Wearable Medical Devices: Patent Landscape 2008–2017

Wearable medical devices are defined as:

  • devices that are autonomous, that are noninvasive, and that perform a specific medical function such as monitoring or support over a prolonged period of time.
  • biosensors that monitor physiological data, usually with remote/wireless communication, as part of any wearable item that attaches to the body. Activity monitors, smart watches, smart clothing, and patches are examples [1].


Our dataset contains 3,097 patents and patent applications with priority dates from January 1, 2008 to July 26, 2018

Increasing filing trend from 2012–2014, with peak observed in 2014 and a slight decline in 2015.The drop observed in 2016 is due to the 18 months it takes before patent filings are publicly disclosed.

The increase in patent activity in 2014 may be attributed to the advent of “intellectual property arms race” in the wearables sector.

Top Players

Top Technology Areas

Based on the top CPCs, we can focus on the following:

a. Device Type: Patient Monitoring Devices (CPC: A61B-005/00/22)

b. End User Application: Telemedicine/Remote Medical Services (CPC: G06F-019/3418)

c. Body Part Application: Wristwatch-type Wearables (CPC: A61B-005/681)

Patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes, asthma that require constant monitoring are increasingly adopting these devices. To cut down on costs and reduce the burden of hospital visits, patients are preferring wearable medical devices. This is increasing the demand for wearable medical devices and in turn, driving the growth of the global wearable medical devices market [2].

Increasing competition and rapid technological advancement is resulting in rising demand for innovative devices. Introduction of advanced products such as smart watches, wrist bands, fitness bands and glucose monitoring applications are of prime importance for the market growth. In addition, a shift in trend from traditional to wearable devices owing to the increasing digitization and rising tech savvy population is expected to propel the market.


Forecast (global)

The global wearable medical devices market is estimated to reach 14.6 Billion by 2023 from $ 5.5 Billion in 2017, at a CAGR of 18.5% during the forecast period during the forecast period of 2018–2023 [3].

Driving factors for market growth

Factors such as technological advances in medical devices, increasing penetration of smartphones and growing number of smartphone-based healthcare apps compatible with wearable devices, growing preference for wireless connectivity among healthcare providers, and increasing awareness about physical fitness are driving the growth of this market [4].

North America Market Growth

The North America medical wearable electronics market has been estimated at USD 1.7 billion in 2016 and is projected to reach USD 5.6 billion by 2021 at a CAGR of 26.19% during the forecast period from 2016 to 2021 [5].

North America to dominate the Wearable Medical Devices Market in 2017

In 2017, North America is expected to dominate the market followed by Europe. The large share of this geographical segment is attributed to the presence of developed healthcare infrastructure, focus on technological advancements, and the development of interconnected and highly advanced healthcare apps and compatible devices, and the presence of key market players.

US government efforts to boost market growth

In 2015, the US Department of Defense announced push for manufacturing of wearable medical devices. The Department of Defense stated in a news release that it will be partnering with academia centers and the private sector to push forward the manufacturing of wearable medical devices [6].

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