Qualcomm Inc (19 applications).

Fujifilm Holdings Corp has recently ramped up R&D in smart materials. It saw growth of 77.8% in related patent applications in the three months ending April compared to the same period in 2021 - the highest percentage growth out of all companies tracked with more than 10 quarterly patents in the technology and communications sector.