28 April 2017
London
Reporter: Mark Dugdale

Brunel University London scientists develop prior art checker


Researchers at Brunel University London have developed a new computer tool that could help designers to avoid potential clashes with patented technology.

Brunel researchers identified a need for a tool linking computer-aided design systems to prior art, and with funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council are developing a new system to identify potential common features between designs.

The team, made up of Drs Mark Atherton, Alessio Malizia, Pingfei Jiang and Manal Helal, as well as Professor David Harrison, have been working on patents in mechanical engineering, where the novel inventive step often relies heavily on how functions and key geometrical features of the design interact.

Brunel cited the example of aluminium beverage cans, which demonstrate relationships between function and novel geometry, as potential beneficiary of the concept.

The tool, which currently has the working title of the Design Assistant for Semantic Comparison of Intellectual Property (DASCIP), could prevent costly litigation by alerting designers at an early stage, in real-time, when aspects of their designs are too similar to patented subject matter.

DASCIP employs existing patent images annotated with descriptions in a way that allows for matches of geometric features and functional interactions to be identified. While this annotation in a new standardised vocabulary has been initially completed manually by the Brunel team during the feasibility phase, they are now developing an automatic system of annotation.

The research is now at a stage where dissemination to industry is hoped to lead to collaborative projects on real mechanical products that will demonstrate its benefits to innovation and to avoid patent issues, according to Brunel.

“Patent applications have grown nine percent worldwide year-on-year for the past two years, increasing the likelihood that a designer will unwittingly infringe on prior art,” explained Atherton.

“And with around a quarter of companies experiencing an intellectual property dispute over the past five years, and significant damages agreed in around 30 percent of cases—with average payouts of £120,000—the need for designers to be better aware of prior art is clearly increasingly important.”

More Europe news
The latest news from IPPro Patents
Join Our Newsletter

Sign up today and never
miss the latest news or an issue again

Subscribe now
NPE litigation in Europe sees continued growth
20 February 2018 | Brussels | Reporter: Barney Dixon
NPE litigation and enforcement in Europe has increased by an average almost 20 percent year-on-year since 2007, according to a new report from Darts-IP
Latest EPO employment proposals under fire
15 February 2018 | Munich | Reporter: Barney Dixon
The latest version of a proposal to scrap permanent employment contracts at EPO for the “modernisation” of its employment framework has come under fire
PatSnap joins WIPO ASPI programme
07 February 2018 | London | Reporter: Barney Dixon
Research and development analytics company PatSnap has joined the WIPO’s ASPI programme
Gowling WLG welcomes IP partner to Munich office
01 February 2018 | Munich | Reporter: Barney Dixon
Gowling WLG welcomes IP partner to Munich office
EPO judge subject to “forced transfer”
25 January 2018 | Munich | Reporter: Barney Dixon
A European Patent Office staff member at the centre of an International Labour Organisation ruling is being forced to transfer from the EPO’s Munich office to an office in The Hague
Qualcomm fined €997 in EU anti-trust investigation
25 January 2018 | Brussels | Reporter: Barney Dixon
Qualcomm has been fined €997 million by the European Commission for the abuse of its dominant market position in LTE baseband chipsets
Haseltine Lake bolsters patent services
23 January 2018 | Bristol | Reporter: Barney Dixon
Haseltine Lake has hired Matthew Howell to join its Bristol office as partner