Drafting of a Patent Application as a Strategy for Engineering Design Education
Editor: Lyndon Buck, Geert Frateur, William Ion, Chris McMahon, Chris Baelus, Guido De Grande, Stijn Verwulgen
Author: Lloveras, Joaquim
Institution: Technical University of Catalonia (UPC), Spain
Section: Design Methods - Theory and Methodology
This article highlights the process of designing, with drafting a patent as strategy to improve the designs of new products, in academia. The patent system discourages the copy of registered technologies, and it allows the investment of resources in applied research to do new products. Currently the patent system is not much used in engineering design education, but it is necessary to prepare future engineers towards product innovation. In this article is explained the experience carried out in new product design and drafting patent in a free elective course entitled: Creativity, Ecodesign and Patents. It is commented the methodology of this process, from the election of the topic work of each group of students, to the drafting a corresponding patent. A case study of one work group of 2011-12 academic year, deals of a refrigerator redesign, in order to save energy and increase their efficiency. A patent application for this work was done and the group of students showed their interest and extra dedication to make it. A survey conducted to students about their experience of this course is discussed and some conclusions are extracted. Even if students do not perform patents in their future professional careers, the strategy of writing a patent is a good academic exercise to organize and improve the final design.