The packaging industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by rising environmental awareness, safety & trust, digitization, and growing importance of technologies such as near-field communication, active packaging and bio-degradable packaging. 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: RFID packaging. 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

RFID packaging is a key innovation area in packaging

Radio Frequency IDentification (RFID) is being increasingly involved in the packaging industry to streamline the entire packaging process through the help of a unique chip that processes information, such as the number of units and the location. This ensures that the necessary data is always available to the companies whenever required. It involves the use of RFID chips and ports.

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 50 companies, spanning technology vendors, established packaging companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of RFID packaging.

Key players in RFID packaging – 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 RFID packaging

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
FedEx 66 Unlock Company Profile
Toyo Seikan Group 49 Unlock Company Profile
Avery Dennison 32 Unlock Company Profile
Toppan 31 Unlock Company Profile
Ensurge Micropower 21 Unlock Company Profile
Imperial Brands 15 Unlock Company Profile
PepsiCo 14 Unlock Company Profile
Amcor 13 Unlock Company Profile
Novartis 11 Unlock Company Profile
CupClub 8 Unlock Company Profile
Cerberus Capital Management 8 Unlock Company Profile
Onex 8 Unlock Company Profile
Focke 7 Unlock Company Profile
WISeKey SA - Assets - US 6 Unlock Company Profile
Murata Manufacturing 6 Unlock Company Profile
Warburg Pincus 5 Unlock Company Profile
Schreiner Group 5 Unlock Company Profile
Verimatrix 5 Unlock Company Profile
KSW Microtec 4 Unlock Company Profile
B&G Plastics 4 Unlock Company Profile
Carmel Container Systems 4 Unlock Company Profile
Panther Packaging 4 Unlock Company Profile
Merck 3 Unlock Company Profile
Callahan Cellular 3 Unlock Company Profile
Fujimori Kogyo 3 Unlock Company Profile
British American Tobacco 3 Unlock Company Profile
Nippon Closures 3 Unlock Company Profile
Lumson 3 Unlock Company Profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 3 Unlock Company Profile
SATO 3 Unlock Company Profile
The French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission 3 Unlock Company Profile
CEA 2 Unlock Company Profile
3M 2 Unlock Company Profile
LINPAC Packaging 2 Unlock Company Profile
Ramondin Capsulas 2 Unlock Company Profile
NEC 2 Unlock Company Profile
Aptiv 2 Unlock Company Profile
Rehrig Pacific 1 Unlock Company Profile
Medline Industries 1 Unlock Company Profile
Lusem 1 Unlock Company Profile
Sonid 1 Unlock Company Profile
Suncall 1 Unlock Company Profile
TAPI 1 Unlock Company Profile
Plastipak 1 Unlock Company Profile
Triad National Security 1 Unlock Company Profile
NXP Semiconductors 1 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 1 Unlock Company Profile
Berry Global Group 1 Unlock Company Profile
Supreme Technic Package 1 Unlock Company Profile
STMicroelectronics 1 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

FedEx is the leading patent filer in RFID packaging. In August 2022, FedEx expanded its partnership with robotics company, Berkshire Gray, to deploy the company’s Robotic Product Sortation and Identification (RPSi) system in more of its facilities, and help improve the safety and efficiency of FedEx package handling operations globally. Some other key patent filers in RFID-integrated packaging include Toyo Seikan Group Holdings, Toppan, Avery Dennison, and Ensurge Micropower.

Plastipak Holdings leads the pack in terms of application diversity. Lumson and FedEx stand in second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, FedEx holds the top position, followed by Imperial Brands and PepsiCo.

Leading companies, in coming years, will increasingly leverage the power of technology to improve their overall package handling operations globally, thus significantly improving the overall supply chain efficiencies.

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.