MEMS Sensors & Actuators 2019 Patenting Activity
A stable IP landscape with new opportunities and increasing competition
MEMS sensors and actuators are key components in numerous applications. Indeed,electronic devices need to be more and more connected to the real world in order to providebetter experiences to the customer. Sensing and interacting with the environment is thereforebecoming critical, especially in the automotive, consumer and industrial markets. Indeed,autonomous vehicles, AR/VR and industry 4.0 require the use of numerous sensors to realizetheir dreams.
According to Yole Développement, the market will exhibit +8.3% growth in value and +11.9%growth in units, with consumer still having the greatest share (over 60%) from 2019 to 2024.This growth rate is below previous rates, however, and the automotive and consumer marketsare levelling off. As growth slows down, competition between the different players is gettingtougher and tougher, since the cake is not as big. On the M&A front, MEMS-relatedacquisitions declined during the last year, reflecting the weaker, general semiconductorrelated M&As and a consolidation of the business. Furthermore, there were no significant newentrants, and existing players struggled to compete against one another.
In this context, this MEMS Sensors & Actuators 2019 Patenting Activity report aims todecipher the recent patenting activities and related R&D developments of MEMS players.This report also tracks weak signals in order to find new applications or new R&D directionsthat are currently being investigated, as well as newcomers entering the landscape.The patents published in 2019 confirm the slight decrease that we can see at market level.Indeed, even if the number of patents remains quite significant, most of the IP segments haveremained stable. This is the case for inertial sensors, micro mirrors or pressure sensors.However, despite this general trend, some recent developments of MEMS for newapplications seem promising. For instance, patents in 2019 confirm the strong activity relatedto piezoelectric MEMS dedicated to automotive (headlamp, head-up display, etc.) orconsumer applications (fingerprint sensors, voice machine interface).2019 is also marked by the strong patenting activity of Chinese players. Indeed, Chineseplayers filed over 60% of the patents published in 2019 and even led most of the MEMSdevices. This strong activity could be a sign of the significant investments that Chinesecompanies have made to boost their competitiveness and challenge major European and UScompanies.
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