Insert The packaging industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by light weight, visual appeal, tamper-proof, and customization, and growing importance of technologies such as anti-counterfeiting technologies, 3D printing, blockchain, and artificial intelligence. In the last three years alone, there have been over 427,000 patents filed and granted in the packaging industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in packaging: multilayer barrier films. Buy the report here.

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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.

30+ innovations will shape the packaging industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the packaging industry using innovation intensity models built on over 77,000 patents, there are 30+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, cellulose fiber 3D printing, biodegradable packaging films, and multilayer barrier films are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. RFID packaging, anti-counterfeiting bottle caps, and clamshell-type packaging are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are resealable medication vials and synthetic resin containers, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for the packaging industry

Multilayer barrier films is a key innovation area in packaging

Multilayer barrier films are packaging materials that consist of multiple layers of different materials, each serving a specific purpose. These films are designed to provide a high level of protection and barrier properties to the product being packaged. They are commonly used in various industries, including food and beverage, pharmaceuticals, and electronics, to extend the shelf life of products, prevent contamination, and maintain product quality.

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 packaging companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of multilayer barrier films.

Key players in multilayer barrier films – a disruptive innovation in the packaging 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 multilayer barrier films

Company Total patents (2021 - 2023) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Dai Nippon Printing 31 Unlock Company Profile
Toppan 26 Unlock Company Profile
Zhejiang Goldstone Packing 13 Unlock Company Profile
Kuraray 10 Unlock Company Profile
Resonac 10 Unlock Company Profile
Kyodo Printing 9 Unlock Company Profile
Unitika 9 Unlock Company Profile
Shantou Dongfeng Printing 8 Unlock Company Profile
Huangshan Novel 6 Unlock Company Profile
Sichuan Huili Industrial 5 Unlock Company Profile
DIC 5 Unlock Company Profile
Toyo Ink SC 4 Unlock Company Profile
Tosoh 4 Unlock Company Profile
Tongcheng Furun Packaging Material 3 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsui Chemicals 3 Unlock Company Profile
Rengo 3 Unlock Company Profile
COFCO 3 Unlock Company Profile
Zhejiang Pengyuan New Material 3 Unlock Company Profile
Nippon Light Metal 3 Unlock Company Profile
Daicel 3 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Chemical Group 2 Unlock Company Profile
Roland DG 2 Unlock Company Profile
Sumitomo Bakelite 2 Unlock Company Profile
Shenyang Chuangda Technology Trade Market 2 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Group 2 Unlock Company Profile
Essel Packaging (Guangzhou) 2 Unlock Company Profile
T&K Toka 2 Unlock Company Profile
C. I. Kasei 1 Unlock Company Profile
Nestle 1 Unlock Company Profile
Sunstar 1 Unlock Company Profile
Seiko Epson 1 Unlock Company Profile
Gree Electric Appliances 1 Unlock Company Profile
Nantong Xinying Design Service 1 Unlock Company Profile
Wuhu Sanshan District Green Food Industry Association 1 Unlock Company Profile
Jiangsu Sunkey Plastic Packaging 1 Unlock Company Profile
Anhui Jiamu Rubble & Plastic Industrial 1 Unlock Company Profile
Gettel Group Suqian Plastic 1 Unlock Company Profile
Guangdong Yiming Pharmaceutical 1 Unlock Company Profile
Wuxi Long Kai Packing 1 Unlock Company Profile
Shenzhen Zhonglisheng Packaging Technology 1 Unlock Company Profile
Yunnan Chuangxin New Material 1 Unlock Company Profile
Teijin 1 Unlock Company Profile
Aimia 1 Unlock Company Profile
Honeywell International 1 Unlock Company Profile
Shanghai Jielong Industry Group 1 Unlock Company Profile
GoerTek 1 Unlock Company Profile
JFE 1 Unlock Company Profile
Greatview Aseptic Packaging 1 Unlock Company Profile
Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group 1 Unlock Company Profile
Dong-A Socio Group 1 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Dai Nippo Printing is one of the leading patent filers in multilayer barrier films. Some other key patent filers in the packaging industry include Toppan, Zhejiang Goldstone Packing, Kuraray, Resonac, and Unitika.

In terms of application diversity, Mitsubishi Chemical Group leads the pack, while Roland DG and DIC stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Roland DG held the top position, followed by Samsung and T&K Toka.

Multilayer barrier films are expected to gain appeal due to their ability to provide enhanced product protection, extended shelf life, and versatility in applications. Evolving consumers’ demands and industries looking for sustainable and efficient packaging solutions, which meet stringent safety regulations, will play a crucial role.

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

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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.