University of Hertfordshire

By the same authors


View graph of relations
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-262
Number of pages8
JournalResearch in Engineering Design
Early online date9 Sep 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018


In some mechanical engineering devices the novelty or inventive step of a patented design relies heavily upon how geometric features contribute to device functions. Communicating the functional interactions between geometric features in existing patented designs may increase a designer’s awareness of the prior art and thereby avoid conflict with their emerging design. This paper shows how functional representations of geometry interactions can be developed from patent claims to produce novel semantic graphical and text annotations of patent drawings. The approach provides a quick and accurate means for the designer to understand the patent that is well suited to the designer’s natural way of understanding the device. Through several example application cases we show the application of a detailed representation of functional geometry interactions that captures the working principle of familiar mechanical engineering devices described in patents. A computer tool that is being developed to assist the designer to understand prior art is also described.


This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

ID: 13231260