Johnson & Johnson was the top internet of things (IoT) innovator in the clinical trial operations sector in the last quarter. The company filed 36 IoT related patents in the three months ending December 2021. That was down from 129 over the same period in 2020.

It was followed by Bayer with 18 IoT patent applications, Roche (12 applications), and Merck (8 applications).

Bayer has recently ramped up R&D in IoT. It saw growth of 55.6% in related patent applications in the three months ending December compared to the same period in 2020 - the highest percentage growth out of all companies tracked with more than 10 quarterly patents in the clinical trial operations sector.

Nonetheless, research and innovation in internet of things in the clinical trial operations sector has declined in the last year.

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The most recent figures show that the number of IoT patent applications in the industry stood at 50 in the three months ending December - down from 112 over the same period in 2020.

Figures for patent grants related to IoT followed a similar pattern to filings - shrinking from 123 in the three months ending December 2020 to 29 in 2021.

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.

IoT 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.

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